It did feel like the woman’s words had been directed towards me for a while now.
“The indiscriminate cases of missing persons. It sounds quite scary but women have been missing for decades. And they were all women with ‘the divinity to become a templar’.”
Perhaps she noticed my confused expression because the woman rubbed my shoulders lightly.
“Now, shall I give this young lamb a history lesson?”
The woman smiled brightly as she stretched the pale lips on her plain face.
“Divinity is a strength commonly used in all areas of development. Be it architecture, technology, farming or art. But what’s the source of this power?”
“… The emperor?”
“That’s right. It’s the emperor. To be more precise, it’s the crystal sent by the gods that only the emperor can handle. But the emperor, who’s now called the weakest ever in history, began a strange law.”
“… That women cannot be templars.”
The woman smiled.
“That law does not apply to templars whose powers could only be inherited by a woman. In the past, templars used to respond differently to this law. Some blessed places ignored the law and did whatever they wanted like Vulcanus but the Imperial Family shattered their foundations by taking their one and only ‘female’ heir. To show an example. To show that this was what happened if they disobeyed.”
I recalled the 6th Queen’s gentle smile. It was a face I could only catch a glimpse of back when I was a child.
“There are 24 gods. It’s only natural for templars to want to keep their emperor in check to a certain extent. However, the emperor has been steadily engaging in fear-mongering since his youth and all the templars, other than the Templars of Snow and the Sea, have fallen under the Emperor’s feet. Rebellion was meaningless at this point. It’s ridiculous how the emperor with the weakest divinity ended up with the greatest imperial influence.”
“Now, here’s the question. Where are they dragging the kidnapped girls to and what happened to them?”
But what did that have to do with me? I frowned. Then, a sudden chill ran down my spine which made my shoulders shudder.
“Does this have something to do with me?”
The woman smiled at me in satisfaction before spitting out her words.
“From some point on, a princess could no longer become the emperor. There were no longer any female emperors in the Empire.”
The woman spoke before shrugging her shoulders.
“Then, what happened to princesses with the ‘Power of the Heir’ in the past? No one knows anything about it.”
“But I can guess where the randomly kidnapped women with divinity went.”
Her finger slowly stretched out before pointing at a certain place.
When she directed the way I should be facing, I followed her gesture. Turning back around, I noticed the woman smiling gruesomely.
“In the palace, there’s an old crystal that only the emperor can handle. It is through this crystal that the emperor becomes the ‘heart’ that controls all the divinity in this Empire. Every templar knows that.”
The women spoke hoarsely as if she was taunting a child.
“To utilise the crystal, the ‘Power of the Heir’ will be needed but that’s something only the Imperial family has. But the crystal is entirely composed of divinity. It’s like a big sea of divinity there.”
People did say that criminals always needed to discuss their crimes. Was she someone like that too? But I could not hear anything and nothing was registering. As I continued to stare at her, the woman gradually raised her voice as if she was giving some grand speech.
“Usually emperors were born with strong divinities so that they can input divinity into the crystal and allow them to control all the divinities in the Empire passively. However, emperors who were lacking would try to make up for this through unethical means.”
At that moment, the Emperor’s face which I had never seen before flashed in my head before fading away.
“If they sacrifice templars to the crystal, the divinity of the said crystal increases. The emperor’s direct subordinates. The shadows of the emperor are kidnapping women and offering them as sacrifices. Women who are candidates for templars.”
I came to my senses as if I had just woken up.
Everything felt dizzying. How was Hernan related to this? Why was I hearing all this here? Everything was getting mixed up.
“There’s nothing to think too hard about. If you had been dragged away, you would’ve become a part of the crystal or would be captured and exploited for the rest of your life. Then, once they grew old and weak, he would wonder about his unwanted children from one of his noble queens.”
“What do you mean?”
“Because they believed that templars will be born from templars.”
I gulped my saliva quietly.
“… Who the heck are you?”
In both novels and webtoons, when the character asks for the other’s identity like this, only the villain’s identity will be revealed to the reader while the character was only given clues as to who the other person was. I knew what train I was getting on but I still asked.
“Dane, do you know what this is?”
The thing that shook on the woman’s chest just a little while ago. It bothered me.
“The seed of chaos.”
The woman shut her mouth for a moment before taking a long breath and grabbing me gently.
“I am also a Templar of Chaos.”
She looked at me as if she found it amusing which made me frown. She replied to me extremely slowly after her long breath.
“Amongst us, the ‘Crown of Thorns’ are who we consider radicals. Oh, for your information, we don’t discriminate against genders when it comes to templars.”
The woman held my necklace before twirling it around and smiled.
“The reason why I’m telling all this to you, young miss.”
“Because you’ll be coming with us, young miss.”
It was the necklace Lord Ray picked up from the assassins that attacked me who he subsequently knocked down. It was now shaking on the woman’s neck.
A cold gust of wind blew.
“Who said so?”
“You’re quite sharp.”
The woman’s fingers peeped out from the sleeves of her clothes that looked merely like a large piece of cloth she wrapped around herself. I shuddered as her hands brushed against my bandaged cheek.
“I can feel faint traces of divinity from you, young miss… You look like an immigrant. Are you a half-blood?”
“That has nothing to do with you.”
The woman curled her dark brown eyes.
“My abilities allow me to create illusions.”
Her eyes shone like oil paper before the ground began to blur.
“The Templars of Chaos are a group of templars whose temples had been abandoned and destroyed and are led by the Temple of Death.”
The deep purple shook her pupils as it began to occupy more than half of her irises. This colour felt different from what I had seen from other templars so far.
“Our current goal is to overthrow the Imperial Family. The extermination of all the heirs.”
In other words, they were staging a rebellion.
“We’re just looking for an opportunity. Recently, the number of kidnappings has increased. Why? Because they’re running out of power.”
“Why? The emperor has his heir.”
“Ho, you’re aware? The powerful Crown Prince merely watches. All he does is send the Templar of Beasts from time to time to check in.”
“… Hernan is the kidnapper? He’s not that kind of person.”
Just then, the woman’s eyes changed.
“The kidnappers belong to the emperor’s secret forces. The actions the ‘Emperor’s shadows’ carry out are mainly divided into two kinds: those who spectate and those who are waiting. The Templar of Beasts you were with is also part of those who are waiting. But you do know that those who remain as a bystander are sinning too right?”
As if she was absorbing the darkness around us, the woman’s eyes began to glow.
“Just as you said, the Templar of Beasts doesn’t really get himself involved in the kidnappings. But that doesn’t mean that he’s leaving us alone. Those druggies and that ignorantly powerful bastard are nuisances we’ll have to deal with.”
The powerful purple began clouding her originally brown eyes before she glanced at me.
“That man and the Crown Prince are the largest obstacles to our goals. From your expression, it seems like you still don’t believe me. You’re full of suspicion, young miss.”
I bit my lips before giving her a glance.
“I-I’m not a templar. I don’t know anything.”
“You were giving off the aura of a templar earlier. Even though you hid your traces, the fact that you were able to recognise the aftermath of the fight is proof.”
I had to stay calm. Perhaps I could run away if I had a little more space.
“Are you planning on running?”
But the moment I noticed the woman’s expression, I knew that it would be useless.
“Young miss, I tell every woman who’s been kidnapped or was going to be kidnapped the same thing.”
“I’ve told you this much already but you still managed to stay this calm.”
I could not hold it in anymore so I spat out.
“If the emperor disappears, the Empire will also fall!”
“Oh my, you were aware of that too?”
The woman smiled at me as if she was amazed.
“Yes. The Empire cannot be sustained without its ‘Emperor’. The Empire. Now the emperor and the Crown Prince are at odds with each other so this is the best time for us to strike.”
Her eyes glowed eerily.
She turned her head and glanced over at the distant alley before lowering her voice and whispering.
“We’ll get our hands on them soon. ‘The One’ who will replace the emperor.”
Satisfied, the woman raised her head before tilting it and smiling crookedly.
“The conversation ends here.”
The moment another gist of wind gently brushed against my hair, her smile was wiped off her face. Then, her voice became dry and firm like a regular office worker.
“You should let out that breath.”
“Wait, hold on!”
I called out to her urgently.
“Just know that everything will change.”
She ignored my call and merely said her piece and turned around. The gelatin began to encroach onto my entire body.
Wait. I don’t want to!
It looked like it would feel like pudding but it actually felt like I was being submerged in water.
I struggled but it gradually climbed up my body until it managed to reach my stomach.
What should I do? Should I just die? But the problem was that I could not find a way for an immediate death.
‘I don’t really want to bite my tongue though… !”
I suddenly burst into a smile when I realised that I was thinking about my death calmly.
It had always been like this. From the moment I got this diary, nothing went my way or went the way I expected to. This was driving me crazy.
Why could I only fight back weakly?
It was amazing how I could still be normal after going through things that I thought I could never have endured without going insane. Perhaps I was already going insane so I could not make a proper judgement? No, I did not want to think about it.
Because I was truly human so I was desperate to live.
I should try to do something. I held the diary so tightly in my arms I thought my fingers were going to break. Crap, this shitty diary. If you were going to let me use you, you should at least make sure I was the only one who could touch you!
At that moment, something seemed to sparkle before flashing past my eyes like a ray of sun. Crash! There was a huge sound of explosion. Surprised by the loud sound, I looked down.
The gelatin, which raised to the bottom of my neck, was shattered into pieces before its pieces rolled around on the ground. The gelatin rushed towards me once again. Just then, a hot pain pierced my eyes and once again, a huge force was thrown towards the gelatin.
A ray of light shot out. Then, I pressed my finger into the gelatin.
The light that was enveloping me and it was a thick purple.