Chapter 169: Air and Blood
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“Your Majesty, those Constellatiates…”
On the rooftop balcony of Heroic Spirit Palace, the Star Killer stood beside King Nuven, holding his oddly-shaped blade. “They request to leave to find their prince themselves.”
King Nuven squinted, overlooking the castle town beneath him—Walton Family’s Dragon Clouds City. The king slowly exhaled a puff of air.
“Let them go.” King Nuven’s voice sounded rather weary. “Perhaps they can even find my granddaughter along the way.”
Compared to the situation at hand, perhaps the Walton Family matter was not as important. King Nuven heaved a heavy sigh. Nicholas nodded, turned around and passed down the order.
After a moment, the Star Killer was back at the king’s side. This time, however, he wore a grim expression.
“The patrol units just reported back. We have determined the exact location of the calamity.”
King Nuven’s face darkened. He turned to face Nicholas. His eyes shone with shrewdness and resolution.
“The two units in Shield District have not responded to the calls for the past thirty minutes. Their bodies were found not long afterwards—in pieces,” the commander of White Blade Guards said slowly.
“Shield District?” King Nuven hesitated for a second.
“Good,” the old king said flatly, peering at the city beneath him. “Crushing humans into pieces… what else should I know about the calamity?”
There was a silence, until an aged, kind voice rose.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Standing behind the king was the director of the Secret Room, Red Witch Calshan. She bowed respectfully. “Kindly evacuate the residents in Shield District and the neighboring areas. If possible, I recommend leading them out of the city.”
Nicholas sucked in a deep breath.
“Is it a bit too much?”
King Nuven frowned. “Just because of one calamity, I have to empty half the city?”
“Believe me, Your Majesty,” Calshan began, her voice soft and gentle. “Sacrificing half a city is better than the whole city.”
Thales held Little Rascal tightly, keeping the violently shaking girl from slipping on the ground.
“What… what was that? Who are they?” Little Rascal’s tears had long dried. The tear tracks were the marks of the misfortune she had experienced earlier.
“No matter what they are, I’m here for you,” Thales said softly. “Everything will be alright…”
His gaze fixed on the two individuals before him, especially the girl who stuck her head out to stare past Asda and smiled brightly at him.
Giza Streelman’s eyes were filled with tenderness and love. “Child, I’d told you… We would meet again.”
Thales only felt more goosebumps on his skin.
The explosion that killed Ramon blasted the walls on both sides, turning an alleyway into a round vacant lot, affecting many of the people who lived nearby.
A commotion of such a large scale was impossible to cover.
“Oh god! My leg, my leg is trapped!!”
“Help!! Somebody, help me!”
“Get more people to help! What about the disciplinary officer? Where’s the disciplinary officer?”
“The house has collapsed?!”
There would occasionally be injured citizens wailing in the wreckage around them. More Northlanders were shocked awake from their sleep. They walked out of their houses, and after their initial shock and fear, they went to help the injured.
There were about a hundred of them.
“Who are you?” A few Northlander men noticed the two confronting Mystics and came towards them, puzzled. “What happened just now?”
“Hey, young lady, did you see the explosion earlier?” Thales saw a short, stout, elderly man walk towards them with a solemn expression and a torch in his hand. He took a dubious glance at Asda, then asked Giza, who wore a cryptic expression, “Are you in trouble?”
Thales’ heart sank.
Nevertheless, Giza and Asda stood still, unmoved by the noise and clamor of their surroundings. It was as if they were the only two people in the world.
“I am happy to see that you have recovered, Giza,” Asda whispered, “I heard about you from that child… and your attitude towards him.”
“Wonderful.” Giza put on her signature gentle smile, snorted, and said, “I don’t have to repeat it.”
Asda wore a faintly chilly expression. “There might be a misunderstanding between you two.”
Thales swallowed. He turned around, hoping for a chance to sneak away. Instead, he saw more and more people approaching them.
‘Uh-oh.’ Thales’ chest tightened.
The short, muscular man gestured impatiently to the injured residents lying around. “Hey, you two! I don’t know if you’re fighting or pulling a Dark Night Temple drama, the people need help right now. You had better not just stand there—”
His utterance was interrupted by the stomping of heavy footsteps in the distance.
Teams of patrollers with torches held high came to this place, spread out their formation, drew close, and watched all the people on the street with wary expressions on their faces.
Thales felt a jolt.
‘The patrols of Dragon Clouds City, but…’ He peeked at the two Mystics facing each other quietly. ‘This is such a bad time to show up.’
“Misunderstanding?” Giza ignored the sudden appearance of the patrol team. She shifted her profound gaze back to Asda. “Don’t worry. The misunderstanding between that child and I will be resolved…”
The Blood Mystic licked her lips. “… very soon.”
Thales spotted an unknown object lying beside her feet that looked like Ramon’s or Black Sword’s broken limb. The sight of it made his hair stand on end.
Asda frowned. He understood what Giza meant right away.
“Everyone, quiet! Line up along the roadside!” A hoarse voice came from the patrol team. “In the name of the king, obey the disciplinary officer’s instructions and then leave in one line!”
With mixed emotions, the residents who were helping the injured and curious onlookers directed their gazes to the patrol team.
“Do as I say!” A disciplinary officer walked out from the group of soldiers. “I will repeat one more time—”
“Hey, officer or whatever!” The short, sturdy man who had interrupted the Mystics’ conversation pounded on his chest. He turned to the disciplinary officer and said, “Lots of people are injured here and need help!
“Do you think the lives of Shield District residents aren’t important?”
Following his protest, the residents began to voice their disapproval at the patrolmen together.
“You’ll get all the help you need but Shield District must be evacuated now! You—” the disciplinary officer uttered impatiently, but he paused all of sudden and squinted. “Wait, I recognize you. You’re ‘Big Leather Belt’ of the Glacial Sentries, aren’t you?”
The short, brawny man nodded slightly with a stern face. “We need help.”
The disciplinary officer’s attitude was significantly nicer. He turned to his subordinates and waved. “Alright, for your sake… Go assist the people first, get the injured out of there, then evacuate immediately!”
The residents were gradually appeased.
The disciplinary officer turned around and frowned at Big Leather Belt. “Where’s Gleeward? These people only listen to him.”
“He was summoned away by some officers, said it was an order from the king. I don’t know if it was true.” Big Leather Belt glanced at the two Mystics in their confrontation. “Why do we have to evacuate?”
“Not sure. It was the king’s orders.” The disciplinary officer shook his head. “We received an urgent dispatch to rush here… have you seen any suspicious individuals?”
“Suspicious individuals? This is Shield District, strangers are almost—” Big Leather Belt paused, and turned to the two Mystics with an astonished look on his face. “There they are.”
In the meantime, on Thales’ side, the two Mystics were still talking to each other as though what was happening in their surroundings did not matter.
“This child, do you know who he is?” the Air Mystic said, “Do you know what he means to us?”
“Of course. I know very well who he is,” Giza said, laughing. There was a hint of hostility in her voice. “Step aside, Asda.”
Unmoved, Asda’s expression turned grim. “I do not like to be told what to do, Giza.”
‘Shit.’ Thales paled.
“You two! And the two children at the back!” The disciplinary officer, followed by several soldiers, approached the Mystics, eyeing their thin clothing with a doubtful expression. “Where did you come from? What’s going on here?”
Giza turned to look at the vigilant soldiers with a bright smile. “You, or me?”
“It’s going to draw attention to us.” Asda shook his head. “Maybe we should be discreet.”
‘No.’ Thales observed every move Giza and Asda made. His heart froze.
“Good, then I’ll do it.” Gia sighed. “I need to collect some materials anyway.”
Asda frowned slightly. Thales felt a chill.
‘This is bad.’
Thales drew in his breath and started shouting at the people who came near them. “Get out of here! Everyone, quick, get the hell out! Report to Heroic Spirit Palace immediately!”
In bewilderment, the disciplinary officer and Big Leather Belt watched the little boy tug at a quivering little girl, yelling at them. “It’s dangerous here!”
Nevertheless, a tender, childish voice obviously could not resolve the Northlanders’ confusion and curiosity.
“What happened, kid?” The short and sturdy ‘Big Leather Belt’ approached Thales, shooting a vigilant glare at the blank-faced Asda. “Did this guy do something you?”
Thales stumbled backwards, shaking his head. “No—”
“You, young lady.” A soldier grasped Giza’s arm rudely. “Don’t just stand here, go to the side of the street!”
As soon as he was in contact with her, his body trembled, he fell on the ground, and his arm convulsed uncontrollably.
Giza’s chuckle rang in his ears.
“Bloody hell, my hand! What did you do?!”
The other soldiers turned to look at the soldier who fell and they broke into laughter.
“You can’t even catch a girl, Jason. You should retire!”
Asda seemed unaffected. He gazed at the poor soldier who had touched Giza and collapsed on the ground, red-faced.
His fate was sealed.
“Assaulting the patrols?
“Good. Capture them.” The disciplinary officer narrowed his eyes, paused, and said resolutely, “And report this to the higher-ups…”
Thales sighed. He knew it was too late.
The soldiers from the patrol units giggled. They had the two Mystics surrounded.
Giza turned to face them, a warm smile appearing on her face.
In that very second, Thales forced Little Rascal to kneel and pressed her against his chest, blocking her view.
“Don’t look,” Thales said softly with cold eyes.
Little Rascal shuddered, but she still obediently buried her face in his chest.
When the first shriek rang out, Little Rascal, who was still very much confused and dazed, was forced by Thales to cover her ears.
“Stay put, no matter what happens… I am with you.”
At that moment, even Thales shut his eyes. His chin rested on Little Rascal’s head. He knew what would happen next. These people, on the other hand, had no idea what they were up against.
It was too cruel.
“What’s with this girl… I can’t catch her.” the soldiers exclaimed in astonishment.
“Ahh… Something’s wrong with this girl! It burns!”
Thales heard the sound of human limbs falling onto the ground.
“Ahh! My hand! My hand!”
A few men let out blood-curdling screams.
“Jason! Oh god! He… he’s melting! His blood…”
Under the panicked warnings of the man called Big Leather Belt, the patrol team noticed what was off.
“My god! No! What are you…?!”
Under the agitated commands from the disciplinary officer, the soldiers drew their weapons out of their scabbards.
“You wh*re! I don’t care what demonic trick you’re using, f*cking stop it at once! Or else I swear to god… I swear I’ll kill you!” the disciplinary officer bellowed in rage.
However, the wretched wails multiplied.
“My back, there’s something in my back… it’s moving!”
“Robbie! Hang in there! Hang in there! I’m hacking this thing off now!”
“Boss, kill her quick!”
An explosive sound rang out.
Thales, who held Little Rascal tightly, shuddered violently.
The sound of flesh being blasted into smithereens rose into the air again. It caused the onlooking citizens to cry out, their shouts filled with fear and surprise.
“No!” There was a gut-wrenching cry. “The corpse… pieces of it are moving! Is that Sithee’s hand?! My god!!”
Those screams were accompanied by Giza’s chuckles.
“What are you waiting for? Kill her! Kill her now!!” came the manic screech of the disciplinary officer.
The sound of blades piercing human flesh echoed, then came the sound of a human head hitting the ground, followed by Giza’s demure yet unending laughs.
“Im-Impossible! Her head, why… why is it still moving…?”
“Help! Boss! The thing that comes out of her body… Monster! She’s a monster!”
“My god! Stop going near that thing! Step back! Step back, everyone!” Big Leather Belt shouted hysterically.
Thales clenched his teeth, trying not to imagine what was going on in his surroundings. As she cowered in his arms, Little Rascal shivered despite being unable to see or hear anything.
Thales could not help but recall the nightmarish scenes he witnessed in the birch tree forest in the Northern territory of Constellation.
“Retreat! Everyone, retreat!” The disciplinary officer’s voice began to shake. Fear had taken control of his mind and dominated his courage.
It was not just the patrol units whom were affected. When the onlookers realized that what they were facing was some fearsome, unknown entity, and that the patrols could not keep the situation under control, panic erupted among them.
They began to flee in terror… but it was too late.
The sound of cracking concrete and stones echoed.
“Watch the ground! What’s coming out of the ground… Ahh!”
“Neena, never mind me! Take our son and leave, quick!”
“Are these tree roots? I can’t chop them off! No, father, no!”
“Don’t! Don’t come near me! Arghh!”
The countless cries of men and women traveled around.
“Boss! Boss! What do we do?”
“These things are everywhere!”
The voice of the disciplinary officer was drowned out by the soldiers’ frantic wails.
Thales squeezed his eyes shut and bit his lower lip. His arms around Little Rascal trembled uncontrollably.
The footsteps scattered and gradually faded, replaced by shrieks, sounds of people being dragged across the floor, the clanging of fallen blades and swords, and the howls of despair.
“Wait, what about the signal arrows? Quick, fire them, inform the higher-ups!” Big Leather Belt’s groan was accompanied by the sound of him being dragged on the ground.
The crossbows creaked as the arrows were shot. What followed, however, was a string of clinks and clunks from the sky.
“The arrows can’t be fired! It’s as if something is blocking them in the air!” a soldier cried in panic. Thales ground his teeth.
At the next moment, a clear, cold voice of a man huffed.
Thales felt the air around him move.
About a dozen cracks rang out. Some were nearby, some from a distance, the people’s bones had been crushed in that instant.
Then, the sounds all faded at once. The silence lasted about ten seconds.
Occasionally, there was the sound of something meaty being hauled on the ground, accompanied by some bone-chilling crunches—the kind of sound a beast made when gnawing on its prey. Thales tried to stop himself from shaking.
Finally, everything around them returned to silence.
“You might be saying that you don’t want to… but in the end, you still stuck your nose in this.”
The Blood Mystic’s lackadaisical, feminine voice traveled into the air. “How boring.”
But strangely, Giza’s voice came from under the ground.
Asda’s faint harrumph was the reply she got.
Thales sucked in a breath before he slowly opened his eyes.
Contrary to his expectations, everything around him was incredibly clean. There was no blood, no corpses, no disgusting torn limbs.
Of course, there was also not a single living person.
There were only weapons scattered all over the floor, shoes that fell off feet while their owners were fleeing, collapsed roofs and walls, and shattered floors.
It was as if during that instant just now, everyone had managed to escape.
Thales panted softly. He turned his head around, then his stomach churned.
Right before his eyes, Giza’s body slowly picked her still smiling head from the ground, then gently placed it on her neck before she slowly positioned it properly.
The Blood Mystic touched the spot joining her neck and shoulder. Her bloody wound instantly disappeared without a trace.
“As good as new.” Giza noticed his gaze and gave him a charming smile. Thales gritted his teeth.
Only at that moment did Thales dare let go of Little Rascal so that the latter could open her eyes.
Little Rascal stared at the bizarrely clean street around her and shuddered.
Asda shook his head and said, “I might have locked down all signal arrows and all sound transmissions, but with so many people missing, they’ll notice what is going on here sooner or later.”
The Blood Mystic smiled and asked, “Are you afraid?”
Asda did not speak. He turned around indifferently and walked towards Thales.
Thales did not even dare breathe loudly. In his mind he was furiously thinking about how to escape. No, judging by the looks of it, he should be thinking about the possibilities of protecting his life.
“Wait,” Giza said gently.
Asda stopped in his tracks and his expression turned cold.
The Blood Mystic raised her gaze and looked at Thales. “Let that boy stay and we will still be good friends. How does that sound?”
A violent shudder wrecked Thales’ entire body. The Air Mystic remained silent for an instant.
Asda turned towards Giza and said slowly, “The Soul Slayer Pike and Severing Souls Blade are in the city. Even if you fight with a corporeal form, you still would not be able to withstand the Soul Slayer Pike’s might. It would be best for us to flee as soon as possible.”
“Oh?” The Blood Mystic slowly shook her head. Then Giza slowly enunciated her words unhurriedly, “You intentionally lured the patrol here so that you can use this reason to force me away and protect that dear, treasured boy of yours?
“You wound me, partner.”
When he heard this, Asda sighed.
“Did you forget our original intentions when we cooperated with each other, Giza?” For some unknown reason, Thales felt that the Air Mystic’s voice was filled with grief at that moment. “Regardless of whether it was for my plan, Freuland’s ideals, or your persistence, did the three of us not work together so that the Mystics could one day be free of those shackles?”
The Blood Mystic let out a light snort. She lifted her head and looked at the moon, heading west in the sky, and said with a sneer, “The incident twelve years ago has long since proven how your childish and ridiculous your thoughts are, be it yours or Freuland’s.”
‘Twelve years ago. Why is it twelve years ago again? Could it be that the Mystics also took part in the Bloody Year?’
Thales could not help but recall the words Black Sword said to Asda.
‘”When genocide broke out in Renaissance Palace…”‘
‘Also…’ Thales could not help but hold Little Rascal tightly again. ‘Blood Bottle Gang was the result of the cooperation between the Air and Blood Mystics, but based on their conversation, it seems like there was a third person.
‘Who is Freuland?’
Asda sucked in a deep breath. “Very well, then we can part ways from here. After all, we went our own ways during the previous battle, this is your way. The results in the past were also unable to persuade you.”
The Air Mystic looked dejected.
“But what does that have to do with the boy?” Asda raised his head and a brilliant light shone in his eyes. “You must have a reason that makes you so bent on killing him.”
This time, Giza readily answered him. “Of course. It’s his blood… I made him a promise a long time ago.”
“A bloodline that you must kill?” Asda averted his gaze and cast Thales a glance. “Did you know his mother?”
Thales’ grip over Little Rascal’s hand suddenly tightened.
However, this time, Giza only put on a good-natured smile. “Why don’t you take a guess?”
“The reason won’t persuade me,” Asda answered coldly.
The Blood Mystic sighed slowly. “Alright, it’s also because I don’t want him to suffer all kinds of torment like we have.”
Thales’ face turned pale. ‘Suffer all kinds of torment?’
“This reason still won’t be able to persuade me,” Asda repeated firmly, his face turned darker.
“Don’t worry, I just want his life.” Giza smiled and shook her head.
In the next instant, six blood-red tree roots with sharp thorns suddenly shot out of the ground around Thales and went straight towards him from all directions.
‘This is bad!’ Thales was shocked. He simply could not react fast enough to this.
Those six roots were forcibly halted several inches away from Thales, blocked off by an invisible barrier.
Asda raised the ball of light in his left hand and glared at the Blood Mystic while a blue light shone in his eyes.
“Don’t, Giza,” he said in a low tone.
Thales panted, still yet to recover from his shock. He stared at the sharp, terrifying thorns in front of him.
He made a panicked giggle.
Those roots moved about as if they possessed lives. They shrank back before they shot forward again.
“Ah!” This time, Little Rascal let out a shriek as she reacted to the situation.
Asda snapped his fingers lightly.
Several powerful streams of air swept out in torrents around Thales and forcefully cut off the roots.
“Really, Giza?” With a steely expression, the Air Mystic said coldly, “We suffered great losses during the Battle of Eradication. Don’t destroy everything after we’ve finally reached this state.”
The sliced roots shuddered, and sharp thorns grew on them again before they shrank back to the Blood Mystic’s side.
At that moment, Giza suddenly scoffed and said, “Hmph, how hilarious. How dare you mention the Battle of Eradication? You speak as if you feel proud because of it.”
When Asda heard her words, a light crease appeared between his eyebrows.
“We are one,” the Air Mystic said in a serious manner, “Dividing ourselves into factions will just injure us, and it is not beneficial to us as a whole.”
“One?” Giza let out a snort and her voice turned cold. “One!”
The Blood Mystic walked forward slowly. The roots by her side followed her unhurriedly. Her eyes looked as if there were flames dancing in them.
“When we were bathed in blood and fighting for the future of Mystics, where were you cowards? When we were fighting against the Obscurists to the point that we could not tell friend from foe, where were you deserters? When we were set up by the two empresses to the point that we were driven to a corner, where were you pests?
“L, Bryan, Lebla, B, Erik… When we fell one by one, where you so-called Moderators?
Thales listened to Giza’s words, stunned, but mentally noted down all the names, titles, and nouns used.
He might use them in the future…
Even though he was up against most possibly the most dangerous enemy in his life.
Asda’s expression turned cold.
“Don’t stick your labels on us.” The Air Mystic’s words were cold and aloof. “We are not known as Moderators.”
Giza’s smile became even brighter. “Of course, that was the title Lebla designated to your faction. Before that, B called the lot of you…
“‘Taurus’ lap dogs’.”
Asda’s expression became even more sullen.
“Are you saying that there are no grounds for negotiation?” Asda sucked in a deep breath. “No matter what, we are partners.”
Giza nodded, smiled sweetly, and said, “That’s right. You just have to work with me, isn’t that so?”
Asda sighed and closed his eyes. When he opened them again, there was only a coldness in his eyes.
The Air Mystic snorted coldly. “I’ve had enough of all of you. B? That person, that madman who led all of you to become unreasonable, wild dogs, only knew how to bark rabidly, and wouldn’t listen to reason?!”
The two of them fell silent for a moment, but Thales felt that this was more akin to the calm before a storm.
As expected, after a moment, a frightening, blood-red light shone in Giza’s eyes. “B taught us to accept ourselves and be free from our shackles. And you-you domestic dog from the Magic Tower, Taurus”yes man’, you feel uncomfortable without a collar around your neck, hmm?”
Asda did not back down. “I just knew that the witches from the Third Ring wouldn’t be able to bring up any good students.”
And then, he let out a cold harrumph. “You ‘b*tch’.”
Giza did not speak. The beautiful maiden remained silent for three seconds.
However, three seconds later, the words she said caused Asda’s face to change color from the agitation.
The Blood Mystic slowly said, “What exactly is air? Is it an entity that moves, fills, and exists in everything? Or is it something that remains in the same shape, lingers around, and is as light as emptiness itself?”
Giza continued, unbothered, “What does air symbolize? What would disappearing air bring? Is air pure or is it mixed with all matter of life? Is air eternal or will it change constantly?
“Are you air itself, or is air a part of you?”
For the first time in his life, Thales noticed to his horror that Asda Sakern’s face had begun to distort.
‘What is air?’
A thought appeared in Thales’ mind, and then he recalled the words Asda told him before while Thales himself was stunned.
‘The first declaration among Mystics: They would not delve deep into each other’s origins.’
He stared at Giza in disbelief.
‘No way. She’s…’
The blue light in the Air Mystic’s eyes grew stronger.
The Blood Mystic’s words caused Thales’ skin to crawl. “What now? Could it be that you remember the three great declarations Taurus gave all of you more than you remember your own name, little puppy Asda?”
The next moment, before Asda could react, Giza opened her mouth as if she was a beast about to roar and slowly lifted her head. During that instant, Thales felt something surge out of her body. Within his field of vision, the red light from Giza became even brighter.
A brilliant, thin red thread rose on Giza’s neck and gradually filled her entire face. The blood-red line swiftly divided itself into several branches before they slowly thickened, until they covered Giza’s face like blood vessels with blood flowing in them.
And those blood vessels looked as if they possessed life. They began changing slowly, moving and shivering on Giza’s face.
As if… they were breathing.
Asda’s expression changed. He moved to Thales’ side and cast the Prince of Constellation a glance with a frown.
“What—” Thales said, feeling awkward, but right when he said that word, he was interrupted.
“Don’t speak,” Asda said coldly, “Later, when I tell you to run, run. Don’t turn your head back, don’t stop.”
Thales stared at Asda in shock and could only nod his head helplessly.
‘Judging by his tone of voice, even Asda… does not have the confidence to protect himself?’
Little Rascal pressed herself firmly into Thales’ bosom while she quivered.
With blood vessels all over her face, Giza sucked in a deep breath. As if she had just woken up from a beautiful dream, she grinned, and there was madness contained in her eyes. Her originally gentle and charming smile turned into the most gorgeous, terrifying and enraged smile.
“Oh my.” The Blood Mystic looked as if she had opened the gate controlling her emotions and tilted her head to laugh loudly without inhibition. “The feeling of reunion after having spent so much time apart is really good!”
Asda stared at her grimly. “You’re taking a risk by increasing your power in this place and at this time!”
“What now? Lack the courage to boost your power?” The Blood Mystic gave them another gorgeous smile. “Of course you do. After all, you’re a coward.
“Little puppy Asda, why don’t we play a game?”
Asda frowned deeper.
The Blood Mystic pointed at Thales, then raised her arms before she laughed maniacally and shouted, “I will raise my power with every minute I don’t manage to kill him!
“And there will be no limits to its increase!”