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FanFic Title: Age of Heroes
Chapter 51-60:
Author: keikoku
Date Published: July 30th, 2015


CHAPTER 51: THE SPEAR
ARIAL
1015 SEEDMONTH
The battle started the moment Alderam went out of his castle with his infantrymen for Alderam has no horses at least not as much as my troops rendering him incapable to lead a cavalry, not only because he has lost many cavalries in our previous engagement but also because he is an expert in infantry battles.
The morning is bright and warm, the sunlight shines upon us as we begin the battle to change this Kingdom fate, a momentous battle, decisive battle that will forever change this Kingdom fate.
Nothing changes the world as quickly and inexorably as war.
The future course of an entire civilization, regions and continents can be determined with one battle.
Through history there are few men who turned the tide of historical events, triggering changes that have given us the world as we know it.
Levitia and his Subjugation for example.
First Generation Wrath.
Though they mostly do not battle for they hold weapons unexplained to this day.
In this battles, if were not for the particular outcome that transpired, history might have turned out quite differently.
The troops are wearied and they all want to win this war fast.
After all we marched a long way, some from the east some from the west and some even further from the south.
And now my cavalry rides to battle.
Thousands of heart beats with a quicker pulse.
Battle has started.
All our battle will accumulate here and win or lose, something will change here.
Thousands of men on their feet, alert and vigilant began marching in uniform pace to meet the army of Aldreram who have no uniform position.
They never learn to, or have the opportunity and the chance, knowledge of something else, otherworldly like me.
The discipline and methodical training help to enforce and strengthen my army
The one with the short sword, the javelins, the throwing spear and the swords and blades all divided and planed in position to help and support the other division if somehow they fall.
All have their role and importance.
All the while, the siege division throws burning stone at the castle and smokes can be seen in the top wall.
The stone flies over our heads while we march to battle.
This is it.
The cavalry with me in the lead, ride and the land shakes like an earthquake, and the ground trembles and so does the enemies’ hearts wavered, their eyes shows signs of fear.
Then the clash between the infantry while I ride with a long sword where I used to hack the heads of my enemies while the battlefield becomes like a swarming hive.
The sound of twangs from the bows came in regular throbbing, the strong, unrelenting, full pulse of the fever of battle.
My banner man holds the dragon banner as I slashed the enemies without mercy, and the banners flapped excitedly, shaking out the dragon in the banner, with a sort of fierce delight, almost like it would come out of the stitches of the banner and help me destroy my enemies, decimate them into ash.
The clash opened with great fury as scream decorate the battlefield like a painting might decorate that of a great palace.
We advanced to the attack I evade the javelins that whistle pass me, the arrows directed at me were slice by my swords their attacks never reached me for I pierce their body with unrelenting fierceness .
Alderam was on the other side of the battles being surrounded by my infantries but they could not take Alderam for he was guarded with own elite infantries unit and he attacked my troops probably with his giant hammer, smashing their heads.
The deep roar of my siege weapons and the sharp sound of my archers sending arrows to the enemy, the clouded sun fell on the whole engagement.
No one will ever forget this battle and what it meant.
That is what I know.
We steadily closed on them, moving forward at all points.
They attack but the discipline of my troops won out, their morale high, believing in my words that we will prevail.
Some of noble lord were mortally wounded and retreat from battle some from missed arrows, some from unlucky slash.
The continuous arrows that rained upon the enemy help us to gain a foothold in the battle and their fighting turned irregular and miscellaneous.
Each of Alderam Knights had quite as much as they could do to attend to his own defense or aid those who is I trouble.
They are thoroughly beaten; they just didn’t know it yet.
The battle went on.
The Shield forces are steadily beaten back at all points.
And then I hear a cheer from our left side.
Kyle is beside me protecting me from attack
‘What happened?’ I asked
Then I hear the cheers.
‘Lord Paris it seems Arial’
I nodded.
Now our ambush tactics must have confuse them.
They must have never though that that I prepared an ambush.
Now the right flank will be turned to disorganized rabble.
In front of me is Count Revan.
‘We met again Lord Revan.’
The count saw me and his face paled, white as though the blood rained from his face.
He tries to run.
So I take an arrow and bow from the right side of my saddle.
I target his head,
With one breath I release the arrows as the arrows fly with strength and struck violently at the lord brain and in an instant he died, blood pouring out of hi wound.
With Revan died, the change of command turned to Lord Edward of Salsbur and waving his sword, pressed forward with his foot soldiers.
They try to close their ranks.
As if we let them.
Then with a glint of madness in his eyes, he ordered ‘Forwards. Drive them all back to the South’
I looked at the preparation we discussed.
And it arrived.
Heavy siege weapons, which lay and pull which taks hours to com fiannly arrived.All prepare to action.
The shield forces have now been pushed so hard.
Their castle walls are crumbling while their army is bombarded with large stones, crushing their bones and eroding their morale’s.
A desperate and final struggle will begin soon.
‘VOLLEYS’ I yelled.
And the archers responded.
The twangs of the arrows released from their bows, in continuous volley the wild, the tumult, the weird shriek, all bespoke of the bloody conflict.
The battlefield has become awfully contracted, the arrows, so may that one might say, that it clouded the sun.
Shield forces fell like logs.
Their troops are shattered while the arrows pierced their body, their eyes, their hearts and every part of the body imaginable.
A murderous rain was poured unto them from arrows to javelins to axes and flying knife
The scene which had no parallel ever in the battle that has ever been fought in this Kingdom.
Field of blood and weeping can be heard.
A festival of blood, an unrestrained carnival of gore.
And the evening came while Alderam retreated to his castles and we returned back to our pitching camp a rectangle about 700 m long of raised land, clear of tree and with running water nearby.
I returned to my tent, marked with my banner and saw the headquarters marked with also my banners and the planned the camp using this as the centre.
The two main streets
The Lords Trails and The Headquarters Trail running through the middle of the camp were 60ft wide, lesser ones 50ft wide.
With these streets defined, the lines of the ditch and rampart would be established by spears stuck into the earth at intervals.
Only my private army knows how to do this.
While the lords armies just watched in amazement of my troops discipline and methodical planning.
I believe that one day, I need to reinforce my armies with training and methodical planning and discipline.
A Kingdom of force and law.
We will grow.
And my duchy needs to grow and it will grow with its military prowess and ruthless aggressiveness.
To combat the invasion, I need to create such duchy, such Kingdom that will not be defeated, unconquerable.
My armies after this war ends will be trained to be adaptable, superbly disciplined and incredibly tough which will made my Kingdom a power in the Continent to be reckoned with.
Soon the dark came and the rain descended in torrents.
It seems we have to fight tomorrow.
Another battle.
Graves were digged around by the Shield forces, some scout repot.
We do not intend to attack gravedigger so we let them alone, yet we also supervise them.
Every one of my personal army carried two to three palisades stakes about 7ft long with sharpened points.
After they had dug a trench normally about 3ft deep and 5ft wide they planted their stakes in the low rampart formed by the excavated area, intertwining them so any intruders could not easily remove them.
Just inside lay a wide space at least 100ft wide always left empty, to enable the troops to deploy within the camp and to bar enemy missiles reaching the tents.
All amps were laid out in exactly the same pattern whenever they were.
The troops camped on either sides of the Lord Trails, the cavalry facing the Lord Trails the other auxiliaries and other nobles lord troops being put in the baggage train and cooking tent beyond the Headquarters trail.
Only the four entrances were more heavily fortified.
Soon darkness fell over us, the rains descended in torrents and all through the night the dismal rained uneasily.
******************************************************************************
THE NEXT MORNING
We battle again in the next morning with my troops readily and quickly went out of our camp.
But today its raining but yet we push.
The advantage of having a strong cavalry fighting an infantry division of Alderam Alan who have a cavalry but not as trained or powerful as mine, where I invest a lot in horse breeding.
And we tore through their lines.
Today Alderam did not join the battle.
Lord Edward of Warpinch and Lord Cliff or Mercia who came with reinforcement of 10 thousand strong troops join them today but our advance could not be halted.
The siege weapons is also targeted by the enemies forces but thankfully West have put a tortoise formation using some of Kyle troops to protect the siege division.
The thunders boomed hard and strikes our deep fear came swelling at intervals high above the peltings of the pitiless storms as rain and blood is undistinguishable.
The groaning of the dead, some hacked by axe, some crushed by hammer, some slashed with swords, all inflicting terrifying injury.
No words are adequate to express the sublime emotions that is felt here in the second day of fighting.
‘IF YOU DARE, COME HERE!’ I yelled to Lord Edward.
He who rides in a black horse, against the advise of his vassal lord sally out of his protective circle and went to meet me.
‘Circle us!’ I yelled. My troops understand. I want to have one on one battle with him
‘I will kill you Arial Vermont’
‘HAHHAHA…That is my line, Edward’
And finally we are encircled both by my troops and their troops all looking and glancing at each other.
Whoever wins or lose, after our fight the battle will resume , one of it will have increased morale, the other will be devastated and lose their chain of command.
He use a large sword and the moment he rides his horse to me, he swings that swords to my head
‘AAAAH!’ He yelled as he swing it.
With my internal energy I took his blow and with a crack sound, his sword shattered and so are mine.
He was almost thrown from his own horse while his army looked in worried expression but he manage to take the reins and stabilize himself on the saddle.
His face was of disbelief
‘A sword’ he yelled and one of his forces throws him one
‘A spear’ I yelled and one of my troops throws one to me.
That was
Unbelievable
A kid just-
Truly the dragon The enemies forces whispered among each other while my troops just smile. They are used to it.
‘HAHAHA..You are surprisingly not very heavy. Your swings are weak and your aims are faulty’ I laugh trying to provoke him.
Once again he positioned himself in his horse, looking at me, staring like a storm brewing. He is and I must admit this quite the horseman
Then he lunged with his horse rides to me with incredible speed trying to pierce me.
Sword Piercing Moon!
He must have travelled the martial art world if he knew such technique.
But my horse Firebringer is aggressive and more faster than his horse and quickly I deflect his pierce with a circular motion using the spear.
Circling Storm a technique created especially for spears technique employing internal energy to dull the impact and deflect attack.
Then I realized a blind spot but he quickly parry it with his swords, quickly realizing that I spotted his spot.
Then we traded blows.
Then with one strike he tries to aim at my head, but I quickly moved my spears to his throats so he had to retreat and use his sword to protect his neck.
We then maintained a safe distance with each other, circling with our horses.
‘No more delaying Lord Edward. I will take your head and the head of your liege lord Alderam. Unless…..you decided to surrender.’
‘Ptui’ he spits at the ground.
‘And bend my knee to a King? Our Dukedom is separate, from the very first moment of our conception.’
‘The old ways are done, Lord Edward. A new world is dawning.’
‘I WILL NEVER BEND MY KNEE!’ He yelled
Then I too yelled so loud, it sounds like the very same thunder that is in booming in the distance.
‘IF YOU GO ALONG WITH MY RULE, SWEAR YOUR FEALTY, BEND YOUR KNEE TO THE CROWN, YOUR REWARD WILL BE YOUR LIVES, MY STRONG PROTECTION AND MY GREAT WEALTH. IF YOU DEFY ME, I WILL CONQUER YOU. IF YOU BETRAY ME, YOU WILL BE TURNED TO ASH AND BURNED INTO OBLIVION. CHOOSE!’
Some of the enemies force kneeled while some of them look the others with disgust.
‘TRAITORS!’
Edward said looking at the troops that throw their weapons and kneeled while my troops quickly bring them into our fold.
It is common that in a battle allegiances shift.
It is because they are mostly fight because of honour and what they believe what is right and some benefits.
Which is why it is important for our nation, the beginning to have an identity. That will be discussed after this war is over.
‘And you my lord?’I offered
‘I WOULD RATHER DIE’ he said defiantly
‘HAHAHAHA…Then die you will.’
Quickly Firebringer like he understand my intention leapt and as he leapt I jumped from my horse and landed myself riding the horse of Edward situated just behind him.
‘What-‘
And quickly I use one technique, I have always use since I was a kid, Sweeping Stars and his head flew high into the ground and tumble down the muddy ground, rolling to the enemies forces vicinity as one of them scream and dejected expression can be seen from them.
And my men seeing this cheer and then quickly they began once again attacking the forces of Lord Edward now disorganize and add with loss of morale easily kill.
They charge with great zeal and determination, fire in their eyes, and their hands are steady as they killed and hacked away the enemies as ear crept down upon them, and some of them ran, morally degraded and exhausted, confused and terrified at the loos of their leader.
Lord Mercia who saw what happens who is fighting in the left flanks withdrew his forces back to the castle, riding like the ground is not enough for him to get away from.
My men, and Kyle who is in in horseback taunt him, trying to provoke him, but Lord Mercia is not an easily provoked man, at least not in this battle.
It seems he is planning something, to exercise this level of control over his own anger, which I know is hardly much.
Lisa came to me her armors was slathered with blood.
‘My lord let me pursue!’ She said, her army behind her, her banners proudly displayed and her banner man all in high spirits.
‘No! Not yet!’ And she nodded and then she rides to finish the other troops.
Kyle rides to me. Approached me.
‘Any orders my lord?’ I looked at the surrounding.
The other lords can finished this battle. I need to prepare for the next now that we are engaged it seems in a long battle of siegieng.
‘Handle this for me. I will return to headqu-’ I said when suddenly some pain visit me most tormently and I was thrown from my horse.
MY LORD! I heard the yelling.
The muddy mud slathered my face and the taste is salty.
Blood I mused. This is the taste of blood. I looked at my chest. A javelin, stuck in the area of my chest, blood pouring like rivers.
Fountain,I mused.
Not rivers but fountain.
Like the fountain in the summer villa of Eren family, who live in Seren who have one of the most magnificent villa that I have ever seen, with beautiful green lush gardens, and beautiful flowers that decorate the courtyard and the calm, peaceful serenity you can feel just by living there.
I…did not notice because I was too engrossed with the fighting.
I could see, focusing my internal energy to my eye and I see with clarity, Alderam is smiling, removing his helm, hiding as normal soldiers in the castle wall, beside him many spears.
Then I tried to focused it in my chest are but I was blocked. There is something in that spear.
He planned all this.
He knew I would defeat Lord Edward.
He sacrifices his lord to get to me.
Cold and calculating.
I grin a little.
Like me in a way.
Then in a hideous grin, like he is taunting me, he picked up another spear and with precise accuracy he throw one to me and it stuck to my stomach, as my finger grow stiff and clumsy
I tried to get up, but the pain is overwhelming
I rub my chest trying to find the spear that is now lodged in my chest area.
I found the spear while clenching my teeth and wrenched it free from my stomach and the blood poured again, colour the brown mud to bright red.
I once again stumbled and my face fell face down into the mud again. In the cold night air, combined with the harsh rain.
I crawl in the mud while I could sense that my troops or lords, is approaching me, to bring me to safety I presume.
Pain I whispered.
Pain washed over me.
I gave a grunt, and the cold is biting like burns.
My throats become parched.
BRING OUR LORD FAR AWAY FROM HERE! I heard the yelling as I was carried off.
‘You’ll be alright Lord Arial’ the words are nervous and wariness can be detected.
A blonde hair. Is it West?
A rough voice.
It is West.
There is strained tension in his voice, fearing, worrying about me.
Suddenly the cold, the very same cold I felt when I was in the Library felt again.
My dream! My mission
So close!
Will I die?
Is this the limit what I can do!
And as I contemplate this, my eyelids grew heavy, my muscles relaxed and finally with no strength I close my eyes.
******************************************************************************
How’s that? No one expected it right? Ok, now I need a favour. There is three currency in the Kingdom. Gold Silver and Pennies. I need help in determining their value. Anyone who good suggestion with practicality and bear in mind the setting of these stories which is quite similar to medieval Europe, please PM me and give your opinion to revamp the new Kingdom currency or principles. On that note please enjoy the stories.

CHAPTER 52: MORTAL OR DIVINE?
ROCKSTILL
PRINCE ADRIAN
IN ONE OF THE CHAMBER OF THE CASTLE
1015 SEEDMONTH
Spring has come yet the war still rages on in the North.
The young dragon march is unstoppable, as they conquer cities and castles and fort, all for the crown.
His name inspires fear and awe, and victory is all but certain now. A new Kingdom is without a doubt will be established after the war.
The fresh spring air breezes through the window as the curtains waves and bring the scent of spring.
I am here in one of the chamber overlooking the small pond in front of this tower waiting for Silas and Lady Julia of House of Vermont.
Silas and I have been taking, discussing about the proposal that the young lord has put forward for us.
And many other issues after the war that will serve the Kingdom interest and also the reward for those lords that participate in the war, punishment to other lords that surrendered and many other thing that require my attention as the courtiers wage their own war in the Court.
If not for Silas wise advice and counsel, navigating the complex web of plot in the castle would prove impossible for me.
I must thank the kind lady of House Vermont for sending me such an able advisor to serve me.
And another thing that plays an integral part of our discussion is the identity of the Kingdom
The identity of our nation, our Kingdom.
They is also the proposal to include diversity from other race.
This comes from the young lord who sees that having many more races in our new Kingdom might attract new talents and knowledge.
Not to mention the Vermont’s are a patron for knowledge and have built many library and education institution in their city.
I also heard Duchess Julia has approved a plan of creating one library that almost rival the Grand Library of Vern fill with books and knowledge of all kinds, from our continents and other continents who also came to Acro to learn.
You can say that Acro is emerging not only as a trade hub but also as a lantern of knowledge in the Continent.
From what I her of Duchess Julia when she came into one of my meetings, she once said that his son imagined that their city will be the most civilized portion of mankind, guarded by renown and disciplined valor of the dragon private army, conducted by the abilities of genius mind and impeccable virtues.
Like the Anglais-Raxons in Vangua, the Darnes from Cori who are very talented in the matters of architecture and not to mention the Etrushk who are an even more genius than the Darnes in architecture.
Patriotism is integral for the Kingdom survival.The way to create a patriotic love as coined by Arial. Patriot is one who fights for the Kingdom.
Arial want to bind the loyalty of the lord to the Kingdom itself and it’s crown which will make my Kingdom strong and united.
Truly, the young lord is not only genius in the battlefield but also a genius administrator. My wariness for him is within reason but his intention is well received.
He wanted to make this Kingdom powerful.
For what?
I don’t know.
There is also my marriage with Zettel royalty who is situated in our west. It is a political marriage, but it will serve this Kingdom.
My advisors advise me to marry royalty from Vern but Silas advise me to take a bride from Zettel which will secure alliance with the West.
Thus ensuring that the West is safe for us and profitable for the Vermont families who have much dealings there, trade roads can be opened and the one who will reap the benefits, is not only the Kingdom but also the most prominent and wealthy family in Alan, chiefly, the Vermont’s who have many connection there.
And yesterday a momentous decision was decided.
Seren and Kingdom of Alan have signed an alliance of military partnership.
Seren does not believe in the Lucellian faith, which is the Church so usually Vern would try to send an army every 5 years to try subjugating a part of Seren.
Usually, in the past some High Lords allowed the Vern troops to pass through their lands, while some in the South disagree with such acts.
But now the Dukedom is united then Seren propose us that they will hinder any movements of Dostov who have always been their enemies to ever reach Alan while we will denied Vern troops to pass our lands.
And yesterday, I inform Seren emissaries that the alliance is accepted.
West and East is secured.
Only north which is Vern, and Vangua which is in the South has no alliance with us but the Vermont family network is ever reaching.
Vangua will not make sudden moves on us, not now that their King disappeared as the noble lords there descended into a domestic war.
Neither will Vern which owes lot of money to the Vermont’s if my information to be believed.
They may not like our people, Caelum all of them, but they do like Vermont’s gold.
There are many things to be discussed.
The sun rays shines to me.
I was surprised, startled even.
It has been so long.
The hope for this spring is that the war will be over, and peace will finally dawn.
The birds can be seen, flying across the courtyard, happy and free, soaring high above the sky.
The clouds, a puffy white shape amid the blue horizons.
I smile.
Spring is my favourite season.
Promising a new beginning.
‘YOUR MAJESTY, INFORMING THE ARRIVAL FOR LORD SILAS AND DUCHESS JULIA’ the announcer announce their arrivals.
‘Let them in’ I ordered.
The door is open.
Silas bow his head slightly and so does the Duchess.
‘Your Highness’
‘Your Highness’’ both of them greets me.
‘Please be seated’ I said and they each take a seat in the chair while I sort out the documents in the table.
‘My lord it is an honour to be here’ the duchess said her eyes scanning the room
‘No, my lady. It is mine.’ I said.
The lady looked beautiful, a motherly nature about her.
I heard that she borne of another child, a daughter.
If somehow my wedding and union with my bride would result in the birth of a son, I have an arrangement to betroth my son to her daughter, ensuring not only their alliance and house supports but also my position and their position in this Kingdom.
But that is a log time from now.
‘My lord why have you ask for me?’ Silas said
‘Did you explain everything to the Duchess?’
‘Yes, my liege’
‘Then that is why. we are here to discuss the letters by the young lord and to settle and agreed on some of yesterday discussion that almost make us argue against each other. First would be our race.’
‘Ah yes. Our race.’
‘The Caelum’ the duchess said.
‘Yes….but your son the young lord, have half a mind to unite this country in their own new identity. And that could not be done if we still use the old terms to identify ourselves’
‘So what do you suggest?’
‘Change it my liege.
We are Caelum but also the citizens of this great Kingdom. We need to change how we identify ourselves.
Not Caelum but a different kind of race. But we are Caelum yes, Caelum which comes from the ancient tongue, means Sky People.
But have we reached the sky my liege? Are we flying to the great beyond? We need to differentiate ourselves with Caelum in Vern, disassociate ourselves from Caelum that has always been ruling the continent.
‘Why? We are a proud race.’ I asked.
‘It is quite simple.
Race emergence and race sentiments.
They, which I mean, the other race said now, that while it is true that Caelum race gives us freedom from the Demon Lords, it is also true that for the past 1000 years, our race has dominated everything, from administration, politics, economy, and even religion. We once the most predominant race in this continent but no longer.
The other races that sail here, some stranded in this continents, some who sail her in making of their new home, intermarriage with our race and so born this other races.
Anglais, Raxons, Loth, Darnes, Etrushk,Gaul,Franks, Cathigia and many others and there are more them than us and they are here to stay.
Not pure blooded like us, who have from the very beginning intermarried with the rest of the other Caelum race descended from the Lost Generation, who in turn descended from the First generation.
And they are an unsatisfied lot, my liege.
In our rule, we never did care much about them but to create a strong Kingdom, racial divide might plunge us into a war like what happen in Dostov right now.’
‘But in Dostov their war is a religious one?’ I said, pointing one flaw in Silas arguments.
‘In Vangua then’ the Duchess interrupts
Silas nodded
‘My mistake. It is true.
Dostov war is mostly motivated with their disgruntled attitude toward their own government, more than the feeling of racial divide.
But, in Vangua there is no denying that racial sentiment is growing as Caelum race is portrayed as the very same way, we have portrayed the demon lords of the past.’
‘So your solution?’
‘Change our name.’
‘Change our name?’ said the Duchess shocked by such a simple solution.
‘Yes, my lady. It is as simple as that. Instead claiming that we are Caelum race , and the land and all above is our dominion, we simply said that we are Caelum but we are also have change.
We have many races living here now, mostly because of Lord Arial and my lady House achievement in making Acro a hub for trade.
Some….no, no, many of them even stay here to evade the wars that happened in their own continent but it also spur because of your son recruitment, which give them pay, handling the military like it is a business and the soldier is his workers.
But in nationalism, as your son, so wisely, termed, it is even cheaper to get troops if they are all fighting for the safety of our Kingdom.
Organized and discipline, trained and deadly.’
I smile
‘Wise counsel’
‘That I could not deny Your Higness’ the Duchess nodded an approving nod to Silas while Silas blushed
‘Well, then what is the name you wish to put forth’
‘I have been thinking and I decided in Aether.
We are of the Aether race, descended from the First Blood, yet we do not share the same sentiments of the other Caelum race opinion.
We can declare ourselves as an offshoot if not, more purer of Caelum blood, in the sense that we pursuing the ideological principles of the Caelum race, which is to understand each other. And it is not the first time our race change the terms. We are known as the Sky People when our ancestor first arrived, it is only a thousand year ago that Levitia declared we are Caelum. Who said we can’t declare ourselves different?’
The Duchess nodded
‘Tolerance can be a powerful weapon, that is true your highness. Look at Dostov and their rigidity, and look at Vangua and their civil discord, all propagated because of intolerance the’ Duchess said supporting Silas
‘Then I will write a decree and sent it to every other lord. But will they obey?’
‘They will my lord. Most of the lords, mostly in the South has many dealings with other races but maybe it will be harder to accept in the north where old sentiments die hard.’ Silas said.
So I prepare a letter and write, phrasing the words as polite but firm as possible.
Then we talk about other matters.
Construction, certain laws that need to be established, line of succession and all this.
I could not help but appreciate the Duchess keen intellect and her calmness and wit.
And then finally we are done.
We also decided that after the war is won, the land will be known as Aetherland, not Alan to show and symbolize a nation belonging to the people.
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IN THE GARDEN
And right now we are enjoying the evening tea.
‘How’s the tea?’ my lady Silas asked Lady Julia
‘It is very nice’
‘I hope your stay here has been good my lady’
‘Ah, it has. So do not worry that much’
‘I believe your castle is finer than this my lady’ I said
‘It is, your highness but it doesn’t have that many titillating companion to talk with’ She is honest.
‘Hahaha…you flatter me my lady’
‘Does it show?’ she said grinning
‘Like the morning dawn’ I said.
And this time she smiles.
She knows how to play this game and she play it skillfully.
‘My lady, I have your son to thank for my throne.’
‘Is that so?’ I noddded
‘Why?’ The Duchess said more like she asks me to know my opinion of her son.
‘Yes, the sad truth is these. I could not have and as bitterly I have to admit to it, my strength has never been at fighting battles or waging war but your son, whatever his fault, is a godly commander.
He has the look of another world with him and that has always intrigued me to almost the point of obsession, and his melancholic look, only serves to pique my interest. What is your son being so sorrowful about?
What did he see with those blue eyes of him?
What reason does he fight? And what is he? Who is he?
Is he a King, my lady?
For I see a King when he rides his blazing fiery horse.
Or is he a God, disguised in mortal form for I see a god when he battles. No arrows ever struck him, no spear ever reach him, heads fly and limbs skewered as he passed by them?
What is he? Which is he?’ I asked.
Her smile faltered.
Then her smile returned.
‘You have many questions Your Highness and terrible curiosity and quite the penchant for excessive compliment regarding my son.’
I kept my gaze at the lady.
‘My lady, that is because one rarely answers them, my curiosity excites me for truths it is said by one wise man to me,’ and my eyes leered at Silas while Silas feigned ignorance ‘ a path of becoming stronger and all truths started with inquiries of great curiosity, and my compliment is true for that is what I felt.’
She sighed.
‘Fine, your highness. I am your loyal subject and I will answer you’
‘When he was a child, he would act in the most peculiar way, different from other child, his eyes sees thing, different things, and as such his view are different, mature,I daresay, wise beyond his years, and he would contemplated it alone while looking at the stars, whispering in hushed tone talking to himself. I even half a mind, to believe he is George the Wise reincarnated.’
‘Truly?’ I said
‘Yes,for I have no explanation of the peculiar thing he does and the way he solves his problem with an intellect that overshadows even me or my husbands or anyone that I have seen.
Though he is not a master in every trade but he knows a little bit of everything and that fears me more than him not knowing anything.
I see greatness lay in front of him, for he was the most inquisitive children in the village and his words rang with truths, his wit amaze me, but greatness is not what I wished for him my liege,.
I wished him, to live happy, to love and be loved, an ordinary life, an ordinary death. Yet, years passed and my son, it seems, have destiny of greatness burdened upon him.
My husband was happy and still is, to look at his son with pride at all he achieved and continued to strive.
‘And you’re not?’
She shakes her head
‘I have pride in my son, that is a certainty but I fear for him.
For never in history, or in fairy tales that heroes ever achieved good ending.
My son dreams of glory against something. But I do not know who he is so determined to protect, who he so hold a great vengeance that he will train himself and doing all this, and my husband encourages him with great vitality.
But there’s no glory without suffering, this I know. You said he is a King. A King is not born my lord. He is made.
By steel and suffering, by blood and sacrifice he is made from that pain.
A King must sometimes hurt those he loves for the love he has for the Kingdom.
It is a lonely path. Ask Alexander. Ask Levitia. Ask any of the great man who have suffered through the century, a testament of the lonely road a King must trod.
Fate is cruel and she has no concerns for us. No man or woman can be too powerful or too beautiful without disaster befalling them.
Fate will laugh and snicker, giggling while holding her stomach when you rise too high and they crush everything you built and protect in a whim.
What glory fate gives, she takes away. Do I wish it on my dear boy? No your Highness. I pray he never be King. Such roads are lonely.’
And her words strike me like swords, cuts me at every sentence, wound me like never before for her words are like Silas words, terrifying words, true words.
Harsh and unforgiving but true and there is nothing that I fear more and so much desired and wanting than the truth.
Then she spoke again
‘My husband always tells my dear son that he is divine. While I whispers to his ear, telling him that he is mortal. Which one do you think he is?
Mortal?
Or Divine?’
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CHAPTER 53: BATLLE OF THEA MOOR
1015 SEEDMONTH
HARALD ALAN
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEA
The ship rocked hard and sometimes my grandmother puke to the vast ocean.
Our passage to Alan is blocked, by the Althea so road travel is impossible.
So we chose the sea route to go to our family friends now that we are running for our lives, after the battle.
The House of Orleans, a great family friend in Vangua, who have been assisted by my father many times in the past.
Troubles and troubles visit my family, like there I s no end in sight.
I could not help but despair in my current predicament but one day, I vowed to make myself a greater man, than my father and even Arial the Dragon.
I will be known someday.
Harald! They will cheer!
Harald! will they fear!
Harald! will they love!
‘Son are you alright ‘
‘I am ine mother.’
In this shipit is cramped but if fits us. Good enough that it can fit us as we ran far away from the tragedy that befallen u.
‘I will look at your grandmother Harald’ my mother said and quickly she went to the cabin to help my grandmother.
She is worried about Grandma, after what happen to grandfather.
I began writing of my eyewitness account in the diary, and my own perspectives describing what happen at the fateful day.
1014 WHITEMONTH
The battle has started.
Or at least about to begin, one of the bloodiest, if not cruelest in Dostov.
At long last, the decisive battle is here.
My grandfather is all but ready to prepare his march invigorated after his long rest and he is ready to march to the North and as it was his intention to proceed, escorted by the King Joseph, the Pretender of royal countenance, but what I can see in hindsight, at least now, that I can see him in proper light after all that happens in the battle that follows, he is impetuous and rash, kind of reminded me of myself and my past.
His vassals, escorted then by their loyal banner man has arrived at the destination, some affording us the main army with the necessary supplies.
The weather had become favourable, not as I predicted, and though still cold, the snow had disappeared, and a dry wind which had prevailed for some days had rendered the river Leep near the Thea Moor, the passage of which was considered the most formidable obstacle to my grandfather march, fordable.
And this is taken to be a sign of great tidings.
My grandfather army move in motion, and after a short march, halted on the moor of Thea, about five or six miles from the river Leep.
He then formed his army into three divisions, each about half a mile distant from the other, and in this order they advanced towards the Leep.
Singing and dancing they all are, confident of an easy victory.
The left division, which was the largest, crossed the river while the other division followed, with great zeal to bring the Pretender to the throne and restore the line of the Original line of royalty and at the same time to establish a Lucellian Orthodox King.
In their passage across the river Leep, harsh and fast the currents,, the men were up to their waists in the water, but, with the exception of the loss of a few of troops and knights, who were carried away by the stream, because of their heavy chainmail and equipment no terrible accident occurred.
I was in the back, preparing to guard my and replace my grandfather, should he fall in battle.
I make no conversation, not with my grandfather, nor the Pretender. It is not my place, and not what I believe.
I fight because my grandfather fights.
Family.
That is what it is about for me.
We are all solemn, fatigued.
Fatigues and labours from the great campaign from the South, and the numerous inconveniences to which the soldiers had been subjected from the beginning, only their faith and honours, perseveres upon them, to march on this dreary path, walk the passage of rivers, and endure the cold and snow that surely will show itself to us, but the near prospect they now had of meeting the Terrisimite forces army upon their own soil, and of putting an end to the war by one bold and decisive blow, absorbed for a while all recollection of their past sufferings.
This is it some of them will whispers.
This is where they are, will they sang in great hall and tavern after the battle, singing of glory and victory and great people they killed and capture.
That they were there watching as they rise the old line of Kings to the throne and be revel in the pride of being there while other men seeks hiding under their thatched roof, that they, the soldiers were there risking their lives, fighting in great battles and emerge victorious, their song sings by bards and minstrel, while writers will write their story of valour which will in turn them not but a Knight but a man of immortal in the ink of writers and the song of bards.
The reason my grandfather went here is for the King benefits.
By drawing Terris Quiin here, who is known to lead his army here, it was generally supposed that the King could meet him on more equal terms than at other places, not to mention he have many more supporters here and inspire the other lords to join him if he appears to be courageous.
And the King suddenly halted his advance and shouted with a loud yells
‘Drums the beat and the pipes as I march to victory’ he yelled and the soldiers cheered, and the lords and the Knights.
They are underestimating the Quiin to much.
I of course hope that the King wins but underestimating an enemy will prove to be disastrous for any King, Prince or commander.
Which is why I have an alternative planned already if the King loses today.
I know of such feelings.
Of underestimating an enemy only to beaten by such prejudice and notion.
Arial, Lisa, Kyle ,Helia…all prove of my immature worldview.
Hearing the orders, the drum were beat, the pipes are played with rousing melody to encourage men to fight, and the lords come, for it is the summoning to arms.
The King in horseback, stride in front taking the lead while my grandfather defers to the King, led them out to undoubtedly the battles of their lives.
My grandfather chose Thea Moor, for the field of battle.
The King, certainly, if not sure and confident and in high spirits, smiles and grin, like victory is in front of his eyes, and drew his men up in the battle across the moor, which is about a half mile broad.
This moor, Thea Moor,which is a heathy flat of considerable extent about five miles from a city called Arveness forms the top of a hill which, rising , dies gradually away in the direction of Queens.
The ascent to the moor is steep on both sides, particularly from the shore.
In pitching upon this ground, King Joseph acted on the supposition that the my grandfather would march along the moor, which was better fitted for the free passage of his army than the common road between, which was narrow and inconvenient.
In expectation that my grandfather will advance, King Joseph sent forward on the road to Queens some parties of horse to do some reconnaissance, to scout enemy movements, and trails, but they could observe no appearance of any movement among the royal troops.
Then the King advance and chose one of the most unfavorable terrain that he could have choose.
My grandfather who was delayed after fighting some splinter forces of the royal army then finally arrived at Thea Moor and he sees the ground that the Pretender has chose.
My grandfather objected to it with great vehemence.
Even though the place is interspersed with moss and some hollows, the ground was generally too level, and consequently not well suited for the operation of our army.
My grandfather, therefore proposed to look out for more eligible ground, and at his command I and some Knights from King Joseph personal guard were sent about to survey some hilly ground on the south side of the water of Leep, which appeared to the Ser Knight to be steep and uneven, and of course more advantageous for army.
The Ser Knight was sure of it but I was not.
The ground was rugged and boggy, that no cavalry could act upon it, that the ascent on the side next to the river was steep, and that there were only two or three places, about three or four miles above, where cavalry could pass; the banks of the river below being inaccessible.
I told of my concerns to my grandfather , that if Terris Quuin is here and the King is goaded into attack we might be looking at defeat here.
But my grandfather opted not to listen to my counsel.
On receiving this information, Lord Deen, who is a great friend of my grandfather proposed, that the army should cross the water of Leep, and draw up in line of battle, upon the ground which had been surveyed; and that, should the King of Dostov, Terris Quiin not venture to cross after them and engage them upon the ground in question, they might watch a favourable opportunity of attacking him with advantage.
‘My lord we should wait for other lords to come and bolster our ranks’ my grandfather advises the King who is eager to war and battle.
His resolution is strong and resolute.
‘I will attack the Terrisimite forces, even with a thousand men. Such movement and boldness’ the King argued ‘will encourage our army and discourage the enemies while doing the opposite and waited, will discourage if not weaken our army morale.’
I believed it stems, from an inferiority, there existed it seems a large part of his belief and desire to shun the Terris army and portray an image of a strong leader, most abundant charisma and unquestioned authority.
So that night he call his lords and after intense debate and argument, they decided to attack the terries camp, surprising the Terris army, to pursue this war in a swift manner and end it as such.
Lord Deen once again voice his support for the King ideas and how happy the young pretender to be supported, overjoyed to the points of tears, immediately embraced the lord that is present.
I was informed late that night.
Had the army been in a condition to sustain the fatigue of a night-march of ten or twelve miles, the plan of a night attack was unquestionably the best that could have been devised under existing circumstances.
If surprised in the dark, even supposing the Terissmte force who is led by King Terris to have been on his guard, a night attack appeared to afford the only chance of getting the better of his superiority in numbers and discipline, and of rendering his cavalry and infantry, in which his chief strength lay, utterly useless.
But our army is starving.
Bordering on starvation.
Fatigued.
Bordering on death
And miss their home, with great fervent longing. Like the sun miss the moon.
Consequently such an army is not able to perform such a fatiguing march.
To appease their hunger a single biscuit was distributed to each man, but this pittance only increased the desire for more; and hunger getting the better of patience, some of the men began to leave the ranks in quest of provisions.
In spite, however, of the deprivation under which they laboured, the army was never in higher spirits, or more desirous to meet the enemy; and it was not until all hopes of an immediate engagement were abandoned that the men thought of looking out for the means of subsistence.
And this is what leads to the messiest affair.
Large number of men departure from the army, who, ignorant of the intended march, not at a fault of course, for they were not included in the meetings and the greater plan, went off towards the nearby villages and cities and adjacent places to procure provisions and quarters for the night.
The lords and Knights were immediately dispatched on horseback to bring them back, but no persuasion could induce the men to return, who gave as their reason for refusing that they were starving.
‘Kill us, but we will not return until we got some meat in our bellies, some ale to water our parched throat’ They said with great defiance.
They deserted and by all means, defected and King Joseph the Pretender lose 3564 troops being about a third of his army.
This occurrence, this completely unseen circumstances completely changed the aspect of affairs, and the initial plan, and every member of the meeting who had formerly advocated a night attack now warmly, some vehemently opposed it, which is my grandfather
But like a King he is stubborn.
Joseph, bent upon his purpose, resolutely insisted upon the measure, and said that when the march was begun the men who had gone off would return and follow the rest.
And so he march with those who would follow him.
My grandfather bent on fulfilling his honour took up his banner and march while at the same time making sure no one knows about this secret march.
The King trusted Lord Deen to be the front and the Lord rode with great speed with his army.
An hour later, almost near the moor, the march is halt.
In front of us ten of thousands of men is waiting for us.
From afar we can see, the banner of Lord Deen.
He has betrayed us that is my thought.
Joseph who is on horseback, rode forward immediately towards the front, to ascertain the cause of the halt and shocked to see Lord Deen there, cozying up with Terris lords.
His face says everything. Anger and dejection.
Retreat he yelled
And retreat we did.
But Terris will not us retreat easily.
And the battles begins.
The dawn is approaching, and the dawn greet us with cold and great storms that lashes upon us as snow and rain billowing blowing against us.
Before long the troops engaged in melee battles.
The arrows came like hail rains, killing and piercing amour.
The cavalry rides with thundering roar and causing frightful break ups among those inexperienced in battle, but I urge my men a 400 man under my charge to go forward.
The cutting and slicing and there was many brave deeds performed by my troops all the while we are trying to retreat.
I kill the enemies force like I was killing flies.
But it is true and I realize this even from the onset of the battle, that TErris Quinn has a large army, numerous lords that supported him, and a disciplined and well-fed army on his order and a large number of my troops eventually, fell in their own pool of blood.
The dead lay on all sides of the battles as the cries and the screaming of pain wounded men, rang in my ears.
You could see some rider less horse running and jumping in the battlefield as if he is mad, overcome with hopelessness, I presume.
The battle is lost I said, almost like a whisper.
My mother.
My grandmother.
I can’t and will not perish here.
My army is fell only left 10 in what must be a great slaughter at its best as the enraged terries mow and killed with no mercy, their zealous effort seems to me, so maddening, that no mercy will be given, if I were to fall to his capture.
They are all insane, fills with bloodlust.
They must be insane to do what they are doing now, what a bloodbath, what horrid images that I saw that day in that battle.
I could not find the words to express my feelings.
Even Hell could not be this dreadful.
Terrible words will be spoken of this day.
The battle of The Moor.
Woe betide anyone who fall into the enemy hands. Such brutality and violent wars.
I retreat as I ride to home.
My plan is already set and we will survive.
It seems my ambition to be influential here would be hard.
I would seek protection in other Kingdom.
I fought f hunger, of great pain, as I realized blood is dripping from my shoulder of an arrow lodged in my shoulder but I ride and I return home and quickly I force my grandmother to leave their house for I believe that my grandfather have die in the battle.
I never knew what happen to the King after I retreat.
1015 SEEDMONTh
I closed the diaries.
I only knew what happens to the outcome of the battle a few weeks after the battles from some tavern and in some port.
A well supplied Terris army, and violent and brutal if I might add, led by Teriis Quinn defeated the King Joseph, betrayed by the lords he embraced, and trust.
A pawn for foreign nation who did not send him any reinforcement.
A tragic King
A tragedy but an inspiration for minstrel and bards who have already began singing the Song of the Pretender.
In Dostov history this is the bloodiest battle ever fought.
I see it during my retreat.
The forces of the King is well beaten but the next resulting cruelty should not have been done and unwarranted.
They were killed and after that those who surrendered were buried alive, some were slashed in every part of their body, others were beaten to an unrecognizable bag of flesh and blood.
The bloody aftermath went on for weeks as the King, Terries Quinn order all his royal guard to capture all the families of those who rebels against his rule and throw them all in gigantic vat with boiling oil , gigantic pot constructed and in the palace as the enemies lord, my grandfather companion had to watch as their sons, daughters, babies were thrown and suffer with great pain and torment.
Their wife is raped in front of their eyes and they will watch as the King slit their throat in front of the Lords. And only then the King will kill them.
But what had befallen the Pretender is much worse.
He was bring to the capital and stripped naked, paraded around the city.
And as he is naked the King with great pleasure and a terrible laugh cut of his manhood for all to see and stuff it at the King mouth and force him to eat it. Even the common folk is disgusted by such action but they do not dare to defy the King
Then he give the Pretender King his excrement to eat and even though he tried to resist he was binded in the Square with iron chains with great and powerful guard guarding the podium constructed to embarrass him, and he was force fed Terris Quinn excrement and puked giving off a very revolting smell.
Then and only the, battered, weak, and have lost any will to live, Teriss ended the Pretender life using a very brutal punishment.
He set out a hungry wolf upon him in a tight prison as the wolf maw his flesh and lick his bone and the people say that Teriss Quinn was laughing maniacally in his castle walls as he administer the punishment.
No longer any lords will dare challenge him.
He meant to destroy any thought of such rebellion ever happening again. Bardent and Tuca claims to not support the King.
And so ends probably the last rebellion to the Vern Lucelian Orthoox claim to the throne.
And my grandfather?
Fate has something more merciful fate in store for him, for he died in the battle, protecting his liege lord, dying the way he wanted it to end.
And so, here I am, running from a cruel King, to the House of Orleans where I will also meet my betrothed Emilia.
I hope this time my luck would be prevailing as the ship bravely sails.
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CHAPTER 54: TEMPUS FUGIT
ANVALI
THE YOUNG DEMON KING
AZRAEL MOURNSTAR
My reign has just begun.
A young King, I am, as the law dictates when my father abdicated and spend his life outside the palace, resting and no longer he is entwined in the politics of the court, no longer he has to fend of plots and intrigue.
Every day I have to administer the 8 great clans as the Protector of the realm.
The Orc King, the Fairy King, though the last time it was a fairy queen, the Elves Council which rules in place of their King, and the other prominent race of Anvali.
My father abdicated and as the sole heir to the Kingdom, naturally it falls to my shoulder the heavy responsibility of governing this Kingdom. And how heavy it is the task of governing and ruling.
Scuffles between the 8 Great Kings are common place but as the King that sits on the Arakath Throne it is my duty and my responsibilities to end their discord peacefully and with civility.
One of the most essential ingredients of great statesmanship is trust, and especially expressing trust.
And though I know some of them are not confident of my rule, I must and have to trust that in times, the Kings could and will follow me.
It has been a lot of month since Ariana left the capital.She did not send any letters and I’m beginning to worry about her.
She was not tasked to act as an envoy but she insisted, saying that she want to help the royal family. My father is overjoyed of course but I was not.
I worried for her, and for her peerless beauty, because I know how her beauty can mislead men, weaker men with weak hearts and flawed morale and honour, and the rumour I heard about the Vern Emperor is that he is lecherous.
But Ariana convince me that surely the emperor will not do anything untoward to the future Queen of Anvali.
So, she takes upon a great task of once again establishing trade with the Human continent. Even now there are ministers in my court that is insistently asking me and actively campaigning to me to mount an attack to the human continent.
Of course I argue to them that the human Continent have the Bleeding Wall created by Alan and Alexander the First Emperor of Vern Empire, who has fallen 500 years ago, who even now still stand and remain an impregnable Wall that keep our race from ever again penetrating into the heartland of the human continent.
But I know the issue of the Human continent is a sore subject for some. Especially for the people of my court and those who romanticize the good old days, where Demon Lords prospers and have full authority over the human, a view which me and my father detest and speaks in derision.
But why is it that it is a sore subject? It is because we were defeated and humiliated both in history and in our conduct of that time
After all even in our history it prominently display how once, our Kingdom is so prosperous, and it is thought that no one can defeat us, but Levitia, a human, change the rules.
He showed that humans might be fragile and weak…but they can learn from their weakness and the year of persecution only led them to the inevitable conclusion where the Demon Lords are rid out from Davarus, humiliated and badly defeated by a human so great of virtue and human might and vengeance wroth upon the demon lords for all the sins we have done to the human population.
Levitia who acts as the hammer that dole out his justice, even as far as to incite such terrible fears among the Demon population when he march to the Blessed Land intending to, as many Demon Lords believed at that time, the one known at that time as Levitia the Scourge, the Great Hero and Avenger came to annihilate every single Demons in Anvali, to ease his vengeful heart and showed the power of human might.
If the history is correct, and the old stories is true, it is said that every Priest of the Dark God weep and cry in their Dome, pleading, praying, to God that dwells in the shadow to hide us, to deliver us from the darkness and the impending doom that looms ahead, Levitia the Avenger,the Undefeated Hero, the Liberator, who came with his army, strong and mighty bent on his vengeance towards the demonic race.
Even now, many of the common birth tells the story of Levitia the Avengers warning that if they act naughty, that Levitia will come for them.
It is interesting.
In Human Continent, he is loved and in some region he is even deified as a God, revere and respected while here, he is feared and regarded as the Scourge of our Kingdom, an Avenger sent by God for our sins, our greatest regret and mistake when we underestimate him.
But the march?
But of course his famous march, and whatever he intended to do…never happened. If not, not even a shred of our civilization might survive his anger. So great his strength and the threats he posed against the Kingdom at the time.
The march. Which even now is a matter of debate among scholars and historians.
Some say, he find mercy in his heart to spare the population of the demonic race, which is one of the most popular theory, because it is said that in his later years he is a little bit peaceful.
Some say, he gained some great knowledge in the Blessed Lands and decided to hide this knowledge to fall from anyone so he stop his march.
This theory is propagated by a group of men, who in the library of the Royal family, noted that they no longer exist.
He suddenly stops his march after the Three Wise Men from the Sea speaks to him and he makes a truce and an agreement with the Demon Lords of that time.
The winds blows and the smell of the spring can be smell. Fresh and….calming.I looked at the tables, with the bulk of papers and parchment and scrolls, messily in the table.
So now here I am, in one the chamber in the castle overviewing expenses and reports, complaints and land scuffles from the 8 Kings.
But even though our Kingdom has Kings our rule are controlled by two factions, the Cha’haya and Ge’laer.
Most of the Kings belongs to this both of the faction and I as the full authority between these two faction acts as their arbiter.
My power is immense whether in enacting new law or waging war. Which by all laws of Anvali, they must and will provide support.
But of course these faction function as advisory capacities.And if one of them feels too slighted by my rule they may not help me in certain task.
Tomorrow I will meet the Ge’laer fation and in that very evening I will meet the Cha’haya faction to discuss about our economy.
We do not trade with the human continent but we do trade with Asteros in the far south and Vorthy in the far north.
Then a knock came
‘Who is it?’ I asked
‘It’s me Elkar your courtier your Grace’
‘Enter’ Elkar enter the room
‘Did you bring the tax repot?’
‘Yes Your Grace.’
He open the bag and began placing the documents and parchment in the table. I quickly arranged the other parchment so it will not disturb this new batch of reports and ledgers.
I rub my forehead.
‘A little tired Your Grace?’
‘A little bit. Sit down Elkar and do help me with my load.’
‘As you wish your grace.’
So we work in silence reviewing reports and overseeing any errors in the expenses and the treasury. Elkar look uncomfortable with all the silence.
He was my attendants and he usually does not like to speak but we have known long enough, for me to treat him more a friend than servant.
‘So your grace, you will meet both the faction tomorrow.’ He said trying to make a light conversation, not knowing he just touched upon one of the most complicated and sensitive subject in the palace court.
‘Yes.’ then I sighed
‘Your Grace?’
‘Cha’haya and Ge’laer.’ I said, sighing again. They are…..highly divisive and both of them is a pain.
‘Ge’laer ……is an insurgent outlier.’ I said, as I began my ranting of both of this political faction in my court.
Not like the time of days past where they are the champion of justice and the one who advise Mikael Mournstar the King who Lost to seek peace with Levitia.
But now? So different with their extreme views
Which would only anger Levitia,if Ge’laer faction at that time acted like now, and might even bring Anvali at that time to his great and terrible wrath.
‘How so Your Grace?’ Elkar asked.
I looked at him. My trusted confidante.
Elkar is the one who help me in many things regarding rumors in the palace and the plots that even I am not aware of during my early years and Elkar is there beside me telling me all of this vital information, plots and intrigue, protecting me but of the faction even he did not have that many influence to know about them, so I promote him to a courtier position so that he might best serve me.
I always share everything with him.
‘Let me tell you’ I said and I began my explanation and my feverish ranting of the dangers that this faction posed.
‘It has become ideologically extreme and violent, contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime that I try to enact for the good of our race; scornful of compromise usually about the Lost Lands and their unyielding hatred to humans; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and morality;that humans are capable to live peacefully and they are not a subspecies of the Demonic race, which evidence by Levitia feats, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its faction opposition, all but declaring war on the throne. If there is even a hint of their treasonous thoughts I would not tolerate them even for a second.’
‘Then Cha’haya is better?’ Elkar said
I smiled a bitter smile.
‘Cha’haya, while is no paragon noble virtue, is more diverse and flexible, protective of the throne, a loyalist through and through, open to changes and they did try though unsuccessfully to try to compromise with the Ge’laer faction. This asymmetry and rivalry with faction that sometimes could lead to war among the 8 Kings, is protected by many lords, in what they believe is a balance of power and equal voice in my governance but actually the factions constitutes a huge obstacle to effective governance.’
‘So both are not good?’
‘Yes, but it is the customs of my father, and my father before him, and his father before him. And Elkar, if there is something I learn…Tradition dies hard.’
‘That is true’ Elkar said.
And then we sit in silence as we poured over the dcouments.
_________________________________________________________________________
THRONE ROOM
‘Your Grace I have a disturbing new to report to you’ a messenger I sent to monitor the lord movement come to the throne room after all the minister have dismissed themselves after the meeting in the morning.
‘Yes? Tell me’
‘Mila Devonhurst has raise his banner, and begun marching’
‘What!’
Father in law? Why?
‘Why?’ I asked the messenger.
‘He believes that something has happened to her daughter in the Human Continent after so long he lost contact with her.
Many of the other Lords and the Orc King persuaded Lord Mila that his daughter might be killed, and the human is responsible for it.’
I smashed my hand into the stone table.
‘DON’T HE KNOW HE IS RISKING WAR WITH THE HUMAN CONTINENT?’
We could not afford to engage in war or even the appearance we are preparing a war against the humans.
If he did this, the Ge’laer faction might pressure me to aid him and also goes to the Human Continent which even though we only intended to search for Mila daughter, which is what I believed what Lord Mila is trying to do, and undoubtedly will be exploited by Ge’laer faction, and the Old Traditions, it will probably not received in such warm feeling from the humans who still, even after a 1000 years treats us like we are so evil.
I will not deny that what the Demon Lords did is not honourable and the cruelty is beyond human understanding, but it has been a long and arduous journey and even though my father did try a reconciliation path with the humans their immediate reactions when they encounter a demon race in their land, they will immediately killed them, no trials, no question.
Is it fear that governs them or prejudice?
I bit the edge of my lip.
This needs to be handled with great forbearance.
‘Elkar’ I yelled
Elkar who is in the next chamber heard and rushed.
‘Your Grace!’ His voice is urgent no doubt he felt the feeling in the throne room.
Dispatch General Balefor and tell him to lead a 1000 cavalry to stop the advance of Lord Mila before he reach the Blessed Lands.
Tell him the fate of the Kingdom depends on it. Tell him, if he failed to do what I asked, he will be demoted, his property seized. Ask the details from this messenger’ I gestured to the messenger.
Elkar nodded.
Then I ordered them to also inform Lord Mila that this is a royal edict. He must listen if he did not want to brand a traitor.
I was left alone in the throne room.
Not even a year along in my rule and there is already potential of war. War it seems excites every male blood, and it was like we desire it.
We know nothing about the human race other than what we learn from the book.
I think that it should be a general rule hat before you kill and wage a war against a population, you have to see them, up close and personal and get to know the people you are about to war against.
The burden is heavy. And war is not a burden I want to carry. I would not let my name be indignified, muddy in history as a King who started the Great War.
And at this kind of time, times of uncertainty and doubts I remember of Ariana and her sweet playing, divine paying of the lyre and harp.
Is it true? A tugging sensation gripped my heart
Did something really happened at her on the human Continent?
I felt nervous all of a sudden.
Calm yourself I said to myself.
Whatever it is, I need to have a discussion with Mila fist before we really march to the Human Continent. I need to approach this with rationality.
She might meet her bother who is now travelling the Human Kingdom. Thinking about Mikael.
I have half a mind of promoting Mikael as one of my advisors.
He is smart and wise beyond his years, a paragon of virtue, and very insistence that though we might rule with military might we must need, essential, he said, to care about the people plight and their burden to create a prosperous and peaceful nation.
I heard one of his opinion on governing.
He wanted, wished really that a philosopher King will sit on the throne.
He said with enthusiasms, that no matter how hard the circumstances might be, a king that is wise and virtuous must tried their best to uphold the virtues of wisdom and moderation in his dealings.
A wise King must surround himself with persons of high literary and knowledge and people of great talents.
A King that is ruled by a mind of virtue and wisdom, dedicated to the enrichment of life.
I smile a little.
Ariana always talk about her brother.
She respect her brother, loved her like any other sister loved their bother, but her brother, she said has sometimes a face he doesn’t show to her, a scar, wound covered so brilliant, that only those who also receive it can see it and felt it.
She always said to me that his brother and his father always spoke of their mother with hushed tones, like some secret she might not heard.
Thinking about Ariana, then my mind reels back to the stark possibilities in front of me right now.
And there is a problem with Mila Devonhurst reasoning.
Any kind of march will alert the human population especially now that we have to pass Alan to go to Vern.
We of course can pass through the use of ships but the waves around the dark sea is rough and not only that, we are not proficient in the use of ships and if somehow the humans who especially Vern, who have an impressive navy and Vorthy who is most of the time neutral, but not entirely unpersuaded join the human race, or ally with them, then I might send my people to die.
And I also head the family that lives in Alan the Vermont’s have strengthened the wall, recruiting trained soldier to guard the 30 towers along the shore, the towers were maintained, repaired, some upgraded, for what I don’t know but they served as the defense of the realm and I even sent some scouts there to look at their defense.
And he has reported it to me
They are highly discipline and highly loyal to the Vermont’s.
Whoever this Vermont family is they have strengthened the defense of the wall, which makes if ever, the ambition to reclaim back the Lost land harder if not impossible.
I know the stories.
It is said that the wall is created by Alan but in the bottom of the wall it is strengthen with magic by Lady of the Lake, giving it one of the hardest defense to penetrate.
Normal arrows don’t work and even siege weapons could not broke such defense.
That is the reason why some of the Kings prefer to pursue a diplomatic relations with them, to open their gates and allow us to come and trade because we need a lot of things from them.
Asteros has stuff but not all stuff
The hatred runs deep and the blood and sacrifice the human endures gives them a reasonable apprehension toward our presence but 1000 years has passed.
I believe that we can reign in a more beautiful world.
At least that is what I learned when I gaze upon Arian face,.
A beautiful woman, with peerless beauty, that makes me dream a world that is beautiful like her.
Either way I need to talk about this where he got his information.
Or is it just his suspicion.
If…and somehow my anger rises, that the Human Continent treats my bride to be horribly, I will lead the charge myself.
And I know its I contradicting of my intention…but I can take so much, then there will be a time when I could not take it anymore.
Because if anything happens to Ariana, my Ariana I will never forgive them. It is the one thing, the only thing I couldn’t tolerate.
There are times when a man must fight and what a reason more justified than protecting the one you love?
Because she is my passion, my life, my sun and the stars in the sky that shines in the morning and glitter in the darkest night, that shines so brightly, illuminating my path for me.
I would not let anything happen to her.
But I need to be calm and rational before I decide to do something so rash as marching to the Human continent.
I know some Kings are waiting for such opportunity.
The Human Continent is in a way is more bigger than Anvali and even more fertile, with foods and trees and their mountains.
They are eager, greedy for what the benefit it will have in our population.
But I prefer diplomacy. Until of course, words prove useless.
Then, it will be war.
Now I wait as the events are unfolding.
******************************************************************************

CHAPTER 55:A STEP FORWARD
RENASIA
PRINCESS RHYSSA RENASI
I have returned to my country, my beautiful and great Renasia. The sand, the sun, the heat all greet me.
I look as I walked by the courtyard, the green garden my father built for my mother with vines beautifully wrapped themselves around the column of the arc near the fountain.
I sighed.
Isabelle is beside me, my handmaiden, telling me about this young Knight that she met in the Capital when she were looking for me.
‘And you know, Princess, he is so chivalrous, telling me that he would help me. And not to mention he is very handsome and comes from a good family. I would be delighted to see him again.’ She said enthusiastically
‘Princess are you listening?’
‘I am.’
She looked at me.
‘What are you thinking about Princess?’
There is this one nagging question I have. Should I ask her?
‘What is love?’ I asked.
She beamed her eyes at me. Then she looked at me more intently than ever.
‘Hmm, are you jesting with me Princess?’
‘No I’m not. What is love?’
She laughed.
‘Love, huh? What is love?hmmm….. Many have searched for the answer to that question my Princess, but I’m afraid the answer like love itself is elusive.’
‘What is that supposed to mean? Can’t you give a clear answer?’ I said slightly angry.
She talks like the Fire Oracles.
Vague answers, answer that felt like a question. Which is why I do not like to speak to those zealots.
‘Do not get angry Princess’ she giggled.
‘I do not know how what is the royalty definition of love my Princess for ‘m no royalty and I have no intention is defining what is love or to even suggest, but I may offer some advice in my point of view, Princess.’
‘Let’s hear it then.’
‘To me love is a decision my princess, a carefully crafted judgment.’ She said seriously, with a stiff face.
‘Is that so?’
She giggled again. Her face turns to smiles looking at me like she is amazed.
‘Oh, I was just jesting Princess.’
‘What!’
‘Yes, Princess. Have you never read poems? Love story told by bards? Love song sung by minstrels? Princess,Princess’ she said shaking her head.
‘When you talk about love, that mysterious feelings that baffles men and irritates women to no end, when you talk of love, rarely there is the right answer.
It is madness, love is, Princess. Foolishness and recklessness all molded into the most baffling combination.
And even that might be so, why do you think people still fell in love, Princess? Addicted to it and feeling themselves wanting, the sweet sorrows even the extreme longing?’
‘Why?’ I asked curios more than ever.
‘Because it is rare and precious, since not many people find it, the most clarifying insanity, the greatest foolishness someone could experience.
Love has a certain kind of magic, a magic that no magicians, no Arch mage can ever produce, a magic that anyone can have, magic to make of the poorest beggar a king, to make the chaotic world feels like paradise. But be warned, Princess’ she said.
‘It is because it is precious and rare not many people found it. All the laws, logics, rules, rationale in the universe, all the oath of honour and duty cannot tear love from the heart, once love has taken root.”
‘Then love control you?’ I asked.
‘Wouldn’t that be a weakness?’
She laughed a little.
‘It's not that you should never love something so much that it can control you. It's that you need to love something that much so you can never be controlled.
It's not a weakness, Princess, it never is. It's will become your greatest strength and in love, freedom can be found for no one can tear it from your heart unless you let them. There is freedom in loving Princess, that even slaves and serfs can indulge.’
I nodded in understanding.
I never…..thought that Isabelle is this mature in the matters of the hearts. I always found her to be…..lacking in propriety and she has her quirks that I would like to remove if I can, but maybe that’s her charm.
Because even though she doesn’t like the same thing I do, she has something I don’t. There is love in her. An abundance of it, and she gives them unreservedly to the people she love.
Then what I’m feeling right now? Is it love?
Even now, I could not forget the beautiful young lord I met in my journey, the young lord who have such beautiful white hair and clear blue eyes that pierces right though me, and such domineering persona.
There is never a night that goes by when his visage did not accompany me to sleep, a morning when he did not flutter behind my waking eyelids with longing in par of madness.
We only met once, yet I…..I don’t understand.
I couldn’t get him out of my mind.
It is the first time I ever felt like this.
I look at the courtyard again. Everything is more beautiful than before.
‘Why Princess you ask me of such matters?’
‘Huh?’
‘You rarely speak to me about such thing Princess. Usually you would avoid such conversation, and I recall you calling such conversation girly and you hate it when I speak about it in front of you. Do you have someone in your heart?’ She said grinning.
‘I…do not!’ I said almost yelling, my cheek red, blushing because I was put on the spot.
She looked at me and then with a sly smile she said.
‘Whatever you said Princess’ and she giggled behind me
‘I SAID I DO NOT!’
‘Yes, yes, Princess. You have no one. Good for you’ she said still giggling.
I could never win against her.
Surely, she would spread some rumours among the handmaiden.
‘Let’s hurry. I need to check the barracks.’
‘Of course Princess.’ And she sighed
‘A day rarely goes by without you supervising those uncouth men, sweating and killing things.’ She said, clearly she doesn’t like it.
‘They are soldiers of the Kingdom.’
‘Yes, Princess, and they smell’
‘That is because they are in training!’
‘In what? Sweating?’
‘PROTECTING!’
‘Whatever you said, Princess’ she said, clearly not satisfied that we are going to the barracks again.
Isabelle likes gardens, balls, the extravagance stuff. I never understand her distaste for soldiers when many of our soldiers become nobles but she would tolerate a Knight.
But a soldier?
There is always something, that she would found fault in a soldier. I never understand that of her. One of her many quirks I guess.
And then my mind wanders off to the recent events that have happened in the Kingdom.
My new units need supervision and since my father has bought many lands in Cora, expanding our territory from the bankrupt House of Corazon, we have gained many lands around the border without any war or bloodshed.
In the dealings of my father I learned that to gain something, maybe war isn’t the only way.
I was sure that to take lands war is the only way but my father proved me wrong.
House Corazon sold many of his lands to settle his enormous debt and the expense of the Kingdom of Cora.
It takes a lot of money from our treasury but my father said the lands will make up for it in harvest abundance.
There is also some battle in the new border because of the few noble houses that is not satisfied with such transaction so my father sends Ser Pedro to fight them.
It is not a war because the Kingdom itself is not supportive of that noble house conduct
And not to mention, my father make use of our relatives to betroth the other sons and daughter of the noble families in Cora.
This way, if most of them is related to Renasia then incorporating them to our Kingdom would easier.
Who would have thought that my father is capable of such brilliance! No….Pedro sees it. The other lords see it. And my mother. That is why their support to him has always been unanimous.
I’m the only one who has been blind all this time.
I always believed that my father should be…..a warrior fighting in the battlefield, and I despise my grandmother and her sultry words because words are winds and most of her talk is pure wind.
But maybe…maybe I’m looking at it all wrong. Maybe….war is needed but not for all things.
Sometimes words can settle a war and brokered peace in a way I never knew.
I said when I reject the crown that he should be more assertive and I urge my father to make our Kingdom a strong one, now that Alan is getting stronger.
My father and the other noble houses agree. Alan has the House of Vermont.
After returning, I ask Pedro to send people to find information about the Vermont family and what I found is shocking.
I rarely give a care about the state affairs so I don’t really know of any noble houses from other Kingdom but reading about the Vermont only leaves me more in awe.
He belongs to one of the wealthiest family in the continents, with trade company established in other continents and they have many banks that lent money to noble lords.
They even lent many of gold to the royalty of Cora which they also pay back using the gold they get from selling their lands.
In it is said their wealth, the wealth of their household almost rivaled the expense of small countries.
The young lord, like he said is the young master of the Vermont, a Knight, who is very known in the Alan Kingdom, helping killing many criminals and apprehended a lot of them in such a young age.
He is known to be honorable, smart and some even say a genius.
Loved by the people and respected by the nobles.
His father is the Kingmaker, while he is a capable commander.
Alan is right now is at war and he is in the thick of it.
His family sigil is a dragon.
Heir of the Duchy and one of the most prominent families in Alan.
Comparing to his achievement my achievement looks inconsequential. Most of the things I achieved is because of my parents.
I never went to any order of Knights.
Though I am and will always be proud to bear the title of Eastern Devil Disciple. I have 2 Senior Sister, both of them is Vern origin.
Miao Linfeng and Zhu Linfeng. They are twins sisters. My teacher said to pay my respect if I ever met them.
Pedro seems to like this new me but I do put new goals for me and that is to surpass him. The young lord of the Vermont….and meet him again, more…graceful and stronger than before.
And even though I might not take the throne, I did accept the position as one of the General in the army which I began by creating a 5000 units of great talents. The one that I’m about to check now.
‘Is it far away? How long till we there?’ Isabelle complained
‘Don’t rush. Just walk in a calm pace, tone down your complaints and we will reach there faster.’ I said to Isabelle
I looked at her.
‘Next time, I will invite you to one of the balls that my mother always held. How about that?’
And her face quickly lights up.
‘Really! Really!’
She said, jumping and hugging me.
‘Yes, I promise to invite you if you endure this for me.’
‘My pleasure’ she said.
And her complaints stopped. I smile a little.
She is so simple.
Full of life. Though she really hates fighting.
But I’m royalty, blood of Duvan. War is our norm. Especially for royalty.
We finally arrived at the barracks. I can hear their exasperated breaths, panting in exhaustion, the sounds of the slashing of swords and yelling.
I looked at them with a proud smile.
An elite unit for me, chosen from very young and trained. The slave we have also given some leeway in that if they were chosen after 10 years of service they will be a free man.
I also bean learning from the teachers about philosophy, strategy, literature, history and military tactics all to prepare myself and become what Pedro envisioned of me.
A wise queen, that will rule her people wisely.
I also, now, that my father knows my relations with Eastern Devil and knowing of my personality which is that I’m stubborn enough that I will not stop learning from him.
My father, instead offer me guards to accompany me when I went to the Island to practice.
Every week I will spend two days on that island before returning back to the palace and train my elite troops.
I also began learning noble etiquette, dressing gracefully and beautifully.
Because I lean that manner is not only on the way we treat people but how we treat ourselves, whether it be the way we walk or the way we talk.
Do we treat ourselves and carry ourselves like a dignified person or as an unscrupulous person?
I also began listening to the advise that many of the people giving me.
A wise Queen should not neglect minority opinions and give a careful hearing. This is what Pedro once told me, quoting the Analects of the Three Teachings.
This is one of the things I learned. In a way, my loss to Arial Vermont was a humbling experience.
A precious and rare experience.
A defining moment.
I have always been fighting, testing my martial arts with other martial artist; and while it is hard for me to admit this loudly, I enjoy fighting, the dance, the beautiful movement and the tension.
And yet I cannot pretend that my fight with Arial is the same as any fight I have ever encountered.
I forget myself in that battle, in fluid of disbelief and fear and excitement all blended into one.
I fight some martial artist in the way home, after my defeat, yet it is not the same.
And I felt a yearning to meet the boy gain, defying all my reason, I found myself wanting.
‘Princess’ the captain recognized me and quickly he knee.
The other seeing the captain kneeled also kneeled. The troops stopped their training and quickly kneeled.
‘Princess, why did you come here?’
‘Can’t I?’
‘No, of course not. Of course you can’
‘How is the training?’
‘It is going good.’
‘Continue your training.’ And the troops nodded and continue their training
‘Captain come here.’
Then I ask him to tell me the progress of my troops.
He tell me of their training and progress telling me all that I’m supposed to know. Their diets, how they are trained, when thy sleep, when they wake up.
I nodded and in some I advise him to do some modification in the regiment, focusing more in external martial arts.
Because not everybody can cultivate strong internal energy.
Then in the evening I finally begin to move to return to the palace.
‘Finally that is done’ Isabelle said, massaging her neck
‘Yes, well…it is’
‘Where is Pedro and Arturo. Did both of them join the battle?’
I nodded.
I still remember how I argue with Pedro about war
‘War is not the only way Princes.’ He said, as we argue about what is war in one of our arguments, a few days before I went outside the palace with Arturo.
‘War is hell.’ he said
‘War is also mystery and adventure, display of great courage, and discovery’
‘War makes people pitiful, Princess.’
‘It can also makes people holy. Look at Levitia! In some places, there is a cult worshipping him and the other heroes.’
‘Well, war brought despair.’
‘It also bring longing and great love story. The story of Zhu Ar Zur for example.
How his wife waited for him to return, all the while trying to spur all the suitors that came to her house, when they thought Zhu Ar Zur is dead. Such noble fidelity! Such loyalty!’
‘War is nasty!’ Pedro said almost half yelling
‘War is fun!’ I yelled back
‘War is drudgery.’
‘War is thrilling, one of the most thrilling thing.’ I said
‘And last but not least, war makes you a man and a hero! Are you not a man Pedro? Do you not desire to be a hero?’
Pedro smiles.
‘War also makes you dead. Man, woman, what does any of that matters? Hero’s? Tell me a story where a hero lives to see his deed accomplished? War brings great destruction.
You speak of war like it is a romantic notion, Princess. You make a romance out of war, my Princess. I know why. Because the alternative is hard. Peace is hard. War is easier.
It is easier to lead men to combat and battles, stirring up their passions, to scream to them to kill for their country than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.’
‘You are one to talk, Pedro! You have been in battle and more war more than anyone in this Palace’ I said.
He smiled a bitter smile.
‘I have never, ever advocated war except as a means of peace. How many young men, all full of promise and vitality, before the war turns them to lifeless husk after the war.
A war is not a game. It is not fun. It is not thrilling. It is not a great adventure. War is not a great mystery. I know what war is Princess. Do you want me to tell you?’
I looked at the solemn face of Pedro and unconsciously I answer
‘Yes’
‘War is hell on Earth, Princess.
Hell on Earth, created by man, for other men, in a field filled with pain and blood.
I never like spilling blood, but I do so because sometimes I believe war is necessary in protecting our citizens but never, I believe that war should be waged unless it is the last resort, that every measure of restrain has been tried and employed.
Heed me, Princess.
A wise ruler does not seek war. They seek peace. War is hell. A day of battle is a day of harvest for the Dark Devil.’
‘Princess’ Isabelle remarks returns me to the present
‘Ah yes.’
I smiled as I looked at the sun set. I’ll remember what Pedro advise of me. A wise Queen, unparalleled in battle and wisdom. I wish. No!
I will become that.
******************************************************************************

CHAPTER 56: CHANCE ENCOUNTER
ZHANG LIAO BAO
IN A FOREST
OUTSIDE THE FORBIDDEN CITY
I have successfully escape the imperial city with the letter hidden under my clothes. An important letter and I need to keep it safe. I pat the letter again, checking it again, just in case.
With the money I got working as a scribe in the Palace I have about enough to buy a horse outside in a recluse village around the outside of the Capital.
I’m around Xinjiang, just outside the cities.
I heard around here lies the Yellow Waterfall.
It is said that the yellow waters pour down like tea from a giant teapot.
It is famous as a spectacular waterfall among the nobles, and the only famous yellow waterfall in the continent.
Vern I sighed.
It is vast and I don’t know how many is instructed to capture me but surely there is a lot.
Wait! I suddenly stops myself to think of another possibilities. One that gives me hope.
If the Emperor want rumours to spread that he is amassing such force to capture only one person, and that person is a scribe surely such moves will attract suspicion. People might be asking, why the interest and his despicable acts might be revealed.
He might chose a unit to chase me, believing I’m an unimportant and will be caught easily. Wel, that will prove a mistake soon enough.
I doubt everyone in the palace would support the Emperor acts if they are known.
Heaven! Heaven!
My horse moves in a uniform pace in the bamboo forest. To think that the Emperor is such of a……lecherous Emperor.
He might have the blood of Georg the Wise, but he must surely inherit William the Lecherous personality more than the wise Emperor.
I look at the wide forest in front of me.
Maybe I will stop in one of the waterfalls. To rest a little while before resuming my journey. I shakes my head.
No, I must stop delaying. This must be sent fast.
If the Dark Lord believes that his fiancé is imprisoned, or worse death, maybe a calamity will happen.
I heard the story when I was little from my mother and the storytellers in the tavern about the demon Lords. They are cruel and evil and they eat human for breakfast.
But the waterfalls…..I guess this is not the time.
Vern has a lot of beautiful waterfalls, mountains, hills and beautiful scenery owing to Alexander the Divider descendant who move their capital from Vangua to Vern when the revolt happens.
They build many things, villas and summer retreat castles all around the Empire..
I must go to the dark lands, or someone who have sympathy to the Princess and then I will entrust the letter to them.
I know little about the country in the continent but since becoming a scribe I have many gossip and stories from the handmaiden.
I know of the dragon that lives in Alan, that guarded the high wall to the Dark Lands,and the region around the bridge repairing the Bleeding Wall, enforcing security and stability around their region, a strong ruler some say.
Maybe I could persuade him.
After all, if the dark Lands started to move wouldn’t it be disastrous for the very family that is in the most close proximity with the dark lands.
I smell the refreshing scent of the forest.
Better check my inventory.
There is the Enochian steel I stolen from that man.
There is also the mechanical invention by the Prince Articon, that hide the dagger under my sleeve connected with the dagger , so that when I throw a punch and release some of my internal energy to the device, the dagger will pierce the enemy for a split second but to the uninitiated view it seems that the resulting result is from my strength.
I always like this dagger.
It is a handy weapon, can be concealed easily and deadly. And I really like the way it sometimes glimmers.
I also steal some armor from the passage when I was running out of the palace. There is also the many poison that I concocted and the other inventions from Prince Articon I believe will be important for me.
For days I roam the forest.
Usually in the night I will camp.
It is an uneventful.
After Xinjiang I will go to Changjing and then Yuan, and then surely I would pass Jiang then Tai and then I will reach Shanhai Pass defended by House of Austen, the great commander of the Pass, Archibald Austen.
Today I Ride Against Another Forest.
Yellow Mountains And Fresh Air,
Magnify Everything.
My Feeling Unrestricted And Free,
Bamboo Tress Stands Like Soldier Guarding The Forest,
The Sound Of Chirping Birds And The Breeze Of The Wind,
Beautiful Scenery Wherever I Look.
I sing a poem I remembered as I look around the beautiful forest with it’s leaves in variety of colours and the refreshing breeze..
The water, the valley, I see them as I ride slowly in the forest, enjoying life because maybe tomorrow won’t come.
Then suddenly my horse neigh.
Why the sudden aggressiveness? I pat the horse head, while scanning the forest looking for suspicious activity.
Then I hear it.
YAH,YAH.
The sound of swords and shields can be heard. I approached the sound and I can see something
A lone man is fighting 30 people all dressed in black and purple..
The swords clanging against each other each one trying to pierce the man.
Alright this is not my problem.
I was about to get out of this scuffle.
After all this seems to be a martial arts world matters.
I should not interfere.
I have already began to move.
‘Senior Brother. Help me!’ said a girl.
That is a girl voice.
And my head turned back. I look at the direction of the girl.
She is beautiful but she seems naive. A few man is trying to attack her but at least she seems to have learn a few martial arts but she doesn’t look proficient in it.
The man keep slashing.
Defending himself is hard enough but to also help the girl? He is not an expert and from the looks of it, not a very good swordsman either.
‘PRINCESS ZHENGPING PLEASE SAVE YOURSELVES. I WILL TRY TO HOLD THEM OFF!’ he yelled.
I look at the man. Judging by his abilities, he could not hold them off.
Should I leave…?
I look at the woman and my feet begun to feel heavy.
Aish,fuck this.
I jump from my horse and quickly flew to enter the battle. I landed to the center of the battle. Some of them quickly try to slash me, amidst their confusion.
I slither around them like wind, avoiding their slash as they look in bewilderment at me suddenly leaping out and joining the battle.
Some were caught of guard as I attack their veins rendering them incapable. Lightning Finger. It supposed to be used with Treading the Wind
A combination attack.
‘Who’s that?’
And like lightning I arrived at the side of the woman.
And I grab her and quickly I brought her far away from the main battle. As for the man, I couldn’t care less. Let him fend of the others.
One man tries to strike me with his sword, with striking precision instead I use Treading In The Wind moves to quickly positioned myself behind him. But I had to let the girl go for awhile.
‘Wha-‘ he gasped as he see I slip away from his attacks. Then quickly I used the technique that I just learned, sucking his internal energy.
‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING!’ he yelled as he realize his energy drained away,but he could not release himself from my grasp. Looks of fear flashed in his face.
Baffled and confused probably seeing this technique.
I felt a warm energy enter from my hand then spread evenly to all parts of my body, strengthening every part of my body.
Then a man tries to slash at the woman and I release my internal energy with one of my hand and quickly grabbed the girl to my side. The man was thrown a way to my left.
I still hold the woman even when I’m sucking the energy from this man.
He must not know that he has to push the energy back to release himself from me. Maybe because he is taken in surprised, that is why he couldn’t response.
I feel her skin.
Smooth and her hair smell nice.
She blushed at me. Then in a few moment, he has turn tired and the others begin realizing that I pose a threat as some of them begun targeting me.
I pushed the man away. And he flew to the nearby bamboo.
And quickly enter a defensive position.
‘STOP FIGHTING!’ I yelled at them. They are surprised more than fearful, so they stopped suddenly. Then they look at their men writhing in pain in the ground because of me.
They began feeling wary and one of them come forward, breaking the silence.
‘I am Zhu Li Mu from Lishan Sect. You are?’ He cupped his fist and bowed slightly, believing me to be one of those who roam the martial art world. There are someone behind him that looks like the leader.
‘My name is Zhang Liao Bao.’ I said and I too cupped my fist together and bowed slightly.
‘Why does young hero Zhang want to interfere in our matters?’ One of them said.
The girl grabs at the edge of my clothes and tugged it.
I look at the man who were fighting with these men before, now exhausted and also stopped fighting now that all the men is waiting, but wariness still hangs in the air.
I whisper to her.
‘Who’s that?’ I said gesturing to the man.
She said ‘my Senior Brother, Zhao Lu.’
Zhu Li Mu then said
‘Young hero Zhang this is the matter between Lishan Sect and the Chu residence. If you may leave.’ They said with a warning tone.
I laughed
‘I’m a passer-by. Looking at you, bullying a girl, I couldn’t sit still.’
‘Then don’t blame me, hero Zhang. I’m offering you another chance. PLEASE LEAVE!’
‘DO YOU SEE MY FEET MOVING!’
‘SO BE IT!’
The man yelled ‘KILL THEM.’
One of them leaped in the air with a sudden cry employing internal energy in his strike.
This I know because the presence of internal energy can be felt. It even can be felt in the air.
I may not learn many attack technique but Treading The wind technique can also be used in an unexpected attacking technique.
I extended both arms to block and sweep in defense and the sound resulted from this clash sounds like thunder, and the nearby bamboo explodes and at the same time I release my internal energy at him and he evade it with quick movements.
‘HMPH,WHICH SECT ARE YOU FROM! ‘ he asked while his eyes is trying to look and detect any of my blind spots.
‘I come from no sect.’
‘Liar!’
‘HAHAHA..Say what you want!’
‘YAHHHH’ he looked incensed while his face is full with rage
He stuck a fist towards me with great killing intent and I hooked my right hand backward and grabbed his wrist and throw him away.
He fell to the ground and I heard some of his bones broke.
They look at me. One of the men, distinguished from the rest is ordering all of them to focus on me.
I’m already exhausted. Using internal energy is taxing. I may use other people internal energy to strengthen me but I am not yet a master in the technique.
I rarely used internal energy and my internal energy is not profound.
Then another man sneaks a stealthy fist at the lady. I of course realized it
I blocked it using my body as a sacrifice and took the full brunt of the attack. I was thrown on the side near some bamboo trees.
‘Young hero Zhang!’ she said alarmed, and quickly she run to me.
I coughed some blood.
Because of the internal energy is running mad in my meridian line, all over because I did not yet assimilate it with my internal energy and also because of the sneak attack that disrupt the assimilation of the energy..
‘Uhuk, Uhuk. I’m alright my lady. Can you fight?’ I asked all the while scanning at my environment.
I did not kill anyone but I incapacitated about 5 people when I entered the battle. I did not want this to turn bloody.
I looked at the girl.
A little she said.
I could not defeat all of them. Not in my condition. Unprepared and unready.
This I knew.
I rarely fight so in experience alone, I could not surpass them…but in one thing I can beat them and it is bluffing.
Now that is my expertise.
‘Wait!’ I yelled as I stand up appearing like I stand with great ease, when in fact the pain is unbearable.
‘Can I know your name?’ I gestured to the man that seems to be leading the attacks while cupping my hand
He must be sect leader or at least the leader of these men. Seeing him giving the orders and these men follow his order, there is no doubt in my mind that he is their leader.
And it seems they also seem relieved that we stopped fighting for a while.
He spoke with a reassuring tone and an imposing appearance.
‘I am Bai Daliang, and I’m the disciple of Li Guilin, Sect Leader of Lishan.’
‘It is an honour’ I said.
‘No it is mine’
‘May I offer some advice, hero Bai?’
He looked at me, and then he nodded.
‘I implore that we fight one on one for the fate of this two people’ I said suddenly while gesturing at the lady and her companion.
The lady looked worried but I wink at her, and her worries seem to be dispelled.
‘You can send people to attack me, because your numbers are high but I must warn you if I fight all of you alone, I might not win but I can spread your dishonourable conduct to the martial arts world. Dozens of people fighting two persons. This cannot stand. Have you no shame?’
They began to whisper.
Surely, they must thought if they kill these two or capture them that will be the end of it but they did not expect me to be here passing around here.
‘But fight me in fist to fist attack.” I said
‘If I die both of these will become yours to do what you will. If I win, I will not spread what happen here in the mountain but I will take these two with me. And I will spare your life. I swear it on my honour’
Which does not mean much..Hehehe
‘Are you an expert saying such arrogant things!’ One yelled at me.
‘One of your people has already fight me and looked at him.’ They looked at the collapsed man, like he almost at deaths door.
‘I spare of his life because I think it is very unhonorable of me to take the life of people beneath me, and not to mention you might be some junior in martial art world, then people in the martial art world will accuse me of bullying.’
I said this, pretending I’m some great master of martial arts.
He looked at me.
Then he looked at his people.
They all seemed unsure.
What to believe? Am I an expert opponent? Or am I just bluffing?
But even though I might be exposed that doesn’t mean that I will lose. I have another plan prepared.
The girl approached me.
‘Are you alright?’
‘Ah I’m fine my lady. Look at your Senior Brother. See if he is wounded’
‘But this blood?’
I stroke her hair. So cute.
She blushed and she looked so demure.
‘You worries are unfounded. I am fine. Look at your Senior Brother. He looks like he is suffering.’
She alternates her glances and then she nodded.
One of them approached Bai Daliang who is situated around a safe distance from me.
I use my internal energy and direct it to my ear to listen to their conversation.
‘Senior Brother, I think he is an expert exponent. When I touched him, I felt my body lose energy suddenly and his internal energy is no laughing matter.’
Of course my internal energy is no laughing matter. It’s his. I convert his internal energy to send him away.
‘Then why does he cough blood after being landed a strike.’
‘Wouldn’t that be because he is protecting the woman and didn’t have time to strengthen his body?’
Bai Daliang nodded.
‘His words make sense. Surely he is an expert exponent and he does not want to lower himself fighting with us and thus he asked you to fight with him.’ one of them speaks
‘No, he looks like a greenhorn.’ Another chimed in
‘Maybe he is hiding his technique. What if he is really a master from some sect and what if he is really a great master? Wouldn’t we be an idiot to ask for death? His offer seems reasonable. Surely he is a great expert, and he did not want to be scoffed and insulted as bullying in the martial arts world that is why he offers such terms. If he is a greenhorn why would he be so generous and so confident?’
‘So should we accept?’ Bai Daliang asked his men
‘If we don’t accept and he is really an exponent then wouldn’t that make us his prey?’
‘We can kill him. But he swore he wouldn’t kill you. Even if he win, he will not spread what we did today in the forest but if you win than we lost one witness and get two prisoners. It is an advantageous position.’
He nodded again.
Then after discussing with great detail he agrees.
‘Young hero Zhang I accept your offer. How will be our fight?’
‘We will punch each other in every turns, alternately until one of us is unable to continue or die.’ I said. He nodded
‘Would you like to attack first?’ I said
He looked confused. Seeing that I without objection give him the first strike
‘You mean I can punch you?’
‘Yes. You can, then I will punch you’.
‘What if you die after I punch you?’
‘That wouldn’t happen. And I wouldn’t want people to say I bully you, that I win because I take advantage of your deficiency. Please use your internal energy if you want to hurt me. Make at least, that I hurt’ I said arrogantly and mockingly
‘Fine.’ His face is red with embarrassment but he accepts the offer.
Then he rushed forward surely he is concentrating his internal energy in his fist, determine to end this in one round but I have a secret.
If he just attacks me with normal attack then surely I will get hurt if not severely injured but if it’s an internal energy even though he attack, I will just absorbs it.
And it also helps to establish my reputation in font of these men. If they see that their leaders attacks do nothing to me, then surely they would believe me to be an exponent.
I stand like stone waiting for the fist to come and the moment his fist encountered my internal energy barrier it sucked the power Bai Daliang center of energy rendering his strength useless and my body strengthen.
The fist reached my stomach but instead of me blown away, Bai Daliang finger bones seems to be broken.
Seeing this, his men, whispered against each other, distancing themselves against me. Some of them rushed to Bai Daliang holding him up from his fall.
An exponent they whispered.
‘Bai Daliang, the world is vast, surely just because I am young you underestimate me. But I have learned vast array of martial art and my internal energy is peerless and unmatched’ I boast.
I know sometimes reputation is important in helping me.
The man distance themselves more while the young lady smiles this time and giving me encouragement from afar.
Now it is my turn
I approached him slowly and calmly.
His face is pale and full of fear.
‘Do not worry I will do no harm to you’ I swing my fist and it hit but it felt almost like wind to him, this I know.
He looked and see
‘WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS YOUNG HERO ZHANG!’
His men also gasped. They must see that my swing is no more than a smooth push.
I spoke to him with respect.
‘I have no intention of harming you, Hero Bai Daliang. We are of the martial arts world must not divide ourselves like this and killing each other. Such sins! Such sins!’
His men nodded.
‘I would be grateful if Hero Bai could let us go and be in our way.’ I said pleading, but I know he could not refuse.
Not when I show him a great deal of respect when I can end him with one punch. Forbearance is a virtue in the martial arts world.
Not when he has not only lost but I also spare him his life.
But truth be told, why should I kill him and involve myself in more problems? He said he is the disciple of a sect leader.
If I kill him wouldn’t that be like a blood feud? They will hunt me for killing their young master and my mission will only get harder.
Why should I torment myself like that? Better to let him go and gain some respect in Lishan Sect.
I heard that in the martial arts world, everything must be pay. He owes me his life, so someday if he met me again, he would surely remember the deeds I have done him.
It is not enforced but it is implied. Why should I make enemies when I can make him a friend?
‘BUT OUR BUSINESS WITH THEM IS NOT YET SETTLED,’ one of them yelled.
Hero Bai held his hand up.
‘Enough.’ He said reverently and he cupped his fist and bowed lower.
‘My eyes must be blind not to recognize an exponent. This hero has spared my life when he can end it. The least I could do is show him the respect and gratitude he deserved.’ He looked at the girl and the man.
‘I will let them go because of you, Hero Zhang.’
‘Your kind deeds will not be forgotten’ I said.
‘But…..if I meet them again, I will not be merciful.’ Stubborn. I smiles.
‘Then let’s hope that they never will meet you again.’
‘Hahaha..You are right, hero Zhang. Let us hope that. Let’s go home.’ He gestured to his men.
‘And Hero Zhang, will you keep what happen here a secret?
‘Of course.’ I nodded.
“I will honour my promise.’
‘Thank you.’ He said and he and his men all withdraw and begin moving.
The young lady runs towards me.
‘Thank you hero Zhang’ the girl approached me after seeing the men of Lishan sect began clearing out from the forest.
‘We’re grateful that you have come to our rescue.’
So beautiful and innocent.
The man yelled princess before. This girl is a Princess.
Which one?
Then the man introduced himself to me.
‘My name Zhao Lu. Thank you for rescuing us, Hero Zhang.’
‘Do not mention it. Are you alright my lady?’ I said holding her hand and checking if she get hurts.
‘I’m fine’ she said, blushing again. I smile at her.
‘Where are you from?’
‘We are from Chuguo.’
Chu?
Then this is Princess Chu Zhengping?
‘Ah, Chuguo. Long journey from home.’ I said.
‘Yes, we are going to Alan to discuss something with one of the families there.’
‘Really?’
‘Yes. Where are you heading Hero Zhang?’
‘I too am heading to Alan.’
‘For what?’ The man said suspiciously
‘On a personal matter. The Kingdom of Alan has been tolerant now that they have established a King, welcoming any talented people to come to make his kingdom a prosperous one.
Even now, Anglais, Raxons, Loth, Ethrusk, all have migrated to the Jewel of the Continent, the great city of Acro, a hub for trade and knowledge.
I wish to find me some luck and wish to go there. If luck favours me, maybe I will get a job there’ I said lying.
‘Then we can go together!’ the princess said excitedly
‘PRINCESS!’ The man said nervously.
They are hiding something.
‘It seems my presence annoy you’ I said looking at the man.
‘No ,no’ the princes said.
‘Let us go together Senior Brother Zhao’ she said pleading his Senior Brother.
I returned back to my horse and they followed me from behind.
‘We are near Chun so we can rest there’ I said.
The Princess nodded.
‘That is a brilliant idea.’ The man said trying to placate the feeling of his mistress. The Princess smile at Zhao Lu and Zhao Lu seems to enjoy it
And that is how I am accompanied with one girl and one man in my journey.
******************************************************************************

CHAPTER 57: BURDEN OR RESPONSIBILITY?
ARIAL
TENT
IN FRONT OF DENTED SHIELD
1015 SEEDMONTH
I’m in my tent. The cold bites my skin like a winter kiss. I can feel it. My mind quickly remembering what happens.
How long was I out? How many hours, how many days.
But I knew this is my tent.
Even now, when my eyes are closed my other senses work perfectly compensating one that I’m not using right now.
This is the smell of my tent. The smell of candles and parchment, and new scrolls. This is my tent. But I also smell foreign odour. Medicines and herbs.
The pain…. I remembered. But what comes next…..that appears to be blotted out from my memory.
The smell of the medicine is heavy in the tent, of herbs, of incenses and variety of other kind of medicinal properties that I smell, some I know and some I do not, while whisper and yelling can be heard, barely a whisper but slowly I can hear better.
Time to arise from my slumber and face the world.
‘sshhh the lord is opening his eyes.’ One of them says shushing the others.
And the whispers and yelling turns to silence.
And with energy that I can still expend, I open my eyes, slowly and with great effort while the pain wishes over me, almost making me cringe with pain but I bear it in front of the other lords.
It is the hardest thing to do, to feign being well when you are ill, but no weakness must shine through or they will maw me like a lion preying on a deer.
‘My lord you are awake’ some exclaimed. I try to flow the energy in my body but I found the path of energy is hard to penetrate. But it flows, only it is a restricted feeling
‘Praise the Light.’ Lord Sumersill said. It seems he have come from Northcour.
‘Lord Arial’ West said bowing while I could feel Lisa rushed towards my bed and hugged me tightly, tears streaming down her eyes.
‘WHY DID YOU LET ME WORRY! I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD!’ she said while looking at my chest with apprehension.
Then she traced her hand around the wound and looked at me, asking with her eyes whether I’m fine. I only nodded.
‘Did it hurt?’ she said as she realized she touched my chest the point which the spears Alderam throws.
It is now covered with bandages and healing nicely
I smile
‘It is fine,Lisa.’
‘YOU SCARED ME TO DEATH!’ Kyle said. I look at him with appreciation.
So this is how it feels to be cared about?
It’s nice.
I never form many bonds in my timeline but I am grateful for the people I have met in this timeline, those who became my friend and companion, who have supported me, and in certain times, scold me properly when necessary.
‘You smile?’ He ask incredulous
‘How could I not?’ he shakes his head looking at my odd behaviour
‘How is the battle?’ I said.
Not the first question one should ask after just waking from a near death experience, but as their leader and those who led them here, it is my responsibility to bear
I know they are worried about me but I need to know what happen.
Have we retreat? Or did any significant victory has been achieved? Worries fill me but not of my own safety but my troops.
Kyle looked at me like he couldn’t believe what I’m saying.
‘THE BATTLE! You almost lost your life, dear friend!’
I ignore him.
I know Kyle spoke of this because he is worried about me, of his concern over my health, but my priority is towards the people that sacrifice their lives for me.
I could never forgive myself if after I collapsed many soldier died in my place or decimated because of me.
His intention is noble, but I could not make him understand my position of a lord and the commander of the army.
‘The battle’ I said more forcefully and this time I turned to the other lord.
Kyle doesn’t like being ignored.
Lisa grabbed my hand and looked at me.
‘Rest, Arial! Please just rest, Arial!’ She said looking at me with her red eyes.
I smiles a faint smile and shakes my head.
‘I don’t think I can’ She cast her glance downwards as a sign of resignation of my stubbornness. I feel a little sorry but duty must come first in this matter.
‘Lord Paris give me a report’ I said gesturing to the lord since I can see him. He seems hesitated to speak but he did his duty
‘We are still fighting my lord but for this past few days it has turned into a stalemate, our troops low on it’s morale while the enemies is still waiting reinforcement from the Verman which has been reported engaged in battle at Shanhai Pass in Vern.
So right now we have the advantage of number because the castle seems like it will succumbed to our sieging in any moment but the lack of morale and fighting spirit among the troops will prove to be difficult.
Praise the Light that you have woken up my lord. Surely the troops will regain back their fighting spirit.’
‘Are they outside waiting to hear whether I die or live?’ I said noticing the clamour outside, some prayers for the Book of lights
‘I….yes my lord. They were waiting. And surely their morale will soar when they hear that you are alive and well, my lord’ he said with joy in his tone
I can feel the pain in my heart. I…the pain is tormenting but I showed none of it to the lords assembled.
I think I knew what this pain signify, what it is that rendered me so helpless but I could not show it.
I think I knew what Alderam did.
It felt like it eaten around my lungs and my heat.
I winced a little.
It is like my heart is beating in a tight cage made of steel thorns, scratching my heart and every time it beats, my heart feels like it being cut up, scratched with thorns and bleed profusely.
Did he really use that? I can feel my fingers tremble of the realization of what happens to me and what Alderam have inflicted me with. I steeled myself. I shall show no weakness.
I need to shelf my worries and handle what I can.
‘This evening I will do some round around the barracks. Tell the other lords. I will not forgive lack of discipline.’ I intend to give one last rallying cry and restore their morale.
‘But my lord…, this could not do. Not in your condition’ I glared at him and the lord silence himself.
Lisa agree whole heartedly
‘You just woke up, literally from death. I felt your pulse when you were thrown off your house and I can’t feel your pulse. You were dead for a few second.’
‘And now I’m back to the world of the living. And, dear Lisa, I want to keep it that way. Is there no healer here?’ I gestured to Lord Paris again
‘Some were called from the nearby cities my lord and by the evening surely he will come here, after all I sent some of our best men to fetch the healer.’
I nodded.
I looked at my bare chest now scarred but bandage by poultice, and it seems it stopped the bleeding and helped with the healing.
‘Who did this then?’ I gestured to the herb poultice and the bandage around my heart. Whoever it is, it seems he has a basic understanding of medicine
‘Ser West did.’ Lisa said, her eyes glanced to West, an expression of gratitude. West, looking at Lisa, his face turns to red and just nodded his head.
‘Knowledgeable’ I compliment.
‘Survival, my lord. Knight Agnaris teach me that.’
‘Ah yes, Agnaris’ I said recalling the teacher in the Knight Academy who is very peculiar and who always keep an eye on me when I was there. I never understand his obsession with me.
‘Tomorrow I will lead the battle myself.’ I declared to everyone assembled.
‘No longer’ I said.
‘I will take that castle tomorrow.’ I said and some of them were whispering
‘Tell them to rest today for tomorrow they will be led to victory. Now go do your duty’ I asked
But the lord hesitated to get out of the tent.
‘Do you all doubt my words?’
‘But my lord….wouldn’t it be better to rest’ some lords advice
Lisa nodded. So does Kyle and West.
‘I will rest when this war is over. But enough of your words. Go. Eat. Sing. Be merry. Because tomorrow some people will not be here anymore.
Tell them, for some of them tomorrow will be their last days and tell them that they will be remembered.
Tell them that. Give them comfort.
Give them assurance, that they will return home. Go. Tell them. And tonight if you still do not tell them of such thing, I will tell them’
The noble lord knowing my personality to be headstrong nodded.
‘Get well, my lord.’
‘Get well my lord .’
‘Keep strong’
They all said words of encouragement.
The rest went out but Kyle and Lisa is there. Waiting to talk with me. They are not a lord, but a Knight but none of the other lord dare reprimand them because they all know my relationship with them.
‘Are you sure you are alright, friend?’ Kyle said standing beside my bed.
‘I’m fine.’
‘You are divine, aren’t you?’ Kyle said suddenly and sarcastically
I laughed a little.
‘I was speared, thrown off my horse, licking my own blood in a muddy field, and you called me divine?’
‘Why not?’ He argued
‘Never before I have seen in battle someone who have been spear the way you did and survived to tell the story.
I almost believed that you have leave us for the High Heaven when I looked at the way those spears stuck on your chest.
My sister was sobbing uncontrollably, her eyes red with grief and she howls like a wolf that howls for the beautiful moon.’
‘I did not!’ Lisa said wiping her tears.
‘You did!’
‘I did no such thing!’ she insist
He snickered.
‘It’s not like it’s hard to prove.’
West can attest to it, he even hold you up when you were paralyzed with grief when you thought Arial is dead, and many other Knights there also saw how you stay by Arial side every night tending to his wounds and changed the towels for him.’
‘We don’t know what to thought of your condition’ she said a little embarrassed with his brother revealing what happen. She glares at her brother.
‘Thank you, Lady Lisa’ I said grateful for what she has done for me
And she blushed. I rarely call her Lady Lisa.
‘It’s…It’s…fine. Re…ally. I mean….it is an honour…No..no..I mean it was my pleasure’ she said stuttering, tumbling on her words. I put my hand on her head and stroke her hair.
‘Don’t be so nervous Lisa.Just say, you are welcome.’
Her cheeks turn red.
‘You are welcome, Arial’ and as she said it she cast her glance away from my eyes.
Kyle then told me about my condition when he found me
‘The other lords felt your pulse and it is erratic. The only thing we can do is depend on the medic supply division but they mostly specialised in treating wounds, not what you have which seems to be a bit of poison coated in the spear but fortunately the recovery of your body is magnificent.
The moment I removed one of the leftover steel that splintered off from the spear from your body your body quickly heal itself. They said it must be because of your internal energy protecting you, making your body to fight for live.’
‘Is that so?’
The pain strike again. More intense than the last time. I winced again.
And it felt like nothing I ever felt
Is it ‘that’?
I hope not. But somehow, I need confirmation.
‘Help me arise from this bed.’
Lisa held me up as I clothed myself.
‘Kyle can you tell the armorer to create a new armour for me.’ He looked at the corner of the tent, looking at my shattered armour and breast plate.
‘Much obliged, friend.’
‘Do you want your rubies too?’ Lisa said.
‘My rubies?’
‘Yes, it scattered when your armour were spear by that madman’ Lisa said.
‘How did you get it?’ I asked in amazement
‘The soldiers all a searched 7 of the rubies and they found it and offer you prayers to each rubies for your safety.’
I laughed.
‘Who know I’m so loved!’
‘You have always been loved, Arial. Only you are so dense that that such love is ignored and abused by your recklessness and you veracity to burden everything alone.’
‘Is this the time to talk about sharing again?’ I said.
She smiles a bitter smile.
‘What makes you think of that?’
‘I had this talk before with Helia. She said to share.’
‘And did you share it?’
‘Can you keep a secret?’
‘Depends on the secret.’
Stubborn! Why do I always meet stubborn girls? It seems I surrounded myself with headstrong woman, and encountered many woman who is as headstrong as me. The Blue Hair girl come to my minds.
‘I did not share with her.’
‘Why? Didn’t you love her?’
It’s not a question of love, dear Lisa. I want to say.
I smile and looked at the tent, trying to find the right answer.
‘It is because I love her, I did not share.’
‘Isn’t that selfish?’
‘Maybe. Or maybe it is the considerate things to do. Some things should not be known.’
‘You lie then?’
‘Did I?’
Then I coughed
‘Arial!’ she said alarmed. I gestured with my touch that I am fine.
I continued.
‘She will understand my need to lie, IF I lie. Behind words are other things Lisa: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world for I only lie to her about what she did not have to know and one lie did not invalidate every truth I ever share with her. It is an ink dropped in the vast sea. One inconsequential lie. Not saying that I lie to her. Merely not telling’
She just silence herself. But then it seems like she is about to ask me another question so I ask her first
‘Since you are questioning me then let me ask you a question in return.’
She stands beside me as she helps button up the shirt.
‘Have you never lie? Never once hide things because there are things that is not supposed to be known. One that only you can settle.’ I asked
And she choked.
‘I…I’
‘See?’ Then I sighed a deep relieve.
‘But I prefer that you lie sometimes rather than speak the truth all the time. I could never trust anything of secret to such person.’
‘I’m not a liar’ she said defiantly
I raised my eyebrows.
‘Then what are you? You are surely not an honest person, if by honest, definition you have never lie.’
“I…..I just don’t always say what I feel!’ and she looked at me, like the words meant something more.
‘Why not, Lisa?’
‘Because I…because I…fear to hear the truth and maybe I am afraid the truth will hurt the people I care.’
‘My point exactly. Truth hurts’ I said like I won the arguments
She looks at me and then she said.
‘So do lies’ she said and she looked at me.
I nodded weakly
‘So do lies’ I said.
‘PERMISSION TO ENTER’ one of the messenger shouted from outside.
‘Enter’ he enter and kneeled.
‘My lord it is good to see you well’ the messenger said seeing me have begun to move from the bed.
‘It is. Now what news you came to deliver?’
‘Yes, my lord. The healer is outside’
‘Tell him to wait in the nearby tent as I clothed myself and wash my face.’
He nodded and went outside to relay my orders.
‘You have to undressed when he examine you right?’ Kyle said looking at me trying to dress myself up.
‘ Why bother with clothing?’
‘Manners Kyle, manners. We both know what he came to do, yet it is our duty to show him respect, and I intend to show it, as long as I have the energy and capacity to show it’
‘A lords manners’ he said snorting.
‘Is that a compliment or an insult?’ I asked Kyle
‘You never care about such things before.’
‘Before I did not know.’
‘Now I know. Woe to the man that never change, constant, inflexible, Kyle. Woe to such man.’
‘I will never win if you spar with me with words.’
‘Then, don’t come unarmed’ I challenged. I know Kyle doesn’t like to read books.
He sighed in surrender.
‘Fine….Arial. Do take care of yourselves. I still do not approve of you taking to battle tomorrow but…who am I but a loyal banner men to your noble House. What does my counsel does other than irritate you?’
‘Do not say such hurtful words to spite me, Kyle. You are my friend, my brother. You must know that’
‘THEN LISTEN TO YOUR BROTHER!’
‘Brother!’ Lisa yelled
‘He needs to hear it Lisa.’ And Kyle approached me.
‘You have been pushing yourselves more than any of us. I’m 2 years older than you, yet I could do nothing for you. I’m 2 years older than you, but why does it feel like you are the older brother? You took no confidence in us, in the great burden your bear on your shoulder like a curse.
I am heartbroken, devastated to see you in such conditions. You said you treat me like a brother but you rarely shares your thoughts with me.
How can you be the closest thing to me, like a brother you professed, yet I know nothing of your worries and trouble?
Why…..even among companions, you look so lonely, wearing a mask of smiles while deep inside your heart you hold such sorrows? Tell me, BROTHER!’
I smiled
‘You have certainly been thinking a lot about me,Kyle. And judging from your expression, you too Lisa.’
She looked at me, and her gesture of denying is betrayed by her look of worries.
‘But as I said it to Helia, and what I said to Lisa, it is my burden to bear and I will bear it alone.’
‘You do not trust us?’ Lisa said
‘On the contrary. I trust you to let me handle my burden the way I see fit.’
‘You are stubborn’ Kyle said, looking at me.
‘And you too, Kyle. I am no more stubborn than you are. We are not that different brother. I am surrounded by stubborn people. You ,Lisa, Helia, even West. It seems only the lords that I defeat are not stubborn. The irony!’
‘In which part of me, that I am stubborn?’ Kyle asked
‘My stubbornness lies in me ,holding my burden alone, your stubbornness stems from your desire to press me to share it. You are young’ I said
‘So are you.’
I smiled.
‘I do not mean in that sense that young is determined by age. I mean in the ways of the world.
One day, you will faced with the same choice as I have, a burden as you so eloquently put, saddled upon you, and you will know, you will understand that that burden, is not for anyone to know, it is your burden, and you will relish from the fact that that burden is yours and yours alone, so does the pain that came from it.
And you will insist in carrying that burden for yourself because you know…….you know that burden is tailor made for you, your own …. Quest. And Kyle you were wrong about one thing’
‘And what’s that?’ Kyle asked, looking at me, he tries to understand my words and he looked at me, this time waiting for the answer.
‘It was never a burden. You all believe that I was hiding some secrets, some sorrows I did not tell you about but to me, it is never a burden.’
‘What is it then?’
‘It is a responsibility, a duty, a charge I taken for myself’
And I know they do not know about my own designated mission that I take charge for, but they are my closest friend.
Lisa,Kyle ,Helia.
They are my precious friends, people that I bonded with in our quest and trips and all the fun and sadness we enjoyed and joined together in a group.
It would be weird if they notice nothing, if they sense nothing.
They knew I am hiding something from them, they just don’t know what it is.
The reason I could not tell them is not because of my selfishness, it is because laws of time and space especially dealing with such untested magic, breaking every laws of magic, a magic such of this, I do not know their effects.
Telling them about some events, may very well, turns them into a causal factor of such events or change the very thing I want to change.
‘Duty? Duty,huh…hmmmph.Fine.You will insist in your stubbornness and I will insist in mine.’
‘Just the way I preferred it Kyle’ and I smile.
Kyle could not help but grin.
‘Call the healer in’ I yield outside.
‘I guess this is where I will leave you, friend’ Kyle said.
‘Get well, Arial’ Lisa said. She began getting up from the bed
‘Do not wear such a worry face Lisa.I will be fine.’
And the pain strikes again. This time more biting but I manage to keep a calm face until they are leaving.
The moment they leave the tent I staggered to the table around my bed.
Huh,huh,I pant, with the feelings of every needle piecing me, slowly…..and painfully.
I know using internal energy would not help.
My answer and my suspicion will be lifted if I heard what the healer opinion, though I have a terrible suspicion of what I have been afflicted it.
And slowly the curtain opens bringing me a news that change my life ,for the second time.
*****************************************************************************

CHAPTER 58: TERRIBLE NEWS
ARIAL
1015 SEEDMONTH
WAR TENT
The winds and the breeze of spring enter the tent and I take a breath as the healer is looking at the blackened veins around my heart. I hope it is no that.
His face is grim.
‘What ills me?’ I asked looking hard at the healer, hoping that my guesses are wrong, and he would tell me this is a minor injury that I will be fine and healthy.
‘My lord…..’he hesitated and his face was full with conflicting emotions.
I can understand his position. If it’s good news he will not hesitated but if it’s bad news maybe I would blame him and execute him.
It’s not the first time it ever happens and I don’t think it would be the last time. He fears retribution while I fear what he would say.
Then he takes a breath and musters his courage to spoke with me.
‘I do not know how to say this to you, my lord, but after examining your wounds and …I.. ‘
‘Say it’
‘You…. you have been poisoned by the Seven Black Worms.’ And the healer cast his head down. I could see his hand trembling in fear.
I grinned. I even almost laughed. Heaven! Heaven!
So that’s how it is.
‘What is my time?’
‘My lord!’ he said shocked and quickly he raised his head upwards looking at me in disbelief at how calm I am.
‘You knew.’ He said looking at my calm expression. I nodded
‘I knew….By Light, I knew. I just pretended not to. I try to deny it, refuse it. But alas, fate it seems never to go the way you want.’ I smiled a little and this only increase the healer worries.
‘You have check my pulse, examine my wounds so, tell me what is your estimation and how much has the poison penetrated my body?’
‘The poison have penetrated around your heart, my lord.’ And as he said that I looked at my chest again.
‘The symptoms?’ I asked
‘Sometimes your heart will go out, and sometimes you will feel as if you’re about to faint, irregular heartbeats, your lungs may also feel pressure, the heart muscle will enlarge itself sometimes preventing you from breathing, and the occasional loss of energy. But it seems your internal energy has lessen the effect of the poison. Almost like holding back the pain momentarily’
‘All good variety isn’t it?’ I joked.
‘My lord…this is serious.’
‘It is isn’t it?’
He nodded.
‘And your estimation?’
‘In most of those who contracted such poison, weak in internal energy, they would die in a week, if not two but I have never in my whole life, encountered someone with such reserve of internal energy as you.
In my estimation, two years my lord before the poison takes over you completely.
I presume that the one who wanted to poison you didn’t even expect this to happen. I heard of such cases but never thought I could see one.
Someone strong enough to held back the pain with pure energy and you do it unconsciously. This means you have quite possibly a very high level of internal energy.’ He said looking at me amazed and bewildered.
‘Then I will meet the Light, wont I?’
‘I do not k-‘
‘Though we tremble before uncertain futures
May we meet illness, death, the darkness and adversity with our unconquerable strength
May we dance and sing in the face of our fears.
I spoke of the poem by Gloria.
‘Say for what it is, healer. I am a dying man, burdened with great responsibility, young and at my prime but I shall taste the Death kiss.’
‘It is unfair, yes, my lord’ he said trying to console me perhaps, giving some kind words.
I laughed at him.
‘When have life ever been fair, healer.
Life gives. Life takes.
There is no fairness. Only illusions of fairness. Which is why people fought for fairness healer, but to expect it from the world for life, is unreasonable.
Life does what it does and so does the world. It will keep living caring not about its inhabitants.’
He stand in silence.
I looked at my chest.
A black vein can be seen like a vine strangling my heart.
Black Worms disrupts the internal energy, and the more you have, the more you suffer. Is it my punishment, I wonder?
Punishment for breaking laws of time?
For saving people who should have died?
For changing so many things out of the intended course of history?
Then I smiled again.
If even I knew that this would happen I would do it all over again and gladly and with pride. I have saved Lisa and Kyle.
Both of them are…magnificent, honorable human beings. I am proud to accept this punishments if its for the price of the lives I saved.
But if it’s just bad luck, then I’ll accept it too.
Because who can shouts to the world that they were given a second chance of life, seeing the people they love, just once more.
I have lived two lives when people just live once.
I did not live a full life in my previous timeline. I was plagued by fear, paralyzed by my own doubts, hindered by my cowardice.
And I have lived there for thirty and eleven miserable years.
Regretting.
It seems in this timeline, I would only live to reach ten and seven. Yet I experienced more in this years than I have ever experienced in my other life.
I regret most things, but not everything. Not the important things.
‘A cure?’ I asked knowing the answer.
‘My lord….’ He said and he looked at me nervously ‘you seem to be knowledgeable about what afflicts you and you have diagnosed your own illness so you kno-‘
‘There is no cure.’ I said with a resignation.
I looked at the healer and I smile again and I said to him
‘Who would have thought that the poison that claimed me would be the same poison that weakens Levitia?
What am I? Am I related to the guy or something?’ I said joking.
The healer stands in silence. And he looked me with sympathy in his eyes.
‘Ah, healer, we are all going to die. I, it seems will be leaving my friend a little earlier that I planned. I need to find some humour in my death, because my noble lords will surely not think so, healer.
The moment they knew, as young as I am, they will doubt not only my leadership but my commands and that….that can never happen. Not if I meant to rule over them and secure my family safety. My family have many friends but also many enemies. Do you understand?’ I said to the healer
He nodded. Then I decided. My voice turned hard. The healer knows what will come next
‘You will ask 5 thousand gold and you can live whenever you want but not in Alan. Go somewhere else where no one can find you. If you have family brought them too. Use the money.
Squander it. Invest it. It is yours to do away. But if you return without my expressed permission, I will descend you with my wrath and you will die a meaningless death, a painful death.
Now, you will spoke of this to no one, not your wife, children or any relatives or I will hunt them down. Are my warning clear!’ the healer nodded in understanding
‘Yes my lord.’
‘Now go.’
He looked at me and said
‘Don’t strain yourself my lord’
Thinking of the war and my diminishing time I replied
‘That will be hard to do, kind healer’
He went out of the tent while instead of grieving I smile.
I am not worried about myself but I do worry about the people I will left behind.
My father.
The man who without no doubt supported me, my pillar, that gives me assurance. The one who always believe in me and the good in the people hearts.
My mother.
A sophisticated woman who cares about the family, a smart woman, the woman I love first, that bear the pain of bringing me to the world, wise and she nags at me but I knew she do it because she loves me.
The duty of love she said.
Looking after me, loving me, giving me affection, that is a duty of love.
Not many people have that kind of strength to love unreservedly for others and I have never been more proud to be my mother son.
My younger sister, my cute sister with her tiny hands and tiny feet, which I rarely meet, and which I wish I spend more time with her as his brother.
A duty of love my mother would say.
To meet her and give her a brothers love.
It is not easy to love and at the same time not pamper them. Because by Light, I want to give her everything in the world.
After this war ends I will spend more time with my family.
All of them.
My father who is growing old every day and my busy mother who have to handle the matter of the household finance and my sister.
And my Helia?
What should I do about her?
I could not marry her. Not the way I am .I will not make her a widow. I did not love her to make her a widow!
And suddenly I remembered a portion of a happy memories.
I remember the sandy beaches near her castles and the season that passed by there, the cheerful voice of true love that whispers me song, Helia lustrous voice, that sounds like an angel singing, the dazzling sun I spend with Helia with the sun beating on our skin, holding her smooth hand under the blue sky as we talk and talk for hours, talking about nothing.
It was when we are not yet spoken to each other, when we are in the Academy, when we have to stop around Seaworth, but Helia did not return to the castle, because at that time she did not yet reconcile with her father, but we did play around the castle.
The way she ask me What are you thinking? at the end of the day.
The summer that feels like the sun will never set, as I rest myself on her lap and she kissed my forehead.
I grin.
The signs was all there that she loved me.
I couldn’t believe I was that dense. I thought it was a kiss of friendship but…..maybe I should have known by then.
Waves of memories washed over me and before I knew it, I found myself crying without a voice.
A silent cry not for fear of death but the fear of leaving these people that I have known and love.
I will remember it till my dying days as I decided what I must do.
As I stand in my tent all alone, grabbing the goblet and pour some water to quench my sudden thirst, while outside cheerful atmosphere can be felt, rejoicing in my revival but me?
What I felt was utter loneliness, more than I felt when I died in the basement of the Library. And the pain strikes but not the pain of the poison.
Loneliness.
Utter, desolate loneliness. The kind of loneliness that breaks people, that brings them into the brink of insanity.
Because this loneliness that I felt can only be achieved because of the bonds I make. I could not share my affliction else they are made public.
And I couldn’t risk that. My family safety. I have to fight this alone.
The knowledge of the Invasion and the knowledge that I’m about to die in 2 years. And this makes my loneliness unbearable.
Can such burden be carried alone? And knowing that only makes it harder. The two most important secret of my life……and I couldn’t share it with anyone.
The loneliness that suffocates, secrets that demand sacrifice.
I could not describe why I felt such loneliness? This is not solitude. This is loneliness of the most awful kind.
The most awful of them.
Is it because what I decided to do?
For a moment thoughts of war did not enter my mind. For one moment, I strayed. For one moment, my misery takes priority.
For a moment, I’m aware of my own existence, the form of a monstrous selfishness. I said it to myself.
This pain and loneliness is mine.
This nerve that winces and writhed under my skins belongs to me and no other.
Beginning and ends.
And the darkness that blankets over me.
And the only thing I could do is press on and march, all the while wiping my tears and overcome my fears.
It is already a miracle that I am here, living another life, being what I am today.
Then I step with all the burdens, the pain and the torment, opening the curtain as I walked outside hoping, praying that at least, if I was destined to have a short life, let it be a glorious one.
******************************************************************************
The stage is still there waiting for me.
But no stage today.
Lord Summersill hurrily approached me.
‘My lord, all is ready to hear you’ he gestured me to the podium.
‘Bring me my horse’ I yelled to the stable master.
He was shocked because he did not expect to be called.
‘My lord,’Lord Paris come and advises me.
‘You have just woken up. There is no need to strain yourself. Do the speech at the podium’
But the horse has been brought in front of me. They don’t understand. I need to show the troops I’m capable.
That I am alright. That my injury is nothing of concern. That their lord is invincible.
Reputation means something.
I jumped to the horse.
‘Sssh FireBringer’ I stroke my faithful horse.
The horse that shared many of my adventure.
The troops realize I was riding the horse and their face turns to joy and elation they cheered as I ride around the gathering, displaying to them no discomfort.
‘Our lord, is alright’ they cheered.
‘Our lord is fine’ they cheered.
Then after a full round I stopped and jump. The cheering doesn’t stop, so I held my hand up and slowly they stooped.
‘MY TROOPS!’
They listen again. They have known from their stern face that tomorrow they will battle again. And this time it will truly be a decisive battle.
I will put my guard tomorrow. And I doubt Alderam will delay any more time.
‘I WOKE UP!’ I yelled to them and they cheered
‘HAHAHA’ I laughed
Then once again I make a calming gesture to the crowd.
‘As I woke, my Knights and my lords, my troops even the messenger wish me to rest, and get well. And I am choked.’ I said.
‘Why!’ one of the soldiers yelled from the crowd.
‘No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such words of kindness. It fills me with an emotion I could not express.
Now for me to ease their hearts.
‘You have known I suppose that tomorrow we will once again take to battle?’
They all nodded. I bowed my head slightly to the troops.
‘MY LORD!’ Some of the noble’s screamed to me of shock
‘My lord!’ Even the troops gasped and looked in disbelief. Surely it is hard for them to see a great noble bowing heads to them.
It is the least of humility I can show them , for the friends thy lost in the battle, of their personal suffering that they endure and for everything else.
I then looked straight back at them again.
‘You have served me with unyielding loyalty, and the people that I love and respect, every one of my troops a personality of honor, everyone serving a great moral code, even those who are not a Knight, I offered my bow to you for all the hardship’
And I could see some of them have tears on their eyes when they realize the meaning of my words. They must have…….suffered
‘You who symbolize conduct of chivalry, who guard me when I was unconscious and those who have kept their faith in me.
It arouses in me with a great sense of pride and yet of humility which will be with me always.
I have been thinking about this when I was awake.
What would be a rallying cry for our new nation?
What will be our creed? Our words?
We are at stalemate. Morale are low. And even though we are not in such a bad condition that we need to retreat….truthfully we are in a crisis. I…promise you a few days ago that I will bring you victory.
I fail.
When I should prevail’
‘It is not your fault my lord!’ a voice from the crowd yell to me trying to console me.
I held up my hand.
‘Maybe. But I have blame in part. But should I retreat now? Now we are at the precipice? Victory….victory is so close.
Change is so close, so near that I can feel it in my hands. So I woke up from my slumber, determined. I will not wallow in my miseries.
DUTY,HONOR,CROWN!’ I yelled and they were stunned
‘Those three words. Those three hallowed words will reverently dictate what you ought to be my fellow countrymen, what you can aspire, what you will be.
They are your code, your chant, your prayers to create courage when courage seems to fail you, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to give hope when hope become nonexistent, to give light when darkness is all you can see.’
Then I take a breath as I let that thought sink down.
They will listen now. I can see colours returning to their face, the fire in their eyes kindled again.
A spark.
Now I need to turn it into an ember.
‘Unfortunately’ I yelled ‘I possess neither that eloquence of diction, poetry of the illustrious imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor, words that can convey the sacred meaning of these words.’
Another pause. Waiting to see if they are listening. The spark is beginning to sparkle
‘The unbelievers will say that they are but words, and we all know words are winds, they will say it is a flamboyant phrase concocted to march you to battle for my own nefarious reason, they will undoubtedly say.
Every unbelievers, pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, will try to tell you this speech, this speech, is pure wind, they will downgrade it, smear it with mockery and their cynical ridicule.
What will you think I should do to them?’ I ask the troops
‘Punish them.’
‘Kill them’ they shouted.
‘NO. I WILL THANK THEM’
They looked each other in confusion. I continue
‘Why? You may ask. Because they build you.
Your character. Your personality. They build you as you prepare to be the guardian, the vanguard of the country defense.
They make you strong enough to know when you are weak and brave enough to know to face your fears when you are afraid.
They teach you to be proud and unbending, unyielding in honest failure but they also teach you to be humble and gentle in your success, not to replace words for actions, not to seek the easier path, but to face the horrors, the darkness and the challenge and difficulty.
They teach you to stand up in the most unrelenting storms but to also have compassion on those who fall in the storms, to conquer your own self before you conquer others, to have a pure heart, an ambition that reach to the stars, to learn to laugh unrestrained, yet never forget to weep and cry, to reach into the new future but not neglecting the past.
Should we not thank them? Should we not be grateful even for our enemies?
They will remind you, teach you, to be of modest stature so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
They give you a temper of the will, a great quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, freshness of the deep springs of life and a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity
Should we thank them?’ I ask again
And this time they answered with a resounding yes.
I smile.
‘YES! WHY NOT WE THANK THE UNBELIEVERS FOR MOLDING OUR SUFFERING AND DETERMINATION?’
‘They teach you to be a soldier worthy of this country culture an wealth and all of it’s greatness.
You all regarded me as your lord, of noble stature and kind and forgiving to his allies. But not once any of you dared asked me my estimate of the men that fight for me, that die for me, sacrifice their lives for me?
My opinion of all of you was formed when we went to the battlefield together.’
And I began walking among the crowd and they all parted to give way as I walk but their eyes never leave me as their ear perked up to listen to what I have to say.
‘I regard all of you’ and I point my finger to the troops, ‘as one of the most noblest figures, one of the most finest characters, and one of the most stainless.
Your name, and fame will be remembered by the next generation.
They will say, in his prime youth and strength, he gave his country his love and loyalty, he gave all…..that mortality can give. That is what they will say for all of you that stand beside me tomorrow with bravery in their hearts. ‘
And the cheers turns to a deafening roar.
Now, the ember is already there. Now, a fire.
‘In life you may find some need in people giving you compliments but in death, he will need none of that. None from me or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy scars.
I am filled with admiration that I cannot put it into words. I am oblivious to the dignity of your birth, nobles or common, or a different race, but if you die in the battlefield tomorrow I will know the glory of your death.’
And they cheered yet, this time with tears in their eyes and laughter in their hearts. A great fire has started.
‘AND KNOW THIS MY TROOPS!
TOMORROW I WILL BE WITH YOU.
FOLLOW ME IF I ADVANCE.
KILL ME IF I RETREAT.
AVENGE ME IF I DIE!’
And with that the camp cheer so loud that I could swear even the people in Dented Shield can hear it.
I will kill you Alderam.
For poisoning me.
And everything you have done.
I will take your head.
You have anger the dragon.
And you shall learn what happen when you wake the sleeping dragon from his slumber!
****************************************************************************

CHAPTER 59: THE DECISIVE BATTLE
AZRAEL MOURSTAR
1015 SEEDMONTH
THRONE ROOM
‘Your Grace’ the man looked at me as he kneeled in front of me.
‘You have summoned your loyal servant’
I nodded.
The other nobles have been prohibited from entering the throne room for now as I like to discuss this with Lord Mila.
I like this to be personal.
‘Father-in law why? You know what this might result. We have had peace for a long time. Why do want to destroy that now?’ I ask.
There is no need to delay this matter. Taking up a banner without royal command is treason and can be punished with death. Every lords know this.
‘My daughter!’ He yelled to me. And I can feel his desperation from his voice.
‘Your betrothed has been killed. Why does Your Grace think I march to the Blessed Lands if not to avenge my beloved daughter?
I gripped my hand. It trembles. Hearing him talk about Arianna murder like it has already been committed make my hearts waver.
It is hard being a King. But this is a speculation…..surely it is, isn’t it? Who dares touch a royal bride especially the demon king bride.
We may not control Davaurs any longer but surely they must still fear us. If they do not fear us, why built the damn wall to keep us out.
But a war must not happen. No….that is the worst case scenario. If I didn’t stop Mila from crossing the border when I did, the humans will clearly see this as a provocation. Maybe even a declaration of war.
And surely the young lord who live in the shore and has been given full control by his King, a new nation that is born, a family of importance that live near the Wall, that young lord surely, if he is as capable as the rumours speak of him he will invoke the Defender of the Shield title that will give him the papnatical authority to request from every Lucellian devout and the faithful’s of the Church of Light and surely the other nations will also lend him armies.
And this means only one thing. A great war like has never been seen before. Bloods will be spilled, people will suffer and kingdoms will fell.
A great war between humans and demons. Some romanticize it. A great war that whoever emerges will be the glorious one, a nation or Kingdom suddenly elevated to be the world superpower.
But a great war only leaves the kingdom with three armies. Army of cripples, army or mourners and army of thieves.
I looked at Mila. I understand his grief, but it does not warrant him to go to the border and march an army outside of Anvali.
‘That is not yet confirmed my lord’ I say trying to persuade him.
‘Your grace, Minister Aleister swears it on his life that Arianna, my beautiful daughter has been killed.’
‘And do tell me how he stumbled upon this information?’
Aleister Crow is one of the influential ministers in Ge’laer faction.
Can his word can be trusted? Or is he inciting war to reclaim back the Lost lands? After all that is one of the important men of the Ge’laer faction. Suddenly this feels more like a setup. A conspiracy.
‘He said he has some spy to follow my daughter for he never believed in the humans. And the-’
‘Which Ge’laer factions member ever believed in humans?’ I said cutting of is words
Mila continued
‘He said that the moment that the Princess enters the Imperial Palace she was killed and it took only now for the news to reach here.’
I scoffed.
‘Do you really believe him my lord?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘How about this my lord? Calm your anger as I investigate what really happen’
‘You don’t believe me.’
‘I believe in you, father in law.It is Aleister I had a hard time trusting’
‘Is that so? Or do you just want to avoid the stark possibility that my daughter is killed, or worse yet, you simply do not care about my daughter’ he spoke politely but I could feel his anger.
‘If the emperor of Vern really kill Arianna,I give you my word, my lord, that I myself will lead the army to Vern and burn that kingdom to the ground and everyone else in it.
But….unless all the fact is known I do not want to starts a war especially if Arianna is still alive.
‘For now….please listen to me and be calm.Do not raise your banner. Let me investigate it. Let me see whether it is the truth.’
He looked at me for a moment.
He closed his eyes and I can feel he is calming himself.Then he nodded.
‘You orders will be obliged your grace. Give me truth, Your Grace and I’ll give you peace’
I nodded.
He excuses himself from the throne room.
‘Elkar’ I yelled.
The curtain behind the throne room fluttered. The silhouette behind it moves.
Elkar quickly enter the throne room.
‘So did you hear it?’
‘Yes your grace’
‘What do you know about Aleister?’
‘Hmm, Aleister. Aleister as you already know is a minister in the Gela’er faction. He is also a great family friend to the Devonhurst family.’
‘So you think his words are the truth?’
‘That I don’t know. Because Your Grace just because he is a family friend doesn’t mean he would not lie.’
‘That is true’ I said ‘If he lie what do you think of his true intention?’
‘Why do you ask me Your Grace? Don’t you already know the answer to that question?’ he said to me throwing back the question to me.
I looked at Elkar and nodded. Yes I already knew what he intended if he lie.
The war between humans and demons. The chance to reclaim back the Lost Lands. To sow superiority that demons are powerful than humans.
Prejudice runs deep in my own court especially regarding the humans. A 500 years old hatred.Hah, problem after problem
‘Summon him to Arakath and bring him in front of me.’
Elkar nodded
Elkar excuse himself from the throne room while I rest myself on the throne.
‘Haaah’ I sighed.
Major mistake averted. But my hearts also began to worry about Arianna.
After this I have to send my own spies to the human continent to check whether the words of the minister can ever be trusted.
And then I continue my duty
******************************************************************************
ARIAL
DENTED SHIELD FIELD
1015 SEEDMONTH
The men were moving around with glint of fire in their eyes. The sound of their breath can be heard if you concentrate enough.
The cavalry were galloping back and forth but not a single voice can be heard.
All have grim expression, a sign of a highly disciplined army under one command. Under one banner. My banner. The banner of the dragon
Integrating them with my personal armies is easy because when I was unconscious Ser West has already train them to try to synchronize their fighting style with us.
It will not be perfect but it will do the deed. There is no escaping the military might of my amies. My private army.
People have known the heavy weight of my military machine could descend on them with an exemplary force.
In this continent I daresay, at least in this continent my armies is probably the most greatest armed force with high quality equipment and strict training regiments and high morale.
But what sets them apart is their discipline.
Even West is shocked when he was introduced to the way I trained my troops. My army is generally undefeated.
Individuals commander of my armies and Knights lords can be outmaneuvered, outwitted but no other army in this kingdom can, in long term resist my troops military might.
I know this because I formulate all their training.
My armies are relentless, unflinching and genuinely invincible. The flexibility and tenacity serves my army greatly in creating this reputation.
Panic is a word seldom found in my armies. Even the other lords is impressed with my way of recruiting.
I did not recruit armies from peasants or common folk or some other lord’s knights and their armies but opened the army to the poorest of the citizens and train them.
I recruit them with my family wealth and the city wealth and also the effects of banking in helping my family retain power in economical level are helpful in recruiting army. After the war is over I have many more ideas to implement in the building of my armies.
Then I look again behind me.
My soldier neatly arranged on the other side while Alderam has already come out of his castle with his large host in this large field overlooking each other.
I could see his face as he saw me in the front leading my men, and I almost laughed. He squinted his eyes.
Shocked and disbelief. That is what I can see from his face.
Surely he did not think I would wake up so early. He might even pray that I would die and my troops has to return back to the east or maybe retreated back before preparing another incursion.
The sunlight shone on row of spears and blade, making the large filed gleamed with silvery ray.
Today this war ends. Today I will pay him back. Today I will avenge those who have lost their loved ones.
Looking at him I yelled
‘YOU WANT WAR ALDERAM!’ I yelled and the whole battlefield can hear it.
‘I’LL GIVE YOU ONE!’
The soldiers cheered
HAH HAH
HAH HAH
HAH HAH they shouted. The battle cry has begun.
The cavalry shouts and their horses neigh loudly almost like they are responding to their master. The noises was deafening.
I look at the great field that will become our battlefield and I could not help but imagine the kind of fights that will happen here.
I learned Dragon Regret, Fairy Steps, Lion Bite and many other technique which can maybe in my current body take 100 to 1000 but it is beyond me to attack a strong hundreds of thousands using this technique.
At least not yet.
And I heard some report that Alderam has raided the Dented Shield castle and found Shadowslasher, the Enochian steel that belongs to his ancestor.
I can try to attack the front line alone, but doing so would be unwise. If I somehow fall in battle then surely our momentum will be broken.
This, today seems like an inappropriate day……to spill blood. The weather is clear with white clouds hovering in above, the sky stretched out for thousands of miles.
The hundred thousand of my army were arranged in row after row on the field, all in high spirits.Our discipline is strict. But before they march I need to say something to them.
An encouragement.
I turned my horse as I face my armies. West and Kyle quickly go in front preventing any sneak attack.
‘MY TROOPS!’ I yelled and they all gripped their weapons tighter. They all knew what this is. The last words before they go to battle.
‘You have honored your Kingdom and my family and the crown! LOOK! LOOK in front of you!’ I gestured them to see the large army in front of them, all ready to fight us, a last sign of attack, after the castle seems almost to be breach they finally showed themselves and met us in an open battle.
‘A vast army that Alderam has amassed! What foolishness! They could have been our brother and we would have accepted them with open arms! But they are stubborn! Treacherous! Look again! Who is this lord that orchestrates murder at a feast! Who is this lord that tries to kill his own brother? Who is this lord but a lord of greed? Greed for land, greed for power! All their arms, numbers and fine horses will not deter us from this undertaking.’
They cheered
‘Some of you will die here. Some of you, perhaps myself will not live to see the sun set over this field at the end of the day, for I will be in the thick of battle with you, fighting with you side by side, against this enemy that have sworn to fight us with their last breath. But they will fail! Why? Because they will find no fear in our eyes! And this is the advice I will give to you before we enter this great battlefield. Conquer your fear! And you will conquer death! FOR THE GLORY OF OUR NEW NATION!’
And I held up my sword high and the troops followed
‘HARRRR!’ The troops cheered.
The battle formation has been formed and the drums are beaten. The bugle is blown signifying the battle that is about to begin.
The troops started to move with me West and Kyle in front leading these troops.
Alderam also began moving his troops. Slowly we march before we will order them to charge.
‘DIVIDE YOURSELF’ I yelled.
Ten thousand troops that belong to me understand what I taught them. One split off moves forward, the other moved towards resembling a snake, two divisions charged.
The other lord looking at this also follows my troops. But they seem to be confused. I quickly order my Knight to advise the other lords not to follow my formation and instead fight with their own way.
I, on the other hand rides in the center. With a shout I broke through the front, slashing the enemies and their blood bathed my armour.
Up above, arrows flew out blocking the sun and turn the battlefield dim.
Lord Paris is in charge of the archers.
He must have order them to shoot. Enemies troops fell like trees. My armies employed turtle formation while still moving under the sea of the arrows.
Fiercely West and Kyle behind me follow while Lisa and the other lords deals with those behind us preventing them from encircling us that broke through the front.
One of Lord Summersill troops division managed to take in the hole created by my division and they clashed with the main army of Alderam.
They use their sabers and swords, hand to hand fighting.
Bloods all over the battlefield.
‘THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY’ I yelled
I charged in between them while the snake formation clashed into both of the armies but still maintain the neat formation.
They were startled and confused, and some of the enemies even scattered disorderly.
‘IS THAT YOU ARIAL?’ the voice yelled
Alderam is near.
‘TIGER’ I yelled.
And the formation changed.
The front occupied the front position, and the rest of my troops enveloped ALderam army as they became more confused and the lords seeing this followed in suit in helping my army enveloping the Alderam army.
This formation has subtle variations, each is very powerful.
The troops divided into small groups can confuse the enemies and went continually attacking them I imagine there must be great fear that crept on them now because they must have a hard time to know the exact number of my troop.
The plan is to cut off, little by little their troops.
Keep them isolated from each other. This will induce fear and confusion making Alderam task of managing his armies an impossibility
In a short moment the formation is employed, thirty thousand troops of Alderam had been cut off from each other; each group could not help each other.
After securing these enemies troops in the formation, my troops leave the enemies to the lords while they return back to their formation as the lord hacks away the enemies.
This strategy works.
My private army will separate the enemies and the lords will kill them.
On the other side of the battle Lisa fighting took a different turns since the enemies fighting spirit has weakened after seeing many of their friends has been encircled.
First they are tired.
They are tired of the war and the civil war. Second they were afraid of the dragon wrath.
They celebrate when Alderam spear me thinking surely I will die but now I have awoken and everyone knows of my reputation to deal with my enemies mercilessly.
The dragon wrath, the troops called it.
As soon as Lisa who also employ the same formation, owing that she learned them from me they lost their will and motivation to fight and Lisa sense this.
She yelled
‘Put down your saber, bows and arrows, swords and knives to avoid the dragon wrath!’
Almost all the noble lords in that side listened to her pleas and they dismounted their horse and quickly they threw their weapon to the ground.
Lisa and her troops quickly secure the prisoners.
I could hear it from here, the sound of saber clanging hitting the hard ground
In my side, Lord Dreyfus and about a thousand of his loyal followers charged with great zeal and ferocity but Kyle with 10 group of cavalry came surrounding them from all directions.
One by one they are mercilessly hacked down and one by one thy fell from their horseback some of them is even being trampled by their own horse.
Their heads were smashed like pumpkin.
The scream and fear is contagious but my troop’s morale is higher than ever.
Win this….and we are coming home.
Lord Kean is surrounded by West after he split off with the main army with 5000 troops and lord knows that if they were forced as the same like Lord Dreyfus they will die a meaningless death and quickly they surrendered and dismount their horse and throw their weapons down.
They are forced to sit down and their hands were tied behind their backs as West leave the supervision to a 1000 troops led by Ser Holmes.
West then with his 4000 troops joined back the main army and guarded the rear.
I could see Alderam now and he looked scared but I could still see hope. And I meant to crush it.
No grinning and smiling anymore.
His face is full of worries and fear. I looked at the formation and my heart swelled with pride.
This formation is useful because it confuses. These dreams help me lot of times.
I shake my head.
This is not the time to think about it.
I took the horn in the left side of knapsack that is saddled in my horse and blow it.
My troops reacted upon hearing the signals.
My front troops moved backwards and the rear teams moved forward, and quickly Alderam forces were surrounded on all directions.
Ten thousand of my troops split into 10 smaller groups but did not charge forward but moved backward.
Alderam yelled attack but these ten groups moved around, the right flank groups charged to left, the left flanks groups strike to the right, all with strange variations, swiftly moved back and forth.
The resulting conclusion is that Alderam lords and troops who have never seen such intricate or even see such formation were confused and in a state of disarray.
My troops swiftly moved back and forth all the while striking and killing Alderam forces.
Until finally because of the disarray I could see a spot that opens and quickly I take it.
‘MY LORD, DON’T GO BY YOURSELF’ Kyle yelled as he saw I went into the opening and inserted myself in the encirclement of Alderam elite guards.
We are at a safe distance from each other while all around us fighting and killing is happening.
In the back my troops is trying to break the encirclement that has close up after they realize I enter it thus trying to trap me. But I chose to enter it knowing what it entails.
In Alderam back his troops is trying to hold back my troops from attacking their lord from behind.
I looked at him and he looked at me.
‘I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL ALDERAM’ I yelled to him and he said
‘IF YOU CAN, COME TO ME.’ He yelled back.
I smiled.
His guard went in front. All have a determined look and readied their arms.
One of the few bowmen hides behind the guard no doubt wanted to finish me of with a combination attack of swords and arrows.
And I jumped from my horse and charged
******************************************************************************

CHAPTER 60:CONCLUSION
ARIAL
IN THE BATTLEFIELD
‘Kill him’ Alderam yelled.
One of them shoots arrow with me.I used Wind God technique to dodge it and it flew past me.One of them jumped towards me with a spear
‘Yahhh’ I released Dragon Regret to the man chest and he flew backwards while spurting blood no doubt from the internal injury.
‘Great!’ my troops who sees the battle cheered.
Then two person in front of m using sabers slashed around the vicinity of my neck but I quickly dodged it then in a swift motion I use internal energy and channel it towards the sword and with one slash both of their heads flew high into the air.
The swords shattered to shards of sharp shattered pieces because of the force of my internal energy. It flew of high and many of the troops avoids the shards.
‘YAHHHHHH’ I yelled as I charged forward without fear and with no signs of stopping.
I could see Alderam face.It was a shocked expression.
The poison might be painful but knowing I would only feel the effects if I overexerted myself and my own internal energy helps in suppressing it makes me feels a little relieved.
Then two of cavalry men galloped forwards. I use my internal energy to bring the axes on the ground to come to me with pure internal energy. The axe flew towards my hands.
‘YOU WILL DIE DRAGON’ the cavalry me shouted
I smiled
They both had their lance targeted at me.
The moment they came in the distance I lunged forward with my internal energy as I lower my stance and fly to the horse and with the axe I performed Mad Storm Axe and the horse legs is cut off, their riders were thrown off and die on impact after they were thrown to the ground.
Alderam gasped while my troops cheered from the distance.
‘THAT IS AS FAR AS YOU GO ARIAL’ Alderam yelled.
His knight gave him aspear.
Once I tasted bitter cold because of his sneak attack.
Not again.
I use the ground and launched myself into the air as he throws the spear.
With my axe I throw the axe to the spear and in impact both of the weapons exploded, testament to my internal energy strength and his.
His Knights were thrown back from his horse because of our internal energy clash in the weapons which resulted in a very loud noise fill with malevolent internal energy.
With his elite guards incapacitated I landed myself in front of him closer than ever. This battle decided everything. If he falls, his armies will lose morale and lost their only leader.
The other can be persuaded to surrender.
‘So you are determined to die in my hands young dragon?’
‘It is you will die, you treacherous old man’
‘HAHAHA….Keep dreaming. Though before I start I would like to ask you some questions? I wonder what inspires you to follow that weak brother of mine?
What does he have that I don’t?
I’m more charismatic than him, stronger yet you, of all people, one who is even stronger than him, would rather follow him than me.
With me you could have been more than just a servant of him, my weak brother. I would have shower you with riches and fame and great powers’
We encircle each other, looking at each other, gauging each other intentions. He is trying to entice me, persuade me to betray Adrian.
‘Riches? I am rich. Fame? I have fame. Who doesn’t know the dragons! And your words? Your words are winds. ‘
‘You believe you will be victorious then?’
‘Only God can grant victories.’
‘Hmph I’m done speaking with you. It seems you can see no reason’
He unsheathes his sword from the Enochian sheath and the swords glimmer. It is the first time I see Enochian Steel. I could feel the majestic power of the swords. It glimmers and full of power.
The sword is black and I can sense a dark aura around the sword.
The sword that is rumored can cut anything.
It amplified anyone internal strength and it can never break.
To even mend it you had to mend it in the Mountains of Aru’an in the Blessed lands. To cool it you have to throw it into The Be’ruan Lake in the Dome of Salvation.
To break it? That is never even heard of.But to grab it? That can be done.
I can use Lion Bite to snatch it away from him, but the fact he can wiled the Enochian steel must prove that he is also an adept user in internal energy.
He held up his swords and pointed it to me. I could not help but marvel at the creation of the sword.
Some words can be seen inscribed at the sword.
This is the sword that Alan use in his journey, walking together with the Great Hero Levitia and the other companion.
I know the sharpness of the sword and the story around ShadowSlasher. It gives terrible pain to anyone even if it scratches you.
I looked at his sword again.
‘Pace yourself,’ I said to myself.
It is the sword that is great, not the man that wields it.
I can do this.
All around the battle sounds come to a top as they all still maintain their positions but at the same time they are looking at the battle like it is the decisive battle that will determine the winner.
I know if I fall, my troops can go on without me but not the case for Alderam.
If he fall so does his army. I twisted my hand and one of the sword from the ground fly into my hands.
‘Great internal energy’ Alderam complimented me.
He began to move as I try to pierce him with the first strike.
He did not even try to dodge ignoring my attack, and aiming right at my vital points instead. I could sense it.
Pain, instead of dulling my sense alerted me more.
This normal attack carried an unimaginable power because it combined with normal attack but the sword energy also helped making the attack stronger and I can feel it descends on me.
I falter and hesitated.
I jumped out of the attack and rolling on the ground.
I got up but I could sense the massive internal energy heading towards me from behind.
‘WIND GOD TECHNIQUE’
With my right foot I shot out vertically with great speed, avoiding myself from the attack and the troops in line of the attacks even though they are far from our battles their chest explodes and blood rained the battlefield because of the force of the slash
The troops are shocked and began distancing themselves further
No wonder, people revere the Enochian Steel. The power……is unfathomable.
My escape from such attack is cheered by my troops.
‘STUBBORN AREN’T YOU?’ he yelled.
Alderam take a breath and renewed his attack changing his direction of attack and moved upwards blocking me to land in the ground, then with one sweeping technique
I almost lost both of my legs if not for at the critical juncture, I was able to turn my body and pointed my sword and pointed it down, meeting the tip of Shadowslasher.
It bends.
My sword bend and I have a premonition of what about to happen.
My sword could not contain the Enochian steel energy and it shattered upon contact. The sword flew out to the troops and some of them screamed with pain.
Some are blinded when the shards enter their eyes and some soldier were thrown back because of the force of our internal energy.
Utilizing the impact I shoot back up. Alderam noticed thi and quickly he aimed the sword at me.
Alderam seems determined to kill me in midair.
If not for the sword I would have already killed him. He attack me again. I can only block it using Sword Finger Technique every time he slashes at me.
‘An opportunity’ I realized.
I shot out internal energy with my palm to Alderma head and he countered by trying to cut off the oncoming palm attack with his sword. The energy get distorted and did not reach him.
Enochian steel even deter internal energy attack. Truly the weapon of Gods!
But I grinned.
Finally.
I with my profound internal energy flicked Shadowslasher to its side while I backed off, landing on the ground a safe distance from him as my troops cheer again.
Sweats are formed in my forehead.
I nearly died a couple of times. Alderam who I never fear suddenly turned into a formidable enemy armed with that weapon.
I could see that my internal energy rattled him.
There is strong vibration from the sword almost causing him to drop the sword. The air is fill with tension and the swirling internal energy in the site of our battle is suffocating. They all can feel it.
KYLE POV
‘See that’ I said to West
West looked scrutinizing.
‘This sequence of events really is beyond belief.’ I said as I looked all around.
West nodded while still looking at the battle.
All the troops are gasping like they are witnessing the battle f a lifetime.
In a few moments Alderam has launched countless of attacks ,each one deadly accurate and yet each one is dissipated effortlessly before Arial who escaped each time.
The attacks were rough and brutal, the escapes is swift and clever. The troop’s heart almost flew out from all the action.
No one ever had seen anything like it. No one ever feel anything like it
Attacking like a storm while evading like clouds.
Just as booming thunder and lightning, even when it’s over, it sends chills down to the spine.
My heart is jumping all over the place.
For the first time I sees my friend really seriously fighting.
Usually, I know that Arial never did go serious because most of his adversaries are lower level than him.
But seeing Alderam with the Enochian steel in his hands I understand why Arial need to go this far.
Enochian steel is the stuff of legends.
Rare and very powerful.
‘During the last strike Arial was being overwhelmed’ West said on horseback while his troops is guarding him also looking at the battle but taking little distance fearing what happens before will happen again.
‘Yes’ I replied ‘But he hesitated. Must be because of that sword’
West nodded
And then my eyes turns to the battle again.
ARIAL POV
I twisted my hand again and release my internal energy and one of my troop’s swords flew off from his sheath and flew towards my hand. The pain in my heart strikes me but I held it back with pure force of my energy
‘I will borrow this’ I yelled without looking back while my face is contorted by the pain.
‘MY PLEASURE, MY LORD’ I hear the yell
Looking at that sword I know that only another Enochian steel can fight equally with Shadow Slasher.
Every time I slashed the sword, my sword will shattered in hundreds pieces. It is too powerful and sharp beyond belief.
Maybe the story of Levitia cutting mountain using Enochian steel is not so hard to believe now. I look at him and started forming strategies in my head.
I need to be aggressive and unrelenting and don’t let him take any initiative.
He is still circling me as we moved in circle.
He hesitated because he almost let go of the sword from the sheer strength of my internal energy.
He is worried that if he takes a rash move it might lose him the sword. He knows it is only that sword I feared.
I must use Wind God technique to confuse him and not slow down.
Maybe an opportunity will open for me and I can snatch the sword from his hand.
‘HERE I COME’ I yelled
Quickly I employed the Wind God Technique to get behind him, and I shot out Sword Finger technique to his back but he dodged the strike using his swords which rendered the strike deflected and instead shot of to two of the soldiers nearby looking.
They were thrown back and died on the ground writhing in pain.
More speed I say to myself.
I channel my internal energy to my feet and when he tried to counter he could not find me thanks to Wind God technique
My lightness technique is superior to Alderam in every way. With this I might be able to turn the tide of battle. I just need to look for that one opening
WEST PALAIS
He is fast
I looked and the difference between Arial and Alderam is obvious here.
The troop’s sees him stepping left, then stepping right, fast like lightning practically he spins around Alderam leaving only his afterimages.
We are all in awe and bewilderment. Truly, he is a prodigy. Where did he learn all this?
I could see Kyle mouth is open and the other lords and troops look in awe.
But I could see that Arial could not close the distance.
The power of the Enochian Steel.
Come in contact with it and one wrong move and he will die.
ARIAL POV
I could not attack him or make a rash move suddenly.
So with my incredible speed I rush to the nearby enemy troops and with a quick wave of my hands grabbed their sword and in fluent motion I sent it to Alderam with killing intent.
It flew to him with incredible speed.
He waved his word to block the flying sword which all directed at him with great speed owing to my strength.
But while breaking and shattering the sword with the Enochian steel sword power I could not help notice his hand vibrated intensely due to the sheer force of my energy.
This can work I say to myself.
Before he could recover I kept grabbing the enemies troops swords using Lion Bite and throw it at him. The troops try to resist but none of them can resist my technique, so helplessly the get their swords stolen.
Alderam is bewildered with what is happening.
And then he switched over to his right arm.
He must have felt intense pain slashing all those flying swords. His swordsmanship suffers no slight.
It seems he is a talented swordsman.
I jumped away from him around the circle created by both of our armies as they are looking at our battle.
I continued using the same technique, broken sword pieces dance in the air, as both armies open more as the circle become bigger because they tried to avoid the flying shard that resulted from Alderam waving his sword killing many of those near the battle.
The first line of the enemy troops around the battle has become empty handed.
Seeing this Alderam lunged forward.
I threw out the remaining swords, hoping to slow him down.
This throw utilized 50 percent of my internal energy forcing Alderam to lower his head and doge it. I felt the piercing pain in my heart. Too much I say to myself. I used too much internal energy to attack him but it’s not like I can hold back in this battle.
One nearly strikes him but he dodges it gracefully.
Because of internal energy strength, 50 percent, an amount of internal energy I never released before, it was something of a mythical sight.
The winds turns like a tornado and I could see Alderam is having pain from the accompanying wind, temporarily paralyzing him.
The other troops on his back were all thrown away about 40 people all groaning with pain as they landed far away from our battle site.
I see this chance.
I flew towards him, my palm shot out and in a fluent motion I performed Lion Bite and snatched the Shadow Slasher from his hand.
The wrist power involved in taking the sword from Alderam had the equal strength of 50 percent of Alderam internal energy which is only 10 percent of my internal energy.
Obviously Alderam could not block such powerful and accurate palm move and his word fell and grabbed quickly by me gracefully.
The moment I touched it I can feel myself getting a surge of energy
I shot out my leg to Alderam knees and Alderam stumble kneeling while I in full control point the sword to Alderam throat.
‘SURRENDER’ I yelled and the enemy’s troops that looked at the battle quickly throw their weapons.
The lord did not all surrender, some of them retreating, many of the other deserting. But it won’t matter.
What good is a lord without an army? I can send the other lords to arrest them later. And even from here I could see Lisa has begun pursuing the fleeing lords and soldiers.
They all knew what will happen next. The war is over. Now the only thing left is the deed.
I looked at Alderam with him gritting his teeth looking at me like he couldn’t believe what happen.
I can feel it wielding the sword.
So this is how it feels.
I felt……divine.
No wonder, Levitia and Alan believes they can conquer everything.
This sword has certain power in it that induces confidence.
‘Any last word?’ I asked.
‘I am many things but I will not-‘
And with one slash his head flew to the air his neck spurting fountains of blood as my troops cheered.
‘We are GOING HOME! I yelled.’ My troops cheer and unending cheer until their throats are sore from all the yelling.
Finally the war is over.
But the lords argue again as we march to the castle and the city bringing with u our prisoner and surrendered troops.
The other lords all argue which one will get Alderam head.
Lord Summerill convinced me that he is the one most deserving of getting Alderam head because the atrocity that has been inflicted onto his friends and relative at the bloody feast.
The lords devise one of the most humiliating things to do with the corpse.
They impaled Alderam head on a lance and adorned it with a paper crown and parade it around the city and the Shield forces that surrenders.It is not something I would do, but old traditions die hard.
Alderam humiliated them, now it is their turn to humiliate Alderam. After this I need to send word to the King of this victory.
We entered the city unhindered and unopposed with Lord Summersill beside me holding the lance with Alderam head on it.The lords in the castle open the castle gate and they saw me and quickly they prostate themselves on my feet.
‘My lord forgives us. Please spare us.’ they cried out. I looked at the castle.
Many of the common folk took refuge here during the battle. I look at their faces and I asked the lords.
‘What do you think I will grant you? My wrath? Or my mercy?’
They looked at each other, thinking up an answer but no one dares to speak.
‘Tell me!’
One of them piped up.
‘Mercy, my lord. You will grant us mercy’ he said weakly.
The common folk look at my banner and my armies and some of them is even kneeling praying to the Lord above.
I could see fear in their eyes, fearful of their fate.
I smiled at one of the children I see hiding behind her mother blouse. The mother realized my glance towards her daughter and she kneels.
‘My lord forgive her.’
What do they think of me? I looked back at the lords that is prostrating themselves around my feet and yelled so that all can hear
‘MERCY IT IS!’ Tears of joy stream down the common folk eyes.
‘Thank you my lord’ the lords of the city cried out
‘Get up and give my troops supplies and food. Give my troops accommodation.’
They nodded and quickly they welcomed my troops to the city and guide them around the city. Then before we rest in the city I looked back into my armies and ask them to remember military law.They will not do anything that violates my military law.
The other lords armies I may not control it but mine, is mine to control.I looked as the sun set over around the horizon.It seems I see the sun set over after all.
I smile and then walk off to the sunset.
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