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    Saving A Lord, Planting A Seed

    Yoruen Jinryu
    Yoruen Jinryu

    Lineage : Kirin's Blessing
    Position : None
    Posts : 275
    Guild : Rune Knights
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 25,112

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Yoruen's Wind Blade Style
    Second Skill:
    Third Skill:

    Saving A Lord, Planting A Seed Empty Saving A Lord, Planting A Seed

    Post by Yoruen Jinryu 29th January 2021, 4:04 am

    Tor felt like his insides were being squished and stretched in an endless cycle. His head spun while his mind whirled, his senses thrown into completely disarray as he travelled through the portal. In reality, moving through the portal was no different than walking through an open door, but the distortion in space had also toyed with time, stretching what was nothing more than just a few seconds into an indefinite amount of time. When he finally fell through the portal and landed on his back from Da Meng’s push before he died, Tor’s face was pale. A squelching sound came from his gut and it travelled up his throat extremely quick, forcing the Rune Knight to quickly close his mouth before he would vomit on himself.

    However, that was the least of his worries. He had appeared out of a blinking and shining portal, a spear held in his left hand and a sword in his right. Anyone in their correct state of mind would not hesitate to point their sword at him, nonetheless the nine personal guards of a monarch that was currently trapped in a random two-story house as they hid from an entire enemy squadron. Dropping the weapons in his hands, Tor opened his palms to show that he meant no harm.

    “Alright, everyone calm down. Let’s not be hasty. Everything can be solved through words,” Tor said as his eyes roamed around the space he was in. Nine swords were pointed in his direction, all at his neck. While he waited for someone to respond, he had already noticed that all of them were armored, and their armors shared similar design patterns as the one that the dying general had on him. The ones he could see now were slightly less decorated, but still impressive. Not only that, their weapons were identical as well, straight swords with a chisel tip.

    “Who are you?” a voice spoke up from somewhere out of Tor’s range of vision as the nine armed guards remained stoic in their stance.

    “Am I allowed to get off my back first so that I can see who I’m speaking to?” Tor asked with a small movement of his head. That was a bad choice. Instantly, all nine swords inched closer to him. “Okay, okay! I will stay on the ground!”

    “Let him up,” the voice spoke up again, his instructions being heeded by the nine guards as they withdrew slightly, giving Tor enough room to push himself off the ground and stood up. He had left his weapons on the ground by his feet. There was no doubt at all that should he even try to bent down to pick up his weapon or tried to hold on to them when he attempted to stand back up, all nine swords would have skewered him without even the slightest warning. As he turned around, Tor could see that the entire room was filled with wooden square tables and stools, spaced out evenly on the polished wooden floors. Partitions made out of wooden frames and silk screens were gathered neatly to one side of the room, or more appropriately, a hall. They were currently holed up in a restaurant.

    Tor finally saw the man behind the voice, the one commanding the guards. He was young, at most thirty years of age. Despite that, his youthful façade did nothing to hide the bloodthirsty yet immovable aura about him. He gave off the feeling of a warrior forged through blood and fire, and that of a lord at the same time. Tor appeared slightly uncomfortable in front of the man, surprising himself. He had only felt such suppression when facing mages of higher magical power than himself. In fact, the feeling was very similar.

    Tor ignored the discomfort, suppressing his feelings and put on a poker face and addressed the man in front of him. Unlike the rest of the entourage, he was dressed in a long-sleeved robe of oriental flavor that reached down to his knees. The robe was held tightly in place by a leather belt, which held the originally loose-fitting outfit neat and tight, showing off his broad shoulders. A sword hung by the man’s waist, simple in terms of appearance. Tor had no doubt that this was the monarch that the dying general was talking about.

    “My name is Lord Ouyang Shuo, lord of Xia City,” the man introduced himself. “Please explain yourself. That portal, activated only by special means, was supposed to be used by the general of my personal guards.”

    While his tone was calm, Tor could feel an overbearing force from the man as though the ability to lie had been stripped from him. The Rune Knight’s eyebrows furrowed slightly before easing when he opened his mouth.

    “Your dying general was the one who pushed me through the portal. I found him, dying and surrounded by a group of nine assassins. I saved him from the finishing blow and chased the assassins away, but it was still no use. The general died in the end from severe blood loss,” Tor said indifferently. He pointed to the sword on the ground, “He gave me his sword, saying that he had failed in his task and hoped that I would be able to help his lord break out of his predicament.”

    The moment he finished his sentence, one of the guards bent down to inspect the sword by Tor’s feet. Tor could see the trepidation in the man and the slight tremble of shock when he picked up the sword. The guard had recognized the sword and when he stood up, he took one long look at Tor before moving over to Lord Ouyang. He slightly bowed his head and handed the sword to the lord with two hands, his hands trembling ever so slightly. Lord Ouyang inhaled deeply as he laid one hand on the sheath of the sword, no doubt recognizing the personal sword of his guards general as well, before resolutely gripping the sword and taking it off the guard’s hands.

    Lord Ouyang looked at the sword with a pained expression on his face for an entire minute, no doubt lamenting over the death of a loyal vassal and a good friend. Tor could tell that the bond between the lord, his general and his guards were by no means simple. After having given himself a minute to mourn over the loss of the general, the lord quickly assumed his calm expression and looked in Tor’s direction. He opened his mouth to speak but before he could do so, the door to the room they were in was suddenly knocked open. It was another of the personal guards.

    “Lord! We found Grandmaster Ou and managed to bring him all the way here but when we almost arrived, we were intercepted by enemy general Zhao Zilong! Two guards are clashing with General Zhao outside but they can’t last any longer!” the guard gushed out, having immediately dropped to his knees and cupping his fists in front of the lord. Lord Ouyang helped him up immediately and with a heavy weight in his voice, replied, “Then we fight! We have to rescue Grandmaster Ou and our brothers at all costs!”

    To the nine guards standing behind him, Lord Ouyang pulled out the sword by his waist with his right hand while Da Meng’s sword was still in his left, “Let’s go, brothers! Let not the sacrifice of our general be in vain!”

    To Tor, “I hope we can trust you to fight with us!”

    Tor nodded and when he turned around, one of the guards had already picked up his spear and offered it back to him respectfully. The Rune Knight didn’t know what he had gotten himself in but it wasn’t the time to get more information from Lord Ouyang, so he could only fight their way out with them and hope that they would be able to continue their conversation.

    As they moved out of the room or rather, the hall, Tor eventually realized that they had been cooped up in a brothel, not a restaurant, as the gentle smell of alcohol and perfume wafted by his nose. The hall on the first floor was meant for the VIPs, and the silk screen partitions for their privacy purposes. The door of the hall exited at the top of a flight of stairs, another flight on the opposite with another door leading to another hall, where both stairs descended to the same landing and joining into a wider central stairs that led to the ground floor. Tables and chairs were similarly placed with a stage on the wall to the left side of the stairs.

    Tor followed behind the lord and the guards out, his right hand holding his spear with the tip facing downwards as he walked. At the moment they had crossed the hall, the doors to the building exploded inwards, with two bodies amongst the pieces of broken wood. A few of the ten guards ran forward to carry away their injured brothers, pulling them out of the mess and setting them to one side to check on them while the remaining ones took up a defensive formation around their lord and Tor.

    “Go!” Lord Ouyang called out and the available guards charged out of the building, prepared to engage their enemy and secure a way out for their lord. They had already known who they were going to face the moment they rushed out, and all of them were prepared to fight out of this with their lives if needed. The sound of weapons clashing and men shouting hit back at them sharply within seconds. Tor gave a look at Lord Ouyang and nodded slightly charging out. As he did so, Tor gripped his spear till his knuckles were white.

    When the two guards been thrown into the building, Tor’s first reaction was to prime his lightning magic, but he had been shocked still to find that he could call on to his magic power but it was not reacting to anything he willed like the way he would normally do. The energy just circulated within his body, plainly refusing to do anything. He had then tried to summon his shield and that brought out nothing as well. As a result, Tor had despairingly concluded that the only thing left he had to fight with was his spear. He wasn’t even sure if he could use the spear abilities as he joined the battle in the street. One thing he had observed but swept aside that it was currently daylight as opposed to it being night on his side before he stepped through the portal.

    Six Divine Martial guards were fighting against the enemy general in the streets, constantly moving about in a changing formation. But the moment saw the battle, he knew it was only a moment of time the formation of the six warriors were broken. Formations could turn the tide of a battle if both sides were evenly matched. In the face of pure strength and mastery, only equal strength would be able to bring about any real change to the battle. The enemy general they were facing was the one they had spoke about earlier, General Zhao Zilong. They were completely surrounded on both ends of the street, and Tor could see a stout man standing with the soldiers.

    His face was one of dismay and anger, and his arms was held behind him, allowing Tor to guess his identity. That was probably the Grandmaster Ou the guard had talked about earlier. In the few minutes that he had taken to get a good grip of the situation, the six guards were already faltering, the space between them gradually widening and each of them had already taken on wounds. Seized by the heat of the moment, Tor leapt into battle, entering through the gaps left by the weakening guards.

    “Not while I’m here!” Tor shouted as he lunged forward.

    The blonde mage made his entrance by thrusting forward with his spear, accurately pushing General Zhao’s spear away as it rocketed through the air to puncture the neck of one of the Divine Martial Guards. The guard in question, a man called Lin Yue, who had seen death coming experienced a roller coaster of emotions as he was brought back from the brink of death. Zhao Zilong’s thrust had been lightning fast and all this time, not many had been able to challenge his skill with the spear until today. Initially caught by surprise at the deflection of his attack, after noticing that the new opponent was wielding a spear as well, the fighting spirit in the general roared.

    “You!!” General Zhao could only say as he began his retaliation.

    With a burst of strength, General Zhao tightened his grip around his spear and instead of allowing it to be pushed to the side by Tor’s own, the general dropped the spearhead slightly and swept it back in Tor’s direction while swerving slightly to the side. The quick change of tempo caught Tor off guard this time around as the enemy’s spear slide beneath his own outstretched spear. Not to mention that in terms of defense, Tor was akin to being naked, what with only wearing normal clothes and all. However, adrenaline had always been a good way to clear the head. Tor found his battle instincts extremely enhanced at the moment, his mind clear to consider how to attack and how to counterattack.

    Oh damn! He’s fast!

    Facing the incoming slash, Tor dropped to the ground and rolled in the opposing direction of the slash, narrowly avoiding the spear as it swept above his head. The Rune Knight sprang to his feet and lunged at his opponent. Tor leapt up as he lunged, holding the spear with both hands and then slashing downwards. General Zhao quickly pulled back his spear, similarly holding it with both hands and blocked the downwards attack with the spear held horizontally. He had expected it to be a heavy attack and had widened his legs to fully bear the brunt of the attack.

    The moment his attack was countered, Tor released the spear in his hands and dashed forward in a low position, his upper body leaning forward. The enemy general had overestimated his attack, and the stable stance he had taken to defend slowed him down slightly, giving the Rune Knight his chance to slip into close quarters and smash his right elbow into the general’s face. The sudden change of tempo caught the general off guard and he took the hit squarely, thrown off balance to his right as he tried to balance himself.

    Tor dropped down low again and grabbed for his spear with his left hand. This time, he swung upwards diagonally, wanting to land a hit on the general but the latter was equally formidable. He stepped into the range of the attack and raised up his left forearm to block the spear just below the spearhead, taking advantage of his armor before stepping forward with his right foot to regain his balance and immediately aiming a sweeping kick with his left leg at Tor.

    Tor leapt back, pulling his spear along with him and quickly holding it up horizontally, allowing the kick to land on middle of the spear. The clash of metal against metal rang loudly in Tor’s ears as he pulled back, putting some distance between him and the general. Within seconds, the two of them were charging at each other again. The rest of the enemy soldiers and the guards had already retreated to them give the two of them enough space for their duel. The two of them were equally matched, every thrust and slash blocked by the other. Within ten minutes, the fierce exchange of blows between both of them had exceed thirty.

    Beads of sweat formed on their foreheads, trickling down the side of their faces with the littlest of movement. The exhaustion and stress that Tor faced was much more intense than Zhao Zilong’s due to his lack of armor. Protected only by his clothes, any strike from the enemy general would have been enough to severely injure, forcing him to balance his offense and defense whereas his opponent had the luxury of using his armor to take glancing blows. The two of them stared at each other as they stood still in their battle stance, mutually taking a breather before they continued deciding the victor.

    “You are a respectable opponent indeed. My name is Zhao Zilong, Vanguard General Zhao of Handan City! May I know yours?”

    When he introduced himself, General Zhao had even cupped his hands in front of his chest in formal greeting.

    “The same back to you. I’m Tor, just a random passer-by,” Tor replied casually, oblivious to the weight of formality between the people here. Wherever here was.

    The casual greeting from Tor apparently struck a nerve with General Zhao as the man took it hardly. In his eyes, it was a lack of respect from his opponent. He had shown the appropriate courtesy and respect, so he expected to receive the same but Tor’s flippant greeting had neither. Additionally, while Tor had introduced himself as a random passer-by because that was the absolute truth, Zhao Zilong had thought that Tor was mocking him by not even wanting to report his station, as though he wasn’t fit to know it. In that short moment, Tor had unwittingly caused the enemy general’s mind to whir with plenty of bad thoughts. In the end, to him, Tor was nothing but a young and arrogant prick that held himself highly because of his skills.

    “Preposterous! Prepare to eat my spear!” the angry general roared as he started moving.

    However, before they could even raise their spears to resume the battle, the sound of hooves thundering on the cobblestone road broke their concentration. The enemy soldiers behind General Zhao split apart, letting whoever riding the horse through. Tor cursed under his breath. A huge man, wearing a dark green robe with armor below it, was riding a horse towards them. A huge glaive was held in his right hand as he held onto the reins with his left. Tor could feel the thick killing intent from just the man’s gaze.

    Similarly shocked was Zhao Zilong, whose expression quickly sank when he realized what this meant. General Guan’s arrival meant that he had lost his patience.

    General Guan Yunchang had been appointed as the commanding general for this operation to ambush the enemy lord Lord Ouyang Shuo. General Zhao Zilong was his deputy that would be handling the execution of the plan. The commanding general had taken over the mayor’s office, using it as his command center while General Zhao carried off the plan. When General Guan had received the mission from his lord, he had patted himself on the chest and confidently announced that he would be able to complete the mission by twelve in the noon with the sun at the highest.

    However, it was already two in the afternoon now, a delay of two hours from the original deadline. All the personal guards of the commanding general were silently quaking in their boots as they stood outside the room he was in. His temper was legendary and with his need for ego, it was already a miracle that he could have kept himself from erupting like a volcano during this two hours.

    Like General Zhao, the enemy soldiers that were present could feel their hearts sinking as well. They had failed to carry out their duty.

    “General Guan, wait!” Zilong made an attempt to stop the galloping horse and its rider but his words fell on deaf ears. In the exhilaration of battle, especially upon discovering that his opponent could match him blow for blow, General Zhao had forgotten about the deadline to his commanding general.

    “Useless! Is that the brat you have trouble defeating?!” the man known as General Guan roared, his eyes blazing with anger. Spurring his horse on even faster, Guan Yunchang further solidified his status as a valiant warrior to his own soldiers as he leapt off his steed mid-gallop and raised his huge halberd into the air, aiming for Tor. General Zhao had a mixed expression of disappointment and resentment on his face as he watched the unfolding scene. His admiration and knowledge of General Guan’s skills and strength allowed him to assume that Tor was a dead man walking.

    However, Tor was neither insane nor crippled. Watching the huge warrior with large halberd raised into the air for a heavy downwards slash, why would he even think of defending? Tor leapt to the side without any hesitation after estimating where the strike would land. A huge boom validated his choice perfectly as the halberd struck the ground, the force behind the swing having been powerful enough to bury the blade into the ground, slicing through stone. The Rune Knight took advantage of this small opening, tightening his grip around the spear and swung it in a V-shaped slash, with the point of the V movement targeting the general’s left knee.

    There was no way General Guan would have entered battle without armor and with the prior experience against General Zhao, Tor wanted to use the chance to sweep the man off balance instead of landing a decisive blow that would be basically impossible. But Tor had still underestimated the prowess of the general. General Guan’s movements, while appearing heavy and slow, was actually swift and his reactions quick allowing him to turn on the spot, swinging his huge halberd with one hand to clash against Tor’s slash. He didn’t even have to pull out his halberd from the ground, he just slashed through it from the get-go, as though the stone of the pathway was mud.

    As he had invested too much into his swing, Tor found himself unable to pull out of the strike and could only steel himself to take General Guan’s counterattack head-on. It was a bad decision. The moment they clashed, the shockwave from the collision shook his entire spear and Tor could already feel his arm numbing. Thankfully it was a two-handed grip, or else, he wholeheartedly believed his spear would have been knocked out of his hand. Tor took a few steps back as he swapped hands, shaking off the tingling feeling in his right arm. As he did so, he could see the smugness of the enemy general.

    Tor bristled at the sight and without hesitation, grabbed his spear again to fight but they were disrupted by a loud call. Turning around to the source, he found that Grandmaster Ou had already been rescued by Lord Ouyang in the midst of the chaos of General Guan’s arrival. He had his sword inhis right hand, while the left one still holding onto his dead general’s sword was held in front of Grandmaster Ou to protect him. His Divine Martial Guards had leapt into action at once, instantly moving into a defensive retreat formation with their lord in the center. General Zhao was moving step by step after them, spear raised and ready to strike like a cobra.

    “Tor!” Lord Ouyang called out again. “Retreat!”

    Before the person in question could even reply, the furious General Guan was the first to respond.

    “Dream on!” Guan Yunchang roared as loudly as he could, and without ordering his soldiers, he was the one leaping forward to intercept Lord Ouyang and his personal guards.

    “No, you’re not!” Tor shouted out as he chased after the man, putting himself between the general and the retreating lord. Fending off the strike was equally as bad as receiving it when Tor realized that it was injuring him to cross blades with the man. No wonder his men was so afraid of him. Without magic, Tor realized he had no way of even contending against Guan Yunchang. In terms of combat and raw strength, the latter stood at the peak.

    As though driven crazy by anger, General Guan, whose face was beet red right now, fiercely swung his halberd consecutively. Whoever who thought that every swing was blinded by rage and had no technique to it would be sorely mistaken as Tor found himself teetering between life and death as he tried to avoid every strike. He was unable to even parry one of it, as it would instantly lock him down. When that happened, the only outcome left for him was to be mercilessly chopped down without any resistance.

    Behind him, the lord’s personal guards were protecting the grandmaster while Lord Ouyang was fending off General Zhao. He was extremely frustrated at the current situation as it unfolded. Earlier, he managed to show off his prowess by fighting one against many during the fight against the Divine Martial Guards and could still retain an upperhand. He could even said that he was not even challenged by that. And yet, he had to go through two more rounds against new opponents that could take and trade blows with him. Even more infuriating, one of them was a lord. Where did such a beast come from? To have the time to train his martial skills on top of managing his territory?

    At the same time, Tor was fighting off General Guan’s attacks with difficulty. He would avoid most of the strikes but whenever he was forced to defend, Tor would be broken out of his stance by the overwhelming strength. He felt like a ragdoll, being tossed here and there. However, Tor’s spear wasn’t as lucky. Left with no choice but to defend against a seventh time from General Guan’s berserker attacks, Tor’s already exhausted body could hardly put up a proper defense, allowing the great halberd to strike the middle of the spear at an undesirable angle and splitting the spear in half.

    Tor was rooted to the spot in shock as the spear broke cleanly into two, and staggered backwards once. While he wasn’t particularly attached to the spear, he had tested the durability of the spear multiple times in the most challenging of methods. Smirking at his dumbfounded opponent, General Guan could already see himself chopping down on this young brat before he went over to chop up the young lord of Xia City as well, more than enough merits to make up for breaching the deadline he had promised his lord.

    “I dare you to dodge this!!” he laughed raucously as he swung his halberd in a great horizontal arc, wanting to cleave through the young man in front of him.

    “Tor, catch this!” the voice of Ouyang Shuo woke Tor from his stupor, as a long object flew through the air right into Tor’s grasp. It was the same sword that Lord Ouyang had been gripping in his left hand throughout the whole time, the sword left behind by his most loyal general. With just this single change, the two battles suddenly changed.

    With his left hand now free, Lord Ouyang began to fight back more proactively against General Zhao with two hands on his sword. His moves were more forceful and swifter now, making the latter’s face scrunch up in embarrassment when he realized that the young lord had been holding back against him all this while. On Tor’s side, he unsheathed the sword with a crisp upwards slash, timing the slash to hit the flat side of the halberd instead of the edge and pushing it upwards into the air before retreating with two full hops backwards.

    “Not going down so easily, old man!” Tor cackled as the sudden change in tempo made the general slip off balance. Having been on the receiving end of so many sledgehammer-like attacks, Tor was eager to return the favor. Sword in hand, a weapon that he was far more used to, Tor was relentless as he rained down a flurry of attacks upon Guan Yunchang. The old man as Tor had called him held on to his cumbersome weapon and spun it around to defend against the attacks without much effort. To favor speed, Tor had sacrificed putting too much force into each stroke.

    Tor retreated as he fought, slowly moving nearer and nearer to Ouyang Shuo as the two of them stood abreast as they clashed against their opponents. For the two of them, the shorter range of their swords kept them from colliding with each other, but for the enemy generals, their long weapons forced them to limit their range of motion, subsequently affecting the weight behind each strike. They also had to watch out, not wanting to move into the other’s attacks or hindering the others, putting much more strain upon them.

    Behind Tor and Lord Ouyang, the thundering of numerous horses galloping down the street at full force shook the earth. Tor stole a glance at Lord Ouyang to see if he knew what was happening, since he was having an easier time with his battle anyway and found the man smirking. The reinforcements that were coming for them was the Lord of Xia City’s trump card among his armies, the Guards Legion. The Divine Martial Guards were the elite of the elite, with only 3,000 members and served as Ouyang Shuo’s personal guards while the Guards Legion were the most elite among his legions. Upon receiving news that their lord had been ambushed during his visit to Beiyun City to invite Grandmaster Ou Zhizi to their city, General Huo Guanjun, the general of the Guards Legion had instantly mobilized the Guards Legion 1st Unit, riding at top speed and breaking through defense of the enemy armies that had been stationed around the city gates to keep everyone out.

    Lord Ouyang gave the signal, and the two instantly disengaged from their fight, leaping backwards and then running towards the incoming cavalry. General Guan and Zhao tried to chase but as powerful as they were, no one wanted to be on the receiving end of lance held atop a galloping horse. General Huo and ten more of his soldiers behind him charged right at the two enemy generals forcing them to split and leapt out of the way. They never had any intention of really ramming the lances into the two enemy generals. General Huo Guanjun would never believe that the two top generals of Handan City would be so dumb. The general and his ten soldiers showed off their impressive display of their horsemanship and made a turn as they galloped past, turning around before charging again towards the city gates.

    By then, Tor, Lord Ouyang, his personal guards and Grandmaster Ou had already gotten up on the additional horses brought along by the Guards Unit and sped off out of the city. Once again rushing past the two enemy generals and preventing them from meeting up, General Huo spurred on his horse further, leaving the ten men to hold the rear. As he passed General Guan, General Huo swung his lance at the man as a threat, calling out, “This is a new low even for you, Guan Yunchang.”

    As the commanding general of a sneak attack on Lord Ouyang, Guan Yunchang could only grit his teeth in anger while Zhao Zilong lowered his head slightly in embarrassment. General Huo let out a cold laugh as he saw their reactions. He chased after the retreating Guards Unit until he reached the very front, assuming the lead position again and led the unit back to Xia City.

    It was half a day later when they finally reached Lord Ouyang’s territory, Xia City. Having to debrief his generals and administrial chiefs about the situation, Ouyang Shuo had asked for one of his attendants to bring Tor towards the pavilion behind the lord’s manor to wait first.

    “What a day! And I still don’t know where I am,” Tor said with a sigh as he rested his head on his knuckles, left elbow propped up on the table. He was currently sitting on a round stool at a round marble table, in the middle of a pavilion. And the pavilion was in the middle of a huge garden, complete with a small river where he could see koi fish of various colors swimming lazily and plenty of trees and plants lining the side of the winding path of blue stone that snaked around the entire garden, allowing one to fully enjoy the beauty of it. There were birds as well, although Tor could only hear them and not see them, their chirps putting him at ease.

    The relaxing atmosphere of chirping birds, gentle rustling of leaves in the wind and slow gurgle of the river soothed his frayed nerves. It was a miracle that he had escaped with some light wounds in two consecutive battles against such fierce opponents.

    The sword that he had used earlier was placed on the table beside him, and Tor closed his eyes, slowly dozing off. He felt like he had slept for a few hours when someone made a coughing sound, but in actual it had only been a few minutes. Like a released spring, Tor jolted up from his seat when he saw that Lord Ouyang was standing in front of him with a smile on his face with the cavalry general that had saved them earlier and another man with a neat moustache and beard in formal robes standing behind him. The general was carrying a cloth-wrapped bundle in his hands.

    “Lord Ouyang,” Tor greeted, and tried to imitate their gesture of courtesy with his hands awkwardly.

    Ouyang Shuo laughed softly before speaking, “Save the formalities, brother Tor. After what we have just gone through and what you have done for us, let’s not be so formal. Have a seat.”

    The four men sat down at the same time, and as they sat down, all of their eyes looked at the sword on the table. Despite its old and tattered appearance, all four of them knew the blade to be extremely sharp and carried a killing intent independent of the wielder. It was exactly the same as its original owner, the silent General Da Meng, general of the Divine Martial Guards. Buried in the quiet man was the heart of a tiger, who would bare its fangs every time battle beckoned.

    The whole garden seemed to have sense the melancholy of their lord and suddenly ceased all noise as Lord Ouyang once more mourned for his lost general and best friend.

    “General Da Meng… How was his last moments?” the lord asked.

    “He was relentless. Even when he knew he was outmatched and death was coming, he persevered. At the very end, his eyes still blazed with a fire of unyielding and only thought of accomplishing his mission,” the Rune Knight said in a low voice. The three men in front of him nodded as though it was within their expectations, that they knew what happened was within their understanding of the late general. The silence returned, and after a few moments of enduring it, Tor had no choice but to bring up his questions.

    “I’m sorry to interrupt but can you tell me where this is?”

    “Oh yes. Our country is called Serei,” Ouyang Shuo started introducing with a knowing smile. “Don’t worry, this is still Earthland.”

    “I have never heard of your country. Do you know of Fiore, then?”

    “The continent of Serei is huge, but for reasons unknown, a ring of red mist circles around our oceans, preventing us from having any contact with the outside world. We are technically an entire world trapped within the world. Yes, the land of abundant magic. I believe you are a mage as well?”

    “You know of Fiore? Then you know why I can’t use my magic here?” Tor asked, going straight for his most pressing concern. Without magic, he was nothing more than a normal being, or at least still a pretty good fighter when it comes down to it.

    “I can’t really explain too well, but on Serei, there is a certain restriction in the earth that prevents magic from being used. Instead of being able to harness the magic power in our bodies for magic, our bodies evolved to use the same power, which we call qi, to strengthen ourselves internally. Over time, magic was lost to us, except in a few cases where the laws of Serei does not apply to such special individuals. Powerful generals like General Huo, General Da are all practitioners of qi, their talent with it and the hard work that they put in, heightening them beyond the levels of normal soldiers. The general populace has long forgotten this part of history, and only those with long family lines would have access to this hidden history,” Ouyang Shuo explained. Tor could see him wracking his mind over the difficulty simplifying it for him.

    “I see. But how and why did General Da Meng come over to Fiore?”

    “It was most likely an accident. I mentioned earlier that there are special exceptions capable of using magic in Serei. We call them mages as well. However, the rarity of finding one is like a needle in a haystack, and the populace has long accepted it to be a blessing from the heavens, so no one pursues the study of magic the same way as other countries do. Such mages are capable of creating magical artifacts. Even in the great Xia City, we only have two mages, one of them being an apprentice. With no way to contact the outside world and learn of their magic, the mages in Serei can only work with what they know, handed down from generations past. They are able to imbue magic into objects, giving them abilities that defy logic. General Da Meng was supposed to use such an object a teleportation talisman that opened a portal to bring him back to Xia City and get reinforcements, however as you mentioned, he was ambushed by the assassin group Xiangliu. I can only guess that something malfunctioned and he was brought to Fiore, along with the assassins who then escaped through the original portal that General Da had opened from Serei to Fiore before it closed when you chased them away.”

    Lord Ouyang’s mood turned heavy again when he spoke of General Da while Tor nodded to show his understanding as his mind wandered.

    “How do I return then?” came the most crucial question.

    “While the link to Fiore through Da Meng’s talisman was accidental, we do have something that will lead you back. I believe I should let our Royal Mage speak,” Ouyang Shuo answered with a smile as he gestured towards the man sitting to his left. There was no introduction whatsoever, and the man jumped straight into the point.

    “The teleportation talisman that General Da Meng used malfunctioned, regrettably. It happens, but never with a consequence as heavy as such. However, from the unfortunate experience, we somehow manage to create a prototype that could form a temporary tether from Serei to Fiore and vice versa, allowing you to move back and forth between both places. However, you have to know that the portal is extremely short-lived and you can’t hesitate too much,” the Royal Mage said as he took out a golden amulet from his robe and placed it on the table. At the same time, he took out a short dagger as well from his robe and placed it beside the amulet. The amulet was a golden disc, as thick as a finger while slightly smaller than his palm in width. There were various runic carvings on the sides and faces of the amulet.

    “That’s good enough for me. How do I use it?”

    “Visualize where you want to go and drip a drop of blood on it. A portal will open and you can cross. But the portal only lasts for five seconds, so you really have to be quick.”

    “What happens if I’m halfway through the portal when it closes?”

    “You get sliced up,” the Royal Mage replied without hesitation, causing Tor to involuntarily shiver for a moment.

    “Then I guess, Lord Ouyang, it’s time for me to go,” Tor said as he stood up. “I hope we can meet again someday.”

    “Take this, brother Tor,” Lord Ouyang said as he handed the same cloth bundle that General Huo had carried over earlier. “Your weapon broke during the fight with General Guan and you have helped us immensely this time. This won’t repay the gratitude I owe you, but I hope it will be of use to you. It is one of the best materials that we have in Serei used to forge weapons of great abilities. I hope you will be able to use it to forge something that could replace the broken spear. I hope we meet again someday to repay your great favor.”

    Ouyang Shuo once again clasped his hands in front of him in a majestic manner, quickly followed the general and mage by his side. Tor copied their actions, suddenly thinking about how the enemy General Zhao had fumed about his lack of respect earlier but quickly swept it away. He would have nothing to do with that guy anymore anyway.

    Without an additional word more, Tor used the dagger on the table to gently cut his palm and dripped his blood onto golden disc. Gripping the amulet in his palm, Tor visualized his room in the Rune Knight barracks. Shimmering blue and purple lights exploded into existence before opening into an oval portal. Tor would heed the Royal Mage’s advice, quickly stepping into the portal for fear of being bisected if he tarried.

    The moment he stepped out of the portal, Tor was back in his room in the barracks with the portal immediately sizzling out of existence. Everything that had happened seemed like a dream, but the wrapped bundle he was carrying in his left hand and the amulet in his right hand proved otherwise. Nevertheless, signing it off as a freak accident, Tor began to curiously explore the mysteriously wrapped bundle, not knowing that this wasn’t the end of his ties to the country of Serei.  

    [7067 words]


      Current date/time is 22nd May 2024, 5:20 pm