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Chapter 5: The Water Aristocrat of the Shrine
Atlantis 10:10 AM
The surrounding temperature became even lower.
“Aiya, sure enough, if I don’t get rid of the unnecessary person, I can’t even properly talk out a negotiation.” Andellar’s footsteps stopped, and silvery blue flames appeared on the ice beside his feet. Then it formed tiny people, that linked their short hands together, and continuously spun around in a circle beside his feet.
Senior stood up once again. His injured shoulder was already glazed over with a thin piece of ice, stopping his wound from bleeding. “I really do admire your courage, to actually swagger in here by pretending to be one of the players , with no fear whatsoever of all these people present here.”
“Well, no matter how you put it, I am, after all, the first expert of the ghost king’s subordinates. Naturally, I’ve made some assurances before I sneaked in. Though, if I haven’t placed down this barrier, I wouldn’t be able to speak to you guys with my real self, like the way we are now.” Curving into an ice-cold smile, Andellar stepped onto the blue flames on the ground. “It just so happened that those three we fear, aren’t here to watch the match today. So consider it as what you’d call…the stars were all lined up.”
“It’ll soon be completely gone.”
Just as Senior finished speaking, I saw that the broken hole in the barrier, was gradually starting to enlarge. The Old Man, who was originally outside, slowly squeezed into the hole, and then deformed. First his yellow eyes went through the hole, then it was his body, that turned into a liquid-like substance, that passed through. It stood inside as that huge black shadow.
"Oh, Old Man, so he was actually taken away by you guys." Seeing the black club's appearance, Andellar raised his eyebrows. “I’ve already said that obviously the Moving Eye had eaten something, but yet I couldn’t find what it had eaten.”
The Moving Eye?
I froze for a moment, wasn’t that the big eyeball that chased us with the intent to kill in the KTV?
“The Old Man who devours and releases barriers, the Shadow Woman of the earthen spirit abyss, and Taurus of the lost guardian gods. So you guys really did see them before." Andellar crossed his arms, and looked at the Old Man with interest. "I've always wanted to obtain these three interesting things, so I had the Moving Eye go and pursue them. I've never expected that it'll be continuously hindered by the Old Man's barrier. Later, I received the news of the Moving Eye's destruction so I went to take a look but found that everything was gone. It was quite disappointing."
What was he talking about?
I know about the Old Man, but who are those two?
Wait, at that time, those people who were working with the Old Man…the cheongsam woman and the cow-headed person?
I turned my head and looked at the black club. Then, the Old Man suddenly turned towards the barrier. A hole slowly opened up below his eyes, and then an incredible thing happened.
That side of the barrier began to be sucked into that hole, and once in a while, the black club would shake as it devoured. “Your barrier has been broken, do you still want to continue with your negotiation?” Curving into a cold smile, Senior stretched out his hand, with his palm facing down. The ice on the ground immediately rose up and started condensing. It then slowly took the form of a long spear that floated high in the air. “Chu, as soon as the barrier is broken, get out immediately and request to leave here!”
"Alright, alright." I pulled up the unconscious black robe on the ground. Fortunately, he's probably not a human, since his approximate weight wasn’t much, so it was rather easy to get him on my back.
It was only now that I truly felt how important the differences in race are.
If the one I was supposed to carry today was the five-colored rooster head with a bottomless stomach, I’ll probably be crushed to death right on the spot.
“Are you planning to play with me?” Giving me a glance, Andellar raised his palm and ran it over his face. He immediately changed back to Tenju’s face, and then laughed in a very amused way. “That’s alright. Since the barrier has already been broken, I’ll just find another day to sit down and have a chat with Student Chu. I wonder if you like coffee.”
I took a step back, with every hair standing on end.
He’s too polite, so polite as if he’d still be smiling while stabbing someone three hundred times.
“I hate it.” After the Old Man had finished devouring the barrier, I immediately ran outside.
Would Senior be okay by himself?
That face-changing person seemed extremely powerful, I feel like I should stay back and see if there’s anything I could do to help…
But I also feel like I wouldn’t be able to help, and instead quickly become a burden. So it looks like running away would be the biggest help I could offer.
I want to help.
I really do want to help.
“You can see…you can see, right…” The Old Man, who had followed me, stood beside me, issuing that usual low and hoarse voice. “In fact, you can see…you’ve always been able to see…”
What can I see?
Chiming sounds rang out from within my pocket, just like what I’ve heard several times before.
“You’ve always been able to see…”
Thunderous sounds could be heard the second I stepped out of the shrine.
“Ladies and gentlemen, because of the appearance of the isolation barrier just now, the General Assembly’s announcer was unable to know of the circumstances inside. But now that the barrier has been removed, everyone will be able to clearly see the situation inside!” The uproar from the surroundings instantly brought me back to reality. I took a step back. All I could see were people shouting as they sat high above, and everyone of them were people I didn’t know.
What am I doing here?
Why is it that I’m here?
What are they shouting and screaming for?
“Atlantis Academy’s player is coming out, and look, the black robe he’s carrying on his back is from one of Clear Wind’s representative teams. This shows that a fierce battle had taken place within the shrine. We can clearly see that the black robe Mohander has already completely lost consciousness, thus judged to be unable to continue the match.”
A voice gradually sounded out beside my ear. Those noises were still there, but the shouting seemed as if it was separated by a layer of something.
The Old Man had once again turned into a black cloth-like thing, and slowly sank down into the water. His yellow eyes were especially obvious in the deep blue water.
A tile fell beside my feet.
Then I put the black robe on my back, into the water, letting Old Man move him out of the stage.
The shrine’s collapse seems to have happened after a long period of time. First it was a tile falling down. The moment it touched the ground, it turned to powder. Next it was the second one, the third one, just like fish scales as they flew up, and then broke into pieces in midair, filling the air with fine powder. The painted walls followed after the tiles and collapsed. Then it was the shrine’s ornaments, until everything had collapsed except for the huge white statue of the shrine’s goddess.
Senior and Andellar were standing in front of the statue.
I knew that I should be running away, but I couldn’t move even a single step. Both of my feet seemed to be bound to the stone, making it difficult to take even one step forward.
Cold air spread out over the surrounding area, and all the water near the shrine had been condensed into ice.
“Return.” Senior lifted his hand, and a silver line extended out on his black glove. Then a silver illusionary weapon appeared, floating high up in the air.
The face-changing person pulled out even more long needles from within his sleeves, that gleamed with a strange silvery green light. “Notice that, this time, there’s poison.”
The moment they finished speaking, both of them disappeared in front of me. Until a sound came above me, and I lifted up my head, just in time to see the two penetrating the huge water sphere floating in the air. In a blink of an eye, the water sphere burst open, just like a heavy rain as countless drops of water came crashing down.
The Old Man was submerged in the water, his yellow eyes gazing at the sky. Just like me, he’s become a spectator.
What can I do?
Is there really nothing I can do?
“You have always been able to see.” The Old Man's voice slowly cleared up, "You've always been able to see, so why did you pretend you couldn’t see? You can see us, can hear our voices, you've always been able to see." The black shadow walked onto the shore, and slowly distorted itself and then reassembled. His face appeared and his neck and body, then his hands and feet emerged. A long white-haired old man gradually appeared in front of me.
"What can I see?" I took one step back and heard the chiming sound coming from within my pocket.
"You've always been able to see." Old Man lifted his head up to look at me. His yellow eyes were so bright that it gives one the feeling of a knife-like sharpness. "There’s no one that can’t see. Your eyes, they are no ordinary eyes, you should try looking through them."
The heavy rain stopped.
The surrounding water level gradually increased, and then buried our feet.
Next, the Old Man disappeared, and a black shadow appeared beneath the water. His yellow eyes were open but were longer looking at me, only sinking deeper and deeper.
What can I see?
I don’t know.
A black thing came tumbling down from the sky, and then fell into the deep water. Before anyone could even see who that was, he had already sank down. There was only a black cloth that floated on the water for a few seconds, before it was dragged down as well.
The second person slowly landed and stood in front of me.
“Senior!” As soon as I saw the person, I immediately raced over. A complete reversal from those previously easy fights, Senior looks like he’s in quite a miserable state. His black robe was ripped in several places, and there were a few silver needles on his left arm.
“I’m fine.” Casually plucking out the fine needles, Senior frowned.
“Didn’t I tell you to leave the stage?!”
I felt like I should do something.
That chiming sound rang out again. So I reached into my pocket and took out the thing that I’ve actually heard from since a long time ago, but was constantly ignored by me.
The blue illusionary weapon.
A tremendous noise once again resounded, overwhelming the tiny sound of the illusionary soybean.
This time even the entire ground had cracks appearing, like a huge spiderweb as it cracked open.
The back of my collar was immediately yanked up by someone. "Go to the side and stay there!"
A very familiar action, such an unbearably familiar action!
"Senior, could you please not…” The word “throw” hasn’t even been said yet, and suddenly I had a familiar sense of a projectile-being-shot-out, where my face was instantly deformed by the wind pressure. “Whoa—–!”
Here we go again! Why won’t they just allow me to walk?
With a “kuang” sound, I crashed into something hard and then stopped. Blooming flowers were spinning around before my eyes. Then as I fell backwards, my vision went black.
It was only when I regained my consciousness a few seconds later, that I found myself thrown on top of the snake-bodied statue, which was the only thing that survived. All around me was water, with not a single place for me to stand on.
No one was here, the surrounding audience had completely vanished.
The entire stage was encircled by a layer of black film, isolating everything. White fog appeared on the surface of the water. It recondensed into ice, replacing the cracked ground with a new floor of ice.
Then, with a “ping” sound, cracks suddenly emerged from below as a hand pierced through. After that, someone followed along the edge to climb out, with his body completely soaked. “I really don’t want to seriously play this game.”
Someone was also standing on the other side of the ice. His face and neck were covered with silver and red totem marks, the same ones I’ve seen before. “Really? Well, I think you’ve been serious for a long time already." Spitting out the dirty blood from his mouth, Senior narrowed his eyes as he coldly stared at the opponent not too far away. "Even using a huge isolating array, just what are you planning to do next?"
"To kill you!"
Instantly appearing above Senior's head, Andellar swung a punch at him, causing him to be struck down heavily. He crashed through the surface of the ice, and sank into the water. Then, Andellar stretched out his hands, and a couple more black needles materialized. With a swing of his hands, they followed along in penetrating the water’s surface.
I want to help.
I really do want to help.
I don’t want to be that person standing at the side again, waiting for them to finish up and then following them back, that person who doesn’t know how to do a thing. If it was destined for me to come and attend this school, then why is it that up to now, I still couldn’t learn something as basic as helping?
A thick and heavy fog rose up from the ice, and Andellar's figure quickly disappeared before my eyes. All around me was a vast expanse of white. My visual range was extremely short, and I could only see things that are less than ten centimeters away.
There’s nothing at all.
Now it’s a bit worse compared to just a while ago, I'm completely unable to see anything else nor hear any sound.
Only that chiming sound continued.
I placed that blue bead on my palm. It was still ringing, with a sound that grew increasingly intense.
The “ding ding” sound seemed to be urging me to do something. He wants to change this situation, and I also want to change this situation. Both of us are very anxious, but no one knows what to do.
Perhaps, I've always been able to see.
"If you have the same thoughts as me, then please show yourself." As if someone had taught me, and also like it was subconscious, but more like I was being towed along, my mouth very naturally spat out those words.
The fog in front of me suddenly dispersed a little. In the midst of the hazy white fog, appeared drops of water. One drop, two drops, they continued to fall down. Then as if they were being collected into a bottle, they formed a body, fluctuating erratically. And finally was a woman’s face that looked exactly the same as the shrine’s statue. Even the lower body being that of a snake’s was no different.
“I am the water aristocrat that has slumbered for a thousand and seven hundred years. With just a bit of water vapor, I can turn it into my sharp weapon.” She didn’t open her mouth, just gazing right at me with her deep blue eyes. The strange thing was her voice had sounded out within my mind, and yet I don’t feel surprised at all. It was like this was how we were originally talking. “Human who awakened me, do you have enough confidence to be able to wield me without being bitten back?”
I froze for a moment, do I really have the confidence to use an illusionary weapon?
They have life, and I, do I have enough power to be able to use them?
The surrounding water vapor gradually became heavier, reflecting the faint light as it glistened. From within, the elf transformed from the weapon looks so noble and hard to approach, and so elegant that it makes one give up.
Can I really do this?
“Indecisive human boy, you have enough power to awaken me, and yet you don’t have enough confidence to activate me. So, what are you here for?” She looked at me, her flawlessly beautiful face clearly emanulating a sigh.
What am I here for?
I remembered that during the beginning, before I started to attend the academy, I had once visited many places with Senior and in the end made my decision.
“I’m here in order to change!”
I’m no longer me, I’m still me, I want to be different, and to let me know all the things that I want to know, and so that’s why I’m here.
“So, before I have the power, please help me.”
I’m not sure if that female elf smiled.
“I am the water aristocrat that was in a deep slumber. As long as it’s water, even if it’s the water vapor in the air, I can turn it into my sharp weapon.” She gracefully turned her body, and her snake tail followed in the huge span of rotation. Then more beads of water slowly floated up in the surrounding. After she turned one round, our eyes met. She held out her palm and floating on top was my illusionary soybean. “Do you need a weapon that can change the current situation? Or a defensive item to protect yourself with? Do you need a formidable power? Strong enough to let you rely on it forever? Or do you need a defense that won’t be penetrated by enemies? So sturdy that it won’t ever let you worry about being afraid, that kind of powerful defense?”
I think, none of those are what I want.
During these past few days, I was always standing behind someone else.
“I’m afraid, but what I want isn’t power nor defense, I want a weapon that’s able to help my friends. Even though I’m afraid, I still want a change.” Starting from my weapon, a small one, able to be carried wherever I go, and be able to help everyone out at the most important time.
Even though I’m afraid, I don’t have to get too close.
Just like Chifuyu, to be able to shoot out sharp arrows from afar.
But I don’t know how to shoot an arrow.
“You need a weapon that can help you with what you have in mind. In times of difficulty, it’ll be neat and won’t drag down everyone. From afar, it can assist and when it’s near, it wouldn’t let you be afraid.” The weapon bead was now glowing on the elf’s palm. It was slightly lit up in a silvery blue light, like a splash on the water, crystal clear.
A weapon that makes it easy for me to use and can become everyone’s power.
Something’s forming in my mind.
In the beginning, I felt envious whenever Senior used his spear. It was so beautiful, just like the generals in the dramas, with no fear of anything.
But it’s too difficult, even if I wanted to imitate him, it wouldn’t work.
“I will become your strength, to help you before you have power, and to assist you after you have power. Remember your small change today, and then allow your future to be muddled no more.” She placed the bead back into my hands, and smiled slightly. “Use your blood to sign a contract with me, use your voice to call my name, use your mind to create my body, and use your strength to strive for more.” Then, using her long nails, she drew a streak of blood on my palm, lowered her head, and licked it.
“You can call me, this name is for you. I am the dragon god elf of the water aristocracy. As long as it’s water, it’s my sharp weapon, my shield and I will only allow you to call my name, only you are entitled to call my honorable name.”
Then she slowly changed into drops of water, one by one as they started to fall.
I closed my eyes, clearly memorizing the name echoing in my mind.
When I need to, I will call her, create a body for her and then turn it into an illusionary weapon.
This was what Miao Miao and the others had told me to do.
Thus, all the white fog dispersed, and I once again saw everything that’s happened on stage.
I saw blood all over the ice, and both Senior and Andellar covered in wounds.
She allows only me to call her name.
“Mǐ nà sī dá lì yǎ, yǔ wǒ qiāndìng qìyuē zhī wù, chū xiàn nǐ de xíng, měilì yōuyǎ ér zūnguì, shuǐ shì nǐ de lìrèn, shì wǒ de wǔqì, ránhòu, bāngzhù wǒ, jiějué qīnhài zhě." These words naturally emerged in my mind, as if the sound just now was still lingering around, and I had read it out loud.
[T/N: Minas Dalya, the one who signed a contract with me, reveal your form, beautiful, elegant, and noble, water is your sharp weapon, it’s my weapon, then, help me, and deal with the trespasser.]
A silvery blue light stretched into a line in my hand and then a shape materialized.
I slowly aimed at that Andellar, who completely ignored my existence, and then set the position and finally pulled the trigger.
A deep blue water bead drew an arc in midair and a second later, it penetrated the head of the ghost king’s first expert, utterly bursting it open.
Very quiet, too quiet.
So quiet that it seemed like Andellar, who had lost half of his head, was falling down in slow motion. The clear white liquid that remained in his brain was mixed with blood as it slowly flowed out, and then froze on the icy ground.
Senior looked at the human body on the ground before turning around to look at me.
He said, but I’m not sure if he was praising me.
In the next second, my vision turned black, and I completely lost my balance and fell backwards.
Before I fainted, I heard a voice.
“Sleep, then wake up, and you’ll start to face even more changes.”
Minas Daylas’ voice was like a lullaby as it gradually disappeared into the darkness.