What were the wastelands like?
They were filled with rot, filth, violence, barbarianism, and corruption! As for the wastelands, they served as the claws of the demons. They were born with sin in their blood, and were both hideous and revolting. This was why they had been banned from the Elysiums.
The Bloodsoaked Queen was an incredibly devout and pious believer. She would never view wastelanders as humans, and it was not forbidden for elysians to show wastelanders any pity or mercy. They would be profaning the almighty gods if they did. But… this Cloudhawk seemed to be different.
Over the course of the next two days, the Bloodsoaked Queen gradually discovered that this wastelander youth didn’t have too many bad habits. After poisoning himself with the dart in order to save her, he gave her the majority of what little food he had each day. He attentively helped her treat her injuries. When faced with her arrogance and her powerlessness, he didn’t put on a show of being reluctantly tolerant of her either.
He truly was an extremely rare breed of wastelander.
By now, the Bloodsoaked Queen’s attitude towards him had improved immensely. She was now strong enough to kill him with ease if she so chose. Should she? Should she get rid of the kid? Ah, forget it. The kid had unique sensory abilities; he might be able to help serve as an early-alert system for her. If she let him stay alive, he might be of use to her in her mission. Fighting against that demon was more important than anything else.
The Bloodsoaked Queen’s desire to kill him gradually faded, allowing Cloudhawk to finally relax. Although she seemed cruel and savage, she was actually a very pure and sensitive person. She covered herself with a hard spiked shell of ice, but that was all for the sake of protecting herself in these cannibalistic wastelands. If she didn’t force herself to be as tough as the wastelanders, how could she possibly hold them down?
In addition, the Bloodsoaked Queen was a woman of many mysteries! She had come to the wastelands from a faraway land, all for the sake of hunting down one of those so-called ‘demons’. This couldn’t be simply due to her calling as a demonhunter, right? The hatred she had accidentally revealed the last time he had talked to her about it was proof that this was a mission of revenge. The Bloodsoaked Queen was here as an avenger… but Cloudhawk didn’t dare ask her too much about herself.
When Cloudhawk look at this tough, pious warrior woman, he felt as though he could see the glory, the sincerity, the steadfastness, and the virtuousness of the elysians. They were worlds apart from the brutish, twisted, brutal, and berserk wastelanders. This only made Cloudhawk long to visit the elysian lands even more.
But of course, the Bloodsoaked Queen wasn’t exactly easy to befriend. She was filled with a sense of superiority which Cloudhawk did not understand, and she seemed to feel as though living for a few days with a wastelander like Cloudhawk was the greatest stain and blot on her honor which she had ever experienced. It was as though the noble daughter of an empress had somehow been forced to live in a beggar’s shack and share his food for days on end… and the fact that the beggar had saved her life was the worst part of it!
If it wasn’t for the fact that she wanted to recover as quickly as possible in order to fight her mortal foe, there was no way she would’ve accepted such humiliation!
But the Bloodsoaked Queen’s wariness continued to slowly lessen by the day, while Cloudhawk slowly grew more and more daring. Nagging, whining, pleading… he used every option at his disposal to try and find out more about the outside world. He really was like a mosquito that buzzed around her all day long. How could the Bloodsoaked Queen not find him irritating?
Still, compared to the other wastelanders the kid had his own good traits, such as his stubbornness and his tenacity. Although he was laughably foolish and ignorant, he really was an exceptional person for a wastelander. She had never before encountered any wastelander who dreamed of leaving the wastelands.
As a result, every so often she would answer one of his questions. Based on the scant bits of information she provided, Cloudhawk slowly began to gain a brand new understanding of the outside world.
Roughly 95% of the world was covered by the wastelands… but there really were blessed lands. Only, they were all very, very far away, with the nearest one still being around 2000 kilometers away.
The vast majority of wastelands vehicles rarely travelled more than 150 kilometers in any direction. You’d run out of supplies and run out of fuel, and there would be no information about the area you were in. You’d be swarmed by beasts, robbed by men, choked by sand, or perhaps fall into one of those terrifying regions where space and time were both twisted. There were countless unknown variables in any long-distance journey, and thus not even the most experienced of demonhunters would dare claim that they could definitely traverse the vast wastelands by themselves.
A weak wastelander who spent all his days dreaming about leaving the wastelands was nothing more than a fool! The Bloodsoaked Queen didn’t even try to disguise her disdain for him, often throwing a few mocking words his way as she pointed out how foolish and unrealistic his dreams were. Even assuming this weak wastelander youth really was somehow able to survive his trip into elysian lands, did he really think they would let him in? Him, a lowborn heathen?
But Cloudhawk didn’t let himself be discouraged by her words. In fact, he only grew even more excited. The elysian lands might be very far away, but they weren’t unreachable. Having a goal to work for was better than just wandering about, completely lost! Even though he knew his chances were slim, he’d still go fight for them. As for whether or not the elysians would accept him into Elysium? He didn’t care about that at all.
The kid’s hopeless! The Bloodsoaked Queen eventually got bored of mocking him.
What was the relationship between the ‘gods’ and the ‘demons’? Between the ‘wastelands’ and the ‘elysian lands’? Cloudhawk still didn’t have a clear answer to this question, but he was slowly beginning to understand.
The elysian lands were paradise, blessed with prosperity and filled with piety and faith. The gods had bestowed endless fertility onto the elysian lands, gracing them with countless crops which permitted all the elysians to eat to their hearts’ content. The gods had blessed the elysian lands with special livestock that grew very rapidly, allowing all elysians to be able to drink the most delicious of cow’s milk. As for the elysian children, the gods had blessed them with inconceivable power and wisdom.
The gods had brought order and peace, casting all calamities, illnesses, and pains away from their elysians. They even bestowed mighty artifacts and special powers upon their demonhunters, then established vast cities and marvelous temples through which they wrought the most inconceivable of miracles. Every single person living in elysian lands was filled with nothing but the most absolute of respect towards the gods.
As for the demons?
As their names suggested, they were freaks and abominations that were completely antithetical to the gods. They were incredibly brutal and savage, filled with naked ambition and diabolical cunning. On numerous occasions, they had very nearly caused the destruction of the human race. It was only thanks to the guidance and the assistance of the gods that humanity had defeated the demons. Thanks to the many Elysiums which the gods had established, tens of millions of humans were able to live in peace and prosperity.
The rest of the world, however, was consumed by the wastes. The wastelands had previously been dominated by the demons, and the ancestors of the wastelanders had supposedly been the servants of the demons. This was why wastelanders were usually hideous and brutal, and why they were not accepted into elysian lands!
But that chaotic era of war had ended long ago, with the demons having all but vanished without a trace. The gods had unified the world, making it orderly and peaceful. Still, there were still a few demons hiding in the various corners of the world who foolishly sought to cause trouble, fomenting one vile scheme after another. The league of demonhunters had been established to put an end to their wicked sins.
Demonhunters were the most elite warriors of the entire human race. They were all sincere, devout warriors of the gods who had been bestowed with special powers… and as the title implied, their divine mission was to hunt demons. Each time the Bloodsoaked Queen mentioned the demonhunters, a look of indisguisable pride appeared within her eyes.
She had been born into an entire clan of demonhunters, and she was the youngest and most talented demonhunter of her generation! Her father, her grandfather, her uncles… all of them were glorious demonhunters!
Cloudhawk shook the bottle of medicine, then shrugged his shoulders helplessly. “We’re out of medicine again. I’ll have to steal a bit more from Mantis’ workshop.”
By now, the Bloodsoaked Queen had recovered approximately thirty to forty percent of her power. She no longer needed to fear anyone in the outpost… but of course, she wasn’t anywhere near strong enough to hunt demons yet.
The Bloodsoaked Queen had yet to personally battle against any demon. When demonhunters went hunting, they generally moved in packs. The Bloodsoaked Queen had travelled all by herself to this place, so deep within the wastelands. Although she was undoubtedly brave, she was also undoubtedly rash.
As for her injuries, they would take at least two weeks to heal! Her hope was that the enemy would give her at least that period of time to recover.
The Bloodsoaked Queen rose to her feet, preparing to leave.
“Where are you going? You are still injured. You can’t leave yet!” Cloudhawk hurriedly moved to stop her. He still didn’t have the answers to his questions yet; if he let this opportunity slip away, he would probably never have another opportunity again.
“There’s no need for me to continue hiding in this shabby room any further.” The Bloodsoaked Queen had already made up her mind. “I admit that you were of assistance to me. The warriors of the gods do not forget those who provided them succor! I can agree to any one request of yours, so long as it isn’t an excessive one. Speak!”
Cloudhawk was instantly stunned. The Bloodsoaked Queen was promising to help him out with a request? What incredible luck! If Cloudhawk so chose, he would consign any person in the outpost to death; who could possibly be a match for this freak in front of him? But of course, Cloudhawk would never waste an opportunity like this on something so pointless.
“I want to leave the wastelands!”
The Bloodsoaked Queen was quite displeased. She had already told him numerous times that this was impossible, and yet the kid continued to persist.
Cloudhawk frowned, a frustrated look on his face. He thought the question over, then came to a decision. “Then I want to learn demonhunter techniques. Can you teach them to me?”
The Bloodsoaked Queen didn’t understand. “Why would you want to learn that?”
“I just do!” Cloudhawk said firmly, “Maybe I can become a demonhunter as well!”
The Queen couldn’t help but let out a laugh. They had spent several days living together, but this was the first time Cloudhawk had witnessed her smiling, and it truly stunned him. It was as though an iceberg that had remained frozen for ten millennia had suddenly thawed and melted, revealing the dazzling, lively, and beautiful soul hidden underneath it. For a moment, he was dazed by it.
“You obstinate, daydreaming fool!” The Queen’s face quickly hardened once more. She said in her customary, cold voice, “I can teach you, yes… but I have to warn you right now that if you don’t have the necessary talent or the blessings of the gods, these techniques will be completely useless to you, even if by some miracle you actually manage to master them.”
Cloudhawk revealed a look of absolute ecstasy. He really hadn’t expected her to agree… but she really had! “I don’t care! I just want the chance to learn it!”
“If you truly are going to be so stubborn as to try and learn demonhunter techniques, then I’ll teach you. However, I’ll only teach you for a day.” The Bloodsoaked Queen put her silver mask back on her face, and her voice became hoarse and grating once more. “Come find me when you are ready.”
After speaking, she departed from the room. Cloudhawk just stood there dumbly, staring as her willowy form departed.