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“I admire your good deeds!” The younger sister sighed. “Even though we are from the Astral Mere, you still treat us with respect. Even the cell is full of mercy. The Sanctum really deserves its reputation.”
“We will answer every question you ask. Both of us have decided to leave the Astral Mere to join the Sanctum,” the elder sister said.
“I’m happy to know you two have decided to do the right thing and pursue the light that truly belongs to you two,” Lin Sheng said with a solemn face. “My question to you two is, what is the Astral Mere up to? They gathered the holders of the Sacred Vessel of Destiny, but at the same time, they tried to kill them in batches. Are they not having some other motive behind it?”
“I can’t tell for sure. But by the looks of things, after doing so many missions, we both think the Astral Mere is collecting all the Sacred Vessels and Paragons in the world. Both of them are the crystallization of the world’s essence. Many Sacred Vessels and Paragons could keep the world in the equilibrium.” The elder sister frowned.
“That is to say, the Astral Mere is trying to weaken the world’s potential?” Lin Sheng said.
“No. Instead of saying they are weakening the world’s potential, they are trying to find and use the Sacred Vessels and Paragons to achieve their aim through prediction. The holders of the Sacred Vessel of Destiny—if there is still power in it—are almost unkillable. Take Adolf, for example. If he still had the power of the Sacred Vessel, he would not have died. But unfortunately, he had lost the power before he was even captured. It was the Astral Mere who took it.”
“Then, where has all the power of the Sacred Vessels gone?” Lin Sheng felt that he was getting near to the purpose of the Astral Mere.
“It should be already in the hands of the sages of the Astral Mere,” the sister replied.
Now it was clear to Lin Sheng that by collecting the power of the Sacred Vessels and Paragons, the sages of the Astral Mere must be secretly plotting something.
“Last question. Disregarding the intruders of the other worlds, do you two know where the Astral Mere HQ is?”
The two sisters shook their heads from side to side. “No idea. Every time it was the sages who opened the portal to let us in. We don’t have the ability to access and leave the place on our own.”
“I got it. Thank you.” Lin Sheng nodded in appreciation. “What do you plan next?”
“We will stay here and convince more people to join the holy light team. The holy light is the only force that could resist the Black Tide out there. It is the only way, and our only hope.”
Obviously, they understood the consequence that the Black Tide was causing. The two sisters had that determined look in their eyes. Just by looking in their eyes, Lin Sheng knew they were sober, not brainwashed by the purification force field but knew what they were doing.
“Congratulations!” Lin Sheng held out his hand. The sisters, too, held out theirs, shaking his hand in turns. “May the holy light shine on you.”
Following a horrified scream, a blue-and-black armored figure fell out of the sky into the ocean that shrouded in Black Tide. The fall created splashes of tens of meters high. The impact generated rings of ripples that spread outward from the center of the impact, nearly creating a mini tsunami. On the other side of the sky, a man in white with braided hair was floating in midair, quietly looking down at the sea.
“Argus, are you feeling the pain? This is the price to pay for your betrayal.”
The sea surface opened and a blue-and-black figure lunged up with his halberd, making his last-ditched slashing attack. But it was useless. He had been severely wounded, already running out of strength. As powerful as the man would like to think his last attack was, the man in white parried it with just the wave of his hand.
“How silly!” The man in white waved with his hand and the surrounding air turned into a giant meat grinder. The air condensed to become nearly solid, slashing every inch of Argus’s body. In just a split second, his armor was shattered, and he suffered hundreds of bloody cuts on his skin.
Howling in pain, he turned around and wanted to flee. Just then, he froze as terror ripped through this body.
“That… that is…” His eyes were wide open, jaw dropping as he stared past Barbabia.
Barbabia had now sensed something amiss. Turning back his head slightly and looking back, he got the shock of his life.
“The Annihilatus? How could he be here?”
Before he could react to it, a gigantic nine-fingered hand, so large that it could block off the sunlight, came down from the sky and clutched at where Barbabia was. A massive shock wave ensued as if a bomb had exploded.
The powerful shock wave blew Argus, who was badly wounded and helpless, away. He tried to look in the direction where Barbabia was while he was still in the air. The space had become a sphere of darkness. His former master, Barbabia, had vanished and been annihilated along with his unique scent and energy.
“The Annihilatus! How could this small world have the Annihilatus? Crazy! This is crazy!” He turned around, summoning what remains of his strength to flee as quick and far as he could. He must find the nearest ‘island’ isolated from the Black Tide. Otherwise, with his condition right now, he would not last a day before he was turned into the Black Tide’s puppet, an imprisoned soul forever.
In the school, the sound of the quaint bell rang in the air. Lin Xiao hopped on to her most favorite motorcycle, putting on her crash helmet, waving a goodbye hand to her classmates before she rode out and slowly joined the stream of traffic.
It usually took her over ten minutes from school back to home. But the size of Shermanton had shrunk now. Ten minutes would be all required to arrive home. Lin Xiao cruised along the traffic, riding past streets and alleys. Not long after, she found herself arriving in front of a signless coffee shop. She did not know why she came.
“I’ve taken a detour just to come here. I must be crazy…” Lin Xiao slowed down, taking a glimpse of the coffee shop front. She had a weird feeling; without herself realizing, she had been thinking of coming to see the man, even if it was just for a glimpse. She had been finding this man mysterious and interesting. At last, she stopped her motorcycle, taking off her helmet and swinging her long hair back.
“Screw it! Since I’m already here, I might as well get something to drink before leaving.” She gave herself encouragement.
Getting down from the bike and making sure she had locked it, she then walked into the coffee shop. Lange was lying on a lounger chair, reading some book. Upon hearing someone coming in, he looked. His expression told her he was surprised.
“Here we meet again. You look like something good has happened today.”
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