MoboReader> Fantasy > Reincarnated As The Heroine?! I refuse!

   Chapter 106 NO.106

Reincarnated As The Heroine?! I refuse! By aquaseries Characters: 40787

Updated: 2018-03-23 03:14


Sabio was a nation so great that none of the other two nations could attempt espionage. They had shadows of their own, criminals at their disposal and a strange powerful contractor by the King's side.

Everyone who knew the mighty arsenal of Sabio mingled within its borders. In stark contrast, outside the boundary of the great city, poor communities were prevalent in sight.

Some regions were used as plantations to feed the nobles within the great city, and occasionally the offspring would be abducted as slaves for those who could afford. Red eyed humans were commonly sold for a higher price.

This trend caused a great many people to lose their loved ones and surrender their fate under a higher power; causing unjustified devastation and depression. Many were at the mercy of the higher authority: The King.

And amongst the people making a living or simply residing in Sabio was a youth who called himself Liam. A mercenary since young. He never knew of his parents who sold him to be a slave; he escaped slavery all on his own and along the way, he picked up skills here and there. He might be ignorant, but his skills spoke for himself.

At the age of 8, he knew he was living in a world of eat or be eaten, causing him to grow even more merciless over the coming years. He earned his living from killing beasts, assassinating humans and being a bodyguard. He was part of an organization that was established right after King Alfonso's ascension to the throne. This organization would provide civilians a place to learn how to fight by doing requests, much like a Guild. But a more shady business establishment wherein every member's life could be threatened by another. A very tight competition between co-workers where life was always at stake.

Many believed that it was the King who made such arrangements, so he could make use of every fighting prowess when a time came. He was always the insecure King, causing bad management of the nation. This inadvertently led to criminals being able to roam about freely. Unskillful and anxiousness were incompatible with politics. Then came a time when changes made the civilization in Sabio shift to a slightly safer ground.

A formal Educational Institution was established under the name of a foreign ambassador, rumored to be a person of powerful backing. In a few months, many nobles and commoners were enrolled. And in 2 years, many learnt how to efficiently access their magic. King Alfonso felt threatened.

Amidst the looming darkness, Liam, now a 13 years old infamous mercenary shunned by other parties, grew to be too skillful for his own good. He would challenge anyone stronger than him and overcome them in a short amount of time. He stole information concerning Essence Manipulation and adapted it as his own.

He eventually grew bored of being too excellent that he developed a tendency to kill in style, causing his targets to die slowly but with greater pain. He had people he could gather information from. His clients who feared him for what he was capable of doing with no mercy. And one of them was Carlitus Royce Slade.

? ? ?

At 13, Liam amassed fear to a certain number of people that increased his ego even more. He had the skills, he had the heart to bear many tragedies, and nothing could stop his thirst for power. He knew too well how hard being the underdog was and he had the guts to change the tide at a very young age.

But despite how others feared him, they also await when they see a sign of weakness on the youth. For when that time comes, they would pour down every silver and gold they have to get their hands on his head.

(And they eventually did, upon hearing the news he lost at a certain Examination in another nation.)

? ? ?

"Give me a slave." demanded a boyish voice.

To his demand, the nervous wrecked slave merchant whose name was Carlitus Royce Slade shook his head vigorously. "No...! My men worked hard to get them. You might have helped me once, but asking too much is ruining my business. Please...!"

"Tsk. Listen here. You die or just one of your slaves?" His young magenta eyes spoke of wickedness.

"Please... put down your daggers... and we will talk..."

"There's no talk. Your slave, or you?" Uttered the boy as his daggers inches towards Carlitus' tan skin. The latter was left little to no time to be selfish.

"O-O-Okay!! FINE... Take... Just one, please.....!"

"Hmph. Don't think I don't know what you've been doing with your slaves... I'll come back again in a couple of months."

Nodding his head vigorously, Carlitus could feel his bulging stomach bloat once again upon the release of the threatening blades. He sighed in relief, but only briefly as he glanced at the boy's amused magenta eyes. "....Please... Spare me...."

"You are really no good."

Cartilus thought the same of the boy, but he could not respond negatively as his life was at stake. "Yes.... I am. I am..! No more daggers, please..."

"Pig."

And the boy with so much killing intent left the sight of Carlitus, heading towards an area where a few big cages with humans within them were in view. Their face expressed the end of their world.

The boy with magenta eyes was barely 150 centimeters tall, but his thick layers of essences coated around his body foretold he was not merely a boy. Not everyone could sense the essences, but once they lay their eyes on the boy, they knew trouble was before them.

"You. Come with me. I hereby buy you." Pointed Liam to one particular youth who seemed to be at the age of 7. Malnourished and tired, his face expressed depression. But for why he was chosen by a scary boy, only he would know at a later time.

In seconds, the lock to the cage was broken. And the 7 years old boy slowly walked out of the iron cage. None dared escape for they knew the face of despair once they attempted. They could only look on to the entrance of the cage with longing, and pity on the back of the 7 years old.

"Walk with me." Said Liam under his breath, ignoring the eyes of the rest.

The slave followed suit, as best as he could despite the heavy iron shackles around his ankles. "Ah. You need to walk faster." Liam whispered, but the boy heard his words, making him feel even more fearful for his life that he involuntary peed himself where he stood.

"...." With a sigh, Liam waltz a couple of his daggers coated with thick essences to shatter the iron shackles. And the boy was freed from the heavy weights, while realizing his embarrassment after fear. He could only continue to look on the ground as he followed dutifully behind Liam's straight back that didn't seem to fear anyone.

Liam navigated through the crowd of people in one of the busiest marketplace in Sabio, earning him fearful and strange glances from the merchants and customers alike. Suspicious individuals would also pay him heed for upon his sight, noises would be toned down.

The boy then knew, he felt just right to fear the youth before him. For whatever achievements enabled him to rise with infamy, they must have all been justified. Silence was his friend, but also a fearful one as he await for his misfortune with bated breathe.

They had passed several poorly designed buildings, and through narrow alleys. If one were to have tracked down their path, they would find themselves lost. It was a maze.

Then Liam stopped just before an inconspicuous circular floor door, not bigger than five feet in diameter. It was more than enough to fit both of them as they head down with a ladder. Darkness met their eyes, but not for long.

"Ye expect me to wait with a torch in this wicked place, and ye come down with a useless baggage?" Uttered a croak voice that gave the slave boy a start.

"Sorry, sorry, Lad. Didn't mean to scare ye off. Just this Liam here never give proper orders or goal descriptions. Come're. You hungry, I'ma right?"

With a vigorous nod, the boy replied. His fear was growing less as he saw the owner of the voice. He looked kind and well-built. The concerned smile on his face revealed his intentions.

Liam, however, simply shrugged. "Yea. You go care for the boy. I think he is sick. I'll head to the barracks and kill time."

A frown creased the man's kind face. "Ye mean kill some of their numbers? Do ye never get bored reducing the King's men?"

He shrugged once again, dismissing the apprehensive tone of the other. "Who cares. He has too much. They will serve as a good challenge if they avoid my initiation." A smirk played on his handsome boyish features.

"Tsk. Tsk. Ye are much too cruel, Liam. Ye may be my comrade, but I can't agree with yer hobby. Killin' is wrong."

Liam gazed at his co-worker. "Why are you even in this line of work?"

"I choose what I do, Liam. Unlike ye."

"Ohhhh. I do choose mine too."

"Dumb of me. Yes, ye do, but every request with the word kill, assassinate, cut, eradicate, and every other ones that smells of death. Life is important ye know, everyone's is."

"You ever stop to wonder why there are too many bad things in this world?"

Shaking his head, the man said, "Even still. Ye have no right to off with their head."

Liam's eyes changed. "They have no right to ruin a human's life either. Talk to the King if you want to say more to me. For I want to be strong, and I will kill everyone who gets in my way. Even if it's you."

His voice cold, his words made the other man fearful. Liam may appear playful in the face of challenge and even death, but he was a stubborn boy who could only cope with his own ways. With one last look of pity, he gave Liam a nod. "I just wish ye don't have to stain yer hands too much.... Ye're kind, Liam... Let's go boy. I'll have ta send ye off somewhere far, very far."

Although confused, the boy followed suit. His hunger made him unable to understand the words exchanged. But he was used to following orders, simple ones. And without glancing to Liam, he left with the man, leaving a trace of dim light with each of their steps.

In the silence that ensued, a whisper could be heard, "When will I ever meet someone stronger...." His magenta eyes longed for something unfathomable.

And Liam went back to the surface after climbing through the ladder.

It was not long after when blood painted the King's courtyard.

? ? ?

Liam's strange behaviors did not go unnoticed.

A few nobles noticed the trend of Liam's demand for slaves every few months, and they found it strange when no dead body nor other rumors were heard of the slaves he took.

Their hatred for him that increased by a few folds after each and every of his demands, they were determined to find his weakness. And they eventually pieced traces down after much toil. Liam was not exactly an easy target to track down, but through his connections, the nobles found an amusing fact.

Liam was saving every few slaves he could from being taken advantage of by sending them far away from Sabio. The fact was too great of a difference to Liam's merciless display of strength that they couldn't help but find him an utter joke.

"He should be taught a lesson..." Uttered a noble with auborn hair; his face was plump from too much food intake.

"Agreed...." Said another noble that seemed too thin to appear healthy. Wrinkles were apparent on his aging face.

"I'll send my agents to track down every slave he managed to steal from the slave traders, and the fun begins." Wickedness coated his voice, another noble said.

Then came the laugh of the plump noble, his eyes turned to slits as he laughed with his mouth wide open, revealing golden teeth that were brought about by improper hygiene. "Bring them to my basement. hahaha.. I can't wait to see his face once he sees what I can do... Hahahaha HAHAHAHA!"

His laugh grew louder as he continued to imagine all sorts of atrocities. The sickly noble could only stifle his cough as he felt overexcited. He too wished for Liam's despair. While the third noble in the room mused a smile on his face.

"Give him to me if he turns out weak from disappointment..." Leered a noble lady that was silent until now.

With a raised brow, the third nobleman queried, "You can't possibly want a low-born as your plaything..."

"Ohhhh, I do want him. I've always wanted to see his handsome face react to my...."

"SHUT UP, woman! Your lust needs to be under control. Once I'm done with the escaped slaves, I'll have you know I'll keep him where I can torture him whenever I want. After everything his arrogance brought him, he cannot live an easy life..."

It was the plump man's outburst that caused the sickly nobleman to cough blood. "....Calm down, will you... We should agree to schedule on how to use the boy... I want to lay my hands on him to-.. *Cough* *Cough*"

"You are all too excited. Let's wait and see, then we can all share him." His usual smirk on his face, the third nobleman said.

"I'm happy with that. As long as I can have him in some nights....." With her seductive voice, the noble lady added.

"Fine." The plump noble finally complied, and the sickly noble slowly nodded his head in agreement.

They were all sure Liam would face much disappointment over his attempt to save little lives. And without further ado, they executed their plans.

? ? ?

Several weeks later, Liam received news from his co-worker that several slaves in caravans arrived within their city. It caught several people's attention as it was not the usual slave traders who was facilitating the procedures. It was one of the nobles.

He remembered the noble was one of his clients, thus he was eager to know what sorts of slaves the noble caught. To his surprise, just a glimpse of the lineup sent shivers down his spine. He knew the faces of the slaves. His magenta eyes expressed ire.

"Walrus, I'm quitting the guild." Liam uttered, causing his co-worker with a kind face to look at him with a flabbergasted expression. The name was Walrus, Liam's self-proclaimed friend and co-worker for a few years.

"Ye gotta be kiddin' me! Yer work has always been yer life, what're ye gonna do after ye quit??"

Glancing at Walrus, Liam's blood thirst was apparent. A wicked smile on his lips.

"You'll see. Tell the boss he can have my spare blades. Blood has drained their shine, I cannot use them anymore. He always wanted them."

And as he said so, without a proper goodbye, Liam left. Walrus was left nervous.

Walrus then looked back at the caravans of slaves, and amongst them, a boy who looked like any other noble was sitting beside another familiar face. He could feel a pang in his chest. Then he realized what Liam must have felt despite his usual indifference to life.

The boy who appeared like a noble was the 7 years old Liam had saved not a year ago. He had found a good family in another small town for the boy to remain, and for whatever reason, he was brought in Sabio once again. Walrus could only dread for the aftermath.

Liam was merciless. True to his words, and his daggers always thirsty for blood. They just found new preys for their master. They could not wait for trouble as they were floating about with Liam's retreating back.

Walrus was stoned. And then he hurried away. He knew the place was no longer safe for his aging heart.

? ? ?

Screams.

Screams of devastation.

Screams of fear and cowardice.

The sounds played a tune under the bloody twin moonlights. One was a reflection of the blood pool on the floor, the other a serene blue. They were twin full moons in the night sky. And they were witnesses of a youth barely a teen massacre in delight.

His magenta eyes screamed of death.

At the corner, by the wall, shivering children and teenagers could be seen. They saw everything. The dance of the murderer who they thought was their savior. It was a night they would forever remember. And a night when their nightmares would start as a reminder of how cruel a person can be.

A smile then appeared on his handsome face that had blots of blood. "Just you, Dean?"

Upon his words, a shriek was then heard, "Eeeeeek!! No... And I'm not Dean!! If you spare me I'll tell you their names....!! I'll even give you some fortune! I won't touch the slaves too... I'll wash my hands off.... So... So... So spare me!!"

"ah.... You are so insignificant I can't even remember your name, Ryce..."

"Not my name either... Stop the daggers.... I'll tell you their names, I'll tell you....!! Just stop.. AAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!"

A blade stabbed onto his finger, almost cutting a portion of it. In an instant, blood spurt onto Liam's pants like shower. The shout was even louder, and the children and teenagers alike were stupefied at the horror; their gaze never leaving the cruel scene.

"Ooops. My dagger really loves you for some reason, Dennise..."

"*Hick* Stop.... You low life.... I offered you a chance... And that's not my name either!! You'll regret this!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! Urrgh..."

A dagger sliced off one of his ears, making the plump noble reach out for it, only to have his finger completely cut off as the blade that was still stabbed on it remained. A finger and an ear, they were just the start of his pain.

The pain he was going through was too much for a noble. He was beginning to swing back and forth, trying to fight off the impending surrender of his consciousness.

"You can't fall asleep now, Terrell...."

And upon the mention of his name, the plump noble widened his eyes in surprise. "....You knew........... YOU KNEW!!" His eyes narrowed even more, hatred expressed on his plump face.

Then he felt a surging pain from his legs, only to find out the toes on his feet were chopped away. "Looking for these?" Liam offered, opening his palm and revealing 10 toes. "They smell."

Another great cry arose in the whole courtyard, piercing everyone's ears. Liam winced, his patience growing thin by the loud shrieks. But he was not done yet. He had been inching to release his prowess on someone worthwhile.

"Why don't you call for help?" Liam queried quietly, but he did not expect the noble before him to respond.

The plump noble was in too much pain he could not utter a single word. Tears streamed down his small eyes. His expectations of the night crushed ultimately by a lone youth he underestimated.

Then another entity joined the scene with his slow careful steps.

"Why did you still come if you know we are no match for you, and that the slaves were nothing to you....?" The third noble revealed himself. He had tasked a few of his men to observe the nobleman whose name was apparently Terrell.

Glancing at the newcomer, Liam smiled wickedly. [Nightmare Prison] was summoned, and both noblemen were caged within. "Let the party begin...."

"STOP!!" A feminine voice called out. "Please... stop!"

Then came her clumsy footsteps. "Ara~? What do we have here? Another noble I planned to hunt down.... What a lucky night indeed." Said Liam, bemused. His gaze now even more cruel.

When the third nobleman turned to look, his face fell in utter disappointment. "....Dennise, I knew you were stupid. But at least you should have thought of escaping by yourself! Why are you here?"

Although his voice was masked with annoyance, his query could only be interpreted as concern. Dennise gave a sharp sigh and glared at the third nobleman. "Shut up. Shut up. SHUT UP!! Ryce, I thought you planned everything properly! I was so excited to see him tonight, but look what I see!" She didn't appear to be scared of what Liam was capable of doing, but that also proved Ryce's, the third nobleman, claim. She was stupid.

Then she continued after she recovered herself. "Be happy I brought some men with me." But instead of feeling happy, Ryce could only pale even further.

And his hidden worry was right. The bustles made by Dennise's mercenaries could be heard by every household in the district. In minutes, the lights from different households lit up.

"Not only will our names be an embarrassment, but we'll be helping this kid escape with more deaths..." Ryce was smart enough to speculate what would occur next. "Liam, I surrender myself. Make it quick...." Then he bit his tongue for his mistake.

Glancing at Liam's widened smile, he knew he just signed himself up for a slow death

. He collapsed on the ground on his knees as he covered his face in shame and regret.

"Your wish is my command." And at Liam's words, Ryce's finger covering his face were sliced away, including the ruin of his eyes. His eyeballs could no longer be used, and neither were his hands.

Ryce did not make a sound, for he knew any reaction he would make could only serve as Liam's entertainment. And in silence, he slowly drifted to a deep slumber. One he would never wake. "............"

Seeing as his attacks was of no effect to Ryce, Liam could only frown. "Boring." Then he landed his gaze on Dennise who appeared shock at her noble friend's death. "You did not expect him to go down so easily? How silly of you... [Nightmare Prison]"

As he called forth, a cage with a faint purple glow was summoned to cage Dennise within. She could only let out a weak gasp. Her hope has yet to diminish at Liam's display of mercilessness. "HURRY, MEN!! SEIZE HIM!!" She shrieked, pointing her gloved hand towards Liam.

And in an instant, Liam was surrounded by a dozen men. Liam felt ecstatic.

"Exactly why I love cowards... Ha ha... ha.." As he chuckled, his essences grew by thousands. His nature unrestrained, the essences in the surroundings were attracted to his innocent lust for blood.

On his head, small pointy horns sprouted. But it was unnoticed by anyone that night.

The next he blinked, his daggers were replicated - multiplying their numbers. Liam then dashed to the nearest ragged mercenary who seemed to be experienced. The mercenary dodged Liam's faint attack, only to be met with a straight punch to the side of his gut.

Then came three mercenaries, charging at Liam with their dull swords and blades. However, his daggers cut up their limbs consecutively. The next moment, they were all sprawled on the ground, their fingers, legs, knees, arms, neck and head sliced away into fine pieces. The daggers were coated with thick essences that could slice away a thick huge rock effortlessly.

How Liam was able to manage fighting his own battle while manipulating his blades to slice away his opponents' number, only he would know. He was much too skilled to be any ordinary man's opponent. And much too cruel for those with hesitation to be confronted. In battle, he would not hesitate to aim for the kill.

At the sight of such massacre, one would expect Dennise to scream her lungs out. However, all she was thinking was how beautiful the youth before her was. She was flushed to her ears, her chest beat wildly in excitement. But in the corner of her heart, she felt fear.

The children and teenagers that were once slaves had lost their consciousness after the first kill, which was Ryce. Terrell remained crying in his cage like a pig. He was much too concerned for his nonexistent toes and ear, as well as his lone finger. He couldn't hear what was going on anymore.

Under the twin moonlights, Liam danced the night away.

And the next morning, only the children and teenagers were left alive. But even when asked by the people who witnessed the corpses, they could not utter Liam's name; for everytime they thought of the youth with beautiful magenta eyes, they couldn't help but shake in fear.

They could only treasure their little life that was spared by Liam's unnatural weakness to young slaves. His past buried, and only he knew; his life as an escaped slave would forever hunt his back. But as long as he remained strong, nobody could possibly hold him captive. Unless it was to his will.

It was not for long when his name died down in Sabio. He decided to travel and search for stronger opponents, only to occasionally return and get updates from Walrus at the guild. Next he knew, he was heading for Mingzhe Dei, in search for a girl whose name was Dai Wouxie.

? ? ? ? ? ?

Meanwhile, in the palace of King Alfonso, whipping sounds could be heard. Occasional whimpers would then resound. "....awo.....oo...."

A man in mask continued to whip. In the corner of the stone-filled room, a middle aged man wearing an expensive attire suited for the royalty watched the torture with indifference. "For how long?" He queried quietly.

Then the masked man stopped his whip in midair, relieving the youth whose physical appearance appeared to be of that 15 briefly. The masked man then turned to the richly-garbed man. "Don't think it would make a difference, Sire. The results of a blood don't just change by pain."

The King frowned. "But he said it should work this way. Try something else."

With a confused expression, the masked man tried to pry, "What did your informant tell you, Sire? Maybe something different ought to be done."

The King briefly pondered. He did not appear insulted at the masked man's casual prying. With a nod, he replied, "The effect of this half beast's blood could serve useful if we make it boil with...."

"Must be his emotions, Sire." Added the masked man.

With a raised brow, the King appeared confused. "Why do you say so?"

"Physical pain don't work, but if emotions are involved, it might trigger his head to cry an alarm. I've been torturing him for the past hours, and I have had no reactions whatsoever. Here, Sire." The masked man ushered the King to examine the youth's face that seemed to have no life in them at all.

Bringing his hand to his chin, the King started tapping for some thoughts, "Then it would most likely help if we turn him humane for a while..."

At his King's suggestion, the masked man nodded in assent. "Good thinking, Sire."

"Unshackle him and bring him to Telus Yin. He'll take care of everything this beast needs."

Without anymore to say, the stone-filled room that was barely lit by a torch was then deserted. The sound of the door closing resounded through the walls.

In a matter of weeks, the youth was given a proper room, wore proper noble clothes, given adequate meals and left to his own devises. The only rule implemented on him was that he was not to reveal himself outside the palace.

He was given tasks that were not really required to accomplish, except for befriending the young soldiers or the servants in the castle. Nobles were strictly told not to approach him.

The trend of the orders was consistent. He was only allowed to mingle with people who knew almost nothing of the world but only their tasks. Soldiers train to survive in battlefields. Servants obey their master, while upholding their knowledge at keeping things organize at their specified roles.

His first days of freedom were boring. He knew of no desire to do anything, except for staring at the sky and feeling the wind coursing through his skin. Until one day, he met his first friends. And as they spent time with one another, his normal days changed.

He gradually felt emotions he never knew before. And he could then relieve memories he wanted to remember every so often. He discovered the joy of being around others, and the pleasant feeling their presence brought to him.

He was truly glad and content.

"Hey, Fraulothinia!" Waved one young lass. Her hair that was braided neatly on her back swayed gently with her eager movements.

The youth whose name was Fraulothinia then turned to look, and revealed a kind smile to the girl. This caused the girl to blush slightly. Then she hurried to approach him where he was.

"It's Nia, Vera... The name given by the nobles is no good! Nia it is." Uttered another youth whose face scarred by small slice wounds. He looked at Fraulothinia, otherwise Nia, and smiled. "Yo."

At the sight of his other friend, Nia brought himself down from the tree. He walked to meet them in the middle of the small hill.

"It's a brilliant sky today too... How was work for you two?" His pair of magenta eyes glowed with glee at the sight of his new friends.

Ignoring the other boy, Vera flashed a brilliant smile to Nia. "It was alright as always~ I couldn't wait to see you, Nia!" As she said so, she reached out to hug him. Nia accepted her outstretched arms with warm innocence.

"........" The other boy looked on the two weirdly. "Vera, you ought to act like a girl."

At his words, Vera simply harumphed. "You don't have to care, Julius. It was me who found Nia first. You just came along afterwards!"

Julius simply shrugged. "Whatever. Nia? Wanna go for a run later?"

Separating himself from the reluctant Vera, Nia nodded with a smile. "Of course! I heard there's an escaped beast in the King's forest..."

At his words, Vera and Julius looked intently at his face, causing Nia to feel uncomfortable.

With her eyes narrowed, Vera asked, "How did you hear that? We just heard it before coming here, you know. And the news of the beast's escape was only released an hour ago!"

"I heard it..... from Nill and Chris in the second floor of the Palace's third wing...." He replied meekly.

"Don't shy away, Nia. You don't have to be scared. We are simply amazed at your ability to hear sounds. Did you hear them talk from here?"

Upon Julius' words, Nia recovered some of his calm and nodded in return.

Vera could only frown. "Second floor, third wing..... That's so far from this hill." After quietly saying that to herself, she looked at Nia with a cheerful smile. "You are amazing Nia!"

Her words had no hint of lies, and they made Nia happy. Being praised always made him pleasant. Thus he smiled innocently. "T-thank you..."

With Nia's shy expression, Vera felt overexcited as she continued to gaze at him.

"Pardon my intrusion, but I think we should not go to the forest. That beast is not one we can just challenge with the two of us."

"Geez. You don't sound stern nor serious at all. I know you are much too eager to jump at the chance. I bet you'll be promoted if you present the beast to your General."

This caused Nia to lit up. With his swift movements, he had taken hold of Julius' wrist. "Let's go." His magenta eyes spoke of determination that Julius would not be able to deny from.

With a resigned sigh, he expressed a smile. "Alright. But not after we prepare adequately. And Vera, don't ever follow us."

Vera harumphed once again, turning her face away. This caused Julius to worry as it was more than likely she would decide on something troublesome once again.

? ? ?

Two hours later, Julius was ready, and so was Nia.

The former brought his sword and a spare one. He tied his neck-length blonde hair neatly and wore his fitted soldier uniform.

Nia was provided with a set of uniform as well, and a dagger and a sword. Both did not bother to bring a buckler due to their inefficiency at handling one.

They both looked at the path to the King's forest one last time. Then Julius heaved a sigh and urged Nia to follow after him. "Don't stray away from me now. Although I trust your capability, I can't always rely on your experience. You get me, right?"

His words usually harsh, but Nia could understand the serious concern behind his words. He nodded with a smile.

It did not take long for them to hear the sound of the beast. Then they slowly located it, only to find it suffering from deep wounds.

The boys briefly questioned the morality of what they were about to do when the beast noticed their presence. And in an instant, all their previous thoughts vanished as the beast before them grew so large.

Wings sprouted on its back. Horns amassed its head.

It was a beast closer to legendary. Upon Julius' analysis, he tagged Nia away from the vicinity without a word.

But it was too late, the wounded beast was much too alarmed to let them go. It was determined to protect itself by eradicating anything that could pose a threat.

As it beat its wings, waves of gale hit Julius and Nia. This caused them trouble on their footing, slowing them down further at their escape.

Then came a shriek. "Kyaaaaaa!! That beast is huuuge!!"

Her voice caused Julius to stumble. "I told you to never follow us!! We are leaving!!" He exclaimed, grabbing Vera's wrist with his free hand. The latter could only dismissed her next words as Julius did not want to listen to any.

"Nia, focus on your footing. Vera, stop looking back!" He barked, his young features unusually calm to their situation.

Nia dutifully followed Julius' orders like his life was at stake, as it literally was. While Vera finally focused her gaze to the front. She was used to anxious situations due to the King's temperament and every day bustle at the Palace. But she had no experience of near death situations.

The three raced to the entrance like there was no tomorrow.

Contrary to their hopes, the beast flew to face them in their path. And they lost their escape.

Julius then let the others' wrist go, grabbing for his sword. He readied himself for battle. "Stay back, and escape when I give the signal." His voice expressed finality, which made Vera nod involuntarily.

But Nia would not have none of that. He grabbed his sword as well, and tried to hold it firmly in his hand. He had no idea how to fight like a soldier would, but he had primal instinct to assist him.

"Nia, listen to me. Go and protect Vera."

Upon his words, Nia's heart fell. He did not want to abandon Julius.

Meanwhile, the beast was already heading towards them as fast as a bullet train. And none of them, but Nia could catch the drift. With one swift move, his instinct made a grab for the two and pulled them away from the path of the beast.

But Julius was not completely safe. He had been scratched by one of the beast's protruding horns that were layered on its wings. Strange beast it was. The three could not question how it had escaped.

Panic overwhelmed Nia, and he missed the next swift attack of the beast. And in an instant, Vera was gone. Only one last sharp gasp was heard.

Julius was petrified with shock. With his emerald eyes gazing at where Vera used to be, his mind drew blank. While Nia by his side seemed to change.

Then came an unusual sight, Nia grew dirty blonde of pointy ears and bushy tail. His arms morphed that of a wolf's descent. Then came his powerful howl.

His legs that were like hind legs of a dog, he dashed so fast towards the flying beast. Unconsciously, he was manipulating the essences in the forest to his will to give himself better footing. And not for long, he had clawed away a few horns. But there were too many to count still.

At the side, Julius looked on his friend with reverence. He had an inkling Nia was different, but he just learnt Nia was a class of his own.

Several minutes of destruction extended to hours. Nia had gotten used to his new form, but he could also feel himself slowly wearing down. Despite his drastic increase of strength, as well as fortified senses, the beast he was against had more than enough to give despite its wounds.

But Nia could also see the beast was starting to slow down with weary.

With one more push, Nia continued with his pursuit to victory. His claws grew sharper as he pushed more focus on his attacks; his movements more nimble with precaution. He was gaining battle experience fast, but his mind was much too young to imagine more than what he was capable of. He knew the horns were dangerous, thus he had been removing them as best he could.

With the horns on the beast diminishing with time, its strength was drifting away. It was not for long when danger would die down.

And it was not for long indeed as the last horn was mowed down by Nia's claws. It was sitting on its chin. Then it collapsed on the ground; its wings dismantled themselves with no more strength to support them by.

The beast was not dead.

But Nia won the battle of endurance.

Julius had fallen unconscious at the side.

Despite his despair over Vera's death, Nia urged himself to save Julius at least. Thus, in another moment, he had gone far away from the forest with Julius on his shoulder. His half wolfish form yet to disappear. . . . . . .

When he awoke, Julius felt a strong headache, as well as pain on his arms. Then he examined himself and memories not long ago resurfaced. He looked around his room to find Nia huddled by himself at a corner. He appeared to have been crying for so long, but his tears had dried up.

Julius felt loneliness and something stabbed at his chest. "....V-Vera..."

His weak voice took Nia's attention by force, and Julius then could clearly see how much his friend had despaired over the girl who was always beside them, always cheerful. But now gone. So quickly, she was there and gone.

An inconspicuous tear rolled down his rough cheeks. "........." In silence, the two of them lamented over their friend once again.

It was not until half an hour had passed when one of them broke the silence.

"We should report this incident to the King, or even to my General. Vera needs a proper burial." Julius uttered under his breathe. He still could hardly believe Vera was truly gone.

Nia could only nod in assent. He had no more strength to say anything.

When the King heard of the news, Nia was immediately locked in a room. Much to Julius' dismay, nobody was allowed to see him. Confused, Nia remained dutiful to his King's words.

Then one day, he was inflicted with pain he had forgotten after experiencing life upon meeting Julius and Vera. He was now, once again, tortured to bleed.

The masked man returned. The King seemed jubilant.

"Should we test this out, Sire? His blood seems different this time."

At his query, the King briefly gave his assent. "Bring the boy."

And in the next moment, Julius finally met Nia once again. Despite his wounds, Nia smiled brilliantly at meeting Julius. With a pat on his shoulder, Julius gave his greetings. "I was suddenly called here. I guess they finally heed my never ending request to see you."

Both of them had no idea what the King had in store for them.

Then the King offered Julius a drink, while Nia was fearfully keeping himself quiet under the watchful gaze of the King. He knew he had to fear the person. A word instinctively come to mind whenever he laid his now mismatched eyes on the King, and it was the word Master.

Julius delightfully accepted the offered drink as it was from the King himself. He had heard King Alfonso was not kind, but he was seeing completely different. With a matching smile, Julius glanced at the King before taking the cup away.

"Take a sip. Slowly, since it's hot..." His words quiet and gentle, Julius gave a nod to the King's words. And after blowing the cup to cool it down, Julius took ample of drink.

After he finished, he wiped off the residue on his mouth and gave a respectful bow to the King. "Thank you, Your Majesty. It was delicious."

King Alfonso only smiled, as if waiting for something to happen.

His eyes then lit up with delight when Julius expressed a strange frown.

His shadow on the floor was distinctly seen as he transformed from a boy to a beast. Nia silently cried in shock. His only friend, Julius, was now gone too.

With tears rolling down his mismatched eyes that seemed to glow brighter as it looked on his friend, he tried his best to maintain his sanity. He realized what the King had done, but he felt powerless under his gaze.

Utter despair engulfed his soul, relieving every warm memories he had spent with his two friends in the past. He whimpered and continued to weep.

The King then spoke, "Lock the beasts in the dungeon."

And at his words, the masked man revealed himself. The other beast who was once Julius appeared confused. He could understand their words, and he was confused at their treatment of him. He felt himself strange.

Only later would he find out what had occurred to him, but it would have been too late to do anything. If there was anything that could be done at all.

Nia was then sentenced underground where a mistress of the King would occasionally visit him. She would prove useful to him later, but he did not know that until much, much later.

His whole life, he was kept under watch. When he learnt of love, it was quickly snatched away. But under the contract, he remained his weak and kind self. Within, his alter ego was eager to be released to cause havoc.

He longed to escape. He huddled to himself once again, closing the world around him.

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