Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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In the southern part of the Ximengsi Continent, in the depths of Death Valley, there was a black castle named Morpheus. This stronghold was the center of Demon King Garfield’s territory. Demon King Garfield was the strongest of all the Demon Kings and had invaded Ximengsi Continent almost a century ago. The black castle Morpheus that he had built had stood erect in the depths of Death Valley for several decades despite the armies and heroes of the Human Race who had failed to capture this place throughout all those long years. Many people had entered the eternal sleep on this territory.
On a moonless night, a relatively small-framed phantom dashed into Death Valley. Constantly turning her head to glance back, she seemed to be escaping from several pursuers. Although her movement speed was fast, a group of shadows managed to follow her every movement.
Death Valley usually appeared incomparably terrifying at night, but tonight, for an unknown reason, it was uncharacteristically quiet. Not a single demonic creature, dozens of which would usually roam about in the middle of the night, could be seen. There was a kind of indescribable oppression in the midst of this quietness. As if the castle were waiting…
“What’s going on? I can’t find a single demonic creature! I was hoping to stall for time using them. Ya, so hateful… if it were not for—”
In a moment of slight carelessness, that relatively small-framed phantom was hit by a golden light beam from behind. It was an arrow forged out of gold. However, this was actually the Light Church’s sacred item “Golden Holy Arrow.” In the entire Light Church, there were only a little more than one hundred such arrows. Extraordinarily, in order to arrest this relatively small-framed fugitive, the people chasing her were already throwing out hard-earned capital. After all, the cost of a single “Golden Holy Arrow” was enough to purchase a small town.
The Lolita who had been hit by the “Golden Holy Arrow” didn’t even slow down. Gritting her teeth, she endured the severe pain and continued to escape with the “Golden Holy Arrow” stuck in her back. Although she knew that this arrow had a Tracking Magic Array that would reveal her whereabouts to her pursuers, she didn’t have a choice since she lacked the time to pull it out. Those pursuers behind her were already too close. Grimly racing after that thin figure, they didn’t give the Lolita any time to hide and ponder how to escape.
The Lolita could only gamble by seeing whether she could flee into Demon King Garfield’s black castle Morpheus before another “Golden Holy Arrow” hit her and, once there, put herself under the Demon King’s protection. Shortly after she left the valley entrance, a squad of well-equipped heroes arrived. Seeing several strange dark-red blood marks on the ground, they easily determined that they had hit their target.
“Captain, those Golden Holy Arrows were meant to be used against Demon King Garfield. Isn’t this a waste?”
“Waste? No no, that girl is truly of the Blood Race! She was hit by three Golden Holy Arrows and was still able to escape!”
As one of the Light Church’s trump cards, even a normal Demon King wouldn’t dare to take a single “Golden Holy Arrow” head-on, let alone taking three in a row. The Lolita had already been hit by two of them before, but she had still been able to run away from them as if nothing had happened. Even after such a long chase, she gave no obvious signs of being in an abnormal state. Had this not been a request specifically asked upon them by the Light Church, this hero squad specialized for dealing with Demon Kings wouldn’t have chased the Lolita. After all, they had to save their resources for their battle against great Demon King Garfield.
“Death Valley is strange tonight. In the past, during our scouting, there would definitely be demonic creatures wandering around at night. How come we can’t see a single one tonight?”
“It’s currently unknown. A few days ago, I heard a priest speaking about a change in the celestial phenomena over here. No one knows what is going on here—even the research of that old man produced zero results.”
“Everyone, be a bit more careful. Let’s hunt down that fleeing bloodkin first. Also, be wary of any of Demon King Garfield’s schemes.”
Black Castle Morpheus
The fleeing bloodkin Lolita stood outside the wide-open castle gate in a daze. Walking into the castle, she was immediately confronted by a very foul bloody smell. This bloody smell belonged solely to demonic creatures. Her stomach churning, she then saw various kinds of demonic creatures that had died violent deaths strewn about the black castle. Their death states looked very miserable. From a cursory inspection, their corpses didn’t seem to be the work of the Human Race’s warriors. Not even the torture techniques of the Human Race had such a gruesome effect.
The bloodkin Lolita hesitated, nervously swiveling her head toward every sound. Finally, she gathered her courage and stepped into the Demon King’s Hall, only to find that it too was in a mess. Various high-leveled demonic creatures could be found, their expressions contorted in agony. The floor was dyed black with the dark blood of demonic creatures. The Lolita walked forward, gingerly stepping over puddles of black blood. After passing many unrecognizable demonic creatures, she discovered a tragic scene on the Demon King’s throne.
The thing the Lolita had been most unwilling to see had happened: Demon King Garfield was dead. He had died a miserable death, leaving behind only a few pieces of scattered body parts as if to prove that the terrifying Demonic King had once existed. Demon King Garfield, who had shrouded the entire Ximengsi Continent with his terrifying shadow for nearly a hundred years, had unexpectedly died a quiet, miserable death. From the lack of marks surrounding him, it seemed that he had been killed in a flash without even the chance to counterattack.
On top of the magnificent Demon King Throne of Demon King Garfield, a person clad in black robe sat. However, the bloodkin Lolita was unable to confirm what kind of existence this fellow was since the only recognizable marking on the black robe was a mysterious insignia she couldn’t understand. When she had entered, that black-robed person had merely continued staring at his hand, which was bound by a white bandage, as if he had not noticed the intruder.
“Who am I? This body…”
“Please help me, I…”
“I still haven’t completely repaid my loan. Wait, is there no need to repay the loan? If I had known that earlier, I would have spent freely.”
“Can you hear me? You, this person…”
What made the Lolita at a loss was that this mysterious black-robed person completely ignored her. He was talking to himself, but she couldn’t understand what this person was saying. Nevertheless, estimating that the heroes pursuing her were soon going to arrive, this bloodkin Lolita didn’t think much about it. She quickly ran behind the Demon King Throne and hid behind that mysterious person, keeping her head down. The Demon King Throne was very big, large enough to hide her, at least. However, the mysterious person never raised his head, and his hood completely covered his face. As a result, the bloodkin Lolita was unable to clearly see the other party’s true appearance. Waiting behind this strange man, she gripped her hands into fists as she tried to still her nerves.
Not long after the bloodkin Lolita had hidden herself, that team of elite adventurers arrived in front of the castle. Even before they had stepped through the castle’s gate, they shot in a volley of six “Golden Holy Arrows” that transformed into golden light beams and zoomed toward the mysterious black-robed person sitting on the Demon King Throne. Even before clearly seeing the situation within the black castle Morpheus, these heroes had directly launched an attack from the castle gate, intending to gain the initiative by striking the first blow. While it was unlikely to kill him, every little bit mattered in their quest to end the reign of Demon King Garfield. After all, the fighting power of Demon King Garfield was very terrifying.
“Watch out! Eh, this…”
The bloodkin Lolita thought to warn the dazed personage sitting on the Demon King Throne, but her worries were superfluous. As if he hadn’t heard her words, that black robe person sat still, ignoring the “Golden Holy Arrows.” When those six “Golden Holy Arrows” reached the halfway point, black tentacles sprang from the ground and blocked them. Then, those arrows were broken into pieces lacking even the slightest spark of light.
“I… My just sitting here provoked you all!?”
That mysterious black robed person stood up and faced toward the castle gate. Raising his right hand, he spread open his palm. Suddenly, from the ground of the entrance gate, dozens of writhing black tentacles rose, instantly annihilating the hero squad. After a series of blood-curdling screams, only dark-red bloodstains and several severed bloody tentacles remained on the ground before the castle gate, the only sign of the terrifying scene that had just happened.
“Little sister, you can leave. I am going to leave here anyway.”
“Wait, can you let me see your appearance? Just a glance.”
“That can’t be done, you will… Eh, you!”
That bloodkin Lolita ignored his warning and ran over to examine his face. Reaching out, he tried to prevent this but acted too late. Freezing up, the bloodkin Lolita seemed to have seen something terrifying as she let out a whimper. She was so scared that she fell to the ground, completely frozen from fear. In addition, all her equipment, including her inner underwear, disintegrated into powder. Out of a girl’s instinct, the bloodkin Lolita subconsciously used her hands to cover her bosom and clamped her legs, trying to cover her sensitive areas.
That bloodkin Lolita had long silvery hair, a pair of blood-red pupils, abnormally white skin, and on the sides of her bright cherry-red mouth, matching pairs of cute protruding canine teeth. After her entire body had been exposed, the wounds caused by the “Golden Holy Arrows” on her back were obvious. These gaping wounds would’ve been startling on anyone, not to mention when they scarred an otherwise beautiful, young girl. Seeing her grievous injuries, the mysterious black robed person felt an uncharacteristic hint of compassion, so he hesitantly lowered his hand that had originally been prepared to attack her.
Gasping in shock, she tried to recover her bearings. Once she recovered enough to speak, she complained, “Compensate for my clothes! You bully who won’t take me along! If you compensate me for my clothes, I won’t follow you.”
“Cough. Cough. You actually didn’t die. Wait, don’t cry! I didn’t mean that! Okay, okay! I’ll take you along. What’s your name?”
“Lucifer. I’m one of Blood Race’s… ordinary bloodkin.”
“Ordinary. You are indeed ordinary. Sure. You can look straight at…”
“I am really an ordinary bloodkin. What about you? Can you tell me your name?”
“Name? I don’t have one. Let’s go. This place doesn’t have any valuable things.”
“So hateful! How can you live without a name? I’ll help you come up with one.”
Lucifer acted like a spoiled child and made the mysterious black robed person carry her out of the castle. Although the other party’s terrifying ability far exceeded her expectations, she could at least be assured that staying beside him would be the safest. Since her strength was too weak, she had no choice but to accompany him. Now that Lucifer was being actively hunted, she urgently needed powerful companions.
The mysterious black robed person considered the bloodkin Lolita who was practically stuck to his bosom. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she happily snuggled into his robe. After hesitating for a while, he finally sighed and decided to take her along. She was the first person who could gaze at his true appearance without going mad or dying. It wasn’t like bringing her along would be a hassle: with his strength, regardless of her origin, there would at least be no problems in having her stay by his side. Nevertheless, the most important reason for his abrupt decision was that Lucifer was beautiful. Since she had taken the initiative to deliver herself to his doorstep, not taking her away would make him lose blood.
The next morning, the infamous black castle Morpheus was reduced to ashes and disappeared together with Demon King Garfield in a raging fire. The Light Church mistakenly believed that that hero squad had perished together with Demon King Garfield and soon issued a commendation notice, declaring that this was the first great victory for the Human Race in their war of several thousands of years against the Demon Kings.
Needing a victory to boost the morale of their soldiers, the higher-ups of the suppressed Human Race overlooked investigating the event in the black castle ruins and just went along with the Light Church’s official story. Thus, the great powers of Ximengsi Continent never even realized that Demon King Garfield had died in the hands of an even higher-leveled “creature.” Demon King Garfield had died, but an even more terrifying existence had already quietly left Death Valley and set foot on Ximengsi Continent.