Chapter 173: The Blade of Purification
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The moon faded into the west.
A loud boom came from the centre of Shield District. The once formidable hydra, Kilika, dug into the ground once more and vanished.
In the looming dust cloud, a one-eared man hauled a long metal spear with him, shambling with a limp at an eerily fast pace onto a hill of debris.
Gleeward glanced around. Through his peripheral vision, he caught a glimpse of some blood-red tentacles frantically burrowing into the ground.
The chief of Shield District lifted the Soul Slayer Pike, turning the pikehead around.
The Soul Slayer Pike began to vibrate when it pointed to his left.
Gleeward no longer hesitated, he strode forward and darted towards the direction.
With a speed faster than a human could move, his pikehead stabbed the dust cloud.
A ruin exploded. A disheveled looking girl materialized within the blasted ruins, dodged the pike, and flitted off.
Gleeward did not slow down. He chased after Giza relentlessly and aimed at her head.
The pikehead zoomed past her left cheek. A sizzle arose from her face, and her cheek began to melt.
As the Blood Mystic mumbled curses to herself, a number of tentacles stretched out from beneath the hem of her dress and propelled her away from Gleeward’s spear.
“Very well.” Gleeward stopped advancing, his eyes filled with hostility. He said calmly, “Keep dodging… Keep running… Keep hiding… This is what you should’ve done, calamity.”
Gnashing her teeth, Giza glared at Gleeward darkly until the latter charged at her again.
She ducked and charged through the wreckage of a building. The tentacles beneath her skirt swung swiftly, allowing her to move as fast as the wind. Gleeward chased her relentlessly.
All of sudden, a blood-red monster with four tentacles and two crab claws crawled out of the ground beside Gleeward’s feet.
The lame man halted, stomping on a huge boulder to ease the inertia, and successfully dodged a strike that was only inches from his nose.
It was a revolting, oddly-shaped creature made of dozens of gooey, severed limbs, except for the part that seemed to resemble a head, which was a huge rotating eye.
Gleeward frowned. “This is your ‘combatant’?”
Giza did not respond, she merely stared at him coldly.
The monster, then, stretched into the height and width of several grown men and charged at Gleeward from six different directions.
The tentacles reached for his limbs. One of the crab claws struck at his crotch, the other aimed at his head. Faced with these impending, life-threatening attacks, Gleeward nevertheless stay idle and showed no intention to duck aside.
His eyes were fixed on the Mystic.
“This is a bad idea,” Gleeward said flatly while remaining still and while he watched his opponent closely.
A second later, the cripple moved his gaze, then threw his Soul Slayer Pike in an arc. At the moment his enemy’s fatal move was about to touch his body, it sliced across the monster’s tentacle.
The monster twitched. Its once-destructive tentacles and crab claws shook uncontrollably.
Witnessing this, Giza’s face contorted and her body began to convulse.
In the meantime, Gleeward sped down the hill. Behind him, the monster trembled, writhed, then cracked open like a dry burnt coal, and collapsed.
Five meters away, Giza could not help but let out another shriek. She shuddered, covering her gradually blackening face that was filled with agony.
“How does it feel?” Gleeward asked in a deep voice. He strode at a quick and calm pace towards his inhuman opponent. “Kilika, or the other monsters you created, they are essentially yourself, am I correct?”
Enduring the pain, the Blood Mystic lifted her left hand, reaching for the dying monster and gritting her teeth.
Before turning completing into black ash, the monster exploded, and blood spilled everywhere.
As the monster sacrificed itself, the pained expression on Giza’s face lessened. But in the next instant, Gleeward, whose expression did not change and who had hidden his killing intent, had already appeared in front of her. He thrust the pike forward mercilessly.
Giza screamed and retreated swiftly with a grimace. But it was too late.
The Power of Eradication surged at will through Gleeward’s body and his attacks sped up.
With a sharp swish, the black pikehead of the Soul Slayer Pike, as though it suddenly gained sentience, made an odd turn in the air. The spear bent at a perplexing angle and stabbed into Giza’s left hand.
The Blood Mystic screamed in pain, and this time, her screams were louder than before. A black mass visible to the naked eye extended to her entire body starting from her left arm.
Gleeward spun the pike coolly. He knew the ‘Elimination’ ability of the weapon had shown its true power.
At the instant the Soul Slayer Pike touched her, without hesitation, Giza turned her right hand into a blood-red blade.
Before the blackness spread to her torso, the grim-faced Blood Mystic chopped off her left arm.
The arm fell onto the ground, then it swelled and exploded before turning into coal pieces and ash. Giza clutched at what remained of her left arm and took an agonized step backwards.
“Well done. Can you feel pain at all?” Gleeward voiced his approval. Nevertheless, he had no intention of going easy on her. The girl’s silhouette and the coal-black pikehead that flew at her were reflected in his grim eyes.
The pikehead shot at the disheveled-looking Giza with a whoosh. Just as it was about to stab her face—
Giza covered the stump of her severed left arm and gnashed her teeth. Her glare, directed at Gleeward, was brimming with despair.
A contented smile finally emerged on Gleeward’s face.
At that very moment, streaks of branching blood-red veins surfaced on Giza’s cheeks.
The spear was unstoppable as it moved forward.
Suddenly, a silhouette burst out of the debris.
The figure stepped between Giza and Gleeward.
A metallic clash rang instead of the stabbing sound Gleeward expected. Holding the spear in both hands, he frowned.
The tip of Soul Slayer Pike stopped in front of Giza, just half an inch away from the tip of her nose. The weapon was grasped tightly in the arms of a short, brawny figure whose hands were grazed by the pikehead, even though the person’s hands were already bleeding because he tried to hold onto the pike.
The weakened Giza panted. The blood-red patches on her cheeks quivered. She gazed at the pikehead before her with a cryptic expression and what seemed like a half-smile.
Gleeward, on the other hand, turned white.
“What the…” Gleeward stared in disbelief at the short sturdy man who clutched at his spear stubbornly—a man who appeared and dressed just like an ordinary Northlander.
“It’s you! You’re…” Gleeward gawked at the ashen-faced man who stood before him, and called the latter by his nickname.
“Big Leather Belt from the Glacial Sentries?!”
Seeing Gleeward’s reaction, Giza beamed for the first time in a while.
In the outermost region of Shield District, Nicholas turned a gigantic tentacle into ash with a swift cut.
Behind him, slashes and stabbing sounds echoed. The elite warriors of the White Blade Guards were carrying out their duty to eradicate the numerous smaller tentacles.
The Star Killer scowled and stepped away from the battleground.
A dozen feet away, King Nuven, who was surrounded by several members of the White Blade Guards, squinted at the head of his personal guards.
“Your Majesty!” Sounds of horses galloping came from the distance, followed by the cavaliers’ report. “Words from the Secret Room: Kilika has vanished!”
“Wonderful!” King Nuven’s expression brightened. He nodded and said to a nobleman behind him, “It proves that our strategy is working. That calamity… it does not dare to fight the Soul Slayer Pike!”
Nicholas, who had just eliminated a tentacle, approached him. “We employ the best tactics—confront the Blood Calamity with small, elite teams equipped with anti-mystic gears, while other teams round it up and cut off its energy supply.”
The Star Killer put on a stern expression, his eyes sharp. “Your Majesty, we have suppressed it!”
King Nuven gave a firm nod of approval.
Behind the king, a small group of Northland soldiers arrived on horseback with a few officers and nobles who came to deliver their messages. “Your Majesty, we still do not have any news of the Prince of Constellation and your granddaughter.”
King Nuven’s expression did not change, as if he did not care about his granddaughter’s survival.
“Also, the aristocrats and citizens from the other districts are discussing this matter animatedly. The discussions are especially prominent from the citizens you evacuated. Many people saw that monster, and there are all sorts of chatter about the calamity invading the city. Many enlisted militias are requesting to be immediately equipped so that they may join the battle. The situation is slightly chaotic. The patrol teams are finding it rather difficult to control the situation.”
King Nuven turned around, frowning. He pondered for a while, and then gave an order, “Reply Madam Calshan, keep an eye on that thing, and make sure everyone keeps in touch! Also, inform the Chief Garrison Officer to send out all patrol units available to each street to placate the citizens. Tell them, in the name of the king, that we will keep this matter under control in no time. Ordinary troops without anti-mystic equipment cannot be of much help. As of now, any form of military recruitment is prohibited!”
A number of bureaucrats nodded and continued, “While evacuating the people in Shield District, we also received word from outside the city. Six of your counts and their vassals had sent their messengers and messenger crows three times in a row, hoping to be granted to send in their troops as reinforcements—”
“Sending thousands more people into the mouth of that calamity?” the king snapped. “Reply them: The Walton Family recognizes and values their loyalty, but this is no ordinary battle. A huge army will only worsen the situation!”
A stenographer was recording the king’s speech. Another person said worriedly, “On the other hand, the four archdukes implore you to put your own safety first, to head back to Heroic Spirit Palace, and maybe explain—”
King Nuven nodded and gave his subordinates a wave of dismissal. “Ask Lisban to deal with those nobles, including the archdukes. Say ‘the king is on a hunting trip’. At a time like this, they had better refrain from providing suggestions.”
Having received their orders, the messengers sped off on their horses.
“Your Majesty, you know they are right; you should stay in the palace,” the Star Killer said calmly.
The king shook his head.
“Most of the White Blade Guards are out on missions. We are unable to summon troops into the city. You want me to stay in a nearly empty palace with four archdukes who have ulterior motives and their personal guards?” King Nuven snorted coldly. “Your king butchered an archduke not too long ago… I am contemplating which option is safer for me.”
Nicholas nodded, and flung the blood off his Severing Souls Blade.
“Your Majesty! Boss! Look!” a White Blade Guard shouted, pointing at the sky.
In the night sky, a flare soared into the air above Shield District, followed by a sharp crack.
The other White Blade Guards were alarmed.
“It means…” Nicholas’ gaze sharpened. “It is the first unit in the eastern region. They found a troublesome bastard! We have to take action immediately…”
In the meantime, on top of another area on the other side of the district, a spark shone in the air, accompanied by a whooshing sound.
King Nuven frowned. “Two locations?”
But then, a third signal arrow rose into the sky from the distance.
As he spoke, the fourth signal arrow was fired.
“Multiple signals at the same time. There can only be one explanation, Your Majesty!” he said, panting, “New monsters are breaking out of the ground. Therefore, other than the first and fifth units, other men have also encountered—”
He did not manage complete his statement.
A thunderous blast sounded.
From within the dust cloud, a humongous creature swung its countless tentacles in the center of Shield District.
Everyone on the spot gaped at the monster, the hydra, Kilika.
“How is this happening?” King Nuven gritted his teeth, glaring at the nightmarish monster that emerged once again. He inhaled deeply, glancing at the warriors around him. “It… Considering how massive the target is, shouldn’t it be afraid of the Soul Slayer Pike? Gleeward—”
King Nuven halted his discussion. The old king grimaced, he had obviously realized something.
A silence ensued and lasted for seconds, until Nicholas kept the Severing Souls Blade into the sheath on his back, kneeled down slowly, tightened the lace of his boots, and nodded solemnly.
“Your Majesty, I request to be granted permission to depart immediately.”
The Star Killer said in a very soft and calm voice, “The cleaning operations have to be put aside for now.
“I must bring my Severing Souls Blade along… to save Gleeward!”
In the other area of Shield District, Black Sword’s yell boomed, “Duck!”
Thales glared at the blood-red tentacle that charged at them, clenched his teeth, and fled with Little Rascal.
However, their speed was simply not enough.
The tentacle that slithered on the ground moved as fast as the wind. The next thing they knew, it had arrived in front of them.
It then sprung up abruptly, and shot towards Thales with a swoosh. It was about as tall as a grown man.
‘Damn it!’ Thales cursed internally, watching the tentacle flying towards him. ‘It’s impossible to dodge it this time!’
As Little Rascal screeched, the strange pulses surged within Thales once more. Thales felt time slow down.
As seconds slowly ticked away, he could discern what made up the tentacle that lunged for him: several human parts from skin to muscles, veins, and bones.
In the air, the tentacle began to split, revealing a row of sharp teeth inside it. It now looked like a hungry alien snake.
Thales felt his stomach turn. ‘What the hell is that thing?!’
Meanwhile, there was a surge of energy that welled up in his body.
Thales sensed the new strength in his body while he tried to predict where the tentacle would land. Then, he gave Little Rascal a shove and threw himself towards the opposite direction. The tentacle brushed past Thales’ right hand and Little Rascal’s glasses. The two children rolled out of its way and stumbled onto the ground.
The blood-red tentacle missed its target and crashed into a plank in the ruins. It no longer had any more chances because in the next moment, a small red sword sliced through the air and came charging towards the tentacle in a spin.
The projectile was strong and precise. It nailed the tentacle on to the plank, immobilizing it instantly. The hilt of the small red sword still shook.
The tentacle wriggled vigorously, but was still unable to break free.
Thales lay on the ground, panting and traumatized. His right hand was sore due to overexertion.
He turned his head, casting his gaze on Black Sword, who lay on the ground covered in wounds. The latter’s right hand hung in the air, stuck in the position where he had just thrown his sword.
Little Rascal let out delayed scream of disgust. Her feet paddled, pushing herself backwards. She tried not to look at the tentacle. Thales sat up and stared dumbly at the wriggling tentacle at his feet.
“Good call, kid.” Black Sword sighed weakly and laid his head back on to the ground. “Your reflexes—”
Before Black Sword even finished his sentence, the tentacles split in half from the spot that was nailed onto the plank by the blade, and freed itself in an instant.
“Watch out!” Black Sword shouted.
This time, however, Thales could not react in time; he was captured by the tentacle that lunged for him.
The tentacle engulfed his left leg, his waist, his chest, and his head. It covered his eyes, taking away his vision entirely.
“No!” Little Rascal screeched.
Thales shuddered. It felt sticky, greasy, warm, trembled and contracted frequently… It was even somewhat… dizzying.
He was feeling oddly comfortable, until a slippery, wet, warm, and round object rolled across his left cheek and stopped at the center of his forehead. The round object began to tremble, as though it was giving him a face massage.
The semi-conscious Thales mused. ‘This sensation… is like placing a palm on one’s eyelids and feeling the eyeball quiver against the palm…’
Thinking of this, Thales shuddered. He knew what that Rascal, wet, warm, round ball that continuously massaged the bridge of his nose was now.
It was someone’s… eyeball.
‘F*ck! F*ck! F*ck!’
The feeling of nausea washed over him, and he instantly recovered from the hallucination.
Overwhelmed with terror and disgust, Thales desperately swung his right arm, that was somehow left unbound by the tentacle, trying to get himself out of that foul thing.
The tentacle tightened its hold.
Thales made a futile attempt to loosen the tentacle. His breathing became heavier and his vision blurred.
Little Rascal and Black Sword’s anxious voices traveled into his ears, but they did not sound real.
And the… eyeball was… shuddering even faster?
His heartbeat quickened. He could hear his blood rush and pound in his veins. Thales was suffocating and slowly slipping into unconsciousness.
‘What do I do?!’
A thought flitted through his mind.
‘That’s right! I still have…’
He stretched his right arm over to the back of his waist to reach for the JC dagger Jala gave him.
However, when he touched his waist, he felt only the warmth and greasiness. The tentacle had bound his waist as well.
At that moment, Thales felt as his heart chill. A wave of despair filled his chest.
‘Shit. What do I do?’
His right hand felt the back of his own waist, but found nothing.
‘What do I do?!!’
It was then when a sharp object slit his right palm while he was groping around. The sting of pain brought him a sliver of consciousness. He gathered his last remaining strength and held tightly onto… That strange rod-like thing, drew it out, and brought it to his head.
That was how the accident was triggered.
At that moment, Thales raised the strange object and the wave of heat that traveled from within him—from his heart to his right hand—erupted swiftly!
It spread throughout his body, scorching him like a blaze.
He felt pain, heat, and cramps all over his body, inside out, in every corner, every tissue and cell!
He started hearing imaginary sounds. At first, it sounded like rushing blood in his arteries and veins, but they soon warped into many different sounds—tidal waves, a volcano eruption, or even storms.
Thales opened his mouth to scream, but nothing came out except for the fishy, salty taste of the tentacle, as well as a disgusting organ formed by some unknown parts of a person’s body slithering past his tongue.
Nevertheless, he could not care less about the disgusting tentacle that bound him; all he could feel was the burning sensation.
In the next second, however, Thales felt a shudder as the pressure around his body loosened up and his vision returned.
His breathing began to even out. He no longer felt a weight on his chest and his face. The tentacle had released him and slipped away quietly.
At that moment, the burning sensation in his chest and right hand slowly faded.
Thales was panting heavily, struggling to sit up while he gasped for air after such a life-threatening event.
He spotted two pairs astonished eyes.
Black Sword and Little Rascal were staring at him with gaping mouths, as though they had seen something shocking.
Thales was startled, then realized that they were not looking at him. He looked down at his right hand and squinted.
In Thales’ right hand was the weapon Black Sword threw at him earlier—the small red sword. Yet at that moment, its dull-colored tip radiated a blinding red glow.
Thales stared at the small red sword like a puppet. He stared at its original dull and lusterless tip. The red light gradually became lighter, then brighter, eventually gaining a color similar to the blade. It looked as if it had just been whetted.
It was not the only anomaly.
The part of that repelled the tentacle that made contact with the small red sword began to change.
Thales had seen this before, back in the birch tree forest, when the Fortress Flower fought the Blood Mystic.
The tentacle on Thales began to dissolve, wither, darken, and eventually turned into dust and faded into the air—as though it had encountered its natural enemy.
In the end, what remained on Thales was a layer of black ash.
“What did you do?” Black Sword was frowning as he stared at the smallsword and muttered, “Could it be the legendary…”
Little Rascal blinked in confusion.
Before Thales could react, a swooshing sound like tidal waves rang in his ears, as though it echoed in his veins.
It sounded as if it came from somewhere far away. A moment later, the rumble of ocean waves turned into a deep murmur.
Thales quivered in fear.
He looked up at Black Sword and Little Rascal who were simply staring at him.
The former’s gaze traveled between Thales’ face and the sword in the boy’s hand with a doubtful expression, neither of them seemed to have heard the voice.
It was a… rather familiar scene.
Thales looked around in panic, but he saw nothing other than the ruins, the night sky, and the glow of the smallsword.
‘What is this? What’s going on?’
Thales stared at the glowing smallsword in his hand dumbfoundedly. He was about say something when the monotonous voice became clearer. Words and sentences began to form.
The voice sounded like that of an old man from a great distance, as though it was traveling through layers of wooden boards.
Thales could not tell what language it was, but he knew the meaning of the words.
“My name is… Blade of Purification.”
Thales’ jaw dropped, gaping at the glowing sword in his hand.
‘The Blade- The Blade of Purification?’
Thales was stupefied, but that was not what shocked him the most.
Amid the thunderous roar of tidal waves, the voice uttered its last two lines.
“It has been a long time,” the voice said slowly, “my… blood brother.”
A second later, the voice and the glow of the smallsword faded away instantly.
Cold snow drifted down, as though nothing had just happened, except for what happened with the tip of that smallsword. It had turned from a rusty dark red to bright red, like the color of fresh blood.
Under the night sky, the flustered trio gawked at one another. Each one wore a different expression.