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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The grim atmosphere caused by the students’ abnormal disappearance suddenly snapped, its direness giving way to the unexpected levity. Even Attie, who had been beyond herself in anxiety, felt her panic temporarily forgotten as she squinted her eyes at Mini Jawflower huffing and puffing in Baiyi’s palm, her eyes glinting with building interest.
The Soul Armature Practitioner could only excuse the accident with an awkward “Um, maybe the Alchemist’s potion has gone nuts? I mean, you know him. He’s not exactly the most dependable guy…?”
Devolving from its menacing “Jawflower X” level, the Jawflower was now about the size of a keychain and looked like a chick that had just been hatched. The little magical beast seemed to be too dumb to understand its current state and was instead happily running around in circles on Baiyi’s gauntlet.
Admittedly, although the Jawflower had retained its snappish trait, its new, little-chick size seemed to have flipped what was previously an annoyance to an oddly adorable charm. It was cute enough to nab Attie’s attention.
Baiyi cautiously poked Mini Jawflower in his hand. The creature, however, reacted by lovingly cupping its baby leaf-paws on his finger as if it could not stand to part with him.
Attie stared at it for a good long while before finally blurting, “C-can I cuddle it?”
“What if it bites you?”
“I’m sure it won’t. We’ve known each other since I was a kid, haven’t we?” Attie replied and spread her arms wide, beckoning Mini Jawflower into her embrace. After the creature accepted her invitation, she tightened her arm around it, her face glowing with affection.
It was so wholesome that Baiyi considered having the Jawflower remained in its puppy form. The only problem was to find a worthy replacement to guard the girls’ dorm.
“Alright, enough distractions,” Baiyi said to remind the party of the looming issue. He would return to the Jawflower’s trivial problem some other time, he decided.
“You said it yourself, Boss; the kids aren’t dead. We can at least throw that worst-case scenario out of the window,” the Hitman Walker began, noticeably calmer by now. “What we could do now is to find out what exactly happened.”
“Maybe we can get some clues by searching where they were last seen,” The Soul Armature Practitioner suggested helpfully.
They briskly but carefully combed through the footage showing the boys’ last appearance and identified their last location: an unassuming cave that had most likely belonged to a magical beast before it was being kicked out of its home by two unwelcomed human settlers.
It only took a few minutes for the four to locate the cave.
The campfire was still sizzling aloofly when the team arrived, its sparks hopping off the charred logs feeding its flames. Judging from the state of the fire, the two kids had only gone missing for about an hour or more.
Baiyi quickly extended his psychic power to envelope the entire cave into his senses, leaving no stone and earth unchecked. Alarmingly, he found nothing suspicious. There was no sliver of abnormal magical pulse that suggested foul play. The boys were truly not using any kind of spell-masking techniques to evade their instructors’ surveillance.
Not assuaging the teachers’ slow-burning dread was the fact that their sleeping bags, water canisters, and other camping equipment were still lying around, undisturbed, right next to the boys’ weapons. It could only mean that they had vanished without putting up any semblance of a fight nor struggle.
It meant that the boys met their fate without any foreknowledge.
“This is just weird,” Baiyi balked. “The more I think about it, the scarier it becomes. How the hell do you erase two live persons off their existence without leaving even a magical trace? If this story gets aired, panic is gonna break out!”
“Whatever is going on, one thing’s for sure. We gotta’ stop the Trial right now ,” the Hitman Walker replied.
Baiyi was a little surprised to hear the tremble in the Voidwalker’s voice. This was the first time the Hitman Walker had ever shown any visible hint of fear.
“Summon the other Voidwalkers. We need to look into this,” Baiyi declared gravely.
Attie pulled her attention away from Mini Jawflower and turned to the two sleeping bags sprawled on the earth. Then, as if she had found a clue, she suddenly cried, “Master, something’s not right over there.”
“Oh?” Baiyi followed her gaze and approached the sleeping bags. The Hitman Walker had searched them previously as Baiyi was scanning the surrounding with his psychic sense; there was only two erotica hidden inside. Really, the only inference one could make from this unexciting discovery was that these two boys had been doing some heavy reading (among other things) before they fell asleep. Since it was unlikely for the Northerners to have brought something so dishonorable with them, it could only mean that these novels belonged to Jeralt, who then lent one to his new friend.
“No, I wasn’t talking about those,” Attie clarified and crouched low, tossing the sleeping bags to a side altogether with her free arm and patted the earth below it. “I was referring to this.”
“What exactly is ‘this’?” Baiyi stared blankly. He had scanned the earth earlier and had found nothing strange or anything remotely related to the Law.
“This space has been… moved. Like, it moved… It’s like, um… Urgh, I’m terrible at explaining,” Attie moaned dismally after a struggle for words.
An idea struck her and Attie produced the War God’s Sword from her storage pouch. She activated it, its tri-colored lights smoothly extending out of the hilt at her command, and sliced a chunk out of the soil where the sleeping bags were. She then put the chunk right back at the space it came from.
The jagged edges merged with the surrounding soil, and suddenly, it was as if the earth had never been tampered with at all. There was no visible change, no visual differences or clues, and not even a smidge of magical pulses from her operation. It was as if Attie had not done anything to it at all.
“Something similar to that happened here,” The Kitty Cat Maid said finally.
Baiyi sank into ruminations. The War God’s Sword appeared to be a weapon so sharp that it could cut through anything in the universe, but that observation was untrue. No matter how imposing and lethal the sword’s tri-colored blade was, it was purely cosmetic, without mass and temperature.
The sword only worked because it was a medium to channel the War God’s very own Arbiter Right over Space. When one used it to cut anything in this reality, what they were really doing was severing the fabric of space the object was on. As a divine instrument of Spatial Law manipulation, there were far more uses to the War God’s Sword then to teleport its user or to severe spaces — a fact Baiyi had realized ever since he crossed blades with Attie back when she was still the King of the Steppe. Even so, neither Attie nor himself had been able to unlock more of its dormant functions, and so most of the time, the two could only use it as the sharpest weapon they had and maybe as an emergency flashlight. And how could he forget that it was also sometimes used to contact his scatterbrained, godly pal?
Other than that, however, the War God’s Sword functioned like an actual sword so much that Baiyi almost forgot it was a Divine Regalia with a plethora of unused and undiscovered features. Attie’s previous demonstration — cutting a plot of space and then merge it back — was clearly one of the latter; Baiyi just never came across this particular feature before. ‘Not surprising that the Kitty Cat Maid would discover that function first though,’ Baiyi had decided, ‘Since she is the War God’s personally-appointed Messenger.’
“Hmm. Are you telling me that your War God had taken a liking of those two lads, and so conspired a divine abduction to make them his newest Messengers?” Baiyi teased as he sized the ever-adorable Kitty Cat Maid up.
‘How did the War God even change his taste from cute girls to rough, burly men?’ He wondered, amused.
“Impossible. The War God loves me so much, there is no way he would need any other messengers,” Attie countered firmly. “This was just how they’d disappeared. It’s definitely not something Lord War God nor I did. Someone else caused this.”
Indeed, quite a few functions of the War God’s Sword could also be accurately mimicked by normal spatial spells by an experienced sorcerer. What these spells could not achieve, however, was its swift convenience nor the untraceable seamlessness, because of course, a Divine Regalia had to be superior to anything a mortal could come up with.
It was not exactly implausible to suspect someone else being the perpetrator of the boys’ disappearance using conventional spatial spells, but how did they manage to erase all traces of their magic?
“Can you contact your boss up there?” This was the time for a divine consultant.
“I tried, Master, but Lord War God seemed to be busy. Didn’t give me any response,” She replied in chagrin.
“Really? Hmm, maybe he didn’t think this place’s suitable.”
Regardless, the Trial of Parazonium was halted and declared aborted by the Hitman Walker, who also delayed the rest of the Knight faculty’s exam as he worked on finding a replacement for the Trial. Baiyi, meanwhile, brought the Kitty Cat Maid back to her chalet before asking the girl to try contacting the War God again.
After placing Mini Jawflower on an animal-themed tin flowerpot found around her courtyard, Attie fished out the War God’s Sword and tried to connect with the War God once more.
“Still no answer, Master. What’s going on? In the past, even if Lord War God were busy, he would at least leave me a message that says, ‘Am busy. Please leave a message after the beep. Beep .’ But there’s nothing today!” Attie muttered anxiously.
“Oh no, oh no! Has he really found himself some replacement Messengers?” She wailed.
“Maybe? Or! He just didn’t notice your call. Hmm… I guess I’ll have to pull out my old tricks again,” Baiyi replied before his fingers nipped on Attie’s cheeks, pulling tautly.
“Owwww, owwww! Stop, Master! This h-h-hurts!” Attie whimpered.
“How about now? You feel him stirred yet?”
“Ow… N-no,” She replied helplessly.
“Oh, playing hard to get, are you? So, you want me to go further, huh?” Baiyi said to no one in particular and raised his hands, deciding that groping the girl’s breasts would probably do the trick.
He was about to do just that when he noticed how utterly straight her chest was. There was not even a little bump for him to grab onto at all. In a flash, he found himself lost at where exactly to place his hand to meet the definition of “groping”, causing his hand to remain awkwardly suspended in midair.
It was at this moment when Attie froze, her anguished sobs and whimpers suddenly ceased. Then, she raised her hand high in the air before walloping Baiyi’s mask so hard it fell off from his hollow helmet-head and flew all the way to the other side of the room with a loud clang.
That was definitely not Attie.
“You despicable piece of s***. Trying to accost my Messenger, Mortal? I thought I had warned you to never bully my Messenger, haven’t I?” The War God-possessed Attie glowered with the god’s signature genderless, monotone voice.
“I was just desperate to talk to you!” Baiyi’s voice blared from the other end of the room where his mask was — apparently, his voice-producing enchantment was located on the mask itself.
“What part of being busy do you not understand?! I am a god, not a babysitter!” War God-Attie snarled and waved. Baiyi’s mask rose in the air and quickly flew into her hand.
“What part of ‘it’s an emergency’ do you not understand?!” Baiyi roared, with (╬￣皿￣) on his mask. The Fifth Walker was just as exasperated!
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