This 𝓬ontent is taken from 𝐟𝐫𝗲𝗲𝘄𝗲𝗯𝗻𝐨𝘃𝗲𝐥.𝐜𝐨𝗺
Chapter 440 The Uncertain Future
440 The Uncertain Future
In the outskirts of a deserted draconian town, enveloped in darkness and devoid of any nearby inhabitants, a dark red portal abruptly materialized. From it six figures stumbled out: Asher, Naida, Leonidas, Caelum, Silvan, and Eradicator.
Asher, vigilant and cautious, immediately turned to check if Drakar was in pursuit. To his relief, the portal closed swiftly, reverting to its original disc form before fragmenting, its purpose fulfilled.
Leonidas, panting and visibly shaken, muttered in disbelief, "Devils... did we just really escape? We were this close to dying..." He had prepared himself to die fighting to his last breath, but who knew things would take such a lucky turn.
Caelum and Silvan also shared the same thoughts and never thought they would be thanking the werewolves like this.
Naida scanned their surroundings, "Don't rejoice yet. We are still in their lands. This seems like some town of theirs," she cautioned, her voice steady but alert.
Eradicator immediately advised as she took a good look at her king, "We shouldn't try to leave the kingdom like this, Your Majesty. Not in your condition."
Caelum echoed Eradicator's sentiment with a worried expression, "That's true. You need time to recover, Your Majesty."
Naida, understanding the gravity of their situation and Asher's depleted state, added, "They are right. Drakar must have already sent out guards to strengthen the patrol at the borders. We have more chances of escaping once you have recovered, and the draconians in this area let down their guard." Naida knew that despite being a peak Soul Purger, Asher was stronger than any low-level Soul Devourer and maybe more. Asher, feeling the weight of his body getting heavier, let out a tired sigh. "Let's just rest somewhere for the night. I know a place..." he said, remembering what Lysandra whispered to him in the chaos of the battle.
However, all of them, as if in a silent agreement, didn't even bother to mention Oberon. Even Caelum couldn't forgive it after seeing Oberon abandoning their king again and again to save himself.
At this point, a rat like him deserves something worse than death. And so, getting trapped in the midst of all these draconians was well deserved for someone like him. —
In a seemingly ordinary tavern, six cloaked figures entered, their appearances aged and weathered. Among them were four males and two females, all covered from top to bottom. The patrons of the tavern paid little attention to the new arrivals, accustomed to old travelers trying to catch their breath in a shoddy place like this.
It seemed that the people inside had yet to hear the news of the hunt for the Bloodburn King and his people.
The tavern owner, an old draconian woman with a welcoming smile, approached the group, "Welcome, guests," she greeted them warmly, "I'm Myrza, who looks after this place. Are you here to eat, stay, or both?"
The old man at the front of the group, his voice weary with age, replied, "We're here to eat something special to satisfy our hunger for at least a few days."
Myrza's eyes narrowed slightly, but her smile remained as she said, "Please, follow me. I shall have it prepared, and all of you can be on your way," She led them to another room and locked the door behind them. Once inside, her demeanor shifted to one of seriousness, "Now, show me your faces before we proceed," she demanded.
The old man at the front exchanged a glance with the old woman beside him, who then snapped her fingers. In the next moment, Myrza found herself facing four young men, an elegant vampire lady, and a tall, imposing female guard. But the tall and charming young man with dove gray skin and dark yellow eyes stood out the most among them all.
"I was expecting you all. Droco was a good friend of mine and he knew there was a good chance things could go wrong," Myrza said, her smile brief yet laden with emotion.
Asher felt a surge of relief, realizing that Lysandra had loyal allies willing to risk everything, more than he was expecting. But he was also surprised to know that Lysandra had a plan B just in case.
"We are grateful for your willingness to accommodate us," he said, "But the guards will be searching everywhere soon. If we stay here, won't they still be able to find and capture us?"
Myrza gave them a reassuring look, "This isn't an ordinary place," she explained, "It was built by Droco to hide his family during the time when they were framed as traitors. Unfortunately...they chose to face their fate rather than hide."
She then moved her hand over the air, her palm facing downward. A dark orange light emitted from her hand, tracing a pattern across the floor. The group watched in surprise as the light revealed a large hidden latch. Myrza grasped it and pulled upward, unveiling a hidden staircase leading underground.
"You all can hide down there until the guards tire of knocking here. Usually, they wouldn't search the same place again," Myrza advised, motioning them toward the staircase.
"Thank you for doing this," Asher said in a appreciative tone.
Myrza shook her head as she responded, "Don't thank me yet. I am not doing this for you people," she said, her eyes momentarily glazed over.
Asher shrugged and nodded, "It doesn't matter. We are still grateful," he replied. Following Eradicator's lead, he descended into the hidden staircase, followed by the rest of the group.
As Myrza closed the latch behind them, sealing the entrance to their temporary sanctuary, she whispered to herself, "I hope your sacrifice won't be in vain, Droco."
Descending into the underground space, Asher and the others were greeted by a surprising sight. The mana lamps flickered to life automatically, illuminating a large, grand hall with corridors leading to different rooms. The underground area was unexpectedly opulent, resembling a mini manor designed for nobility.
Leonidas, his voice tinged with wonder, mumbled, "Who would have ever expected a place like this to exist under some old building?"
Silvan, pondering the reason behind such lavishness, speculated as his gaze softened briefly, "Droco must have wanted his family to live comfortably. He was probably expecting them to stay here for years until he found a way for them to live without fear."
Eradicator, always vigilant, immediately left to inspect each corridor. Naida followed, deciding to help Eradicator ensure everything was secure before they settled in.
Asher, feeling the weight of exhaustion, decided to wait until the two women were done checking. All he craved at that moment was some much-needed rest.
But he also couldn't stop worrying about what Naida saw. He didn't know if he should feel relieved she didn't seem to say anything to anybody else or even ask him anything so far.
Any other demon would have already spread the word and have him questioned through torture and then burned on a stake or worse.
The worst thing was he can't even escape in his present condition.
Still...he decided to find out for sure once she was back. He didn't like to feel uneasy like this. He then turned to his three vassals.
His expression was one of genuine appreciation, "You all did great from the moment we set off on this dangerous trip," he acknowledged. He had noticed their unwavering dedication to protect him, including Silvan's loyalty despite the complex situation with Ceti. He had so many opportunities to make things worse for him yet never did.
Even if Silvan might have any bitter feelings, he still prioritized duty, and that wasn't something anybody could do.
The three young men bowed in unison, their voices echoing a shared sentiment, "It's our duty and honor to give it our all for you."
Asher, acknowledging their allegiance with a smile, gestured for them to join him on the sofas in the center of the hall. As they all sat down, he addressed them collectively, "All three of you are my vassals." His gaze then shifted to Silvan, "You joined the last, and maybe you did it out of obligation. But you still had the option to not pledge yourself to a young king like me. So why did you do it?"
Silvan's expression softened into a light smile as he said, "Growing up in a House like mine wasn't easy," he began, his voice carrying a mix of reflection and earnestness, "Some of it was due to my own shortcomings, and others due to the expectations of those around me. I want to see our kingdom improve in many ways, not just in strength. And after seeing everything you have achieved in such a short time, I believe you have the best chance of bringing about positive change in our world."
Asher listened, slightly taken aback yet touched by Silvan's candidness and high regard. He could sense the sincerity in Silvan's words when he said he wanted the kingdom to be a better place.
He wondered how Silvan could be so different from that mother-and-son duo. Maybe it could be his father's influence. fr(e)ewebn(o)vel
However, Asher knew all too well the faults and challenges his kingdom faced, far from the vision the Devourer had set.
Feeling more determined than ever, Asher responded with conviction, "I share your passion, Silvan. Our kingdom is far from perfect, even if it may be better than most other kingdoms. But there's a lot to change, and I intend to finish what the Devourer started – a kingdom without unnecessary bloodshed, filled with peace and stability."
Silvan nodded firmly, his eyes narrowing slightly, "I'm so happy to hear that from you, Your Majesty. I can't wait to see such a day happen."
"But first," Asher continued, "we need the strength to protect ourselves. Our kingdom shouldn't fear threats from outside. Only then can we afford to fix the way our kingdom works. Otherwise, our enemies will try to take advantage of us while we are distracted."
Silvan nodded with furrowed brows as Leonidas chimed in, his expression grave and serious, "I agree with you, Your Majesty. These Draconians could wage war at any moment now that they are out for our blood and the pact is no more. We have no time to waste. We have to prepare ourselves for the worst."
Caelum interjected with a serious look, "Can we really survive a war against them? Our dragons can protect us for a while and even deal serious damage to them. But they have the resources to overwhelm us...to a great extent."
Asher, sensing the growing concern among them, offered a reassuring smile, "Don't worry," he said confidently, "As long as we can get back to our kingdom in one piece, the rest I will handle."
The three seemed surprised though they exchanged glances and wondered if this 'key' had something to do with it.
If someone like Drakar was so interested in stealing it, then it should be something very powerful.
However, inwardly, Asher was worried that Rowena might do something risky to rescue him since the news would reach her anytime now. But he also knew she would never do anything to put her kingdom and people in danger and that she was someone who carefully considered everything.
As the queen, she was brought up and taught to do so. It was the only thing that was making him feel somewhat reassured about not having to worry about her and the others back home.
Leonidas' eyes flickered as he remembered something and said with a sharp furrow of his brows, "But thinking about what happened...I never thought I would experience the power of the Golden Prince like that. Even after his death, a part of him still managed to almost get us killed. How in the seven hells did the Rustblood Clan get their hands on his blood?"
Asher's brows furrowed as he silently listened. But he remembered the fact that he ended up getting stuck in the demon world so many times. Someone could have collected his blood and stored it.
He was sure it can't be from his corpse since a dead body's blood wouldn't have any radiant mana due to the absence of life.
Caelum sighed and said, "It's very strange, but I have no clue about that. We were lucky we were far from the explosion, and Eradicator also protected us."
"Too lucky. Do you remember the rumors of how the Golden Prince was probably the only Hunter who could have taken on the Moon Guardian? Fortunately both are dead," Leonidas said with a cold glint in his eyes.
Caelum nodded as he said with a shake of his head, "All this made me realize how thankful we should be to our late king for killing him at the cost of his own life. I feel so bad for our queen, but I am sure she is proud of what her father has achieved to protect us and pave the way for the future. The entire realm must be thankful to him."
Asher's gaze lowered as his eyes hardened upon hearing his words, especially the part about Rowena.
"I am sure Your Majesty's name would be soon immortalized as well, or maybe it already is after everything you have achieved so far," Silvan said as his gaze landed on Asher, who raised his gaze and gave a brief smile.
Leonidas gave a proud and confident smile as he patted his chest, "There is no doubt about that. I refuse to die before I see Your Majesty fulfill the great Devourer's dream like you said." 𝙛𝙧𝙚𝙚𝔀𝙚𝓫𝒏𝓸𝓿𝙚𝒍.𝓬𝓸𝓶
Asher nodded with a smile, though inwardly, he didn't want to imagine what the future had in store for him.
For some reason, it was making him feel uneasy more than anything.
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