Masked Knight – Chapter 207

Holy Beast, Mythical Beast

 

That day, all around the hunting grounds were guarded by two hundred Imperial Guards. The local Assistant Governor also dispatched five hundred security soldiers to guard the periphery of the hunting grounds.

Nobody was allowed to enter the hunting grounds until the investigation was completed.

That was an order given by Miss Nicole, on behalf of the Duke of the Tulip Family.

Rody did not expect to cover up that incident. To begin with, those nobles who had participated in the hunting activity and escaped would not be able to keep that as a secret. Those people, even in normal days, liked to find trouble and were the best people at spreading such strange news.

Rody even guessed that within a few days, the news would spread to the Imperial Capital and most probably that incident would be published in the newspaper.

The first to get shocked was West Hill city.

Everyone already knew that a strange monster was found in the hunting ground of the Tulip Family, on the outskirt of West Hill. In addition to that, two nobles had lost their lives! After that, the roads leading to the hunting ground were now blocked.

That Imperial Guard officer, Miss Nicole’s lover, that young man named Rody, all at once became famous. It was said that this guy, alone, killed that strange monster.

“I heard that the strange monster could not be killed by hundreds of elite soldiers.”

“I heard that the young man named Rody is extremely powerful…”

“I heard that the guy named Rody is truly handsome…”

“I heard that the guy named Rody is Miss Nicole’s lover.”

“I heard that the young guy named Rody was originally the Captain of the bodyguards of His Excellency the Duke. Later, because of his extraordinary martial skills, he had earned the confidence of Miss Nicole.”

“I heard that in the Imperial Capital, Rody and Miss Nicole secretly rendezvous in the garden every day.”

“I heard that in the Imperial Capital, Rody defeated all the rivals who also pursued Miss Nicole. On one occasion, he even broke the leg of one of his love rivals. ”

As countless rumors began to spread, Rody became the focus of the rumors. Most of the highlights were on the secret between Rody and the eldest daughter of the Tulip Family. That was not surprising because most people loved novelty. A story of love between a hero and a beautiful woman would always be well received.

On the night that Rody’s group returned from the hunting ground back to the city, near an ordinary, shabby and worn out building in the southern suburbs of West Hill…

Two figures wearing black cloaks flashed by on a small lane. Then, like a gust of wind, they floated into the downstairs courtyard of the small building. After that, they went through the doorway and entered…

The night was still and the surrounding was quiet. The two figures slid up a flight of dim stairs as if they were weightless.

The hall on the second floor had a few rotten chairs, placed disorderly. The metal candlesticks, at the side, were covered in stains and rusts; a sign of the age of the place.

There were a few old and deteriorating oil paintings on the wall. The most notable thing was that all of the paintings were full portraits and they were neatly arranged on the wall. The faces of the characters in the portraits had some similarity. It was as if the portraits were a record of the family’s ancestors…

The two figures stood in the middle of the hall, facing the portraits on the wall. They both knelt down on one knee. One of them whispered in a hoarse voice, “Your Excellency, we have come as ordered.”

There were several light sizzling sounds as if an ill-wind was blowing. Suddenly, the candles on the candlesticks on both sides of the hall automatically lit up. The dusty candles flickered and faintly illuminated the dilapidated hall.

There was a very sharp laughter as the face of a middle-aged man in one of the portraits towards the rear of the wall suddenly moved.

Its serious face twisted into an expression that could barely be called a smile.

The portrait then gradually started to protrude. Eventually, a head stretched out of the oil painting.

The person’s brown curly hair loosely dropped down from both sides of the head. The person had a horrible pale face with one red eye and one black eye.

With a sharp laughter, this face revealed a row of white teeth. Looking at them carefully, two of the teeth were long and sharp like a beast’s fangs in the upper row.

First, the head of the portrait stretched out from the oil painting. It was then followed by his neck, shoulders, arm, upper body…

The two guys kneeling on the floor looked downwards. They did not dare to look up until they saw a pair of feet and a pair of shiny boots appeared in front of them. The owner of those boots then slowly asked, “How are things going now?”

Although he tried to lower his voice, his voice still sounded very sharp and ear-piercing.

After saying that, he turned around and wrapped his body with his big black cloak, such that his whole body was concealed by the black cloak and half of his pale face was covered by the high pointed collar of the cloak. The light from the candle dragged his long shadow on the wall…

The two kneeling figures started to tremble. One of them, the one who spoke earlier, with chattering teeth said, “Your Excellency, we were late…”

“Late?” ‘His Excellency’ lifted his cloak and shrieked, “What do you mean late? What happened?”

The two guys on the floor trembled more violently and their teeth chattered loudly. They were almost lying limp on the floor.

That ‘Excellency’ had a gloomy face. He suddenly stretched out his scarlet red tongue and licked his lips before he coldly said, “Speak quickly! Otherwise, I will suck both your blood dry!”

Their two bodies shook violently before they started to speak. Although they still had a trembling voice, they still managed to intermittently but reluctantly relate the whole thing.

“Your, Your Excellency… The two of us, as ordered, went to take back the Holy Beast, but we were too late… One of the Holy Beast had encountered humans. When we arrived, the Holy Beast had already been killed. We… We also do not know what method the humans used to kill the Holy Beast. When we arrived, we only saw its corpse. The Holy Beast seemed to have been brought ashore while alive and then crushed to death.”

“Crushed to death ashore?” ‘His Excellency’ suddenly raised his voice and angrily shouted, “Are you trying to lie to me? How could the Holy Beast leave the water? How could the humans bring it to the shore? Are you trying to deceive me?”

Although they were too afraid to look up at their master, they could clearly see the shadow cast by the candle lights on the wall. The shadow of their master suddenly rose up. His black cloak spread out and his hands seemed to have turned to claws…

“No! Don’t dare!” The kneeling guys quickly replied, “We really did not dare lie to Your Excellency!”

The other one also stammered, “When we arrived, we only saw the corpse of the Holy Beast. We also saw a lot of human soldiers guarding the outside of the hunting ground… Today, people from the Tulip Family had gone into the hunting ground… It is possible that they ended up fighting with the Holy Beast.”

After the two of them finished relating the incident, they sweated profusely. They were almost going to lose their heads. They trembled violently like frightened mice.

They initially thought that they would have to meet their master’s wrath at the next instant. Instead, after waiting for a while, ‘His Excellency’ coldly said, “You two… Didn’t I tell you earlier not to breed the Holy Beast in that lake when the Tulip Family is around? The two of you only went there today, can that be considered as defying my orders?”

Following a sneering laughter, the two men were horrified. One of them quickly and loudly replied, “This… Your Excellency… You also know that, within a few hundred meters of West Hill, there is no place more suitable than that lake for breeding the Holy Beast. Besides that, that place is also the private territory of the Tulip Family. In normal days, nobody would go there. We did not expect today…”

The other one then continued, “In addition, Your Excellency, we had also reported to you before that the lake itself is strange. For some reason, it grew very quickly in that lake. We had only put the Holy Beast in the lake for less than a month, yet it had already grown to a Grade 3 evolution…”

“Wait…” That ‘Excellency’ coldly interrupted them and asked, “What did you say? Grade 3 evolution? It had already reached Grade 3 evolution in just a single month? Is it really so fast!”

“Yes!” The two men responded, simultaneously. “We saw the size of the Holy Beast today. Without a doubt, it had already reached Grade 3 evolution!”

That ‘Excellency’ sighed and his voice sounded gentler, “Well, although we have lost a Holy Beast, we still managed to gain something… I want to personally see that lake. If it is really as magical as you say, I must make good use of it… Mmm. In just one month, it can make a Holy Beast grow into a Grade 3 evolution…” He then changed his tone and coldly asked, “Is there anything else?”

The man kneeling on the left felt relieved when he realized that his master was no longer angry. He then whispered, “There is… Your Excellency, there is one more thing. In the West Hill City, we found that traitor, the Elder put on the wanted list… That woman!”

“What!” His voice became sharp again. “Are you talking about that cross-breed, Nedis? She is in West Hill?”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes!” The kneeling man trembled again when he felt his master’s fury. He stuttered, “I found her by accident today, but I did not dare get too close. However, I am certain that person is Nedis. I would not mistake her scent.”

“Haha, haha!” The ‘Excellency’ laughed loudly. “Looks like coming here was the right choice. We actually managed to find that traitor, Nedis!”

His sharp laughter caused the broken fragments of the surrounding walls to shake and fall and even the flame on the candles to flicker faintly.

“Very good, very good!” The shadow of that ‘Excellency’ gradually approached the two kneeling men. He then gently pressed both their heads, one hand each, and whispered, “No matter what, you caused me to lose a Holy Beast. I have no choice but to punish you, right?”

With a single “Chi” sound, that man pushed his hand into the head of one of the kneeling men. The red blood and white brain matter splashed out. That kneeling man did not even have the chance to cry before he dropped on the floor.

That ‘Excellency’ withdrew his hand and licked it. It looked like he was sampling a delicacy. He squinted and smiled. “Well, there were two of you. Kill one, leave one behind! You… You reported to me the trail of the traitor, I will consider you have earned merit to compensate for your mistake… Go and keep an eye on that woman, but make sure she does not notice you. Understand?”

“I understand!”

That ‘Excellency’ continued to whisper, “Right now, the Church of the Empire is really strict with their checks. Last time, that stupid Simao caused havoc at the Imperial Capital. It did not matter that the idiot had died, but he actually lost our sacred weapon, the Dracula Spear. He would not be able to atone for his sins even if he died ten thousand times! No matter what, you must now be very careful. You are one of the lowest ranked vampires. The scent of your body is very light and is harder for you to be noticed. You must be more careful. Understand?”

“Yes!” The kneeling man nodded again and again.

The master waved his hand and let the guy leave. In the end, he was the only left in the hall.

That ‘Excellency’ then slowly walked to a relief sculpture1 at the corner of the wall. It was the relief sculpture of a classical beauty. The gentle curves of her naked body looked seductive.

The master stretched out his hand to slowly stroke the relief. His hand slid down from her face to her chest.

At that time, the relief actually issued a series of sharp laughter. Soon after, the sculpture actually moved.

The plaster on the surface broke apart layer by layer and a woman appeared from inside!

Strictly speaking, she was also a vampire. Although her naked body was that of a mature and beautiful woman, she had a large black wing on her back like a bat.

That woman had an extremely charming and seductive face, but when she smiled, her mouth exposed two slender fangs.

“Your Excellency Jackal, you are angry again… Is it because of the loss of the Holy Beast or because you obtained information about that woman?” The female vampire voiced out, gently.

Jackal twisted his body a little. He then held the woman in his arms and gently bit her in the neck. He whispered, “Aren’t you afraid I would suck your blood? My dear Ruth, I already said not to mention about that woman in front of me… especially you! I am worried about the Holy Beast… There must be something strange about that lake.”

That female vampire called Ruth smiled gently. She moved away from Jackal’s mouth and whispered, “In fact, you should be happy… That stupid Simao is dead. You are the only remaining Prince of the vampires… Simao went to the South and went through so many hardships to find those Holy Beast, but now, they are all under your control.”

Jackal’s eyes showed a hint of anxiety as he replied, “There is nothing to be happy about that… The matters at the Southern mountain was considered a failure. Although we found a few Holy Beasts, there is nothing left in that valley… That Mystic Dragon had also disappeared…”

Ruth rolled her eyes and smiled, “Who cares, let the Elders worry about that… As for now, do you think that I should find a way to capture Nedis within the next two days? This would really be a meritorious service.”

Jackal shook his head. His pair of claws slowly slipped down from Ruth’s shoulder as he softly said, “As for this matter, there is nothing to worry about. Let’s discuss this in two days’ time… On the other hand, the lake is much more important. Once we understand it, it would possibly be a great help to us in breeding the Holy Beasts. Those old guys are also urging me to go to the Imperial Capital to find a way and retrieve the Dracula’s Spear. That is a real headache… That old Pope is not easy to deal with.”

Ruth’s body twisted as she laughed softly. Jackal’s breathing also immediately became heavier.

As the candlelight swayed, the two shadows on the wall gradually joined together and soon after they frantically got twisted into each other…

Under the dim candle light, dozens of insect-egg-like things were visible on the ceiling above the big hall. They were enveloped in a mass of sticky liquid and swayed when the wind blew…

Meanwhile, at the other mansion of the Duke of the Tulip Family, Nicole tightly nestled into Rody’s arms. Her body trembled slightly from the evening breeze.

Rody sighed. He hugged Nicole tightly and whispered, “Let us go in.”

Nicole nodded her head. She then thought for a moment and suddenly asked, “I understand… Are you going to see Myka?”

Rody was startled. He did not expect Nicole to suddenly ask such a question. In the past few days, Rody had been accompanying Nicole every day, in front of the other nobles. He had no time to see Myka. However, he felt uneasy after encountering that strange incident in that forest that day.

It seems like West Hill is not a peaceful place.

Nicole bit her lips and whispered, “Are you worried about the safety of Myka and the others after what happened today? I guess you are also worried that there may be more than one of that monster and perhaps, there could be more types other than the water monster… Am I right?”

Rody could hear that Nicole’s voice sounded unnatural. However, Rody remained silent and just nodded his head.

Nicole took a deep breath. Suddenly, she used all her energy and tightly hugged Rody. After that, she whispered while still in his arms. “Tomorrow, if you can… bring Myka here… This place is always safer.”

Rody obviously felt Nicole’s body stiffen momentarily when she made that statement. He was touched and could not help but tightly hold Nicole. He then asked, “You… Do you really think so?”

Nicole sighed. She suddenly smiled and said, “Really.”

The two of them then silently embraced each other.

After a moment, Rody slowly whispered, “The monster we encountered today in the hunting ground… It really seems like a Mythical Beast.”

Nicole frowned and asked, “Are you sure?”

Rody sighed and replied, “Gadar said that Mythical Beasts were extinct from the Radiant Continent hundreds of years ago… The fact is, he was wrong… As far as I know, there are still Mythical Beasts on the Radiant Continent. I have even seen a lot of them.”

Nicole seemed to tremble and softly asked, “Where?”

Rody replied in a weird tone. “There were a lot of strange monsters, all kinds of Mythical Beasts in the Death Valley of the mountains in the South, where I entered before!” Rody looked up at the sky, frowned and then said to himself, “Could it be that after I left, somebody entered that valley and brought out the Mythical Beasts?”

Translator’s Notes:

1. It is actually just called a relief. It is a kind of sculpture that is still stuck on a wall. The entire ‘sculpture’ could be sticking out which is high-relief or it could be ‘dug out lines’ in the wall, forming something like a drawing. There is also a counter-relief where the image is modeled in a ‘negative manner’ and the image goes into the surface. Mostly done on engraved gem seals.

 

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