Chapter 52 – Mourning Valleys
by lemuel moo
At the foot of mount Gilbor, screams echoed through the valleys. A man raged in a cage as men in black suits carried the cage from their truck to the ground.
That caged man howled like a wolf and clawed the cage in an attempt to break free. He had chains attached to him on his arms and legs. His muscles were bulging, and he emitted a dark killing aura subconsciously.
A man in a black suit with tied long hair was inspecting the man from a distance when his lackey came running to him with a phone.
“Mr. Vincent, a call for you from Prince Regulus.”
Vincent picked up the phone and said, “Yes, your Highness?”
“Has my pet arrived?” Prince Regulus asked.
“Yes, and you can hear him howling,” Vincent answered.
“Good. That Vanessa Cyneburg must be taken care off, but I can’t do it with my royal assassins, or it will spell trouble for the Nevarre Empire. Release my pet into the camp,” Prince Regulus said.
“How about the girls whom you’re after?” Vincent asked.
“If the royal assassins can bring them back, then that will be a bonus,” Prince Regulus said. “But if it’s too much of a hassle, then we’ll let it be.”
Suddenly, the man in the cage broke free, and Vincent’s lackeys struggled to contain him. Each swipe from the man’s fist crushed the bones of the lackeys, and the man tried to attack Vincent.
“Calm down, Lycan. Can’t you see I’m talking to Prince Regulus?” Vincent said.
Vincent stretched his left hand, and a large magic circle appeared. Lycan was inhibited by an invisible hand, and he struggled to break free, but Vincent’s magic was more potent than Lycan’s strength.
Prince Regulus could hear the howls of the man, and he remarked, “What a lively pet. When the royal assassins have brought the girls back, you may release my pet.”
“Yes, your Highness.”
After Vincent ended the call with Prince Regulus, his phone rang again.
“Sir Vincent! This is Stacey, one of the royal assassins at the campsite! Gale Gainsborough proved to be a formidable foe, and I’ll like to request for backup!”
“Ah, what perfect timing. I have something for you. I’ll bring your ally over immediately,” Vincent said.
“Thank you, Sir!”
After Vincent ended the call, his lackeys came to him. “Should we restrain Lycan again?”
“Not to worry. We’ll use him from here. If the royal assassins call again, block it.”
Vincent aimed at the direction of the campsite, and with one throw, he threw Lycan into the air like a javelin.
“Alright, time to head back.”
“Gale’s pissed,” Jacinta said.
“I know,” Clere replied.
Gale sat across the lady assassin as she called for backup. He was like a bear robbed of her cubs. The assassins retreated to a corner and didn’t dare to move a muscle.
The combat instructors couldn’t believe Gale’s entrance would turn the tide into victory. Athena took the chance to eat several pills to increase her endurance and power in anticipation of another fight.
Dylan didn’t want to wait around for his opponent’s reinforcements, and he walked forward to attack the assassins. “Why are we sitting around waiting for their backup? We should finish this up now!”
Gale didn’t care what Dylan would do, so Dylan assumed his combat stance and the royal assassins readied themselves. But Gale felt an ominous presence coming, and he quickly backed up. “Dylan, get back!”
Something dropped from the sky and crashed behind the royal assassins. The dust cleared, and the silhouette of a man emerged. Stacey was elated as her backup was here.
“Alright, new guy, here are the — ”
Lycan punched Stacey, and she immediately lost her head.
The rest of the royal assassins were alarmed, and they surrounded Lycan to restrain him. But Lycan swung his fists wildly and smashed six of the imperial assassins’ ribs.
Gale immediately took command of the situation as he realized Prince Regulus’ intention.
“This is bad! Prince Regulus is looking for a massacre! Get every student out of here right now!”
Athena realized Gale’s words rang true and commanded the combat instructors to escort the campers out quickly.
The campers hurriedly got out of their tents, and the combat instructors surrounded them to escort them out of the campsite.
Jacinta and Clere looked at Gale and wondered how they should help, but Gale yelled, “Go! Get to safety! You’ll be a liability if you can’t get out of the way!”
Hideki quickly tried to escort Jacinta and Clere out, but Clere refused.
“No! I want to stand on the frontline with you!”
“Don’t be crazy! How would I feel if you lost your life?!” Gale yelled.
Meanwhile, Lycan crushed the bones of the rest of the royal assassins and began eating their flesh. Kasumi saw how disgusting it was and almost threw up.
“Kasumi! Get out of here!” Gale roared.
“No!” Kasumi said.
“Can you not be stubborn?! Please, I beg you!” Gale pleaded.
“No! I will not let you face this monster alone!” Kasumi yelled.
Valerian was worried for Kasumi, and he stood in front of her. Gale saw Valerian and said, “Get Kasumi out of here!”
Valerian tried to hold Kasumi’s shoulders, but she shrugged it off. “Don’t touch me!”
Lycan stopped what he was doing and looked at Dylan. Dylan stood near to observe Lycan’s behavior.
“This is a mad man and not a lycanthrope. It’s a pity, though. I wanted to see a real lycanthrope,” Dylan mused.
Lycan rushed forward to attack Dylan, but the latter immediately activated his [King Of Hades’ Protection], which grants temporary invulnerability. A black pillar of power enveloped Dylan, and he was unscathed.
“Well, see you later, Gale. Have fun fighting this mad man.”
Dylan walked away into the direction of the students, and Lycan attempted to chase him down, but Gale dashed forward and blocked his path with his sword.
“Where are you going? You stay here and face me,” Gale roared.
Lycan roared even louder, and a shockwave shook the ground from his voice. Athena knew she had to play support, and she channeled power into Gale through the [Cursed Ink Array].
Black lines extended from Athena to Gale and crept onto his body. Immediately, [qi] and natural energy fed Gale’s body and soul, and Gale rushed forward to attack Lycan head-on.
As Gale’s sword was big, his swings matched the force of Lycan’s fists when their attacks met each other. Gale was quick, but Lycan’s reaction time was faster, and the latter managed to punch Gale on the side.
Gale barely blocked with his sword, but the impact of Lycan’s punch was so strong that he crashed into one of the log cabins.
“Gale!” Kasumi screamed.
Lycan heard the direction of the scream and turned towards Kasumi. He immediately leaped towards Kasumi to attack her, and Valerian swiftly stood in front of Kasumi to take on the attack.
But Gale charged from the log cabin and landed a kick into Lycan’s face in lightning speed. Lycan crashed into the woods, and all of them had a brief moment to spare.
“Quickly! Get out of here!” pleaded Gale. “Jacinta, Clere, and Hideki too!”
Celinda and Camelia had not left Jacinta’s side, and they said, “we can offer you our help.”
“No! You need to protect Jacinta! What if SPAW takes the opportunity and kidnaps her?” Gale said. “Bring her out of here right now!”
Celinda and Camelia looked at each other in bewilderment. “I can’t believe you have the time to think about that in the face of danger. But I’ll honor your words.
When you’re done with this ordeal, come to the Flowers Of Death headquarters. Rafflesia wants to see you.”
“Bring Clere and Hideki out too! I beg you!” Gale said.
Camelia nodded. Using her [Shadow Walk], a dark shadow emerged from the ground beneath Jacinta, Clere, and Hideki, and they fell into it like a portal.
“Come back alive, Gale Gainsborough. You’ve piqued our interest, and certainly our Boss as well,” Celinda said.
Both Celinda and Camelia disappeared into the shadows promptly.
With the last moments to spare, Gale stood before Kasumi. Kasumi bit her mouth till she bled because she refused to be apart from Gale. She was cautious that Gale would send her away to safety by force.
Gale took Kasumi’s head and kissed her. That moment felt like an eternity for both of them, and Valerian could only witness the love they had for each other.
Lycan’s roar could be heard from a distance, and Gale issued his orders.
“Guard Athena. She’s our lifeline. I’ll take this beast on, and we’ll go home together afterward.”
Jacinta, Clere, and Hideki fell together through the [Shadow Walk] technique, which allowed users to teleport through shadows, and they found themselves with the rest of the students near the foot of the mountain. Clere and Jacinta immediately got up and pleaded with Celinda.
“Please bring us back there! We need to help Gale and the rest!”
Celinda shook her head. “You should trust Gale Gainsborough. He seems confident in taking down the beast, but he didn’t want others to hinder him. We should trust his judgment.”
“What judgment?! Can’t you see that the monster up there isn’t even human?!” Clere yelled.
Camelia put her foot down and said, “we’re not going to bring you up there, and your combat instructors will stop you even if you attempt to climb up that mountain.
Jacinta, your powers could end up hurting Gale and Athena! You haven’t learned to use your skills properly yet!”
“She’s right,” Lizzie Velmont said as she heard the commotion between the Flowers of Death and Clere. “Valerian and Kasumi are up there with the Gatekeeper of Sigrun. They will be able to help Gale fight this beast. We should retreat to safety and wait for their return.”
Clere quickly pondered her options. She bit her index finger and activated the [Four Corners Of Communcation] on her arm. It was a mini version of what Gale had used, and black lines emerged on her arms as communication lines.
Agatha picked up communication. “What’s happening, Clere?”
“Gale and sis are fighting this monster at the campsite! All of us have evacuated from there, but Gale and sis stayed behind to hold him off!”
“Monster? What kind of monster?”
“A madman! He killed his allies and crushed bones with a single swing of his fist!” Clere said frantically.
Agatha pondered for a while. “Leave it to Gale and Athena. You may not know this, but their teamwork is impeccable.”
“Are we not getting Aunt May into this?!” Clere asked. “She would be plenty to help out!”
“Aunt May said there isn’t a need to. Gale should be more than capable of handling any mad man if he removes his silver needles.” Agatha answered.
Clere was frustrated and upset. “If Gale is more than capable of handling it, why didn’t he want me to fight with him?!”
“Because you have a bigger job to do. You can help them from where you are if you use the [Rain Of Ink],” Agatha answered.
“[Rain Of Ink]?”
Agatha began to teach Clere how to use the [Rain Of Ink] from their [Cursed Ink Techniques].
“Athena, switch to the [Cursed Ink Offensive Array],” Gale said.
With a hand sign, the black lines on the ground, together with the black lines on Athena, turned to red. Gale’s movement speed and reflexes gained a triple boost.
Both the [Cursed Ink Offensive Array] and the [Cursed Ink Defensive Array] empowered its allies, but the offensive Array focused on speed and reflexes for attacks, while the defensive Array focused on power to absorb attacks.
Lycan charged into Gale and Gale used his vast sword to parry his fist. Gale used his killing aura to amplify his power and to exert pressure onto Lycan, but Lycan subconsciously exerted his killing aura and matched Gale’s strength.
Afterward, both Lycan and Gale exchanged thousands of attacks with each other. Lycan’s fist met with Gale’s sword, and the clashes echoed through the valleys of Gilbor.
Unlike the previous exchange, Gale’s reflexes were slightly better than Lycan’s because of the triple boost, and he managed to land a few hits. The wounds weren’t deep, but it was enough for Lycan to rage.
Lycan thrust his fist into Gale’s blind spot, but Athena used her [Cursed Ink] to soften the blow and slowed Lycan down by binding his arms and foot with ink.
Gale landed a massive uppercut with his [Fire Cloud Fist] onto Lycan’s chin, and the latter was lifted from the ground by the impact. Gale then thrust his sword into Lycan’s abdominals and wanted to impale him.
However, Lycan’s skin was thick and durable, and Gale could only slightly wound him. Lycan grabbed the blade with his hands and kneed Gale’s chest violently by pulling Gale towards him. Gale coughed blood as he tried to recover, and Lycan tried to smash Gale’s back with both of his fists.
Valerian jumped to Gale’s rescue and used his [Iron Sand Palms] to block Lycan’s fists. As Lycan’s hands were still above his head, Gale used all his power he could muster to drive a [Volcanic Punch] into Lycan’s chest.
Lycan coughed blood for the first time and was sent flying several hundred feet.
Valerian said, “We should work together to bring this beast down.” Gale could only nod his head while coughing blood.
Lycan roared, and his power increased tremendously. His muscles grew more prominent and his killing aura amplified by two folds!
“Restrain him!” Gale yelled.
Athena used all her power to slow Lycan down. All the black lines that extended from the [东南西北] letters crept towards Lycan and forcefully pulled him into the ground. Gale dashed forward with his sword to slay Lycan.
But Lycan was too powerful, and as he swung his arms, the black lines snapped like strings. Lycan punched Gale’s attack, and Gale was thrown backward by the impact. Valerian charged into Lycan and met Lycan’s fist with his [Iron Sand Palms], but his bones almost shattered under the impact as Lycan was too strong.
Lycan charged towards Athena and Kasumi stood in front to defend Athena. With a combination attack, Athena cloaked Kasumi’s [Mizushima Waterfall Slash] with [Cursed Ink], and Lycan blocked with his arms. However, the combination attack left a deep sword wound across his arms.
Lycan grabbed a nearby car and threw it towards Athena and Clere. Athena softened the impact by wrapping both Clere and her with [Cursed Ink], but the vehicle crashed into them, and it threw them out of position as they flew several feet away.
“Kasumi!” Gale roared.
Gale quickly began to remove one of the silver needles on his back. That silver needle restricted the energy flowing into within his chest, and he wasn’t able to draw his full potential when he swung with a sword.
Valerian rushed forward to save Kasumi as Lycan ran ahead to kick her. Valerian used his body to block the kick, and both Valerian and Kasumi were thrown into the woods by the impact.
“Valerian!” Kasumi cried as Valerian coughed blood.
Athena used her massive pen like a spear and thrust it towards Lycan, but Lycan grabbed the spear and threw her into the trees. As soon as Athena was out of the campsite, the [Cursed Ink Array] ceased to function.
After Gale successfully removed the silver needle in his back by pushing it out with his [qi], he rushed forward to save Athena. Lycan ran towards Athena to punch her, but Gale aimed his sword into Lycan’s right eye and pierced it.
Lycan bellowed in pain as he held his right eye, and Gale took the chance to impale Lycan with his sword. As Gale was much stronger with one less silver needle, the sword stabbed Lycan in his abdominal and severely injured him.
However, without the [Cursed Ink Array] ‘s speed boost, Gale was much slower than before, and Lycan swatted Gale to the side like a fly. Lycan looked around with his left eye to find his enemies, and he saw Kasumi picking Valerian up.
Lycan charged forward but stopped when drops of ink fell from the sky. Athena saw the ink and realized Clere had activated the [Rain of Ink] technique!
“Clere, you’re a genius!” Athena remarked. The sky started to drizzle [Cursed Ink], and Athena used it to connect herself to the [Cursed Ink Array] that was conjured at the campsite. The black lines were extended by the puddles of [Cursed Ink], and it reached everywhere by a two-mile radius!
Battle arrays had a limited realm of influence. Athena and Clere only covered the campsite with the [Cursed Ink Array], and it could only activate if the [Eye of the Array] remained within the Array’s influence. But the [Rain of Ink] multiplied both the range and power of the [Cursed Ink Array] by multiple folds!
Instantly, the [Cursed Ink] glowed red when Athena activated the [Cursed Ink Array] and all of them received a ten-fold power and speed boost!
Gale picked himself up and started to slash violently at Lycan. Lycan’s thick skin and power were not enough to deal with the [Cursed Ink Array] boost, and Gale inflicted deep wounds onto Lycan’s body.
With a last burst of effort, Lycan powered up once again, and a shockwave emerged from the center of his body to repel Gale’s attacks. Lycan determined to bring someone down with him, and he dashed towards Kasumi.
Valerian and Kasumi faced Lycan together, and Valerian stepped forward first with his [Iron Sand Palms]. Valerian could match Lycan’s speed with the boost, and both of them exchanged blows, but Valerian was too hurt, and Lycan brushed him to the side with a swipe.
Lycan then attacked Kasumi as she readied her katana. Before Lycan could reach Kasumi, Gale delivered a fatal blow by plunging his sword into one of his major organs.
With a last gasp of effort, Lycan sent a shockwave from his mouth and directed it towards Kasumi before he died. Kasumi couldn’t block the shockwave, and she was thrown backward, but behind her was a cliff. She started to fall from a great height, and she realized she was about to die.
“Gale, I’m sorry.”
Gale leaped off the cliff towards her and Kasumi shouted, “What’re you doing?”
Gale finally caught up to her and said with a smile.
“I love you, Kasumi.”
Using his [Fire Cloud Fist], Gale pushed Kasumi back to the cliff with a single thrust.
Kasumi returned to the cliff and fell onto the ground. She immediately ran to the cliff and wanted to leap off, but Valerian pulled her back.
“NO! Don’t do it, Kasumi!”
“Let me go! Why do you stop me?! GALE!”
Kasumi’s screams echoed throughout the mountains, but Gale descended into the gorge until he couldn’t be seen. Kasumi broke down and cried.
“Why did you do that?! Gale, my dear Gale!”
Kasumi continued to pull herself towards the cliff, but Valerian refused to let her go.
“Let me die with Gale! Why did you stop me you, stupid man?!”
“Jumping down won’t bring Gale back!” Valerian shouted. “Don’t do such a reckless thing!”
Athena saw what happened to Gale, and she cried too.
The valleys of Gilbor mourned together with the girls as cries of echo traveled through the mountains.