Chapter 3 : Light and Darkness
“Kaiser seems extremely depressed. Is he going to be okay?” Purity kept turning back to check on Kaiser, who was walking with his face parallel to the ground.
“Yes.” Liola said straightforwardly.
“Sigh, it was just a gem. Could it be more important than his life?” Meinan brushed his bright, golden hair, and shook his head in confusion:
“Kaiser really overdid it. He almost got torn to pieces by those mummified corpses for that gem. If Liola didn’t put the gem back on the pedestal in time, Kaiser would have turned into a corpse too.”
Though Liola saved Kaiser’s life, all he received in return was a couple of days of death glares. Liola was beginning to think, perhaps he should have let Kaiser die with the gem, then maybe he would be happier?
“Liola-dage, how’s your arm?” Purity worriedly looked at Liola’s arm.
“I can move it now.” Liola lifted his arm, and stretched his fingers to reassure Purity.
“Don’t worry.” Meinan interrupted: “The northern city of Freesia is just up ahead. When we’re there, I’ll bring him to the best healing Maxun, and I promise it won’t even leave a scar.”
“I’m hungry.” Kaiser’s eyes were staring at the others, with stares full of rage from losing his precious gem.
Purity, who was on the brink of tears from being stared at, said with a trembling voice: “Purity will buy you the best food. Kaiser should stop being mad. Purity is scared!”
“Really?” Kaiser’s eyes immediately brightened.
Purity nodded continuously, and Kaiser finally seemed to have lifted his spirit, with the desire for food flashing in his eyes.
Before long, Kaiser arrived at the gate to Freesia, and turned around to beckon at Liola and the others. Liola and the others sighed and quickened their pace. Then they all arrived at the tall gate of Freesia.
* * *
“Put your student ID inside the checkpoint, and the Maxuns there will automatically identify us.” As Kaiser inserted a black card into a Maxun, he explained to the confused Liola.
With Aklan Academy’s student IDs, the four easily entered Freesia.
The city was an obvious contrast to the capital city of Aklan. It was open and spacious, and there were far less flying Maxuns in the air. There were many people who, like Liola and the others, walked on the side of the road.
There were far fewer metallic buildings compared to the Aklan’s capital, with quite a few real trees buried in the earth. The buildings were also short… At least far shorter than buildings in Aklan, which are all hundreds of stories tall.
“Freesia, the city closest to the Yaron Plains, and the city furthest to the north in the continent of Aklan. It’s also called the Northern Star, Freesia. Since people living here will often have to fend of sub-Dragons, they are all very strong, and their customs are fairly rough.”
Meinan explained to everyone:
“Their barbecue is quite famous. When Liola is cured, I’ll bring you to the most famous restaurant here.”
Everyone cheerfully agreed. However, Kaiser still murmured “But I’m about to die from starvation.”
Everyone arrived at the healing center, and with Purity’s insistence, Liola used the best as well as the most expensive healing Maxun.
Although it wasn’t as good as the one Barbalis purchased, it wasn’t too far off. Besides, Liola’s injuries weren’t nearly as bad as last time, so Kaiser only had to chant “I’m hungry” for half an hour, before Liola’s wounds were completely healed.
Liola realized, the healing Maxun was quite amazing at external wounds. Wherever it touched, the wound would be healed. But for internal injuries, its uses seemed extremely limited. So, although Liola looks perfectly fine on the outside, his internal injuries remained quite severe.
‘Looks like I’ll have to rely on my Ki to heal the internal injures for the coming days,’ Liola thought.
With Kaiser’s continuous urging, Meinan lead everyone to a special restaurant. Kaiser arrived as if he were a hurricane blowing through the front door, and he was so happy that he almost danced on the spot. His eyes sparkled as he requested a room from the waitress.
Meinan showed a proud smile: “Fortunately, there is one room left.”
As soon as he heard, Kaiser cheered with Purity, and even Meinan showed a big smile on his face. Though Liola seemed expressionless always, but judging from the tension from his face, he was a bit more relaxed, indeed.
“We want a room.” Another person appeared through the door, and rashly asked for a room.
The waitress at the door was apologetic and said: “I’m really sorry, the last room was booked.”
“What? No room? Do you know who we are?” The black haired, black eyed man showed discontent, and started yelling. The waitress seemed to have gotten more and more angry, and her middle fingers from both hands looked as if they were about to be out of control…
Originally, Liola and the rest had already walked away, but then they suddenly stopped. The reason as to why they stopped, was obviously not because of Kaiser, who only had grilled meat in his mind. Nor was it Purity, who would be trembling at the mere sight of an argument. Of course, nor is it Liola, who was a cold-hearted assassin that didn’t care much about others.
“Sir, if there were no rooms left, can’t you find another place to eat? Why make things difficult for this lady?” Meinan brushed his hair, and denounced at such rude behavior.
The yelling man heard Meinan’s criticism, and flashed a smile as if some evil plan had worked; he then turned all of his anger towards Meinan:
“It’s none of your damn business. If she doesn’t want me to yell at her, then give me your room! Otherwise stop faking chivalry over there.”
As soon as they mentioned giving up their room, Meinan had already felt two burning eyes on his back. If he says yes, then those eyes would probably materialize as bullets, and Meinan certainly didn’t want to hold a protective shield while he was eating, so he decidedly declined:
“No! We booked the room first. My friends and I will never submit to bullies.” Although, he was already giving into the bully known as Kaiser…
“Bully? Haha, do you know who my master is?” The man said in disdain.
Meinan said righteously: “No matter who it is, you shouldn’t…”
“My master is the Paladin Lancelot!” The man’s face sank, and all the rough expressions were gone. When he said Lancelot’s name, his attitude was similar to that of a devoted follower saying his God’s name.
At this time, everyone was quiet, and their eyes opened wide, showing complete disbelief. Meinan stammered: “H-How is that possible? A Paladin appearing in such a remote location.”
The man laughed. Every time he says Lancelot’s name, everyone’s expression would always make me laugh out loud.
The man resumed his rough expression: “What? My master disappeared long ago because he wanted to travel the world. Now he’s traveled to Freesia, what’s wrong with that?”
“Mr. Paladin is really here?” Purity rushed up, her eyes filled with sparkles: “Where is he? Where? Can you tell me where he is?”
The man was dazed by the long series of questions, and said:
“Lancelot… couple days ago he went to the Yaron Plains to check out the disturbances there. Today I got a message from him, saying that he’ll be back today, and told me to book a room to have a drink with him… Wait, why the hell am I telling you this?”
“So I will be able to see the famous Paladin soon?” Purity resumed her fantasy of the prince charming.
‘Disturbances in the Yaron Plains?’ Liola thought, ‘these “disturbances” were all in the barbecue restaurant in Freesia, other than one who was sent to God-knows-where.’
“That’s right, so give up your room! Lancelot wants to eat meat and drink.” The man laughed evilly
Meinan and Purity almost nodded, but the sound of a gun stopped their heads. Meinan took out his mirror, and with a shaky mirror he saw Kaiser pointing a gun at two people in front of him. Their faces went pale, and immediately changed their nodding to shaking of their heads. But they were afraid that, when the Paladin arrives, he would be giving the speech on their funeral.
“I-WANT-GRILLED-MEAT!” Kaiser said slowly, word by word.
Liola, who was next to him, murmured, “I haven’t felt this strong of a murderous intent in quite a long time…”
Meinan ran back to Kaiser’s side, and used this action to show that he won’t give up the room. Purity was crying instead, and said unwillingly: “I-I want to see the Paladin, wooo…”
“What’s so great about the Paladin? Is he edible? Can he fill my stomach?” Kaiser yelled angrily. Kaiser, who had already smelled the scent of barbecue, will never give up the room.
Though Purity was trembling, but in order to fulfill her dream of seeing the Paladin Lancelot, she heaved her small chest, and screamed on the top of her lungs: “I want to see the Paladin~”
This explosive scream made everyone cover their ears in pain. Kaiser was the only one covering one ear with his left hand, while his right hand still pointed a gun at Purity.
“I say…” The man also covered his ears, and tried to find a way to resolve the current situation:
“Since you don’t have that many people, and there’s only Lancelot and me, how about we share a room?” The man thought, if this continues, then the whole restaurant might be destroyed today.
“W-We can eat together with Sir Lancelot?” Purity covered her chest, as if she were about to faint.
“He’s not going to rob me of my grilled meat, is he?” Kaiser asked skeptically.
The man’s mouth twitched: “Order separately!”
After coming to an agreement, they all followed the waitress, who sighed in relief, into the room.
* * *
When Kaiser saw dishes of red meat being served, he almost forgot that humans ate cooked meat, and picked up the raw meat as if he were going to eat it. Fortunately, Purity grabbed them back, and within seconds she cooked them, so Kaiser didn’t have to eat raw meat.
The black haired man drank a few cups, and then started laughing. He turned to the cold Liola and asked: “Bro, what’s your name?”
Liola gave the man a cold look, and said: “Liola.”
The man frowned: “That’s a strange name…”
“What is your name?” Purity asked curiously, while her hands were still busy cooking meat for Kaiser.
“Oh, my name is Blood…” The man suddenly paused, then continued: “Just call me Wolf.”
Purity nodded understandingly: “So it’s Wolf-dage.”
A thought suddenly flashed through Liola’s head, but he didn’t say anything. Besides, after this meal, they will be going in separate ways. It didn’t matter who this man was at all.
“Wolf! L-Let’s drink!” Kaiser, whose stomach was now filled, had already forgotten the hostility moments before. He started drinking with Wolf. They both started to get drunk, and even started dancing. They were drinking as if they had been the best friends for their entire lives.
As time passed by, dishes containing meat were piling up in front of them. Kaiser stared at the growing “mountain” of meat, but he didn’t want to grab any because, he felt that if he continued to eat, he would have to fill his skull with barbecue.
But Purity continued to order more, and her hands continued to cook more. She stared at door, waiting for someone in shining armor, carrying a flashing blade, and push through that door as if they were a soldier from heaven.
Meinan said with a pale face: “Kaiser, eat some more!”
“Uh…” Kaiser looked at the meat mountain in front of him. It was the first time in his life when he wanted to vomit at the sight of food.
Meinan and Kaiser were both staring at the meat and sighing. Only Liola, who was chewing slowly from the beginning, was eating the meat slowly. But with Purity cooking a piece every 3 seconds, the meat mountain was only growing.
Then, there was suddenly a ringing sound. Kaiser, Meinan, and Purity all looked at their communication Maxuns. Finally, Wolf, sitting on the side, grabbed his communication Maxun, and said angrily:
“Damn Lancelot, where the hell are you? I’ve been waiting for you for ages, and there are already three meat mountains in front of me.” Wolf said as he saw Purity’s longing and yet terrifying eyes.
“Wolf, come back me up!” A deep voice said, and it was panting.
“What did you say?” The levity of Wolf’s face disappeared. He suddenly stood up, in complete disbelief that there would be anything in Yaron Plains that would result in Lancelot asking for back up.
Lancelot didn’t answer. The only thing that could be heard from the communication Maxun was a sound of a violent fight.
Lancelot continued to yell: “Twenty years ago… The one Dragon Emperor sealed away… Black Dragon…” Before he finished, the voice fragmented, and then there was nothing but static.
“Damn!” Without saying bye to Liola and the others, Wolf pushed the room’s door and ran out.
Strange expressions appeared on all their faces. Then everyone looked at Purity, whose face had turned pale. Kaiser cleared his throat and said:
“Looks like we won’t be seeing the Paladin today.”
“Good thing we left the ruins quickly, otherwise ‘he’ would’ve found us.” Meinan said as if his fear hadn’t subsided from before.
Liola’s face sank, and he turned his face away from Purity’s doggy-eyed expression. But Purity sat closer and closer to him, and there were more and more tears on her face. Finally, she practically put her large glasses in Liola’s face and begged.
“I don’t want to cause trouble.” Liola said coldly.
“Silver Mask!” Purity said as if she were prepared. No matter what she was going to convince Liola. The problem was started by them, and they can’t dump it on the Paladin.
Liola was still indifferent, and continued to chew slowly. Purity turned to Kaiser, and begged: “Kaiser, weren’t you just friendly with Wolf? He went as reinforcement, what if something goes wrong?”
Kaiser shrugged: “There shouldn’t be anything wrong. After all, Lancelot is the Paladin!” Just like Liola, Kaiser had already noticed that Wolf was probably… Plus the Paladin, with the two of them they shouldn’t lose to Miluo. Worst case scenario they could at least escape.
Purity thought: ‘How could the legendary Paladin Lancelot lose to Miluo?’
After thinking that way, she calmed down, but still continued to murmur: “But I want to see the Paladin.”
At this time, the door was rushed open again, and Wolf appeared again. He yelled hurriedly: “You guys need to take a Maxun and leave Freesia immediately.” Without any further explanation, Wolf rushed out of the room again.
“Why do we need to leave Freesia? This is the closest place to Yaron Plains. Before that geezer Barbalis come get us, we still have to go back to the Yaron Plains to pretend that we’re still in our wilderness survival test.” Kaiser scoffed at what Wolf said.
But just as Kaiser finished, the ground suddenly shaking violently. This mountain-moving shake was all too familiar to the four of them, and their faces all turned pale. Purity asked while trembling: “So we take a Maxun back to the capital of Aklan?”
Meinan and Kaiser both nodded. But strangely, Liola declined: “You guys go first. I’m going to go and see.”
Meinan and Purity both looked at Liola in disbelief. Only Kaiser raised his eyebrows: “You want to see the true strengths of the Knights, don’t you?”
Liola did not deny it. He took out the mask and, as if he already knew, dug through Purity’s luggage. As expected, he found the silver Knight’s uniform — Purity would not forget to bring her brother’s Knight uniform even in wilderness survival.
After Liola put the uniform on, he pushed out the door to the room, and prepared to see the true strength of the Knights.
“Didn’t think this guy was a martial arts fanatic.” Kaiser murmured.
* * *
Liola stepped outside, and saw many people running for their lives.
A doubt flashed in Liola’s mind — Miluo was practically released by him with Anise’s cross necklace. If these people were killed by Miluo, would that count as him killing them?
Although Liola knew that he’s nitpicking, but he didn’t want any possibility of breaking his promise with Anise.
With these thoughts, the white figure accelerated. Liola could already see from afar, the black mountain, Miluo, who was trying to destroy Freesia’s not-so-tall walls. There were only two figures stopping him, one was a bright white, and the other was black and red.
Liola lightened his step, and jumped on the walls. He saw Miluo, who was in his Dragon form, shooting out rays of black light towards Lancelot. Coincidentally, Wolf was also on the walls, looked at his own situation with a frown: “Crap, my black aura has limited effect on the Black Dragon.”
Wolf turned around, and suddenly realized Silver Mask was standing next to him but he didn’t know when or how.
He was stunned, but then he saw the white uniform on Liola, he treated him as if he’s a rank-silver Knight. According to Knights’ ranks, rank-Silver Knight must obey Wolf’s orders. Therefore, Wolf said coldly: “Runt, don’t butt in! A rank-silver Knight will only become a liability in this fight.”
Liola nodded. With his internal injuries, he didn’t want to fight anyhow. He was here to only watch the strongest of this world fight.
He curiously looked: Lancelot was in the air with a sword, riding on a snow-white horse, and the horse even had a horn. Liola frowned slightly, not knowing whether that was a horse or some other creature.
If Kaiser were here, he would’ve definitely answered, that it was an unicorn, supposedly the holiest of creatures, and only the Paladin Lancelot could ride it.
Wolf again observed the battle, and then started chanting. An enormous black pike appeared in his hand. Knowing that he and Miluo both had dark element, Wolf knew his attacks wouldn’t be useful against the black Dragon.
He wasn’t planning on joining the fight, but he was defending, so that the Black Dragon wouldn’t have the opportunity of breaking the wall of Freesia and injuring the lives within.
But, something seemed wrong. After the Black Dragon couldn’t defeat Lancelot, and noticed that there was the threat of a large pike on the wall, he angrily used a Dragon howl into the sky. A dust storm appeared in the distance, and with Liola’s sharp eyes, he could see them clearly. He said: “Sub-Dragons.”
“What did you say?” Wolf couldn’t believe it as he looked at the approaching dust storm, but he too could feel the rumbling of thousands of feet.
Wolf immediately started murmuring: “I’m Blood Wolf. My mount Blackie, if you don’t come here in three seconds, I’ll skin your hide for a coat.”
Liola was stunned. This mount summoning spell was far different from the one Purity had taught him.
‘How can some random things he said summon something?’
Though Liola was skeptical, but obviously, Blood Wolf was the famous Dark Knight, and was significantly different from Liola, who was not even a Knight and a failed Dragon Knight.
A crack appeared mid-air, from which an enormous black wolf jumped out, and it obediently let Blood Wolf get on its back.
Wolf… who should now be called Blood Wolf, frowned at Liola and said: “Runt, summon your mount, and follow me to kill those Sub-Dragons!”
Liola hesitated: “I… don’t know how to summon.”
Blood Wolf almost fell out of his mount: “You’ve already gotten to Silver rank, and you still don’t know how to summon?” Blood Wolf widened his eyes in complete disbelief.
“I can’t feel the magic element…” Liola said hesitantly.
“Who cares about magic element.” Blood Wolf waved his hands impatiently: “Just think about your mount in your heart, and then call for him.”
Hearing this, Liola closed his eyes, trying his best to think of Baolilong’s look… Slowly, Baolilong’s appearance did indeed appear in Liola’s mind. He could almost see Baolilong pouting in Mizerui’s arms, and Mizerui was lazily sunbathing.
Liola tried to call out for it: “Baolilong?”
Baolilong’s pink eyes really blinked, and looked around for Liola, but it couldn’t find it’s father.
The confused Baolilong turned his face, not knowing what had happened.
“Baolilong! Come to my side.” Seeing that it was working, Liola concentrated and yelled again.
Baolilong suddenly jumped up, and its little feet heavily stepped on someone’s family jewels, which was accompanied by a loud scream.
Baolilong said: “Father is calling me.”
Baolilong floated up in the air, and it’s figure suddenly disappeared.
Only Mizerui covering his parts was left behind, and a few words came out between his clenched teeth: “Good fella, you’ve finally learned summoning. Uwaah~~ that really hurts.”
* * *
As soon as Liola “saw” Baolilong disappear, and he knew that he was successful in summoning.
He pulled his consciousness back, and sure enough, a crack appeared in the sky — one that was even larger than the one Blackie came through. And then a White Dragon of more than ten meters tall flew out of the crack, and gave out a loud Dragon roar as it landed.
For a moment, Blood Wolf was stunned. And even Lancelot and Miluo in the distance were also stunned.
Blood Wolf murmured: “This is the first time I’ve heard of a Dragon Knight didn’t know how to summon his own Dragon, and had someone else teach him.”
“Sacred White Dragon?” Lancelot started feeling uneasy. If he remembered correctly, the Sacred White Dragon was the offspring of the Black Dragon in front of him. ‘Did it come as reinforcement for its father?’
“Runt…” Miluo realized the situation with mixed feelings.
“Ah, that Dragon…” Seeing another Dragon, Baolilong yelled. Liola frowned, as he had forgotten the relationship between Baolilong and Miluo. But then Baolilong continued: “… is black!”
Everyone fell to the ground! Miluo and Liola fell especially hard. Miluo yelled angrily: “Damn runt, it’s only been twenty years, and you’ve already forgotten your old man?!”
“Old man?” Baolilong blinked its big, pink eyes, as if he suddenly realized: “You’re the old dad!”
‘There was old and new dad…?’ Everyone thought. Liola, however, was wonder if the new dad referring to himself.
“Runt, you’re not allowed to recognize any of the Dragon Empire Royalties as your master.” Miluo narrowed his eyes. He couldn’t imagine the little runt liking its master enough to call him dad. So killing its master was more troublesome than he previously thought.
“Dragon Empire Royalty?” Lancelot frowned and looked at Liola. Lancelot had seen all three sons of the emperor, and he said with absolutely certainty: “He is definitely not a Dragon Empire Royalty.”
“You must be lying? Even the youngest son of the Dragon Emperor has become rank-gold a long time ago.” Even though Blood Wolf hadn’t seen the Princes, he would not believe Liola was a Dragon Empire prince.
“I’m not a Dragon Empire Royalty.” Liola denied again.
Miluo finally realized something was wrong. For Liola’s denial, he could treat it as a lie. Miluo doesn’t know Blood Wolf, but he knew Lancelot well.
Considering Lancelot’s relationship with the Dragon Emperor, he would definitely know what the Emperor’s sons would look like. And given Lancelot’s straightforward nature, there was no way he would lie… ‘Can it be that the runt’s master really isn’t a Dragon Empire royalty?’
But twenty years ago, it was obviously the Dragon Emperor who took the runt away. And the only people who could free him, were the royalties. Miluo was getting more and more confused, and he didn’t know what to believe.
“What a stupid Dragon!” Just as the atmosphere intensifies, a disdained voice came from the wall, and a green-haired boy lazily lying on the walls.
“What did you say?!” Miluo angrily breathed.
“Stupid Dragon! I’ve already told you. The queen gave birth to the princess twenty years ago! Li… Silver Mask was just someone who accidentally became Baolilong’s master. You can’t even comprehend such a simple thing, and you have such a large head. What the hell is in your head, tofu curd?”
Kaiser stood up, and yelled condescendingly. He thought that, since there was the Paladin, the Dark Knight, plus Liola. There was no way Miluo could breach their defenses. So he would never be satisfied unless he spoke everything on his mind.
Lancelot raised his eyebrows because he couldn’t deny what was said, and Blood Wolf was already rolling on the ground, laughing. But Liola was thinking, what is tofu curd?
Good thing Miluo was already shocked by the previous statements that he didn’t hear the bit about tofu curd, otherwise Kaiser’s days would be numbered.
Miluo said in shock: “The little runt… really didn’t recognize a royalty as its master?”
“I don’t know what had happened in the past between you and the Dragon Empire.” Kaiser laughed like a thief:
“But, Silver Mask not only took the Dragon from the Empire, he even defeated the Emperor’s precious daughter. It’s safe to say that, he hasn’t gotten along well with the Empire either.”
Miluo’s face showed hesitation again. He was starting to doubt who Liola really was. Ever since the beginning, Liola’s actions didn’t match that of a royalty. And now even Lancelot denied his identity as a royalty.
Miluo hesitated for a moment, then he transformed from that mountain of a Dragon into the black-haired, black-eyed man again.
Miluo walked in front of Baolilong, and asked: “Runt, why didn’t you recognize a Dragon Empire royalty as your master?”
Baolilong’s big, pink eyes flashed with dissatisfaction: “They, disgusting!”
Miluo seemed very satisfied with this answer. His previous anger completely disappeared, and instead it was replaced with great laughter.
Miluo yelled as he laughed: “Dragon Emperor! Now you can’t have your ways! Let’s see what you could do with the little runt!”
Lancelot frowned, and tried to explain on the Emperor’s behalf: “Back then, the Dragon Emperor had no choice.”
Miluo stopped laughing, and coldly said to Lancelot: “No choice? ‘Righteous’ Paladin, there are plenty of immoral things you don’t know about. You have no idea of what the Dragon Emperor is really like.”
Miluo then scanned Baolilong and Liola, then took off into the air. Before he left, he said: “Runt, treat your master well. I have some things to settle with the Dragon Emperor.”
“Old papa…” Baolilong sat there as he saw Miluo leave, its pink mouth was pouting slightly.
Seeing Miluo’s leaving, everyone sighed in relief. Only Lancelot yelled in distress: “Crap, I have to go warn the Dragon Emperor.”
As Lancelot finished, the unicorn emitted a long snort, and carried its master towards the Dragon Empire.
Blood Wolf who that saw Lancelot was leaving, hesitated and then complained: “What the hell, he called me from the Commerce Alliance for a reunion, now he just leaves by himself… But, the fight between Dragon Emperor and the King of Dragons, Miluo will definitely be exciting to watch.”
“Fine, catch up.” Blood Wolf, with an excited expression, ordered Blackie to catch up as fast as possible to the snow-white figure.
Only Liola and the others were left behind to stare at one another… There were also a crowd pointing their fingers at Liola, and one could faintly hear them saying:
“Silver Mask”, “Dragon Knight”, and “Such a large Dragon”…