Forward, to Winper City
Translated by Tianic
Edited by Jiem
Characters in this chapter:
- Cohen Kheda: The main character.
- Fischer: Cohen’s friend and the prince of the Swabia Empire.
- Jack, Marfa, Wilder, Moya: Cohen’s childhood friends and firm supports.
- Lily: A slave girl saved by Cohen and Fischer and their maidservant afterward.
- Immerse Sunset: A village chief near Winper City.
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter the farewell, Fischer and I set off aiming for our sole destination: Winper, the business city.
While selecting our horses, Fischer took the white horse regardless of my complaints and kicked me with the other stupid all-black steed while commenting that “white suits me’.
Was black a thing for me?
Fischer handpicked sixty men from his Imperial Guard Troop (IGT) to depart with us. Nevertheless, I thought that the name was cheesy. Fischer spent an entire night thinking of the name.
Sixty men were segregated into two teams. One team made holes in the front, while the other guarded the rear. All of them dressed like mercenaries. My men were essentially a group mixed races, thus they looked kind of like they were dressing as hired soldiers.
The identity of Fischer and I were mage apprentices. Thus, we walked in the middle.
“Hey! Whitecloud, no need to hurry, do we?” Fischer gave me the nickname for his revenge.
“Bloody Raven!” I said roughly, “Our precious time is to make money! Now, stop wasting it and shut your damn face!”
We had been advancing in a rush for days and arrived before a grand, barren area between Dark City and Winper. As we came closer to the coast, even the incoming wind that blew past smelt of the ocean. And people of small numbers could be seen every now and then on our journey.
“Young Lords!” An IGT member rode towards us from afar, “We’ve got a village up front. Mr. Jack said it’s dark. He asked if you want to settle down there today.”
“How big is it?” At the soldier’s report when Fischer was making fun of Arnold, he resumed his seriousness immediately, “Who’s their chief?”
“It’s rather small. We’ve had the chief and making contact!” The IGT man said, “Everything appears to be normal.”
Fischer nodded. The soldier made a formal knight’s salute and rode away.
“By the way, Cohen!” We slowed down our pace as Fischer asked, “Why didn’t you bring Wilder and Moya along?”
“This isn’t appropriate for them!” I enjoyed today’s sunset, “This expedition wouldn’t benefit them much. I’d rather let them train our troops in Dark City, or get scolded by my uncles.”
“Then, what about Jack and Marfa?”
“How could you be so stupid!” I said, “Jack and Marfa’s personalities won’t fit in the army. They could be medium officers of sorts, instead of generals. They are meant to excel in other areas.”
“I see… then what kind of a general do you think Wilder and Moya will become?”
“I think…” The aforementioned small village appeared on the skyline. I gazed at its outline and said slowly, “Wilder will be a leader of craftiness and a nightmare for all who defend. As for Moya, his personality is extremely steady and calm, though well-behaved, however, he’s not as stiff. With the help of a fine advising officer, he’ll achieve no less than Wilder.”
“Is that so?” Fischer was only partially convinced.
“Don’t you believe me?” I said, “Let bet on it.”
“I’m not betting with you!” Fischer said, “You have no shame in losing.”
Before I could consider changing Fischer’s mind with an act, I found myself approaching the village gate. Many hardworking peasants were toiling away at the field. Seeing us approach the gates, a few men came running to notify their chief.
A while later, some people arrived at the entrance. The fat man who was leading the people came over with an obsequious face.
“Ah! Welcome! My compliments for… gods! Such events where two esteemed warlocks visit our county is unexpected!” Then, he put a hand on his chest and another raised up high to show his courtesy. However, I merely thought that he must have been having trouble on which god to praise seeing a dark mage beside a light mage.
“May the God of Light favor you, man of piety!” Fischer usually was the one to deal with such situations, “We are light mage apprentices. If only our abrupt arrival will not trouble you.”
A modest and gentle voice, as well as kind and warm calling forth knowledgeable gracefulness was the signature of any mage even slightly related to the Light Temple.
“Not at all!” The meatball said, “My appreciation and tears of happiness to serve heralds of the Light God. Your servant is the chief of this place. My meaningless name is not worth telling you. Your Benevolent Excellency, please grant me with a Protoss title!”
(What a disgusting man!)
“Have you gotten a light mage come over before?” Fischer asked.
“My Lords, let me see!” The Chief said, “We were all brought and settled here. The village was established in short time before any Excellencies came over…”
“I see…” Fischer said with consideration, “We are mere apprentices. Our temple rules don’t allow us to grant names for anyone yet.”
“It’s okay! I believe in you two Excellencies’ potential achievements…” Meatball said hastily, “There must be a lot of men being granted names by you two. I suppose we could get that process done a bit earlier.”
“Alright, men of piety!” Fischer realized the fact that he needed to name the man in order to enter the village, “As a light temple mage, I shall now grant you Title of Protoss: Immerse Sunset.”
“Ah… my, such an elegant name… you have my utmost appreciation!” Immerse Sunset was really tearing up and shivering with gratitude, “Please follow me, my Lords! Come in! I will arrange for your dwelling tonight! Please, my Lords, have a seat. Your feast will begin by nightfall.”
Fischer and I washed off the dust on us that had gathered on the way and by the time we were dressed in clean attires, it was already night. A manservant was sent to lead us down the stairs. A bonfire was set up in the chief’s yard. It seemed like this was the feasting ground.
I left the diplomatic duty to Fischer. I, the quiet dark mage then immediately sat by a short table regardless of the fact that I had occupied the host’s seaf.
“What’s up with that Lord… I didn’t see him pray before eating.” Immerse Sunset’s voice was high enough to make me hear him. Now, I was eating a chicken leg and feeling very annoyed. What was your business on whether I prayed or not?
“You know, my friend was wounded during a battle with evil spirits.” Fischer explained, “So, he was sorta infected by the demons. Now, don’t you worry too much. He’s getting much better. As soon as our traveling is finished, the temple will officially grant us titles and positions.”
“Ah! I see! I get it!” Immerse Sunset then called everybody to sit and left after coming up with an excuse
“Where is he going?” I asked Fischer who sat beside me.
“He said he’s arranging for a show.” As a decent light mage, Fischer deserved to be sitting in order.
Not long after, Immerse Sunset came back with a face full of smiles. Before he managed to sit down, he clapped his thick and fat palms three times.
“My Lords, we don’t have much good stuff here. But, I sincerely hope you enjoy the show!”
Right after his clapping, a few young girls stepped out from the corner of the yard with decanters held in their hands. I couldn’t see their faces by the dim camp fire clearly, but I was sure that they were human beings.
“Your Excellencies!” Immerse Sunset turned his body, “This wine is all that we have. My Lords, please make do with it. Forgive me…”
“It’s alright, we’ll be leaving tomorrow.” Fischer said.
“Not possible! My Lords, please stay for a few more days…” Immerse Sunset rubbed his palms anxiously, “More wine!”
The few girls went ahead. Then, I just noticed their difference customs. The girl who sat beside Fischer wore white from the upper neck down to the heels of her foot. White cotton covered every inch of her body.
The one sat beside Immerse Sunset resembled Fischer’s, though her clothes were much looser. Mine had a delicate and pretty face. She wore a veil of a black see-through diaphanous garment which smelled like fresh grass. The garment was so thin that even the two pinkish spots on her pair of under-developed breasts were vaguely revealed.
“My Lords, drink! Let’s drink…” Immerse Sunset held his cup and said a few sickening toast words.
“Pour the wine!” Immerse Sunset said smilingly, “My Lords, I bought them just a few days ago. Your Excellencies, this… haha, they are still virgins!”
I watched on stiffly as the girl who had presented my goblet shivered and poured wine into it with the decanter that was held above her chest. Once my goblet was full, she instantly retracted the container and used it to shield the parts where a girl was not supposed to let anyone see. She averted her eyes and two beads of tears landed onto the fine carpet.
“My Lords! Cheers! My Lord?”
“Oh, wait…” I took out the chicken leg that was in my mouth and said, “What a big fire, I need my cloak taken off.”
I draped my black cloak over the girl’s tiny body, and after consideration, also put the sleepy Arnold into her arms; hoping that Arnold’s adorable appearance would cheer her up.
“Come on!” I raised my goblet, “Let’s drink!”
“Ah! My Lord, it’s the first time he talks!” Immerse Sunset said to me, “Does everything suit your tastes?”
I wanted to slaughter this pile of fat swine!
Immerse Sunset clapped once more and a few dancing divas started performing bizarre movements. Fischer now began asking about the current status of Winper City. I, on the other hand, was annoyed by the fat pig, as well as feeling that it was improper to talk to a naked girl as a young, healthy man. As a result, I drank alone.
“Clap” Butterfingers. My cup dropped, causing the wine to splash all over the carpet.
“What’s wrong, my Lord?” Immerse Sunset said with extra attention, “Did she offend you? I’ll teach her a lesson immediately!”
“No!” I said, “The cup is rather small. My hands weren’t steady.”
“Ah, in this case!” Immerse Sunset nodded, “I get it! Hold on, my Lord. You there, bring His Excellency one of our specialized goblets, now! By the way, plate it with silver laces…”
I had no comments for a man who put his heart and soul out purposefully.
Half way through the banquet, a servant came back, holding a silver platter covered with red cloth. Immerse Sunset waved his hand and the servant knelt and placed the platter on my table.
“If this is the cup…” Fischer pointed at the thing underneath the red cloth, “Isn’t it much larger?”
“My Lord, though it is much too big, it fits your status…” Immerse Sunset said, “Please, my Lord, have a look…” I uncovered the cloth, and as expected: it was a huge wine cup. However, the girl beside me emitted a whispered cry.
“Get lost! Yelling? You wanna scare off His Excellencies?” Immerse Sunset scolded, “Do your job properly!”
“Yes…” The girl sobbed and poured me wine with an even greater intensity of shivering. Her once stopped streams of tears flowed again.
I sized up the new cup by the light of the fire, but I was not able to detect its color. The shape was like a half cut watermelon. It was indeed a huge cup, too large for me to handle with a single hand. Fortunately, the silver plated laces were just right for my fingers to grasp, making me able to hold it.
As much as I could tell, this cup was weird. However, the crafting technique was not bad! Especially for the silver decor: they were crafted into olivia vine that twisted around the whole object. Leaves of silver shone by the fire.
“Indeed, it is not bad. A decent cup.” Fischer said, “Very delicate.”
“Do you want one, too? My Lord!” Hearing Fischer’s compliment, Immerse Sunset said happily, “It’s not much of a trouble! Only a while…”
“No…” The girl next to me suddenly opened her mouth, her lips turning pale, “Please, no!”
“Shut your damn face! How dare you speak without permission!” Immerse Sunset yelled, “Shut up!”
I glared at him vigorously, making him swallowed his about-to-burst profanities.
“I think, perhaps this cup is not for me.” I took the girl’s hand. They were ice-cold.
“Tell me!” I looked into her eyes, “What is wrong with this cup?”
“The cup…” She cried, “is…”
“Is…” Probably because my warm hands had given her the courage to speak up, she said, “Is made out of human…”
“You… what?” Fischer’s smile froze.
“Human! The cup is made out of a living human!” She finally cried out.
Silence blanketed the yard, leaving only the sound of the crackles of the fire.
Both Fischer and I gazed at the cup speechlessly.
“Hehe…” A while later, Immerse Sunset broke the silence, “My Lords, you don’t know about such cups? We make a lot every year! This kind is a special supply for the light temple mages!”
“Are you saying…” Fischer resumed his smile, “You make a lot of these every year?”
“Yes, My Lord. Your servant’s cup is well-known by many. Many new mage apprentices often buy it for magical practices.”
“En!” Fischer turned to me and said, “He said he makes a lot every year, and many have bought them…”
“What’s your name?” I quit replying to Fischer and gave the girl a hug, “Don’t be afraid, I’m a very kind villain.”
“I…” The girl looked at me, “I don’t have a name.”
“Not a problem!” I said, “You smell like grass and flowers. I’ll call you Lily.”
“So… Lily!” I grabbed the cup and left it in her hands, “Take this for me.”
I rose to stand and nodded at Fischer while he repeated the sentence for the third time, “He said he makes a lot every year, sales amount to a lot…”
A lingering sound of a whistle went off in the quiet night sky. I was the one who made it. Though I was a good whistle blower, I intended not to whistle often.
“Boss!” Marfa’s head appeared at the top of the wall, “What’s up?”
“Seal the village, zero escape!” I said, “Fischer and I are going to teaching someone a lesson.”
Before Marfa could say yes, Fischer kicked his table over and with a sword in hand, he drew near Immerse Sunset with a blank expression.
“My Lord!” Immerse Sunset retreated and yelled, “My Lord! What have I done wrong? My Lord, why the sword! You… You! You are not temple mages! Kill them!”
A few guys who looked like hitmen howled and ran past their master and towards us with cruel faces. However, what a shame, their abilities did not match the ferocity of their expressions. Fischer took them down one at a time.
“Get them!” Immerse Sunset yelled as he hid in a corner, “Kill them, kill them all!”
We had no idea where were those people. As of now, more hitmen emerged from the yard, rooms, and the cellars.
I dashed in front of Fischer. No words were needed before an attack and killing of a person.
“Ahhhhhhhhh!” Fischer pulled out what I had taught him earlier. Golden combat aura appeared and bit by bit, it accumulated all over his body. In the dark night, his presence was gleaming like a golden sculpture.
“Shake!” Fischer yelled, then the aura burst forth as golden sparks spread and began shooting around the yard. The men around him were pierced by millions of sparks before they could make a sound and were destroyed by the aftershocks.
I knew Fischer was in a bad mood when I heard him yell. Thus, I instantly took Lily away. As for the rest of the girls, since I was a stranger to them and unable to hold that many, I kicked them out of the door one by one.
Immerse Sunset screamed and crawled to the back yard. Fischer followed and killed all of the men who tried to help him. His white robe was stained with blood and his body was shrouded in a gold; even his sword was covered in a pale yellow.
Fischer was not in a hurry to kill Immerse Sunset, but surely he had every intention to kill the rest of them all.
I was certainly going to corporate. However, I had a girl in hand, thus I followed behind and slaughtered anyone who tried to sneak an attack.
What was left behind was taken care of.
There was only one room in the backyard with all lights off. Immerse Sunset trembled and crawled in. I blocked the door before Fischer arrived and cast a lighting spell. Then, I stepped in.
Once I was inside, Lily who was trembling in my embrace shivered even harder, as if she was in hell.
Immerse Sunset attached his back closely against the wall and was crying across a wooden station.
“Don’t kill me… I don’t wanna die…!” He murmured, “I didn’t do anything… please don’t kill me…”
Everyone ignored him. Fischer, Jack, Marfa and I, as well as all of the IGT members were staring at the station. My men and I were all once in the battlefield, so we were familiar with dead corpses. However, when faced with the thing we were looking at, some dropped their weapons while some rushed out to puke.
On the wooden stand lied a naked female. Both her hands and legs were bound down by iron shackles. It was obvious that she was very young. Her smooth skin was covered with ugly stains and bruises of all kinds. Her ten fingers were burrowed deep inside the wood. Her head was firmly embedded with two thick iron bars; her mouth was stuffed by a rug; her skull gone.
“Get this pig out…” I put Lily down and told my IGT men, “Kill him with your cruelest ways!”
“Fischer!” I tapped his shoulder.
“Ah! What is it?”
“You want a moment outside?” I cared for him.
“No!” He shook, “I’m better off staying with you.”
I nodded and had someone fetch water and asked Lily and the others to set those who were held captive free, plus more clothes.
Fischer helped me get rid of the silver decor on the cup and placed the naked skull on the female’s head. Fischer attacked the bone with a spell. When Lily came back with clothes, we had already cleaned the girl’s body.
We dressed her up and crossed her hands over her chest. Now, she looked serene and peaceful.
“Rivers hold, that you are as pure.
Breeze proves, that you are as neat.
Earth, mountains, and lakes clear, that you are as white as a lily.”
As we bid farewell to the girl, Lily burst out in tears.