Book 2 Chapter 20.2

Book 2 Chapter 20.2 - A Mountain Between

The sky hadn’t brightened yet, but it was already close to the end of the night. 

The continuous mountains of the north stretched extensively, spanning over three hundred kilometers from the east to west. In the olden era, this type of distance was simply uncrossable without the support of vehicles for normal people, but in the new era, the human genome was continuously collapsed and reconstructed. For individuals who strengthened their speed and physical strength, this type of distance was not a problem at all. The true danger came from the countless mutated creatures that might be hiding within the mountains. 

Humans of the age of turmoil were entirely different from those of the olden era in terms of ability. The inhuman characters depicted in cartoons, could already be found everywhere in this new era of turmoil. If these ability users were to return to the olden era, they would perhaps become either superheroes or fiends, but they would definitely not be normal people. 

What was a bit ironic was that despite the fact that the abilities of humans were increasing, the vast mountains, primitive jungles, and even lakes and boundless seas became even more taboo for human existence, to the extent where some of the abandoned cities were also like this. After all, no one knew what kind of terrifying mutated existences were hiding in these places, and everything in this era was rapidly changing. Even for places that had been previously explored, the creatures inside might have changed beyond recognition in just a few months. In terms of appearances, humans were instead the most stable and slowest to mutate. 

As such, the evolutionary path of other creatures demonstrated the future of humanity. The price for obtaining all of these different abilities, was the demise of the overwhelming majority of the human race. In addition, no one knew where this rapidly changing path lead. It could be heaven, but it could be hell as well. 

Of course, Su, who was sprinting through the mountains didn’t think that much. He simply concentrated his attention on running, carefully sensing his surroundings while trying his best to grab onto that weak and complex trace of intuition. Even now, Su had no idea what awaited him ahead. He only knew that the closer he got, the faster his heart jumped. This type of feeling was extremely close to the one he felt when he first approached Persephone, but there were a few differences. However, his reasoning told him that Persephone was right in front of him, but he just didn’t know how far away she was. 

Even if he saw Persephone, so what? Su didn’t know. His mind was a mess right now. In addition, there wasn’t a single enemy along the way, to the point where there weren’t even any mutated creatures that attacked him. Everything was going too smoothly. 

His experiences in the wilderness told him that deathly stillness was often a sign of something incredibly powerful hiding ahead, as weaker creatures would instinctively avoid their territory. Right now, Su might have stepped onto some extremely dangerous existence’s territory and was locked onto by that unknown existence without him knowing it. 

The swiftly moving Su suddenly stopped while staring ahead in a daze. At the end of his gaze was a lonely and precipitous peak. The rising and falling terrain around this peak was entirely different. Its sides were so steep they looked like they had been chiseled by a hatchet, making it clearly taller than the surrounding hills. When winds blew by its precipices, alarming wuwu sounds would whistle through the air. 

A single person was already standing at the top of the peak. The dark silhouette was just like the peak below, lonely and erect, as if even if the end of the world was reached, it still wouldn’t falter in the slightest. There was only a giant sword that was inserted diagonally into the ground. The armor with countless spikes protruded out and the grey hair that was fluttering about with mysterious stellar splendor was especially familiar. 

On the other side of the mountain, Persephone slowed down her steps. She raised her hand for the subordinates behind her to stop where they were. She then looked towards the lonely figure at the top of the peak with a complicated expression. She stopped and removed a pencil from her pocket before walking up the mountain peak. 

At this moment, a white expanse suddenly emerged from the horizon. The light of dawn poured down onto these mountains like an enormous curtain. Her figure that stood between this black and white world was especially powerful. The enormous sword, armor, spikes, and mask, all seemed to possess blade-like edges. There wasn’t a single curve apart from the long gray hair that fluttered about in the air. She stood alone at the top of this black and white world. On one side was Su, and on the other was Persephone. 

The light of dawn from the horizon disappeared with a flash. The curtain-like radiance receded, and the world returned to darkness.

Persephone released a light sigh. She increased her speed, leaving behind afterimages of her wonderful figure to reach the top of the mountain before Su. 

“Madeline, I never expected that you would be the one here.” Persephone said slowly. She now stood right in front of Madeline. The top of the mountain was quite spacious, but with the two of them standing there, it was as if there was no room for a third. 

“Is it strange for me to stand here?” Madeline calmly replied.

“Not strange at all. Actually, it’s quite natural.” Persephone sighed. 

In front of Madeline’s terrifying and sinister armor, Persephone was like a weak little flower who was destined to wilt atop those armor spikes. As someone who had been Madeline’s friend for quite some time, Persephone obviously knew that Madeline’s armor wasn’t for the sake of intimidating others or injuring enemies. This amor contained astonishing power on its own and was something one of the Trial Division’s three giants, also known as the dark saints, Beasley previous owned. However, after Madeline appeared in the Town of Trials, dark saint Beasley suddenly disappeared, and his armor appeared on Madeline’s body. 

No one knew exactly what happened between Madeline and Beasley, but the ones affected by that bloody afternoon would never forget it. At that time, the people inside the Town of Trials were practically all dark saint Beasley’s underlings, and when they saw Madeline in his armor, they immediately broke out in an uproar and attacked her from all sides. The bloody end of that battle ended just a few minutes after it started. All those loyal to Beasley died under Madeline’s hands, and blood flowed through that small Town of Trials. In just a few minutes, half of the people there lost their will to fight and began to beg Madeline for forgiveness and a chance for them to offer their loyalty. 

Madeline decided to kill a third of the people there on a whim, leaving everyone there greatly shaken by her ruthlessness. However, it was only only afterwards that everyone understood just how merciful she was that afternoon. From the dazzling, steel-like figure of Madeline that stood there peacefully, Persephone could clear sense a great pressure assailing her, to the extent where it even made her breathing a bit troublesome. Madeline’s expression was completely hidden beneath her metal mask, so Persephone couldn’t see her expression at all and could only guess at what she was feeling. 

The fully armored Madeline was even a head taller than Persephone. The distance between the two wasn’t great. Persephone who could normally look at her eye to eye felt as if she was gazing into a tall mountain. This had nothing to do with the strength they possessed, and more so originated from the different emotions they were feeling. 

Did she have a guilty conscience?

Persephone sighed from the bottom of her heart. Even though the pressure she felt made it feel as if she was breathing the thin air of high altitude, she didn’t have any intention of shrinking back. She carefully looked at the completely emotionless mask of the other party, even though she knew that she wouldn’t find anything from it. Persephone found that no matter how she tried, she couldn’t associate this ‘dark saint’ that had practically monopolized all of the authority inside of the Town of Trials with the pretty little girl she saw seven years ago. There was even a period of time when Madeline was glued to her side almost every day. Using the little girl’s words back then, Persephone was like the only source of warmth in a cold, blood-colored underworld. Her periods of happiness were extremely brief, and the amount of times Persephone could see this little girl became less and less. Madeline who gradually began to show astonishing talent and beauty, was starting to become overwhelmed by the family’s missions and dragonrider promotion system, resulting in her time spent outside in battle becoming longer and longer. After that bloody afternoon when Madeline entered the Town of Trials, the opportunities for the two to see each other became fewer and fewer. 

Now, there weren’t many people who felt that the one who was sitting on the ‘dark saint’ position was just a girl over ten years old. 

Su already saw that the ones standing at the top were Madeline and Persephone, so his body that had already consumed most of its energy relaxed and immediately slowed down. He loosened his control over his body a bit, allowing his body to immediately allocate energy and nutrients to repair his countless injuries on their own. Even though he still thought of Madeline as the pure and beautiful little girl deep inside of his heart, Su knew that the current her possessed terrifying strength. Since Madeline had already arrived, with her and Persephone’s power, he should already be safe, or at least what he understood the word safe to mean. 

A battle suddenly erupted without the slightest omen. 

Powerful winds suddenly stirred about on the summit, and soon after, an astonishing tornado rushed into the heavens. The places where Madeline and Persephone stood were the center of these winds! The powerful attraction force of the tornados even began to tear apart large amounts of the radiation clouds in the skies, sucking them downwards and forming great pillars of wind that obstructed everything within the eye of the storm!

Madeline reached her hand out into the air. The enormous sword Death Prison immediately cried out, leaping out from the rocks themselves and jumping into Madeline’s hands. On the spine of the sword, black energy similar to clouds swirled about inside the dark red gemstones on this blade, making them seem like eyes of supernatural creatures that had opened and were staring greedily and coldy at Persephone. 

Death Prison landed in Madeline’s hand, the enormous and heavy sword seeming to lose all weight. With a casual wave of Madeline’s hand, Death Prison swept out like lightning and hacked horizontally at Persephone’s waist! The speed of this sword was extremely fast, to the extent where not even Su could clearly see its path. When the sword was brandished, there wasn’t the slightest delay before it reached its maximum speed. This completely defied the physics of the olden era. 

The length of Death Prison together with Madeline’s arm was actually not enough to make contact with Persephone. However, she didn’t seem to have considered the distance of her target at all as she hacked out like this, her body unmoving from her original spot. 

Persephone who was was previously unmoving suddenly flew forward, as if she was going to use her own body to collide with the edge of Death Prison. 

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