Chapter 71

The six people stared at the mustached-shaped smoke wisp floating towards the ceiling.

Lillian’s mouth dropped open. “You ate a god?” Lillian asked. “What the actual f-“

Vur burped again and another wisp of smoke leaked out of his mask. “Excuse me,” he said and cleared his throat. “I didn’t eat him on purpose. He just kinda got swallowed. And it was just part of him, right?”

“I-I don’t understand,” the pope said with a pale face. “What have you done?!” His hands grabbed the sides of his head as he stared at Vur with wide eyes.

“Isn’t he still there?” Vur asked as he pointed at the ceiling. The cloud of smoke condensed and pressed itself into a corner. “Sorry,” Vur said and scratched his head.

“How dare you!” The pope roared as a white rune shone on his forehead. A ball of light emerged from his hand and took the shape of a two-handed battleaxe. A silver light rushed up his arms, solidifying as it traveled to his shoulders. “Even death cannot pardon you for what you’ve done!” His irises disappeared and his eyes started to glow with a golden light as he braced himself to swing.

“Dad! Wait!” Michelle yelled as she ran towards Vur. The pope swept his axe to the side, knocking Michelle over with sheer wind pressure. She tumbled along the ground and stopped when she crashed into the wall.

“Shatter!” The pope shouted. His loose white robes disintegrated as a wave of heat poured out of his body. Cracks formed in the air, distorting the axe’s image as it swung downwards towards Vur. Vur shifted his body back, dodging by a hair’s breadth. The pope bared his teeth as the axe slammed into the ground, creating a web of fissures that radiated outwards. Vur tilted his head. A second later, his masks shattered into pieces, revealing his golden eyes. The ring that saved his life in the naga arena more than ten years ago split in half and dropped to the floor. Lust’s blade disintegrated and its hilt fell from its sheath.

Vur frowned and looked at the fallen hilt. “You shouldn’t have done that,” he said as his eyes narrowed. Vur’s knees bent and his shoulders hunched over as he swiped his right hand horizontally. A black dragon claw, interlaced with bands of golden scales, materialized in the air a few meters in front of him. It raked towards the pope who blocked it with his axe’s haft. Vur slammed his left hand into the ground as the pope was sliding to the right from the previous impact. Another claw materialized above the pope and rushed downwards, forcing the pope to his knees. The pope’s gauntlets absorbed the damage from the blow even though the attack struck his back and head. Fractures formed along the armor on his forearms, but they disappeared a moment later as a white light covered the gauntlets.

Vur’s frown deepened and he alternated slamming the ground with his right and left hands. A barrage of dragon claws rained down on the pope. The pope’s face turned red and the veins on his neck bulged as he raised his axe above his head while struggling to stand. More and more cracks appeared on the silver armor, as if the regeneration couldn’t keep up with the destruction.

“STOP! Both of you, stop!” Lillian shouted as she raised her bow. The tip of her arrow shined as bright as the sun, blinding everyone in the room. A final crashing noise resounded through the room before it fell silent. The light dimmed, revealing a single standing figure. Vur stood with his forearms blocking his eyes. The pope was on his knees in front of the wall across from Vur. A human-shaped web of cracks was imprinted on the surface behind him. The golden light in the pope’s eyes shined brighter as he lunged forwards, swinging his axe towards Vur.

“Stop!” A wall of yellow smoke rose up in front of the pope, halting his forward movement. The smoke converged into a human shaped figure which placed its palm on the pope’s forehead. The golden light in his eyes dimmed as his irises returned.

“Grandfather,” the pope whispered as his eyes focused on the golden spirit. “I-“

A slap echoed through the room. “I didn’t raise you like this,” the spirit said as it retracted its hand. The pope touched his cheek and lowered his head.

The spirit turned to face Vur. “Forgive my grandson,” he said. “He was too impulsive. His devotion to us clouded his rational thinking.”

Vur paused, before nodding and standing up straight. “I know that feeling,” Vur said as an image of Yella flashed through his head. The pope raised his head and looked at Michelle who was standing with the support of her staff. He winced and looked at the floor, staying silent. After a moment, his eyes widened and his face snapped upwards to look at Vur. “You’re the dragon child!”

“What’s going on?” Lillian asked as her grip on her bow and arrow tightened, pointing in between Vur and the spirit. The pope opened his mouth to speak, but stopped as his grandfather sighed.

“A portion of Lady Solandra’s soul entered your body, granting you a blessing of increased perception and the right to manifest her weapons,” the spirit said to Lillian as he pointed at her bow. He gestured towards Vur. “We tried to do the same with this young man, but there’s a monster living in his soul. It latched onto Sir Edward and consumed most of him along with every other soul in that room. We only know this because a tiny bit of the collective soul returned to us and relayed what occurred.”

“What are you going to do to him?” Lillian asked with a quavering voice, arrow still nocked. Vur frowned and crossed his arms across his chest.

The spirit shook his head. “You needn’t worry. It’s not his fault that a monster is living inside of him,” he said. “There’s no permanent damage done to us; it’s not even a minor inconvenience.”

“Why do you call it a monster?” Vur asked as he bared his teeth. His eyes narrowed. “It’s my mother’s imprint.”

The spirit stroked his chin. “I’m afraid it’s not that simple,” he said as his gaze fell on the pope. He looked back at Vur. “I assume you were imprinted by a dragon.”

Vur nodded.

“What was inside you wasn’t a dragon, at least, not one that we’ve ever seen,” the spirit said. “It had horns shaped like a demon’s. Four wings and a blade attached to the end of its tail. Unleash its aura and you’ll see.”

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Lindyss frowned as a chill ran down her spine. She stopped etching runes on the tree in front of her and turned around.

“What’s the matter?” Tafel asked. Her body was covered with sweat as she poured mana into the tree.

“It’s Vur. He unleashed his awakening,” Lindyss replied and knit her eyebrows. Grimmy’s eyes opened and his lips quirked upwards.

“What exactly does that mean?” Tafel asked as she wiped her brow with her sleeve.

“Either he’s really, really angry, or he’s in a situation where he’s forced to go all out. It’s a bad situation, no matter which you pick,” Lindyss said.

“I’m coming with you,” Tafel said.

“Me too,” Grimmy said as his wings flared outwards. “I want to see my newest modifications in action.”

 

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