Plants were strange and messy in the marsh. Some trees, besides their huge crowns on the top blocking the entire sky, had "legs" like human beings but wrapped with red vines going deep into the soil and mud. The plants made the marsh look rather creepy and dangerous.
Vicente was hiding behind a big rock, about half his height. While the ground under his feet was quite solid and dry, which was rare in the marsh, the horrible smell pouring in his nose made him feel dizzy.
At this time, Vicente was sitting on the ground, staring at something in front of him in fear. On the black mud, there was a python as thick as a bucket crawling to him. Its eyes were giving out the unusual green light just like two candles. And the terrifying air the python possessed had driven away all the other creatures in the marsh.
Vicente was not a coward. He dealt with dead bodies all the time, which forged his bravery. However, facing the python, he had lost his ability to move because of the overwhelming fear. He was neither a knight squire nor a magic apprentice. He could do nothing to protect himself.
His legs soft, his body trembling, his teeth chattering, Vicente tried to stand up but could use no strength. He could do nothing but watch the python slowly approaching him.
He had never spent this long in the depths of the marsh. In the past, he only followed the paths he was familiar with, and once he found the special plants he needed, he would go back immediately. But this time, he had spent five days here, and most of the fruits he picked on his way had already been consumed. Now, he had encountered one of the most dangerous creatures in the marsh.
The python took its time. It was not in any hurry to enjoy its lunch. As it was becoming closer and closer to Vicente, Vicente could smell the stink from its mouth and see the strange scales forming weird patterns.
When Vicente had given up all his hope, the black python suddenly raised its upper body off the ground and stared at the muddy ground behind the rock with its big eyes. Sticking out, its dark-red, forked tongue was also covered in a layer of green light.
After a while, the black python suddenly turned around and left in a hurry!
Vicente had no idea what happened. He did nothing!
Finally, Vicente had a possible explanation for this. He buried the magic book and the pale palm behind the rock. Did they scare the monster away?
But they had been buried in the ground!
Gradually, he had a further guess. The black python probably sensed something that he could not. The black python probably sensed the air of death!
Maybe in the python's eyes, there was a hell in the rock!
After recovering a bit, Vicente forced himself to leave the magic book and the palm buried where they were and carefully set off for the edge of the marsh.
Half a day later, he approached the edge of the marsh in great caution. But he saw no signs or marks there.
Vicente was quite upset. He assumed that the trouble was pretty big and the baron was even having a difficult time dealing with it. After all, before he had some accomplishments, mistreating bodies was regarded as a very evil action. Even an ordinary man who did it would be put on the gallows.
He released a sigh and decided to wait for another five days. On his way back, he tried to gather more food.
"Shirley's dead?!" Baron Brenzell's eyes opened wide. He felt that he was in an unreal nightmare.
This night watcher had two big eyes and wide forehead, as well as sharp teeth. When he did not talk, he looked quite honest; however, once he grinned or talked, his sharp teeth were revealed, which made him look rather terrifying. In the baron's eyes, he looked identical to a demon.
Crazy Hound said, "Yes, to keep the secret of the evil sorcerer, she died under the divine power."
"You're out of your mind! All of you! How dare you torture her!" screamed the baron's wife.
The Baron grasped the last clue of his reason and stared at the night watcher. "So, so you are saying… Shirley didn't say anything! Before her death, she was still an innocent follower! You've got no evidence at all!"
The fire of anger and pain was roasting his guts in his chest. If necessary, he would collide his head against the gate of Cocus to death to tell the grand duke and the rest of the nobles that those night watchers had gone totally crazy, and they had to be removed!
Crazy Hound said, "The Lord told us that only the evil power could make her endure such severe punishment and confess nothing, and it was also the evil power that made her die before she almost confessed. Therefore, obviously, your daughter was lured by evil and had an affair with a sorcerer."
"Insane… All of you… insane…" Hearing the ridiculous words, the baron felt that the entire world had become so unreal. He just kept murmuring.
Crazy Hound grinned. "So, based on this, it's reasonable for us to suspect that your family also has something to do with the sorcerer because you two have agreed to marry your daughter to a vicious sorcerer. Please follow us back to the inquisition. This is the Lord's will, and command from the cardinals."
The baron and his wife's world had collapsed. Their only daughter had just died, and they were still struggling with digesting the pain. However, the crazy night watchers had put their claws on them.
The night watchers rushed up in a crowd and caught the baron and his wife.
"Let go of us! We're nobles!"
In a house in the city, Andrew and his two friends were totally shocked to hear the result.
"How is this possible? Shirley… She died?"
"They've caught the baron and his wife with no evidence?"
"They can treat us the same way in the future…"
Their faces now looked very pale, and they couldn't stop shaking. Their false accusation had led out a monster even more horrifying than a devil, whose name was "night watcher"!
"They are no way close to their daughter." The interrogator walked out of the chamber with a cold smile on his face.
"Got anything?" asked Crazy Hound.
The interrogator nodded. "A few years ago, when the war in Aalto was locked in a stalemate, they once secretly contacted a sorcerer. They cut it off later though when His Holiness killed the Liege of Death."
"Good. This has proved that our way surely works. They were hiding deep, but we still found them," said Crazy Hound proudly. He reckoned that, with their purest belief, night watchers could identify the corrupted people using their instinct even without direct evidence, which was also a better way for them to claim their accomplishment.
The interrogator grinned. "I never like those nobles who keep swaying back and forth."
"Put their daughter's body on the gallows for a week and see if Vicente will come out." The expression on Crazy Hound's face had turned savage as he said, "As for the noble couple, I believe the executioner has been waiting long enough…"
Andrew walked back and forth anxiously in the hall, waiting for information to come back from Cocus. His two friends had collapsed in the coach. What happened was totally beyond their expectation.
"Young master, Cocus told the nobles to stay calm…" The butler walked in, gasping.
Andrew felt that all his strength had been pulled out instantly. "I knew it, I knew…"
To their great shock, even if all the nobles were willing to unite together, they were just an idle threat to the Church!
Someone was knocking on the door at this time.
"Who is it?" asked the butler nervously.
"I'm here for my reward," said Crazy Hound, who just walked in.
Andrew and his friends were so startled that they jumped up. "You?!"
"So you won't keep your words?" Crazy Hound had a nice smile on his face.
"No, no… This is the rest of the payment." Andrew took out a bag full of Thales.
Crazy Hound weighed it and grinned. "Good. You're a good partner."
Then he said with a faint smile on his face, "Many thanks to you, Mr. Andrew. You've made us understand how powerful we are."
Then Crazy Hound turned around and left. Andrew was standing where he was like a stone statue. The wind coming in through the gate made him feel cold from deep inside.
A few days later, Vicente came to the edge of the marsh again but still found nothing.
He was very worried and decided to take the risk to go back secretly.
In the darkness, he sneaked back to his village. When he was about to "kidnap" a kid to get some information, he suddenly heard two peasant women talking.
"Poor Miss Shirley. I don't believe she was corrupted and lured by devils…"
Under the Church's propaganda, even a peasant woman knew how to use some big words.
"You're right. Miss Shirley is such a nice young lady, like an angel. Goddamn Vicente! He lied to Miss Shirley! If it weren't because of him, Miss Shirley wouldn't die in the inquisition and even be put on the gallows!" The other woman agreed.
The women's conversation was like a huge hammer that just gave Vicente's brain a fierce strike. His vision suddenly turned blurry, and he almost lost his balance.
The two women kept talking, and he had understood what had happened when he was hiding in the marsh.
His soul had been pulled away by the agony, and his mind had blanked out. He walked back to the marsh like a zombie.
Maybe he was blessed by the Goddess of Luck. On his way back, no one saw him, and he didn't encounter any monsters.
After a while, an extremely painful cry burst out somewhere from the marsh, and it was even bitter than a lonely wolf crying to the moon.
Vicente's face was covered in tears, and his eyes were ablaze with a ferocious flame of anger. He kneeled down on the ground, and his hands kept digging into the soil as if he felt no pain. His nails were completely broken from the digging, and his blood dyed the ground.
A few minutes later, two black books and a pale palm were dug out.
He picked them up, and hatred was the only thing left on his face.
"He never came?" asked Crazy Hound, who was hiding around the corner and staring at the body on the gallows.
Tamer smiled. "It's too obvious. Those sorcerers know."
"Poor girl. She died for him." Crazy Hound shrugged.
Gallows were only for "purifying" living people, so they didn't burn her.
Quite a lot of people stopped and reproached the evil woman colluding with devils and sorcerers. Only very few people knew Shirley in person and knew it wasn't true, but they dared not to say anything.
Among the crowd, a dark-skinned man stared at Shirley's body but remained silent. The way he looked at her was full of agony for he could not imagine the suffering that his lover once experienced, and he could not stop blaming himself for this. However, he eventually turned around and headed off for the city gate. He never looked back again.
Walking out of the gate, he suddenly took off the cross he was wearing. Gripping the cross in his hand, he made his vows. The tip of the cross pierced the skin of his palm, and his blood dyed it.
He put the cross in the wall beside the city gate silently and then slowly walked into the darkness.
"I will be back!
"I will be back to bring you back to life!
"I will be back, and I'll bring destruction and death!"
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