Chapter 8

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It was midnight when Joshua poked his head out of the window. He exhaled deeply and resolved to exit the mansion.

“Hmm…” Joshua let out a short groan as he walked. The eerie lump where his mana hall should be was acting up. The pain was becoming more restrictive every minute.

The problem is the energy inside the lump, a subtle but familiar mixture.

Divine power, magic, and—

“Heurk—!” Joshua snapped and coughed up blood. On the bright side, it was clean, bright blood rather than the foul blood from when he died.

“Ugh—” For some reason, the energies that killed him had come back in time with him. They clawed at each other, engulfing Joshua in a terrible, shuddering pain.

At first, Joshua thought he had just lost his strength when he’d travelled to the past.

But that’s not it. He could still feel the energy working inside him.

After all, this was Joshua, the Undefeated Spear Knight of the Avalon Empire. Joshua was sometimes called the “absolute man” and considered the most talented person alive. He was renowned all across Igrant.

His senses told him that something was suppressing the power of the clashing energies…

“Lugia.” Joshua frowned.

His dear friend, Lugia. Somehow, Lugia’s enormous latent power was restraining the conflicting energy inside him. Perhaps Lugia would provide the solution to his bizarre condition.

The pain subsided, and Joshua hurried onwards.

“If I could make all three energies my own…” Even Joshua knew it was crazy. Magic and Divine power were antithetical. Not a single person, ever, had wielded both at the same time.

“A little North of the stable. Next to the house-sized rock.” Joshua mumbled to himself. Across the vast holdings of Duke Agnus, only Joshua knew this secret.

Joshua was getting close. He was about to pass the stable when…

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!” A high-pitched scream pierced his ears.

Joshua’s eyes flew open.

“This voice!” It had been a long time, and it was only a scream, but Joshua could never forget this voice. His heart – and his feet – raced violently.

A trembling woman in her late twenties was surrounded by three men. She was dressed shabbily, but her singular beauty shone through. Her eyes were a sparking emerald and her hair was the blue of a clam sea. Though her face was marred with suffering and shadowed by anxiety, she was beautiful enough to make anyone look twice.

It was Joshua’s mother, Lucia.


Lucia was in a very difficult situation.

“Let me go! Why are you doing this to me?” The bound woman spoke with a tremulous voice.

“Hehe. Lucia, let’s not do this when we know each other’s situation.” The man clutching Lucia’s wrists, Gort, sported a disgusting smile.

“What?”

“It must be ten years since the Duke embraced you, right? Don’t you somewhere to blow off steam, while you’re at your prime?” Gort gestured at Lucia’s body.

“Well, even if you don’t need it, we do. We have to take care of our needs from time to time, too.” Roid smiled.

“Then—! You think the Duke will ignore this?”

“What? You think the Duke will come running to save you?” Lucia could not refute Gort. “You’re just a lowly maid… Rather, you should consider it an honor to serve the Duke’s centurions.”

“Hehe. Can you believe this guy? Don’t worry. Today I’ll give you a taste of paradise,” Roid teased.

“Don’t even think about yelling. Well, even if you did, no one would hear.”

“You know we’re responsible for this area, don’t you?”

Lucia could only tremble.

“But… is this really okay?” Unlike the other two, Rols stepped back and muttered nervously.

“What’s going on with this fool, huh?” Gort scratched his head and laughed at his comrade.

“It’s just that— If that boy— Oh God, if he shows up!”

“Fuck! Then you take care of it!” Roid spat. His eyes hadn’t left Lucia’s body. “We came here to teach that bastard a lesson, didn’t we?”

“But—”

“Shut it! If you blabber about that bastard’s punches again, I’ll beat you down before he can!”

Rols shut his mouth.

“It doesn’t even make sense. Three centurions felled in one shot by a peasant child of less than ten years. He cleans horse manure!” They muttered to themself out of Lucia’s hearing.

“It’s crazy. Maybe he was possessed by a demon.” Roid nodded at Gort’s words. Rols flew into a rage.

“But obviously I—!”

“I told you to shut it!” Gort shouted. He made a disgusted face. “You can quit anytime, Rols! But if that kid did come back—”

“Joshua—”

“Joshua? Where the hell is my child!” Lucia had been frozen stiff, but shouted and screamed when she heard Joshua’s name.

Gort scowled, but then had an idea and smirked. He pointed to the lone tree next to the stable.

“I beat him up and hung him from that tree.” Gort let out a grim chuckle, wondering what Lucia was thinking now.

Lucia slumped. The shock of what she heard drained her energy in an instant.

“I can’t take it any longer.” Gort licked his lips and he leered at Lucia.

“Don’t do this, please—” Lucia desperately retreated.

“Hey Gort, can we start now? I think I’m going crazy.” Roid tugged at his pants and approached Lucia.

“But what if that guy shows up while you’re doing it?”

“We only need one person to deal with him.” Gort laughed.

“Hah!” Roid burst out laughing.

“Let’s start right away.” Gort let out a dark chuckle. When he reached Lucia, she bit his hand.

“Ouch! This bitch!” Gort slapped Lucia. Her screams sounded in succession, and her slender body sank to the ground.

“Not bad.” Gort clicked his tongue as he examined the maid.

“Hey, I think this is too harsh—” Rols said.

“This Duchess will take care of it, you coward.”

“What?”

“If you’re scared, just leave.” Seeing Rols, shut his mouth, Gort grinned. “Well then.” He approached Lucia’s unconscious body.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

The sound of unfamiliar footsteps echoed around them, amplified by the dark.

“Who’s there?” Gort’s head snapped towards the sound.

“You—!”

A boy approached from between Rols and Roid. A boy with dark blue hair and freezing blue eyes.

Joshua howled.

“I’ll kill you!”

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