Chapter 1- Escape From The Light
He thought he wouldn’t open his eyes again.
The piercing pain surged through his skull. Arnold stared at the cold ground and cage bars in front of him, and slowly braced himself.
As a failed experiment who had lost his use, Arnold speculated that the experimenter’s final shot of the potion should have ended his life. However, he didn’t die. Not only that, but the next moment when his vision changed, he found that there was something wrong with the situation.
There were no priests or experimenters in white robes in sight, nor any ironclad guards watching over them. The surrounding area was horribly empty, and familiar corpses lay crookedly on the ground, which belonged to the church personnel. Besides them, there were more and more unknown bodies lying on the ground, covered with black velvet hooded cloaks.
Arnold’s heart tightened, and the word “magician” immediately came to mind. How could the Church’s greatest enemy, the wanted and pursued heretics appear here, at the great Cathedral of St. Nice, the largest in Maze City.
But he didn’t have time to think deeply about it at the moment. Arnold lifted his wrist and bit the bracelet with his sharp teeth, which was marked with the number NO.0099, the Church’s locator bracelet. He tore off the ornament along the torn edge, and pushed the cage door with his hand.
The clash between the magicians and the Church occurred after the injection, and Arnold was unsure whether the priests would lock the cage of a man who was about to die.
Creak— the door of the cage that had trapped him for twelve years was pushed open by this insignificant force.
Blood rushed up to his head, and inexplicably burned from his throat to his esophagus. Not only was he alive, but freedom beckoned to him from the narrow crevices.
Arnold took a deep breath and emerged from the cage.
He walked barefoot on the floor. As a missionary object, he was often covered in suitable, yet decorative clothing, but there never were any shoes.
The body temporarily maintained its normal human form, which is the most important point. Without the aid of potions, he couldn’t control the changes in his body and didn’t know when he would gain a snake tail, grow wings, and transform into a deformed monster. But at least, it hadn’t happened yet.
The surrounding area was not silent. On the contrary, only this room was protected, having been subjected to the extermination, and there were no living people entering at the moment. He could easily hear the chaotic sounds of fighting all around him, just a short distance away, in the middle of the church’s main hall, leaving him with little time to spare. Arnold could not get out with this appearance, he had to use the identity of a priest, or a magician.
But he didn’t have much choice. The priest’s robes were difficult and time-consuming to wear, and what he lacked the most was time.
Arnold found a corpse nearby and peeled off the pitch black velvet cloak from the body. He wrapped it around himself with the hood covering him, head to feet. He put on the magician’s leather boots, ignoring the pain caused by the hard texture and nervously grasped a corner of the cloak.
There was never a moment he was so close to death, yet so close to freedom.
The beautiful experimental subject closed his eyes, adjusted his breath, and walked out of the room wearing his boots. He didn’t look as if he would run away— it was too eye-catching, and if he couldn’t leave the church, he would be crushed by the magicians’ sorcery spells.
In the environment Arnold was raised in, it was often believed that magicians are a group of heretics who could manipulate extraordinary powers, who were powerful, terrifying, and haughty. He had to make himself comparable to this arrogance.
The hood covered his face, revealing only a thin white chin, and a pair of slightly pursed red lips. The lines along his jaw were beautiful, as if carved by the gods themselves, making people think “he must be very good-looking” at a glance. But this mixture of innate and acquired beauty often made Arnold anxious and nervous.
He walked quickly towards the source of the sound, which was the only way to leave the Cathedral of St. Nice. But he hadn’t walked for too long, and his speed was limited. After passing through several corpse-filled sites, he finally entered the origin of the conflict and was grabbed by the arm.
Arnold turned his head sharply, his heart almost beating out of his throat. He could instantly feel the blood flowing backwards and his muscles immediately began to stiffen. The person holding him was not a priest, nor did they wear a pure white robe. Instead, the other had a pitch black cloak like him, revealing half of a feminine and delicate face.
“Withdraw quickly.” She said, “Professor Felix is stalling for time and has instructed everyone to evacuate— reinforcements from the Church are coming!”
Without a word, Arnold followed her with a brisk pace, and the two of them walked a little further away from the area where the sorcery and holy light spells collided and exploded. Of course they chose a roundabout route with a detour, and were accompanied by other young magicians.
A group of black-robed beings hurried past the clean grounds of St. Nice Cathedral. The useless experiments that the Church was waiting to destroy were mixed with them. Silent and noiseless, figures in black robes left the church. Their voices were low, and almost no one spoke. Even if there was a conversation, the contents of the exchange were difficult to understand.
Amidst the continuous stillness and disorderly footsteps, a sound behind him suddenly shook with a loud bang, and the light of the Judgment of Holy Light descended from the Heavens. At this level of the holy light spell, Arnold could hear the prelude to the explosions. He noticed the witch tugging at his arm. He gritted his teeth and said, “Let’s go!”
At the moment when the Judgement of Holy Light fell, more than a dozen magicians had already left the church complex, and on the snow white dome, the Judgement of Holy Light was gradually swallowed up by a dark, pitch-black hole.
Arnold turned back, feeling a twinge in his heart, and saw a magician in black robes and glasses standing behind the dark round hole, turning a book in his hand— then, the intense holy light swallowed him up—
He immediately withdrew his gaze, but his heart was pounding violently.
Many of those in black robes also turned their heads, and Arnold even heard someone sobbing out, “Professor”. However, the magicians did not have time to delay either. They hurriedly passed through the buildings around the church, and the magician at the forefront performed a magic spell. This group of people walked through Maze City passing through as if they were invisible. They did not disturb the civilians, and thanks to the time Professor Felix bought them, they were able to successfully get rid of the reinforcements sent from the Church.
“After passing through the mysterious dark forest, let’s take a break.” The witch whispered to him, “Count the number of people. Sooner or later, we will settle the blood debts of the Church.”
She spoke briefly and quickly.
Arnold nodded silently, but his heart continued to beat quickly… counting people? He had mixed in with such an identity, once the magicians found out, they would definitely twist his head off. He already distrusted the Church, and the image that the magicians had long cultivated was one that was similar to those of the Devil’s representatives. Both sides could easily kill him.
So, just as the witch let go of him and went ahead to help, he deliberately slowed down and fell to the back, slowly lagging behind. Finally, holding onto the view of the black robes at the end, as the sky gradually darkened from day to night, Arnold entered the mesmerizing dark forest.
The rough leather boots had worn out the skin of his feet, causing pain while he walked. The shadowy forest was filled with dense trees and wild beasts, which was not a good place to live— but whether it was a black cloak or a white robe, he had a deep fear of both, full of dread for the power that could control the lives of others.
Without searching for him, whether it was due to urgency or something else, the group of magicians could not turn around again. Currently, the Church’s reinforcements must have been setting up a blockade at Maze City and searching for them. Arnold sat by a big tree, taking advantage of the last bit of light, took off his leather boots and looked at the wear and tear on his feet.
After years of being injected with pharmaceuticals, his physique was far different from that of ordinary people, and his body was prone to redness and swelling due to some slight bumps. After running for a while, bruises appeared one after another. The fair and slender feet were covered with injuries, and the toes that were red from the broken skin, were oozing little beads of blood.
He put on his leather boots again and leaned against the tree trunk to rest. It was difficult to recover his dried up strength, and thick beads of sweat dripped from his head down to his hair, causing him to become dehydrated. All of Arnold’s knowledge was obtained from the Church, and he only knew the name of this forest, but did not know what dangers were held within. How long could he live, even he himself was not certain.
The sky had darkened completely, and moonlight fell. The leaves of the forest rustled in the wind.
The coldness of the night spread.
Arnold lowered his head, breathed a sigh, and rubbed his hands. Until this moment, his tense heartstrings had not relaxed. He felt a strong wave of mental exhaustion, and the breath of fresh air made him feel at ease.
“Blessed be the Mother.” The young man in a black cloak clasped his hands and made a gentle wish, “Let Arnold get through this night.”
His nickname was Arnold. Since long ago, he stopped believing in the God of Light and Eternity. Instead, he believed in his pure, gentle and deceased mother, even if she were no longer by his side.
His body was so cold that it ached. This body, which had been injected with medication since childhood and had processed drugs for many years, was even more delicate than the most noble little prince in the world. Not to mention walking such a long way and sitting on such a hard stone, even a rose thorn could leave scars on his fair and delicate fingers.
This person is as fragile as a crystal ball full of cracks, and as beautiful as the light refracted in all directions from said crystal. He was someone who should not appear here and fall into such a situation. With such a face, if he were not an item that belonged to the Church, perhaps the nobles would rush to grab his wrist, put a gold plaque on his neck, and invite the beautiful canary to live in their castle.
However, there were no ifs and Arnold never wanted to become a beautiful canary or live in an opulent mansion.
The young man shrank back and tightened his cloak, which carried a faint aroma, reminiscent of some spell-casting materials. However, he couldn’t smell it. He just felt that the cold gradually made him drowsy, and everything outside slowly lost its appeal.
Just as his consciousness gradually sank, in the gloomy forest, there was a sound of grass leaves being rubbed against fur, so subtle that it was difficult to detect. In the nearby grass, the beast’s green eyes were like two ghostly fires in the dark night, and emitted cold flames
It was a wild wolf. A lone wolf.
The animal approached quietly.
It walked through the grass, its tail cautiously drooping, and the two ghostly flames stared at the snow-white wrists exposed under the pitch black cloth. It kept secreting saliva incessantly, and its fangs itched. Step by step, the distance to attack narrowed.
The night breeze swept through the leaves, making rustling sounds.
The moonlight was obscured by dark clouds, and light gradually converged. Just at the moment when the atmosphere was extremely cold and light was at its lowest point, Arnold suddenly woke up from a lethargic dream. It was as if something was being pressed against his spine by a dagger, and all the hair in his whole body stood on end. This sudden strong sense of crisis made him unable to think much and he could only roll to the side—
The corner of the black cloak was torn by the wolf’s claws, and the warm, broad, and heavy body of the wild beast stood on the side of the young man, directly pressing against half of his body. He abruptly raised his head and saw the green eyes of the beast. The scarlet mouth of the beast suddenly opened in front of him, revealing its snow-white fangs!
He pulled himself out from under the wolf’s body and as it rose, he crawled through the disordered intersection of branches next to him. The place close to his back was hit hard from behind, and the paw of the beast tore open the lower half of his cloak.
The branches obstructed the movements of the lone wolf, and it broke through them impatiently, firmly pinning the fleeing teen to the ground and sniffing at his neck.
It happened in the blink of an eye, and everything happened so quickly that he couldn’t react. Until now, Arnold felt that all his blood had been drained away, and he had no time to regret not choosing another way out. Even the thought of remorse had not risen in time. His first reaction was, “Will it hurt for a long time to die like this?”
The wolf finished tasting the delicacy, pressed down his eyes that were lit with two ghostly fires and opened his mouth towards the young man’s throat—
Blood mist sprayed, flying and filling the air.
He did not die, nor did he suffer.
Arnold opened his eyes in confusion.
His hood had been completely detached, and his entire face was covered in the scorching blood of the wild beast. The liquid splashed onto his face, with the glaring red and delicate white in stark contrast, exuding a charm like beauty. The beautiful experiment possessed the purity and sanctity pursued by the Church, while his appearance was as alluring as a small rose. However, in this faint light, inside the hood was a fallen rose with blackened branches that was soaked in blood.
He stared blankly at the sword in front of him.
The long rusty sword pierced through the wolf’s body, passing through its spine, chest, and heart, bathing it in blood.
The moonlight polished the rusty sword, as drops of red fluid slowly dripped down from the edge of the sword, soaking through Arnold’s sleeve.
He woke up from his dream-like state and instinctively took several steps back, huddling by the broken branch, and watched the scene.
The long sword pulled out the beast’s carcass inch by inch. Looking from the blood soaked rust, the worn patterns on the old knight’s sword could be seen, the end of which was wrapped in layers of bandages. The hand holding the sword was wide, thick and strong, with overlapping scars.
Arnold looked up and saw a knight in old armor in front of him. The scarlet armor was old-fashioned, as old as the sword. The thick armor wrapped around his body, and the thick and dimly patterned half hollow mask which covered the person’s entire face, was also made of iron. This knight was extremely tall, and even if he didn’t move, he carried a strong sense of oppression. At first glance, it was impossible to see whether he was wearing this heavy armor or if the armor was wearing him.
The young man’s palms were covered in cold sweat, and he held onto his bloodstained cuffs, feeling uneasy about the magician robe that covered his departure from the Church. The knight in front of him was not a noble knight, but one in a paladin’s attire, a holy knight who could mercilessly pierce the heretical heart of a magician without mercy.
In this moment of imminent death, his mind was almost blank.
The two of them remained deadlocked for a long time, before the dark clouds dispersed and the moonlight illuminated the crimson armor. Under the half hollow mask, there were no merciless and cold eyes of a paladin, only layers of cloth wrapped around and blocking his vision.
Arnold stared at him blankly, until the cold wind dried the sweat under his cloak before he abruptly snapped back to attention.
He can’t see me…
The knight was blind.
The author has something to say:
Friends, Xuan Xiu is back!!!
Open! Text! With! Great Luck!
Name meanings for fun:
Arnold- from old German, meaning eagle and ruler
Thank you for reading! Current upload schedule will be sporadic for the time being. Hope to see you in chapter 2!