GOD V3C10: Encroaching Death

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GOD —The Beginning of the End— Volume 3: The End Begins

Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)


Chapter 10: Encroaching Death—translated by lucathia (proofread by Trespasserby & Arcedemius)

Dan frowned in thought. Since Shooting Star is the Guide of Doom and the Fischer Merchant Guild has the Guide of Existence, then why is the Goldenstyle Merchant Guild that I belong to searching for the Stones of Original Sin?

Saiximili had already confirmed that there were only two guides and two starseers, so it was impossible for the Goldenstyle Merchant Guild to have a guide. Since it’s impossible for the Goldenstyle Merchant Guild to have a guide or even a starseer, then how did the guild learn about something like the Stones of Original Sin?

Just as Dan was thinking of asking for Saiximili’s opinion, a pair of slim, pale hands rested behind his neck before he could open his mouth. The touch on his neck was a little cold and highly unsettling.

Dan’s expression abruptly changed, but he did not duck out of reach. There was only one person who possessed the ability to silently approach him from behind without anyone’s notice, and who possessed the sheer cheekiness to do such a boring thing.

“Darling, I haven’t heard anything from you ever since you got on the boat. I’ve been so worried!”

Just like I thought. Dan sighed. I don’t think I’ll be able to get used to this kind of greeting even after experiencing it for another one hundred years.

“H-how did you get in?”

The two guards Barna and Markham both leapt to their feet and stood firmly in front of their king.

“Ice Chess?” Bai Saya called the intruder’s name out of shock. He asked in confusion, “Why have you suddenly appeared?”

The bewitching demon smiled and looked at Bai Saya. A pair of purple eyes danced in mirth. As he lightly twirled a strand of his silver hair with a finger, he put on a pretense of innocence and explained, “I’m a mage, so of course I would have a little trick like teleportation, right?”

“Teleportation? I see. Shooting Star knows that, too.”

After hearing the explanation, Bai Saya had an “I got it” expression on his face. He was somewhat uncomfortable with the playful way Ice Chess was twirling his hair despite being a guy, but then he thought of how Ice Chess was a demon. Perhaps all demons were like this, and Bai Saya was just ignorant.

Dan smiled wryly to himself. Saya really didn’t understand magic at all. If Shooting Star were here, he would be blowing his top. There were few people in the entire world who could use teleportation to move right behind him without any error, let alone without a single sound. Moreover, his presence had not been detected until he had spoken. Only Ice Chess was capable of using teleportation to that degree.

“My apologies, too much happened. I did not get the chance to report back yet,” Dan explained simply. The truth was of course no such thing. Instead, since everything involved Bai Saya, he had no way to report back.

However, Ice Chess would definitely not believe what he had just said. A thousand year old demon who was well connected naturally had his own information network. Dan believed that what had happened these past few days must be fairly clear to Ice Chess already, so there was no need for him to go out of his way to make up an excuse.

Hearing this, Ice Chess lifted an eyebrow and said, “Tsk! I’ve really spoiled you too much. I don’t care about what already happened. You’re coming back with me right now. Things have gotten too serious. You shouldn’t be getting involved in something like this.”

Dan frowned and said, “I can’t leave right now.”

The battle had only just started, and the foe was nothing to scoff at. If he left the battle now, the avian nation would definitely not have a good ending. Even Saiximili might lose his life.

Although Dan did not care about what might happen to the avian nation or Saiximili, he knew that Bai Saya was not someone who would give up half way. Even if Dan left, Bai Saya would still remain to fight. Moreover, Saiximili was involved with the guides and sinners, so Dan had no choice but to remain and win this war.

“That’s right, Dan can’t leave.” Bai Saya grew nervous. Shooting Star wasn’t in the city at the moment. If even Dan left, then was Bai Saya supposed to command the battle by himself? Honestly speaking, it was better to leave it up to Barna and Markham instead.

Ice Chess’s eyes grew cold, and he warned, “Shut up! If you hadn’t stolen the elf, then why would Dan have been sent to such a desolate place? Now, you’ve gotten involved in something dangerous again. If I don’t quickly take Dan away, he will one day get killed by you!”

Guilt arose in Bai Saya. Ice Chess was right. Ever since meeting Dan, Bai Saya had brought him endless trouble. Now, he had even gotten Dan involved in a dangerous battle, and Bai Saya’s identity as a sinner was bound to be an even greater problem. Perhaps the right choice was to let Ice Chess take Dan away, or else Dan may one day die because of him. How could Bai Saya ever live with that happening?

“Don’t feel guilty, Saya. A demon who has found his checkmate will give his everything in response.” Dan consoled Bai Saya and lifted his eyes to look at Ice Chess. He asked, “Aren’t you the same?”

Ice Chess dropped his lazy attitude and harshly snapped out, “Ever since my brother handed a bundled up baby—you—to me, I knew I was done for!”

Truthfully, being able to help Dan made Ice Chess very happy. However, right after, he would be frustrated by his high spirits, as he clearly knew that he should feel annoyed instead. Ever since the child found his checkmate, trouble found him again and again, and each one was more serious than the last. What was there to be happy about with this? Yet, he was happy.

Ice Chess could not help but scold again, “You damn checkmate.”

Hearing that, a smile spread across Dan’s face, and he thanked him, “I’ve troubled you since I was a kid, Uncle Ice Chess.”

“Shut up! Don’t make me sound so old. At most, you may only call me big brother.” Ice Chess rolled his eyes and used a tone that allowed no negotiation, “You must come back with me this time. There is no room for discussion!”

Dan’s expression was calm, but he showed no intention of complying at all. Ice Chess could only hatefully add on, “I guarantee that if you leave with me, this battle will immediately cease. Will that do?”

“What about Saya’s safety?” Dan would never leave without hearing Ice Chess personally guarantee Bai Saya’s safety.

Ice Chess impatiently said, “I promise you that if anything happens to your darling, then it must be the Guide of Existence at fault and nothing to do with our Goldenstyle Merchant Guild! Will that do?”

Dan nodded. He believed that Ice Chess must be spending considerable effort to make sure the Goldenstyle Merchant Guild would not harm Bai Saya. As for the Guide of Existence’s faction, that was out of Ice Chess’s control. Dan knew that he could not demand Ice Chess to guarantee Bai Saya’s safety on that end either.

Even though Dan did not want to leave Bai Saya when the future was still unclear, he gave it some thought and believed that leaving with Ice Chess was more beneficial. First of all, the battle would end, and second of all, he wanted to go back and investigate how much his own guild knew of the guides and sinners.

“Saya, you must be careful,” Dan beseeched him.

Bai Saya nodded and said, “I will.”

“W-wait, you can’t leave. There’s no way the battle will stop.”

Saiximili was beside himself with worry. He wanted to stop Dan from leaving. After all, this was his nation. There was no way he could take the stranger at his word and watch his commander get taken away before his eyes.

Ice Chess pulled Dan over and turned his head to give Saiximili a sinister smile and said as if in prophecy, “A battle needs an army in order to fight, right?”

After saying the last word, he and Dan turned into a streak of white light, shooting out from the palace’s window.

“What does he mean? Isn’t there a large army out there?” Saiximili immediately turned to ask Bai Saya, hope coloring his words as he asked, “Does he plan on annihilating the army? Is that possible?”

“I don’t know.” Bai Saya hesitated for a moment. Even though he didn’t understand Ice Chess’s intentions either, he could see how worried Saiximili was. He quickly comforted him, “Don’t worry. Since Dan has left me here, he will take responsibility for dealing with the army outside. I am his checkmate. He would never abandon me.”

Saiximili turned his head to look at him and asked in suspicion, “I have heard about demons and checkmates. But, just because you’re his checkmate means he will sacrifice everything for you? Death is a possibility in war. Dan said that the army outside has a human guild supporting it. Now, they even have mages. It’s very difficult for us to win.”

Bai Saya froze. Everything he knew about checkmates, he had learned from Dan and Shooting Star. He had never understood it fully, only understanding that Dan treated him so well because he was his checkmate.

Sacrifice everything… I hope he won’t?

After leaving White Feather Nation, Dan was flown into the air with Ice Chess. This was not just a simple teleportation. Rather, it was more like a fast spell of flight with an occasional teleportation thrown in. The speed was still very fast. Even though this method was not as ridiculously fast as direct teleportation, it was superior in covering long distances. Of course, wishing to move across long distances like this required magic like Ice Chess’s, which he had trained for a thousand years.

“What do you plan to do?”

Dan really could not think of how Ice Chess would be able to make the battle disappear, so he was a little worried and wanted it spelled out to him first. He really could not think of any normal means to instantly stop a war, so he had not asked back in the palace. He did not wish for Bai Saya to hear.

“You should really thank me for thinking of this plan that can kill two birds with one stone.”

Ice Chess smiled mysteriously. After circling in the air, he slowly began to descend.

“We’re here.”

Once they landed, Dan could not help but step forward, wishing to see more clearly.

Before them was a gigantic magic circle. Other than Ice Chess and himself, there were a dozen or so mages already there. From their robes and staves, Dan could tell that each and every one of them was a top mage from the Goldenstyle Merchant Guild. In fact, there was no way to easily judge them based on proficiency levels.

As far as Dan knew, no organization’s mages had better talent than the Goldenstyle Merchant Guild, as they were all demons who had possessed a long time to study magic. Perhaps only the faraway elves deep in the forest could compete.

Dan, as a mage blade, had some familiarity with magic. He also worked in the Guild and had seen his share of all sorts of magical items and magic circles. However, he did not at all understand this large magic circle. The circle’s lines and patterns were too complicated for him to grasp. Does it actually require a dozen powerful mages to activate it?

No, Ice Chess is also here. He might be the main mage who will activate this magic circle, while the others will all assist him.

“What in the world is this?” Dan asked lightly. He had a faint idea what Ice Chess might be planning.

“Encroaching Death. It can somewhat be considered a forbidden spell.” Ice Chess stretched lazily. If not for Dan’s sake, he would be too lazy to do something like this. Even though Encroaching Death just barely brushed the surface of forbidden spells, and it could still be debated whether or not it was even a forbidden spell, it still took considerable effort to cast. Afterwards, he might need to take a long rest.

Dan’s face stiffened. He had thought that it was just a large cooperative magic spell. He had not thought that his uncle would directly get involved with a forbidden spell. “You’re going to cast a forbidden spell? Then, you might as well head back and call the army over.”

A forbidden spell required too much energy. Besides, casting a forbidden spell would incur too much criticism. If the higher ups in the guild were to learn of it, even Ice Chess would find himself in a lot of trouble.

If the Goldenstyle Merchant Guild were just a normal guild, then it was fine. Even if Uncle got kicked out, he clearly would not mind. However, things weren’t so simple, and Dan had no way to ascertain who was behind the Guild. Even though his uncle must know, he had not told Dan, and Dan had never asked him either.

Seeing Dan’s worried expression, Ice Chess chuckled and explained the magic circle a bit.

Encroaching Death was a magic spell that would spread like smoke under the caster’s direction. Anyone who entered the smoke’s reach would get poisoned, their skin would fester, their limbs would turn purple, and their seven orifices would all spurt blood. It was terrifying.

Its prowess was what labeled it as a forbidden spell. The spell required dozens of high-leveled mages to power, and activating it required a main mage with sufficient magic ability.

Ice Chess smiled lightly and said, “There’s a very awkward part to this spell, which is how the death it inflicts is too slow. Even though the results look frightening, it takes a long time for anyone to die from it. If someone is not at the very center of the spell, where the pressure and strength are the highest, then they are likely able to run from it on their two legs. Therefore, the spell is not considered among the ranks of forbidden spells, so using it won’t count against me, unless the higher ups purposely want to make things difficult for me.”

I see. Then it is a good plan to use it against the army, especially a beast army. Beasts were not familiar with magic. They both respected and feared magic, their fear far outweighing their awe. On top of that, Encroaching Death was a spell with frightening results. The moment it was cast, the beast army would never be able to recover from it.

“In order to help you forever get rid of future trouble, I’ve been observing the situation, waiting for this chance to appear. I immediately gathered my most powerful mages to come here to resolve this once and for all!”

Ice Chess flew to the center of the magic circle and looked below at Dan. “Although you should have guessed what I plan to do with how smart you are, I’ll still tell you in advance. I don’t want you to misunderstand me and hate me.”

Dan gazed at him silently. He had indeed already arrived at an answer, and he even secretly wished Ice Chess would not explain anything to him, but he did not say anything to stop him.

“I plan on annihilating the Guide of Doom together with that army!”

Dan remained silent. In that instant, he thought of Bai Saya’s saddened expression, but he still nodded.

Without the Guide of Doom, there would be no conflict between guides. In the days to come, Bai Saya would then be able to avoid all those troubles. That was enough. This was the way demons showed their heart. As for what would happen to the world in the end, that did not matter. This was the way demons showed their heartlessness.

Meanwhile, Ice Chess had already known… In fact, any demon would have already known Dan’s choice because that was the nature of demons. They spent all their feelings on a single person, leaving nothing for the rest of the world.

How am I any different? Even knowing that it’s Shooting Star… Ice Chess laughed. Forget it. Why bother overthinking it? Every demon understands that after meeting one’s checkmate, one must have the resolve to make sacrifices. There is no other choice.

“Encroaching Death, activate!”

“Even if Dan is washing his hands of this matter, I know how to use some of the power Roth taught me now. Later, when Shooting Star returns, he’ll have a lot of ideas, so we’ll be fine…”

Halfway through his comforting, Bai Saya suddenly stood up. He spun around to face the hall’s balcony, a frown taking over his usual gentle, smiling demeanor, making him appear uneasy.

“Bai Saya, what is it?”

Saiximili looked at him in confusion. There was nothing outside the balcony. Ice Chess and Dan had already left for a while, too. What in the world is Bai Saya looking at?

Bai Saya said uncertainly, “Nothing really. I just feel panicked, as if something bad is going to happen. I don’t think it’s anything. I should be mistaken, right?”

Saiximili was stunned for a moment before he quickly said, “Could the Guide of Doom have run into trouble? As Doom’s sinner, you should be able to feel it when he is in danger.”

“What?” This was the first time Bai Saya had heard that he had this kind of power. After his shock, he immediately began to worry about his companion and hurriedly asked, “Is Shooting Star in danger?”

Saiximili smiled bitterly. “You have to ask yourself that question. I am the starseer responsible for pointing out the guide’s path. I can only tell you the results of choosing a path when we come to a fork. You are the sinner responsible for protecting the guide.”

Bai Saya had wanted to ask Saiximili how he could figure out what he was feeling when that sense of unease suddenly exploded. The feeling was so overwhelming that he blurted, “Shooting Star and Alan are in danger!”

After Saiximili answered with a stunned “oh,” he finally understood the meaning of those words.

The Guide of Doom is in danger? Heavens, GOD’s competition hasn’t even started yet, and now it’s already about to end? What happens if Doom dies and only Existence is left?

Faced with the dangerous possibility of the world about to end, Saiximili leaped up and shouted, “Hurry and think of something! Aren’t you a sinner?”

Bai Saya was also beside himself with worry, but what could he do—Right! I can discuss this with Roth!

“Roth, Roth! Shooting Star is in danger. Hurry and teach me what I should do—”

Right after shouting this, a familiar voice sounded in Bai Saya’s head.

Grasp the entity housing me and close your eyes. You are able to sense the guide’s location. I want you to closely sense where he actually is. Search for him. You should be able to see him then.

The entity housing him? Right, Roth is embedded in the Sword of Sacred White, so he should mean the sword! Bai Saya quickly pulled out the sword and grasped the hilt with both hands. He followed Roth’s instructions and closed both eyes, trying his best to sense Shooting Star’s location.

But no matter how hard he thought about it, only a sea of black greeted his eyes. He couldn’t see anything, let alone Shooting Star. After a long while, Bai Saya felt that this action of his was too idiotic. He could not help but open his mouth and say in some embarrassment, “I-I still can’t see him.”

Place your attention in the right place first.

Bai Saya tried it out. This wasn’t a difficult matter. Shooting Star and the two sinners’ presence made their direction as obvious as a torch among the darkness. He asked, “I sense them. What now?”

Imagine what condition they might be in right now.

What condition would Shooting Star and Alan be in? A strange expression came over Bai Saya’s face. When those two people are together, other than trouble, there can only be more trouble. What else could there be?

Strangely enough, as he thought this, the sight of the two of them in trouble really did appear before his eyes…

“What in the world is this?”

Alan’s face, which was usually expressionless, twisted in extreme disgust, something that normally only happened when he accidentally opened his bag and saw something he shouldn’t see within, such as Shooting Star stuffing into the bag underwear that hadn’t been washed for days and socks rolled into a ball.

However, Alan’s gaze was currently focused above him. Unless underwear could grow wings and fly, he should not be seeing anything like dirty underwear.

Following Alan’s disgusted gaze, nothing could be seen!

Black fog descended around them, their visibility dropping to zero. Only the place where Alan and the rest stood was devoid of fog, but that was only a small area. It wasn’t that the black fog avoided them, but rather that Shooting Star had cast a protective barrier to protect them.

The black fog was not like normal fog and looked like faces with wide open mouths that shrieked at them soundlessly. Other than that, they even acted like wolves pouncing on sheep, scrambling and pushing to pounce on the protective barrier, the dark faces flattening against the transparent protective barrier into all sorts of distorted appearances, as if they would not be satisfied unless they scared everyone out of their wits.

Shooting Star put everything he had into maintaining the protective barrier. He clenched his teeth as he responded, “This is ‘Encroaching Death,’ a horrendous, large scale spell, also known as a forbidden spell! I-It requires more than a dozen mages ranked higher than archmages, a super duper complicated magic circle, materials so expensive you could cry, and a mage with ridiculous magic ability to lead the casting in order to cast it…”

“Hey! Can you focus on the protective barrier? Why are you spouting a bunch of useless information? There’s no reward for the right answer!” Pisce was so worried that he began yelling. With how frenzied the black fog faces were, if the protective barrier were to break, they wouldn’t be any safer than a naked woman among a bunch of men. They were bound to be gobbled right up until not even a single bone was left!

“So what! I-It’s not like I can keep the barrier going,” Shooting Star yelled hoarsely.

This was a forbidden spell, a forbidden spell! How was he, a regular mage, supposed to withstand this? At most, he could help them survive three minutes longer, which was already an amazing feat!

“I am unable to cast teleportation,” Alan said solemnly. Teleportation and lightning magic were both wind type magic, which he specialized in, so there was no reason he could not cast it. However, no matter how the elf tried, he could not cast teleportation.

“Magic is disrupted here, unless you’re stronger than the lead mage! Otherwise, it’s impossible to cast teleportation to escape. If it were that easy, it wouldn’t be considered a forbidden spell!”

Shooting Star explained unhappily. Alan was a mage himself, so why didn’t he know this? Besides, if they could escape through teleportation, Shooting Star would have already done so. Would there be any need to wait for Alan to cast it?

Since what he withstood was a forbidden spell, even though it was a slow-acting spell instead of one that exploded instantly, so he could withstand it momentarily, it was still a forbidden spell. Merely withstanding it for a moment made his magic deplete as fast as a dam breaking.

Shooting Star quickly shouted, “Alan, I can’t hold on anymore! Don’t you have a Stone of Sin? Quickly use its power!”

Alan frowned and said, “I don’t know how to use Pride’s power. Let me ask Pride.”

Damn, is there time for that?! I wish we had time for you to ask! Shooting Star was so angry that he gnashed his teeth. His magic was about to be sucked dry!

Guh! Should I give up on maintaining the protective barrier? Should I quickly sneak in the chance to comb Alan’s hair before going to Hell? After all, if he died while combing beautiful hair, he could get his beautiful pet even as a ghost!

Just as Shooting Star was planning on giving up on life, about to stop his magic and pull out a comb, he glimpsed the people beside him, Pisce, and—Philo!

Ah! Doesn’t this guy also possess a Stone of Sin?

Discovering a slim chance of survival, Shooting Star immediately shouted, “Philo! Are you lazing about? Don’t you go thinking that just because your stone is the Stone of Lethargy that you can slack off! Why aren’t you using the stone’s power? I really can’t hold on anymore!”

“I can’t use my power right now.” Philo said hesitantly. But seeing how Shooting Star’s eyes were about to roll back, he quickly explained, “But, once your protective barrier is gone, I’ll be able to.”

Damn! Just what kind of messed up power do these sinners have? They’re all so troublesome! Shooting Star simply gave up on maintaining the protective barrier and despairingly said, “Then, you can use it now!”

After all, with what was left of his magic, he would have only been able to keep it going for at most a minute more. He might as well save it, just in case something strange were to happen while he had nothing in reserve left.

“Wait…”

Philo paled. He wanted to stop Shooting Star, but the latter was already beyond pissed from having to maintain the protective barrier on his own. Before Philo could finish shouting, Shooting Star had already dispelled the protective barrier, crossed his arms, and plopped himself down, clearly washing his hands of this matter.

The moment the protective barrier was gone, thousands of twisted black faces slammed toward Shooting Star and the others. The moment the black fog touched them, blood nearly instantaneously leaked from all four people’s ears, noses, and eyes. Besides Shooting Star, who was already seated, the other three’s legs lost all power, and they crumbled to the ground.

Alan’s situation was the most dire. First of all, he was a mage with a weak constitution. Second of all, he was an elf whose nature leaned toward light. Thus, his defense against dark elemental magic was particularly weak. Therefore, the moment he came into contact with Encroaching Death, he pretty much collapsed to the ground, unable to get back up.

“This is unbearable. Philo, you liar!” Shooting Star said with blood choking him. Even so, he did not forget to glare at the big liar Philo. Though even without being glared at, Philo was nearly half dead himself.

Far in the distance, Bai Saya was currently using his “mind’s eye” to observe his guide. Seeing the devastating sight of Shooting Star and Alan dripping with blood, Bai Saya’s mind went blank with a “boom.”

Philo grabbed the Stone of Sloth hanging around his neck and closed his eyes to recite a bunch of words. Through his closed fingers, a yellow light shone from the stone.

Even though blood was leaking all over Shooting Star, even Encroaching Death could not put a damper on his curiosity. Even in such a life-threatening situation, Shooting Star did not forget to eavesdrop. After all, Philo could very well be chanting some kind of incantation to activate the stone’s power. If he could learn the contents of the incantation, then wouldn’t his two pets be able to use their stone’s power?

A pet’s power equated to the owner’s power, so this incantation would be something that could power him up! Of course he had to quickly eavesdrop!

Of course, he and his pet also had to survive Encroaching Death first.

Shooting Star perked his ears up, only to hear Philo mumble a bunch of nonsense.

“I am really lazy, truly really lazy. I wake up at four in the morning to practice my sword because I’m too lazy to sleep any longer. I do my best to protect the palace’s safety because I’m too lazy to hear from a bunch of long-winded officials. I hide in my room to slave over piles of documents because I want to escape from Belle’s ridiculous adventuring plans. Stone of Lethargy! I am really super lazy. Please lend me your power!”

You’re totally trying to trick the stone! Philo, who had “diligence” written across his face, was eons away from laziness! But, his Xiao Bai who rarely got angry possessed the Stone of Fury, so maybe the stone they possessed was whatever they lacked…

Finally, Philo opened his eyes and his fist, revealing the Stone of Lethargy within. The stone shone with bright yellow light, so bright that the stone’s shape could barely be made out.

“Ultimate Heal!”

Yellow light abruptly burst forth, making even those ugly fog faces back up by several feet.

When the healing light enveloped them, Shooting Star immediately felt his weakened body grow stronger. Within a few seconds, he recovered to the point where he could jump up and shout, “Idiot! Why’d you cast a healing spell? We’re still inside the range of the spell. Even if you heal us one time, we’re still going to die after this!”

Philo smiled bitterly and said, “We won’t die, but we won’t have a good time either.”

What? Shooting Star was full of doubts, but before he could say anything, he saw those black fog faces rush over again. Their frenzy was on par with Agid spotting Bai Saya. The group was surrounded by the black fog, the strong curse of Encroaching Death flattening them once again.

“Ultimate Heal!” Philo shouted once more.

The black fog faces were pushed back again, and the four of them who had been about to die were once again healed. But right afterwards, the fog faces rushed over again…

“Ultimate Heal!”

E-Even though we won’t die, this is even worse than dying!

Shooting Star wanted to cry but had no tears. Heavens! Even though I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die and get revived and die again and get revived again in this frightening, endless loop!

“Stooooop—”

Alan was the first one unable to endure it. After he was healed again, he stood up and a lightning pillar burst into the sky, far more powerful than even his outburst from earlier. The blue lightning beat back the black fog faces by several feet, its effect several times better than even the healing spells Philo had cast using the stone.

Although the power of the lightning pillar was effective in chasing away the black fog faces, its harmfulness toward humans and demons was also exemplary. Other than Alan who had cast the magic, the other three were screaming in pain from the lightning. First came the smell of cooked meat, then charred meat…

Fortunately, Philo had just cast ultimate heal. Under the remaining vestiges of the healing light, the pillar of lightning did not kill the three of them, which also prevented the elf, who was very lacking in awareness of his companions, from bearing the criminal charge of “murdering his companions,” a crime that no elf had ever committed.

Shooting Star was frothing from his mouth while lying pitifully on the ground, all four of his limbs twitching. While his entire body shuddered, he still tried to glance to the side. The tall and strong Philo had been electrocuted to the point of unconsciousness, and the same went for the slim and weak Pisce, so why was Shooting Star still lucid? Maybe it was because he had been zapped hundreds of times by Alan, so his resistance against electricity had gone up considerably.

“Wait, Philo fainted? Oh no, that means no one can heal us?”

Shooting Star suddenly thought of this very important issue and immediately began to shout. Even though he had just complained about not wanting to die and revive again, that didn’t mean he really wanted to die, okay?

Stupid GOD, You don’t make good things come true, but the bad things come true 100% of the time!

Those black fog faces are here again! Shooting Star pushed himself to crawl toward Alan. Then, he grabbed the elf’s thigh without letting go. Even though this elf might be even scarier than “Encroaching Death” when he went crazy, when he was sane, he was still a reliable companion.

Alan, as he had thought, went all out with his lightning, forcing the black fog faces back by several feet, but once the lightning disappeared, the fog faces surged forward again relentlessly.

“Aurora Lightning, Aurora Lightning… Gasp…”

Alan continuously cast lightning magic. Even though lightning magic was powerful, it was also the magic type that used up the most magic. Besides, he had already cast Pillar of Lightning twice, so his magic had already been depleted. But with those black fog faces approaching them, he could not choose to hold anything back, so Alan could only force himself to squeeze out some more magic. Even then, he could not hold on for much longer.

“Aurora Lightning! Shooting Star, I can’t hold on anymore.” Alan calmly calculated the magic he had left. Even if he pushed himself to the brink, he could at most cast Aurora Lightning three more times. At most, that would only buy them one more minute.

Shooting Star froze, his mind all jumbled up. He didn’t know what to do at all.

“Aurora Lightning!”

Alan cast the second to last spell, which meant that they only had the time of casting one last lightning spell left to their life.

Is this… the end of the rope?

An odd expression came over Shooting Star. Unable to accept it, Shooting Star said, “Are we really going to die?”

Alan lowered his head to look at Shooting Star. That pair of large, golden eyes that had always swam with mischief now looked lost. The elf could not help but soften. No matter how mischievous Shooting Star was, he was still a child!

He used his left hand to release the final bolt of lightning, while he rested his right hand upon Shooting Star’s head and rubbed it. The latter was at first stunned by the sudden weight upon his head before he felt Alan caressing it…

My eyes feel hot. Shooting Star’s mouth wobbled disappointingly, and he cried out in a hoarse, spineless voice, “Alan, I don’t want to die yet.”

Alan rubbed Shooting Star’s head and comforted him, “I know. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.”

How is that possible? Alan, you’re an idiot! Shooting Star puffed up his cheeks and called the elf all sorts of names in his head, from stupid idiot to lightning devil to violent elf, forgetting that he was still dancing on the verge of death.

Once the last bolt of lightning faded, the black fog faces seemed to detect their despair. All of them pounced upon them, as if knowing that they could no longer fight back.

Although he knew it was useless to struggle against the menacing curse, Alan still turned around to hug Shooting Star, firmly protecting the latter in his arms.

Shooting Star froze, the heated feeling in his eyes strengthening. He really wanted to cry. He really wanted to hug something and cry his heart out, but that would be super embarrassing—I’m about to die anyway! Who cares if it’s embarrassing!

Besides, Shooting Star had never cared about whether or not something was embarrassing!

Shooting Star turned and hugged Alan back, his face twisting, his mouth wobbling. His tears and wails burst out at the same time.

“Sob! I don’t want to die. Alan, I’ll be good. I won’t ever cause trouble again!”

Now that Shooting Star was crying, even Alan felt his eyes grow wet. If he had known that they would lose their lives here, he would never have left Shooting Star and Bai Saya in the first place.

Really, why do I never let Shooting Star comb my hair? Combing my hair isn’t a big deal at all. Why was I so against it? Endless regrets welled within Alan.

Shooting Star continued to wail. The black fog faces had reached the two of them by now, the immense power of the curse making them bleed through all their orifices once again. However, this time, they did not have Philo to cast Ultimate Heal to save them.

Shooting Star buried his head in Alan’s arms and cried, “I don’t want to die! I haven’t played enough. I want to go around and play more with you guys…”

“I won’t let either of you die!”

A frighteningly angry roar sounded. Before Alan and Shooting Star could see who it was, a stark, white light abruptly blinded them, making them unable to see anything. However, they could feel the pressure on their bodies easing. They had originally been vomiting blood like a waterfall, but that had completely stopped.

The two of them, who had just been on the verge of death, were now strong and healthy all of a sudden.

At least, they now knew that the newcomer was a friend, not a foe. Just who saved us in the nick of time?

After their eyes finally adjusted to the blinding white light, they quickly opened their eyes.

“Are you okay?” That person knelt beside them and even asked worriedly, “Are you hurt anywhere?”

This person could not be any more familiar to them. Shooting Star and Alan both blurted out, “Bai Saya!”

Bai Saya turned to the left to look at Shooting Star, then to the right to look at Alan. Seeing that neither was gravely injured, he finally relaxed a bit, and the furious, worried crease in his brows finally loosened.

Fortunately, he had finally been able to protect his companions this time.

“How were you able to enter the curse’s reach?” Shooting Star asked in disbelief.

Even Philo had no way of busting out of the spell. How was Xiao Bai able to treat it like his own backyard and rush right in?

Not only that, he even pushed “Encroaching Death” away by dozens of feet, using a barrier of white light to prevent the black fog faces from rushing back in again—Heavens! He stopped the curse so easily. Is Xiao Bai actually the strongest among the sinners or what?

“Huh?” Bai Saya blinked and asked stupidly, “What’s a curse?”

Shooting Star rolled his eyes exaggeratedly. He already knew that Xiao Bai was a fellow who asked “what’s that” in response to everything he encountered, yet Shooting Star had still been foolish enough to ask Xiao Bai a question. It wasn’t like this guy actually understood that he had rushed into a most dangerous curse that could erode even one’s bones.

He might even think that this fog is so thick because someone is burning garbage! Shooting Star thought to himself derisively.

“I’m so glad that you are both fine. I saw that the two of you were about to die to this strange black fog. I was nearly scared to death!” A panicked expression came over Bai Saya. He said, relieved, “Fortunately, I was able to save you in time. It was lucky that Barna and Markham were able to fly me over together, so that I could rescue you in time. They really flew super quickly!”

“You saw that we were injured?” Shooting Star froze for a moment, ensnared by a twinge of guilt. So, Xiao Bai already knew that this curse is dangerous, yet he still rushed in to save us…

“Yeah, I don’t know why you vomited blood from touching this fog though. Is it because this fog is too disgusting?”

Bai Saya was a little confused about it. He stared at the twisted black fog faces that had been walled off far away. Ever since he had rushed into the black fog in fury, the stone had automatically released a barrier of white light to push away the black fog faces. Therefore, he was completely unable to understand how the fog was able to hurt anyone.

It was as if Shooting Star had been dealt a heavy blow by these words. The sliver of guilt he had felt just now disappeared without a trace. What was left was the urge that always surfaced each day, the urge to “open Xiao Bai’s head to see just what was inside it.”

Bai Saya saw Shooting Star’s head drop and immediately asked in worry, “Shooting Star, what’s wrong? Don’t tell me that the black fog is still affecting you even from that distance? Then, I’ll push it farther!”

The barrier of white light that had dimmed into a soft glow abruptly brightened into blinding white again, forcibly pushing the black fog faces away.

Bai Saya gripped the Sword of Sacred White tightly, the white light coming from the Stone of Fury that was embossed on the hilt.

Okay! Power of Fury, release…

Bang!

Shooting Star clobbered Bai Saya on the head and roared, “Idiot! Stop playing around. What will you do when your fury isn’t enough to feed Roth? We haven’t even escaped from the curse’s reach yet! Quickly grab Philo and let’s scram!”

Bai Saya rubbed the back of his head and painfully said, “Oh, okay.”

“Him too,” Alan said and pointed at Pisce. As an elf who loved life, there was no way he could leave someone to die.

“Then, you carry him!” Shooting Star straightforwardly said.

Alan lowered his head to look at Pisce. Even though this person looked slim and small, so he should not be very heavy, to a slender mage, even the lightest of weights wasn’t light enough. Besides, who knew when the guy had last bathed? Body odor wafted from him, making the elf who loved cleanliness hesitate even more.

Should he follow his nature of loving all life and carry this person to save his life, or should he follow his nature of being too physically weak while loving cleanliness and directly give up on this heavy and stinky human?

The elf bent down by several degrees, but the body odor that came from the rogue who hadn’t bathed for several days, several weeks, or perhaps even several months, forced him several steps back.

In the end, the elf made a decision. Even if he did not save the rogue, Bai Saya would not sit by and do nothing. Besides, carrying people was a warrior’s responsibility in the first place, not a mage’s.

After arriving at such a good excuse, the elf who loved all life expressionlessly said, “He is too heavy. I am unable to carry him.”

Hey! You didn’t even touch him, and you already know you’re unable to carry him? Shooting Star rolled his eyes and asked extremely suspiciously, “Are you sure you’re an elf who loves all life? You actually have demon blood right? You are my kin?”

Although he had heard Shooting Star’s dig at him, both his guilty conscience and his lack of magic caused him to turn his head away to ignore him instead of bursting with lightning like usual to punish Shooting Star.

“Whatever! Xiao Bai, you can carry another one too, right?” Shooting Star had no plans to carry him himself either.

Bai Saya smiled wryly and nodded acceptingly. Then, he carried Philo over his shoulder and Pisce with his left arm, while his other hand gripped the Sword of Sacred White to maintain the protective barrier of white light. Then, he departed together with his two companions who completely lacked gratefulness and compassion.

They walked through the curse, as if they were taking a stroll in their own backyard. From time to time, someone could even be heard saying, “Hey, Alan, I’m so bored. Give me your head over here! I want to comb your hair!”

“Impossible!”

“Hahaha! It’s better for you to obediently let me comb it! I know you don’t have any magic left to zap me.”

“Do you think it takes so long for my magic to recover?”

“… I don’t care! The hair is here, so here I will comb!”

“And here is your death!”

5 Responses

  1. ArmadaTW

    There’s a typo: “Even though blood was leaking all over Shooting Star, even Encroaching Death could not put a damper on his curiously.” That should probably say “curiosity” instead.

  2. Setry

    “How am I any different? Even knowing that it’s Shooting Star… Ice Chess laughed.”
    It seems Ice Chess knows Shooting Star, or his real identity. But Shooting Star doesen’t seem to know him?

    It’s interesting how the sins can sense their guide and even look at the situation. Or maybe its a Bai Saya only ability. I wonder what Philo would do if he figures out that, that innocent looking Shooting Star is the Guide of doom and Saya a Sin.

    But the probability of figuring out the latter seems more likely since they can sense each other.

  3. Tobi

    This chapter is probably my favorite one that’s come out this month! The Checkmate concept and the demon race is so well executed.
    I wonder how Ice Chess knows Shooting Star, and especially why killing him would be a sacrifice.

    • 15B

      I think the checkmate concept itself isn’t all that special in and of itself. It’s basically the “I love you so much, I would put you before everything” relationship! But the fun part is presenting it as an immutable law that cannot be broken. With any other characters, no matter how devoted or madly in love, you could always speculate that there is a chance that something could turn them–if they held any other code higher than their loyalty and love.
      With a demon’s loyalty as a firmly unchanging constant, we can see what other variables lead to the events! Such as Ice Chess’s lack of compassion for any other creatures leading him to using such a lethal spell and not discriminating what targets he hit aside from sparing Bai Saya. For instance, even if Dan were that powerful, we know that even if that thought crossed his mind, he still has enough of a moral code that he wouldn’t employ it. It’s why Ice Chess probably downplayed how bad the consequences of the spell are to him.

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