Dying Fire (III)
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A fierce gale blew in the night as a shadow streaked in the sky, blocking the bright stars that riddled it. Its speed was inconceivable, but for the boy atop the shadow, it was still not enough.

Amon Skoller was incredibly nervous as he rode the spirit vessel he had stolen from the Abyss Sect. He was confused, he was scared and, most of all, he was incredibly angry. After being thrown out of the Hellblaze Secret World, Lya had dragged him to the spirit vessel and quickly flew away.

Amon didn't need to ask where they were going or why. He understood it all too well. His life in the Abyss Sect was over. He could only hope they could escape fast enough.

Behind him, Lya carefully controlled the spirit vessel in complete silence. She could feel Amon's mood, and she didn't know exactly what to say. For now, she could only make haste for the Outer Ring of the Outer Sect, get Rebecca Skoller and leave the Abyss Sect as quickly as possible.

Hati, the Guardian of the Hellblaze Secret World was right. The best she could do was stay away from the sect. There was clearly a traitor in their midst, if not many. Not only that, Lloyd Kressler and Oura knew of her presence, and Amon was now a target. Leaving and laying low was the best option.

Still, what could she say to him? What reasons could she give for hiding the truth? How could she explain to him what was truly happening?

How would she explain to him about Dale Loray? About Alexei? About Arthur Royce?

How could she explain to him what she had done?

Lya was confused. She did not want to believe Dale Loray was alive and that he was behind everything that had happened. She did not want to believe it because this meant that Dale Loray would certainly come after her.

Lya was scared. She was terrified of what would happen to her if Dale Loray ever managed to get his hands on her. She was even more scared of what exactly he wanted to do. Did he want to fulfill Alexei's obsession? Did he want to do something else entirely? She couldn't know, and that terrified her more than anything.

Lya was angry. She was angry with herself for failing to help Hati. She was angry with herself for not being able to stop Oura. She was angry with herself for having to resort to run away from the fight.

Nevertheless, there was hope. Hati had given Amon the Vermillion Token. With that, they could take refuge in the Southern Flame Sect and plead help to the Vermillion Queen. She would certainly abide, as this matter was as related to her as it was to Lya. They could then contact the other Sacred Sects and prepare countermeasures.

"Amon…" Lya called for him with a soft voice, somewhat hesitant.

The boy slowly turned to face her, his ashen hair flapping with the violent winds of the flight. Once Lya saw the gleam he had in his golden eyes, however, her heart trembled. What she saw in his eyes was unwillingness, and a fair share of conflicting emotions. What made her restless, however, was that, for the first time since their met, she could clearly see distrust in his eyes.

"We will speak later." Amon said in an emotionless voice, turning his back to her. "Once we pick my mother up and leave the sect, we will talk what we have to talk. Until then, don't speak."

---

"You want to know what I want, Rebecca? I am naturally here in order to capture the traitors of the Abyss Sect." Lawrence Meyer asked with a sneer. The coldness in his dark eyes could not hide his scorn. "I will patiently wait for your son to arrive to pick you up and try to escape. We can chat a bit until them."

Hearing his words, Rebecca stood in silence for a moment. Her weakened body trembled lightly due to the cold, but her eyes never wavered. Such a decisive, aggressive look in her eyes made Lawrence frown.

"Even if Lloyd did something, you have no proof." Rebecca finally said, but she couldn't hide her uncertainty. Something in the way Lawrence was acting gave her a bad feeling.

"Oh, I do have proof." Lawrence smiled coldly as the scorn in his eyes grew even more. "You see, we have plenty of witnesses that say your son was directly involved with Lloyd entering the Hellblaze Secret World."

Rebecca's sickly face lost all color as she heard that. As she looked deep into Lawrence's eyes, she knew he was telling the truth, but that still didn't make any sense. Her son had no contact with Lloyd, and Lya was accompanying him. How could someone frame him under such conditions?

Lawrence approached the bed, leaning closer to Rebecca. He extended his hands to her, holding her head in place with his cold fingers as his eyes turned increasingly closer to hers. Rebecca couldn't help but show the disgust she felt on her face. She knew that Lawrence would enjoy seeing that, but she still failed to keep her emotions in check.

"Truth be told, I would be here even without any proof. Who could guess that you were indeed traitors, Rebecca?" Lawrence spoke with a carefree tone. "I am actually very satisfied. This way, no one can say I was in the wrong for killing you and your son. I could already have an excuse due to the suspicions I had, but having Jake being hurt and that trash being killed is more than enough to justify my actions."

"For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart." He said, finally releasing her.

"Daniel is dead?" Rebecca asked as her eyes grew wide with shock. Her face paled even more, and she grasped the sheets of her bed tightly. No matter what she did, however, she couldn't stop her trembling. This time, however, she was not trembling due to the cold.

"Yes, he is. My heart aches for it, Rebecca." Lawrence said with an emotionless voice as he raised his left hand. The black sleeves of his robes slid down, revealing a silver chain with two blood-red beads attached to it. There was also a single piece of what looked like red marble attached to the chain, as if a third bead was once there, but had been broken. "As a father, I can't help but feel the pain of losing my firstborn."

Her words made her silent with shock. How low could a human being fall? As much as she despised Lawrence, she never thought she would turn out even worse than Lloyd.

"What a pathetic man you are, Lawrence. Your firstborn is dead. You second son, which you claim to be the pride of your life, is injured, and possibly just underwent the most terrifying and painful experience of his life, yet here you are, speaking to me, not showing a care in the world." Rebecca said with a trembling voice. She couldn't bear it anymore. The sadness was overwhelming her.

"Were you out of position, just lurking around and waiting for a signal? Do you truly hate Lloyd that much?" Rebecca asked with a wry smile. Pearly tears were slowly streaming down her face as she spoke, and she couldn't hide the pain and the sorrow in her eyes. "You would even recognize Daniel as your firstborn just so you can vent your hate for Lloyd?"

"Lloyd Kressler is the man I will do anything in my power to kill. Don't doubt for a second that I will use any means necessary to deliver a blow to him, no matter how weak it might be." He spoke with a chilling voice as his expression turned into a distorted mask of hatred. "The humiliation he made me suffer and this hatred he planted deep into me… I will pay it back tenfold."

Rebecca felt a part of her die as she heard Lawrence's words. This was what Daniel amounted to him, an excuse to throw a childish tantrum to take revenge on the man that defeated him. She didn't want to believe Daniel was truly dead, and she didn't want to accept that Lawrence would act like this.

Somehow, she still hoped deep down for Daniel to be accepted someday, even if she knew it would never happen. He deserved better, and now he was dead. Worst of all, his death would be the excuse the man that shunned him would use to kill the people Daniel wanted to protect.

"It is such a pity… You are far too emotional. You had everything you needed to become a legendary figure in this sect, but look at you. Becoming a cripple because of your failure of a son, and now crying because of my failure of a son." Lawrence said with a sneer. "I guess no matter how talented one is, the mindset is still primordial for a cultivator."

Rebecca's tears slowly stopped to fall as she closed her eyes and controlled her breathing. Her hands stopped trembling, and her expression turned serene.

Yes, Lawrence was right. He was not human anymore. He was a cultivator.

Rebecca closed her eyes, focusing. Lawrence felt a formless wave of divine sense washing over him and spreading way out of the house.

"Hmm… Three Elemental Core Elders surrounding the house from the north, east and west… I guess you are waiting to ambush my son as soon as he appears." Rebecca muttered to herself, opening her eyes and looking at Lawrence with disdain. "Were you really that enthusiastic in making sure we wouldn't somehow escape?"

"You know how careful I am. Even if I am dealing with a cripple and a waste, someone else might barge in. I will not allow that to happen." Lawrence said, not bothered in the least by her words.

"Why do you think someone else needs to barge in?" Rebecca asked.

"You should remember very well how I paid back my grudges, shouldn't you?" Rebecca asked, giving Lawrence a cold smile. For the first time in years, he felt a shiver running down his spine.

Rebecca waved her shriveled hands, and a powerful blast of Qi hit Lawrence's chest, sending him a few steps back.

"A pointless struggle." Lawrence said with an annoyed voice as he glared at Rebecca.

"Cling!"

A clear clinging sound rang from the living room, and something whistled through the air, rapidly reaching Rebecca's room. A black blur streaked through Lawrence's vision, and his face fell as he recognized what it was.

The blur halted as soon as it reached Rebecca, turning into a pitch-black sword. Rebecca looked at it with sorrowful eyes before extending her right hand and unsheathing the curved sword. Looking at the scene, Lawrence's eyes gleamed.

"It is better that way." Lawrence professed as he looked at Rebecca. A fierce smile slowly made its way into his lips. "I was afraid the White Flame had truly gone out."

With a roar, white flames slithered through the blade, exuding a terrifying heat. Lawrence's smile widened when he saw the intermingling shadows and light dancing in Rebecca's face as the flames on the blade flickered. The fire that blazed in her green eyes was even wilder than the flames dancing on the black blade.

Rebecca Skoller, the White Flame of the Abyss, raised Raven. Lawrence Meyer, the Second Protector of the Abyss Sect, extended his hands to the saber by his waist.

A deafening explosion rang out and splinters flew everywhere as the shabby house disappeared from sight.

In its place, a white lotus furiously bloomed.

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