Chapter 289
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“You unbelievably stubborn—What possibly possessed you to kill our teacher?” Lucia shouted. Her high-pitched voice echoed through the building. “I can’t even begin to count everything she gave us, yet you…”

Sebastion tried to stammer out an excuse, but he could barely string together a complete sentence under the weight of Lucia’s withering glare. The once regal visage of a king was nowhere to be seen. 

I grinned maliciously as Sebastion was berated. I had no intention of helping him out of trouble this time. I could still remember the burning pain of my death at his hands after all, and while I did not hold a grudge, it was not a pleasant experience. I felt it was only fair I gave the two reunited loves ample time to reconnect. With a slight chuckle, I slipped out of the room.

I didn’t go far; close enough I could still hear their conversation, and if I leaned slightly, I could watch them through the open door. Curiosity and amusement were the main reasons, but I still had much to talk to Lucia about. Right now, she was still probably in shock about the fact the she had died and resurrected. I knew from experience how it felt. At first, you are just happy to be alive, but the mental weight of death is not so easily shaken off. 

Minutes passed, and Lucia’s voice simmered down. Sebastion finally got an opportunity to speak. His voice quivered with emotion as he took her hands in his. “When I saw you laying there, on the floor, the life draining from your eyes… It felt as if my heart was being ripped apart. I would rather be stabbed a thousand times than experience that pain again. Aurielle, she… she made you into one of her undead. I couldn’t bare to see you like that. I know I was not being rational, but I was just so angry. She is the great Aurielle, after all, the Immortal Calamity. How could she let you die? How could she turn you into another of her puppets? I blamed her. I still do. Maybe… Maybe I made the wrong choice, but I don’t regret what I did.”

Lucia’s eyes were downcast as he described his emotions at the moment of her death, but her expression quickly soured with his final statement. Her hands tightened around his, causing Sebastion to wince in pain. 

“You know that’s not an excuse, right?” she whispered. Sebastion responded with a silent nod. “Then you understand we are not sharing a bed for a while, right?” The man looked like he wanted to protest but submitted under Lucia’s angry gaze.

“I understand,” he mumbled dejectedly.

Lucia nodded in satisfaction. “Good. We will revisit your actions later. For now, tell me about being king. Was the court as exciting as we always dreamed?”

“Sometimes,” Sebastion replied dejectedly, “But most of the time, it is just a bunch of flowery words and hidden daggers. Finding someone you can trust is nearly impossible, and even when you do find an honest person, they are usually an unwitting puppet of another political scheme. There is also a surprising amount of paperwork for a king daily. I found most of my time on the throne a tedious chore and quickly understood why Aurielle left all its duties to others.”

“Really? Tell me more,” Lucia asked, full of curiosity.

Relenting under the pressure of her attention, Sebastion told Lucia about his days as king, the good and the bad. I listened for a while but quickly grew bored of the subject. I didn’t want to interrupt their reunion, though. Instead, I had my undead gather a few supplies and bring them to me. 

In the first hour that the two of them spent talking, I modified a belt with an extra strap that could loop through the bindings of the Chronicle. This way, I could carry the book easily, and it would never be far from my side if something unexpected occurred.

As the second hour dragged by, I played with the new changes in my flames. The teal fire could control the dead just as easily as it could manipulate people’s emotions. I no longer had to switch between the two when I wanted a different effect. It opened many new possibilities in battle that would have been impossible before.

I played with potential ideas for a while, but as the third hour ticked on, even the joy of new power interactions began to dull. Glancing at Sebastion and Lucia having a tender moment, however, I continued to sit outside the room. My attention returned to the Chronicle. 

The pages crackled as I opened the book. Nox trotted over as I read the words on the page. With a smile, I ran my hand through his soft fur. Purring contently, the tiny cat curled up in my lap.

The time passed peacefully until I heard footsteps approach. “I don’t think I have ever seen you look at the Chronicle with a smile before.” Lucia said as she moved to sit down next to me, “Are you devising some malicious scheme to use against Envy.”

“No, just reading,” I replied with a dismissive wave of my hand.

“Reading?” 

“Yep, among the countless objects the Chronicle can copy and record, other books are the easiest. Simply touch the two together, and anything written is forever stored within its pages. A few of the other members of the Aevus family had quite a bit of fun with that feature and purposefully sought out libraries to transcribe onto the Chronicle. They surpassed the sum of a million books copied a few centuries ago, and the count has only grown since then.”

“More than a million? Are there really that many books in the universe?”

“Of course there are. You could search your whole life and still never touch every book ever written. Admittedly most of the books recorded in the Chronicle are not necessarily useful. The story of a wandering swordsman stopping cliché villains is not going to help me stop Envy.”

“Hmm?” Lucia hummed thoughtfully before responding, “Is Envy really invading again?”

“Yes...”

“It is hard to believe it’s really true. I know you and Sebastion told me it has been fifty years, but to me, it feels like just this morning we pushed him back and stopped his last invasion. All the sacrifices we made, the hundreds of thousands of lives lost… were they all for nothing?”

Standing up and stretching my back, I beckoned to Lucia. “Follow me,” I said. Lucia paused for a second before nodding. With her close behind, I took her to one of the balconies overlooking the edge of Dragon’s Nest as it floated by the countryside. “What do you see?” I asked.

“Trees, mountains, a few scattered farmhouses,” Lucia replied, furrowing her brow in confusion. “I don’t see anything special.”

“Exactly,” I replied with a smile, “There is nothing special. The grass is green, and the sky is blue. There is no corruption eating away at the land or monsters roaming the countryside. Fifty years may not seem like a long time, and for you, it went by in the blink of an eye, but to the people down there, it meant everything. Children had the opportunity to grow up and live full lives, get married, and maybe even become grandparents in those years. All the memories they had an opportunity to make thanks in large part due to the sacrifices you and the soldiers that held back the Demonic tide made. Even Sebastion himself was saved by you. If not for your actions, he would be the one that died. Was that sacrifice for nothing?”

Lucia stared out at the scenery as it slowly drifted past. “No, no, I don’t think it was,” she whispered softly.

“Then take pride in your accomplishments. In my experience, there is no better death than sacrificing yourself to save others. It is what I stive for with each and every one of my own. Just be careful this time. I don’t think there is any way to bring you back a second time.”

“I still don’t understand how you brought me back this time.”

I shrugged apathetically. “I am still figuring out how it works too, so, don’t ask me.”

“You don’t know?” Lucia asked incredulously. 

“Nope. I have started to piece together bits of the fundamental laws behind reviving others, but for now, I am still very much in the experimental stage.”

“I think I would have preferred it if you didn’t tell me that. Being your test dummy does not inspire confidence in my future.”

“Just be glad you are not Nox over there,” I replied, pointing at the cat lazing nearby, “His revival was completely accidental. I didn’t even know it was possible before then, and even after all this time, I’m still convinced that luck and the superstition about cats having nine lives is the only reason he didn’t explode into a thousand pieces.”

Lucia chuckled, and hearing her familiar laughter again after all these years warmed my chest. “Well, I don’t know how you did it either but thank you for bringing me back. A second chance at life is more than I could have ever hoped for." Nox meowed as he stretched, catching Lucia’s smile. “And thank you too… Nox was it?” Lucia paused, “When did you start naming your undead? Is he special?”

“What are you talking about? I have always named my undead,” I replied with a dismissive wave.

Lucia raised an eyebrow as she looked at me curiously for a long moment of silence before finally speaking. “Do you remember the first time you showed me your innate talent?”

“Sure, I do. You practically fell over when you saw that stray dog get up and move around. Why do you ask?”

“Do you remember the conversation afterwards?”

“You mean when you asked to keep it, and I told you no?” I asked in confusion, not understanding where Lucia was going with this line of questioning.

Lucia pursed her lips as if debating something internally before she spoke. “Are you really Aurielle?”

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