Chapter 118: The Whispers from the Dark

“… No. The way I am now, I might try to get even with Ryu at any moment. Whatever it is, it can wait until the day before the duel. I need to regain my powers back. I’m too tired at the moment.” → Shen

I explained while feeling like falling asleep right there.

“Eh? B-but-“ → Yuri

Without being able to finish what he wished to say, he felt as if a pale of wind just struck his face and made him swallow his words right back in his mouth.

[Get lost, mortal.]

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A hoarse and sinister voice resounded inside his mind making him feel a deep coldness down his spine. Yuri understood that the one who stopped him was the Devil which still fought against my spirit over the mind and body. Because I just cast a great spell to summon a true asteroid and make it crash on the wave with incredible force, what remained of my mental power was slowly draining and the devil was slowly taking over, having more control over the external world as well. Because I was only a level 10 player, whatever I tried it would’ve been impossible to summon that asteroid. This is why at the last second the devil offered me his power; also a reason why more parts of my body and aura turned to be more demonic.

The reason why I’ve done that are unknown even to me. Perhaps because of my cloudy mind, or maybe because of the devil’s influence, making me think for a way to finish quick so I could go back to sleep.

“U-understood. We will talk later then.” → Yuri

After I left the place, everyone looked dazed at the crater which was as big as the entire Antara Kingdom, and a huge boulder stuck right in the middle, glowing red after the friction with the air. Even though it seemed pretty close to the ground, my spell made it take incredible speed in a matter of just a second, dropping like the thunder just as if it was coming right from the outer space toward the ground from the very beginning. The crater was almost half the kilometer deep, while the disaster around was so ridiculous that for kilometers around everything was flattened by the shockwave. The entire kingdom was almost engulfed by the wave of dirt while boulders and dirt were still suspended mid-air by the barrier. Even the mountains from behind the Northen gate were now covered with boulders and dirt, acquiring another few meters in height.

“… I really wonder what happened with sir Shen. Even though he’s known as reckless, he would never put in danger his own people like this.” → Jian

Jian asked while looking at my back with a questioning gaze.

“I’m not sure either. This wave was weaker than the last one. Going so far only for some small fries… It was overkill.” → Ashura

Ashura looked around, unable to find more than a few dozen or so beasts still remaining intact with the skin collectible.

The others were just as confused but had no clue of what was happening with me, other than the fake story of me going through a side-effect after a failed spell.

When I reached back inside the walls, I recreated the hut and sealed it again with the same magic circle. A blood-red glow shone over the little hut and phantom-like chains covered it with clanging sounds. After the sign [] appeared on the magic circle, the chains disappeared and the red glow dimmed until only the magic circle remained visible.

Why… just why have I done this? It was overkill… Because of that, my spirit has weakened even more… My consciousness becomes blurry only after a few hours of activity while my temper dropped again… F***, can’t I think of any other reason than to blame it on the devil?! I’m becoming more and more pathetic! → Shen

I tried to reignite my spirit by stabbing at my own pride, but it was still not enough.

[HAHAHAHAHA~! You will fall this time, Omisus! You will pay for everything! Your loved ones left you. Your trusted ones betrayed you! And you yourself remained alone in a world where Gods hate you while the spirits evade you! Even that little Squirrel left you for good!]

QUIET! You damn insect, you are the one who sent him away! I can see that your speech improved again. Come on, cry more! Scream and shout in rage the same way you did at the Leviathan’s Test! → Shen

[… You demon, Omisus. Daesmodeus will be gladdened to accept you under his wing and teach you everything he knows.]

Be it you, him, or Beelzebub, just dare come for me and I will send you back the same way I did with that Fish-Woman Vepar! Just you wait and see, damn low-life! → Shen

[You talk such, but you still named your new spell “Ira Dei” while using my power!]

Because you influenced me to name it like that! Damn you, devil, what does it even mean?! → Shen

[“GOD’S FURY”! Boahahahaha~!]

It is known through the ethereal worlds that a God should never be furious. They are mighty entities of the heavens which should never fall into the sin of losing control. Once they do so, they will either suffer the consequences and be punished by the Universal Laws or fall and get engulfed by the darkness, turning into Royal Demons under the Emperor of the Abyss: Lucifer. Such beings were known to bring forth The End, also the reason why Ira Dei can also mean The end of the World.

…You bastard… Wait until I get rid of you. I’ll be sure to chain you on the deepest parts of Hell! → Shen

[Kekeke! I’d love to see you try!]

I resisted and fought with my devil inside the sealed little hut I created, while the others cleaned the huge wave of dirt from atop the barrier by sending it back with their own Earth Spells, then restarted in building more homes and training facilities for the newcomers. Everyone restarted training and organized the newcomers in high spirit. Bururiba tried to talk it out with Khalid who was coldly evading him, while Fiora and Siria, the two fox-spirit sisters reunited and chatted together while tears fell down their cheeks.

Old Gerome was drinking together with Bernard for better days like before while reminiscing the past, George was giving Lissa her weekly dose of blood so she won’t go into a rampage as before, Marina and Shiroko would train together while Ronald would referee them in anxiety, making sure Shiroko won’t go wild again and injure Marina by mistake. Ashura was finally able to see his own little sister and have some alone time with her at a piece of pie inside the cafeteria.

The elves together with Bonny and Ryu finally finished with the creation of the portal to Alfheim, making sure it was built somewhere inside a former training area right beside the middle tower.

“Once again, let us thank you for accepting the alliance with our Alfheim, King Ryu.” → Oliver

Oliver said after he activated the branch to create the portal. The way they created the portal was truly magical. In the middle of an arena, they made the branch levitate and shine with a green aura. While chanting long sentences using elvish power-words, the branch grew like a three while stabbing and growing its roots in the arena, then bent in a circular form, creating a wooden circle filled with green leaves and buds with other little branches growing from it. The circle had a width of 2 meters and something like moisture started to emanate from every bud inside the circle. Soon after, the entire arena was covered by something like a thin mist, while the inside of the circle was filled with shiny green leaves.

“The pleasure is mine, Lord Oliver, Lord Evan.” → Ryu

Ryu answered back with a smile then while glancing at the Eastern wall where I was meditating, he said again with a grave tone.

“However, I will appreciate it if we could postpone our meeting with the queen at a later date. At the moment, the Kingdom is facing hard times.” → Ryu

“Of course. If King Ryu gives the command, we could help with anything we can.” → Evan

“Your wish to help us it’s already commendable, Lord Evan. But this is something our kingdom has to face alone.” → Ryu

The two elves glanced at each other, then with serious expressions they continued:

“King Ryu. We understand the distrust Antara Kingdom shows to us. Together with the Demon Lord’s 3rd Prince, we are also a cause of the calamity we just evaded. However, we are offering two of our treasured branches from the World Tree exactly because we’re feeling the guilt of our mistake and the gratitude for Lord Shen and his companions. That’s why I’m not exaggerating when I say; Just give the command and we will help with everything we can.”

The twin elves said with serious faces, making both Bonny and Ryu feel surprised and look at them with wide-open eyes. Afterward, Ryu sighed with a smile and shook his head helplessly.

“I see. So that’s what the elves feel about the calamity that failed to uphold. I can tell the sincerity from the words you two speak. But even so, this is really not something Alfheim can help with, because the enemy is not an external one.” → Ryu

Ryu explained vaguely while smiling helplessly.

“Not external? Are there spies here?! We can help you detect them. We promise nothing will be asked in return.” → Evan

“No no. It’s not that… It’s more internal than you think.” → Ryu

“Hm?” → Bonny

This time even Bonny looked with confused eyes at him, waiting for him to explain.

“… Alright, fine. Listen here.” → Ryu

In the end, Ryu explained about how in the last war that just passed with Thanatos, Ryu and I had to unite souls for a longer period of time, weakening both our souls, mental barriers and spirits. Because of this, my circulation suffered a deviation and now I’m trying to bring myself back on track, unable to meet anyone at the moment.

“Or at least that’s what he said.” → Ryu

He couldn’t forget to throw the blame of such a lie my way with a straight face. The two elves and Bonny then stared at Ryu with serious faces and after a while, Evan continued:

“We understand. Then after Shen will be better, please do visit our Queen. We’ll stay on guard in front of the gate for as much as needed and wait for your arrival in the future.” → Evan

Ryu, Bonny and the two High Elves said their goodbyes then the two twins left through the portal and disappeared after going through the misty circle of leaves. Bonny and Ryu continued their discussion for a while longer then got back on their paperwork.

The elites and the heroes trained together with the Fire Wing Clan and Antara Elites, while the two little disciples studied inside the library together with the other mages of the Kingdom. Inside the pirates’ ship, Bururiba’s men and Jian’s subordinates partied together with other residents of Antara that were unable to train from injuries, while Tyson and Aria slowly chatted on the decks, staring at the snowy night. Two glasses of wine in their hands, slowly drinking and chatting merely about the past, before Aria was summoned into this world, and when Tyson was still a free dragoon.

Everyone was preoccupied with something or someone, with the exception of a lone silhouette atop the North-East tower, looking in the distance with saddened eyes. Jian sighed while staring at the snow, slowly falling over the destroyed land all around the kingdom and destroyed plains all around it. He placed his sheathed sword on his lap and caressed the Jian crest of his family. Emptiness, sorrow, sadness, and rage. All these emotions flashed through his eyes then one of incredible pain and sufferings, making his heart feel as if it was stabbed by a twisted and rusted knife. The face of the one and only person he loved flashed before his eyes, making him succumb into deep thoughts.

“Zi Jianhua…” → Jian

He whispered the name of the woman he loved but betrayed him, feeling how his inner demons tried to make him seek revenge on her, while his mental ones to hate and curse her.

That damn wench… How did Bururiba call her? “Gold Digger”? It was the best description. I should’ve killed her when I had the chance back then!

No!… And what if I seek revenge? What I lost will never come back. Besides, is not her fault, but of those bastards from the Sava Kingdom.

NO FAULT?! She played with my heart. She used me! All she wished was our riches, our lands! If I won’t make a hole through her heart just as she did through mine, I won’t be able to find peace again!

Enough.

Jian opened his eyes and inside them, a firm and serious glow lightened his darkened expression. He got up and jumped outside the walls, tired of listening to his own inner demons.

I won’t succumb to such petty feelings. I won’t let myself fall just because of someone who didn’t even felt the same for me. Her ‘evil’, I won’t imitate it. → Jian

“Lord Jian?”

A guarding demon asked shocked after seeing Jian leaving the walls’ protection.

“Don’t mind me. I’m going to train outside the empire’s grounds, just to be sure no damage will be made by a silly mistake of mine.” → Jian

“Should I keep a message for anyone watching after you, Lord Jian?”

“… Just tell them I’m training. If it’s something extremely important just blow the horn. I will fly right back.”

“Yes, sir.”

The demon bowed respectfully to the fallen king and regained his guarding position atop the tower. Jian, on the other hand, continued his steps toward the inner-most parts of the forest, going toward the top of the nearby mountainous chains. The place he found was exactly where the bloody war against Thanatos’ Army took place not long ago.

“… A test of will and fire has just gone past the Antara Kingdom.” → Jian

Jian was still able to feel the lingering violent energy which was swirling around, creating small whirlwinds and balls of wild mana. Because the place was in-between the mountains, here and there Jian was able to observe blue or red globs of energy, created by the accumulation of the wild energy stuck inside this mountainous chain shaped in U. However, this wasn’t all. Because of the accumulated dead bodies everywhere around, a lot of death chi has infested the grounds, creating the best environment for demonic spirits to gather and ghouls to appear.

[Grrrr Kha~!]

Here and there, little demonic creatures with white skin, dark huge eyes, and hairless bodies wandered around the bloody wasteland. With their long and black claws, they caved the dead and rotten bodies, feeding on them with their long and yellow fangs which looked like daggers.

They were still unable to clean up this place. Then I should make them a favor, I have enough time anyway. → Jian

Jian then got down inside the deep valley and the first things to detect his presence were the blue and red energy orbs. Because it was pure energy condensed in a natural way, it was a heat-seeker type and the heat emanated by Jian’s body attracted them like the molds to the light.

Hm… I never saw such spirits before. I first need to be sure what happens at contact. → Jian

Being unaware of what the energy orbs were, Jian mistook them for spirits or wandering souls. He took two stones and threw them with incredible accuracy at a blue and red orb.

The stone flew through the first blue orb as if nothing happens, only hearing a slight zap but nothing more.

It doesn’t seem that dangerous. While the red one- → Shen

When the stone collided with the red orb, an explosion lightened the place and fire reached for around 6 meters, everywhere around.

… Must not be touched. → Shen

[Grr! Ghaka!]

The little ghouls then discovered Jian and shot out toward him with blurry steps. They were still half-spirits, their materialistic bodies going through the spiritual world and back as if unable to keep their materialistic forms stable.

White Ghouls: the youngest and most annoying of them all. They will prove to be quite problematic… Alone, even a Core Warrior can handle them with ease, but depending on the numbers even a Grandmaster can be hardly-pressed against these disappearing and reappearing little creatures. → Jian

Jian took a low stance while drawing his sword and prepared for combat.

A ghoul appeared behind his back and wished to stab Jian through his spine with their sharp claws. Jian turned around and grabbed the arm of the ghoul, then threw it towards a blue orb which was closing into Jian.

[KHAAAAA~!]

Strong currents circulated through the ghoul and the skin started to fall. The body slowly burned from inside-out and a sudden flame shot out through the seven orifices. The ghoul then collapsed unmovingly, the body still twitching from the electric currents.

“…”

Correction. The blue orbs are more dangerous. → Jian

Jian felt lucky after thinking about how he just controlled himself from cutting the orb with his sword. He then shot out toward the upcoming group of ghouls and orbs, using the ghouls as meat-shield against the orbs while at the same time, cutting them every time they reappeared around him. His aura was sensitive enough to feel even the change in the wind, let alone a physical object suddenly reappearing behind his back.

While Jian fought the ghouls and dodged the orbs, dark energy started to revolt around him and the ghouls, sounding like a wild wind whirling through the woods.

[SAD-sad-ad… Are you sad?-a-dd… Kekekeke~…]

“Who are you?!” → Jian

Whispers and mocking laughter was heard from everywhere around. Because Jian got distracted for just a moment, a ghoul was able to make a shallow cut on his back with its claws.

[Oh~ are you hurt now~? Hurt-hurt-rt…]

[Do you wish to escape? Escape-scape-cape….]

[Jijijiji~]

The mocking voices continued to resound, resembling echoes in deep caves.

The ghoul laughed with a blood-thirsty grin, but Jian hastily grabbed the ghoul by the head then threw it inside a red orb. The orb exploded and fire engulfed the ghoul which was shrieking in pain until it died.

“Damn insects.” → Jian

His aura shot out and the elements of the heavens started to enter through him.

[Heaven’s Might]

The aura pressured over the ghouls and dark spirits, while the energy orbs started to slowly dissipate, having their cores deranged by the pressure.

“Disappear from these grounds, you foul spirits!”

“[Heavenly Pull]” → Jian

“[Heavenly Slash]” → Jian

All the ghouls and spirits suddenly got pulled toward Jian all around him, and a quicksilvery slash cut them all in two. The spirits howled in pain and disappeared, while the ghouls’ bodies melted and disappeared completely. The energy orbs also dissipated, only to be recreated later in the future. Even though Jian calmed the wild mana inside the orbs, it was the same as throwing a stone; at one point, it would still get back on the ground no matter how far you threw it. Because of the infested zone, the wild mana would continue to create such orbs and the foul spirits will reappear, until all the death chi was consumed and the chaotic mana settled down.

After cleaning up the rest of the ghouls and spirits while at the same time using them to detonate the remaining orbs, Jian sheathed his sword and wished to meditate for a while inside the wild mana, wishing to strengthen his own when he hears ruffling sounds of steps atop rotten wood and fallen leaves.

“Who is there?” → Jian

He asked while tensing up his senses again. However, when he saw who the person was, he dropped his sword and his mind blackened.

“Jian Tian…? Is it you?”

A beautiful girl of the same age as him in a royal and elegant purple Chinese attire appeared from between the few bushes. Her long black hair shone in the moon’s light, while her purple eyes widened in surprise after seeing him. Her small cherry lips remained opened and her entire body stood still, just like Jian.

N-no way! She can’t be here! T-then, is she her sister? She said she has an elder twin sister who betrayed the kingdom and left unnoticed five years ago. B-but she just called out my name so she must be… → Jian

“Z-Zi Jianhua…” → Jian

With a hoarse voice, Jian called her name while his eyes reddened. Slight tears formed in his eyes but he tried his best not to fall to his own emotions. He was breathing roughly while his fists bled from clenching them too hard. His entire body was trembling after remembering her cold eyes when she waited for him to be decapitated back when Bururiba saved him. He couldn’t help but emanate some killing intent towards her, glaring at her like a beast at his mortal enemy. Even so, his posture was straight and tall, trying to keep his composure and his mind cool. With a calm and cold voice, he asked emotionlessly:

“What are you doing here, princess of Jianhua Kingdom? For betraying our engagement and alliance, I will need a good reason to not execute you right now.” → Jian

Jianhua trembled for a moment then stepped sheepishly toward Jian.

“Jian Tian, please don’t be like this! I-I had no choice at that time! You asked me to accept refugees hunted by the entire empire! J-just how was I supposed to do that?! Tian, please search some understanding within you and listen to this foolish girl! I had no choice at that time, or else my entire family would’ve been devoured by the neighboring kingdoms like yours did!” → Jian

Jianhua fell on her knees in front of him and started to cry her eyes out, stirring his heart greatly. His cold eyes warmed while his rage lessened, almost disappearing.

T-that’s right… I wasn’t able to think rationally at that time either… She also had her own problems to deal with, but still… → Jian

“At that time… You didn’t even show a slight of sympathy or sadness when my neck was on the line. You also said that there is only the bounty for my name. How do you expect me to forgive you after making me lose my mind from sorrow?” → Jian

Jian said through clenched teeth, feeling his chest burst from sadness.

“No, no no no. Jian! Please, listen to me. I really had no choice at that time, so I’m begging you, please listen to your heart and let me repay you with whatever you wish for…” → Jian

She got up and while talking, she slowly embraced him, slowly going toward his face and reaching out for a kiss. From between her cherry lips, a dark miasma slightly evaded for a second, returning right back inside.

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“Anything… I wish…?” → Jian

Jian felt as if drunk in her embrace and wished to reach out for her lips, but then the vivid image of Jianhua, when she looked at him with disgust, reappeared inside his mind, awakening him from his dazed state and have his fury reignite even stronger than before.

“Ghaah!”

Suddenly, Jian’s hand shot out and penetrated her stomach, going through her body like a spear.

“Then offer me your life, insect.” → Jian

With a cold voice, Jian threw her away with just one arm slamming her on a huge tree then falling in a pool of blood.

“Y-you… How did you know?!”

Her face distorted and started to melt just like the bodies of the other ghouls.

“How?… Half was instincts, while half was pure hate. In the end, I just wished to relieve some anger. I must thank you for this, now I feel much better.” → Jian

Jian got closer with the same cold eyes, then he took out his sword and pointed it towards the melting spirit.

“W-what are you doing? S-stop! You already defeated me!”

“What are you talking about? You said you’ll offer anything I wish for, right? And so I asked for your life. I’m not patient enough to wait until you’ll die on your own. So let me finish you off now, at least we’ll both know that the debt has been paid.” → Jian

Filled with hate and anger, Jian activated from the very beginning his strongest strike; [Heaven’s Wrath]. Dark clouds gathered in a whirlwind above Jian and thunderstruck everywhere around. The wind blew like a storm while slight panicking whispers of evil spirits were heard all around them, trying to find cover from the deadly and purifying lighting.

[Stop!-stop-top-op…]

[No! Run!-run-un…]

[Lighting! It hurts!-hurts-hurts-rts…]

- my thoughts:
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