Book 7, Chapter 103

Hidden Past(2)

“TREASON AGAINST THE ANCESTORS!” Yorik suddenly screamed, launching himself towards the fat shaman. The fingernails on his right hand extended until they looked like five thin knives, stabbing straight for the man’s throat.

Richard simply took a step forward, Moonlight’s pommel smashing right into the Emperor’s face and sending him flying away. Teeth and blood fell all over the floor, half of the old man’s face caved in as he fainted immediately. He then walked towards the shaman who was cowering in fear, tapping his shoulder, “That obstacle isn’t here anymore, speak.”

Conflict flashed across the shaman’s face, the mortal and divine within him engaged in intense battle. However, Richard’s glare quickly brought one side to victory, wiping all delusions from his mind, “This is a secret known only to the sitting emperor and a few select elders, dating all the way back to the Empire’s founding. We weren’t always called the Iron Triangle; this name came when three extraordinary warriors were born into the royal family in successive generations. Each of them learnt the law of metals and even progressed beyond, becoming hegemons in all of Faelor.

“The first of them mastered the power of iron, known as the King of Steel. The second acquired a good grasp of silver, coming to be called the Friend of Silver. The last of them all was the Son of Gold. Despite his best attempts, Godfrey’s control of his chosen metal wasn’t as expansive as those of his ancestors, but he left Faelor just like his predecessors. He warned us all not to walk this path in the future, that it was far too difficult to finish.”

By this point, the shaman’s entire body was pouring sweat, “These three legends were what gave rise to our Empire’s name, iron being used because the King of Steel was the strongest of them all.”

Richard sighed, “And that altar can summon all three of them, can’t it.”

“Yes. Each of the three left tokens behind when they left, allowing us to summon their will. The ceremony allows them to be resurrected in the body of a member of the royal family, retaining a vast majority of their powers for a few days before the vessel breaks down.”

“Oh?” Richard was a little surprised, “So Godfrey would have died regardless?”

“The wills of our ancestors can only last in Faelor for seven days before they must return,” the shaman said carefully.

“Huh, well that’s still a lot of time for a legend. Anyway, the tokens from the King of Steel and Friend of Silver are in the altar, aren’t they?”

“Yes,” the shaman nodded. Most of the royal family present seemed shocked by the news, while a few elders closed their eyes and tried to suppress their pain. With the secret out, the Empire had lost all hope.

“Excellent,” Richard nodded, “so what’s going on now?”

“N-Nothing…” The shaman’s expression changed drastically, sweat pouring down from his face as he forced a bitter smile. However, Richard’s cold gaze immediately changed his mind, “After His Excellency Godfrey fell in battle, we summoned the other two ancestors as well. We also left behind enough material for them to occupy their bodies, but it will take time for them to return. We didn’t expect the city to fall so quickly, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. When you let your guard down, the ancestors would return and defeat you all in one extraordinary strike.”

“And if you were that confident, why tell me all this?” Richard asked with a little confusion.

“Because… because… Sigh, because of the royal records. If their description of the King of Steel is true, then he will destroy the entire city while he kills you! I don’t want my wife and children to die, and you said you wouldn’t kill everyone!”

Richard nodded, “Alright, get me those records so I can have a look. Wait a bit for the passage to be complete, we’ll go down together.”

The remaining members of the royal family were sent away, all of them looking uneasy. They too were unaware of these secrets, and even the elders would have chosen differently if they knew that the King of Steel’s return would bring destruction. Richard had already shown surprising benevolence; they didn’t have the strength of will to sacrifice themselves just for his death.

……

As the night grew dark, the Frozen Throne fell completely silent. Anyone daring to create trouble had already been cut down, and even the incontent ones remaining didn’t have the guts to try anything else. Richard was in a quiet courtyard, reading the secret royal records that contained a wealth of information about the history of the Iron Triangle Empire, a book each dedicated to the three legends alone. For some reason, all of these records had been locked in a secret room that even the royal family didn’t have access to. The shaman had directed dozens of people to transport the records, taking two full trips for the entire bookshelf to be cleared out.

The King of Steel Lyos, the Friend of Silver Cyril, and the Son of Gold Godfrey had all appeared within a few decades of each other, with four more legends having popped up in the vicinity. This period was called the golden era.

“Wait, what?” Richard grumbled as he read on. The three kings had abilities far beyond that of their peers, being the first to leave Faelor to explore foreign worlds. However, the Empire they had left behind was renamed in their honour. This period in Faelor was extremely similar to the golden era of Norland’s own past, the only difference being that Norland had experienced even more astounding growth for a longer time. However, looking at the timings, Faelor should have expanded to the point where commoners learnt of the myriad planes at that time.

Norland from millennia ago was no better than the current Faelor. Generations of legendary warriors had explored the void, eventually discovering the Eternal Dragon and setting up churches to make offerings to it. Norland had quickly entered a period of constant planar wars, absorbing the resources of those it conquered to progress quickly and lord over its peers.

Faelor should have been on the same path a millennium ago, and this much time should have at least brought them to a rudimentary planar war system. The power level of the entire plane should have gone up a few levels as well. Had that happened, Richard himself would have met much more terrifying challenges when he first entered, perhaps even being destroyed outright. At the very least, there would have been no way for him to destroy the most powerful empire in the western hemisphere within a decade.

Even the sub-legendary beings of Faelor were completely cut off from the rest of the void. Most of them didn’t even know exactly what other planes were, thinking that invaders were servants of devils, demons, or other deities. They assumed that outside of Faelor was just a void where astral beasts and the like lived, with nothing else. In hindsight, a plane with so many legends should never have remained with such a closed mentality.

As he was wondering about the absurdity of it all, Richard noticed a book called the Treaty of the Gods. Intrigued by the title, he spent hours reading it from end to end. It was only once he flipped to the last page that he had a proper answer to his questions.

It turned out that the gods of Faelor had realised that the laws of the plane were changing when the first batch of legendary warriors went out to explore. This was definitely not good for them; they relied on divinity for their power and this change in laws was starting to limit it. The effect was limited, but they immediately grew fearful of what would happen if more and more legends ventured out. After a prolonged period of panic, they ended up coming to a conclusion that had set Faelor on the path to ruin.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA