Chapter 348: You Fell into the Trap, Eh?
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
At that moment, Cain Camur activated the endless, cursed black fog to envelope Silver Shadowman securely in it.
Everything in the cave was consumed by darkness. Only the mournful and tragic howling of thousands of deceased souls could be heard.
But, right at that moment…
A strange noise suddenly came from the direction of Silver Shadowman and the general of the deceased souls. By the sound of it, it was as if cold water had been poured over soldering iron.
Thales, while he was retreating, was surprised to find that a twisted silver thread had appeared in the darkness—in which he could not even see his fingers when he stretched out his hand!
It was just like the lightning that sliced through the night sky, and it brought with it a weak light. Thales instinctively squinted his eyes.
No, it was not a silver thread. It was a beam of silver light that leaked from the direction where Silver Shadowman and the general of deceased souls were.
It lit up the corner where Thales was.
A voice that spoke in a relaxed manner echoed softly, “You are at the very least of warriors…” It was a voice that was not to be ignored.
The voice had hardly finished its words when the second, third, and forth silver threads appeared consecutively in the darkness. The silver threads overlapped with each other and formed the shape of a tree branch that lit up the black fog which flowed more and more rapidly outwards.
A thought came to Thales’ mind and hope appeared in him again.
“Why can’t we concentrate on the fight…?”
The pitch-black darkness that blinded Thales’ sight began to crack inch by inch as the silver light merged to form cracks.
“…And be done with the small talk?”
As the silver threads formed those strange shapes, the howls from the souls of the deceased immediately turned chaotic.
Thales was terrified to see a soul of the deceased, a foot away from him, cover its eyes to avoid the silver rays that leaked out from the black fog. It had stretched out its arms towards him and was just moments away from touching him.
The Empire general’s pained howls also traveled out of the strange sight that was the layers of silver light and black fog overlapping each other. “No, no, no…”
“Hahahahaha,” It was Silver Shadowman’s laughter. “I almost forgot that you lot have a bad memory.”
In the next instant, the silver threads that were getting more densely packed together suddenly shone with a bright light, like the sudden increase in the water current when streams flowed into a larger river.
It chased away the surrounding darkness.
If anyone watched from afar, this scene would look as if pitch-black worms had suddenly imploded due to the workings of the silver light.
The cave became well-lit again and it was even brighter than before. The silver threads merged into bright, silver light that could not be seen directly. It was so glaring that it began to hinder Thales’ sight. The young man subconsciously raised his palm to cover his eyes. The parts of his skin that the silver light shone on protested in the form of a prickling pain.
He was surprised to see between his fingers that in the silver light, when the mysterious black fog met with the silver radiance, it would rapidly evaporate and disappear as though it had met its match.
But it was also as if it had a life of its own, because it avoided the invasion of the silver light and fled outwards.
The souls of the deceased that were all over the rockwall changed directions and seeped further into the rock formation as they howled and shivered. A few souls of the deceased could not move at all in the dazzling silver light. Their struggles were in vain and, in the end, they turned into ash.
Thales was only starting to get used to such brightness, but was immediately surprised to see a familiar silhouette appear at the centermost point of the silver light. Like a legendary and unbeatable warrior, he walked with his head held high. He extended his right hand to suppress another black shadow; the latter continued to howl as he clung on to the hand that was pushing him down, struggling with great effort under the illumination of silver light.
It was Silver Shadowman.
Cain Camur was reduced to a pathetic human form as his neck was gripped by Silver Shadowman’s right hand while the black fog disappeared entirely under the influence of the silver light. The general was still shouting strenuously. “You… You will fail…”
The once ferocious-looking and arrogant general of the deceased souls, Cain Camur Linka, was like a misfit in this exact moment. He grabbed his opponent’s right hand while his imaginary limbs twisted in the air. It made the terrifying deceased soul appear somewhat pathetic.
“I am going to tear you apart… Northlander…”
Thales coughed. He was stunned to look at the captured general of the deceased souls. “Did you just say he was… strong, formidable, and hard to deal with… and that he could exchange blows with you?”
Silver Shadowman’s face trembled a little. He seemed to have sneered. He turned around and watched the deceased souls on the cave walls disappear until not a single soul was left.
Cain Camur was still holding on to his opponent’s right arm and continued to struggle in a frenzied but pointless manner while he yelled, “One day, Northlander… I want you to watch your nation be destroyed…”
Silver Shadowman clenched his left fist and raised it to his chest. Countless dazzling silver threads gathered on his fist. Thales was forced to lift his hand to cover his eyes.
“Indeed, it is mighty.” The next second, Silver Shadowman threw a punch which contained astonishing strength!
The silver light planted a heavy blow on the general of the deceased souls’ withered face. That silver light grew even brighter. Thales was shocked and bewildered to find that the entire cave started to shake in a barely noticeable manner, and it even let out a low moan.
The next moment, the general of the deceased souls shrieked. Its imaginary body was thrown backwards violently when the punch landed on it, as if it was a body with real form.
As he was pushed by that blazing silver light, Cain Camur shouted in pain and his limbs flailed. It flew into the rockwall against its will and disappeared. Its curse lingered in the cave.
“We will… be back…”
Silver Shadowman blew on his fist, just like how a human would. He withdrew his fist which had easily sent the general flying. He turned around and said seriously, “I only mentioned it in relative terms.”
Thales watched the empty cave wall with a flabbergasted expression. He found himself speechless for a long time.
The light from Silver Shadowman began to grow dimmer until it reached a point where Thales could see his surroundings clearly.
Thales frowned immediately. He suddenly realised that Silver Shadowman no longer looked the same, it was unclear when this began.
Silver Shadowman’s body, which was built with silver light, was now equipped with a set of armor that was also built with silver light. He was dressed head to toe in armor, from the helmet to the pauldrons, from breastplate to plackart, from greaves to poleyns. It made him look even mightier and heroic.
Puzzled, Thales stared at the fully-equipped Silver Shadowman.
The young prince watched Silver Shadowman’s new appearance and asked a stupid question, “What is this?”
Silver Shadowman seemed to have only noticed what had happened. He was also a little surprised by his new look.
“Not bad. It sure looks real… Ahem, I mean, the embellishments are a little over the top, right…?”
His facial features twitched a little. He appeared to be evaluating himself excitedly.
The pauldrons stood on his shoulders, as tall as his brow. His rerebraces were fully covered in barbs.?The armor lined his chest, stomach and waist smoothly, while his heavy boots were joined by poleyns. At this moment, Silver Shadowman looked like the legendary warrior in some bard’s poem; he was awe-inspiring, eye-catching, heroic, and gorgeous.
What was most striking was his helmet. The entire ferocious-looking helmet was made of silver light. It had complicated but repetitive patterns, and even had four exaggerated sharp horns on its sides.
As Silver Shadowman moved, the large, horned helmet that was made of silver light shook in a terrifying manner, moving about in such an exaggerated fashion that it looked as if it was about to fall off.
“Urk, forget about the helmet.” Silver Shadowman knocked on his horned and ferocious silver helmet. Glimmers of light spread out. His face behind the helmet twisted together, he appeared to be rather embarrassed.
“This is only?to boost the morale. I have never worn it when I go onto the battlefield. It looks too silly, I mean, too frivolous…” Silver Shadowman began to gesticulate while he spoke. The range of his movements even became wider with each gesture.
“…and it even has four horns. You know, even my wife has only two. She might not have said it, but she must have not liked it…”
Thales blinked in a dumbfounded manner. He could sense Silver Shadowman’s excitement in his words, the type of excitement that screamed “I bought some new clothes”, and found it a little hard to accept that Silver Shadowman, who appeared imposing and serious just a moment ago, had turned into a chatterbox the next moment, all because of some random helmet.
Before Silver Shadowman finished speaking, the silver light on his body radiated a little as if it had a life of its own.
Silver Shadowman’s face continued to change. “Oh, right, and the shoulders. You know, whenever I turn my head, I risk getting a blow to my head…”
Immediately, the silver light that defeated the souls of the deceased flowed. Silver Shadowman’s large and terrifying horned helmet transformed into starry dots of silver light and disappeared into the air.
The overly tall pauldrons on his shoulders were lowered a little.
“Ahh, that is much better. Thank you.” Silver Shadowman, whose head was much lighter, sized himself up again. He nodded in satisfaction. “If only there was a mirror…”
The silver rays of light began to flow again.
The silver rays of light that were about to turn into a mirror shone in the air for a while before dissipating.
Thales felt a little curious. ‘Who was he talking to?’
The silver rays of light flickered in the air, making the place alternate between brightness and darkness.
Silver Shadowman shook his head in panic, his facial features changed rapidly. “What? Why do we need a helmet? Ahem, naturally, you would look cooler with one… Ahem, I mean, it makes you more durable when you fight…”
“Right. You heard it wrong. One is surely ‘more durable’ with a helmet. I am always practical… Do not laugh. What is there to laugh about…?”
The silver rays circled around Silver Shadowman and sprinkled glimmers of light on him, as if it was talking to him. Silver Shadowman paused for a moment before pointing at the silver rays in front of him, feeling a little offended.
“You are still too young. You do not understand. A good mindset and good appearance are the fundamentals of one’s strength. For example, if I throw a punch and I want to fully bring out my power, I will have to fulfill the first criteria: To look cool enough.”[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
The silver rays flashed three times and gathered in the air to form the shape of a fist with its thumb pointed up. The thumb then moved downwards in Silver Shadowman’s direction.
Silver Shadowman got angry immediately. “It’s just an example. You are talking too much. Such a nag—”
‘What is going on?’ The baffled Thales watched the ‘argument’ between Silver Shadowman and the silver rays on Thales’ body. He was speechless and thought the world was a strange place.
Finally, the silver light armor on Silver Shadowman turned into stars and disappeared into the air.
Thales looked away from the humanized silver rays and directed his gaze at Silver Shadowman. He said softly, “Eckstedt…”
Silver Shadowman was stunned for a while when he heard the name. The relief he felt earlier was swept away.
“That soul of the deceased called you ‘Eckstedt’.” Thales’ eyes were fixed on Silver Shadowman. He asked in a probing manner, “Is… Is that your name?”
Silver Shadowman was silent for a few seconds.
“That is not important,” he said lightly.
Thales took a deep breath. “There aren’t many people in history who have the same name.”
The young man suppressed his excitement. He tried to calmly voice his assumptions, “And the man with this name is closely related to Northland and Dragon Clouds City. He is also the only person who knows what ‘Jadestar’ is.”
Silver Shadowman stood still. Thales bit his lip and his eyes were fixed on the silver-colored existence before him. He subconsciously used honorific terms when he said, “You are… Sir, you are—”
Silver Shadowman looked up and cut him off.
“Who am I?” But Silver Shadowman only shook his head. “As I have said before, this is not important. Even I often forget who I am… because it is all in the past.”
Thales’ words were stuck his throat. He could not help but feel surprised. “But—”
“Have you not noticed?” Silver Shadowman walked to stand in front of him, there was a profound look on his dark features. “Essentially, I am no different from those souls of the deceased. I am just another dead man, one of the thousands of ghosts in this place.”
Silver Shadowman’s voice resounded in his heart, deep and lifeless. Even the silver rays on his body became much dimmer. Thales watched him with confusion and puzzlement.
‘Another dead man…’ But Thales immediately shook his head. His eyes were filled with resolution. “No. I think you are different.”
Silver Shadowman was stunned.
“You, and that general. I can tell the difference between the both of you. They are forced into this situation, lost, confused, and filled with pain, hatred and viciousness. While you, you are conscious, rational, autonomous, and even…”
Thales gulped before he continued to say, “Even if you have been dead for many years, but…”
He paused when he thought of the terrifying souls of the deceased, their whispers and screams caused his head to ache. But later on, they caused him to sink into deep thought.
Thales looked up and said with certainty, “You’re the one who volunteered to watch over this dark and borderless Black Track, and to suppress these increasingly brutal deceased souls, right?
“It was you who has been suppressing this nonsensical curse, and who has stopped them from bringing a terrible outcome to the world, am I right?”
Silver Shadowman still did not say a word. His dark features became more and more tense.
“It has been so many years, but you took it upon yourself to be in this underground place where you see no day or night to guard Dragon Clouds City,” Thales said every word with astonishing respect and excitement. “You have done so in the past, and you will continue to do so in the future.”
Thales bit his lips and called out that name, “Eckstedt.”
Silver Shadowman suddenly looked up!
“You are wrong.” He rejected what Thales said in a cold tone.
Thales was astounded.
“The only difference between me and them is that I got lucky after I died. I received blessings and gifts from a mighty existence.” Silver Shadowman snorted coldly. “Even when I lost my physical form, I was still able to maintain who I was and a few important memories. I was spared from the misfortune of losing my mind. I?can also retain my newest memories for a longer time—such as the day we met.”
Silver Shadowman stepped forward, he pressed his hand on Thales’ left shoulder.
“But I can still continue to forget and lose my memories. A few days later, you will disappear from my memories. I will never remember that you were here.”
Thales looked back at the dark and hollow circles where his eyes were supposed to be, and was instantly stunned when he recalled the other person’s extraordinary identity and Thales’ own current situation.
Silver Shadowman appeared to shake his head. “I have never been part of this world. I am, after all, different from you. I will disappear into the air in the end. That is all. There will be nothing more to my life.”
In that moment, the silver rays on Silver Shadowman began to brighten. He let go of Thales and glanced towards the other side.
As he was immersed in the complex emotions of finding out about the other person’s identity, Thales was stunned when he realised that their surroundings had grown dark again.
‘What’s going on?’
He noticed that the ominous black fog reappeared in the cave.
Numerous ghostly faces repeatedly appeared on the cave walls. The souls of the deceased were back.
Thales widened his eyes. ‘What? Did Silver Shadowman not get them…?’
Soon enough, at the spot with the densest black fog, the ever-ferocious and terrifying general of the Empire, Cain Camur Linka, who died many years ago, appeared in front of them for the second time.
“I have mentioned before, Northlander, the more powerful the curse gets, the more likely we will not be wiped out.”
It crawled stiffly out of the cave wall with its shivering limbs. Its aura grew more terrifying. It had no expression on its face and its eyes were dark. The language of the Ancient Empire sounded strange and eerie when it fell out of its lips again.
“You will fail in the end…”
Thales gulped unknowingly and smoothed the goosebumps on his back with his hand. He took one step towards Silver Shadowman’s back.
He said anxiously, “Did you not say that their formidable power was only in relative terms… That they would not defeat you?”
Silver Shadowman’s face twisted. He patted his head, the silver light above him trembled.
“You’re right. But you have to know, that was only…” Silver Shadowman shrugged. He turned his back towards the souls of the deceased that crawled out of the cave walls and said to Thales seriously, “Round one.”
Thales frowned. ‘Round one?’
At that exact moment, the silver rays on Silver Shadowman suddenly flashed!
These silver rays seemed to have a life of their own and formed a line above his head before forming a sentence in the common language, at a spot where Silver Shadowman could not see.
[That’s just an excuse]
…As if it was interpreting Silver Shadowman’s words.
Thales watched the silver words above Silver Shadowman’s head, stupefied. “What?”
Silver Shadowman appeared to have not noticed the silver words that betrayed him.
He crossed his arms over his chest tightly, as if he was not bothered by anything and he could not be moved. His dark features curved into the shape of a crescent moon, which made him look like he was smiling. “You know, it will not be fun if one wins any game too easily. That is why I prefer a ‘best of three’ match. Three rounds, you know? So it is never over with just the first round.”
The silver light above his head flashed and transformed into the next sentence. [He’s just being stubborn]
Thales watched the words above Silver Shadowman’s head. He then glanced over at Silver Shadowman, who had a look that said, “Don’t worry. Everything is under my control”. The corner of his lips twitched a little.
The young prince exhaled and smiled awkwardly. He tried not to look at the words above Silver Shadowman’s head. “Alright. We will have the second round then, like just now. If you try harder, it will be a best of three set.”
Silver Shadowman put down his arm.
“About that…” Silver Shadowman said in a seemingly serious manner, “Since this is a best two out of three set, I think it’s alright if we let our opponent win a few points…”
Thales narrowed his eyes. H looked at the silver words above Silver Shadowman’s head. [Bullsh*t]
Thales looked down with a doubtful expression. “Do you mean to say you cannot deal with them like before?”
Silver Shadowman shivered a little. But he then swung his hand and said, “No way!”
The silver words continued to appear. [You wish]
Silver Shadowman glanced at the souls of the deceased who were crawling towards them again. He still looked cold, but his tone had become much gentler. “But speaking of which, I did not hold back when I threw that punch just now, so it took a bit more energy from me, but to save you, I could not care much about those things…”
The silver words bounced agitatedly. This time, it even had beautifully written punctuation. [Body armor and helmet! To look cool! Look cool! Look cool!]
Thales watched with widened eyes as he looked up and down, feeling awkward as he tried to match Silver Shadowman’s words and the message in those silver words.
Silver Shadowman seemed to have noticed that something was off. He raised his head swiftly, but the silver light disappeared before that.
Since he did not notice anything, Silver Shadowman scratched his head, baffled. “So, uh… We need to temporarily reorganize ourselves, a bit.”
The silver words appeared above his head again. This time, it was in a much simpler language. [No strength, can’t win.]
“What?” Thales stared at Silver Shadowman in disbelief after he had come to understand something from the information this man and the light provided.
‘Is this person… actually just here to cause trouble?’
The cave became darker.
Cain Camur’s whispers traveled into their ears again. “Come, Northlander… Give up on resisting. Join us…”
The souls of the deceased on the walls started howling again and crawled towards them!
Thales tensed up. “Then what should we do now?”
Silver Shadowman turned to the general of the deceased souls and his tone became stern again. “We should be there soon.”
Thales frowned. “What?”
When they drew closer, the general of the deceased souls’s whispers turned to roars. “Come!”
Silver Shadowman lowered his head and stared at Thales. “Now, activate that supernatural power of yours and lure them.”
Thales shook his head, puzzled. “Super… what?”
This time, Silver Shadowman did not put on a mysterious air. He grabbed Thales shoulders and had silver light surge into Thales’ body while he said in a whisper, “Obviously, I’m talking about the Sin of Hell’s River!”
Thales was shocked. Before he could react to the situation, he felt an indescribable pain and chill erupt at the places where the silver light was!
“Argh…” He could not help but groan.
Under threat, his unique Power of Eradication was activated on its own, and it surged to his shoulder which was seized by Silver Shadowman.
Thales cried out in alarm in his heart.
Just as expected, at the moment the Sin of Hell’s River was activated, the souls of the deceased around them went mad. They would either howl shrilly, or move faster. Under the cover of the thick black fog, they crawled towards Thales!
The prince stared at the sight before him, then looked at Silver Shadowman in shock. “Are you crazy?”
“About that… Why, thank you, young Jadestar. You have a rare supernatural power.” The great person, who had died many years ago, had silver light illuminate his black features. In his voice was a chilling and ferocious tone. “You are a good bait. We can’t let it go to waste now, can we?”
At the same time, the silver light in Silver Shadowman’s body appeared again to form new words on his head.
[You fell into the trap, eh?]
During that instant, when Thales—who had lowered his guard around this person once he learned of his identity—listened to Silver Shadowman’s aloof words and read the words formed by the silver light, he immediately felt his heart freeze.
‘Oh no. No way.’
At this critical moment, he suddenly remembered what the general of the deceased souls told Silver Shadowman.
‘”…The power of the curse… exceeds your imagination… You are already struggling to retain your own sanity… You cannot persevere forever.”‘
Thales stared at Silver Shadowman’s ferocious features incredulously and saw him curl his lips upwards, completely unbothered.
‘If that’s the case, he’s already—’
Before he could finish his thought, the rotten abnormalities, with the general of the deceased souls as their leader, and whom had long since gone mad, moved their limbs and howled shrilly. They ignored the harm brought onto them by the silver light and pounced fiercely on Thales—basking in the Sin of Hell’s River—like a pack of bloodthirsty wolves whose eyes were fixed on their prey.
…And in their eyes, they only saw fresh blood.