“Can you still say that humans are despicable?”
It hadn’t quite sunk in for Tang Yu just yet, “What do you mean?”
”What I mean is, that year that I almost died, it was Xi Wei who took me in and raised me from a powerless baby into the magician that I am today.”
Tang Yu’s face was full of disbelief, “Eight years ago, that human was only a child himself. How could he have brought up another child?”
Zeno’s expression revealed a trace of pride and satisfaction, “Just because it’s something you wouldn’t be able to do, it doesn’t mean that others also wouldn’t be able to. He’s the greatest in the world, there’s nothing he can’t do.”
Tang Yu looked at Zeno thoughtfully, “So you’re saying, you only separated from him because of your awakening?”
”Why would he lie, then? Is he already aware of your identity, and is trying to keep it from the Saint?”
It had to be said, Tang Yu was really quite sharp. She succinctly summarized the situation in so few words. The shadow race and the temple were absolutely incompatible. If they were to know, they would not rest until Zeno was dead.
Zeno nodded in affirmation towards what she had said.
Tang Yu was in a complicated mood. Seeing that they had almost arrived at Zeno’s dormitory, she waved her hand and said, “You should head back. I want to be alone.”
Zeno glanced at her, but didn’t say anything in the end.
Tang Yu stroked the pendant at her neck, muttering to herself, “You’ve heard everything.”
The pendant flashed as it emitted a man’s voice, “Tang Yu, the Demon Catalyst has been found, why do you not bring him back?”
”Father, this Demon Catalyst is very obstinate and also fully believes in the human race. Moreover, I did not sense the ring on his person. I do not know where Evelyn’s hidden it.”
The pendant was silent for a while, then said, “No matter what, you must find the ring and bring back the Demon Catalyst.”
Tang Yu respectfully answered, “Understood. Father, Tang Yu will absolutely succeed.”
The man’s voice from the pendant said, meaningfully, “Tang Yu, do not disappoint me.”
What was the Demon Catalyst? Zeno had no idea. However, his intuition told him that he should not become too familiar with Tang Yu. This member of the shadow race, whom he was not even sure if they were male or female, was wrapped from head to toe in a sort of abnormal aura that even leaked out from the cracks of their bones. He felt a very strong sense of crisis. It was already very late when Zeno returned to his dorm room. He tiptoed across the hall and was just about to open the door when a faint voice suddenly sounded from behind him, “You’re back.”
Zeno felt shivers from his fright and could not help but exclaim, “Ross, are you trying to scare people!”
Ross yawned and rubbed his eye as he turned on the light, inserting a bit of magic into the dark lamp.
The lights lit up, and Ross rubbed his eyes as he began, “Why’d you come back so late? I laid on the sofa to wait for you and almost fell asleep waiting.”
Not ‘almost fell asleep,’ you’d already fallen asleep!
Zeno roasted him internally, but didn’t rip him a new one since Ross had good intentions.
Ross yawned again and passed a sheet of paper from the table to Zeno, “A courier delivered this. I figured it’s something urgent.”
Zeno realized that the sheet of paper in his hand was not just a piece of paper, but a letter stamped by the temple.
Zeno opened it curiously, unable to think of a reason why the temple would send him a letter. ’Participation required in the Temple Knights Selection on October 1st. Signed, High Priest Viktor.’
Zeno read it over a few times, and finally had to concede that he really had not misread. It was indeed an invitation letter to the Temple Knights Selection.
Weird, was the temple really so lacking in staff?
Ross huddled over and said with some admiration, “I never would’ve thought it’d be an invitation to the Temple Knights Selection. Sigh~ Why wasn’t I born with a Light and Dark constitution?”
Zeno rapped him on his head, “Being interested in something unrelated to yourself is the mindset of thieves. I’m not planning on going.”
The temple included practically every person with Light and Dark constitutions under their umbrella of invites. Even many of the people who had only graduated from one of Providence College’s short-term programs also received this kind of invitation. However, Zeno received an invitation though he only just enrolled. This was very much against custom.
He tossed the invitation aside. Too much had happened today. He was so tired he fell asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow.
He had Alchemy the next day. He had already skipped class so much that he felt, if he didn’t attend yet again, Suji would be very depressed. So that morning, Zeno drowsily crawled out of bed and went to class with Ross, both of them swaying here and there from sleepiness.
The classroom was unchanged. Upon entering, Zeno’s eyes were immediately drawn to that familiar figure in the seat next to his.
He dilly-dallied his way over and greeted, “Morning.”
Xi Wei looked at him and pushed the milk carton he had in his hand to Zeno.
Zeno habitually received it, and only when the straw was already in his mouth did his muddled mind clear up a bit. Dumbfounded, he stared at the children’s milk1 in his hands. It was clearly taken from the dining hall, but he wasn’t a child anymore! What is the meaning of this!
When people are self-conscious, they would feel like all eyes were on them. Zeno downed the milk in a few gulps and rushed, like he was holding a hot potato in his hands, to dispose of the carton into the trashcan to the rear of the classroom.
At that time, Suji arrived. Ever since she became a teacher with so many cute pupils, her complexion had improved greatly. Sure enough, women also needed a career.
Confident and brimming with vigor, she was so proud of her success that she had almost forgotten about her two masters.
Of course, it was only ‘almost.’
When she saw that both of her masters were present, joy flashed through Suji’s eyes. Clearing her throat, she began today’s lesson.
Merfolk had long lives, but extremely low fertility rates and were few in number to begin with. In the demonic war the previous era, the Merfolk were completely wiped out, leaving only Suji who escaped the danger by following the Demon of Envy.
Perhaps ignorance was bliss. Suji had not felt kinship with her people, keeping only her master in her heart. She did not feel any hatred, only warm nostalgia. Although it was lonely, she did not experience any hardships either. She had even found her calling these days, and her dependence on a master lessened with each passing day.
From Zeno’s point of view, having transmigrated from modern-day China, this was how women these days should be. He also did not need a maid, he would much rather have another friend than a maid.
Subtle influencing should not be taken lightly.
Xi Wei did not bring up the matter of bringing Zeno to seal the demon again, he surmised that Xi Wei intended to just quietly let the issue pass.
Zeno began to follow him everywhere, practically following him to the toilet too.
After a few days, Xiao Wu also resumed attending class. Seeing Xiao Wu, inspiration struck Zeno. He suddenly recalled the Temple Knights Selection invitation that he had tossed to the side. Wasn’t Xiao Wu also going with Xi Wei? Perhaps becoming a knight of the temple would come in handy?
So, after class, Zeno stopped tailing Xi Wei and sneakily set off to find Xiao Wu.
Xiao Wu eyed the invitation, then looked Zeno up and down, “You want to be a knight? Why?”
Zeno brought out the bullshitting skills he had learned from Baba, and began spouting lies everywhere, “My adoration of the temple is like the water in a river – flowing endlessly. Entering the temple has always been my dream, also I heard that Xiao Wu-jie being the Saint would require new knights, right?
Xiao Wu was taken aback, “How did you know I’m the Saint?”
Zeno smiled slyly, “Xiao Wu-jie has the disposition of a goddess. I could recognize you with a glance on the day of the succession ceremony.”
There was no woman who did not enjoy being praised. Xiao Wu grinned, “No one else recognized me, so does that mean only you are so perceptive?”
Zeno replied, “I swear I’m telling the truth!”
Xiao Wu laughed again, “Okay okay okay. Assuming what you said is true, then are you willing to be my personal knight?”
Zeno was quite surprised. He mimicked Evan and got down on one knee kneeling like a knight, but did not swear an oath like a knight.
Xiao Wu tacitly understood, and did a corresponding move for appearance.
”Take this crest and report to the temple.”
Zeno graciously took it and happily went.
Like this, Xi Wei shouldn’t be able to ditch me, Zeno thought, pleased.
Xi Wei was a normal student, and had no authority to reject a request from the temple. He had no choice but to bring Xiao Wu along, and also had no say in who Xiao Wu chose to take with her.
Over the next few days, Zeno vanished from Xi Wei’s sight again. Xi Wei thought Zeno had finally given up on tagging along, so he did not pay the matter any more attention.
As for Zeno, it was not that he did not want to see Xi Wei, but that he was trapped in the temple.
As a Temple Knight personally recommended by the Saint, Zeno was spared from all the security inspections and background checks, he just had to file an official record. However, while he could skip the inspections, training could not be avoided.
Therefore Zeno was forcefully trapped in the temple and had to undergo three days worth of brainwashing education before he was allowed to go.
When he left, his head was filled with goddesses. The Light goddess, the Dark goddess, Zeno simply couldn’t tell them apart anymore.
Fortunately his modern day brainwashing education just barely came out on top—he still considered himself a staunch materialist. Despite residing on Hong Yue Continent all these years, his original way of thinking had not changed.
Time passed very quickly. When the Plague Demon devastated a small town again, Xi Wei was ordered to depart immediately. At that time, what needed to be prepared was already mostly prepared, and it was about time that he set out.
There was no point to dragging things out any further.
Even if this journey was destined to end in death, where even if they could retry ten times, it was still guaranteed that no one would survive, Xi Wei was definitely not someone resigned to his fate. He had done all the preparations possible, including painstakingly practicing basic martial arts and with Chen Yuan, and even meticulously organizing the information provided by Principal Colin, then laying out a plan.
Evan was there as support, Xiao Wu was also there as support, and at Evan’s request, they decided to hide the matter from Jonia. Therefore, the participating roster was determined to be: Xi Wei, Evan, Xiao Wu and the temple’s knights.
Xiao Wu brought along two knights who were supposedly extremely formidable warriors.
Before departing, Xi Wei took the initiative to find Suji. As an extremely powerful alchemist, she was capable of far more than one would imagine. She prepared a great number of potions, using all the knowledge in her repository.
Xi Wei organized those all into his ring.
Suji pitifully trailed behind him, “Master, Master really can’t bring Suji along too?”
Xi Wei frowned, “You can’t come. That’s an order.”
”Oh,” Suji’s face fell and she went off to draw circles and sulk.
”While I’m gone,” Xi Wei continued, “Take good care of Zeno.”
Suji’s vigor suddenly reawaked, it was not that Master thought of her as useless, it had to be because he worried about the Little Master!
Therefore, Suji solemnly promised, “Do not worry, Master, Suji will properly raise the little master up pale and fat 2!”
The corner of Xi Wei’s mouth twitched, it’s not like I’m asking you to raise a pig.
Under the cover of night, a group of people stealthily snuck out, with two temple knights following behind Xiao Wu.
Though, just as they left Providence City, an unexpected personage was waiting for them.
Tang Yu sensually leaned against a tree, smiling sweetly at the approaching group, “You finally came.”
Xi Wei was now able to lift Chen Yuan, no longer dragging it across the ground, so he pointed the sword at Tang Yu, “Who are you?”
Tang Yu said, “Senior is truly an eminent person with a short memory. I am a third-year student, my name is Tang Yu. Last year, in the Desert of Demise learning experience, I was part of Senior’s group.”
Providence College organized annual student expeditions to gain experience in Desert of Demise. Usually, they would be split into two teams and compete with each other. Considering Xi Wei’s antisocial tendency, forget the opposing team, he might not even remember all the members on his own team.
It was actually Evan who had some recollection of this Tang Yu, because there was one time when he had faced Tang Yu in the desert. His opponent’s considerable skill, as well as the sweet exterior that didn’t match up at all with her levelheaded decisiveness left a deep impression on him.
”It looks like Senior Evan still remembers me.”
Evan whispered a few things to Xi Wei, and Xi Wei said, “The reason you’re here is…?”
Tang Yu replied, “Seniors are risking their lives for the peace of this continent. Although I am but a woman, nor am I anyone prominent, but I’m not willing to lose to the Saint. I am willing to offer any assistance I can.”
Xi Wei didn’t even think about it, “No.”
Tang Yu wasn’t angry, “Senior, you don’t have to be so fast to reject me. Though I am certainly untalented, it wouldn’t be beyond my ability to obstruct you somewhat.”
That was clearly a threat. Either you take me, or you don’t even think about being able to leave peacefully.
Out of caution, Xi Wei wound up giving his permission with a nod, and from there, the party of six departed.
Ye Sa City and Providence City were separated by half the continent; they first had to go to Violet Empire’s capital city, Roland City. Then, they would arrive after using the magic array.
They walked for two whole days before they reached Roland City. The hustle and bustle of city life there did not lose out to Providence City one bit. After all, it was the capital city of one of the three great empires of the continent.
Evan and the two sisters were all people who had not experienced hardship before. Though they were not too spoiled, they were getting sick of eating dry rations for two days. They did not know how much longer they would have to live with that kind of lifestyle, so after reaching Roland City, Xiao Wu brought up eating at a good restaurant and got unanimous approval, except from Xi Wei the pauper.
Xi Wei did not want to go, so they also did not force him. Thus, Xi Wei went to stroll through Roland City by himself, agreeing to meet them at the restaurant two hours later.
Xiao Wu said, “There happens to be a few things I wanted to buy as well, so why don’t you bring my knight along with you? If anything happens, he can come contact us.”
As she spoke, she pointed at one of the knights wearing a black mask standing behind her.
Xi Wei was indifferent about it and nodded.
So, the group split up into two.
Xi Wei was someone taciturn, and this knight also did not like to speak. Those two explored without a word passing between them.
All of a sudden, Xi Wei seemed to have spotted something and abruptly abandoned the knight, turning several corners until there was not a trace of him left.
The knight, “……”
The helpless magician ripped off his mask, revealing his, Zeno’s, true face, muttering “We agreed to go together, you liar!”
However, he still had to go searching. He didn’t know who Xi Wei saw, to have gotten him so worked up.
Who was it?
The person he saw was Xia An. He had vanished into the stream of people in the blink of an eye. His intuition told him that it was of the utmost importance that find Xia An, since it was Xia An who released the Plague Demon, so therefore he had to know something that others did not.
Why did he want to release the Plague Demon, why did he know that Zeno’s blood could release the seal, why, why, he had too many why’s that he wanted to demand answers for after catching this blind, split-personality youth.
However, he could not find him. When he returned to where he had left the temple knight, the knight had vanished as well.
So where did the ‘knight’ go? He circled around without finding a trace of Xi Wei, however he stumbled upon another person instead.
Zeno immediately saw the person that Xi Wei had been painstakingly searching for. Xia An was in a shop that sold cat food, inquiring about something while holding Qiqi, and Qiqi’s restless paw was scratching at his sleeve.
Zeno stared for a moment. From his appearance to Qiqi who was in his embrace, not one thing implied that it wasn’t Xia An. That person was Xia An. He hesitated for a moment but still went over, calling out, “Xia An?”
Zeno happened to have had the same idea as Xi Wei, or else there was no way he would purposely go over and provoke that large trouble called Xia An.
The blind Xia An tilted his head, his expression full of doubt, but he still fumbled to pay first. After that, he stuffed the complimentary meatball at Qiqi to play with.
Xia An turned around to ‘look’ at Zeno, “You are?”
Zeno responded, “This is no place to talk. Can we move somewhere else?”
The current Xia An seemed to be the nice one with a gentle temperament, having no objections to what he heard and no worries in the slightest about being swindled.
They found a restaurant and sat down in a private room.
Qiqi played with the meatball while meowing, decided it was boring, then shook her ears and looked at Zeno.
Qiqi really feels this person is familiar, meow.
Finally, Qiqi could not hold back anymore and leapt out of Xia An’s arms and shook herself, then nimbly jumped up onto Zeno’s shoulder, scratching at his ear with her claws.
Qiqi was still that little tot, and would basically never grow any bigger. This small, snow-white furball nested herself on Zeno’s shoulder.
The little rascal sure was both clever and cute when he was not helping give her a bath.
Zeno scratched Qiqi’s chin with a finger and the little cat squinted her eyes in pleasure, crying out twice.
Her body was very clean, even without Zeno and Xi Wei, Xia An was still able to take very good care of her.
Xia An poured a glass of water, drinking as he asked, “May I ask, was there something you needed from me?”
Zeno thought about how to word it and probed, “Do you still remember Zeno?”
Xia An visibly shook. After he left Ye Sa City, he hadn’t heard this name brought up again. As soon as Qiqi heard Zeno, her little eyes lit up and meowed, indicating that she remembered!
Zeno smiled and stroked her fur before continuing, “Xia An-gege, I’m Zeno.“
Xia An’s hand shook and he was completely unaware that the water had spilled out.
Though he could not see, he could sense that the person before him was a teenager, unable to tell at all how this person could be the eight or nine year old that Zeno should be now.
Zeno generously admitted, “Xia An-gege, I am of the shadow race. The other person in your body should be very clear on this, since he was the one who used my blood to free the Plague Demon.”
Having this thing brought up, guilt and shame flashed through Xia An’s expression. He had always thought that the catastrophe had been caused by himself. If he had not appeared, the other Xia An would not have done something as insane as that.
He breathed deeply, “Is there anything I can help you with?”
Zeno responded, “There are a few special reasons, but Baba and I are going to seal the Plague Demon. I want to know about the Plague Demon, how can we seal him?”
Since Boss3 Xia An knew how to free the Plague Demon, it was very likely that he knew how to seal it again.
Xia An frowned while deep in thought, closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, his expression was cold and looked evil.
Zeno had always held some trauma towards him. He constantly felt like he was under scrutiny from a predator. Meeting Xia An here was unexpected, but perhaps it was also fated.
Though the protagonist had the protagonist halo and could not be done in so easily, but the age-old advice to tread carefully was always applicable.
Boss Xia An knocked against the table, “You’re pretty brave. You actually dare to come looking for me.”
Zeno stiffly sat upright, raising his vigilance to the utmost, “If I’d had a choice, I wouldn’t have wanted to come find you.”
’Xia An’ drained the remaining water in the cup in one gulp, “Of course I know you fear me, and have feared me from the start. In addition, when you first met the other me, you already had a vague fear.”
Zeno didn’t deny it, “Since you’re already aware, I won’t beat around the bush. What is the method to seal the Plague Demon?”
’Xia An’ didn’t answer, but made a request instead, “I can help you, but you guys need to do something for me in return.”
Zeno leaned forward, eagerly asked, “What thing?”
’Xia An’ replied, “I was originally the crown prince of Violet Empire. However, some evil people ruined my eyes. Being blind for so many years, I’ve long lost my right to the throne. If you can help me win back my position as heir to the throne, I’ll tell you how to seal the Plague Demon.”
Zeno hesitated, “We can help you, but we’re just two penniless students. We don’t have that much power.”
Boss Xia An laughed, and Zeno couldn’t help but move a bit further away.
”I’ll tell you how you can help me when the time comes. So, do we have a deal?”
Agree first, then what comes later can be dealt with later.
Afterwards, ‘Xia An’ continued, “Sealing the Plague Demon is as easy as it sounds, and is also as difficult as it sounds. Before, it was the Light Saint who personally dipped her sword in the blood of the shadow race and engraved the seal. You can just do the same thing this time. If you dip the Sword of the Gods in your blood, not only can you seal the Plague Demon, but if you stab it through the heart, you could even completely vanquish it.”
Zeno’s blood did not pose a problem, but where was he supposed to find the Sword of the Gods?
”That’s not my problem,” Xia An said, picking Qiqi up by the scruff of her neck and leisurely exiting.
Zeno returned to the restaurant with much on his mind. Since he did not know where Xi Wei had gone, he might as well go back and wait patiently for the rabbit to jump into his lap4.
However, upon entering the restaurant, he discovered that he turned out to be the rabbit.
Everyone was staring at him intently, including Xi Wei. Xiao Wu had a hand to her forehead, oh my Goddess of Light, how could you forget to put on your mask!
Kudos to Sen for translating this long bomb of a chapter. It’s twice as long as the recent chapters have been, so it’s like a double release. You all would be so sad if I hadn’t gained my lovely helpers. We wouldn’t be anywhere near here yet. Well, even if you weren’t sad, I would be!
- 白白胖胖 (pale and fat), meaning someone pampered and so well taken care of to the point they are pale (never toil outside therefore never get a tan) and get fat. ↩
- Written in English, referring to the scary Xia An. ↩
- 守株待兔 idiom meaning to passively wait for something to just jump into your lap instead of taking the initiative. ↩