This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, and StellarAshes.
Eve of the Gamble
In order to settle in the two hundred Knights who swore their loyalty to him, prepare for the bet at the same time, Liola was very busy along with Kaiser and Daylight. Other than resolving conflicts between the Knights from both sides, he also did as Kaiser asked: to spread the news of the bet as much as possible.
“Make it known to the whole world, and the Dragon Emperor wouldn’t dare to suggest something unfair.”
Kaiser was confident, and he was then busy with… pawning tasks off to others.
“Hey! Feir, the future leader, the propaganda in the Commerce Alliance is yours.”
“Hey! Those of you loyal to Liola… as in that Silver Moon successor, go and tell your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even your neighbors who sells noodles about this bet… What? How did I know about your neighbor selling noodles? Duh, I’m speaking to two hundred Knights; one of you is bound to live near one, right?”
“Daylight-brand communication Maxun, please come to Kaiser, I need to contact Meinan!”
[T/N: Kaiser is treating Daylight like a phone to talk to Flames.]
“What’s up?” Daylight rushed over with enough sandbags to pile up to a sizeable small mountain.
“Tell Meinan to bring Qiusi over.”
“I’ve already told him.” Daylight was shocked, “They will probably arrive today.”
Kaiser was shocked, “What? Then I better be emotionally prepared!”
“Why would you need to be emotionally prepared?” Daylight asked, confused.
“Oh, right, I meant was to tell Liola to be emotionally prepared.” Kaiser then dashed off.
* * *
Kaiser walked leisurely as he looked for Liola. Probably because he didn’t spend much effort, it took him all morning to find Liola on top of a small hill not far from the base.
“So you’re slacking off here, you bum.” Kaiser patted Liola’s back heavily.
Liola turned his head to look at Kaiser with a helpless expression on his face. Kaiser frowned and asked, “What’s wrong with you? Why do you look so down?”
Liola glanced at Kaiser, then handed over a piece of paper from his hand.
“Gamble invitation letter?” Kaiser began to murmur. He opened the invitation, and began to read the details inside:
My child, sorry for making you wait. As your father, I’ve already decided the rules of the gamble. It will be divided into three stages: the battles of Magics, Knights, and Dragons. If you and your companions pass all three stages, the throne to the Dragon Emperor is yours.
“The battle of Dragons, is it between Miluo and Baolilong?”
Kaiser frowned. How could this fight be fought? They’re not even on the same level. Even though Sacred White Dragons reigned supreme among Dragons, Miluo is a strong and matured Dragon, while Baolilong is just an non-matured young Dragon. They were bound to lose.
“I don’t want to make Baolilong fight with Miluo. They are father and son.” Liola’s tone of voice was clearly sad.
‘Did this guy forget he and the Dragon Emperor are also father and son?’ Kaiser scratched the face, but he suddenly realized, could it be because he has to fight with his father, and therefore he didn’t want to see the same happening to Baolilong?
Kaiser casually sat down on the grass on the hill. With his hands behind his head, he lay down and asked lazily, “If your father is still living in that body, would you want to rescue him?”
Liola frowned and answered, “I would, for Mocha’s sake.”
Kaiser rolled his eyes, ‘Yes would’ve sufficed, why keep blabbing about it?’
“If you want to rescue your father, then why can’t Baolilong go save its father?”
Liola paused, then answered, “Mm, it should go rescue Miluo.”
“Well, this was easily resolved.” Kaiser stretched, and sat up.
“Kaiser, can you promise me, if your lives are threatened, you would take everyone else and escape?”
Kaiser turned, stared at Liola He then said slowly, word for word, “I will take ‘everyone’ and run. Did you hear me? EVERYONE!”
Liola smiled slightly, “I heard.”
Kaiser grunted “Ah”, and pointed at the few small dots far away, “I almost forgot! I’m here to tell you that Meinan and others are about arrive here, and you should be prepared…”
Hearing this, Liola smiled bitterly. Kaiser sure gave him a long time to prepare for it; all ten seconds.
Liola’s estimate was quite accurate. After ten seconds, Purity’s Mecha, the unicorn, Blackie, and Little Fireball all landed from the air. The moment Flames landed, Meinan could no longer wait: he grabbed his father, and ran straight towards Liola.
Being the physically weak Magician that he was, Meinan was already having trouble catching his breath after holding his father on the entire trip. He said intermittently, “Li, Liola… hurry and save Qiusi.”
Liola didn’t speak a word. He immediately put his hand on Qiusi’s chest, and withdrew all the destructive Ki inside Qiusi’s body. He then released the seal Daylight used to put Qiusi into a pseudo death state. When he pulled his hand away, Qiusi’s eyes twitched slightly, then… he turned and continued to sleep.
“Is… is that it?” Meinan panicked, “Why is my father still not awake? Did it fail?”
Before Liola had a chance to respond, Qiusi began to talk in his sleep, “Hmm! Such a good baby, let papa sleep a bit more.”
“Sleep, your ass!” Meinan punched his father’s forehead heavily to give him a wake up call.
* * *
“So, Liola, you’re finally awake; this is a cause for celebration.” Qiusi earnestly congratulated Liola, but the huge bandage on his forehead made his earnest face rather unconvincing.
“Thank you for forgiving me, Prime Minister Qiusi.” Liola sincerely thanked him.
“Don’t put it like that. You didn’t mean to harm me back then, and this finally broke the ice between me and Meinan. So it was quite a fortune among misfortunes! Hahaha.” Remembering the time Meinan called him father worriedly, Qiusi was so happy that he couldn’t close his mouth from laughing even if he wanted to.
“However, I didn’t think you youngsters could do it so well.”
Kaiser and Daylight both said awkwardly, “Not that well. The base is basically half destroyed.”
“Oh.” Qiusi smiled lightly, “Being able to preserve the base while facing Mizerui, Miluo, and three thousand Knights is already quite ‘well’.”
“But, Liola, since I’m awake, can’t you consider canceling the bet?” Qiusi stared at Liola, “Since you have the support of Commerce Alliance, Aklan Republic, and the Prince and Princess, plus the Paladin and the Dark Knight…”
“I don’t support him!” Cappuccino interrupted Qiusi coldly.
Everyone looked towards Cappuccino, and they could hardly believe Cappuccino would speak out against it. In fact, it wasn’t until now that everyone realized, despite Cappuccino’s earlier laughing manner, he had not smiled in quite a while. Blood Wolf, on the other hand, did not seem surprised; instead, all he did was raise his eyebrows.
“Third brother,” Lanski asked hesitantly, “Why would you oppose Liola becoming the Dragon Emperor?”
Cappuccino’s face was cold, but his tone was colder, “Nobody here cared about Mocha, other than me! But even if I’m alone, I will oppose him to the end alone. I-I will never support a person who killed Mocha, then carelessly walk around smiling!”
Lanski was shocked. She didn’t think it was because of Mocha. She tried to explain, “Third brother, at the time, Liola didn’t have a choice…”
Cappuccino interrupted with a loud shout, “Shut up! Shut up! Even you, my sister, did you really care about eldest brother? Do you know, these years, how much effort eldest brother had to put in to secretly protect us? I didn’t even get to tell him thanks before he… he… died like this…” Cappuccino’s voice choked towards the end.
He turned, without looking at anyone, and without any tears falling from his eyes. He straightened his back, trying to maintain his last bit of dignity.
“That’s because brother Mocha wants me to live happily!”
Liola shouted, and Cappuccino stood still.
“I am deeply in grief, but brother Mocha wouldn’t even give me the chance to be sad. He wants me to be happy, he wants me to smile…” Liola lowered his head, “But, every time I think about brother Mocha, I want to cry… but he demands that I smile! That’s why I try not to think about him. Even if I do, I think about the warmth he gave me when he hugged. A hug I will never get to experience again because of his death…”
Two streams of tears rolled down from Liola’s silver eyes. He said firmly, “Even if you don’t believe me, I will still say it; you’re wrong! You are not the only one present who cared about brother Mocha! I really cared about him, even if I hadn’t spent much time with him.”
Cappuccino stood still without turning around.
“Idiot!” He yelled loudly.
Liola paused, then raised his head in confusion. Who knew that the moment he did so, a huge fist landed on his forehead, making him lower his head again. He was stupefied as he touched the bump on his forehead, not sure what had happened.
“You really think when Mocha told you to be happy meant you can’t even be sad? Mocha only… only hopes you would live like a person, and truly live, instead of being a walking corpse. But, as the eldest brother, he was always afraid you might blame yourself for a long time after killing him, so he told you to be happy… who knew you would misunderstand it?” Cappuccino sounded a bit helpless. “However… I don’t have the right to blame you.”
With his head lowered, Liola suddenly found the ground he was staring at had been stepped on. He instinctively raised his head, only to find Cappuccino smiling at him. Cappuccino put his hands onto Liola’s head, and rubbed it at will, making Liola’s usually ordered hair turn into a bird’s nest.
“Sorry! Brother, I am just this stupid, I couldn’t tell you were holding back your sadness. Hmm, if you…” Cappuccino’s face suddenly turned uneasy, and he said awkwardly, “If you don’t care that I’m not as smart as Mocha, or blaming you for not feeling bad, you can treat me like your brother. I mean, a brother like Mocha was to you…”
Liola couldn’t help but laugh, “You already are my brother…”
“Ah…” Cappuccino scratched his head, “I guess you are right…”
“Oh, right!” Cappuccino suddenly grabbed a few necklaces out of his collar, and one of them was the Dragon Cross Necklace. He handed the necklace over, “Here, your necklace. I think you might find it useful.”
Liola received the necklace, then put it around his neck, “Thank you.”
Cappuccino nodded, and said, “Right, I also have several identical necklace, let me give you one. Oh and, sister, you take one too.”
“Hmm?” Both Liola and Lanski thought it was strange; why would Cappuccino give them necklaces all of a sudden?
Cappuccino took off two necklaces from his neck. They were both shaped the same: an oval locket with delicate Dragons carved on both. One of them was a Black Dragon, and the other was a Blue Dragon.
He twisted both the Black and Blue Dragons, and the locket opened after a click. A picture was inside both lockets; it was one of three men and one woman. The four of them smiled so brightly, and their similar looks made it obvious they were a family.
“Your second brother, Latte, was quite stupid back then. And he didn’t like Susanna, so he didn’t want to take a picture with them.” Cappuccino sounded helpless.
“The blue one, was Susanna’s.” Cappuccino smiled, and gave the blue necklace in his left hand to Lanski.
Lanski took the locket as though it was the rarest treasure, and she couldn’t wait to wear it. She touched the locket in front of her chest, and smiled as she spoke to herself, “This is mother’s locket…”
Cappuccino looked warmly at his sister, then turned to his brother, handing him the other necklace.
“This is…” Liola looked at the Black Dragon carving, then looked at Cappuccino with doubt.
“That’s right. This one is Mocha’s.” Cappuccino ascertained Liola’s guess.
“Brother.” Liola took the necklace, and stared at Mocha in the picture. He was smiling the same way he did “that day”. Liola wore the necklace, and he felt as though he was carrying Mocha with him, along with his warmth and his protection.
“I wonder, is having three necklaces a bit too much?” Cappuccino carefully examined his brother’s thin neck.
“Yup. You two still don’t have a picture.” Cappuccino looked towards his sister, and asked like he was interrogating, “When Liola comes back, we’ll go take a picture together, and put it in a new locket?”
Lanski paused. She understood what he meant, and nodded her head, “Right, when Liola comes back, let’s go take a picture!”
“Remember to come back early.” Cappuccino’s tone sounded like an older brother telling his younger brother not to stay out playing too late.
Liola nodded heavily, “I will definitely come back early.”
“W… wait.” Qiusi wiped away the sweat on his forehead, “I seem to remember telling you to cancel this gamble.”
“That’s not going to work.” Siblings of the Dragon family answered unison, glanced at one another, and smiled.
Liola and Lanski both looked at the eldest among them: Cappuccino. He began to explain, “It doesn’t matter if the Commerce Alliance and Aklan Republic support Liola or not. To the Dragon Empire’s Knights, all that is pointless. To win the throne of the Dragon Empire, one must obtain the recognition from the Knights. A challenge as honorable as brother’s proposal, and even letting the opponent make the rules, is very fitting for winning the hearts of the Knights over. Even if he were to lose, the Knights may still help him usurp the throne. However, if he were to cancel it now, then his actions would be tabooed, and he will never become the King.”
“I see, so even if he loses he might get the support of the Knights. If that’s the case…”
“He can’t lose!” Kaiser interrupted Qiusi, took a deep breath, and said, “Liola promised, if he loses he would swallow the Heart of the Dragon Emperor…”
“What did you say?!” Cappuccino was now suddenly emotional. He grabbed his brother immediately by the shoulder, “How could you promise something like that? Didn’t you learn anything from what happened to Caffey?”
“If I didn’t promise him that, he would not have accepted this gamble.” Liola shook his head.
“Then, there’s no reason to gamble, right?” Cappuccino yelled angrily, “We already support you to ascending to the throne. Caffey is already fairly old; if you were just to wait a bit more…”
“Exactly, because Caffey is already old!” Liola said decidedly, “If I won and ascend to the throne, then the Heart will have no use for Caffey any more. Perhaps he would let Caffey go and let him recover his consciousness.”
“You… you made this gamble because of father?” Cappuccino was clearly very shocked, “Why? You haven’t even seen Caffey.”
“I have.” Liola said lightly.
Cappuccino frowned; how was that possible? Ever since Susanna’s death, Caffey had never made an appearance. After a brief moment of thought, he explained to his brother, “What you saw was not the true Caffey, just an imitation from the Heart of the Dragon Emperor.”
“It’s here!” Liola pointed at Cappuccino.
“Huh?” Cappuccino also pointed himself in confusion.
“And from brother Mocha.”
Cappuccino was now even more confused.
Kaiser finally couldn’t stay out of it, so started to explain, “Idiot. What he means is, you are both Caffey’s children, and it has already told him how Caffey really was.”
Liola said, “Brother Mocha loved father dearly; therefore, I, too, want to see our true father.” ‘It must be… a person warm like brother Mocha and a person with Cappuccino’s smile.’
“I see… then it’s up to you.”
Cappuccino couldn’t help but raise his head again, but this time, with tears in his eyes. He cursed at himself his earlier idiocy. How could he have thought Liola did not care about Mocha’s death? He obviously cared about it more than Cappuccino himself to set up such a gamble. To make the father Mocha loved reappear again.
“Purity, Meinan, are you willing to… if you aren’t willing to go with me, it’s fine.” Liola said sincerely. Especially Meinan, who had just reunited with his father. He must want to spend more time with him.
“Oh! Speaking of which…” Purity glanced at Meinan, who looked back at her, then said, “It seems like we have some scores to settle?”
“I remember there were two certain people who abandoned us and secretly went to rescue Liola-dage.” Purity blinked with her innocent eyes, but her tone was enough to send a shiver up Daylight and Kaiser’s spines.
“Uh, really?” Kaiser looked even more innocent than her.
Daylight, however, was smiling bitterly, not planning on defending himself.
“You’re still pretending!” Purity and Meinan shouted in unison, then began giving them quite a beating. They yelled as they beat them, “Take this! Take that! Let’s see who dares to abandon us now!”
A drop of cold sweat ran down Liola’s forehead!
Suddenly, someone pulled his hand. After turning around, he saw Jasmine’s eyes staring at him. Liola smiled at her, “Long time no see.”
“You’ve changed, a lot.” Jasmine said sincerely, “The old you would’ve never said something like this, nor would you have smiled.”
“You don’t like the way I am now?” For some reason, Liola started to feel worried.
“I do. You seem more like your child’s father.” Jasmine smiled playfully, but immediately looked at Baolilong worriedly, “How is this child’s personality now?”
“Still like a little child.” Liola waved his hand at Baolilong, and called, “Baolilong, come here, Jasmine wants to see you.”
Baolilong was still “catching up” with Flames and Little Fireball, but the moment it heard papa calling for it, it immediately ran over. Then, forgetting it was no longer a little child, it began climbing up Liola’s leg like it used to and it held onto Liola without letting go.
“Jasmine.” Liola gestured towards Jasmine, who was a bit worried that Baolilong might have forgotten her.
Baolilong yelled loudly, “Jasmine.”
It then pounced towards Jasmine, almost sending Jasmine flying towards the ground. Luckily, Liola caught her in time, so she didn’t end up on the floor. Nevertheless, even if she fell, Jasmine probably wouldn’t have minded. She was now entrenched in the happiness of Baolilong remembering her, and Baolilong’s personality was as cute as before.
“Jasmine, Baolilong wants meat!” Baolilong yelled desperately.
Jasmine smiled happy and said okay, but Liola was frowning. He shouted at Baolilong, telling it not to ask for meat the moment it sees someone. On the side, Purity and Meinan were working together to “fix up” Daylight and Kaiser. Daylight was basically letting them beat him without actually feeling anything. Kaiser, on the other hand, was moaning loudly in pain.
A black wolf was sneakily pacing between Flames and Lancelot’s unicorn, as though it couldn’t make up its mind.
Blood Wolf said in frustration, “I’ve already told that stupid wolf hundreds of times that your unicorn is male. Why can’t he ever remember? Such an idiot!”
Lancelot glanced at Blackie, but did not comment.
“At least he knows my Little Fireball is male.” Cappuccino interrupted, trying to comfort Blood Wolf.
“If he can’t even tell that apart, I’m going to make a jacket out of his skin…”
* * *
The agreed date for the gamble arrived quickly…
Liola wore a Black Knight uniform lined with Silver Dragons, and his weapon was still tucked away in his boots as usual. For the first time, Kaiser actually wore a formal Magician’s robe, but his giant gun was still hanging on his hip. Meinan still looked the same; other than the weaved long robe and his mirror with a bowtie, it did not seem like he brought anything else. Flames was lying on the ground next to Daylight’s feet, while he was holding his long pike in his hand. Since there was no competition in regards of Mechas, Purity was furious. But without any other choice, she had to take her broken staff with her.
“Such a team!” Qiusi straightened his back, and said with a strange tone, “This makes me… really worried!”
“Prime Minister, you’re quite right.” Feir’s face was pale. He thought, ‘This was the team that was going to decide a country’s fate?’
“Hmm! Perhaps they will create a miracle?” Blood Wolf glanced at the “miraculously strange team”.
“Hey! Stop trying to kill our confidence!” Kaiser snapped. He was actually trying to straighten his back to pretend to look imposing, but with no one to cheer him, his back deflated, and he returned to his lazy looks.
Everyone talked loudly as they waited. Before long, a Magic door appeared in the air, and everyone knew it was time. The success or failure of this whole plan depended on these “miracle workers”.
“Please bring back my brother, Liola, in one piece.” Lanski took a step forward and pleaded.
“Don’t worry, we will definitely bring ‘Liola’ back.” Daylight promised her, and she nodded.
“Brother, remember to come back early!” Cappuccino ran his fingers through Liola’s black hair.
Qiusi also warmly looked at his only son, but everything he wanted to say, he had already said it the night before. Qiusi did not want to say much, but he still could not refrain from reminding him, “Be careful with everything.”
Meinan smiled, then nodded.
“Purity, come back safely.” Feir worriedly looked at his spoiled baby sister. He never thought this day would happen: the day that his baby sister would have to shoulder such responsibility. Though he knew not what role she would perform in this endeavor, but he believed no matter what it would be, Purity would try her best.
“Understood, brother.” Purity smiled.
Truth was, everyone had countless number of things to say, but time waited for no one. All they could do was to conjure all their feelings into their eyes, hoping they would understand.
Liola was the first to step into the Magic door with Baolilong in its small Dragon form following next to his feet. Perhaps it because the Aklan Troublemaking Squad was now all here, Liola seemed completely fearless. Kaiser, on the other hand, was murmuring something about whether he’ll have lunch to eat today while stepping in. Meinan was busy fixing his looks. After all, he was going to go see the King of a country, so he had to look his best.
Purity, however, was still pouting, clearly still mad about the lack of Mecha competition in the duel. Daylight, finally, was patiently waiting for all his companions to go in before finally stepping in along with his Dragon.
The moment he went in, Liola saw the two Knights who swore their souls to him. These two were acting clearly awkwardly. They had sworn Soul Devotion to him, but they still obeyed the Dragon Emperor. This was not something something Knights should do, but these two people weren’t going to abandon the almighty Dragon Emperor. From what they could tell, it was nearly impossible for Liola’s side to win this gamble.
The Dragon Emperor had already specially arranged these two people as the receptionists, as a way to damage Liola’s morale. Unfortunately, although Liola had made some “progress” in terms of feelings, he was still relatively immune to such an attack, especially since he felt more distant from these two than Yizhou.
Speaking of which, he did not see Yizhou. Liola looked around curiously. Normally speaking, Yiyu and Yizhou were almost always seen together.
“Where’s Yizhou?” Liola asked curiously.
Yiyu, who knew the every details, responded quickly by practically popping his eyes out of his sockets and stared at Liola. His tone was vile, “It was all because of you! I don’t know what you’ve given to my brother, and he wasn’t willing to betray you no matter what! As a result, the Dragon Emperor, His Highness, had sent him into the dungeon prison.”
Hearing this, Liola was quite surprised. He did not imagine Yizhou would be this loyal to him. He was clearly the only person who was unwilling to swear his soul to Liola… but ironically, he was the only one who did not betray him. On the other hand, the two who easily sworn also easily betrayed him, it was quite an irony.
“Successor, Your Highness, you have to forgive Flower. Flower had no other choice.” Flower was still trying to please both sides. Although she obeyed the Dragon Emperor, but she had no intention of offending the Prince who might be succeeding the Dragon Emperor.
“Wow, this place is quite a beauty.” Kaiser began talking loudly the moment he came in, “Is this the palace? Whoa, how much is that painting on the wall worth?”
“At least five million.” Meinan threw a look from behind his mirror, immediately appraising the value of the painting.
“Damn! Five million?” Kaiser stared blankly at the painting he pointed at randomly.
“Hurry up, Kaiser, everyone left.” Purity prodded the Kaiser frozen under the painting, and yelled loudly, “This painting isn’t yours no matter how hard you stare at it. Let’s go.”
Daylight followed behind the two, and his eyes frequently glanced at the various weapons hanging on the wall; some of the weapons looked like they had been through many battles.
After walking through a long corridor, the crowd came to a place with a circular arena in the center. The surrounding seats had already been filled with many people. Of course, they were all Knights. On the largest balcony, there was only one person sitting there: the Dragon Emperor. He glanced down at them, and said, “In accordance with Prime Minister Qiusi and the Commerce Alliance’s requests, this gamble will be witnessed by countless Knights, and the entire process will be broadcasted to the rest of the world.”
‘I can’t believe Qiusi and Feir did so much for us…’ The Aklan Troublemaking Squad was quite moved. Because of this, they would not have to worry about the Dragon Emperor playing any dirty tricks.
The Dragon Emperor glanced at Yiyu, whom yelled unwillingly, “First match, battle of the Knights! It’s a 2 versus 2 battle without using your mounts. To win, both your opponents must surrender or die.”
Liola and Daylight exchanged a look. Without question, this battle was going to be fought by these two. Without any hesitation, the two jumped onto the arena, waiting for their opponents to appear.
“The successor’s side sends the successor and Sir Daylight.”
The Knights began to cheer. Though they knew not the strength of Daylight, the power of the successor was something they had been acquainted with.
“The Dragon Emperor’s side…” Yiyu’s eyes were fixed at the entrance on the other side. The Dragon Emperor did not tell him who will be participating, so Yiyu had to act accordingly.
Who knew, the face he saw walking in was no stranger…
“Yizhou!” Yiyu yelled loudly.
“Gladiolus!” Kaiser also yelled in disbelief. How could this be possible? Could Gladiolus have betrayed Aklan?
Indeed, the two walking through the entrance on the other side was Gladiolus, who had been missing for a while, and Yizhou, who had been sent into the dungeon prison by the Dragon Emperor.
“Let’s start quickly.” The Dragon Emperor smiled.
Yiyu turned his head and yelled loudly, “Stop joking around! If my brother would be willing to go against the successor for you, he wouldn’t have ended up in jail. What the hell did you do to my brother?”
“What did I do to him?” The Dragon Emperor tilted his head, and asked Yizhou, “Tell him yourself, what did I do to you?”
Yizhou answered courteously, “Nothing, of course. Being able to work for Your Highness is Yizhou’s honor.”
This was not the way Yizhou would reply, Liola immediately determined. Yizhou was being controlled by the Dragon Emperor! Gladiolus had probably fallen to the same fate.
“Liola? What’s wrong with them?” Daylight turned slightly, and asked quietly.
Liola answered simply, “They’re under the Dragon Emperor’s control.”
“How could this be? We must protest. They can’t send people who don’t want to fight!” Daylight said emotionally.
Liola frowned slightly, “But we have no evidence, and Yizhou and Gladiolus will both be on the Dragon Emperor’s side.”
“Let’s start quickly. I can’t wait to fight with the successor.”
Gladiolus yelled loudly, and jumped onto the arena with Yizhou. Yizhou even yelled at his brother, “Let the battle start!”
Yiyu widened his eyes, unsure of what he should do.
The Dragon Emperor grew impatient, and yelled, “Begin!”
The moment he finished, Gladiolus and Yizhou began to attack. The two of them each went up against one: Gladiolus went up to Liola, and Yizhou chose Daylight. In that instant, Liola pulled out his Broken Silver, and Daylight already had his pike in his hand. The two immediately began to attack back. The arena was filled with the crisp colliding sounds of weapons.
Kaiser suddenly felt something was strange. He had seen Yizhou’s power, and it was no match for Daylight. Gladiolus was probably not a match for Liola. Could the Dragon Emperor be unaware of that? Impossible. Judging from what the Dragon Emperor had done in the past, it was impossible for him to send out these two randomly to fight without knowing their strengths.
He clearly knew the battle prowess of his side was less than his opponents, why would he send them freely? Kaiser thought about it hard. Could it be the Dragon Emperor was giving up the battle of Knights, and put the emphasis on the other two fights?
‘Wait… he remembered something; the condition to win the match was…’
“Meinan, what was the condition to win this fight?”
Meinan was still looking at the match excitedly, but being interrupted by Kaiser, he answered casually, “Until one side surrenders or… death!” Even Meinan realized something was wrong.
What if Yizhou and Gladiolus would not surrender? It was simple for them not to surrender; if the Dragon Emperor gave them the order, they would die in combat before they would surrender!
“This is the Dragon Emperor’s evil plan!”
Kaiser’s face went pale. At a glance, the match was completely fair, but he knew it well: Liola and Daylight would never kill their opponents. If their opponents would not surrender, they would have to keep fighting… until Gladiouls and Yizhou die from blood loss. Liola and Daylight may even have to surrender just to save their lives!
“What do we do?” Kaiser and Meinan looked at one another awkwardly, but neither could think of a way out.
Liola and Daylight were both dealing with their opponents, and in the short time they were fighting, they weren’t able to seriously injure their opponents. They were focused on the battle and, unlike Kaiser, had not understood the Dragon Emperor’s true motive. The only thing they were trying to do now, was defeat their opponents with their power.
After the battle went on for a while, the difference in strength between the two sides was obvious. Gladiolus sustained more and more wounds to his body, whereas Liola had only a minor scratch on his arm. The difference in strength was far too much.
As for the other side, because Daylight knew his opponent was not fighting out of his own will, he was not willing to harm his opponent. He ended up defending most of the time. Though Yizhou did not sustain many wounds, he could not even touch Daylight. Daylight was like a fortress, and Yizhou was basically shooting at a fortress without a shotgun — completely useless.
Liola used only a moment to decide. His strength was far greater than that of his opponent, but the victory condition was either surrender or death. Killing their opponent was not an option, so they had to make them surrender. However, Gladiolus and Yizhou did not show the slightest sign of wanting to surrender.
‘What if they wouldn’t surrender?’
The question suddenly came up in Liola’s mind; then they would have to kill their opponents to secure the victory… but he would never kill Gladiolus and Yizhou!
Therefore… they could not win! Liola finally realized the reality of it. He panickedly looked towards Kaiser, whom returned a helpless smile, indicating he, too, had realized this sinister plan, and he was at a loss as to what they should do.
They were in a terrible predicament. Liola frowned as he fought while trying to think of way out of this. Perhaps it was because he was a bit absent-minded, Liola’s body suddenly sustained a few more wounds, but Gladiolus sustained even more wounds.
Gladiolus still did not show any sign of surrendering. When Liola thought what he was about to do was a bit despicable, but it was the only thing he could think of. Hopefully borrowing someone’s name wasn’t going to them angry.
Liola said with a deep voice. Surely enough, Gladiolus reacted: he paused briefly before attacking again.
It was definitely effective. Liola had no choice but to begin nagging. As he fought, he kept on saying things like, “If Meiji saw you like this, she would be devastated”, or “If you can’t escape the Dragon Emperor’s control, Kaiser would never marry his sister to you.”
These words were definitely effective at slowing Gladiolus down, but they were far from making him surrender. Liola had no choice but to keep talking about Meiji, hoping that with enough thoughts of Meiji, Gladiolus would automatically surrender.
Daylight was, at first, surprised when Liola started talking while fighting. He thought Liola did not want to continue the fight, and therefore was trying to wake Gladiolus. However, after fighting for a while, he slowly realized why Liola was trying to wake Gladiolus: the number of wounds on Yizhou kept increasing, but he did not show any signs of surrendering.
It was as though he did not know surrendering was an option.
Daylight could not bear to continue fighting either. Seeing the wounds accumulating on Yizhou, he began to nag like Liola: saying things like “Your brother would be upset” and “Your brother Yiyu would be devastated to see you with more wounds…” For some reason, however, Yizhou did not seem to be affected at all.
Daylight felt even more helpless. What exactly would they have to do to end this battle?
Would they really be forced to kill Gladiolus and Yizhou?
“Ah! I slipped!”
Kaiser suddenly yelled loudly, and something flashy flew across the air. With everyone staring at it, it landed on… Liola’s head.
After being hit by the unknown object, Liola quickly reached to grab it, and sustained an attack from Gladiolus as a result.
With everyone’s murderous gaze at him, Kaiser frowned and yelled loudly, “Aiya, my hand just slipped, that’s all. It’s not illegal to accidentally throw a necklace, right? And I even helped the enemy hurt my own team, so it can’t be a foul, right? Everyone, what do you say?”
The Dragon Emperor’s face was furious. He knew Kaiser definitely did not slip; the necklace must have something to do with Gladiolus. But after what Kaiser said, the audience dismissed it as nothing. If the Dragon Emperor were to speak against it now, the Knights might become suspicious. The Dragon Emperor had no choice but suppress the anger in his mind, and continue looking at the show. After all, there was still Yizhou.
Liola leaped backward to pull away from Gladiolus, then used this chance to observe the necklace Kaiser throw. Of course, he would not think Kaiser threw this as a result of an accident. It only took him one glance to realize this was a necklace similar to the one Cappuccino had given him. It was a locket that could hold a picture. Without looking, he was certain this locket had a picture of Meiji.
At this time, Gladiolus approached him again. Liola decided to use this opportunity to get close to Gladiolus. After a few grunts, Liola wrestled Gladiolus to the ground and held him there. He then opened the locket before Gladiolus’s eyes.
“Who is this?” Liola asked with a deep voice.
“Mei… Meiji.” Gladiolus said it with difficulty, then he managed to explain, “I, the one Meiji gave me… the one the Dragon Emperor took away.”
Liola heard this, and he knew Gladiolus was now at least partially restored. He said with a refrained voice, “Surrender! Surrender now! Meiji is still waiting for you in Aklan. You must surrender to be able to go back to see her.”
Gladiolus sank into a battle in his own mind; the emotions in his heart clashed with the cold part being controlled by the Dragon Emperor. Finally, after seeing the playfully smiling Meiji in the locket, his heart softened, and his feelings for her emerged victorious.
Liola immediately put the locket into Gladiolus’s hand. He knew this was the only way to keep Gladiolus awake. Then, he purposely threw Gladiolus out of the arena. Of course, he tossed him directly towards the Aklan Troublemaking Squad. He believed Kaiser would take good care of him. In any case, they can never let the Dragon Emperor control Gladiolus again.
Now, it was time to deal with Yizhou.
Liola really did feel helpless. He knew not what could possibly wake Yizhou. Could it be emotions? But the closest person to him was Yiyu, and he was already here, yet he did not wake up. Could it be… the only way was to kill him?
No! Determination shone through Liola’s eyes. He would never kill a Knight who was loyal to him!