The Legend of Sun Knight Volume 3: To the Rescue of a Princess
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Seventh Requirement of Rescuing a Princess: “A Must for Every Adventure – Sacrifice” – translated by dahlys
I slowly opened my eyes, only to feel that this situation felt rather familiar… I almost thought that I had gotten so drunk that I had passed out again and was lying in a room at an inn, but then I remembered that I hadn’t had anything alcoholic to drink.
With my memories returning, I mumbled to myself, “That’s right, I fainted because I used up all my holy light performing the purification.”
My eyes began to focus, and the feeling in my body gradually came back. I immediately deduced that I had been dumped in the forest and not in an inn. That was because the sun was blinding my eyes and my whole body was sore from sleeping on the hard ground!
I crawled to my feet with my back aching terribly and looked around me. Excellent! This is a perfectly normal part of the forest. I was surrounded by trees and the ground was covered in dirt. Thankfully I was not in a grand palace, or on a snow-white floor… That would have made me think I had returned to the embrace of the God of Light.
But, where are Teacher and Aldrizzt?
Still in pain, I stood up and noticed a piece of paper float to the ground from my body. I picked it up and recognized Teacher’s handwriting with one glance. Teacher’s handwriting was just as elegant as himself, extravagant yet precise, just like a pleasing work of art. The only drawback was that… it was so beautiful it was nearly illegible.
Teacher’s script has become even more graceful after three years… Was this word “student” or “kebab”? Since the message was meant for me, it should be “student,” right?
Then again, if the purification had failed and Teacher did not obtain the “Eternal Tranquility,” then this word could very well be “kebab”… Teacher could have been so angry that he left a note saying he was going to turn me into a human kebab, and had gone to find firewood for the subsequent barbecue.
I don’t care! I took the word to be “student” and continued reading.
The purification was a complete success and the land of darkness has become just a normal mountain cave. The “Eternal Tranquility” was also successfully obtained and is now hanging around your neck.
Astounded, I looked down. Indeed, I was wearing a necklace made of an azure gem tied securely to a black string… Why on earth is Teacher making me carry the Eternal Tranquility around? Could this gem be dangerous?
I immediately continued reading the letter.
Don’t worry, this gem is perfectly harmless.
… Teacher understands me so well.
It’s just that this gem emanates too much power, so if Teacher carries it, I will be constantly annoyed by swarms of mages seeking it. After careful consideration, I have determined that only your strong light element can conceal its strong water element. Hence, I place this gem in your temporary safekeeping. To prevent mages from learning of its existence, never take it off. If they do, things will get problematic for you.
Severe Warning: DO NOT SELL THE GEM! I will look for you when I need it. If it is lost, you are dead.
Your dearest teacher.
And he still dares to say this gem is perfectly harmless… Although the gem itself won’t explode, the mages it attracts specialize in blowing people up.
I really wanted to cry but no tears came out. I dared not defy Teacher, so I had no choice but to stuff the “Eternal Tranquility” under my clothes to hide it from the view of potential thieves.
After putting away the gem and the letter, I inspected my surroundings only to find that I was nowhere near the cave. I did not know where Teacher had taken me to and I was surrounded by trees, so how was I supposed to return to Leaf now?
My only option now was to sense the elements. I sighed. It was hard to believe that such a shocking and extraordinary ability, when in my possession, would be most useful when I get lost.
As I did not know how far away Leaf was, I extended my senses to the maximum. After a short while, I found him. The party was not too far away; so I could reach them in half a day’s journey. This was quite surprising. Aldrizzt had probably used the Spell of Flight to transport me quite a distance while I was unconscious.
What I sensed after that was even more shocking. The dark element was very strong near Leaf and the others… Had they actually caught up with the dark knight?
Although I knew that no dark knight could defeat the Son of the God of War, I still had a bad feeling about it. Everybody’s elements were unusually weak, a sign that they had used up a lot of strength. Only battling could consume so much of a warrior’s strength.
In particular, Leaf’s element of light was being depleted too quickly. This was not the speed one would lose power while using holy light…
A shiver ran down my spine. I put my hand in front of my chest and shouted, “Dragon’s Saint Brigandine, as the descendent of the dragon, I command you, Activate!”
After putting on Dragon’s Saint Brigandine, I sprinted towards Leaf and the others with the speed of the wind.
My sense of foreboding grew stronger when I sensed that Leaf was losing more and more light element. This spurred me on, and I leapt over one clump of bushes after another. My heart was beating so frantically that I felt like it would burst any second. My stitches throbbed so badly that I became numb to them. I took one deep breath after another, because if I did not do this, I could not continue doing such a vigorous activity…
Hurry to Leaf’s side! Hurry!
Wearing Dragon’s Saint Brigandine, I finished half a day’s journey in two hours of running. Before approaching Leaf and company, I removed Dragon’s Saint Brigandine. Then I jumped out of the bushes and although my eyes immediately understood the situation, my heart still sank…
It was a large clearing long bereft of trees, surrounded by forest debris. The ground was charred and covered with potholes. It was obvious that a very intense battle had taken place here.
Mike was covered in wounds, his armor scratched and dented. He could barely even stand, and had to lean on a broken tree trunk for support. He seemed to be in a daze.
Ann sat on the ground, also staring blankly.
Austin was doing his best to cast Heal even though it was not in his area of expertise. The person he was trying to heal was Leaf… Leaf lay on his back, his bow beside him. But he was not holding the bow.
At this point, Mike and Austin noticed me. They raised their heads and looked at me with pale faces. Austin opened his mouth, but did not say anything. It was as if he no longer knew what to say.
As I walked over, I shifted my focus to Leaf’s face. His eyes were closed, and he was clearly unconscious.
“Leaf?” I called gently.
He did not respond, but the three around him did. Ann choked, then collapsed to the ground, trying her best to suppress her sobs.
Why is she crying? There’s no reason to cry…
I walked to Leaf’s side and sensed that the light element in his body was flowing away bit by bit, gradually being replaced by the dark element.
Suddenly, common sense dawned on me.
The dark element could only encroach upon a holy knight when he had been corrupted, or after he was dead.
Leaf! A sharp pain ran throughout my body, as if my whole body were disintegrating starting with my heart…
Unable to look at Leaf anymore, I turned around, strode towards Mike, and grabbed him by the shoulders. I even felt like I could crush his shoulder armor. I said, trembling, “How could Leaf die? With you, the Son of the God of War, in the front lines, how could an archer in the back row die?”
If, if I find out that you had purposely let Leaf die, I will never forgive you!
Mike’s face became even paler after I spoke. Flustered, he said, “We caught up with that dark knight and fought with them for a day and a night, and still could not defeat them… In the end, they bypassed us and only killed Elmy.”
Austin shouted hurriedly, “Sun Knight, calm down. They—”
Although he said to calm down, Austin’s voice trembled as he said, “When they departed, they left us a message for you …”
I glared angrily at Austin, but could not ignore the numerous wounds all over his body. It was clear that the three of them had been in a tough fight. In fact, there were fewer wounds on Leaf than there were on Mike and Ann.
After Austin had taken several deep breaths, he said, “They said that even if you caught up with them, you could not possibly defeat them after you had used Resurrection. So, please do not go after them.”
The color drained from my face. So, the only reason they killed Leaf was to delay me.
Although Mike and the others lost, they were strong enough that the enemy would also be heavily injured. If I went after them, I might really catch up… Wait! I hesitated for a moment. Why would the enemy fear me when I presented myself as a weakling?
I shook my head violently. I was too confused now to think clearly. No matter what, they would never have dared to kill Leaf if I could not use Resurrection.
Judging by that dark knight’s strength, he must be a very important person in the Cathedral of the Shadow God. He actually dared to kill the Leaf Knight of the Church of the God of Light. If Leaf really remained dead, an all-out war between the Church of the God of Light and the Cathedral of the Shadow God would inevitably begin.
By now, I had already lost my will. I started to wonder… Why did Resurrection cause another crisis? Last time it nearly killed Adair, while this time it actually directly caused Leaf’s death.
Is Resurrection…saving people, or killing them?
Once people know that they can be resurrected, do they begin to disregard life?
At this moment, Ann, who had been quiet for a long time, suddenly jumped up and screamed, “You have absolutely no reason to blame Mike. Where were you when we were fighting so hard? Where were you? Tell me!”
I let go of Mike and staggered two steps backward. Although I left them to act as a scout, I did not return immediately upon clarifying the situation. Instead, I hung out with Teacher and Aldrizzt for a few days.
“I thought that there would be no problem…With the combined strength of the Son of the God of War, a warpriest, and Leaf’s archery, there is no way you would lose to a mere dark knight and a wind mage. How could you lose? How?”
I muttered to myself; making excuses, searching for a reason. If I did not do this, the first person I would kill as revenge for Leaf’s death would most probably be… myself!
“They had a strong helper, an incredibly powerful one……” Austin began to hyperventilate, as if just by recalling that person, he had to consume an infinite amount of energy. He said weakly, “It was a shadowpriest.”
“A shadowpriest.” The words struck my brain like lightning, and I understood instantly.
While clerics were specialists in healing and warpriests experts in supporting their allies, shadowpriests focused on offensive magic. Their attack style was very similar to that of necromancers. It could even be said that shadowpriests were evolved versions of necromancers. That is, necromancers with the aid of the Shadow God.
Luckily, shadowpriests were very, very few in number. They were so rare that even the Cathedral of the Shadow God dared not let them wander outside, so great would be their loss if even one died.
Austin murmured to himself, “That shadowpriest was unbelievably strong. How could the shadowpriest be so powerful? How…”
Mike said grimly, “That dark knight was also very strong. Maybe he was the representative of the Shadow God!”
I glanced at the Son of the God of War. He was indeed not involved in politics. He did not even know that the representative of the Shadow God was not a dark knight. But even if he weren’t the representative, that dark knight was definitely an important person in the Cathedral of the Shadow God. Otherwise, it would be impossible for him to fight against the Son of the God of War for a day and a night.
But all those questions were unimportant… for now.
I took a deep breath and told the three of them, “I’m going to cast Resurrection.”
All three people stood there in a daze. Austin asked politely, “Do we have to leave?”
I shook my head and said, “No. I need your protection. Do not let anything get near me, not even a falling leaf!”
The three of them nodded resolutely. Among them, Austin’s eyes were unusually bright. But there was nothing weird about that, because any priest would have that expression on their face when they knew they were going to witness the execution of a top-level holy spell like Resurrection. If there were clerics of Light here, they would already be screaming and shouting in excitement.
I asked meticulously, “How long has Leaf been dead?”
“Approximately two hours,” Austin replied accurately.
I nodded. I had ample time to cast the spell. I drew a large circle where Leaf lay, then turned to face the three of them. I said, “From now onwards, no matter what I do, do not talk to me. Also, don’t ever let anything enter this circle.”
All three of them nodded seriously once more. They stood up at the same time and formed a triangle outside the circle, using their actions to express their determination.
Seeing this, I relaxed. With these three people around, unless the dark knight and shadowpriest attacked again… I hesitated. Could this be their plan? Were they waiting for an opportunity to annihilate us while Leaf was being revived?
I examined Leaf. The cause of death was a thin blade that had pierced his heart. The wound was very small and precise. I was a little relieved by this. A shadowpriest should know that the more a corpse was damaged, the harder it would be to revive it. If their real intention had been to annihilate us, they would not have killed Leaf using such a precise wound.
Although I still had many misgivings, I no longer had the luxury of fretting over them. I unsheathed the Divine Sun Sword from my waist and, using the sword as a writing utensil, drew the magic circle used for resurrection.
After drawing the circle, I looked at Leaf in silence. Although he died a violent death, he appeared to be at peace. Other than the fact that his face was rather pale, one could not tell that he would never open his eyes again.
In fact, the edges of his lips were curled into a faint smile…
He had always been happy-go-lucky, so much that one could say he was resigned to whatever fate was drawn for him. Although the Leaf Knight was supposed to have this kind of personality, which member of the Twelve Holy Knights was not a hypocrite? Earth is neither honest nor sincere, and since when have I ever been a benevolent philanthropist?
“Speaking of Earth… As children, whenever we had an argument, you would always be the mediator. You would run to-and-fro between the two of us, using your smile to contradict our frowns, until we were willing to talk to each other once more.”
“There was one time when we would not reconcile no matter what. In the end, you stood between us and bawled your eyes out. You cried so miserably that even Judgment turned up and glared at Earth and me dangerously. Because of that, we had to forget about our argument and work together to console you and beg you to stop crying.”
I kept recalling past events, right to the very beginning…
“I remember the first time I saw you, you had a smile on your face. I may be able to smile more brilliantly than you, appearing more trustworthy. I may be able to smile a hundred times more attractively than you, but I could never smile as sincerely as you. Your smile was like that of a comfortable breeze…”
I remained silent for quite some time before saying, “Actually, I really hate your smile. Your smile feels like it is mocking me, mocking how fake my smile is. Isn’t it ironic how people think I am a kind person, when the genuinely good person is you?”
“So, I loved to bully you. Even now I am bullying you… But you always refused to get angry. Is it so difficult to yell at me even once? In the end, the only rebellious thing you ever did was driving nails into voodoo dolls!”
I growled uncontrollably, “Why must you be so kind! You idiot!”
I kept recollecting the past, remembering… until my face was wet with tears. Drop by drop, my tears fell on the ground beside Leaf’s feet. I cried until I had no other wish than to see Leaf open his eyes again.
Leaf, I will not let you die. I will also not let you revive with any flaws! I will never let you be revived as anything less than perfect! Never!
I closed my eyes and resisted the urge to cry. I raised my head to look at the sky, the untouchable sun and the unseen God of Light.
Slowly, I opened my mouth. Every word and every sentence I said was clear and distinct.
“Oh God of Light! Please listen to my repentance, and listen to my stupidity. I declared that the holy knights were the most important to the Sun Knight. I declared that all the holy knights were mine, and that nobody is allowed to harm them. However, I abandoned Elmairy Leaf when he was in danger. I failed to fulfill my responsibilities as a comrade, and I was not beside him…”
I took a deep breath and prayed, “All this is my fault. No words can express my deep sin. I am willing to pay any price. I only beg you not to take Elmairy Leaf back to your side.”
“Oh God of Light! I swear to you, I am willing to pay any price to see Elmairy Leaf open his eyes once more. Please use the blood in my left arm to move his left arm. Please use the blood in my right arm to move his right arm…”
I pressed the sharp edge of the Divine Sun Sword to my left arm, letting my blood flow along the blade, finally dripping onto Leaf’s left arm. Next was his right arm, both legs…
Only when Leaf’s entire body was covered in my blood did I begin the next step of the ritual… I ran the Divine Sun Sword through the fatal wound in his heart.
Then, I knelt down and looked to the sky with both arms raised, praying to the faraway, unseen God of Light…
Please return a complete and perfect Leaf to me. For that, I can pay any price.
Please return a complete Leaf to me.
Return him to me!
I bowed my head down and slowly gripped the Divine Sun Sword. Holy light radiated from my body and concentrated on the sword. From the Divine Sun Sword, the holy light spread throughout Leaf’s body, chasing away the dark element that had gathered inside his body. At last, Leaf’s body was filled with so much holy light that he could barely be seen through the sphere of light.
I did my best and maintained this position for a long, long time…
To preserve my consciousness for the following ritual, I ended the transfer of holy light while I still had some left. I stood up and slowly removed the Divine Sun Sword. As I pulled the sword out, the fatal sword wound was healed by the remaining holy light.
Finally, when the Divine Sun Sword had left Leaf’s body, I tossed it aside. Without delay, I slammed the holy light in my palm onto the part of Leaf’s chest where his heart was.
At this moment, Leaf inhaled sharply and his body arched like a bow. His body convulsed repeatedly as he coughed violently. From his expression, I could tell that he was in great pain.
Seeing this, I heaved a sigh of relief. I nearly cried. At least, Leaf had revived.
After coughing for a while, Leaf summoned enough energy to face me and say, “S-Sun…”
I stared at Leaf. Good, he appeared to be sound and his voice seemed normal. From his general appearance, nothing seemed to be missing.
My vision turned black, and my consciousness faded. My last sensation before I fainted was of falling to the side…
When I regained consciousness, my first impression was that someone was calling my name. That person helped me up. I turned my head to see who it was, but everything was pitch black. Maybe I hadn’t opened my eyes?
I blinked. No, my eyes were definitely open.
I heard Leaf’s voice. It was very close… I turned my head to face him, but could not see him through the darkness. Damn! How was I supposed to confirm if Leaf had any side effects from being revived?
I frowned and felt around for the source of the voice with my hands. I touched Leaf’s face. It did not feel any different from a normal person’s face. I sighed with relief. At least, there was nothing wrong with the most important part, his face.
At this moment, Leaf’s voice trembled as he said, “Your eyes…”
I was stunned for a moment. Only then did I remember, my eyes…
Some time passed, during which, Leaf gasped many times and even cast Heal on me repeatedly. At last, I heard the sounds of choking. It was obvious he was so panicky he no longer knew what to do…
Finally, I smiled as I told him, “I’m fine now. When I woke up, my vision blacked out temporarily. I was probably just too tired. Sorry for scaring you.”
On hearing my words, Leaf started breathing more rapidly. He asked anxiously, “Sun, tell me how many fingers I’m holding up?”
I was silent for a while.
Almost bursting into tears, Leaf said, “Sun…”
I snickered and laughed. “Hahaha! It’s two. Look how anxious you are. I really was too tired just now, so my vision blacked out for a moment.”
Leaf spaced out for a moment, then shouted uncontrollably, “You! You nearly scared me to death! Haven’t you repented your sins? I thought you would never bully me again.”
So he heard it… Damn! Embarrassment turned into anger, and I said, “I did repent, but I never said that I would not do it again!”
Leaf sniffed as he yelled, “You really are… Did you know how worried I was? I’m really mad at you.”
Good! This ought to count as a roar of anger, right? Deep down, I was overjoyed. After so many years, the “Make Leaf Angry” plan had finally borne fruit! This was so touching.
“Okay, that’s enough! Let’s stop playing and chase the dark knight who dared to kill you. Mike and the rest of you, please come here quickly. I will heal your wounds!”
I picked up the Divine Sun Sword and laughed boisterously as I stood up, planning to walk toward Mike and the rest. However, I did not notice the pothole next to my feet. I missed my footing and stumbled two steps forward. If I had not been gripping my sword tightly, I would have fallen down.
There was silence all around.
I quickly straightened and smiled as I said, “Why are you guys so quiet? Performing Resurrection is very tiring. My legs gave way, that’s all.”
Leaf interrupted me and choked, “Sun, you can’t see anymore, right? Don’t lie to me. And don’t chase that dark knight’s group just to let them slash at your eyes so that you can hide that fact. I know what you are thinking. Don’t do that, please…”
I fell silent for a while, and then I forced a smile and said, “What nonsense are you spouting? I saw that you were holding up two fingers! How could a blind person see that? You are really dumb, Leaf.”
Leaf suddenly grabbed my hands and squeezed them tightly. He sniveled and begged, “Please…”
I said plainly, “I am not blind, Leaf. You are thinking too much.”
“Cut the crap.” At this point, Mike growled impatiently, “Sun, how many fingers is this?”
I paused for a moment, and then replied, “One.”
Mike asked again, “What about this?”
“Do you take me for an idiot?!” Upset, I said, “Neither of your hands are even raised!”
Mike muttered a few phrases under his breath. He then said, “Elmy, stop crying. He really isn’t blind!”
Leaf sounded confused as he said, “I don’t understand……”
I reassured him, “You were just revived, so it can’t be helped if your mind is a little disoriented. Don’t think too hard and sleep as much as you can first. Don’t worry, if you do not want us to chase the dark knight, then we won’t. This is just as well, since you need a good rest and I am also worn out from performing Resurrection. Let us return to the nearby Forest Leaf Town to rest.”
I did not hear Leaf’s response, so I asked him, “Is that okay?”
However, the three of them remained silent. I could not figure out what was going on, yet did not dare to open my mouth recklessly. After a while, Leaf said gently, “Sun, I just nodded.”
I spoke plainly, “My apologies, I didn’t notice. I ran here like mad, and then performed Resurrection, so I am very tired. I only want to rest. Stop imagining things, otherwise I will worry whether or not Resurrection had any side effects, such as hallucination, for example.”
Leaf fell silent for a while. He then said, “Okay, let us rest before deciding what to do. Let me carry you to town!”
“No.” I said wearily, “You were just revived. Don’t force yourself to do anything. You are more in need of rest than I am.”
At this moment, Mike interrupted, “I’ll carry you. Let Ann carry Leaf.”
Upon hearing this, my impression of Mike improved significantly. I nodded in appreciation and cast Minor Heal on both Mike and Ann. Although it did not make much of a difference, and Austin was still heavily injured, I was powerless to do more.
After crawling on Mike’s back, I slept like a log. On the way to town, I woke up a few times but was so dizzy I fell asleep again soon after.
At last, we reached Forest Leaf Town. I finally got off the rock-hard back and lay on a soft bed. I had a vague impression of Leaf and the others asking me something, but I hadn’t heard clearly. Offhandedly, I told them to decide for themselves, then rolled over and ignored them. Only when I was so hungry that I could not bear it did I call for them. I was comfortably fed. After that, I lay down again and slept.