Chapter 419: The Duke's Nightmare
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The wind whistled in Duke Abel's ears. He found himself walking in a dark forest. The smell of rotting corpses floated through the air. Every corner seemed to contain eyes that were staring at him.
A light female voice would appear every now and then. Like a mother calling to her son, Duke Abel would walk involuntarily towards the source of the voice.
Whizz! An arrow suddenly flew at him. He dodged instinctively, and the arrow scraped past his face, leaving a deep gash and taking away some of his beard.
His heart pounded at the brush with death.
"Kill! Ah!" Cling, clang.
There was a chaotic commotion up ahead. There were screams, pained cries, and clanging of weapons. They traveled over, and Duke Abel was shocked. He sped forward.
He moved past a big tree and climbed onto a boulder blocking the way. Everything became wide open; a big field appeared before him. On the field, the demons and humans were fighting intensely... No, it wasn't a fight. It was a massacre; the demons were massacring the humans.
Duke Abel saw a Fodor Flaming Demon grab a human and bite off his head. He saw two Fodor Flaming Demons grab a soldier's head and legs and rip him apart in the air.
He also saw Kanorse, that powerful human Warrior, covered in blood. He killed many demons but was exhausted. A succubus walked over and whipped him, sending him to the ground.
The succubus didn't stop whipping. Every strike peeled away a lot of flesh until finally, Kanorse was turned into a white skeleton. In the last moment, Duke Abel saw Kanorse turn his head. He reached out to the duke, staring imploringly. "Sir, save me."
Duke Abel's heart shook. Kanorse was his beloved general. How could he do nothing?
With a clang, he unsheathed his sword and rushed over. But then, a low-level demon charged. It slapped him to the ground with a claw and stepped on his head, cackling.
"You call yourself a commander with that strength? You're nothing!"
"Hahaha, you're nothing!"
"You're trash! A failure!"
In a daze, Duke Abel saw the demons stop. They walked over, surrounding him and staring with mockery and disdain.
"Kill him!" a voice rang out.
Duke Abel felt his head get hit. His vision went black, and his heart palpitated.
"Ah!!" Duke Abel shot up in bed. The magic light beside him shone dimly with faint yellow light. He was surrounded by his familiar room.
It was a dream. Duke Abel let out a sigh. He touched his lower back; it was soaked with cold sweat.
Even though it was a dream, the powerlessness was still in his heart. The dream had been so realistic. Even after a long while, he was still shrouded by the listless feeling.
Reaching out his hands, Abel studied it. There were some calluses on it, some from holding a pen and some from holding a sword. They were all thin.
Martial arts? Power? Abel sighed deeply. It wasn't that he didn't want to be strong. When he was young, he'd trained seriously for five years. Unfortunately, he didn't have the talent.
Pushing the blankets aside, Duke Abel walked to the window. He stared at the fortress.
It was past midnight now but a clear moon hung in the sky, and there were torches all around the fortress. The vision was quite clear. From the castle, he could see that the opening in the first layer of walls had already been filled with sand and reinforced with magic. The bodies scattered throughout had been collected and burned.
From here, he could see the small mountain of ashes on the flatland outside the fortress.
Duke Abel kept staring in a daze. He seemed to see the fight from that night. Slowly, the scene melded with his dream. He once again saw that massacre and saw Kanorse, who had turned into a skeleton, reaching out to him.
"Ah!" Duke Abel shook his head violently, escaping from the illusions.
If the demons return, what can we do to stop them? Link appeared in Duke Abel's mind. Master Link might be able to stop them, but he's only one person... What if he's not here? What if the demons implement a surprise attack while he's not here?
Collapsing to the ground, Duke Abel covered his face and sat in silence.
If possible, he wanted power. He wanted to be as fearless as Link and wanted to become a respected god of war like Kanorse.
But he couldn't.
He became the commander because of his surname. He carefully maintained the balance within the army and had to guard against his elder brother's suspicions.
He was so tired.
If I'm powerful, I won't be so helpless. I'll even... even become the king of Norton. Ah, whatever. I'm just fantasizing.
Duke Abel shook his head. His cold sweat had dried, and he went back to bed.
He had insomnia that night.
The next day, Duke Abel was just as busy as before. He had to repair the fortress, hand out the rewards for the demons in the Black Forest, take care of military matters, enlist new soldiers, organize resources, and much more. Working from day to night, he was entirely exhausted.
At night, he went to rest. He fell asleep as soon as he laid down.
"Come, come." That motherly voice appeared again. The same dreamscape appeared again... It was another sleepless night.
For the next few days, Duke Abel kept repeating this dream. He could only watch as his soldiers were slaughtered. He couldn't do anything.
Why do I keep having this dream? Duke Abel was starting to fear nighttime. He hated this helpless feeling.
But night always fell.
This time, Duke Abel laid in bed with his eyes wide open. He was exhausted, but he was too scared to close his eyes. He kept them open, staring at the magic light.
He feared falling into that dreamscape again.
Suddenly, there was a soft clack. His head spun around, but he saw nothing. Just as he thought he was hallucinating from fatigue, a soft voice said, "Do you want power?"
"Who is that?" Duke Abel turned and saw a shadow appear in his bedroom. At the same time, he smelled something fragrant.
When he was young, he often frequented Hot Springs City and had his share of merry days. He knew at a whiff that this was the natural fragrance of a woman.
It smelled great. Duke Abel subconsciously sniffed and lowered his guard. No matter what, this smell couldn't be from a demon. However, anyone who appeared in his room late at night couldn't be anyone good.
"Who are you?" he asked. At the same time, he touched his sword's hilt. At any sign of trouble, he would unsheathe it.
"No need to be so nervous, duke." The shadow shook her head. Her voice was gentle and lovely.
Duke Abel wasn't naive though. He wouldn't be tricked with such basic techniques. "Get straight to the point and reveal your motive!" he growled.
As soon as he finished, milky white light shone from the woman's body. The starry light filled the entire room. A few seconds later, golden wings sprouted from the woman's back.
"You're an angel?" Duke Abel wasn't ignorant. He recognized her immediately from the sight.
The woman didn't reply. She walked over, body as soft as a snake until she arrived beside Duke Abel. She lowered herself and stared at the duke with slightly sharp eyes. "Duke," she murmured, "a commander bearing the fate of the human race shouldn't be powerless. Otherwise, your nightmare will come true."
"Did you bring that dream?" Duke Abel suddenly realized.
The angel looked at him sympathetically. "No, that is a scene from the future. One day in the future, the demons will return."
"We have a Legendary Magician..."
"No, he is not enough. Nozama, Lord of the Deep, is much more powerful than him. You are the commander... Abel, are you willing to be responsible for this future?"
"I..." Duke Abel's gut feeling said something was wrong, but the golden light, the beautiful woman, and the glamorous holy wings had to be real. The scenes from his dream appeared again. In a daze, he nodded. "I am willing, of course, but I don't have the power."
"God will bless you with power, just as he blesses his priests. Open your heart and accept him," the angel said gently. A Holy Grail appeared in her hands. It was identical to the Holy Grail he'd seen before, and it contained glowing milky liquid.
"Drink it. Once you drink it, you will possess superhuman strength."
Duke Abel accepted it. He tasted it and felt the warmth in the liquid. It was only a bit, but once in his mouth, all his fatigue melted away. He became spirited.
All his doubts disappeared, and he gulped down the liquid. The liquid entered his stomach. He could feel his body fill with indescribable power. It was like a fire burning in his gut. It flowed throughout his body. He felt like he could destroy everything.
He looked up at the angel. She was retreating slowly, her body blurring. Her voice came in the air. "Duke, treasure God's blessing and save humanity, destroy the demons... Remember your duties!"
Duke Abel took a deep breath. He rose and saluted seriously towards the fading light. "I will not forget my duty. I will rid the continent of darkness and destroy anyone who tries to stop me!"
There was a giggle in the air. Then after a while, the gold light disappeared. The room went back to normal.
If not for the power running through his veins, Duke Abel would think it was another dream. Thinking of his power, he looked at his hands again. With a thought, dark red aura became visible in his hands.
Why is it dark red? Shouldn't it be gold... Whatever, the power is real, and that's all that matters!
Duke Abel's suspicions only lasted for a second before the joy of becoming powerful took over. He thought of his duty.
Yes, the demons. Destroy the demons. I must destroy all the demons in the Black Forest-no, not just the Black Forest. All demons in Firuman are my enemy. I will destroy all darkness. God, I will not disappoint you!
After that, Abel quickly thought of his brother, King Leon. Leon is trash. He was just born a few years before me, and he ended up king. No, I cannot resign to this fate!
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