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Chapter 174 – Escape

Andesha’s expression distorted greatly at the incoming flames. The terrifying heat could be felt even before it reached her. The painful lesson of touching the crystal was still fresh in her mind, and she instinctively dodged to the side without a second thought.

However, though she escaped from the flames, they burned up the vines that held onto Scarlett. At that moment, she realized who was behind her.

The Mistress of Withering Decay screamed. She tolerated the painful feedback transmitted by the vines and tried to grab Scarlett who had fallen to the ground, but a longsword with a wide blade covered in flames swung downwards to her hands, and she was forced to withdraw them.

A few seconds later, the flames died down and a human figure appeared in its midst.

It was indeed Brendel.

The youth’s clothes were in tatters, but the injuries on him were completely healed. He slowly turned his head to Andesha’s direction, before he reached out to the crystal embedded in his chest with his hand and pulled it out. Flames erupted from his chest and abruptly dissipated, with his skin perfectly intact.

“This thing, belongs to you?” Brendel’s voice was almost mechanical. He crushed the crystal into dust with his bare hand and it was gone with the wind. “Andesha, or perhaps you wish to be addressed as the Mistress of Withering Decay?”

[It’s not strange for Veronica to recognize me, but how does this boy know what my identity is within the Tree Shepherds?]

“You know who I am?” Andesha’s eyes narrowed and focused on the young man, her guard heightened. As one of the twelve leaders of the Tree Shepherds, she rarely took action. People might recognize her because of her Element Power, but her full title was only known to the upper echelons of the Tree Shepherds.

Brendel glanced at Scarlett and determined that she was fine and merely passed out. Then his emotionless gaze went back to Andesha, causing her to flinch for a moment. They exchanged stares for a few seconds before she seemed like she finally ascertained something and asked with a stunned expression:

“Y-you’re not an Acolyte?”

“What? You used the Blood of Gods on him!” Veronica furrowed her brows and growled.

“What does that have anything to do with you!” Andesha snapped.

[How did this happen? Curse this brat…… The Blood of Gods that I possessed is unique. I expected to have an excellent God Acolyte to obey me, not this…… thing that’s standing in front of me.]

It seemed like the Blood of Gods had somehow twisted him into something that she did not recognize.

Veronica who was just yelled out left her mouth open. Indeed, it had nothing to do with her. It was truly a waste that the youth had to be turned into a mindless puppet that had nothing but sheer killing intent in his eyes—

[Wait…… Is that how a God Acolyte is supposed to act? That’s not— But the Blood of Gods that Andesha had must be something that’s even more po

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