Vol. 1: Chapter 83: The Burning Crater

Leonardo gathered the courage to speak. Clearly, the death of his long-found friend still affects him and his heart.

Anastasia stopped crying, hugging her brother tightly while looking at Leonardo with a pitiful face.

“Albert and I always competed against one another, looking for each other on who gets the most demon beasts slain. That competition nearly killed us that day.”

“We forced ourselves deep into the demon beast’s territory and became helpless against the endless waves of beasts.”

“Albert, this is your damn fault!”, Leonardo complained while slashing at a shadow wolf that tried to lunge at him.

“Shut it, Leonardo! Let’s get out of here first!”, Albert replied as he punched a bear’s head into bits.


A big whitish paw landed an attack near the two.

It breathed and let out a cold storm. The beast had the face and body of a bear and a spiked ball tail that was packed with ice spikes.

“A glacial forn?”

The beast roared again, thumping on the ground a few times before charging at them.

It was about to hit Albert and Leonardo when a low rumbling started.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked around.

“Thunderstorm? Leonardo, what in the Elders’ name is going on?”, Albert was alerted.

“Shut it, Albert! Let’s get out of here first!”

They wanted to get out but the rumbling intensified.

The beasts became afraid and started running in different directions.

“This is madness!”, Leonardo became worried.

The rumbling was so loud that it struck deep horror in his heart.

A blinding flash of light shone above them. The luminosity was so intense that even when Leonardo closed his eyes, it was still so bright.

A shockwave followed right after and the sound of the air being penetrated downwards toward their location resounded.

`Is this some kind of attack?!`, Leonardo thought.

Both him and Albert were lying flat on the ground, gritting their teeth hard as blood trickled down their mouth and noses.

Their skins were being ruptured slowly and they thought they were going to die.

Something then hit the ground with great force. Rocks, trees, leaves, and dust flew all over.

A whirlwind formed, making the current situation worse for the two old men.

The two utilized everything they had. Getting caught in that dangerous whirlwind would spell the end for the both of them.

Leonardo was holding himself when he heard the sound of metals clanging and banging against one another.

The frequency of the clanging sounds increased that it overwhelmed Leonardo’s sense of hearing.

`These sounds, and an echoing voice! What is that, and who is it?!`

His thoughts were interrupted as a loud and sharp sound hit his ears that temporarily deafened him.

The flash of light vanished and everything returned to normal. Objects were still flying all over the place but it wasn’t as intense as before.

Leonardo slowly got up, moving his jaws from side to side to unblock his ear canals. He thought that something was blocking him from hearing things properly.

“Where the hell is that bastard?”

“Leonardo, over here!”, Albert shouted his name but he couldn’t hear properly.

`He’s calling me. Where is it coming from?`

He turned to his left and saw Albert frantically waving his hands.

`Damn, he didn’t even bother to come over and tap me on my shoulders!`

Leonardo’s mouth twitched, yet he was happy inside to see Albert was alive.

His hearing recovered after a while.

“Albert, are you okay?”

“Don’t mind these scratches. Come, I’ve found something interesting, Leonardo.”

Leonardo raised his eyebrows, intrigued as to what Albert has found.

They walked a few meters forward.

“Albert, is that a baby crying?”, Leonardo asked.

“Yes. No doubt about it.”, Albert was struck with realization, “S***, let’s take that child before the demon beasts eat it.”, urging Leonardo to hasten.

Leonardo stopped him, “Stop, what if it’s a trap set by the demon beasts?”

“What in the stupidity are you talking about? Those beasts were gone the minute those rumblings happened! What else do they want to do here? Die helplessly?”, Albert argued.

“We should still be careful, lest we want to die prematurely here.”, Leonardo cautioned.

“We’re already old, Leonardo. There’s no harm doing this.”, Albert was getting annoyed, “Bah, forget it. Let’s search for that baby.”

Albert felt he stepped on lower ground. The temperature there was hotter as well.

“Something’s burning in our front, Albert.”

“Shut it, I know!”

The dust settled and the two saw a huge burning crater.

“What in the Elder’s name is this?!”

Albert noticed the baby lying on top of a circular object, crying loudly as it could. For some reason, the flames avoided the area near where the baby was.

“Leonardo, there! Let’s go now before it’s too late!”, Albert ran without any hesitation. It was as if the fire wasn’t enough to stop him.

“Uwahh! Wahh!”

“Oh, what a pitiful baby! How the hell did he end up here anyway? Leonardo, don’t you think this baby came from what happened earlier?”

“Earlier? Albert, have you gone mad? You think a human is born from explosions?”

“Aren’t we, Leonardo?”, Albert struck a wide grin.

“Damn you, this isn’t time for jokes.”

Albert rolled his eyes, “I’m not talking about the explosions, Leonardo. I’m talking about what caused those explosions that led this baby down here.”

Albert’s eyes noticed a letter, “Look, there’s a small note down there. It says… Zachariel? Is this this baby’s name? Strange, the words written here are similar to ours.”

Howls of demon beasts resounded nearby.

“Albert, we don’t have much time. We’ve got the baby now. We should go!”

Zachariel listened intensely to Leonardo’s story-telling.

“You came from the sky, Zachariel. You are not from this world. We don’t know, both your grandfather and I, who sent you here, and the exact reason why.”, he said while shaking his head.

“The only assumption that we have, is that you are here because someone or something frightening was going after you, or the one who sent you here. As for the rest…”, Leonardo started to ready himself in leaving the room.

“You will have to search for the answer yourself.”

He was about to reach for the door when Zachariel asked, “What about my mother’s child?”

Leonardo sighed.

“Anabella was pregnant and delivered the child the same day you came into this world. Sadly, things didn’t go well. I wanted to adopt you so that my granddaughter would have someone to play with when she gets older, but after hearing what happened, I decided Albert should adopt you instead.”

“I’ll be taking Anastasia until your match with Kane arrives. After that, you’re on your own, Zachariel.”

“Oh, and one last thing. Next week will be His Imperial Majesty’s birthday. I’ll bring you together with my household, as a guest, to greet His Imperial Majesty. Are you okay with that?”

Zachariel nodded.

He didn’t have anything to do anyway.

“Anastasia, do you want to come with granduncle? I have some presents for you.”, Leonardo looked at her.

Anastasia tightly gripped Zachariel’s clothes, afraid to let go of her brother.

“Anastasia, you should go for now. Brother has something else to do.”

“Brother, you’ve always been out all this time. Why can’t you spare your time with me? Am I no longer important to you anymore?”, Anastasia pouted.

Zachariel patted her head, “Just do what I say. I promise I’ll spend my time with you in the coming days.”

“You better do! Hmph!”, she reluctantly let go of him and took Leonardo’s hand.

Anastasia looked back at her brother, “Brother, take care. I’ll be waiting!”

“Zachariel! I almost forgot, again.”, Leonardo tossed a heavy sack to him.

It was filled with coins.

“Use it. That’s what remains of your family’s wealth. Don’t spend it on useless things.”

The door was closed.

`Should I use some mask to cover myself? Why bother, they’ll know anyway.`, Zachariel thought.

He was planning on returning to the public training area and battling against formidable opponents.

He stood up and took a look at his mother’s figure for one last time.

“Mother, I don’t know if you could hear me or not but don’t worry. I’ll take care of Anastasia for you. I won’t let harm come by her way.”, he gripped her hands tightly.

“As for Amelia, I promise that I will take her back. It won’t happen for now, but in the future, it will.”

Determination was present in his voice. He didn’t dare forget about Amelia at all.

“Mother, I’m sorry. It’s because of me that you lost your real child, and I am the reason why the Strom Household is now destroyed. I don’t know if I could ever redeem myself for this but I just want you to know that if you were to reprimand me right here, right now, I,”

Zachariel’s heart was moved. An emotion of sadness hit him hard. He didn’t know if he should continue to say what he was about to say.

“I wouldn’t blame you for it. I wouldn’t be angered to you for it.”

He cried and hugged Anabella.

The weeping sounds could be heard on the other side of the door. Leonardo stood there, listening in to Zachariel.

`What a poor boy brought down by this sudden turn of events.`

He shook his head and looked at Anastasia who was busy curiously looking at people who passed by.

“Let’s go, little girl. Your brother has things to do.”

Elden Embassy.

A group of eldens were standing in front of Thalanil who was sitting on a royal chair.

Thessalia sat beside him with a frowning expression.

“Your Highness, I do not understand. Why are you placing such importance on a human?”, Elder Gorfo inquired.

“I have my reasons, Elder Gorfo. All of you will know when the time comes.”, Thalanil replied, not daring to answer the question.

“But father, aren’t I, your greatest and most talented child?”, Thessalia said with a cold voice.

“Did I ever say Zachariel was my child?”

Thalanil’s question made everyone gulp in realization.

“I never implied that any of you here aren’t as talented as you think you are. It’s just that that boy is full of mysteriousness. The sort of thing you have never seen before.”

Thalanil stood up, staring at the eldens below him.

“I’ve seen all sorts of talented eldens, humans, voids. Grade 9 mana cores, grade 9 dantian cores. But have you ever seen an ungraded one? We have sorts of talents that formed 6 or 7 or even 8 mana cores after condensing them, but have you seen one that could blow an entire measuring platform by injecting just a small bit…”, he said while pinching his fingers, “Just a tiny fraction of one’s mana essence?”

He extended his hands, waiting for a response from them.

“No one, right? And was there ever a figure that could attract the attention of those apathetic voids? No one, right? That’s why I’m interested in him. That’s why I offered him a choice earlier.”

Thalanil’s voice turned serious.

“A choice that he has no other way but to accept, or else he will die.”

Thalanil surveyed them one last time before returning to his seat, shaking his head.

The doors were opened. A group of eldens entered the room.

“Your Highness, it’s me, Tarron Venvaris.”

“What is it, Tarron? For you to come here in an abrupt manner?”, Thalanil looked at his subordinate suspiciously.

“It’s urgent. Zachariel, he’s having a blast at the public training area!”

Thalanil was dumbfounded, “A blast?”

‘Bang! Bang!’


A mercenary was thrown away.

“Halt! The winner is Sentinel!”

A round of applause and cheers filled the arena platform.

“Damn the Elders, that’s his fifth win in a matter of four hours! Moreover, they’re all peak gold-level opponents! This Zachariel Strom is so strong!”

“No wonder that elden from before offered him a chance to fight against Princess Thessalia! He sees that this man is worthy to fight against her!”

The crowd nodded in approval, further discussing the topic with their own opinions.

“You think the Great Schools would be so angry that they let go of a talented individual like this boy?”, a stout mercenary asked.

“What else do you think they would feel? The brat’s so powerful, but those in power are greedy. They only want the seat for themselves!”, another drunken-looking mercenary replied.

A female mage joined in, “Hey, there’s a rumor that the eldens are trying to poach that young man into one of their own? Do you think he will accept their offer?”

“Can’t blame him if he does. This Imperium has done nothing to protect him and the Strom Household. Why would he waste his time sacrificing his life for the Imperium?”, the drunken-looking person replied again.

Zachariel left the arena and was planning to leave the public training area when he stumbled upon his classmates.

“Hey, Zachariel! Over here!”, Luiz called out.

Zachariel approached Luiz. Behind him were Luka and the rest.

“You’ve been missing for a month; they’ve extended their suspension to you for another month! Where did you go anyway?”, Luiz worriedly asked.

“I got lost. Don’t mind that, what happened to you all? You look stronger than before.”, Zachariel inquired.

“Oh, is that so?”, Luiz embarrassingly chuckled, “Our qi essence instructor started to teach us qi essence cultivation. Strangely, it happened when you were gone.”

“Do you want us to help you about qi essence cultivation, Zachariel?”, Teddy offered his assistance.

“Can I?”, Zachariel asked.

He was unsure about the difference in the method of teaching between Von and their qi essence instructor. There might be parts that he might’ve missed, or maybe their qi essence instructor was incompetent.

Regardless, if they do it, he could either be helped by them, or he could help them out.

“Yeah, there’s no problem. We’ll practice here tomorrow.”, Luka replied.

“Zachariel, you can’t believe how we miss you. You should spend most of your time tomorrow with us. We have lots of things to tell you.”, Luiz interjected.

Zachariel nodded in approval, “I’ll be going now, I guess.”

“Wait, Zachariel.”, Lia caught his hand.

Zachariel turned around, “What is it, Lia?”

“Zachariel, we’re sorry to hear about your loss. If… if you need some help, we’re here for you, okay?”, she tried to comfort him.

Zachariel only nodded and let go of her.

“Damn, he’s still as cold as ice!”, Luiz scratched his head.

Iria clapped her hands, gaining their attention, “Alright, let’s meet here tomorrow on the same day. See you tomorrow.”

You may also like: