Io’s eyes lit up and some fervour could be seen in the depths of Nyra’s eyes. To them, this shield was a key to growing their strength. It was clearly more powerful than the other two artefacts of Lutheris, which meant the grace acquired from it would easily push them a few levels higher at the least.
Normally this would have irked Richard, but he was currently busy talking to the broodmother, “Where’s Phaser?”
He had felt her weakening a few moments after Zangru shot out of the water, but before they could go help she had swum downstream and darted towards the Land of Turmoil. His soul connection to her had grown incomparably weak as well, to the point that he was worried.
“Phaser absorbed too much energy from the target, her power has grown unstable. I called her back immediately so I could contain the damage, she needs a week of work to return to normal.”
His concerns abated, Richard gave her an affirmative and turned to focus on Zangru. However, her voice rang in his mind once more, “Master, if the target is not useful could you hand him to me? It will allow me to reach level 9 with no problems.”
“Level 9?” Richard was pleasantly surprised. It hadn’t been too long since she had reached level 7.
“Yes, Master. The number of level 18 beings I have devoured recently has allowed me to approach the edge of level 8 already. I am currently in the process of evolution, and will reach the new level in about three months or so.”
“Great! And what do you need to get to level 9?”
“Food. Namely Zangru Baruch.”
“Alright. I’ll give him to you if he doesn’t comply.”
A small camp was built near Sapphire Lake as night fell, bonfires lit between the tents to roast the fist that had been caught. A pleasant aroma wafted over, causing all of the followers and rune knights to gather. Many nocturnal beasts were enticed as well, but they didn’t dare to approach the campsite with so many powerful auras around.
Zangru was sitting in one of the tents, bored to death as he stared at the cheerful group with a complicated expression. There was nobody guarding him, nor was he even shackled, but he felt so weak right now that even a commoner would be able to chase him down if he tried to flee.
Nyra walked into the tent, sitting cross-legged on the floor before passing him some roasted fish. The youth didn’t stand on ceremony, starting to gobble it down immediately. It almost seemed like he hadn’t eaten anything in years, several kilograms disappearing into his mouth in the blink of an eye. Even the bones weren’t left behind, and once he was done he thoroughly licked the metallic skewer until it was sparkling clean. The contrast of his crude actions with his elegant looks was almost picturesque.
“I’ll lose my appetite if you keep looking at me like that, you know?” he mentioned to the silent priestess who was observing him.
“The rest will only be at ease if you are within my line of sight,” Nyra replied indifferently.
Zangru stared at her fiercely, beginning to circulate his internal energy as his aura returned, but it didn’t scare her in the slightest. Instead, a twisted and disturbing smile appeared on her face, “I know what you are, but you cannot know what I am. Your powers would have meant nothing to me before, but with my current identity things are entirely different. I’m quite interested in healing you regularly, do you want to try now?”
Zangru twitched with disgust, refusing to answer that question. He just stuffed the skewer back into her arms, “What’s with giving me so little? This isn’t even enough to fill my mouth!”
Nyra turned and left the tent, returning with a raw fish in hand that she threw towards him, “Do it yourself.”
Zangru snorted, struggling to his feet before waddling towards the nearest bonfire to start roasting the fish. Faylen, the two other priestesses, and a few rune knights were surprised by their new companion, but seeing Nyra nearby they let down their guards. However, the priestesses still looked at him with fear in their eyes.
Nyra seemed to have found another raw fish from somewhere, starting to roast it for herself. Looking at the tongues of flame cooking her food, she suddenly spoke up, “You don’t seem to be nervous at all.”
Zangru smiled softly, “Why should I be? So many people have hated me before, but they can’t bring themselves to kill me knowing how useful I can be. Aren’t you lot the same? I’m still very valuable, and as long as the price is right I’m willing to do anything.”
Nyra went silent for a moment before laughing oddly, “We are different from those you met in the past. I hear someone you absolutely do not want to encounter has taken a strong interest in you, so I suggest you don’t prize yourself too much.”
Zangru cackled loudly, attracting the attention of everyone nearby, “So many have told me the same thing, but they were the ones who regretted their decision in the end.”
“You previous captors were merely ants, don’t assume you’re anything more than a passing interest.”
Zangru’s brows locked together as his eyes blazed with anger. However, the memory of the excruciating pain from Nyra’s healing was still fresh in her mind. If she were to use a stronger spell, he was sure that she would send him to the ground immediately. As insulted as he was, he had no rebuttal.
However, that did not mean he agreed. He could tell from Richard’s eyes that the leader of these people was very interested in him. He believed that this interest would only grow once his origins were revealed.
As he walked out from a tent, Richard was quite surprised to see Zangru mingling with his subordinates. He was a little annoyed, but still waved Nyra over, “Bring him, it’s time we talk.” He then went back in.
When Zangru sat down and looked Richard in the eyes once more, his heart froze for a moment. The interest he saw in the depths of this captor’s eyes had changed; now it was like a chef looking at a good ingredient. It seemed like those glowing emerald pupils could see through him completely, causing his hair to stand on end as he yelped and sprung up from the ground.
However, he only made it a few feet up before Nyra pressed down from behind him, sending him back to the ground. Even though she was not a battle priest like Io, all heavenly guardians were accomplished martial artists.
As Richard looked him up and down, Zangru felt like his heart was being squeezed. He wanted to scream, but Nyra started to channel her divine power into him and paralysed him completely. The arrogance he had walked in with faded completely, and by the time Richard’s eyes stopped glowing he was shivering a little.
“So Zangru, the Shrine of the Wargod has put up a bounty of a legendary-grade longsword for capturing you alive. That’s quite something.”
Zangru nodded, a mocking smile rising up on his face, “They say I stole the divinity of the Wargod. Ha, such a poor excuse. Why would I do that? Lutheris gave his powers to me himself, I never wanted them in the first place. Anyway, what can they really do? I already killed four of their grand priests, will they start sending cardinals? Hmph, if I wasn’t hurt so bad they wouldn’t even have the guts to hunt me down.”
Richard nodded, “I hear the new pope has some bad blood with you?”
“That runt Micher? It should be him. He’s the only child of Anwod’s that would even qualify. Of course he hates me, his mother and two of his aunts died during the week the old bastard let me loose.”
Richard merely nodded at the revelation, as though he hadn’t just heard of something reprehensible, “Okay then. Now, convince me to keep you alive.”
“To what?” Zangru asked, as though he had heard the most unbelievable thing in his life.
“Convince me to keep you alive,” Richard repeated.
Zangru’s heart sank as he remembered Nyra’s words. However, he decided to understand Richard’s intentions a little better first, “I’m only this weak because I was hurt in the war. At peak condition, none of your subordinates would be a match for me! Fine, let’s discuss the price. I can work for you as long as you pay enough, but know that my services don’t come cheap.”
“I’ll admit you’re quite valuable, but it seems you don’t understand your position. Your corpse right now is far more valuable to me than your live body, so convince me not to kill you and harvest your corpse.”
Richard’s smile was as bright as the sun, but it left Zangru shivering like he was in the depths of the sea.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Karen
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA