[In a dense rainforest inside the Origin Expanse, present day]
The last member of the Fenrir family stared deep into the dark, abyss-like eyes of the youngest child of the Fangs.
A thin longsword separated them.
Tigerfang's tip burrowed deep into Fenrir's throat, and crimson red blood gushed out of the wound.
Fenrir's eyes were wide open and overflowing with shock and confusion. The life in his eyes slowly dispersed but his hands were still moving. His hands tightly grasped the blade that had pierced his throat, trying to pull it out. However, Tigerfang did not budge and continued to cut deep into Fenrir's palms.
Michael's eyes quivered and his breathing grew loud and ragged. He was overflowing with rage that made his hands holding Tigerfang tightly tremble, and he subconsciously bit down on his lower lip hard, resulting in blood trickling down his mouth.
Fenrir's lips parted a little, but no word came out of his mouth. He couldn't speak anymore. His hands grew heavier by the second and he didn't have enough strength to fight back anymore. The moment he let go of the blade, his arms fell limply to his side.
Michael's eyes were still locked with Fenrir's dark eyes. He witnessed up close how the life in Fenrir's eyes disappeared, and how the Heroic Summon's energy slowly left his body.
And it was growing increasingly difficult for Michael to keep holding Tigerfang as Fenrir's entire body weighed down on Tigerfang. Michael tried to pull it out but the sensation of cutting through his first ancestor's neck caused him to retch. His entire body felt eerily cold, and his mind was overflowing with guilt and remorse.
'I did the right thing…so why am I feeling like this?' Michael asked himself desperately.
He knew that Fenrir had to be killed. It was the only way to make sure that his territory wouldn't be doomed. It wouldn't even end with the destruction of his territory the moment Fenrir would recover the power he amassed in the past. He would stop at nothing to lay waste throughout the Origin Expanse.
Fenrir had to die.
But then why did Michael feel like this? Cutting through Fenrir's throat was disgusting. Michael felt nausea from the sensation, and he was disgusted by himself. Not only had he attacked Fenrir, but it was a dirty attack, an assassination precisely planned to strike Fenrir when he was tired, hungry, and unarmed.
Fenrir hadn't even been on guard against Michael when he manifested Tigerfang. Only when Tigerfang's fangs were bared and about to dig into Fenrir's throat did he react. Of course, it was already too late by then.
Michael fell into a state of shock as he staggered back a little. The realization that the first time he killed another human was sinking in. In fact, it was the first time he had killed any living being. The Emactyls in the final exam didn't count. Michael knew that they were illusions, so he didn't pay much attention to them.
However, the slowly dying Summon in front of him right now was different. The last remnants of life inside Fenrir dispersed and he collapsed on the ground where his body writhed a few times before it came to a halt.
Meanwhile, blood trickled down Tigerfang's blade before it fell to the ground. A moment later Tigerfang turned into a white wisp that returned inside the War Rune.
Michael clutched his chest, and he began to vomit. His legs caved in, and he slumped to the ground where he continued to empty out his stomach for the next twenty minutes.
At the same time, Tiara stared at the turn of events with a deathly pale face as shock spread through her entire being.
"W-w-what…" She mumbled, unable to move.
Her Lord just killed his one and only Heroic Summon, who was also one of his two subjects. Michael had only two subjects, and he had just killed one of them. Did he plan to kill her as well?
No, that shouldn't be the case. Michael was a bubbly and kind Lord. He didn't feel satisfied or relieved after killing Fenrir either. Otherwise, he wouldn't be on the ground, emptying his stomach while trembling like a leaf in the wind.
It took Tiara quite a while to regain her senses. She had been staring blankly at the Heroic Summon's dead body and her vomiting master. Something felt odd, but Tiara wasn't able to make sense of the lack of clues at her disposal.
She approached Michael carefully, bent down next to him, and slowly rubbed his back.
The Link of Loyalty and her gut feeling told her that Michael was not a bad person. She had a bad feeling about Fenrir, but the exact opposite reaction toward Michael. Thus, rather than avoiding Michael, she felt like helping him. It was only a matter of time before she would uncover the truth of what had just happened.
"Why?" Michael asked weakly when his stomach had been emptied, but Tiara couldn't quite understand.
"Why aren't you asking anything?"
Tiara continued to rub his back, without saying anything for a while. Her gaze kept nervously flicking from Fenrir's unmoving body to Michael. There was something about them that made her senses tingle, but she was not quite sure what it was.
"I am your servant, your personal maid, not your supervisor whom you have to report to," Tiara said while trying to stay as calm as possible before she added, "I think you will tell me why you did that if you want to. If not, it's fine as well. My job is not to question my master's decision but to support them, even if they're wrong."
Michael looked up and met Tiara's eyes. She was clearly forcing herself to stay calm and smile at him, and he was more than grateful for that as that was exactly what he needed right now. It would have been worse if someone was to ask him hundreds of questions right now. He was not even sure what was going on inside his head, so how would he be able to explain everything to Tiara right now?
After he saw Tiara's reaction. Michael finally calmed down. He couldn't look at Fenrir's corpse right now as he was struggling to gather his thoughts.
"This…" Michael began, trying to tell Tiara what had happened. However, his mouth fell shut a moment later as the memories of Tigerfang piercing Fenrir's throat resurfaced in his mind.
He retched again just a moment later, but there was nothing left in his stomach to vomit.
"I will clean up the mess and prepare a light meal for you. You might not want to eat something right now, but you will fall sick if you don't eat anything," Tiara said before she got up. Cleaning up the mess didn't take that long.
She dragged Fenrir's corpse and placed it next to the Gem Jaguar corpses. After that was done, she retrieved the silver spear and used a wooden shovel, which was another of Michael's creations from this morning, to clean the rest.
lightsΝοvεl ƈοmOnly when everything was cleaned up a little did she return to Michael, who was sitting on the ground in front of the campfire? Her master seemed like a lost soul, but the firmness in his eyes had returned.
"Was that the first time you killed someone?" She asked, knowing that it was out of place to ask this as a servant, but Michael didn't mind. He just nodded his head and continued to stare into the flames.
Tiara grilled a small chunk of meat and handed it over to Michael. He was not hungry, but he forced himself to eat, nonetheless.
Half an hour later, he was done, and he began to speak, revealing everything he had found out so far to Tiara.
Within less than ten minutes, Tiara's expression changed over a dozen times. At first, she didn't think that Michael's words made sense, however, when he showed her the mark behind his ear, Tiara's doubts dispersed.
The mark behind his right ear was distinct, and it didn't take more than ten seconds for her to get up, move to Fenrir and find the same mark behind his right ear.
"So…Fenrir is the first ancestor of your family and one of the first humans who entered the Origin Expanse five centuries ago? He was labeled the Calamity in this…tome your family inherited…and you figured that Fenrir was the Calamity this morning when you had a dream about the past in which the images of the Calamity and Fenrir overlapped…" Tiara summarized in a heavy tone. It sounded bizarre and like some tale spewed by a drunkard on an evening when he had finished a few bottles of beer.
Nonetheless, Tiara believed what he said. Michael's body language and the way he spoke were clear indicators that he wasn't lying.
"Massacring the Golden Takan, the Empyrean Dragonia, and being a well-known Slave Merchant across the entire continent…to think that the Origin Expanse would summon someone like this as a Heroic Summon…The Will of the Origin Expanse must have a few loose screws…" She mumbled upon recalling the things Fenrir had done in the past.
Michael had also told her that Fenrir practiced the same wicked Spear Arts as mentioned in the book. When she heard what the wicked Spear Arts did to someone, she smiled at Michael.
"You did the right thing by killing him," Tiara said with conviction in her voice, "Fenrir was already close to the Mid refinement levels of Tier-0. If not for him being unguarded, and exhausted, maybe not even your surprise attack, or the fact that your Artifact is extremely sharp, with a strong enhancement effect at the tip, would have been enough to kill him…
Listening to Tiara didn't give him new intel. Michael was fully aware that he would have died if not for the factors Tiara pointed out. However, it didn't matter in the end. Michael was the one who emerged victorious while Fenrir was the one who died.
Whether it was a coincidence, or not, his Heroic Summon had been a piece of shit, and only the Fangs were aware of that.
Michael was not sure what happened, but the name Cleave Fenrir or Cleave Fang – which was the name used in the tattered book - had been removed from the annals of history. Did that mean Michael had been lucky? Was the Origin Expanse after the Fangs, or did the Will of the Origin Expanse try to resurrect the Calamity to cause death and destruction across the Origin Expanse once again?
Michael was not too sure about that. However, he could tell that his current situation was fucked up.
He had lost his powerhouse and the strongest force in the territory, and the protection barrier would disappear in a little bit over and above the period of eight days.
It would be great if he was able to summon another Hero, but were they easy to summon? Heroes didn't grow on trees!
Michael was at a loss for quite a while, and he could only feel the severed Link of Loyalty and the energy influx from killing a Low Tierless Heroic Summon.
After giving it some thought, Michael gathered his courage and approached Fenrir's corpse.
It was time to make use of his Soultrait and reap as much as possible!
And with that thought, he held his hand up above the corpse of Fenrir and his hands began to glow golden a few moments later.