Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Sharp blades popped out of Z’s mechanical prosthetic limb and cut the cords around his wrists. It was a good thing Colonel Freeman didn’t know the secret of his prosthetic limb, or it would have been the end of him if his arm had been removed.
The rope on Duan FeiZhou was also cut by Z. The white-haired Nightman fished out the crumpled spell rune paper from the inner pocket of his coat and threw it at him like garbage.
“Why do you carry it around with you?” Duan FeiZhou was curious. “I thought for sure you would keep it in the bottom of the box.”
Z turned his face away. “It’s too dangerous, I don’t feel comfortable leaving it.”
Duan FeiZhou didn’t say anything, just grabbed Z’s hand and led him into the trading house. The space contained hundreds of strange or terrifying occult items, and although each had its own characteristics, only a few could be used in combat.
Duan FeiZhou only took two of them this time. The first one was the Phantom Leaf. Each leaf was worth 50 pounds of valuable plants, and had already almost been picked bald by Duan FeiZhou. He plucked the last two Phantom Leaves and handed one of them to Z.
“Take it in your mouth. Don’t spit it out or swallow it. Others will be oblivious to your existence. It’s similar to being invisible. But once you make an action that goes against the norm or make too much noise, it will fail.”
Z received the Phantom Leaf with a complicated expression. “You use this thing all the time?”
“Occasionally.” That was the truth. He had used it a few times in total.
Z’s expression became even more complicated. The leader of the Nightmen actually had to cooperate with the Master of the Secret Trading House, and use the goods within the trading house to defeat his enemies. This was simply putting his dignity on the ground and trampling on it. What was even sadder was that he benefited from the trading house a long time ago. Otherwise he would still be blind now.
Z looked at the translucent blade in his hand, and felt as if something had strangled the machinery in his chest.
The second item Duan FeiZhou needed was on the counter. He had kept Sword in the Stone in the trading house before going to Greece and hadn’t used it since. After being left out for so long, Sword in the Stone wasn’t even talking anymore.
“Finally remembered me?” As he gripped the hilt of the sword, the familiar eerie voice came into his mind.
“You are the ultimate weapon, and not easily taken out.” Duan FeiZhou patted Sword in the Stone’s sword fart.
“Who are you talking to?” Z’s expression was as if he saw Leviathan singing and dancing in front of him. He stared at the rusty sword. It took a long time to identify it as the sword he had once taken back to Scotland Yard for identification. “Nothing was clearly identified at the time.”
Duan FeiZhou decided not to tell Z about it. He explained, “This sword is rather special, and can resist all kinds of identification and detection occult techniques.”
“…I was really blind before,” Z laughed at himself. How else would I have looked at such a lying little bad thing?
They returned to the real world, and Duan FeiZhou crouched quietly at the door, listening with his senses to what was going on outside. There were four guards outside the door. If they broke the door open, the movement was bound to be so big that the Phantom Leaves failed. Therefore they must be taken care of first.
“Can you still use that occult technique?” Z looked down at him.
“It’s okay if it’s a simple enough spell.”
His ring was confiscated by Colonel Freeman, but that didn’t mean Duan FeiZhou couldn’t draw energy. This airship was densely packed with circuits, and he could directly draw electricity from it. He just couldn’t take too much energy because of the distance. He asked Z with his eyes if he was ready. Z quickly looked away and nodded.
Duan FeiZhou gently pressed the hatch and drew the energy from the circuits to melt the lock.
The two men broke through the door at the same time.
Before the four soldiers guarding the door could react, one of them was put down by Z.
Duan FeiZhou swung Sword in the Stone at the other one, who was impatient to move its muscles after being bored in the trading house for so long. It laughed loudly and wildly, and Duan FeiZhou felt more powerful than ever as it took control of his body.
Sword in the Stone hit the soldier in the head. He wasn’t wearing a helmet because they weren’t in a state of war, and as a result, he passed out with an “ugh.” The other two soldiers saw the situation, turned around and fled.
Z rushed forward and struck one of them in the back of the head with a hand slash.
Duan FeiZhou caught up with the other one who fled in a panic. He swung Sword in the Stone several times, but the other man dodged it deftly. The corridor was so narrow that Sword in the Stone, used to opening and slashing widely, had difficulty in doing so, hit the wall several times and almost caught the ceiling vent. The soldier was running too fast. If he met a patrol, it would be bad news.
As things stood, Duan FeiZhou had to try an occult technique he had never used before. When he was on Lesbos, he had inadvertently come into contact with mind control illusions. By raising one, and touching the other, perhaps he could release a mental shockwave and directly knock the soldier out. He pointed to the soldier, and recalled how he had entered the Countess’ dream world. The principle of the illusion was much the same, he just needed to increase the energy and change it to an attack…
A shockwave, invisible to the naked eye, emerged from his fingertips and hit the fleeing soldier squarely in the back of the head without aiming. The soldier’s body fell down like a puppet with a broken string, and the whole person went motionless.
Duan FeiZhou went up and checked his heartbeat and breathing. He was still alive. Since it was the first time he used a mental shockwave, he didn’t know what to do. He just hoped that this unlucky little white mouse wouldn’t suffer from any after-effects.
They tied up the unconscious soldiers, threw them into the chamber where they were originally held, then Duan FeiZhou deliberately welded the lock shut to prevent them from escaping. After they finished Colonel Freeman and took control of the airship, he would come back to release the four unlucky people.
“You can use the Phantom Leaf now,” he said to Z.
Z squeezed the translucent leaf, and asked skeptically, “If people can’t see you when you hold the leaf, can I see you?”
Duan FeiZhou scratched his head. He hadn’t really thought about that issue. He only knew that the Phantom Leaf didn’t work on animals, but would it work on humans who were also holding a Phantom Leaf? If it worked, wouldn’t he and Z be invisible to each other?
“I don’t know. Why don’t you hold my hand?” he said.
Z’s cheek twitched, as he reluctantly took his hand. That expression almost made Duan FeiZhou think his palm would spew out acid to corrupt him.
They both stuffed their mouths with Phantom Leaves at the same time. Z had doubts about the plant’s performance, but Duan FeiZhou had used it several times, and if there were Phantom Leaf farms in the world, he would probably buy them all. He looked over at Z beside him. It was amazing. His hand knew Z was right beside him, but his eyes refused to acknowledge the fact.
Duan FeiZhou hurriedly backed up against the wall to avoid others. The soldiers passed him without a glance. One of them almost hit Duan FeiZhou in the chest with his arm, but still didn’t notice the two suspicious guys standing close by.
They passed through the corridors and cabins like two invisible men. They passed the dining room, the library, the conference room, and rubbed shoulders with countless crew members.
Duan FeiZhou could clearly sense that the atmosphere on board wasn’t quite right. Groups of soldiers could often be seen whispering together. However, once they saw the officers, they would disperse as if nothing had happened, all the while casting odd glances at the officers.
“Do you think there is something wrong with the Captain?”
“It’s not just the Captain who’s not right, our Captain has been acting strange since this morning.”
“So our mission was to go to the North Pole to kill that terrible monster. Why didn’t anyone tell us before we left? Don’t ordinary soldiers have the right to know?”
“I don’t know if the beast is dead or not. I doubt a few artillery strikes would even hurt it much.”
“Why do we have to keep stopping at this shitty place? What if the monster runs out and attacks us?”
Duan FeiZhou had reason to suspect that the entire senior crew of the Wellington was under the mental control of Colonel Freeman. As an occult practitioner, the Colonel’s skills were unfathomable. If an experienced occult practitioner like Mrs. Q had a hard time controlling Jack the Ripper alone, how could Colonel Freeman control so many people at the same time? Was there such a big difference in the occult arts schools of different countries?
The two soldiers who rowed with the Colonel to the island. Why weren’t they controlled by Colonel Freeman? Could it be that Freeman thought his acting skills were good enough, or that he used his unbreakable tongue to convince the two soldiers, but in the middle of the two abandoned the darkness to the light?
The more he thought about it, the more he couldn’t figure it out.
They crossed half of the empty ship and finally reached the map room at the front of the ship. There were no guards at the door, but the door was locked. Duan FeiZhou thought they should devise a plan, but his eyes refused to acknowledge Z’s presence, and talking would disable the Phantom Leaf, so there was no way to communicate in this situation.
At that point, Duan FeiZhou felt a slight itch on his palm.
Z wrote a few words on his palm. — I will go in first, you do not expose yourself and sneak behind me quietly.
Since they couldn’t see each other, and couldn’t communicate with words, he could only convey his thoughts in this way. Duan FeiZhou squeezed his fingers hard to show that he had understood his meaning.
Z tapped three times on his palm as a countdown.
When the countdown was over, Z abruptly released his hand, split the lock of the map room door with his sword, and broke straight through the door. Duan FeiZhou, on the other hand, crouched low. As long as he didn’t make overly exaggerated movements, he wouldn’t be noticed even if he walked past close to the eyes of others.
Occupying the largest area of the map room was a huge map table, which could allow two adults to roll on it. The table was covered with a map of the Arctic. The map shelf against the wall held various drawings, which were always available for use.
Maps of the era could only rely on manual mapping, so their value was very high, especially military maps. Each was a valuable military secret.
At this moment, Colonel Freeman was standing in front of the map table with his back to the door and his hands propped up on the tabletop. He turned back, his beady eyes sweeping over Z’s face, then his expression rippled into a smile, “You escaped. Now I wish you could be my companion even more.”
Z wasn’t interested in making small talk with him. His figure disappeared in an instant, and then appeared in front of the colonel. The colonel jumped onto the map table and flipped to the other side. He pulled out a long brass map case from the map stand and used it as a club to block Z’s sword.
There was a loud bang. The cassette was cut in two.
Without fear, the colonel put the two pieces together. His fingers brushed over the joint. The fracture disappeared, and the map case was back to its original state.
As he confronted Z, Duan FeiZhou snuck up behind the colonel. Duan FeiZhou saw a silver watch chain dangling from the Colonel’s chest, and the pocket watch resting in his pocket.
That was the source of the colonel’s energy. If he grabbed it, the colonel would have trouble performing the occult arts.
Z swung his sword and Colonel Freeman blocked it with the map box. This time the map box didn’t split in half; magic had been used to strengthen the material.
At the same time, Duan FeiZhou gripped Sword in the Stone and flew forward, he plucked at the silver watch chain. Duan FeiZhou caught it steadily and smiled smugly.
The Colonel couldn’t go on for much longer, as occult practitioners who lost their energy reserves were the same as gunmen who had run out of bullets.
Colonel Freeman touched his empty pocket.
“Is it invisibility? Or is it Phantom Leaf?” he asked. “It is a pity that the two of you, who are so brilliantly skilled, cannot be used for our country.”
Duan FeiZhou weighed the pocket watch, in which the energy was still plentiful. But he was not very compatible with silver, so it was difficult to use. “You are not bad either. Or if you abandon the darkness to the light, we can still have a discussion.”
The colonel hummed a laugh though his nose. “You have a sense of humor that I also appreciate. It’s a pity.”
Since he lost the source of his energy, Z easily severed the map case in the colonel’s hand, and the blade went straight to the colonel’s throat.
“Release your mind control of the crew.” Z said coldly. “Or don’t blame me for being rude.”
“You think killing me will release it?” The colonel smiled sorrowfully.
“I’d love to try.” Z’s blade pressed tighter, and a trickle of blood spilled from the base of the colonel’s neck.
He looked straight at Z. “I’ve been prepared to die for a long time. Even if I die, there is no way the mind control will be lifted. This airship will fly to Vienna as planned.”
“Then how do you disarm it?”
The colonel smiled, “You can try to kill all the people under control.”
Z’s sword blade pressed a little tighter. “I’m not boasting. We Nightmen are also very good at torture.”
The Colonel’s lips moved as if he was swallowing something.
Z knew that some spies would hide poison in their teeth, once they encountered the risk of identity exposure, they would grit their teeth and die of poisoning, rather than to die than reveal information. He grabbed the colonel’s neck and forced him to open his mouth.
However, what the colonel held in his mouth wasn’t poison, but a small crystal.
It was only a quarter of the size of a small fingernail, and cut very irregularly. But even so, it still shone with an eye-catching brilliance.
A small piece of Ether crystal could drive a spaceship, which shows the amount of energy it contained. But could the energy inside the crystals not only supply steam engines, but also occult practitioners?
Duan FeiZhou’s pupils suddenly narrowed. He hissed, “Z, dodge!”
The energy that could make a steel monster like an airship fly through the air, what kind of a scene would it be if it were to explode all at once?
The Ether crystal glowed with light, dazzling and burning.
A thunderbolt exploded extremely close to Duan FeiZhou. His back hit the wall hard, his brain buzzed, and he couldn’t hear or see anything for a while.
The wall of the map room was blown open by an invisible energy. The strong air pressure difference between inside and outside instantly formed a storm that carried Duan FeiZhou, Z and a large pile of precious maps into the air.
The feeling of weightlessness enveloped Duan FeiZhou.
In the nick of time, he came to his senses. One hand grabbed Z’s right hand. The moment the two men were sucked out of the shell, he was quick to turn Sword in the Stone across and hold the middle of the blade.
Duan FeiZhou was hanging in mid-air with the sword in one hand, and Z in the other.
The cold wind from the high Artic altitude lashed him like a whip.
Even though Sword in the Stone’s blade was extremely blunt, his palm was cut until he bled. The uneven blade sank into his flesh, and he felt his fingers were about to break.
Colonel Freeman crouched at the map table, and clutched its legs so he wouldn’t fly out like Duan FeiZhou and Z.
“What a pity!” He laughed loudly. “If you don’t want to join our country, you’ll have to die! What we can’t get, no one else can get!”
He spat out a mouthful of blood. It was a wonderful idea to hide the Ether crystals in his dentures. It was a hundred times more useful than suicide medicine.
Duan FeiZhou clenched his teeth. He tried a pull-up into the cabin, but it was too difficult. Even though Sword in the Stone could strengthen his body, it wasn’t enough. If it was just him, it would be fine, but Duan FeiZhou couldn’t have done this difficult maneuver while holding on to a person.
If he and Z fell towards the ice sea, could he slow down the speed of the fall?
His heart had no bottom. The last time he jumped from the fourth floor of the theater, and he could only barely land smoothly. Not to mention that they were now located at a height of tens of thousands of meters.
Even if he could use the occult technique to let them both fall lightly, directly below them was the Arctic Ocean. Their chances of surviving in the cold water were as low as Colonel Freeman surrendering on the spot and kindly pulling them up.
Colonel Freeman staggered to his feet when the difference in air pressure between the inside and outside of the airship had almost equalized. He had little energy left, but in this situation, he could easily kill the two enemies in front of him without using his magic. He covered the wound on his neck and staggered towards the young men hanging out the hole. With a single kick, those two scourges would plunge into a sea of ice. Then cruel nature would solve everything for him. It was just a bit of a pity about the two talents. But, well, there were a lot of talents under the sky, and he could find others.
“Let go of me!” Z yelled.
“No!” Duan FeiZhou yelled back.
Sword in the Stone screamed, “Let go! That guy is coming! I can get you up here if you let go of him!“
“No!” Duan FeiZhou looked down at Z. The Nightman’s white hair was dancing wildly in the wind, like a snow storm that never falls in the Arctic.
Z stared unblinkingly into his eyes. They had never looked at each other for so long since his identity had been revealed. He pressed his right shoulder, where the mechanical prosthesis was attached. The prosthesis could be removed by opening one of the snaps there.
“Remember to read my suicide note.” Z said as he undid the clasp.