Chapter 1: When I Awoke

Book One: The Beast Knight

A lush rainforest. The scorching sunlight pierced through the small interstices in the leaf layers of the canopy, illuminating the ground below. The air was sultry, and because of abundant rainfall, the vegetation here was exceedingly verdant. Vines tangled and roots twisted, forming arduous hindrances.

Zi Di was rushing through this rainforest with all of her might. She had curly black hair and wheat-colored skin. Her exquisite facial features delineated her extraordinarily beautiful visage, and her most attractive feature was her large purple eyes that were as translucent and resplendent as amethysts. But at this moment, those eyes were filled with fear and panic.

“Huff! Huff!” Her mouth was wide open, gasping heavily for breath, and her chest already faintly aching. She was drenched in sweat and had many bandaged wounds over her body, because of her strenuous sprinting, scarlet blood stained the white bandages.

Faster, run faster! I must get far away from this place with haste! Zi Di encouraged herself, however, she could not run any faster because there was a thick hemp rope around her shoulders that dragged something heavy. This greatly encumbered her speed.

“Aah!” Suddenly, a loud, wretched scream resounded from afar. Soon after, the sound of a wolf howling followed.

The girl’s body trembled as if she was agonized by electrocution.

Then, like a monster’s claws, a feeling of crisis and urgency ferociously grasped her heart. At this moment, there was only one voice left in her head, Run! Run! RUN! Leave everything behind, don’t care about anything else. Otherwise, you will be killed by that fiendish wolf, just like those bodyguards that were sundered to shreds, chewed into mincemeat, and then finally swallowed into its gut!

The girl’s complexion became ash-white, and her gaze revealed dread. Yet when her eyes glanced behind her, she grew firm again.

The rear end of the hemp rope she dragged was firmly attached to a stretcher. On it lay a boy. For some unknown reason, the youth’s eyes remained closed in unconsciousness, however, with his dazzling golden hair and handsome appearance, he gave off a naturally noble aura.

The youthful boy was undoubtedly a burden to her. To still drag such a burden heavier than herself at this critical moment that determined life and death, she was digging her own grave.

Gazing at the boy on the stretcher, Zi Di gritted her teeth in pain. Then, she restrained the panic and nervousness in her heart and continued to drag the stretcher, advancing staunchly while withstanding the impending pressure of death.

After pushing vines in front of her aside and using her tender body to barge through walls of shrubbery, the dense wilderness around her became sparse and dispersed, disclosing the azure sky.

The sound of running water came to her ears, and not long after, a small river appeared in her line of sight. With a visual estimate, she guessed the river water would likely only reach up to her waist. However, she dared not wade through the river so easily. Danger lurks on every corner of this isolated island. I definitely must not use common sense to gauge it. I’m almost certain this small river is hiding a vicious crocodile or a large shoal of piranhas, she thought.

Originally, she was attended by as many as sixteen bodyguards, but now, only she and this youth were left. During the journey, her bodyguards had sacrificed themselves one after another, elucidating the terror of this isolated island jungle.

Damn it, if only I could still use magic…

The girl observed awhile. Biting her lip, she decided to cross the river. Behind her, the giant wolf was likely pursuing to devour her like an incarnation of the god of death.

Although the girl was panic-stricken, she had not lost her rationality completely, she still maintained her clear-headedness and judgment of the situation. She dragged the heavy stretcher and followed the river. After a short while, she saw a small tree growing in an inclined manner. Its trunk extended from this bank, rose into the air, and stretched over to the opposite bank. 

After a cautious examination, the girl discovered that there were no venomous snakes or thorns hidden on the tree. However, the tree trunk was covered in moss and lichen, making its surface extremely slippery. Even if it were just her climbing this tree trunk, even the slightest inattentiveness would drop her into the river. To say nothing of her additional burden.

The eyes of the youth lying on the stretcher were shut tight. He was in a deep coma. Perhaps…she should abandon this youth. It would be too risky and arduous to carry this unconscious youth across the river.

The girl gritted her teeth and quickly untied the hemp rope around the stretcher. She then put the youth onto her back and tightly wrapped the rope around their bodies. After that was done, the girl took off her boots and stuffed them into the crevices between the rope and their bodies. Finally, she inhaled deeply and began to venture on to the tree trunk.

I can do it, I can do it! Zi Di, oh Zi Di, you must not fall here. You are the president of Wisteria. You still need to avenge Father! The brave girl boosted her morale. Doing her utmost to creep across the tree trunk, she advanced bit by bit, and her eyes gazed forward, filled with resolve.

Eventually, she successfully climbed across. Because of the weight of two people pressing down on the small trunk, when the girl reached the opposite bank, the trunk was pressed all the way down to the ground. This made it easier for the girl to land on the ground. Without two people pressing it down, the tree flung back up, swinging its branches and leaves with it, stirring a whooshing wind.

Carrying the youth had exhausted her stamina. She collapsed to her knees and supported herself with her hands, powerless to rise back up for the moment. Her entire face was pale, and she felt slight vertigo. Sweat quickly dropped from the tip of her nose and chin, falling on to the rank grass. The girl gasped for a while to catch her breath, and the dizziness gradually subsided. An intense feeling of joy spread through her heart. I can’t believe it! I actually did it! I really climbed across!

However, shortly afterward, she sensed her limbs beginning to indicate signs of numbness. The consequences of exhaustion had caught up to her.

A wolf’s howl suddenly resounded loudly, and a silhouette as large as a calf sprang out ferociously from the dense underbrush.

The girl’s body and mind shuddered as she subconsciously turned around to see a gigantic dark blue wolf. At this moment, her pupils tensed up, she felt as if she had fallen into an icy abysm. The giant wolf bared its teeth with morsels of fresh flesh between them. The wolf’s eyes were red, filled with tyrannical murderousness, as it stared at the girl.

The girl fell on the underbrush of the bank. She had turned around to look back with such hastiness that had forgotten about the youth still on her back. His weight brought strong inertia, causing the girl to fall to the ground.

Their feebleness and wretchedness further aroused the wolf’s vicious nature. Nevertheless, the wolf still remained on the opposite bank. It cavorted in place, paced back and forth, and looked at the burbling river. Fear was unmistakable in its actions.

Upon seeing the wolf act like this, the girl immediately understood how wise her prior actions were. 

However, the wolf also saw the tree trunk. It then unexpectedly did the same as the girl as it stepped onto the tree that extended across both banks of the river. Although the huge wolf had a muscular body, it controlled its balance superbly and went across somewhat faster than the girl.

Amidst her shock, the girl seemed to be electrocuted. In a flurry, she took out a dagger, sliced the rope around her body, then jumped back up and charged into the overhanging tree trunk.

The tree trunk was struck and immediately started to sway from the impact. Although the tree did not sway too much, it nonetheless brought sufficient inconvenience to the giant wolf.

With its balance broken and having almost fallen into the river, it was forced to retreat to the bank miserably. The wolf snarled at the girl, baring its sharp teeth as it grew increasingly furious.

The girl had successfully stopped the giant wolf and was thence overjoyed, however, exultation immediately turned into regret. I should have let this damned beast reach the middle of the trunk before acting, that would have dropped it into the river!

The girl and the giant wolf confronted each other from opposite banks. The wolf incessantly kept howling and refused to retreat.

The girl kept her eye on the giant wolf and did not dare to relax for even a moment. So long as the wolf even attempted to climb the tree trunk, the girl would strike it.

Moments later, the girl finally concluded—her act in haste was the right call. She could not accurately estimate how far the giant wolf could jump. After clambering over a small section, perhaps the wolf might be able to leap directly to the opposing bank. 

Even if she could manage to shake the wolf into the river, it was unknown whether or not the dangers lurking in the waters would react, or even if it did, it was also unknown if it could stop the giant wolf. Thus, the safest course of action would be to not give the wolf any opportunities. As long as it dared to attempt to climb on the trunk, the girl would do her best to disturb it.

As time went by, the wolf endeavored many times but never succeeded. Eventually, it turned around furiously and disappeared into the undergrowth.

The girl stood in a daze. It took a few breaths until she reacted as she fell to the ground. Her face that was numb from nervousness gradually eased, and like melting ice, tears flowed down both her cheeks.

At last, she had received a new lease on life.

With that, the girl whimpered and sobbed. Her legs were curled up and her feet were bare. She had not had the time to put her boots back on until now. Because of climbing the tree earlier, her feet had large abrasions. All of her fingernails were also split causing bleeding. She buried her head in her curled legs and her shoulders trembled slightly in the wake of her spasmodic sobs.

But thereafter, as if shocked by electricity, the girl abruptly raised her head. Her eyes were red, her face had distinct tear stains, and her countenance was complex, filled with shock, doubt, and panic. Is the wolf really giving up like this? It is a possibility. But…

Recalling her horrific experiences over the last few days, the girl began to feel the possibility of the wolf not having given up was higher. It might have turned around and entered the undergrowth to paralyze me. Perhaps, at this very moment, it is following along the river to find another shortcut across! Perhaps, it has already gotten across and is quickly rushing toward here! conjecturing this, the girl felt chilled to the bone.

What should she do? Grab the youth and climb back across the trunk? Disregarding the fact the tree trunk had a certain elevation from the ground, such that it would make it arduous for the girl to climb while carrying the youth, if the wolf was still on the other side, what could she do?

Climb to the middle of the trunk and stay there? That would be even less possible. It would be too physically consuming. The girl was deeply aware of her own physical state at the moment. She had no confidence she could climb the trunk again. Thinking back to that crossing filled her heart with gratitude and lingering fear.

Could she continue to carry this youth? If the giant wolf chased after her, this was an obvious dead end. Even if she carried nothing, she could not compare to the wolf’s speed.

In that case, I only have one final option! The girl’s eyes flashed with a light of unswerving determination.

She hurried back to the boy’s side, half knelt on the ground and took out a milky-white crystal column from her bosom. The girl focused her spirit and did her best to activate the white crystal. She tightly held the crystal just above the youth’s head for a long while motionlessly. Is it really not going to work? No, this is my last hope. Even if it's slim, even if there’s only a small possibility…

Her heart grew increasingly anxious as she whispered, “Hurry, hurry! I’m begging you, please activate.” As if it heard her prayers, the milky-white crystal began to light up with an almost imperceptible glimmer. But after the girl detected the faint glimmer, her face shone with great delight. It works! As long as the level of the magic is high enough, it can bypass the magic restriction! Though its power and effects are much diminished…

The light that was emitted by the white crystal column gradually grew effulgent, and then like water, it coalesced enough to form a stream of liquid that radiated a milky-white glow. The small stream of liquid dripped on to the unconscious youth’s forehead and then magically integrated with his skin.

In that brief moment, due to struggling to maintain the crystal column, Zi Di’s entire face had turned pale, her forehead was devoid of sweat, and her body was teetering. The crystal column’s color also began to wane, starting from the upper end, gradually turning it into gray stone.

Persevere, I must press on, I can’t give up halfway! Zi Di squeezed out all the power she had left in her body, almost hypnotizing herself into constantly challenging the limits of her abilities. By the time half the crystal column lost its color, she was already in a state of semi-consciousness, only her obsession kept her going. I must wake you up…

“Howl!” A wolf’s howl suddenly reverberated, and the giant blue wolf that had disappeared rushed out from the lush undergrowth with extreme quickness.

At that moment, it was like death had come for her. Zi Di was terrified, and her frail body trembled. When she subconsciously looked up, she found her face was already overshadowed by the wolf’s body. She saw the giant wolf had leaped through the air and was swooping down at her.

At that moment, time seemed to slow down. The wolf’s maw was wide open, baring its malevolent fangs and its drooling saliva. Am I going to die‽ Zi Di attempted to struggle, however, her body did not respond, she had already consumed all of her strength. I am not resigned… 

As the intense breath of death assaulted her, the girl’s purple eyes gazed at her final hope, the crystal column in her hands. Two-thirds of the crystal had lost its luster and turned to gray stone, however, there was still a third left. There’s no hope left.

In that split second, she turned pale as she lost all her strength. Her head drooped, and she shut her eyes tight. But, just as she was about to meet her sticky end, something shook in her hand.

Bang! The crystal column exploded into countless pieces. Bewildered, the girl opened her eyes. Then, she saw the youth wake. 

The golden-haired and blue-eyed handsome boy suddenly flipped sideways, then raised his leg and kicked. His movements were graceful and strong, direct and efficient. Although his body seemed weak, he revealed his ferocious strength at that moment. His powerful kick stirred up a gust of wind, the giant wolf could not dodge it and met the kick head-on. The wolf’s howl stopped abruptly as the powerful attack flung it into the distance.

With his hands, the youth took the opportunity to prop himself up and glared angrily at it.

The girl’s pupils shrank slightly, and her breathing halted. As she gazed at the boy’s thin and frail back, she felt as if she was seeing the summit of a mountain rise up.