chapter23

Floor 1 Saint and North


Saint: North, stop. Once the origin of destruction is freed, you’ll be annihilated too. Everything in the universe will be stuck in the helix of disorder.


Enlil: Isn’t it great then? Everyone dies together and I won’t be lonely anymore.


Saint: ...Is this what you want, North? I won’t judge, but I’ll embrace everything of you and make my own choice.


Saint leant close to Leonard and Cang Bi, put his arms on their shoulders and whispered.


Saint: I can defeat North, but it takes time to prepare. Can you help me? 


It’s was beyond difficult to stall Enlil who was blessed by the power of origin, but this deadly request didn’t scare Cang Bi and Leonard away. As the man and the dragon exchanged a gaze, they both smiled and braced themselves for the possible outcome.


Cang Bi: You don’t need to ask for that.


Leonard: Right. After all our fellows sacrificed, how can we give up now!


Saint: Thank you…


Saint: “We conquer the instinctive fear and give up the tangible assets in order to pursue the noble goal and a higher level of love. This is the brilliance of life, and also the ideology the stars have been preaching.”


Getting himself together, Saint drew a complex spell with his wand and whispered an unknown language. Resonating, the spell began to illuminate and pulse, which seemed familiar.


Enlil: “It’s the spell Ishtar used...He’s forging a weapon out of his soul!”


Enlil: Saint! I won’t let you succeed!


With her arms raised, Enlil conjured the energy and attacked Saint, who was surrounded by thick mist at the moment. The mist then shone an azure halo, casting the terrifying darkness away.


Cang Bi: Over my dead body!


The majestic Cang Bi returned to the shape of dragon, and the huge dragon body condensed power, activated the scales, and turned into a solid shield layer by layer to withstand Enlil's attack. When the shield was damaged, Cang Bi immediately replaced it with a new one, which made Enlil's strikes fail to reach Saint.


Enlil: Humph! Bugger! If long-range attacks didn't work, then do it closely!


Cang Bi: What...whoa! W-What are these?


Countless monsters made of entangled metal pipes crawled out of the ground, climbed on Cang Bi’s huge body and bit its scales.



Floor 2 Cang Bi and Leonard


Bang! Bang! Bang! Gunshots sounded one after another, shooting off the monsters attached on Cang Bi——Leonard was covering Cang Bi with his rifle on the high ground.


Leonard: Don’t you forget about me! You’re not gonna touch them!


Enlil: ...What a bluffer. You’re just a clay doll. Don’t be too cocky!


In the meantime, Enlil surged her power, summoning a swarm of monsters to attack Leonard.

Cang Bi: Leonard!


Leonard: Don’t come! That’s exactly what she wants! Protect Saint and I’ll take care of these monsters!

The massive amount of mutated vessels gradually put Leonard in the lower hand, who became anxious as he was too busy to help Cang Bi.


Looking at the crack on his right elbow, Leonard was aware that the non-stop battles had drained him. The battle with the three demons earlier had pushed him to use the strength-enhancing spell, which caused the crack. He knew clearly that one more usage would lead him to the same result as Elpis.


Leonard: “But I must use it even if it costs my life, for I must protect them and the progress we've made this far. Right, Elpis?”


Braced for the foreseeable result, Leonard closed his eyes and muttered the amazing chant taught by Elpis. In a split second, he was blessed by the spell, which was illuminating a blinding azure dazzle. Bathing in the halo, he felt rejuvenated as rich energy was circulating within.


Leonard: Even if I die, I won’t surrender, for we’re humans. We’re the creatures with free will!


Enhanced by the spell, Leonard gathered the elements to fire multiple elemental bullets, putting down all the monsters on the field. Yet this wasn’t the end of his attack. Leaving his rifle, he charged at Enlil while compressing all the elements on his fist.


Leonard: DIE!


Enlil: Mmm!


Enlil was caught unprepared for such a hit, which attacked her abdomen and blasted her away. The movement cut off her linkage with the power inside the baby, but Enlil wasn’t an easy enemy either, who attacked Leonard while she was in the air.


Blasted away, Leonard fell in front of Cang Bi, who shifted to the human form to lift him up.

Cang Bi: Leonard!


Leonard: Cough...Phew, great. Now that she is separated from the origin power, she won’t be able to summon the monster...But, looks like our promise will never come true.


Leonard smiled ironically as he looked at his cracking arms, while Cang Bi shook his head agitatedly as he was unable to accept the fact, shedding tears nonstop.


Cang Bi: No! Why does it have to be this way...I always have to watch my loved one leave me...Pompeii...Bahamut...And now you...I can’t protect you...It’s all my——Ouch!


Leonard flicked Cang Bi’s forehead with an impatient look.


Leonard: Sigh. Stop being too harsh on yourself. Hmm, although we can’t actualize that promise now, I’m not gonna give up on it.


Cang Bi: ...Right. I-I ain’t giving up too. Even though we can’t make it come true now, I believe we can do it someday.


Leonard: Right, someday…


Cang Bi got the meaning as soon as Leonard raised his fist, and Cang Bi raised his after wiping away his tears——Pop! The fists bumped together, and Leonard gave a satisfied look.


Leonard: Well...Goodbye.


Cang Bi: Alright…


The existence named “Leonard” vanished into ashes. Nothing except his blue headband was left on the ground.



Floor 3 Soul Fragments


Not long after the farewell between Cang Bi and Leonard, a figure approached, forcing Cang Bi to put away the grief.


Enlil: Ha. You’re the only one left…


???: No. I’m here too.


Saint stepped forward with the same forbidden spell as Ishtar radiating in his lucid eyes, meaning Saint had successfully activated it.


Cang Bi: Saint! Are you ready?


Saint: Yes. All thanks to the time you bought for me.


Saint’s heart sank as he glimpsed at the blue headband on the ground, but he forced himself to look up front. He couldn’t waste one more second on the grief and sadness, for it’d be an insult to the fellows who had perished for the war. Spreading his arms, Saint embraced the golden flames, which were wiggling as if telling the ups and downs of fate.


Saint: North, it’s the time for the judgement. Remorse for your sin. 


While thunders were striking one after another, the battle between Saint and Enlil had already exceeded human understanding. Saint struck Enlil with the golden spiritual spear; Enlil fought back with the power of origin.


Not only their attacks had drawn multiple light tracks on the sky, but they had also cracked slits on the land. This battle permanently changed the landscape of continent Tarones, marking the first tragedy on the realm.


Saint’s full-powered hit finally struck Enlil down to somewhere on the continent, breaking a deep dent.

Suspending himself in the air, Saint aimed his soul spear at Enlil. His decent face contained neither hatred nor anger, but the great love that embraced everything. With a hard toss, the sharp spear pierced into Enlil’s body.


Saint: North, I couldn’t patch the pain in your heart, but I’ll walk besides you. No matter if it's your love or your hate, I’m willing to listen.


Enlil: ...Saint, you’ve never changed. Still the same selfless and loving man who tries to save a useless life like me…


While Enlil was muttering breathlessly, her gaze was exactly the same as North’s first encounter with Saint——full of loathe against itself. The loathe had never ceased even though the current North had the form it used to desire.


Enlil: Still I’d like to be alone. I’ll keep on loathing everything in the devastated darkness, and you’ll pray for me in the light.


Enlil surged her power for the one last time, sending Saint out of the abyss. Despite the effort to break free, he was powerless due to the drainage of his soul. When he was transported to the city entrance, some people were already waiting.


Anu: Saint!


Shennong: This...His soul is withering. He’ll die if this goes on.


Anshar: Saint can’t die! If he dies, we’ll be leaderless!


Manungal: ...Use our souls. Maybe we can save Saint if we all give him a fragment of our souls.


Ninhursag: Right. We must save Saint at all cost.


To save Saint, all the Eldus devoted their soul fragments...



Floor 4 Protection and Vow


Although Cang Bi was unable to join the battle between Saint and Enlil, he still had a mission——saving Elpis’s child. With a shapeshift, Cang Bi the dragon flew towards the baby, who was suspended in the air by the power of origin near the city entrance.


Cang Bi put its dragon arm into the great energy flow——Sizzle!


Cang Bi: Ahhh!


The dragon arm was corroded as soon as it made contact with the power of origin. The torment was not only to the flesh body but also the mind.


Cang Bi: “I...I can’t give up...I must honor the promise...I must save the baby!”


After experiencing all the encounters and deaths, Cang Bi had become more resilient than ever. Its resilient mind got it through the force field, saving the baby successfully.


Yet this wrestle had completely crushed Cang Bi from inside out. Too weak to fly, falling down was its only option. Still, it pulled the maximum effort to protect the baby by hugging him tight. 


Bam! Cang Bi’s immense body slammed the ground hard, making the scene hazy. When the dusts faded, it shifted to the human form to pick up the tiny baby.


Baby: Mmm...Mmm…


Cang Bi: The baby...is still alive...but he’s barely breathing. The power residue is corrupting him…


The darkness once sealed by runedragon’s power was occupying the baby again, and the situation was even worse. At this moment, his whole body was tainted dark except the face and shrouded in mysterious purple mist.


Cang Bi: “I’m afraid that it’ll take much more blood than the last time...Well. Turns out I’m in no place to criticize Elpis and Leonard.”


With a shrug and a smile, Cang Bi put his arm above the baby then slit his wrist. As the blood was shedded on the baby, the darkness began to fade just like the last time.


The blood gradually formed a puddle under the baby; but the massive blood loss wrecked Cang Bi’s body, who collapsed onto the ground. Still, he spent every effort to keep his wrist above the baby.


The darkness was contained eventually. However, mist was exuded to wrap the baby up at the moment when the darkness shrank back to the mark on his chest. The mist gradually hardened into a membrane.


Cang Bi: This is...a transformation to the dragon egg in order to protect him and heal his broken soul?


Cang Bi: “Isn’t this the truth of this world? We nurture the land and this land nurtures our next generation. This is how the world cycles…”


Cang Bi: Am I right, Leonard…


The pale Cang Bi closed his eyes tiredly. As all his power was consumed, he could no longer sustain the human form. Feeling cold, Cang Bi curled up its dragon body while his consciousness began to fade…


Pompeii: Cang Bi. Cang Bi.


Cang Bi: Huh? Pompeii...Aren’t you…


Leonard: Sigh, you sleepy head.


Cang Bi: Leonard! And Elpis…


Elpis: Hehe, Cang Bi is still in a trance. It’s alright. You’ll be sober once you hear Zana’s song.


Cang Bi: “Oh...This is a dream...So I’ve already…”


Leonard: Hey! Don’t just stand there! Come!


Cang Bi: Alright! Wait up!


Cang Bi stood up to run towards Leonard, Pompeii and the others joyfully…


In reality, someone crouched down next to Cang Bi. Warm tears rolled down his cheeks when he touched the cold body.


???: Cang Bi...Have a sweet dream...

© 2021 MAD HEAD LIMITED.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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