The Star of Annihilation
Chapter 32 – Lazarus (1)
Written by : eleven
* * *
The sound of hawks flying overhead was the first thing that came to Roy’s senses as he went through the warp portal.
As he opened his eyes, the first thing that came into view…
Was his mother, Nate and the rest from Kerto village, retching or throwing up.
“It’s the effects of travel through a warp portal. You’ll get used to it eventually.”
Tubel patted Roy’s shoulder saying so, expecting Roy to start retching.
But… nothing happened.
“It’s okay, my body is pretty sensitive to mana.”
Tubel just shook his head. Why was he even concerned about this boy in the first place?
“Well I officially welcome you…”
Tubel’s voice echoed to all those present.
Roy realized something was off about the scenery. He was awfully close to the clouds in the sky. This meant they were very high up in altitude.
From his previous life, this was not the regular location of the warp portal that he was familiar with. In fact…
This was a scenery he had only seen from afar in the past.
“… to the Imperial Palace.”
Mathilde, Elizabeth, and Nate all sobered up at the end of Tubel’s words.
The marble stairs, the pointed spires and the flags that symbolized the Heart of the Empire, reigned tall.
Amelia muttered under her breath in awe.
Illidia Portaz, the Baroness, was in shock too, but quickly regained her countenance, for even she did not expect the warp to be directly to the Palace.
Then again, it was to be expected.
Roy stared at the servants that made their way down the steps to the entrance of the palace and bowed their heads in sync as the doors to the palace opened.
“Welcome back your majesties.”
An older looking man with a thin monocle and bushy, gray mustache, appeared and opened his arms wide as he bowed his head towards the envoys.
‘That’s right. How could we even forget about these royal pigs.’
Roy still held a shar resentment for the Imperia Family that bled over to all under its name. It didn’t matter if Desmond, the First Prince, seemed like a better choice for the crown than the others.
This entire family was spoiled and Roy was incredibly displeased with the current emperor. He was nothing more than a string puppeteer playing around and trying to juggle the wants and petty needs of the nobles.
The Three Imperial princes, moved out of their carriages and stood side-by-side.
Looking at them, it was easy to tell just how much they all disliked one another.
“The Sun, His Holiness, the one who sits atop all, the Emperor, calls for your audience your majesties.”
The old-looking man with the monocle spoke, bowing once more as he finished the long-winded introduction.
Ferneth, amongst all of them, felt particularly nervous, as the Emperor was not one he had ever met, and was partially still responsible for allowing the Holy Church to have persecuted him until now.
The Empire’s intentions of having him under their military power was obvious.
The sound of the horse hooves that were dragging the carriage got a bit antsy, and the man with the monocle raised his eyebrows when he saw Roy and Nate not following along.
“Come along now, the Emperor wishes to see you lot as well.”
The old man chuckled in a jovial manner now that the princes were on their way and out of listening range.
“Come on, just follow the old guy, he’s not that bad.”
Dante, the Spearmaster chided the group and walked after the princes while the old man gave a frown of disapproval.
The rest decided to follow after hearing the joking words from Dante.
* * *
Roy was cautious with his steps as he walked down the hall after the princes and his master.
He could feel several presences with his mana perception and felt their movements as they tried to conceal them.
‘Is this the rumored Imperial Shadows Unit?’
The Imperial Shadows were a group of trained assassins and guards that were commanded directly by the Emperor and meant to protect him at the same time.
‘At least twenty of them… The average is about 5-stars with even a 7-star Archmage?!’
Roy felt shocked as he probed his senses with mana.
Archmages were low in number and didn’t exactly grow on trees.
There were 7 Magic Towers with an Archmage title being the bare minimum to qualify for Tower Master. Most Vice-Masters were also Archmages, but were lower level ones as they were at 6-stars.
The only 7-star Archmage to ascend these limits, was the first ever 8-star Grand Wizard, Tubel.
The sound of footsteps stopped in front of them, and in the long hallway, there was plenty of side door and walkways, but in front of Roy and the group was a grand and large set of double doors.
The doors swung open and Roy took in the sight before him.
A dimly lit room, with flamboyantly decorated chandeliers, embroidered carpets, and a long red walkway with lots of empty space.
Roy felt an incredible sense of mental pressure as he looked up the hallway to see a large throne in front of him and took a quick gasp of air.
‘Hup…. I thought the Emperor did not practice ki or mana cultivation?’
Roy’s thoughts were right, but there was no way he would be able to find out what about the Emperor was emitting such a heavy pressure.
Mathilde and the others were worse off, as the weaker ones were forced to kneel on the spot.
“I greet the Royal Sun, The Emperor, His Royal Majesty.”
Lucius and Dante kneeled voluntarily, nodding at Roy to follow suit.
Roy kept his head bowed down from the pressure being exuded from the throne.
Roy repeated the name of the Emperor in his mind.
He didn’t dare look up, as it would be rude without the Emperor’s permission.
It felt like he was being tested at that moment with the sudden pressure.
Navarro’s gruff and deep voice sounded out through the hall and the pressure that was pressing down on the group disappeared.
“So, let’s start with the reports. Lucius, I heard you have something to show me.”
“Yes, your majesty.”
Lucius got up from his kneeling position and reached into his spatial pocket.
The Emperor had already been briefed about a sudden attack in the village of Kerto, but Tubel and Lucius purposefully did not speak too much about the identity of Argenta as a dragon, and kept the report vague; describing Argenta as a ‘creature’.
As Lucius took out his hand from the spatial pocket, he dragged the neck of a corpse along with it.
Several officials within the hall expressed shock and so did everybody else present.
Roy was especially shocked as he saw Argenta’s human corpse.
He was still in shock after finding out how much stronger Argenta had become after polymorphing, and even more shocked that Ifrit had taken him down easily.
However, the deep and lingering mana within Argenta’s corpse was intense to say the least.
“The creature was similar to what looked to be… a Dragon. I know how ridiculous it sounds, but that was the closest thing we could describe it as. Tubel can corroborate this, as well as the Princes.”
“He is correct, Father.”
Howard, Michael and Desmond all nodded and verbally agreed to Lucius’ testament of Argenta’s very being.
However…. This was only meant to be a private briefing, and the only problem here was that Amelia Portaz and her mother, who were nobility, were there and seemingly in complete shock.
The envoy’s return was meant to be private, and the lower rank nobility of the Portaz estate was only there out of formality.
Navarro scrunched his eyebrows as he frowned.
This was certainly mixed news.
“I see. We shall talk further about this when the other Magic Tower Masters are present for the military council meeting. On the other hand, are you the one they call Ferneth?”
Navarro showed no signs of losing face as he kept his ruler-like dignity and called out to Ferneth, who had his facial skin mask on to appear as a human.
Ferneth found it difficult to say the word ‘majesty’ to Navarro but kept his cool.
“Ah! I heard a little about your background. I understand it must be difficult to be here right now, but I express my gratitude for your presence, and if you feel more comfortable in your regular form, you are welcome to change.”
Navarro gave the rights of a governing official to an undead like Tubel. The other officials in the hall didn’t know what to expect anymore as this brief meeting was already full of shock and absurdity. However, the next event made nearly all people who hadn’t felt Ferneth’s true presence, drop dead with fear.
A dark and deathly aura rose from Ferneth’s shadow as it wrapped around his harmless human outfit, and burst out in all directions as everyone was blinded briefly with darkness.
A pitch-black and flaming robe with two eerie will o’wisps that burned brightly through the empty eye sockets. Ferneth remained with his head slightly lowered in respect, and Navarro got goosebumps all over his skin.
Tubel, despite being an 8-star Grand Wizard also felt it. The ominous and pervasive dead mana was oozing out of his very being.
Normally this would never be the case, as a 7-star Arch-Lich like Ferneth would have complete control over his mana, but both Navarro, Tubel and Lucius all knew what this meant.
“Hoho! It seems we might be having another Grand Wizard inside of the Empire soon!”
Navarro chuckled with delight as Ferneth merely stood still, embarrassed that he was losing control over his mana.
But he did feel like he knew why his dead mana was like that, and why Tubel only looked at him with good faith.
He was close to crossing the wall of 8-stars.
Chapter 32 – Fin