Kkiiiiiiiiyaaaaaaaaaaakkkkkkkkkkk-------! Along with the horrendous groan, Emperor Leonhardt's head turned towards us with a flash. His jet-black eyes, which seemed dyed pitch-black by ink, were staring at us with a ferocious Aura.
"What's going on?"
"I'm not sure... This isn’t even a completely secret place. This is a place where many royals, including the Crown Prince, come by. I have never heard of such an occurrence… I have only heard that he always remains asleep in that position,” Celestia mumbled softly, but she never took her eyes off of Emperor Leonhardt. Before I knew it, a golden Aura was exuding from her body.
Meanwhile, I transformed the clock-like Shadow Stalker hanging on my left wrist into the form of a gun. Clack! Shadow Stalker was now in the form of a revolver.
Shadow Stalker was a weapon that imbued two effects out of the three major properties on each of its six chambers, which were Time, Space and Void. In other words, even if the bullet was not loaded separately, the gun's chamber would turn and stop at the section with the necessary effect upon my pulling of the trigger.
“I am asking, just in case, but what would happen if one were to damage the body of the First Emperor?"
"...Don't even talk about such a huge incident,” Celestia muttered and squinted her eyes.
That was a sight that made me say,"Ack, it's hot!" I nodded afterwards. I had asked an inevitable question, because the staring First Emperor was giving me a very malicious Aura.
Whoooooskk--- A black air current wrapped around the body of the First Emperor and swirled around. It was a cloud of darkness that was filled with a dark and horrifying energy, one that easily instilled fear upon sight.
I tugged the trigger of Shadow Stalker and prepared to shoot the Maximum Annihilation Shot. In the Stage III Civilization, it was a weapon that was only installed in a battleship or a Dimension Artillery, since it could only operate with a huge Iron Heart that contained a special energy built in. However, it was one of the six types of bullets that the Shadow Stalker, which was considered the fruit of the Stage IV Civilization, could use at any time. Although it was an impossible feat, the extremely advanced dimensional engineering pushed it into the realm of possibility. This was achieved by creating a huge subspace in the gun chamber, which even a finger struggled to fit in.
"Let's back off quietly."
"Let's do that."
There was no reason to garner resentment by destroying the body of the First Emperor without any cause, so we slowly stepped back. I got myself together while Celestia shielded me from the front. She was protecting me before I even realized it.
'...I wonder who's the one doing the shielding.' As I let out a scoff, we headed towards the Magic Circle which teleported us to the flower garden. Fortunately, Leonhardt was just staring at us and couldn't break free from the throne.
Kiing! However, Celestia immediately hardened her face upon standing on the Magic Circle. I also looked down in surprise. "Huh?" I could see the Magic Circle that teleported us here losing its energy and turning off.
"Why?" Celestia was flustered by the unexpected situation, and it was at that moment… Whoooooook! In an instant, a gust of wind penetrated and passed through my body. It was a given for me, but it was so quick that even Celestia couldn’t react to it. The problem was that it wasn’t a physical wind… "Heuckk... Th-This..." A black air current enveloped Celestia's whole body. Even though Celestia was releasing a golden Aura, the black air current devoured her energy in a matter of seconds.
"Shit." I was in a similar situation. When the black air current enveloped my whole body, everything around felt giddy and my knees went weak. 'No... Why?' At that moment, a question came to mind. 'Why is Hawa not stopping it?'
Hawa was the person who blocked the surprise attack of Great General Norrington, one of the Seven Great Generals, without even revealing herself. She simply killed him with a single blow. The Leonhardt Empire couldn’t possibly perform an attack that Hawa wouldn't be able to recognize, so what was with this situation?
I looked back at Emperor Leonhardt again.
Under a curse, Leonhardt
I was losing my strength and the black air current was still whirling all over my body, but I felt no pain. Only then did I recall the story about the First Emperor. The story stated that during the war, the curse he received from the high-rank Gods remained unhealed. Due to that one curse from his enemies, he fell into an eternal slumber in the end…
"Eternal...slumber, huh." Only then did I realize the reason why Hawa did not move. Her promise only took my life into consideration. She had no need, nor any obligation, to step forward in any other situation that did not concern my life.
"Huff... Haoohhh... H-How come? Why is the Dreamer's Curse…?" With a rugged groan, Celestia staggered while I couldn’t even open my mouth to try saying something to her.
Before I realized it, I could no longer muster any strength in my body. 'T-The door...' I focused my mind but my consciousness was fading away. I imagined the door and barely managed to grab the door handle, but I couldn't afford to turn it open. 'Open the door...' However, I lost my consciousness at that moment.
On one side of a wall of the beautifully adorned Royal Palace, five or six young boys who varied from their early to late teens, stood in a circle. All of them had brightly radiant blonde hair, and lovely appearances that were as cute as angels. However, for some reason, they were all frowning.
"What the hell, what kind of absurd scenario is this?" The boy with the largest build guffawed at the boy who sat within the semicircle they had formed. He stared at the other boy, who had clear blue hair that seemed to be made of the essence of the seawater. The boy trembled and stuck close to the wall, just like a cornered mouse.
"Louis-hyung, do you believe in this nonsense?"
"It's obviously hard to believe in that, but take a good look, Elion. This guy... His body type changed strangely. His chest is gone too."
It was at that moment that the boy named Elion stared at the blue-haired boy who was sitting down. Only then did the surrounding space sway for an instant, and… Kwakkkkkkkk! Like magic, the luxurious clothes that wrapped around the blue-haired boy were torn to shreds. After the clothes scattered in all directions, the other boys widened their eyes at the revelation of the blue-haired boy’s figure.
"Wh-What the hell is this?"
"Uwahh, this is distasteful. How is this possible? Did he have this kind of power?"
"The idiotic power to summon a whole-roasted pig was dumbfounding, but what the hell is with this..."
With baffled expressions, everyone looked at the blue-haired boy who was lying on the floor. The boy curled up his body to the best of his ability and, somehow, managed to cover his body somewhat. However, it was not good enough to hide the fact that "his" naked body was that of a girl, and not a guy.
"Kekeke. Look at this, this. She has something hanging down her lower body though?"
"Agh, and what the heck is this? She has a flat chest."
"Agh, this is annoying. The only use for this lowly trash is gone."
"But it's not even funny. She turned into a man because of us, right?"
They giggled while surrounding her. Most of them were tickled and fascinated enough to laugh, but not everyone felt the same.
"Celestia, stop joking around and turn back into a woman."
"I-I am... I'm a man," the blue-haired boy spoke for the first time. Her face, which was filled with intimidation and fear, shook. Her jaw also trembled. It was a very pathetic sight.
However, the blonde-haired young boy named Louis only frowned even more. "Don't be ridiculous and go back to being a woman."
Even though she was trembling, she did not go along with his order. "A man... I'm a man..."
Upon that sight, the blonde-haired boy's lips became twisted. "Is that so? Fine then." He smirked and looked back towards the other boys. "Let's get started."
"What? But Hyung, isn't she a guy right now?"
"She doesn't even have a chest, Hyung."
"I feel strangely offended."
Two or three boys had an undesirable look on their face. However, Elion, the boy with the smallest stature among them all, was different. He piped up, "But hyungs, don't you think it'll be more fun because of that?"
"What? But still..."
"Even if she turned into a guy, she still looks the same. I think these sort of surprises are occasionally refreshing and good.” Elion’s words made the other boys exchange looks with one another. They hesitated for a moment and turned their gaze towards Louis.
"Hmmm... Well, this will make for a good change of pace."
"She looks the same, so it'll be similar if we just do it from the back…like usual.”
like usual." As they whispered and gathered around her, despair started to surface in the eyes of Celestia, who was the blue-haired boy crouching down.
"This is the last warning." As Louis stared at her like that, he said, "Turn back to normal."
"I am..." While trembling, Celestia resisted. "I'm... a man."
"Ha!" Louis' handsome face, which looked chiseled for the gods, distorted nastily. The other boys behind him were taking off their clothes, one by one.
"I don't want to..." As if she was trying to look away from them, Celestia curled up at the wall and cried. At that image...
Bang! I pulled the trigger. "I know it will all be for naught, but..." The boy who had just grabbed Celestia's ankle lost his head and collapsed on the floor. At that sight, all the young boys looked towards me in surprise. However, this was all just a mere fantasy.
Bang! Bang! There were holes in his head, chest, stomach and legs. All of them used some sort of powerful power, but in this world of will, those small little nightmares couldn’t win against me. This was because I was immune to all the interference that negatively affected my mind. There was no way nightmares such as these would work. Most importantly... "Even though I look like this, I've had 300 years worth of nightmares. Tsk, these greenhorns..."
"You, who the hell are you?! How dare you! Where do you think this is?!"
"...When I first saw you, I thought you were pretty detestable. But it turns out that you're one of the better ones." I scoffed at Louis, who distorted his face like a devil. Of course, I had no intention of conversing with someone who wasn’t even real.
Bang! Thuckkk! I could feel something punching my stomach as the wall on one side was destroyed and blasted away. Surprisingly, the future Crown Prince avoided the bullet with incredible reflexes and struck me in the abdomen. However…
"Wh-What the hell? Why isn't it working?"
"That's...because I'm keeping a straight head?"
"What kind of ridiculous nonsense are you spouting?!" Louis was yelling at me as if I was being ridiculous, but what I said was the indisputable truth. I was keeping my mind straight in such a clear and distinct manner that this nightmare wasn't able to inflict any damage on me. This was a world of dreams, and…
I could somehow figure out the curse that the First Emperor was inflicted with. "It's a curse that puts him in a painful nightmare forever."
"How...how dare you ignore me, despite being a commoner?!" Louis cried out. Thuckkk, thuckkk! He punched my body wildly, but I did not even tremble. There was no such thing as the laws of physics in a world of dreams, since I did not have a real body. There were no fully-trained superpowers here too. The only thing present here was the consciousness.
These circumstances made me invincible, since I had the mental immunity characteristics. I was naturally immune to the nightmare itself, so no possible attack could work here, no matter what they did.
Clang clang! I pulled the firing pin of the Shadow Stalker and prepared the Stop Watch. Tic toc, tic toc, tic toc! At first glance, it was hard to imagine that Stop Watch was the name of a bullet, but loading it caused a stopwatch to run above the Shadow Stalker.
As I aimed it at Louis, who was punching me wildly, he backed off in surprise. "Keukk! I don't know what trick you are using, but a weapon as lowly as that wouldn't be able to overpower the power of the Imperial family! I am..."
"Ahhh, so noisy,” I grumbled.
Thuckkk! It happened in an instant. Without any signs or sounds, Louis, who was the last one standing, had a hole in his head. Plop! He fell down, which was expected. No matter how great and powerful he was, he couldn’t possibly avoid a bullet that flew towards him in suspended time.
'Well, of course, it's all a matter of their awareness, but... It was easy to materealize, perhaps because it was a weapon I really possessed. There's no need to doubt its performance.' I thought.
As I approached Celestia, she, no, he was staring at me with a blank look on his face. "Wh-Who are you?" The sight of him widening his big round eyes was really cute, though surprising. It was fascinating for someone, who was so thorough with everything, to possess such a past.
“Hmm. I am, so to speak..." Needless to say, I didn't feel the need to say "I'm your husband.” I couldn’t possibly make such a declaration to him, who was trembling fearfully and insisting that he was a man.
With fluttering eyes, Celestia noticed my hesitation and asked, "So to speak?"
"So to speak, I'm your friend."
I handed the nearby curtain I ripped off to Celestia, who still had a blank expression. If I had a lot of experience in moving around and taking the lead in a world of dreams, then I could create things that didn't initially exist. I was always spectating in the nightmares I dreamt of, so it was impossible for me to perform that kind of skill.
'Needless to say... I can't just leave, can I?' I sighed softly as I took in the surrounding scenery. I did say that I was invincible inside a world of dreams, but only defensively. I did not have any omnipotent power here and, since I have been living a normal life, there was no way I would know how to escape from this world of nightmares.
Of course, going around might lead me to encounter a possible escape route. Then again, if it was that simple, then Emperor Leonhardt wouldn't have been asleep for such a long time. He would have been released from this curse much earlier on.
"No! Don't---! Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh----!!"
"…Oh my." I opened a nearby door and saw a blond-haired man wailing inside a giant crater. Then, I closed it again.
"Huh? The inside of the kitchen is turning into a strange place now..."
"Don't mind it, don't care about it." I let out a soft sigh after comforting the frightened Celestia. She was pretty cute in this state, but...I couldn't leave her like this. This was because I didn't know what was going on outside. I also didn't know the time difference between here and the real world.
"Honestly, something is getting on my nerves, but..." I pondered for a moment, while holding on to the key that hung from my neck. The me who opened the door was obviously still me, but I could not consider it a normal state. In reality, the earlier catastrophe in the council hall was caused by a myriad of overlapping options that I would normally never choose.
However, I soon shook my head. This image of Celestia wasn't bad, but...this world of nightmares was uncharted territory. It would be best to get out of here quickly, because I didn't know what would happen after too long a time.
"There's nothing I can do about this," I grumbled and grabbed the door again. Of course, it was not to save the Emperor who had long been suffering from the nightmare. Aside from the fact that I didn't properly know him, I couldn't guarantee that he would be in his right mind after suffering from such a long haunting of the nightmares. Well, even if I were to save him one day, it would be something to think about once I got out of here. "Well, it'll probably not be a big deal." In a slightly desperate situation… Clack! I opened the door.
Hi, this chapter might be confusing for you all! But basically, Celestia turned into a guy, so the pronoun him/her/he/she/boy/girl was used when it came to describing her. Hopefully this clears the confusion for you all.
Thank you for the continuous support~~