Training my ability was fun but it was also exhausting.
For the past few days, I had been experimenting on Rurik’s blood samples to see how far I could change their composition, but it would use up my stamina every time.
“If you get drained quickly, that means you’re not using your power efficiently, Your Highness,” Rurik commented after observing my training one afternoon.
I wasn’t sure how I should channel that power without wearing myself out after a few hours of practicing. Father must know what to do but I didn’t want to ask him for any advice.
After about a week of training, I could already will the blood to change its shape and phase. Changing the shape was easier compared to converting it from liquid to solid or vice versa. Although I could see my improvement when it comes to control, the glaring inefficiency was hard to ignore.
I was about to get the blood back to its container when I suddenly felt an intense—almost suffocating—presence. Agad akong napalingon sa direksyon kung saan ko iyon pinakanaramdaman at halos manigas ang katawan ko sa nakita.
Peeking behind the tree was Yva who was grinning at me with such a lustful expression.
Her intimidation was on full blast, and it practically immobilized me. The fear that I had not felt for quite a long time started creeping in my chest. Her smile grew bigger as she leisurely walked toward my direction.
“It has been a while since I felt this kind of exhilaration, Your Highness,” she remarked while pushing the loose strands of her hair away from her face. “You really are His Majesty’s heir.”
Fighting against the effect of an intimidation of this level was tough and I only managed to move my fingers before she could stand in front of me.
Yva was one of the king’s retainers and nobody would argue about her strength. However, unlike Roesia and Baldric, the assassin had an insatiable thirst for fight and her intimidation alone could kill anyone in her vicinity, thus she had to be confined in the dark mountains. She was too dangerous to be allowed in the capital or any cities in Vrivarya.
“What are you doing?” I asked in frustration.
A bone-chilling grin appeared on her face. “I have been watching you since you started controlling those blood and I couldn’t help but get excited every time you try to use them for attack.”
She had been watching me from the start? I didn’t even detect her presence for the past few days.
“How about a proposal, Your Highness?”
Witnessing the greatest assassin propose something was already frightening but rejecting it was also not an option.
“What is it?”
“Allow me to be your target.”
I thought I just misheard what she said but Yva repeated it with the same thrilled grin on her face. Her? My target? I don’t think I could even land a scratch on her.
Still, it would be a waste of opportunity if I don’t accept her offer. I could only practice attacking stationary targets, and using Rurik was not an option since he couldn’t heal himself.
Muli akong tumingin kay Yva. She would be a nice partner for my training but she’s way too strong for my level. Besides, I wasn’t sure if she wouldn’t try to kill me during practice. After all, she was my father’s retainer, not mine, so she wasn’t obliged to yield to me.
“Have you finally decided, Your Highness?” she asked.
Her suggestion weighed heavily on my chest. There were a lot of things to consider but the royal parley was just a few weeks away. If I wanted to make an impression, I had to get stronger as soon as possible.
“Alright,” I said after a few seconds of silence. “I accept your proposal.”
The grin on her face widened even more to the point that it looked creepy. I was starting to wonder if I made the right decision.
She bowed her head at me. “Then, this assassin shall assist you in your training, Your Highness.”
Her title as Vrivarya’s greatest assassin was justified after all.
It had been three days, but I had yet to land an attack on her. My own retainers were fast, especially Irus, but nobody could hold a candle to her speed. She would just disappear from my sight and before I knew it, she had already stabbed my heart with her own hand.
Blood trickled down my chest as she pulled her hand back. It didn’t feel painful, but I could feel my strength being drained from the injury.
“You move too slow, Your Highness,” she remarked as she shook the blood off her hand.
I watched the hole in my chest close slowly and willed the blood I spilled to the ground to return to me. The blood swirled around my hand and seeped back into my pores.
“Or maybe you’re just way too fast,” I muttered after checking my wound.
If she had targeted my neck, I would have been dead for several times already. Worse, she wasn’t even trying her best. She was just relying on pure impulse to unleash a portion of her strength. Yva could attack me with her eyes closed and she would still fatally wound me.
The only good thing was my regeneration had become quicker after receiving too many injuries from her. I could also feel that my speed and reaction time had improved with the number of times I had chased her as my target, but for her, I was still on the slow side.
“Shall I get a bit serious, Your Highness?”
Her expression remained the same, but I could feel the immediate change in her demeanor. The air turned tensed. Bloodlust radiated from her already powerful intimidation technique. One wrong move and I might lose my life.
A subtle smile escaped from her cracked lips. “Please do not disappoint me, Your Highness.”
The moment she moved her feet, I knew I was a lost cause.
She disappeared from my sight and before I could react, my right arm and leg were already severed from my body. But what happened next left me bewildered…and quite terrified.
The blood that gushed out between my body and the severed limbs congealed before the crimson stream could break apart. The now more viscous blood pulled my right arm and leg back to where they should be and got reattached, much to my horror.
Quick regeneration was already expected from my status and bloodline, but I did not know it would be to this extent.
As if realizing the consequence of such incident, Yva’s grin grew wider and watched me in strange fascination. “I wonder…”
Before I could protest, she charged straight at me and slit my neck clean.
I should have died the moment my head got decapitated, but just like what happened earlier, my blood reconnected it from my neck.
Silence filled the dark-lit place as several thoughts weighed heavily on my chest. Undead were supposed to perish and disintegrate the moment they got beheaded, but because of the unique ability from my bloodline, I could escape such gruesome fate.
At this moment, I finally realized why other vampiric kingdoms, the magi, and even the noble clans saw me as a huge threat.
The revelation of my existence meant the royal family of Vrivarya had become much more powerful than before. With my status, I could assemble thousands of undead at my behest. With the power of my bloodline, I would be practically immortal.
In their eyes, the rightful heir of Vrivarya was invincible.