Elyon's eyes shined in a dangerous yellow light. Of course, this was the reason he came looking for the Baron in the first place. So he clutched his sword in hand and stepped closer to the Baron.
"You killed my daughter; you killed my wife; you took everything away from me. Why should only I suffer?"
"I… Hur… ghk!"
Elyon didn't swing the sword at the Baron but instead at the Baron's eldest son, who was part of the Crusade as well and one of the decision-makers on that ominous day.
Wanting to inflict maximum physical and mental pain, Elyon purposefully struck sloppily in places that wouldn't kill instantly. The first strike was on the left shoulder, and the second was on the right.
In a gory mess, the shoulder got cut but not completely. As the blood oozed out with giant open wounds and visible bones, the shoulders appeared hanging by just the little remaining pieces of flesh and muscles.
"Father… Help!" The man cried.
But Elyon had no mercy for them. The Inquisitors, too used to such scenes, simply stood in their places and kept the crowd silent. Sylvester and the rest didn't move either and just watched.
Finally, Elyon struck the skull with a straight-down verticle strike. He hit the blade at the centre with enough strength to chop the body in half. Brain matter, intestines and much more spread out in an ugly and smelly mess.
But Elyon was not done. He moved to the other son, younger but a monster nonetheless. "You… I heard you tortured my brother's wife. Merely seventeen and yet so vile…"
He swung his sword masterfully from a distance. Only the tip of the blade touched the man's face. But there were so many slashes that soon, the face appeared to be thinly cut into a thousand tiny pieces. Eyes, nose, mouth—everything was a mess.
But the man was not dead, and since his throat was not harmed, the screams that echoed were blood-curdling. They scared the mightiest of the men sitting there as they foresaw dying similarly.
After the screams started to subside, Elyon made a sharp cut on the neck and beheaded the man, sending the head flying to the side, on the Baroness' lap, which made her scream like no tomorrow.
Then, finally, Elyon came in front of Baron Rockwood. He didn't speak to him and simply threw his sword before showing his sharp tiger claws.
"Argh! Go to hell, fucking heathen!" The Baron growled as he got lifted by the throat so easily. "You pests shouldn't have come to our lands—this land belongs to us, humans!"
His words seemed to have irked Inquisitor High Lord as the big man walked closer while slamming his staff menacingly. "Congratulations, heathen. I shall now ensure that not even the record of your bloodline remains. None shall ever remember you in history. Die knowing that you caused the end of your centuries of ancestral rule over these lands.
"As for this land. It belongs to humans or not—as long as one has the name of Solis in mind—we're one and the same kind."
Without any more exchanges, Elyon stabbed one claw into the Baron's stomach, digging his sharp nails in.
Then he stabbed the other hand so that both hands faced outwards. After that, he started applying pressure outward and ripping the Baron apart slowly.
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First, the intestines came out, then other organs. As the split became wider, the lungs hung down along with the heart. There was blood all over the ground, and many drops fell on Elyon. But he didn't seem to care as he finished his enemy.
"Haaaaa!" Elyon roared.
Two sides of Baron Rockwood fell to the ground in an ultimate gore.
Sylvester then stepped forward and addressed the three leftover women. "You three. Either accept to live the rest of your lives as lowly peasants, or receive a dagger and bring yourselves to Solis' embrace."
This was a standard procedure in cases of Article 66. The reasoning was straightforward and sensible. To leave a kin behind meant leaving cancer behind that could either stay dormant or take the form of a life-threatening disease someday.
Sylvester threw three daggers at them and waited with folded arms.
"I curse you!" Baroness growled in rage. "May you receive the most painful death imaginably?"
Lady Aurora scoffed. "Should have shown that anger on your husband and sons, woman. Now either accept to become a peasant or kill yourself."
The woman didn't speak more and stabbed the dagger into her chest. She had no reason to live, after all. Her sons and husband were dead. However, she was a fool and stabbed herself wrong. So she didn't die, and an Inquisitor had to come over to pierce her heart.
After that were the two wives of the Baron's sons. They appeared as rageful as the woman earlier, but their eyes held defiance.
Sylvester scoffed as he smelled the rage, anger and hate. 'Don't… don't make me do it.'
The two women tried to stand up with the dagger and run towards Elyon, to kill the Beastkin.
But they fell simultaneously as they found the back of their skulls pierced by two knives that Sylvester threw. At this point, he was a master with them, and with his strength, hurting ordinary folks was as easy as squashing an ant.
"Elyon, decide the fate of the Crusaders." Sylvester nudged the man.
'Show me what you are, buddy. Are you now a mindless monster or a just and ruthless warrior?' Sylvester wondered from a distance. Of course, this was a test for the Beastkin.
Elyon glanced at the massive crowd of a thousand Crusaders. Most looked pale as a ghost, and some were sobbing hard.
"Mister Sylvester, may I speak with my family?" Elyon asked all of a sudden.
Interested, Sylvester walked behind Elyon and put his hand on the latter's shoulder. "You may walk as well."
"Thank you." Elyon looked at his family hovering in the air nearby. "Please point out the faces you remember—those who were a part of the physical attacks and your deaths. I do not wish to kill all thousand of them, or our great ancestor will be utterly ashamed of me."
'And you have passed.' Sylvester sighed in relief.
With that, selective killing started. Elyon didn't even get his hands dirty anymore and let the Inquisitors do their jobs. As the ghosts of the Mizar family pointed, heads fell to the ground. On the other hand, the good men who had tried helping them received praise from Sylvester and were let go.
Slowly but surely, more than two hundred died out of a thousand. By night, the whole vengeance activity was done, and the time came to bid farewell to the ghosts while the pyres were still burning.
Sylvester let Elyon speak to his family privately in a room, though he had to be there. But he didn't say anything in the middle and silently listened to the whole exchange with Miraj sleeping on his shoulder.
"It seems this is the final farewell, my love," Mila said as she looked at Elyon's sad face closely for the last time.
Elyon again tried to touch her, but all he felt was cold air—a reminder that this emptiness would remain forever.
"What am I to do now? I have nowhere to go… Nobody to care for." Elyon asked them in defeat, his mighty shoulder slumped.
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"Son." An old man with human skin, the tail, and the ears of a tiger came forward. "My son, I am proud of what you have achieved in life. You furthered my legacy beyond what I ever expected. You have done enough for others. Now it's time to look within yourself and do what's important to you."
"We don't blame you, brother." Elyon's younger brother spoke. "We lived the best life while it lasted. What we have now… none could have foreseen or changed."
As they all spoke slowly, the ghostly translucent bodies started becoming paler and slowly disappearing. Finally, the time was coming to say the last words.
"Daddy! When will you teach me how to fight? You promised me." Amy chirped, still not knowing what was happening.
Her words were the straw that broke the camel's back. Elyon fell to his knees to Amy's level as his eyes teared up. "I… I will one day come to you and teach you, my princess."
"Why not now?" Amy asked.
Elyon choked on his words. "Because yo… your dad has some work to do. So wait for me, got it?"
"Oh no." Amy turned sad. But a moment later, she smiled brightly. "I will wait, daddy. I know you work very much for us. Can you bring me a new toy when you return, please?"
The ghostly bodies became so transparent that it became hard to focus on them. Some members had already gone, and only a few were left.
Elyon looked his daughter in the eyes. "I love you, princess. I will return with a gift… I promise."
Amy nodded, though for some reason, she also teared up and raised her little hand to show her pinky finger. "P-Promise?"
Elyon quickly raised his pinky finger and held it close to hers. "I promi-"
Before he could finish speaking, the last of Amy and Mila disappeared. Silence took over the room with menacing sounds of breaths echoing—the only proof they were still in the realm of the living.
Sylvester patted the man's shoulder. "I, for one, know you will never get over their deaths. They will always be in your mind as a precious memory. But the best you can do to honour those memories is live—the way they wanted you to. They may be gone—but never forget the promise you made."
Elyon didn't look at him and stayed on his knees with his head held low. "Mister Sylvester, is Solis real?"
"Most likely he does, or else, the things I can do—they'd make no sense. Come now, it's better you have some rest now. You need a calm mind to think of your future." Sylvester helped the big Beastkin stand and helped him onto the bed.
The man didn't even resist and rested back and closed his eyes. Sylvester knew that behind the darkness of those eyes, the images of his family were likely flashing.
'Yet another man scarred by the world—yet another man with his fate furled. I hope you overcome the grief, Elyon.'
He shut the door and left to find Inquisitor High Lord. It was midnight, so most of the staff and Inquisitors had gone to sleep. Just a few remained to watch over the burning of pyres.
He was soon directed to the roof of the tallest tower of the small castle, where he found the man in red watching the starry summer sky.
"Forgive me for keeping you waiting, Lord Inquisitor. I delayed the matter you came to discuss."
Inquisitor High Lord didn't look at him. "You did your duty, young bard. He may have been a Beastkin, but he is still one of us—a faithful. To leave him would have been baneful. But now we must discuss a more pressing matter. So, I shall be heading to River City in Riveria and meet the King."
Alerted, Sylvester questioned. "What's the matter, my lord?"
A threatening, angry aura spread across the vicinity. The smell, Sylvester felt, was overwhelming. Inquisitor High Lord lightly tapped his staff on the floor. "The realm rots with sinister plots, young bard. I'm afraid the dark times are ahead, and they shall leave behind nothing but long trails of the dead.
"King Riveria's favourite daughter has been murdered—breast mutilated. In response, King Riveria has called for an all-out war."
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