Volume 8 Chapter 179 – Inheriting the Shadow Blade (2)
Beyond the dimensional portal, Jin saw a city.
Tantel stepped through the portal and waved to Jin to follow. Jin trotted behind him. The moment he stepped in, the sand disappeared, and he felt a hard cobblestone floor.
Tantel tossed a canteen of cold water to him. Catching the metal container with one hand, Jin drank its contents all in one gulp, almost gagging at how fast he drank.
Because it wasn’t water that was in the canteen. It was wine.
On top of that, its strength was something that he never experienced in his entire life—regression included. It felt as if he swallowed fire instead of some liquid.
Jin glared at the chuckling beastman.
“Hahaha! We call it Lafrarosa, you humans call it Black Light.”
“That’s the name of this disgusting wine?”
“No, the name of this legendary city. Anyway, tsk, it seems humans don’t know the true taste of wine. We refined diamonds to make it.”
“Just give me some water.”
Lafrarosa. Black Light.
Jin was looking at the city that was built during the Illustrious Legend Tribe’s prime.
Lafrarosa boasted amazing architecture. No one would believe that it was built five thousand years ago.
And it was a bit extravagant.
‘A golden road… I finally know why many explorers came to the Great Desert in search of gold.’
Jin received another canteen, and he put his nose to the spout. It was actually water this time.
He chugged its contents and looked around. Everything was covered in gold. Every building around him was decorated with gemstones—usually the doors. Every door had a gemstone stuck to it, like Tantel’s chest.
“Tantel, what’s the gem stuck to your chest? Are you a door?”
Tantel gave the most curt answer possible while carrying the heaviest sadness in his voice. Jin didn’t continue his question and just continued walking the golden path.
What was the point of all these luxuries?
Jin and Tantel walked the road alone. No matter how much it sparkled and shined, Lafrarosa was a ghost town—a city stuck in time.
The once-great Illustrious Legend Tribe that bragged about their glorious civilization fell. Only a small minority spared by Solderet remained, breathless in the secluded dimension.
The gemstone at the front of each door was the heart that once burned brightly when its owner was still alive.
They walked for two hours and reached the end of the golden road. Yet there were still many paths that he hadn’t walked with more gold than he had ever seen.
Past the end of the golden path was just a cobblestone road. On either side of the road was an endless row of statues, honoring the warriors of the tribe.
“We’re going to the Battle Temple. As I said before, Jin Runcandel. Watch your mouth in front of the Brethren of the Temple. Understood?”
“Well, the Brethren aren’t labeled as Gods or Fighting Legends…”
“How many people are left in your tribe?”
“Including the Goddess of Battle and Twelve Fighting Legends, there are 77. We’ve all been waiting for you in this eternal hell.”
“You say that as if they’d disqualify me as soon as I act up.”
“Even if we wait a longer time, if you don’t fit the criteria, then we can’t teach you.”
These beastmen didn’t seem to be the nicest creatures.
‘The Battle Temple…’
Just as its name suggested, the temple was a sacred place built for legendary warriors—a breeding ground for ego. Still, the existence of this hierarchical system piqued Jin’s interest.
It was because, from far away, he could feel the burning energy from the temple that was barely visible from the distance.
‘It isn’t anything compared to Temar, but I still get chills up my spine.’
If he never walked the Great Desert, he would have never detected these changes in energy. Just from passing the three mirages in the trials, Jin had developed a lot.
The Battle Temple looked bigger than anything Jin had ever seen. The outer wall was made from steel and stone, and there wasn’t a single decoration there. The steel door—that alone felt like an entire castle wall—had countless gems implanted on its facade.
Tantel laid his hand on the door, and it slowly opened.
It wasn’t Jin’s voice.
The voices of astonishment were from a group of Illustrious Legend Tribespeople. They were stuck to the other side of the door. Who knew how long they waited?
“Is our apprentice finally here?!”
“Damn, he’s kinda cute.”
“A thousand years after Temar! One thousand!”
Tantel smacked his forehead at the immaturity. It seemed these beastmen also blushed when embarrassed.
‘Shit… He doesn’t have to blush.’
The beastmen’s eyes sparkled, following Jin wherever he went. Indiscriminate of gender, they were all at least two meters tall.
“My brethren, how many times did I say to not act like this…?”
They ignored Tantel. All of their attention was on Jin.
“How old are you?!”
“How is Lafrarosa?”
“Have you eaten? What’s your favorite food?”
Seeing them giggling and conversing in their deep voices, Jin really wondered if they ruled the land in the past.
‘There probably aren’t any Gods or Fighting Legends here. There’s chatty people like this in every friend group.’
While Jin debated whether to answer or not, one woman raised him to the sky. Jin tried to escape her grasp, but it was futile.
‘What is this strength…?!’
He knew that the Illustrious Legend Tribe was strong. Even more so after seeing Tantel and the others. However, when Tantel deflected Bradamante, Jin didn’t feel such strength.
Jin tried his best to escape the woman’s grip, but she looked as if she were playing with a little child. She put Jin on her shoulders and giggled.
Jin’s face turned into a tomato, just as Tantel’s face had.
“The kid’s face is a little dirty. Gotta wash him up! Pelos, did you prepare the bathwater?”
“Of course, Seventh Legend Brethren!”
She was the Seventh Fighting Legend, ‘Beliz’.
‘I guess there’s no point in resisting.’
He felt that they were genuinely welcoming him, so he didn’t feel the need to decline such hospitality.
Jin had to inherit the Shadow Blade from them. He came to learn, not fight them.
“Amazing! Haha! Who’s going to wash him? Rock, paper, scissors! The last one standing gets to wash the second historical apprentice!”
Chaos took over the group. Tantel looked like he had already given up.
The first human after over a thousand years. Also a candidate to inherit the Shadow Blade. It was hard to understand…
‘No, this isn’t right. It really isn’t.’
If he left them alone, one of those bulky, muscular beastmen would bathe him. Even Jin hated it when Gilly washed him when he was only a year old.
“I’ll wash myself!”
Jin shouted, and silence consumed the area.
All eyes were on him, who was still sat on top of Beliz’s shoulder.
“No, that’s not allowed.”
“You’re about to meet the Goddess of Battle Brethren, so you can’t greet them in such a condition.”
“You said there was bathwater? I can just wash myself.”
“Ah, not enough. You must be very clean. Not a single grain of sand can be in your ear.”
“Yep. Humans are normally very dirty. Wearing dirty clothes, eating with your dirty hands, eating food that went bad and stuff.”
Those were the humans back in their day. The beastmen’s history was also frozen five thousand years ago, and people at the time were far from clean and civilized.
“I’m not like that.”
He felt weird for even answering.
In fact, Jin had to explain how well he bathed. The beastmen nodded in dissatisfaction.
“…He knows more than we thought.”
“What shall we do? Seventh Legend Brethren, he completely refuses our hospitality.”
Beliz scratched her chin. Deciding whether Jin was capable or not.
“Okay, you will wash yourself and come out. Then, we will judge whether you meet our standards. If you fail to meet them, then you will not complain about our future actions. Understood?”
On one side of the Battle Temple, Jin washed for over three hours. He meticulously cleaned every nook and cranny of his body just because he didn’t want to deal with the aftermath. But it still felt nice. After all, it was the first bath since he entered the desert.
They also prepared fruits and traditional cookies, so Jin made sure to indulge in them.
Returning from the bathhouse, Jin realized that the Battle Temple was more like a town square than a temple. The residents barely left the temple and instead remained on the first floor, reading or talking with one another.
Tantel spoke as he handed Jin their traditional robes. They were prepared for the new visitor.
“You wash well. I burned and destroyed the clothes you had before.”
“I didn’t think I’d ever get a compliment for washing up well. Your people are rowdier than I thought. They looked like crazy maniacs.”
“We’re people too. It’s been thousands of years since Temar left and time halted since. Everyone’s a little worked up.”
Jin tried to latch his sheath around his waist when Tantel shook his head.
“‘When you meet the Goddess of Battle, you can’t carry a weapon.’ Is it something like that?”
“You sound scornful. You think they’d feel threatened just because you had a sword?”
“What is it, then?”
“There’s just no need to have it while you’re here for the time being. It looks like it’s Barisada’s brother sword… You must use another sword when using Shadow Blade.”
“Because the sword will support your spiritual energy, you won’t be training anything. We’re going to stop by your residence, so leave your sword there.”
They arrived in Jin’s quarters. A bed and a small bookshelf. Compared to Lafrarosa, there was nothing to see out the window.
“If you go to the main house, you’ll see the Seventh Fighting Legend. The environment will be completely different. Don’t get nervous, and just respond to what they say. Just as I said before, don’t say dumb shit.”
“When do I get to inherit the Shadow Blade?”
“That’s what they’ll decide. Passing the trials is only the minimal requirement. If the council decides you’re not worthy yet, you will return to where you came from.”
To those words, Jin’s eyes sharpened.
“It’s all just horseshit.”
“Shouldn’t we be careful when passing down such a strong technique? If we fought with gods with Shadow Blade, then our life would have never been this way.”
The closer they got to the main hall of the Battle Temple, Tantel’s heart grew brighter and brighter. It seemed to be affected by the presence of powerful entities.