IRNDGL - Chapter 9: Hunters Never Turn Back
Taking deep breaths, Joseph staggered as he held the wall for support and finally pulled himself together thanks to the chilling wind and rain hitting him.
Pathways in the surrounding areas were already flooded and there was nobody else around. Continuous storm warnings had already resulted in a tenth of Norzin city’s ordinary folks evacuating to safe areas.
23rd Avenue would have probably become an empty street and this was in part due to Secret Rite Tower’s covert operations and direction.
All because these foolish hunters had brought a Magic Ovum Mirror into Norzin City. Now they had an internal conflict, the Magic Ovum Mirror was lost and this made Norzin citizens uneasy.
Perhaps in the near future, an unknown dream beast might burst out from a fracture of the Dream Realm, bringing along blood and fire.
The throbbing pain in Joseph’s head gradually subsided and the whispers in his ears ceased. Joseph stared at his hands and grimaced.
Besides losing his arm and the many internal injuries he suffered, there was a more important reason for Joseph’s retirement from the Radiant Knights.
He had been the wielder of the demon sword, Candela. Due to its first owner’s lunacy and death, this strange ancient sword had a curse to turn people insane. Only a strong, upright knight with perfect spirit and will could master this curse.
In the past, Joseph had been such a powerful knight. But now, riddled with age and a handicap, he had since lost that right.
With the next successor of Candela yet to be found, Joseph could only continue to suffer the backlash of this demon sword.
In the late of night, Joseph would always see huge shadows floating about within the city and hear Candela’s crazed muttering. These visions had intensified recently, leaving Joseph greatly tortured.
Before a towering, abandoned church stood Ji Zhixiu, cane in hand. Her black windbreaker flapped furiously in the wind as she gazed at the rising flames through the church’s round glass windows.
Anguished cries and screams came from within as glass windows were smashed in succession. The aether fluctuated chaotically in this bloody scene.
Shimmering glass shards, mixed with innards and fresh blood were sprayed like vines across the church walls. Corpses were piled up in heaps, rapidly carbonizing and turning to ashes.
Behind Ji Zhixiu were her most loyal subordinates as of now. Kaiyi, Marcus and Ruen.
As the second leader of the hunter group “White Wolf”, Ji Zhixie’s subordinates numbered more than these three originally. However, she had suffered this unpardonable betrayal and other than the three who surrendered, the remaining ones had already become corpses.
In its larval state before developing, the Magic Ovum Mirror possessed the ability to beguile a person, planting heinous thoughts of coveting it.
From the moment the first person with clouded judgment appeared, the situation had become irreversible. Now, Norzin’s rainstop had become the battleground of the hunters.
Kaiyi and Marcus had already been her subordinates, as well as being followers of her father. Their consciousness had already been binded by her family’s white magician’s sigil, thus allowing them to retain their mental clarity against the Magic Ovum Mirror’s erosion.
On the other hand, Ruen had only surrendered recently and allowed himself to be branded with the sigil willingly. In the hunter group “White Wolf”, he had been a subordinate of the first leader, Heris.
His reason for surrender was simple. He had witnessed the ruthless methods, hellbent revenge and the pile of corpses in the wake of Ji Zhixiu’s “Beast Mutation” state.
“Miss, we have already ascertained that the Magic Ovum Mirror is in Heris’ hands. He has already turned into a deranged maniac and carried out a massacre within the hunter group after seizing the mirror,” Kaiyi said softly.
With the nickname “Black Rose”, Kaiyi was a tall, slender lady with beautiful features. Her figure was accentuated in a feminine blouse, tight fitting trousers and high cut boots. Coupled with the row of accessories on her earlobe and thick black lip gloss, she looked like any ordinary fashionable teen.
However, the sawtooth sword in her hand, still glistening with blood begged to differ. She was a hunter that hunted dream beasts and also a cold-blooded killer.
She surveyed the chapel with a worrying gaze. “Heris has joined forces with the third leader Kaji. I fear we lack sufficient strength and this assault might end in failure."
Marcus nodded and chimed in, “Heris is strong. He is the closest to Pandemonium-rank amongst us in White Wolf. Kaji is slightly weaker, but nearly half of the hunters in the organization were trained up by him. Even many people had thoughts of defecting because of Heris’ insanity, there are still many who follow them. Our chances of victory are slight."
Ruen eyed Ji Zhixiu fearfully before flashing a flattering smile. “Although leader… no, Heris’ faction is powerful, our boss isn’t bad either! He’s merely close to Pandemonium-rank but our boss is a genuine one! As long as beast mutation is used, even Heris and Kaji would fall by her blade!”
Even though Ruen didn’t truly know what rank Ji Zhixiu was at, kissing ass was still a must. He didn’t know how a hunter could maintain one’s rationality with such a high level of beast mutation but strength was still strength. He had to admit that he was an opportunist who stood on the side of who was strongest. This was the way of the world.
Of course, it would be even better if he could one day obtain the method of controlling the sordid blood.
Ji Zhixiu flicked her cane, unveiling a sharp blade. “Hunters never turn back. Come, let’s enter. This will be the final battle.”
This abandoned church was built by the Church of Pestilence. The Church of Pestilence had once been the top faith in Azir, but as the Truth Union rose rapidly and usurped its position, many of their chapels became abandoned.
The battle in the church was reaching its conclusion and hunters’ remains were strewn all over. Ji Zhixiu disposed of the last person obstructing her and strode into the main hall.
Beneath the eaves of the chapel, lit by the light shining through the seven colored stained glass was the White Wolf’s third leader, Kaji. He was a tall man, dressed in black clergyman robes and had a long sickle strapped to his back. His head was bent down, as though in prayer.
Rainwater dripped through the long neglected ceiling, covering the floor in puddles.
“Where is Heris?” Marcus asked.
“Gak…” Kaji’s head moved slightly and he produced a sputtering sound.
“Something’s wrong!” Ji Zhixiu’s eyes narrowed as she rushed forward and gave a push to the man’s shoulder.
Kaji’s head tilted back, revealing his pained twisted face and a huge gash on his neck dripping with blood.
Everyone else gasped. That huge sickle wasn’t strapped to his back but had run through his body, nailing him to the floorboards instead.
“Injection! Hurry!” Ji Zhixiu cried out.
“Yes!” Marcus hurriedly handed over an injection of sordid blood. Ji Zhixiu grabbed it, then stabbed it into Kaji’s heart and injected all of it.
The large quantity of sordid blood took effect at once as Kaji’s neck wound started to squirm and shrink. At the same time, his eyeballs spun wildly before finally turning into beastly pupils.
Kaiji yelled out in pain as teeth and nails grew long and hair rapidly sprouted throughout his body
“Answer me! Where is Heris! Has he left with the Magic Ovum Mirror?!” Ji Zhixiu’s stared into his eyes and shouted.
Kaji nodded then threw his head back, roaring with laughter. “He will descend…”
His eyes then slackened and turned motionless.
Coarse fur that had shot up from his heart once again went back in, taking along the last vestiges of his life.
“Goddamn it!” Ji Zhixiu pounded a fist against the wall, eyeing the disarrayed main hall.
“Miss, how about going to see Mr. Haywood? He might not reject providing help since he is supported by the family,” suggested Marcus.
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“No need. You guys continue the search.” Ji Zhixiu took a deep long breath. “Ruen, come with me.”
Ruen was slightly taken aback and asked apprehensively, “Where...where to?”
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