Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Since that abrupt incident more than a month ago, the letters of gratitude from the Scarlet and Kaos families never stopped coming, while Joshua, Brandon, and Vale Dani grew even closer.
After his initial passing of the Dual Blades’ Legacy trial, Brandon attained considerable memories regarding the Glorious Era as well as a portion of Legacy related to the Sage. Amongst them include the secret language to unleash the true names of the Dual Blades of Order which Joshua told him about a few years ago, although there was not much information apart from that—the warrior has ascertained that after several inquiries that the blonde swordsman definitely had not fallen into that vivid illusion as he did, meeting part of the Sage’s soul firsthand.
It must be considered a pity as that meant Joshua had completely lost the possibility of meeting the Sage once more. With the many doubts and issues plaguing the Mycroft continent that awaits solutions, he must study and investigate everything after in the absence of the Sage who was the most direct source of answers. However, that was something good in itself since most issues were almost solved, with the only major issue that awaits being the Abyssal invasion over twenty years later. But if there really was nothing to do in the meantime, Joshua was bored.
It was presently the fifteenth of January, Starfall year 836. Joshua was already missing ‘as per usual’ in the morning, although Ying who was constantly beside him never showed any surprised expression—her own master basically vanished in such fashion every few days that she no longer felt surprised. Furthermore, according to that same candid Master who never hid even the smallest details, the divine armament girl knew quite a lot—including the large-scale joint taskforce he would taking apart alongside other Legendary champions in the Void.
“Master isn’t here.”
In Joshua’s room that was rather empty and lacked decorations, the mild smile over Ying’s face abruptly turned cold and sinister. “It’s time,” she chortled coldly as she placed the tray of hot tea over a closet.
Soon, Black, waking up groggily from her slumber felt that her posture was extremely uncomfortable and so tried to turn, only to discover in sudden shock that someone had chained her to a sitting position!
Quickly opening her eyes, the puzzled Black completely could not get a handle over the situation. Was she not still at the liege’s residence? The Moldavian main city was the safest place there is, right beside her Master! In fact, no one other than Master could tie her up!
As she looked around, she discovered that she was inside a mysterious square room without any doors, with each wall adorned with enigmatic and supremely complicated mithril and purple crystal runes. Each line of runic formation flashed with arcane light arcs, forming part of a multidimensional magic circle, while in the center of the room was a massive runic crystal that glinted in dazzling radiance—precisely where she was chained to. Around her was Ying and Zero-Three, whose expressions were equally cold and staring at her with an unusual gaze, as well as Ling who looked spent.
A soft yet quivering voice rang from Black’s head. Only then did Black noticed that Light had been caught as well and bound with a minuscule energy field between Black’s two horns, causing the luminous orb that had learned a little human language to shudder, afraid to move.
“What’s… going on?” The usually bold Black wanted to scratch her head and act silly as she tried to ascertain why she was suddenly captured, only to notice halfway that the chains and sealing spell used on her was astonishingly sturdy. The mithril chains notwithstanding, the binding spell had to be cast in the very least by a Gold mage.
“Eh? Ling, why would you tie me up—” Black, having finally understood that she had no way from freeing herself panicked, twisting her body and urgently aimed her question at Ling, whom she always got along with. “There must be some misunderstanding!”
I didn’t steal food! Nor skip the training plans Master set in place! I even obediently learned humans’ swimming posture!
Hot tears were welling in Black’s eyes. She truly believed that she had been cute and disciplined, having done nothing that deserved punishment—additionally, even if it was that time she unwittingly reverted to her true form when everyone was prepared to dive into the sea and turned the coastal zone around them into a heated saltwater kettle, Master had only given her knock on her head! Although it was really painful as well.
But Ling merely responded to her question with a sigh—from his appearance that looked as if he was about to ascend into heaven, he had clearly been working overnight to manage a multitude of official documents and administrative duties. Although the liege’s residence was recently prepared to emulate the Eastern Plains and establish a subordinating governing body to manage daily administration and free the liege’s residence itself from the innumerable trivialities, that particular series of handover tasks were the most cumbersome.
Nonetheless, the divine armament youth hesitated a little as he saw that Black was about to cry, only to shake his head. “Black, I’d advise you to be as honest as possible. Master did once say ‘honesty invites leniency, resistance invites severity’ when he interrogated cultists, after all.”
Black was instantly left dumbfounded—when had she became a cohort of cultists? But before she could press on, the frosty Ying folder her hands across her chest beside them. “Alright, no more.” She said impatiently. “Master could return anytime, we must hurry with our interrogation.”
As she spoke, the silver-haired girl briskly took a step ahead and arched her back, reaching out to lift Black’s chain and level her icy gaze at the black dragon girl’s damp eyes. “Speak! Black, how did you get Master to bring you along last time!”
“Not talking?” Sighing, Ying pulled back, shaking her head while seemingly prepared to draw something sinister from her hip. “Looks like we have to do this the hard way–”
“No! I’ll talk!”
Though unsure what Ying was about to bring out, Black’s instincts told her that it was definitely very dangerous! As such, she could only follow her head and divulge everything without hesitation. “But… Sister Ying, you must at least specify which time!”
“You’re actually asking which time!” This time, even Zero-Three’s expression changed despite her silence throughout. Her mana projection kicked up waves of ripples while the purple crystals around them glimmered in fluctuating light. Then, the artificial intelligence (AI) girl clenched one fist and increased the mana output of the seal, before speaking viciously. “Say, how many times you’ve even gone out with Joshua for the last six months?!”
“Just… that one time apart from training–” Still uncertain over why she faced such treatment, Black was truly helpless. She did her best to recall, before speaking slowly. “It’s also more than half a year ago, that time I traveled with Master to the Abyss—but that’s already seven to eight months ago, you guys shouldn’t be asking about that now, right?!”
“Exactly that!” Ying and Zero-Three bellowed at once, while Ying mumbled ‘can I rest now?’ with a grudging expression beside them. Even the luminous orb on top of Black’s head contracted by an entire layer while rolling where it was.
“What Master said? There is revenge even for the grudge of ten centuries!” The silver-haired girl said, after of which she coughed once as if to hide the awkwardness just now, before starting to recite a jumbled mess of Joshua’s proverbs. “I would remember clearly even if it was a thousand years, much less seven to eight months! Alright, Black, tell us how you did it—how you left us behind and went on a trip alone with Master!”
“Speak and we’ll free you,” Zero-Three added beside them. Unlike Ying’s fearsome and imposing demeanor that was remarkably similar to Joshua’s, the AI girl’s appeared more serene and elegant. “And Light,” she added chillingly as if suddenly remembering about the luminous orb, “how did Joshua come across her, and how did he bring her back?”
“I really don’t know about that!” Unable to understand why she was chained up for such matters, Black felt bitter and wronged even if she could not say it. However, under Ying and Zero-Three’s cool pressure, she recounted the events obediently. “I remember I was lingering in a corner of a wall, and Master asked me what I was doing there when he passed by…”
Having heard that, Ying swiftly withdrew her expression that was not at once clear who was imitating who, taking out a notebook from a little waist pocket and began to record everything down. Zero-Three’s eyes too flashed with pale-blue data radiance, seemingly to record both video and audio.
“…Then, I said it was really boring to stroll the icy plains which we visited over umpteenth times, and we should go for a stroll by the Ural Mountains next time. Master thought about it but said not—there are many merchants there and we could easily scare someone.”
Black was having trouble recalling their conversation, just as anyone would for something happening over seven months ago. But she must—one silver and blue silhouette stood before her, striking a pose as if execution awaits the moment she stopped talking, which was why the black dragon girl could only remember what happened rather disjointedly. “…I was rather disappointed on that occasion, which was why Master thought about it and asked if I wanted to become stronger.”
“Become stronger?” Ying stopped taking notes and frowned, muttering quietly. “What does that mean…”
“I said ‘yes’,” Black merely continued guilelessly, “So Master said ‘good’, and then took me along.”
“That simple?!” Zero-Three had an expression of disbelief after the recording was completed—the mana projection shook her head, causing her long blue hair and little wings on her back to shake as well. “Impossible, how could it be… but if it were Joshua…”
Her voice gradually softened, as both Ying and Zero-Three frowned when they thought about Joshua’s usual behavior. The silver-haired girl even chewed the end of her pen as she considered the matter seriously, and mumbled with a stifled voice. “It could really be possible if it were Master…”
Meanwhile, Ling yawned, utterly uncertain why he was summoned. It was pure folly to interrogate a dragon over such complicated matters, and he would rather study from cooking recipes with his time.”
Can I rest now?
“That’s all… Uh, can I go now?”
Black shifted uncomfortably on her chair, feeling vexed for being chained so tightly—especially that severe pressure on her chest. However, both Ying and Zero-Three merely replied with a cold stare and subsequently pondered.Becoming stronger? For that reason alone?
“Master certainly has such a personality…” the divine armament girl said quietly, believing it to be Joshua’s usual thinking. “Black felt bored, Master definitely feel that she did not train enough and so asked if she wanted to become stronger. Then, it was expanding her training regime and taking her out for live combat… everything fits!”
Both live combat experience in the Abyss and the exponentially raised training regime after they returned pointed to the indisputable truth! Zero-Three nodded in agreement with Ying’s hypothesis as well, and the pair abruptly left Black behind amidst her shouts of ‘Eh? Hurry and help me unbind these chains’, moving to a corner of the room to analyze their findings.
After a calm and meticulous examination, both Zero-Three and Ying’s expressions paled as they realized the problem. Hell, aren’t we completely screwed?
They were one divine armament girl and one AI—for them, becoming stronger has nothing to do with combat and training!
“Damn… Damn it!”
Taking a deep breath, Ying stamped her feet, her face white with anger. “I won’t yield!” She seethed. “We’ll know only after we tried!”
Zero-Three’s reaction was not that exaggerated, however. “Looks like the research process must be stepped out,” she muttered to herself quietly.
Meanwhile, Black asked tentatively, “Can I be freed now? It’s really tight!”
There was still no response.
Soon, Joshua returned to the liege’s residence from the Void Star-Observatory. When he calmly stepped out of the portal to find the divine armament siblings, black dragon, luminous orb and Zero-Three waiting on the top level for him, he could not help feeling rather surprised. Moreover, Zero-Three and Light had a curious expression, while Ling looked entirely exhausted.
“Why are all of you here?”
In truth, Joshua’s heart was a little touched. Without a word, he moved up and patted the silver-haired girl’s shoulder as she approached—having the whole family waiting for himself when he returned was a feeling he had not experienced in a long time.
At the same time, Ying’s hesitated for a moment before throwing those frivolous stuff away from her mind.
“Master!” She declared sonorously. “I want to become stronger!”
Although Zero-Three said nothing beside them, that gaze of hers was unquestionably saying the same thing.
“Huh? It’s fine that you guys have the heart… but.”
Though he felt that something was out of place, Joshua was still moved by the girls’ desire to improve. “Relax,” he laughed, speaking like a teacher encouraging his students while looking upon the quintet with a pleased gaze. “I’ll be meeting Barbarossa and the others in the Eastern Plains in a few days. He’s the current leader of the Skypiercing White Tower, and with the technological reserves of the Eastern Plains it wouldn’t be a problem for all of you to strengthen fundamentally!”
“Furthermore, Ling, Ying, I am going for a long journey after his month—you two best prepare.”
Having said that, Joshua also poked Black and the luminous orb that were shuddering in a corner. “Light is coming too—it is probably needed for this operation.”
Not minding Ying who was clenching her fist in excitement, or Ling who looked lost, or Zero-Three who looked shocked and betrayed, as well as not actually knowing what he actually did, Joshua’s thoughts returned to the huge news that Nostradamus had just informed him about.
“That bunch from the Earth Temple recently planned to placate me, huh.”
He understood what that meant, and could not help remembering that girl whose betrayal got her killed by his hand in the Bloodmoon Abyss.
Hopefully, they would be sincere enough.