She had left those fertile lands which had been blessed by the gods, travelling alone.
This was the reason why.
She was only sixteen years of age, but she had discarded her noble birth and her glorious future.
This was the reason why.
She had entered the gods-forsaken wastelands, spending more than a year of her life in this place.
This was the reason why.
The Bloodsoaked Queen knew that her mission was a deadly one, but as a pious warrior, an exalted demonhunter, and a child of the glorious gods, she had long ago lost all her fear of death!
“What are you talking about?” Cloudhawk had no idea what she was saying. He scratched his head. “What’s a ‘demon’?” But as soon as he spoke, he regretted it. The Queen turned a disdainful, appalled look towards him, as though she was staring at a mosquito that knew about nothing save buzzing in an irritating fashion. This feeling was quite an unpleasant one.
The Queen let out a cold snort. Wastelanders were ignorant and foolish beyond belief. They were faithless and had no sense of honor whatsoever. They knew not of the grace of the gods, nor did they know of the vileness of the demons. The Queen felt that she was committing a great sin just speaking with such a heathen; it was as though conversing with him was a form of blasphemy against the divine spirits.
But then, a feeling of exhaustion and powerlessness once more swept over her. She wasn’t sure how much longer she would be able to remain standing; there was no way she could waste any more time here. Right now, she had to immediately leave this place. She turned her gaze towards the young wastelander, slight hesitation in her eyes. Mixed emotions flashed through her gaze before it finally turned as hard and cold as steel.
Oh, fuck. She still wants to silence me?! Cloudhawk hurriedly took a few steps back. “What are you doing?!”
The Bloodsoaked Queen said coldly, “I cannot let anyone find out about my injuries. Once this information is leaked, it is possible that the entire Blackflag Outpost will be butchered almost immediately. I have to get rid of any chance of this happening… but fear not. You die in the service of the gods, and so I will pray for your soul and ensure that in your next life, you shall be born as one of the blessed citizens of the sacred elysian lands.”
“Are you serious? This is so completely unfair.”
The Bloodsoaked Queen ignored his protestations, taking a single step forwards. Cloudhawk could clearly sense a type of ripple emerge from the Queen’s gloves and enter the air around him. When the ripples spread out, they clashed with the various material particles in the air, causing every single air particle to vibrate at a different frequency than before. That thrumming sound once more filled his ears.
A flame appeared out of nowhere within the Queen’s hands.
Cloudhawk was now thoroughly stunned. What type of power was this?! Still, this didn’t seem to be the right time to find out. Cloudhawk called out frantically, “I saved your life! Are people from the elysian lands all as ungrateful and treacherous as you? Is this how the ‘gods’ you speak of teach you to treat people who helped you out?”
“Thus sayeth the gods: The blood of the wastelands is most foul, and there is no need to show wastelanders any mercy at all!” The Queen’s movements began to speed up. “And I cannot take any risks!”
Her face was turning pale once more, and a few beads of sweat could be seen atop her fair, snow-white skin. She was doing her best to suppress the agony which was wracking her body. As the ripples emanating from her gloves began to increase in power, the air around her began to vibrate more intensely than before, resulting in a heat wave emanating from around her.
The runes on the Queen’s gloves were already lit up. She was ready to strike… but Cloudhawk wasn’t going to just sit there and wait for death. As the Queen reached out at frightening speeds to grab him, he suddenly shouted loudly, “Slyfox! Save me!”
Eh?! The Queen hesitated slightly. Slyfox was a famous member of Blackflag Outpost, legendary for his craftiness and his schemes. Was he nearby? The Queen was momentarily distracted by this possibility, and Cloudhawk seized the moment to pounce straight towards her like a leopard.
Damn. What a sly fellow! The Bloodsoaked Queen immediately reached out towards him once more. Her gloves held enough power to burn a maneater into charcoal; if she so much as brushed this wastelander kid with it, he would instantly be burnt into a crisp.
Cloudhawk hurriedly dodged sideways, the gloves just barely missing his shoulders. The Queen was every bit as skilled as Mad Dog, and she was possibly even stronger; otherwise, how could she have been able to receive that thunderous blow from the sweeper leader with her bare hand? However, she was so weak right now that her movements were far slower than normal.
Bang! As Cloudhawk dodged her attacked, he punched her right in her perfect face. Hard. As someone who had grown up in the wastelands, he had never heard of the concept of ‘chivalry’. Who gave a fuck that she was a ‘peerless beauty’? The only thing Cloudhawk knew and cared about was that she was trying to kill him. If he didn’t fight as hard as he could, he’d definitely be the one to die… and so he really did hit her with everything he had, smacking her so hard that she saw stars.
“You bastard!” The Bloodsoaked Queen was filled with a towering rage. She had never imagined that this wastelander brat would be so alert and so audacious. She was a demonhunter, a warrior of the gods… and she had just been smacked in the face by an underage, half-grown wastelander boy. What an utter humiliation!
“That’s what happens when you try to backstab people who helped you out!” Cloudhawk hadn’t expected to actually land his attack, and his unexpected success was a huge morale boost to him. If this woman was gonna go after him, then he was going to knock her on her ass before she had a chance to recover her full strength. After knocking her out, he’d tie her up and try to figure out what to do with her.
Cloudhawk was not the spineless, cowardly type. How could a coward possibly spend all his time dreaming about leaving the wastelands and entering an unknown world? He aimed his second punch straight at the Queen’s tall, graceful nose!
The Bloodsoaked Queen dodged his attack, seeming to move slowly but somehow managing to just barely avoid his punch as she reached out with her right hand and latched onto Cloudhawk’s wrist. The Queen had undergone formal combat training; even in the bad shape she was currently in, she had more than enough oomph left to deal with a half-trained brat like this!
Crap! Cloudhawk was so terrified that he felt as though his soul was about to leave his body. The Bloodsoaked Queen might have almost no power left, but what she did have was enough to finish him off! Cloudhawk could clearly sense a ripple or a vibration emanate from her gloves, undulating in a serpentine fashion as it spread across his entire body. This power was capable of affecting every single tiny particle in his body, causing them to vibrate at a frequency which would generate tremendously high temperatures and heat.
What type of attack was this? How was this attack formed? Cloudhawk had no idea, nor did he care to find out at a time like this. He only had one thought in his mind: Oh, fuck. I’m gonna be charcoaled.
But just as Cloudhawk felt absolutely certain that his doom was nigh, he suddenly felt a resonant response coming from the stone around his neck. It sucked in all of the strange energy the Bloodsoaked Queen was pouring into his body via her glove, almost like a sponge sucking in water.
What’s going on? Why is my energy disappearing as soon as it is going into the kid’s body? The Bloodsoaked Queen had never encountered something like this before, and for a moment she was caught completely off-guard… and a heartbeat later, an ice-cold object was pressed straight against her chest.
“Don’t move an inch.” Cloudhawk was holding a crude, ungainly shotgun in his hands. Although large beads of sweat had accumulated on his brows, his gaze was completely focused on the Bloodsoaked Queen. “I’m feeling really trigger-happy right now.”
The Queen’s gaze flickered a few times, then she said in a very calm voice, “Then go ahead and pull it.”
Cloudhawk suddenly felt a sharp object pressing against his own chest. He glanced downwards… and his eyes bulged out. The Queen had somehow pulled out a short dart without him even realizing it. If she pushed it forward by so much as half an inch, it would go straight into his heart.
Cloudhawk forced out a smile. “That little thing? It might or might not be able to kill me… but I don’t think you’ll survive a shotgun blast to the face.”
The Queen said coldly, “I’m betting that your gun isn’t loaded!”
Cloudhawk’s shotgun really wasn’t loaded. The Bloodsoaked Queen’s guess was spot-on, but Cloudhawk didn’t let any of it show on his face or in his eyes. Instead, he applied a bit more pressure to the trigger, as though he truly was ready to fire at any moment.
The Bloodsoaked Queen had wanted to trick Cloudhawk into revealing something, but the wastelander kid was much stronger mentally than she had imagined. Although she felt that it was likely that this shotgun had no pellets in it, given the situation she didn’t dare to act rashly either. The Queen wasn’t afraid of dying. What she feared was dying without meaning!
Cloudhawk was feeling nervous as well. He knew very well that he was putting on a false front right now. The Queen might be very weak, but Cloudhawk didn’t believe that he’d be able to beat her in a fight. A dying tiger was still a tiger; even in its death-throes, it wouldn’t be beaten by a mosquito, much less a half-grown one!
What should he do? Cloudhawk had no idea as to how he should break this stalemate! But just as the tension was building to a crescendo, peals of laughter suddenly rang out from afar. The mercenaries had come back. Cloudhawk could hear Slyfox guffawing merrily, and some of the mercenaries were actually calling out to him:
“Brat! Brat! Get out here!”
“Come take a look at what we brought ya!”
This time, it was the Queen who turned pale. Slyfox really had arrived! He was an extraordinarily talented, sly, and vicious man. Given the shape the Queen was in, there was no way she could fight him right now, much less the many other mercenaries Slyfox had brought with him. If she was discovered… she didn’t even want to imagine what would happen.
Damn. What was she to do? Was she really about to perish by the hands of these filthy wastelander heathens?
Cloudhawk could see the blood draining from the Queen’s beautiful face, and he could also hear the footsteps of the mercenaries drawing closer and closer. Countless thoughts flashed through his mind. He knew exactly what type of person that fat bastard was; Slyfox was completely unscrupulous, vicious, and a notorious lecher. Who knew what would happen if the Queen fell into his hands?
“Hey!” Cloudhawk put down the shotgun. “Hide!”
The Queen was slightly startled. She had been planning to kill him… but he still wanted to help her?
Cloudhawk stared at her. “I can’t let you die yet! Hurry up and hide. If Slyfox sees you, you’ll be screwed. He’s a total pervert!” Slyfox’s lecherous nature wasn’t exactly a secret; virtually everyone in the base knew it. But the problem was, Cloudhawk’s tiny room had nothing more than a shabby bed and a rickety table, and those things took up virtually all of his space. There was nowhere to hide someone!
“Onto the bed!” By now, the mercenary footsteps were coming from just a few meters away. Cloudhawk had no time to consider anything else; he suddenly pushed the Queen onto his bed, covered her with his grungy blankets, then lay down on the bed as well. The bed was a tiny one, and so the two were forced to squeeze together to fit on it.
How could she possibly be ‘hidden’ on the bed? They’d have to be blind not to notice her! But the Queen had no time to react, because the door to the room had just been kicked open. A heartbeat later, Slyfox swaggered straight inside.
Cloudhawk hurriedly squeezed closer towards her. The Bloodsoaked Queen was actually a bit taller than him, and her figure was both slender and curvaceous, her form both soft and firm. Cloudhawk had the clear feeling that he was lying next to a female leopard that was capable of exploding with tremendous power at any moment.
This was the first time for him to be in such close contact with a woman. Cloudhawk felt nervous, but he also felt some other strange feelings rippling through his heart. This was a completely new sensation for him, but he was in no mood to savor it. The woman was simply too dangerous!
She suddenly snaked her arm out around him, pressing herself tightly against him from behind. It looked as though she was embracing him under the covers, a very intimate and loving gesture. This was the first time for the half-grown Cloudhawk to experience the feeling of a young, lithe, and beautiful woman pressing against him… but he had no time to enjoy it, because the Queen had just pressed something cold, slick, and sharp directly against his throat. If he so much as moved the wrong way, something very, very bad was going to happen to him.
This crazy bitch still doesn’t trust me?!