Chapter 118: Silent Deaths

For a moment Hoatzin didn’t say anything. Raven could almost feel her brother’s shock and disappointment in his silence and couldn’t help but smile wryly.

“Not willing?” she asked, already knowing the answer.

“No! Definitely not!”

“Not even if I tell you that an unknown number of low to mid Spirit Champions want to catch and kill you before Javelin starts his final match?”

“. . .what do you want me to do?”

“I told you, leave. Cross the fighting stage, at roughly ten meters height, and then continue north.”

“Would that not just bring attention to me leaving?” Hoatzin asked, sounding confused.

“Exactly.” A hungry glint flashed by Raven’s eyes. “Don’t worry, brother; they won’t get the opportunity to reach you.”

“. . . Okay!”

Raven suppressed a warm smile; her brother and Javelin were actually quite similar – both anxious to help, consequences be damned.

“Good. Just wait a moment longer; Tetra is here.”

Raven had moved closer to the stage and could clearly sense madam Hake’s clear and brightly orange presence, hurriedly rushing out to her son. Not bothering to move him, she crouched down next to Javelin as incredibly pure spirit essence poured out of her hands, forming a complex diagram in the air above him.

Tetra pushed the diagram into her son and, almost like wiping a dirty window with a wet cloth, both blood and grime was swept away from Javelin’s body as it passed. All the wounds he had started to fade at an astounding rate. Even his spirit essence was steadily purified, removing the taint from Raven’s killing intent.

Raven could only marvel at the woman’s skill with healing and concluded that her title, Saint Major, was truly well deserved. Less than a minute later, Raven could already feel Javelin’s consciousness returning to him.

“Javelin?” Raven probed, getting a slightly jumbled reply. “. . . You did well, Jav – thank you,” she commended after a moment’s hesitation.

It might have just been good timing but the compliment seemed to flush Javelin back to clarity. He suddenly sat up straight, gulping in a mouthful of air as he brushed away his mother’s healing hand. Even through the several layers of rock walls, Raven could tell that Tetra instantly started fussing over her son, yelling in fear-fueled anger.

Javelin focused more on Raven. “What happened with you?”

“It’s a long story, but right now I need your help – can you move?”

Raven could feel Javelin trying to get up on his feet, but Tetra pushed him down again. Javelin grunted. “. . .I can, once I convince my mother that I’m fine. What do you need?”

“Range,” Raven replied, “Canis is planing to capture Hoatzin and use a stand-in bird to poison you before your next fight.”

“What!? Is-. . .”

“Hoatzin is fine. In fact he is going to help me lure out Canis’ people, but I need you to move a bit north so I can reach them all.”

“. . . You’re going to use your brother as bait?”

“In crass terms, yes.”

“What if something happens to him?”

“You know me better than that, Javelin.”

“I do, but . . . do you? Your killing intent earlier. . . .”

“Is well enough under control. He is my brother, Javelin, and you are . . . my friend; I will protect you both.”

A silent shudder ran through Javelin’s soul prism but it passed so quickly Raven almost thought she had imagined it. She frowned but Javelin spoke first, his tone as if nothing had happened.

“Fine,” he muttered. “Wait a moment; I’ll have mother move me to the sick bay by the northern entrance.”

Javelin finally gave his consent and, since even Tetra had come to the conclusion that he shouldn’t remain on the stage any longer, convincing her to pick the right destination wasn’t hard. Just as Javelin walked off the stage, Raven sent a mental command to her brother.

“Go now, brother.”

“Yes!”

From the weak link their souls shared, Raven could feel Hoatzin take off from the imperial viewing section across the stage and quickly his presence flew into her normal range of detection. He was heading straight for her and it didn’t take long before he was joined by a handful of strong people who had suddenly started shifting their position towards the north; six of them to be exact – Setter included – but perhaps there were still more of them outside of her range.

Raven snickered. At least these people had learned their lesson. Sending four low Champions, a mid Champion and a peak Adept, to deal with what they believed was an ordinary bird, could definitely be considered overkill; clearly, they were worried about the supposedly hidden expert who they thought was lurking in the darkness, helping Raven and Javelin.

Well, at least the lurking-in-the-darkness part was right. . . .

Soundlessly, Raven slipped into the shadows and made her way towards her first target – an unfortunate mid Champion who happened to be closest to her. In her hands, two daggers appeared, practically dripping with a blue, pungent substance.  As she walked, Raven started softly humming the familiar tune of the Twilight Lullaby, its melancholic and bittersweet melody echoing down the nearly empty hall.

With all the fighting going on at the arena stage, neither the noise nor the extra spirit essence in the air alerted anyone. The few people present instantly seemed to slow down, their eyes growing dazed.

No one noticed as Raven passed them, not even the friendly-looking arena official who, moments earlier, had given his coworkers a fairly plausible excuse, explaining why he suddenly needed to make a check of the northern docks. It wasn’t until Raven was long gone that the man found it surprisingly hard to breathe.

Horrified, he looked down at his sea-green robes only to find two slim cuts – one on his chest, one in his gut – both gushing out blood. He tried to summon his spirit essence to heal himself, but it wasn’t only blood that was escaping from his abdomen, it was spirit essence too, so nothing happened. He raised his head to call for help, but found himself in a dim and deserted storage room, rather than the scarcely crowded hallway he had been in just moments earlier.

Desperate, he tried to call for help anyway, but his voice failed him – in fact, everything failed him as he collapsed, helpless, to the damp floor. Even as the last breaths of life left him, the friendly-looking official couldn’t understand what had happened; it had all happened too fast to even fathom. Was he, a low Spirit Champion who had been on a covert mission in the Sea Empire for nearly five years, going to die – just like that?

No fighting, no shouting, only death.

Meanwhile, Raven’s secret journey through the arena passageways continued. Hoatzin might have flown straight over the top of the arena, but to follow him, one had to take the inner passages or risk drawing way too much attention. This fit Raven perfectly.

Like an old dungeon, the arena complex was riddled with hidden paths – long forgotten. Raven’s senses picked up on them all and she used these to move swiftly from one doomed attacker to the next.

Oh masters mine, where are you roaming….

A head toppled to the ground, a look of surprise forever stuck on its bloodied face.

Oh come and hear, your true love’s calling…. 

An unheard shriek echoed down an empty hall as a Healer found her lower body inconveniently detached from her upper torso.

That can sing both high and low…

Two brothers slumped in a corner, purple bruises forming on the skin of their broken necks.

That can sing both high and low… 

One after another, Canis’ people met their untimely ends, all unaware of their mutual demise. They died and their bodies practically vanished; tucked into inconspicuous places where no one ever looked or placed so much in plain sight that they seemed more alive than their still breathing fellows.

It didn’t take long before only one of the original six henchmen remained.

By the time Setter’s darkrobed figure had made it to the northern dock, Hoatzin’s bright red body was already disappearing off towards the horizon. He glanced around the dock and frowned. He had been the furthest away from this dock; he shouldn’t have been the first to arrive, so where were the others?

“Looking for some one?” a sweet yet bone-chillingly cold voice asked.

Setter swirled around – a black dagger in hand – but when he faced the owner of that voice, Setter could have sworn that the creature was none other than the devil incarnate; a monstrous beast with blood-thirsty eyes, here to claim his life and all he held dear. The vision only lasted for a moment, but the fear it caused him was enough for Raven to act.

With thunder-covered fingers, Raven jabbed at Setter’s temple with one hand and his lower abdomen with the other. Electric sparks flowed into the unguarded man, instantly zapping him unconscious and momentarily paralysing the essence in his spirit core. As Setter’s twitching body fell to the ground, Raven closed her eyes and steadied her breathing. She had used most of her core’s remaining spirit essence reserve to subdue Setter without a fuss – he was after all also a mid Champion and even further along in his cultivation than Raven was. If she wanted to kill him, that wouldn’t be too much of a challenge, but to take him alive was different and was only possible because she caught him off guard with her Ode of Woe.

Raven urged her spirit connections to quickly absorb more spirit essence. After a few deep breaths, Raven hoisted Setter’s listless body unceremoniously over her slender shoulders and returned to the shadows, her eerie humming once more filling the air around her.

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33 thoughts on “Chapter 118: Silent Deaths

    1. mjkj

      PS: suspected typos and stuff:
      The first few paragraphs, the talk between Raven and Hoazin should be “mind talk” not normal speech

      She frowned but Javelin spoke first and add of nothing had happened.
      => missing something here sentence unclear => maybe: …and added (or continued?) as if nothing…

      Javelin finally gave his concent and since even Tetra had come to the conclusion that he shouldn’t remain on the stage any longer, convincing her to pick the right destination wasn’t hard.
      => consent

      Even as the last breaths of life left him, the friendly-looking official couldn’t understand what had happened; it had all happened to fast to even phathom.
      => too => …happened too fast…
      => fathom => …to even fathom.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. SineNomine

    Good luck with your exam. Sleep well. Hm, in hindsight I hope it went well (I never know when you post something…)

    want to catch and kill → wants to catch and kill
    Canis’ people but I need → Canis’ people, but I need
    soul prism but it passed → soul prism, but it passed
    peak Adept to deal with what they believed was an ordinary bird could → peak Adept, to deal with what they believed was an ordinary bird, could
    clearly they were worried → clearly, they were worried
    In her hands two daggers → In her hands, two daggers
    present instantly seemed to slow down → present seemed to slow down instantly
    to find a two slim cuts → to find two slim cuts
    and used them to swiftly → and she used them to swiftly (otherwise her senses start moving)

    PS: I’m curious where all of you guys are from. I’ll make the start and admit to being German ;-). Oh, and if you are from the US, you might as well write your state; otherwise I could have written “Europe”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mjkj

      Same here, Sine, same here…   🙂

      Von wo? Ich bin aus Franken (Nordbayern)   😉   From where? I am from Franconia (Northern Bavaria)

      Like

      1. SineNomine

        You are right on the number thing. I was more thinking along the lines of “the number of”…
        Anyway, I have found two more:
        to claim is life → to claim his life
        instantly zapping unconscious → instantly zapped unconscious (or) instantly zapping him unconscious

        Like

  2. Maniac3020

    “Well, at least the lurking-in-the-darkness part was right. . . .” *laughs maniacally*

    *Continues laughing maniacally as Raven does her thing in the shadows.*

    Eheheheheheheheheh.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Draconic

    Thanks for the new chapter!

    Have you considered reversing the order of the chapters on the sidebar? I think it would be more convenient if the newer chapters were on top. The drop-down menu is not very useful if you want to open one of the later chapters. A proper table of contents page would also be great.

    Now that all of my great problems with the story are out of the way, I can also reveal that I’m from Hungary 😉 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Blabber

        Dyslexia
        A learning disorder characterized by difficulty reading.
        Dyslexia occurs in children with normal vision and intelligence.
        Symptoms include late talking, learning new words slowly, and a delay in learning to read.
        Most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or a specialized education program.
        People may experience:
        Cognitive: difficulty memorizing, difficulty spelling, or difficulty thinking and understanding
        Developmental: learning disability or speech delay in a child
        Also common: delayed reading ability, headache, or speech impairment

        ….Do I have that??? I always thought Dyslexia was not being able to read properly and that the words get scrambled up…But looking at the list, i’m pretty sure I have Dyslexia…?

        And also SnowyFeffe, I don’t think you have Dyslexia, it’s something called grammatical errors, which everyone makes and only those smart people can find all of those. Btw Dyslexia has something to do with reading not writing…And don’t say your writing is bad, cause you’re making me feel bad cause i’m worst than bad…

        Like

      2. Saying that I have dyslexia is not something I do just because I’m bad at at spelling, but because I’ve done all the tests – by professional investigators and under “clinical” situations – and the results from those are very clear: I have dyslexia.

        Now, I’m not saying that I am a bad writer because of it, nor am I a particularly slow reader. It’s just that what I read isn’t always what’s actually written down and if I want to remember stuff, I have to approach it a little differently than others…

        Dyslexia comes in many forms and severities and there are even more misconceptions about the people who have it. In fact, a disproportionately large part of the “academic top” have some sort of learning disability – be it dyslexia, dyscalculia, or even worse.

        It is actually rather hard for teachers and so on to find all children who have the disorder since many find ways around it on their own. Personally, I wasn’t tested until I was 17 (which is considered fairly late) simply because I preformed well enough in school anyway so the teachers thought everything was fine. Meanwhile I just figured that while others found math to be confusing and irregular, I found written words just as confusing.

        Fortunately, I liked fairy tales enough to keep reading anyway and so I, like many others, worked on my reading/writing. I found tricks to read faster, to write better, remember more. But, some things can’t be worked around; proofreading what I’ve written is one of those things. I could know English grammar perfectly, but I can’t see my errors when I write them; my brain makes the corrections for me as I read through the text since it’s pretty much always guessing what’s written anyway – based on those tricks I mentioned earlier.

        Overall, my dyslexia bothers me less than one might expect nowadays, but it can still have critical consequences when I set a password to “hipopopotamus” instead of “hippopotamus” – not that this is the password for the sponsor’s chapter 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      3. divineeditingskills

        Thanks! Don’t give us too much credit, though; she’s also improved quite a lot over the course of this story, to the point where there isn’t all that much left for us to do 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. TheNewReader

    This reminds me of a manga I read recently. (Protagonist was an assassin, blew themselves up by accident, and was reborn into a world with cultivation… I didn’t like it much.)
    This is a million times better. I binge read it in a few days. Despite having a few large projects due soon. (What have I done!?)
    Can’t wait for more!

    Do you happen to know ant similar serials? I’ve read DD to the latest chapter as well, and am now in the mood for similar stories.

    Btw, your stories are now on my short list of serials to spam F5 for every day. (Thank you so much for the count down! It not only saves my keyboard, it also means I don’t have to convert time zones.)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Leafyeyes417

    I got distracted by other chapters so i didn’t see this one. I love how Raven is still not seen as the expert who is killing them all. XD I can’t wait till the reveal, when Canis and her father show their despair in the face of death incarnate. *evil smile*

    Thanks for the chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nakaki

    Ouch … Jav got friend zoned.

    I wanted to comment on Raven’s masterful killings but everyone else seemed to got to them faster than I did XD

    Like

  7. I’ve sat here and done nothing but read for the last couple of hours! Can’t believe I didn’t know about Whisper of the Nightingale before.

    May I entice you to drop me an email at altusfiction @ gmail? I’d love to work together. 🙂

    Like

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