Chapter 78 Stranger(3)
Translator: BaeBae Editor: BaeBae
Even though the indeterminate polyhydron was broken and it’s original form ruined, it was still omitting an impure aura.
“If you don’t mind me asking, why did Juan nim ask me to find that item? It took a herculean effort by several in order to find that broken gem underneath the ruin. I’m curious as to if it was worth our time.”
“It’s because of Rieto.”
“You mean……Bishop Rieto? What do you mean, didn’t Bishop Rieto die?”
Rieto had been found dead with his head shattered into pieces. Everyone had assumed he met his end due to mana exhaustion from citing a miracle beyond his capabilities, but Juan had thought differently.
“When I was fighting Rieto, for a brief moment I entered his mind…….. His mind was in an utterly broken state that was beyond repair.”
“As expected. I had heard many stories about Bishop Rieto. They often mentioned how his mind had split from directly hearing the emperor’s words……well, I didn’t think it was true.”
“It’s not true. His mind had traces of the fissure.”
“Did you say the fissure?”
Oppert’s eyes widened. In a world where for the most part gods didn’t exist, the only realistic danger that posed the empire was the northern fissure.
Even the emperor had been killed in a battle at the fissure, albeit with the help of traitors.
For a long time, the northern tribes and General Nienna Nelborn had done well to contain them, but occasionally, monstros beast would escape the fissure and cause a great deal of damage to the empire.
“Looks like you have a hard time believing.”
“Apologies. I for one don’t know much about the fissure. Only that it’s so big that it carved up the northern region, and that there are unidentifiable monsters that crawl out from the deep. Many exaggerated stories have been said that they can pollute and corrupt one’s mind by simply reciting names.”
“Exaggerated? It doesn’t even capture half, no a quarter of the terror.”
“From what I’ve seen at the fissure…….actually, it doesn’t matter. Just think of it as a place where beings of other worlds crawl out from. Their existence, their shape and even their conception is something foreign. Forget about talking to them, they’re an existence that cannot be understood. Compared to them, Nigrato would be considered reasonable…… Anyways, the important thing is that I felt the presence of the fissure from inside Rieto. Not in the north, but in the south.”
Juan lifted the bag that held the indeterminate polyhydron inside.
“Not long ago, I was attacked by someone. Someone that had the presence of the fissure on him. It was then I realised something for certain. I’m not sure if this gem came from the fissure but it seemed like Rieto’s mind had broke because of it. Maybe through Rieto’s shattered world in his mind, somehow my power got through, and that’s why……”
Juan had been about to say something but then closed his lips and made an awkward smile.
Oppert filled in the gaps himself. When Juan had activated his power, Rieto’s broken mind had been unable to take it.
“If Rieto had been alive, I considered checking out the route that the indeterminate polyhydron was acquired from…… but he’s dead. So I’ve decided to investigate separately whether the fissure’s somehow related to how it was created.”
“Is that it?”
“What do you mean?”
“You see, General Nienna Nelborn is keeping the danger contained up north. And the Fenrir knights are preventing the spread of their influence in the empire. And yet Juan nim would abandon Anya, the Hugin knights, and us…..all for a broken piece of gem?”
Juan silently looked at Oppert. Oppert felt his throat dry up.
“Personally, I’ve never had ties with the knight orders or the emperor. But what you showed us that day, that light, that power has changed the lives of everyone who bore witness. At long last, I’ve finally understood what the people had been yearning for all this time. Now more than ever, we need you.”
Oppert uttered the words that he’d long refrained from speaking. Although he knew better than to say this to Juan, it was difficult to stay silent.
Juan smiled bitterly.
“You’re misunderstanding something here, Oppert. It’s me who’s bringing danger for you and everyone else. Wherever I go, there’ll be those that are trying to kill me. And I am not ready to take responsibility.
“What do you mean, not ready to take responsibility?”
“Meaning I don’t want to become the emperor. Don’t be surprised. I know what it means to carry around the name ‘emperor’ in this empire. You cannot simply claim yourself as the emperor just because those around him say so. There are still things for me to learn and some unfinished business for me to take care of. Until then, I hope everyone can forgive me for acting selfish…… But know this. If it’s assistance you require, I’ll always come help.”
“Until that day comes, I’d like it if you’d call me Juan. Same goes for everyone else.”
With a stern expression, Oppert slowly nodded.
Juan hopped onto his horse. One benefit he found since he’d attained his mature body was that he could now easily mount a horse.
“So, where are you off to?”
“East. It’s where the fissure has infiltrated the most in the empire.”
The eastern territory. Land where the sun rose from its beaches and dragons used to roam the skies. Land that Gared Ga-in and his knights had most cherished and loved.
Gared’s eastern territory was famous for being eroded by the fissure.
By no means was this a coincidence. He needed to check if everything that happened was somehow linked with the fissure.
“Your majesty, if that’s so, head for Drugal.”
“Drugal? Is it the name of a place?”
It was his first time hearing of it. Oppert nodded then explained.
“I heard that it was where the indeterminate polyhydron was first found. I’m not sure where it is exactly, only that it’s a city in the east. Maybe you can find some clues there.”
“I’ll keep in mind, thanks. Ah, then perhaps……does the name Czatequzail, mean anything to you?”
“Czatequzail, was it? Sounds like a name from a different world. Its my first time hearing it.”
“Hmm. Alright then.……”
Juan suddenly felt as if he’d been hit in the head.
‘Name? A name? Why did I think it’s a name?’
Clearly, it was a completely foreign word to Juan.
Like Oppert said, it was possible that it was a language from a different world or a rune passage. But from the moment he’d heard it, Juan had self consciously assumed that it was a name. Even though it was his first time hearing anything like it.
A bit unsettled, Juan bit down on his lip. Maybe these unknown alien-like beings had planted strange thoughts and ideas into his head.
Beings from the fissure were talented at doing this.
“…….It’s nothing. Tell Dilmond that I bid him well in his recovery.”
Juan said his last words at Oppert, before he intended to head off.
“Don’t ask for favors that will get me beat up.”
“Well, tell him I meant every praise that I said to him, so don’t get too upset.”
“Any words for Anya?”
Juan paused then snorted.
“She was personally selected by Lars as his successor. She’ll be fine.”
And then immediately after, Juan signalled his horse to depart. The black horse obediently galloped forward without a neigh.
Oppert wanted to watch till the end but Juan’s silhouette melted into the darkness before the sound of hooves went silent.
Oppert straightened his attire and turned around. There were many things that needed to be done.
First, what Lars had tried to protect till his very end.
He needed to complete the replication of Mananen Maclir’s heart.
A figure appeared from the alleyway that Oppert disappeared into. With empty eyes, the hooded blonde hair female knight stared at the darkness where Juan had vanished.
Her lips quietly mumbled a name.
Sina Solbein didn’t know what to do.
Her fellows knights had all died, while the Paladins that she’d briefly relied on had different views on things that made them incompatible.
Juan, who she had denied till the end had demonstrated power that was unquestionably the power of the emperor.
And Sina had been the one who helped him prove his legitimacy.
When Juan was in danger, when he had demonstrated his power, it was true that she’d wanted to help him.
There hadn’t been anyone else that could have saved Hiveden from its disaster. In the end, Nigrato was eradicated just as she had hoped.
So what now. What was Juan to her?
Sina still had no answer.
She fumbled around the rune that hid the scar over her left eye. There were still too many things to know, too many things to ask Juan.
Sina wasn’t going to idly watch as he disappeared.
She mounted her horse and rode off.
Helmut couldn’t believe his eyes when his black priests returned with their eyes all swollen.
Unlike Paladins, black priests did not carry around any ‘graced’ weapons nor their bodies physically enhanced, largely because they had vast amounts of ‘grace’ at their disposal.
Even if they’d come into confrontations with Paladins, it was usually enough to carry out their duties.
But all twelve of them were lying flat on their beds covered in fractures and bruises.
“Your highness, please find it in yourself to calm yourself.”
Helmut glared at the black priest that was cowering in fear by his foot.
“Why haven’t you healed yourselves still? Is it to get my sympathy?”
The black priest’s face flinched then quickly lowered his head even more to the ground hoping to hide his facial expression.
“Not at all your highness. It’s not just me but all the other priests were severely wounded as well. Our healing effects don’t seem to be working on these wounds. I’m thinking if this is the use of forbidden arts or something similar……”
Helmut interrupted the black priest. After putting his hand on his head which started to hurt, once more he lit his fragrant candles.
“Are you saying that the captain of the imperial guards, one who’s guarding the emperor is using some kind of dark arts? You want me to announce that I mistakenly assigned a heretic to guard the emperor’s side? I can already hear the knights at the capital laughing at me.”
“Why would that bastard Renri Loen be protecting the saintress…..”
Renri Loen was someone that Helmut already knew very well. He had been once a rising candidate as a Paladin knight order commander. Things didn’t get much worse than this.
Renri was unbelievably powerful. Often, he found himself clashing with the church. An incorruptible follower of the emperor, a doctrine ideologist.
It was the reason why he couldn’t associate himself with the church.
When Renri renounced himself as a Paladin and asked to join the imperial guard, Helmut felt relief.
Rather than join the capital knights where confrontations against him will be inevitable, choosing neutral by going to the imperial guards was what Helmut had desired.
But why was he suddenly protecting the saintress?
An unexpected situation.
Under law, no one was to lay their hands on the imperial guards.
Till now, Helmut had encouraged Paladins to join the imperial guard, but only those that seemed incorruptible or weak. He didn’t expect this to have come bite him later.
“……..What about the saintress?”
“Resting inside her quarters but Renri is stubbornly refusing to move away from her door. We’ve even tried giving him orders under the Pope’s name but still refuses saying that ‘the emperor’s command takes priority over all else’…….”
Helmut grinded his teeth. No doubt the saintress had declared another message. Helmut didn’t fully understand what was really going on, but if he didn’t sort things out now, it would soon be too late.
This had all started from the stories that came from the south.
The prophecy about the black haired emperor, Tantil’s demon, annihilation of the White crow knights, the new messages that’s been coming through the saintress’s mouth……..it felt as if everything was intertwined. It was time to end things one way or another.
Helmut ordered his black priests.
“Call for the commander of the Paladin abhorrent order, Beltre to cease all current activities and track down the demon of Tantil. And declare a ten thousand leaf bounty on the demon’s head.”
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