Chapter 7 : The Gamble
“Stop! All of you!”
Liola stood on top of Baolilong’s back, and projected his voice with his Ki. He bit his lip. A place like this without any signs of smiles was not something he wanted to see.
However, everyone was in the heat of battle, so they would never acknowledge a random person’s roar. The battle field was still in chaos, and no one stopped.
Seeing this, Liola frowned, and said once again with a deep voice, “I am the Dragon Empire’s successor, Silver Moon. All Dragon Empire’s Knights heed my orders, stop at once.”
‘His Highness, the successor?’
Now, the Dragon Empire Knights couldn’t ignore this order. The Knights who weren’t as occupied turned around to look, and the first thing they saw was the snow-white Sacred White Dragon. The only person alive in this world with a Sacred White Dragon mount was none other than the successor.
The Dragon Empire Knights all yelled in shock, “It’s the Sacred White Dragon.” Some Knights even recognized the successor from his looks, and screamed, “It really is the successor!”
The Dragon Empire’s Knights quickly obeyed the order to stop, and the Aklan Knights were more than happy to let them leave. Neither side had the lust for battle, and it was stopped quickly.
“Continue fighting, no one is allowed to stop!”
A different voice could be heard. Everyone was shocked, and looked towards the source of this voice. They were amazed to find the Dragon Emperor himself, dressed in his purple robe! The Dragon Emperor looked furious, and his eyes when he looked at Liola was practically filled with animosity.
The Knights looked towards the successor, then back at the Dragon Emperor. They gave completely opposing orders, and the Knights had no idea what to do. Should they fight, or not?
“I am the Dragon Emperor, now all Knights, obey my orders, attack that base!”
The Dragon Emperor yelled angrily, and the sound of it made the Knights panic. They hurried to pick up their weapons, planning on obeying order and attack…
“No!” Liola yelled loudly.
The Knights picked up the weapons, but they couldn’t decide whether they should continue to attack. All they could do was stand helplessly as they watched their bosses giving opposite orders.
The Dragon Emperor knew if this continued, the fight would be over. He was silent for a while, and then asked with a rigid tone, “Child, do you really plan on going against your father.”
Liola raised his head, and looked at the Dragon Emperor with determined eyes, “Yes! I will never allow this meaningless war to continue.”
“Meaningless?” The Dragon Emperor was suddenly infuriated, “You dare to say this war is meaningless? This war is for the honor of our Dragon Empire! As a Royalty of the Empire, how dare you call it meaningless! You do not have the slightest honor in your heart! You are not worthy to be a successor, and I hereby revoke your title as the successor!”
Liola was silent. He turned his head to look at Feir next to him, whom then nodded towards him with a pair of determined and supportive eyes.
“I will not accept your revocation.” Liola replied calmly.
Hearing this, the Dragon Emperor’s expression changed drastically, but quickly calmed down. His elegant face was now expressionless, “Then, what do you want?”
“I…” Liola’s brows tightened, “… want to be the Dragon Emperor!”
(At this moment, within the base, Kaiser’s jaws dropped to his chest!)
Usurpation! The Dragon Emperor Knights finally understood what the situation was, and they began to relax… Usurpation was so common in the Dragon Empire that the Knights didn’t feel as worried.
“I see.” The Dragon Empire smiled lightly, “But what do you plan on using to take away my throne? My dear child, every power you have is given by me, and I can take it all back in one sentence. Do you really plan on taking on the entire Empire by yourself?”
“That’s not the case. Everyone behind me all swore loyalty to Silver Moon.” Feir smiled as he reminded the Dragon Emperor not to mistake these Knights as people who accidentally stood on the wrong side.
The Dragon Emperor’s purple eyes glanced at the Knights behind Liola, and replied without care, “Just a couple hundred Knights.”
“And me.” Feir added calmly.
“You?” The Dragon Emperor narrowed his eyes, and revealed a disdainful smile, “You’re just one Silver Knight.”
“I am not loyal to Silver Moon like a Knight would be.” Feir clarified, “I am the son of the Commerce Alliance Red Commander, and I am also the future leader of the Commerce Alliance. With that identity, I am supporting Silver Moon as the Dragon Emperor.”
“And us!” Kaiser’s voice could suddenly be heard. He turned the broadcaster to its limit and yelled with his loud voice. It did indeed caught everyone’s attention… as well as causing their ears to ring.
“We, representing Aklan’s prime minister… ‘s son Meinan, we definitely support Li… Silver Moon as the Dragon Emperor.”
The situation suddenly changed. The support for Liola suddenly expanded: there was Commerce Alliance, Aklan Republic, and even the Dragon Empire itself had two hundred Knights defecting to him.
“Great! Then you take your power, and charge into the palace. Create the blood path of your kingdom!” The Dragon Emperor saw everything was now a fact. Without any other choice, he roared angrily.
“No!” Liola suddenly yelled loudly, “I don’t want war.”
“You don’t want war?” The Dragon Emperor smiled cruelly, “Child, you are already in a war.”
“There must be some way to avoid killing.” Liola answered calmly, and asked, “You don’t wish to lose your Dragon Empire Knights over this usurpation, do you?”
The Heart of Dragon Emperor thought quickly. Indeed, to fulfill his plan of conquering the world, losing his Knights was the last thing he wanted to see. In the future, he still had to rely on these Knights to win him the world. Besides, Liola’s body was still the best candidate for him, and he did not want to see any mishaps in the fight.
“Let’s have a gamble.” Liola said calmly.
The Dragon Emperor asked with confusion, “A bet?”
“Yes, a bet, a gamble, and the wager is the throne to the Dragon Emperor.” Liola explained lightly.
The Dragon Emperor burst into laughter. This was far too ridiculous; he had never imagine someone would suggest such a bet. He asked curiously, “What is the bet for?”
“As long as we don’t have a war, it’s up to you.” Liola answered without hesitation.
(Crack! Kaiser’s jaw dropped from his chest to his hips.)
“Are you sure?” Seeing Liola nod, the Dragon Emperor smiled, “If you win, I’ll give you the throne to the Dragon Emperor, but if I win, what’s in it for me?”
Liola remained silent for a while, and answered, “I’ll eat the Heart of the Dragon Emperor.” He said it calmly, as though the Heart was just another heart of a roasted pig.
(Bang! Kaiser’s jaw was now on the ground.)
“Good, good. I’ll bet with you!” The Dragon Emperor’s desire to play seemed to have piqued. He was interested in such a bet, and besides, he had the power to decide the game’s rules. To him, this was greatly advantageous.
“This bet would be too boring if it’s just you and me.” The Dragon Emperor smiled, “Why don’t you bring your four other companions? Mizerui told me, you guys are known as the Aklan Troublemaking Squad?” ‘Just let me catch you all in one swoop. When your companions cease to exist, it would be easy for the Heart to take your body.’
“Since you are acting so free and easy, I have nothing else to say. All Knights, withdraw your weapons, and go back to defend the Aklan capital!”
The Dragon Emperor gave out the order, and the Knights secretly glanced at the successor. Seeing he did not say anything contrary, they calmly sheathed their weapons and quickly flew away from the secret base. Everyone had already began guessing; would the Dragon Empire go into another dynasty, or would the successor fail miserably?
“As for the game’s rules, let me have some time to think about it. After all, this is a true gamble that will determine the fate of a country. Haha… hahahaha!”
The Dragon Emperor acted as though victory was security in his grasp, and began to laugh. A Magic door also opened at this time. He laughed as he stepped into Idojin’s door. At the same time, Mizerui, who was observing all this from above, also disappeared. The Black Dragon King Miluo, who had used his last move, also completely disappeared.
Liola had been standing still quietly, until the Magic door slowly dissipated.
“How could you think of something so ridiculous?” Feir felt weak in his limbs, “And you are letting the Dragon Emperor make all the rules. You’re practically giving him victory on a silver platter…”
At this time, Kaiser also charged out of the base angrily. Before he even arrived, his loud voice arrived first.
“You idiot!” Kaiser flew next to Baolilong, while dragging Daylight, who didn’t know how to fly and temporarily had no mount.
“Kaiser.” Liola smiled lightly, “Long time no see.”
“Long time no see, my ass! You’re the one who didn’t want to see me, not me!” Kaiser snappily roared, “Look, making such~~ huge trouble the moment we meet, I actually thought you were still Silver Moon! But the moment I saw how idiotic the bet you made with the Dragon Emperor, I knew you were none other than Liola!”
Hearing what Kaiser said, Liola answered with hesitation, “I am Silver Moon, and I’m also Liola.”
“What are you talking about?” Kaiser asked with confusion.
Liola froze, unsure of how to explain his current situation.
“Hello, brother Feir.” Hanging in the air, Daylight smiled and greeted Feir.
Feir nodded, but couldn’t help but smile, “Daylight, you and Kaiser going by yourselves made Purity and Meinan furious. You might want to be careful the next time you see them. The last I spoke to her, Purity sounded like she wanted to skin you limb to limb.”
“Ah…” Daylight smiled bitterly, “Then I better go apologize.”
Feir had an idea, “Buy Purity the Aklan specialty, roasted chestnuts. I promise she will be half as angry. It’s one of her favorite foods. Last time she got mad at me, I bought her some, but Kaiser ended up eating them. She was so angry that she secretly dumped salt into Kaiser’s food, but Kaiser still swallowed it all…”
“Right, I was wondering why the food seemed quite seasoned back then, but after a while, they were bland as hell again.” Kaiser couldn’t stop himself from talking.
‘Did you grow up eating salt as if it were rice…’ Feir thought to himself. He saw Purity dumping a “handful” of salt into the food.
“Speaking of Aklan’s specialty, roasted chestnut,” Kaiser pouted, then said, “There are quite a bit of those things in this secret base… How about we prepare some tea, have a few pieces of roasted chestnut, and share what we’ve been doing?”
Everyone’s eyes converged onto Liola. Being stared by everyone, he had no choice but agree, “Mm.”
* * *
Though the metal pieces and cement were once a part of the building, they were now trash littered throughout the ground. Nevertheless, after organizing such ruins, everyone sat down leisurely to enjoy their afternoon tea. It might have been a bit grand to have a few thousand people having afternoon tea together, but something small like that can be ignored for now.
After sipping the fragrant tea, Kaiser grabbed a handful of roasted chestnut, then happily enjoyed his afternoon tea time…
“That’s Baolilong’s!” Baolilong jumped, pounced onto Kaiser, trying to get “its” roasted chestnuts back.
Kaiser hurriedly stuffed all the food into his mouth, but he was still able to say, “It’s not like your name is written on it.”
Unfortunately, he had forgotten Baolilong was no longer the little child who barely reached his waist, but it was now a young adult reaching up to his chin. Baolilong angrily grabbed ahold of both Kaiser cheeks, and pulled to the sides.
“Ow, OWW! Stinky Liola, tell your child to let go!” Kaiser tried desperately to pull his face back, but Baolilong’s strength wasn’t like that of a child anymore. He felt like the skin on his face was about to be pulled off, but he still couldn’t get his face back.
“Baolilong, don’t tear Kaiser’s face off.” Liola glanced casually at the battle between the human and the Dragon, and said. He then returned his focus onto the secret base. It had sustained attacks from three thousand Knights for days, including the destructive last move from the Black Dragon King, but it was still standing. This was almost incredible, and he could see how much effort Qiusi had actually put into this place.
“Qiusi.” Liola suddenly remembered Qiusi was injured by him, and was still unconscious.
Hearing Liola speak out this name, Kaiser grabbed another handful of snacks and stuffed it into Baolilong’s mouth, finally breaking free of this little guy’s “face-pulling Kung Fu”. He explained to Liola, “He’s in the Commerce Alliance. I think you should probably heal him before your gamble.”
Liola answered with, “Mm.”
Kaiser frowned, and said without holding back, “You, there’s something strange with you, but at the same time it’s not so strange. It’s kind of like Baolilong’s… change when it grew up. But how old are you exactly? How could you have ‘grown up’ in such a short time? Hey! Tell me what happened, otherwise I might die from being too curious!”
Liola pressed his lips tightly together, and waited a long while to say, “Brother Mocha was killed by me.”
Kaiser was originally drinking tea peacefully as he waited for Liola’s explanation, but the moment he heard it, all the tea in his mouth was “gifted” to Daylight, who was sitting on the opposite side. Daylight also froze, and it wasn’t until the tea had dripped from his hair onto the table, did he start to try and comfort him in a worried manner, “Liola, don’t be sad, you didn’t do it on purpose. Don’t blame yourself because of it.”
“He hasn’t even said anything!” Kaiser snapped and interrupted him, then both of them laid their eyes on Liola.
“That day, Lancelot and Blood Wolf pulled me out with Magic. They wanted to rescue me, but back then I…” Liola took a deep breath before he could continue, “… was controlled by the Dragon Emperor.”
“I fought with them. In the end, I captured Lanski to be the hostage, threatening them to let me go.” Liola stopped, as though he didn’t know how to continue.
“And then?” Kaiser asked with confusion, “You didn’t talk about Mocha? Didn’t he die that day?”
Liola looked at Kaiser with depressed eyes, “He did die that day. Lanski, she… no, I should say, I wanted to kill her, but brother Mocha suddenly appeared, and blocked the knife with his body.”
“Wait!” Kaiser yelled, “You skipped quite a bit. Why would you want to kill Lanski?”
Liola was quiet for a long time. Kaiser and Daylight continued to glance at one another, not sure what to do, until Liola finally spoke without context, “She didn’t want to call me Silver Moon, so I got mad.”
“Huh?” Kaiser and Daylight both responded reflexively.
“Why would you be mad if she didn’t want to call you Silver Moon?” Kaiser frowned.
“I…” Liola seemed a bit timid. He wasn’t sure if he dared to tell them he wasn’t simply “Liola”, and instead he was partially “Silver Moon”.
“What!” Kaiser glanced at him, “What are you afraid of? Do you think we haven’t made enough trouble already? Let me tell you, there is nothing now that I, Kaiser, can’t accept! Even if you tell me you and the world would self-destruct tomorrow, I wouldn’t be surprised!”
Liola couldn’t help but burst into laughter, and the nervousness he felt was now completely gone.
“Damn! Damn! You’re laughing! You actually laughed! I’m a goner. You’re definitely going to self-destruct tomorrow, and then kill me along with that explosion.” Kaiser began to bawl, grabbed more snacks, and started eating like a madman (Baolilong roared angrily, “That’s Baolilong’s!”). Even as he ate, he spoke with crumbs falling out of his mouth, “Eat quickly, at least we won’t die as hungry men.”
“I’m not going to self-destruct.” Liola smiled as he shook his head.
“Then tell me, what exactly could be so serious that you would be afraid to tell us?”
“I’m not just Liola; I’m also Silver Moon.” Liola spoke quickly, then realized he actually was able to say it.
Kaiser and Daylight both paused, unsure of what Liola meant. All they knew was the person in front of them was indeed slightly different from the Liola before.
“Before, Silver Moon… was someone Liola created to escape pain.” Liola finished saying, then quickly glanced at the two to see if they understood.
Daylight still had a confused expression on his face, but Kaiser was now so deep in thought that his whole face wrinkled, “I see, is it because Gle’s training was too harsh, and Liola couldn’t handle it, so you created a second personality: a cold, emotionless Silver Moon, in order to survive the crazy training Gle gave you… If that’s the case, we have to actually thank Silver Moon. Otherwise, perhaps Liola couldn’t even sustain those training and already kicked the bucket.”
“So that’s how it is. I understand how Silver Moon was born now. I might have misunderstood him; I used to think his emotionless was actually wrong.” Daylight shook his head forcefully.
Liola stared at his two companions in shock. Why did they seem… not very surprised?
“All right, don’t look at me with those surprised eyes. I’m more surprised than you are.” Kaiser waved his hand, and said, perplexed, “Before, even if penguins started to rain out of the sky, you wouldn’t even blink; but now, you are indeed different. It’s strange, though, why would a stone-faced Liola combined with an ice cube Silver Moon, result in a guy who knows how to smile and be surprised?”
“Speaking of that, maybe you should change your name,” Kaiser crossed his arms and thought, “Which do you think is better, Silverola, or Liomoon?”
Liola smiled bitterly and answered, “They both sound bad, just call me Liola.”
Kaiser looked at Liola from the corner of his eyes, “Yo! You actually can tell if a name sounds bad. That’s some improvement. You really are all ‘grown up’.”
Liola smiled lightly. It looked like he did underestimate his companions ability to accept him.
“Right, so why do you want to be the Dragon Emperor? Weren’t you really repulsive to that idea before?” Kaiser suddenly remembered. It was this matter that made his jaws drop to his chest.
Liola described everything happened during his stay in the small city to the south.
After hearing it, Daylight was so emotional that he yelled uncontrollably, “That’s great. To fill the world with smiles, this wish is just too great. Liola, I swear I will help you become the Dragon Emperor.”
Kaiser snappily rolled his eyes at Daylight, “It’s not that simple. Don’t forget Liola promised the Dragon Emperor a damn bet! And we don’t even know what the bet is all about.”
“Speaking of the gamble…” Kaiser turned around and narrowed his eyes towards Liola, “You used to at least show a bit of self blame on your face, and then say you’re sorry, followed by telling us you would go resolve everything by yourself… Why is it that when Dragon Emperor told you to take us with you, you agreed rather easily?”
“Because…” Liola showed a warm smile, “No matter what I do, you all will go with me.”
After Daylight burst into laughter, he nodded. Kaiser, on the other hand, scratched his face helplessly, “Whatever, at least it’s better than you running away by yourself, and then we would have to waste the effort to find you and catch up.”
“It’s getting late, sleep early.” Kaiser stood up, putting his hands behind his head, planning on going back to his room to sleep, “There will be a lot of things we need to do starting from tomorrow; we need to go wake Qiusi, go tell Purity and Meinan about the bet… Right, where did Barbalis and Gladiolus go? They said they needed to take care of some business, but now they’re nowhere to be found. Sigh, I have to find a way to ascertain whether they’re still alive before the gamble. I don’t want to see my sister becoming a widow before she’s even married…”
“Kaiser, Daylight,” Liola called out to them both. After waiting for them to turn around, he said with a smile, “Thank you, both of you.”
Daylight smiled and nodded, but Kaiser didn’t turn around; instead he murmured, “This is far more pleasing to the ear than ‘sorry’…”