Chapter 7 : The Heart of the Dragon Emperor
This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, and StellarAshes.
“Hey! Gladiolus, you have been treating my sister well, right?” Kaiser narrowed his eyes dangerously. Although he had walked away freely, he still couldn’t help but worry Gladiolus would mistreat his sister. Since they were still quite far from the Commerce Alliance, Kaiser began to interrogate Gladiolus.
Gladiolus, who was flying ahead, suddenly slipped. He said without turning his head back, “Meiji has been doing fine. I originally wanted to send her to the Commerce Alliance, too, but she wasn’t willing to go, so I had no choice but to assign two of the Six Forbidden Sins to protect her.”
“Oh, you used a third of the manpower to protect my sister. Fine, that will do.” Kaiser said forcefully. Although he knew, in such dire situations, Gladiolus sending two out of the six for Meiji’s protection meant he was very concerned for her safety.
Gladiolus felt a bit awkward. Had he not been facing Kaiser with his back, Kaiser would definitely jumped to the chance of mocking Gladiolus’ blushing face. Even with his back turned, anyone who would carefully examined him, would realize his ears were red.
Nevertheless, Kaiser and Daylight didn’t seem to pay much attention. They had been flying towards Commerce Alliance. They even stopped for two nights to rest, but they still had not seen Liola catching up to them, nor did they receive any news from Mizerui. Both of their moods were heavy; they had just rescued Liola out of the hands of Gle, only to immediately put him back into the Dragon Emperor’s hands. Kaiser had no idea which one was more unfortunate, being Liola or being his companions.
“The Commerce Alliance is right in front of us.” Gladiolus pointed at the shores vaguely visible from the horizon, while increasing his flying speed. Having been out for days, Gladiolus was already feeling homesick. As soon as he took Kaiser and Daylight to the Commerce Alliance, he planned to race back to Aklan.
After flying for such a long time, Kaiser and Daylight both wanted to land as soon as possible. In addition, they hadn’t seen Meinan and Purity for more than a year. Their anxiousness was not any less than that of Gladiolus. Flames rushed so fast that it passed Gladiolus’ eagle.
As soon as they landed, a dozen or so Mechas surrounded them. Seeing the alert postures of the guards, Gladiolus immediately yelled, “I am Gladiolus, sent by the Aklan Republic, and I’ve already spoken to the Alliance.”
The lead Mecha Fighter immediately pressed something on the touch screen in front of him. After a while, he said courteously, “This way, please.”
* * *
Kaiser and Daylight hurriedly ran past the streets of the Commerce Alliance. Having rarely seen a Dragon on the streets, many of them looked at the two as they passed, but neither of them cared, because seeing their companions was the most important thing on their minds. After knowing their companions were in the largest training center of the Commerce Alliance, the two went straight there without stopping to rest.
Before long, the two had rushed to the training center. After a few rounds of questions, the two walked towards the special training field. As soon as they walked to the perimeter of the field, a beautiful black angel-shaped Mecha immediately attracted their attention. Not only was appearance of the Mecha beautiful, every action it performed was coordinated yet effective. The sword in its hand slice its opponent in every angle, and the body of the Mecha changed posture fluidly in the air. The battle postures of this black angel looked more like it was performing a beautiful dance of death.
The black angel’s opponent surprised Kaiser and Daylight even more. Compared to the Mecha, standing at a dozen meter high, its opponent was a Sorcerer levitating in mid air, who had a protective shield up. The shield completely protected him, and no matter how the black angel attacked, it could not break through the defenses.
“Wow, Purity and Meinan became really strong, too.” Daylight couldn’t help but praise them. He had originally thought he had made a lot progress, but seeing his companions now, he realized that no one in the Aklan Troublemaking Squad had been idling.
“Daylight! Let’s go.” Kaiser’s eyes were filled with eagerness. Not only did he want to see how much his companions had progressed, he also wanted to test himself.
Seeing Purity and Meinan’s battle, Daylight did indeed want to fight, to verify everyone’s progress. Without saying anything else, Flames had charged into the field while carrying Daylight and Kaiser.
Flames’ sudden appearance surprised the two people in the field. The first to freeze was the angel Mecha which was facing Flames. When Meinan saw Purity had suddenly stopped attacking and stared at the spot behind him, he turned around curiously. The image of a giant fiery Dragon was the first thing he saw, followed by two familiar figures.
“Careful! Battle is starting.”
Kaiser yelled exaggeratedly, and threw a Divine Fireball directly at Meinan, who fumbled as he put up a protective shield right before the fireball had landed on him.
Daylight didn’t want to be outdone. He released his explosive aura, and swung his pike directly at Purity. Seeing Meinan blocking the attack first, Purity didn’t fumble, she elegantly used her giant sword and blocked Daylight’s attack.
Daylight’s pike and the Mecha’s sword went back and forth. Every time their weapons clashed, Daylight felt an intense pain in his hand. He was very surprised at how strong the Mecha was. While the sword and pike exchanged blows, Kaiser was not idle either. He mercilessly threw Divine Fireballs towards Purity, but she evaded them beautifully. Nevertheless, Daylight’s pike followed her closely. The angel Mecha looked like it could not dodge the pike after evading the fireballs, and just when Daylight’s attack was about to land…
Clang, Meinan stood firmly in front of Purity, and his comprehensive shield stopped Daylight’s pike dead in its tracks.
Daylight and Meinan looked at one another, then laughed.
“You sure became powerful.” Meinan sensed the pike’s powerful attack, and said honestly.
“You guys are the powerful ones.” Daylight smiled brightly.
“A fight is a fight, why are you chatting!” Kaiser rudely threw more fireballs towards Purity, who was not covered by the protective shield.
The angel Mecha dodged as it complained, “Kaiser, you’re being unfair, mobbing me with Daylight.”
Kaiser raised his eyebrow, and yelled loudly, “How is it unfair? I was just throwing fireballs. I have yet to let you see an even more unfair attacks.”
After saying that, Kaiser quickly chanted, and a long line of Fireball appeared appeared in the air. The strange thing was, instead of staying still, this Firewall was wiggling through the air like a snake. No matter how much Purity tried to dodge desperately, the fiery snake followed her closely. It was so tricky that she was about to cry.
“Purity, let me help you.”
Meinan yelled loudly, and Purity rushed towards him, with the fiery snake following her closely. The instant Purity rushed past Meinan, he immediately used a protective shield, and the entire snake rammed into the shield. In an instant, endless sounds of explosions could be heard, and the air was filled with smoke, extinguishing the fire.
When the smoke faded, Meinan opened his eyes to a pike right on his eyebrows. Kaiser had predicted the comprehensive protective shield would had been too laborious. If it were just magic, Meinan would definitely use a normal magic-stopping shield. Therefore, the cover of the smoke from the explosion of the fiery snake allowed Daylight to quickly close in on Meinan for his attack.
Clang! This time it was a crisp metallic clashing sound. Purity wasn’t idle either. She carefully examined the situation on the battlefield. Simple smoke could not possible hide anything from the sensors of the Mecha Fighter. As soon as she realized Daylight’s intent to attack, Purity immediately went up to block his attack.
At that moment, the four of them were close to one another. Their eyes exchanged mutual admiration, then immediately backed up to create distance, preparing themselves for the next round of attacks…
The four people fought as if they had gone insane: from morning to dusk, from dusk to dawn. The four of them did not stop until they finally had to catch their breath. Purity walked out of her Mecha, and Daylight jumped down from Flames. They were all so tired that they fell to the floor, and no one said anything for a long time.
After an unknown amount of time had passed, Meinan acted as if he had to muster all his courage to ask, “Liola, d-did he not come back with you two?”
“No.” Kaiser said unhappily. It was better when it was unsaid. During their battle, he could finally not think about it, but now that Meinan mentioned it, Kaiser began to feel frustrated again.
The four remained silent for a while, until they heard a sobbing sound. Daylight was shocked, and asked, “Purity, why are you crying?”
“Is it impossible for Liola-dage to come back?” Purity cried as she asked.
Daylight sighed, but he didn’t know how he should answer. Could Liola possibly escape from Dragon Emperor and Lancelot? If he had known, he shouldn’t have easily believed Liola’s promise and left him behind. Daylight would always forget, Silver Mask was simply a fake Knight, while the true Liola was an Assassin, one who told lies into make-believe truths.
Meinan vaguely sighed, “Was the Dragon Emperor’s Purple Tornado really that powerful?”
“Very.” Kaiser answered hauntedly. The move was enough to bedridden Liola for a whole year. Both Daylight and he had originally doubted if Liola would ever wake up.
“If I knew earlier… I shouldn’t have stood still on the side. If I had been willing to make protective shield…” Meinan’s voice began to choke as he spoke, “Liola wouldn’t be…”
‘Uh?’ Kaiser wondered, ‘wouldn’t be what?’
Daylight also stood up, and he looked somewhat baffled.
“Dragon Emperor is too outrageous. Liola-dage didn’t do anything, how, how could he…”
Before she finished, she could no longer speak. Purity’s large eyes teared up endlessly, and was sad beyond belief. When Daylight saw her, he fumbled to pat her on her back while trying to find a handkerchief to wipe away her tears. Purity, instead, put her head in Daylight’s chest. Daylight hesitated, he didn’t know whether or not he should hug Purity, so his hands were left in the air, with his handsome face completely red.
Meinan also stood up, and tears were quietly rolling down his face. He tried to refrain from being sad and asked, “Where is Liola exactly?”
“The Dragon Emperor took him.” Though Kaiser didn’t want to say it, but it’s been days and they haven’t heard any news from him, so it was likely he had been taken away.
“What?” Meinan was shocked, “You two… didn’t protect him?”
“Please, facing Dragon Emperor and Lancelot, who could have protected him?” Kaiser snapped back.
“What exactly does the Dragon Emperor want to do by taking away Liola-dage?” Purity yelled with a horrified tone.
“Who knows.” Kaiser was also frustrated. Though he said so, he thought the Dragon Emperor would probably want to kill Liola? However, Kaiser’s instincts told him, perhaps it wasn’t the case. When the Dragon Emperor said he wasn’t going to kill Liola, Kaiser thought he was serious, but he wouldn’t stupidly believe things were as simple as the Dragon Emperor taking Liola back to his rightful place.
“This can’t be! We must get Liola-dage back!” Purity held her fist tightly and yelled loudly.
Kaiser also knew they couldn’t just leave Liola alone, but if Liola was really taken back to the Dragon Continent, then things would be rather troublesome.
Meinan said faintly, “Purity, don’t be so capricious. It’s been more than a year, and Liola’s body was probably decaying. Do you really want to risk your life to save a corpse?”
“Wait…” Kaiser suddenly notice something strange was happening.
“Even if it’s decayed, Purity still wants to see Liola-dage one more time!” Purity yelled stubbornly.
“What do you mean decayed…” Kaiser was now certain, something was wrong.
“Perhaps he had already been burnt into ashes. The Dragon Emperor hated him so much, there’s no way he would give a proper burial!” Meinan gritted his teeth, and said with pain on his face.
“Burial?” Even Daylight sensed what they were saying was a bit far from the truth.
“Into ashes… outrageous! The Dragon Emperor must have taken Liola-dage’s ashes and used it as a fertilizer!” Purity bawled loudly.
Hearing the word “fertilizer”, Meinan’s face also turned pale.
“You two, STOP~~”
Kaiser finally pulled his air and yelled angrily, and his yell made Meinan and Purity both freeze. They then stared blankly at Kaiser.
Kaiser said slowly, syllable-by-syllable, “Listen to me! That guy, Liola, is still quite alive. So stop talking about corpses and ashes. Don’t be ridiculous.”
Meinan and Purity’s bitter faces suddenly began to shine. They turned their head towards Daylight as if they were looking for verification, “Really? Liola is still alive? The Purple Tornado skill didn’t kill him?”
Daylight nodded, “No, Liola was simply in a coma for a year.”
“Coma for a year?”
“Mhm, that’s what happened.”
Daylight began to tell Meinan and Purity in detail about everything that had happened in the past year or so. When he got to a point of the story where he wasn’t present, Kaiser continued the story. All the tales of the alien world and devil Gle, made Meinan and Purity drop their jaws. Had it not been Daylight’s record of honesty, it would have been hard to believe such a story.
When they finally spoke about what had happened on Yaron Plains, Meinan and Purity’s faces sank again. Even though Liola might not have died temporarily, but falling into Dragon Emperor’s hands meant he couldn’t possibly be safe.
“We have to save him.” Meinan was the first to speak. It’s one thing if Liola was already a corpse, but if there was even a possibility he was alive, Meinan wouldn’t abandon his companion.
“I know we have to save him, but we should wait for Mizerui first.” Kaiser frowned, “The moment we enter Dragon Emperor’s lair, it would be very difficult for us to get out, so unless we have no other choice, we should not go there. Otherwise, we might not be able to save Liola, and instead, we might become hostage of the Dragon Emperor, whom he could use to threaten Liola.”
Kaiser looked at his three companions, and voiced his doubts, “I’ve been thinking the Dragon Emperor must want to use Liola for something, and it’s not as simple as simply killing him, but no matter how much I think, I couldn’t figure out what Dragon Emperor wants to do with him. He even came in person to take away Liola, the person who was prophesied to kill him. If I were the Dragon Emperor, I would rather send a dozen Assassins to kill him, instead of exposing myself to this person.”
“Could he want to use Liola as an undercover agent? And control Liola like he did to Miluo?” Meinan attempted to guess.
“I’ve thought about it, but instead of having Liola as an undercover, he would be better off by killing him and end the worrisome prophecy, then capture me and Daylight for undercover. Even though our strengths aren’t comparable, but Liola couldn’t access as much information as Daylight and I.”
“It must be something even bigger and more important, causing Dragon Emperor to risk his life instead of killing Liola.”
Kaiser frowned, “Let’s wait for two weeks. If we don’t get any news in two weeks, we will go and save him.”
* * *
Compared to the worries of his companions, Liola had spent the past few days in an unusual leisure. It was to the point where he didn’t even feel he was inside his enemies’ camp. At first, Cappuccino took him to pick where he would live in the palace, and to make his own, unique clothes at a tailor. They even went to the Dragon Valley where the Dragons lived. Seeing Cappuccino greet each and every Dragon as if they had known each other, Liola knew he probably had visited the Dragon Valley so much that it was like a second home to him.
Cappuccino took him everywhere to get familiar, but it came at a cost: he would undoubtedly challenge Liola once a day. Although it also meant he will lose once a day, it became Cappuccino’s daily routine, and he was never tired of it.
During the afternoon, Liola would have afternoon tea with Lanski and Jasmine, and look at Baolilong happily playing with Jasmine.
During the dinner, the time where the family came together to eat; the Dragon Emperor, Cappuccino, Lanski, and Jasmine, would all come together eat. In other words, everyone in the Zhuogen family, other than Mocha, who was rumored to not taking a single step out of the Astronomy Tower for years, would come together for a family meal, and this habit hadn’t change.
The days had been so relaxing that Liola had put his guards down. Other than being careful not to stare into Dragon Emperor’s eyes, Liola would regularly put the Dragon Cross Necklace on his forehead every night, so he wouldn’t be hypnotized again without knowing, but the necklace had never burnt his forehead again.
It wasn’t that Liola hadn’t thought about escaping. After all, his companions did say, if Liola didn’t return, they would come looking for him. Perhaps because he ran in every way everyday, after getting to his living quarters, Liola always fell asleep the moment he touched his bed.
Liola always thought, ‘Tomorrow, I’ll leave tomorrow’, but many days had past unknowingly.
“Liola, do Kaiser and others know you’re here?”
Jasmine and Baolilong were playing. The latter was, after all, a child. So after it got tired of playing, it laid in Jasmine’s arms and fell asleep. Jasmine didn’t want to wake it, so she hugged it and began chatting with Lanski and Liola. What Jasmine thought was strange was the fact that Liola didn’t mention anything about Kaiser and others.
“Kaiser…” Liola suddenly went blank, but then immediately said, “Oh, mhm, they know I’m here.”
A sense of doubt flashed across Jasmine’s face. During that instant, it seemed like Liola had really forgotten who Kaiser was, but how could he possibly forget?
“Your silver mask is still with Lanski. It’s such a strange mask. When worn, the wearer’s eyes would turn purple.”
Jasmine acted as if she just remembered it, but she was certain this time, Liola did indeed hesitate a bit before he nodded. When it was about time for supper, Liola bid his goodbyes, and planned to wash up to prepare eating supper with his father.
Seeing Liola walked away, Lanski asked hesitantly, “Didn’t the mask turn the wearer’s eyes to gold? Jasmine, Liola seems…”
“He seems stranger and stranger.” Jasmine frowned, “Almost as if he had become closer and closer to a real Prince.”
“Or perhaps he just got used to life in this place.” Lanski seemed a bit hesitant.
“Perhaps, I don’t know either.” Jasmine said, but her eyes exchanged a worried looks with Lanski.
* * *
“Liola, the tailor finished making your clothes. Why don’t you try it on? It doesn’t look half bad.”
Cappuccino excitedly charged into the place Liola lived, with his voice arriving before him. When he kicked down the door, he saw Liola sitting blankly on his bed, as if he had been absent-minded. Cappuccino said loudly, “You’re still not awake? The sun is already up.”
Liola rubbed his eyes, and suddenly woke up from his daze, “Sorry, sovereign brother, I’ve been drowsy lately.”
“Oh.” Cappuccino scratched his face, and murmured in his mind, ‘Sovereign brother? Yesterday you stuttered when I asked you to call me brother, and today it suddenly turned into sovereign brother?’
Liola jumped down the bed, and casually started putting on the clothes as he said to Cappuccino, “It took a rather short time, did the tailor make this carefully? If this wasn’t made carefully, it would be unbecoming of me to wear it as a Prince.”
Cappuccino thought it very strange, “Liola, didn’t you say before that it doesn’t matter if we don’t make new clothes? Saying something about getting a few of my clothes to wear would be enough.”
Liola seemed surprised, “Really? Did I say that? But, sovereign brother, if a royal Prince didn’t even have clothes to wear, it would bring shame to the Dragon Empire’s royal family.”
“Right…” Cappuccino then thought, ‘But, this is not something like you would say.’ He looked at Liola elegantly putting on the formal dress strangely. He even tied a scarf with a complicated knot, and put on luxurious cufflinks on his sleeves.
No matter how blunt Cappuccino was, he still murmured, “There’s must be something wrong…”
“What are you talking about? Sovereign brother.” Liola smiled elegantly.
“Nothing… nevermind.” Despite saying this, Cappuccino’s doubts grew in his eyes.
“Papa!” Baolilong, who was asleep just moments before, suddenly started jumping, with the Dragon Cross Necklace raised high in its hand, “Papa forgot the necklace.”
Liola glanced at the necklace, and rejected, “I’m not wearing it, that necklace doesn’t match the clothes I’m wearing today.”
Baolilong held the necklace in its hand, and stared at Liola blankly, as if it was suspicious of something, but had no idea what had happened.
“Let’s go, Baolilong. I remember the tailor also made new clothes for you. Let’s go try out your new clothes.” Liola rubbed Baolilong’s head indulgently, then carried him up and walked out of the bed room.
Cappuccino was full of doubts, and he asked the quiet Little Fireball behind him, “Fireball, do you think he’s…”
“Very strange.” Little Fireball continued, “In a short week, he practically turned into another person. This is an abnormal change.”
“But who dares to attack Liola under father’s very own eyes?” Cappuccino said heavily, “Unless…”
Little Fireball looked worriedly at his master, “Master, you’re better off not minding it.”
“Not minding it?” Cappuccino took a deep breath, “But he’s my younger brother…”
“Sovereign brother?” Liola called out from afar.
Cappuccino followed up anxiously, while answering, “Coming.”
But before he left, he glanced at Liola’s bedroom out of the corner of his eyes.
* * *
Two figures moved quietly through the darkness, then they sneaked into Liola’s bedroom. One of the two was very hesitant, “You are sure, the problem was here?”
“Of course, in other times, he was either with Cappuccino, or with us, and during supper, everyone is present. There is no reason why he would have a problem and we don’t. The problem must be with this bedroom.”
“Besides, he is very alert. It wouldn’t be very possible for someone do something to him while he’s conscious.”
The other figure nodded. His strength was obvious to everyone who had seen it. Cappuccino had challenged him quite a few times, but had never won even once, even though Cappuccino was already considered strong among the Gold Knights.
“But I’m worried, the person who would attack him might be…”
“Shh!” One of the figures heard a faint sound. She immediately grabbed the other person, and hid in the closet to the side.
Another two figure sneakily entered the bedroom, one of them said with a refrained voice, “Master, are you sure this is where the problem is?”
“Duh, he’s either with us, or with Lanski and Jasmine. Everyone eats together during supper, so it’s not easy to do any dirty tricks. There is no other place more questionable other than his bedroom.”
The two people in the closet didn’t know if they should laugh or cry.
“Who! Who’s there?” Cappuccino realized faint breathing sounds from the closet. Could they be the people who were up to no good?
“We are here.” The two slowly opened the closet, and two graceful girls walked out.
The two people outside of the closet were, of course, Cappuccino and its strong Little Fireball. The four of them looked strangely at one another, then said in unison, “You guys are also here because…”
Then all four stopped, and all sighed, “Yup, of course.”
Cappuccino said jokingly, “Dear sister, you also think that something is up with our little brother?”
Lanski nodded, “It’s quite strange. The current Liola doesn’t seem like the old him at all.”
“Sigh!” Cappuccino sighed, “Let’s find what’s affecting him together. As for the culprit, let’s not look any further.”
Lanski looked at Cappuccino with complicated eyes, and it looked like they both knew. She took a deep breath, “But one can’t exist without the other.”
“Brother isn’t an idiot. As soon as he recovered, he must find ways to escape.” Cappuccino didn’t seem worried. Having fought his brother for a whole week, Cappuccino knew well of his strength, and escaping shouldn’t be a problem.
Lanski and Jasmine took one look at one another. It looked like Liola was going to run away again. They both couldn’t help but laughed bitterly.
“No matter how much I’ve thought about it, I feel there’s a problem with this bed.”
Cappuccino looked at the bed. After saying so, without any hesitation, he immediately turned the bed over; he pulled off the sheets, took up the mattress, and even moved the bed frame, but he didn’t find anything. Cappuccino scratched his head, “Strange, it’s not a problem with the bed? I’m sure I saw him stare blankly on his bed.”
The two girls froze as well. They had also thought the bed was the problem, but seeing it wasn’t the case, the four of them began to wonder.
“What are you doing in my room?”
A crisp and cold voice could be heard. The four of them realized now that the master of the room had came back, but none of them realized this until now. It wasn’t unexpected, nevertheless, with Liola’s abilities, his movements weren’t something they could track.
Getting caught red-handed was a rather shameful thing to the Prince and Princess. Finally, Cappuccino had no choice but said with a laugh, “We were here to talk to you, but who knew you weren’t here.”
Liola asked suspiciously, “It’s time for supper, so father and I were eating, and I was wondering why all of you would be missing from the supper table at the same time.”
Cappuccino said seriously, “Because the moon is rather beautiful tonight, I suddenly wanted to go eat some barbecue. Coincidentally, I ran into our sister, so I dragged her along, but she insisted on bringing you along. Because we didn’t want to interrupt Father’s supper, we ended up waiting for you in your room.”
“My bed?” Liola looked at the messy bed and asked.
“Ah!” Cappuccino suddenly yelled, “This bed is a piece of crap, and it’s nothing like a bed a Prince should use. Which damn servant was it, who had never changed this bed, and caused you to spent a week sleeping in an uncomfortable bed. As your brother, I’m infuriated.”
“I understand, thank you, sovereign brother, for your worries.” Liola looked at the bed and said. Although he didn’t feel the bed was uncomfortable, he still replied courteously.
“Hahaha, if there’s nothing else, we’ll leave first!” Cappuccino laughed loudly, but cold sweat was already running down his back.
Liola said strangely, “Weren’t we going to eat barbecue?”
“Ah… that, right.” Cappuccino looked helplessly at his sister, then asked, “Let’s go barbecue, sister?”
* * *
A cold laughing voice echoed within the palace. This was the deepest place within the palace, and it had always been the living quarters of all the Dragon Emperors. In the wide hallway, the Dragon Emperor dressed in his purple robe, was sitting on a chair, and a person kneeling on one knee below him was covered in a robe, therefore, making it impossible to see his face. He held a crystal ball in his hand, and it had reflected the scenes from Liola’s bed room.
“So that’s how it is. As long as it’s not my power, the Dragon Cross Necklace is completely useless.” The Dragon Emperor said, “Idojin, how long until we can completely control him? Cappuccino and Lanski have already noticed something is wrong.”
The man named Idojin nodded, “You Highness, the fourth Prince doesn’t have much resistance left. If we infuse a large amount of magic now into the magic circle at the ceiling above his bed, we can control him completely.”
“Is that so? Then do it.” The Dragon Emperor said coldly, “I need a truly obedient Prince to succeed me.”
“But, Your Highness, when we completely control the Prince’s mind, if you want to restore his previous consciousness, the success rate is only about 30%.”
“Doesn’t matter.” The Dragon Emperor didn’t care a bit. Ever since the ancient times, the Dragon Emperor only needed its ambition. He never needed, nor wanted, other consciousness.
Idojin nodded courteously, “Understood. Then we shall complete the whole magic tonight.”
Seeing his two sons and daughter laughing in the crystal ball, a slight mercy flashed across the Dragon Emperor’s eyes, “Then let them finish the barbecue for today.”
* * *
Liola walked slowly back to the palace, with the smell of barbecue on his clothes. This made him really uncomfortable: a Prince should always keep his cleanliness. When he lowered his head to look at Baolilong, who was asleep in his arms, he realized his degree of dirtiness was truly horrifying: the clothes which had just been sewn today, was covered in oil and dirt, with several spots near its joints cut open.
“Really..” Liola complained lightly, but he wasn’t mad. A child should be hyper as it was.
When he was back in his room, Liola suddenly noticed the Dragon Emperor and another man covered in black robe. Though he was confused, he still bowed courteously, “Greetings, Your Highness.”
“Mm, come here, let father get a good look at you.” The Dragon Emperor smiled lightly.
Liola put Baolilong on a desk; it murmured a few things, then curled up and continued its sleep. Liola then walked towards his father. Although he didn’t know why his father would come looking for him in the middle of the night, but he wasn’t one to disobey His Highness.
The Dragon Emperor reached out and touched Liola’s familiar face. A pain flashed through his heart, and he was silent briefly, then asked, “Child, do you have any wishes?”
“Wishes?” Liola was baffled. What wishes would he have?
“Yes, say it, child, as long as it’s not too much, father will help you.” This was the Dragon Emperor’s last act of kindness to his youngest child.
Liola was quiet for a moment, and said, “Companions…” But as soon as he said so, Liola frowned. The word was familiar to him, yet distant at the same time. Even though a few blurred figures flashed across his mind, but he could not remember their exact looks.
The Dragon Emperor was quiet for a while, then said leisurely, “Understood. I promise you, I wouldn’t ask you to slay them.”
‘Slay them?’ Liola suddenly felt an intense pain in his heart.
“Go lie down, child.”
“Father, you are standing, and a child shouldn’t lie down while…” Liola hesitated.
“Don’t worry. I command you to lie down.” The Dragon Emperor smiled lightly, “Don’t be afraid, this is just a small ritual, to make you rightfully a Prince, one who will succeed me as the next Dragon Emperor.”
“Me? But what about Cappuccino…” Liola seemed a bit unwilling to become a Dragon Emperor, as if he had a natural fear to becoming it.
“You are the most talented child, and you are the strongest. You also are the Sacred White Dragon’s master, and you even had a bond with your Dragon, so you will live a long life. You used to be an Assassin, cold-blooded and merciless. Child, no one is more suited to receive the ambition than you, and become the only monarch under the sun.”
“Lie down, child, everything will be okay.” The Dragon Emperor urged gently.
Though Liola was hesitating, but he still obeyed his father and lied down.
“Idojin.” The Dragon Emperor called out.
Idojin said “yes” courteously, then he slowly flew up in the air. With both of his hands raised high, a simple wind blade torn away the wallpaper on the ceiling, showing the magic circle underneath. He slowly infused magic into the circle, and the magic circle was activated. Light slowly reached out from the circle, reaching down from the ceiling, and surrounding Liola’s body in the circle of light.
When the circle’s light became brighter and brighter, Liola realized images flashing through his mind. No, perhaps it wasn’t flashing, but instead it felt more like images being forcefully pulled out. The intense pain as a result of feeling as if his brain had been carved out piece by piece had made Liola moan and yell painfully while holding his head. He couldn’t endure this pain; he leaped, trying to force his way out of the circle.
However, the Dragon Emperor’s powerful purple aura exploded, pressing Liola firmly back onto the bed, and he was completely immobilized. More and more emotions were forcefully removed. Liola continued to yell. Other than the physical pain, Liola noticed one familiar figure after another: Kaiser, Daylight, Purity, and Meinan… his companions… all that remained was their names and their identity. The time they had spent together was now just like a file recording of an event, and simply a record, without any meaning to him anymore.
Liola’s face grew more and more pale, but he became more and more quiet. The pain sensation from his head was still there, but he didn’t seem to care anymore. Just like enduring the cruel Assassin training before, no matter how painfully, he wouldn’t make any sound. Except… when a certain someone could no longer incite any thoughts in Liola’s head and becoming a familiar stranger, he would suddenly grunt. It was a sound far more unpleasant than a simple headache: it was a heartache…
“Papa! Papa!” Baolilong had already been awakened by Liola’s painful yells, but since the Dragon Emperor’s aura had immobilized it as well, it had no choice but struggle and cry.
Slowly, Liola had completely quieted down. Other than his pale face, no one could tell he had been any different. Idojin knew, it was about done. He infused the last strand of magic into the circle. After the circle exploded with a blinding light, it disappeared entirely.
“Is it done?” The Dragon Emperor asked lightly, seemingly ignoring the fact that Idojin was completely exhausted because he had exerted too much magic.
Idojin struggled to stand up, “Yes, the magic circle finished successfully.”
The Dragon Emperor withdrew the aura inhibiting Liola and Baolilong. Baolilong immediately ran into papa’s arms, and yelled, “Papa, papa.”
Liola looked at it, without any expression on his face. Nevertheless, he knew, this was the Sacred White Dragon who recognized himself as its master.
A few anxious footsteps could suddenly be heard. Before long, the bedroom door was barged open. Cappuccino’s worried face had, after suddenly seeing the Dragon Emperor, became pale. He said uneasily, “Father… child heard brother’s scream, therefore…”
“Just a small ritual.” The Dragon Emperor explained, “A ritual to confirm Liola as the Dragon Emperor’s successor.”
Lanski and Jasmine’s hearts raced, and a cold and unnerving sense made the two tremble. They looked at Liola; he looked to be unharmed, and he was looking down on Baolilong, but something was wrong.
How could they be looking at the person they love, but feel a sense of cold in their heart? As if the person they saw was something horrific.
Fearing there was something wrong with Liola, Cappuccino tried to call out, “Liola?”
Liola raised his head slowly, and a pair of motionless silver eyes looked at Cappuccino while replying, “Yes, sovereign brother?”
Cappuccino took a deep breath. There was no difference between what Liola called him now and before, but why? Why did he sense himself falling down a snowy mountain? Those eyes… those eyes were the epitome of something wrong.
“Liola? Are you okay?”
Lanski looked at those two silver eyes, and her body could not stop trembling. It was then when she suddenly remembered, Liola had once said before, no matter what title he held now, he knew himself to be an Assassin. At the time, when Liola said it, Lanski felt nothing but sympathy, but she didn’t think Assassins were very scary; but now, seeing those two eyes…
Assassin! This word imprinted heavily in Lanski’s heart.
“What did you do to him?” Jasmine’s face was pale. She clearly sensed, this wasn’t Liola, at least not the young father who would, once upon a time, gently rub Baolilong’s head.
If Yandi was still here, she could definitely tell everyone clearly, this was the “void” eyes. The person in front of them, was the top Assassin — Silver Moon!