GOD —The Beginning of the End— Volume 3: The End Begins
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 6: The Blue Star, Part One—translated by lucathia (proofread by Trespasserby)
“I don’t approve of participating in the battle.”
Dan said it bluntly, without a care that Saiximili, who had brought up the request, was also present.
Saiximili, however, did not seem to mind at all. Although he was unable to learn of the exact future, as a starseer, he knew which people were the ones who could truly affect destiny’s tracks. Dan was not among those who would guide destiny.
“But not fighting isn’t an option. I want his hands!” Shooting Star brashly gestured at the hands.
Dan frowned and looked at Bai Saya, who didn’t have a very insistent expression. Relieved, Dan said without holding back, “You don’t know anything about how to fight a battle. Your only use in the battle would be joining the battle yourself and fighting. Even if all three of us joined the battle, in terms of a war, that’s merely throwing three pebbles into a lake. We wouldn’t make much of a difference.”
“Who says?! I can be the commander!” Shooting Star lifted his chin, his face indicating that he didn’t want to be some soldier.
Dan demanded, “You know how to guard a city? Do you know what siege equipment the opponents will have? How many soldiers? What kind of soldiers? Do you know how tall the walls of White Feather are? Even when we first entered the city, you never paid any attention to how unusual the width of the bailey was between the inner and outer curtain walls. Am I right?”
“Guh!” Shooting Star was bombarded by what was said and stumbled backward by several steps. So mighty! He turned his head and asked Bai Saya in a quiet voice, “Xiao Bai, what’s a bailey?”
“No idea.” Bai Saya was also taken aback. Inner and outer curtain walls? But the walls of this city are clearly made of stone.
Dan gestured in agitation at Bai Saya and Shooting Star and accused Saiximili, “Do you believe that there would be any benefit to the battle for these two to join it?”
Saiximili answered with a gentle smile, “Of course. I am even offering myself in trade. Do you think I am joking?”
“They are merely children who have never seen war. They can’t lead soldiers in battle.”
Saiximili just looked at Dan with a smile. His knowing smile was so wide that one couldn’t help but shiver. Dan looked at him suspiciously, confused over why he was so confident.
Shooting Star glanced at Saiximili’s deep smile, then turned to look at Dan. He tilted his head in thought and smacked his hands together in realization!
Following that, Shooting Star copied Saiximili’s example and looked at Dan with a mischievous smile.
Dan was perturbed as he looked at these two people before him smiling strangely.
“Since neither of us understand warfare, while Dan, you seem to understand it well, you should be the commander!”
Bai Saya happily assigned the commander’s duty to Dan.
With what Saya had just said and the smiles the seer and Shooting Star sported, Dan came to an epiphany, too.
So that’s how it is. Once Shooting Star and Bai Saya joined the battle, Dan could not stay uninvolved. Even though he felt that he too only knew how to fight and would not be a good commander, he was probably more than qualified to command against the primitive beasts of the Southern Continent. Moreover, he even had several subordinates with battle experience in the nearby village.
Not only that, if Shooting Star’s guess and Saiximili’s divination were both correct, that meant that Alan was currently on his way to this city in a hurry. As an elf who should love peace, he was instead extremely contradictory and actually specialized in offensive lightning magic. This would be very beneficial to protecting the city.
After all, this was a continent of beasts. The beasts were not a race that specialized in magic. With a powerful mage like Alan in the fray, not only could he provide practical, offensive power, he could also deal them a mental blow.
“Sigh, although our White Feather Nation is one of the few nations of the Southern Continent, we have never started any wars and have even forbidden slavery from the start. However, what is saddening is that even though we have never treated other races as slaves, our own people are often captured and sold as exotic slaves. Every battle against our nation has been for the purpose of capturing our people. Even though we have constructed city walls that tower into the sky, it is still not enough to hinder hearts full of greed.”
The king’s expression was anguished. He lamented, “Sigh, the battle will soon be upon us. I do not know how many of our poor citizens will become slaves of others as a result and live amidst pain, never able to return to their homeland.”
Hearing that, Bai Saya was unable to hold back the passion that surged within him. He grabbed Saiximili’s hands, and righteously declared, “Saimi, don’t you worry. We will definitely stop the enemies for you and win this battle. We won’t ever allow your citizens to become slaves!”
The king showed a grateful expression at just the perfect time and emotionally declared, “Kind yet righteous sinner of Wrath, I, King Saiximili, thank you for your virtuous deed on behalf of everyone in White Feather Nation!”
“Your Majesty, you are most welcome. This is the duty of a swordsman. You need not thank me!” Bai Saya exclaimed in high spirits, emotions still running high. He finally had the chance to say what a swordsman should always say after performing a righteous deed!
Having witnessed a historical, hot-blooded act, Shooting Star scratched his cheek and turned to explain to Dan, “This time, it really has nothing to do with me!”
Dan was speechless.
Following that, Bai Saya, who was shining with righteousness, dragged Dan away, planning to have an in depth discussion with him. On the surface, it was to “discuss how to fight the battle,” when in actuality, it was to “force him to fight the battle.”
“Huh, I’ve only ever heard of checkmates being big baddies, so you get forced to do bad stuff. I never thought that if a checkmate was too righteous, you’d be even more unfortunate. Poor Dan!”
With a single sigh, Shooting Star’s compassion dried up, and he even gleefully waved at Dan who was getting dragged away.
The king relaxed a bit. “Now, White Feather Nation finally has a commander who can lead us in battle.”
This could not be helped. The avians loved peace too much. They had no one among them who knew how to fight a war. For this reason, White Feather had such a towering and sturdy city gate.
The city looked like it had a large city gate, but in reality, it was just something carved in the shape of a gate. They did not actually have a large door, only a small steel one that allowed merchants to enter for trade. Once war broke out, the avians would heat up the steel door and melt it into the stone, melding the door and the city wall together, making it impossible to ever open it again.
After all, the avians had wings. They did not need to enter or leave through a door.
Moreover, if an avian were to leave the city, they often got captured and ended up as a slave. Therefore, White Feather Nation was used to being self-sufficient since long ago. Not only did the city possess a large quantity of fields, it even had all sorts of water sources, from rivers to numerous wells, in case their source of water got poisoned.
To sum it up, the avians were clearly declaring: If you want to attack, we dare you to do it! The power of our entire nation and hundreds of years of endlessly strengthening our walls isn’t just for show. If you want to lay siege, then come! After all, the ones who will die of hunger or thirst in the end will definitely not be us!
But for this same reason, the avians who depended heavily on the city walls were complete novices at fighting a war.
No matter how strong their defense was, Saiximili still used himself as a bargaining chip to make Shooting Star and company join the battle. Not only did he want to stop the enemy, he needed to defeat them even more in order to use this as a learning opportunity on the ways of war for his people. This was because he knew that his position as a starseer would be even more important than his duty as a king in the days to follow.
He must leave White Feather Nation where he had lived his entire life for unfamiliar lands. He had to guide these companions who did not look very dependable, and who could very well lead to the world’s doom.
Saiximili shook his head despondently. What made going down this misguided path even worse was that he had never wished to set foot upon it, yet he had been forced onto this path.
“Hey, Saimi, how did you know Dan would never ignore anything to do with Xiao Bai?”
At this time, Shooting Star’s voice dragged the remorseful seer’s attention back. Shooting Star deliberately pretended to be curious, but he was actually inwardly alarmed. I won’t hold knowing about the Stones of Sin against Saimi since that stuff’s way fantastical anyway, but he actually knows all about something like Bai Saya being Dan’s checkmate? Could the king of White Feather have been monitoring us all along?
“How could I know that? What I know is that you are the ones who will guide destiny, so you will not easily perish on the battlefield. In order to survive in battle, naturally, you must win. Therefore, as long as I drag the two of you into White Feather’s battle, then my nation will naturally come out victorious.”
Saiximili displayed a profound and gentle smile, but what he was saying was very irresponsible.
“… Has it ever crossed your mind that according to what you’ve told us earlier, even if I kick the bucket, there’s another group out there with the Guide of Existence who can continue onward?”
Shooting Star reminded the seer.
Saiximili’s fair finger lightly rested upon his chin. He appeared as if he were pondering the difficult question of how the universe came to be. Then, with a saintly expression of sacrifice, he said, “If such a development occurs, then we should hand destiny off to the other group!”
The world may actually be better off if that happens, and I can continue to remain in White Feather as its king and will not need to traverse the whole wide world.
Saiximili suddenly felt that the future seemed brighter…
Shooting Star growled, “To hell with that! I definitely won’t die. I’ll definitely take you in as my pet. Be ready to hold a torch!”
…and now it was dark again.
“Saya, do you really wish to fight this battle?”
After getting dragged away by Bai Saya, Dan felt helpless but did not plan on easily giving in and fighting a battle they did not need to participate in. He was truly unwilling to join, so even if it were the will of his checkmate, he would… do his utmost to convince him against it.
Dan felt that he had fallen very low.
Bai Saya asked solemnly, “Dan, be honest with me. Is what Saimi said true? Do avians often get captured as slaves? You work with the Guild. You should be very clear about this, right?”
Dan was a little surprised, having not considered that Bai Saya would have learned to ask for confirmation first.
He nodded and said, “The avian slaves in the market have mostly been captured a long time ago and are getting on in years. These avians don’t go for a high price. On the other hand, young avians are much rarer, and their price is only slightly lower than an elf’s and could even be priceless. Some days ago, I heard that the Fischer Merchant Guild seems to want to incite the beasts to attack White Feather Nation to acquire avian war slaves to sell to them.”
Even though Dan did not wish to get involved in this battle, he knew he could not lie to Bai Saya. After all, Shooting Star was around, and that devious demon seemed to have seen plenty. If Bai Saya went to him to seek confirmation, exposing Dan’s lies, Bai Saya would definitely be extremely angry. He wouldn’t easily believe Dan’s words anymore in the future. That wasn’t something Dan could allow to happen.
“This means that Saimi was telling the truth?” The righteousness shimmering in Bai Saya’s eyes grew even stronger.
“He should be,” Dan could not help but admit.
“Wonderful!” Bai Saya clenched his fists in high spirits.
You want to help other people that much? Dan suddenly felt that his stomach hurt. The pain seemed to warn him that this kind of thing was probably going to happen a lot in the future.
“Saya, have you killed people before?” Dan smiled bitterly and asked a key question. If Bai Saya could not even kill someone, then he would definitely not allow his checkmate to participate in the battle. A battle was built upon corpses.
“Yes?” Bai Saya simply nodded and responded, “Plenty too.”
“Plenty?” Dan was stunned. He had not thought that Bai Saya would give him this kind of answer.
“In the past when I was on the Eastern Continent, Shifu often took me to kill dastardly bandits or flower thieves who violated women. Ever since I turned fifteen, Shifu has had me kill evil people with my own hands.”
Then, how are you still so naïve and innocent? Dan did not understand this at all.
“However, it may be because Shifu left this world too early and was not in time to teach me this, but I do not know how to determine which people should be killed, and which should not be…”
Bai Saya frowned, having recalled unpleasant memories. He quietly murmured, “It was only after leaving my homeland that I discovered that people are extremely complicated. Some people’s conduct make me feel they should die no matter what, yet when I am about to rid the world of this evil, that person’s wife and children would shout for me not to kill him. He has his troubles…”
Bai Saya looked bitterly toward Dan and helplessly said, “In the end, I became less and less able to deal the final blow. When I am about to strike to kill, I would begin to wonder if this person has a wife or a child, or if he is facing some sort of hardship he cannot solve. After overthinking, I can no longer swing my sword.”
Dan understood now.
“However, after meeting Shooting Star, it has actually become easier again.” Bai Saya’s sorrowful expression turned cheerful instead. “After all, killing or not killing isn’t my decision to make. At first, I still had to make sure to prevent Shooting Star from fooling around, but now that Alan has joined us, I don’t even have to worry about that anymore!”
So, you have completely given up on thinking? Only now did Dan understand the truth behind why Bai Saya had become more and more naïve as time passed. He had returned to his natural state!
“Oh!” Bai Saya suddenly thought of something. He solemnly said, “Dan, don’t think that changing the topic will make me forget about the battle. This battle is one we must fight!”
Dan persuaded patiently, “Saya, battle is very cruel. A lot of people will perish. You just told me that you are unable to deal the final blow. A battle requires you to kill. There is absolutely no room for hesitation.”
However, Bai Saya interrupted him without a second thought.
“Is it not cruel to allow these avians to be captured and live a life worse than death, a life of slavery? Before, I could not follow through because I am just one person. If I make a wrong judgment call, at most I can only pay with my own life. However, I am no longer alone now. When I need to protect the important people behind me, I will kill all enemies before me without the slightest hesitation!”
Dan was stunned. He actually saw Bai Saya’s gentle amber eyes slowly darken into a deep, brownish red, appearing a bit like… drying blood!
“I wish to join the battle not just for the sake of the avians. What Saimi said also worries me. He said that Shooting Star is the Guide of Doom. Doom…”
This word made Bai Saya frown and his heart feel uneasy. When he lifted his head again, only determination could be seen on his face. He resolutely said, “Even if it isn’t for the avians, I would join for Shooting Star and even more for myself. After all, I possess a Stone of Sin. According to Saimi, I am Wrath, right? I believe that in our journey to come, we will have need of the starseer Saimi.”
Dan gazed at Bai Saya. It turns out that Saya is not as naïve as I thought, but that’s a good thing. I won’t have to overly worry about him.
He pondered for a moment and nodded. “I understand. I will prepare for battle, but I will need Shooting Star and your complete cooperation, as well as Alan’s help, to be able to seize victory.”
Bai Saya was grateful from the bottom of his heart. He understood that Dan did not need to do any of this. Dan was doing this for him.
“Thank you, Dan. I will do everything I can. At the same time, I will make sure that Shooting Star and Alan also give it their all.”
Dan nodded. He began to consider the battle as a whole. The Fischer Merchant Guild was not an entity one would wish to cross, especially when he was acting on his own. The enemy had an entire guild behind them. Their resources were way too different. Fortunately, White Feather Nation had outrageously tall walls. Destroying them would not be an easy task…
He needed to strategize.
“Hey, Saimi, aren’t you too laidback?”
Shooting Star brashly stuck his hands on his waist and yelled at the king who was sitting on the throne. Even he couldn’t bear to keep watching. There was actually someone even more skilled at lazing around than him, the genuine successor of the School of Lazing Around! How can this be acceptable?
Saiximili sat elegantly on the throne. A high table was in front of him, but there were no documents, maps, or any drawings depicting how the soldiers would be assigned on it. There was only a clear crystal ball on top of it.
This king is really not taking it seriously at all! Shooting Star rolled his eyes. Ever since he had gotten up this morning, the king, who wasn’t doing his job, had been staring at the crystal ball. After Shooting Star finished breakfast and came to pass the time, the king was still sitting on the throne, staring at the crystal ball. Now, Shooting Star was even done with lunch, and the king was actually still staring at the crystal ball. He didn’t have battle in sight at all. The only thing in his eyes was that crystal ball!
This also made Shooting Star very curious. Just what is in the crystal ball for him to look at it an entire morning? He could not help but shove his head over to stare at the crystal ball.
Saiximili did not react at all to a head taking over his space. His consciousness was currently wandering in the world of starseers, a condition similar to drifting about in space. The Milky Way filled the sky, every single star representing a person, while the trajectory of each star revealed the path each person’s life would take.
In the world of starseers, Saiximili himself was a star, so he could not move around. Neither could he move eyes that did not exist. His vision was limited. This highlighted the limits of a starseer’s power.
Even then, he could still see that the blue star had almost reached the intersection of an orbit, and it was an intersection of grave importance. This intersection would determine the future of the blue star, and it would influence the direction the entire world would take.
It is time to light the way and have the Guide make a decision…
Saiximili slowly pulled his consciousness away from the starry universe, returning to the normal world. He worried over running out of time. He needed to find the Guide of Doom in the shortest amount of time possible and have him make his decision immediately.
He lifted his head…
A pair of large, sparkling golden eyes, with an expression like that of a foodie who had seen bear’s paws, was currently staring at the hands Saiximili had placed on top of the crystal ball.
“So beautiful. Such beautiful hands!”
Shooting Star gazed emotionally at this pair of fair, slim hands. This was what true beauty looked like! It was a hundred times prettier than some glass orb that he couldn’t make heads or tails of!
The king was gasping for breath. R-really, next time I must find a secluded location when I meditate. I was nearly frightened to death…
Shooting Star asked in great suspicion, “There’s nothing in the crystal ball. You were staring at it for so long. Don’t tell me you were sleeping with your eyes open?”
Can people sleep with their eyes open? Saiximili did not believe that he could learn this kind of high level skill. Then, he immediately remembered the matter at hand. We are running out of time!
He coughed twice and quickly stood up. He lifted the crystal ball with both hands, grave responsibility reflected on his face. He used a distant voice to say, “I had not thought that my first duty as a starseer would leave us so little time to act.”
Crunch, crunch… Shooting Star chewed on the avian’s local specialty, wild mushroom crackers.
“Guide of Doom, your time to choose your companion has arrived. A fork has appeared in the path of the blue star. One path leads to becoming your companion. The other leads the opposite way, never to cross yours again.”
Slurp, slurp… Shooting Star drank a mouthful of the juice Xiao Bai had bought for him.
Saiximili did his best to ignore the sounds of eating. With great difficulty, he maintained the mysterious demeanor of a seer.
“Tell me, Guide of Doom, do you wish to choose this blue star to become your companion on the path ahead of you, or do you wish to let him leave and wait for the next star to appear?”
“A blue star?” Shooting Star pouted. “But I don’t like the color blue.”
Don’t like the color blue… Saiximili fell over. Sigh, fine! Making a decision based on color is at least better than deciding by flipping a gold ducat.
“Then, you do not want the blue star?”
Saiximili remained expressionless. He suddenly felt that no matter how profound his image as a seer was, he would be no more mysterious than a cracker of unknown flavors to this boy. There was no need for him to make things difficult for himself. He should just quickly finish saying everything and wrap things up.
Saiximili slowly lowered the crystal ball. Then, there is no need to trigger the crossroad…
“Wait!” Shooting Star suddenly shouted.
Saiximili froze and only lifted his head to look at Shooting Star without any expression.
Shooting Star asked doubtfully, “I remember you saying yesterday that the blue star is Alan, right?”
So you actually heard what I said yesterday? The king felt moved. He immediately answered, “I am unable to tell you an actual name. A starseer is only knows about stars.”
Shooting Star crossed his arms over his chest, a doubtful expression coming over his face.
So is that star Alan or not? If it was, he of course wanted Alan to come back. But if it isn’t, then what? It was fine if it wasn’t Alan, but if the person wasn’t pretty at all and was actually an ugly pig, then Shooting Star would be in deep trouble!
The king honestly said, “You still have ten seconds left to decide. Nine, eight, seven… Do you want him or not? Make your decision! Three… two…”
Ah! I don’t care anymore! If that blue star isn’t Alan and doesn’t look pretty either, I’ll just toss them to the roadside later on. It would be better than Alan not being able to return!
Shooting Star made his decision and shouted, “I want him!”
One! Crossroad, activate!
Blue light burst forth from the crystal ball, but the light vanished after a mere moment. It had all happened so quickly that it could have been a trick of the eye, making one wonder if anything strange had happened at all.
From start to finish, Shooting Star didn’t know what exactly was going. He had a confused expression on his face as he turned to ask Saiximili, “Did it succeed?” Although he asked about its success or failure, he didn’t actually know what “it” was.
However, the seer had on the same confused expression as him and answered, “I do not know. The time cut too close. I do not know if we made it in time.”
“What!” Shooting Star cried out in alarm, “If that blue star is Alan, what will we do if he can’t make it back? It’s all your fault!”
“You were the one who decided too slowly!”
Saiximili could not believe this person. He actually pushed all the blame on someone else. What was even sadder was that this person was his Guide, and he had a fifty percent chance of deciding the future of the world.
“Guh!” Shooting Star frowned. Will my golden-haired pet really be unable to return?
In the end, he stubbornly yelled, “I don’t care anymore. Come with me to find Alan. In any case, you’re useless here, Your Majesty!”
Saiximili was speechless. Don’t you feel that a king is the most useful when he stays obediently in his own kingdom?