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Bailey Estrange, Mo Chuan and I were ushered into the resting area beneath the stage. It had been 10 minutes since that happened.
In the eyes of the judge, the damage I received was fatal thus he forcefully ended the match. Right now, they were discussing how to judge this outcome.
The three of us were lined up in a row with Mo Chuan and I flanking the sides of Bailey, eyes fixed on little girl as we waited for her reaction.
No one dared to approach us, instead, the countless spectators merely swept their eyes over us from a distance away.
The Bailey right now had her face buried in her thighs with her hands covering her face…she had suffered a serious blow.
Di Qi Ju: …Mo Chuan, exactly what’s going on?
Mo Chuan: A few days ago, Breman gave me a mission to protect this little lady from any potential assassinations.
Mo Chuan: After that operation with One’day High and the others, the following bodyguard missions were all handled by Lee Sole’shot.
Mo Chuan: That was until the day when you guys embarked on that revenge operation against Ferdila. I was temporarily assigned to guarding her, I’m sure you know of this already, Di Qi Ju.
Di Qi Ju: …mhm.
Mo Chuan: While I don’t know why anyone would want to harm her, it was a mission given by Breman so all I had to do was obey it.
Come to think, I still hadn’t brought up the matter of my trial in the Grand Coliseum with Mo Chuan and the others. Judging from Breman’s behavior, he didn’t seem to see the need to tell them either since it would only cause unnecessary worry. None of them knew that Bailey was targeted because she was an important witness.
So at the end of the day…it was all because of me.
Mo Chuan: On that night, Bailey went to the post office to retrieve a letter. That letter wrote about what happened to her brother, it was what you heard just now.
Mo Chuan: After that, she decided to register for the Three Battles and even got me to be her registered keeper.
Di Qi Ju: In other words, you already knew that this would happen?
Mo Chuan: That’s right…
Mo Chuan’s wolf fangs began to lightly gnash against each other in an orderly but piercing fashion that unsettled everyone nearby.
It seemed like he was contemplating something rapidly, reflecting whether what he did was truly correct or not.
Di Qi Ju: Then, why did you expose your identity just now?
Di Qi Ju: You’ve already decided to let her join the Three Battles and face me in such an official setting, weren’t you going to let me handle me this?
Di Qi Ju: Then why did you do that?
Mo Chuan: Because…
Mo Chuan: I couldn’t choose.
Mo Chuan: On one hand, I should be the one to stand up and bear the consequences.
Mo Chuan: That letter didn’t explain the whole situation to Bailey so it falls upon me to let her know everything.
Mo Chuan: On the other hand…
Mo Chuan: If I told her everything in that situation, she might not have accepted what I said.
Mo Chuan: Just like what’s happening now.
At that, both our eyes glanced back at the unmoving girl who still had her head buried in her thighs.
Di Qi Ju: So what happened?
Mo Chuan: I…initially, we met under dangerous circumstances and I ended up as her savior. Ever since then, she was extremely grateful towards me.
Mo Chuan: Yet, this ended up indirectly hurting her — the feeling that she would experience once she realized the truth…
Mo Chuan opened up his palms and uneasily grinded his razor sharp claws against each other.
Mo Chuan: …I’ve experienced that feeling before, it’s not pleasant…
Mo Chuan: Extremely unpleasant…
Mo Chuan: …so I decided to avoid this problem.
Di Qi Ju:…
Di Qi Ju: In that case, why didn’t you just lie till the end?
Mo Chuan: That, I can’t do that either.
Mo Chuan: The moment I saw that she was going to hurt you, I had to act. I couldn’t bear to watch you suffer through that torturous experience again.
Was he talking about the time I was eaten by that giant worm?
Mo Chuan: That’s how things ended up like that…
Mo Chuan: According to human standards, I bet my emotional quotient is pretty low…
Di Qi Ju: Hah…I’m not sure about that either.
My mind briefly returned to Starfall.
That day, the message it transmitted to me seemed to indicate that it was the one who brought me into this world.
In exchange for everything I held dear in my previous world, I gained an enormous amount of wish points, so enormous even I didn’t know what to do with it.
Was it a benefactor then? Or a foe?
If I hadn’t met Poppy and ended up in the wilds or some other deserted region, my life would’ve probably been more dependant on wish points. In that case, it would’ve been my savior.
However, it was also the creature who destroyed everything I held dear. Thus, I swung my fist at it.
After that, I no longer held any hatred towards it. In fact, I kind of pitied it and even tried to fulfill its wish in some sense.
That emotion I felt then, it was a truly complicated one…
Bailey she…was she struggling in such an abyss as well?
Judge: Di Qi Ju, Bailey Estrange.
Di Qi Ju: Hmm.
Judge: After deliberating with the judging panel, I’ve come to announce the outcome.
Judge: Contestant Bailey managed to attack a fatal point on Di Qi Ju, at that same moment, her keeper interfered so it’s counted as a loss.
Judge: However, because Di Qi Ju didn’t put up a fight, he sustained too much injuries so according to the rules, it was his loss as well.
Judge: Both of you have been eliminated. That is all.
Di Qi Ju:…
Di Qi Ju: Alright, I understand, thank you.
After watching the judge leave, I gently patted Bailey on her back. Her body trembled slightly at my touch after which she straightened herself and looked me.
Her face, there was no expression on it.
Di Qi Ju: You…do you want to continue?
Bailey: …continue what?
Di Qi Ju: What we were doing just now.
Bailey: You mean…venting…my anger?
Di Qi Ju: I guess so?
Di Qi Ju: Huh?
Bailey: There’s no point…
Bailey: In the first place, I didn’t join the Three Battles because of that…
Di Qi Ju: Then…?
Bailey: I just feel like…I’ve lost my aim in life.
She raised her knees to her chest and gently hugged them while staring into the distance.
Bailey: When my parents passed away, my brother told me that he was going to a distant place and that once he made it big, he would come back to fetch me…
Bailey: I didn’t have to do anything except wait…
Bailey: He was always like that, trying to do everything himself and rarely spending any time with me. He was my family member yet at the same time, he felt foreign to me…
Bailey: I planned on following what he said and wait here quietly. Even though it was a slightly tough life, at least I had someone worth waiting for…
Bailey: But now…
Bailey: There’s no one for me to wait for anymore.
Bailey: Whether it’s venting or vengeance, it won’t bring me anything.
Bailey: I just…want to find an aim for myself.
Bailey:…I think I’ve come to an understanding.
Di Qi Ju: Huh? What did you understand?
Bailey: Back when I registered for the Three Battles, that was only done in the heat of the moment. I didn’t expect to meet you in the first round at all.
Bailey: My parents passed away in the midst of battle. Having numbed myself to that in my hometown, I thought that, maybe, just maybe, I might be able to rely on fighting to survive, like my brother…
Bailey: Now I understand, such a thing isn’t suited for me.
Bailey: If my long-awaited brother asked me to join him, I don’t think I can bring myself to do so.
Di Qi Ju: Haha, I guess so…
Di Qi Ju: Compared to fighting, quietly studying in the classroom suits you more.
Bailey: What do you know, even though you’re sitting in front of me, you’ve never turned around even once to look at me.
Di Qi Ju: Err, what I’m saying is…your disposition! Your disposition is really suited to studying, that’s right, mhm.
Bailey: Studying…I can’t do that for my entire life either.
Bailey: Thinking about it now, if I’m able to spend the rest of my life in a classroom, that doesn’t seem that bad either.
Bailey: Listening to the teacher’s lectures while watching my classmates mess around…I can think I can accept such a life.
Di Qi Ju:……
Ignoring that jibe at me for a moment, a thought suddenly occurred to me. An extremely selfish thought.
Even though it’s extremely selfish, what if it…
What if it was what she wanted as well?
Di Qi Ju: Bailey, have you thought about being a clergyman?
Bailey tilted her head slightly and gave me a melancholic smile.
Bailey: If I could become a clergyman, I would’ve been selected long ago already when I was young.
Bailey: With my wish points, there’s no way I can be a clergyman.
Di Qi Ju: Then…
Di Qi Ju: What if you had the wish points to qualify as a clergyman, have you thought about a clergyman’s life?
Bailey: A clergyman huh…
Bailey: Researching theology, compiling theological theories, representing God, wielding God’s power, acting on behalf on God and leading the faithful…
Bailey: Those are too lofty for me to imagine.
Di Qi Ju:…
Bailey: However, for the me right now…
Bailey: If I could be a clergyman, there would be no better journey or end.
Di Qi Ju:…
Di Qi Ju:……
Di Qi Ju: Is that so.
If it will satisfy her…if I can make up for all the hurt I inflicted on her…if my selfishness can be forgiven…
Then those tears of excitement, guilt, regret and gratitude wouldn’t have been shed in vain.
—once I’ve accomplished my goals, I’ll let her become the successor to “Speech”
Carmen: …what? You’ve been eliminated?
Di Qi Ju: Yup.
At the back of the coliseum, I met Carmen and Naysis Ferne.
Ever since I withdrew from school, this was the first time I saw this princess. During that period, only Carmen came to visit me once. It was a strange visit that seemed like she was only here to see that I was alright before leaving.
Even though it was already a few days since she declared so, Naysis’ feelings towards me had stopped at that day when she “declared war”.
All she did was glance warily at Mo Chuan before turning away without even giving me a look.
Naysis Ferne: Carmen, let’s go. I’m giving up the Battle of Righteousness.
Naysis Ferne: I’ll go get the money for the fine so wait for me here.
Carmen: Ah? Wait, Princess–
As she said that, Naysis had already turned around to leave.
Lee Sole’shot: Yo, Mo Chuan–Di Qi Ju–
Right as Naysis disappeared into the crowd, Lee Sole’shot came skipping over with a grin plastered all over his face.
Lee Sole’shot: My match is over, don’t cha know. Have you seen Leak’age-chan and the others?
Mo Chuan: Not yet. How did your preliminaries go?
Lee Sole’shot: Oh, naturally…
Lee Sole’shot: –I lost. Completely.
Di Qi Ju:…
Di Qi Ju: Ah??
Lee Sole’shot took off his bow and arrows before ripping open his shirt to reveal his chest. On it were multiple hiltless blades stabbed into his flesh in a dense pattern. From a cursory glance, there had to be over 30 of them.
Di Qi Ju: You…are you alright?
Lee Sole’shot: I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m already accustomed to this level of bullying.
Lee Sole’shot: For other people, that might be fatal but not for me.
Di Qi Ju: This can’t even be called “bullying” anymore…
Mo Chuan: Who was your opponent?
Lee Sole’shot: Nine Heaven.
Di Qi Ju:…
Lee Sole’shot: He was truly formidable. He had a wish ability that allowed him to instantly close the distance between us. I had no chance to draw my bow at all.
Lee Sole’shot: If I even had the chance to draw my bow once, just once, I guarantee he will leave the arena in a stretcher.
Di Qi Ju: Err…
Mo Chuan: Breman is not going to be happy about this. It’s only the preliminaries and already two of us have been eliminated.
Lee Sole’shot: That’s right…plus, I’ve just taken a look at the match listings, if it drags out to the last round, there’s a high chance that Boss One’day will end up facing against Nine Heaven.
Lee Sole’shot: Looks like their matter will end up being settled before the main matches.
Di Qi Ju: Given how strong Nine Heaven is, what you all think One’day High’s chances are?
Carmen who had been quietly waiting at the side for Naysis to return, suddenly stepped in and interrupted us.
Her eyebrows were slightly furrowed, beneath them was a clear look of shock.
Carmen: Who…were you guys talking about just now?
Carmen: That person’s name?
Di Qi Ju: Hmm? Nine Heaven?
Carmen: No…the other one…
Di Qi Ju: One’day High?
Carmen: One’day High…
Carmen: One’day High……
Di Qi Ju:…?
I saw her fist clench, her fingernails biting deeply into her palm as she did so.
Carmen: One’day High…how could he turn up in such a place…
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Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.