Chapter 5 - The messenger
It was raining.
If you say this phrase to the average person who's lived most of their lives in Acetia, they would say to you two words.
As a city built on the windward side of a mountain, the city was infamous for it's rain.
Luckily, magic could solve floods pretty easily, so it merely added charm to the city.
Louis didn't feel the same way though, he hated getting his clothes and body pelted by the rain. Each drop of water gave him a deep sense of shame. He thought of rain as a mockery to him by the heavens. It reminded him of some of the tribulations he failed. He hated rain
Especially when there's lightning.
Bringing his umbrella closer to his head, Louis tried to further ignore the downpour, which was not helped by the pitter-patter of the rain against his umbrella.
Had this been his old world, he would've split the sky to end the rain, crops be damned. They had spatially isolated places to grow those.
But here, not only would it have attracted a lot of attention, the shockwave and residual qi would have killed a lot of mortals.
"Stupid, weak, fleshy mortals who can't even strengthen their body."
The last part was false, but that applied to an extremely small decimal of the population. Back in his world, he had made it to a point where a staggering 60% of the world population could cultivate.
'Li'er helped a lot with the propaganda campaign...'
Brushing aside some futile memories, Louis set his eyes forward, focused on his destination.
It was Saturday, and in a mere night, Rufus had found out much information about Llamiryl.
Down to her favorite food, and her favorite restaurant, and at what time she usually goes there.
'She usually doesn't go on weekdays, but she never fails to show up at 9am on weekends for breakfast. She also sometimes talks to strange hooded people all the while making small talk with the waitress.'
It proved the power and influence Louis had at his disposal.
'For the son of a duke, I sure get a lot of freedom, huh. Well, saves me the trouble."
He prevented the imperial clan from even leaving the compounds of their building. He thought to how the de Leon family had kept their public image good enough for all these years.
They all kept a distance from the commoners even though they went outside, they were close yet still untouchable. And that was the perfect way to maintain their reputation among nobles while boosting popularity amongst commoners.
No respectable noble would get close to common men, unless the common man had something going for them, it was the cold, hard truth.
Llamiryl was not a respectable noble, she was a literal political hostage, so Louis supposed she could go to a commoner's eating place with no repercussions.
He was still wondering about the crown prince...
Ending his idle thoughts Louis finally reached the venue
'El Patio - Restaurant and Cafe'
'Wait, wasn't this the restaurant the crown prince was at?'
'It seems the reason the crown prince went here was also for Llamiryl, but he probably missed her.'
Louis thought of activating a flag, but ultimately decided against it. If the girl possessed a world crystal, she may be able to notice the world twisting itself in a way that benefitted Louis.
It was unlikely she could do anything to stop it, but it would arouse unnecessary suspicion and reveal one of his most powerful abilities.
'Fuck, I had a flag active during our earlier conversation.'
It may have already been too late.
Well, there were flags that could only be detected once the change had actually happen, but he didn't need any of those.
What he needed at the moment was dumb luck in situations when ridiculous events happen. Something that he didn't have much of.
Sighing, he closed his umbrella and pushed open the door, producing a chiming sound that alerted whoever was inside.
Sure enough, the auburn haired girl was there, taking a tray filled with some coffee and cookies.
She turned around to greet the new customer, but let out a scream of surprise as soon as she saw who it actually was.
"Eeep! First it was the elven princess, next it was the crown prince, then a baron's son, then it's the de Leon family heir himself!"
In her shock, the tray had left her hands, but was quickly and skillfully caught by Louis and put back on her hands.
"I see you haven't heeded my advice." Louis said with a frown.
Behind the girl was an unremarkable man who appeared to be a waiter working at the place.
"Geez Aubrey, be more careful with the food! That's miss Llamiryl's food. Also, they're obviously here for the elven princess. You shouldn't be so surprised."
Louis looked around the restaurant, it was nothing fancy - as you would expect of a commoner's place. The main attraction seemed to be the outdoor lounge, sadly it's closed off in the rain.
The inside was still moderately spacious, though, but Louis noticed something.
"You two are the only staff that work here? Even if you know mage lift it would be rude to not be present when serving guests."
The unremarkable man nervously answered Louis' chuckling.
"Well we do all know magic here, especially the chef. But Aubrey-"
The girl, Aubrey, had already taken the tray and left for wherever Llamiryl was in a gust of wind.
"Let's just say she won the genetic lottery."
'Physiques exist in this world?' Louis raised an eyebrow.
He left in an equally fast gust of wind, catching up to wherever Aubrey went.
There was Llamiryl, seated in a window seat. Her grey eyes looked outside the window, staring at the drops of rain. She was wearing a more casual dress, but with how much black she was wearing, Louis wondered if she was mourning for someone.
Across the table was the unambitious person he saw in the ceremony, he knew the person was the son of a baron, but the man was wearing the clothes of a commoner. Thinking about it, the look on his face was perfect for sneaking around and not attracting attention.
Louis approached Llamiryl, not bothering to get her attention, as he already had it. He spoke.
"Miss Urikalyn, is this man the friend you spoke of?"
Llamiryl continued staring at the window, not bothering to turn around, she spoke softly.
"Louis, just call me Llamiryl, this is a casual conversation. The answer to that is no, though I've been trying to make him my friend for about 3 years now."
"Have you tried sneaking into his house and putting a very dangerous material inside?"
Llamiryl rolled her eyes.
"Oh, that's just the beginning of it. What brings you here, you creepy stalker, I was expecting you on a Sunday."
"Maybe because you sneaked into my house?"
Louis turned to Aubrey, who was still standing there, unsure of what to do.
"You, fetch me a chair, there's enough room on this table for three anyways."
Startled, Aubrey silently nodded and rushed to get a chair, she immediately got one from a nearby empty table, placing it in front of Louis. He took the chair and sat down on it.
Llamiryl's eyes shrunk into a glare, still looking out the window.
"I don't appreciate you being rude to Aubrey."
Completely ignoring her comment, Louis got straight to the point.
"Care to tell me more about your gift?"
Llamiryl finally turned around, looking Louis directly in the eye.
"Can you speak elvish?" She spoke in a tongue very different from the languages and dialects of Invicta, the accent was most similar to the Karpov duchy's regional dialect.
Louis responded in elvish.
"Yes, I've overheard enough casual conversations in elvish to decode their common speech patterns."
At this point Aubrey already left to serve some other customers, and the unambitious man spoke.
"So it seems you two are gonna talk about something important. I can cast translate so you'd want me to leave right?"
""No."" They both said in the common language.
In the first place, translate was very literal when interpreting meanings and required a ritual to cast, so it would be very obvious if he tried to do it here.
"So, you do know what that crystal does right?"
Llamiryl smiled, and stuffed a cookie into her mouth.
"Uff courfse" She finished the cookie, ridding her mouth of crumbs with a napkin.
"It uses world energy. If you use it to cast a spell it would be much, much stronger. Provided you can actually use it."
Louis frowned at the last part of the sentence.
But calmed down when Llamiryl continued.
"Of course, it's the life force of the world,it's bad to use it. Don't worry though, that crystal was naturally formed deep inside the earth."
Louis had a thoughtful look on his face.
"So you won't be using it?"
"I'd prefer not to but it's already there. Unless there's some way to return the energy to the world, there'd really be no reason not to."
Louis sighed, he also knew that world energy worked one way, and while his Conqueror's flag appeared to be able to utilize the world's energy without draining it, he was actually just channeling the aura. Besides, he didn't have the flag in question anymore.
"Wait, how deep in the earth did you find that world crystal?"
"Near the core." Llamiryl answered, matter-of-factly.
"You didn't encounter any elder dragons?" There was a reason Louis only had his hidden base 1km underground, any lower and the material construct couldn't handle the monsters that lied deep underground.
"Mmm, about that..." Llamiryl placed a finger on her lip.
"We'll tell you at a later date."
Llamiryl took the cup of coffee from the table and started sipping on it, disgusted at her choice of the caffeine beverage instead of tea, Louis waited until she was done with the unhealthy caffeine.
At some point Llamiryl had closed her eyes.
It seems the unambitious man next to him had immediately averted his gaze when Llamiryl performed that action.
"I knew it was the right move to place that world crystal in your bedroom. That confirms everything! Not even that elder dragon knows the true nature of world energy. But you-" She pointed her raised hand at Louis.
At that moment Louis knew, that he had gotten himself into a sticky situation.
She opened her eyes, the iris was no longer a grey color that belonged to a blind person, but a beautiful, bright and mesmerizing purple that can charm someone just by looking at them. The pupil of her eyes was no longer normal, but instead that of a mystical pentagram that could see through anything.
In that moment, it was as if the world stopped for everyone but Llamiryl and Louis. They could hear incessant and unrythmic beating of what vaguely sounded to be drums.
Llamiryl brought her face closer to Louis.
At that moment, he felt a voice speak into his mind, no, his very soul.
"Tell me, do you know of the name, Anzhelina Novikava?"
The voice, if you could call it that, was otherworldly. Yet it's meaning was perfectly conveyed.
None could lie in the eyes of truth.
"No." Louis flatly responded.
With a disappointed look on her face, Llamiryl blinked, her eyes returning to the dull, grey color they once were.
Everything returned to normal, as if nothing happened.
"How disappointing, and here I thought I found a comrade." She pouted.
"Oh but you did, you've totally hooked me in. I'll hear you out on this club of yours." Louis smiled, he finally found someone with power he could respect. He outstretched a hand, offering Llamiryl a handshake.
She took his hand, accepting the offer.
"Well, Monday, after classes, Building G, room 306."
"Oh by the way, that guy, if you want him to join so bad, why not threaten his family?" Louis questioned.
"Oh I did way more than that. I tortured his mother right in front of him. You know, tore her right arm from her shoulder, sew it back using a rusty needle, cut her stomach open, and slowly but surely picked out her entrails one by one, starting from the large intestine. Then I stuffed it inside of her and started folding her flesh-" Louis was very impressed by the vivid description of Llamiryl, but he worried for the rating of the novel.
Basically, it seems the guy doesn't even care about his family, and just wants to live a quiet life by himself.
Louis wasn't sure if that was even living.
As for the man himself, he couldn't speak elvish, but some way about how Llamiryl was speaking was creeping him out.
Louis considered questioning Aubrey and the unremarkable man from earlier, but from the way their body was reacting to the conversation, it appeared the two were completely clueless.
Louis walked out of the restaurant, satisfied with how everything turned out. Although Llamiryl was a very real threat to him now, what was life without a little challenge?
The green dragon that was about to dive bomb the city clearly had the same thoughts.
What was strange was that the civilians did not panic, just calmly evacuated. Some of the more brave ones even stood in the streets to watch the spectacle.
As a city in located in the Great Leyline, the place faced attacks from various monsters, that included dragons.
While dragons weren't considered monsters since they were smart enough to not bother with humans, young ones were very feral and still had the monstrous instinct to hunt.
All that faced the dragon, was an old man with mage robes and magic circles etched on his skin like tattoos.
"Hmph, another youngling who doesn't know what's good for them." The old man, the principal of Grand Leyline Academy, was the only one who rushed out to face it, flying through the air, approaching the speed of sound.
Somehow, his voice was carried by the wind throughout the city.
Louis meanwhile, raised an eyebrow.
'is that a dragon? Looks like an overgrown lizard with wings strapped on.' He felt that the so called "dragon", was a mockery to the majestic, serpentine forms of the dragons he knew and loved.
"I don't even need magic to fight you." The principal boasted.
Whether the dragon fell for the taunt or not, it opened it's mouth, charging up a fiery breath attack.
The dragon heated up so much that rain evaporated on contact, and a wave of hot air could be felt rushing across the sky.
A hurricane-speed winds could be seen gathering around the green dragon's mouth, further intensifying the flames.
If they were to be released, a lot of people would die.
The principal would have none of that.
He took out a willow branch, his soul weapon, and waved it once.
A bunch of seemingly harmless leaves started falling from the sky towards the dragon, carried over by an unknown force.
As soon as a few of the leaves touched the dragons, the fiery breath in its mouth simply scattered in a wave of heat. The heat was uncomfortable despite the cold rain, but it was nothing deadly to the bystanders.
Leaves from a willow tree covered the dragons body, in a few moments, the young green dragon collapsed, lifeless, plunging from the sky. It was as if it was never alive, and the willow leaves were merely announcing it's death.
The knights in the city were already waiting at the ground to collect the dragon's corpse.
The principal sighed, as if he met an extremely annoying bug that took an effort to swat.
A young dragon capable of destroying cities with a breath was nothing to him.
'I would have been impressed if I hadn't met that dark elf earlier.' Louis opened his umbrella, heading back to his temporary residence.