Chapter 169 – The Blood of Darkness
A vine shot out at Scarlett at a startling speed, but it was clear that Andesha underestimated the latter’s strength. Even though she was tired and hungry, she was able to take Brendel along with her and somersaulted into the air, dodging the vine’s attack.
Scarlett’s eyes were full of hatred as she stared at Andesha. She did not know that Andesha was one of the twelve leaders of the Tree Shepherds, but she knew that she was definitely not a match for her.
Andesha was taken aback and lightly mumbled to herself in surprise: “Hmmm? Isn’t the Acolyte of lightning a spellcaster type? An altered bloodline? My, my, what amazing luck.”
But the arrogant woman pulled back her whip-like vine and did not attack again, and instead looked at Scarlett with her light purple eyes: “You’re not my match. Come with me obediently, and this lady will not hurt you.”
Scarlett shook her head firmly.
“Tsk,” Andesha let a vine hang loosely, “humans are truly creatures who don’t weep unless they face death. Listen well, I cannot ensure that I don’t hurt you in the process.”
Scarlett merely readied her stance and prepared to attack anytime. Her fingers were curled into claws, and golden sigils suddenly appeared over her arms.
But Andesha denied her own guess: “No, it is not.”
As heretics who acted in the name of Chaos, the Tree Shepherds had an instinctive sense towards Mana movement. Even though the mysterious symbols on Scarlett’s arms seemed like they reacted with the Mana in the vicinity, there was a definite subtle difference.
It was more alike to a wizard’s Mana Sigils that they cast.
Andesha was getting increasingly curious. There were too many strange things with the little girl in front of her, and she could not wait to study her closely. She raised an index finger, and a vine whipped towards Scarlett. The latter dodged carefully to the sides, but the vine changed its direction as though it was alive and wrapped itself around her left wrist. Scarlett panicked a little and quickly clawed at it with her right hand, and actually tore it to pieces.
Andesha was a little surprised. Even though her vines seemed like it was quite thin, it was infused with a corrosive Element Power. It was highly resilient and even a normal magic weapon would not be able to cut through it easily and in fact get damaged by it, but it was torn to pieces by Scarlett’s nails.
However, she was one of the twelve leaders of the Tree Shepherds after all. During the time when Scarlett was dealing with the single vine, more vines broke through the earth below Andesha’s feet and rushed to Scarlett at incredible speed while she was distracted, and they easily overwhelmed her and bound the red-haired girl up.
Scarlett tried to resist, but Andesha’s vines pulled taut and restricted her movements. She gritted her teeth and used her mana to attack the blood crystal embedded in her heart. Lightning immediately fanned out around her body before they targeted for her heart.
In Andesha’s eyes, this act represented suicide. The majority of the Acolytes throughout the ages would do this instinctively through the Blood of Gods’s directive when they are captured by the enemies. This was done to prevent the factions outside the Tree Shepherds from gaining a sample of the Blood of Gods.
And Scarlett was doing the same thing with her own will to kill herself. Even though she could not fight back, her eyes bore into Andesha with great hatred. It was clear her blazing orange eyes had one meaning.
I rather die than submit.
“What are you doing!” Andesha gasped, her mind working quickly to try and dissuade Scarlett from doing this act.
And she finally spotted the unconscious Brendel. She stretched her hand out and a vine wrapped the near-dead youth and hoisted him into the air, while another vine with a sharp pointed edge was brought close to his throat.
“Stop your actions right now, or this boy ceases to live!” Andesha’s shrill voice invaded Scarlett’s ears.
The girl shuddered and her suicidal actions stopped immediately. Her teeth gnashed for a moment before she spoke again:
“Hmph, but this is for your own good, little girl.” Andesha relaxed before she smiled again, and Scarlett averted her head.
Andesha was certain that Scarlett will kill herself immediately if the youth was left behind. She could not help but feel a little conflicted. An Acolyte was quite useful to the Tree Shepherds, and not to mention the strange signs Scarlett which also made Andesha interested.
[But I can’t possibly bring a filthy man along— What in the name of Chaos, it’s this boy!]
“Brendel, is it? Tsk, tsk, how did he end up like this?” Andesha glanced at him before she realized in surprise, but she spoke sarcastically next: “Let me guess, this would be the handiwork of the people from Kirrlutz?”
Scarlett’s eyes went back to the woman in surprise.
“There’s no need to be surprised, there is nothing that can be hidden from me.” Andesha laughed mysteriously, though she noted there was a stench on him that she abhorred— The divine magic from the Holy Cathedral of Fire had left their marks on Brendel’s wounds. A scheme suddenly came into her mind “He’s your current lord?”
Scarlett did not answer.
“Your lord does not seem like he can live much longer,” Andesha patted her face in glee when she saw Scarlett’s body tremble, “Mana is pouring out of his body, and for people who awakened their Element Power like us, it is no different from our life leaving our bodies. Do you wish to accompany this male till he dies? That is fine, this lady shall accompany you in doing so.”
Scarlett gritted her teeth and answered earnestly:
“I know why you’re talking so much. You can save my lord. I understand, if you can really do so— I’ll follow you.”
It took a long time for the girl to finish her words.
“A wise decision.”
“But you should remember this. If my lord dies, then there is no meaning for me to continue living.” Scarlett’s eyes were cold.
“Threatening me, is it? What a passionate love, but don’t you worry. I will do exactly as I say, and that he will not die here.” Andesha gave a faint smile.
[This boy seems like he has offended the Holy Cathedral of Fire as well, and it is not impossible for him to become a member of the Tree Shepherds.]
Andesha spied on Brendel when she was searching for Faena. At that time, the youth was dealing with the Misthowler Warg, and his strength left a great impression on her. Dia was the one who supplied the youth’s name.
[He is quite the impressive youth.]
She walked up towards the youth and patted his face: “I’ll help you for the sake of the Acolyte of Lightning.”
“Can you really save him?” Scarlett felt uncomfortable when she saw Andesha’s actions. At that moment, she suspected whether Andesha was lying to her.
“Judging at the speed of his Mana loss, it will at most take another one or two hours before he expires. But saving him is easy, and I just need to replenish what is lost—” Andesha suddenly gasped in astonishment when she realized the severity of the youth’s injuries: “How quaint, he didn’t die immediately from such injuries? I would have thought that he’s an Acolyte if he survives such injuries, but since I do not detect the Blood of Gods, perhaps he is not a human? …… Well, he would eventually be one in any case.”
Scarlett heard Andesha’s mutterings and she roared: “What do you mean by that!”
Andesha’s head slowly moved to Scarlett’s direction.
Her eyes never looked more sinister.
“Then, child, in what manner do you think I would save him?” Her voice was pleasant, but Scarlett never felt more fear than she did now.
“You can’t use the Blood of Gods……” She could not believe how ruthless Andesha was and she struggled at once: “Stop!”
“Stop?” Andesha took out a black crystal before she stopped, waiting patiently: “Is that really what you want? Remember this, this is the only way you can save your lord, or he will definitely die.”
Scarlett was silenced. She stared at Andesha in disbelief, but she eventually spoke: “You……. You’re lying.”
“Of what reasons do I have to deceive you, child? I am not the priests from the Holy Cathedral who have the ability to raise the near-dead and fallen. I can save this boy, but this is my only way.”