Chapter 437: Fruit Beneath the Inverse Tree
Central District central administration, 1000 meters underground.
Twisted and knotted branches hung down from the massive inverse tree. Directly beneath it, a round glass ball, with swirling white mist within, displayed a familiar scene.
More than ten old folk in white magician robes were huddled together, staring intently at the scene within the crystal ball—23rd Avenue.
A fierce battle was taking place on this street.
At the moment when the Zaphkiel's void domain was ripped apart, the battle hidden away in the void realm was exposed, and this made all the members of the central administration's adjudication bureau tremble.
"He's a dragon...?!" Asmodeus, who had been in charge of the adjudication's clerical work for several centuries, pointed a trembling finger at Lin Jie in the crystal ball.
"No." The oldest of the adjudication bureau that had tended to the inverted tree longest, Barr, stroked his flowing beard and said, "This is merely an ordinary shell, much like the young human shell previously."
"I've seen this shell before," Secret Rite Tower's Elder Valace, the so-called Knight King that had brought Melissa to the central administration, said.
Having once been cursed by the evil god and unable to move freely, Valace had now been reborn thanks to Melissa's flames. "This dragon is the Primordial Witch Silver's underling—Calamity Dragon Bakak," mused the Knight King. "It appears that the bookstore owner is connected to the Primordial Witches indeed."
The others nodded and continued to watch the battle within the crystal ball. After the owner of the bookstore turned into a dragon, Michael and Zaphkiel began arguing, which was rather amusing.
"The Path of the Flaming Sword is just but a rowdy mob," sneered another adjudication bureau member, Agathare. As the situation played out, the bookstore owner seemed amused by their argument and watched them quietly.
While Michael was distracted, Zaphkiel took the opportunity to fly into the void. However, the bookstore owner calmly raised a hand and casually clenched before Zaphkiel collapsed to the ground with a loud crash.
The members of the adjudication bureau beneath the inverse tree fell silent upon witnessing this scene...
"I recall that Zaphkiel became a Supreme-rank powerhouse very early on..." someone muttered softly. It was unfathomable that a Supreme-rank... could be squished like a bug by Lin Jie.
"Can anyone among us match up to the bookstore owner?" Barr spoke up abruptly.
That's clearly impossible... Valace thought to himself as he watched the crystal ball closely. Then, his eyes suddenly widened. "Joseph?!"
Valace was in disbelief as he saw Joseph well and alive, being ordered by Lin Jie to protect those insignificant and ordinary folk. "He's actually alive?!" Valace's cunning mind went to work at once, and he quickly realize the situation wasn't good.
"We have trouble, Senior Barr," the frowning Valace interjected. "Joseph is still alive. It's no wonder Melissa suddenly found out the truth about Secret Rite Tower. He must have secretly informed his daughter. We have to kill Melissa now; otherwise, Joseph will follow the power within their shared blood and flame to find this place."
This inverse tree that guarded the whole Norzin and the Primordial Witch of Trees were the ultimate secrets of Azir.
Barr also panicked upon hearing what Valace had said and turned to the brainwashed Melissa. He had originally intended to keep her as a weapon, but it was impossible now.
"Kill her quickly," Barr urged.
A blade appeared in Agathare's right hand, and as the knife cut an arc toward Melissa, the entire underground space trembled like an earthquake had struck.
"What's going on?!" Barr supported himself against the trunk. The empty space that only had this massive tree now looked as if it had been stomped on several times by a giant.
Barr's eyes widened as he saw the white space near where everybody was suddenly tore open like it was a cheap piece of cloth. Suddenly, a red eye peered out from the tear, staring at the few of them as if they were dead objects.
"Dream beast!" Barr exclaimed in alarm.
Sure enough, a monster covered in a sticky blood-like slime emerged from the cracked fissure. One that could absorb all the joys and beauty of everything, making the world fall into despair—a monster that lived in the dream realm.
A first dream beast rushed out, then a second, a third... and more followed in succession. This was a scene that those of the adjudication bureau had imagined could happen.
Barr was shocked. He raised a hand, trying to stop the dream beasts, but there were just too many. How could filthy creatures like dream beasts reach where the Witch of Trees slumbered! He immediately looked at Valace.
"How could it be me!" Valace quickly defended himself. "These are creatures that only exist in the dream realm. Only the bookstore owner can do such a thing!"
Barr glanced at the crystal ball instinctively—Michael had turned into light, while Boss Lin was toying with him as if he were playing a game and not paying any attention to the adjudication bureau's predicament.
So, who exactly released these dream beasts?! ...Barry was shocked, but at this point, he couldn't care less.
These dream beasts that had suddenly appeared caught the bunch from the central administration off guard. While they controlled the whole of Norzin, claiming to be saving humanity and building Norzin, they were actually just descendants of nobles, nothing more than useless wine bags and food sacks. Their Supreme-rank numbers couldn't even compare to the Path of the Flaming Sword.
Barr was able to manipulate the power of the tree to a certain extent. He waved his hand, and countless vines trapped the advancing dream beasts.
Valace took a few steps back, raised an arm, and drew several hexes in the air. A black projection appeared from the hexes, and countless dead soldiers of Secret Rite Tower slowly took form!
They had pale faces and were clearly dead. With a command from Valace, the dead legion rushed up like disposable tools to block off the advancing dream beasts.
"What's this?" Agathare looked toward Valace with a frown. This black magician had actually turned all the deceased knights of Secret Rite Tower into his puppets. "You are really despicable..." sneered Agathare as he slashed at a dream beast.
"You flatter me." Valace scoffed arrogantly. "When I was studying my body, I also studied puppetry, so I just made best use of what I had."
Melissa furrowed her brows, having been disturbed by the messy melee and opened her eyes to see utter chaos. The originally pure and white underground space had suddenly become a hellish landscape filled with countless vile dream beasts and knight-like zombies.
She was even more shocked to see familiar faces amongst those undead knights... There were even comrades that had sought to protect her during the battle at 67th Avenue. Hadn't they already been buried?
Everyone had sacrificed themselves because of their knight spirit and will to protect all of humanity...
...How could this be?! "Valace!!!" Melissa burned with anger. "Y-you bastard! I'll kill you!"
Valence was surprised to hear Melissa's shouts and immediately frowned, turning to the member of the adjudication bureau that had brainwashed Melissa earlier. "What's going on?" he asked. "Wasn't she supposed to forget everything and become our dog?!"
The one being questioned was also rather surprised. He had indeed brainwashed Melissa, but he didn't know that Melissa had been staring at Witch of Trees eyes during the process, which allowed her to avoid being completely brainwashed.
"Valace, you despicable scum!" Melissa cursed loudly.
Seeing Melissa like this made Valace chuckle and he turned to her. "I even turned your mother into a puppet, would you like to see her?"
Melissa was shocked beyond measure. If looks could kill, she would have devoured Valace alive.
"Forget it, you fool. Since brainwashing didn't work, let's just kill her." Valace raised his hand, gathering the power of black magic in his palm.
A crisp sound echoed throughout the entire underground space. Barr and the others instinctively looked toward the fruit hanging from the inverted tree. It seemed to have ripened, and cracks were even starting to show.
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