Butterfly Leaving Its Cocoon
Marolyt descended from the skies ever so gently. Though his entrance was elegant and graceful, the old man's expression didn't have a hint of noble dignity.
"Ah, old man! You came at just the right time!"
Leguna had his fair share of complaints of Marolyt, but, had it not been for the latter's timely arrival, Annelotte would've been in real danger. Leguna was also impressed by his might. He had thought the old ruffian a high-order warrior at most, but, given what he had just seen, he knew his strength was far beyond his imagination.
Annelotte's vision gradually returned. She knew things were bad the moment she was blinded. She had even mentally prepared for death. But she wasn't harmed in the slightest even after her vision recovered. The girl looked around curiously.
While Marolyt's perverted gaze made her furrow her brow, she didn't bother with him; she just took up position somewhere behind him. Balor was half kneeling, his hand clutching his chest; he had been harmed when Marolyt's sword struck the ground. Thanks to the old man's protection, however, Annelotte wasn't harmed by the shockwave in the slightest. She didn't feel it the slightest bit.
Balor was shocked. His carefully planned ambush should've been flawless. Even if he couldn't defeat Leguna, Kurdak, and Annelotte together by himself, the archers he'd stationed around the mining pit were more than capable of finishing them. Unfortunately, he had not predicted Marolyt's appearance.
"Kid, leave the rest to me. You should leave," said Marolyt to Leguna after being pushed to his wit's end by Annelotte's cold glare.
He completely disregarded Balor and his subordinates.
"I owe you one," said Leguna sparingly.
Kurdak hauled Ferd's corpse while the young pair carried Vera. They had wanted to ask Daver to come along, but they realized he had already vanished. It seemed he had escaped shortly after Farsi's death. Leguna stared at Balor for a moment. He wanted to say something, but, thinking of what he had done just a few moments ago, he left quietly.
The archers at the pit's edge didn't make a move. They were elites trained and picked by Balor himself. Without his direct word, they wouldn't act recklessly. Given that Balor didn't stop the group from leaving, they didn't do anything either.
After making sure everyone had left, Balor finally recovered. He rubbed the blood off the corner of his mouth and saluted.
"Dare I ask whether you're Mister Marolyt, Chino's Galestorm Swordsaint?"
Marolyt glared at him coldly, smiling.
"Not bad. S'right, I'm Marolyt."
"I've long heard your reputation. This one is curious. Why did you ruin my plan? I have done nothing to offend you, Sir."
Balor wore a rather dark expression.
He had recognized Marolyt with a single glance. He knew how terrifying the Galestorm Swordsaint, who had taken Chino by storm, was. He didn't dare utter a word when Marolyt asked his targets to leave. The way Marolyt treated Leguna implied the swordsaint had quite a good relationship with him. If that really was the case, how could he compete with Leguna? Would an expert swordsaint protect his junior like this?
Marolyt shook his head.
"You have not indeed. A fellow like you can't offend me, you don't have the ability."
A vein on Balor's forehead popped. His plan had just been ruined, yet the crazy old man was insulting him. Anybody would get pissed.
"Then why?" asked he, suppressing his rage.
"'Cause I felt like it. That girlie was really beautiful, it would be a waste if you ruined her. I just wanted to save her."
Under the sunlight, the sword in his hands' blade glowed with a blue hue.
"Just because of that?" exclaimed Balor with grit teeth.
"Yep! Kid, if you've collected enough information, you should understand my temperament pretty well. Don't go around nagging me. You're making me rather impatient already," Marolyt said as a vicious glint flashed in his eyes, "This will be your punishment!"
Balor's vision blurred all of a sudden. Marolyt's body seemed to have moved, but he couldn't be sure. He could feel his heaven-shaking sword intent. It terrified him. If he were its target, he probably couldn't have mustered the courage to resist. A second later, the sword intent vanished as if it had never been there. Marolyt also looked as lazy as before.
Balor still dazed, the archers around the pit collapsed. They all had one wound: a thin red mark between their brows. If their corpses were inspected, they would find their brains reduced to a gooey mess. Marolyt's impetus entered the skull and putrefied the brain inside.
Balor was bathed in cold sweat; it oozed out of every pore on his skin. Even though he had interacted with Wayerliss for quite a while, he'd never seen his teacher fight. That was why he didn't have a concrete grasp of the saint realm's true extent. Now, however, now he finally understood what a 'saint' really was.
What a powerful person! What a sharp sword!
Balor didn't think a person could actually reach such heights.
Was that heaven-sundering sword intent radiated by him? Is a mortal really capable of such a feat? Is this the might of the saint realm?
The loss of his loyal subordinates didn't affect him in the slightest. Instead, he was filled with a craving for power, one so strong he'd never experienced it before. It was almost enough to drive him crazy! Balor licked his lips with excitement.
Power, power... How wonderful would it be if I could gain such power! I have to defeat Leguna no matter what and become teacher's true successor!
Marolyt didn't care about the kid's thoughts. He glanced at him for a moment before he vanished with the breeze.
Meanwhile, at Moonshadow's branch in Starfall...
Wayerliss's office door was kicked open roughly. Fortunately, it was made out of mithril. Otherwise, it would've been completely destroyed. The door could've even flown straight into Wayerliss's face. Wayerliss instantly vanished from his chair. The next moment, Marolyt's longsword was impaled on the spot. Had he not moved, it would've pierced through his heart.
"Hey, old friend, did you lose your mind again?" Wayerliss asked as he pulled Marolyt's longsword out of the chair and handed it to him, "Azureflash would be saddened if you use it like this."
"I am its master. I'm the one who knows best how it feels," said Marolyt coldly.
Azureflash glowed faintly in his hand as if it agreed.
"You've gone too far this time, Wayerliss. Annelotte almost died in that brat's hands," Marolyt said as he glared.
"I don't care what kind of successor you want, I will not see Annelotte involved in this any longer. If this happens again, I will kill the brat."
"Hey, relax, old friend. I've already given her Frozentear. Annie will be fine," consoled Wayerliss.
"Frozentear ain't omnipotent!" Marolyt said with a raised voice, "If that brat gets up close, he can attack Annie ten times in a second! Against how many fatal strikes can Frozentear defend?!"
"So? What do you want me to do?"
"Have Annie leave the young brat immediately and warn the older one to never even harm a hair on her head! Otherwise, I'll hunt him down even if it's the last thing I do!"
Wayerliss sighed. "Old friend, do you think Annie will listen? Even if she does, do you think she will be happy?"
Marolyt couldn't muster a word in response.
"Annie is no longer a child. She's grown up and has her own thoughts. You're still planning everything out for her? Maybe what you're doing will allow her to spend the rest of her life in peace. But let me ask you, if there was someone controlling every aspect of your life from behind the curtains and deciding your fate, would you be happy?"
"Did you know I was the one who saw Annie grow up? In the last 15 years, I've never seen this child smile even once. Her face is not unlike the blizzards that seem like they'd last for millennia. But she's changed these last two years. At the very least, she expresses her joy and frustration now. Leguna has given her something really precious, something you're trying to take away. I can promise you, my friend," Wayerliss emphasized as his eyes followed Marolyt's, "She will not want anyone to interfere, even if they be her father."
An unmistakable savagery flared in Marolyt's eyes. All the muscles in Wayerliss's body tensed. He knew Marolyt was going attack with Azureflash any moment. Nothing happened, though. Marolyt just glared at him angrily for a few moments before his gaze gradually calmed. He sighed exasperatedly.
"Is this why they say 'a daughter's like a butterfly. They're bound to leave their cocoon one day'?"
"Hey, that's my line. She's never been by your side," Wayerliss said as he relaxed and took a bottle of wine out of his desk's drawer, "Alright, let the young make their own decisions. Old guys like us only have to observe from the sidelines. Come, I've let this wine age for three years. I'll let you off the hook."
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