A roar split the heavens as Xue Wei let out his grief. It was heart-rending and filled with sorrow.
Xue Wei did not have many friends, and Tie Haolong was someone he considered an equal. Tie Haolong had tried to save him. He had been someone who had managed to tear down the walls of Xue Wei’s heart despite the short time they had known each other.
Xue Wei felt a gaping pain in his chest; he had never before experienced a loss of such magnitude, and although he had lost his parents at an early age, he had no recollections of it, which did not hurt as much as this did. Ignorance was bliss, after all.
Xue Wei cried. He was filled with agony, and the Lightning Sparrow was also crying by his side. Although the Lightning Sparrow did not know Tie Haolong, it could feel the grief in Xue Wei and reacted to this.
While the two, sparrow and young man, were lost in their sorrow of losing Tie Haolong, the capital was in an uproar.
The flying Primordial Beast Hunters tried to track down Xue Wei, but they could not do so. It was impossible to find them, no matter how much they searched.
All of them were aware that the Lightning Sparrow was incredibly fast. If it flew for a few days, it would be impossible for them to catch up. Due to this, they were searching half-heartedly.
The city itself was turned upside down by the brawl between the Outer City’s and the Inner City's citizens.
The palace guards were sent out to subdue the unruly bunch, and more than a thousand experts were sent to the prisons to cool down. Although the royalty was unhappy with the reaction these people had had, they dared not risk a revolution, and thus everyone was released again shortly after daybreak the following day.
Originally, the nobles had been split into two factions, one that had protected Xue Wei and defended his case, and another that was against him, claiming him to be a Primordial Beast or a beast accomplice.
Now that Xue Wei had appeared on the back of a Fierce Beast, the group who had previously protected him was quite hesitant. The ones who had been against him were now voicing their concerns even louder than before, and even the capital that previously had revolted started to waver.
Was this child truly a Primordial Beast? How was it possible for him to command a Fierce Beast if he was not? It was clear that he was not a Diviner, so how had he gotten his hands on this famous Lightning Sparrow that every beast hunter knew was the property of someone else?
Everyone was worried and started to second-guess themselves and their actions. Had all of them been blinded by their respect for Xiao Lei and had the prosecutor been right all along?
Soon, as the facts started to dawn on everyone, the kingdom was once again united. All of them were of the impression that Xue Wei had been a traitor planted by the Primordial Beasts that had abused Xiao Lei and his kindness.
After a few days, the ones who had initiated the riot were now the ones who were proclaiming their hate for Xue Wei.
The rumors about someone planning to execute Xue Wei for the sake of besmirching Xiao Lei’s public image was quickly left alone. No one spoke about it any longer, and everyone involved, although still reverent of Xiao Lei, could not help but sigh at how he had been tricked by the Primordial Beasts.
After a few days, a company of a hundred experts was gathered in the palace. They were commanded by Captain Yuan Chao.
"Your task will be simple. All of you will chase down the traitor that goes under the name Xue Wei. He is to be killed on sight. He is to be executed with no questions asked."
"Your mission might take years. It might take you out of the familiar settings of the Heping Kingdom, but never forget, you are hunting him because he is a Primordial Beast or an associate of the Primordial Beasts. He is our enemy, and he has caused serious damage to our kingdom. We need him dead!"
"Do not return before he has died."
These were Yuan Chao’s orders, and his company of hundred men all nodded their heads in unison and called out, "Understood!"
All of these men were all experts that had long since reached the Earth or Sky Warrior rank. All of them had long since finished their ten years in the army, but they had decided to stay there to make a career for themselves.
This company was one of the strongest companies that the Kingdom of Heping had available. Only a few were stronger, as this company consisted mainly of Sky Warriors.
The day following that, the group left the capital and set out towards the direction that they had seen the Lightning Sparrow fly with Xue Wei and Tie Haolong.
Meanwhile, Xue Wei burned Tie Haolong. He gathered his ashes and was at a loss for what he should do with them.
Should he scatter them on the mountain top? Should he scatter them over the capital? What was the right decision? He simply did not know, but after considering it for some time, he buried his ashes at the location where he had called him his brother.
"We became family here, so although it is not the greatest memories, it is one I will never forget," Xue Wei muttered to himself.
"I will have to leave the Kingdom of Heping soon, but I swear to you that one day I will return. And when I do, I will ensure that they all pay back for what they did to you!"
Xue Wei said, his words heartfelt. He truly wished for Tie Haolong to hear him, but he knew that Tie Haolong had long since entered the circle of reincarnation. He would never hear Xue Wei's voice again.
Sighing, Xue Wei looked at the Lightning Sparrow. "This is where our roads will part ways," Xue Wei said as he gently patted the Lightning Sparrow's head. "If I travel with you, I will be easy to notice. Also you have done so much for me already, so it is only fair that you finally get to enjoy your new-found freedom."
The Lightning Sparrow chirped with a bit of sadness, but its eyes were resolute and it nodded its head.
After this, it spread its wings and swept up to the sky, screeching out loud before it vanished into the distance. It was gone in a blink of an eye, leaving Xue Wei all alone.
Far away, in an unknown dark place, Xiao Lei was sitting in a lotus position, slowly inhaling and exhaling, trying his best to calm himself.
While the room was lavish, there was an unmistakable heavy atmosphere around him, and it was clear that he was not there because he wished to be so.
He was focused on cultivating and increasing his strength when suddenly a laughter erupted in the room and an alluring woman with silver hair appeared in the doorway.
"Well, you seem to be spending the time leisurely!" she said. He completely ignored her, continuing to cultivate.
"I saw your little toy not so long ago," she continued, and this time her words caused a reaction. Xiao Lei was still quiet, but he opened an eye and glanced at her with a bone-chilling gaze.
This did not seem to faze her though, as she continued. "There is this rumor that he has a relationship with that phony prophet," she continued. To this, Xiao Lei’s eyes widened slightly.
"Don't worry, I already checked. He is still useable for us, so who cares what relationship he has with that old man."
"Anyways, I managed to cut him, I framed him, and now he is being hunted down for being a Primordial Beast. You should have seen them," she started laughing.
"I am not really sure if he is still alive though," she seemed to be pondering something, "I made sure he lost a whole lot of blood, and then I dropped him from a high altitude. Even if he is still alive, he will have lost at least a layer of skin, if not two or three."
Xiao Lei's eyes were alit with anger. Before the woman had time to react, he turned into a blur and appeared in front of her, arm raised. A flat hand placed a slap right on her cheek, sending her flying into the room, so far that she slammed into the wall. When she fell to the ground, her entire face was swollen.
"Touch him again, and you will die," Xiao Lei said with a dangerously low voice, but Chu Huiyin, who had a hand on her cheek, could not help but laugh as she spat out blood.
"You are a captive! Primordial Beast Hunter Xiao Lei, do you think that you would have been able to accomplish what you have without our help? Now it is time to pay back, and you stay like a good boy within this camber until we allow you to come out again."
It was clear that Chu Huiyin was having fun, but although she spoke as such, her eyes were darting from side to side, showing fear in her expression.
Xiao Lei snorted. "You think that you guys are enough to defeat me?"
"I am here because of our deal. I will honor my part, you will honor yours."
"But if I hear that any of you have killed him, then I will kill you all – and don't question me, you know I am capable of doing so."
When Xiao Lei threatened Chu Huiyin, her body shivered uncontrollably. She had an urge to throw herself prostrate on the ground, seeking to do nothing but admit her wrongdoings and beg for forgiveness.
Trembling, Chu Huiyin decided to escape the room. She fled with her tail between her legs.
Xiao Lei snickered when he saw her leave. "I know you hate him more than anyone else in this world, but I will not let anyone lay a hand on him. Even if he will hate me in the future, I will do what I can to keep him safe. I cannot afford to let him become the enemy of both humans and Primordial Beasts."Previous Chapter Next Chapter
This is the final chapter in book 2 - Blood of the Army. Book 3 - Stars are Falling will begin tonight!
Betareader: Soultorrent & Norwegian Viking