Book 7, Chapter 19

Buried History

With his expedition into the abyss, Emperor Charles had forced the Millennial Empire and Sacred Tree Empire to acknowledge the Sacred Alliance. The new third human empire was a wounded one, but it had ushered in an age of heroes.

As Richard continued to examine the murals and exhibits, the family heads arrived once more. Casual attention towards the order and grouping of arrivals gave him a lot of interesting tidbits of information, one of the reasons he had come half an hour early. He was someone who lacked connections, and the information he did receive from his network wasn’t necessarily trustworthy. Moments like these tended to be more telling than when everyone was fully prepared.

Some simple pleasantries were exchanged before everyone sat down quietly in their places, some closing their eyes while others looked down in contemplation. When the time came, Richard took his position and greeted Duke Wellinburg and Duke Turing as he waited for the mystery to be revealed.

The moment the clock pointed to ten, crisp footsteps rang in the hallway outside the room. A servant opened the door to the hall and let in a middle-aged noble, one in a dark grey suit with every hair meticulously combed. His moustache seemed to be shining even brighter than the two large rings on his left hand, both with pigeon-shaped jewels that stored an astonishing amount of energy.

Even without those familiar eyebags, Richard would recognise the aura that was so starkly different from most Norlanders anywhere. The aura was what he had used to set the target when he used those greater offerings. He immediately felt his blood starting to boil, but forced himself to stay in his seat and just smirked; this legendary being couldn’t manage to hide the damage his sacrifices had done.

Julian walked into the War Advent Hall with slow, measured steps, torturing every single noble present. His gaze was immediately drawn to Richard, but after a flash of humiliation he looked away at the other nobles who seemed to have realised the reason for his presence. Flashing a somewhat distorted smile, he chuckled, “Distinguished lords and ladies, I am very happy to see you all once more. I know not one of you feels the same way, but you have received the invitations and know that this meeting is related to the succession. I have no plans to waste too much of your time.”

He deliberately paused, face glowing with brilliance as he announced in a singsong voice, “The great First Princess of Faust, Her Omnipotent Highness has decided to return and participate in the fight for the throne!”

With their fears being confirmed, many of the leaders fell silent. Those who weren’t as well-informed lost their voice, “Her Highness? Is it… Princess Apeiron?”

“Of course it is Princess Apeiron! Who else qualifies to be called the First Princess?” Julian’s face was filled with an expression of fanaticism.

Richard grew confused. He had never heard of a Princess Apeiron, but looking at the expressions of those around him he realised she wasn’t a simple character. These hegemons were filled with far more fear than surprise.

Duke Joseph stood up, speaking in a deep voice, “The Sacred Covenant states that only the sitting emperor can nominate a new candidate for the throne. Has Princess Apeiron obtained His Majesty’s approval?”

Julian’s face immediately distorted with anger, “Decades and you’re still so brainless! You don’t have the right to question Her Highness’s candidacy, just vote for her when the time comes! Am I not being clear?”

Another patriarch stood up, “Julian, this tone… Am I to understand that Her Highness is prepared to become an enemy of every family of Faust?”

Julian turned solemn, “I’m just a mad dog that serves Her Highness. You should know just what type of person I am from thirty years ago, don’t try to use it against me. Her Highness is only returning to take what is rightfully hers; she has no plans to make enemies of you, but you decide your fates yourself. Those who were already enemies of her back then? I can guarantee that their lives will be hell.”

This was a naked threat, but Richard was surprised to find that none of the patriarchs erupted in a rage. Julian turned to look him in the eye, nodding with a smile, “Ah, the patriarch of the Archeron Family. You might not have the right to vote, but you can still watch on; Her Excellency is a tolerant person who will give you the opportunity to cheer for her.”

Richard stood up and flashed a cold smile, “Indeed, we Archerons don’t have much in the way of history yet. But if I was to mention one of our strengths, it is the number of offerings we have.”

Julian’s own smile immediately froze. No longer as arrogant as before, he wouldn’t dare to fight the power of sacrifice again. The sheer pain he’d felt as time ravaged his soul was simply indescribable; he would rather be bitten down to his bones by the fire ants of the Outlands. Even more infuriating was how Richard had thrown away three greater offerings just like that; this was the type of thing he hated most after beautiful girls.

Julian’s cheeks twitched as his eyes spat fire, but he swallowed down the string of curses on his lips; Richard had already followed through on the threat once, and he couldn’t actually harm this hateful youth in front of this gathering. He was whimsical, not stupid; pushing every one of the fourteen families against Princess Apeiron ran counter to their goals. Eventually, he just snorted, “Lord Richard, our dispute is private. I hope you don’t act impulsively after Her Highness returns.”

Richard flashed a calm smile, “You think anyone who can stand here is all impulse?”

Julian’s face flushed red, but he gritted his teeth and chuckled, “That is true. Now, everyone, I have already brought you the message. When you vote for the Empress a few days later, I hope you consider things carefully.”

……

On the way back, Richard caught up to the Ironblood Duke and asked, “Your Grace, do you mind if I visit?”

Duke Orleans looked him up and down before nodding, “It would be my honour.”

A few minutes later, the two were sitting on the Ironblood Castle’s terrace and admiring the beauty of Faust as they discussed the situation of the Sacred Alliance. Richard went first, asking the question he wanted answers for the most, “Who is Apeiron?”

“Princess Apeiron…” The Duke had expected the question, but he still went quiet at her mention. His brow wrinkled slightly, a myriad of expressions flashing across his face ranging from fear to envy.

He sipped on his coffee and calmed his thoughts, “Princess Apeiron is His Majesty’s younger sister. She was also his main opponent in the fight for the throne, stronger than him and of purer bloodline. It is said that she awakened the astral destroyer bloodline, but the fourteen still chose Philip in the vote…… With no exception”

“The Princess was extremely angry at this and goaded His Majesty into a decisive battle in an unknown plane. Nobody knows the outcome of that fight, but when they returned she announced that she was leaving Norland and would head to the Outlands. His Majesty successfully inherited the throne.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA