- Chapter 1 : Death-match Between Companions
- Chapter 2 : Meinan and Purity
- Chapter 3 : The Return
- Chapter 4 : Father
- Chapter 5 : Elder Sister, Younger Brother
- Chapter 6 : Fortune Teller Mocha
- Chapter 7 : The Heart of the Dragon Emperor
- Chapter 8 : Side Story: Misery
Chapter 1 : Death-match Between Companions
This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, and StellarAshes.
Daylight’s three month training wasn’t for nothing, and the effects scared Kaiser quite a bit. To believe he blocked Liola’s blow? Even though Liola’s a monster, ten days of not eating and surviving only by drinking his own blood was too much, right? Normal people would’ve already given up and crawled out by now.
“Daylight, stand your ground!”
The moment Kaiser said those words, his gun was already pointed at Liola’s forehead, ready to pull the trigger. But when his eyes met with Liola’s worrying eyes, Kaiser hesitated and could not pull the trigger. If this shot really landed, and Liola was already weak from hunger, then could he really die from it? No one knew how stubborn Liola was better than Kaiser. He thought perhaps Liola was already weak to the point of falling?
Liola’s body suddenly flashed. Liola circled Daylight before he had a chance to respond and instantly appeared in front of Kaiser. Kaiser was shocked and felt a sudden pain in his abdomen, causing his vision to go black. Kaiser immediately twisted his thighs back and after his blue eyes squeezed out some tears, Kaiser pulled back his consciousness but his face was warped from the pain of this attack.
When Daylight saw Liola was about to knock Kaiser out, he immediately swung his pike exceedingly fast, forcing Liola to defend himself. Sounds of weapons clashing filled the air, with the sound of Daylight’s grunts mixed in between.
Although Daylight’s strength had increased tremendously, facing Liola head-on was still a difficult thing to do. But when all things considered, within the short time span of three months, Daylight had gone from not being able to block a single of Liola’s attack, to being entangled in a fight against Liola for a dozen of moves without losing. One could see how much effort Daylight had put in for the past three months.
Kaiser moved his facial muscles with difficulty and immediately started shouting “Liola, you dare hit me?! Asshole! I won’t forget this!”
Hearing Kaiser’s voice, Liola glanced at him from the corner of his eyes. Although he could not understand what Kaiser said, he could see Kaiser’s face was filled with malice, fully expressing his anger.
Liola suddenly had a foreboding feeling, even to the point where his body was a bit rigid. This rigidness finally gave Daylight, who had been struggling in the fight, a chance. Without any hesitation, Daylight surrounded his pike with his aura, and jabbed it towards Liola’s calves. He had no expectation to defeat Liola with this move, but instead, he simply hoped he could decrease Liola’s speed, so Kaiser could be more of use.
Because of Daylight’s aim being slightly off and Liola moved away in time, Liola’s calves were spared from having a hole in it, however, he still suffered a bloodied wound on his leg.
Liola used the opportunity to spin around, and Broken Silver landed on Daylight’s left shoulder. Accompanied by the sounds of cracking bones, Daylight’s face suddenly went pale, but with determination in his eyes, Daylight jabbed the pike out from his hands.
Liola did not expect Daylight would completely ignore the pain, and attack immediately… He was very sure he used enough power to cause a big crack in Daylight’s shoulder bones.
Daylight’s pike grazed Liola’s shoulder. Before the droplets of blood even reached the ground, Liola had already felt the threat behind him. Liola tilted his body, and dodged a burning white fireball just in the nick of time. Daylight did not let this chance pass either; when Liola was dodging, Daylight began his intense series of attacks once again.
Liola had no choice but turn back to confront Daylight’s attacks, but as soon as he had done so, many fireballs appeared behind him. Liola actually felt a bit inadequate trying to fight against both. Ordinarily, if it were only two people attacking him, Liola would never fall into this kind of despair. But whether it be cooperation or coincidence, Liola found himself always in between Daylight and Kaiser; whomever Liola was facing, the other must be standing behind him.
Kaiser knew full well he was not the best at close-quarter combat, so he was always standing far away. Even Liola could dodge the white fireballs, he never had a chance to attack Kaiser, because Daylight had prevented him from being able to. In reality, however, compared to Daylight, who would fight against him honestly, Liola was far more worried about Kaiser, fearing he might have some wicked ideas up his sleeves.
They had progressed so far, Liola thought to himself; their positioning was probably not coincidence: even if Liola purposely changed his positioning, Kaiser was still standing directly behind him, so he must be doing it on purpose. Additionally, Kaiser was actually able to shoot so many white fireballs. It must’ve been at least a dozen shots? This was far different than his old one-shot-every-three-days.
Daylight’s progress was even more shocking. He started from not being able to follow Liola’s movements, to being able to stand toe-to-toe against Liola. It had only been three months. In order to defeat him and save his life, what kind of training had these two undergone?
However moved moved Liola was, he was, nevertheless firm in his determination to win. He must bring these two to their world and look for Purity and Meinan!
While having these thoughts, Liola’s offensive stance had become even more intense. He repeatedly attacked Daylight’s wounded shoulder, and his hits had landed successfully many times. Although he had little time to truly cause irreparable damage before being interrupted by Kaiser’s fireballs, Liola was fair certain, Daylight could no longer move his left shoulder.
As much as these two progressed, Liola wasn’t to be underestimated. He truly believed if the fight goes on as it had now, he would emerge as the victor.
Liola suddenly felt something was wrong. He felt a dozen or so energies around him, as if they were about to surround him. He vigilantly observed his surroundings, and realized a dozen Divine Fireballs floating in the air. Liola paused, trying to remember something. He suddenly realized none of the fireballs shot at him had exploded, because Kaiser was putting them on the side.
Was he planning on gathering more, and attack together? Liola thought to himself
Sure enough, Kaiser smiled sinisterly. He yelled loudly, “Daylight, back up!”
Daylight backed away without any hesitation, and Liola had no plans to gave chase, because he had his own plans. Liola dashed quickly towards Kaiser, hoping he could use this opportunity to finish off Kaiser, a person who was wary of.
But something strange happened. Kaiser suddenly paused, then he showed a panicked expression. Liola felt strange, and a few fireballs zipped past above his head. The target was clearly not Liola, and they were flying towards Kaiser.
Kaiser was staring blankly at the dozen of Divine Fireballs flying towards him, like a deer in headlight, and he did not know what to do. It looked like they were out of control. Daylight also thought something was wrong, but he was too far away, so all he could do was yell.
Seeing Kaiser looked like he was waiting for his death, Liola hastened and charged up without even thinking. As much as he wanted to win, he wasn’t going to win by letting these fireballs kill Kaiser. He thought, after he block these fireballs for Kaiser, he could just knock him out with Broken Silver.
In the blink of an eye, Liola had already dashed up to Kaiser. He released his blood red aura, and blocked the dozen of fireballs in the nick of time. Suddenly, the explosion sounds could be heard one after another. Despite the scary situation, Daylight relaxed a bit, because he had sensed the blood red aura had successfully stopped the Divine Fireballs.
“Liola, you’re so easy to fool, so easy that you’re only a tad bit harder to fool than Daylight.”
Hearing what Kaiser said, despite not understanding what he meant, but his instincts told him Kaiser’s tone was foreboding. He looked towards Kaiser’s face. Despite a smile on his face, a faint pain could be seen in his blue sea eyes. Liola was just thinking about why Kaiser seemed to be in pain? And he immediately got an answer: the giant barrel was pushed against Liola’s shoulder.
Without any hesitation, a prepared, compressed fireball came out of the barrel. The blinding white light was immediately covered by blood. Warm blood covered Kaiser from head to toe. Kaiser looked truly panicked this time. He had already avoided the important organs, but he had to make Liola lose the ability to fight, so he hit the right shoulder. In hoping to get this over in one shot, he compressed five fireballs… From the looks of it, Liola didn’t look like he needed to wait for Gle to kill him, and he would die himself.
“Crap! The blood is spitting out endlessly, what do we do now?” Kaiser panicked as he tried to press down Liola’s wound with his hands, hoping the blood would stop spilling out.
An intent for smile flashed across Liola’s eyes, but it was immediately contaminated with pain. This painful eyes was actually near identical to the look in Kaiser’s eyes when he was about to attack. Liola’s left hand, without any hesitation, attacked towards Kaiser’s chest.
“Ugh!” This heavy attack practically made arrows made of blood shoot out of Kaiser’s mouth. His body also flew off from the momentum of the attack. He rolled on the ground for a full twenty meters before he stopped. Kaiser looked like a landed shrimp: he curled his body and convulsed on the ground, occasionally spitting out blood from his mouth.
At this time, Liola’s face was so pale that it was terrifying. The blood arrows from Kaiser all landed on his face. The red made his face look even whiter than it already was, as if he was already dead.
Seeing two heavily injured, Daylight had no idea what to do. He quickly ran to Kaiser, and saw the ground covered in a pool of Kaiser’s blood, but he could do nothing about it. Damn it! Why didn’t he learn healing magic?! Why?!
“What… what are you doing? Hurry and knock that guy out, s-so I can heal, idiot…” Kaiser talked with difficulty, practically coughing out blood as he spoke.
Daylight finally controlled his panic with these words. Seeing Kaiser on the ground can still roll his eyes at him, he should still be able to live. He stood up, and held his pike tightly. He firmly walked closer and closer to the pale Liola.
Liola looked at Daylight as he walked closer and closer. His pale face smiled faintly, and his body fell to the ground like a puppet with broken string. He did not move at all, and the earth beneath had a circle of blood, which slowly began to grow larger, and larger…
Daylight yelled in horror. He immediately ran to where Liola was lying. He looked at Liola’s shoulder blurred with blood. He immediately tore off a piece of his cloth, wanting to stop Liola’s bleeding. But suddenly, Liola opened his eyes.
Daylight held up Liola as he said, “Hold on, I will help you stop the bleeding.”
Liola smiled, again.
Kaiser saw this smile from afar, and a terrible feeling flashed across his heart, “Watch out! Daylight, he’s going to…”
A few lights of silver flashed, and Daylight’s body froze.
“… trick you.”
Kaiser took a deep breath, and could do nothing but watch as Liola suddenly jumping off and Daylight’s body flying into the air from Liola’s attack. Daylight’s chest had already two crossing lines of blood, but Liola had no plans to let him go. He jumped into the air, then hit Daylight heavily on his back. Daylight flew towards the earth, and even the ground cracked from the force of this attack.
Liola landed too. He immediately pushed the points across his chest. To fool Daylight, he did not stop his bleeding. If he didn’t do it now, then even a God could not save a person without any blood.
[T/N: ancient Chinese medicines relied on acupuncture points on the body, generally a concave spot in the bone, and they believed that pushing these points achieve various goals, such as stopping bleeding to a certain area or paralyzing someone. It’s very often seen in martial arts novel.]
As soon as Liola pushed down onto the last point, the blood finally stopped oozing out of his shoulder. He felt a tightening on his leg, and he lowered his head to look: two powerful hands held tightly to his left calf. Daylight could no longer stand up with his serious injuries, but he still was not willing to give up. Even though he was lying face-down on the floor, his hands still held tightly to Liola’s leg. With all his might, and along his painful cries and tears, he fractured his companion’s leg.
The crisp sound of a bone fracture could be heard. Liola immediately kicked Daylight away with his other leg, but he also fell to the ground. His face was so pale that he was practically a moving corpse, but his left hand still held tightly onto Broken Silver, because there was one more, one more enemy. He forced himself to stand up, and his dulled eyes scanned around his surrounding. He saw a small Flames next to Daylight. Flames had shifted into its human form, and it was panicking as it tore off Daylight’s clothes, trying to wrap it around Daylight’s bleeding chest.
He walked, step-by-step, towards Flames. Every step he took, blood splattered onto the ground; every step he took, one could hear the terrifying cracking sounds from his leg. His dulled eyes fully expressed that he could barely hold himself up, but his feet continued to take one step after another without ever stopping.
Kaiser crawled with his strength, and reached the place where his gun had landed. He picked up his gun, and barely got up. He was half kneeling on the ground, and pointed his barrel at the approaching Liola, but he could not bring himself to pull the trigger. Liola looked like he could barely hold up. Kaiser could tell, and it was the reason why he didn’t dare to pull the trigger. If he did, would Liola die right away?
“Liola… could you please give up?” Kaiser held the gun with both of his hands. It was the same gun Kaiser had gotten used to but it suddenly felt like a ton to him, and the trigger felt like a dozen of tons. With his choking voice, he begged, “Don’t come any closer, okay? Give up, okay?”
It was rather strange. Judging from his dull eyes, his mind was at least half gone by now, not to mention he shouldn’t have understood anything Kaiser said, and he was now acting purely on instinct. But for some reason, Liola shook his head, and his feet did not stop.
“Kaiser… stop, Liola had already lost too much blood. If this continues, he will die.” Daylight stopped him with a pale face.
Seeing Liola’s bloodied body, Kaiser already knew it, otherwise he wouldn’t have hesitated in pulling the trigger, but he couldn’t do anything else, because as soon as Liola get close to them, it would be them who would fall.
Seeing Liola was almost close to them, Kaiser still could not pull the trigger. Instead, his hand was shaking. He really didn’t dare to bet whether Liola would live or not if he pulled the trigger.
“Daylight, can you still fight? If you could just knock him out…” Kaiser asked his only hope.
Hearing Kaiser’s question, Daylight pushed Flames away, and stood up to say firmly, “No problem, my wounds aren’t as bad as Liola’s.”
Flames was beyond anxious. Seeing its master’s shaking body, and the flowing blood could not be stopped by the makeshift bandage, it knew its master was not as well as he claimed to be.
Daylight struggled to hold up his pike. The pike he could normally use as if it were his own body could now barely be supported by his arms, let alone using it to stop his enemies. Daylight was just thinking about whether to throw down his pike and use his hands, a Dragon had already decided to take the hand-to-hand combat tactic: Flames ran past Daylight, and without saying anything, it pounced towards Liola, while opening its mouth, showing its sharp canine teeth.
Before Flames reached Liola, however, a small figure suddenly clashed over, and threw Flames a few meters away. Flames landed delicately, and gave out a dragon growl; however, its opponent emitted an even more sonorous Dragon roar that could shake even the heavens.
Flames was shocked, and said hesitantly to the small figure, “Your Highness..”
“You can’t hit papa!” Baolilong stood with its arms spread in front of Liola.
“Baolilong! Are you crazy? Are you trying to kill your papa?” Kaiser yelled anxiously at Baolilong.
Baolilong pouted his mouth as if it had been wronged, and big drops of tear rolled down its cheeks, but its arms still firmly blocked their way to Liola. It said, “You can’t hit, or papa will die!”
Liola had already walked around Baolilong by now, and continued to walk towards Kaiser and Daylight. Baolilong was shocked, and it immediately grabbed onto Liola’s sleeve tightly without letting go, but Liola swung his hand, and Baolilong fell to the ground, with only the sleeve in its hands. It was so anxious that it bursted into tears, and it didn’t know which side it should help.
At this time, a faint sigh could be heard.
“Gle, why would you do this? Do you really want to see them fight to the death.”
The scene was already hard for Wanyuan to watch since a while ago, but whenever he tried to stop them, Gle would stop him. But looking at things now, no matter what, Wanyuan could not stand to see these three trying to kill one another.
“We must decide the winners.” Gle said mercilessly, “This fight ends whenever a side admits defeat.”
“Damn you! Can we admit defeat? Compared to Liola getting killed by you, I might as well finish him with a shot!”
“Kaiser!” Daylight yelled in surprise; he didn’t want to see Kaiser kill Liola.
Kaiser’s expression seemed unexpectedly calm. He acted relaxed as he asked Daylight, “Since neither side is willing to admit defeat, how about we all perish together?”
“What?” Daylight stared blankly. He couldn’t believe Kaiser would say something like this. Kaiser was never the type of person to say something like this… Daylight was a bit hesitant, could it be that Kaiser had a plan?
“Compared to letting Gle watch a show, we might as well all die together, so that cold blooded guy could see his descendant, his best friend Susanna’s son, and the old rock man’s apprentice all die in front of him. I don’t believe this wouldn’t do anything to his conscience.” Kaiser’s face was very dark, as if this was exactly he planned to do.
“Daylight, hold me up to Liola. I will bury all of us with a blizzard. Even if we’re all going to die, we’re not going to put on a show for that bastard.”
Daylight looked at Kaiser strangely, and knitted his eyebrows tightly. He really didn’t understand what Kaiser meant. Daylight looked at Kaiser skeptically, but strangely, Kaiser’s eyes looked determined, as if they were telling Daylight to just trust him.
Daylight was no longer skeptical, and thought it would best to trust Kaiser. He held Kaiser up with all his strength, and slowly walked towards Liola.
Liola paused; though he couldn’t understand what Kaiser said, he was perplexed by their actions. Daylight was holding Kaiser, and it was impossible for him to attack him; Kaiser couldn’t engage in close-quarter combat, so it was more advantageous to him to be as far as possible. Liola stood still, puzzled as he stared at the two people’s strange actions.
Kaiser knew, by now, nothing he said would do anything. He stared straight into Liola’s eyes. Those lazy, blue sea eyes looked full of determination. Liola looked at those blue eyes and felt that even if the skies would collapse now, those eyes could still hold them up.
Liola suddenly felt tired, and he fell down where he stood. He beckoned at the Baolilong crying on the side. When Baolilong ran over, he reached out his hand and hugged Baolilong into his arms, as if he no longer cared what would happen now.
Gle, who had been watching coldly from the side, finally seemed to react. He thought, could they really be suicidal? But how would Li know what Kaiser wanted to do?
“Could Kaiser have broken Liola’s language seal? No, impossible! Nothing can break a seal I’ve put.” Gle said stubbornly.
“Of course there is.” Wanyuan said leisurely, “The cooperation between friends can.”
Hearing what Wanyuan said, Gle’s face suddenly turned, and a sharp memory perturbed his mind. Companions? The thing he lost for God-knows how long ago? Once upon a time, he and his companions also didn’t need language; a look and a smile could convey all they could say to one another, but finally, Susanna betrayed him, and Qiusi didn’t come to his rescue…
Gle spent a moment in his flashbacks, but he was awakened by Kaiser using his full power. Snow began to fall from the sky, but the snow did not land on Gle and Wanyuan, instead in a circle no more than half a dozen meters away from Kaiser and the others.
Gradually, the snow flurries stopped fluttering, but instead crashed into them with the force of a blizzard. Kaiser and others were buried in snow, and judging from their purple lips, one could tell how cold it was underneath.
“Blizzard, and he shrank the area of effect, so basically concentrating all his power in those dozen meters.” Gle murmured. Although he knew this blizzard really did have the power to send all of them to hell, he didn’t move. He didn’t believe Kaiser and others would be suicidal.
Seeing Kaiser and others buried by the snow, Wanyuan panicked. At first, he was sure Kaiser was just running his mouth, but by now he wasn’t certain.
He stuttered from being anxious, “T-this…”
Gle still did not move, but his face was growing more and more pale as if he were the one standing in the blizzard…
“Daylight, it’s fine if you go out first.” Kaiser was so cold that his face turned pale, but his mood was unusually calm. Truth be told, he didn’t really have a plan, and he was only betting with his life; gambling whether Gle would watch his own descendant turn into a popsicle with his own eyes.
With a pale face, Daylight shook his head desperately, and continued his unfinished work of bandaging Liola’s wounds. Although under such extreme temperatures of a blizzard, Liola’s blood was no longer oozing out, Daylight considered it. If Kaiser’s plan was really successful, all of them may have already passed out. Judging from what he knew of Gle, Daylight didn’t think he was the type to carefully bandage a wound. He didn’t want to see Liola to survive this battle, only to die at the loss of blood later.
Kaiser shrank tightly, and smiled with his frozen face, “I already knew you wouldn’t, you s.o.b. who charged into the Dark Street to save people!”
Daylight raised his head to smile back. Though his face was rigid from the cold, his smile was still brilliant as ever.
The snow continued, and it had already covered these companions’ heads. Liola brushed the snow aside and looked at the faces of his sleeping companions. He slowly put both of his hands at where their hearts were. A faint Ki flowed out of his hand to protect their hearts. Sensing Kaiser and Daylight’s slowed heart beat faster and faster, Liola sincerely smiled…
* * *
“Hmmph… my head f—ing hurts…”
Kaiser grabbed his head and rolled around, but when he rolled to the left, he hit someone, and when he rolled to the right, he also hit someone. He opened his eyes helplessly, and saw black hair to his left and blue hair to his right.
Great! Looks like “nobody” was sacrificed. He then looked at the end of his bed, and a naked red-head was holding a tiny white-head, so it looked like no Dragon was sacrificed either.
“Mmm~” Kaiser let out a deep sigh. Looks like he won this bet with their lives.
“Why did you risk your life, whether Li dies has nothing to do with you.”
Kaiser was surprised. He turned his head to realize, Gle was actually sitting silently at a table in the room, with his back to all of them.
“Why are you suddenly sitting there? You could scare me to death, you know?”
Kaiser exaggerated patted his chest, but Gle didn’t joke around like he did. A cold sense emitted from Gle’s back, and even Kaiser, who would joke even if the skies were to collapse, felt a shiver. Kaiser thought seriously about Gle’s question which he rarely did, and his head spun quickly, trying to figure out the purpose of Gle’s question and the answer he wanted to hear.
“He’s my companion, and there’s no way I could leave him behind.” Kaiser responded, while carefully examining Gle’s reaction, although it was hard to see from his back.
Gle laughed bitterly, “Companion?”
Kaiser did not ignore Gle’s reaction. He thought with a frown, looked like Gle had a disdainful attitude to the word. So perhaps, out of the companions he had before, someone betrayed him? The answer was obvious, it was the Dragon Queen, Susanna.
“Even if the Dragon Queen did not help you, but she didn’t hurt you, right?” Kaiser said with a frown, “A woman caught between her husband and old friend, is very pitiful too.”
Gle was silent for a while, then said angrily, “And Qiusi. He never appeared from start to end, and he never came to my rescue.”
Kaiser suddenly felt like he was looking at an illusion, and the person in front of him was actually a complaining child… but even if it were a complaining child, it was a deadly child with an Uzi in his hands, so he can’t just tell him to go aside and play.
Kaiser thought about it briefly, and finally decided to say it as he saw it, “I’m not familiar with Qiusi, so I don’t know what kind of person he is… but if he’s like Meinan, I can probably understand why he didn’t come to your rescue.”
Gle stared blankly, and asked, “Why?”
“At a glance, Meinan seems like the most unnoticeable person in the team. You don’t even feel his presence much when he’s here, but as soon as he’s gone, you will realize how useful he was.” Kaiser paused, then asked, “Was Qiusi someone like that, too?”
Gle remained silent.
“Hmm… Let me tell you something I found out accidentally.” Kaiser scratched his face, and began to tell a story, “Liola and I have always been penniless. The cost of us two plus a Dragon was all paid by Purity. I don’t know when it was, but Purity had spent every cent of her allowance, including the money she had gotten from her brother, all because Baolilong loved to eat so much.” Kaiser did not forget to complain, but he did forget he ate quite a bit himself.
“I don’t know when it started but,” Kaiser scratched his face again, “Meinan covered all of our costs, but he never breathed a word about it. Had it not been the time when I asked Purity for money to buy some midnight snacks, and she said she had no money to give me, I probably would have never found out about this.”
Kaiser looked at Gle’s back, and said as if he were deep in thought, “Could it be I accidentally found out, but you never did?”
Gle still remained silent.
Looking at Gle’s still stubborn figure, Kaiser added, “Barbalis saved you, but now he’s living well, and he even became the principal. Maylee is also happily managing a barbeque restaurant. As for the daughter of the devil who tried to destroy the whole world, she was able to live and have children…
One miracle could be a coincidence, but three miracles? How could the heavens be so kind, and if they were, I wouldn’t believe the Dragon Emperor would be so kind not to chase them down and kill them all.” Kaiser grunted.
Gle froze, and Kaiser seemed to have heard a faint sigh. Gle stood up and, without turning back, said a few simple things,
“You two have only light injuries, but Li’s are far worse, plus he used his Ki to protect your hearts. He’s weak, so take care of him. In half a month, I will send you back.”
Hearing what Gle said, Kaiser’s jaws dropped; ‘Damn! That simple? Is it real, or just a miracle…’
* * *
Gle walked out of the building, and it was drizzling outside. The darkened skies made him feel uncomfortable. Gle stood for a while, and then slowly levitated into the air. He went through the clouds, and the blinding rays of sunlight landed on Gle’s body.
He didn’t think the sunlight was too bright, and quietly gazed at the bright light. The golden light looked like his good friend’s hair. He murmured unconsciously, “The sun shines on me all the time, but when have I ever thanked you?”
Chapter 2 : Meinan and Purity
This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, and StellarAshes.
“Did you find Liola and others?” Meinan held the communication Maxun and asked anxiously. It’s been more than a month since Liola and others had gone missing, but there was still no sign of them. Meinan and Purity were both going crazy.
But the other side of the Maxun, someone asked the same question with the same anxious tone. Both sides were silent for a while, and their disappointment could be sensed by one another without seeing their faces.
Meinan forced a smile, “Don’t worry! Perhaps they were afraid the Dragon Emperor would find them, so they hid themselves. No news is good news.”
A faint cry could be heard from the other side of the communication Maxun. Unlike his usual self, Meinan did not continue comfort, but instead changed topics, “I plan to actually seriously learn protective shield from my dad.”
“No matter where they are, they will be back one day.” Meinan looked at the night sky out the window and declared, as if he was both motivating himself and forcing himself, “I hope the next time we fight together, I wouldn’t become a burden.”
Suddenly, Meinan took the Maxun away from his ears, but he was too late. His ears felt as if they had just heard a bomb explode, and all he could hear now was ringing in his ear. When Meinan finally recovered his hearing, the only thing he could hear from the communication Maxun was a busy tone.
Meinan looked at the communication Maxun and laughed wryly, “Looks like I better work harder, otherwise I will be the only burden.”
“I really have to go find my father.”
Meinan looked a bit uneasy. Because Liola and others’ escape, both he and Purity returned to their homes, so the Dragon Emperor couldn’t cause them trouble, but even though they were living in the same house, Meinan had barely talked to his father each day. On one hand, Qiusi had been indeed busy; on the other hand, Meinan was purposely avoiding his father.
“Sigh.” Meinan looked depressed. In the end, he still had to go to his father.
“Why are you sighing, baby?”
Goosebumps crept onto Meinan’s back. The only person who would call him in such a disgusting manner was none other than his father. His father always called him “baby”, and his mother got the nickname “little dear” instead. What was different was that, every time Meinan heard his nickname he got goosebumps, but his mother seemed to be affectionate to her nickname, and would often return it with a “little Qiuqiu”, then the two would get all lovey-dovey.
This would often result in their child yelling on the side, “This is ridiculous! If you two wanted to be affectionate to each other, why the hell are you two in my room?!”
That’s right! These two strange parents seemed to have a fetish of being watched. They always purposely ran in front of Meinan to be lovey-dovey. Even if Meinan would move, as soon as his butt leaves a chair, the other two would move their bodies to follow. In any case, they always threw themselves at each other in front of their son.
“Qiusi! Ally! If you two keep following me, I will, I will…” The young Meinan gritted his teeth. Even though it was his parents in front of him, but if they couldn’t even act like parents, Meinan naturally didn’t respect them much, and therefore always called them by their names.
“You will what? Baby.” Qiusi asked with a smile, while running his hands through his son’s golden hair.
If he could kill people with his eyes, Meinan must’ve killed his father many times. Unfortunately, not only could his eyes not kill people, even if his eyes were more powerful than cannon balls, Qiusi wouldn’t care. His ancestral protective shield wasn’t a joke. Qiusi might not be good at anything else, but if his defensive capability was second, no one would be first.
Ally burst into a smile, “Okay, stop playing with your son. If you keep going, he might get mad again. Did you forget the time he got really angry and refused to eat?”
As soon as he heard his wife, Qiusi sported a “please don’t” look, and hurriedly turn around while saying with concern, “Fine, fine, fine, I won’t mess with you anymore. Baby, please don’t get hungry.”
After the daily father-and-son “tease”, Ally would always pinch Meinan’s face, disregarding the teenager Meinan’s protest. She would definitely kiss him on the forehead for good night, then walk away with Qiusi unwillingly.
Meinan unconsciously touched his forehead, and woke up from his flashbacks. Seeing Qiusi’s face almost next to him, Meinan reflexively swung his right fist, and created a beautifully colored, perfectly circular black circle on Qiusi’s right eye.
“You hit me…” Qiusi crouched pitifully in a corner, occasionally throwing a sad look towards him.
Although his father hadn’t made a bit of progress for such a long time, Meinan did not do what he usually would have done: go up to father and add a few more footprints to his face.
Meinan unusually requested solemnly, “Father, I want to learn as much about protective shield as possible.”
Hearing what Meinan said, Qiusi paused briefly. He scratched his head and said, “Didn’t I already teach you? After that, all you need is to practice over time…”
“According to what principal Barbalis said…” Meinan forcefully interrupted Qiusi, “Father, when you were my age, you had already been the member of something like ‘Aklan Crazy Four’.”
Hearing this, Qiusi’s smile disappeared, and a stunned look replaced it. The father and son looked at one another quietly for a long while, until Qiusi grunted, “How much had Barbalis told you?”
Meinan finally saw his father being serious, and said with a more relaxed tone, “Pretty much everything. What the Crazy Four had done, Susanna was the Dragon Queen, and Gle was also one of them. Finally, the eldest Prince had a prophecy that the Dragon Emperor would be killed by his own son.”
“He’s quite honest.” Qiusi narrowed his eyes dangerously.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Meinan was suddenly infuriated. How much had his own father hide from him? Meinan suddenly remembered when his mother had been killed, Qiusi had a strange reaction.
He said without thinking, “What exactly happened with Ally? Why did you get so familiar with the Six Forbidden Sins who killed her?”
Facing Meinan’s questions, Qiusi looked at him hesitantly, as if he was trying to form the words he was about to say. Under Meinan’s glare, Qiusi sighed, and sat down as if he was exhausted.
“Ally’s true murderer was not the Six Forbidden Sins.”
After remaining silent for a long time, Qiusi finally said something. This made Meinan widen his eyes, and asked with a stutter, “B-but, weren’t you the one who said the Six Forbidden Sins killed Ally?”
“What can I do other than saying that?” Qiusi asked in return, “Could I really say this was all a part of the Dragon Emperor’s conspiracy?”
“Dragon Emperor?” Meinan froze completely. How did this involve Dragon Emperor too?
Ignoring Meinan’s surprise, Qiusi turned around, and slowly said with a calm voice, “Looks like Barbalis didn’t tell you the whole story. Gle was framed by the Dragon Emperor to become the devil, did you know?”
“N-no.” Meinan answered in a shock. He thought his father was good friends with Gle before Gle changed.
Qiusi’s figure looked lonely, but his tone was filled with laughter, “Even though that guy did have quite the potential to be a devil, but he really didn’t care much about his social status. To him, instead of oppressing people with a fake title, wouldn’t it better to swing a magic spell at them instead?”
Meinan frowned, “Perhaps he didn’t care about titles and status before, then he ran into something, and began to care…”
Qiusi laughed vaguely, “It’s possible, that guy had always done things in the spur of the moment. However, what you said was impossible. At the time, he was extremely busy. If it weren’t so, he wouldn’t have been so oblivious to everything that had happened. He didn’t notice it until the rumors of the devil had practically became the truth.”
“Hahaha, you wouldn’t believe what it was that made him so busy that he didn’t even know he had become the devil.”
Qiusi laughed, but it wasn’t a warm laugh like usual, but instead with a wry tone, “He had already married by then, but he loved the most beautiful lady at the time, Maylee. His wife found out about his adultery, and kicked him out of the house. So he continued to court Maylee while trying to beg his wife to let him back in his house… Haha, he was a guy who deserved quite a beating.”
Qiusi laughed for a while, then gradually stopped, and he fell into silence. Meinan would rather stay in the silence than to hear his father laugh in such a manner again. The laughter sounded too bleak, and it would make his heart colder than the sound of crying.
“I think you know about what happened next, which was the Dragon Emperor’s crusade against the ‘devil’, and expose the devil’s intent to destroy the whole world.”
Qiusi remained quiet for a while, then explained with an emphasis, “You know, he wouldn’t want to destroy this world; whether it be for his wife, for his daughter, for his lover Maylee, or for companions like us, Gle would never even have the thought of destroying the world.”
As if he was proving he believed Qiusi’s story, Meinan solemnly nodded.
“Finally, Gle lost. He wasn’t one to stand up against such conspiracy.”
“He died?” Meinan asked with a bit of sadness. He finally understood now, the friendship between the Aklan Crazy Four was no different than the friendship of the Troublemaking Squad now.
“No. Barbalis, Mizerui, and Maylee saved him by sending him to another world to take refuge.” Qiusi seemed to be sighing in relief knowing his good friend had lived.
Hearing this, Meinan suddenly straightened his back and interrogated, “You didn’t go save him?”
Qiusi acted as if he didn’t expect such a question; his back froze, and he remained silent for a long time before he opened his mouth bitterly,
“Whether or not you believe me, I couldn’t go save him. My protective shield is far too unique. The moment people see me use it, they would recognize I’m Qiusi, but in order to protect others, I must not be recognized. Although we had already graduated for a long time, and not many people knew of the Aklan Crazy Four anymore, the Dragon Emperor knew, and he will think of ways to get rid of people who knew the truth like us.”
“At the time, Barbalis still wasn’t Aklan’s principal. Out of all of us, I held the highest position. Other than me, no one could shelter Barbalis, Maylee, and Gle’s wife and daughter.”
“At the time, to protect my companions, I had to stabilize the entire Aklan. Later on, I realized the reason why the Dragon Emperor wanted to frame Gle — he wanted to conquer the entire world!”
“What?” Meinan widened his eyes and dropped his jaws. Conquering the world… this reason sounded completely ridiculous.
“Ridiculous, isn’t it? When I first began the investigation, I was skeptical for a long time too, but now I’m about 100 percent certain.” Qiusi’s tone sounded helpless.
“The Dragon Emperor has been using the same move over and over. He had originally wanted to frame Gladiolus of the Six Forbidden Sins to be the second devil. To affect my judgment, he purposely entrusted Gladiolus to kill Ally.”
Hearing Ally’s name, Meinan’s body froze.
“Ally did indeed die in the hands of Gladiolus, but he wasn’t the true murderer, because that person is the Dragon Emperor!” Qiusi’s back shook, and his tone was so cold. Meinan had never heard him like this before.
“The Dragon Emperor framed Gle, killed Ally, and even Susanna ended up… For as long as I live, I will never let the Dragon Emperor harm anyone else close to me! Never!”
Seeing Qiusi’s enraged figure, Meinan finally understood why his father had his back to him; it was because he knew he couldn’t hold back the emotions on his face, and as a father, he probably didn’t want his child to see his weak side.
“Me, too, Qiusi.” Meinan said firmly, “I also will never let anyone harm my companions, so please allow me to learn the true protective shield.”
“You haven’t called me Qiusi in a long time. I’m actually not used to you calling me ‘father’.” Qiusi’s tone seemed a bit comforted.
He sighed, “I originally didn’t want to involve you in all this, but who knew you found Kaiser and Liola yourself.”
“Kaiser is Gle’s descendant.” Meinan suddenly wanted to laugh. Could the Troublemaking Squad be the successor to Aklan’s Crazy Four?
“And Liola is Susanna’s son, if Barbalis and I guessed correctly.” Qiusi shrugged.
‘Susanna? Wasn’t that the Dragon Queen’s name? If Liola was the Dragon Queen’s son, doesn’t that mean…’
Meinan tilted his head for a moment, then murmured, “Then could Liola be…”
“Dragon Emperor’s son, that’s right.” Qiusi answered casually, “Although I don’t know what the deal with Anise is, Liola should be the Dragon Emperor’s son, otherwise the Dragon Emperor wouldn’t have tried to kill him again and again. Plus, when he was crossdressing, he looked practically identical to Susanna.”
Meinan’s head was in a mess. Things have already gotten more complex than he had imagined: Kaiser was Gle’s descendant, Liola was the Dragon Emperor’s son, and himself… was Qiusi’s son. Aklan Troublemaking Squad was practically the group that would go head-to-head with the Dragon Emperor.
Meinan suddenly jumped out and, without caring whether Qiusi was trying to uphold a father’s dignity, forcefully turned him around by the shoulders, then yelled loudly, “Hurry and teach me the real protective shield! Otherwise we’ll all be dead.”
Seeing his son so emotional, Qiusi felt as if he had seen the Crazy Four back then. He felt comforted yet helpless, and said, “Understood, baby.”
* * *
“Meinan! Did you find Liola-dage and others?” Purity asked anxiously, but when she heard the same question coming from the other side, she immediately knew Meinan didn’t find them either. Purity’s lips were trembling, and the silence continued.
A few more comforting things came out of the communication Maxun, but Purity could not feel even slightly relieved. It was her who opened the black hole and sent them away.
‘Could they really be sent to somewhere really, really far away? Or perhaps they were torn into pieces by the black hole… No!’ Purity forcefully covered her own ears.
Even with her ears covered, she could still hear Meinan’s voice. About not wanting to be a burden…
Purity suddenly raised her head. ‘Right! Liola-dage is so strong, Kaiser has tons of sinister plans, and Daylight isn’t a weakling. Nothing bad could happen to them!’
‘I have to wait for them to come back…’ Purity held her fist, and yelled loudly into the Maxun, “Purity will definitely become strong and an useful companion, and never a burden!”
As soon as she finished yelling, Purity slammed down the communication Maxun. ‘Now, I must go find mama!’
Purity turned around, and suddenly realized a person was standing behind her. She was so shocked that she took several steps back, only then did she realize who the person was.
She patted her chest, and complained, “Feir-dage, why are you standing behind me? And you didn’t make any sound, you almost scared me to death.”
Feir smiled helplessly, “You were talking to someone, and I can’t just interrupt you, right?”
After explaining, he asked curiously, “Were you talking to Meinan? Why did you look so emotional?”
Determination was on Purity’s face, “Meinan said, he wanted to improve his protective shield and wait for Liola and others’ return. Purity also decided to understand Mechas better, so I’m going to go find mama to help me assemble the best Mecha.”
“Ambitious! You are definitely my sister.” Feir gently touched his sister’s head.
Purity smiled with a slight blush. She then parted from her brother, planning to go find her mom.
“Purity.” Feir called out, “Where did Liola and others go exactly? Do we need to go visit them? Or perhaps bring some resources to them?”
Purity replied with a bit of sadness, “I don’t know either, and Meinan couldn’t find them either.”
“Oh, that is quite worrying.” Feir frowned, “When I have time, I will help you look for them. If you have any news about them, tell me as soon as possible.”
Purity smiled brightly, and kissed her brother on the face, “Thank you, Feir-dage.”
Feir smiled as he looked at his sister anxiously running off to find their mother. He took up the communication Maxun, thought about something briefly, then dialed a number.
* * *
Purity ran through a long hallway. As she ran, automatic doors open one after another; after she passed them, they all closed automatically. There were also many people strolling along the hallway, and they were all wearing short-sleeved military uniform fit for moving around. The colors of their uniform were always either blue, red, or yellow. Out of the three colors, most uniforms were blue, and least were red.
Everything in the visible radius were made out of synthetic alloy, and everything seemed to be automatically controlled by Maxuns. Purity rushed into an elevator, and it was already full of people. However, as the indicator for the current floor lowered, more and more people left the elevator, until after a “ding”, it displayed “Floor B205.”
The only few left in the elevator were Purity and two men wearing red military uniforms. At this time, all three of them stepped out, and the other two looked curiously at Purity and said, “Purity? Didn’t you aspire to be the beautiful Sorceress next to a Knight? Why are you here in the Mecha Development Department?”
“What? Could you be heartbroken, and decided to drive a Mecha to teach a Knight a lesson?”
“O-of course not.” Purity refuted with a pout.
The two men burst into laughter, and one of them said while thumping his chest, “What do you think? Mecha Fighters are better, right? What are Knights, anyways? Purity, if you give up on those soft-footed shrimps they call Knights, I will definitely introduce you to a handsome and strong Mecha Fighter.”
“Knights aren’t soft-footed shrimps! I’ve met with very good Knights: Jasmine is a good Knight, and so is Lanski.” Purity protested loudly.
“Jasmine? Lanski?” The two men glanced at one another, and showed a smile only men could understand, “I can’t deny that female Knights are indeed not bad, hehehe.”
“That’s not what I mean, male Knights are good too!” A warm and sincere smile flashed across Purity’s mind.
She said without thinking, “Daylight is a very, very good male Knight. He’s handsome, kind, and gentle. He always cares about his companions. If there’s any danger, he’s always in front of me… his companions.”
As she spoke, the two men’s smile became more and more ambiguous, while Purity’s voice shrank more and more. Even though she didn’t know what she did wrong, but she felt shy, and her face blushed to a fiery red.
When Purity finally couldn’t continue, the two men burst into laughter, while one of them patted Purity’s head and said, “Fine, fine, we will stop criticizing your Sir Daylight. Just remember to bring him here so we can ‘appraise’ him, I don’t want our princess Purity marrying a bad Knight.”
Purity froze in shock. What did they mean, her Sir Daylight, or marrying Daylight?
“Purity is marrying who? Who did you say my precious daughter is marrying?”
The three of them raised their head to look, and saw the Red Commander walking their way, with an obviously nervous look on her face. The two male Mecha Fighters glanced at each other, then ran away with a laugh, leaving behind a confused Red Commander and a blushing Purity.
“Baby, who are you marrying? Has mommy seen him before?” The Red Commander asked seriously, and without even waiting for her daughter to answer, she had a worried look while murmuring something about how a parent shouldn’t keep their grown daughter.
Purity anxiously denied, “No, mommy, I’m not marrying anyone, they were just being ridiculous.”
The Red Commander seemed even more worried, “What? You’re not marrying? I thought I let you go out to find a Knight? What about that guy last time, what’s his name? The boy with blue hair and always smiling? He even danced with you, and he seemed like a nice guy. You don’t like him?”
“Mommy!” Purity was angry and her face became even redder.
Seeing her daughter on the verge of turning hostile, the Red Commander coughed twice, and changed her demeanor from a neurotic mother who feared she couldn’t marry her daughter off to a responsible commander.
“Why did you suddenly come find mommy? You’ve already been back to the Commerce Alliance for a whole month, and you’re only saying hello to mommy now?” Although her face remained solemn, one could hear the jealous tone in the Red Commander’s voice.
Purity touched her head with embarrassment. Since she’s been back, on one hand she had been trying to avoid the Dragon Emperor, and on the other, she feared Liola and others might have been transported into the Commerce Alliance. Therefore, as soon as she got back, Purity was busy running everywhere trying to see if Liola and others were here, which lead to the Red Commander missing her every time she went to her room.
“Sorry, mommy, Purity is just too worried about Liola-dage and others.” Purity acted like a baby as she explained; she knew her mother couldn’t stay angry at her acting as such.
Of course, the Red Commander already knew of this, so she didn’t really make a fuss to her daughter. All she did was dearly pinched her daughter’s thinning chin, and reminded her, “Mommy knows you’re worried. But even if you’re searching for them, you still have to mind your health. Your companions wouldn’t want to come back and see a sick Purity, would they?”
Seeing her mother worrying about her, Purity nodded like a well-behaved child. She then remembered the reason why she’s looking for her mother; she suddenly yelled, “Ah! Mommy, I want a set of very, very powerful Mecha!”
The Red Commander was shocked at first, then she looked deeply at her daughter. She asked solemnly, “Why? Didn’t you want to become a Sorcerer?”
“Mommy, Purity didn’t really want to be a Sorcerer. J-just that, if Purity didn’t say so, you wouldn’t have allowed Purity to go to Aklan Academy.”
Purity flinched as she explained, but as she saw that the Red Commander was not angry, she became braver, and said firmly, “But it’s different now. Liola-dage and others are in a dangerous predicament, and Purity doesn’t want to be a burden. I want to help Liola-dage, and I a-also want to become their real companion!”
“I would be happy to be the Sorceress protected by the Knight, but…” Purity raised her head, and her black iris were shimmering with strength and independence, “But Purity really really likes my current companions, and I want to protect them with my hands, just like how they have always protected me.”
The Red Commander burst out laughing, “In other words, you want to be the one to protect your Knight?”
Purity blinked her eyes and, for some reason, a strange scene came up in her mind: Daylight was lying weakly on the ground, and Purity was, without any hesitation, standing in front of him. Daylight was screaming behind her, “Leave me here, and run…” No! Such a terrifying scene! Purity almost wanted to cry as she tries to wipe away this thought from her mind.
“What is this little girl fantasizing about now?” The Red Commander murmured, then habitually grabbed her own daughter by the back collar. Usually, when she begins fantasizing, even if the world fell around her, she wouldn’t wake up from it.
Purity fantasized Daylight with an apron cooking in the kitchen, while she returned home tired, dressed in a military uniform. Daylight would walk to her with a warm welcome, tell her he had prepared a bath for her, and also he cooked her favorite food — roasted duck… ‘Oh oh oh! This was quite a good feeling.’ Purity seemed to be drenched in happiness.
“Purity! Purity!” The Red Commander called again and again futilely. Without any other options, she yelled loudly, “Crap! Your Liola-dage is being chopped into pieces!”
“What! Who dares to bully Liola-dage?!”
Purity suddenly jumped up, and looked around her. Of course, Liola was nowhere to be found, but in the broad factory room, an angel-shaped Mecha was standing upright.
Unlike the white one, this angel-shaped Mecha was completely black and even the wings on its back was covered in a shiny black paint. A few simple lines with a golden color ran down the Mecha’s forehead to its chest, waist, and hands. Other than black and gold, the only other color seen on the Mecha was the sword on its waist. The Mecha’s size was comparable to the enlarged Baolilong: other than the wings, about a dozen meters high.
“S-so pretty…” Purity covered her mouth. She was moved to tears; she had never seen such a beautiful Mecha.
“The only rank-X Mecha in the Fallen Angel series, Dark Lucifer.” The Red Commander proudly introduced one of her best works as she turned to face her daughter.
“Rank-X Mecha?” Purity’s jaws dropped. Weren’t there only three rank-X Mechas in the world?
“Mhm.” The Red Commander looked warmly at her daughter, and her eyes seemed prouder than when she was looking at Dark Lucifer.
“Purity, you are the best genius Mecha Fighter I’ve seen. Other than a rank-X Mecha, what else could possibly suit you? When you passed the most advanced level of Mecha controls at the age of fourteen, mommy had already began designing Dark Lucifer.”
“Mommy…” Purity was moved as she ran into her mother’s arms. She sworn with determination, “Purity will definitely use Dark Lucifer to protect all my companions.”
Chapter 3 : The Return
This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, and StellarAshes.
The once blue skies were now covered in smog, and the dark and damp skies did not produce any rain, however, the air felt almost suffocating, and the whole atmosphere felt oppressive to anyone in it. If anyone was there, they would not be able to handle it and would want to run away.
However, this was a place where few would venture; Yaron Plains was never a good place for tourism. The plains, rated as rank-A on the danger scale, had nothing precious other than Lesser Dragons. Perhaps only principal Barbalis would be so bored as to send his own students there.
And the situation had worsened now. More than a year ago, Miluo set this place as his base, and mustered many species of Lesser Dragons and successfully conquered Freesia. The dangerous Lesser Dragons had congregated north of the Aklan Continent, and had a stand-off against the people to the south. The thousands of miles around the location were even more sparsely populated. If any person was found in this location, they must be a scout sent to survey the area.
At the place where all types of Dragons converged, a small figure flew around in the air. Judging by its size, it was not a flying species of Lesser Dragons. He quietly stopped mid-air, as if he was waiting for something.
… Until a noises could be heard from afar. The figure, at first, seemed to be on guard as he observed the approaching people. As soon as he saw the man and woman flying towards him, his straightened back seemed a bit relaxed, and he quietly waited them to reach him.
“What are you doing, let me go.”
The woman’s originally charming voice was now flustered and exasperated. If one were to look closely, the other man wore a black Knight uniform, and the mount under him was a giant eagle. The woman was lying across on the eagle, and her fiery red hair had been messed up. No wonder her tone was rather rough.
The man riding the eagle ignored the woman, and flew to the man who was waiting. He let the giant eagle circle around in the air, and after checking out the situation below, the man also took a deep breath.
Yaron Plains had always been the place with the highest concentration of Lesser Dragons, but it had never been like this before: the whole plain was covered densely with Lesser Dragons, and they were orderly. Different species of Lesser Dragons were together, all quietly lying down at the place designated for their species.
“This looks serious, Mizerui.” The man in Black Knight uniform observed for a while, then flew back to the man, and said with a heavy tone.
“When has the Dragon Emperor done anything that isn’t serious?” Mizerui answered with a still relaxed tone. At the moment, he didn’t seem to mind the Lesser Dragons below them. Instead, his attention was on the girl lying on the eagle. He raised his eyebrows and said, “I didn’t think you really could find her. Is this an instinct between Assassins? Gladiolus.”
Gladiolus didn’t answer Mizerui’s question, and instead asked his own, “Is she actually useful? You told me to find her as soon as possible, aren’t you being too cautious?”
Mizerui smiled, and just as he was about to explain, the woman began to yell loudly, “Hey! You guys are going too far! I didn’t do anything, so why did you kidnap me here? Don’t think you can just bully a woman.”
Seeing the woman’s stubborn expression, Mizerui answered calmly, “Please don’t say that. How could I possibly dare to bully you? Even if I’m not afraid of you, I’m afraid of the person behind you.”
The woman paused, and asked skeptically, “The person behind me? You mean my master, Liola?”
Mizerui’s smile was even more mysterious. He swung his index finger and said, “No, no, no, why would I be afraid of Liola. Compared to him, I’m more afraid of you, Yasha. After all, the person raised you, but you didn’t become a peerless master, which means he must have cared deeply for you.”
Yasha’s beautiful green eyes were filled with doubt, “What are you talking about?”
Mizerui smiled, but did not explain further.
“Even if she’s really that person’s daughter, why did you ask me to bring her here to Yaron Plains?” Gladiolus asked with confusion.
Mizerui pointed below and said, “You know, Gladiolus, you almost exchanged your current place with Miluo.”
Gladiolus remained silent for a while, and said, “I know, Qiusi was indeed terrific.”
Back then, the gold-haired man with bloodied eyes charged into the Dark Street, and he looked like he would even kill a God if he were to run into one. Unbelievably, he was able to control his rage, and listened to Gladiolus’ explanation even he himself couldn’t believe. He told Qiusi he didn’t know why he would crazily accept the request to assassinate the Prime Minister’s wife. The only thing he saw was a man in black robe, without even seeing his face, then drowsily executed the mission.
After Qiusi finished listening to his story, he was in a daze for a long, long time. Finally, he told Gladiolus the truth between Dragon Emperor and Gle. At the same time, he told Gladiolus, the person in black robe was probably the Dragon Emperor, and as for his drowsiness, he might have been hypnotized.
Gladiolus wasn’t an idiot, and he did not immediately believe what Qiusi said. But the bad happenings to the Six Forbidden Sins gave Gladiolus have no choice but begin to believe what Qiusi said, about the Dragon Emperor’s plan to frame him as the second devil. With Qiusi’s intervention, Gladiolus finally escaped the fate of being the devil, and because of it, he secretly helped Qiusi when he could.
“As long as we could wake Miluo up, Dragon Emperor’s conspiracy will fail again this time. But
I could only think of two ways to wake Miluo up: one, Gle could break the hypnosis himself, and the other is the Dragon Cross Necklace.”
Mizerui cleared his throat, and pointed at Yasha as he said, “Barbalis and I both believe, Liola is Gle’s apprentice, and Yasha is Gle’s daughter.”
Gladiolus looked somewhat unbelievably at Yasha. According to what he saw, Liola and Yasha did not seem like the same person’s apprentice and daughter. The two’s powers had nothing in common, not to mention they weren’t even on the same level.
“How did you know? Gladiolus asked skeptically.
“I saw it myself…” Mizerui suddenly stopped mid-sentence, then corrected himself, “No, the eldest Prince Mocha said so.”
Gladiolus looked at Mizerui strangely, and he could tell Mizerui was hiding something. But he had no plan to pry. After all, everyone had something they didn’t want to say. If it’s something Mizerui didn’t want to say, no one could force him to do so.
Yasha couldn’t help but asked, “What are you saying exactly? Where is my master? Didn’t you say he’s going to be here?”
“Don’t worry, he’ll be here soon.” Mizerui smiled.
He glanced around him, and he did indeed see doubt growing in Gladiolus’ eyes. To prevent him from being unhappy or skeptical, Mizerui decided to start explaining.
“Since Gle cared deeply for Yasha, he wouldn’t leave his daughter here without doing something about it. The dimensional door will likely open near her, and the magic power required to open such a portal will be immense, so the Dragon Emperor will likely notice it. Instead of having the dimensional door open in Aklan Republic and give the Dragon Emperor an excuse to attack, it’s better to do it at Yaron plains, because we can then take the Dragon Cross Necklace directly to Miluo, or… if Gle would be willing to help us, it would be even better.”
Gladiolus suddenly understood. His instincts told him, however, Mizerui seemed to be leaning more on taking the necklace Miluo, as if he already knew Gle wouldn’t help them.
“They’re here.” Mizerui’s blue eyes flashed.
As soon as Mizerui finished talking, Gladiolus also felt the terrifying magic power. He felt an oppressive force on his mind, and he couldn’t even believe that this amount of power came from a single person. When he was born, Gle was already “not in this world”, so he had never seen the power of the legendary devil.
The terrifying power to split open time and space… could it be devil Gle? Gladiolus opened his eyes widely. A thin crack appeared in the air, and the magic seeping through the crack became even larger. Gladiolus felt like he was practically a small fish struggling in a violent hurricane. His giant eagle also became troubled by the force, and it was struggling to keep still in the air.
The crack gradually grew larger. Starting from a thin crack, it slowly turned into a circle large enough for several people to pass through. The scenery seen through the circle was also drastically different from Yaron Plains: it was a cliff, under the cold moonlight.
A few people stood on the other side, and Gladiolus had seen practically all of them; it was the so-called Aklan Troublemaking Squad, a bunch of students who would dare to charge into Dark Street just to save a person. A person stood in front of the rest, one who, out of 10 people who see him, 9.9 would sigh as they claim he was yet another spoiled rich brat.
Gladiolus looked strangely. This arrogant young man was Gle?
The man frowned, and examined the person on the other side, then said with disgust, “Your robe is ridiculously ugly.”
Probably because he didn’t expect Gle to criticize his robe after not seeing for so long, Mizerui laughed helplessly, “Long time no see, dad.”
When everyone else was shocked by this “dad”, Gle acted like an infuriated cat. He yelled loudly, “Who the hell is your father?! Call me ‘master’!”
Mizerui shrugged, “I like calling you dad. If you don’t like it, come beat me up?”
Gle narrowed his eyes dangerously, and suddenly magic power rushed through the air. The ordinarily magic power that had no shape a form began to concentrate, and everyone present who knew about the forces of magic began to yell in surprise, “My god! Magic power actually materializing, what kind of power compression is this?”
At first, Gladiolus was trying to decide whether he should run for his life, but the magic power’s shape was beginning to look like, like… Before he was ready to admit what it looked like, the materialized magic power hit Mizerui so hard in the head like a hand cracking a chestnut, and hit him right out of the air.
Indeed, it was a giant fist… no, now it turned into a palm, and it headed straight for Gladiolus. Gladiolus only had time to drop his jaws before he was slapped by the palm and flew off, streaking through the air like a falling star.
At this time, the palm turned back into a fist, but with an enchanting beauty in it. The girl’s burst into tears and yelled, “Father! Father!”
Hearing his daughter’s cries, Gle’s face had gone a bit softer. The fist gently brought Yasha to Gle, and she ran into her father’s arms. She cried, “I thought I was never going to see you again.”
“Idiot.” Gle patted his daughter’s head, and blamed her quietly, “I told you not to chase Li, but you did it regardless.”
As he mentioned Liola, Yasha raised her head, and looked at the emotionless Liola standing on the side. She twisted a bit and then left her father’s arms. She walked slowly to Liola and, as she had done before, called him unwillingly, “Master.”
“Mmm.” Liola grunted back uncaringly.
Hearing Liola’s cold voice, Yasha looked a bit dissatisfied. She then asked, “Master, do you need apprentice to stay and help you?”
Liola turned around to look at Yasha, but this look stupefied Yasha. ‘Is… this my master? The same emotionless and empty-eyed master?’
Even though Liola’s expression still looked cold, but for someone who had spent time with Liola, this Assassin was far warmer than before, and his silver eyes looked no longer empty; they looked like it was filled with a bit of anger and a bit of emotions.
Seeing Liola like this made Yasha felt unfamiliar, and very disappointed. She had always wanted to break Liola’s icy cold expressions and feelings, but now Liola had really melted, yet not in her hands, she felt very discouraged. It was as if the goal she had worked her whole life for had been achieved by someone else, and now everything she had done was meaningless.
Liola thought it was strange. He hadn’t even answered Yasha’s question, and she had already looked depressed. Could she have already guessed he wouldn’t want her to stay?
Liola frowned and said, “Up to you.”
Yasha gave Liola a complicated look and returned to standing beside Gle, without saying anything else.
In Kaiser and Daylight’s eyes, this scene was unspeakably strange. Liola was obviously scared of Gle, but he didn’t seem to be scared of offending Gle’s precious daughter. Even Gle didn’t seem to look dissatisfied despite how she acted as if she had been offended.
“Is this what they mean by there’s always a thing that conquers another?” Kaiser asked strangely.
“No, my master is just maintaining the rule of respecting the master. Since Yasha acknowledged Li as her master, she should fulfil her responsibilities as an apprentice.”
Mizerui slowly floated back in the air as he explained. He changed his name for Gle from “dad” back to “master”, because he didn’t want another taste of the magic fist again.
“Strange people being stubborn in strange things…” Kaiser murmured, but there was something he was even more curious about. He asked, “Mizerui, why are you here?”
“I’m here to pick you guys up.” Mizerui replied with a smile, “And see my master, whom I haven’t seen for a long time.”
Gle glanced at Mizerui, and said, “The dimensional door will only stay open for three more minutes, so say what you will. Those people who should leave better go.” The last sentence was directed at the Aklan Troublemaking Squad, who were standing there stupidly.
Hearing there’s only three minutes left, Liola and Daylight looked at one another, then they asked their two dragons to fly over, the three jumped onto the Dragon’s back.
Mizerui looked at Gle standing still, while the seconds passed by, until the last minute, when he finally sighed and said, “Master, are you not coming back?”
“No, I’m used to staying over here.” Gle said lightly.
Although he had already known Gle’s decision, Mizerui couldn’t help but add, “Dragon Emperor has the desire to conquer the world again, master, don’t you plan on stopping him?”
Gle looked at him uncaringly, “Not interested.”
Of course… Mizerui thought bitterly to himself, but he still asked, “Why?”
“What does him wanting to conquer the world have to do with me? Even if he did blame the whole thing on me before, who cares what he conquers? Even if he really did conquer the world, maybe this world would be better than it is now.” Gle said coldly.
Mizerui laughed bitterly, “Master, your words are mocking at all of our hard works over the years. Qiusi is now Aklan’s Prime Minister, and we can’t just watch as the Dragon Emperor destroy Aklan.”
Hearing his old friend’s name, Gle’s eyes flashed. This was when the dimensional door started to warp. Seeing the portal closing, Gle sighed, something he had never done before, “It’s been hundreds of years, Mizerui, I don’t belong in that world anymore.”
The dimensional door turned from the circle back into a crack, and slowly closed. Finally, the only thing left behind was Gle’s faint voice, “Tell Qiusi sorry for me…”
* * *
Mizerui stared at the closed dimensional door for a long time. He finally sighed, and then turned back towards Liola and others, with the smile back on his face, “Alright, you guys have been gone for more than a year, so I should tell you about the situation here…”
Before Mizerui finished, Kaiser yelled loudly, “Damn!”
Though Daylight and Liola’s reactions weren’t as exaggerated as Kaiser’s, but they gazed at the endless groups of Lesser Dragons underneath. The same thought appeared in both of their minds: what’s under them was a trained army of Lesser Dragons.
“These must be led by Miluo.” Mizerui said calmly, “Being next to Gle for so long, you guys probably know about the truth back then, right? Now there is something important we must do.”
Liola and others looked towards Mizerui, and Kaiser put on a sported face. Though he already knew this might happen, he definitely couldn’t be a couch potato after coming back, but he had never imagined Mizerui would be waiting for them, throwing an “important thing” at them right away.
“Isn’t there anyone else who could do it? We just got back here. Had I known about this, I wouldn’t have came back.” Kaiser complained like he always did.
Mizerui put his hands down helplessly, “I don’t have any other choice. Liola has the Dragon Cross Necklace, and Baolilong is Liola’s Dragon. These two things are required to wake Miluo.”
“Wake Miluo.” As soon as Liola heard, he immediately nodded and said, “Let’s go.”
For things that must be done, Liola had never been the type to procrastinate. He had already promised Anise to save Miluo, plus for Baolilong’s sake, he had already made up his mind about saving Miluo.
“Liola, aren’t you being a little too easy? At least demand something for your efforts.” Kaiser kept on complaining. Working for free was in the top three things Kaiser hated the most.
“Kaiser, how could you say that? Saving others is something we should all do without seeking a reward. Maintaining righteousness is something every capable person must do…”
Kaiser rolled his eyes at Daylight. Seeing Daylight was about to continue his lecture on righteousness, Kaiser was sitting on the Fire Dragon without anywhere to run, so he began to consider which one was more painful, hearing Daylight’s lecture or riding a roller coaster in the sky on Baolilong’s back.
Mizerui, on the other hand, was excitedly leading the two Dragons by flying in front of them, while listening to Daylight’s lecture and Kaiser’s moans of pain. After a short while of flying, they saw a familiar figure: a mountain-like black beauty of a Dragon was lying in the center of the army of Lesser Dragons. At this time, they stopped because they realized, unlike other places on the plains, there were a number of flying Dragons circling around Miluo. If they got any closer, they would draw attention from the Dragons.
“Hmm, someone go distract the Dragons.” Kaiser suggested, then immediately said, “Mizerui, you go. You know teleport, so running away shouldn’t be hard.”
Mizerui hesitated at first, but then he thought, Liola must wake Miluo, and Daylight and Kaiser’s strengths were both mediocre. If the Dragons get a hold of them, they may really be in grave in danger. Therefore, he was the best choice. Mizerui nodded.
Mizerui took out a metallic circle, and it was covered with inscriptions. He gave this metallic plate to Kaiser, and said, “This is a binding magic. You can use it by pouring a bit of your magic power into it. In theory, it should bind the target for half an hour. If it looks like Miluo might break free, then you will have to hold it with your own magic power.”
Kaiser scratched his face, trying to decide whether he should tell Mizerui that Gle did teach him binding magic, but acting on Kaiser’s principle of being as lazy as he possibly could, Kaiser still smiled hideously as he took the binding magic circle.
Mizerui glanced at Kaiser. Although he knew Kaiser’s smile looked like he meant something, due to time constraints, Mizerui didn’t think anything of it. He turned around and instructed, “Liola, remember, put the Dragon Cross Necklace against Miluo’s forehead, then let Baolilong call him, until he wakes up.”
“As for Daylight,” Mizerui said seriously, “You are responsible for taking care of any Dragons who would interfere with Liola. I will do my best to draw them away, but any Dragons slipping through will be up to you.”
“Understood.” Daylight nodded seriously.
Circled by a crowd whose average age hadn’t even reached 25, Mizerui, who had been hundreds of years old, couldn’t help but sigh. If possible, he didn’t want to leave the heavy weight of saving the world on the shoulders of these children, but things can’t just go the way he wanted them to. Mizerui tried to calm his emotions, and said to the others, “I’m going, then, to distract the Dragons.”
Mizerui quickly glided to around Miluo. As soon as the flying Dragons saw the human, they immediately let out loud cries of warning. At this time, the originally quiet Dragons began to act like act explosively. The flying Dragons followed Mizerui like a long tail, and the Dragons on the ground also charged in Mizerui’s direction.
These noises made Miluo get up, and he looked coldly at the noises. He seemed to be tired of the noise, and he shot out a black laser from his mouth directly at Mizerui, as if he didn’t care how many Lesser Dragons he would kill in the path.
Liola and others could feel the power and speed of Miluo’s laser from afar. Right as they tried to warn Mizerui, but the laser was already in front of him. Luckily, Mizerui was no ordinary person, and his flying abilities weren’t something a normal Sorcerer could hold a light to. He teleported 3 meters to the side, and barely missed the laser, even though the shot did take a corner of his robe. Since Miluo was about to chase him, Mizerui immediately began to run. If he lured Miluo away, it would have defeated the point.
Seeing Mizerui flying further and further, Miluo looked at him coldly, and finally lied down, leaving only his Lesser Dragons to chase him.
At this time, the three people glanced at each other, then charged up without saying anything. Liola was in the lead, and Flames followed right after.
Liola planned to attract Miluo’s attention, so Kaiser could successfully cast the binding magic. He no longer hid his power, and purposely released his intense power. Surely enough, Miluo immediately opened his eyes, and let out a deep Dragon growl. Its red and cruel Dragon eyes stared right at the intruder.
As soon as he saw the intruder was riding the symbol of Dragon race’s highest species, Sacred White Dragon, Miluo’s competitive heart made him want to see who’s stronger. He roared into the skies; the sound pierced the skies and shook the earth.
Though Miluo was trying to provoke its anger, but Baolilong knew this was its father. Instead of falling prey to the provocation and fight with the Black Dragon, it turned to looked at Liola, with a sad look in its eyes.
Liola patted Baolilong’s neck trying to comfort it, “Your father is being controlled. He’s not doing this on purpose.”
Seeing the Black Dragon staring at Baolilong, and the reason he led was to draw Miluo’s attention, Liola suddenly had a plan. He said to Baolilong, “Can you roar back at your father? So Kaiser and others will have enough time to use the magic.”
Baolilong nodded sensibly. When it turned around, Miluo was still roaring with provocation. Baolilong tried to forget the Dragon in front of its eyes was its father. The roar of the black Dragon continued, and there was no way a Sacred White Dragon could allow a lower species of Dragon to offend it over and over again.
Baolilong also roared into the sky, and the two loud sounds of Dragon roars made all the Lesser Dragons lay on the ground, terrified for their lives. As a result, this saved Daylight quite some trouble.
Kaiser now poured some magic power onto the binding magic circle. The two palm-sized metallic plates had, after receiving the power, emitted a faint gold light. Kaiser pointed them at Miluo, and with a flash of his blue eyes, the plates projected a giant pentacle, and locked Miluo’s body tightly inside.
“Success!” Kaiser yelled loudly.
Miluo finally noticed something was wrong. He struggled desperately, but the giant body could only move slightly, and could not break free. This infuriated Miluo, and his eyes were almost completely red. He was struggling so much that even his scales were trembling.
“Great, Miluo really can’t move. Kaiser, you’re really powerful.” Seeing Kaiser controlled Miluo’s movements, Daylight said with praise.
“Powerful my butt!” Kaiser was a bit panicked. As the only Magician, Kaiser had already felt the formation trembling under Miluo’s struggles. It seemed to him that Mizerui underestimated Miluo, and the binding magic was not enough!
“Hurry! Take me to Miluo. This binding magic can’t hold on for long.”
Upon hearing the words and seeing Kaiser’s panicked expression, Daylight realized things weren’t as simple as he first thought. He hurriedly directed Flames to fly towards Miluo.
“Liola, hurry up and do your thing. I don’t know how long I could hold him.”
About a dozen meters away, Kaiser gestured at Daylight to stop. After yelling a few reminders to Liola, he began to send more magic power into the binding magic with a serious look on his face. The trembling magic stabilized, and Miluo could no longer move, not even a light tremor.
Liola knew the situation was dire. He quickly took off the necklace around his neck, and pushed it against the center of Miluo’s forehead. White smoke immediately began to come off from the scale touched by the necklace, leaving a burnt mark in the shape of the Dragon Cross.
Just like what Bairui had said, anyone controlled by the Dragon Emperor would be burnt by the Dragon Cross Necklace. Miluo, who was completely bound, had eyes filled with red vessels, and it looked as if it was in pain.
“Baolilong! Call your father.” Liola was able to sense the Dragon Cross Necklace shaking.
Baolilong seemed a bit awkward. After all, it hadn’t spent any time with its biological father. To it, Liola was the father.
With Liola’s continuous urgings, Baolilong called quietly, “Papa, papa.”
Miluo didn’t seem to react to this at all. Liola frowned, and sank the necklace further down into Miluo. The burnt mark had deepened, and it had reached through its skins, leaving a deep cross-shaped mark on his skin.
The Black Dragon’s struggling movement suddenly froze, in response to this familiar and long-awaited call.
Liola could feel the Black Dragon’s trembling body had stopped. Although he knew the necklace was effective, Liola was not willing to let go. The whole cross had practically sunk into Miluo’s flesh, and Miluo’s bloodied eyes flashed with a sense of calm.
Liola stared blankly, and raised his head to look into Miluo’s eye. The previously violent eyes looked suddenly calm. Could the deep warning words just now came from Miluo?
Without thinking it for long, Liola had already sensed a powerful force surging in his surroundings, but the force appeared too suddenly. It wasn’t until the person had appeared in front of him and even grabbed a hold of his shoulders, did Liola realize this man wore a purple robe.
The handsome man examined Liola with his silver eyes, and his tone was unexpected pleasant. He said with a sigh, “You really do look like your mother.”
Liola froze. The feeling conveyed by the Dragon Emperor was far different than when he met him last time. Though this purple-robed Emperor was still mysterious, but now knowing this person was his biological father, Liola had an indescribable feeling.
“Child, I’m happy to see you back.” Dragon Emperor smiled, with gratitude on his face.
Liola wasn’t an idiot. He didn’t think for a bit the Dragon Emperor was actually happy to see him back. He didn’t forget the person who sent him into a coma was the person standing right in front of them.
Liola had a burst of force, and bounced back avoiding Dragon Emperor’s hand. Using Miluo’s forehead as leverage, he jumped towards back. Unexpected to him, the Dragon Emperor had grasped the body of the cross necklace.
When Liola was just about to grab the necklace back, the Dragon Emperor gave out a dull roar, “Child, don’t do this the hard way.”
“Yeah right. no matter what, you will kill Liola, who cares which way it is?” Kaiser said with a very sarcastic voice.
The Dragon Emperor glanced at Kaiser coldly, and his eyes were enough to make Kaiser feel a several-degree temperature drop. In this moment, a pike was swung accurately towards Dragon Emperor’s hand which held onto the necklace, but right before it landed, a sword blade blocked the pike. The owner of the sword was none other than the Paladin Lancelot.
The moment the sparks appeared from the clashing of these two weapons, Daylight circled his pike. On one side he blocked the sword, and on another he forced the Dragon Emperor to withdraw his hand.
Being blocked by Daylight’s pike, Lancelot looked to be deep in shock. He would have never imagined that, being only a Blue Knight merely a year and some time ago, Daylight was now capable of blocking his sword.
Liola used this opportunity to grab the necklace back, and at the same time helped Daylight a bit. The two of them quickly backed up. Liola looked at the situation between the confrontation, and he quickly analyzed the situation in his head: He should be able to stalemate against one of the two, but Daylight might not be able to hold against the other one on his own. Perhaps with Kaiser… Liola looked Kaiser from the corner of his eyes.
Coincidentally, Kaiser was also looking at Liola. When their eyes meet, Liola immediately looked at Daylight. Kaiser understood Liola wanted him to help Daylight, but he shook his head slightly while looking at Miluo, indicating that he couldn’t leave the binding magic.
Now, Liola really had a foreboding feeling about the situation.
Chapter 4 : Father
This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, Kei, and StellarAshes.
“Child, why must you resist me?” The Dragon Emperor looked deeply at Liola, saying irresistible words. “You are my child, the most talented child. Once I conquer the world, the next Dragon Emperor is you, and you will become the Emperor of the world.”
He did not expect the Dragon Emperor to say something like it. Still, Liola replied indifferently, “I don’t want to be Emperor.”
Hearing this answer, instead of being angry, the Dragon Emperor faintly smiled, “That’s right, each and every one of my children is very humble.”
“Really?” Full of suspicions, Kaiser who is used to retorting raised his tone, “Latter or whatever wasn’t like that.”
As if he heard something unforgivable, the Dragon Emperor’s expression darkened, and his voice became frighteningly ice-cold. “He is not my child.”
“Eh?” Kaiser’s face became puzzled. “If he’s not your child then whose is he? Don’t tell me your wife cheated…” Kaiser didn’t even finish his last word. As soon as the Dragon Emperor’s eyes turned cold, a beam of purple light shot out from his finger and flew towards Kaiser.
Seeing the light, Kaiser snorted and raised his hand, firing a 3 times-compressed Divine Fireball to blow the light beam away.
The Dragon Emperor was, at first, surprised to see Kaiser easily knocking away the light beam, then full of interest, he sized up Kaiser and Daylight. The improvement in these two would so much truly impress anyone.
“What are you so angry for, your wife’s cheating is none of my goddamn business.” Kaiser said this unhappily, but suddenly he began to smile. “No wonder you want to kill Latte, turns out to be not your son.”
The Dragon Emperor’s face fell a little, but he didn’t attack Kaiser again, and he didn’t pay any attention to him. He turned to Liola and his tone remained warm, “Child, come with me. Father doesn’t care about the prophecy anymore, you are my best child, as long as you succeed me, even if you killed me, it wouldn’t matter.”
Hearing this, Liola suddenly raised his head, and attempted to find traces of lying on the Dragon Emperor’s face. However, seeing those pair of purple yet clear eyes, it was hard to make out any trace of lies. Liola somewhat half-believed, but if the Dragon Emperor was speaking the truth, then maybe following him back was a good chance to assassinate him. Liola thought about this hesitantly.
“Liola?” Kaiser saw Liola wasn’t saying anything, and thought maybe he was really considering leaving with the Dragon Emperor, so he couldn’t help but ask with a dim tone.
Liola slowly turned back and glanced at Kaiser, thinking if he should leave with the Dragon Emperor, since under the current situation, it would be difficult for 3 people to escape. But if he leaves with the Dragon Emperor willingly, then the Dragon Emperor will probably promise to free Daylight and Kaiser. As for Liola’s own safety, he is not worried, not because he’s bragging, but if he is by himself, Liola dare say no one can stop him from escaping.
“If I go with you, can you guarantee to let both of them go?” Liola looked at the Dragon Emperor.
The Dragon Emperor raised his eyebrow, “Of course, you thought I mind these two? Child, they have improved, but it’s still too early for them to be a threat to me.”
Hearing Liola’s answer, Kaiser and Daylight cried out startlingly, “Liola!”
“Let them go first.” Liola calmly said, not understanding his two companion’s worried look.
The Dragon Emperor nodded gracefully, his long slender hand indicating permission.
Daylight and Kaiser didn’t move from their spot, the determined look on both faces said they will absolutely not leave. Liola can only tell them via Baolilong talking to Flames, and Flames telling Daylight of his plan. At the same time, he promised he will definitely escape.
Hearing the message from Flames, Daylight hesitated. Under normal circumstances, Daylight will never abandon his companion to escape, but considering if he and Kaiser stayed behind, they might become Liola’s burden.
“Can you promise you can definitely escape?” Daylight let Flames convey.
“I promise.” Liola also respond this way.
Daylight hesitated a bit and let out a sigh. He went and grab Kaiser with the intention to leave, but as soon as he pulled Kaiser, the magic spell dispersed and Miluo can finally move. He roared loudly towards the sky, blood-red eyes glaring at Kaiser. Yet as a purple light from the Dragon Emperor shot at Miluo’s forehead, Miluo became tame as a domesticated horse, quietly lying down.
Kaiser used his strength to break away from Daylight’s grasp and yelled towards Liola. “Don’t go with him, I don’t care about whatever ideas you have, do you think the Dragon Emperor hasn’t thought of them?”
Liola heard this and he turned and looked suspiciously at the Dragon Emperor, who paid no attention but instead calmly said, “It seems your companions have a deep misunderstanding towards me. Child, I have said I don’t mind the prophecy and came only take you back. Even if you don’t believe father’s words, do you also not believe the promise of an Emperor?”
Liola became quiet for a while, then said to Kaiser, “You guys leave.”
Kaiser practically exploded with rage, other than being angry at Liola, in truth he is angrier at himself. Given he had indeed became stronger, yet was there wasn’t anything that can be done except to turn tail and run?
“Let’s go, Kaiser.” Daylight once again pulled Kaiser and simply dragged him regardless of the latter’s utmost struggling,
“Liola, you have to come back.” Daylight passed the message through Flames but at the same time firmly looked at Liola. “If you don’t come back, you will find four people who will risk everything to go save you.”
Hearing this, Liola’s body shook strongly, and he carefully nodded.
Receiving Liola’s promise, Daylight finally able to let go of some of his worries, bringing Kaiser along with him, and flew far away. But Kaiser was still anxious and struggled fiercely to throw off Daylight until Daylight shouted, “Kaiser! What are you thinking about? Us staying would do nothing but obstruct Liola’s escape.”
Hearing this, Kaiser was like a balloon losing its air. In a short while, he sat on Flame’s back and looked at the distant Liola’s figure becoming smaller and smaller. When he finally became out of sight, he clenched his fist. “I know, I know leaving was the best option, since staying behind would only hinder Liola…”
“But Daylight, I have an uneasy feeling.” Kaiser’s voice echoed of worry.
“Did you believe the Dragon Emperor still wants to kill Liola?” Daylight asked.
“No.” Kaiser immediately denied this notion, paused for a long time only then continued, “I feel the Dragon Emperor is telling the truth.”
Daylight was baffled. “If the Dragon Emperor spoke the truth, then isn’t it even better? He won’t kill Liola.”
‘Won’t kill Liola…?’ Kaiser felt restless from these words. Why did the Dragon Emperor change his mind? Was he really not worried Liola would kill him? If he really isn’t worried… then what is it? From what basis does he have such certainty?
The multitude of ideas swam in Kaiser’s mind, but no matter what he came up with, he was unable to guess the Dragon Emperor’s thoughts. Kaiser only has an intuition the Dragon Emperor’s ideas are extremely terrifying, and moreover the consequences are what they will not be happy to see.
Yet the crucial point among these is something that Kaiser can never imagine, because Liola is an expert at treating all important and unimportant things as unimportant as well as forgetting them. Indeed he forgot to tell Kaiser about the rumors of the Dragon Emperor’s ambitions. If the Kaiser at this time knew of his ambitions, even if he used his knees to think, he would figure out the reason why the Dragon Emperor took Liola away.
Daylight saw Kaiser’s serious expression, and he comforted him, “Believe in Liola, he’s not the same as before, he won’t easily give up life and will surely do his best to escape.”
“Only…” Daylight sighed, “when can we stop running away?”
Kaiser’s eyes became tense. “We won’t always run away. Not long in the future, surely, we’ll stop.”
The two flew until they could almost see Freesia, and they heard someone calling them from behind. Daylight had also sensed someone was quickly closing in on them, but he didn’t dare to ask Flames stop because he feared they were pursued by people sent by the Dragon Emperor.
As he was turning his head to see who it was, Kaiser had already patted Daylight as he yelled, “Stop, stop, it’s Gladiolus.”
Daylight made an emergency U-turn and Gladiolus caught up to them. Gladiolus looked at the two, and frowned as he asked, “Where’s the other person?”
“Dragon Emperor is holding him.” Kaiser answered unhappily. Without waiting Gladiolus to explain, he began to blame him, “Where the hell did you and Mizerui go? I won’t believe you didn’t notice the Dragon Emperor was here. Why didn’t you come save us?”
Gladiolus remained silent for a while, then said, “Unless we have the power to defeat Dragon Emperor, we cannot afford to expose Mizerui’s identity. I am also using all of the Dark Street’s resources to help Qiusi, so I can’t afford being captured.”
Due to Liola only being released by Gle short while ago, then getting captured by Dragon Emperor, Kaiser was in a terrible mood. Even though he knew Gladiolus and Mizerui were both here with the danger of being caught, and they’re doing all that they could so he couldn’t really ask for more… Nevertheless, he was still angry.
Unable to bear it, Kaiser ridiculed, “Hmph! They were only a few people, 2 people plus a dragon and a horse. But we are 5 people plus two dragons plus a bird! Given this they still dare not fight, hmph! Cowards!”
“Kaiser!” Daylight wrinkled his eyebrows, reprimanding lightly that he should not say these kinds of hurtful words.
“Cowards? Perhaps so.” Gladiolus said calmly. “When one has a lot of responsibilities, their life is not only their own and their courage becomes smaller and smaller.”
Hearing Gladiolus’ response, no matter how thick-skinned Kaiser was, he can’t help but be a little embarrassed, his expression immediately became uncomfortable. Even Daylight quickly apologized to Gladiolus. “I’m really sorry, Gladiolus, Kaiser is only too worried about Liola and he didn’t mean it.”
Gladiolus had not minded it, only nodding and instead warned with good intention. “You must not put the Dragon Emperor as a common X-class individual. His power is already not something an ordinary person can imagine. Probably… only the Devil King Gle has the means to fight him alone.”
“You should stop worrying for Liola, Mizerui will think of a solution.”
Seeing that Gladiolus was not angry and kindly warning them instead, Kaiser’s tensed face eased up, and he nodded no longer grumbling.
When he heard Mizerui was thinking of a way, Daylight’s mood lightened up, and he asked, “Then, where do we need to go now?”
“We can no longer go to Freesia. A year ago, Miluo gathered the sub-Dragons from the Yaron Plains, and this was the first city attacked. Ever since then, practically everyone in the city had either died or ran for their lives.”
Daylight looked at Freesia from afar. At first he didn’t notice it, but after hearing Gladiolus’ words, Daylight noticed, the walls of Freesia were indeed covered with dark, dried blood, and the walls were broken through in many places. Everything indicated how tragic the battle must have been a year ago.
“Mizerui wants me to bring you to the Commerce Alliance.” Gladiolus said. “You are familiar with the Red Commander’s daughter. They will probably offer shelter to you.”
Daylight widened his eyes. “Why not Aklan Republic? Isn’t there a war going on? We will stay behind to help out.”
“I don’t know, but Mizerui wants me to bring you to the Commerce Alliance.” Gladiolus wrinkled his eyebrows and added, “And I plan to do just that.”
“What about Meinan? Where is he?” Kaiser calmly asked. He believed Mizerui has his own considerations in letting them stay at the Commerce Alliance, so Kaiser didn’t persist in wanting to stay at Aklan. As far as the war is concerned, whether he and Daylight was there or not there was no big difference.
“Also in Commerce Alliance.” Gladiolus answered without the slightest hesitation, at the same time secretly admiring Mizerui. Just now when Mizerui decided to bring these two to the Commerce Alliance, he already foreseen and told him the Prime Minister’s son was already sent to the Commerce Alliance. He was still thinking why Mizerui would suddenly tell him that information, and now he finally understood. If he couldn’t answer, he’s afraid these two people would not go.
“Meinan is also at the Commerce Alliance, huh.” Even though Kaiser was relieved Meinan didn’t participate in the battlefield, but it was slightly worrying that Qiusi, as the Prime Minister of Aklan, would send his own son to the Commerce Alliance. Doesn’t it represent Qiusi’s lack of confidence to win the war?
Unable to understand the situation, pile after pile of questions stirred confusingly in Kaiser’s head until he finally couldn’t take it and yelled. “Argh! I don’t care anymore, let’s go find Purity and Meinan first.”
Daylight still wanted to say he will stay behind alone, but was cut off by Kaiser. “Shut up! The war won’t change whether or not you’re there. First, let’s look for Meinan and Purity, moreover, if Liola doesn’t come back, we have to think of a way to save him.”
The thought of Liola still being in the hands of the Emperor was enough to let Daylight reflect and not persist in going to Aklan.
Seeing that they reached an agreement, Gladiolus immediately led them to set out. He wanted to complete this mission as soon as possible so he could return to the place he belongs to. He was worried about the Dark Street, which was the result of his life’s work, and… the girl who was always waiting by the window.
“Child, do you think I am wrong?”
Alone at the Emperor’s side, Liola planned to stay a little longer to give Kaiser and Daylight more time to escape further, further reducing the odds of being caught by the Dragon Emperor. Right when he was clueless of what excuse he can use to stay here, the Dragon Emperor opened his mouth. Liola fixed his state of mind; conversations are the best for delaying time. His eyes purposely revealed a look of doubt towards Dragon Emperor.
The Dragon Emperor smiled a little and the expression on his face softened. His eyes, which used to be completely imposing, became clear and relaxed. He flew near Baolilong, slowly descended on Baolilong’s back. Liola alertly watched the Dragon Emperor, even though he didn’t know what plan he was mixing up, still, Liola truly dislike him going too close. It lessens the reaction time he has due to the distance.
However, the Dragon Emperor walked naturally until he was in front of Liola. The latter’s guard was on extreme alert, waiting only for any movements of the Dragon Emperor and he will immediately strike back without fail.
It appears as if the Dragon Emperor sensed Liola’s tenseness, he only smiled while gently saying, “Don’t be so nervous, child, I only want to see your face more closely.”
With that said, the Dragon Emperor raised his right hand, and Liola automatically saw him as a potential attacker, and his right hand quickly took out Broken Silver while raising it to his chest and looking dangerously at the Dragon Emperor.
Regarding Liola’s protective action, the Dragon Emperor a little bit shocked and a dull sadness appeared through the smile on his face. His right hand was still raised, but Liola didn’t detect any energy. Confused about the Dragon Emperor’s intention, he alarmingly and suspiciously watched the pair of hands slowly nearing his head.
When the Dragon Emperor’s hand was only a few inches away, Liola struck the Dragon Emperor’s hand away due to his reflexive nature to counterattack. This attack landed squarely on the Dragon Emperor’s hand, and Liola could not feel him using any aura to protect his own hand. The soft sounds of bone cracking clearly indicated to Liola that the Dragon Emperor’s bones on his hands were at least cracked.
The Dragon Emperor only grunted and Lancelot, who saw what happened, revealed a furious look. Just when he was about to rush forward, the Dragon Emperor raised his left hand to stop his movement.
Lancelot stepped back, only politely said. “Your Majesty, please at least let me treat your injury.”
The Dragon Emperor shook his head, “Later. With an injury, perhaps my child will accept me more easily.”
Seeing Dragon Emperor’s hand hanging by his body and clearly unable to move, Liola no longer had any ideas of what he wanted to do. The Dragon Emperor didn’t seem to want to give up, and he raised his unharmed left arm to slowly approach Liola.
Liola looked back skeptically, trying to find any clue in the Dragon Emperor’s expression. However, he found no malice on the face, but instead he was greeted with a warm smile as well as warm and perhaps even a bit silly eyes.
Liola unconsciously thought of the excessive kind Prince Coffee from Bairui’s mouth.
At this moment, the Dragon Emperor’s hand already made contact with Liola’s black hair. Liola wanted to break away but seeing the Dragon Emperor couldn’t even move his right hand, at one moment’s hesitation, the Dragon Emperor was already touching his head. As Liola’s body immediately stiffened, the Dragon Emperor indulgently pampered his hair.
Liola was entirely confused by the Dragon Emperor’s obvious cheerful expression. This action was not at all foreign to Liola, Gle had frequently in this way touch Yasha’s head while insisting on leaving her red hair in a terrible mess. After she repeatedly protested, Gle would laugh heartily and move his hand away.
Even Liola himself had also frequently massaged Baolilong’s head in this way. Baolilong on the other hand, does not protest. The little dragon simply does not mind whether his hair was messy or not. He is always very happy whenever Liola stroke his head.
But no one had ever massaged Liola’s head like this, and no one had ever used such a caring and happy expression to look at him.
A strange kind of feeling came from the bottom of his heart, Liola was a little embarrassed and wiped the Dragon Emperor’s hand away, even protesting, “I am not a little child.” Only when he said it, even Liola was surprised at himself. These types of words were not like his own.
Just like every parent who had their child protesting had he realize his child was already this grown up. The Dragon Emperor had a fleeting moment of disappointment following which he started smiling. “It’s father’s mistake. You’re already this big, yet I still think of you as a child.”
Looking at the Dragon Emperor’s smiling expression, Liola suddenly found himself sinking into a strange circumstance. He had always classified the Dragon Emperor as an enemy. Even when he found out the Dragon Emperor was his father, he treated it only as a simple blood relation; after all, the Dragon Emperor was not the one who raised him. But now, the reality finally sank in to him: the Dragon Emperor was his father.
“Can you…” Even though the Dragon Emperor was still smiling, but his expression was somewhat awkward. At the same time saying half a sentence then breaking off words again, it seems the words were hard to leave his mouth.
Liola looked at him suspiciously.
The Dragon Emperor coughed, a little silliness in his smile, “Child, can you call me once?”
Although not knowing what he wants to do but this request was not difficult, Liola bluntly replied. “Dragon Emperor.”
Immediately hearing this, the Dragon Emperor stared distractedly, a clear look of disappointment showed on his face.
Seeing the Dragon Emperor’s disappointed look, Liola doesn’t know what he did wrong, but based on his past experience in which he let Gle down, a bunch of beatings or messy and wild experiences followed. As a result, Liola uncontrollably tensed up, his originally relaxed hand once again held tightly to Broken Silver.
Disappointed for a moment, the Dragon Emperor quickly cheered up and a gentle smile returned to his face. “Never mind, father’s demand was too much to start with by wanting you call me father or dad.”
Liola was shocked to the point where his mouth couldn’t help but open slightly. He never thought the Dragon Emperor had this meaning.
“Let’s go, child.” The Dragon Emperor naturally said.
“Where to?” Liola reflexively asked.
The Dragon Emperor revealed a sad expression, faintly saying, “Today is your birthday, also… the anniversary of your mother’s death. You have never visited your mother’s grave, so now, we should let her see you, and because you are the only boy she had.”
‘Today is my birthday?’ How would Liola know this? The Dragon Emperor’s strange and intimate actions, his own birthday, his mother’s death anniversary… The various things were enough to let confuse Liola, so he didn’t know what to do. The lonely Assassin suddenly finds out he does have a father and a mother.
“That’s right, you’ve met your third brother Cappuccino but still haven’t seen your eldest brother Mocha right?” The Dragon Emperor smiled lightly. “Your eldest brother’s personality is a little odd, don’t let him scare you.”
Hearing these words, Liola became even more surprised. He almost forgot he has elder brothers and an elder sister before him. Not to mention his elder sister is… Liola didn’t refrain from asking. “How’s Lanski?”
Hearing this, the Dragon Emperor sighed lightly. “That child has been depressed recently, father is worried. Right, perhaps you can comfort that child. While we talked all this time, father still doesn’t know which of you is older?”
Liola answered rigidly, “I’m the younger brother…” Nevertheless, Anise had made him age 5 years, so he looked older than Lanski.
“So that’s how it is, Lan will definitely be very happy to have a younger brother.”
As the Dragon Emperor smiled, he took up Liola’s hand. It was natural to the point where Liola forgot to be cautious. The Dragon Emperor’s voice, which was full of warm and gentleness, resounded by Liola’s ear.
“Let’s go home, child.”
Chapter 5 : Elder Sister, Younger Brother
This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, and StellarAshes.
Seeing Dragon Emperor’s sad and pleading purple eyes, Liola had no idea what was wrong with him, but he had nodded unknowingly. He told Baolilong to follow Lancelot’s Unicorn, flew past the Yaron Plains and crossed an ocean. Since these three weren’t ordinary people, it wasn’t difficult for them to fly continuously. This continued for a full day and night.
When he saw the edge of another continent approaching from afar, Liola suddenly had a strange feeling. He didn’t know why he was here. Wasn’t he going to run away to look for Kaiser and Daylight?
Probably noticing Liola’s doubt in his heart, Baolilong slowed down its flying speed, and asked probingly via telepathy, “Papa? Should we continue?”
Before Liola had time to respond, the Dragon Emperor opened his mouth. His thin fingers pointed at the Dragon Continent, “Child, look, that is where your home is.”
‘My… home?’ Liola shook, and then began to urge, “Let’s go! Baolilong, fly faster.”
Although Baolilong thought Liola was acting a bit strange, but it wouldn’t dare to defy the person who was both its papa and its master. Hearing this, Baolilong practically darted towards the Dragon Continent, fearing Liola might think it was being too slow.
Dragons was indeed the kings of the skies. With a dart, even Lancelot was left far behind. Originally, it looked like they were still quite a distance away from the Dragon Continent, but now they were practically instantly there. The Dragon Emperor gestured to Baolilong to fly towards the most important palace on the Dragon’s Continent.
In stark contrast to the skyscrapers in Aklan, the Dragon Empire’s palaces looked completely like an ancient imperial palace. The white walls were built by laying bricks, and the surrounding pillars, whose circumference required three people reaching their hands out to cover, had various majestic Knight mounts carved onto them. Even the boundless gardens had various statues: elegant and majestic white Dragon, divine Unicorn, prideful wolf king, etc.
“Do you like your home? Child.” The Dragon Emperor asked warmly.
For some reason, as soon as Liola thought of this word, the images surfacing in his heart were drastically different from the elegant palace in front of his eyes. What he saw was a simple dormitory room, with an adult and a child each taking a bed, but their sleeping posture being surprisingly similar and strange. Liola could never understand, how this person and Dragon could manage to perfectly wrap themselves into a sushi roll in their sleep.
The Dragon Emperor didn’t seem to like Liola’s silence. He grabbed his child’s hand, and jumped down from Baolilong’s back. Then he took him and walked familiarly through the maze-like garden.
“Where are we going?” Liola asked with a bit of shock.
Without answering Liola’s question, the Dragon Emperor simply smiled mysteriously.
They ran into quite a few Knights on the way. What surprised Liola was they were all at least Silver Knights. The number of Silver Knights Liola saw while he was on Aklan Continent was less than how many he saw when he took two steps here.
The first thing these Silver and Gold Knights did upon seeing the Dragon Emperor, was giving him a Knight’s salute courteously. Liola also noticed, they weren’t afraid of the Dragon Emperor, and there was only looks of respect and admiration. Of course, seeing Dragon Emperor pulling Liola, many of the Knights looked surprised and curious, but no one would ask about it.
Seeing so many Silver and Gold Knights, Liola suddenly felt a bit unexpected. After thinking for a while, he finally remembered; Kaiser seemed to have said there were only ten Gold Knights in the world? Then why did he already see more than ten Gold Knights?
“Why are there so many Gold Knights? Aren’t there only ten?” Liola asked curiously.
Hearing Liola’s sudden question, the Dragon Emperor seemed to be surprised. He thought briefly before answering, “Do you mean the Gold Knights acknowledged by Aklan?”
Liola became even more doubtful, “Is there a difference?”
Hearing this, the Dragon Emperor’s expressions darkened, “Knight ranks had always been bestowed by the Dragon Emperor, but Aklan ignored the Dragon Empire and created their own Knight examinations. They also give people who pass their test ranks of Knight, and they randomly mixed your three royal brothers into their ten Gold Knights, hmmph.”
Liola briefly thought about Dragon Emperor’s answer. Thus, the so-called ten Gold Knights were simply seven people who passed the Knight’s test from Aklan and the three Princes of Dragon Empire. But they didn’t know, within Dragon Empire itself, there were Gold Knights acknowledged by the Dragon Emperor, and the amount of them were surprisingly high.
Liola suddenly felt uneasy. From the looks of it, Aklan seemed to underestimate the strength of the Dragon Empire. He couldn’t refrain from asking, “Are the strength of Dragon Empire’s Gold Knights comparable to that of Aklan?”
Hearing Liola’s question, the smile on Dragon Emperor’s face and the feeling of spring breeze about him suddenly disappeared. Liola sensed the warm grasp the Dragon Emperor had on his hand had tightened, to the point where he if he didn’t exert forces to resist, his wrist was at risk for fracturing.
A strong force exploded from the Dragon Emperor, and his indescribable expression was now clearly showing anger. Liola didn’t know why the Dragon Emperor would suddenly be infuriated, but he knew, he wasn’t going to stand there and take a beating. In an instant, his Ki filled his limbs, and Liola was on the edge of his nerves.
An inquiry interrupted the confrontation. The Dragon Emperor paused briefly, and the anger on his face completely dissipated. Instead, a look of agitation replaced it. Seeing the Dragon Emperor no longer angry, Liola relaxed unconsciously. Probably due to the doubt of his face being too obvious, the Dragon Emperor’s expression had softened; he said as he were a father teaching his child a lesson,
“Child, never insult the Knights of the Dragon Empire. They have survived the most stringent of tests. They are immaculate in their loyalty, strength, and chivalry, and they’re not something who can even be compared with the Knights produced by Aklan’s idiotic test system.”
Liola now understood why the Dragon Emperor would suddenly be so angry, but because of this action, Liola felt himself even more confused about the man. How could an Emperor who placed such importance on his Knights would be a man who wanted to conquer the world regardless of methods?
The person who spoke trotted to the two, and he was followed by a line of Knights, one of them was even the person with the title of Dark Knight — Blood Wolf. Everyone looked dazed; originally, they sensed Dragon Emperor’s surge of power as well as the appearance of another strong power, so they came here thinking that the Dragon Emperor was being assassinated; however, the scenario they ran into was far from what they had expected.
“You’re chosen a good time to come, Cappuccino.” The Dragon Emperor gestured his third son to come forward with his eyes.
Cappuccino was examined Liola with surprise. If he wasn’t mistaken, this person was the Silver Mask who was hit by his father’s Purple Tornado more than a year ago, and whose fate was never determined.
A man whom his father wanted dead more than a year ago, was actually holding hands with his father and strolling through the garden?
Cappuccino couldn’t get any more surprised than he was now, but he didn’t dare to ignore his father’s gesture for him to go up. He was never scared of anything, other than his enigmatic father.
“Yes, father.” Cappuccino walked up respectfully, but he still couldn’t hold back glancing at Liola few times. At the same time he felt comforted Silver Mask wasn’t dead, and it looked like he had settled his problems with his father. From the looks of it, his sister Lanski wouldn’t have to be sad anymore.
“This is your younger brother, Dragon Empire’s fourth Prince, Liola.” Dragon Emperor announced to Cappuccino and the Knights behind him.
“Huh?” Cappuccino’s mouth became a circular O. His mind went blank for a long while before he fumbled and asked, “How can it be? When did I get a younger brother? Is he your love child?”
The Dragon Emperor frowned and looked at Cappuccino, and he said with a slight reproaching tone, “Nonsense. Liola is the second Queen’s son, the person who went missing more than twenty years ago, and Lanski’s twin brother.”
Cappuccino paused, and said without thinking, “But didn’t Eldest brother’s prophecy say that…”
Before Cappuccino finished, Blood Wolf tugged him from behind, and he immediately closed his mouth after realizing he almost said his brother was going to kill his father in his face. Cold sweat ran down Cappuccino’s back. He was, after all a Prince, even if he was a sloppy one, he still knew things he couldn’t say.
He immediately tried to change topic, “Congratulations, father, on finding my younger brother. Do you need me to show him around, and arrange quarters for him?”
“In a bit.” The Dragon Emperor said lightly, “I’m going to take him to pay a visit to his mother. You go summon the Knights in the palace to meet up at the great hall. I will announce the fourth Prince’s identity in a while.”
“Yes, father.” Cappuccino felt uneasy. He didn’t know where his sister, Lanski, was, and he had a bad feeling about it.
“Let’s go, child.”
The Dragon Emperor paced away. Liola turned to look at Blood Wolf, whom didn’t react at all. He had no choice but to follow the Dragon Emperor.
Liola felt very uneasy about the Dragon Emperor announcing his identity. It seemed it would imply he would be on Dragon Emperor’s side, and would become the enemies of his companions.
* * *
After the Dragon Emperor and Liola walked away, Cappuccino broke into pieces. He pulled his hair as he screamed, “Crap, crap, crap! Has anyone seen where Princess Lanski is?”
The Knights behind him looked at each other, and finally all shook their heads. Cappuccino was so angry, his face turned red. He pointed his fingers around, “You, you, you, and you, weren’t you following my sister closely? So why don’t you know where she is? Bastards! And you guys call yourselves the Princess bodyguards!”
These Knights didn’t know whether they should laugh or cry. As much as they admired the Princess, they weren’t just sitting idly in the palace, so how could they possibly follow the Princess around all day?
“Blood Wolf.” Cappuccino was frowning so much that his eyebrows were about to touch, “You go summon the Knights, I’m going to go find Lanski first.”
Blood Wolf nodded, then shook his head and sighed, “Things have gone big this time!”
* * *
Although he knew the Dragon Emperor was taking him to see his mother’s grave, but Liola didn’t feel anything, and he was more preoccupied with what would happen after. He thought seriously, should he escape before the Dragon Emperor announce him as a Prince?
“Your mother was an amazing woman.” The Dragon Emperor sighed.
Liola’s attention was pulled back by Dragon Emperor’s words. If he remembered correctly, Gle had once said jokingly, perhaps he was ripped out of her mother with her bare hands, and he said it was impossible for Susanna to die from childbirth, so it was probably the Dragon Emperor who killed her.
Because of this, Liola could never believe the Dragon Emperor, even if his back was filled with solitude and sorrow, even if he looked like he was a father treating a child, even if everything Liola had just saw was completely different than the evil empire he had imagined.
‘Never trust the Dragon Emperor!’ Liola told himself.
“Surely enough, Lanski did arrive first.”
Dragon Emperor’s voice sounded comforting. Hearing Lanski’s name, Liola’s body instead completely froze. When he looked up, he had realized he had already unknowingly walked up a small hill behind the palace with the Dragon Emperor. It was surrounded by grass plains, and only two graceful figures stood quietly under a kapok tree. The two familiar figures made Liola pause; he never thought even Jasmine would be there.
The two women seemed to have noticed the Dragon Emperor’s arrival. They both reflexively bowed and said at the same time, “Greetings, father Emperor”, “Greetings, Your Majesty.”
“No need to be ceremonious, child. I told you before, while we’re here, we’re only father and daughter.” The Dragon Emperor said gently.
“Sorry, father, Lan forgot again.”
Lanski answered somewhat uneasily, and Jasmine didn’t even look straight at the Dragon Emperor. She couldn’t possibly forget, the attack dealt by this Emperor in front of her to the person she loved, and thereby causing both her and Lanski to spend the past year or so worrying. They both shed countless amount of tears every time they remembered Liola’s body covered in blood.
Jasmine could look down without looking at Dragon Emperor as a sign of respect, but Lanski couldn’t. She raised her head to look, but suddenly noticed another person. The person’s silver eyes were looking gently at her and Jasmine.
Lanski’s nervous heart felt like it suddenly exploded, and she didn’t know to react to such pain yet incomparable joy. Her throat suddenly felt dry, and she could barely speak, “Sil… Silver Mask?”
Jasmine was shocked, and immediately raised her head to look. She took a deep breath, and sobbed, “Liola! You’re still alive, you really are still alive.”
Liola also panicked; he could only nodded his head and replied, “Mmm, I am still alive.”
Without any hesitation, Jasmine threw herself against Liola, grabbing his shirt in front of his chest to wipe away her tears like a handkerchief, while complaining to him, “You bastard, you didn’t even tell us you didn’t die. Do you know how hard it was for me and Lanski?”
Ignoring her father who was standing to her side, and ignoring her identity as a Princess, two streams of tears also ran down Lanski’s face. She slowly walked in front of Liola, no longer able to control her emotions. She lightly put her forehead on Liola’s shoulder, allowing the tears to wet her loved one’s shoulder, as if this was her punishment for him.
Seeing the two girls’ tears, an indescribable feeling erupted from within Liola’s heart. Even though they were two different girls, they both treated him well. At this time, Long Yandi’s words also jumped into Liola’s mind: Did Lanski and Jasmine wanted to marry him?
“So Lan and her younger brother are already affectionate to one another. Father is very comforted.” The Dragon Emperor smiled.
Lanski, however, was stunned. Although she heard her name, she could not understand what her father was trying to say. Jasmine also heard what he said, and for some reason, she had a bad feeling about it.
“Child, your mother loved kapok tree the most, so I planted one on top of her grave. Go over there and let your mom take a good look at you.”
The Dragon Emperor gestured at the tree a few steps away. Liola looked, and surely enough, there was a tombstone underneath the tree. The simple tombstone had only a few words of epitaph, “In loving memory of my beloved wife, Susanna”. The signature underneath was “From your husband, Caffey.”
It was so simple that even their identities as the Emperor and Queen were not carved on it. The Dragon Emperor walked over, and looked up at the kapoks. His expressions looked gentle as a calm lake. He lightly took a blooming kapok, and stooped over to put it in front of the tombstone. He said, “Susanna, our child is here to see you.”
Could this man have really killed his own wife? Liola began to believe those words less and less.
Lanski asked rigidly. Her brains didn’t seem to function, or perhaps she was forcing herself not to understand what it implied. Jasmine, on the other hand, already understood. She held Lanski’s hand tightly, and her face looked even worse than Lanski’s. She could practically predict the amount of shock her best friend was about to receive.
The Dragon Emperor turned, and looked at the pair of twins. He smiled and said, “Yes, Liola is your twin brother. As the elder sister, you better take good care of him.”
He didn’t know, how cruel his sentence could have been to her. Lanski’s frail body began to shake. She looked unbelievably at Liola’s silver eyes, and asked with trembling voice, “Brother?”
Seeing Lanski was practically pleading him to deny it, Liola really wanted to shake his head and shake no, but the truth was in front of him, not allowing him to say no. Liola slowly nodded his head.
‘I… fell in love with my own brother?’ Lanski felt dizzy, and her legs gave out; she practically fainted into her good friend’s arms.
The Dragon Emperor, on the other hand, didn’t know what was going on. Although he knew Lanski had met with Liola before, he had never imagined Lanski’s feelings toward Liola was anything more than ordinary classmates. He asked caringly, “Lan? What’s wrong? Are you unwell?”
“Your Highness, Princess Lanski hasn’t eaten anything since the morning, I think maybe she has low blood sugar.” Jasmine tightly held onto her good friend, and made up an excuse, “Please allow me to take her to rest and eat food.”
“Go rest. If you feel better in a bit, come to the great hall. Father will declare Liola as the fourth Prince.” The Dragon Emperor kindly reminded, but Lanski’s face became paler.
Seeing Lanski in despair, Liola felt really uncomfortable; but as someone who didn’t have the slightest clue about love, he had no idea what to do. Comforting people was something Liola had practically never done, so he couldn’t do anything, especially in such a complex situation.
Seeing Lanski’s pale face, Jasmine was so angry that her cheeks were bright red. She said mockingly, “Prince Liola, Your Highness, please excuse us.”
Liola paused. Jasmine, who had always been cheerful and generous, had never spoken to him in such an angry and sarcastic tone. He looked at Jasmine’s glaring eyes, and in his heart he felt he had been mistreated. He didn’t wish to be the Dragon Emperor’s son either, but he had absolutely no choice.
Perhaps sensing Liola’s helplessness, Jasmine did not speak a word. She held her friend and slowly left. Nevertheless, Liola heard the sound of her deep sigh.
* * *
After visiting Susanna’s grave, the Dragon Emperor asked Liola to put on a black formal attire. A few Dragons in their human forms brought Baolilong in its little Dragon form. On one hand, Liola wanted to see Lanski and Jasmine again; on another, he really was unable to find an opportunity to escape, so he had no choice but to go to the great hall.
Perhaps, after being declared the Prince, the Dragon Emperor would let down his guard. As such, he would have an easier time to run away, Liola decided on this plan.
When he was at the great hall, Liola finally understood why the Dragon Empire was truly the Kingdom of Knights. Even for a summon on such a short notice, the wide hall stood four to five hundred Knights. Although the majority of them were Silver Knights, there were more than fifty Gold Knights, and he didn’t know how many of them were Dragon Knights. Liola thought to himself, this much power could probably destroy Aklan without much hindrance.
The Knights were worthy to be called the perfect Knights by the Dragon Emperor. Even though a Prince popped out of nowhere, all of them looked steadily at the Dragon Emperor with the utmost respect, and no one would even look at Liola with scrutinizing eyes, until the Dragon Emperor introduced him, “… Luckily, the Dragon Empire still found our youngest Prince. I hereby announce the fourth Prince, Liola.”
The eyes of the Knights suddenly converged onto Liola. Suddenly becoming the focus, as an Assassin who was usually hiding in the dark, Liola felt a bit uneasy, although on the surface, he still looked coldly as he did before. All the Knights immediately performed a Knight’s salute towards him. The coordinated and uniform action shocked Liola a bit, and luckily he still remembered, he had to return the salute in the same manner.
“Child, go get familiar with everyone. Father must go take care of business.” The Dragon Emperor instructed to Liola, “If there’s anything you’re unfamiliar with, just ask your sovereign brothers. Cappuccino is easy to get along with.”
Liola nodded. As soon as the Dragon Emperor disappeared from the great hall, Cappuccino ran up as if he couldn’t wait anymore. He looked anxious but also at a loss for words. He scratched his head crazily and said, “Sigh, h-how could you be my brother, and now I can’t even find Lanski…”
“I’ve already seen her just now, at the kapok tree.” Liola opened his mouth and said.
“Ah… she already knew?” Cappuccino asked with a stutter, “T-then what was her reaction?”
Liola remained silent. Truth was, Cappuccino already had an idea of how his sister would probably react. He said uneasily, “You know, in the past year and more, she has always been worried about you, you… sigh, I already don’t know what to do. Just comfort her whenever you have the time.”
Liola nodded cautiously.
Suddenly returning to the palace, Baolilong seemed unhappy. It turned back into human form, and then climbed up Liola’s back. It held on tightly, as if it was afraid someone would try to take it away from Liola like Latte did.
“Oh, the Sacred White Dragon seemed to be rather attached to you.” Cappuccino was amazed, “Why wouldn’t my Little Fireball treat me like it?”
As soon as Cappuccino said it, the Knights around were making restrained laughing noises. Their eyes were looking in the direction of the Dragons in human-form who brought Baolilong over.
Liola looked in that direction, and saw one of them with black lines rolling down his face. The fiery red hair indicated its identity as a Fiery Dragon. Unlike Flames, however, the gender of this Dragon was obviously male. His body was also unlike Flames’ thin body, and instead it was very muscular.
“Little Fireball?” Liola couldn’t help but glanced.
The strong, red-haired man didn’t seem to want to admit, but he nevertheless bowed respectfully, “Yes, Your Highness, fourth Prince.”
Liola turned his head and saw Cappuccino looking enviously at Baolilong climbing onto his back, then he looked back at the Fiery Dragon, whose face looked like he had been wronged. Little Fireball was probably infuriated by his own master acting like a sulking woman. He said with repressed anger, “Stop fooling around, do you really wish for me to climb up your back?”
“No, but ever since you were young, you’ve never played with me.” Cappuccino seemed very depressed.
Veins popped up on Little Fireballs’ head, “When I was young? When I first saw you, I had already matured. At the time you were still tiny, and you were often flighty with me. Whenever you had nothing else to do, you would grab on to me and call me ‘Little’ Fireball.”
“Is that so? It’s been hundreds of years, and I don’t remember anymore. You know older people tend to forget.” Cappuccino said with a laugh, and then immediately changed the topic, “Brother, I’ll show you around, and take you to your palace. You’ve just become a Prince, so there are many things you must do, such as choosing the Knight who serve under you. Oh right, since everyone is here, go and look to see if there’s any you like.”
Liola frowned. He had no plans on choosing a Knight. Why would a Prince who was going to escape choose a Knight? He glanced around, and noticed many Knights looked at him with eager eyes.
“Do you need me to introduce any to you?”
Without waiting for Liola’s response, Cappuccino had already began saying a long list of names, while asking him what would his preferred personality in a Knight was. He then said, “Lanluo and his buddies seemed more lively, but brother, you seem to be the colder kind, so Tande seemed to be more suited to you, he’s as cold as an ice cube…”
Seeing Liola didn’t seem to be much interested in choosing a Knight, Cappuccino thought briefly, then nodded and said, “Actually, it doesn’t really matter if you choose one, since they all have to work for you after all.”
“What?” Liola glanced at Cappuccino curiously because he didn’t understand.
Cappuccino shrugged, “Every Knight of the Dragon Empire must obey the Dragon Emperor.”
“What does it have to do with me?” Liola paused briefly.
Hearing Liola’s question, Cappuccino pointed Baolilong with a surprised expression as he explained, “The Dragon Emperor has always been succeeded by the Prince chosen by the Sacred White Dragon, so without a doubt, brother, you are the next Dragon Emperor, especially since father has been getting older, the day of your coronation probably isn’t very far.”
Liola’s body froze. He suddenly remembered what Bariui had said about the thing the next Dragon Emperor must do on the day of his coronation: to eat his father’s heart. Liola’s face suddenly went pale, “No, I don’t want to become the Dragon Emperor.”
Cappuccino looked at Liola strangely. After thinking about it briefly, he patted Liola’s back and comforted him, “Don’t worry; though you’ve just become a Prince, no one would oppose you being the next Dragon Emperor. Eldest brother is a fortune teller, so he had already given up being a Dragon Emperor. I like to roam around the world, and telling me to stay in the palace to be an Emperor is my worst nightmare. Lanski is also someone who doesn’t care about power. Hahaha, brother, I’m glad you can be the next Dragon Emperor. I thought I wouldn’t even be able to run away from it.”
Liola went quiet. It looked like Cappuccino didn’t know about eating their father’s heart was a part of becoming the next Dragon Emperor.
“Papa! Baolilong is hungry.” Baolilong’s little face was hanging above Liola’s shoulder, and it showed a look of hunger.
Without waiting for Liola to answer, Cappuccino came up with a smile, “Your Dragon looks hungry, so let’s all go eat.” Cappuccino suggested to his brother as he looked at his own matured Dragon, as if ordering him to feed the smaller Dragon. Little Fireball’s mouth began to twitch at his bad master.
Ignoring Little Fireball’s murderous eyes, Cappuccino led Liola to their eatery and to “feed the Dragon”. As soon as they walked to the great hall’s entrance, a familiar and graceful figure appeared, with an unusually cold expression on her face.
“Can I bother you for a moment, Prince, Your Prince?” Jasmine said rigidly.
Liola quietly handed Baolilong to Little Fireball on the side, and said, “Could you please take Baolilong to find something to eat?”
Little Fireball nodded, while Cappuccino didn’t say anything. With an expression of “hope you take care of yourself”, shaking his head, and sighing, Cappuccino walked away with the two Dragons.
Liola stared at Jasmine, “Let’s go.”
Chapter 6 : Fortune Teller Mocha
This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, Cindy, and StellarAshes.
Jasmine walked in front of Liola, and upon seeing the girl’s back, Liola felt indescribably apologetic even though he didn’t know things would end up this way. He certainly didn’t mean them to.
“I thought you were someone ordinary.”
Jasmine’s strained voice could be heard, and the trembling of it was still audible. “In the end, your identity gets more and more astounding; Silver Mask, the Imperial Prince, and now the future Dragon Emperor?”
“I never knew I was the Dragon Emperor’s son, really I didn’t.” Liola looked down as he explained.
Jasmine was silent for some time until she asked, “Where have you been exactly, for the past year or so?”
“I…” Liola wanted to say something, but stopped and quieted down. What should he say? That he had went to another world, and then returned to this world with the help of devil Gle? If he didn’t explain the whole thing from the beginning, he’d probably end up inciting more suspicion, but how could he begin from scratch? How could he tell Jasmine and Lanski that the Dragon Emperor was a heinous mastermind who, in order to conquer the world, would unscrupulously frame others?
“Can’t you explain even a little bit? Just how many more secrets do you still have?” Jasmine’s voice was agonized, “Did you know, when we found out Liola was Silver Mask, how chaotic our feelings were? It would have been better if we could at least sort things out with you, but you just had to go missing, and no one even knew if you were still alive.”
“At the same time, Lanski and I were worried if you were dead or alive, and we didn’t know how to face one another.” Jasmine lowered her head, “Originally, we had already decided on a fair competition between us, like it always has been.”
“But you…” Jasmine suddenly turned around, her face already laden with tears, “How could you end up as Lanski’s brother? What would you have her do now? Do you have any idea how much something as simple as calling you ‘brother’ would hurt her?”
“I…” Liola lowered his head imperceptibly, knowing he had hurt Lanski. But the current situation could not be changed by any endeavor. Blood relations wasn’t something dissociated by simply saying “I don’t want to be your brother either.”
Jasmine forcefully wiped away her tears, “Tell me, Liola, who do you actually like? Do you somewhat like Lanski?”
Quietly observing Jasmine, Liola suddenly realized the girl in front of him spoke only of the injustice done against Lanski, but never did she once mention herself. Liola mulled for awhile, until he sensed another familiar girl was nearby, eavesdropping. Not wanting to harm either of the two, he carefully said at last, “I don’t know what liking someone feels like.”
Jasmine faltered. This answer was too unexpected for her; how could anyone not know what liking someone felt like?
“No matter what title I carry now, be it Silver Mask or Prince, I know who I truly am.” Liola said decidedly, “I am an Assassin.”
Both girls, near and far, stiffened at these words.
“Ever since I was young, other than the necessary training for killing people, I knew nothing.”
“Even before my first kill, the only thing I experienced was innumerous and heartless training. I never knew if I would survive the next moment. After I starting killing, the only things I knew of were the people to be killed and a list of those people. The only things I fathomed was that if I could not kill the person I faced, the one dying would be me.”
“Other than ways to survive and the thought of not wanting to die, I have never thought about anything else. Something like whether or not I liked someone eluded me.”
When even survival became a luxury, who cared about power, love, or money?
Liola apologized deeply, “Sorry, I’ve tried my best to understand love, but to this day I am still unable to, so I am unable to give you an answer.”
“Liola….” After hearing Liola’s sincere explanation, Jasmine’s heart had already softened. She had no idea the man in front of her grew up like this. A child who was raised as a killing machine, how could he be blamed for not understanding love?
“Silver Ma…” Out from the corner came Lanski, who hesitated briefly then changed her way of addressing him. “Liola.”
While Jasmine was startled by her presence, Liola, who already knew Lanski was there, quietly waited for her to continue speaking.
Lanski forced a smile, “I’m very happy you’ve returned, brother, I’ve always wondered what kind of person my twin was.”
Seeing Lanski’s smile, Liola only felt acutely uncomfortable. He urged, “Don’t force yourself to smile…”
“No, I truly am happy.”
Lanski cut off Liola’s words, contemplating Liola’s earlier monologue. The two of them were twins; she had always been the princess everyone adored, but Liola was the child of prophecy who would kill his own father, and thus lived as an outcast and nurtured as an assassin, to the point where he was unaware of emotions… the difference of heaven and earth between their situations aggrieved Lanski.
Now that Liola was finally accepted by his father, the Emperor, how could she not feel happy for him? From a young age, her brother had undergone so many sufferings. Compared to it, Lanski felt her love was far too insignificant. She could not possibly trouble her brother even more because of it…
“La-Lanski.” Jasmine felt unbearable, for Lanski’s smile was much too bitter.
“Brother, it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand love right now. Jasmine will teach you well.” Lanski smiled brightly, even deliberately glancing ambiguously at the other two.
“Lanski.” Jasmine quelled Lanski, and pleaded, “Can we not talk about this right now, please?” Even if it was already impossible for Lanski and Liola, even if Jasmine herself still really liked Liola, she didn’t want to see Lanski get hurt for her sake.
Lanski could not help but nod at her good friend’s plea, and though she stopped speaking about the matter, she made up her mind to find a way to match these together one day. Nobody deserved happiness more than the compassionate Jasmine.
Though unaware of the significance of Lanski and Jasmine smiling at one another, seeing the two were no longer under a cloud of despair, Liola finally relaxed a little. As soon as he looked up, however, he saw Mizerui standing a dozen of paces away, staring at him with a terrible expression, his eyes looking like he wanted harm Liola severely.
Seeing Mizerui, Liola sighed in relief, thinking his escape shouldn’t be too difficult now.
Seeing the three had noticed him, Mizerui walked over leisurely, and greeted Lanski indolently, “Greetings, Your Highnesses, Prince and Princess.”
Lanski didn’t seem to have much of a response towards Mizerui’s courteous greeting. Everyone knew this mysterious Sorcerer seemed to acknowledge no one but the Crown Prince. She simply nodded in answer.
“His Highness Mocha wants to see the brother he never met and had me bring His Highness the fourth Prince to him.” Mizerui blinked towards Liola.
Liola understood immediately and played along, “Okay, I will accompany you to go see eldest brother.”
Turning around, Liola met the unquestioning eyes of the two girls, and suddenly felt compunction. Say if he ran away undeviatingly, wouldn’t doing so be unfair to these two girls?
“I… am going for a bit.” Liola struggled for a bit, but still said this to the two.
“Eldest brother…” Lanski was a bit hesitant. After all, the person who prophesied Liola would kill his father was the eldest Prince. She didn’t know what Mocha’s intent was in meeting Liola, but no matter what Mocha was planning, Lanski couldn’t really find a way to prevent Liola from seeing him. When she was done hesitating, Lanski suggested, “I haven’t seen eldest brother for a long while either; how about I go with you together?”
Liola and Mizerui’s faces changed slightly and the latter lethargically glanced at Liola, implying “you handle it.” Unable to think of an excuse, Liola decided to frankly deny Lanski, “No, I want to see Mocha alone.”
Noticing Lanski’s downcast eyes, Liola couldn’t help but say, “I-I want to ask him about the prophecy he told back then, so, uh…”
“Okay.” Lanski nodded, but then said worriedly, “No matter what eldest brother says, d-don’t take it personally; prophecies aren’t necessarily true.”
Liola nodded, feeling a bit apologetic underneath, for Lanski had always cared about him, yet he seemed to have done nothing but deceive the girl. He swore to himself that at the least, he would see these two again before he left, and no longer disappear without a word.
“Then let’s go see the baby.” Jasmine pulled Lanski along, then said to Liola, “After seeing His Highness, come find us. We promise to take good care of the baby and not take one step away from him.”
Jasmine was giggling in expectation of seeing Baolilong after such a long time and truly wanted to go hug it. But the more prominent reason was that Jasmine was skeptical of Liola staying in the palace. After all, the man had too many precedents of running away, and since she couldn’t follow Liola everywhere, she decided to follow Baolilong everywhere, believing Liola would not desert Baolilong and escape.
Liola wasn’t sure if it was just a hallucination, but it seemed that Jasmine’s eyes were flashing with craftiness. Nevertheless, since Mizerui was still standing on the side waiting, he didn’t think much of it. After nodding to Jasmine, he left with Mizerui.
* * *
Mizerui still appeared lackadaisical, but Liola noticed that his his footsteps were fast and hurried, completely contradicting the relaxed look on his face. With Mizerui’s fast pace, the two quickly left the imperial palace, and though they were still within the city walls, they were a good distance away. Liola raised his head, and quickly found Mizerui’s destination: a lonely tower standing over a grassland. The black walls, the thin body, and the runes on the tower all looked incredibly strange.
“You troublemaker, why did you come back with the Dragon Emperor?” asked Mizerui blamingly after he slowed down, knowing there wouldn’t be anyone around in the vicinity.
Liola hesitated, then replied, “I don’t know… I came here as if it was the natural thing to do.”
“You…” Mizerui felt an immense headache, not even able to admonish any more, and could only say helplessly, “Don’t you already know how powerful the Dragon Emperor’s hypnosis is? Did you stare into his eyes?”
Liola paused, and the deep purple eyes of the Dragon Emperor surfaced in his mind. Those caring and worried eyes gave Liola a sense of family for the first time. From then till now, every action of the Dragon Emperor reflected that of a happy father who finally had his son back as well as that of a faithful husband who had lost his wife. Realizing this, Liola’s pace slowed to a stop. Was his being friends with Mizerui and Barbalis behind his father’s back in a way a betrayal?
Seeing Liola stop, Mizerui also stopped. He asked, bewildered, “What’s wrong?”
Liola raised his head to look at the strange tower, then turned around to look at the shining palace. He couldn’t help but backed up slowly. No matter how much he speculated, the black tower was for more sinister than the palace behind him. For the first time, Liola began to have doubts about his having chosen right or wrong. Up to this point in time, he had only seen things from the perspective of the people in Aklan, and never from his father’s…
Mizerui also noticed something was wrong with Liola. Deciding immediately, he charged up and pulled out the Dragon Cross Necklace hanging on Liola chest. Liola had at first thought Mizerui was about to attack him, and almost pulled out Broken Silver, but stopped when he saw Mizerui was simply pulling out the familiar necklace. Mizerui used this opportunity to press the Dragon Cross Necklace against Liola’s forehead.
In an instant, a burning sensation came from his forehead. Liola yelled in pain, and pushed away Mizerui’s hand, but the pain finally cleared Liola’s mind. The recurring images of those purple eyes were gone, and Liola looked nervously at Mizerui. He asked skeptically, “Was I just…”
“Hypnotized, yes.” Mizerui said coldly.
Liola thought it was strange, “I didn’t feel like I was hypnotized, just that…”
“You suddenly felt like the Dragon Emperor wasn’t a bad man, and perhaps you misjudged him?” Mizerui said bluntly. Liola nodded, and Mizerui sighed, “If this hypnosis had continued, you would have felt the whole world had misjudged the Dragon Emperor, and with him taking over the world would bring everyone happiness. Then, like Lancelot, you would help him uncompromisingly.”
Mizerui sedately explained, “Dragon Emperor’s hypnosis is fairly mild. Coupled with the imagery he purposely created, it is actually the strongest way to control someone.”
Liola froze. The imagery he purposely created? That Dragon Emperor full of fatherly love and the love for his dead wife were all fabricated?
“Let’s go. Mocha is still waiting for you.”
Liola shook his head. It didn’t matter whether the Dragon Emperor’s fatherly love was real or not. He knew it would be fine as long as he stood with his companions. Having made up his mind, Liola once again walked to follow Mizerui, his back facing the shining palace, and walked into the dark tower.
When they arrived at the tower entrance, Mizerui suddenly stopped and said, “You go in.”
Liola looked with confusion at Mizerui, who casually shrugged and said, “Mocha insists on talking to you alone.”
Liola nodded, pushed open the door himself, and a long, spiraling staircase appeared before him. Liola climbed the stairs step by step, and the door behind him slammed shut with a bang. The inside of the tower suddenly lost its only rays of light. Although darkness wasn’t a big problem to the Assassin, Liola felt puzzled, would the other people who came here not need light as well?
Without even taking more than a few steps, Liola suddenly noticed fluorescent letters and symbols appearing on the two surrounding walls, some of it even looked like pictures. Two of these words written in a large font attracted Liola’s attention. To anyone else here, the two words looked like nothing but symbols and pictures, because nobody understood the language; that is, unless the person looking was from the other world.
“Silver Moon,” The two words were written, using the language of the other world.
Because of these two words, Liola began to carefully examine the things on the wall. In fact, if someone else saw this, they would definitely think these were drawings of a child. Every pictures and symbols seemed to have little relations with one another; some of which looked like indecipherable drawings. However, in Liola’s eyes, this wasn’t the case at all.
One of the pictures had a thin and long stick. Though Liola was a bit skeptical, but this should be a painting of his Broken Silver.
Another picture had an unusual crude gun. Judging from the shape, it should be Kaiser’s gun.
Liola followed the pictures on the wall. Some of the pictures, he knew immediately after seeing. But as he progressed, Liola practically didn’t know what the pictures were about. One of picture was a doll with a X crossed on it, and another had two hearts being together within a circle. Seeing such strange pictures, no matter how much Liola guessed, he couldn’t figure out what the pictures represented.
He continued to circle a few times, but he was still clueless. Liola decided to ignore them, and walked towards to the end. The moment he stepped out of the staircase, he suddenly realized he was standing underneath the stars. This staircase reached all the way to the top floor of the tower, and the tower had no roof.
“What did you think those pictures?”
With a seemingly ethereal voice and with his black long hair reaching the ground, a purple-eyed man sat quietly in the center of the floor with crossed legs. He had a black robe on him, and there were no redundant decorations in this floor. The only things there were a futon the man sat on, as well as paint and carving knifes scattered about. Liola noticed, the circular drawings on the ground looked like a magic circle, but he had no idea what it was for.
This man must be none other than Mocha. Just seeing his purple eyes were identical to the Dragon Emperor’s, Liola was certain he was the eldest prince, Mocha.
Mocha’s eyes looked at Liola coldly. Although he was waiting for an answer, he didn’t actually cared about Liola’s answer. Whether it be veneration, admiration, or fear, he didn’t care. In fact, he didn’t care about much of anything. After seeing the future, Mocha had long lost the feeling of anticipation.
Liola thought briefly, and answered honestly, “Hmm… the drawings are a bit ugly.”
“Huh?” Mocha paused, then asked, “What did you say?”
Liola was quiet at first; he didn’t know if he was too direct. He repeated tactfully, “The drawings are a bit abstract.”
Mocha still stared at him blankly. Liola didn’t know what he should do. Was he supposed to lie despite what he really thought and say the drawings were done well?
Mocha burst out laughing. Opposite of his previous coldness, his laugh was unexpectedly hearty.
Liola suddenly didn’t know how to react. He didn’t understand what Mocha was laughing at, nor did he know what response he should make. He stood still as he listened for a while. Liola suddenly realized, the sound of his laughter was quite similar to Cappuccino’s.
Finally, Mocha refrained from his laughter, but he still said with a smile, “What I meant was, how do you feel about the content of those pictures.”
“Oh.” Liola responded, although he still didn’t understand why Mocha was laughing.
“I do sincerely apologize, my pictures were too ugly, hahaha.” Mocha couldn’t help but say, and at the same time burst into laughter again.
Liola scratched his face, deciding to add the person in front of him to his list of people who have Sudden and Compulsive Laughter Disorder, and ignored all his laughter. He asked, “Could you really see the future.”
“Yes, although I really didn’t want this ability.” Mocha smiled vaguely.
“Will I… really kill the Dragon Emperor?” This was the future Liola was most concerned with.
“I foresaw you drove Broken Silver into father’s chest.” Mocha didn’t respond directly, but instead told the picture he had seen.
This imagery was clear enough. Could driving Broken Silver into the Dragon Emperor’s chest be anything other than killing him? Thinking about the Broken Silver in his boots might one day stab into Dragon Emperor’s chest, Liola suddenly felt a discomfort in his heart. What was wrong? Could he still be under hypnosis?
“Brother…” Mocha suddenly called to Liola, and asked with hesitation, “Do you hate me?”
“Hate you? Why would I hate you?” Liola frowned.
Mocha remained silent for a long while before he explained, “When I saw you would kill father, I thought about it for a long time. Finally, between you and father, I chose father, and so I told him my prophecy, hoping to stop this from happening.”
“I abandoned you, and caused you to be exiled when you were young, resulting you being trained as an emotionless Assassin.”
“But, perhaps I didn’t stop this from happening, and instead stimulated it.” Mocha turned his head to look at Liola, his brother, and the only person he felt guilty towards.
Liola was quiet. He didn’t care about what had happened; it was not necessary to dwell on things that had already happened. What he truly cared about was the future. If this continue as they were, Liola was bound to oppose Dragon Emperor, and killing him seemed like the only way to resolve the problem.
However, Liola suddenly remembered the feeling of his head being touched, as well as the kapok left in front of the tombstone.
Facing Mocha, Dragon Emperor’s eldest son, Liola naturally thought of him as the person who understood the Dragon Emperor the most. He asked the question that had been echoing in his mind, “Do you think Dragon Emperor is a evil man?”
“Evil?” Mocha smiled warmly, as if he heard the words from a naive child, “What do you consider as evil? Does a person who want to conquer the world represent evil? Is a person like you, who had been trained to kill since you were child and your hands are covered in blood, evil? Is the lawless Gle evil?”
“I don’t know.” Liola, who only had one question before, gained nothing but more questions.
“Whenever you decide to stand on one side, the other side must be evil.”
This answer didn’t seem to answer anything. Liola fell even deeper into silence.
Perhaps feeling guilty towards him, Mocha sighed, and gave him even more hints, “Would you ever oppose your companions?”
Liola immediately shook his head.
“Your companions include son of Aklan prime minister, daughter of a Commerce Alliance Commander, and the descendant of Gle, who had been framed. Could they ever not oppose father?”
“Then why are you vexed? You do not have any room to choose.” Mocha threw this conclusion cruelly.
“I… I don’t want to kill him.”
Liola hesitated for a while, and finally formally admitted what he thought. Even though the Dragon Emperor had caused him much pain, the Assassin, who didn’t think much of killing the Dragon Emperor, was now hesitating. He suddenly realized, the person who carried the name of Dragon Emperor was his own father. When the man who wanted to conquer the world was his father, instead of a man who could be completely described by the word “evil”.
Mocha suddenly stood up, and held onto Liola’s shoulders. He said movingly, “Then do whatever you can so you won’t kill him. Brother, facts have proved that, even if I could foresee the future, the only one who could prevent it is you. Only you can stop yourself from driving Broken Silver into father’s chest.”
Liola looked at Mocha quietly, and he said slowly, “You hope I don’t kill him? Then why do you side with Mizerui? There’s no way you didn’t know Mizerui opposes the Dragon Emperor.”
“I didn’t side with anyone. If there is anyone that I side with…” Mocha slowly took out a flute from underneath his robe. The wooden flute looked aged, to the point where it was beginning to decay.
“I think I side with Caffey.”
Mocha lightly touched the decaying flute, “Brother… whether the Dragon Emperor is successful or not at conquering the world, I don’t care at all. I just hope you wouldn’t take Caffey’s life; don’t kill our father.”
Looking at the decaying flute, he suddenly understood.
He was the only prince who would play the flute in the royal garden, then falling asleep without knowing it.
“I won’t kill him. I swear I won’t.”
Chapter 7 : The Heart of the Dragon Emperor
This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, and StellarAshes.
“Hey! Gladiolus, you have been treating my sister well, right?” Kaiser narrowed his eyes dangerously. Although he had walked away freely, he still couldn’t help but worry Gladiolus would mistreat his sister. Since they were still quite far from the Commerce Alliance, Kaiser began to interrogate Gladiolus.
Gladiolus, who was flying ahead, suddenly slipped. He said without turning his head back, “Meiji has been doing fine. I originally wanted to send her to the Commerce Alliance, too, but she wasn’t willing to go, so I had no choice but to assign two of the Six Forbidden Sins to protect her.”
“Oh, you used a third of the manpower to protect my sister. Fine, that will do.” Kaiser said forcefully. Although he knew, in such dire situations, Gladiolus sending two out of the six for Meiji’s protection meant he was very concerned for her safety.
Gladiolus felt a bit awkward. Had he not been facing Kaiser with his back, Kaiser would definitely jumped to the chance of mocking Gladiolus’ blushing face. Even with his back turned, anyone who would carefully examined him, would realize his ears were red.
Nevertheless, Kaiser and Daylight didn’t seem to pay much attention. They had been flying towards Commerce Alliance. They even stopped for two nights to rest, but they still had not seen Liola catching up to them, nor did they receive any news from Mizerui. Both of their moods were heavy; they had just rescued Liola out of the hands of Gle, only to immediately put him back into the Dragon Emperor’s hands. Kaiser had no idea which one was more unfortunate, being Liola or being his companions.
“The Commerce Alliance is right in front of us.” Gladiolus pointed at the shores vaguely visible from the horizon, while increasing his flying speed. Having been out for days, Gladiolus was already feeling homesick. As soon as he took Kaiser and Daylight to the Commerce Alliance, he planned to race back to Aklan.
After flying for such a long time, Kaiser and Daylight both wanted to land as soon as possible. In addition, they hadn’t seen Meinan and Purity for more than a year. Their anxiousness was not any less than that of Gladiolus. Flames rushed so fast that it passed Gladiolus’ eagle.
As soon as they landed, a dozen or so Mechas surrounded them. Seeing the alert postures of the guards, Gladiolus immediately yelled, “I am Gladiolus, sent by the Aklan Republic, and I’ve already spoken to the Alliance.”
The lead Mecha Fighter immediately pressed something on the touch screen in front of him. After a while, he said courteously, “This way, please.”
* * *
Kaiser and Daylight hurriedly ran past the streets of the Commerce Alliance. Having rarely seen a Dragon on the streets, many of them looked at the two as they passed, but neither of them cared, because seeing their companions was the most important thing on their minds. After knowing their companions were in the largest training center of the Commerce Alliance, the two went straight there without stopping to rest.
Before long, the two had rushed to the training center. After a few rounds of questions, the two walked towards the special training field. As soon as they walked to the perimeter of the field, a beautiful black angel-shaped Mecha immediately attracted their attention. Not only was appearance of the Mecha beautiful, every action it performed was coordinated yet effective. The sword in its hand slice its opponent in every angle, and the body of the Mecha changed posture fluidly in the air. The battle postures of this black angel looked more like it was performing a beautiful dance of death.
The black angel’s opponent surprised Kaiser and Daylight even more. Compared to the Mecha, standing at a dozen meter high, its opponent was a Sorcerer levitating in mid air, who had a protective shield up. The shield completely protected him, and no matter how the black angel attacked, it could not break through the defenses.
“Wow, Purity and Meinan became really strong, too.” Daylight couldn’t help but praise them. He had originally thought he had made a lot progress, but seeing his companions now, he realized that no one in the Aklan Troublemaking Squad had been idling.
“Daylight! Let’s go.” Kaiser’s eyes were filled with eagerness. Not only did he want to see how much his companions had progressed, he also wanted to test himself.
Seeing Purity and Meinan’s battle, Daylight did indeed want to fight, to verify everyone’s progress. Without saying anything else, Flames had charged into the field while carrying Daylight and Kaiser.
Flames’ sudden appearance surprised the two people in the field. The first to freeze was the angel Mecha which was facing Flames. When Meinan saw Purity had suddenly stopped attacking and stared at the spot behind him, he turned around curiously. The image of a giant fiery Dragon was the first thing he saw, followed by two familiar figures.
“Careful! Battle is starting.”
Kaiser yelled exaggeratedly, and threw a Divine Fireball directly at Meinan, who fumbled as he put up a protective shield right before the fireball had landed on him.
Daylight didn’t want to be outdone. He released his explosive aura, and swung his pike directly at Purity. Seeing Meinan blocking the attack first, Purity didn’t fumble, she elegantly used her giant sword and blocked Daylight’s attack.
Daylight’s pike and the Mecha’s sword went back and forth. Every time their weapons clashed, Daylight felt an intense pain in his hand. He was very surprised at how strong the Mecha was. While the sword and pike exchanged blows, Kaiser was not idle either. He mercilessly threw Divine Fireballs towards Purity, but she evaded them beautifully. Nevertheless, Daylight’s pike followed her closely. The angel Mecha looked like it could not dodge the pike after evading the fireballs, and just when Daylight’s attack was about to land…
Clang, Meinan stood firmly in front of Purity, and his comprehensive shield stopped Daylight’s pike dead in its tracks.
Daylight and Meinan looked at one another, then laughed.
“You sure became powerful.” Meinan sensed the pike’s powerful attack, and said honestly.
“You guys are the powerful ones.” Daylight smiled brightly.
“A fight is a fight, why are you chatting!” Kaiser rudely threw more fireballs towards Purity, who was not covered by the protective shield.
The angel Mecha dodged as it complained, “Kaiser, you’re being unfair, mobbing me with Daylight.”
Kaiser raised his eyebrow, and yelled loudly, “How is it unfair? I was just throwing fireballs. I have yet to let you see an even more unfair attacks.”
After saying that, Kaiser quickly chanted, and a long line of Fireball appeared appeared in the air. The strange thing was, instead of staying still, this Firewall was wiggling through the air like a snake. No matter how much Purity tried to dodge desperately, the fiery snake followed her closely. It was so tricky that she was about to cry.
“Purity, let me help you.”
Meinan yelled loudly, and Purity rushed towards him, with the fiery snake following her closely. The instant Purity rushed past Meinan, he immediately used a protective shield, and the entire snake rammed into the shield. In an instant, endless sounds of explosions could be heard, and the air was filled with smoke, extinguishing the fire.
When the smoke faded, Meinan opened his eyes to a pike right on his eyebrows. Kaiser had predicted the comprehensive protective shield would had been too laborious. If it were just magic, Meinan would definitely use a normal magic-stopping shield. Therefore, the cover of the smoke from the explosion of the fiery snake allowed Daylight to quickly close in on Meinan for his attack.
Clang! This time it was a crisp metallic clashing sound. Purity wasn’t idle either. She carefully examined the situation on the battlefield. Simple smoke could not possible hide anything from the sensors of the Mecha Fighter. As soon as she realized Daylight’s intent to attack, Purity immediately went up to block his attack.
At that moment, the four of them were close to one another. Their eyes exchanged mutual admiration, then immediately backed up to create distance, preparing themselves for the next round of attacks…
The four people fought as if they had gone insane: from morning to dusk, from dusk to dawn. The four of them did not stop until they finally had to catch their breath. Purity walked out of her Mecha, and Daylight jumped down from Flames. They were all so tired that they fell to the floor, and no one said anything for a long time.
After an unknown amount of time had passed, Meinan acted as if he had to muster all his courage to ask, “Liola, d-did he not come back with you two?”
“No.” Kaiser said unhappily. It was better when it was unsaid. During their battle, he could finally not think about it, but now that Meinan mentioned it, Kaiser began to feel frustrated again.
The four remained silent for a while, until they heard a sobbing sound. Daylight was shocked, and asked, “Purity, why are you crying?”
“Is it impossible for Liola-dage to come back?” Purity cried as she asked.
Daylight sighed, but he didn’t know how he should answer. Could Liola possibly escape from Dragon Emperor and Lancelot? If he had known, he shouldn’t have easily believed Liola’s promise and left him behind. Daylight would always forget, Silver Mask was simply a fake Knight, while the true Liola was an Assassin, one who told lies into make-believe truths.
Meinan vaguely sighed, “Was the Dragon Emperor’s Purple Tornado really that powerful?”
“Very.” Kaiser answered hauntedly. The move was enough to bedridden Liola for a whole year. Both Daylight and he had originally doubted if Liola would ever wake up.
“If I knew earlier… I shouldn’t have stood still on the side. If I had been willing to make protective shield…” Meinan’s voice began to choke as he spoke, “Liola wouldn’t be…”
‘Uh?’ Kaiser wondered, ‘wouldn’t be what?’
Daylight also stood up, and he looked somewhat baffled.
“Dragon Emperor is too outrageous. Liola-dage didn’t do anything, how, how could he…”
Before she finished, she could no longer speak. Purity’s large eyes teared up endlessly, and was sad beyond belief. When Daylight saw her, he fumbled to pat her on her back while trying to find a handkerchief to wipe away her tears. Purity, instead, put her head in Daylight’s chest. Daylight hesitated, he didn’t know whether or not he should hug Purity, so his hands were left in the air, with his handsome face completely red.
Meinan also stood up, and tears were quietly rolling down his face. He tried to refrain from being sad and asked, “Where is Liola exactly?”
“The Dragon Emperor took him.” Though Kaiser didn’t want to say it, but it’s been days and they haven’t heard any news from him, so it was likely he had been taken away.
“What?” Meinan was shocked, “You two… didn’t protect him?”
“Please, facing Dragon Emperor and Lancelot, who could have protected him?” Kaiser snapped back.
“What exactly does the Dragon Emperor want to do by taking away Liola-dage?” Purity yelled with a horrified tone.
“Who knows.” Kaiser was also frustrated. Though he said so, he thought the Dragon Emperor would probably want to kill Liola? However, Kaiser’s instincts told him, perhaps it wasn’t the case. When the Dragon Emperor said he wasn’t going to kill Liola, Kaiser thought he was serious, but he wouldn’t stupidly believe things were as simple as the Dragon Emperor taking Liola back to his rightful place.
“This can’t be! We must get Liola-dage back!” Purity held her fist tightly and yelled loudly.
Kaiser also knew they couldn’t just leave Liola alone, but if Liola was really taken back to the Dragon Continent, then things would be rather troublesome.
Meinan said faintly, “Purity, don’t be so capricious. It’s been more than a year, and Liola’s body was probably decaying. Do you really want to risk your life to save a corpse?”
“Wait…” Kaiser suddenly notice something strange was happening.
“Even if it’s decayed, Purity still wants to see Liola-dage one more time!” Purity yelled stubbornly.
“What do you mean decayed…” Kaiser was now certain, something was wrong.
“Perhaps he had already been burnt into ashes. The Dragon Emperor hated him so much, there’s no way he would give a proper burial!” Meinan gritted his teeth, and said with pain on his face.
“Burial?” Even Daylight sensed what they were saying was a bit far from the truth.
“Into ashes… outrageous! The Dragon Emperor must have taken Liola-dage’s ashes and used it as a fertilizer!” Purity bawled loudly.
Hearing the word “fertilizer”, Meinan’s face also turned pale.
“You two, STOP~~”
Kaiser finally pulled his air and yelled angrily, and his yell made Meinan and Purity both freeze. They then stared blankly at Kaiser.
Kaiser said slowly, syllable-by-syllable, “Listen to me! That guy, Liola, is still quite alive. So stop talking about corpses and ashes. Don’t be ridiculous.”
Meinan and Purity’s bitter faces suddenly began to shine. They turned their head towards Daylight as if they were looking for verification, “Really? Liola is still alive? The Purple Tornado skill didn’t kill him?”
Daylight nodded, “No, Liola was simply in a coma for a year.”
“Coma for a year?”
“Mhm, that’s what happened.”
Daylight began to tell Meinan and Purity in detail about everything that had happened in the past year or so. When he got to a point of the story where he wasn’t present, Kaiser continued the story. All the tales of the alien world and devil Gle, made Meinan and Purity drop their jaws. Had it not been Daylight’s record of honesty, it would have been hard to believe such a story.
When they finally spoke about what had happened on Yaron Plains, Meinan and Purity’s faces sank again. Even though Liola might not have died temporarily, but falling into Dragon Emperor’s hands meant he couldn’t possibly be safe.
“We have to save him.” Meinan was the first to speak. It’s one thing if Liola was already a corpse, but if there was even a possibility he was alive, Meinan wouldn’t abandon his companion.
“I know we have to save him, but we should wait for Mizerui first.” Kaiser frowned, “The moment we enter Dragon Emperor’s lair, it would be very difficult for us to get out, so unless we have no other choice, we should not go there. Otherwise, we might not be able to save Liola, and instead, we might become hostage of the Dragon Emperor, whom he could use to threaten Liola.”
Kaiser looked at his three companions, and voiced his doubts, “I’ve been thinking the Dragon Emperor must want to use Liola for something, and it’s not as simple as simply killing him, but no matter how much I think, I couldn’t figure out what Dragon Emperor wants to do with him. He even came in person to take away Liola, the person who was prophesied to kill him. If I were the Dragon Emperor, I would rather send a dozen Assassins to kill him, instead of exposing myself to this person.”
“Could he want to use Liola as an undercover agent? And control Liola like he did to Miluo?” Meinan attempted to guess.
“I’ve thought about it, but instead of having Liola as an undercover, he would be better off by killing him and end the worrisome prophecy, then capture me and Daylight for undercover. Even though our strengths aren’t comparable, but Liola couldn’t access as much information as Daylight and I.”
“It must be something even bigger and more important, causing Dragon Emperor to risk his life instead of killing Liola.”
Kaiser frowned, “Let’s wait for two weeks. If we don’t get any news in two weeks, we will go and save him.”
* * *
Compared to the worries of his companions, Liola had spent the past few days in an unusual leisure. It was to the point where he didn’t even feel he was inside his enemies’ camp. At first, Cappuccino took him to pick where he would live in the palace, and to make his own, unique clothes at a tailor. They even went to the Dragon Valley where the Dragons lived. Seeing Cappuccino greet each and every Dragon as if they had known each other, Liola knew he probably had visited the Dragon Valley so much that it was like a second home to him.
Cappuccino took him everywhere to get familiar, but it came at a cost: he would undoubtedly challenge Liola once a day. Although it also meant he will lose once a day, it became Cappuccino’s daily routine, and he was never tired of it.
During the afternoon, Liola would have afternoon tea with Lanski and Jasmine, and look at Baolilong happily playing with Jasmine.
During the dinner, the time where the family came together to eat; the Dragon Emperor, Cappuccino, Lanski, and Jasmine, would all come together eat. In other words, everyone in the Zhuogen family, other than Mocha, who was rumored to not taking a single step out of the Astronomy Tower for years, would come together for a family meal, and this habit hadn’t change.
The days had been so relaxing that Liola had put his guards down. Other than being careful not to stare into Dragon Emperor’s eyes, Liola would regularly put the Dragon Cross Necklace on his forehead every night, so he wouldn’t be hypnotized again without knowing, but the necklace had never burnt his forehead again.
It wasn’t that Liola hadn’t thought about escaping. After all, his companions did say, if Liola didn’t return, they would come looking for him. Perhaps because he ran in every way everyday, after getting to his living quarters, Liola always fell asleep the moment he touched his bed.
Liola always thought, ‘Tomorrow, I’ll leave tomorrow’, but many days had past unknowingly.
“Liola, do Kaiser and others know you’re here?”
Jasmine and Baolilong were playing. The latter was, after all, a child. So after it got tired of playing, it laid in Jasmine’s arms and fell asleep. Jasmine didn’t want to wake it, so she hugged it and began chatting with Lanski and Liola. What Jasmine thought was strange was the fact that Liola didn’t mention anything about Kaiser and others.
“Kaiser…” Liola suddenly went blank, but then immediately said, “Oh, mhm, they know I’m here.”
A sense of doubt flashed across Jasmine’s face. During that instant, it seemed like Liola had really forgotten who Kaiser was, but how could he possibly forget?
“Your silver mask is still with Lanski. It’s such a strange mask. When worn, the wearer’s eyes would turn purple.”
Jasmine acted as if she just remembered it, but she was certain this time, Liola did indeed hesitate a bit before he nodded. When it was about time for supper, Liola bid his goodbyes, and planned to wash up to prepare eating supper with his father.
Seeing Liola walked away, Lanski asked hesitantly, “Didn’t the mask turn the wearer’s eyes to gold? Jasmine, Liola seems…”
“He seems stranger and stranger.” Jasmine frowned, “Almost as if he had become closer and closer to a real Prince.”
“Or perhaps he just got used to life in this place.” Lanski seemed a bit hesitant.
“Perhaps, I don’t know either.” Jasmine said, but her eyes exchanged a worried looks with Lanski.
* * *
“Liola, the tailor finished making your clothes. Why don’t you try it on? It doesn’t look half bad.”
Cappuccino excitedly charged into the place Liola lived, with his voice arriving before him. When he kicked down the door, he saw Liola sitting blankly on his bed, as if he had been absent-minded. Cappuccino said loudly, “You’re still not awake? The sun is already up.”
Liola rubbed his eyes, and suddenly woke up from his daze, “Sorry, sovereign brother, I’ve been drowsy lately.”
“Oh.” Cappuccino scratched his face, and murmured in his mind, ‘Sovereign brother? Yesterday you stuttered when I asked you to call me brother, and today it suddenly turned into sovereign brother?’
Liola jumped down the bed, and casually started putting on the clothes as he said to Cappuccino, “It took a rather short time, did the tailor make this carefully? If this wasn’t made carefully, it would be unbecoming of me to wear it as a Prince.”
Cappuccino thought it very strange, “Liola, didn’t you say before that it doesn’t matter if we don’t make new clothes? Saying something about getting a few of my clothes to wear would be enough.”
Liola seemed surprised, “Really? Did I say that? But, sovereign brother, if a royal Prince didn’t even have clothes to wear, it would bring shame to the Dragon Empire’s royal family.”
“Right…” Cappuccino then thought, ‘But, this is not something like you would say.’ He looked at Liola elegantly putting on the formal dress strangely. He even tied a scarf with a complicated knot, and put on luxurious cufflinks on his sleeves.
No matter how blunt Cappuccino was, he still murmured, “There’s must be something wrong…”
“What are you talking about? Sovereign brother.” Liola smiled elegantly.
“Nothing… nevermind.” Despite saying this, Cappuccino’s doubts grew in his eyes.
“Papa!” Baolilong, who was asleep just moments before, suddenly started jumping, with the Dragon Cross Necklace raised high in its hand, “Papa forgot the necklace.”
Liola glanced at the necklace, and rejected, “I’m not wearing it, that necklace doesn’t match the clothes I’m wearing today.”
Baolilong held the necklace in its hand, and stared at Liola blankly, as if it was suspicious of something, but had no idea what had happened.
“Let’s go, Baolilong. I remember the tailor also made new clothes for you. Let’s go try out your new clothes.” Liola rubbed Baolilong’s head indulgently, then carried him up and walked out of the bed room.
Cappuccino was full of doubts, and he asked the quiet Little Fireball behind him, “Fireball, do you think he’s…”
“Very strange.” Little Fireball continued, “In a short week, he practically turned into another person. This is an abnormal change.”
“But who dares to attack Liola under father’s very own eyes?” Cappuccino said heavily, “Unless…”
Little Fireball looked worriedly at his master, “Master, you’re better off not minding it.”
“Not minding it?” Cappuccino took a deep breath, “But he’s my younger brother…”
“Sovereign brother?” Liola called out from afar.
Cappuccino followed up anxiously, while answering, “Coming.”
But before he left, he glanced at Liola’s bedroom out of the corner of his eyes.
* * *
Two figures moved quietly through the darkness, then they sneaked into Liola’s bedroom. One of the two was very hesitant, “You are sure, the problem was here?”
“Of course, in other times, he was either with Cappuccino, or with us, and during supper, everyone is present. There is no reason why he would have a problem and we don’t. The problem must be with this bedroom.”
“Besides, he is very alert. It wouldn’t be very possible for someone do something to him while he’s conscious.”
The other figure nodded. His strength was obvious to everyone who had seen it. Cappuccino had challenged him quite a few times, but had never won even once, even though Cappuccino was already considered strong among the Gold Knights.
“But I’m worried, the person who would attack him might be…”
“Shh!” One of the figures heard a faint sound. She immediately grabbed the other person, and hid in the closet to the side.
Another two figure sneakily entered the bedroom, one of them said with a refrained voice, “Master, are you sure this is where the problem is?”
“Duh, he’s either with us, or with Lanski and Jasmine. Everyone eats together during supper, so it’s not easy to do any dirty tricks. There is no other place more questionable other than his bedroom.”
The two people in the closet didn’t know if they should laugh or cry.
“Who! Who’s there?” Cappuccino realized faint breathing sounds from the closet. Could they be the people who were up to no good?
“We are here.” The two slowly opened the closet, and two graceful girls walked out.
The two people outside of the closet were, of course, Cappuccino and its strong Little Fireball. The four of them looked strangely at one another, then said in unison, “You guys are also here because…”
Then all four stopped, and all sighed, “Yup, of course.”
Cappuccino said jokingly, “Dear sister, you also think that something is up with our little brother?”
Lanski nodded, “It’s quite strange. The current Liola doesn’t seem like the old him at all.”
“Sigh!” Cappuccino sighed, “Let’s find what’s affecting him together. As for the culprit, let’s not look any further.”
Lanski looked at Cappuccino with complicated eyes, and it looked like they both knew. She took a deep breath, “But one can’t exist without the other.”
“Brother isn’t an idiot. As soon as he recovered, he must find ways to escape.” Cappuccino didn’t seem worried. Having fought his brother for a whole week, Cappuccino knew well of his strength, and escaping shouldn’t be a problem.
Lanski and Jasmine took one look at one another. It looked like Liola was going to run away again. They both couldn’t help but laughed bitterly.
“No matter how much I’ve thought about it, I feel there’s a problem with this bed.”
Cappuccino looked at the bed. After saying so, without any hesitation, he immediately turned the bed over; he pulled off the sheets, took up the mattress, and even moved the bed frame, but he didn’t find anything. Cappuccino scratched his head, “Strange, it’s not a problem with the bed? I’m sure I saw him stare blankly on his bed.”
The two girls froze as well. They had also thought the bed was the problem, but seeing it wasn’t the case, the four of them began to wonder.
“What are you doing in my room?”
A crisp and cold voice could be heard. The four of them realized now that the master of the room had came back, but none of them realized this until now. It wasn’t unexpected, nevertheless, with Liola’s abilities, his movements weren’t something they could track.
Getting caught red-handed was a rather shameful thing to the Prince and Princess. Finally, Cappuccino had no choice but said with a laugh, “We were here to talk to you, but who knew you weren’t here.”
Liola asked suspiciously, “It’s time for supper, so father and I were eating, and I was wondering why all of you would be missing from the supper table at the same time.”
Cappuccino said seriously, “Because the moon is rather beautiful tonight, I suddenly wanted to go eat some barbecue. Coincidentally, I ran into our sister, so I dragged her along, but she insisted on bringing you along. Because we didn’t want to interrupt Father’s supper, we ended up waiting for you in your room.”
“My bed?” Liola looked at the messy bed and asked.
“Ah!” Cappuccino suddenly yelled, “This bed is a piece of crap, and it’s nothing like a bed a Prince should use. Which damn servant was it, who had never changed this bed, and caused you to spent a week sleeping in an uncomfortable bed. As your brother, I’m infuriated.”
“I understand, thank you, sovereign brother, for your worries.” Liola looked at the bed and said. Although he didn’t feel the bed was uncomfortable, he still replied courteously.
“Hahaha, if there’s nothing else, we’ll leave first!” Cappuccino laughed loudly, but cold sweat was already running down his back.
Liola said strangely, “Weren’t we going to eat barbecue?”
“Ah… that, right.” Cappuccino looked helplessly at his sister, then asked, “Let’s go barbecue, sister?”
* * *
A cold laughing voice echoed within the palace. This was the deepest place within the palace, and it had always been the living quarters of all the Dragon Emperors. In the wide hallway, the Dragon Emperor dressed in his purple robe, was sitting on a chair, and a person kneeling on one knee below him was covered in a robe, therefore, making it impossible to see his face. He held a crystal ball in his hand, and it had reflected the scenes from Liola’s bed room.
“So that’s how it is. As long as it’s not my power, the Dragon Cross Necklace is completely useless.” The Dragon Emperor said, “Idojin, how long until we can completely control him? Cappuccino and Lanski have already noticed something is wrong.”
The man named Idojin nodded, “You Highness, the fourth Prince doesn’t have much resistance left. If we infuse a large amount of magic now into the magic circle at the ceiling above his bed, we can control him completely.”
“Is that so? Then do it.” The Dragon Emperor said coldly, “I need a truly obedient Prince to succeed me.”
“But, Your Highness, when we completely control the Prince’s mind, if you want to restore his previous consciousness, the success rate is only about 30%.”
“Doesn’t matter.” The Dragon Emperor didn’t care a bit. Ever since the ancient times, the Dragon Emperor only needed its ambition. He never needed, nor wanted, other consciousness.
Idojin nodded courteously, “Understood. Then we shall complete the whole magic tonight.”
Seeing his two sons and daughter laughing in the crystal ball, a slight mercy flashed across the Dragon Emperor’s eyes, “Then let them finish the barbecue for today.”
* * *
Liola walked slowly back to the palace, with the smell of barbecue on his clothes. This made him really uncomfortable: a Prince should always keep his cleanliness. When he lowered his head to look at Baolilong, who was asleep in his arms, he realized his degree of dirtiness was truly horrifying: the clothes which had just been sewn today, was covered in oil and dirt, with several spots near its joints cut open.
“Really..” Liola complained lightly, but he wasn’t mad. A child should be hyper as it was.
When he was back in his room, Liola suddenly noticed the Dragon Emperor and another man covered in black robe. Though he was confused, he still bowed courteously, “Greetings, Your Highness.”
“Mm, come here, let father get a good look at you.” The Dragon Emperor smiled lightly.
Liola put Baolilong on a desk; it murmured a few things, then curled up and continued its sleep. Liola then walked towards his father. Although he didn’t know why his father would come looking for him in the middle of the night, but he wasn’t one to disobey His Highness.
The Dragon Emperor reached out and touched Liola’s familiar face. A pain flashed through his heart, and he was silent briefly, then asked, “Child, do you have any wishes?”
“Wishes?” Liola was baffled. What wishes would he have?
“Yes, say it, child, as long as it’s not too much, father will help you.” This was the Dragon Emperor’s last act of kindness to his youngest child.
Liola was quiet for a moment, and said, “Companions…” But as soon as he said so, Liola frowned. The word was familiar to him, yet distant at the same time