ATAPOW Chapter 212
Chapter 212: Mutterings
A sky enveloped with thick black smoke and a ground drenched in fresh blood. A desolate wind swept through, stirring up strips of fabric soaked in blood as they surged into the lifeless houses, evoking howls and wails from vengeful spirits.
The dilapidated street leading towards the imperial city was strewn with the gruesome sight of fragmented body parts. A stagnant scarlet and charred black draped over the area, overshadowing the clamorous and vibrant scene of the past.
Her fair hands utterly tarnished with sins and her silvery silhouette drenched in fresh blood, she resembled a rakshasa who had killed her way out of the depths of hell.
Like boiling hot oil being poured into his brain, a torrent of scenes he had deliberately buried deep in his heart surged uncontrollably into his chaotic mind.
For a long time, those memory fragments had haunted him like a malady rooted deep within his bones. They had inundated his thoughts when he least expected it, much like water breaching a dam.
Despite his prolonged struggle in repressing these memories, these fragments deeply embedded within the recesses of his mind remained unscathed with the passage of time. Instead, they incessantly festered and grew more intense with every passing moment, making life worse than death for Ji Bai when they resurfaced.
As the rapidly expanding void seeked to completely devour his heart, his logical side teetered on the brink of being engulfed.
As if seeking a release, fresh blood dripped out from between his gritted teeth, tracing a path down the seams of his helmet before landing on the floor.
‘So I’ve already been tainted before that.’
‘Even if I am, that doesn’t really change anything… This hardly explains anything, does it? I mean, it’s not like that can be taken as proof of anything.’
‘Moreover, what does it matter if humanity was the one to initiate the conflict? I am a knight of humanity, not a knight of the Asiatic Cat Race.’
‘…Besides, they’re just demons. Why should I care that they’re killed… right?’
“That’s right~ Who cares if I kill them? Right?”
“She was just a meddlesome Asiatic Cat Princess, right? The weak can never defy the strong. This is the most fundamental rule of the world.”
“That’s a complete load of crap…”
“Oh~? Don’t tell me you’re still unaware that your actions and demeanor don’t resemble those of a knight? No, no, no. In my eyes, you’re nothing more than a vampire masquerading as a knight!”
“Does your life solely revolve around those long-forgotten creeds that have faded into obscurity…? That’s sooo boring. Why not accept me and become vampire royalty, a position superior to all others!”
“You’re no longer a Knight King. Lasombra Bai Ji~ That is your name now. Don’t tell me you believe the human alliance will accept a vampire like you?? Ji Bai is long dead…”
“Come, accept me. This isn’t your fault. Embrace my strength, and afterwards, we will go to the human alliance and get your revenge!”
“Eeeh? …What is this white hair?”
Like a resounding wake-up call, Lil’ Sha’s perplexing words jolted Ji Bai’s hazy consciousness awake.
Having snapped back to reality, Ji Bai’s pupils instantly narrowed, and he subconsciously began to scrutinize his body.
‘As I thought, my body has become noticeably smaller than usual …’
The pain from her shrinking bones elicited a moan from her lips.
‘This is not good! My voice is already beginning to turn shrill. If this goes on…’
‘Also, my hair, my hair!’
She promptly tucked the long hair that was on the verge of spilling out from the seams of her helmet back in place.
Now fully conscious of her surroundings, Ji Bai, or rather, Bai Ji, hastily fastened the clothes and armor, which suddenly felt oversized and thick on her body before fearfully swallowing a mouthful of saliva.
Fortunately, she was crouched down and could maintain a facade, or so she hoped.
“Ji Bai, are you really alright?” The faint blood smell pervading in the room, as well as the sudden change in Ji Bai’s voice; All of that did not escape the notice of Lil’ Sha.
She could faintly discern that his current state was not merely just a meltdown.
‘Could it be that he had sustained a hidden injury during his encounter with the trolls earlier, but chose not to speak about it for fear of damaging his reputation?’
Given that she was someone who understood Ji Bai’s taciturn personality, she found it to be extremely likely.
“If you’re injured, just admit it. Seriously, is saving face really that important to you… And what’s the story behind this strand of white hair…?”
“Don’t touch this Miss… me! Stay away from me!” Despite approaching ‘him’ with good intentions, Lil’ Sha was met with ‘Ji Bai’s’ angry rebuke to stay her distance.
The latter then pursed ‘his’ lips, as ‘his’ slightly high-pitched voice became low, muffled and fuzzy.
Following which, ‘he’ adopted an extremely awkward posture, incessantly scuttling away from Lil’ Sha in a crab-like manner.
The sight of a grown man performing such an action left everyone at the scene speechless. However, if one were to articulate their thoughts, they would likely describe it as an endearing display of clumsiness.
“Obscene middle-aged man, you…” Ji Bai’s voice made Lil’ Sha slip into a slight daze, Following which, she frowned her eyebrows, as a nagging feeling of familiarity struck her.
“…My apologies. I’m feeling a bit exhausted. Can you let me rest for a bit?” ‘Ji Bai’ intentionally lowered ‘his’ voice, as ‘he’ covered ‘his’ face and turned away.
“Are you really okay?” Lil’ Sha gazed at the back of his helmet, her expression slightly concerned.
‘The high-pitched voice from earlier, why does it feel… somewhat like a little girl? And I feel like I heard it somewhere before.’
For that brief moment, Lil’ Sha had a foreboding feeling. She disregarded Ji Bai’s seemingly hollow warnings and resolutely advanced toward ‘him’, who had curled ‘his’ body up to the corner of the room.
Suddenly, a slender hand grasped her arm.
“Let Mr. Ji Bai calm down.” Nael heaved a sigh and spoke in a soft voice as she stopped Lil’ Sha from investigating further.
“From the way he is acting, it’s clear that he’s not in a great mood. I believe Your highness’ actions would only make the situation worse.”
“…Alright.” Lil’ Sha heaved a sigh upon seeing Ji Bai huddled in the corner, refusing to get out.
‘Why is Obscene Middle-aged Man behaving so strangely after seeing these documents?’
Nael and Lil’ Sha were not naive.
Although Lil’ Sha had a rough idea in her mind, it remained just that — a conjecture. The scenario she envisioned was so dramatic that she dared not dwell further on her thoughts.
‘Perhaps he’s reluctant to admit he’s been injured. It’s plausible that the emotions conveyed in those letters have affected him, causing his emotions to spiral out of control.’
‘But he had never came across me as someone melancholic and sentimental’
Lil’ Sha had a faint and nagging feeling that the person before her was hiding a lot from her…
“Obscene Middle-aged man, when you are ready to reveal everything, come find me. I will lend you my ears anytime.” Lil’ Sha delivered this meaningful sentence with a serious tone before following Nael out of the room, closing the door behind her.
As for Nael, since there were no classified secrets hidden in the documents kept in the room, she complied with Ji Bai’s request and left the room.
After a brief moment, the only sounds that remained in the room were the crackling of burning firewood and the faint sound of panting.
“Clank…” An iron helmet crashed to the ground, letting out a crisp sound.
Two petite, jade-like hands fumbled their way out through the collar of the chain armor. Grasping the edge for support, a small head, adorned with silver hair, emerged.
“Huff, huff, huff…” Unlike ordinary occasions, the silver-haired girl was completely devoid of clothing. Her white skin, which seemed as if it could break away from a gentle gust of wind, was exposed to the scorching hot air.
With great effort, she managed to free half of her body from the armor. Without wasting any time, her small feet quickly kicked and pushed before she finally freed her body from the suit of armor.
The mirror placed in the room reflected her somewhat weary and disheveled scarlet eyes.