Chapter 633: 633
“As all of you must probably have noticed, this year’s Legacy Battle is quite different from all the others . Never before has there been such a facility with which sect members could save their lives . The whole point of the battle was always that those who were weak would directly be killed, while those who escaped such dangerous situations would grow stronger because of them . Even though that was the case, the death toll during every battle was never too high, as the Champions of the sect sometimes show mercy so that promising individuals who might have just been unlucky would be saved . However, this time… that will not be the case, and I found this out from my own father . ”
In a large house that was present almost at the end of the village inside the fortress, a small number of people had gathered who were listening to the words of the same person who had spoken in the morning .
His smugness was gone, replaced by a serious expression, and if anyone saw him now, they would never be able to believe that he was the same person as the one before .
There were 22 people in the room, and of these 22, two were familiar to Daneel – they were Tall and Snake .
In the large room, there was a small table in the center, around which a few figures were seated . The rest were seated in concentric circles, and Tall and Snake were in the last one, which sort of made Daneel get the impression that they weren’t very important .
Of course, he was idly looking in through the window after bypassing the anti-eavesdropping trinket that was active here .
As for how he had bypassed it even though his Mageroot was once again locked away… It was using the many preparations he had done during the week he spent in Lanthanor .
Even the shining objects that he had thrown at the guards before were one-time use Mind Control trinkets with various uses . Daneel could predetermine which use he wanted them to achieve before throwing them at someone, and before, he had selected the option where they would make someone go blank before making them forget everything that happened a minute before they regained their consciousness .
These were pretty costly: each cost a Ker Gem to make, but they were really, really effective, as had been demonstrated before .
In the evening, Daneel had received the same box as before, and even though he had had the option to tell the system to switch off the pain he would be feeling, or to knock him out so that the worm-like trinket would go to his Mageroot without him having to endure its journey, Daneel gritted his teeth and went through the whole experience again, as he knew that this would be even more motivation for him to accomplish what he wished in the sect .
As more people began to speak inside the room, he distracted himself from that very unpleasant memory and refocused his attention on the words that were being transmitted to him by the system .
“How will they be different, Ace? Will they be showing mercy, too? If so, how will the Heroes watching even judge what we’re capable of under pressure?”
This question was asked by one of the men sitting around the table in the center, which meant that he was probably someone important .
The one who answered was the other smug guy who had been on the stage .
“Before, the Champions who roamed the battlefield were typically just acting as if they’re crazy . This time, they will really be so . They will be like animals whose only aim is to tear us all into pieces, and they will completely be driven by their instincts . ”
A hush fell over the room as everyone heard these chilling words and felt their spine shiver .
First of all, encounters with Champions in Legacy Battles were typically things that Warriors could not come out of unscathed . So, everyone would avoid them like the plague during every battle .
It was said that Champions even allowed a few participants to go free as even they knew that the power disparity was too much . All they wished to do was give them a challenge, so there was no reason to wantonly kill everyone that they saw .
Yet, now… That would no longer be the case?
The man spoke up again as if he heard the questions revolving in the heads of all those present .
“Yes, you heard me right . Apparently, some Hero in the High Council managed to figure out a ‘Maddening Formation’ that will place a Champion in such a furious state . However, the Champions are still awake in the back of their own minds, so they can break out of it with a little effort whenever they wish . Also, this will really enable the battle to take on almost the exact same atmosphere as what had been there originally after the apocalypse . The objective was always to achieve this, anyway . We suspect that this whole theme of giving teleportation trinkets to participants is to make sure that this specific change in the Legacy Battle will not result in too many deaths . All of you must already have understood that even if we did have such a trinket, only those who are skilled or lucky will be able to reach it and activate it in time to save their lives, while all others will be killed . However, enough on that . I just wanted to give you all a heads up even though the three of us typically don’t typically care about the lives of you lot . ”
This resulted in the other person speaking up again in a befuddled tone .
“Yeah, what’s up with that? Each and every time, all those like you simply ignore us and excel in the battle any way . This time, why are you being all accommodating and inviting? I can’t help but say that it puts me on edge . ”
In response, the man said, “The answer to your question… Is the main agenda of the meeting . King Daneel . ”
Another silence fell over the room as this wretched name was heard, but this was one that was punctured repeatedly by the sound of grinding teeth, while the temperature of the room slowly seemed to be rising .
Seeing this, Daneel wondered just what curses the Chief must have used in order to elicit this kind of reaction from these seasoned Fighters .
Soon, though, the first man spoke again .
“I don’t think any words need to be said regarding how he should be our main target . So, we want to propose a temporary alliance where the whole goal will only be to kill him in the most horrific method possible . This will be a warning to all others who wish to go up against us, as other Sects will be watching, too . When that goal is achieved, we can all break apart and go back to what we usually do during every battle . ”
Smiles filled with glee appeared on the faces of almost all those present as they imagined that aggravating guy who had insulted multiple generations of their families being killed like that . They could almost imagine all of his bravado drifting away into the wind when he cried out with pain and begged them to stop . Some even had such vivid imaginations that drool dripped down from the corner of their mouths, which made Daneel take special notice of them, knowing that they were the most vicious of the bunch .
After a few moments, the other person at the central table spoke up once again .
“That sounds fine by me . The strongest of us can make a small strikeforce which will target him, and the rest can build a perimeter where they will stall him if he comes in their direction . How does that sound? An unbeatable strategy, right?”
Approving expressions could be seen on the faces of many faction leaders, and even the three who had made the announcement on the arena smiled slightly on hearing this .
“You always were known to be the best strategist in the sect . Alright, we’ll do that . It’s simple and easy to follow, and it’s pretty much guaranteed to allow us to get what we want . There is no way that he will be able to escape an encirclement by hundreds of Fighters, no matter what trinkets he smuggles into the battle . Let us disperse . One last thing, though: until the battle, keep this under wraps, and don’t even tell your faction members about it . Directly give the instructions on the eve of the battle . Alright?”
Knowing that the meeting was over, Daneel quickly hid himself nearby while asking the system to keep a close watch on everyone .
If anyone saw him now, they would see such a cold expression on his face that they would feel as if they were in the dead of winter even if the sun was shining on top of them .
As soon as everyone left after the last person put out the torches that were present inside the room, darkness engulfed the village .
Yet, instead of going back to his cottage, Daneel carefully walked forward, just like a predator eyeing its prey in the darkness .
This night…would be a busy one .
Meanwhile, unknown to Daneel, the library where his fight had taken place had been abruptly closed off due to the sect officials quoting some sort of repairs .
Yet, inside it, only two people were present, and both of them had serious expressions on their faces as they observed a specific spot on the ground where the tiles had caved in .
“You’re telling me that that fatso was defeated in a single move? Even though he was able to move that fast? Seriously? Since when was this kid such a strong Fighter? And here I was pretty damn impressed by his Mage skills that allowed him to kill that Champion . I’m even beginning to wonder whether it was the right decision to give him this much leeway . If he really is this talented in both Paths, maybe the best thing to do is to completely focus on nurturing him, whether he likes it or not . All geniuses always resist this in the beginning, but later on, when they realize just how much it helps them, they come around . ”
These words were said by the Head, who was shaking his head while looking at the imprint of the round body on the floor .
Yet, when he heard the reply from the Chief who was beside him, a dark expression flashed across his face for the briefest of moments .
“And what about those who don’t come around? It might be best to allow this to continue . Those who come into the Big Four of their own volition often stay loyal . Of course, we don’t need to worry about that aspect with this kid, because he clearly cares about all those people in the Central Continent . We can keep tempting him and bribing him until he enters, and when he does, we can keep throwing resources and techniques at him in order to make him stay . ”
After pondering for a bit, the Chief nodded, also knowing that this was for the best . In fact, he had only said that before because he was simply impatient . He had always loved to see a gem being polished in order to expose its true brilliance, and he really wanted to see that happen in the King’s case too .
Chuckling suddenly, he said, “I saw the replay of that speech, by the way . You really chose those curses well . ”
This made the Chief smile and say, “Of course, who can be more skilled than me in riling up emotions? Remember that time when we defeated that bandit group simply by having their leader become too ashamed to lead them after just a single speech?”
“Of course! That was all you, though . As my mentor, instead of teaching me how to fight, you taught me those kinds of things . ”
“Well, I knew that you might become the Head anyway, and knowing the responsibilities that you would be taking on, I wanted you to have other tools in your repertoire that you could use instead of just having to resort to force . ”
With a smile, the Head turned around and said, “You’re right . The things you taught me did help a lot, and they allowed me to handle many situations using words as opposed to showing my power and causing general displeasure . But in all these centuries, I’ve never seen you take this much special interest in anyone else . Are you really thinking about passing down the legacy, finally? After all these years?”
In response, the Chief turned around and began walking toward the exit .
It was only at the moment before he opened the door that he finally replied .
“I don’t know . But I just have a feeling that this Legacy Battle might just be the most eventful one in a long, long time . Even these old bones of mine are quivering with excitement . Let’s see what happens . ”
Saying so, the Chief disappeared, and a few moments later during which the Head felt shocked because he had received an answer for the question that he thought would be brushed aside, he also teleported away, while feeling happy that his decision to value the King had been right .
The next few weeks passed uneventfully, with Daneel mostly going through all the Fighter techniques available to him that he had obtained both from the Emperor’s memories and the third seal . He knew that he would have to resort to them soon, so he wanted to brush up on them and also choose the ones that he could add to his toolbox . He would often find himself alone in many training areas, as the others feel too distracted and infuriated to train as all they wanted was to get their hands on him .
And in such cases, Daneel would happily escort them out with witty jeers and remarks .
Three weeks later, the morning of the battle dawned like any other day, but the entire sect’s atmosphere had completely changed to one of tension and excitement .
Looking at himself in the mirror and letting out a deep breath, Daneel marched of the cottage, just like the commander of an army who could already see the outcome of a war even before the first ranks clashed on the battlefield .