Chapter 37: The shadow of the Evil Dragon's followers
Southern part of Eiche, Ancient Oak City.
Different from most of the other centers of population, Ancient Oak City wasn't built in a woody mountain area, but on plains in the southern part of Eiche: the “Golden Roses Plains.”
Ancient Oak City was part of clan Oakheart's domain. Traffic was easier on the plains, hence whether Ancient Oak or the other dozen cities sitting on the “Golden Rose Plains,” they all were livelier and more prosperous than ordinary cities. Here was also the heart of arts and culture in the south, producing many exquisite artworks, potteries, bone carvings, feather ornaments, luxurious clothes, wool carpets... There were also large quantities of painters or singers.
Compared to the other cities in the “Golden Rose Plains,” Ancient Oak's most distinctive features were the gigantic oak trees over forty meters tall covering the entirety of the city. These oak trees were all close to four hundred years of age; they grew exceptionally sturdy thanks to the unique climate and environment. Other than the nuts growing in abundance, there were also many treehouses serving as stores or inns on these oak trees. These treehouses might imitate the style of the elven inns during the War of the Dragons, or might imitate the beastmen residences. They were perhaps gorgeous, or perhaps simple and unadorned. Each of them had their own style, giving Ancient Oak the atmosphere of a traveling resort during the era of the War of the Dragons.
When the last of the sunset's afterglow vanished entirely from the “Golden Roses Plains,” a great burst of laughter came from a tavern treehouse in the center of Ancient Oak.
Inside this small and narrow tavern that could accommodate thirty persons at most, two bare-chested sturdy fellows were bravely drinking from two great wine barrels at an oaken table in the middle of the room. One of them was clearly done for already, the golden wine spraying out of his nostrils along his coughs, forming two small fountains.
The dozen men sitting around this oaken table laughed madly at this scene. A bloody, ferocious atmosphere seeped from the bones of all these men; with the scars on their bodies and the big cups in their hands, it seemed the word “violent” hung right over their faces.
Some started to flaunt their recent profits among the pungent wafts of alcohol. Listening to them, they defeated a team of arcane masters and snatched quite a few spoils inside the Giant Beasts Forest.
It could be vaguely ascertained from these words that most those gathered inside this tavern were arcane battlemasters available for hire for missions in dangerous areas, or made a living from directly attacking other teams of arcane masters and looting them.
At a corner of this tavern close to the windows sat a man with long black hair, wearing a brown leather hat, his face especially pale, drinking his wine, silent and low-key. There was no ornament or symbol on him, but one could see, if one observed him long enough, that other than his particularly pale face, his ten fingers were also especially pale and slender, especially soft, as if they were entirely boneless.
Just at this moment when the man spraying booze from his nostrils fell on the ground, and the atmosphere became even stronger, someone heavily pushed open the wind-leaking rattan door. A woman wearing a long black robe appeared in everyone's vision.
This woman seemed very young. She had red-wine hair and a small dainty body, but she had curves in all the right places. Through the collar of the black robe, one could see the skintight mesh bodysuit she wore underneath.
The few battlemasters who first clearly saw her appearance couldn't resist swallowing, imagining the scene of her without her black outerwear, wearing only the skintight mesh suit inside.
“We can't provoke her!”
“This woman's definitely not one to be trifled with.”
Almost at the same time however, a few men were already lowering their voices and reminding their companions.
Whether the black robe or the suit inside, neither of them were ordinary goods, seemingly made from materials very rarely seen in the outside world. Also, for arcane masters still sober, the atmosphere coming from this young woman was definitely a fearsome one.
“If you don't want to be killed by accident, then hurry up and leave.”
This petite woman very straightforwardly said, “I am Donna.”
“It's the team leader of clan Oakheart's arcane team, Fire Woman Donna!”
“So she's Fire Woman! Once champion of the Cup of Starry Skies Braves...”
The shocked people inside the tavern didn't have time to react yet when one side of the treehouse's walls exploded outward all of a sudden, countless shattered wooden debris exploding like a volcanic eruption.
“What's the matter!”
Amidst the shock and amazement, the people in this tavern noticed that previously low-key pale-faced man with a brown leather hat charge out immediately out of the destroyed wall.
A huge winged serpent towered under his feet at this moment. The serpent was bigger than even the entire tavern.
“What secret skill is that!”
“What secret skill can emit such a fearsome aura!”
Just as the arcane masters inside the tavern felt their powers dwarfed, one and each rushing out in fear, another voice rang in the air. “It won't be so easy for you to escape.”
Along with that voice, sixteen giant shadows suddenly appeared in the air.
Sixteen pillars of ice fell from the air in an instant, looking like sixteen giant oak trees, forming a cage surrounding the half-flying and half-leaping winged serpent that was rushing out of the city at alarming speed.
There were even different hissing voices coming from inside the sixteen giant columns of ice, as if several draconic scholars were chanting inside.
“This is Ice Dragon Prison!”
“It's Berryn from clan Tarly!”
“Even Berryn came!”
“Who the hell is that guy? Monsters like Berryn and Donna actually have to join hands to handle him!”
Even that arcane master spraying wine from his nostrils, lying drunk on the floor, sweated cold sweat like a waterfall when he saw this scene, sobered by the scare.
“Purple Flame Shells!”
The man standing on top of the giant black serpent suddenly turned around and chanted in a deep voice. The black serpent under his feet charged out even faster, ferociously crashing on the ice pillar in the front. At the same moment, he clasped his hands together, and shells about the size of a head continuously fired out from his palms, bombing toward a Donna leaping out from the tavern treehouse behind him.
Cold light filled Donna's eyes. Dazzling magenta arcane particles gushed from her hands, rolling up her surroundings like a storm. Countless tiny bits of wood caught fire around her body, turned into ashes the color of snow that stilled in the air.
A collective intake of cold breath.
At present, those who noticed the rapid changes in this place weren't limited anymore to those who fled from the treehouse tavern. Every arcane master nearby could clearly feel the terrifying might inside thee purple shells of fire, and they also clearly saw the purple shells entirely torn to pieces by the snowy ashes, disappearing without a trace.
“This is a secret skill only an arcane master who opened five arcane gates can use!”
Several arcane masters, looking extremely powerful, rushed in an instant to the vicinity from afar, carried by a wind column resembling a tornado. Their faces all turned extremely pale the instant they saw the picture of this confrontation.
A male arcane master, looking not so young anymore, yet his face still baby-like and his eyes strangely tiny like needles, said in shock, “Donna's strength actually reached such a level already, who the hell is her opponent! To make her so nervous!”
“Where's Berryn! We actually only saw his secret skill but didn't see his person!” Another tall and sturdy arcane master said, his forehead covered in cold sweat, feeling the huge gap in power.
“It's Ice Mirror.” A good-looking female arcane master wearing red clothes and sporting a well-developed body said with a pale face, “He used Ice Mirror's reflection and concealed his figure. If you can't find out his true position, it's absolutely impossible to defeat him.”
“Boom! Boom! Boom!”
The black serpent crashed repeatedly against the ice pillars in the short moment these arcane masters spoke, producing earthshaking vibrations, blowing wind waves and raging gales dilating like a tide, engulfing the entire city.
The huge black serpent started to break and collapse, turning into black smoke. Three out of the sixteen ice pillars were fractured, all the strange chanting voices starting to fade.
That odd pale-faced man suddenly stopped his attacks in Donna's direction. His whole person disappeared inside the black smoke and, the next second, shot out from the gap between the sixteen pillars of ice.
“I said, you won't escape so easily...”
An icy-cold, haughty voice faintly came behind this pale-faced man. At this moment, a giant sickle as big as several men combined suddenly appeared in the air as if by teleportation, then slashed toward that man.
At the end of this giant ice sickle was a man wearing white clothes, cold and reclusive, with a faint white mark on the left side of his face looking like a dragon dancing in the air.
“Ice Sickle of the Death God!”
Many arcane masters observing the battle almost stopped breathing entirely. This huge ice sickle exerted on them a pressure hard to imagine, as if the arcane particles inside their bodies were about to be slashed out and crushed to pieces.
Seeing he simply had no time at all to dodge, the pale-faced man slapped his hands together and stiffly squeezed the blade of the ice sickle between them.
A formidable strength instantly crushed him from the air down to the ground, pushing his body gliding backward, plowing deep ditches in the ground. But at the same time, black light enveloped this pale-faced man's hands, followed along his arms and submerged his whole body, transforming into a black armor brimming with a sense of metallic reality, the mark of a malevolent dragon head on the chest.
Countless cracks suddenly appeared on the blade of the sickle. Under the pressure of his hands, it was actually going to forcibly break!
Donna was behind this pale-faced man at this moment, not far away from him. A raging flame as tall as several men ignited between her hands, then compressed in an instant into a granule resembling a red gem. It hit the back of the pale-faced man.
The hat on this man's head immediately became ashes. His pale-white face turned flush red and his body stiffened all of a sudden, looking as if he were about to spray out fire from the inside of his body.
“You can't catch me! Let us die together!”
A piercing mad laughter suddenly came from this pale-faced man however. Many black arcane particles gushed out from him. His body dried up at a rapid pace like a withering flower. Strangely, an arm shrouded in pale white flames grew longer, like a white python, inconceivably grabbing at Donna's chest.
Donna blocked with her right hand, five deep bloody grooves appearing on it.
No blood flowed from the wounds, just a gray, mercury-like liquid sinking inside her body.
Donna's face immediately paled.
A blue figure suddenly fell from the air just at this instant.
“Absolute Seal, Holy Dissolving Glyph.”
Donna's body stopped abruptly, all her movements halted. The person fallen from the sky held her arm, blazing blue light pouring out from her wounds. The ashen mercury-like liquid blew out, becoming ashes.
At this moment, loud cries of surprise came from many arcane masters in the distance, those who dared not approach yet could still see the entire scene of the battle.
The back of that pale-faced man split open, vaguely becoming a portion of a dragon's body, as if a dragon were about to be born from the inside. However, the next moment, his body crashed on the ground with a bang like a pile of broken dry wood, thoroughly shattered to pieces.
“An Evil Dragon follower!”
“It's an Evil Dragon follower!”
“An Evil Dragon follower actually appeared again! He actually appeared in our Golden Roses Plains!”
Many people couldn't help but exclaim in alarm.
“Liszt, thank you.”
Amidst such cries of alarm, Donna was actually very calm, exposing the trace of a smile instead. “I didn't think you'd also come. You saved my life again.”
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