Translated by satellite
On the way back, Shamal was very quiet, as if all his strength and emotions had been exhausted already at the waterfall.
Jesse sat at the other end of the carriage and closed his eyes, as if nothing had happened.
An invisible barrier seemed to grow between the two of them, dividing the tiny carriage into two separate worlds, facing each other but forever unable to touch.
The carriage kept continued moving uphill.
A heavy fog slowly began to gather around them, hiding the scenery in a deep sea of white mist until it was impossible to tell whether direction they were headed in. But the carriage continued onwards at the same steady pace.
Shamal remembered the first time he came here, that year he lost to Jesse. But back then, he had been tied up and led up the mountain on foot. If it weren’t for the fact that he had already been here before, he would never have imagined that such a heavenly place was hidden within these dense layers of fog.
As if confirming those very thoughts, he suddenly heard the snap of a riding crop landing sharply on the horses’ backside.
The horses suddenly sped up, racing almost recklessly onwards, carrying the rest of the carriage along. It almost seemed as if they had begun to fly.
The rolling waves of mist completely surrounded them, stretching on endlessly…until suddenly, the carriage burst out from from the dense fog.
The sunlight once again shined brightly into the carriage.
Shamal squinted, his red, swollen eyes stinging a bit as they blinked against the sunlight.
The carriage continued steadily onwards onto a wide, flat road. On either sides were wide expanses of lush, green farmland, stretching as far as the eye could see.
But these weren’t farmlands for ordinary crops.
He still remembered the first time he came, when Jesse warned him in a half-joking, half-threatening voice. These were the Bone Feed, planted and watered with the blood of animals. (1)
He didn’t believe it at first–– until he saw the crimson blood running through the irrigation pipes running down into the fields.
“This is the realm of warlocks.” Jesse had warned him back then.
Back then, the mere mention of “warlocks” was terrifying to him.
Almedande once told him that although the Lord of Genesis was an invisible man, the ones holding the most power and influence were actually the warlocks. For their magic was sinister and vicious, impossible to escape. Whether you are dreaming, drinking, washing, or even just breathing, they had too many ways to hunt you down.
Thus, in order not to bring trouble to Locktini and the rest of the Faerie Realm, he subconsciously hid his identity and his real name.
The carriage slowed.
The fields before them ended, revealing a beautiful, quaint little village.
Standing in front of the village was an old man with white hair and a black cloak. His eyes were hidden beneath thick layers of white eyebrows and his long beard was extremely long, stretching all the way to the ground.
The carriage stopped. Jesse opened his eyes, pushed open the doors, and stepped out.
The old man walked to him and bowed low. “My lord.” (2)
Jesse motioned for him to rise, supported him gently with one hand. “Elder Gul, you don’t have to come meet me at the village gates every time.” (3)
“I was simply enjoying the scenery here and just happened to see you arriving.” As he spoke, he turned to Shamal, who was still sitting in the carriage, refusing to get out. He smiled and said “Welcome back, Shamal.”
Shamal felt his entire body freeze in shock, then felt so ashamed he could bury himself alive right there. He hesitated a moment, then got off the carriage and quietly replied. “Elder Gul.”
Elder Gul stroked his beard, then nodded and spoke with a satisfied smile. “As long as you’re back, all is well.” He looked over at Jesse. “My lord, I’ve had men clean up that troublesome little house for you. You’ve had your men cleaning and maintaining it all these years, so everything inside is still in place exactly as it was left.”
Shamal lifted his head and stared up at Jesse in shock.
Jesse’s face remained completely impassive as he nodded and walked towards the village.
Elder Gul followed behind him, secretly giving Shamal a victory gesture behind his back.
Shamal felt a warmth prickling at the corner of his eyes.
Other than Jesse, Elder Gul was the one who treated him most kindly during his time in the warlock realm.
Before Jesse openly declared that Shamal belonged to him, many warlocks jeered at him, ordering him about and turning him into a laughingstock because he was a faerie and a slave. Back then, Elder Gul often helped him chase them off. Thus, other than Jesse, Elder Gul was the one that Shamal felt most indebted to and guilty towards here in the warlock realm.
“The Shamal I knew was a mischievous little trickster that would immediately start planning his revenge whenever he was bullied. Not a poor, sniffling crybaby.” Elder Gul said quietly.
Shamal was a bit embarrassed. He’d had plenty of time to mature in the thousand years that passed, but Elder Gul still treated him exactly the same way he always had a thousand years earlier.
Jesse’s return to the village attracted the gazes of many warlocks around them.
Shamal recognized several familiar faces, but their expressions were absolutely not friendly. But perhaps they feared the two godly men walking beside him, so despite the clear lack of goodwill in their eyes, they didn’t utter a single shout his way.
After Jesse had finished greeting them all, he turned without another word and walked towards the largest house in the village.
The warlocks on a whole have never been particularly focused on aesthetics, and instead valued practicality. In Shamal’s eyes, the building before him could only be described aesthetically as a mountain of dirt. But he would also bet that even his blades of wind or Locktini’s massive firewalls wouldn’t be able to do much damage. This was built strong enough to withstand even the most powerful tornadoes.
This was the so-called largest house in the village, but it was really just the size of an average man’s villa. And this was supposed to be the residence of their lord.
Back when he first saw it, he couldn’t help but sneer a bit inside.
However, Jesse turned and didn’t seem to be headed towards his house, but rather towards another smaller residence off to the side.
Against the larger residence in the background, this one-room building seemed almost toy-sized, but Shamal knew that this house was far more important than the big one. This was the building that Shamal had bugged Jesse about constantly, trying to teach him over and over how important beauty and aesthetic design was. Finally, Jesse was forced to help him renovate the place.
As they walked into the house, he saw indeed that everything was exactly as he had left it.
Even the placement of the cup on the coffee table hadn’t changed.
He looked up. An alarm clock hung on the wall across from the sofa, the hour hand pointing directly at the seven, just as it had been when he left.
“Clean up and settle in.” Jesse said slowly. “I’ll pick you up in a bit.”
Shamal stared blankly for a bit before realizing that at some point, Elder Gul had quietly taken his leave. “I don’t really have much to settle.” After all, nothing here really belonged to him.
Jesse looked at him, then suddenly smiled. “Then follow me.”
Shamal suddenly regretted it. If he knew this was going to happen, he should’ve grabbed the broom leaning on the door and started sweeping out the whole room.
Jesse returned to his own house and began to work. He’d been gone for several days, and there was now a pile of issues on his desk he had to sort out.
Shamal didn’t need to see them to know what they were. From ancient times to modern day, the daily issues of the magistrate were all the same.
Out of habit, he sat over on the recliner in the study.
Before, whenever Jesse was dealing with work, he didn’t want Shamal running about. So he had the lounge chair moved in here specifically so Shamal had a place to sit quietly as he did his job.
As soon as he sat down, the exhaustion of the last few days overcame him, hanging heavily on his eyelids as they began drooping downwards.
He held strong for a while before he finally lost the fight against the demons of sleep, closed his eyes, and knocked out.
He wasn’t sure how long he had been asleep when he suddenly smelled something very sweet calling out to his stomach. Slowly, he woke up.
Jesse was sitting across from him, and the table before them was filled with various sweets and desserts.
Shamal sat up. These were all his favorites. Was Jesse planning to use food to torture him now?
“What are you looking at, hurry up and eat.” Jesse placed a bowl of red bean soup in front of him.
Shamal slowly shuffled his way over, looking suspiciously between the sweet soup and Jesse.
Jesse’s smile was cold. “Afraid that I added meat into it?”
“No.” He quickly denied, then whispered quietly. “I was just looking for a spoon.”
Jesse picked up the spoon and slowly turned it about in his hand. “I’ll feed you.”
Shamal stiffened. This scene felt too familiar.
He had once asked Jesse what he wanted for his birthday. Finally, Jesse said that he wanted to feed him.
Shamal would always remember the feelings that day––
In the face of Jesse’s overwhelming warmth and kindness, he somehow couldn’t feel the sweetness at all deep in his heart. All he felt was fear and terror gripping him as the same thoughts repeated endless in his mind: What is he finds out who I am? What if he finds out I’ve been lying to him? Will he hate me? Will he never again look at me this way? Will he take his revenge out on the entire faerie world? ……
The fear in his heart grew with every passing day.
The better Jesse treated him, the more he feared him. After all, he knew that warlocks didn’t open up easily or express their feelings to just anyone. At the same time, they were a race that hated lies and deception most strongly. Elder Gul had once told him of how an invisible man abandoned a young warlock girl and as a result was pecked to death by a flock of mad sparrows.
He knew Jesse would never use such methods against him. He would be a hundred times worse.
So he was forced to make a decision–– to leave him, leaving behind all these memories. This was the only way he could avoid seeing the disgust and hatred in Jesse’s eyes. Perhaps he would still miss the “Lion” that he so unfortunately “lost” and perhaps this was the only way he would still be able to remember them fondly, a beautiful end.
“What are you thinking about?” Jesse face suddenly leaned in.
Shamal retreated nervously. “Nothing much.”
“Really?” Jesse lifted an eyebrow, an unreadable expression on his face.
Shamal knew that this time, the feelings locked in his heart weren’t fear, but sorrow. Because this time, without any expectations or guesswork, he knew without a doubt that Jesse hated him. Hated him down to the core. Otherwise he wouldn’t have gone through all this trouble. All he could hope for was that Feisha and the rest of them had better luck than him, and that they’d be able to bring in the reinforcements.
“Feisha and them, they’ll be okay right?” He couldn’t help but ask.
“You’re so worried about them?” Jesse asked.
If he nodded, would Jesse use Feisha and the rest of them to threaten him, placing them directly in the line of fire?
“Or, you’re worried about Antonio?”Jesse slowly asked.
Shamal’s heart suddenly thudded in his chest as he averted his eyes in guilt.
“Don’t want to answer?” Strangely, Jesse didn’t push the issue any further. Instead, he lifted the spoon and brought it up to Shamal’s mouth again. “Open up.” He said softly.
Shamal looked at him and swallowed. He retreated a bit and said, “I’m not hungry.”
The light in Jesse’s eyes faded as he put the spoon back into the bowl. “You don’t want to answer, and don’t want to eat. Then I’ll give you a third choice.”
Shamal watched him nervously.
“Answer another question of mine. A very simple question.” Jesse’s eyes fell, staring down at the delicate patterns decorating the tabletop. He spoke slowly. “We’ve known each other for so long. Did you ever, for one second, truly love me?” The hand on his knee clenched tight into a fist. If one were to look closely, they could even see the thin blue veins raised from the tension on the back of his hand.
Apologies for the long wait! My jobs caught up to me and I haven’t had much time to translate lately, but I’ll be doing my best to see this series finished as soon as possible. Hope you guys are enjoying the extras so far and that they’re filling in a couple of the gaps that the main story left ;v;
1) The original names of the plants in Chinese was “食骨草” (shi gu cao), literally “food bone grass.” I mostly left the literal translation in place since I couldn’t think of anything clever to name it.
2) I’ve translated this as “my lord” so it sounds less awkward, but he actually addresses Jesse as “族长” (zu zhang), literally “clan head/leader/patriarch.”
3) Elder Gul was “古尔” (gu er) in Chinese. There aren’t really many hints to what spelling they could be thinking of for this name, but it is the first two characters used for the “Gul” part of “Gul’dan”s name (from World of Warcraft) so I went ahead and used that.