Despite the huge spectacle that was happening in front of him, Xiang Yong’s thoughts couldn’t help but drift away to his childhood. Back then, the war that had made Qiu Ling into the dragon king had long been over. But there had been attacks every now and then, where the demons tested their luck. It was never anything big since the demon king didn’t agree to the war but it was still bad enough to terrorize the people that were living closer to the borders. His family had been one of them.
He still remembered that day as if it had just been yesterday despite the tens of thousands of years that had already gone by: The bloodcurdling screams in the distance, the roaring of the fire that lit up the night, the maniacal laughter of the demons that finally rushed into their village as well … He had been so afraid.
At that time, he had only been a small child. He didn’t know what to do and there was no way for him to help his family. His older sister grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and pulled him away, trying to flee into the night.
He still remembered how her anthracite hair billowed in the wind, a hint of red in there from the glow of the fire, the smell of the oil that she used on it almost smothered by the thick smoke.
Her brows had been tightly furrowed but she hadn’t been panicked. She had never been. In all these years at the border, he had never seen her lose her calm. Once, she had told him that this was the secret to staying alive: If you did not panic, if you kept a calm mind and slowly analyzed the situation you were in, then you would be able to make the best decision and thus have a chance of survival that others lacked.
That day, his sister who had always been a brave warrior as well, finally decided that it was too much for her to bear as well. Thus, a tactical retreat was her only choice.
It was a pity that sometimes, even giving your best was not enough.
Soon enough, the sounds from the village behind them were reduced to the crackling of the fire and the sobbing of those that were still barely alive. The demons had gone further in another direction, leaving behind nothing but ruins.
Xiang Yong had thought that they were saved. But just then, another group approached from the other direction. His sister had cursed and finally, tried to flee. But with a roaring blaze on one side and two groups of demons on the others, there really wasn’t much of a place where they could flee to.
And thus, by just being half a beat too slow, they had finally found themselves in front of those very demons they had tried to avoid. His sister had tensed, her nails elongating into sharp claws while she whispered to him to hold onto her back tightly.
A dragon child was not able to change its forms. Even when they started to learn, it wouldn’t always succeed. And the him on that day still hadn’t been able to do so. He was a liability. He was what dragged her down. Fighting while still protecting him … that was much too hard.
It was at that time that the figure of a man clad in black swept in. His robe and his dark hair seemed if they were a part of the night themselves. He whirled around, a sword in his hand, not even bothering to take on his other form as if those demons were nothing in his eyes.
Well, watching him, it was obvious that he indeed did not need to worry about them: One by one, the demons fell below his blade, most of them not even having the chance to retaliate. And this man did not seem as if he had any trouble fighting like this. There was no trace of exhaustion, no sign of strain. It was as if this was second nature to him.
When the last demon fell to the ground, the man merely shook his weapon, making the blood clinging to his blade drop to the ground. Then, he dashed away. He didn’t even so much as glanced in the direction where Xiang Yong and his sister stood as if he hadn’t noticed them at all.
The two of them only stared at his receding back in a daze. Their savior … had just left like that? It seemed impossible but there was no other explanation to be found. It made them reel with shock.
They only came back to themselves when a man with flaming red hair appeared in front of them, his fiery brows furrowed together. “The man just now, where did he go?”
They turned to him in puzzlement. Xiang Yong’s sister who had always been strong only weakly raised her hand to point in the direction. When the man turned to leave, she couldn’t help but call out to him. “Who … Who was he?”
Even though she asked, she didn’t get an answer from the man with the red hair. He just sped off, leaving them in confusion. Thankfully, he was not the only one rushing over there. One of the others waved, pointing in the same direction. “Hurry up! His Majesty went in that direction. We have to catch up with him!”
That was how they found out that the person who finally saved them had actually been their king. Knowing that, they were even more puzzled why he wouldn’t at least have mentioned his name.