Chapter 8 : Story of the Young Devil
This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, and StellarAshes.
Aklan’s Crazy Four
A silver-haired, blue-eyed, handsome lad sat leisurely on a branch. His eyes were half open, not knowing if he was awake or asleep. He was wavering about on the branch, making an onlooker fear he would fall off. But as soon as he heard the yell, he elegantly flipped around, and laid flat on the branch on his stomach, while lazily looking down at the people below.
Three people stood below him, two males and a female, all wearing Magician robes. One of the guys looked older, seemingly more than twenty-five years of age, with a bearded face. The other looked more proper and elegant, much like a scholar, and he looked around twenty years of age.
The girl’s face was delicate and clean, even if her beauty wasn’t considered stunning, especially since her smile was bright, and very pleasing to the eyes. Nevertheless, she grabbed a rock from the ground without any reserve, and without saying a word, she threw the rock towards Gle on the tree branch.
She yelled while laughing, “Get down from there! Didn’t we agree to go prank the School of Knights?”
As soon as he heard the word “prank”, Gle’s spirit lifted, especially when the target was the School of Knights whom he never got along with. He yelled excitedly, “No problem! I’ll get down immediately.”
With another flip, Gle dexterously jumped down from a few meters above the ground; his skilful movements were unbefitting of a frail Magician. After jumping to his three companions, Gle looked at the proper man strangely and asked, “Qiusi? What a surprise; you plan on playing with us?”
Qiusi revealed a warm smile. In the eyes of a bystander, this smile could make them drop any guard they might have for him, but in front of his companions, his smile was comparable to the devil’s.
Qiusi raised the pile of paper in his hand and laughed mysteriously, “I’m just helping the teacher deliver the homework to the three of you class-skipping students, don’t misunderstand me; I am an excellent student.”
Having said that, he put the pile of paper in Gle’s hands, then left without pausing, or saying anything else. In the eyes of an bystander, he didn’t even look like he was friends with the other three.
“Joykill!” Gle looked at Qiusi’s back, and grunted.
“Don’t be like that! Qiusi doesn’t have a choice. He belongs to a rather famous family in the Aklan Republic. Last time, his father warned him, and told him to stop being acquaintance with us bad students.” The bearded man smiled as he explained.
“Barbalis, aren’t you in the same situation? You’re in the most prestigious family for Magicians in Aklan Republic. How come your father didn’t come to warn you?” Gle rolled his eyes, thinking the man looked more like a delinquent artist than a Magician.
Barbalis disagreed, “And because I come from a family of Magicians, you have no idea how much my old man wants me to be friends with you. He often sighed you’re not a woman, or I’m not a woman; otherwise, we could marry each other, and he could add the ‘one in a million Magician genius’ into the family, then do all sorts of Magic experiments with you.”
Gle smiled as he said, “I’d rather die than to marry you” as he threw a small fireball. Barbalis also put on a whole “I’m so scared” comical face as he dodged the fireball with ease.
“Okay! Stop fooling around!” Susanna, the only woman in the group, yelled, and the two men obediently put away their playful expressions while staring at her with wide round eyes.
She rolled her eyes and said anxiously, “Quick! Quick! What’s Qiusi’s plan this time? I can’t wait to put those pretentious Knight in their place.”
It was the men’s turn to roll their eyes. The entire academy thought the Crazy Four was led by the genius Magician Gle; Barbalis joined in because he admired Gle’s magic, so he followed him around. As for Qiusi, he was a good student who was forced to join after being threatened. Lastly, they thought Susanna had a crush on Gle, and because of it, she follows them around to do bad things.
However, it could not be any further from the truth!
Because Susanna’s speciality was healing magic rather than combat magic, she learnt fist-fighting. A favorite pastime of hers was to go face-to-face against Knights. Many of the Knights in the School had tasted her fists. Any Knights who showed the slightest hint of arrogance had all uncoincidentally received a “shocking education” from Susanna, then embarrassingly asked their Holy Knight classmates for a heal.
Barbalis was curious, “Huh? We’re going to prank Lancelot this time? I don’t think he messed with us?”
Susanna held a tight fist, and yelled into the sky, “I hate Lancelot the most~!”
The two men had already covered their ears the moment she made a fist. Gle also began to count, one, two… fifteen, and then he murmured, “Almost there, Susanna’s lung capacity is about twenty seconds.” He then put down his hands.
Sure enough, Susanna stopped and tried to catch her breath, and as a result, she was no longer torturing anyone’s ears.
Barbalis thought it was strange, “Why do you hate him so much? Don’t people call him the perfect Knight? Don’t tell me he discriminated you?”
Gle then asked, “Did he not duel with you because you’re a woman?”
“He did duel with me seriously, and he even used a formal Knight’s challenge.” Susanna said with a pouted face.
Barbalis continued to investigate the truth, “Is he too ugly and the sight of him polluted your eyes, so you want to beat him up and make him even more ugly?”
“He’s super handsome! It pains me to even hit his face.”
“Then what do you hate about him, exactly?” The two men asked in unison.
Susanna said righteously, “He’s a strong and a gentleman who conducts himself perfectly, and he’s so incredibly handsome. A man like him is going to break countless women’s hearts! So I have to use this opportunity to disfigure his face, and save my fellow women from the heartbreaker Lancelot!”
Aklan’s Crazy Four Confidential Files
Violent Female Invincible Fist
Helping handsome guys disfigure their faces.
Gle couldn’t help but touched his own face. He had heard rumors that, in the ranking of the most handsome males in the Academy, he was third on the list. The list of “most-hated” people Susanna would yell into the sky, might one day be “accidentally” yelled out loud…
“Open Qiusi’s plan, quickly.” Susanna hurried anxiously.
Gle took up the pile of paper, and the title on the first page was, ‘The higher they fly, the harder they fall!”
Operation “Pancake on the Ground” Outline
According to internal information from the Aklan Republic (My dad said so), the Dragon Emperor will, in the latter half of the year, visit Aklan Republic. It’s very plausible he would visit the Aklan Academy School of Knights, because it’s on the way, for a speech or something. If an outstanding Knight appear there, he would definitely receive praise from the Dragon Emperor.
Let the target accomplish something big, enough for the Dragon Emperor to appear and praise him. Possibly go cause some ruckus in Yaron plains, scare the Sub-Dragons. As long as it doesn’t become a large problem, the Republic may very well ask the Academy to send a few students to investigate. Then the evil Magician and evil Knight appear (starring Barbalis and Gle), acting as if they’re going to harm everyone in the world, then finally pretend they were defeated, so the target accomplish the first big thing.
At the climax of target’s recognition ceremony, have a woman two trimesters into her pregnancy (starring Susanna) appear and accuse the target of rape, threats, fraud, playing around with women then abandoning them, and as many of the other accusations as you could think of.
Have two people (starring Gle and Barbalis) appear and accuse the mission was not actually accomplished by the target. As long as you specify the evil Magician’s Magic, then put on a show for them, no one would support the accused target. By then, target’s reputation would be completely ruined, and the “pancake on the ground” plan would have succeeded. Hahaha!
Aklan’s Crazy Four Confidential Files
Chief of Advisor
Ancestral Invincible Protective Shield
Dissolving other people’s guard and a warm smile.
Behind-the-scene Mysterious Mastermind
“Good! Good plan!” Susanna’s eyes shone, not caring she had to play a pregnant woman and accuse someone of playing with women then abandoning them.
The smile on Gle’s face was becoming larger and larger, “I have a feeling, we will definitely get expelled this time!”
“Doesn’t matter!” Barbalis laughed suggestively, “My father will welcome you to live in my house for a long time.”
On the other side of the Academy, the perfect Knight Lancelot was training his sword skills earnestly, unaware of the existence of the “Pancake” plan in the world, and its target being him.
It was a plan just like others of Qiusi’s: they always took insane amount of effort and time. Gle and Barbalis spent a full three months trying to set up the Yaron plains.
They also had to pay attention so it would have an effect on the world, but not too severe, so Qiusi could hint at his father, who was the advisor to the Prime Minister, to give the mission to the Knight students. He also mentioned casually of there was a very powerful Holy Knight, etcetera.
After three months, the mission was eventually given to Lancelot, and operation “Pancake on the Ground” had formally started.
* * *
Barbalis and Gle took up the acting roles due to their ability to use teleport to move around quickly. One impersonated an evil Magician, and the other an evil Knight.
When Lancelot kept his team of Knights afar and came in alone on his unicorn to scout, the two suddenly jumped out. Barbalis first used a ward to trap him, then Gle took out a sword to challenge him.
Every time they would have a prank and they needed some sort of professional skills, Gle would suddenly study enthusiastically. This time, he went undercover in the School of Knights for three months, so he could learn the Knight’s sword skills and aura. He awaited this duel with much anticipation.
Aklan’s Crazy Four Confidential Files
Knowing everything else
Skill Duplicating Machine
“Gle!” Barbalis said quietly, so the opposing Lancelot wouldn’t hear him.
“What?” Gle held his sword adeptly, while wearing a full suit of black armor. It was near impossible to tell he was actually an Magician.
“We have to lose, you remember that, right? Please don’t win!”
Barbalis was very worried. Despite Lancelot being the strongest Knight in the Academy, but nobody knew how strong Gle’s immeasurable strength truly was; only known thing about him was he never had a record of losing in anything, and even the instructors and principal of the Academy didn’t dare to challenge him.
With a sword in Gle’s hand, and his opponent standing imposingly on the other side, they both felt, at the same time, neither of their opponent was weak. Gle could sense in his opponent’s eye that Lancelot was a rare and true Knight. He had already completely forgotten about the “Pancake” plan by now, and all he wanted was to duel to his heart’s content without any inhibitions.
The only thing one could see was the white and black figures clashing again and again in close combat, and neither the white aura nor the blue aura seemed to have an advantage over the other. A duel between a comprehensive prodigy and a Knight prodigy began. No one except perhaps Barbalis, who was a bystander in all this, knew who eventually won.
‘It was too fun of a fight!’
Finally, the “Pancake” plan failed completely, or rather, Susanna yelled at Gle so much that he became the “Pancake”. Even Qiusi would often look at Gle with a laugh, because he became the only victim of the whole operation.
Lancelot, on the other hand, was visited by the Dragon Emperor himself, and given him the title “Paladin”. In the following hundreds of years, his title of Paladin had became so well known, it matched the level of the Black Knight Blood Wolf, but all these happened much later.
* * *
“Damn! That was really unlucky.” Gle was hanging on the tree branch, while looking at Knights from afar, and the Dragon Emperor dressed in purple.
Barbalis rolled his eyes, and blamed him mercilessly, “You caused it yourself!”
Gle heard, but he didn’t care. Instead, he pouted. As much as he loved pranks, he loved dueling more, regardless of the types of duels. A duel without inhibition was as fun to him as five interesting pranks.
“Forget it! The prank was bound to fail from the start.”
Barbalis murmured. As usual, their framing pranks never succeeded, and they were the only victims from them. Nevertheless, the Four never got tired of them.
“AHH!” Gle suddenly yelled.
Barbalis was in shock, and asked hurriedly, “What? What?”
“Oh! God, someone please tell me, the woman with boxing gloves challenging the Dragon Emperor for a duel is not Susanna.” Gle covered his face, not wanting to look in that direction.
Barbalis immediately turned his head, and then dropped his jaw, “That crazy woman!”
In the distance, a woman with leathered clothes had metallic boxing gloves on both of her hands was pointing the Dragon Emperor in one hand, and had her other hand on her waist. The Aklan principal next to her looked like he could faint at any moment.
“I’ll go help!”
Gle examined the situation; the Dragon Emperor smiled graciously, as if he would actually accept Susanna’s request for a duel. So as much as Gle loved duel, how could he not go participate? Gle disappeared without a trace, then appeared right next to Susanna.
“Hey! Don’t win…” Barbalis reminded Gle as usual, but before he even finished, Gle was gone.
Barbalis looked into the sky and sighed, “What a joke! What would happen if they beat the Dragon Emperor in front of the whole Academy… but, it must be fun to watch!” Barbalis then disappeared too, to go watch the show.
Aklan’s Crazy Four Confidential Files
Watching interesting happenings.
* * *
A seemingly malicious man with black messed up hair was humming as he walked unsteadily. A wine bottle was in his right hand, and judging from his red face, he was at least half drunk.
If one paid more attention, they would notice the man actually wore formal Knight uniform, specifically a black Knight’s uniform. However, it was riddled with holes and covered in patches, and therefore looked more like something a beggar would wear more than a Knight’s uniform. Such a fallen Knight was rare to see, especially since he was walking along the roads next to the most famous Academy in the Aklan Continent, Aklan Academy. This was a place where, if their sign fell off, it would have been pulverized by ten Auras and eight Magic spells before it landed.
The clean and tidy crowd of Knights glanced this man at an angle, with anger on their faces. When the Magicians’ ridicule laughters could be heard, the dozen or so of Red and Blue Knights decided they couldn’t let this unclean Knight pass. They proudly held the sword in their hands, and surrounded the man with black hair.
“Only Knights can wear Knight uniform.” A Blue Knight among them showed an arrogant look; he could never believe the homeless man in front of him could be a Knight.
The black-haired man showed a silly smile. He then pushed his hair aside, then pointed the Knight’s badge on his chest.
The Blue Knight looked at this badge and, as much as he didn’t want to admit, thought this man may actually be a Knight, unless he somehow managed to rob a badge from a Knight? But he still wouldn’t let this homeless Knight go, and instead he was even more infuriated. If the man in front of him was an impostor Knight, then they should teach him a lesson and declare to everyone homeless nomads could never be Knights.
“I challenge you to a duel!” The Blue Knight yelled imposingly. He was determined to teach this man a lesson about never making Knights look bad.
At this time, the man finally fully opened his half-closed eyes. The bright eyes glanced at the Blue Knight challenging him, and said lazily, “Name, academy, and rank?”
Blue Knight hesitated, then remembered these things must be said in a formal duel. He only wanted to teach this man a lesson, so he didn’t think about it too much. Being embarrassed he had forgotten a duel’s formalities, the Blue Knight replied angrily, “I am a Blue Knight from the School of Knights, in Aklan Academy, Milan.”
A light shone in the black-haired man. His eyes did not look at Milan; instead, he tilted his head, and his eyes landed on another Blue Knight next to him, one with long, brown hair, and his eyes were as blue as the sky.
Everyone thought it was strange, and they looked in the direction the black-haired man gazed. They were shocked and felt uneasy, because the person stood next to them, who had been quiet but his eyes had been fixed on them, was the most powerful, perfect Knight in the Aklan School of Knights — Lancelot. The Knights were secretly glad they had not attacked, and the homeless man was really a Knight. If Lancelot saw them attack an ordinary man, no good could possibly come from it.
“You look strong.” The homeless man narrowed his eyes as he examined Lancelot, whose face remained unchanged.
Lancelot was looking at the homeless man’s clothes. The black Knight uniform was rather messy, and even the lining looked discolored, but one could still vaguely distinguish its color.
Seeing Lancelot staring at the homeless man’s uniform, the Blue Knight who challenged him remembered, he could determine his rank by looking at the color. He looked towards the dirty uniform, and realized the lining was… “Silver! Silver Knight? How is that possible?!” Milan was in shock.
Everyone was shocked, and even the homeless man seemed to be startled by Milan’s yell. He then murmured, “So what if I’m a Silver Knight. There are plenty of Silver Knights on Dragon Continent. I’ve already graduated from the Academy for years, I can’t believe a little runt who hadn’t graduated would dare challenge me.”
Milan heard the homeless man’s murmur, and he was so scared that his face changed colors. He couldn’t have imagined the person in front of him was a Silver Knight. Had he known earlier, he wouldn’t dare to challenge a Silver Knight even if his life depended on it.
The homeless man said casually, “I am Blood Wolf, Knight aligned with Darkness, people call me the Dark Knight. My rank is Silver, and I graduated a long time ago so I don’t have a school to tell you. I am now working under the third Prince of the Dragon Empire. Right, if you want to know, look at your 3:30 direction. The silver-haired man flirting with the girl would be the third Prince, and he’s here with his father.”
Everyone looked in the direct Blood Wolf stated. Sure enough, there was a silver-haired man there, standing pitifully while covering half of his face with his hand, while the woman next to him was looking angrily at him.
“Hey! Cappuccino, did you get slapped again?” Blood Wolf yelled loudly.
Cappuccino turned around and said as if he had been wronged, “All I did was say I was a Prince, and she slapped me.”
Blood Wolf shrugged, “Probably because the Prince in reality is far too different than the ideal Prince Charming, so when she got mad, she probably slapped you to vent her anger.”
He then murmured, ‘Every time when I tell people I work under you, and then see what you’re doing, even I want to slap you!’
While these two were going back and forth, the dozen of Knights who provoked him had already turned paled. Just a Silver Knight was more than they could handle, and now there was even a Prince. Now they don’t even know how they’re going to die.
Blood Wolf ignored the trembling Milan, and walked towards Lancelot, whom remained claim and waited for him.
“Hey! How about a duel with me?” Blood Wolf asked with anticipation.
Lancelot looked curiously at Blood Wolf, then walked out of the crowd. Everyone was surprised, because Lancelot’s body was covered in wounds. His white uniform had many holes, and there were spots of blood throughout. Many of his wounds were still bleeding.
Blood Wolf hesitated then asked, “Oh! Did you just finish a fight?”
Lancelot nodded, and a smile appeared on his face. Although he had no idea why he fought, but it was still a fight he very much enjoyed, especially since there was a strange Knight with a blue aura…
“AHH! No fair! I want to fight too.” Blood Wolf yelled loudly while jumping around, as if he desperately wanted a fight.
Cappuccino slowly walked over. As he examined Lancelot, whose age appeared to be near his own, he said to Blood Wolf, “Stop being shameless! He looks ten years younger than you, isn’t challenging him to a duel a bit too shameless, even for you?”
“I didn’t challenge him? All I’m doing is telling him to challenge me.” Blood Wolf continued to declare shamelessly.
“Such a bad Knight, no wonder I’m the only who’d have you.” Cappuccino knocked his own head helplessly.
“Hmmph, you’re such a bad Prince, no wonder I’m the only one working under you.” Blood Wolf responded without backing down.
The two of them actually began to argue right then and there, and they both were trying to dig up old wounds, such as “You spent more time in the academy flirting with girls than training with your sword”, or “You hid a dozen bottles of strong wine under your bed”, etc…
“Haha, are you two really a Prince and his Knight?”
A few loud sounds of laughter could be heard. Both of them curiously looked in the direction of the laugh, and saw a few Magicians standing there. None of them looked old, and the person standing in the front, was a young Magician with a hooligan smile.
“Who are you?” Blood Wolf asked without much interest. He hated fighting with Magicians, because it was too boring for him. He enjoyed the clashing of swords between Knights far more. Since these people couldn’t be challengers in a duel for him, he quickly lost interest.
The young man said straightforwardly. As soon as the crowd heard this name, though, they took a deep breath, and began to scream. Some of them even began to take a few steps back, then turned around and ran as fast as they could.
“Aklan Crazy Four?”
“My God! It’s the Magician prodigy, Gle.”
Before long, the place was almost empty, leaving behind only Lancelot, Cappuccino, Blood Wolf, and the group people called the Crazy Four, even though there were only three of them there. Blood Wolf stared blankly, then asked, “Are you guys… really that scary?”
“Bombing the School of Knights three times,” Lancelot, who had remained quiet before now, had finally spoken, with a solemn anger in his eyes.
“Beating countless innocent Knights,” He took another step towards Gle.
“Being indecent to female Knights,” He put his right hand on his sword.
Gle finally opened his mouth to refute, “Hey! That one I deny. She was indecent to me first. I said I was going to scream, but because she didn’t want to be embarrassed, she screamed first. I’m the victim! Victim! Do you understand?!”
“Great… you could be a victim.” Cappuccino looked like he was envious.
Lancelot, however, ignored Gle’s explanation. He unsheathed his sword, and didn’t seem to care his body was covered in wounds and there were three people on the opposing side. To him, no matter at what time or what place, righteousness must be maintained.
“… And causing troubles at Yaron Plains.”
Gle heard and was shocked. He said unconsciously, “How did you know?”
Lancelot said calmly, “Smile.”
Hearing what Lancelot said, Gle touched his face reflexively. He didn’t expect him to recognize him from the smile. When he was in Yaron Plains, he was wearing half a mask. Did he underestimate Lancelot? He thought Lancelot was just old-fashioned Knight with a bit of strength.
He had no idea his two companions were glaring at him. Gle’s hooligan smile was, in fact, quite unique, so it was not strange to them that Lancelot recognized it.
“Are you going to duel?” Blood Wolf’s face was covered with excitement, “How about a 3v3 duel? No no, you guys are too young. How about this: aren’t you guys the Crazy Four? Go find your fourth, and we can have a 3v4, how’s that?”
Gle also seemed excited, and Susanna, who feared there might not be a battle, was already putting on her boxing gloves. Barbalis had no choice but sigh and trying to think of a way to contact Qiusi, thinking he might come with a God-knows-what funny-looking mask.
When the three Knights and four Magicians competed against one another without seeing each other as enemies, their faces were filled with exciting smiles because they could fight with such powerful opponents. And after they finished, all seven of them fell to the ground, laughing, because this fight had got them all acquainted.
But, no one had imagined, many years later, the fight became a real fight to the death, and the place they would compete on was the entire world…
* * *
Master and Apprentice, or…?
“Barbalis!” Gle barged into the dorm like a tornado, interrupting Barbalis’ meditation in the process.
Barbalis helplessly ended his meditation, then complained, “Hey! Could you please let me meditate? I’m not a super genius like you, I still need to meditate.”
“Shut up! Tell me quick, what do pets eat?”
Barbalis looked curiously at Gle, and noticed he was holding a bag made of cloth in his hand. It was about the size of a dog? Barbalis thought to himself. Although technically speaking they weren’t allowed to have pets in the Academy dormitory, but the Crazy Four had already broken just about every other Academy rule, bombed the School of Knight twice, and half destroyed their own School twice, and once completely.
So what does it matter if they had a pet? If they would raise the pet obediently instead of causing troubles, the principal might even come and give a prize to the pet.
“Give it some leftovers. Or if it’s too young, feed it milk.”
Barbalis answered carelessly. He knew Gle’s personality was on the extremes: he’d either keep at something at the very end, or lose interest immediately. He planned to find out which of these attitudes Gle had towards the pet before he acted on it. Otherwise, if he helped to take care of the pet for a few days, then Gle throw it away, wouldn’t it be a waste of his time?
“Milk, okay, I’ll go buy milk.” Gle put the bag on the bed, then left much like how he came in.
Barbalis sighed. He feared Gle would be back soon, so he didn’t plan to continue his meditation. He began to organize his magic notes.
While organizing, he heard a small cry. Barbalis glanced at the cloth bag; could it be a kitten? It was possible; Barbalis didn’t seem to care. In any case, before Gle was certain he was going to raise this pet, Barbalis wasn’t going to give it any attention.
Before long, Gle came in like the wind again. He held a milk bottle in his hand, then grabbed the bag, and put the bottle up to the bag.
Barbalis squinted at Gle, and reminded him, “Put it in a plate, and let it lick it.”
Gle paused, and said “Oh”. He then actually poured the milk into a plate, then put the bag down in front of the plate. The crying sound was getting louder and louder; the baby-like crying sound gave Barbalis the goose bumps.
“He’s not licking.” Gle frowned.
“How can that be?”
Barbalis finally stood up, and walked towards Gle. He looked towards the cloth bag, and finally saw what kind of “pet” was inside. He froze completely, and his eyes didn’t move until Gle prodded him. He said with a stutter, “T-this is a pet?!”
“Yup! Cute, ain’t it?” Gle said as if it were natural.
Indeed it was cute. Chubby pink face, soft golden hair, and large eyes. Everyone would love such a cute… baby, and it was 100% human!
“I’m still thinking about a name.” Gle looked a bit a troubled. This was the first time he was trying to come up with a name.
“You’re really going to raise him?” Barbalis’ face darkened. How old was Gle? He’s going to raise a child at 18? He was actually praying Gle would throw him away after playing with it for a while, so he could put this child in an orphanage.
“Yup! He even knows how to call my name.” Gle snickered, while frequently poking the baby’s white and chubby cheeks.
“Call your name?” Barbalis was very skeptical. Can a baby this young even talk?
Gle used his finger to tickle the baby’s armpit. The infant laughed as it made the sound of “Gle, Gle.”
“Fun, isn’t it? I’ve decided to raise him.” Gle said casually, as if he were declaring he’s adopting a dog.
“Seriously?” Barbalis asked solemnly. He knew, if Gle was serious, no one could change his mind.
“Seriously. I will raise him to be the strongest Magician. Of course, just not as strong as me.”
“Name?” Barbalis said the only response he could think of.
Gle thought seriously for a moment, then asked with a smile, “Which do you think is better, Mizerui or Silver Moon?”
“What the heck is in your head? There’s nothing common between these two names.” Barbalis touched the back of his head, “Call him Mizerui. He has golden hair, not silver. It would be strange to call him Silver Moon.”
Gle nodded, and raised the child high up in the air as he laughed, “Mizerui! Be good. Grow up quickly, so I can do some experiments.”
‘Experiments…?’ Barbalis suddenly realized, he had no courage to ask Gle what kind of experiment it was. Perhaps, in time, he might, out of the kindness of his heart, steal Mizerui and take him to an orphanage.
Of course, eventually the kindness of his heart still lost to Gle’s powerful magic and unusual temper. Because of such, the world had one more dangerous rank-X wanted criminal.
‘Anyone Gle raises with his own hands, as long as they’re alive, will become peerless masters.’ Barbalis whispered to himself.
(Warning: extremely dangerous, do not try at home, mortality rate approximately 99.8%)
Manhua Side Story: Dragon Whelp
This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, and StellarAshes. Special thanks to Cave Scanlation for providing the raw document.
He walked casually. The mountain roads were difficult to cross, but for this person, the rough roads was not at all a problem. Though he wore a robe, it only went down to about his thighs, and underneath the robe, he wore leathered clothes, which was suitable for moving around. Nevertheless, the combination of two created a sense of disharmony.
His footsteps were lithe, but not fast. In fact, he was walking at such a leisure pace that one could mistake him for walking in his own backyard after a meal. Considering his surrounding was pitch-dark and the ground was covered with mud, the disharmony between his posture and the background was as strange as his choices for clothing.
“Where are you exactly? This crying sound sounds like a child… Hehe, don’t cry too loudly. If the wolves hear you before me, you could very well turn into a piece of tender meat for them.”
However terrifying what he said sounded, his posture remain relaxed, as if he was in no hurry to find the source of the cries.
A wolf’s howl came from afar, in the same direction as the cries he heard. This realization made him stop. Was he already too late? Should he even bother going?
He thought about it briefly. He decided that, since he had already made it all the way here, it would be a waste of time if he didn’t go check it out, even if all that remained when he gets there was a pile of blood. After all, he hadn’t had wolf meat in a long time. As for whether the wolves had just eaten a human — it would be fine as long as he didn’t eat the wolves organs.
A pile of blood, a pile of bones and flesh, or a bloodied child… he had thought of every possible terrifying scene, but he didn’t seem to care. He even began to bet against himself on which scenario it would be… except it was none of them.
A small figure sat on top of a large rock. The pack of wolves were circling the rock, and their numbers were no less than fifty. Not only did they not pounce and tear the child apart, they were lying still on the ground, as peasants would before their king. Even the alpha wolf of the pack, who looked like the king of the pack, remained upright and walked slowly towards the figure.
Having thought he had seen everything, the sight of all this still made him pause. He was no longer in a hurry to go up, but instead, he was now interested in seeing if this child could survive in the claws of the alpha wolf. The alpha wolf looked like it was on guard. His movements were careful yet majestic. He looked more like a human than a wolf, which meant he had likely ascended, and was no longer than an ordinary wolf.
[T/N: Traditional Chinese beliefs usually included sentience in every creature. They often believed when an animal or other living creatures — not humans — who have lived and “trained” themselves enough, would become immortalized and gain sentience, as well as the ability to morph into human. So this alpha wolf look liked it probably has reached that stage, due to its intelligence and posture.]
He took a few steps closer, ascertaining the small figure was indeed a child. Judging by the figure, the child looked around five years of age. Even though most of the child was covered by a cloth, but he trusted his ability to judge age. After all, he had took in quite a number of infants, so he was no stranger to babies.
The alpha wolf walked up to the child; its size was considerably larger than the other wolves. The child looked nothing more than a few rubbles next to its feet. As it walked around the child, it kept sniffing at the child. He had no idea why the wolf seemed worried. Such a small infant obviously had no ability whatsoever to protect itself.
The situation was rather special. The alpha wolf seemed to fear the child slightly, but the naive child was not scared of anything. The child reached out his hand to touch the fur on the wolf, as if he was feeling cold. As soon as he realized the warmth of the wolf, he leaned his whole body against the wolf.
The alpha wolf became terrified and jumped a few steps back, but the child crawled or rushed to catch up the wolf.
Strange, the child did not seem to know how to walk. The man observing from the sidelines was confounded. For a normal person, at the age of five, one could already run securely, but this one look like he was having trouble just standing up. Instead, it was crawling towards the Wolf’s limbs. Could the child be younger than he imagined?
The wolf lowered its head, and prodded the child with its nose. The child actually reached out its hand to try to grab ahold of the wolf’s head. But because he was too weak, he could not hold onto it. He then completely leaned his entire body against the wolf’s limb, trying to absorb as much warmth as possible from the wolf.
The wolf lowered its head and licked the child. It hesitated briefly, but then opened its mouth towards the child.
Contrary to expectations, the child did not cry, because he was picked up by the wolf like an animal would for its young. Not only did he not feel any pain, he felt the warmth from the mouth of the wolf. Although the wolf’s mouth was filled with the stench of blood, to a child who had spent most of the night in the cold, warmth was far more important.
The alpha wolf seemed to have no plans to harm the child. He held the child with his mouth, and turned to leave. The surrounding wolves got up, and followed the wolf king, as if they were a small army following their emperor.
But before he went long, the alpha wolf suddenly widened its eyes. He threw the child to the side, and carefully examined the person appearing in front of them, while emitting a low, warning growl.
The person was wearing robes and leathered clothes. His hands were crossed behind him, and he was standing there leisurely, which was completely unlike an attitude a normal person would have in front of a pack of wolves.
The side who appeared to be worried was actually the pack of wolves. Despite its growl, the alpha wolf did not rush up, but took a few steps back instead. The other wolves did not have the alpha wolf’s keen senses, but they acted as if they could sense something from the attitude of their leader; they also backed up.
The man said as he smiled, “I sensed a magic ripple in the middle of the night. And the only thing I found when I investigated was a five year old child alone on a rock, in a place filled with Bandits, then he was surrounded by a pack of wolves. The wolves didn’t want to harm the child, and by the looks of it, the wolves seemed to be fond of this little child. Even though the wolf king may have already gained sentience, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t want to eat meat…”
He touched his chin, as if he was thinking “Though this whole thing seems rather strange, but ever since I’ve had some conflicts with the people here and formed the organization, the days had been boring. I’ve finally ran into something interesting after all this time… Okay, even if this is a trap, I will treat it as a game!”
He walked up slowly, and the alpha wolf continued to growl. Every three steps the man took, the wolf took one back as if it was hesitating. Its postures and expressions looked no different than those of a person.
“It really has obtained sentience.” The man laughed wryly; having seen much in his life, a wolf with sentience wasn’t anything of interest to him.
He pointed at the child, and commanded arrogantly, “I want that thing, piss off!”
Facing such arrogant attitude, the alpha wolf gave out a quiet cry; it had gotten angry.
As soon as their king was angered, the wolf pack began to grimace as well. Their claws were digging through the ground, preparing to charge up to this man at anytime to tear him into pieces!
The man smiled. There was still no trace of fear in his expression, but was filled with interest instead, as if he was playing with his own puppy.
Unbelievably, as much as the alpha wolf seemed to be unwilling, it continued to backup. It looked at the child next to its feet with longing; the child was holding tightly to his limb, so it had no choice but lightly kicked the child away from it. The child flew off, and rolled a few times on the ground, stopping halfway between the wolves and the man.
The child looked at the alpha wolf with confusion, and he tried to slowly climb towards the wolf, but before he made it very far, the man grabbed him and lifted him up.
The wolf king howled a few times, then left in another direction. His instincts told him, he couldn’t possible mess with the man in front of him. So no matter how much he might have liked the little thing, he had no choice but take his pack away from him, especially since all he felt towards the child was simply curiosity.
The man lifted the child, and said grudgingly, “Such a sensible wolf, and now I don’t have wolf meat to eat.”
“AHH—” The child was struggling in the air.
The man turned the child around to face him. He examined the child briefly, and murmured puzzledly, “You are indeed about five years of age… how come you can’t walk and you can’t talk? Don’t tell me you’re retarded?”
He looked towards the child’s face, and dismissed that previous thought, because the child had intelligent eyes, and his limbs were moving just fine, not to mention he could make sounds just fine. The child did not look like he was born with any defects.
He looked closely, and the child’s eyes drew his attention. The color was fairly light, and it looked like a thin layer of dust. Under the shine of the moonlight, they were emitting a warm silver color.
The child looked rather delicate; his oval face, delicate white skin, crescent brows, and those intelligent eyes made it hard to imagine someone would be so cruel to abandon a child like this.
The child trembled. The cloth on his body had already fallen off. He could do nothing except grasp tightly to the person in front of him, trying to obtain whatever warmth possible.
The man smiled slightly. He took off his robe, and wrapped the child with it. He said as he walked, “My name is Gle, but it’s not important, because you can only address me formally as ‘The Leader’.”
Even though the child could not understand him, Gle still spoke tirelessly.
At this time, the child finally did not seem to feel cold anymore. He raised his head and stared at Gle, curiously listened to the strange syllables he was sounding off, while making an occasional “ah, ah” sounds as he tried to imitate. Despite the child being fairly emotionless, his flashing silver eyes suggested he was actually happy.
Seeing this, Gle smiled and pinched the child’s cheeks, then sighed, “Such a nice pair of silver eyes under the moonlight… let’s call you Silver Moon! Repeat your name with me; Silver Moon, Silver Moon…”
After he repeated it a few times, the child was indeed trying to pronounce “Silver Moon”, but no matter how much the child tried, he could only make an “Si” sound.
Gle smiled with a care and said, “Silver Moon, you have to learn quickly; otherwise, you will suffer, understood?”
The child didn’t understand, but in the following years, he understood completely. To the words “learn quickly” and “suffering”, no one knew better than him.
* * *
“Send these children to the wolf section for training.” Gle commanded casually.
“Wolf section?” The few subordinates stared at one another, and one of them said hurriedly, “Leader, the wolf section is for the sixteen year-olds to train. Out of these children, only about two of them have reached the age. Did you mean to send those who have reached sixteen or…”
Gle yelled angrily, “All of them!”
Everyone’s face turned pale, but no one dared to say anything else against Gle, because he was their Leader, the head of the Assassin organization, the one and only head of this organization, from the past to the present.
The Assassin organization had existed for hundreds of years.
The person who opened his mouth was Cuilin, the training instructors for new Assassins. He still couldn’t understand, why the Leader had been, in recent years, extremely anxious, to the point where he had been condensing ten years of training into five, and the training procedure had been even more rigorous than before — one must understand, the Assassin organization’s training had already been rigorous before.
The children they’ve purchased recently had mostly been “wasted”, and even Cuilin felt a bit heartbroken seeing all this.
Many of the children had potentials, but even for them, running into such cruel training, they could not survive. The training was not even designed for anyone to survive through; its intent was obviously to kill all of them.
No one survived one year of it — well, no, there was one exception. His name was Silver Moon, and he lived through all five years of it; he was the youngest child of them all.
Cuilin sometimes felt this was all because of Silver Moon. The Leader’s attitude towards him was unique. Even though he looked like he didn’t care, and Silver Moon lived and trained with all the other children, but after every tragic training session, the Leader’s eyes always looked towards Silver Moon first.
Silver Moon was the child Gle carried back himself. When he first got here, he was only five, and he knew neither how to talk nor walk. But within half a year, he had learnt so much to be considered no different from the other children.
“Outstanding talent” was not enough to describe this child. Cuilin sometimes felt this child wasn’t even human — perhaps a demi-god, or perhaps a demon, but definitely no ordinary human. How could a child not even ten years of age could be so strong? Even the moves the fifteen year-olds take ten days to learn, he mastered them in a day. But if this wasn’t the case, Silver Moon couldn’t live through these five years of training.
Perhaps the Leader feared this child? Cuilin thought to himself, but he felt that, since the Leader had always done what he pleased, if he actually did fear the kid, he would’ve killed him already, and it would be impossible for the child to be still alive.
Cuilin couldn’t refrain from reminding him, “Leader, in the last five years, not a single Assassin apprentice passed. If this continues for a few more years, we may have a problem with replacements.”
He really felt he had no choice. Otherwise, in a few years, if there really were a problem, the Leader would still put blame on him. If that happens, decapitating would be his best way of dying.
Gle frowned slightly, and made everyone’s heart beat out of their chests, fearing they would end up like the Assassin apprentices in the recent years.
“Send Silver Moon alone to the wolf section.”
Everyone seemed to relaxed slightly then, but Cuilin secretly sighed. His age made him unsuitable for carrying out assassinate missions, and the practice of graduating by killing your master in the organization did not apply to such a basic training instructor such as himself, so he had no worries about whether Silver Moon would take his life once he had became a full-fledged Assassin.
As such, he really treated Silver Moon as his student. Such extraordinary student was enough to make all his instructor extremely proud.
But Silver Moon was only ten years old; the dangers of the wolf section… was perhaps enough to cause him to lose such an extraordinary student. The instructor secretly felt a bit frustrated.
Suddenly, they heard a “cling” sound, and a blinding silver light was flashing on the ground. Everyone widened their eyes, realizing a silver stick thrown on the ground and its length was shorter than an arm’s length.
“This stick and knife is named ‘Broken Silver’; take this weapon to Silver Moon.” Gle stood up, and began to laugh, “If he survives this time, I will make him the top Assassin of Shalong Hall!”
Cuilin suddenly understood. Gle neither feared Silver Moon nor want him dead, but instead he loved him and felt responsible for him!
But this time, could Silver Moon sustain this kind of love?
* * *
“Silver Moon, the Leader bestowed something upon you.”
Hearing the call, the figure who was practicing basic knife skills stopped. He turned around, and performed a salute to the instructor, then raised his head. The young face was delicate and clean, his eyes were glittering with silver light, and the black hair tied behind his head was dark as the night. He looked nothing like an apprentice Assassin, but instead more like a child everyone would love.
Silver Moon hesitated, and received the thing brimming with silver light from the instructor’s hand. He asked with surprise, “The Leader bestowed this upon me?”
Silver Moon lowered his head, and carefully examined the weapon he received — it was a short stick brimming with silver light. He touched it lightly with his fingers, and he seemed to have noticed something. He twisted the body of the weapon slightly, and unsheathed a dagger from within. The sharp dagger with the width shorter than two fingers glimmered with light from its edge.
“This stick and dagger is called ‘Broken Silver’.”
Cuilin told him the name of the weapon. Nevertheless, he did not understand why the Leader would give him such a weapon. Although the weapon could be used as two ways, as a blunt weapon and as a dagger, but Assassins only needed to kill, so a blunt weapon was hardly needed compared to a sharp edge. To him, dagger was the only true weapon to Assassins.
Additionally, Broken Silver’s appearance also was unfitting for an Assassin. Assassins generally hide in the dark, but Broken Silver’s glimmering light could be seen from a mile away, and it would not be conducive for hiding.
“It’s so pretty!” Silver Moon praised, obviously taking much liking to this weapon, “The Leader treats me so well.”
Cuilin could never understand this apprentice’s way of thinking. When Silver Moon was first thrown over to him, he had frequently wanted to run off to look for the Leader. For some reason, he had some sort of deep attachment to the Leader. Even the five years of cruel training had not change his attachment.
Had he not known the Leader spoiled his own children so much, and would never treat his own children as cruelly as this, Cuilin might even think Silver Moon was the Leader’s love child. The child being attached to his own father would have made sense.
“Use it to practice ‘Windborne Dagger’.” Cuilin said calmly, “You’ve only used daggers before, perhaps you aren’t used to this stick and dagger.”
Silver Moon answered with “Yes, sir”, then began to practice.
Cuilin suddenly realized there was no such thing as “not being used to” with this child. He held the dagger in his right hand, and the scabbard in his left as if he was holding two daggers, and his movements were even smoother than usual, when he only had a single dagger. He moved through the air elegantly and quickly. Had it not been the weapons in his hand, an onlooker might mistakenly think he was dancing.
‘Perhaps Windborne Blade had always been a move requiring both hands? Then the reason the Leader would bestow this weapon upon him… perhaps Silver Moon really might live through this?’
As soon as Silver Moon finished, Cuilin asked immediately, “What level have you attained with your Blood-Fluttering Ki?”
Silver Moon replied with a bit of uncertainty, “Instructor, didn’t you verify my training three days ago, and it was half past level two?”
Reaching half past level two at the age of ten was unfathomable. Even many graduated Assassins could only reach that point. But now, half past two was not enough!
This child was too young, and his young physique made him relatively weak, so he had to use Ki to make up for it. For the next test he was facing, the amount made up by level two and a half was far from enough!
Cuilin crouched, and held tightly to Silver Moon’s shoulders to say, “Today I’ll teach you ‘Heart of Consciousness’. This is ordinarily a lesson only taught to those who are at least sixteen years of age, and whether they could learn it largely depended on their innate talent. Nevertheless, you must learn it within three days, do you understand?”
Silver Moon looked at his instructor’s expression with surprise, because it did not look as cold as his usual face. Nevertheless, he obediently nodded and said, “Understood.”
Cuilin did not feel reassured. He felt this child did not understand the seriousness of the matter at hand. He then said solemnly, “If you do not learn Heart of Consciousness within three days, you will die; do you understand?”
Silver Moon looked at his instructor with glimmering eyes, and repeated, “Understood.” He then followed that up quietly with: “Like everyone else before who died, I understand.”
Cuilin suddenly felt stupid. How could Silver Moon not understand? Over the past five years, number of children had died next to him had far surpassed the total number of apprentice dying in the twenty years before that. So how could a child, who grew up drenched in death, not understand he might die?
“Instructor, don’t worry, I will learn it in three days.” Silver Moon nodded.
Cuilin’s instincts told him it was impossible to learn Heart of Consciousness in three days, but he looked at the child in front of him with anticipation, hoping the child could bring him yet another miracle, because…
A child can’t die like this!