Chapter 37: And so Begins a New Tale
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The crackling of the flames, and the sounds of crickets chirping serenaded the atmosphere. There, within the thick shrouds of the forest, the illuminating radiance of the fire served as the only guidance. The tenebrific atmosphere was shared by three people.

They huddled in close to the fire, delighting in the warmth presented. A young adolescent girl, and another young lady sat on one hand. While a behemoth sat opposite from them. From his physique alone, one would doubt that it was a human. However, once one could view the facial structure of the beast, they would realize that their hypotheses were indeed true. 

The man was of the Goblinoid race, yet he looked slightly different. While the Goblins were usually a very lithe and short-statured race. Yet this man towered over most humans. The giant fangs that are usually on his front teeth, were now on the far back. His facial structure was one much more rigid and stern than that of the goblinoid’s childish structure. The most unsettling however, were those pure green eyes, analyzing everything. As if it was peering into your soul.

Grodd laughed loudly after taking a bite into the bit of steak. It seemed that food was the only thing that made the man truly happy. 

After the bellowing, Lusha continued her sentence. “Anyways, this mission will be a good opportunity for me to teach you magic. It should be fairly easy. We’ll be taking on some old adventurer’s guild members. From the rating of this mission, it won’t be that hard either. They’d have to have left the guild and gone rogue long before they reached the level of steel.”

“Am I truly able to learn magic?” The young girl asked. Completely curious, yet doubtful of her ability to truly grasp the concept.

Lusha nodded between gulps of the juicy beef steak that she wolfed down. “Mh.. It should be easy for you.”

“Unlike my era, magic is now very common and almost everyone has an aptitude for it.”

“Unlike your era..?”

Grodd simply continued to chew and munch away on his 3 pounds of meat, unphased by the conversation going on before him. 

Lusha nodded. “Mhm. In my days, magic was a very rare thing. And only a small fraction of the world had the ability to use it. Let alone, had an aptitude for it. Though, I’ve definitely noticed everything changing in the past few centuries.”

Rinn’s dumbfounded look almost made Lusha uneasy. Almost. She snickered at the child who seemed so moved by what seemed to be only a glimmer of information. It almost reminded her of how she looked when she first encountered magic.  To be that young again, she could have been surprised by the most simplest of things. 

“The fact that you have, and can utilize a special skill already means you have an aptitude to learn.”

“Lusha... “

“Hm?”

“How long have you been alive?”

Lusha stroked her cheek, wondering about the question. It has been quite the while since she thought of how long she had been alive. A thousand years had already passed since the dragon situation. Before then she was alive for some considerable amount of time as well. 

“I’m not sure… after a while, these years seem to blend together, I guess…”

“If I had to say, it is certainly at least over 1,400 years. “

She expected the duo to be surprised, but it seemed neither girl nor goblin were impressed. ‘Tough crowd…’ 

“Oh… okay.” She continued munching meekly on her little bit of steak. Observing the scenario, Lusha belted out loud laughing. “Why do you almost seem sad about that response. Were you expecting more?”

“Say Lusha…”

“What is it, kid?”

“Who’s Aias?”

Perhaps she could learn magic afterall. With just one question, she managed to change the atmosphere. Even with the fire before them, the world felt several degrees colder. The wind tore at everything, and one could tell there was heightened danger in the area. 

With the few moments of silence that ensued, the tense situation picked up even more. The wind flew in like a promptly summoned gale storm and extinguished the flames before them. Perhaps it was just timing, perhaps it was just coincidence, but the anger that flew into Lusha’s face briefly, suddenly disappeared as quickly as the wind dwindled.

Even Grodd, seemed to be shocked by the name itself. His eyes that stared down at the young girl, didn’t seem to be one that was worried of the tense atmosphere created by Lusha. It was more-so directed entirely towards the name. 

“Where…. Where did you hear that name?” Lusha asked. Her glare was one that could have killed her several times over. 

The young girl shook wildly. The toll of just the overbearing aura was enough to mentally place her into a fight of flight. Her hands went over her head as she shivered. “I-I I don’t know! I just h-heard it from your technique”

The energy was not relenting. If there was anymore, she feared her heart might just stop. What was it about the question that made her get this way?

Suddenly, Grodd bolted out with laughter. So loud was his volume, that it disrupted everything about the whole thing. “Why so scared, girl?” Like deer.” He laughed out again. Lusha snapped back at that and got up. 

“I think I’ll be calling it a night for now.” Their tents were already pitched and she simply packed up her stuff and left. Before leaving the entrance she stopped. “Oh, and Rinn.”

Rinn looked up, still frightened by the earlier display. 

“Don’t mention that name again.”

Rinn nodded. There was definitely no need to warn her of that again. If anything, the trauma would remind her not to mention that name. She retreated into the confines of her tent and fell into her deep slumber. 

Rinn stood still by the campfire, munching away at whatever little bit of food she had left. For once, she felt pleased that the goblin was here. She looked over to the creature who remained fast asleep as if nothing had happened. It was clear Grodd had interfered on purpose to break apart the tension. 

Still… What kind of position did she manage to get herself into? The food tasted bland now. Unlike Lusha, and Grodd, she could not go to sleep. The stories she encounters when she does, was not pleasant in the slightest. For the past couple of days on their way to Rouen village, she could not sleep without dreaming of that very same life.

It was clear to her now that she was living through Lusha’s lens. The dreams were not that different, but the more she lived through her life, the more she saw things that she could not understand. The more she began to feel less like an observer, and more like the being experiencing it. Her head hurts.

--------------------------

Southern Continent, Doreabia Al’ Fusharka

“So we are all gathered here yet again it seems.”

“Kfu kfu fufu all? It seems you are losing your eyesight after-all, Hanabis.”

There was a sneering noise of disgust, upon hearing the other voice speak. “Can you two stop already? You always point out the obvious and try to wage a pointless victory.”

“Buuut, what I’m saying is true after-all. We aren’t all here. After-all, Geroodrah is still missing at the moment.”

“Geroodrah could not truly be counted as one of the twelve. He lacks in every way possible. Why the Supreme chose him, I cannot fathom.”

“Are you questioning the decisions of the supreme?”

“…. Perhaps you should’ve been the one to disappear instead, Tora.”

A laugh echoed throughout the empty hall. “Then, would you like to be the one to do it? Your seat does look rather tasty.”

“You two, knock it off. I swear, you both are like finicking children. You’re in the presence of the Supreme Being. You should act like it.”

“It is quite distasteful to see such a display..”

“.....”

The duo quickly realized that they were being carefully watched. The other members of the order were not the type to play around. It was as if they did not hold personalities. Tora sighed and slouched his back slightly. “Of course, my apologies.” 

The other simply crossed his hands over his shoulders and took his seat. The room was completely devoid of light. It was near impossible to truly make out anyone’s figure aside from some flashing eyes of blue and red hues.

“Ahem. Now that we’ve all gathered here, I’ll start speaking on behalf of our liege. As I’m sure many of you have heard, Geroodrah had gone off and decided to act without knowing everything yet about this world.”

“This has put a disgusting damper on our plans. Such actions are tantamount to spitting in the face of the Supreme one himself. You all are granted individuality, but do not mistake that for freedom. For if that is what you call freedom, then it will most certainly lead to failure.”

“It is because of his failure now, that we are facing the full force of the Terran’s counter strategy.”

“Forgive me, Cyrn, but how exactly did Geroodrah lose? Just off of estimations, there should be no one alive strong enough to face off against our kind. Save for the two Coordinates.”

Cyrn smiled. His glowing white, sharp teeth could be seen piercing the shroud. “These estimates were from 200 years ago. They are incorrect. It appears that this universe has prepared for our arrival quite well.”

“That much improvement in just 200 years? How could that be?”

“... If I had to guess, it was most-likely that mysterious wizard from back then. Nonetheless, it is clear that acting with impudence will serve the opposite effect to our goal. As it sits now, they have long collected the body of Geroodrah.”

“Are you insinuating that the supreme one acted with Impudence 200 years ago?” 

Cyrn’s face seemed to visibly contort. “N-no… that- that is not at all what I’m trying to say. For one such as Extin Pneuma, there is no such thing as acting with impudence. Needless to say, we are not anywhere near as skilled as them.”

The tension in the room grew as the beings chatted.

“Geroodrah was defeated in combat by two warriors they call adventurers. This is a new class of fighters that have only sprouted recently. It seems they possess above average combat abilities. They are not to be underestimated. Even so, one should watch out even more for those that wear the inscriptions of H.E.R.O. It took two of them to bring him down, though if we were speaking truthfully, it only required one of the duo to do the job.”

There was a heavy silence before Hanabis spoke. “Are you implying that there are those strong enough to challenge us? In single combat?”

“Of course, Geroodrah is not really someone you can consider on par with us.” Tora chimed in. 

“Silence.” Cyrn snapped. “That is precisely what I’m saying! That arrogant attitude of yours will topple our entire group one by one. Need you forget that there are beings in this world that exist stronger than us? Need you forget the coordinates? The sages? The dragons?!”

Tora seemed to cower behind nothingness, attempting to make his young form even smaller. “Alright alright! Calm down big boss.”

“On that note, Geroodrah will be here soon to answer for his actions.”

“Oh? Is he still alive… did they not extinguish his core?” 

“No. As it turns out, it would seem that they failed to destroy the core. One of the coordinates should be arriving soon to return the core.”

“A-...arriving? You mean… they’re-”

“Yes, Tora. The Coordinates are active again. Aias, the white haired one will be working with us for the time being. As I’m sure you guys already know… the orders still stand. Do not engage them. Not even you, Geras.” Cyrn’s eyes glared at the tallest demon in the room. His horns spread to at least 6 feet in each direction. 

He sheepishly looked at the young leader. “Of course not. I would not even dream of it. This is a rule set by the supreme one after all.”

“Though, do you truly mean it? Will Aias be coming to face us soon?”

Cyrn nodded.

“Have you met him yet? What is he like? What does he look like?”

“A young child. No older than Tora there. White hair, white eyes, and frail complexion.”

“Noo… you misunderstand my question Cyrn. What does he look like…” The eyes of that beast and the wild smile he had on his face. It left Cyrn much to be worried about.

“His soul was that of a normal human being.” He figured this would be the best answer to give. It’s better to avoid any odd outcomes in the days to come. 

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