Chapter 48 Ravens(2)
Translator: BaeBae Editor: BaeBae
Dilmond spoke to Anya.
“Annabelle. Your reasoning for getting involved is this child?”
Anya slightly hesitated then nodded her head.
“Considering Lars’s nim current state and how the southern region is being carefully monitored by the church at the moment…….in truth I was the one who went against your actions the most.”
“Dilmond kyung, I’m…..”
“I still cannot wholly agree with your decision. But now, I can understand why you did it.”
Anya was wearing mixed expressions. Both she and Juan chose to stay silent.
Diamond stretched out his hand and motioned towards the path.
“Lars nim is currently sleeping. You won’t get a chance to talk today so it would be best if you meet him tomorrow. We’ll stay above and keep an eye out on the white crow knights.”
Anya nodded her head then took Juan and Heretia to the hidden hideout down in the dungeon.
Dilmond watched on until their backs disappeared. One of the knights beside him asked.
“That child, do you know him sir?”
“No. First time seeing him.”
“Because for a second, he reminded me of the emperor. His majesty was also black haired and used a flaming sword. I thought I had forgotten with time, but the way the kid talked made me remember that the emperor talked just like him as well. He didn’t care for formalities when he was with his brothers.“
“Sir? Isn’t it well known that the emperor’s hair is bright golden like the colour of the sun?”
One of the knights asked in confusion. Dilmond made a face as he turned and looked at the knight.
“A misinterpretation of the majesty’s description. It’s one of the aftermath of the church trying to fabricate him as some divinity. Maybe it sounded better if his appearance was described that way. They also had to consider that every black haired folks had come from beyond the borders……..But yes, the truth was he was black haired.”
“Then what could be that kid’s identity………”
Dilmond wore a complex expression.
“A new southerly breeze is about to blow through the empire. Whether that wind is going to bring hope or misfortune, no one knows.”
“Can I ask what that conversation was about?”
Anya trotted up beside him after contemplating. As he turned around, he saw Heretia was also looking at him with curiosity on her face.
Juan, who considered answering truthfully, recalled Sina Solbein’s face. Even though Juan showed her enough proof that he was the emperor, she’d never admitted it till the end.
Saying, his return as the emperor was crushing the hopes of many throughout the empire.
Juan didn’t want his light reply to create the same saga he had with Sina.
“I was just a little happy that I met someone I knew in the past.”
To be honest, he’d only met him once in the past, but he was still happy to see someone he’d encountered before.
Maybe he met him at a formal address or a consecration but Juan couldn’t remember him from his memory.
Juan made it clear that he didn’t want to talk about this any further.
Anya looked as if she had many more questions but didn’t pry further.
“Anyways, you say Lars isn’t well at the moment?”
“Yes. For several years now. Because of that, we tried to assassinate Vares Valte before Lars nim’s condition worsened but failed. After the attempt, we’ve been quietly hiding in the Laus ranges for a number of years now.”
“And you tried to fill his gap, have you?”
“Lacking but yes. Lars nim has taught me various things. In truth, there are many others like Dilmond kyung or Piet kyung who are more talented, but everyone is saying someone younger should take the reins, so……..”
“It sounds like the task is too much for you.”
“Can’t help it as I’m not skilled enough. We have to protect the knights that are without their leader but also do everything to not lose Lars nim. For the last few decades, Lars nim has always led us, so the transition has been hard.”
While saying this, Anya looked at Juan. As if she was hoping Juan would be the one to fill the empty spot.
Juan ignored her look and pointed at the Indeterminate polyhedron that she was holding onto.
“Is that crystal intended for the events that will soon surround Lars?”
“Yes. If the Golem at the Gray tower was a way to topple the empire without Lars nim, this Indeterminate polyhedron is a way to improve Lars nim’s condition.”
Juan looked at the Indeterminate polyhedron with questioning eyes.
Even to Juan, the vile energy surrounding was giving ill vibes. It seemed like it deserved its title, from the way it was absorbing foul energy.
The crystal had a similar feeling to something poisonous.
Not exactly sure how much energy it could absorb at one time, but upon release, Juan felt it would be a vast amount.
‘A bomb containing immense malice.’
And one of the more concerning points was that he didn’t have any idea where this crystal could have originated from.
It was unlike anything Juan had come across before, and its component structure was completely alien to him.
Juan, who had always amassed knowledge about every intricate detail, could understand why people had a illed view towards this crystal.
“How is this crystal supposed to improve Lars’s condition? Has Lars been infected with poison?”
Anya had a bitter expression. Somewhere on her face, showed a bit of guilt.
“You’ll come to know everything tomorrow. I’m planning to use Indeterminate polyhedron later today.”
And like that Anya dissolved the conversation.
Anya who was in darkness suddenly stopped in the middle of a waterway.
There was nothing nearby, so as Juan was getting curious why she had stopped, Anya looked at Heretia then at Juan with wavering eyes.
Juan opened his mouth first.
“Heretia, it’d be best if you return now.”
Heretia questioned Juan’s words.
“This is likely the Hugin knights hideout. You are not associated with them, nor you knew their whereabouts already.”
Juan already knew she was lying for a while. She was masterful at it but wasn’t enough to fool Juan.
However, upon thinking about Hamon Helwin, he recalled that he owed a debt to the Helwin family. But then again, he’d completed his side of the promise with Heretia.
Heretia laid out an excuse to stay.
“Our family has a lot of informatives so I was planning to look into them anyways. Already gave instructions to do so. I could find all of this in a couple of days so……”
“Doesn’t matter. Go back.”
Heretia read Juan’s firm stance and bit her lip.
Anya’s expression wasn’t much different from Juan’s.
Anya went up to her and spoke.
“I’ll send someone with you. Someone that won’t be associated with our order so it won’t matter if you get discovered by the White crow knights.”
“………….I need the Indeterminate polyhedron.”
Before she was pushed on by Anya, Heretia protested.
“If you didn’t steal it, it would be in my possession by now. It’s something I really need. I can’t go back empty handed.”
“You didn’t even compensate me for rescuing you and yet you’re asking for the Indeterminate polyhedron?”
“I didn’t need help. I had an alternative plan in mind. I know it will sound forceful but I desperately need it. I’ve poured too much into this to give up now.”
“Lars nim will be in danger without it.”
Anya shot a glare while frowning. Heretia couldn’t reply to that.
Juan read the subtle air.
Heretia didn’t want Hiveden to fall and didn’t want any harm to fall onto the Hugin knights.
Whatever the choice, she would lose something. Juan figured he’d make it easier for her by making the choice for her.
“Go back for now.”
“Go back. If it’s something that is very important to you, then i’m sure you can wait a few more days. Wait and I’ll figure out something to your satisfaction.”
Juan stayed the night at the arranged hideout in the dungeons of Hiveden.
The dungeon hideout was a bit rough but understandable as it had been built from the city’s founding.
Complex corridors and traps were laid out to stop intruders from entering.
Juan followed Anya to meet Lars the next morning immediately.
Anya’s eyes drooped with dark circles beneath, leaving one to imagine what she’d been up to the night passed.
As he followed down the path behind Anya, Juan felt as if this path wasn’t here to protect Lars but keep him in place.
For the entire journey a heavy mood surrounded Anya, who didn’t mutter a word. Everytime they passed a vent seemingly built for air circulation, Anya slitently muttered something in a sentimental tone.
“His condition more or less becomes stable during the day.”
Last night, Juan recalled any memories of Lars.
The youngest of the four children he had adopted. Compared to the other children, he didn’t get to spend much time with him.
More than anyone else, he was a child that loved the feeling of sunlight.
So it was hard to believe currently that child was staying in a place of darkness.
“Juan, meet Lars Raude nim.”
Anya spoke from behind. Juan silently gazed on as the door in front began to open.
Completely surrounded in darkness, a small ray of light from the ceiling was coming through.
The morning ray of sunlight was thin and shallow like a string. The back of someone’s hand stopped the light from reaching the floor.
The person squatting down, slowly lifted his head.
He was wearing a thick auburn robe and a white mask.
The sword strapped on his waist moved around making a clanging noise. A smell only found on sickly patients was radiating from him.
Clutched In one of his hands was Indeterminate polyhedron.
Juan turned and looked at Anya.
“Give us some privacy.”
Anya made a surprised look at Juan’s plea. She never thought of him to be a person who knew how to use the word ‘please’.
Anya looked back and forths at Juan and Lars. Then once Lars started to slowly nod his head, she backed out.
Now they were alone, Juan spoke up.
“I can still remember when I first met you.”
A pair of lifeless eyes gazed back at Juan. The eyes beneath the mask didn’t show any light, spirit but only darkness.
“It was at the god of death’s temple, Nigrato. Nigrato had already suicided once to empower his strength. And his followers repeatedly offered children to him as sacrifice.”
Taltere enjoyed madness while Nigrato enjoyed a slow death. Someone who indulged the skulls of the dead.
This was natural as the desert was his home.
“You were brought as an offering. Then buried alive at Nigrato’s dungeon altar. God knows what thoughts would have passed through your head while you were down that eternal darkness. But you fought back, choosing to live rather than become Nigrato’s prey by eating the others and licking puddles of urine.”
He saw Lars drop the Indeterminate polyhedron fall from his grasp. His white bony fingers were shaking. Juan continued his talk.
“I brought the temple down and dragged you out. But not once have I thought that I saved you. You saved yourself. Your heart was too strong for someone like Nigrato to engulf.”
Lars had already half stood up. Between the ripped areas on his robe, white bones could be seen beneath.
Seeing rotten spots on his bones, Juan’s throat tightened.
“You were never the one to talk a lot. Compared with your siblings, you had a much smaller body and your eyes weren’t good either. Likely because you’d been in darkness for so long. The others liked to swing swords but you preferred books. The others made fun of you for your gloomy personality, but more than anyone else you liked that spot inside the library, where a ray of sunlight shined brightly.”
Before he knew, Lars was already walking towards Juan.
Lars’s height was almost 2 metres, but his footsteps were extremely quiet.
“You were more knowledgeable than anyone else. Your understanding of magic was exceptional. I know you may think I didn’t get to know you or the time we shared was too short for me to remember anything but……there are some things that can’t be forgotten. The concentration on your face everytime I taught you new magic, the expression you had when you figured out how to create light in darkness is something that I’ll never forget. Lars.”
Lars got on his knees. Even on his knees, Lars was a full head taller than Juan due to his tall stature.
Lars bent further down as if to not allow even the slightest bit of him to be higher than Juan.
His shoulders lightly shook.
He slowly raised his hands and placed them on Juan’s face. Juan decided to let him do what he wanted.
Lars’s hand was cold and hard.
Juan slowly extended his hand and placed it on Lars’s mask.
“Lars. My son.”
Lars froze up. But he couldn’t refuse Juan..
Juan slowly took the mask off.
Behind the mask, a white human skull was revealed. His youngest son had become a dead man.
Lars buried his head at Juan’s feet and began to sob.
His face that had lost every bit of skin wasn’t able to produce any tears.
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