Chapter 5 : Baolilong All Grown Up
Jasmine held Baolilong tightly and sat in the bedroom. She would occasionally raise her head to look at the door, hoping Lanski could find Liola quickly. On one hand, it could abate Baolilong’s strange actions, and on another, she was worried about how Liola was doing.
Truth was, Jasmine had a faint foreboding feeling. Even though Liola had turned cold in recent days, it hadn’t affected Baolilong like this. Now, even with the distance between them, Baolilong acting this terrified must mean Liola’s situation was even worse now.
However, Jasmine could not fathom any kind of situation that would be worse than a cold Liola.
At this time, the door was barged open. Lanski practically charged in; as a Princess, she had never lost her calm like this before. Though she was trying to catch her breath, she quickly explained the situation, “I-I finally found Liola’s Direct Knight. He told me, he had just left Liola. The Dragon Emperor asked Liola to stay in the great hall, and it seemed like he was giving Liola a mission.”
“I went to the great hall, and the only person there was father’s Sorcerer, and a magic circle, but the Sorcerer wouldn’t tell me what happened, and even warned me against touching the magic circle. I-I don’t know what to do…” Lanski was anxious to the point of almost falling into pieces.
“Mission?” Jasmine suddenly felt very scared of this single word. With the amount of Knights under the Dragon Emperor, there was absolutely no lack of people who would help him do things. If he looked for Liola, then it must be intentional, and now Jasmine didn’t think for a second that the Dragon Emperor would do anything kind to Liola.
When Jasmine was about to discuss this mission with Lanski, she saw Lanski staring towards her arms. She instinctively lowered her head to look, and her eyes widened. Baolilong was was emitting a red light all throughout its body. If it were just red light, perhaps the two wouldn’t be so surprised; after all, its eyes had changed to a red color, so emitting light wasn’t too far off from it. However, the red light felt like it was thick and sticky, and it made them very uncomfortable. Had Jasmine not liked Baolilong as much as she did, she would’ve already pushed it away.
“Baolilong? How do you feel? Tell me, okay?” Jasmine asked very patiently, while trying everything in her power to control her tone so there would be no tremble in voice, and Baolilong wouldn’t be able to hear the fear in it.
Baolilong didn’t answer Jasmine. Its body shook more and more, almost to the point of escaping from Jasmine’s arms. She held her hands tighter, as though she wouldn’t let go even if it would cost her her life.
Baolilong suddenly let out a piercing Dragon roar. Lanski was the first to cover her ears in pain. Jasmine, who was holding Baolilong, was in even more pain. As soon as the roar went off, her ears went deaf almost immediately. Her head felt like there were a thousand bells ringing inside. She was almost purely sustained by the determination not to let go, or else she would’ve already fainted. Nevertheless, she wasn’t in a good situation; her consciousness was virtually consumed by her headache from the roar, and she could only hang her hands around Baolilong.
While covering her ears, Lanski, who was crouching on the floor, suddenly noticed the disgusting red light was expanding outward, and it had already reached her foot. Lanski looked worriedly towards Baolilong and Jasmine. She saw Baolilong mercilessly pushed Jasmine off to the bed, and it endlessly roared towards the sky, while crazily ripping off the clothes on its body.
Lanski screamed, trying to get Baolilong’s attention, but her scream could not be heard over the Dragon roars. With no other choice, she stepped into the red light. As soon as she did, Lanski took a deep breath; an evil cold rushed into Lanski’s body from her feet, and reached all the way to her heart. At that moment, Lanski nearly felt her heart froze.
Luckily, Lanski immediately realized the cold was purely psychological and not physical. Even though this psychological coldness was no easier to bear than a physical one, but at least it did not impede her movements.
Lanski quickly stepped up, and grabbed Baolilong, hoping to stop whatever it was doing. Her hand did indeed grab Baolilong’s shoulder, but as soon as it noticed someone was touching it, it immediately shrugged off the hand, turned around, and roared angrily, “You should never touch a Dragon with a master! Especially a Sacred White Dragon, you damn human!”
Lanski could barely breathe under the imposition of the Dragon. When she finally recovered, Lanski suddenly remember, the voice sounded nothing like Baolilong’s tender child tone, but instead, it was a more matured, solemn voice. ‘What exactly was going on?’
At this time, Baolilong’s clothes were mostly gone, but it continued to tear it from its body. After a painful roar, a large piece of something was thrown onto the ground. Lanski looked carefully, and she almost fainted: it was a large piece of skin. Lanski was out of it by now, and she asked helplessly, “Baolilong, what’s wrong with you?”
Baolilong who had sunken into frenzy would obviously not answer her. Tearing off a large piece of skin didn’t seem to satisfy it, and it desperately tore off more of its skin. Every piece of skin it tore off was accompanied by another loud, painful roar, but that didn’t seem to stop it from continuing.
Before long, Baolilong’s body was a horrifying sight: its body was covered with torn skin, and its red muscles could be seen at various places. Strangely, however, there was not a single drop of blood.
Seeing Baolilong like this, Lanski didn’t even know if she felt pity or fear. Along with the coldness reaching to her heart, the once prideful Princess was now in tears while hugging her own shoulders, despite not crying as much as before.
While Lanski was crying with her head lowered, she suddenly heard a sharp yell. She raised her head, only to see Jasmine passing out after screaming, and a little person with its red muscles appeared. Its white long hair was fluttering behind it, which made a terrifying contrast with its red muscles. The only thing redder than its muscles was its demonic pair of eyes.
Bang! Lanski passed out as well.
* * *
When Lanski opened her eyes again, she saw the familiar ceiling she was used to seeing. However, she was a bit lost and did not know what had happened. Out of habit, she looked to her left; sure enough, Jasmine was lying on her left, but now she was frowning and talking in her sleep, “Baolilong…”
That name made Lanski remember everything. She seemed to have seen Baolilong tearing off all of its own skin? Lanski immediately sat up and looked around, but Baolilong was nowhere to be seen.
She was confused again. Could everything she thought she saw be a dream? Lanski got out from under the sheets, and walked off her bed. She walked back and forth around where she remembered Baolilong was, but she did not see a single piece of skin, nor the heart-chilling red light. Although everything in the room was in order, Lanski still couldn’t relax, because, most importantly, Baolilong still was nowhere to be found.
Lanski went back to the bed and woke Jasmine up. After a brief period of absent-mindedness, Jasmine was even more anxious than Lanski. She grabbed Lanski and ran out of the room to begin their search for Baolilong while calling its name. The star filled skies and the lack of any human being other than Knights who were standing at their posts told them it was far past midnight.
The Knights on guard duty looked at the two girls strangely, but because one of them was a Princess, they didn’t dare to tell her to quiet down at night. Even if she were to suddenly want to burn down the palace in the middle of the night, none of these guards would dare to stop her, and perhaps they might even go find wood to help her light the fire.
“Let’s go to Liola’s room.”
An idea suddenly dawned on Jasmine. Without hearing Lanski’s response, she grabbed her and ran off in a hurry. After rushing to his room, the two women were about to kick open the door, but the doors suddenly opened by itself. The one opening the door was not Liola, but instead a young, beautiful teenager.
The two women stared blankly at the child. The child had the white hair they were familiar with, but instead of the short hair style they were used to, the child had dense white hair reaching all the way to its waist. Its oval face looked as clean as a piece of white jade, and two red eyes were hanging on it like rubies, plus it had lips just as red to match.
The contrast between the red white showed the unique beauty of the child. In addition, its slender body, despite being only as tall as Lanski’s shoulder, but judging from the body’s proportion and its age, when this child grows up, it would undoubted be a person who would put everyone into a trance… regardless of their gender.
“Baolilong?” Jasmine tried to ask. Though the child was different from Baolilong, but the white hair, oval face, and the face all seemed to be a shadow of Baolilong.
The child frowned, pouted unhappily, and then asked in a tawdry tone, “What’s the matter? It’s the middle of the night. Isn’t it rude to come to our room right now?”
The two girls paused after hearing. The expression on its face and its tone was far different than Baolilong. Was this child really Baolilong? Jasmine was about to ask something else when another voice interrupted her.
“What’s going on?”
Liola got up from the bed, and walked over while asking. When Lanski saw Liola was actually back in his room, she asked anxiously, “Liola, are you okay? Did father do something to you?”
Compared to Lanski’s panic, Liola seemed very calm. He stated, “Father helped me change my name.”
“Changed your name?”
Lanski would never have imagined this answer. It was strange to suddenly change his name, and if it were simply changing a name, how could it have affected Baolilong so severely… Wait! Wasn’t Liola a bit different? Lanski suddenly had a strange feeling; Liola didn’t seem as cold and heartless as before?
“How come you seem different?” Even Jasmine thought it was strange.
“Is that so?” Liola asked with some confusion.
Of course! Lanski was rather happy. Had it been the cold Liola before, he would not have replied with another question. Instead, majority of the time he would simply answer with “yes” or “no”. Could Liola have really returned to how he was before?
“What did the Dragon Emperor change your name to?” Jasmine asked with a frown. Though she also noticed a change in Liola, but she wasn’t as happy, because she did not believe the Dragon Emperor would allow Liola to escape from his control. At the same time, Jasmine was now certain, the young teenager must be Baolilong, and the changes with Baolilong were real as well. There was no way the things that caused Baolilong’s terrifying changes were a good thing.
“Silver Moon.” Liola… no, Silver Moon answered it as such.
“Silver Moon? Isn’t that your title? Why would you replace your name with your title?” Lanski felt like a bucket of water had been poured over her head. The two words were filled with chill. When Liola turned cold, this was the title the Dragon Emperor gave him. Now, even his name changed? Wouldn’t this mean this was a situation even worse than before, even though Liola seemed okay now?
Lanski was still worried. She began to ask again, “Lio…”
“Silver Moon” Silver Moon calmly interrupted Lanski.
Lanski paused briefly. After exchanging skeptical glances with her friend, Jasmine tried to ask, “Li… uh, well, aren’t you planning on looking for Kaiser and others? Weren’t you good friends with them before?”
“The situation is different. Now that I am the successor, I shouldn’t leave the palace on my own without father’s permission.” Silver Moon smiled lightly as he explained, “Plus father doesn’t really like those people. So I have no choice because I don’t want father to be unhappy.”
If anyone had seen Silver Moon’s smile, and his dignified look despite being in pajamas, everyone would probably praise the Dragon Emperor’s successor for showing a royal demeanor. However, these people would never include the people who knew Liola before. When Lanski and Jasmine hear him calling Kaiser and others as “those people”, they immediately understood — Liola did not return to his old self.
‘But at least this is better than being cold, right?’ Lanski tried to comfort herself.
“Are you going to leave or not? I want to sleep!” Baolilong yelled loudly, while angrily eyeing the two girls, but it still couldn’t help but yawn a few times. Although it had grown up, its oval face still made it cute nevertheless; it was just changed from a baby’s cute to an adolescent cute.
Jasmine didn’t have time to guess Liola’s situation, because her attention was pulled towards Baolilong. She couldn’t resist asking, “Baolilong, why did you suddenly grow up? We saw you tearing off your own skin, and I fainted because of it. Are you really okay?”
Baolilong didn’t show an ounce of care towards Jasmine’s concern. Seeing the two weren’t willing to leave just yet, and asked more questions instead, it yelled angrily, “None of your business! Leave now, I want to sleep.”
Jasmine felt she couldn’t handle such a blunt retort. How could the cute little Baolilong she remembered say something like this to her? In the past, no matter how angry Baolilong was, at most it would pout and say something like “Baolilong is getting angry”.
“Baolilong, you’re acting impolitely.” Silver Moon blamed lightly.
Being told by its master, Baolilong held back its sleepiness, lowered its head, and acted as if it was in regretful. Nevertheless, judging the fist it held on its sides, and the angry looks on its face, one could tell its regret wasn’t even 1/100 as much as its anger.
“Is there anything else? If not, it’s getting late…” Silver Moon tactfully reminded the two they should leave.
Though knowing there was nothing she could do by staying, Jasmine still was reluctant to leave Baolilong. It wasn’t until Lanski tugged her did she withdraw her stare and said her goodbyes, “Then Liola, we’ll be off now.”
“Silver Moon, it’s Silver Moon. Please don’t call me by the wrong name again. Good night.” Silver Moon reminded Jasmine of her mistake, nodded, and courteously said good night.
“Mmm… Good night.”
Jasmine was careful not to say the word “Liola” again, but for some reason, she didn’t really want to call him Silver Moon, as if doing so would mean Liola would never return.
“Good night, brother.” Lanski unconsciously chose another name. Though she was not as stubborn as Jasmine towards the name “Liola”, but she still wanted to avoid the name “Silver Moon”.
The two girls exchanged a look, quietly agreeing to discuss this after they go back to their room, so they turned to leave. What they didn’t see, however, was Silver Moon face turning completely blank the moment they turned. Had it not for his hand moving to close the door, one would mistake him for a statue, and his elegant and courteous expressions before was now completely gone.
* * *
Baolilong raised its head. Despite its arrogant attitude towards the two girls, when it was looking at Silver Moon, it carefully and quietly asked, “Master, can we sleep now?”
Silver Moon didn’t speak, but thought about it, and Baolilong got the answer via telepathy. Having matured, it was now extremely tired, and it quickly ran to the bed and began to snore.
Silver Moon quietly stood still, without any sign of wanting to go to bed. A few minutes later, the Dragon Emperor’s purple figure appeared in the room, and Silver Moon naturally performed a Knight’s salute towards the Dragon Emperor, as if he had already been waiting for his arrival.
“You did very well.” The Dragon Emperor praised him without holding back, although he knew Silver Moon didn’t care a bit about it.
Sure enough, Silver Moon had no reaction. Unless the Dragon Emperor wanted to see a reaction, Silver Moon would never do something he didn’t have to.
The Dragon Emperor had lived for such a long time, plus the knowledge accumulated over the years by the heart of previous Dragon Emperors, there was practically nothing he didn’t know. However, after seeing Silver Moon, he finally understood what it really took to be a true Assassin.
“Assassin must use various different ways to kill, and impersonating another identity is but a basic skill.”
The Dragon Emperor remembered. After Qiusi was taken away, Liola’s humanity seemed to have completely dissipated. Even the Dragon Emperor thought, had he closed his eyes, he wouldn’t be able to notice Liola from a centimeter away.
When the Dragon Emperor impatiently called Liola a few times but didn’t get a single response, he yelled angrily, “Silver Moon Knight!”
Liola responded. He turned, with his eyes looking at the Dragon Emperor, looking… The Dragon Emperor wasn’t sure if he really was looking back. He felt that Liola’s eyes had practically no reflections.
What the Dragon Emperor didn’t know, the Assassin Silver Moon had his Heart of Consciousness active all the time. He knew everything that was happening within a dozen meter radius of him, even the slightest wind couldn’t escape from Silver Moon’s Heart of Consciousness. As such, Silver Moon would take notice of everything without ever looking directly at anyone… except perhaps one — a woman named Anise, and also named Bairui.
The Dragon Emperor quickly noticed, the successor would only respond to the name “Silver Moon”, and the word “Liola” seemed to have nothing to do with him anymore. The Dragon Emperor decided on the spot, and changed his successor’s name to Silver Moon. He knew this was the top Assassin’s name, and he could vaguely notice, that after his successor had killed Qiusi, he had lost every last bit of hope.
Abandoning the name Liola, meant he also abandoned anyone who would call him Liola.
The Dragon Emperor was not too satisfied with Silver Moon’s lack of humanity. This colder-than-ice feeling would make it hard to be around him, and all the Knights working in the palace wouldn’t be happy that his successor was no different from a corpse. When he was about to impatiently tell Silver Moon to act a bit more normal, Silver Moon began to speak,
“Assassin Rule #7, use every method available to kill. Impersonating someone else to close in on the target is a basic skill. Who do you want me to impersonate?”
The Dragon Emperor paused, and commanded somewhat skeptically, “A Prince.”
Then, he received a flawless Prince: his actions elegant, his strength amazing, yet within him, he was a cruel and heartless top Assassin. At the same time, he would only obey the Dragon Emperor’s orders. It was simply perfection!
The Dragon Emperor slowly closed his eyes, and murmured, “Gle, oh Gle, as much as I hate you, I must thank you. I thank you for creating such a perfect future Dragon Emperor for Dragon Empire.” After saying that, the Dragon Emperor sensed the irony in his words, and he began to unleash a crazed laughter.