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Translated by Wook
Edited by Iris Sakura
The man struggled in agony. It was because of the black jewel just transplanted into his right arm. The tiny crystals inside demonic beasts, which weighed less than a single finger, were like seeds of pain. It was a bizarre substance that grew using a human as a host as it extends its stems to invade the whole body. The man constantly screamed at the piercing sensation that reached his fingertips.
His body trembled. The man was an assassin belonging to the Black Moon. Enduring hard training like torture has long since become a daily routine. The excruciating pain swept away the man’s endurance, and he felt severe pressure like a giant beast was squeezing his head. It seemed as if poisonous ants were crawling inside his veins. He cried, begging it to stop.
“You’re very brave, aren’t you?” Someone said in a monotonous tone.
It was a bland, clerical voice. A voice that one would use when reading a boring book in an office. Because of that, it felt like the screaming man tied to the bed and the other man were in entirely different places.
“The Laurel of the Snowfield, Prince Ricardis.”
The screams of the Black Moon’s assassin, the man tied to the bed, resounded in the secret basement space. The veins in his eyes were red, and saliva was dripping from his mouth.
“Oh my, is this a failure?” Murmured Prince Haqab, who was looking at him. He wiped Janan’s tears with his sleeve then gently patted his chest as if to put a child to sleep.
“An opportunity like this doesn’t come very often, so I want to use it. Your power seems to be quite useful to me. Killing is something you can do anytime,” Haqab quietly muttered.
“I believe in you, Janan. I want you to come back with what I want.”
Haqab’s black eyes were drawn to something far away.
“You must go to the meeting, Your Highness. A request has come from the 2nd Prince’s side to increase the number of people in the delegation that can cross the Baltan borders.”
“Oh, but of course, I have to answer the guest as soon as possible.”
Only when the man’s title was mentioned did Janan realize the person before him was Balta’s first son, Haqab. Although he had not forgotten the owner of the Black Moon, his vision was blurred by the pain, and Janan could not recognize Prince Haqab the first time he saw him. He opened his mouth and spoke.
“Y- Your… Highness…”
Haqab chuckled. He was well aware of how disturbed the mind of a person could be when they had just gotten a magic crystal transplant. It was strange to be able to recognize him in such a crazy situation.
“Yeah, get up now. You have a lot to do for me.”
Janan lost his consciousness a moment after he saw Haqab smile. After waking up, Janan’s world was completely different. Colleagues who had made the same decision a step ahead of him would often say, ‘It feels like being reborn.’
He could feel with his whole body that these words were not mere exaggerations. The pain that spread along his veins transformed into a source of endless power. His physical abilities have improved dramatically, and the power of his right arm, in particular, has gone beyond the limits of a human being. Janan was selected to raid the delegation that would soon return to Illavenia.
The raid consisted of soldiers hand-selected by Haqab. Like the moon in the sky, he was chosen by the noblest man. Their moods were significantly elevated.
[Capture the 2nd Prince of Illavenia before the delegation crosses the border. If there’s a sign of failure, take care of it by yourself.]
Janan listened to his orders one by one. The bravery and tenacity of the Knights of the White Night earned them a reputation even in Balta. But aren’t they just ordinary humans?
Being the person he was today —who was outside of human limitations and could have pulled out a human heart with his bare hands— just capturing them would be a difficult task as he couldn’t carelessly use ‘Fragment.’ But he was confident nonetheless.
Janan looked back. His sight filled with dazzling eyes like his. The Witch’s Beasts: an elite unit of about a hundred men whose skills suited their missions.
The 2nd Prince was someone who took an unprecedented step forward as an envoy, even though the Black Moon to which Janan belongs wields the threat of ‘Fragment’. Janan thought that the 2nd Prince of the Empire was either crazy or someone who pursued various ways of dying. But he soon had to correct that assessment. The 2nd Prince had informed Balta that he wanted to add more members to the Illavenian delegation just a few days before crossing the border. It didn’t look like he was crazy, and obviously, he didn’t want to die. But does he think that only that many people can prevent this disaster? Janan laughed at the ignorant prince.
Prince Haqab had willingly cooperated, saying that the safety of the Prince of Illavenia was the most important thing. But the number of members in the delegation did not change. They say that the 1st Prince, who had been looking forward to the death of the 2nd Prince, took Haqab’s hand. The 1st Prince jumped out of his way to ask Ricardis why he needed so many guards to visit his long-time friend’s country. He was like a wild beast that was salivating with its mouth wide open.
So the 2nd Prince Ricardis was abandoned even by his own country. There is no one else who will reach out their hands to him now unless God throws down a rope from heaven.
The leader of the raid, Tyreng, bowed down until his head was close to the floor. Janan and the other members followed him in unison and fell to the ground while facing Prince Haqab.
“We accept the master’s orders!”
Light raindrops made the landscape cloudy. The escort knights in cloaks had attached themselves closely to the moving carriage. Rosaline bit her lower lip. She had seen a sight like this before in the memory of the real ‘Rosaline’.
At that time as well, a white carriage was running through the drizzle. The end of the dream was not good. The princess she swore to protect died while Rosaline survived. She had done her best, but it was beyond her ability. Hundreds of armed personnel had attacked. As she dreamed, Rosaline agonized as she thought, ‘I should have died for you. I promised I would protect you.’ For the first time, she witnessed the collapse of her master, who had always been bold. Rosaline cried for days and nights with her wretched body and clawed at her neck and chest. ‘I will protect you. This time, I must keep this promise.’ The resolution, which she didn’t even know where it appeared from, was inside her.
Rosaline swallowed those words again and pressed them into her heart.
Just like in her dream, the white carriage was wet with rain. Rosaline placed her hand on the surface of the carriage. It felt cold and stiff, and the carriage’s rattling motion passed through her hands. Raindrops ran down her skin. Rosaline swept the carriage with a careful hand as if touching a young animal.
The hand that was touching the carriage stopped suddenly. Rosaline looked around her with a sharp gaze. At the same time Macaron’s voice rang out, she realized living creatures that had been holding their breath had begun to surround her.
They were not far away. To the left. To the right. And there were a few at the rear to block the escape route. Rosaline’s hearing had been duller than usual due to the sound of rain, so she was late to notice. Alongside the sound of stepping on leaves and mud, a foreign energy of magical power was oozing out. Rosaline kicked the side of the troting horse and quickly approached the Knight Commander, who was in the lead. She opened her mouth and drew her sword at the same time.
“We are surrounded.”
Starz pulled back the cloak that was covering his head. The exposed red hair began to get wet in the rain. He raised his gigantic sword and let out a powerful voice that seemed to pierce the sky.
“Stop! Everyone prepare for battle! Protect the carriage!”
As swords unsheated, the sound of metal broke through the sound of the rain and echoed through the space.
The tendons on the back of Rosaline’s hands flexed. Life, magic, and things that threaten the existence of ‘I’. Rosaline had always lived continuously threatened. Sometimes she ran away, but sometimes she also fought. Sometimes as a bear, sometimes as a monster, sometimes as a beast with sharp teeth. Her body, which is more powerful than those threats, remembered!
Beneath Rosaline’s skin, muscles began to deform, turning into a part of a magical beast capable of breaking these beautiful trees with a single flick. No one noticed her rather oddly bloated right arm because of the cloak covering her body.
A man with copper skin and dark hair walked out from the darkness of the forest. Rosaline, who was wearing a mask to cover her nose and mouth, raised her blade. The first group of enemies appeared in ones and twos. The emergence of the dark group of people drenched the green mountain black.
The man who appeared to be the leader took a few steps forward. His eyes were gleaming strangely. Rosaline sensed magic floating around his heart. His wild magic was raging like it would tear his heart out. It was clear that he was being overwhelmed by his overflowing power. The man’s harsh, twisted voice broke the silence in the group.
“The spirit of Hiksala is with us.”
“What a coincidence. He’s with us too.”
Starz remembered the farewells made by Prince Haqab just before the delegation left.
[May the spirit of Hiksala be with our distinguished guests of Illavenia.]
‘Hiksala’s spirit must be quite busy blessing both sides.’ Starz adjusted his sword.
The man also pulled out the sword tied to his waist. The group of raiders standing behind him also drew their swords.
The sound of the blades hitting each other echoed through the forest.
Read only at Travis Translations
Book 2 starts off pretty intense, dontcha think?