Ascension Rebirth – Always one step behind
[Karta Village]; the place of my rebirth and childhood of this life.
Even to this day, after 10 years, I don’t know if there was any meaning or any guided purpose behind my reincarnation. It could just be that it was random chance or maybe the gods were feeling bored that day and thought it amusing to see me struggle through life a second time.
Even if it was sad to be separated from Kyoko. Even if I couldn’t spend any more time with my young brother. Even if it meant that I had to leave behind all of my friends and co-workers.
I am still grateful for the second chance at life.
Experiencing this world I was able to meet many different kinds of people. Witnessed a great many things. I cried. I laughed. Struggled and endured.
Now here I am; everything had come full circle and I was back where everything began.
It’s an undeniable fact that this place was precious to me, even in this ruined state this place will always remain my one solace. The people from this village who I have come to love have all perished in an unimaginable act of selfishness by a tantrum throwing god.
Somewhere deep inside my heart I found it painful to come back here. I didn’t want to see this place; that coming here would make me relive those painful memories.
At the same time I thought that not returning would hurt me even more. Well, it’s a moot point anyway since it was inevitable to pass through this town if we were to reach the Northern Capital.
We stopped the carriage and decided to stay a while in this ghost town.
All the debris and hints of violence had been cleaned up.
The corpses were neatly moved and buried; several hundreds of small mounds could be seen on the hill overlooking the town. I wondered who it was that took their time to bury all of the deceased?
It could’ve been an order from the North Tetrarch himself, after all the prodigious knight, [Mardoc Fallon] lived here.
If that were the case then I guess they’ve already heard the news of the [Red Knight’s] movements.
On top of the once grassy plains that were now covered by graves stood a small abandoned house. Long ago, three children called that place their ‘secret base’ but now it silently stands against the ever marching of town. One day that house will crumble along with the traces of whatever happened within it.
A sad thought.
We slowly walked up the small hill as a gentle breeze brushed past us.
However when I reached the top of the hill, what I saw conflicted with my expectations.
“How distasteful, to disturb the resting dead.”
Making a sour face, Arachna comments.
It was true that small mounds and graves were made for the residents of the village. It was even true that they were buried under them at one point.
Yet what I saw were graves that were dug out.
I crouched down and touched the soil.
It had been moved recently.
“The dig tracks look fresh. Perhaps only a few days had passed since the corpses were dug up?”
Enrich says as he inspects the soil with me.
Why would someone dig out corpses of the villagers? No, at this point they weren’t even corpses anymore, most likely they’ve decomposed to only their bones.
Whoever buried them in the first place must’ve taken all of the valuables so it couldn’t have been a grave robber.
What was their stake in this? I just can’t follow their logic.
Could it be some sort of magic? Perhaps they’re preparing a ritual?
I shook my head.
No, the only Necromancers that exist in this world are [Ciocal Gricenchos] and myself, so it’s unlikely to be any kind of ritual. Then maybe it’s for raw materials?
Bones are quite sturdy but there are better materials if you looked around.
It makes no sense.
“I’m going to go have a look around.”
I told Enrich and Arachna.
We made our way across the town and ended up in a small mansion.
My house. Vine and vegetation had grown over it as timed passed through.
The garden that [Rio] took so much effort into growing were all withered away and weed took its place. I felt my heart beating faster as this melancholic scene entered my sight.
There was clear damage across the roof and front yard; evidence of some kind of battle taking place is shown.
Arachna says as she inspects the various cuts around the wooden walls of the front of what once used to be my home.
“Judging by the number and angle of the cuts, it looks like the person used four swords. Just what kind of style uses 4 swords?”
[Asura] are Hindu deities, often depicted with multiple hands, if that’s the case then I guess it kind of makes sense.
“I’ve only heard of it in stories, supposedly it’s an ancient style of swordsmanship that were used by powerful [Asura]. They’ve all but died out now, or so the legend goes. I did not think that remnants of their legacy were still being used.”
“Could it be the same person that dug up the graves?”
I shook my head.
“There’s no logic behind digging up the decomposed corpses of the villagers, but this was obviously an attack, most likely my father fought against someone. Dammit.”
I clenched my fists in frustration.
“There are some scorch marks here as well. It looks like someone used powerful magic here.”
A practitioner of an ancient, powerful swords style and a powerful mage. As much as I loathed to admit, that much would certainly be enough to overpower even Mardoc.
“Is this also a mark of magic?”
Enrich asks as he points to a large hole in the ground.
Arachna crouches down and sifts through the soil with her icy hands. The nearby ice starts to slowly freeze over from just sheer contact.
“I definitely feel some sort of mana, but it isn’t a form of magic I understand.”
A trouble expression appears on her face as that was the best answer she could come up with .
Perhaps her pride as a [mage] was hurt.
As I made my way inside the house, the dust that had piled up began to fly. It’s not exactly surprising considering that it had been abandoned for at least 6 years.
On the table were four small cups. Most likely they used to contain tea but that had all evaporated at this point.
I could still picture the scene with Lina and Lena setting up tea for Rio, Ada and Sebastian. Mardoc would’ve probably been sleeping in.
Climbing up the set of stairs leading up to my room I was met with same kind of dust like the lower floors. So much dust was flying in the air that the light rays pouring into the room were visible.
Most of my stuff were left intact. It was then I truly felt like I had returned; what was supposed to be a two month journey ended up taking six years.
As I walked into my room I accidently kicked something. Upon inspection I noticed a small black rock laying there. Curious I picked it up to have a closer look.
[Rock: a small, sturdy mineral with no intrinsic value. Useful crafting ingredient].
I let out a small laugh.
I remember this rock, I lied to my parents when they came running in worried something had happened during the time I picked my Necromancer class. I’m surprised that time hadn’t eaten away at it.
Besides the rock everything else was there as well.
My table with my written work on it.
Two coffee mugs on the table. Lina used to come in and offer me tea and we would drink it together. Then Lena would also come in and drag her away saying that she was distracting me when I was working.
I could only offer a solemn smile at everything.
Certainly this room and house looked much smaller than I remember it. I do realize it’s because I’ve grown but this place is really hasn’t changed; it still is precious to me, but I have to let it go.
“Did you find anything of note?”
Enrich asked as I left, to which I shook my head in denial.
“Staying here would only be more painful, we should head for the Northern Capital.”
Still not knowing where the corpses of the villagers had gone we could only wander as we left.
-AIDUS CROW XIX ARIADYNE’S SIDE-
Before I even realized it 4 years had passed by since I had arrived at the Northern state.
I initially came to discuss with the North Tetrarch about the attacks going on within our two territories. Before I had learnt that the north was also being targeted, I had suspected that they were the ones initiating the attacks but that judgment was erred.
Upon further discussion and investigation the results turned out that a group known as the [Red Knights] have been attacking fringe villages in order to amass an army of undead.
As this was a serious threat to our nation’s security we immediately put together a countermeasure force consisting of highly trained adventurers, soldiers and [praetorian knights].
As such, the current Tetrarch: [Rian Mil Avon Ariadyne] and I were inspecting our newly assembled task force when an emergency report came in about an ongoing attack towards the north-west of the northern capital.
Upon arrival the situation was much worse than we had initially anticipated.
A large yellow monolith floating above the village turned everyone who felled into monsters, this includes even our own troops.
“Lord Aidus, this situation is worse than we thought.”
Lord Rian tells me. Though I wanted to immediately jump into the fray and help out the troops I was strongly suggested against taking such actions. ‘As a commander, whether the situation is grim or not, it is my duty to watch the battle and coordinate’ is what Lord Rian told me.
Begrudgingly I could only accept that fact and continued to overlook the battle from atop a small hill.
However, even though our positions were well fortified that wouldn’t last very long as the crystalline monsters only increased in numbers.
They wouldn’t die no matter how many troops we threw towards them, for every soldier we lose they only gain more.
Just as the situation looked grim, it took a worse turn when the ringleader for this supposed atrocity appeared before us.
A man glad in blood red armor, laughing as he casually strolled towards us.
“Hahaha! What’s this? Two VIPs within my grasp; it must be my lucky day~”
His high pitched tone, unbecoming that of a man’s revealed his cowardice; hiding behind the horde of crystalline undead as though his thick armor wasn’t sufficient.
We had become surrounded and slowly the soldiers defending us fell.
Out of instinct my hands gravitated towards my sword strapped to my side.
Lord Rian stopped me.
I turned to look at him but he shook his head.
“Not now. We would only be playing into his hands if we acted on impulse alone. I will look for an opportunity to escape so please wait for my mark.”
I didn’t like it. To turn tail and run from a battle while leaving the defenseless villagers to their doom. But I knew it was not because of cowardice that Lord Rian suggested such a course of action but because he understood the situation.
‘A soldier who survives is a soldier that can fight another day’. My father-in-law, [Duke Owen Zeph] used to tell me such things. As a former soldier he had much experience in the realities of battle.
I gritted my teeth and replied.
Every step the cowardly red knight took, our forward defenses crumbles bit by bit.
I could clearly see in the soldiers’ eyes fear, but also an unrelenting courage before an insurmountable enemy. For their sake I need to end this situation quickly.
“What are your demands?”
Lord Rian asked.
“Demands? Kekeke~ how about we start off with the North and West Tetrarchy? And then complete control.”
The red knight mocked.
With that line it was obvious that he didn’t want anything from us other than our heads. If I were to fall here, my son, [Leon] would take over, but at such a young age I worry if he could do a proper job. He is not charismatic like [Lyssa] and does not show unusual intelligence like [Liliana], but he is a hard worker.
However, it was a little too early to be thinking of after my death.
“Your majesty, we will create an opportunity for you to escape so please take it.”
One of the soldiers speaks hesitantly.
Lord Rian and I exchange glances. Did we really have no other choice than to climb over the bodies of our own troops to save our lives?
A commander’s life in a battle may be worth more than a soldier’s but every soldier still counts.
Lord Rian answers with a weak voice.
The soldiers get into position to make a path for us but before they could even begin the monsters’ movements change; they become more brutal and vicious, not giving the soldiers a chance to put into motion their plans.
“And just where do you think you’re going?”
The red knight asks, smiling uncannily as he murders more of our troops.
Just as the situation seemed lost a sliver of hope presented itself.
From the sky a large shadow dropped atop the crystalline monsters.
A man, nay a shadow of a man. His skin too dark to be called natural, it was as black as night, almost as though light itself relented before the darkness.
Two meters in height, on his head laid a golden ornament that I have never seen. With impressive contours in his muscles he towered over the enemy and even our own soldiers with a dark presence.
Heterochromic eyes, one green and one red; with piercing gaze he surveyed the situation and let out a sigh before his expression turned grim.
“This won’t do.”
He said with a hoarse voice.
I turned to Lord Rian to see if he had any idea, but he also had the same stunned expression.
I turned back at the magnificent figure of the shadow.
Just who was this man?
Was he an ally or did the situation turn from worse to unbeatable?
-MORGANT FALLON’S SIDE-
“This won’t do.”
I said as I observed the situation in my [black pharaoh’s] form.
I remember this village, it was the first one we came upon during Lina and my journey to the Northern Capital. Looking now it really has gone to shit.
Two prominent figures stood before me surrounded by soldiers.
[Rian Mil Avon Ariadyne. Level 13, North Tetrarch]
[Aidus Crow Xix Ariadyne. Level 28, West Tetrarch]
Two high ranking nobles, the rulers of half the continent gathered conveniently in a single spot.
Surveying the situation I understood what they were up to. Most likely they were trying to respond to the [Red Knight] attacks around the fringe villages as they tried to gather [divine element].
The median level of these soldiers were rather high, around their mid 30s. This is probably a task force assigned to repelling those attacks huh?
Unfortunately for them, these monsters needed more than a few high level soldiers to deal with.
“W, who are you?!”
Standing at the far side and surrounded by the crystalline zombies was a man adorned in blood red armor. He is most definitely the acolyte responsible for setting up the [yellow monolith].
If the circumstances were any different I would want to get information out of him but that isn’t necessary as I probably had knew more about their true plans than he did.
Though I should keep him alive since the Tetrarchs would want to interrogate him afterwards.
“I am the uncontrollable chaos.”
I casually tried to sport a cool one-liner. I wonder if I did it right?
“Gh! Whatever, you’ll die along with the rest of them! Attack!”
He ordered the crystalline monsters to attack.
I broke out into laughter. Why? Because none of the crystalline zombies actually listened to his orders. They all stood idly by like the brain-dead corpses they were.
“W, what’s going on?! Why aren’t you brain dead fools moving?! Come on! Move!”
He started to panic, a sight that brought me more joy than it probably should have.
The two Tetrarchs and the soldiers also looked around in confusion.
I have explained this before but allow me refresh your memories. [Reanimate dead] can overwrite the commands given by the [yellow monolith], thus meaning that these crystalline zombies will now listen to my orders.
I snapped my fingers.
Without even having to give them a verbal order the crystalline zombies grabbed a hold of the Red knight, rendering him immobile.
Shaking and panicking, perhaps now he will understand the fear and courage that these brave soldiers and villagers had to endure through.
I moved closer to the Red knight acolyte and whispered into his ear.
[Enchanting voice], a skill that I developed during my stay at the orphanage, it’s an augmentation skill that gives an ‘enchanting’ attribute to my voice, compelling anyone under my level or those with weak wills to follow my command.
I needed to put him to sleep before I undid my [transformation]. It was just a precaution so that [Nodens] doesn’t link [Nyarlathotep] to [Morgant Fallon].
After confirming that he was asleep I undid my transformation.
A flurry of black miasma escaped from my body and flew away with the winds.
The soldiers gave way as I made my path towards the Two VIPs.
I gracefully bowed towards the two Tetrarchy. They were armored in the most ornate piece of equipment. Personally, if I were a super VIP I would disguise myself as a foot soldier as to not alert potential enemies.
“It has been a while, your majesty, six years I believe and I extend my greetings for you as well, Lord Aidus Crow Xix Ariadyne.”
The two Tetrarchs were at a loss as to who I was, however after brief examination, Rian finally remembered who I was.
“?! Could it be? Mardoc’s son? Are you Morgant Fallon?!”
He crouched down and examined me further. Well, I couldn’t blame him, my body has greatly changed since I first met him.
“Yes, I’m glad you have remembered.”
I stopped him there.
I wasn’t trying to be rude but I was still exerting my control over the crystalline zombies and I didn’t know how much longer I could endure it.
“Forgive me for the interruption your majesty, I am sure you have a lot of questions for me but first will you give me time to clear out this horde?”
I pointed towards the zombies.
“Ah, yes of course, we will continue this conversation back at the Northern Capital.”
With his permission I proceeded to [decay] the monsters one by one. It was an extremely inefficient means of disposing of these crystalline monsters but that was the best I could do at the current time.
After 4 days worth of travelling on uncomfortable wooden coaches we came upon more familiar territories.
The [Northern Capital].
Just like before the place had hardly changed in the last six years, it was still RPG-like in its functions. Many adventurers moved to and fro, numerous smiths and shops, the sound of bartering, people dressed like they just came out of an anime convention.
Enrich, Arachna and I were summoned to the Tetrarch’s court to explain our situation and what we knew of the [Red Knights]. Incidentally the captured goon of Nodens was immediately sent to the dungeon on arrival for interrogation.
We entered the main castle and into the court of the Tetrarch. The last time I was here was when I took down the corrupted duke. Speaking of which he also was allied to the Red Knights in some way, though I doubt he much relevance other than serving as an expendable pawn.
In all likelihood they were probably allied because of [Duke Vista’s] hatred of the demonkin.
Sat on a large throne-like chair was [Rian Mil Avon Ariadyne] and standing next to him were two people. The first and more prominent figure was [Aidus Crow Xix Ariadyne].
On the other side was another familiar face.
[Lucius Rosenberg. Level 6, Duke]
He gazed at us, especially me, as we entered the court and greeted the Tetrarch with a respectful bow. I see he has been fitting into his role as Duke perfectly. If I recall correctly he should be serving as [Minister of internal affairs] which does make sense as to why he’s here.
I looked around but someone else had still yet to appear, so though it may have been slightly rude I couldn’t hold back my curiosity and asked.
“Is [Lord Rodric Mil Avon Ariadyne] away?”
Rian snickered a little before answering.
“Father has retired from his post as Tetrarch from old age, so officially I am the current Tetrarch of [North Ariadyne].”
“Ah, I see, please forgive my rudeness.”
“Haha~ not at all; I took no offense. So will you introduce to me your new companions?”
“Of course. This is [Enrich], he is accompanying me down to the [Grand Capital], as he has recently been offered a position as headmaster of the school known as [Ariadyne Panoptic Academy]. And I have also decided to attend.”
“Oh~ headmaster of THE Ariadyne Panoptic Academy? That’s a rather prestigious accomplishment, and for someone who isn’t a noble. Lord Aidus and I have also sent our children there, I believe Duke Lucius’ adoptive daughter was also sent there for education?”
Duke Lucius nods.
Right, Enrich wasn’t a noble as evident by his lack of a Lord name, admittedly I had forgotten that he wasn’t a noble because he always conducted himself in a slightly haughty manner.
“I am unworthy of your praise, but I will gladly accept.”
“And this one is?”
Rian turns his head towards Arachna.
“She is someone I met during my stay at an orphanage in the Northern Continent of [Vertloch], her name is [Arachna]. She will also be attending the school with me.”
“Vertloch? How and why did you go to such a remote continent?”
I shook my head, even I didn’t know how either.
“Forgive me as even I have no idea how that happened, during my initial run in with the group known as the Red Knights they casted some ‘Teleportation’ spell on me and the next thing I knew was that I was in a snow covered city of the Northern Continent.
“Hmmm, I see so you’ve had your fair share of problems too, I would like you to give me a more in-depth detail on everything you know but before we start, first things first. It was a tragedy as to what has happened in your village, to think that Mardoc is truly gone is disheartening. It must’ve been a painful six years all by yourself. I’ve sent some people down to properly bury all the deceased of your village, though little help that will do.”
Hmm, so it was really him who buried everyone, I’m thankful but still, that doesn’t answer who it was that dug those bodies back up.
I gave a wry smile before answering.
“I’ve had many companions that have helped me a great deal and who I am truly grateful for.”
“Mmm, certainly you’ve grown so powerful that even now I doubt you are the same child, however thinking back even then you were quite the illusive one.”
“Aha, yes I was rather arrogant back then. I apologize that you had to see such an unsightly side of me, but I assure that I am still the same person even after these long six years.”
“Of course, we can all understand that.”
He gives me a solemn smile. I don’t exactly like being pitied but I guess it’s fine from time to time.
“Before we start the discussion there is one thing I would like to ask.”
“And that is?”
“When I was visiting my old home town, I did indeed see the burials for the villagers but they had all been dug out and the corpses removed. I am right to assume that you were not the one who ordered for such a thing, correct?”
“No, I did not order such a thing. This is troubling, why would someone take corpses?”
I could see Duke Lucius’ facial muscle twitch a little, leading me to believe that he knew something but didn’t say it. As much as I wanted to make him talk this was not the right time to do so.
“I will investigate it on my own accord at a later date.”
“Of course, then shall we get to the main topic? About those crystalline monsters and the Red Knights, what do you know of them?”
To be completely honest I didn’t really feel like talking about them. Not because of any traumatic experiences I have with them, but because it’s useless when there’s a bigger threat looming over us; right, I would rather discuss our future plans on how to solve the crisis with the incoming [Milesian] planet.
I couldn’t really blame them however, it cannot be helped that everyone is one step behind, they simple don’t have access to the same source of information as I do, thus meaning it is imperative that I explain it to them.
For now I’ll talk about the red knights and inform them of the incoming threat.
“The Red Knights as you know where the reason behind my village’s destruction. I met them once before and during that encounter they revealed that their plans were to gather something known as the [divine element]. This element allows the creation of those [yellow monolith] that transforms dead people into undying monsters.”
Rian and Aidus exchanged contemplative looks.
“Hmm, we have no real way of refuting your claims and based on what we saw we are inclined to agree. Assuming what you say is correct, then let’s start there. It seems that you had the power to control those crystalline monsters, could you tell us how?”
“Unfortunately if you are looking for a method to recreate that phenomenon I will have to advise against that because it was simply my own innate abilities that allowed me to do so.”
“Are you at least able to tell us what sort of power it was?”
Aidus asked, his naturally muscular face covered by small scars only added to his rugged look and exemplified his fierce gaze when I told him it was useless.
“It is an ability known as [Necromancy], the power to control the dead. Though I must inform you that it is not such a heinous ability as you may suspect.”
Once again Aidus and Rian exchanged looks.
Though you may think that [Necromancy] may carry a stigma in this world because of its associated abilities but let me tell you straight up that that wasn’t the case.
For starters, Necromancy in this world was such a fringe ability that hardly anyone knows of it. The only people that do are probably old sages or scholars.
Secondly, because of its hidden nature there have been no attempts, or at least recorded attempts to recreate its power thus no atrocities have ever been recorded on an experiment to try gaining its power.
Aidus seems unsatisfied but he can’t refute it, because it is an undeniable fact that their soldiers died and I took control of the dead soldiers, actions that would only make sense if my necromancy was true.
“If I may suggest, the only known method to defeating the crystalline monsters are to completely destroy their bodies beyond repair.”
“I see, so then do you think [magic practitioners] would be viable?”
Rian asks. [Decay] works on the principle that the enemy is left as nothing but dust if that’s the case then certainly magic would be viable, especially fire magic can easily incinerate a corpse beyond repair.
“That does seem plausible, if I may further add, I would suggest [fire] magic users.”
“Then we will assemble a new counteraction squad consisting of fire mages.”
Aidus accepts begrudgingly and Rian nods his head in agreement.
“Now that that’s out of the way the real mastermind you should be looking out for is the one known as the [high god]; Nodens. He is the one that is in control of the Red Knight forces.”
“Nodens… I have heard of that name, the national deity of a long dead empire known as [Arune].”
Putting his hands up to his chin, Rian continues to contemplate. I’m quite impressed that someone knew of the Arune empire. You may be thinking that 500 years isn’t too long of a time period but in this world where record keeping wasn’t mainstream it was rather impressive.
“Yes, he is very much real and most likely is planning a full scale invasion to control the world.”
The two Tetrarch’s expressions become serious, not that they weren’t taking it seriously before but they are more attentive now.
I spent the next few minutes trying my best to explain Nodens’ history and future plan. To give my story more credibility I even drop the name of the ancient hero [Lorelei].
I’m glad that they believe me but this isn’t even the main point we should all be worried about.
Would they even believe me about an incoming planet?
How do I even explain? I managed to convince the [Mermaids] because they knew of the existence of [Gladsheim] and were willing to believe in its revelations but these two are different.
“If you’re having trouble explaining to them about the planetary collision, then just tell them that the planet will be visible in our sky in about 7 ~ 8 years with the naked eye.”
That was the advice given to me by doc before coming here. He’s still with me by the way, I mean he still haunts me.
I guess I can only go with that. It’s not necessary to convince them not but warning them would be a good idea.
“There is one more thing I think may require your attention.”
“And that is?”
“In the next 15 ~ 20 years this world will undergo a massive change.”
“Change? What do you mean by that?”
“A birth of a series of new continents; a new civilization will appear and it is possible for war to spark between us and them. For this reason I strongly urge the unification of the entire current world.”
Of course they will have a hard time buying that.
“It is not necessary to believe my story now, but a warning will come. In about 10 years time a large star will shine visibly in our skies. I hope when that time comes you will believe my story then.”
“Though I cannot agree with you outright, it is doubtful that you are saying this simply as a joke. I will take this report to heart and decide when the time comes. For now Nodens and the Red Knights pose a greater threat.”
“I understand. Thank you for listening.”
“Are you sure you want to leave it at that?”
Leaving the main castle Enrich asks me.
“Yeah, I can’t force them to believe me, besides, as I said right now it’s more important to set up rather than gather allies straight up.”
“If that’s the case then I will leave it at that. Now then I suppose we should look for lodging, I also have to send a report to Lord Kyrios and Lord Astaroth about our recent findings.”
“If you’re looking for a place to stay the night then why don’t you come with me?”
Meeting us at the exit of the castle was Duke Lucius Rosenberg.
“Duke Lucius, I didn’t get a chance to greet you properly back then. It has been a while.”
I bow respectfully as I say.
“Yes, you have grown into quite the charismatic figure, for a ten year old. Your former companion, [Chrom] and my adoptive daughter has been sent to the [Grand Capital] for education, so unfortunately you cannot see them yet, but since you have also decided to go down there you’ll met them soon enough. Regardless, we will continue the conversation at my manor.”
“Of course. Once again, thank you.”
We arrive at the Rosenberg estate, I think the mansion had undergone some sort of upgrade as it was bigger than I remember.
Coming to greet us was a familiar face.
[Eric Bahal. Level 28, Knight Captain]
He used work for the corrupt Duke Vista but managed to jump ship before it sank and now he works under Duke Lucius Rosenberg.
Now that I think about it, he has a last name. I did know knights were classified as lesser nobles but I didn’t think personal guards were also counted as knights.
He has grown a bit older but it’s not too noticeable.
“Welcome back Milord. Hmm? You have brought guests?”
Aha, he doesn’t remember me. I guess I have grown a bit since I last saw him.
“It’s been a while, Mister Eric Bahal. Do you remember me? It’s Morgant- I mean it’s god.”
“Hmm? God? Ah! Morgant?! Wow you have grown so much!”
Though he says he crouches down to meet me at eye level, he has a smile on his face, it’s great to see another familiar face as well.
“Yes, I have been told as such.”
“Indeed you have become so different I couldn’t even recognize you at first glance.”
“Aha, thanks. It seems that you have been fitting perfectly into your new position.”
“Ah, yeah it’s all thanks to you. There are a lot of others who feel the same way anyway we should continue inside.”
We were brought inside and given guest rooms to stay in for the night.
There was a bit of a feast as the guards were happy to see me again. Duke Lucius was also one who enjoyed parties so he didn’t mind that we were a little noisy.
I had a good talk with a lot of people I met back then. It almost takes me back to the good old days when everything was a lot simpler and the biggest threat was a bloated government official.
After the party, on my way back to my room I noticed the duke staring blankly in front of a door. Immediately I remembered who it was behind it.
Lina and Lena’s mother, Leona.
If I recall correctly, she was suffering from a terminal disease known as [Iwan’s magic disease], supposedly there’s a 100% mortality rate.
The duke’s green eyes looked rather lonely. Could it be that she’s already passed on?
I unintentionally called out.
Snapping back to reality the duke looked to my direction.
“Ah, Morgant, have guards finally finished?”
“Yes, they’re just cleaning up after themselves now.”
I don’t know what compelled me to ask but I did.
“Has the madam already passed?”
He looked at me with a surprised expression, of course he would, I just asked something that would bring up bad memories if that were the case.
“Aha, no, Leona has been put into [temporary stasis]. Right now she’s neither truly alive nor dead; walking the fine boundaries until her time truly comes. Sometimes I wonder to myself whether it would be better to let her off peacefully, but I could never bring myself to do so.”
Once again his eyes look lonely.
“Um, if you don’t mind could I visit her?”
He gives me a wry smile as he nods and opens the door for me, he doesn’t seem to want to enter with me.
The room is dark, only lit by the light of the two moons gently floating in the sky. It truly is a stark contrast from Vertloch in which only the red moon could be seen.
On top of the bed was an aged woman wearing white silk. Her golden hair swayed by the gentle breeze that fell in through the open window, her doll like white skin looked almost unnatural.
The term ‘sleeping beauty’ has never been more apt than right now.
On the center of her chest was a small magic symbol that faintly glowed yellow. This was probably the ‘temporary stasis’ magic cast on her.
In her presence I felt guilty.
I’m here even though Lina and Lena are gone. Worse than a child whose parents were gone is a parent whose children were gone.
“Is she someone you know?”
Out of all times, the good doctor appears before me.
“In this world I’m a lesser noble and she was the mother of a pair of maids I was close with.”
“I see, and those maids are gone in that ‘tragedy’ you were referring to.”
The doctor inspected her closely. At first I was confused as to what he was doing but then I realized that he was a doctor, though it wasn’t in the traditional sense he might know something.
“Doc? Did you figure out something? She’s suffering from something known as [Iwan’s magic disease] which is said to have a 100% mortality rate.”
The doctor continue to inspect her as he answered.
“Tell me, what do you know of [magic] in this world?”
“It’s a fantastical force that can bring miracles to life? Other than that, according to your [Gladsheim drone] it’s a psycho-kinetic ability? Though I’m not too sure what that means.”
“So you were aware. During my time on this planet I had numerous opportunities to study the life forms living on this planet. And do you know what I found?”
“All sentient life forms in on this planet have something known as a [psycho-organ] that’s part of their brain. This is the organ that allows them to take in the mana in the air and convert it into usable energy, i.e – magic.”
Wait, he isn’t saying what I think he is, right?
“From what I can tell just by looking, [Iwan’s magic disease] as they call it is simply an anomaly in the [psycho-organ]. It’s going haywire in the body making their own internal organs shut down one by one through magic/psycho-kinesis. That is the main reason why this ‘temporary stasis’ magic seems to halt her condition from progressing further, because it also puts the [psycho-organ] into stasis.”
“Don’t tell me, there is a way to actually cure her?”
“Theoretically it is possible. If we brought her to [Gladsheim] there are state-of-the-art medical equipment, but who’s going to perform the surgery?”
“Huh? Wouldn’t that be you or TMAQI?”
“And how exactly would I perform surgery without a body? I can move through the computer and open and run programmes but it’s not like I can manipulate machinery, if that were possible I would’ve already done so, and TMAQI is merely a defense and maintenance android, she isn’t capable of precision surgery on the brain.”
“But she was able to repair my arm, if she could do that then can’t she do the same for her? Or at the very least can’t you program her to do so? Didn’t you create the [Surtr program]? If you were able to do that then surely you can do this.”
“Recreating an arm and recreating a brain are two different things. Even though 26th century science may seem all powerful that is not entirely the case. In the end even we are human and not gods. As for the [Surtr Program] that was something created before the fall of Earth. It was supposed to be our last attempt at stopping the colossal asteroid that ended up being our doom, in the end [Surtr] was too weak. And while I was the one in charge of creating the program all I did was oversee the dedicated group of experts who actually created it. I’m a bio-chemist not a tech engineer. Of course my understanding of computing is far greater than an average man of the 21st century but that is all, I only had enough skills to reconfigure [Surtr] into [Ragnarok].”
Did I flip a switch or something?
“So there’s really no hope for her? She’ll have to say in a coma until she dies?”
“Not necessarily, there is one other way.”
“And that is?”
“Using your own power of [Necromancy], it is theoretically possible for you to ‘remove’ the [psycho-organ] in its entirety. Of course doing so would mean that she will never be able to use magic ever again but it doesn’t seem like she did so from the beginning so it won’t be much of a loss right?”
“I can remove it? Wait, isn’t the [psycho-organ] part of the brain? If I remove that wouldn’t there be catastrophic consequences?”
“No, it is entirely possible for people to continue living with parts of their brain removed, of course that’s assuming that the most important parts of the brain remain intact. The [psycho-organ] is simply an additional part so removing it won’t cause any major problems aside from the aforementioned inability to use magic.”
“Even if I do decide to go through with this, I don’t even know where this organ is located or even how big it is. As I thought, it’s impossible.”
“If you want, I could give you computer aided guidance.”
I could cure her, so what am I hesitating for? Am I scared of taking a life? Even though I’ve taken the lives of many people up to this point?
Even if I don’t go through with this she will eventually die; living the rest of her life in a coma. If that’s how it’s going to be then wouldn’t it be better for me to take a risk at curing her?
No, from the start this wasn’t my decision.
I’ll have a talk with the Duke.
“What… did you… say?”
When I told the duke about the possibility of being able cure his wife he stared back at me with a blank expression. Perhaps he couldn’t believe it, to be honest neither could I.
Though rather than a cure to the disease it was more akin to removing the source of the problem. It’s fine now because Miss Leona doesn’t isn’t a magician but in the future it may entirely be possible that a magician will get the disease and the situation changes.
Well for now it’s fine. It’s not entirely guaranteed that I will ever come across this rare disease in the future anyway.
Now there is another major risk involved in going along with this plan, and that is it’s not foolproof. The brain is one of the more delicate parts of the body and I’m going to be tampering with it in order to remove a part of it.
“As much as want it to be, I can’t guarantee certain success. That’s why I’m leaving the ultimate decision up to you on whether we want to go along with this or not.”
The duke eyes reveal his hesitation, however in my opinion rather than living the rest of your life out sleeping on a bed, taking the chance to live is more admirable.
“… I, I don’t know. Right now I’m only robbing Leona of her life by bounding her to that bedroom, but without it she will die. Would it be selfish of me to deny this?”
I shook my head. I can understand how the duke is feeling, if Kyouko was in that situation I wouldn’t know what the correct decision would be either.
“I believe there are no right no right or wrong decisions, only ones that have consequences.”
He gives me a defeated smile.
“I see. That may be the case. I will go along with this cure of yours, if you can cure her, then please.”
The duke bows before me.
“I will try my best.”
-LUCIUS ROSENBERG’S SIDE-
It was 12 years ago when I met Leona.
I’ve had many wives in the past but they were all just in it for the benefit of being a count’s wife; they all just wanted an easy life. Of course I don’t blame them too much, life in the city can be difficult for many, sometimes having to resort to theft and crime just to get by.
I knew this but at the same time I felt insulted. The women did not see me as a person but merely a means of escape.
Leona was different. She did not see me as a form of escape, no she didn’t even see me at all. I met her on my way home after parting ways with my second wife, distraught I turned to alcohol for the time being.
Drunk nobles are the best target for hoodlums, lots cash and no risk.
As one would expect, that night on my way home I was met with a group of thugs out for my money. As drunk as I were I was in no position to refute their pilfering, I couldn’t even stand up straight.
As I was being robbed, watching on the side was Leona. She looked at me with blank eyes; with indifference as I was being attacked. Of course I couldn’t expect such a frail woman to come to my defense.
When the thieves were done, she came over to me and nursed me without uttering a single word. She addressed my wounds and supported my broken bones.
When she was done she left without ever having uttered a single word. Perhaps she saw me as a kindred spirit, all broken and lying on the ground in despair.
After that I could not forget her; I searched all over town for her.
When I did find her it was a horrible sight. She served as the mistress to a cruel man named [Duke Vista], he had mistreated her and abused her constantly.
I managed to find her straggling along with blood gushing from her wounds inflicted by the cruel duke. I ran to her aid and brought her back.
Two people connected by despair rather than love. As we spent more time with each other love then decided to blossom.
After a while of being happily married she had contracted a strange disease known as [Iwan’s magic disease]. As her life started to dwindle she told me the story of her past; about her daughters and how she had wronged them.
That she wanted to apologize to them no matter what before she passes.
I did my very best to satisfy that wish for her. Through a small family known as the [Fallons] that wish was fulfilled. This time my wish may be granted, or so I could only hope.
The small child says he knows a cure for the magic disease. I had many questions for him and every reason to be suspicious but the child’s words are alluring. In my weakness I accepted his aid.
He went into Leona’s room yesterday night and it is currently the morning of the next day, but there is still no word.
Sometimes I hear him talking to someone but there is no reply, perhaps it is a way for him to deal with the stress of this operation.
I could only wait.
An hour passes with still no words.
An entire day.
The maids have been coming and going tell me that I need to eat but how could I? the guests Enrich and Arachna also come and wait besides me. They assure me that if it was Morgant then it will all be okay.
I have been standing in wait outside the door for over 30 hours but there are still no words.
Then a small twist of the door knob.
My heart starts to race rapidly, I could not contain my anticipation for whatever news he had.
Then a small smile appears on his small face.
His red and green eyes stare at me with warmth.
“It is done.”
He tells me. What’s done? It’s over?
What was the result? Looking at his face the answer may have been obvious but for me my head wasn’t working properly.
I slowly walk into the room and as I do the sun’s light pour into my eyes, blinding me temporarily.
A nostalgic voice comes from the direction of the light. A voice that I have not heard in 4 years since I put her into stasis.
Slowly as my eyes adjust to the light her thin frame enters my vision. Previously her complexion was paper white, but now color had returned to her. She looked healthier than ever.
I walk over and embrace Leona, tears running down the sides of my face.
A miracle had occurred for me. This small child has once again realized my wishes.
“I’m sorry for having worried you.”
She tells me.
She’s come back. She’s finally cured.
-MORGANT FALLON’S SIDE-
The ‘surgery’ was a success.
With the good doctor’s help I managed to remove the organ. It too over 30 hours as I chipped it down bit by bit with [life drain] and [decay].
Actually I managed to obtain a new skill in the process.
[New skill developed: [Silence]]. It allows me to temporarily restrict the target’s [psycho-organ] preventing them from casting magic for a short duration.
Since it wasn’t an essential organ for survival even after removing it she won’t die. However after this she will never be able to use magic.
After the long surgery Miss Leona was put back to sleep since her condition wasn’t exactly stable yet.
Afterwards Duke Lucius spent the better part of the day thanking me for everything. I was now having a tea party with the duke, Enrich and Arachna, though Arachna doesn’t seem to like the bitter taste of tea so she’s just chewing on cookies. So cute, eh? Ehem. I mean it was a warm sight.
“I really cannot thank you enough. To see her finally cured is a miracle, no it’s beyond that. You said the result of the operation was that she won’t be able to use magic again, what exactly did you do? I cannot fathom how you can cure a disease with a 100% mortality rate.”
“A 100% mortality rate just means no one has succeeded, it doesn’t mean that no one will ever succeed. As for the details on what I did, since her disease comes from her innate magical capabilities all I needed to do was remove those capabilities.”
“Yes, as I said before I practice [necromancy] and using those powers I was able to remove her source of magic and in the process the disease as well.”
“I have brought what you asked, Milord.”
A maid comes and hands him a folder.
He takes it out and inspects it before handing it off to me.
“Hmm? This is?”
I took a look at the folder’s contents. What was written on it was a bio on someone, a criminal to be precise.
Name: [Charles Evett]
Crime: [Disruption of corpses, kidnapping, murder]
Attached was a picture of a slender man with dark brown hair and dark, fish-like eyes with bags forming under them. It was almost as though he was on some sort of medication but stopped halfway through.
“I’m not sure how much it would help you but I believe this man is the culprit behind disappearance of the corpses in your village. God knows what he wants to do with those corpses. There are also some [Praetorian knights] who are after him as well, but how unfortunate, it seems that the criminal has already escaped the city, well the good news, or bad news depending on how you see it, it seems that he’s headed for the [Grand Capital] as well.”
“I understand, thank you very much. It seems that I’m one step behind but I will definitely track down this man.”
“It’s the least I could do after what you’ve done for Leona.”
“About that, I still haven’t told her about what happened to her daughters. As you know the village was attacked and-”
“It’s fine, I will tell her the news, I’m sure you have enough on your plate as it is. For now you may use this house until you are ready to leave.”
We stayed at the duke’s residence for a few more days before deciding to leave. However at this time I never understood how significant this criminal folder given to me by the duke would become.
Morgant Fallon. Level 56
SUCCESSOR OF THE COSMIC LEGACY
Strength: 250 (155+95)
Dexterity: 110 (5+105)
Intelligence: 60 (5+55)
Insight: 150 (45+105)
[Status point: 95]
(AUGMENT) [Strike+]: Level 41
(ACTIVE) [Summon – Skeleton Knight]: Level 31
(ACTIVE) [Transfer Life]: Level 47
(PASSIVE) [Life Force Sensory]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Avatar of Nyarlathotep]: Level 15
(ACTIVE) [Wither]: Level 29
(ACTIVE) [Decay]: Level 50 (MAX)
(AUGMENT) [Aura Field]: Level 24
(ACTIVE) [Soul Gambit]: Level 26
(PASSIVE) [Physical Damage Resistance]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Obsidian Lance]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Obsidian Shield]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Reanimate Dead]: Level 30
(AUGMENT) [Enchanting Voice]: Level 23
(PASSIVE) [Lord of Ghosts]: Level 15
(ACTIVE) [Phantasmal Maelstrom]: Level 27
(AUGMENT) [Transformation – Black Pharaoh]: Level 15
(PASSIVE) [Mental Fortress]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Summon – Soul Reaver]: Level 1
(ACTIVE) [Summon – Phantasmal Apparition]: Level 1
(ACTIVE) [Essence Prison]: Level 1
(ACTIVE) [Summon – Terror of the Depth]: Level 1
(ACTIVE) [Silence]: Level 1