Chapter 31: You Are My Faith (XII)
Shang Ke leaned against the soft blanket and closed his eyes to rest. His wound had been rebandaged and he had changed into a robe. The front was slightly open, allowing the Flaming Red Sky to be seen faintly. A couple strands of hair flowed down, scattering across the blanket.
Tylor held some of the strands in his hands and suddenly spoke, “Shang Ke, after we seal the tree, live with me, alright? Let me take care of you.”
Shang Ke opened his eyes and looked at his serious expression before speaking with a smile, “I can take care of myself.”
“You know what I mean.” Tylor’s gaze was full of devotion, a faint fire flickering in the depths of his eyes.
“Tylor, you best not forget, you are a prince.” Shang Ke said as he looked down at Pupu, who had fallen asleep on his stomach.
“I already renounced my inheritance right when I had come of age, and I am now just an ordinary member of the imperial family.” Tylor’s tone was cautious as he continued, “I may be unable to allow you to flaunt your status openly, but I vow to only be loyal to you for my entire life.”
Shang Ke’s heart was touched. This man seemed to fall for him every time. He obviously didn’t have any memories of the past worlds, but he could always find him among the crowd of other people and single him out, and give him his heart.
Ignoring both gender and identity, he was so focused on his feelings that it made it difficult to resist him.
Shang Ke knew that his heart was already touched by him and he really wanted to love him without worry. However, before his third mission ends, he was unable to promise him anything.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t promise you.” A delicious meal had been placed in front of the ravenous him, but he could only ruthlessly reject it.
“Is it because of my identity, or my gender?” Tylor’s gaze swept past his eyes, lips, jaw, Adam’s apple, and collarbone, one by one.
“No,” Shang Ke replied, “It’s because of my identity, and my gender.” As someone specialized in dying, he felt that he first had to throw off the scum man called “Death God” before he could dip a finger into the promising young man. (Death God: A scum man? Want to try and see whether I will kill you right now?)
“You can’t change your identity.” Tylor held Shang Ke’s chin and hooked a hand on his waist before whispering by his ear, “But gender, perhaps we can overcome that.”
The moment after his words fell, a burning hot tongue replaced it to explore his ear, sucking it.
“Don’t move.” Tylor curbed Shang Ke’s wish to move away, speaking in a husky tone, “Don’t wake up Pupu.”
While Shang Ke hesitated, Tylor’s lips swept past his chin to his Adam’s apple, before continuing down…
“Tylor!” Shang Ke quietly reprimanded the other man, “Stop it before you go too far.”
Tylor raised his head from his chest, his eyes flickering with mirth as his lips quirked in a faint smile, “Shang Ke, it’s not like you feel nothing for me.”
He was already having a hard time resisting, so could he please not seduce him, alright?!
Shang Ke pulled a long face, doing his best to appear sincere.
Tylor laid down beside him and helped him to pull the blanket that had slid to his waist back up, gently speaking, “Don’t worry, even if I want to do something, this isn’t the place for it.”
Shang Ke glanced at him, before leaning back and turning away from Tylor. He went to sleep while holding Pupu.
Tylor watched the two figures sleeping together. He didn’t shift his gaze for a long, long time…
Kaiser and their group continued on their journey, and on the way, they met several groups. Just like Philippines had said, not a single one was in good condition. Without exception, all of them had been invaded by the devil qi, and it was only in the degree of severity that they differed.
Despite Shang Ke doing his best to treat them, he could only save some of them. In the end, Tylor had no choice but to prohibit him from saving anyone else when he could barely walk.
Five days later, the group had expanded to around sixty people when they finally arrived at the center of the marsh.
Everyone could finally see up close the Devil’s Tree that had disturbed the continent for thousands of years.
The tree was approximately one hundred meters tall, and its trunk around fifty meters wide. Roughly thirty people would be needed to wrap their arms around it. Its branches spread and weaved together far above them like a large umbrella. The tree’s leaves had devil qi condensing and flowing around them, burning like black will-o’-wisps.
Everyone felt as if they had fallen into hell, and before their eyes was only darkness. Besides the dense devil qi, there was nothing else.
The Devil’s Tree pressure made breathing difficult for everyone. Their hearts stirred restlessly and their legs froze. They were completely unable to move.
The fear, cold, pain, and pressure… drowned nearly everyone.
They lost their senses and sank into a never-ending nightmare, incapable of resisting.
Of over seventy people, barely two or three people managed to maintain their clarity.
Shang Ke gripped Tylor’s hand and helped to absorb the devil qi within his body. At the same time, he reminded him, “The magic crystal.”
Tylor regained his composure and fished out a transparent crystal from his pocket.
At least three magic crystals were needed to make a boundary.
Shang Ke also helped to absorb Kaiser’s devil qi, and then the horticultural master Sindi–who was the first one to break away from the devil qi invasion out of everyone. The three of them constructed a boundary.
They held the magic crystal and imbued all of their faith within.
Gradually, the magic crystal began to shine, flickering like a small firefly in the dark.
Under the shining light, many people returned from their murky states and took out their own magic crystals with difficulty, joining the others in releasing their faith.
Philippines, Max, Amy, Youri… with each crystal lighting up, the rays of faith power became stronger and stronger.
Although Shang Ke only found four of the warriors that had previously sealed the Devil’s Tree, they had found many helpers. Although their powers of faith were incomparable to those of the seven all of them together should be enough to seal it.
However, because of Shang Ke’s protection, most of the people had not undergone the devil qi’s test and built up their resistances. Therefore, after setting foot into the place of the devil qi’s origin, they were very quickly invaded by the devil qi, with the devil qi penetrating deeply.
One after another, they turned into apostles and completely lost their senses, randomly attacking those near them.
In the end, the situation that Shang Ke had worried about the most still happened.
Tylor immediately stopped infusing his faith and told the others, “Kaiser, you guys continue to seal the Devil’s Tree. I’ll be in charge of protecting you guys.”
He took out his weapon and stood in front of Kaiser and the others. At the same time, he also warned Shang Ke, “Stay by my side. Don’t stray too far.”
Shang Ke held Pupu and nodded.
The devil qi invasion spread like the plague, and in just a few minutes, half of the group had been invaded.
Tylor fought four to five people who had gone crazy in an intense battle. The cries of pain, the clash of swords, the angry yells, and so on all jumbled together in the confusion.
Shang Ke took a look around. At present, there were thirteen people who had lit up their magic crystals. Sealing the Devil’s Tree would take five hours. With Tylor and the other’s strength, handling a dozen people should be fine, but regretfully there should be other low level apostles hiding in the darkness. The Devil’s Tree would not allow humanity to seal it.
Even if there weren’t ten thousand devil apostles in the continent, half of that number was quite possible. The number of those in the initial and middle stages of invasion was even less. Although it was impossible for all of them to be recalled by the Devil’s Tree, a couple hundred should still be possible.
They were only a step away from completing the mission. Shang Ke did not want anything to spoil it from happening.
He walked behind Youri and took the harp from his back.
Youri was focused on the magic crystal, and so he did not notice the movement behind him.
Shang Ke held the harp and sat cross-legged. He raised his head to look silently at Tylor, who was locked in combat. Then, he took out a magic crystal and handed it to Pupu, reminding her, “Pupu, don’t let go of this no matter what, alright?”
Pupu grasped the crystal and nodded solemnly.
Shang Ke smiled and rubbed her small head, before placing his fingers on the strings and beginning to play…
Tylor suddenly turned back when he heard the familiar sound of the harp. As expected, he saw Shang Ke holding the harp, playing not too far from him.
“Damn it!” Rage flashed through his eyes. Was this guy insane? No matter how strong his faith was, absorbing devil qi in its place of origin, it would be impossible to suppress such violent devil qi!
However, at this moment it was no longer possible for him to stop him. There were more and more apostles appearing from all directions, and their situation was becoming increasingly dangerous.
There was a bloodthirsty light in Tylor’s scarlet eyes as he raised his gleaming sword and rushed forward like a ferocious beast. Blood danced around the sword, accompanying the sweet sound of the harp.
Dark tears flowed from Shang Ke’s eyes, and the devil qi twisted around him like black flames. His fair skin had become an even brighter white, his lips were red as blood, and his long hair moved even when there was no wind. He looked like a god who had descended from hell, both devilish and beautiful.
The music carried his power of faith and slowly absorbed the devil qi from everyone else’s body into his own. They formed strips of light in the darkness that flowed to him.
Shang Ke’s eyes were completely enveloped by the darkness, and his hair burned like will-o’-wisps as black tears flowed down his fair face, disappearing into fog as they made contact with the air.
Those who were invaded by the devil qi gradually regained their reason. Those who had long turned into apostles also began to show signs of confusion.
As Tylor and the other’s battle grew on an increasingly larger scale, their disadvantage gradually shifted.
The harp was still being played, sinuous and melodious, fluctuating between higher and lower pitches. The devil qi in its surroundings began to crazily bubble up, colliding intensely with everyone’s condensed powers of faith.
Right at this moment, ten more people suddenly leaped out from the darkness.
Without exception, they were all King level apostles, both quick and strong. Because of their surprise attack, in just a few minutes, three magic crystals no longer shone.
The devil qi within the King level apostles was stable, and the melody from Shang Ke’s harp had a very limited influence on them. The battle once again sank into a critical situation.
Shang Ke slowly raised his eyes, a dark fog rushing from within. The fingers that were flying over the strings quickly waved and a burst of hurried harp music surged up violently, like a wave.
Shang Ke only had one thought in his mind: even if he dies, he can’t let the sealing fail!
The harp’s power of faith suddenly rose up, going straight for the King level apostles like a hurricane.
They became aware of Shang Ke’s threat, and immediately dispatched a few apostles to deal with him. Tylor immediately moved in front of him, blocking them off with his sword. He refused to allow any of them to take another step closer.
With the passage of time, the number of dead bodies littering the ground grew increasingly. The scent of blood filled the air, but the devil qi has lessened. A light gradually appeared in their dark world.
When the completion of the sealing was within sight, four out of the ten magic crystals suddenly went out.
At least seven types of faith were required to seal the Devil’s Tree. If there were only six, it simply couldn’t be done. The devil qi that had dwindled suddenly surged, almost completely overtaking the remaining six.
Was this the end?
Despair gradually emerged in everyone’s expressions.
No, there was still hope.
Shang Ke’s harp still had not stopped.
Everyone’s gazes followed the sound, and they were shocked to find that Shang Ke’s body was completely wrapped by devil qi. His figure was faint, like a watery reflection. Only the flickering of the harp’s power of faith and those five bloody fingers could be seen clearly.
The golden strings were full of blood, while his fingers were badly mangled. But even so, he continued to play without stopping, and the harp sounded just as melodious and emotional as before.
Everyone felt their eyes sour as tears fell. At the present, there was no one in more pain than him.
He hadn’t given up, so how did they have the qualifications to give up?
Everyone once again focused, and the lights of faith shone brighter.
Tylor looked toward Shang Ke, his eyes full of grief. He finally knew what Shang Ke’s faith was.
And that was–Sacrifice!
The more he sacrificed his life, the stronger his faith would become.
This was also the reason why he did not fear the devil qi, because every time he fought, he held the determination to die.