Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
Naturally, Joshua was not interested in what the priestess wanted to do.
With a flick of his fingers, a jet air stream knocked the woman unconscious, the brute strength churning her brain and leaving her with a deep concussion.
“Black, watch over this one. If she makes any false move, incinerate her with dragon breath,” said the warrior, before changing his order after some thought. “No, wait. I have some questions If she attempts suicide, knock her out again.”
“Yes, Master!” The black dragon girl had quickly replied before she really understood her instructions. Staring at the fainted Gold-tier priestess’s half-skull face, her own was soon filled with curiosity.
“So am I supposed to burn her or knock her out?”
“Both would work, just act accordingly,” the warrior answered crisply as he walked towards the mountainside.
When he came across a large mound of snow that juts out, he deliberately gave it another look. The mound then started to shudder, the snow above sent flying.
“Seeing as you did not cause any trouble, I’ll spare you this time.” Joshua nodded slightly. “Hurry home.”
The behemoth within the mound felt relieved. With a rumbling sound, the iron-plated mountain dragon that had left an entire Cult team helpless quickly dug a hole into the earth and hurriedly escape into the ground below.
Arriving where Ivan was buried within the avalanche, the warrior pointed out with a finger, melting a huge hole into the hoard of snow with formless heat flow and revealing the young hunter who was hiding within a stone crevice more than ten meters below. Raising his hand again, the warrior pulled up the youth with boundless lifeforce, and placed him on the snow.
Ivan was still unconscious. He did not take the brunt of the avalanche’s impact since he hid within the stony crevice, but the tremendous concussion and shockwaves were enough to knock out and heavily injure a Steel-tier mage. Right now, his organs had varying levels of damageit would probably fester into internal injury if he did not get treated in time.
Still, Joshua was here, and he would never let any accident befall his own student. He activated the lifeforce in the Azurite and lightly adjusting it to the threshold that Ivan could withstand its energies.
Soon, the energy streamed into the youth’s body.
In just three seconds, Ivan’s injury was mostly healed, stopping short of a full recovery only because he lacked a powerful physicality like Joshua’s. Indeed, hurrying the treatment would cause harm instead.
“Three more underneath the mountain,” Joshua mumbled as he looked to the other side of the summit. In the blink of an eye, he arrived where they were as if by teleporting, before applying the same healing on the trio. After that, he carried them back to the mountainside and placed them beside where Ivan was.
Only now did Joshua started pondering why the cultists would come to the Icy Plains of the Extreme North.
“Although there weren’t many patrol groups guarding the perimeter, it’s impossible for them to escape detection and arrive here”
Touching his chin, Joshua swept his gaze across the snowy land. Underneath the thick ice, more than a dozen cultists were struck senseless. Even if quite a few were slowly coming to, most were slowly dying due to the extreme cold. Joshua, however, did not intend to helphe simply waited for them to climb out.
While Silver-tier warriors could not hold against calamities, their resistance was definitely much better than that of ordinary individuals. In not more than ten minutes, five cultists who possessed stronger composition awoke under the sleet, and quickly dug and crawled out towards the surface.
But what welcomed their return was an irresistible horror.
Joshua did not waste too much strength, but was quickly able to learn how the cultists had entered the Icy Plains as the abominations fell to their knees in fear, crying and screaming for mercy.
They had disguised themselves as traders, and using a merchant ship to traverse the Magel’s Unfrozen River, then managed to bypass the Northern patrols’ perimeter. Then, slipping through the Dark Forest on the outskirts of Moldavia, they arrived at the Icy Plains. They had intended to excavate the entombed bottom layer of the dragon lair where toxic plague gases might exist. The gas is also related to their next mission, but only the Gold-tier priestess was privy to the specific details of that task.
Nonetheless, although Joshua did not ask much about other issues, the cultists kept vying to the first one to spill their own secrets. They explained things with such detail and passion that Joshua almost thought he was a high-ranked priest of theirs.
The cult members, of course, had learned of Joshua’s terror and power; they were outstanding cultists who slipped into Moldavia after all. Only those who had seen the man himself would know that rumors never compared to the real truth. None would be so foolish as to lie in the face of this being that triggered every alarm in their souls.
Since they were being so tactful, Joshua did not prepare to kill them at once. With a light spring from his finger, he shot out streaks of air current and knocked them out. He intends to hand them over to the Church, allowing Artanis and the others to interrogate them.
Through his observation, Joshua could also ascertain that these men were not carrying the plague’s virus. They appeared to be middle-ranked cultists and were starkly different from the others that had self-destructed last time around. Questioning them would definitely be more fruitful.
Carrying the prisoners as well as the four-men party, Joshua returned to the black dragon girl beneath the foot of the mountain. The priestess had regained consciousness when she arrived; she sat, a look of abject failure on her face. The soulfire on the skull part of her face was so weak it was almost dying outthe backlash from her concussion appeared to be very serious.
Either way, she did not appear to have any intention to resist, and never thought of running even if it was just Black beside her. Her lips twitched when Joshua came over slowly as if mumbling, but there was ultimately no sound.
“Why are you here in the North?” Joshua asked curtly without any courtesy as he placed the prisoners and students over the icy ground. “Is it for the prehistoric ruins that were recently discovered?”
“ Yes, my liege.” She replied with pure deference and great care after a brief pause since she feared that her behavior had enraged Joshua. “Our fellowship had already confirmed some time ago that there was a prehistoric ruin in Moldavia’s Dark Forest. With the High Priest’s prophecy and records from the prehistoric scripture, the higher-ups believed that there was something we need from within But for reasons unknown, the news was leaked and many adventurers came to obstruct us, which was why we intended to”
Then, she smiled bitterly in a self-mocking manner. “Brandon Kaos and Vale Dani Scarlet are both Gold high-tieror even Gold-pinnacle combatants. Still, the Moldova they watch over is just slightly inferior to yours, which was why the High Priest decided to come himself to inspect the ruins as soon as possible.”
“As for us, we’re here to ensure that the High Priest could move freely. That’s we’re here to find some toxic gas and try to raise a ruckus in Moldavia”
Joshua’s brow shot up at that. Sharing a look with the clueless black dragon girl once, he said, “So your cabal were the ones who find the ruins in Moldavia, huh. With your raising a ruckus amongst the adventurers, no wonder Brandon and the others could not sit still every daythey can’t even take care of their daughters.”
The priestess did not say a thing, but drops of cold sweat started to appear on her head.
Be it demon worshipers or the cult, certain binding methods tend to be applied on their members to ensure that their own secrets would not be revealed. Whether it was blood oath or spirit lock, it was fine if it were the average confidential information the cultists fell over themselves to spill for Joshua.
There would not be any reprisals for those cases, but for the priestess who had just revealed some vital knowledge, she would definitely be punished. From her expression, she appeared to have been constricted by spirit lockshe should be dealt a spirit blow now.
Still, Joshua simply waited it out until she breathed in relief again.
“Who is that High Priest? What is his depth?” He asked dispassionately. “Since your cult is confident you could disregard Brandon and Vela Dani’s hindrance with his arrival and explore the ruins anyway, he must be quite strong, isn’t he?”
“Of course, he’s very powerful.” The soulfire in the priestess’s eye sockets flashed upon hearing the warrior’s words, but she somehow calmed. Her tone then turned unusual when she spoke again.
“Rumors had it that the head of the Radcliffe family is a berserker who craves nothing but combat, fearless even when he’s up against a Legendary warrior like the Emperor I’ve thought that it was impossible for the liege of a territory to have such a personality, it never crossed my mind that it was true.”
“I also don’t think that being a liege suits me.” Joshua shrugged, staring at the priestess who, all of a sudden, became dauntless and could speak calmly.
“It seems like he is formidable indeed,” he said thoughtfully. “Just thinking about his existence returned your bravery and allowed you to speak with me on equal terms.”
“That’s for sure Joshua van Radcliffe, I admit that your capability is above my imagination and a notch above the hearsay. Just one look and I could tell that I couldn’t escape whatever tricks I employ or however lucky I am. That’s why I won’t fight back.”
Sitting down, the ashen-faced priestess closed her eyes and laughed coldly. “You are so incredible that illusions are appearing in my psyche, my soul was pressed back within my own body through instinctive fear, so much so that I can’t even energize my mana The only thing you lack is a breakthrough point to become Legendary, although you would definitely rank in the top ten of Supreme individuals.”
“But there’s still a gap between you and the High Priest.”
“Oh?” Joshua expression shifted at those words, but he merely touched his chin without a hint of anger.
Meanwhile, the priestess was still mumbling. “In the end, you still could not break through the seal over that tier. As such, however fast your progress, you would never reach Legendary but the High Priest is different. He has reached the last fetters, and will be Legendary with a little push.”
Opening her eyes again, the woman in black spoke coldly, “Neither you nor Nostradamus would stop the High Priest’s advance. Utter failure awaits your challenge.”
The priestess had mustered her last ounce of boldness in order to tell the warrior that much. She thought that he would kill her in rage and bluntly made an expression as if ready to die.
Therefore, it surprised her that Joshua did not do a thingthe warrior seemed to be remembering something instead.
“Starfall year 833, cult leader, about to reach Legendary”
Joshua did not even so much as looked at the priestess, and was absorbed entirely on remembering some information he acquired in the past. “Seems like someone familiar.”
“Indeed, he is a powerful person.”
A pure smile appeared on the warrior’s face at the thought. Joshua then looked downwards at the priestess and said placidly, “Thanks. You have given me the best news in the last few months.”
At those words, he knocked the Gold-tier priestess out with another flick of his fingers, and walked towards the four-person party. Black, who was following him tightly, asked with interest, “Master, Master, is the one she mentioned that powerful?”
“Perhaps.” Joshua nodded as he searched his memories once more. “He seemed to be an innately gifted prodigy. If not for his initiation into the cult decades ago he would have been a famous strongman at present, and might have even reached legendary. Still, he’s fast approaching the tier even now.”
“I never thought that taking you out for a stroll would bear me such fruits.”
Joshua and Black had indeed been scampering around the Icy Plains while checking if the daemons were migrating.
In the middle of their trek, however, they noticed at there were Gold-tier magic ripples at the dragon lair in the distance.
The warrior had thought that it was a territorial struggle between two Gold-tier daemons, and never expected it to be a skirmish between an iron-plated mountain dragon and cultists. He even discovered the presence of students in his own academy on the mountainside as well as the bottom of the mountain, although Amelia and the rest had triggered the avalanche when he intended to mount a rescue.
As he finished recalling the memories and welled with emotion over the learner’s big heart, Joshua smiled. Then, he leaned down and gave each of them a light slap on the face as they stirred.
Soon, they woke, but let out a yelp the moment they opened their eyes, taking a few steps backward.
The smile on the warrior’s face vanished.
Ivan quickly calmed after he came to, first sensing the prickling sensation in his body brought on by internal injuries that were not fully healed. Still, it was far lighter than he imaginedthe young hunter had thought that he would die from his wounds even if he did not get murdered by the cultists.
Raising his gaze to the liege and the cultists were lying around prone, Ivan quickly understood how his party had survived. He quickly stood up and thanked Joshua gingerly, while the othersAmelia, Karin, and Nick, followed his example as they came to after he did.
“There’s nothing to be thankful here, I just passed by coincidentally.” Joshua sighed, shaking his head at the quartet who stuttered out of nervousness. “It’s mostly thanks to yourselves that you were saved. All of you are so young, and yet you possessed the bravery to set off an avalanche and take the cultists along with you. If this courage could be maintained, it would definitely bear fruit in the future.”
Of course, it was also even more likely to die early.
Then, the warrior deliberately looked toward Ivan.
He’s seen this young man often. Ivan Makarov, generally acknowledged as the most hardworking student in the entire Winter Fort Academy. Beyond a few others he did not really agree with, most of his classmates and professors had a good impression of him.
Not only was he gifted in spellcasting theories, his live combat prowess was not badan excellent talent in a nutshell, to some extent a genius. Clashing against the cult this time, he even let Joshua witnessed his boldness and resolve.
After mulling for a little, the warrior spoke.
“This time, you’ve made half the contribution in taking out the cultists. But why are you here? This isn’t the place students of your level should come.”
The team did not dare to lie to Joshua, and admitted everything at once.
“Gold?” Joshua expression became weird after he finished hearing their story. “That’s true, I didn’t dig into the white dragon’s stores, only taking their corpses and eggs But for all of you to come on a venture into the Icy Plains just because of the mere words of a daemon? That’s too reckless.”
In a corner, Black threw a baffled gaze at Joshua.
“Eh? This counts as being reckless?” she mumbled doubtfully.
In the distant horizon of the Icy Plains, four weak flashes of light appeared.
“Not bad,” Joshua said with a praiseful tone as he looked up in that direction. “The rescue is quite on time, looks like you won’t have been in mortal danger even without me here.”
While the quartet may be Steel-tier mages, they still felt that great mana force. Several Gold-tier mages were hurriedly flying towards their direction, but slowed when they noticed Joshua’s presence.
In the meantime, Ivan saw the count conjure a pen and paper out of nowhere before scribbling and signing it.
“Here’s my proof of permission,” Joshua said as he handed the goatskin paper to the youth. “You four can freely enter my study in Winter Fort Academy, as well as borrow any books you need from the library.
The warrior pocketed the pen, and could not help smiling at the youths’ delighted expressions. “This is a reward for your bravery Now, the four of you are hereby prohibited from leaving Winter Fort Academy until next summer. The furthest you can go is around Mount Nissiathat’s punishment for your recklessness.”
Ivan, Nick, Karin, and Amelia did not raise a word in protest, not even in their hearts. They were fully aware that they had absolutely no need for missions after acquiring the advanced study materials.
It did not even matter if their aggregate scores were surpassedthey did not join the academy to get first place from the start. Furthermore, they could use this half-year period to raise their abilities as much as possible, along with enriching their own knowledge.
Then, the two Gold-tier mages who were leading the rescue team arrived before the others. They landed on the snow and bowed towards Joshua, who nodded slightly and gestured for them to take care of the students.
The warrior then looked east, to where Moldavia was.
“Prehistoric ruins, huh,” he said softly, “So many are interested.”
After a short mutter, he nodded slightly again.