The snow fluttered about and fell gently, burying any traces of evil.
If outsiders were to ask what the most important holiday on Hong Yue Continent was, everyone would answer New Year’s Day. Alternatively, if they were asking after the most beautiful festival, then the citizens of Providence City would tell them that it was the Snow Sculpture Festival.
On this day, all of the city’s inhabitants brought their own hand-made snow sculpture to the central square and wrote the name and address of the person they wished to gift it to. After the exhibition came to a conclusion, within any time period from one to five days someone would be assigned to deliver the snow sculpture to the recipient indicated. Those who received a snow sculpture were said to be blessed—they would have good luck for the entire year.
Furthermore, all of the snow sculptures were treated with special alchemical water, so they would not melt on their own.
Evan had been in a daze for a long time, holding a pencil. He could not think of a design for making his own snow sculpture that could be regarded as ‘universally shocking’ or ‘exceedingly refined’. The most difficult part was that it must be huge.
The elegantly shaped eyebrows that the prince was so intensely proud of were pinched together so tightly it was like they were one. From a distance, they currently looked like caterpillars and thoroughly destroyed the image of the number one handsome man of the martial arts department.
After sighing for the twentieth time, Evan finally resigned himself to put pen to paper once again. The pencil lead was once again dragged painfully across the paper, its tip making a screeching sound reminiscent of anguished wailing. Finally, the pencil tip could no longer bear the repeatedly torture of its owner, so it broke off. It was like a gecko compelled to sever its own tail, looking extremely pitiful.
Evan blanked for a moment, then turned to look at the indifferent ‘demon’ next to him with a silent accusation in his eyes.
Everything was steady and stable with the ‘demon’ seated there, not even a single eyelash trembled. Xi Wei stated in a monotonous, ruthless, and cold voice, “The Snow Sculpture Festival is in ten hours, eight minutes, and fifty-seven seconds.”
Accurate to the second.
When he heard the correct time, he knew he could not just waste natural resources recklessly if he was going to get into the tallest tower in Providence City.
Once Xi Wei learned of the Snow Sculpture Festival, he forced Evan, who was likely versed in the four arts1, to start thinking about the most creative design for a snow sculpture. In order to save his older sister, Evan endured it without complaint and set himself to complete this arduous task.
However, the royal prince was more of an expert fighter. Sure, he could draw some sort of man-eating groundhog, but there was no artistic accomplishment in that. Even if he cut his head into the shape of a sharpened pencil, he could not come up with a creative idea that could win the extremely competitive Snow Sculpture Festival.
Xi Wei sat on top of the table that was covered with papers and unconsciously thought of manners of the little one who had forcibly followed him around. He rested his jaw in one hand and relaxed his eyes completely as he gazed out of the window, unsure of what to think.
His back was rigidly straight, making the postures stiff and odd. It was as if he was just trying to find even an imitation of relief.
Time passed by in an instant and when the midnight bells rang, it meant the Snow Sculpture Festival had officially begun. The short-distance magic array used for transmissions kept shining as a steady flow of snow sculptures carved into fantastic oddities of every description were continuously transported to the high platform. The display stands spiralled up above, constantly being covered with new, pure white snow sculptures. The crystal white gradually rose higher and higher until they towered into the sky.
After three hours had passed, all of the snow sculptures were finally submitted. The display towers adorned with the huge snow sculptures were spectacular. Many civilians were crying with excitement. It was said that the place the spires reached could communicate with gods and were like a prayer for the people. It was that communication to the great gods that brought them blessings.
At the top of the snow-sculpture towers was an extremely large ‘monster’. The monster had sharp fangs, a malevolent face, a disdainful expression, and huge body like a dragon. If the display tower was not reinforced by a special magic array, there was no doubt that this monster could crush the entire tower.
After he exclaimed in admiration, Evan proudly cocked one corner of his mouth. The ‘monster’ was his masterpiece. This was the creation that seemed to cost him all of his hair. It was a rendering of the plague demon, so not only was it extremely large, it was also very vivid and lifelike. For the civilian population, that demon existed only in legends—very few people could see something like it in person. Evan was fortunate enough to be born in the Miya Empire, which granted him access to precious ancient literature.
Today’s mainland was relatively peaceful. The dragons and demons had seemingly vanished without a trace, so this type of snow sculpture was indeed both shocking and keeping with the times. There was no suspense as to who would win the Snow Sculpture Festival’s most creative design award.
The Principal, dressed in an ash gray magician’s robe, floated up slowly and levitated near the magic array. He held a microphone in his hand and read out the engraved inscription on the snow sculpture of the plague demon. The sound spread around the square and throughout the hall as he spoke into the microphone, “I would like to gift my humble carving to the beautiful Miss Belle—Evan Youliya.”
Principal Colin’s face revealed a gratified expression and he was a little pleased. The attention and admiration that his daughter received was a source of pride for him. Not to mention Prince Evan’s identity, it was very clear that he was a good young man .
Furthermore, Princess Asil, the founder of Providence College, and Prince Xia Zuo of the Miya Empire, were husband and wife, which made Principal Colin even more satisfied.
It was a pity, but his daughter Belle intended to enter the temple to become a saint. He was afraid he missed his chance. Then, the headmaster shook his head to rid himself of the thoughts that were leaving everything in disorder.
The festival continued, but all that had nothing to do with Belle. Her face was always so indifferent, and like a flower on a mountain peak it exuded a chill even colder than ice.
The space magician Lyon strolled with great interest around the huge plague demon snow sculpture following the end of the event. The creative design award winner was sent to Belle shortly after the Snow Sculpture Festival ended. She was not interested, but it was not good to refuse for the sake of her most respected father’s face.
Belle frowned slightly, “Lyon, aren’t you a space magician? Why can’t this snow carving be stored in a space ring?”
Lyon stood up with a smile, the dimples on her cheeks faintly discernible, “According to the alchemical notes, only the dead can be taken into the space ring. Perhaps because the snow is carved into the form of a demon it has been infected with a sinister breath of life.”
Everyone knew Lyon was the type to open her mouth without thinking. This explanation could only trick a little nursery school kid.
Belle remained unmoved. She had no intention to accept this ugly guy and intended to have it destroyed.
To her, the gift of blessings and good fortune were worthless.
In the end, Belle restrained herself. There was some other value in that thing.
The temple was so badly burned about the head2 by the plague demon, so perhaps it would be of some benefit if she gifted the thing to the temple.
Belle was not willing to pass up any opportunity to curry a favourable impression with the temple.
Lyon looked at that distressingly big guy, then turned to look at the little princess.
Belle no longer wished for the headache of planning what do with the distressing gift, so she decided to set it aside in her personal courtyard for the time being.
As for the closure of the city? No matter what great magical powers it possessed, the Mercenary Guild could not just permanently block off Providence City. After a few days at most, it would have to give up. Afterwards, the one who did not know the immensity of heaven and earth could only have her fragile neck sent to the plague demon’s hands, then say goodbye to the beautiful world forever. (TL: I think she means Zeno?)
Thinking of that really made people happy.
Into the night, the courtyard was silent. Zeno closed his eyes and pretended to fall asleep when, in fact, his ears were perked up and listening cautiously for any signs of activity in his surrounding environment. He was bound to a chair by a thin rope, so tightly that his small arms and legs could not even move. He surmised that equal treatment had been carried out on the miserable Princess Jonia, who occasionally issued some muffled sobs while fast asleep.
It was originally supposed to be a peaceful night, but the calm was unexpectedly broken.
A sharp alarm sounded all throughout Providence City. At the same time, all of the powerful people within the city took the same actions without planning, their faces dark and dignified.
That alarm only sounded when the Providence City blockade was attacked and forcibly destroyed. All of the powerful forces within the city could feel the ensuing horrifying pressure and sinister air that hid the sky and covered the earth.
As a saint candidate with an innate light attribute, Belle could naturally sense the dreadful evil force as well.
However, no one could find the source of this oppression because it seemed to be everywhere.
Zeno also felt it and at the familiarity of the feeling, he suddenly started to tremble uncontrollably.
This was not just anyone. It was the criminal ringleader, the main offender behind the destruction of his home city, the fierce and powerful plague demon!
The gruesome memories rushed forth in a tide, feeling even more frightening in the dark of night.
At the same time, within Belle’s courtyard, the snow sculpture that won the prize for creativity trembled slightly. It seemed that it immediately encountered strong sunlight, and began to melt away. The outer layer of alchemical preservation agents slowly disappeared, and the secret buried within was finally revealed. There was actually a dark-haired teenager inside.
The youth closed his eyes at first. His limbs and lips seemed pale and cold because he was in the snow for a long time—he was even a little purple.
When the snow around his body all melted into water and returned to the earth, the young man slowly opened his eyes. A faint flash of blood crossed those deep black pupils.
The evil aura of the plague demon shrouded the holy city; even the falling snowflakes were dyed black.
Zeno curled up as small as possible, writhing at the same time in an attempt to break free of his bindings. Frustratingly, the result was that they only became tighter and tighter.
Free of the snow, the young man seemed to sense what was happening. He raised his expressionless face to look up, his intuition telling him that there was some type of beast in the emptiness of the sky.
After that, the illusion broke out everywhere.
He seemed to be face-to-face with some terrifying presence, and the madness and evil killing intent invaded his nerves. It was enough to force a person to go crazy.
Fun fact…this is chapter 44. That means, ignoring the three extras, we have actually passed the halfway point!!
Also, I am mentoring a student nurse right now, so I likely won’t have as much for free lunches to translate. This may not have any affect.