This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, and StellarAshes.
Since the Knight and Magic duels took too long, it was decided that the Dragon duels would take place the day after. This decision made Kaiser and others feel slightly relaxed, since they now had at least one night to come up with ideas, although they were beginning to feel it was perhaps unnecessary after all…
Everyone stared at each other, and surrounded Baolilong, who really did enjoy being in the center of everyone, eating meat while playing a staring contest with Kaiser.
“Are you sure this little runt even understand the word ‘duel’?” Kaiser gestured at Baolilong, who, despite being grown up, was still holding meat and ate all day. If they were having an eating contest tomorrow, they were bound to win, but unfortunately, it wasn’t… If they were to send these little glutton Dragon to battle, they would definitely not win!
“…” Liola looked at Baolilong speechlessly, but he felt no confidence in it. Although Baolilong appeared to have grown and had gotten more articulate, its personality was still like a little child. He really did not want to ask Baolilong go up to fight, especially when the opponent was likely Miluo, Baolilong’s father.
“I know!” Baolilong swallowed the meat, and protested loudly.
“Ha!” Kaiser was shocked, “You actually learned to say “I”. You used to always say ‘Baolilong wants meat’ or ‘Baolilong is hungry’? When did you learn to say ‘I’?”
“Baolilong really did learn.” Baolilong said proudly, even not realizing it was back to saying “Baolilong” again.
Kaiser scratched his head, and said with a little ounce of hope, “Do you know to fight?”
Baolilong yelled loudly, igniting a bit of hope in everyone’s heart. They thought, despite being a little Dragon, but it was a Sacred White Dragon, the Prince of all Dragons!
Baolilong spoke loudly of the battle experience it had obtained from the small town, “Cook it with lightning and eat it.”
Hearing this, everyone fell to the ground.
“Such a straightforward answer.” Kaiser wiped away his tears, and interrogated, “Then, do you have any ultimate to cook Miluo?”
Baolilong looked with confusion, unsure of what Kaiser meant.
“Ultimate means a powerful move, and Miluo means old papa.” Liola knew what Baolilong did not understand, so he explained directly.
Although it unsure of why it would have to cook its old papa, Baolilong still explained obediently, “I know Dragon Magic, but papa also needs to know, otherwise Baolilong can’t cast it.”
“That’s it! Dragon Magic! I almost forgot that thing existed.” Kaiser jumped up. Dragon Magic was their key to victory; legend had it, it was the greatest Magic among the Dragons. If it could cast Dragon Magic, Baolilong would be able to defeat Miluo… uh, or at least he hoped?
“Quick! Baolilong, hurry and teach your papa!” Kaiser said anxiously.
Baolilong looked at Kaiser blankly, then at Liola, but it did not know how to explain.
Kaiser suddenly had a bad feeling, “Didn’t you say you know Dragon Magic?”
“The truth is…”
Daylight opened his mouth, pulling everyone’s attention. He said with a forced smile, “The one who should really ‘know’ Dragon Magic is Liola, not Baolilong.”
Liola paused. Him? Knowing Dragon Magic?
“What are you talking about? Liola is practically an idiot when it comes Magic, so how could he possibly know?!” Kaiser asked back, but he then suddenly remembered Daylight was also a Knight, with the Dragon, Flames! He asked with hope, “Daylight, you are a Knight too! Then, you know some Dragon Magic, right? Hurry and train Liola!”
“Uh…” Daylight smiled helplessly. It looked like these people knew nothing of the Dragon Magic.
“You guys have seen a lot of Knights, right? And seen them in battle?”
Daylight tried to remind everyone, and they naturally nodded. Obviously they had seen Knights, they were even sieged by Knights!
“Then have you seen any of these Knights use Dragon Magic?” Daylight asked carefully.
Everyone shook their heads in unison.
Daylight smiled bitterly as he dropped the last bomb, “It’s a Magic exclusive to the Dragon Emperor.”
The faces of everyone present were as if… they saw a delicious steak, and when they want to cut into it to enjoy the food, they saw the most grotesque cockroach crawling out from underneath it. In other words, the situation was a dilemma; they knew they could not eat the steak, but their noses still smelled the aroma of the food…
Kaiser’s mouth twitched a bit, and asked with a tiny spark of hope, “Do you think, it might be possible the Dragon Emperor happen to write this Magic down, and put it in a library for others to read?”
“All the Dragon Emperors to date shared the same Heart, so there is no reason to write it down, is there?”
“I knew it. God! The only hope is now gone again!” Kaiser moaned loudly, even to the point where he grabbed Daylight’s shoulders and started shaking it violently, “Hurry! You’re the only ‘other’ person with a Dragon here! Hurry and think of a way to increase Baolilong’s power in a short time! If it continues with these random small electric bolts, how could it possibly win against the mountain-like Miluo?”
“Kaiser.” Daylight said with a bit of shock, “I didn’t say anything just now.”
“Huh?” Kaiser was somewhat confused.
“I didn’t say anything about the Dragon Emperor’s Heart.” Daylight frowned. He was certain it was not his companions’ voice.
A person slowly materialized in the air: golden long hair, and sky blue eyes. Without even changing his severely damaged black-and-white robe, Mizerui’s familiar face slowly appeared in front of everyone.
“I know, you guys are trying to think of something, but this thinking process doesn’t require Liola to be present, right?” Mizerui smiled lightly.
“What do you mean it doesn’t require his presence? This match is his match, and the Dragon is his, he…”
Kaiser suddenly shut himself up, because a dozen black balls were circling the room, and these black gravity balls were Mizerui’s forte. Without even having to guess, everyone knew where these came from. Everyone began to be on guard, especially Meinan, because only his protective shield could stop these gravity balls, and he was already prepared to put up the shield at any time.
“Mizerui, are you in hypnosis again?” Kaiser asked carefully, fearing he might provoke this horrific wanted criminal. Although he asked, but according to his observation, Mizerui did not look like he was under hypnosis at all.
“No.” Mizerui answered calmly, “I just need to speak with Liola.”
Kaiser frowned. Mizerui was practically using this threatening method to speak with Liola? What exactly did he want.
Unfortunately, without giving Kaiser time to even object, Liola said while nodding, “I’ll go with you.” He then stepped out of the door by himself.
“Wait, Liola…” Kaiser’s eyes widened. ‘Does this guy have any sense of what dangers are?’
Liola turned around, shook his head, and said, “Don’t worry, I will be back soon.”
Mizerui withdrew the black balls in the room, and followed Liola out without saying another word. When both of them left the room, the wooden door was closed forcefully, emitting a deep bang as it closed.
“I have a bad feeling about this.” Kaiser’s face sank.
“It should be fine, right? Mizerui isn’t a bad person.” Daylight was slightly confused what Kaiser was worried about.
Kaiser rolled his eyes, and answered mockingly, “Yes, the top ten wanted criminal would, of course, be a good person. Or maybe he was such a kind person and that’s why he made it onto that list. Besides, he was using a dozen gravity balls, perhaps to add decorations to our boring room!”
Daylight stared blankly, but could not think of anything to refute him.
“Forget it, he should be fine.” Kaiser looked towards the door uneasily. ‘He should be fine… right?’
* * *
Although Liola was walking ahead, he did not know where to go. When he was living in the palace, he was in a state of hypnosis for most of the time. After a brief moment of thought, the only thing he remembered was the Kapok tree and Susanna’s grave. Unconsciously, his feet began walking towards that direction.
Mizerui followed quietly. His eyes, hiding behind his glasses, were fixed on Liola’s back. As far as where they would go to speak, he did not seem to care.
After exiting the palace, their feet were met with grass. The Kapok tree and Susanna’s grave were vaguely visible from the distance, but Liola suddenly discovered shockingly; there seemed to be one more tombstone underneath the tree? The last time he was here, there was nothing like that. He suddenly stopped, and stared blankly at the tombstone. His heart already had a vague idea of the truth, but he felt like he could not get close to it.
“You’ve guessed it; that’s Mocha’s tombstone.” Mizerui said coldly.
Although he already had an idea, but when he did indeed hear Mocha’s name, Liola was still deeply shocked.
Mizerui walked past Liola’s frozen body, and began walking towards Mocha’s tombstone. Liola watched as Mizerui walk up, paused a bit, but then followed.
Mizerui walked up to Mocha’s tomb, and stood quietly. Liola walked up and stood to his right. He looked at the tombstone, and the epitaph was as simple as Susanna’s:
Grave of Beloved Son — Mocha
‘Is this where older brother Mocha lies?’ Unknowingly, Liola’s eyes softened as he stared at the tomb, and he even began to fantasize. If he were to open the grave, would he end up finding that Mocha’s corpse was not inside? Or perhaps Mocha would walk out from behind the tree with a smile, give him a warm hug, and tell him this was all a bad dream?
Liola obviously knew this was impossible, but he could not refrain from thinking about it, until a voice interrupted his thoughts…
“You killed Mocha, right?” Mizerui’s voice was slightly shaking. Although Mizerui had his back towards Liola, making it impossible for his face to be seen, Liola did not need to see his face to know how he was feeling — it was the same, deep pain he had felt before.
Liola was quiet for a moment, then said, “It is I who killed older brother Mocha.” When he said this, he felt the pain of a scarred wound being cut open once again.
Mizerui bitterly shook his face, without being able to say a word for a long while.
“You know, I’m a Magician, one brought up by Gle! I’m not easy to hypnotize, and the Dragon Emperor had never been able to succeed. If it were for the news of Mocha’s death, I wouldn’t have…”
Liola paused, and then listened quietly, to Mizerui describing everything that had happened with his choking voice.
“I always thought you and I are alike. We were both brought up by Gle. Gle is a powerful Magician, but not skilled in raising a child. We then both ran into Mocha. Mocha guided me in many things: neither Magic nor fortune telling, but instead in the principles of being a person. I believe, he also guided you in the same ways… So, I always thought of you like, like my own… brother.”
Hearing this, Liola finally understood the feelings Mizerui held towards Mocha. The warm feeling between a father and son or brothers was just like his feeling towards Mocha.
Even though Gle might not have meant it, but his ways of teaching indeed warped the young hearts of Mizerui and Liola. Coincidentally, their twisted hearts both received the corrections they needed from Mocha.
“If you are my brother, why did you kill Mocha!” Mizerui finally turned around. Sure enough, his face was covered with tears, his eyes with rage.
“Sorry…” Liola’s hands trembled. He could not think of words to refute Mizerui. Mizerui had spent much more time with Mocha than him, so their feelings must run way deeper than his, and much harder to relinquish.
“It was just hypnosis! Even if I were under hypnosis, I would never have killed Mocha.”
Liola felt his body taking one step back, and his voice began to shake, “Sorry.”
“Mocha has always lived in pain because of his ability to foresee the future; he only wanted to live quietly in the tower.” Mizerui smiled bitterly, “Such a simple, simple wish, why couldn’t he have it! I used to think you would crush the Heart of the Dragon Emperor, freeing Mocha from all the pains of his predictions.”
“But why would you kill him instead?!” Mizerui roared, as if his sanity had collapsed.
“Sorry.” Liola said nothing except repeating the same thing.
Being criticized again and again, Liola backed up again and again. He began to panic as he did not know how to respond to Mizerui. The wound of his heart was slashed again and again like a knife, leaving him with the inability to face Mizerui, even to the point of burying his face in his hands to escape from this reality.
Mizerui pulled Liola’s hands away, grabbed his chin, forcing their eyes to meet. He roared, “Look at me!”
Seeing Mizerui’s unreserved hatred in his eyes reminded Liola, the person whose hands were stained in his brother’s blood could never be happy. The only thing Liola could do was helplessly repeat himself, “Sorry, sorry…”
“Do you really think Mocha would live again if you say sorry enough times?” Mizerui yelled angrily, “Do you? Tell me, Liola!”
After yelling with all his strength, Mizerui was catching his breath. His head was lowered, and all he saw was his hand reaching Liola’s thin neck. Such a thin neck… as if a light squeeze would make it snap. Would it? Unconsciously, he began to grip harder and harder. Truth was, he was not doing this consciously, but rather he was simply venting his anger, not knowing he could one day regret this.
Liola painfully grabbed Mizerui’s hands, but the hands seemed shockingly tight, or perhaps even Liola himself did not actually want to push the hands away. If… he were to die in front of Mocha’s grave, it wouldn’t be a bad ending, right?
Liola even closed his eyes, slowly waiting for death and the permanent darkness accompanied by it… However, when he closed his eyes, his companions’ faces slowly drifted into his mind. They willingly followed him to the Dragon Continent, going into one unfair match after another. They could lose their lives at any moment, but not one of them backed down…
‘I can’t back down either!’
Liola suddenly opened his eyes, and forcefully pushed Mizerui aside. This push made Mizerui take several steps back. After all, the difference of physical strength between a Warrior and a Magician was obvious, and there was no way Mizerui could be stronger in terms of physical strength. The only reason why Liola felt Mizerui was stronger before was purely because of his state of mind, and because of Mizerui’s anger and Liola’s guilt, causing him not wanting to fight back, rather than Liola really not being able to break free.
Initially, after being pushed aside, Mizerui was now even more furious, but when he raised his head to look towards Liola, he saw his face turned red because of lack of air, and was now coughing endlessly after finally getting air again. Mizerui froze.
He finally realized what he was doing. He… was actually trying to strangle Liola?
“I…” Mizerui blankly took a step towards Liola, wanting to explain what he did was not intentional.
Liola cautiously took a step back, and explained apologetically, “S-sorry… I can’t die just yet.”
No… Mizerui panickedly walked a few steps again, but he could not find the words to explain himself. He didn’t want to kill him, no!
As Mizerui closed in, Liola took steps back again, until he had his back against the trunk of the Kapok tree. He still thought Mizerui wanted to kill him, but he knew he could not die. He began to plead, “At least let me finish tomorrow’s match. After the match, you can kill me in any fashion you want.”
Mizerui paused, and it was a long while before his found his voice again and was finally able to explain, “That’s not it. I don’t want to kill you. I-I just lost control for a moment there…”
Liola paused, and a strange feeling suddenly arose in his heart. He looked suspiciously at Mizerui, thinking he may be under attack again. But strangely, all he saw was Mizerui’s mouth opening and closing, as though he was talking, but no words could be heard at all… No! It was not just Mizerui’s words. He usually could hear every kind of noise around him; the sounds, no matter how faint, could not escape his ears.
However, now he could not hear anything. The whole world was now suddenly completely silent to him. He panicked a little bit, wondering if he had gone deaf.
When he looked around, Liola realized the entire world seemed strange to him. The colors of everywhere he looked seemed to be slowly fading away, leaving behind only white and black. Then, the images he saw began to warp. He had no idea what was going on, and he wondered if he was even still in the same world.
‘Where is this place? What is happening?’
Mizerui talked for a while, both explaining himself and apologizing for his actions, but Liola did not have the slightest response. When he was getting a bit curious about the strange situation, Liola’s body slowly slipped along the trunk of the tree, until he fell down to the ground next to the root. He lied on the ground, with his eyes closed, as if he had passed out.
Mizerui was deeply shocked. He thought he might have held Liola’s neck for too long, and caused him to pass out now. When he wanted to go up to check on Liola, an unexpected person stepped out from behind the Kapok tree.
A purple, elegant figure walked out from behind the tree slowly, with a faint smile on his handsome face. He lowered his head to look at the unconscious Liola.
“What are you doing! Don’t touch him!” Mizerui roared loudly, as a dozen gravity spheres materialize around him, surrounding both of them. If the Dragon Emperor tried anything funny, he would attack immediately.
The Dragon Emperor looked at Mizerui, and said with a smile, “Don’t worry, he will wake up tomorrow morning, and he will be completely unscathed.”
“What did you do to him?”
Mizerui’s rage continued to rise. He already knew, the cause of Liola passing out could be none other than the Dragon Emperor, and the Dragon Emperor would never be do anything good.
Mizerui held his fists tightly. If it were not for Mocha’s warning to him to never face the Dragon Emperor, because he was an opponent he could not defeat… He would have already attacked! Because, after all, the Dragon Emperor was the person who actually caused Mocha’s death!
The Dragon Emperor chuckled loudly a few times, “Do you really think I would tell my enemies?”
“You!” Mizerui’s eyes were now bloodshot.
“However, you need not worry.” The Dragon Emperor showed his tolerant and warm smile, and said lightly, “I won’t take him away. I’ll leave him right here. You can take him to wherever you like, or… you can even strangle him to death if you want.”
Mizerui’s momentum stagnated a bit. He did indeed try to strangle Liola just now, and he could not refute the statement.
Seeing Mizerui showing a sign of guilt, the Dragon Emperor smile grew. Ah! What a pleasure it was to see his enemies kill one another!
In any case, he need not push any further than this. The Dragon Emperor did not want to fight with Mizerui here either, not that he would be afraid of losing. Instead, this fight would be completely meaningless, and he did not like to do anything meaningless.
When he was about to leave, the Dragon Emperor suddenly turned his head, and said with malice, “Oh, right, I really have to thank you for weakening the successor’s heart to such a fragile state. Otherwise, I might not have been able to invade into his thoughts.”
Mizerui’s face suddenly sank. When the Dragon Emperor left with his happy pacing and laughters, Mizerui finally knelt before Liola, and softly held him up.
“Liola? Liola? Please wake up…” Mizerui called out endlessly, but Liola never opened his eyes. Mizerui looked more and more panicked, and he continued to call out without stopping…
“Why wouldn’t you wake up?”
Mizerui was now anxious and did not know what to do. He did not excel in mind Magic, and had no idea what the Dragon Emperor actually did to Liola. He thought, the point of what the Dragon Emperor did must not be simply making Liola unconscious… because it was the Dragon Duel tomorrow, and unless Liola would suddenly figure out Dragon Magic, his presence in the battle would not affect the outcome of it.
However, Dragon Magic was exclusive to the Dragon Emperor… or perhaps one should say, the ultimate of the Heart of Dragon Emperor. There was no reason for the Heart to come and teach Liola Dragon Magic so he would defeat the Heart, right? Without guidance, Liola, who had very little knowledge of Magic, could not possibly gain the insights of Dragon Magic himself in the short span of a night.
Then, what exactly did the Dragon Emperor do?
Why would he do something to Liola, right before a match he was almost undoubtedly going to win?
Mizerui’s thoughts were now in chaos, and now, Dragon Emperor’s words began to ring his mind again,
‘I really have to thank you for weakening the successor’s heart to such a fragile state. Otherwise, I might not have been able to invade into his thoughts.’
Mizerui tiredly buried his face between his hands. When he finally raised his head, he was facing Mocha’s tombstone directly. His guilt made it near impossible to face Mocha. Mocha must had wanted Mizerui to take good care of Liola, instead of venting all his anger onto him.
Even if the Dragon Emperor was kind enough to not have done anything, Liola was the type of person to easily blame himself on things. Now that Mizerui provoked him, he must not be able to forgive himself again… No, just judging from what Liola said about letting Mizerui kill him in any fashion he wanted after the match, Mizerui knew this little runt had never forgiven himself for killing Mocha.
‘Damn! Why did I continue to provoke him!’
“Sorry… Liola. I knew it wasn’t your fault, but I really needed to vent. I’m like you, we both love Mocha. He was warm like a father, and you must feel the same the way. Right, Liola?”
Mizerui put his forehead up against Liola’s, and said lightly, “My brother, I’m sorry!”