Hua Li was practically seeing red, as that person was the bane of her existence. All of her composure dissipated when it came to that person.
She had been sealed for over a thousand years, and she had never been able to forget the voice and smile of that person. Yet that person had actually chosen someone else.
The Chen Yuan Sword was forever the torment of Hua Li. She had watched Asil forge the sword in front of her very eyes, while Xia Zuo tempered it with his own god energy.
Seeing that sword was like seeing that love-turned-hate past of hers.
Hua Li closed her eyes, “That sword. Where did you get it from?”
“It was bestowed by the unicorn clan,” Zeno interjected, afraid of touching a nerve on Hua Li.
The unsealed elf queen was not by any means easier to deal with than the plague demon. It was difficult enough having to face one of the two; adding on the other was simply cutting off any chances of survival.
Why was the elf queen already blackened? In the book, she clearly only joined in on the betrayals at the very end! Which butterfly was out there fanning its wings willy-nilly!
Hua Li was silent, and her expression difficult to read. She herself didn’t know if it was love or obsession. It had been more than a thousand years, and she rather wished she was still sealed. At the very least, she would not be heartbroken, nor in agony. She’d always be just a simple and pure little fairy.
But there was no such thing as ‘what if’s’ in this world. Since she already regained her memories, she would go find Asil at all cost and ask for clarity on what the truth of that year was.
However, the most important thing in this world was strength. No strength, no right to demand any answers. That was why Hua Li had to retrieve the last portion of her power that was still sealed in the ring.
Hua Li said, “Why do you think you’ve been able to come here unhindered thus far? If I could wipe out those lesser demons, wiping you out isn’t out of the question. I don’t care if you want to seal the plague demon. I don’t want the Chen Yuan Sword either. I only want the ring. Are you going to relinquish it or not?
Relinquishing or not—of course it could not be relinquished!
The ring had already acknowledged an owner ages ago. Unless its previous owner died, it wouldn’t acknowledge another. Hua Li wanting the ring was equivalent to wanting Xi Wei dead. Under those kinds of circumstances, how could they possibly agree?
It was just that, of the people present, only Zeno and Tang Yu knew what the elf queen meant. Everyone else, including Xi Wei, was completely bewildered and had no idea what ring she was talking about.
Xi Wei vaguely had some idea, but he couldn’t be certain that dull and inconspicuous ring was what this complicated elf queen wanted.
Even if it was, he had no way of taking out a ring that had already vanished.
All that was left of that ring was a circle of ornate marks wrapping around his finger.
Hua Li finally ran out of patience. She pulled out a strand of hair and lashed it a few times until it turned into a green longbow. When she drew the bow, green light concentrated on it and took on the shape of an arrow, which she pointed at Xi Wei.
Xi Wei gripped the Chen Yuan Sword and faced Hua Li, but neither made any reckless moves. Hua Li was afraid of accidentally damaging the ring, while Xi Wei had absolutely no handle on the situation.
Hua Li was very strong. Her pressure enveloped Xi Wei, pressing down on him until he practically could not breathe. However, it was in just that kind of situation that Xi Wei actually made a breakthrough. It had not been long since the previous time in Nightmare Forest, but Xi Wei actually had a breakthrough again.
Hua Li needed to be thanked; if it had not been for her overwhelming pressure, Xi Wei would not have been able to make another breakthrough in such a short period of time.
Hua Li was determined to get the ring!
With time ticking away by the second, Hua Li reached the end of her patience. She drew the bowstring and the arrow of green light flew towards Xi Wei.
Xi Wei raised the Chen Yuan Sword across his chest and blocked the arrow.
Even so, it was not over. The second and third arrows endlessly followed in quick succession like falling drops of rain.
Although the Chen Yuan Sword was certainly a Sword of the Gods, it could not be helped that the disparity between Xi Wei and Hua Li was too great. That resulted in Xi Wei being gradually pushed back until he was on the verge of losing.
At last, Hua Li raised the longbow, fingers drawing back the bowstring where five long arrows materialized. It had been difficult enough blocking just one arrow, let alone five.
Everyone, including the low-key temple knight who had not stood out much thus far, silently surrounded Xi Wei, working as one to try to block this disastrous attack.
Hua Li let go and the five arrows whistled as they flew through the air. They were all very powerful, and yet all of them were blocked.
Hua Li had a look of surprise. Upon closer inspection, she realized that a beautiful, flowery young woman had stood in front of the group and deflected those five arrows for them.
There were tears here and there on Tang Yu’s clothes, but she didn’t appear any worse for wear. Her expression containing nothing but indifference, she said, “The Elf Queen, I presume? I heard that you were sealed in the ring for bearing a grudge towards Princess Asil. I sympathize with your desire for strength, but the ring is the token of the head of the Shadow Race. Please give up on it.”
Hua Li looked Tang Yu over from head to toe, knitting her brows. “The Shadow Race?”
Tang Yu revealed a slightly prideful expression, “I am Tang Yu. The current head, Michel, is my father.”
Hearing Michel’s name, a look of disdain flashed through Hua Li’s eyes, but in the end she did not comment on it. She just coolly shot back, “If the ring belongs to the head, then why is it currently in the hands of a human, and not the head’s?”
Tang Yu was at a loss for words for a moment, but was still able to strongly argue back, “The ring was stolen by a traitor and taken away. It will return to the clan sooner or later.”
Hua Li no longer paid any attention to Tang Yu’s false bravado. She just directly asked, “If you’re part of the Shadow Race, then do you know where Asil is?”
Tang Yu looked on blankly for a moment. “Princess…Asil? Xia Zuo’s wife?”
Hearing ‘wife,’ Hua Li’s beautiful visage distorted. She loudly shouted, “Silence! Just who are you saying is Xia Zuo’s wife!”
Zeno had been watching the spectacle for quite a while. At this time, he suddenly heard a familiar voice. Xi Wei stepped forward and in his signature cold tone, declared again, “Princess Asil is God of War Xia Zuo’s wife. It’s common knowledge.”
Tang Yu added another stab, “That’s right. Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with these facts because you’ve been sealed away for too long.”
Unfamiliar, how could she be unfamiliar? There was no one more familiar than Hua Li with the relationship between those two people. However, she did not want to accept that the person she liked would actually be willing to belong to another.
Hua Li raged, viciously attacking the group of youths in front of her. Her completely unhesitant flurry left them feeling miserable enough.
With the new knowledge obtained just now, and combined with what he remembered of “Curse”, Zeno had a rough idea of things. It turned out that Hua Li had never fallen for Xi Wei and had only been after the ring. The person she truly loved was the legendary Princess Asil. Putting aside this girl-girl relationship, it seemed to have dawned on Zeno the reason behind Hua Li’s betrayal.
It had been for the ring. Hua Li had just wanted the ring.
The one she loved had only ever been one person. She never had any feelings for Xi Wei.
He was not sure why, but upon coming to this realization, Zeno suddenly released a sigh of relief. The top female lead from the original work had never loved the male lead, yet his first reaction was to feel relief?
Zeno didn’t quite understand himself.
However, this was not the time to linger on these thoughts. They were still in the middle of a crisis. He still had to come up with a way to deal with the frenzied elf queen.
At that time, someone resolved this problem for them.
An evil ambience encroached, but it also stopped Hua Li. Hua Li withdrew her attacks and reverted to being a noble and elegant queen.
She eyed the approaching figure, “Plague demon, this is my business. Don’t intervene.”
The plague demon had a black robe draped over him, and a person held in his arms. It was Belle, who had been missing all these years.
Belle was unconscious. Judging from her even breaths, she did not appear to be in any immediate danger.
She looked somewhat tragic. Her clothes were in rags and what was visible of her skin was covered in wounds. Most likely, apart from her face, there was no part on her that was unharmed.
The plague demon responded, “They came here to seal me. How can it not be my business? In other words, you just want to monopolize the ring for yourself. Isn’t that so?”
Hua Li took a deep breath, “Actually, I don’t care about the ring either. I just want the last fragment of my power that’s still sealed inside.”
The plague demon said, “Then in that case, why don’t we team up? The ring for me, and your power for you?”
The pride of the elves would never allow for her to join up with the plague demon, so Hua Li rejected his offer with a clear, “No.”
The plague demon wasn’t angered. “I know you told me Maiya Mi’s whereabouts to use me to bait someone else, but I’m still very grateful towards you. How about this, as thanks, I won’t interfere in your business here?”
Hua Li lifted her chin, “You’re pretty tactful.”
Originally, Hua Li had done it just so the plague demon would go on a rampage in order to lure out Asil and Xia Zuo. Who would have known that they would not appear at all, and instead a bunch of premature fledglings showed up. Even though they also brought the ring with them, the elf queen still felt a sort of unspeakable and incomprehensible anger.
You don’t want to see me that much? You clearly know that I am here, you just don’t want to come.
Then I will grant the child you dote on a tragic execution.
That was what Hua Li had originally been thinking, but after meeting the plague demon, she changed her mind. Hua Li suddenly took a step back. “I think that, since these children came here to find you, after all, you should resolve the differences between your two parties first. I won’t meddle.”
No one knew what this queen was up to, but it was something sinister no matter how they looked at it.
Xi Wei was very calm. Apart from his own people, everyone else was an enemy. All must be eliminated.
He gripped the Chen Yuan Sword in one hand and tugged on Zeno, getting ready to face off.
If they were going to die, then they would die together.
Being afraid was not going to resolve anything and would only increase the number of dangers.
The plague demon emitted a black mist. As if it were alive, the mist coiled threateningly around the boundaries of the enchantment that they had set up.
Moreover, it began to erode the edges.
Sweat appeared on the foreheads of every member. They were profusely sweating in the frozen, snow-covered land of Nice Snowy Mountain.
Credit had to be given to Xiao Wu’s light magic, otherwise they would not have been able to sustain the enchantment for this long.
Unfortunately, the enchantment was soon broken.
The plague demon smirked and reached for Xi Wei’s neck, just about to clutch it.
Xi Wei was already exhausted and had no way of fighting back.
With his eyes closed, his grip left a vivid red mark on Zeno’s wrist . At this time, he suddenly did not want Zeno to die with him.
At the moment of imminent peril.
Xi Wei suddenly felt enlightened. He recalled the Chen Yuan Seven Styles and his body moved on its own, already knowing what to do. He swung the Chen Yuan Sword in the same pattern that he’d practiced thousands of times already in his dreams.
It was like the bluster of tens of millions1 of demons. The Chen Yuan Sword exploded with an unimaginably intense killing intent and tore apart the black mist, piercing through the chest of the plague demon.
The plague demon was nailed to the side of the mountain, still holding onto Belle in his embrace and refusing to let go.
He couldn’t move, yet also hadn’t died.
Zeno thought for a moment and struggled free of Xi Wei’s grasp. Though he was somewhat fearful, he still unhesitatingly clutched the portion of the Chen Yuan Sword still showing outside of the plague demon’s chest and until his blood dyed the blade red.
At this time, Belle’s eyelashes fluttered and her eyes slowly opened.
The plague demon was wild with joy, endlessly calling out, “Maiya, Maiya.”
However, his ‘Maiya’s’ eyes were cold. Belle glanced at him with loathing and struggled to get down, but did not find good footing and nearly fell down.
Fortunately, Xiao Wu steadied her. Crying tears of joy, Xiao Wu cried, “Belle-jiejie, Belle-jiejie, you’re still alive, I’m so glad.”
Belle’s stony heart also relented somewhat. She returned the hug and savoured the sisterly affection.
The plague demon still ceaselessly called out to Belle, “Maiya, do you still not remember me?”
Belle finally properly looked at him. “How could I not remember you?”
The plague demon hadn’t even had a chance to be happy yet when Belle also stabbed in, “I will never forget the torment you put me through.”
The light in the plague demon’s eyes dimmed. “But you couldn’t remember me. You completely forgot about me.”
Belle replied, “I would rather have never met you.”
She painstakingly got up and walked up to the plague demon, who watched her with infatuation.
Belle’s slender, pale hands wrapped around the Chen Yuan Sword and gave a hard shove, pushing the part of the blade that had just been coated in Zeno’s blood into the plague demon’s chest.
The plague demon let out a snarl and gradually turned into ashes, starting from the place the blade pierced.
He left behind only a resplendent, white demonic heart.
It was identical to the one they’d obtained in the Nightmare Forest.
Zeno carefully clutched the demonic heart in his hands, feeling the surging power within, and felt a little excited himself.
However, when the plague demon fully dissipated, Belle felt unwell. Her head hurt intensely, to the point that she would rather die. Completely disregarding her image, she began to roll around in pain on the ground.
Many, many memories began to surface. Happy memories and sad memories of the demon of envy and the demon of plague.
The plague demon and she knew each other intimately. The plague demon wreaked havoc on the continent for her and was sealed. So that she would no longer be in pain, she gave up her identity as a demon and was reborn as a human.
But when the plague demon was released from his seal, he found Belle again, yet Belle no longer remembered him, no longer remembered her lover.
She even killed the plague demon with her own hands, and it was only then that she regained her memories as the demon of envy, Maiya Mi.
Why was the world so cruel? Was this punishment? Punishment for what they had once done?
Xiao Wu was extremely anxious. She did not know what had happened to Belle, only knowing that the situation was very dire. There was still the elf queen lurking at the side.
Fortunately, Hua Li appeared wholly at peace for the moment. She did not make a move immediately, rather seeming lost in thought.
If Xia Zuo had even entrusted the Chen Yuan Seven Styles to Xi Wei, it signified that this human had no shallow relationship with Xia Zuo.
Though she did not want to admit it, finding Xia Zuo was equivalent to finding Asil, and the elf queen began to have other thoughts.
And so Hua Li said, “Actually, it’s not like I absolutely have to have the ring. The token of the demon race has no meaning for me. As long as you find a way to return to me my portion of power still sealed in side, I won’t make things difficult for you.”
Though he did not know if Hua Li was telling the truth or not, Xi Wei had no choice but to believe her. They were unable to endure another battle.
Satisfied, Hua Li remained with them.
Zeno raised his hand, “Queen, I don’t have any objections, it would be a bit too conspicuous if you were to walk among humans looking the way you do now. It would be a problem.”
What Zeno said was the truth. Hua Li was not that ignorant, amnesiac little fairy anymore either, saying, “What problem is there?”
Thereupon, Hua Li shrank back into the thumb-sized little fairy before everyone’s eyes. She familiarly flew in a circle around Zeno’s crown before dropping into Zeno’s bag.
The plague demon was vanquished and the grey clouds hovering over Ye Sa City also dissipated. It was about time they left.
Belle remained unconscious. After stepping through the transportation array and returning to Roland City, it felt like it had been a lifetime since they’d been here.
There was already someone waiting for them on the other side of the transportation array.
A line of what appeared to be soldiers, upon seeing them step out of the array, respectfully said, “Esteemed guests, the first prince sends his regards.”
First prince, that would be Xia An.
It was just unknown if it was Boss Xia An or the nice youth, Xia An.
The imperial palace of the Violet Empire was very luxurious, and also very large. The temple knight helped Xiao Wu carry Belle, and Evan, who had been stuck in the background for such a long time, looked around and occasionally made a few remarks. No one here knew he was a prince of the Miya Empire apart from Zeno, so they all thought he was kind of weird.
The soldiers were all extremely professional, leading them to their destination without even a sideways glance, then leaving after giving a salute.
This was a palace, yet it looked somewhat deserted, without any maids or guards.
There was a fountain in front of the gates of the palace, with a statue in the middle of it. Zeno did a double take, feeling the statue somehow familiar. He sidled up to it for a closer look, and opened his eyes wide in surprise, “This, isn’t this…Uncle Hill.”
The statue was indeed all but identical to Uncle Hill. It was just that it was wearing garb of the court. A woman’s, at that.
Evan also sidled over and casually dangled his hand on Zeno’s shoulder, “Do you recognize this statue?”
Zeno quickly shook his head. He couldn’t say he saw a statue as a living person, could he?
Evan suddenly wanted to show off his profound knowledge, “You don’t even recognize this person? This is the princess of Violet Empire from the previous era, Princess Asil. She’s that princess who got together with my…er, Miya Empire’s God of War, Xia Zuo, and the founder of our Providence College.”
Zeno was truly surprised. Was Uncle Hill really Princess Asil? That can’t be the whole story.
Except that man by Uncle Hill’s side really was called Xia Zuo. What’s going on?
Wasn’t Uncle Hill a man, and Princess Asil a woman?
Was Princess Asil going about dressed as a man and became Uncle Hill, or had Uncle Hill dressed as a woman and acted as Princess Asil?
But if it was a man dressing up as a woman, then what about the marriage!
Zeno felt his world views collapsing.
They were chatting quite energetically, leaving Xi Wei dissatisfied. He knocked away Evan’s grubby mitt and dragged Zeno to the front of the palace.
Just then, a harmonious voice sounded out, “I apologize for having kept you waiting.”
Everyone turned their heads and saw a blond youth holding a snow-white kitten standing in the sunlight. His beauty was indescribable.
Xia An’s palace was very deserted. Though it was luxuriously furnished, but how to put it…it was missing actual people. They were the only ones in this gigantic palace so it felt rather cold and eerie.
Qiqi jumped on Zeno again to play, but when she grabbed onto Zeno’s back to clamber up, she accidentally disturbed the elf queen. Qiqi’s fur stood on end and mewed a few times as she quickly darted back to the safety of her master.
Hua Li sneered, “Coward.”
After everyone had taken a seat, Xiao Wu spoke up, “Your Royal Highness, would it be possible to let Belle-jiejie rest in a room somewhere? She’s been unconscious with no signs of waking.”
Xia An nodded, and said while petting Qiqi, “Qiqi, take the saint there.”
Qiqi meowed and shook herself, then gracefully took the lead.
After they left, Xia An’s tone of voice changed. “I truly congratulate you for becoming the brand new heroes who brought deliverance to the continent from her calamity.”
Xi Wei remained unmoved by his flattery, “What did you bring us here for?”
Xia An revealed a surprised look. “Oh? It looks like Zeno must not have told you the price for providing you with the way to seal the plague demon.”
“Price? What price?”
Boss Xia An gave a pure and harmless smile. “Help me seize the throne of the Violet Empire.”
There was a lump of anxiety in Zeno’s heart. This was bad, how could he have forgotten something so important!
Recalling when he relayed the information to Xi Wei, it seems he only said that he had met Xia An and Xia An had supplied the method to seal the plague demon…and then?
There was also a condition! I actually didn’t say it!
I actually didn’t tell Baba, I’m begging you to see the sincerity in my eyes and forgive me!
Piper and I are eternally grateful towards Sen, who so graciously takes on the monster length chapters. Now we just need Zeno to properly figure out what his feelings mean!
I’m working on the next chapter of this, but of all things, I have pleurisy right now, so I will mostly be sleeping. That means next RAAS is still a ways away too. It hurts to breathe.
- Figurative number that just means ‘a lot’ (though the whole description was figurative anyway). ↩