Chapter 562: The Nine O’Clock God of Moonlight (3/3)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The grass plains, nighttime
The caravans hastily made their way back to Norton Kingdom, but something unexpected happened. Around three in the morning, a mercenary ran back to his leader from the road up ahead. He seemed terrified, as if he had just witnessed something inexplicable.
“Leader, there’s a problem up front.”
The mercenary leader, Milo, looked a lot better than before. The symptoms of his poisoning had all but disappeared. He had also regained most of his strength.
Hearing this, Milo’s brows furrowed. He looked around and said in a low voice, “Don’t say it out loud, we don’t want this to get out.”
He feared that this would instigate panic among the merchants.
In a low, hurried tone, the mercenary said, “Leader, there’s something blocking our path in front. It’s wide and invisible, but it seems like a wall. A really big wall.”
Milo widened his eyes. Being more experienced than the ordinary mercenary, he had an idea of what they were up against. “Probably a magical barrier one of those masters had erected. Something big is happening right now.”
Milo felt powerless in the face of all this. In comparison with the masters of the continent, his power was simply inconsequential like a pebble in front of a huge rock. If the rock decided to roll over him, he would simply be ground to dust under it.
Knowing that there was nothing anyone could do about this, he went to the Red Earth Firm’s chief and explained the mercenary’s discovery to him.
The chief was a merchant and an ordinary person who had heard and seen much in his travels as well. When he heard Milo’s account, his face went pale. He was silent for a while, before he finally said, “What do you think we should do, Milo?”
Milo had already figured out what their next step should be. He said, “We are definitely no match for these masters. The only thing we can do now is not get caught in the crossfire. I’ve heard that when two Legendary masters clash against one another, the shockwave they send out can spread across more than ten miles. Anyone caught in that area will be disintegrated in an instant. I think our best option would be to find a low-lying place to hide for now. It would be even better if we could find a cave. We’ll hide inside it and then cover its entrance with a pile of reeds. This way, we’ll have a higher chance of weathering the coming storm.”
The chief did not have anything to add to this. He found Milo’s suggestion reasonable. “Alright then, we’ll do as you say,” he said.
Milo began making arrangements. Before long, the mercenaries scattered out to find suitable hiding spots. The merchants were all anxious about this, but it did not seem like they were in any immediate danger at the moment. Their caravans continued moving forward on their path.
After trudging on for more than 3000 miles, everyone saw the transparent wall that the mercenary had just described. It was soft to the touch. However, the wall hardened as soon as pressure was applied to it. No matter how anyone tried to push against it, the wall did not budge an inch.
Everyone was able to see the other side of the wall, but there was just no way to walk through it. The entire thing was surreal.
There were shouts and cries of terror amid the merchants. However, most of them did not speak a word. Their faces were all pale as they braced themselves for what was about to happen.
Milo remained in the caravans. This at least gave some sense of security to the merchants. The mercenary leader did not appear as uneasy as the rest. He seemed confident in the solution that he had come up with to survive the coming storm. Milo’s presence was the only thing keeping the caravans from descending into total panic.
As everyone waited silently for the mercenaries to return with a report on their surroundings, suddenly, three flashes of green light appeared in the sky.
They hurtled towards the caravans at an unimaginable speed.
At first, the flashes of light streaked past the caravans overhead without any intention of stopping. However, they suddenly turned back and landed before the merchants in the form of three hooded figures.
One of them walked through the crowd towards Milo. The figure observed him from tip to toe and then asked, “You’ve encountered the poisoned Beastmen. You were poisoned, were you not?”
The voice was clear as a bell. It was female.
Milo wanted to ask who they were, but for some reason, when the figure before him posed her question, he could not seem to control his own body. He nodded and said, “Yes, I was poisoned, but then I was cured.”
“I don’t know. There was a sudden beam of moonlight from the sky, and then I just got better,” said Milo.
“Moonlight?” repeated the hooded figure strangely. Suddenly, she stabbed Milo’s arm with a thorn before he even had time to react.
Fresh blood stained the thorn’s tip. The figure gave it a lick and then went silent. Ten minutes later, she said, “I need to borrow something from you.”
“What… what do you want?” Milo felt that something was wrong.
“I’ll need to borrow your lives for a bit. Of course, none of you are in any position to refuse.” The figure waved a hand. All of a sudden, a faint green mist appeared above the caravans in the air.
Without warning, the mist descended on everyone. The merchants began coughing uncontrollably in it. Ten seconds later, the green mist faded. There was now a hint of green on the faces of all 300 people in the caravans.
“You’re now all poisoned. Two hours from now, you’ll lose all reason and meet the same fate as the poisoned Beastmen you’ve encountered before. What you should do now is pray that the same beam of moonlight will appear once more and cleanse you all of the poison in your bodies. What’s done is done. There’s no use getting angry at me. Attacking me will only quicken the spread of the poison in your bodies. Now pray.”
When she was finished, the figure stepped out of the crowd and returned to her companions. The three of them then turned into flashes of green light and zipped back into the sky.
Back on the grass plains, everyone sat on the ground despondently. Their faces were all ashen as they contemplated on their fates. Even Shallie, who always had a smile on her face, was stunned. She sat absently beside her father, unable to comprehend what had just happened to them.
“Father, why did she have to do such a thing? We didn’t even do anything to her,” said the girl to her father, Olan.
Olan chuckled bitterly. He looked at his daughter with a pained expression. He never thought that they would meet their end so soon. He should have never brought her along with him.
“Father, why?” asked Shallie.
Olan shook his head miserably. “Maybe it’s because… it’s our fate to die here.”
Shallie fell silent. After a while, hope welled up in her. “Father, do you think God will come and save us?”
“God?” Olan was taken aback by her question.
“Yeah, he saved Milo and Eyre before. If he could do it before, he’ll definitely do it again for all of us! Definitely!” Shallie was unwavering in her belief. She waved her arms about excitedly as if trying to keep her spirits up.
Suddenly, she thought of something. Shallie climbed up on a horse’s back and shouted, “Everyone, there’s no need to panic. If God knows what’s happened to us, he’ll definitely come and save all of us. But right now, what we should do is pray to him so that he’ll be aware of our plight!”
Hearing this, the caravans began to show some signs of life.
In times of hopelessness such as this, any shred of hope, no matter how faint it might seem, was worth holding on to.
However, someone asked Shallie, “But we don’t even know the name of this god. How do we even know who to pray?”
“He’s definitely the God of Light.”
“You can’t say for sure. The God of Light has never performed a miracle outside the walls of a church. Also, the power we saw before didn’t look like his divine power of light.”
Shallie did not expect such a contradiction to be pointed out. However, she managed to think up a response. “His power resembles moonlight, and the miracle we witnessed took place at nine last night. So maybe we should call him the Nine O’clock God of Moonlight?”
Everyone was speechless at this.
But Shallie did not care. She knelt on her wagon and began praying. “Oh benevolent and merciful Nine O’clock God of Moonlight, you are the light that drives out the darkness from this world. Here I pray that you may guide us through these troubling times. Before you I kneel, a humble servant promising to spread your deeds far and wide, and offer you my entire being.”
It did not matter if her prayers went unanswered, nor did she care if she was doing it right. Shallie simply knelt there, praying for salvation again and again.
At first, she was the only one praying. Soon enough, some of the people followed her, including the mercenary leader Milo. He hesitated at first, then knelt on the ground and began praying in a low voice.
He did not copy Shallie’s prayer word for word. He simply prayed inwardly, Lord, you’ve saved me before. I hereby swear that for as long as I live, I’ll not be swayed by temptations of the darkness in my path and remain an honorable Warrior. Now, I’ve once again fallen into the same pit. If you still think I’m worthy of being saved, I beseech you, help me out one more time.
The mercenary Eyre was even more straightforward. He prostrated himself on the ground, crying, “Lord, save me!”
Gradually, the people in the caravans began kneeling and praying.
All their prayers were born out of a sincere desire to be saved from their current predicament.
Behind a clump of grass, the three High Elves, Katyusha, the fallen angel, and Stormlord Parmese quietly observed what was going on in the caravans, somewhat troubled by this.
Katyusha whispered, “What’s this about the Nine O’clock God of Moonlight? He can’t really be a god, can he?”
The fallen angel whispered weakly, “Pointy-ears, this better not be a part of some elaborate scheme. If there’s a god involved in this, you three will also be in trouble!”
No matter how strong a Legendary master was, they were nothing more than ants before a god. Normally, gods rarely interfered with the affairs of Legendary masters due to how much power they needed to spend to descend to the mortal plane. However, they had been known to make exceptions, especially when any one of their chosen disciples were harassed by an outside party.
There was another word for this. It was called suicide.
For instance, the God of Light was widely acknowledged to be a kind deity. However, he had meted out divine punishment twice in recorded history. Each time, at least one master was on the receiving end of the God of Light’s divine stick. Of course, what these masters did was unforgivable. In their folly, they had attacked a holy city and paid the consequences for their actions.
There were two types of divine punishment, and they both needed some sort of medium.
If there was an altar, a god would simply need to appear on it. If there was none, said god would infuse his divine power into one of his disciples. In that moment, he or she would be in possession of unimaginable power so that they could carry out their god’s will.
The possibility that one of the God of Light’s favored disciples was in the midst of the praying merchants troubled the High Elves and the others. The girl who had first started praying seemed like a potential candidate.
Under normal circumstances, Legendary masters and gods were bound by an unspoken rule to mind their own businesses.
Ariel was beginning to grow suspicious. All the hints she had gathered pointed to a Legendary master who might have been responsible for curing the poisoned humans back then, but there was no evidence suggesting the involvement of a god.
She had also felt Legendary power that was extremely pure and concentrated. It was beyond the limits of a typical Legendary master.
A chill ran down her spine at the thought of this.
As they watched on from their hiding spot, unsure of what to do next, Link and Avatar had reached the caravans.
Seeing the fervently praying merchants, Avatar asked curiously, “What are they doing? And who’s the God of Moonlight?”
Link did not know whether to laugh or cry as he saw what was going on. He explained, “I secretly saved two poisoned mercenaries back then. They must have mistaken what I did for a miracle.”
“Well then, can you sense where they are now?” Avatar decided not to pay any heed to the praying merchants and mercenaries. With Link’s help, he was now at full strength. Right now, he was raringly waiting to exact his revenge on the High Elves.
Link nodded. “I can feel them.”
“Where?” Avatar was now gripping his obsidian sword.
“Wait, I need to set up a magic seal to protect these people first.”
“We may reveal our location to them,” said Avatar. They were vastly outnumbered, and giving themselves away would mean losing the element of surprise.
Link nodded. “I know, but they’re still my people. I can’t leave them unprotected.”
Avatar decided not to say anything else. He remembered the tragic scene he had seen in Mara City. He understood what Link was trying to do.
At first, I thought he was like all the other Magicians, conniving and obsessed only with his ambitions. I never knew he would be just like me. Avatar seemed to finally understand Link as a person.