Chapter 150 - Dogfight (1)
The Dragon Demon palace was in turmoil.
Through Reygus, they had discovered the true identity of Azell Zestringer, who had interfered with their plans several times. He was the great sinner Azell Karzark. He was the one that had killed Atein.
It wasn't as if no one had been leery of this possibility.
When the Sky Splitter made its appearance, there were some in the Plain of Darkness that had started to become suspicious of Azell's identity.
Still, they had assumed he was a descendant. They could have never imagined that he was the original Azell Karzark. They had gathered too many evidence that had corroborated Azell Karzark's death to even think of it as a possibility.
Humans couldn't live for 220.
Moreover, Azell had been fated to die, because he had received a curse from Atein.
It was natural to assume that a descendant of Azell that they had been unable to wipe out had inherited the Sky Splitter.
However, Reygus had confirmed the veracity of this truth. On top of everything, the elder that had lived far away from the center of power after the Dragon Demon war moved as if he had been waiting for this moment. He left the Plain of Darkness to join with the hunting party that was tracking down Azell.
When this truth was delivered to Niberis, she was struck dumb by it.
"He is the genuine Azell Karzark….?"
"That's what they said."
Regina lowered her head.
Niberis wasn't the only one struck dumb by the news. It was the same for Regina. How many times had she treaded between life and death as he mocked her? Still, she had never expected him to be the Azell Karzark. He was the nightmare of all Dragon Demon king worshippers, and he had skipped 220 years to be reborn in this time!
Niberis asked the question.
"How can this be?"
"I have no idea. There is no information available beyond that……."
"He hadn't spoken about my father as if he knew him, because he was trying to mess with me. It means he spoke the truth."
All kinds of thoughts boiled up within her. It wasn't just her resentment and hatred towards him…. A peculiar feeling that transcended her hate and resentment arose within her.
"What about Kieren and Jeffers?"
"They've already been dispatched."
Regina knew Niberis would ask about their whereabouts, so she had already done her research.
Kieren and Jeffers had been humiliated when they faced off against the Guardian Shadows. When they heard the news, they immediately got ready for battle before heading out.
Suddenly, Regina had a peculiar expression on her face.
"What is it?"
"Lord Baldazark took the elite force that his tribe had been conserving. However, Lord Almarick…."
"He went out by himself? Or did he take a small number of the elite troops?"
"No, he didn't."
"Stop talking in such vague terms."
"I'm sorry. I responded that way, because the situation is a bit weird."
When Niberis became irritated, Regina quickly apologized.
"Before Lord Almarick could lead the Almarick tribe's elite units out, someone had already taken all of them out. This is why he struck out on his own….."
Niberis was taken aback.
She couldn't comprehend what had happened. Niberis, Kieren and Jeffers were the new generation They had taken on the name of their tribes, and they had inherited the tribe's Dragon weapons. They fully represented the tribes now. The elders possessed the hallowed bloodline, but it was inevitable that their bodies had become weak as time passed. They had ceded their position to the younger generation.
So why would they shun Jeffers now?
'Did one of Almarick's forebears step forward?'
Regina spoke carefully.
"It seems that is also true for the Aunsaurus tribe….."
The exact details hadn't been leaked to outsiders, but the Aunsaurus tribe was in a state of chaos. The fact that Laura had run away with the Vitan's Chalice was bad enough, but the next heir they had chosen had been killed. Dikal had been slaughtered alongside their secret weapon called the Shadow's Sword Belt. Their reaction was inevitable.
Moreover, the previous generation's heir to Aunsaurus had been lost to the Guardian Shadows too. They were already operating under water, and it seemed there wasn't much choice left for them.
The ones that that had retreated from the frontline, because of age had stepped forward again.
"Still, I think something different happened on the Almarick side. I'm sorry, but I wasn't able to gather any more information beyond that."
"It seems I'll have to step out if I want to learn anything."
Niberis came to a decision. Everyone was quickly heading out towards the battlefield. She decided it was unwise to stay behind, and grasp at old information that was lacking in the first place.
"I'll have to ask grandmother for an audience."
Niberis headed towards Aincera. She went to get permission to mobilize her tribe's troops.
With the help of the Guardian Shadows, the party received treatment from a healer, and they left with valuable supplies. They were able to increase their speed by a little bit. Also, Azell's state had become noticeably better.
However, Azell wasn't in a state where he could enter into a battle.
He had been at the brink of death from the serious injuries he had suffered only a day ago. It was almost a miracle that he was able to walk on his own two feet right now.
The healer's ministration helped, but it was also life energy stripped from beasts and trees using black magic that had contributed to his recovery.
"Aren't there around 500 by now?"
Suddenly, Kairen mumbled to himself.
The Guardian Shadows following the party continued to grow. They kept themselves hidden, so their exact number couldn't be discerned. However, they were able to see Guardian Shadows join periodically, so it was possible to guess at the figure.
Azell was still unable to run quickly with his feet, so Yuren and Laura used their magic to fly him through the air. He had become their luggage.
"That sounds about right. I wonder how many there are…."
"They are beings with deep resentment towards Dragon Demon king worshippers. If we take that into account, I believe they might number in the thousands."
The Guardian Shadows that had been spread across the whole continent was gathering here. Then there was the Sleepless Guardians that followed around the Keepers of the Prophecy. If they all joined force, would Reygus be able to win against them? Their force was so large that it made Kairen wonder out loud.
However, Azell shook his head from side to side.
"That would be impossible."
"Is that so?"
Kairen let out a bitter laugh as he asked the question.
"What was it like during the Dragon Demon war?"
"The magicians were stationed at a distance, and it came down to a 1 on 1 or a 2 on 1 battle between powerful individuals. These individuals were like gods of calamity against armies."
It was true that the Guardian Shadows were strong. Their overall battle capability was high, and the strength of the individuals was also considerable. Then there were the magicians who possessed troublesome special skills.
However, it was all useless against Reygus.
A single combatant was needed against Reygus instead of several hundred combatants. The Soul Hammer had a special property where it got stronger as it faced more combatants. Reygus was an unreasonable being.
"I really want to hear a lot of stories from you…. It is unfortunate that we don't have the time to do so."
"I'll do so at a later date. You should be a bit patient for now."
As he spoke those words, Azell turned to look at Laura.
"How is it?"
"It's perfect. However, are you sure about this?"
"I just gave it back to its owner. Also, it is better for us if you possess it right now."
Azell had returned the Vitan's Chalice to Laura.
The inheritance of a Dragon Weapon didn't take too long.
When he got a little bit better from being treated by the healer, he immediately made the decision to give it back to her.
Since he couldn't fight, this would be the best option. It would really be stupid if he clung onto a weapon that he couldn't use right now.
"Since you've seen me use it, you should be able to use it better now."
"But I'm the original owner."
"So what of it?"
"Sometimes you can be very detestable."
Laura sulked a little bit.
The way Azell had used the Vitan's Chalice had been a big help to Laura. Even before she had handed the weapon over to Azell, Laura had a very deft touch in operating the Vitan's Chalice. She would be able make very good use of the techniques that had been displayed by Azell.
"I told you all I know. It is up to you to find out a way to use those knowledge."
Azell had shown her how he had operated the weapon, and he also gave a detailed accounting of what Aunsaurs was able to do with it.
For a user of the Dragon weapon, it was of big help to hear such detailed accounts. The magic infused within the weapon could only be used by a magician, but in terms of constructing an image, the foundation was the same for everyone. This was why Laura had learned many new ways to use the Vitan's Chalice.
Of course, the fact that Laura had used the Vitan's Chalice for a long time was a big plus. Her foundation was sound, and her senses were outstanding. This was why she was able to easily learn the new techniques.
"I'm asking about a hypothetical. Would it be be possible for us to run away using the Vitan's Maze?"
"It's possible. Reygus doesn't have the talent to be able to track down the Vitan's Maze…. The trace left behind by the Tear would be a problem, but that can be solved if the Guardian Shadows could buy us some time."
The Guardian Shadows couldn't defeat Reygus, but they could buy the party some time. It was worthwhile to think about separating the party from the enemies using the Vitan's Maze. Then they could escape the battlefield while the Guardian Shadows bought them some time.
"A problem arises if others beside Almarick shows up…."
Laura's expression darkened.
"Aside from the Book of Darkness, the Bleed Star is quite troublesome."
When they fought last time, Azell had been whole, so he was able to take advantage of his inexperienced enemies.
However, Kieren would be a very troublesome opponents in their current situation.
Dragon weapon Bleeding Star.
It was the Dragon Weapon used by Dragon Demon general Baldazark. It held dominion over any blood nearby. If one was bleeding from a wound, the blood would rise into the air before being sucked towards Baldazark. Then the enslaved blood was used to create a magic circle. It allowed Baldazark to use magic of massive proportions. This was why Baldazark had been such a terror.
"If the blood controlled by the Blood Star sticks to a target's body, the user will be able to track you down even to the end of the world."
Moreover, they weren't the only ones that possessed Dragon weapons.
Since they confirmed Azell's identity, the Plain of Darkness would use all their available resources in an effort to kill him. All kinds of Dragon weapons they possessed would make their appearances.
"I'm not sure what the Keepers of Prophecy are doing. Since they've confirmed that I'm the one from the prophecy, shouldn't they be telling me the secret they had been trying so hard to keep hidden?"
"In the first place, we don't know what the prophesied being actually means to them."
"For now, we are sure they want to protect you. They gathered this many Guardian Shadows for you."
"However, I have no idea why they won't show themselves."
Azell let out a sigh. He couldn't hide his frustration.
'How can I be so powerless?'
At such an important moment, it weighed heavily on his heart that he was a burden right now.
This had nothing to do with whether he trusted his comrades or not. No matter how he thought about it, the situation was too dangerous.
Suddenly, Laura asked him a question.
"There is a possibility that I don't really like thinking about……."
"What if there are other Dragon Dragon generals still alive besides Reygus?"
Azell furrowed his brows.
"Almarick might still be alive."
"What makes you say that?"