“So… we’re convening this meeting with very important news. Duke Eris is dead.” There was a collective look of shock and confusion amongst all in the room. This was not the normal meeting however. This was a room composed of more than just the four prominent nobles. This meeting had several of the foundations and members of the upper echelon.
This included the nobles, the top tier officials, and individual members who have amassed power recently have all gathered for this specific meeting. The purpose of this meeting was not to debrief them all on the death of Duke Eris. This was a plan that Ophelia had thought of herself.
In truth, the death of Duke Eris was something that all four had heard of. They had already learned of this in the preliminary meeting. Now, by outwardly telling them that Duke Eris is dead, those who now have the power, can visibly perceive how many other contenders there were. However, now, they were going to let them know the real reason they were all gathered here.
By them telling them that Duke Eris was dead, something that most of them had already believed, it assuaged many of their fears and concerns. But see, they have all been gathered here and are now aware of the sheer amount of others there are seeking their own political power and gain.
“However, worry not. For before Duke Eris had died, he had provided us with an heir to the throne, a child of the kings that he was entrusted with protecting. This was in the case of events that the nation ever runs into the turmoil we are now facing. This child is being looked after by Baron Marlough’s forces. His coronation will be held tomorrow.”
Regalia recalled the event when they had explained to the child that he would reach his coronation in two days. Azer vehemently rejected, stating that he would die. That’s when he recalled his encounter with the team infinite. “Do you find anything he says odd? Or does he have any weird perception abilities?”
At that moment, he couldn’t have said for sure… but after news of Duke Eris’ unusual death, the words he said before finally rang within him. Something too strange had occurred for it to be considered coincidence. The child that had said to do nothing because Eris would die of his own accord, was also the same child that now said they should withhold the coronation, lest he be killed during the coronation.
There was only one way to bring about his coronation peacefully. Suggest the location elsewhere, but perform the actual coronation with the masses of people and citizens celebrating. For instance…. The Festival of shooting stars. This festival was occurring just 3 days from the first meeting they had, thus tomorrow.
The majority of assailants that wish for him dead will be at Baron Marloughs tonight searching for the child, only to find an ambush. The others will be ready for him by tomorrow, attempting to kill him during his false coronation location. The true location will be within count Regalia’s estate, during its festival. There, it would be nearly impossible to find him, or mobilize forces to subjugate the king. If he feels anything off, he may simply retreat to the best location in the crowd.
The masses will see its new king, and the parties will fail to gain more and more traction. This was the plan composed by both Regalia, Ophelia, and lastly, Young Master Azer. As of now, Azer’s true location was somewhere one would not think to search. He was not at any of the estates, or any of the three great cities. At the moment, he was housed in the fallen capital city of Godon, dressed as a commoner.
There, he was accompanied by only two normal dressed people from Regalia’s court. Since it's only for one day, many wouldn’t dare step foot in this place. The only place remotely in good condition was the southern sector. A small 100 acres of land with still intact buildings and stores. However, people have avoided this place like a plague due to potential illnesses and the like.
It's fine, they had their rations. The prince yawned. “If you guys will excuse me, I’ll be leaving now.”
“Young prince, if I insist, allow me to accompany you.”
“No… it is fine. There is nothing out here in this baron city. Nor do I look like a man worth the trouble of hijacking. Besides, I know how to handle myself quite well.”
“But our orders were to-”
“Your orders are to remain here. If you follow only lord Regalia now, just know, I will be king some day. And I will of course come after you for your insolent defiance.”
The men tensed up instantly. He’s starting to get the hang of this. Of course, should his coronation turn out fine and he become king, he would not be as stern as he was now. Rather, it did give him a bit of practice on keeping a certain composure should all else fail. He got up from the room with his hands in his pocket and began to parade the empty fractured streets of the city of Godon.
They have been attempting the cleanup of this place for a good 4 months now. Yet, it looked like no progress was made. Blood stains still lay in the streets, and thousands of tattered and torn pieces of limbs and fragments of bodies spotted the terrain.
He lamented the feeling of all the dead energy that clung to the city. A feeling of sadness overcame him. The peril they must have all felt in their long final moments must have been tantamount to meeting the devil himself.
As he walked and took in the scenery, all of the sudden, he started feeling a familiar creeping feeling up his spine. Words bolted, telling him to take a right. “Turn back and return to your group. Immediately. Leave this city. Escape. Flee. Run. Stay still. Don’t breathe. Don’t move. “ Yet again, these voices began to fill and overpower his mind. As much as the urgency was within his head, a growing curiosity began to fill his head- one that had never been prevalent before.
Why was it that he felt these overwhelming and overbearing instructions. From the intensity he felt from the warnings, he knew it had to be those same people. There were only ever two people in existence, that he began to feel a strange and overbearing pressure. These two were the beings he had met recently.
Their existence told him that there was something more to the world he thought they lived in. There were, in essence, beings that were on a completely different spectrum. He had never thought of life in such a way before, even when he had heard of the dragon of tales about the dragon of sky. There always lingered this speculation that they are merely tales.
However, as of the recent days, when he truly tries to think of the two beings he had encountered, something fundamentally strange swelled inside of him. These beings exist. The immense difference in their stature was akin to an ant staring down the face of a mountain. However… even an ant eventually becomes enamored by the truths of this world.
As he felt the pressure bearing over him, he brought it upon himself to defy his innate warning system. He steeled himself to refuse all of the words being fed into his head and walked opposite of where it was steering him. “I’m not going to be a king that controls others, yet is controlled by a different voice himself. I’ll either do this, or not be a king at all.”
He took a left. These streets could barely be called left or right. They were truly aimless. One couldn’t tell where the cobblestoned paths began or ended. “You fool. Stop. Do not advance any further!”
He refused to listen. With every might in his trembling body, he continued to move until suddenly, he found himself at the clearing where the town hall used to sit upon. In its place was nothing but rubble. Rubble, and hundreds of still uncleared bodies. Blood had long soaked into the soil and permanently stained the ground red.
He shuddered at the sight, but continued to walk further. His heart began to beat faster and faster as he kept progressing towards this uncertain location. Still yet, he held his reserve. The voice in his head was deafening by this point.
Ah… that’s what it was… He once again found himself looking at the young man from before. He had an oddly peaceful aura that made even the scenario he was in appear tranquil. Standing atop a mound of corpses, in all white, was the enigma that he could not fathom.
He seemed to have noticed him too, for his eyes darted over and met with the child before him. White hair, white clothes, nails and even aura. The only thing that wasn’t white were his piercing red eyes that seemed to mimic the sun.
With a quick disinterested glance, the enigma then turned around and continued doing what he was doing previously. His eyes scanned the place as if he was looking for something in particular. Finally, his eyes caught onto exactly what he was looking for. Digging beneath an array of bodies he finally pulled out a small orb-like jewel.
“What in the world is that?”
The man ignored his comments and simply proceeded to scan the surrounding. “That’s not right…”
He observed the jewel closely, holding it up to his eye as he looked around the area through its blood-red lens. “This is only half… where’s the second one…? I wonder.”
“E-excuse me. Who exactly are you? You… and the other girl. What are you two?”
The man’s eyes shifted to the child barking questions at him. It was then that the instincts within his head began to shout out loud. Louder than he had ever heard them before. They drowned every thought he was thinking aside from the directions it ordered. He was definitely…. Going to die.
The man tilted his head and, almost as if the distance between them never existed in the first place, Azer found himself just 50 centimeters away from the man. They were in breathing range. He was the only one not breathing however. His breath caught in his throat.
“I don’t care much for an audience or people to interact with.”
His body froze as if he was simply a statue. He wanted to move, but something in his brain forbade any actions. His joints locked up with extreme strength. There was an intense increase in pressure from the man. It was different from normal magicians exuding aura. In this case, one could feel the rising energy and pressure, yet it still felt peaceful. Make no mistake, it was still possible to die just as any other tremendous aura. The only saving grace was that perhaps the victims would be granted a tranquil death.
Azer’s breath began to be caught in his throat. It was getting harder and harder to breath and the pressure that was pounding on his head was getting worse. Then, just as soon as it started, it stopped entirely.
“This is the second time you’ve crossed my path. Yet… it seems after-all, that your existence doesn’t agitate me. Why is that?”
Azer panted heavily at the release of pressure and almost keeled over. His hands remained at his knees. The voice instructed him to answer the question.
“It’s… my ability. I- heh…. heh..I can-... choose the best option possible.”
“Oh is that right?”
“It guides me to choose the best action I can in order to not die. Or, the best favorable action.”
“That sounds like an interesting ability.” The witch breathed in through his nose, almost as if he was enjoying a bouquet of flowers. “So tell me…. What is that voice telling you right now?”
This was both an answer that was thought up by Azer. And an answer, that was thought up by his inner guide. The guide had completely stopped communication. It seemed to realize the unpredictability of this being before him. When it could not guide a certain direction of action, it simply overcrowded his mind with various commands.
However, in this case, it could do more harm than good. There was a tense moment of pause. Before the witch began laughing. His laughs were quiet tranquil exhales from his nose.
“A useless ability then.”
In that moment his power surged again and his hand began to entirely disappear from view. With just his hand missing, he placed it on the boy’s chest. He could feel it, deep within him, the phantom limb caressing his heart. This wasn’t a feeling he had ever known before or had ever heard of. He just knew.
“I think it’s about time you cease to exist in this world.”
“P-please… can I ask just one question?”
“Who are you… and the other girl. You both are… .” He found it impossible that two beings like this could exist, and not be aware of each other’s existence. Much more so impossible, that they’d be in the same country at the same time.
The witch glared at him with a sense of surprise. He looked as if he was contemplating crushing the child's heart or not. At that moment, everything lay in the fate of the man’s ethereal hands. After what seemed like hours passed by, he finally felt the phantom limb release the grasp on his heart.
The man’s hand reappeared.
“I’m certain your power told you not to have ventured to me if it truly leads you to make the best choices.”
“But you came here anyway. Was this all to relieve your curiosity? Even if death were the outcome?”
He sheathed his hands back into his pocket. “But I suppose I won’t kill you. Afterall, you’ve provided me with nice information. So that Lusha Viscirilis is here? How disgusting. The games fate tries to play…. I will one day even destroy that.”
“As for your question, I am Aias. One of the Four Witches of Law.”
This was a name that the young king had never heard of before. There were no tales referencing witches of law. He hadn’t heard of a guild name like that, or any legendary figures. Out of all the 60 Hero ranked adventurers, none had the name Aias.
“What is it you two are doing here? Why both of you?”
“Coincidence. I have no idea what that witch is thinking. However… if there is a reason I’m here, I suppose its….”
“To wipe this country off the map.”
Dumbfounded. That was the only way you could describe the look on Azer’s face. He couldn’t say anything. The words couldn’t even form. His alarms began to set off entirely. Judging by the words alone, this was a being capable of doing exactly as he stated. There was truly no escape from a wrath like that.
“Why?... What..- this doesn’t make any sense. You can’t possibly mean to.”
With that, Aias turned around and left. Exposing his back to the child. He had gotten a part of the core he was looking for. He didn’t have time to waste playing with a child.
“And one more thing. The next time you see me, your existence will begin to annoy me. Should that happen, I will kill you before you can even think.”