Chapter 23.1

Rezette Kyrstan was a being that went beyond mere humanity. His veins coursed with the potent blood and magic of a dragon, lending him immense power that occasionally surged through his body in wild, uncontrollable bursts. Sometimes it was his head that assumed draconic features, other times his upper body, and still other times his lower limbs.

As a result of this volatile inheritance, dragons were known to possess grotesque, hybrid forms—a morbid fusion of man and beast that seemed to have been assembled at random. Rezette’s own form bore the unmistakable imprint of dragonhood, its telltale scales and contours visible from his right shoulder down to his fingers.

Yet even on the battlefield, Rezette shunned his true form, preferring to engage in combat with a sword, spear, or bow rather than relying on his bare hands or sorcerous powers.

Ugel, you’re after the Princess.

It was clear that the prince’s threat had not been an idle one.

The rain of arrows had gradually subsided, and the undulating barriers were diminishing in size. It seemed that the enemy had exhausted their supply of arrows. But any sense of respite was short-lived as soldiers from the north and northwest charged towards him, bellowing threats to find and kill the princess of Argan. Their orders were clear, dead or alive, whoever brought the princess’s head to Ugel would be rewarded.

Rezette’s lips twisted in disgust. With practiced ease, he blocked the charging soldiers and struck down with his sword, cutting through their chests with a vicious precision that left little room for mercy. The screams of the dying mingled with the sound of metal clashing against metal.

As the last soldier fell to the ground, Rezette’s attention turned to his target. He found Yanok Sihat, moving with a feral grace that hinted at his dragon bloodline. The question burned in his mind, What the hell are you going to do with that woman? Rezette moved quickly, cutting through any hindrances that stood in his way.

Amidst the chaos of clashing swords and screaming soldiers, Rezette’s keen senses honed in on a singular target. He could detect the unique scent of his prey, hear the creaking voice calling out orders, and see the soldiers forming a protective shield around the prince. Without hesitation, he stepped over the corpse blocking his path and greeted Prince Yanok with a menacing gesture.

“Nice to see you again, Prince Yanok.”

Panic etched across Yanok’s scruffy face as he realized the danger he was in. He shouted for his soldiers to stop Rezette, but they were too busy fighting for their own survival.

The Duke’s appearance had changed in the past few days. Along the way, he left behind a trail of blood and corpses, but he himself remained unscathed, except for the blood staining his right hand that clutched the sword.

As Rezette wiped his sword clean and spoke in a chilling monotone, “Since you seem to love collecting human heads, I thought I’d try it too.”

Yanok stumbled back, fear etched on his face.

Rezette continued, “I don’t know if there’s a custom of preserving severed heads, but there must be a reason why you need the Princess so badly, even to the point of attacking the knights of Rotiara without fear.”

Yanok tried to deflect the conversation, “Shut up. Back off! If you have Ugel as an enemy, Van Yela will suffer the same fate as Argan!”

Rezette wasn’t having any of it. “Who are you trying to lure with Elizabeth’s life?!”

Yanok’s back was against a dense thicket, with no escape. He held his foreign sword tightly in both hands, trying to find a way out of this deadly situation.

With a guttural cry, Yanok Sihat charged forward, his yellow-white eyes filled with madness and a single pupil that made Rezette’s skin crawl. He had always despised those eyes, which had leered at Elizabeth Aseica with such disgusting hunger. Instinct took over, and Rezette swung his sword with a dry sigh. In one swift motion, Yanok’s head was separated from his body, rolling across the grassy field beneath them. The eyes on the severed head remained open, unaware of what had happened.

Rezette clicked his tongue in annoyance and mercilessly kicked the headless corpse. While the sense of unease and irritation that had plagued him was now gone, he was left with a feeling of disappointment.

“You died too easily,” he muttered to the lifeless body.

A thought crossed his mind, and he couldn’t help but feel a twinge of regret. That was too merciful, he thought to himself. I could have made it more painful.

Rezette gripped Yanok’s hair tightly, his mind already focused on the next move. He could already picture Noyer was seething with anger, but Rezette was unfazed. Ugel’s attack on the Duke in Van Yela’s territory was a clear act of aggression. Would they really punish him just for the prince’s head?

As he looked around, Rezette’s irritation grew. With Yanok Sihat dead, he needed to take one of his close relatives as a hostage, but he still couldn’t fathom Ugel’s obsession with Elizabeth.

In that moment, Ugel’s soldiers surrounded him, and Rezette frowned as he weighed his options. Suddenly, a woman’s scream pierced through the air, echoing off the mountainside and bringing everything to a halt.



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