Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
(Dew Province, the suburban forest outside Dew City)
When Cohen Kheda and his subordinates arrived in the forest after traveling for days and nights, it was a new dawn. Since his assassination cannot be done during the day, therefore Cohen ordered to rest.
After the standard procedures (sending scouts, releasing sound-barrier magic), tired soldiers began napping by twos and threes. All were exhausted because they had to avoid local garrisons, travel across mountains and forests.
Cohen put a black cloak on his body, found himself a tree and dozed off. He rarely talked since the beginning of his revenge. Everything that happened recently hasn’t made him any better. His compressed lips and weary face all confirmed it. The very black steel sword, however, was well-kept between his arms. The end of the sword hand has always been shivering in the cold, moist air. Maybe it was the only thing that’s revealing his heart.
They had to carry out the operation before the news for the Carson assassination came here. Only in this way will the operation be easier.
Malphite anxiously stared at his commander. This orc has not been in such anxiety since he was a child. Day by day, Commander Cohen went even further from being normal and the orc can’t do a thing about it.
A good-looking she-elf stopped behind Malphite, she was the captain of Cohen’s marksmen and substitute for Malphite’s shift.
“Is it the right thing to do,” Diana said softly, “we letting Lord Cohen bathe in blood and soak in hatred.”
“What else can we do?” Malphite boomed, “We can only indulge him.”
“Can’t you sense the danger?” Diana’s deep eyes gazed at Malphite as a hint of scorn showed by the corner of her lips, “What a hot-blooded orc, captain.”
Malphite stopped reacting because an orc was incompetent to understand obscure language.
“Don’t you get it?” The she-elf turned to look at Cohen, “What hot-blooded means: it’s not the brain you’re carrying in your head, rather it is the blood that’s going to boil with even the slightest stir.”
“YOU…” Malphite’s fury came and went rather quickly. The clenched fists quickly released. Malphite had a special spot in his heart for the elves. He even got his name from an elf. No one dared to be rude to an elf in Cohen’s army.
“Okay, you tell me, what else can we do. Even his wives and father didn’t work out. Are you expecting us to do any better?”
“Maybe none of us can. But we can’t give him up.” Diana said calmly, “I will stay with him during the operation this time.”
“Fine.” Malphite nodded, then added, “Watch out for him.”
It was the 7th day after the New Year, a day for the Protoss residents to gather a family dinner. Certainly, the noble families were no exception.
That night in the back of Dew viceroy’s mansion, the dining room was already lit up by gorgeous magic lights. There, the viceroy family was enjoying their dinner behind a long table. A great selection of delicacies was placed beautifully from left to right. Besides, the silvery folks and knives were decorated by delightful potpourris. Not to mention the laughter and smiles. It was a perfect night.
During the New Year’s week, the viceroy of Dew province has received tons of rewards, making him unprecedentedly generous. Even the garden guards had new uniforms.
Now two of the guards were patrolling in the back garden located, not far from the dining room. Their chitchat was suddenly cut off as their body turned soft and fell on the sideway. Then they were dragged into the bushes without making a sound.
Black figures, one after another, quietly entered the viceroy’s mansion.
Diana followed Cohen closely. She was surprised to discover that Cohen’s pale face regained the ruddy color and his breathe stabilized since entering the mansion. Even his sword stopped trembling.
“Blood-thirsty?” The beautiful elf frowned.
Fifty soldiers went into the mansion from 4 entrances. Quickly, they all cleaned the obstacles on their ways towards the rear dining hall. Then Cohen led a few soldiers and headed straight to the dining door.
“Who is it!?” The guard’s neck was cut as soon as he said so. He widened both eyes, hands tightly squeezed his neck hoping to stop the squirting blood. He had no avail because as soon as his enemy survived the white knights, they’ve become far more than what an ordinary soldier can handle.
“Apologies for the intrusion, lord viceroy.” Cohen invited himself into the dining room and casually sat by the dining table. With a kind smile, he asked, “Mind if I join you?”
The dozen people including the viceroy and his wives, kids, and parents were all stunned. What was on their faces suddenly froze. Their eyes were fixed on this uninvited guest.
“Well?” Cohen’s face turned disappointing, “A viceroy should at least offer a cup of win for his guest.”
“Whatever you want.” The viceroy calmed himself, then recovered his attitude as a high court member after the initial astonishment, “If you are here as a guest, make yourself at home. But they are my family, if you need to talk, please follow me to the front meeting room.”
“Good families. I like’em and I also like this lovely air.” Cohen’s smile was far from dangerous, “Let’s talk here since it’s just plain business.”
“Mr. Guest, may I have your name?” The viceroy controlled his temper, his eyes looked firmly at the man, “It’s the least respect in case you don’t know.”
“Do I have to? Speaking out my name is gonna scare the kids.” Cohen picked up a crystal wine glass, said, “Madame, you are gorgeous. One of my friends was a fan of light violet perfume like yours. May I have some wine?”
This young wife steered her helpless eyes to her husband but his man cannot offer any help under such a circumstance. She could only stand up, lifted the decanter with her shaking hands, then poured the red liquid into the cup.
“En, excellent red.” Cohen sipped a bit then elevated the cup to observe the wine color behind the magic light, “Excellent aroma. So, are you insisting on knowing my name?”
“Cohen Kheda.” Cohen left the cup, he offered a brilliant smile, “I am Cohen Kheda.”
One of the viceroy’s wives closer to Cohen whispered a cry. She was so panicked that he knocked over a goblet before passing out. Quickly, everyone on the table began panicking. And when everyone’s breathes stabilized, all found themselves standing against the wall, save for the pale-faced viceroy.
“See? I told you.” Cohen commented, he reached for the long sword near him, “But you insisted.”
“You… are you really Cohen Kheda?”
“In the flesh. During a time like this, it’s not a good idea to impose as one of the Khedas.” Cohen lowered his head, restored his natural eye color for the viceroy.
Too shame this viceroy did not react as fast as the viceroy of Carson City, he asked in a trembling voice, “What… what do you want?”
“What do I want?” Cohen’s cold laugh echoed in the room, then he slowly rose to stand, “I’m visiting the viceroy of Morningdew, a traitor of Swabia.”
“You think you can change everything with your lousy family and 3 petty provinces?” Morningdew’s viceroy, though desperate, suddenly realized his destiny, “Don’t be dreaming. You can’t! You’ll never change it. We have the support of the temple and all the other empires. We have it all!”
Cohen put away the smile and drew his sword.
“I am changing it.” He stepped forward, stuck out the blade towards the viceroy’s throat, “I am changing it, one viceroy at a time.”
“PLEASE…” The courage he built quickly dispersed in front of Cohen’s sharp action, the viceroy irresistibly back-stepped, “I don’t wanna die.”
“You should accept your fate.” Cohen said calmly, “Give me a smile.”
“NO, DON’T COME. AHHHHHH…. MY ARMS! AHHHHH!”
The next moment, he turned into a blood-bathed man.
A dozen shrills also pierced into Cohen’s ears.
“That’s the stuff!” Cohen’s eyes half-closed. He breathed the blood smell into the lungs, “I miss it. Get his boys!”
The elf forced a struggling woman to give up his kid then carried the boy for Cohen.
The child’s cry was hoarse, his once big and shiny eyes have lost its liveliness as they gazed at Cohen with the dullest vision.
Before Cohen was about to kill the child, the elf quickly made a low cry, “Commander…”
Cohen’s inquiring eyes contacted the elf’s, suddenly, Diana’s eyes turned abnormally clear.
“En?” Something went into Cohen’s eyes. He shook his head, blinked, “What is it?”
“Nothing…” The she-elf replied quickly, but tiredly.
Cohen did not notice any difference, though he eyed the environment before he suddenly felt disgusting for what he was doing. Then Cohen put the sword away.
“Keep the young ones.” Cohen left the room, he told Malphite from the door, “Kill the rest.”
“Yes, sir.” The orc replied and began working with his blade. And he didn’t forget to offer Diana his thank-you face.
The she-elf rolled her eyes, then covered the kid’s face.
The night was exceptionally beautiful compared to the bloody air in the dining hall.
(Dark City, viceroy’s mansion.)
Amart’s messenger went into the gate 15 minutes ago. Now 4 superintendents and the minister were listening to the latest news regarding the one they cared the most.
“During the ball on New Year’s eve, all 6 members of Carson viceroy were slaughtered. Several noblemen and the grand priest in the city were killed there on the same night.” The weary traveling has dried the messenger’s lips but he kept on upholding his job, “On the 7th day after the New Year, all except 3 underaged children of the Morningdew viceroy’s family were slaughtered…”
Visual Kheda sighed. He has been pinching his forehead for a while now.
“More people were assassinated between the 2 cases, they belong to the houses who had shown explicit support for the rebels.” At this point, the messenger hesitated then continued, “All died from bloody tortures.”
“It’s such a mess.” Visual Kheda whispered a question, “Are you able to obtain ‘his’ specific whereabouts? And how’s the capital?”
“We still have contact with Malphite until earlier. Lord Amart has brought more hands to help.” The messenger replied, “As for the capital, it’s been overwhelmed by rumors. All nobilities and court members are for themselves now. Since Amart had your order, minister, he’s been fabricating more rumbling gossip. He wants me to assure you that we’ll not lose him and we’ll keep him safe before bringing him back to you.”
“Bring him back? If only it’s that easy.” Visual Kheda forced a smile, “Thank you for bringing back that information. Hell of a ride. You have a good rest.”
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
Once the messenger was out of the chamber, 4 pairs of anxious visions from Cohen’s wives projected onto Visual Kheda.
“It’s not helping.” Visual Kheda shook his head, “He had to get over himself first. I don’t think he needs our opinions since he chose to leave us for now.”
“But what about his safety?” Winslet asked, “It’s the rebels’ territory!”
“There is a special force that I developed in Darkmoon. I’ve deployed them. Later on, Luhrmann will discover more assassinations on his territory so the one will be hidden behind the killing spree.” Visual said, “I feared the temple might discover this force so the late king put them in Darkmoon. If they were at DC when the rebellion occurred, it wouldn’t have been so easy for Luhrmann to win. This is everything I can do as a father.”
“I’m used to worrying about him.” The minister began reading the papers on the desk, “Let’s care about now, shall we? Luhrmann’s coronation is today…”
(Current day, Divine City, the royal palace.)
Luhrmann nearly pinched through the few papers in his hand. This king’s face was terribly pale at a time right before his coronation. Part of the reason was tapioca, the rest was due to a series of unfriendly changes that happened recently.
First, the grand priest of the capital ate his words to host the ceremony. Then the left cardinal withdrew all white knights who were there to protect Luhrmann. And now, he was informed that 2 of his loyal viceroys and several empire officials have been assassinated.
All the bad news was testing his nerve.
“My king, shall we postpone your coronation?” The hand of the king asked cautiously, “The situation is not very friendly to us.”
“We’re keeping our schedule.” Luhrmann difficultly opened his mouth, “Once we’re past this point and we will, they’ll all come back to beg me.”
“As you wish.” The hand nodded, “What about the vacancies?
“Find me 2 replacements. Write me a list and I’ll approve once the coronation is over.” Luhrmann lied on his chair, “Are they certain he’s Cohen Kheda?”
“I’m afraid not.”
“Because I just received the latest intelligence says Cohen Kheda is managing his army in Dark City. It’s impossible for him to come near DC and kill.” The hand replied, “But if it were not him, the survivors said the killer had black eyes. However, I think it’s easy to change eye color but difficult to pretend to be someone. We shouldn’t put our limited time on the identity of the assassin.”
“That’s too many guesses. Let’s just take him as Cohen Kheda. And I need his life to stabilize my people.” Luhrmann closed his eyes, “Deploy our special forces. It’s about time for them to actually do something useful. I want to show those runners I’ll be just as good without them.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Keep your eyes on the army.” Luhrmann stood up, “The ceremony is about to start. It’s an important moment. Off you go talk to people.”
“As you wish.”
That noon saw Luhrmann’s presence out of the palace into the altar. Witnessed by countless worshipers and joyful music, the coronation took place as planned.
To ensure the success of the ceremony, each resident in the capital received another 2 silver coins from the royal bank. Hence each DC family has received a total of 7 silver coins within a month. There were roughly 200, 000 houses in the capital. Luhrmann has indeed spent tons of money for the coronation.
However, no one can guarantee the effectiveness of the money.
When the rebellion took place in the capital, all foreign forces indulged in a rampant madness for 3 days, which has brought permanent damage to nearly all DC families.
Countless men have lost their wives, countless parents have lost their daughters, countless children have lost their mothers. The enormous hatred built during those days was not going to ease with merely 7 silver coins.
As the coronation ceremony was taking place, countless DC residents watched with their cold, careless eyes. Though being monitored by the army, many gossips grew in all the ways possible.
“There, that man is here…”
“He easily killed a dozen noblemen.”
“… like a tornado of death, he never leaves anything alive…”
“He’s killed hundreds all by himself…”
“Like the Lord of Death…”
“No, he is the new Lord of Death…”
Between meals, by campfires, in the dirtiest alleys, such rumors soared. Commoners would first check the environments for polices, then whispered the hope from the bottom of their hearts.
In some safer places, even traveling bards would chant with their hoarse voices.
Dark hair, dark hair
Darkmoon, dark quest,
Dark eyes, sorry eyes,
Dark sword, dark fight.
May you find why you’re here
(Luhrmann’s coronation day, Taj Province.)
It was a province that sustained heavy damage during the civil war. The viceroy was a military general courtesy to the complexity of the geography. The Major-ranked viceroy was so busy patrolling the city that he couldn’t even attend Luhrmann’s coronation.
Whenever an army-man managed a province, his orders had a tendency to be straightforward and simple.
“Do what you’re supposed to do. Farms farm! Businessmen sell!” The viceroy didn’t like to talk but every word he said was very influential, “I kill anyone who goofs around.”
His orders worked to some extent. The province seemed to be very prosperous: absent-minded farmers stayed in the fields, businessmen filled the market but without much to sell and buy, entertainers mustered all the music they could think of and played from dawn to dusk unaware of what to eat for supper.
The viceroy of Taj was on a daily patrolling job with his guards. Today, he arrived at a small town 30 miles from Dew City. It was the market fair day here.
The viceroy rode along the road as everybody at the fair tried their best to not look like the ‘goofing’ people in their viceroy’s eyes.
“New Year’s bell, lights, and kids… New Year…” An aged bard was all about singing and playing but suddenly, he found his voice went off-key, “New… New Year is… is… here…”
The old bard’s apprentice followed his master’s eyes and discovered a young man with a black cloak approaching from the alley across the street. His eyes lowered. The hood rested casually behind, revealing his black long hair. A gorgeous long sword was carried under his left arm.
Black cloak, black hair, long sword.
The old and young bards shared stunning looks then simultaneously stepped backward to a wall.
The young man stopped at a street vendor, took a bowl of goat milk from the astonished seller’s hand. Then he moved to the middle of the road and stayed there, drinking milk.
In the meantime, the viceroy and his guards halted their horses, keeping 20 horse-lengths from the young man. The front-most guards nearly wet their pants.
The cold breeze tossed a few strings of black hair into the air.
Everyone on the market froze, no one dared to make a move.
“F… fresh goat milk…”
The merchants whimpered, “New Year gifts… jewelry…”
The old bard can no longer sing due to the terror. In order to not goof around and ended up beheaded, he fetched 2 flutes, handed his apprentice one, then they began playing.
One of the flutes sounded low and heavy while the other was light and joyful. On an average day, the happy rhythm and beautiful sounds will only make people want to dance. But now, everybody felt murder was hiding within the music.
The viceroy made a heavy exhale on his horseback. His left hand touched the weapon’s handle.
The black-haired young man finished the goat milk and tossed the bowl back to the street vendor.
“Lord Viceroy,” He offered a brilliant smile, said blatantly, “how’s your New Year?”
“You Kheda traitor, I thought you only kill at night.” Viceroy sneered, “How dare you. I’m not like your victims who can’t fight back, I’m from the army. Assassinating this viceroy on the street is a wrong choice.”
“Wrong.” Cohen was all relaxed, he lifted his right index finger and shook it, “Not assassinating, slaughtering.”
The next moment saw the viceroy roared and the front row of his guards drew their blades. All urged their horses towards the young man. The guards in the middle followed and the guards behind began clearing a retreating path.
A slicing sound of metal signified Cohen drew his black steel weapon. A fire-red circle took shape and began circling around his body.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Arrows rained from the sky on top of the men who were charging towards Cohen. Next moment, a dozen black figures came out from the side roofs, windows. They had crossbows, All aimed at the guards that were protecting the viceroy.
“Kill’em.” Fury accumulated in his eyes, Cohen darted forward to his targets. The fire circle shattered in accordance with his steps as the edge of Cohen’s black cloak floated in the air.
“Attack!” Half of the black figures jumped into the street and joined the fight.
Shrill cries pierced the sky from the back of the viceroy’s fleet. The guards there were already exterminated by several tall and big black figures. In the meantime, a dozen more individuals were cut off from their retreat.
These black figures howled as their long-handled blade chopped their targets. Every time they used their weapons, a man died. Soon after, the street was filled with bodies and bathed in blood.
“F… fresh… goat… AHHHHH…. BLOOD! IT’S BLOOD! MY MILK!”
“Jewelry… jewelry… AHHH… GOD… NO! DON’T COME NEAR!”
Only the 2 bards remained to do their business although more blood splashed on their front and the flute music became inconsistent.
Suddenly there was an enchantment. Air flows quickly turned strange and even the flute sound became vague sometimes. When all rested normal, only 3 officers remained by the general viceroy.
“Told you it’s slaughtering.” A cruel but bantering voice resounded, “You just refuse to believe.”
“COHEN KHEDA!” The Major viceroy cursed with his face covered in blood, “HOW DARE YOU! YOU…”
The next moment heard a sharp sound piercing armors and flesh. Blood squirted into the air. The viceroy was cut in half along with his horse.
“I dared and you dared not.” Cohen Kheda sheathed the sword, pulled on his hood and left.
They claimed more than 300 bodies on the blood-bathed street but didn’t hurt a single passenger.
The merchants shared looks, nodded to each other. After seeing the murderers off, their lives continued.
“Fresh goat milk….”
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.