Chapter 1368: No Choice
A muffled thud echoed in the air as the azure light was shattered from the impact. Unlike Progia’s casual movement, the Eternal Flame’s full-speed collision managed to crush the barrier of light.
The scene was rather spectacular. The blaze around the Eternal Flame’s body was scattered randomly, so much so that he was close to reverting to his original form. Clearly, the recoil from the collision was mostly absorbed by his body. It might’ve been better if he had been bounced back like Progia.
The Eternal Flame was already feeling a bit uncomfortable with launching a sneak attack. He had never imagined that the Azure King would set up a barrier in anticipation of the move. The only fortunate thing was that he was merely accelerating to join the battle, otherwise, the injuries from the recoil wouldn’t be this mild.
In front, the Azure King’s pursuit of Progia never ceased. Shards of green light slashed at the target with boundless momentum.
Progia was in a bitter situation. Those radiant fragments were actually a physical manifestation of the Azure King’s blood energy. The power within them was boundless, but they wouldn’t last very long—all the enemy needed to do was exhaust him over time. The only problem was that the demonkin could not afford to do so.
The Eternal Flame finally recovered, but the Azure King had launched an attack before he could chase after the other two. The vampire monarch closed his fists, shattering one of the green barriers in the air into countless fragments. The shards turned into a tornado and bore down upon the Eternal Flame!
The Eternal Flame’s fire was in utter disarray under the relentless assault. The individual plumes of fire were no longer connected, turning into scattered embers that slowly died out.
Even someone as strong as the Eternal Flame had no time to split his attention. He finally roared, “Return the Sable Blessing! You can’t bring out its maximum potential!”
Progia said while dodging, “The Demon King himself said that the Sable Blessing will be under my care this time. You can talk to him after the battle ends.”
Progia wasn’t willing to give up the Sable Blessing because only the dark energy from the gun could block the Azure King’s slashes.
The Azure King’s blood energy was simply too restraining to their demonic energy. Both Progia’s corrosive power and the Eternal Flame’s white fire were easily cut down by the green screen.
Only the energy from the Sable Blessing was superior to the Azure King’s power, but its firing speed was rather limited. There was no way it could spit out attacks in a leisurely fashion like the Azure King.
Seeing Progia in an increasingly miserable state, the Eternal Flame had no choice but to help despite the anger.
In truth, facing the Azure King was no different from facing the heavenly monarch Zhang Boqian. Both of them possessed a power that could suppress their opponents. Allowing them to hold the dominant role in battle would result in an ugly fight, even if the opponent was stronger.
The best method was to trade injuries and shrink the other party’s advantage, but this would lead to their defeat at the final showdown where absolute power was a deciding factor.
The Eternal Flame had fought Zhang Boqian several times, so he was quite familiar with this logic. The problem was that Progia was weaker than the Azure King, a fairly bad candidate for this type of operation.
The Eternal Flame finally managed to clear away the thin shards and, with a loud howl, shot toward the Azure King at top speed. But another azure screen appeared as soon as he made his move!
Cursing inwardly, the Eternal Flame crashed into it once again.
The barrier shattered and transformed into another storm of cutting shards.
It took a while for the Eternal Flame to clear away all the fragments, and this time, he was much more cautious. He observed the surrounding for spatial fluctuations before approaching the Azure King.
This process of observation was all fine and dandy, but Progia was in a state of dire urgency at the moment. “Things will go south if you keep dragging it out. You can forget about getting away scot-free. I haven’t fully recovered from my battle with Pointer, but you don’t have that excuse.”
Considering the proud nature of their race, it was quite an embarrassment for Progia to admit his injury. Yet, he had no choice because the Azure King was beating him black and blue.
The Eternal Flame was still approaching at a steady pace. “How long are you going to hold onto that stash?”
With a pained expression, Progia shouted, “Fire!”
The dukes and vice dukes in the vicinity charged into the battlefield and opened fire. Shockingly, all of their bullets contained a powerful aura of Daybreak.
Even the Azure King couldn’t ignore this. He laid down multiple Azure screens to block the incoming attacks while controlling several green beams to chase down Progia.
Progia was absolutely furious, but he had no choice but to evade and block.
The Eternal Flame said in a serious tone, “Reynold, the way you’re fighting will hurt your life-source. It won’t be a problem for you to live a couple more centuries if you rest well. Do you not want your remaining years anymore?”
The Azure King blocked yet another wave of daybreak bullets. “I might be in trouble if you had more daybreak bullets, but you’re out of ammo now. Since that’s the case, you can stay behind and keep me company. I don’t mind playing until tomorrow.”
The demonkin dukes had pulled back at this point. It was clear that they were out of bullets. This wave of attacks had also drained quite a bit of the Azure King’s blood energy.
As sharp as he was, Progia immediately turned around to launch a counterattack. The Eternal Flame also launched a coordinated strike—pale flames covered the entire sky as they sought to engulf the Azure King.
Two great dark monarchs were attacking at the same time, and one of them even possessed a Grand Magnum. The Azure King was slowly pushed into a corner, but that didn’t stop him from going all out with his attacks. For the moment, the other two great monarchs couldn’t find a way to deal with him.
Realizing that words weren’t going to help, the Eternal Flame simply let loose and attacked with all his might. Progia was even more ruthless after going through the precarious situation just now.
The Azure King’s situation became increasingly strained, yet he still refused to retreat.
At this moment, the azure ring in the distance had slowly faded away from sight. Progia roared furiously, “Since that’s the case, we’ll take your life instead of those two!”
The Eternal Flame sighed, “As long as Qianye hands over the Book of Darkness, I can beseech the Demon King not to kill him. Why go to such lengths? The book was never his, to begin with. Why would you risk your life so?”
The Azure King said calmly, “You guys won’t understand. Just think about how you’ll face the Queen’s wrath after this! Besides, I didn’t fight so long just to die here.”
A loud roar arrived from the distance. “How dare you! What the hell are you doing?”
The Lightless Monarch had finally arrived.
The Demon King’s form as he traveled through space was no different from a dark storm sweeping through the void.
His current location was extremely close to the top of the world. The orbit of the alpha star was close by. The celestial body had already passed by, but there was a trail of scattered light and explosions as well as asteroid fragments and flames of unknown attributes.
The Demon King slowed down all of a sudden as the silhouette of a landmass appeared in what was supposed to be empty space.
The floating island wasn’t big, just about the area of an ordinary mountain range, but it felt rather ethereal. This was especially true of the borders where there were clear overlapping images. It was as though the entire landmass was just a projection.
The Demon King walked straight over.
The blurry imagery before him immediately stabilized and split into two, revealing a path covered in ancient runes.
Inside was an extremely odd space, the ends of which were invisible from the entrance. There was only darkness inside, except for what seemed like a bustling city in the distance with big structures built in the arachne style.
Dark tones filled the entire realm as there was a meshwork of webs spanning across the entire sky. The spherical light source hung high up in the air—the light it cast upon the realm was rather dark but there was a strangely gentle feeling to it.
As though it had sensed the guest, the spherical light moved ever so slightly and projected a bright space before the Demon King.
The Spider Queen was lying lazily on her arachnid abdomen, with only her upper body in human form. She looked like a beautiful lady lying atop a black platform, a scene that was inexplicably charming and just as eerie.
“How are you doing?” The Demon King asked.
The Spider Queen twisted her supple waist until she was glancing sideways at the Demon King. “Quite well. The Shadow World is slowly recovering. But I wonder if I should be thanking or cursing you. Five hundred thousand of my children perished.”
The Demon King said indifferently, “More will die. The recovery of the Shadow World means the darkness origins will slowly become purer. All arachne that have been irreversibly tainted will die, but the survivors and their children will slowly recover their ancient inheritance. Which side will you choose?”
The Spider Queen seemed distracted for a moment, leaning forward with a sigh. “Kane, can you not console me?”
The Demon King said, “Are you going to collect the fragments that have come out from the mother realm?”
This location was the birthplace of all arachne, the Shadow World. Since time immemorial, this world had been suffering slow but irreversible damage. The earliest stages saw cracks appear in the crystalline walls. As time went on, the cracks grew bigger and bigger until fragments began to peel off.
The Spider Queens of every generation would do their utmost to stop this kind of damage. Even though they managed to collect some realm fragments, it did little to stop the damage to the mother realm.”
After the opening of the new world, the Demon King gave the Spider Queen a string of laws from the peak of the world.
After combining it with her origin power, she found that it could really halt the collapse of the mother realm. Moreover, she obtained some ancient memories in the repair process.
The original Shadow Realm was a projection of the Evernight World. The arachne of ancient times were shadow creatures, the most loyal allies and subjects of the demonkin—the children of darkness.
If the demonkin could be considered a living manifestation of the darkness origins in the Evernight world, the arachne were a projected life form.
The Spider Queen gave it some thought, knowing that the Demon King wasn’t going to help her for free.
She replied, “It’s best if we can get them back since it’ll hasten the repair process, but it’s not a big problem if we can’t. At most, it’ll be a couple of decades or centuries longer. You want those fragments?”
The Demon King admitted honestly. “Correct.”
The Spider Queen replied, “Very well, you can keep the ones you find.”
The Demon King nodded and left.
The Spider Queen called out to him. “Kane, I learned of some fun news.”
“I heard Mark went to see Habsburg for a certain spoil of war but was refused three times. That warlock has done nothing to break the balance in a thousand years; all he does is play dead at the council. He’s running an errand for you, right? When was your temper so good? How come my children don’t receive the same treatment?”
The Demon King glanced back. “What are you trying to say?”
The Spider Queen shrugged. She was already in a prone position, to begin with, so the movement produced a beautiful outline. “I only wanted to remind you not to become the second Andruil. The Black-Winged Monarch’s folly was a good thing for you, me, and Lilith, but things won’t be too good if you follow the same steps.”
The darkness shrouding the Demon King’s face dispersed, revealing a perfect countenance that was the manifestation of all things beautiful in the eternal darkness. “Rosnia, just like you, I have no other choice. A handful of people and a couple of clans might not be important, but what about entire races? When were we ever given a choice.”
The Spider Queen mumbled. “True, there is no choice.”
The Demon King said, “I hope there is, but I still can’t find it.” With that, he vanished from the Shadow World.
The giant sphere of light turned away, returning the Spider Queen into the darkness. That doll-like face of hers was filled with sadness for a brief moment. Even with their recovered memories, there was still no other choice.
To a supreme of the Sacred Mountain, they themselves were the bigger picture. Even great dark monarchs and princes were simply chess pieces to be played. Descendants were nothing more than an experience across a long span of time. Yet when a choice involved the fate of the entire race, there was no longer any choice.