Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
It was the Asmodian Alliance, Teffera Empire, 200 miles away from the capital, in the mountains. After 10 days of hard work, Claude had finally impressed Raven with his infinite “sincerity” and made the latter “willingly” agreed to accompany him to a certain place. Claude said since he had become a probational friend, Raven was obliged to accompany him for half a month. If not, he would have to haunt Raven till the end of time.
Regardless of the validity of the half month’s commitment, Claude has to seize the immediate present.
At the same time, the two people have a tacit understanding to avoid the bustle of the main road and travel on lonely trails.
Traveling in a beautiful valley, Claude’s interest was obviously higher than Raven’s, he used extremely vivid language to introduce Raven to the grass and trees around, trying to make the journey full of fun.
As for Raven, he kept his mouth shut most of the time, and never smiled; and if he spoke of his own accord, then it must be that the other individual’s gaze lingered too long on his face.
“Don’t look at me like that.” That’s how Raven usually admonished Claude, “Or you’ll pay the price.”
“Yeah? Understood.” And usually, Claude would shamelessly hand over a copper coin, “I am a poor man, please make a discount for the sake of my friendship and accept this price!”
“Where are you going?” To such an absolute bitch, Raven could do nothing, although he was a killer, to kill this person was not easy, and the most critical point was that Raven could not find the killer instinct when facing this man, “What are you going to do there?”
“Oh, I? I’m going to pick up a little girl!” Claude revealed a gentle smile which made Raven more inclined to approach than the kind of weird sincerity with a bit of worldly expression, “That is my promise, I’m in debt to her sister…”
Raven watched Claude’s face gradually dull down and eventually became sad. Raven felt that his own emotions went along with it. His heart could not help but turn curious and doubtful. Could such a person have a sad past?
“Tell me about it, and I’ll consider whether to go with you,” Raven asked indifferently.
Raven has learned enough of Claude’s mouth work along this journey, although he wouldn’t want to pick up the strife again to upset himself, at least he could temporarily to avoid Claude’s affectionate eyes, he has even thought about how to bargain later.
Claude slightly parted his face aside, as if he really recalled some sad past. Just when Raven was glad that he chose the right topic, Claude spoke in a tone of voice mixed with sadness.
“In fact, you should know it! I am full of problems, and I know that your first impression of me is not good.” Claude’s eyes looked at the ground, “But in the past, I had more problems and offended people everywhere… Six months ago, I finally got my comeuppance.”
Raven did not interject, he quietly listened.
“… in that case, a man who could not move, gradually recovered under the care of a weak woman, of course, the woman had to work very hard.” Claude continued to recount, not caring at all what Raven would think, “And what is her profession? The kind of lowest prostitute, sleeping with a man would only earn her less than 5 copper coins at a time… she has to use such a meager income to pay the expensive fees…”
“… I could get off the bed… I wanted to persuade her to change her profession, but I did not have the opportunity to tell her. Just as I was preparing for dinner that day, she was abused and killed, and finally died in my arms… “Claude looked up at the sky, forcing back the tears in his eyes, “I have a guilty conscience for her in here!” The storyteller hinted at his heart.
Raven remained silent, his expression did not change.
“She entrusted her sister to me at the end of her life, this is the only thing I can do for her. If I can’t even promise that, then I don’t need to live and waste food.” Claude reached out and touched the cheap necklace around his neck, “Her heart was so kind. And she hoped that her little sister would have a good place to grow up and live a happy life in the future…”
“But you know what? To let her sister live in the Dark Temple for a year, she has to turn in 50 silvers. And to sleep with a man she can only get 3~5 coppers… for her sister… she was willing to make such a huge sacrifice…” Claude’s voice choked with sobs, “The Dark Temple… the Temple… that’s how they care for the people…”
“After picking her up, what do you plan to do?” Raven’s eyes did not show anything, he only asked Claude softly, “It is not beneficial to remember the past, forget it.”
“I can’t forget, I can’t forget that crumbling house, I can’t forget every single furnishing there.” Claude shook his head, “I want to give her the best life, the most expensive and happy life…”
“What’s her name? The little sister.”
“Her name is Tonya, and her little sister’s name is Jean. She’s almost 7 and her birthday is in a month…”
“If you don’t want to regret it, speed up.” Raven scolded Claude in a rare tone, “You stupid!”
“Why…” Claude froze for a moment, while Raven had already rushed out a long way, Claude hurried to catch up fast, “What the hell is wrong!
“Do you know what kind of day it is in the convent? For a seven-year-old girl, every day there is a cruel day!” Raven seemed to be very disgusted with religion, “I thought you’re a crafty one, but at critical moments you are actually dumber than a pig!”
“Understood, understood!” Claude clamped his horse’s belly, “Charge!”
The path was difficult to travel; 40 miles later, the two war horses were worn out, Raven and Claude hence abandoned the cumbersome things, hopped between trees, and skirted away. Both of them had such good physical strength that they did not have to be bound by the road. At sunset, they have arrived at the Dark Temple located under the mountain range.
“Stop – rest for an hour.” Raven’s body pulled over firmly, “It’s dinner time, we’d better go in at the time of the evening prayer.”
“Okay… okay” After several dozen miles of long-distance dashing, Claude was exhausted and out of breath, “You – know quite a lot about the Dark Temple…”
“Unlike you…?” Raven was in no good mood, “As an Asmodian resident, you don’t even know the daily routine of the temple. How did you grow up?”
“Huh… huh, you’re the one to talk… white night clothes… need I remind you?” Claude was finally in-breath, leaning against a tree and resting, “I can only admire.”
The two looked at each other and suddenly smiled at the same time – but Raven immediately returned to an indifferent expression, because at the moment he smiled, Claude’s eyes became sad again.
Time was slowly draining away, and it was already dark, but the bells of the evening prayers in the Dark Temple still hadn’t rung. Claude fiddled with the necklace with his fingers, looking a little anxious.
“It’s almost time.” Raven’s body moved and dropped the package on the ground, with the sword already hanging on his waist, and it was at this time that the bells of the evening prayer in the Devil’s Hall rang.
“You go ahead, I’ll follow.” Raven did not know what Claude’s origin was, therefore his mouth could not stop explaining, “Ask nicely, never get angry. You are here to pick up someone, first, you have to identify the target before you can do so.”
“Okay.” Claude was also happy to pretend to be a rookie.
“The other party is a priest, your mage identity is simply useless…” Raven walked ahead, explaining some matters that needed attention, and finally added, “By the way, when facing those priests, you might as well pretend to be obscene. ”
“I am a good person, I will not pretend to be obscene! Second option?”
“If you can’t, then you might as well kill yourself.”
Raven sad no more, Claude shrugged his shoulders to follow. Not a moment later, the two turned on the big green stone road that winded up. Soon, the Dark Temple’s tall wall appeared in the sight of the two. At the center was a lofty and solemn iron fence gate affixed with gold. Claude quickened his pace, crossed Ravens at a corner, and walked to the gate. Then unhurriedly, he reached out his hand amidst the watching eyes of several guards and gently snapped the door ring.
One of the guards approached and asked in an unruly tone, “Who are you? What are you doing in the abbey at this late hour?”
“I’m from the Capital Dark Temple.” Claude replied in a light tone, “I have business with the officiating priest.”
“It’s out of business hours.” The guard surveyed Claude with suspicious eyes, he wouldn’t believe that this person who had neither a carriage nor an entourage came from the Capital Dark Temple.
“You’d better inform him, or your abbey’s Certificate of Atonement for this year will go down the drain.” Claude’s tone turned icy, “You just can’t afford it, watchdog”
“Please wait for a moment, Your Excellency, I will go and send the message.” Hearing the other party’s words, the guard’s body trembled and his tone immediately changed as he first turned around to give a word of explanation to the others, then trotted off to the very large building in the courtyard.
Claude – forget it, let’s still call him Cohen and Cohen certainly did not know what the “Certificate of Atonement” was, but he said what Raven taught him and he did not expect it really worked.
It seemed that the Certificate of Atonement was really useful, not long after, a high-rank-looking priest followed to the gate. He greeted Cohen respectfully.
“I hope the superior officer will not blame the guards for their rudeness, this is an extraordinary time.” The priest’s face was piled with smiles, “The officiating priest is waiting for you in the lobby! Please go this way.”
Cohen nodded slightly and walked behind the priest, passing through the long passage in the courtyard and entering the lobby decorated with huge floor-to-ceiling windows. There were neat rows of seats in the lobby, and hundreds of magic lamps illuminated the surroundings.
“Welcome, my faithful friends from the capital, I am the officiating priest of this place.” A short, fat priest greeted them quickly, showing professional and appropriate warmth to Cohen, “My friend, what brings you to this cold monastery?”
“Duty calls.” Cohen took out an emblem Raven gave him, waved it in front of the other party’s eyes, and replied with a flat, businesslike tone on his lips, “Priest, please produce your missionary and induction records for the past year, I want to check them.”
“So it’s the Hell Island Dark Temple Inspection Priest. My Lord! Please forgive me for being rude again!” The officiating priest bent down and made a big salute, and also cupped Cohen’s left hand to his mouth and kissed it. This series of actions made Cohen recoil and almost kicked this priest out.
“Why don’t you quickly prepare the canon for your lord’s inspection? Take them all to my room!” The officiating priest turned back and ordered his men, “Please go this way, my lords, mind your steps.”
Sitting in the priest-in-charge’s room, Cohen looked at the various books and records piled up in front of him and felt a big headache. All those things were written in Dark Temple’s special language, how could he understand them?
However, as a king, he knew all about political matters, and his indifferent gaze swept over the books and finally rested on the priest-in-charge’s face.
“Quite a few records, how long do you want me to go over them?” Cohen put the catalog in his hand on the table and raised his eyes to the chandelier on the ceiling, “Didn’t anyone tell you? It is better to be humble and cautious with the inspecting priests.”
“Yes, yes, I will do whatever Your Lordships ask.”
“I want to know the real record.” The corners of Cohen’s mouth hung with a wry smile, “The real ones, you understand?”
“These records are true…” The officiating priest was about to plead, but Cohen’s deteriorating smile frightened him. He did not know what Cohen was playing in his mind.
“I should not be so concerned about such a small monastery.” Cohen got up and walked to stand by the window, with his hands behind his back, his tall silhouette vaguely revealing a prestige, “You’re right, this is a broken place, then it’s good to cancel it… should be good if a villa is built here.”
“Lord have mercy! I’m not trying to deceive you, but I’ve just come to take charge of this place, and the previous priest was negligent, resulting in misconduct in the teaching service and the loss of the canon, which has nothing to do with me, please be just, Your Excellency!” In the midst of the fright, the priest-in-charge opened his mouth with a long series of pleas and excuses, speaking fluently.
“Be quiet and keep your grace as a priest-in-charge.” Cohen didn’t even turn around, but gave a cold snort, “Who cares about your crap.”
“Then the lord is to… this place is relatively remote, the annual tribute savings are not much…”
“That little tribute money will be left for your retirement.” Cohen could not help but be angry, but had to continue to guide this foolish priest, “Although it is only a small monastery, I might as well find someone smarter to be the officiating priest.”
“Please, My Lord, as long as it is within my ability, I will do everything.” The officiating priest pleaded with a bitter face, “My loyalty to the Dark Temple is known to the sun and moon…”
“It’s good that you still know your loyalty.” Cohen has already cursed the priest’s ancestors in his heart, but the face has to maintain the temperament, “This is a small monastery with nothing to offer, why do you think I came? There are a lot of things that I can’t say as an inspecting priest… I am a superior after all, the final number of Atonement Certificates is not something I can determine.”
The last sentence came from Raven’s teaching, which was something that Cohen was not able to figure out. According to his idea, maybe this monastery had some specialty local products. Therefore he presumed that Raven wanted to take advantage of this priest, find Jean and GTFO, smoothly and without suspicion.
“I understand.” The priest’s face was happy again, and his tone had the excitement of a great event being decided. He went to the bookcase next to him and pulled open a secret door, “Please follow me, My Lords.”
Cohen followed him through a narrow passage to a secret underground chamber.
The officiating priest opened the door while still curtly saying, “It is rare that Your Lordships has such a need, we are not famous for this monastery and do not make many finished products every year. Fortunately, Your Lordships came at the right time, there are still plenty left.”
The heavy door pushed open, although Cohen’s face did not change, his heart was burning with anger. Meanwhile, he also understood why Raven admonished him to remain calm no matter what the situation was.
“Please, My Lords, this little girl is fully processed, 10 years.” The officiating priest pointed to a young girl with a clear face who was sitting dutifully in a chair and said, “Her breasts have been medicated to stop developing, and her voice has been treated, so no one would tell when she’s in boy’s outfits and she is a virgin.”
Cohen hardened his heart and forced himself to nod, “Good.”
“This one is even better, it was meant for a high priestess, but if Your Lordships like it, that’s another story.” The priest who didn’t know he was dying was still pleasing Cohen, “9 years, extremely well-maintained skin, those eyes can talk… we use a full set of techniques, the result is very good, they are very well behaved, never cry, the control magic is also simple…”
Cohen’s heart was dripping blood. However, he carried on, looking over one by one, identifying one by one, but did not find a girl who looked similar to Tonya.
“Are they all original faces? No change, right?” Cohen turned around and asked.
“Yes, they are all original faces, and they are one in a hundred. Does My Lord have a favorite?”
“Not yet.” Cohen’s heart was in turmoil, and for a moment he did not know what to do, “I’ll look again.”
When he was about to lift a step, Cohen felt he kicked on something, looked down, he discovered a thin body was shrinking into the teapoy at a dark corner, vaguely distinguishable as a child.
“You are looking for death!” The officiating priest rushed up, took down a leather whip hanging on the wall, and slashed down without hesitation, “Little bitch, if you let the lord fall, you’ll die 10 times to atone for your sins!”
The child’s trembling body huddled in the shadows, with hands too thin to protect the head. She mouthed a few “ah-ah” screams, as if crying, and as if begging for mercy.
“Stop…” Cohen glanced casually, a little metal reflection from the child’s neck almost made his heart stop beating, “Get out of the way!
In the officiating priest’s puzzled eyes, Cohen squatted down and carefully carried the child out from under the teapoy like holding a rare treasure.
Of course, the priest standing behind could not see Cohen’s eyes. In his mind, this inspection priest and those priests in the capital’s Dark Temple were just here to select a tool for their deformed desires. The fact that Cohen would look at this little girl thin as a bone was merely a more monstrous quirk.
“My Lord, you have a good eye! This little girl is not yet 7 years, not yet involved in this world, the real superb… you see, her eyes make people love, how heartbreaking… ” Since this is the hobby of the inspection priest, of course, the priest-in-charge must accord loudly, the officiating priests considered it as a subordinate’s duty.
“What is her name?” A cold voice rang out.
“Her name is… I think it’s Jean! Though I’m not really sure, you know I just came not long ago.”
“Be good and talk to your brother.” It was the voice as gentle as the spring breeze, “Your name is Jean? Is that so?”
The little girl stared with frightened eyes, her lips trembled, her thin face was pale, and she did not answer.
“Answer the lord! I’ll feed you to the dogs!”
The little girl’s body trembled with horror, and a string of clear and rhythmic words came out of her mouth, but Cohen could not understand a word of this priestly language.
“Raven!” Cohen forced his heart to suppress the anxiety and shouted.
“Have you found her?” Raven appeared by the door, “Then let’s go!”
“What is she talking about? What is she saying!”
“It’s her lifelong vow.” Raven listened and said in words that Cohen could understand, “I am the servant girl of the Dark Lord, and my wealth belongs to Him. I am the servant girl of the Dark King, and my chastity belongs to Him. I am the slave of the Father, my freedom belongs to Him. The King of Darkness, the Lord of Hell and Earth. All life, glory, and power are from and given by you; I offer and tribute everything at your feet. Whether it be blessing or calamity, I willingly receive it from Your hand. Lord of darkness, Lord of Helland earth. All life, glory, and might are Yours and always…”
“Little baby, don’t say that.” Cohen showed the most amiable smile, “Say something else, your name is Jean, isn’t it?”
The little girl opened her mouth, still repeating the vow she had just made.
“Look, look at this.” Cohen removed the necklace from his neck, “You have a sister! There’s a sister! A sister named Tonya, do you remember?”
The little girl’s frightened gaze gradually focused on the necklace in Cohen’s hand, and two crystal-clear tears welled up in her eyes, flowing over her smudged face and dripping to the floor.
Her mouth was straining to open, and by the shape of her mouth, she seemed to be desperately trying to say “sister”, but in the end, what she said was still the same oath.
“Please, say something else, say something else.” Cohen’s anger accumulated, the body uncontrollable slightly trembling, “Even a scream, even a cry… how am I gonna tell your sister…”
“This is Tonya’s sister?” By the door, Raven asked in an icy tone, “This is the sister that she had been supplying with gold, hoping that she could have a happy life?”
Cohen nodded speechlessly. Then, Cohen and Raven, the two’s eyes focused on the officiating priest who had long been too frightened to speak – he was pulling violently on a thin rope in his hand, and he had been pulling for quite a while.
The passages leading to this room were all filled with the sound of stray footsteps.
“Stop forcing her to talk, she can’t talk.” Raven stroked the hilt of his sword and whispered to Cohen, his eyes became a little strange, “She can’t say anything except that bullshit oath, she can’t say it… All the people here are mine, all mine… ”
The last word led to Raven’s eyes becoming raw and cold. He drew his longsword and darted toward the guards who ran close to him.
“Do not be afraid, baby, it’s all over, it’s all over. Listen to your brother’s poem.” Cohen tearfully picked up the little girl, leaning against the wall, not allowing her to see the red rain spraying in the room, chanting the poem he had heard from Leila before, “Earth and blue sky, forever together, sun, moon, and stars, forever silent…”
Raven’s white figure darted about the room, and for the first time that Cohen could remember, he roared in murderous rage when he was killing.
“… the lofty hillocks, the rushing rapids, the upright trees, the soft green grass, all are the bounty of nature.” Cohen held Jean, who could only be described as skin and bones, walked in the passage. He walked as he stroked gently on her head, the other hand shielding the surrounding spray of blood from being seen, while in a gentle tone he chanted the dragon’s poetry, of those Leila had tried to make him remember, “We have to treat all this with reverence and respect, in every day of existence in the world We remember nature’s bounty and try to melt into it…”
Raven swept through the small space, so fast that it was difficult for the naked eye to catch up, the passage was full of his white silhouette in front and behind, and dozens of guards who came from the various entrances were ground into shredded flesh before they could even figure out what they were fighting.
When Cohen pushed open an iron door and stepped on the stairs leading to the ground, Raven flew over his head again. Almost in an instance, there were no more guards left in the courtyard.
No one knew what made Raven angry, but no one could escape from him. Before Cohen made another step, the last guard also fell. In the night wind, Raven’s flying figure stopped without warning, head down and eyes closed, standing with his sword.
“As much as I hate to admit it, you look really handsome when you’re angry.” Cohen walked to stand beside him, “Please do one more thing for me, get those kids here.”
“Who are you to tell me what to do?” Head still lowered, Raven replied in a low voice, “A scum who has done nothing.”
“From now on, I won’t let Jean out of my sight.” Cohen also did not turn his head, “That’s all, no other reason.”
Raven made a very dissatisfied “hum”. He seemed to be a little reluctant, but the body still swayed and flew backward into the chamber; the next moment he has put the two little girls at Cohen’s feet.
“A total of 7, all here.” After rescuing the little girls, Raven’s voice had coldened even more.
“What else is in this basement?” Cohen looked at Raven, “What is it that makes you angrier?”
“Next to that room…” Raven’s face turned even grimmer, “You don’t want to know.”
“They should have sounded the alarm. Time to go.” Cohen looked at the flames burning on the roof of the abbey, “Leila!”
The small bird-like creature flapped its wings and floated by Cohen’s side.
“Send these children back to the camp, and we will meet at the passage.” After instructing Leila, Cohen looked at Raven again, “If you have nothing else to do, will you come with me?”
Raven’s anger came quickly and calmed down just as fast. At this moment he was completely regained being cool. He looked back at Cohen, and was surprised at the change of this “probational friend”.
After finding Jean, Cohen’s old kind of playful look has gone, it was replaced by a look Raven had never seen before.
What was that feel?. Was it majestic, or indifferent? Was it stern or firm? It’s as a mixture of all or none.
But one thing Raven was sure of, his probational friend has shown his true side, or rather, he chose to reveal a bit of his true nature.
“Have you finished looking at me?” Cohen urged, “We do not have much time, leave first and you can take all the time to watch.”
Raven was silent and nodded a moment later.
“Leila, burn the place down.” Cohen walked outside, “I don’t blame you for bulldozing this mountain if you’re able to.”
“That doesn’t match the poem you read.” Raven walked behind, nonchalantly nitpicking, “Don’t say that in front of the kid.”
“Sorry, my baby.” Cohen kissed Jean’s face and turned to Raven with another smile, “Thanks for the reminder.”
Raven was dumbfounded by Cohen’s sincere smile. It was completely different from the previous “sincere smile”. It made Raven almost want to smile in response, although in that moment he stopped himself with the killer’s calm, he felt a little guilty.
Walking down the passageway, Jean’s body was still shivering, two tiny hands tightly shielding the top of her head. She simply did not dare to look at Cohen or Raven. Cohen was so heartbroken. Later on, they found a stream to wash Jean’s hands and face.
“Little baby, do not be afraid, brother will wash your hands now. When you’re clean, big brother gives you something to eat, ok? Here, we have bacon, sausage, a small white bread, there will be candy…”
Jean dully watched Cohen wash her own hands and face with little reaction.
“Raven, what’s wrong with her?” Cohen looked at Jean’s deeply sunken face and felt his heart broke when he thought of the torture she might have suffered before.
“She’s only seven years old, and she can’t adapt to the change of environment for a while.” Raven sat on a big rock by the stream, “Having always lived in that kind of place, your sudden benevolence terrifies her.”
“Then what shall I do?”
“Don’t ask me, I’m a killer, I only kill, never take care of people.” Raven said expressionlessly, “But I do know one thing: if you want to make her happy, you have to be very patient.”
“Even though you’ve been playing cool, I know you’re not a pool of dead water in your heart.” Cohen wiped the stain off Jean’s face with a piece of cloth and said with a smile, “Besides, I do not like your current expression at all, why do you have to put on a cold face in such a loveable moment? Isn’t it nice for us to sing and recite poems together for little Jean?”
“If you still want to continue to be my probational friend, don’t even start.” Raven stood up, “We’ll have guests, take the girl and go first and I’ll send them away.”
“Don’t be in such a hurry! It’s a piece of cake for you to deal with them anyway, how can a dazzling combination like us be intimidated by these rats?” Cohen carefully cleaned Jean’s hands, “Our little princess can’t get any dirtier, we want to look pretty, don’t we, Jean?”
“I should have known earlier, people like you can’t keep decent for long.”
“That’s the real side of me.” Cohen chuckled and carried Jean to the stone, “I’m an ordinary man, I can’t make everyone love me, and it’s taken a lot of effort to make a certain part of the population happy at a certain point. And now, our princess is the first priority – Dang! Here comes the sumptuous evening meal!”
The delicious bacon was placed in front of Jean, whose immediate reaction was to shrink back and away from these things.
“Little baby, try, food will make you healthy…” Before Cohen added more, Jean had winced back in fear.
“Do you think a kid this thin has the opportunity to eat bacon on a regular basis?” Raven scoffed at Cohen’s sluggish response, “Being in that environment all the time, of course, you’re scared of anything unfamiliar. Maybe she’ll even think you’re going to do something to her. You’ll have to show her how to eat.”
“That’s right… looks like you know more about kids than I do.” Cohen tapped his head, “Or you want to do the job for me? I’ll take your sword and help you stand.”
“Do you think I’m appropriate? A killer coaxing a little girl to eat bacon?”
“To others, you are a killer, yes, but to me, you are my friend.” Cohen laughed and sat down, taking Jean in his arms, “To our little princess, you are a big brother who saved her from the convent, stand closer or we’ll start to think you hate us!”
“I don’t mind.” But still, Raven stood a little closer, “I’m just a little disappointed in your performance.”
“I’m glad you have expectations of my performance… Come on, I haven’t done anything like this before, you have to give me time to learn.” Cohen gave Raven a stare, “Don’t stand there! Sit down!”
“Come on, Jean, eat, it smells great!” Cohen took out his knife, cut the bacon into small slices, handed them to Raven and Raven respectively, and stuffed a piece into his own mouth, chewing it in front of the girl’s eyes.
Jean expressionlessly look at Cohen eating, the tiny hand that held the bacon stayed put without reaction, however, enjoyable Cohen acted.
“Eat it! Little baby, tomorrow brother will take you to eat other more delicious things…” Cohen kept saying until his mouth was dry, Jean only warily put a small piece of meat into her mouth.
“Chew, chew a little to try.” Both Cohen and Raven sighed with relief, and Cohen immediately gritted his teeth.
Maybe Jean was really hungry, so she tried chewing first, then shoving a large handful of meat all into her mouth!
“… slow down, my princess, you’ll choke.” Cohen cried and laughed, took the water bag handed from Raven, and poured some for Jean, “Eat slowly, we have plenty, slow down a bit!”
Jean gulped, her eyes, though relieved from fear, regained some spirit, she just stared at Cohen, afraid he would steal her food. The view and that kind of eyes, she would rather be a hungry coyote than a girl.
“I don’t think we can give her any more food, I’m afraid she’ll be overfilled,” Cohen said to Raven with a bitter smile.
“That’s understandable, the abbey won’t let her eat enough.” Raven shook his head, “The fact that she survived that kind of environment is remarkable.”
“Watch her.” Cohen stood up, “I’ll be right back.”
“To find something to distract her, and please wipe her mouth by the way.”
Cohen disappeared into the adjacent woods, and in a short time, he caught a small, awkwardly shaggy rabbit, and a small bird with beautiful feathers. Raven was amazed by Cohen’s eyesight In the middle of the night.
“Little princess, I’m back!” Cohen walked back, putting his hands behind him, with a smile on his face, “And back with presents! Pretty rabbits and good little birds!”
At the sight of the animals, Jean finally got rid of her hunger, her eyes were glowing, her mouth was shouting “ah”, and she kept shaking her two little hands.
Cohen smiled and put the rabbit and the bird into her hands. Once she got something she liked, Jean’s face finally revealed a smile, she gently stroked the long-stuffed rabbit, then put the rabbit on her lap, and held the bird and looked at it, and finally peeled off a bit of meat from the bacon and put it in the bird’s mouth…
“Little baby, the bird does not eat this…” Cohen spread his palms to reveal a few small flying insects, “Feed it with this.”
Carefully, she took the bugs from Cohen’s hand, Jean’s eyes had a little gratitude, no longer so afraid of Cohen. While looking at the smile on Jean’s face, Raven’s face also became very calm.
“Like her sister, no matter how miserable her own encounter is, she is still so kind inside.” Cohen whispered, “Even if it’s tough, I want to see the smile on her face forever.”
“Swoosh -” two arrows shot over to them. Raven reached like lightning, he grabbed the two incoming arrows with one hand, and with another twist of his wrist, threw the arrows back – and two screams immediately rang out from the shrubs!
Little Jean’s body made a sudden shake in the wailing sound, her dull eyes were again full of fear. She ah-ed and winced into the arms of Cohen, she held the rabbit with one hand, the other hand tightly around Cohen’s neck, the body began to shake again.
“For her smile, you have to work hard.” After Raven flew upward, his athletic figure folded in the air and slid into the woods on the other side of the creek, and where he landed, another miserable wail immediately rang out.
“Little baby, don’t be afraid, your big brother is here to protect you. Those filthy, ugly things will never be able to come near you.” Cohen reached out and caught the startled bird, then put the bird into her hand, “You must also gather courage and protect the bird and the rabbit, they are so scared.”
Jean opened her eyes and looked at Cohen, although her face still had tears, but still nodded firmly.
“Okay Jean, we’re off! Wherever we go, brother will always be by your side and never leave you.” Cohen stood up and shouted, “Raven – go!”
As the words fell, the white figure flew over Cohen’s head. With a shrilling whistle, Raven landed on the ground and several people were turned into a mist of blood.
“You are the spirit of joy, you are like a bird, you fly from the bosom of nature, unstintingly pouring out joy, singing for us as if the tune of the soul of the line.” Cohen walked in the passage Raven cleared, whispered in Jean’s ears, “You are like a cloud of fire, rising from the ground, rising and rising again, flying to the blue sky, soaring constantly in singing, soaring in more than a song…”
The poem that Leila chanted in the war to dispel the killing desire in Cohen’s heart finally came in handy at this point.
Cohen did not even know that his memory would be so good that he could recite it word for word, but in any case, Jean’s body no longer shivered and her eyes only looked at the smiling Cohen, the killing around her could not attract her attention at all.
Poor Raven, he had to keep darting back and forth, intercepting the approaching enemies – but as Cohen said, it was really a piece of cake. Raven even often had time to stop to Jean.
So out for a few miles, and finally Raven, enraged by the continuous influx of enemies, turned back with a bang, and when he returned, he didn’t say how many he had killed, and anyway, no one ever caught up with them that night.
After dawn, Cohen and Raven accelerated. At noon, they had reached a town and bought all the things needed. Then they took Jean to see a doctor, on their way, they also asked an older woman to help Jean wash and change clothes.
Having been promised three silvers, the cleaning lady did her best, and Jean finally revealed her true face. She had clear features and gentle eyes, which vaguely resembled her elder sister’s outline, although the face was still so thin, she was much better.
“You are my princess.” Cohen picked up Jean, who had changed into new clothes, and spun around several times in a row, “I want to announce it to everyone!”
Jean grinned, her wet hair swaying in the air.
“She is still physically weak.” Raven stood aside, looking cold and sipping plain water, “You be careful.”
“Let’s ignore him, he’s jealous of us.” Cohen smiled and said to Jean, “Little princess, we are off!”
Raven grimaced and looked away, but smiled at an angle where Cohen’s vision could not see.
“Little baby, look, that’s the sylvan grass!” Cohen had Jean sitting on his shoulder, and couldn’t stop pointing to the roadside scenery to show her, “Say it again! If we call its name out loud, it will be happy too, the Phantom – Blue – Grass!”
“Ah-ah-ah!” Jean, sitting on Cohen’s shoulder, danced with her hands, but still couldn’t speak.
“Well said, look over there, broad-leaved flame tree!” Cohen was not discouraged at all, “Let’s call out loud – a broad-leaved flame tree!”
“Bravo, little princess, we yell – we’re happy!”
“Ah – cough – cough!”
“Slow down.” Raven reappeared beside Cohen and took a small sip of water to feed Jean, “Let’s take our time, you don’t have to rush your words.”
“Right! We need to rest and find a place to eat.” Cohen chortled, “There’s a town up ahead, let’s go get some candy!”
Along the way, Cohen was in a spirit of extreme coddling to Jean, although Jean can not speak, when saw something of interest, her eyes will glow, needless to say, the next moment that thing will be put into her hands.
Of course, some things can not be bought with money, but Jean was accompanied by the world’s finest killer. As long as Jean wanted, Raven would dart out the next moment.
But Cohen was dissatisfied, he shouted, “Don’t you know children well? She has suffered so much in that hellhole, how can she see violence again!”
For someone as cold as Raven, it was a million times more painful to convince a farmer to give up the thing Jean wanted. And Cohen just hugged Jean and watched the fun.
Raven’s protest was playfully ignored with Cohen’s “I want to put my full attention on the little princess, that’s what you want.”
Raven was so helpless when faced the duel, and the novelty of the experience has taught Ravens many new things, such as – threatening and writing blank checks.
Whenever he was angry and smoldering, as long as Jean gave a smile, Raven immediately lost his temper. The most irritating time was when Ravens labored to “rob” a pair of bracelets before he saw Cohen and Jean were already squatting on the ground playing in the mud.
“You guys…” Raven stammered for the first time when speaking, “You guys…”
“We were playing in the mud.” Cohen said, “Don’t you tell me you’ve never played.”
“Actually…” Raven, dressed in snow-white, lowered his head, “I haven’t played.”
“Then why are you still standing?” Cohen looked at Raven with a very strange look, “Come and play together!”
“You’re asking me to play that?” Raven almost exploded in anger, but Cohen already waved a pair of dirty hands and rushed Raven.
Raven was about to dodge but was put to rest by Cohen’s do not move, she likes you. Raven had to close his eyes and let Jean grab his own clothes. Finally, he chose to pick her up and put her on his shoulder, although his white suit was muddy, he had no temper at all.
“Hahahahahaha… Jean, well done.” Cohen dusted the mud on his hands, stared wistfully at Raven’s clothes, and said something else that made Raven half-exasperated, “Friend, welcome to the mortal world, the little princess brought you here.”
In the sound of Cohen’s arrogant laughter, Raven shook his head and went on his way without arguing.
Along the way, Raven “grabbed” three headwears, two pairs of earrings, and five sparkling magic scrolls for Jean. The achievement was remarkable.
When Cohen raucously praised Raven, saying that he was like Jean’s savior, Raven usually glared at him viciously and maintained until Jean showed a worried look.
So, there was only one way to vent the sulk in Raven’s heart. When Jean saw horsewhips, sticks, or other things alike, her eyes will show fear, and she will hide in Cohen’s arms. Then, these things turn into pieces the next moment.
In the following days, whenever Jean wanted, she can climb onto the shoulders of the two killers, sit there and play. She even invented a whole set of coherent movements, both convenient and fast. From the start, she will stand in front of one of the two with a finger pointing to herself and then make an ‘ah’.
In the warm atmosphere, all three were happy, and although they didn’t want it to end, it was a foregone conclusion, and after a few more carefree days, the words were finally brought up.
“Is that so?” Cohen was feeding Jean when Raven said, “I still can’t convince you to stay with us! Even Jean can’t let you stay?”
“My fate is not in my hands.” Raven resumed his usual expression, “It’s outrageous enough to let you know my name and still keep you alive.”
“You’re not dabbling in a good profession, same as Jean’s sister.” Cohen handed the small spoon in his hand to Raven, “But I don’t want to leave regrets this time. Leave your work, whatever you want to do, I will help you.”
“It’s not up to me to decide what to do.” Raven shook his head and took over the feeding, “Besides, I didn’t even bother to think about what I was going to do, it’s fine the way it is now.”
“What if one day, someone asks you to kill me? Are you going to regret it after killing me?”
“There won’t be that day.” Raven smiled lightly, “What kind of a person are you? You won’t be on my schedule.”
“I mean what would you do if… you did?”
“Slayers don’t bother to envision what-ifs.”
“That’s what a probational friend asks, let’s assume what-if.”
“If there was that day… I’m not sure.” Raven handed the small spoon back to Cohen, “No one has escaped from me if he or she is my target.”
“When will you go?” Cohen gazed at Raven and asked in a low voice.
“Now.” Raven smiled bitterly, “I don’t want to procrastinate.”
“Jean, Brother Raven is hungry.” Cohen handed a small spoon to Jean, “Feed Brother Raven, will you?”
Jean nodded obediently and climbed onto the table, holding the spoon up to Raven’s mouth as Cohen looked away, trying not to look at them.
“Jean, be good and be a good girl.” Raven hands into his pocket, pulling out a headdress after a long search. His eyes lingered on the silver, and then set on Jean’s hair, “I have only this for you. I’m an unholy person, not qualified to bless you, but Raven will always love you… ”
“I’m telling you…” Cohen suddenly said as Raven headed out, “No one can call anyone unholy – no one has the right to say that!”
Raven stopped, “You can’t help it if everyone says that.”
“Is that so? I don’t care about that, as long as you stay!” Cohen tried at the last minute, “You don’t think so in your heart either, right? The white nightclothes has told me your struggle… Don’t go! Tell me, will we ever meet again?”
“Remember the place where we first met?” Raven stopped again, “Whenever you are free, I will see you there this day next year.”
“Until you’re there!”
“Until you’re there… my friend.”
After turning a corner, Raven pulled out a mask from his arms and put it on, standing for a long time before moving his feet to leave.
And in the distance, from the opposite direction, Cohen and Jean’s figures disappeared into the sunset sun.
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation; any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.