Book 7, Chapter 25

Lightless Night(2)

It was a dark night in Faust, the moon that was supposed to be shining in the sky no longer present.

The burly man had long legs, but as he climbed the stairs to the Church he didn’t miss a single step. However, this didn’t seem to be reverence but nostalgia; despite his lack of power, the man seemed to have a natural aura of sovereignty, of someone who held the world within their palms.

Once he arrived at the doors of the Church, a young priestess walked over, “It is very late now, any offerings need to be made tomorrow.”

The man was dressed like a peasant, but just his aura convinced the priestess to respect him. However, he looked her in the eye and said softly, “Go tell Ferlyn that I’m here.”

It was indescribable blasphemy for someone to reference the High Priestess by just her name. The priestess would have called for the paladins immediately to throw the man out, but for some reason she just nodded and rushed back to Ferlyn’s hall in the Church. The confusion was evident on her face— she didn’t understand just why she would obey the big man like he was her master— but she ran all the way to Ferlyn’s door.

“He’s coming?” a soft voice sounded from within the hall.

Still in the midst of her confusion, the young priestess instinctively replied, “He’s already here.”

“Alright, you may leave. I’ll go see him.”

In the central hall of the Church, the middle-aged man was casually looking around at the gorgeous decorations in the storied building. The only thing special about him was his size, but despite him walking around as he pleased neither the priestesses nor the paladins came forward to stop him. It was as though there was nothing wrong with his presence at all.

As Ferlyn walked over and saw his face, she immediately turned stiff. The middle-aged man looked at her and smiled heartily, “Why, can’t recognise me? Hard to blame you, I wasn’t like this thirty years ago.”

Ferlyn stood still, unaware of the trembling of her body, “Philip…”

The man stroked his cheek, “I think I’ve forgotten what I even looked like… I’m getting old—”

“NO!” she suddenly flew forward, plunging into his arms and hugging him hard, her slender arms almost disappearing into his bulging muscles, “No, you’re just the same as before!” 

He smiled as he embraced her, gently stroking her hair, “You haven’t changed at all… It’s almost as though all this was just a dream.”

Ferlyn refused to look up, continuing to shiver as she held him quietly. Philip spoke again, “Take me to where you’re staying now; I still have some time, we can talk. I miss Ticktown so much.”

A moment later, they had entered the back hall of the Church. Within this place was the scene of a small town surrounded by mountains, lakes, and rivers. Ferlyn and Philip were sitting on open-air seats right outside a small tavern, smiling at each other.

This was where the two travelling adventurers had first met. Every single detail had been recorded in Ferlyn’s heart, and with her power here it had all been reproduced down to the tiniest of details. Thirty years had left no traces on Ferlyn, but Philip had a number of pockmarks and nicks. He couldn’t be called handsome anymore, but he still had the presence of a hero who would go on to rule all of humanity.

The Philip of Ticktown hadn’t yet become a saint, but he had wonderful power. He was also a lean, fit man; the fat was entirely the Emperor. Ferlyn looked at him and chuckled, “You’ve grown old.”

“Yes,” Philip had no intentions of hiding his emotion, “Really old. I let my appearance fade with time, I was afraid you’d forget that time was passing while immersed in this place. Look, you’re still the same.”

Ferlyn smiled, “I wouldn’t dare let myself. What if you couldn’t recognise me?”

Philip laughed loudly, pointing to his hearts, “You’ve always been right here, how could I make a mistake?”

The High Priestess went blank for a moment, “I… don’t know how to change.”

“Heh… No, you don’t.”

“… And you? How come you’re suddenly here?”

“I couldn’t wait an entire century to see you, it was agony!”

Ferlyn’s head drooped a little, a single drop splashing down onto the back of her hand. However, her voice remained calm as ever, “I heard people were plotting against you?”

“Eh,” Philip continued to smile and wave, “You think those idiots would actually succeed? I just couldn’t stop it. They gave me the chance to get in two good fights and then come see you.”

Ferlyn put her hands on his, her head still not lifting up, “You fool… It’s only been thirty years, why can’t you wait?”

“And how many has it been for you? 300? 500? How could I wait for you?”

Ferlyn’s own hall was like the Temple of the Sands, possessing the ability to adjust the timeflow freely. Ten years could pass in the blink of an eye here, and it was something both generations of chosen used in the same way; they hoped to use the passage of time to numb their hearts.

It was just that some pains couldn’t be washed away no matter how much time passed. Not all wounds healed in time. Ferlyn whispered, “What should I do for the Alliance?”

Philip shook his head, “I took the Fort of Dawn, but even if it’s the glory of the entire human race I couldn’t come to care. That place is dead, and I am too. Only a living dragon can become the king of beasts… I…” he smiled reluctantly, “My only regret is that I didn’t manage to get you away from that old dragon in all this time.”

His voice was low, but even with her head down she couldn’t suppress her tears any longer. They started to flow, the first few drops breaking a dam that had been holding something up for an eternity. She didn’t know when it was that she raised her head, but all she saw was the emptiness. There was only a desert all around her, no tavern, no town, no Philip. The earth and the sky seemed to be one, and as she looked at her hand all she could see was some pale gold sand.

She suddenly crumpled to the ground and burst into tears for the first time in centuries. The desert shifted as the sky grew dark, and an inky blackness in the distance rushed forward and swallowed everything.

All that was left was a world without light.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA