After answering Miriam’s question, nobody dared say anything else, feeling an indescribable pressure after Shen would stare at them with his red eyes, feeling as if he was able to see right through their everything, the girls especially feeling at one point embarrassed by this.
While Shen stared at each one of them, he was also making plans for their future training:
Aaron’s foundation is not bad. He focused more on his chi-control while his mana-pool and control are lacking. This can prove to be a good reason for his short temper. If he keeps on going without having the tiniest balance, he’ll soon end up hitting a wall in his growth.
Carol’s physical body has been trained close to the breaking point. I can tell that he passed his limits multiple times. It seems that his meridians are blocked quite severely and the amount of chi he can circulate is relatively small. Because of this, his mana-pool also remained undeveloped and weak. However, his spirit is ridiculous. Although with spirit alone he wouldn’t be able to advance any more than this, his mental-power will prove to be a lethal weapon. While I’ll try to repair his body, I’ll also be sure to put his spirit at good use.
All I can say about John is that everything about him is below average. His meridians barely circulated any focused chi or mana, his control is below what a disciple would be like, while neither his body or spirit are showing anything interesting. However, what pushes him forward seem to be the weights on his tinny shoulders. If I could make use of that pressure he bears into pushing him to grow stronger, then he has all the chances to grow into a true warrior like the others.
Miriam’s foundation is pretty good. Her body, her spirit, and especially her mind are well strengthened, both by training and the hardships of life. What’s even more interesting is the balance between the three of them. All she needs is the knowledge to correctly meditate and train, then she’ll grow the fastest and strongest in this group.
Now this is troubling.
Shen scratched his beard with an interested glint in his eyes while looking at Rosa, making her feel even more embarrassed, feeling the burning stare of his red eyes.
“I-Is there something wrong…?”
She softly asked after being unable to bear the embarrassed anymore then Shen breathed out with a smile and closed his eyes, the colour turning back to brownish-green.
“No, I’m just thinking just how much work I’ll have to do with you. Although it’s going to be a pain, I’ll still make you able to control this fire.”
He shrugged his shoulders after seeing the hope in her eyes, thinking just which was the best way to resolve her problem.
Who would have thought that I’ll find a half-demon here?
After Shen looked at the fairy’s energy circulation and meridians, he was for a moment surprised to observe that her meridians weren’t only flowing like a fairy’s, but like a demon’s as well. Because the two forms flowed closely to opposite directions, the energy would sometimes collide when the mind or spirit is shaken, resulting in strong outbursts of both mana and chi.
Seeing how she’s still alive without having her organs exploded, that means her body and meridians developed a strong resistance, turning them to be ridiculously strong. Like this, there are close to 0 chances of having her meridians blocked by negative energies, and at the same time, because of the constant inner-conflicts, her chi and mana is continuously purified and strengthened. In a way, is like a double-edged sword with incredible benefits and punishments.
Now his only problem was: How should I resolve this?
He could choose between one of the two circulations, but that would sacrifice half her strength. Also, she could keep both, train both, but close her heart from interfering with the circulation. But that again would cause great repercussions like, ending up with close to no emotions which, again, is not something Shen would wish to do to his own students.
Ah never mind now. I will think about it later. for now, let’s just resolve the problem with her lack of control.
Thinking how she should just focus on controlling, Shen placed this problem at the back of his head then made all of them meditate to free their minds so he could quickly and efficiently cleanse them of any residual impurities then help them with their cultivation.
After Shen met with his students one of Antara’s representants, Lilia, finally arrived at the capital of the Urius Kingdom.
Reaching to the capital named Tirius, general Davin with his two lieutenants and Lilia, went straight for the Hall of the Throne, wishing to meet with the king.
“Halt! Name yourself!”
“I’m General David and this here is a messenger from a possible allied neighbouring kingdom.”
The guards stared fiercely at Lilia for a moment, but as much as they wished to not let her through, everyone knew just how stern was David once disobeyed. Without another choice, they let them through while still throwing sharp glances at Lilia. Observing her confusion, David got closer to Lilia and whispered,
“Because of our religion, everything that looks even a bit demonic is ostracized and cast aside. For the last time, I’m going to ask: are you completely sure that you wish to play such an important role with a kingdom that discriminates against demons?”
A worried glint shone in his eyes and Lilia, although she didn’t feel that well being discriminated, she held her head high and nodded once.
“Yes. I offered myself to represent Antara in this peace treaty. Even though they see us as something else, I will try to keep a noble demeanour, characteristic for Antara.”
“As you wish…”
David sighed distressed while thinking that there wasn’t necessarily a problem with Lilia, but with his kingdom’s strong belief.
After they entered the palace, the four of them were made to wait at the entrance then-
“King Geffrey Urius calls for General David to come in!”
The strong voice of a soldier resounded from inside and the general entered alone. His lieutenants waited outside, now being able to openly steal glances at Lilia. Feeling their curious and shy eyes, Lilia opened her mouth,
“Is there something wrong?”
Her sudden question made the two twitch and Lieutenant Denisse quickly bowed her head and said with an embarrassed smile,
“E-excuse me for being rude but… C-can I please touch your hand?”
“… Touch my hand?”
Lilia looked with a confused poker-face at Denisse and the lieutenant quickly tried to explain herself,
“P-please don’t think of something weird! I just wish to feel what kind of texture the skin of a real demon has. I mean, your skin is quite blue and I can’t help being curious.”
“Oh, I see. Is this fine?”
Lilia then reached out for a handshake and Denisse, while faltering; she slowly and gently touched her hand, feeling the delicate and moist blue skin.
Is… just like a young maiden’s hand! The palm is somewhat rougher, perhaps from holding a sword, but anything else is just another beautiful and delicate hand!
Denisse remained shocked at how similar demons were with them, and this time even Daniel gained enough courage to ask for his curiosity to be satisfied,
“Miss Lilia. If is not disturbing may I please touch your wings…?”
Although Lilia hid her wings now under a black vest, Denis saw them multiple times when they took breaks or when they camped to sleep and eat, having her take off the vest in need.
Lilia then took off her vest and, the initially small wings, turned big enough to give her the possibility to fly. She stretched out one wing for Daniel to see clearer and this only made his eyes sparkle in amazement. Mesmerized, he got closer to the wing and caressed it gently, observing the blue veins through the thin skin and how smooth the skin was in the first place.
Daniel let out this comment unconsciously and Lilia smiled while commenting back,
“Thank you. You also have a gentle touch. It feels nice.”
With a bright face, Daniel retreated and bowed once, but smiling back as he found her smile truly beautiful. Right after, Denisse smacked his head and whispered annoyed.
“On who do you think you’re hitting?! She has a lover, forgot?!”
“Ouch! Yes, I know! God, how temperamental.”
Lilia chuckled amused while she put the vest back on. Then after another few minutes, the voice of the soldier resounded once again,
“King Geffrey Urius awaits for Antara’s Messenger Lilia to come in!”
Lilia then got closer to the two huge doors and waited for the guards inside to open them. In just a moment, the doors opened and she was able to enter. However, the moment the present nobles saw her, revolting roars resounded in a deafening manner, almost making her stall her steps,
“A demon! Who let a demon inside the palace?!”
“You vile creature! Bygone from our lands!”
“How dares a demon step on our holy lands?!”
More and more such comments resounded everywhere then David harshly exclaimed, his voice booming inside the hall,
“QUIET! You imbeciles! We are in front of the royal throne! How can you lot create such a circus in front of his majesty?!”
After sternly glaring at everyone in contempt and disgust, another noble got up and rebuked him in annoyance.
“You are just a general who just lost half of his army. Do you think you have any rights to condemn our actions?”
A wise-looking but shrewd old noble stared right back into the general’s eyes, but David’s fierce gaze made for no other to talk back with too much spirit.
The king’s deep and powerful voice reverberated through the hall and everyone bowed once then sat back down quietly.
While everything was happening, Lilia simply walked forward and was now bowing down to the king on one knee with her head lowered. Although Antara was not permitting this, she knew better than to keep the prideful ways of her kingdom in front of another king.
“Who are you, demon?”
The king asked while his eyes showed anything but friendliness or benevolence. Although David already informed him about her, the king still asked to test out her character, trying to understand what type of demon she was.
His physique was that of a tall and burly middle-aged man, with a long red beard and brown hair, his golden eyes shining with the wisdom of a lifetime and the willpower of a true king.
Lilia was somewhat surprised by the king’s powerful aura but that didn’t let her lose heart as she introduced herself with a calm voice.
“Greetings, King Geffrey Urius of Urius Kingdom. I’m named Lilia Gruenoir and today I come in front of you representing Antara Kingdom, here to decide a treaty of peace.”
Her tone, neither too servile nor arrogant, Lilia tried to make as much of a favourable first-impression as possible.
She’s a Grandmaster in the middle stages with a cool mind and a strong spirit… Truly fearsome.
The king judged quickly as his face remained unchanged while inside he seemed quite surprised. With the same grave and powerful voice, the king Geffrey asked,
“Your demeanour shows the character of a leader, while your power and state of mind, that of a commander. To send such a competent person such as yourself in front of a possible enemy, your king must not be part of the brightest.”
His words surprised Lilia greatly, never expecting for the king to divulge her position just like this, but the last comment made her raise her head and stare right into the king’s eyes, a gesture that, if made by a subordinate unasked, would end with their heads rolling.
“Pardon my daring comment, but our king is a person that’s a saint-hearted man with his people, while a tyrant to his enemies. Why I’m here is based solely on my free will as I wish to be of use to my king. While I am aware that in case something will happen to me, my king will surely do anything in his power to either save me or revenge me.”
“Are you threatening the Urius Kingdom?”
Although the other nobles wished to also rebuke Lilia, the king’s colossal pressure made everyone keep quiet. Being in the centre of this monstrous power, Lilia felt her hair raising but her gaze was unflinching, continuing to lock gazes with Geffrey Urius.
Observing her unyielding spirit, Urius closed his eyes impressed but his aura only strengthened, making Lilia this time unable to hold her head high from the pressure. Even so, she still tried to keep the eye-contact.
“I dare you to answer. Are you threatening me?”
His powerful voice made even the ground to vibrate, but Lilia was still able to answer with a barely stable voice,
“I threaten no one… as my mission here is to leave with a peace treaty… I’m just… speaking facts and defend my king…”
Locking gazes for another few seconds which, for Lilia felt more like long minutes, the king retreated his aura and nodded once approvingly.
“Hearing from General David, Antara does not have a great population, but their every civilian shows the might of a soldier. At first I was in disbelief, but now seeing you, I’m starting to believe it. If your king has such able men and women who loves him so, then I must say his army must also be quite fearsome. However-“
Then his sharp glare made Lilia feel as if a blade was placed right beside her neck, making for a few cold drops of sweat to form and fall.
“My army is not to be underestimated, either. The fact that you surprised us with sudden airstrikes proves nothing of the might of our armies. We might not have too many Grandmasters, but we do have numbers, weapons, and most importantly, years upon years of war experience. Your warriors might be great in duels. But in war, anything could happen, even the idea of having a wolf kill the bear!”
“I am well aware, King of Urius…”
Lilia commented while trying to calm her revolting heart. David was also tense as he never wished for a war to end up between the two kingdoms. Although he never truly thought of the possibility of losing in a war against Antara, their armies for sure would suffer great casualties, which will, in turn, affect their fronts against Victoria Kingdom.
Stressed that this conversation might reach nowhere at the end of the day, David swallows his heart and interjects in their discussion after kneeling on one knee.
“Forgiveness, my king! But may we talk about what we discussed just now? Further continuing this conversation might lead us nowhere.”
“General David. What are you afraid of? Of some puny animals and demons?”
The old noble commented once again and David glared sharply at him, growling threateningly,
“General Baziad. Your eyes have seen none of what mine did. Wise is the one who talks after knowing, while the fool flaps his gums unaware of consequences!”
“I see your tongue got sharper after returning from your expedition to the borders within the Danger Zone.”
Observing sparks fly between his best generals, Geffrey thought of complying with David’s pleas and announced,
“From General David’s report, your King Ryu asked for a peace treaty after sending back the army they captured, together with a ransom in gold, silver, and many more precious gems as pay for the families of the deceased in battle. By signing this treaty, Antara can guarantee the protection of Urius’ borders from South-West in front of any bestial waves invading our lands, while there are also possible chances of opening a trading road between the two kingdoms in the future.”
“Yes, King of Urius.”
With an unchanging face, the king nodded once then sent Lilia outside the hall to consult with his people, ordering a maid to send her to wait inside the guest room. After the doors closed, the king frowned and thought for a while, then asked his most trusted men, basically his two best generals,
“General David, General Baziad. What are your thoughts on this matter?”
After his question, Baziad was the first to open his mouth as he was already fed up with Lilia’s daringness and David’s cowardly behaviour.
“My king, we lost one thousand and half able and brave men under a cannon-barrage from above. Such cowardly tactics can show just how unprepared and afraid to lose people Antara truly is. What ransom? Blood must be paid with blood! Forgive my expression but they can take their gold right back and shove it up their-“
“By the gods! Baziad! Watch your filthy mouth for once, would you?!”
David interjected baffled but then Baziad bowed once in apology then continued,
“Just let’s think about it, my king. They have such riches and are able to throw them away just like that with about any kingdom in the vicinity for peace. They must be afraid! What. They live inside the Dangerzone? They fight against waves of wild beasts? And what? We are going out hunting for amusement in here. Some wild animals are incomparable to our strategic intelligence! I assume it would be the best idea to just strike them now and take all they have as revenge for killing our fallen brothers.”
“Words of a bandit out of a general’s mouth. I can’t believe it…”
David shook his head in disbelief while the king thought intently. Many nobles were siding with Baziad and talked approvingly of his decision, but even more were still unsure if this was the best decision, waiting for David’s reasoning. The king also waited, giving him this time the right for speech. David bowed once and explained while also looking at the nobles inside the hall.
“Although it is true they struck us from the air, it was one of my commanders that attacked first, such inciting a fierce counterattack. I am aware of my mistake and I will gladly accept any kind of punishment no matter of the severity. But I will still ask the king to not make any rash decisions. We might have chances against Antara, but I was able to talk directly with both their king and their founder and they both show intelligence and cunningness of a cultured king, nothing like the barbarians of the North. The king’s description from Miss Lilia is as true as possible, I can confirm it. Also, their founder is someone named just like the Warlord Shen, but another person entirely.”
This time even the king seemed surprised while the nobles all exclaimed agitatedly. David hastily calmed everyone as he continued,
“He is not the same person, but nevertheless, although he does not shows the will of conquest, the danger he shows when angered might as well be compared to Shen the Warlord. King Ryu shows just as much of a fierce character if I need to be honest.”
“… So, for this reason, I should be afraid you tell me?”
The king’s eyes sharpened as he felt no fear for neither of them, ready to take up arms whenever needed against anyone. David quickly shook his head while continuing with the same calm and firm expression.
“Goodness no, my king. I’m just trying to make everyone aware that, although we might have a chance, the sacrifices and costs will be beyond what we can permit as we also have to put into consideration the Victorian problem. I advise the king to step back this one time and accept this peace treaty as is not in any way disadvantageous for us. As a gift for this treaty, they also decided to give us great materials collected throughout all the times they had to repel a demonic wave. Witch such treasures, we could advance our troops to whole new heights, my king.”
The king’s face darkened as he was deeply in thoughts then Baziad opened his mouth once again.
“For thousands of years, we stood at the very edge of Nostrung, attacked all the time! Both by enemies and allies, and also by the demonic waves! We lived through wars and continue to do even now. They destroyed half of one of our division and think they can simply buy our forgiveness. My king, forgive my foolishness for saying such, but if we let ourselves be stepped on simply by being paid, then why not we even sell our lands or our own people as slaves! Wouldn’t it be the same thing?!”
At his words, Geffrey’s face turned grave as his eyes were now ferocious. David felt his back sweat and quickly shouted at Baziad,
“So you wish to sacrifice even more just for a foolish pride?! Nobody said anything about selling our lands or men!”
“But you do wish to accept the money from our men’s murderers! How is this not selling our people?!”
“Both of you, enough.”
The king’s grave voice reverberated throughout the hall and silence befell once again. At that moment, the king got up from his seat and walked toward a door at his left. Confused but also having a bad feeling, David asked carefully,
“My king. May I ask, where to?”
Without even looking, the king opened the door and growled,
“To meet the Patriarch. He will have the last say as both of you make valid points.”
“B-but! My king-!”
“Yes! That’s the best choice, my king!”
David wished to stop him in a hurry but Baziad interfered with a wide grin, glancing at David in superiority.
“I will see you all in a few minutes. Do not leave this place.”
““Yes, my king!””
All the nobles shouted in a voice, only David’s face paled.
I must warn Miss Lilia at once. My lieutenants… They remained with her and they all left inside the waiting room… A way… I must find a way…!
David looked around and he finally saw a servant standing by the door, waiting for further orders. Staring intently at the young man, the servant felt his gaze and David immediately made use of this moment to give him a signal to get closer. The servant approached confused, then David suddenly dethatched a part of his shoulder guard and passed it to the servant. With a grave tone, he said,
“Give this to someone outside of this hall and send them to my lieutenants inside the waiting room as fast as possible. If you can do this, I will be sure to reward you and that person greatly.”
“A-alright, my lord.”
The servant quickly rushed toward the entrance but Baziad blocked his path, staring sharply at him with killing intent.
“The king said not to leave. Are you going to disobey the king’s orders?”
“N-no, I’m just-“
The young servant wished to speak for himself but Baziad immediately rebuked him while unsheathing his sword,
“Silence! You impudent! Repent in Hell!”
Like the wind, David appeared in front of the young servant and grabbed the sword with both his hands. Although he was wearing high-tier armour and caught the sword as close to the handle as possible, the sharp edge infused with strong chi still made his palms bleed, but his eyes were unfazed as if there was no pain, simply glaring at Baziad.
“To unsheathe your sword inside the throne’s hall. You must be more than mad, Baziad.”
Composed, Baziad retreated his sword and simply said with a matter-of-fact tone while staring from above at David.
“The king’s orders are absolute-“
“He wasn’t going to leave.”
This old fox already knows.
A thin string of sweat fell down David’s forehead as he took the piece of armour from the servant and stepped by Baziad.
“If you dare leave-“
Baziad’s killing intent pressured David from blank-point, but the experienced general felt nothing as he simply threw the metallic piece, the force at which he threw it making it go through the door and smash onto the wall in front of it. The soldiers standing guards twitched in shock, together with every other noble inside the hall, while even Baziad was looking at the hole on the mighty door momentarily stunned. But David’s booming voice woke everyone up as Baziad’s face darkened,
“The guard behind the door! Take that piece of armour and send it to my lieutenants inside the guests’ room, right now!”
“Y-yes, my lord!”
“Don’t you move-!”
Just as Baziad wished to shout against David’s orders, a solid fist suddenly appeared in front of him, making him swallow his words and have to dodge backwards.
“David! Have you lost your mind?!”
Baziad roared completely shocked. He always knew that David was normally a level-headed man who would never make rash decisions without a good plan set beforehand. His violent and unrestrained behaviour made Baziad see in his old rival as a whole other person entirely.
And he wasn’t the only one surprised by his sudden actions. The nobles and the guards were stunned at this, and even David himself was confused as from where all this daringness came from.
I guess after seeing with my own eyes the might of an immortal and a half-dragon with an entire army of elites from all ages, the fear of losing my country and king usurped my fear of death.
He then closed his eyes and his powerful aura suddenly exploded, making everyone, even Baziad, to close their mouths and look warily at David, a will to fight being exhumed from all over his body. With a heavy voice and sharp eyes, David then said,
“By the king’s orders, nobody must leave this place. Whoever takes a step forward will be beheaded on the spot. Am I right? General Baziad.”
Baziad’s eyes flashed dangerously and roared.
“Guard! Return the piece of armor right this instant-“
Even if Baziad wished to shout out commands at the remaining guard outside the hall, David would immediately null them with his own authority. The reason why he threw that fist in the first place was to stop Baziad from nulling his own order. Although Baziad could do the same, he knew better than strike at a man that seemed to have nothing to lose.
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