Book 7, Chapter 29

The Cycle Continues(2)

Apeiron floated back to her chair even as the nobles present gaped dumbly, “You bastards saw enough, right? Now vote before I run out of patience!”

While the brash ultimatum left many at a loss, Duke Orleans stood up. Taking the golden sceptre that signified his vote, he headed towards the Princess and left it at Julian’s feet. The top of his head only reached her calves, so he looked up and matched her gaze with a meaningful look, “I would rather this country choke on its own blood than bow before humiliation.”

These words moved many of the nobles present. Everyone here had suffered indescribable humiliation only a few days ago, and the scarring wounds that were the two dividing lines were still fresh in their minds. They started nodding in consensus.

The Duke’s steps were heavy as he returned to his seat. Halfway there, however, he suddenly turned around and said with emotion, “I really hope to defeat you one day, at least once.”

“Not unless I’m dying,” Apeiron said coldly, but he had already sat down and returned to his calm, restrained self. Thirty years of repressed emotions had erupted for one moment, but her strength had returned him to his senses.

With the Ironblood Duke taking the lead, Wellinburg and Turing moved forward and placed their sceptres in front of Julian as well. They hated the idea of being at her feet, however, so they quickly returned to their places. The rest followed suit, making the one choice they could. Richard was the only one who remained seated from start to end.

Thirteen sceptres were placed at Apeiron’s feet, signifying the subservience of thirteen families. Duke Orleans’s clean defeat had shown that she had strength comparable to an epic being, so there was no other outcome possible. She had already made it clear that her temperament was better than thirty years ago; if not, she would have killed everyone who had voted against her in the past. The humiliation here was rather meek by comparison.

The princes at the side were basically background right now. Nyris and Neil still maintained neutral faces, but Ryan’s was a mix of confusion, unease, and fury. He was still far too young to hide his feelings.

The host of the ceremony finally cleared his throat, exclaiming loudly, “According to the Sacred Covenant, the next Empress of the Sacred Alliance has been chosen. With His Majesty Philip currently deceased, the throne shall immediately pass to Her Majesty Apeiron!

Even as the man’s voice resounded throughtout the hall and the rest of Faust, all the nobles of the Sacred Alliance stood up and bowed in respect of their new ruler.

“Ahahaha!” In what should have been a sacred moment, Empress Apeiron suddenly burst into crazed laughter. She flew into the sky, laughing until her body was bent over, somehow mustering the strength to punch upwards and send the entire roof flying.

Still laughing heartily, the Empress pointed at Faust’s sky, “I waited so long! I’m finally Empress! Can you see this, you old fuck? Did you think this day would come even when you died?”

She laughed with all her might as she cursed, to the point that tears flowed down her face. Only those who were present thirty years ago understood that she was cursing her own father. Voice growing louder and higher-pitched, her laugh penetrated Faust’s skies and buildings, “Where are you hiding, Philip? Come out for a fight to the death! I know you’re hurt, I’ll only use as much strength as you have! Where’s that bitch Ferlyn? Does she have the balls to step out of the Church? I’m back, come out! Come out and kill me!”

All of the nobles present were stunned, not having expected the new Empress to go an a rampage instantly. Causing trouble for the Church of the Eternal Dragon was akin to challenging the Eternal Dragon itself.

Apeiron flew higher in the sky, causing golden bands of spatial energy to form from amidst the clouds and wind towards her. Flying high was forbidden in Faust, and even legendary beings were forced to adhere to limits. Once caught by these bands, it was hard to tell what would happen. The laws of spacetime were present in some form through all planes and were second only to the origin laws of the plane; they were even part of the origin for many.

However, the Empress didn’t even dodge. Shouting loudly, she swatted the bands of energy and scattered them in an instant. The powerhouses below watched on, aghast; none of them would dare to touch even one lest they die. While Apeiron’s hands were rendered bloody, they were still whole. Just how much control did she have over spatial laws?

More spatial bands found their way out of the clouds as a low, mechanical rumble rang in the skies. Faust’s defensive mechanisms were beginning to activate, and in the blink of an eye hundreds of bands of energy were whipping down. Even with Apeiron’s skill, her body was left cut up and bloodied in an instant. It seemed like she would fall any moment, turning into the shortest-lived ruler of the Sacred Alliance.

Faust’s mechanisms still hadn’t fully actiated, but they already could force someone equal to an epic being into dire straits. Nobody knew what would happen if they were completely activated; there were no records of such a thing. Even within this city the Church was the most important space, and past its gates was not governed purely by Norland’s laws.

Apeiron herself didn’t dare rush into the Church. Even after these thirty years, she had no idea whether she could achieve victory over the Two-Faced Mirror, someone who had been her greatest enemy in the past. Facing a powerful enemy in an environment where she was invincible… Apeiron was crazy, not stupid.

Jacqueline suddenly walked out the gates of the Church, looking up and speaking, “Your Majesty, Her Excellency sends you an invitation.”

Still mid-air, Apeiron suddenly bellowed with a clear voice. Clenching her fist, she threw out a slow, powerful punch. Blood-red light immediately flashed out all around her, destroying every spatial band within a hundred metres. Her voice softened, “Do you see this punch? If you’re no match for me, just fuck off and don’t ever let me catch you!”

The attack left all of Faust deathly silent. The more powerful a person was, the paler their face. This one punch made it clear that Apeiron’s statement of killing Duke Orleans right away wasn’t a lie, although most didn’t really doubt her. She was many things, but Apeiron had never been a liar.

Jacqueline herself turned pale at the might that was on par with Philip’s, partly because Apeiron herself had been injured by the attack, but she still remained standing and repeated. “Your Majesty, Her Excellency sends you an invitation”

The moment her voice sounded, Apeiron flashed down and just pushed her aside before looking at the Church’s dark doors. One could see the magnificent halls within, and only those on her level could tell that this was where the independent space started; not just the altar. It was knowledge she had nearly lost her life to gain.

A soft smile appeared about her lips as she whispered, “Do you want me to come in so bad? Sure, I’ll do exactly what you want!”

She then took a step forward, entering the Church of the Eternal Dragon! Jacqueline sighed and followed behind, the gates closing behind.

……

When Apeiron reached the middle of the hall, a large amount of spatial energy filled the place as the walls and dome completely vanished, leaving behind an empty void. She froze as she felt raindrops pelting on her body, looking up to see a rain of gold. Slightly lost in the moment, she took a moment to register the raindrops gathering together to form an envelope several metres ahead.

For the first time in decades, the lunatic Apeiron hesitated. Right before she touched it, her hands began to tremble beyond her control. She felt like the letter held the answer to thirty years of suffering, but that frightened her.

“Always acting so cool…” she grumbled. Ferlyn had always been someone adept at charming people, including Philip himself. Still, she gathered her wits and carefully pulled a golden piece of paper atop it. Words slowly appeared on the blank page in Ferlyn’s elegant and perfect handwriting:

“You’re probably tired, aren’t you.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA