Devil's Son-in-Law Chapter 7
Depressing. This is Chen Rui's first impression of Dark Moon City.
He wondered if all Mozu's cities were like this - including the royal palace, most buildings in Dark Moon City looked terribly old; very few storefronts and stalls doing business; along the road were ugly and fierce demons with worn-out clothes; the city had a ruined, desolate atmosphere.
The demons' appearances made Chen Rui tremble with fear - if his human identity got exposed, considering he didn't get eaten right away, it'd still be impossible to keep his dear life.
"Hey! You, straighten your waist, don't clamp your legs that tightly, and relax your shoulders!"
Athena's voice interrupted his train of thought,
"Are you even a man? Babies in the Wales Family are much stronger than you!"
Chen Rui really wanted to say he was still a virgin - to some standard, he wasn't a man yet. But his posture right now was indeed a bit odd, just like a toad lying on a three-horned rhino. His arms cling tightly to the rhino's large back, for fear that he would be crushed by its feet if he fell down.
"Sorry, this is my first time riding such a big thing."
As Chen Rui was pondering about why this world didn't have any kind of saddle or stirrup and planning on "inventing" them when he came back, he noticed Alice's rhino; hers got a full set of saddle equipments - turned out it was just unfair treatment.
"Even if it's your first time, you don't need to squeeze so tightly. Loosen your legs!"
The little loli, only God knew if she understood it or not, advised with goodwill:
"Athena, there's no rush - it's his first time, of course he has to squeeze tightly."
This line almost made Chen Rui fall down from his rhino. Lots of demons along the way noticed his strange behavior, pointing their fingers at him. It was good that Chen Rui was wearing a cloak, his human identity temporarily didn't get exposed. Only some smell-sensitive demons revealed a doubtful expression, but with the princess and Athena there, no one dared come close.
When they reached the city's gate, the four rhinos were stopped.
"Where are you going, Your Highness Alice?"
The one stopping them was a male demon wearing armor. He was big and tall, red skin, with two curved horns growing on his head. He had a deep-looking face, his whole body exuding a vicious and imposing aura; from his appearance, he must be a havoc demon.
"Ah, Public Security Officer Alan, it's rare to see you doing the inspection personally."
Alice faintly smiled:
"We're going to Blue Wave Lake."
Alan frowned and said:
"The situation at Blue Wave Lake has been unusual recently, I'm worried something might have happened to the poison dragon sleeping there. I've sent out scout to investigate, Your Highness should wait until it's safe to play there."
"That poison dragon's been sleeping for thousands of years, Emperor Byakuya even used his strongest Light-Dark Seal on it. There will be no problem."
Alice pointed at Chen Rui,
"And this time we go there not to play - this is Master Aldaz's new apprentice, master told me to bring him to Blue Wave Lake to collect medicinal herbs."
Alchemy was divided into two major branches: if Crafters earned people's respect, then Potioneers earned people's fear. People dreaded poison potions and debuff potions, usually forgetting that there were potions with medicinal effects and buff effects too.
Words usually used to describe a Potioneer were "dark", "dangerous", "vicious" and "untouchable". Aldaz was a representative: from his laboratory, the miserable screaming of test subjects could be heard frequently, even the royal palace's guards dared not come close. It was hard to understand why Her Highness the Crown Princess would place such a dangerous person in the palace's outer court.
That terrifying Potion Master actually took in an apprentice? Alan curiously looked at this new apprentice, but his eyes became sharp the moment he saw Chen Rui. At this time, Alice pulled the hood down.
"This is the human we captured last time!"
A soldier behind Alan called out in astonishment. Immediately all eyes, full of hostility, focused on Chen Rui. He ground his teeth to keep his composure, but cold sweat didn't stop dripping down his forehead.
Alan found out Chen Rui's identity sooner than those soldiers did. He remembered when he'd reported this matter to the Crown Princess, Master Aldaz'd also been there. The master'd personally said he wanted this human as a test subject. How come a captive, a slave, suddenly turns into a master's apprentice?
Alice nonchalantly introduced:
"This human is called Chen Rui. Because he has talent in Potionology, Master Aldaz's accepted him as his official apprentice. From now on, he'll be a member of Dark Moon City."
Athena impatiently added:
"This is what I and Her Highness Alice heard from the master with our own ears; if you have any questions, why don't we go ask Master Aldaz directly!"
"Athena, sorry, I didn't mean it, I -"
Alan's attitude towards Athena seemed a bit weird. Without finishing his line, he got cut off by Athena's cold words:
"Alan, you finished? Don't waste our time!"
Athena's stiff manner made Alan feel helpless; he said to Alice:
"Little Princess, just in case, let me send a troop to protect you."
Alice innocently smiled and asked:
"You worry Athena couldn't protect me?"
Athena furrowed her delicate brows, and her crimson eyes glittered with sharpness. Alan hastily shook his head, his look towards Chen Rui became colder:
"Human! Do not try to run away or scheme anything. Or else I'll crush every bones in your body."
After saying that, Alan slightly bowed to the princess and stood back. The four rhinos heavily stepped out of the city's gate. Inside Dark Moon City, the news about Master Aldaz adopting an apprentice had been spread everywhere.
"Actually Alan's not too bad, his family's background and status match yours."
Alice looked at Athena with a grin:
"If he hadn't directly proposed the marriage to your father without telling you, I think you wouldn't hate him that much."
Athena said with disdain:
"I don't like him! He's useless, he got his position only because of his Karon Family. He only knows how to bully the weak and doesn't have any real skills."
"The weak" besides her could see that there must have been some history between the two of them; no wonder this violent girl's attitude towards Alan was similar to facing enemies.
"Last time when we went to Cloudy Rain Forest, he must have reported that to the Crown Princess. This kind of person is what I hate the most."
"Want to marry me? Ask my sword first!"
"Of course, Athena's mine, no one could take you away."
The little loli laughed cheerfully:
"Let's speed up!"
The three-horned rhinos accelerated; it was hard to believe such a speed could come from such a huge body. Without any saddle equipments, Chen Rui had no choice but to suffer, using his Toad Skill1 to barely stay on the rhino's back; he almost fell down several times. Athena felt quite annoyed, so she swapped rhinos with him. Looking at her riding the rhino at high speed without any difficulty, Chen Rui could only admire her skill.
Compared to the warm and bright sunlight on the Surface World in Arthur's memory, Mozu's environment was much harsher. The light source came from two "stars" in the sky. Called "stars", but their light intensity and heat were far worse than that of the sun on earth; most of the time they were hidden away behind the smoky clouds. In the evening, they turned into "moons", with their icy lavender light - the difference in temperature between night and day was immense.
All along the way could be seen huge pits of corrosion, dark and mysterious caverns, all kinds of weirdly-shaped plants - everything forming a strangely beautiful landscape, with a tinge of gloom added to it.
Blue Wave Lake's area was vast, surrounded by mountains. The atmosphere was specially serene: azure-colored water, lush lakeside plants, gorgeous flowers - just like a paradise in a world of darkness.
But Chen Rui quickly learned from Alice - the color of the water was azure because there was a matured poison dragon sleeping at the bottom of the lake. Its poison dyed the lake blue. There were no living creatures inside the lake. And the lush plants and gorgeous flowers around the lake - most of them contained deadly toxic. Some were even carnivorous, their pretty outer appearances came from their preys' flesh and blood.
A dragon's strength was terrifying enough, not to mention it was a poison dragon, which was rare even in the dragon race - the poison inside its body could exterminate a city at any moment; that's why no one dared bother it. This poison dragon'd been sleeping for several thousands of years. Around four hundreds years ago, there'd been a coup in Dark Moon Territory; Mozu's strongest demon Emperor Byakuya'd led an army there to put it down. When he'd passed through Blue Wave Lake, even he'd not dared to awake the dragon, so to keep it sleeping, he'd deliberately performed a Light-Dark Seal on it.
"There is a law in Mozu - the more beautiful things are, the more dangerous they can be."
Chen Rui acknowledged her remark, adding a clause quietly inside his head - the exact same thing could be said about demoness!
Adorable little princess, bewitching maid, courageous swordswoman - was any one of those not considered dangerous?
The poison dragon inside the lake wasn't just for decoration after all; Athena didn't dare to come too close to the lake, choosing a reasonably safe mountain top, where they had a good view of the lake from above.
"It's been a long time since we went to Blue Wave Lake. Athena, remember the last time?"
Alice suggested with enthusiasm:
"Finally an outing - how about a picnic?"
Alice slightly hesitated:
"Didn't Alan say Blue Wave Lake's been unusual lately? We should just quickly pick the fruits and go back."
"You believed that coward?"
Alice shook her head with disagreement:
"If you'd invited him to come with you, he would've immediately said the poison dragon was eliminated, Blue Wave Lake was even safer than the bathroom of his house."
"I would never invite that hateful guy!"
Athena snorted, silently agreeing with Alice's comment,
"So be it, Jiya collects the Jade Dragon Fruits, I do the hunting. Human, you stay here preparing with Alice."
Actually Chen Rui wanted to try using the poisonous plants around here to increase the System's activation process, but thinking about those man-eating flowers and the final boss in the lake, he quickly thrown that thought away.
Jiya and Athena had just gone when Alice started ordering Chen Rui. The bracelet on her wrist was
a dimensional equipment that could store items. Just that its rank wasn't too high, the space inside it wasn't very big, and it was stuffed full by the little loli; as a result, the moment she used it, a bunch of things fell out, creating a big mess.
Chen Rui had to help her collect her things, accidentally "picking up" a pile of underwear, and some were even the big-sized ones. Chen Rui was taken aback; the first thing popped up in his mind was that even Mozu had this kind of things; the next thing he thought was that the size didn't match Alice, who was still not endowed enough. Can it be that Alice is the legendary "controlling type2"?
Feeling Alice's murderous gaze, Chen Rui pretended not to see those things, turning away to collect other things. When he turned back, the bunch of underwear had already disappeared without a trace.
After they finished cleaning and everything was put inside the bracelet, a full set of picnic utensils was taken out and arranged; it seemed like this little loli was always prepared to play at any time.
At this time Athena and Jiya weren't back yet; Alice looked around and walked towards Chen Rui step by step. He nervously asked:
"L-Little Princess, you need something?"
"Drama's not like that,"
Alice revealed a bizarre smile:
"You should say 'don't come near me, or I'll scream!' And then I'll say 'even if you scream your heart out, no one will come to your rescue!' "
Chen Rui felt a big drop of sweat slowly rolling down his forehead, rolled his eyes and asked back:
"After that I'll scream my heart out, and then a guy named No One will come to save me, right?"
Alice showed an astonished expression:
"What? The human world also has 'The Demon King and The Princess'?"
Chen Rui gave a profound chuckle without answering. It seemed like there were a lot of common things, regardless of dimensions or races.
But he soon couldn't laugh anymore, because Alice suddenly said:
"Tell this princess some good stories, like the prehistoric world last time - very creative."
Chen Rui could feel his heart jumping violently inside his chest. He hurriedly argued:
"That's not a story, it's real! Without Master Wukong's divine blessing, how could I make Huarong Road and Kongming Lock?"
"Oh, I'll tell you a little secret, even Athena doesn't know this,"
Athena said in a mysterious low voice:
"The first time I met you, I just happened to awake a bloodline talent of the Lucifer Royal Family, called Mind Reading Technique, and I… accidentally tried it on you."
Chen Rui was thunderstruck. He couldn't utter a single word and just stood there frozen in place.
- The signature martial arts technique of Ouyang Feng, a character in the famous novel series Condor Trilogy written by Jin Yong. ↩
- I don't know what the author meant there. It depends on your imagination but for me, it meant a girl who can control her body's size, make her chest bigger or smaller and stuff. ↩