Chapter 149 – The Worth of Being Protected
“Inquisitor Zarvel… I’ll not say that I’m happy to see you again, but what exactly are you doing here?”
Balis retorted in an icy voice, plain anger clear on his face.
“Hahaha, you haven’t changed at all!”
Zarvel chuckled, his dark black eyes shining with delight.
Meanwhile, Balis remained silent and waited for the man in front of him to reply.
“Why do you hide your true strength even now? Is it because of the foolish Beast Emperor and his pride?”
Zarvel asked in a solemn tone, his mood abruptly taking a turn.
“He was once your liege as well.”
Balis answered in a calm voice, as his owl face slowly transformed into that of an elderly human with greyish hair. Although his skin was free of any wrinkles, one could feel the aura of ancientness exuding from his wise eyes.
“In the past, a lot of things were different… We were both pawns of a game that we didn’t want to be a part of, but were helpless to change our destinies. Is that the path of a Guardian?”
Zarvel spoke with hate, as he turned around on the balcony and faced the scenery of the palace and the six towers.
“Look at that sight, Balis. While they govern the kingdom, we are here acting like their subordinates and puppets of destruction! This is not who we were meant to be!”
Zarvel gritted through his teeth as a dark and baleful aura spread out from his body.
“We are not their puppets. We simply aid them when the safety of the people is at risk.”
Balis answered evenly, and he spread forth his own aura to suppress Zarvel so his baleful aura would not hurt anyone nearby.
“Aid? Stop being so naïve, Balis. They send out our Guardians for every little squabble that they have with the neighboring kingdoms. When did we become their soldiers? The Order was created so we could stop the violence, not take part in it.”
Zarvel withdrew his aura, but continued to gaze scornfully at the palace.
Balis did not know what to say, as Zarvel’s words were indeed true and even he himself felt that the Order was changing drastically by the day.
“It is time for us to take power and destroy the ones who corrupted the sacred Order. They are not worthy of being protected… ”
Zarvel turned back to face Balis and began walking past him.
“That is not the correct way, Zarvel! We can change the Order, but your current ideals are too twisted. We do not need more violence in this world. The council will never condone this path that you want to take.”
Balis shouted after Zarvel, persuading him to stop his plans.
“The flame has already been lit, my friend.”
Zarvel glanced back at Balis, a mysterious smile etched on his face.
“Big brother, why were you so late?”
Roran inquired, while he handed a towel to Calron. After the encounter with the member of the Raizel clan, Calron had returned to his room completely drenched in water.
“Just lost track of time in the market, as I had many things to order for the shop.”
Calron replied as he dried himself, but he sent a subtle signal with his eyes to Roran indicating that they would discuss this later.
Sensing that something significant had happened and Calron did not want to talk about it at the moment, Roran gave a slight nod to show that he understood.
“Master, will I be working in this new shop?”
Ellie called out from her bed in excitement once Calron put the towel down. She was starting to get bored while staying cooped up in the room and wanted to go outside.
“You can come with us to the shop tomorrow, and I’ll begin teaching you about the items that we sell and their prices. Also, do you know exactly how old you are, Ellie?”
Calron questioned the little girl, as he sat down on a chair and poured himself a glass of water.
“Uhhh… I think I turned seven a few months back… I’m not sure though… ”
Ellie hesitantly answered Calron, tapping her finger against her forehead in an attempt to remember more clearly.
“Haha, it’s alright, no need to stress yourself over it.”
Calron laughed at the cute expression on the girl’s face. He initially thought that the girl was around six years old, but it seemed that her growth was simply stunted due to a lack of food. Ellie still had a an year or so until her awakening, hence Calron’s mind was at ease.
“Ellie, may I ask how you became a slave and who your parents were? You don’t have to answer if you are uncomfortable with it.”
Calron gently looked at the little girl on the bed while he asked his question, and Roran perked his ears up at the side of the bed.
“I don’t mind answering Master. I don’t remember much, as we used to live in caves and it was dark almost all the time. My mother was a slave in the mines, and when she died… they sent me to this city. There were four other children with me in the cage, but they were all boys and a merchant bought them before me.”
Ellie spoke stoically with a stutter, but gazing at the two streams of tears on her childish face, Calron knew that the girl was trying to hold her emotions in.
No child should have to go through this…
Calron thought while looking at the brave girl in front of him. Ellie had been even younger than him when he had lost his family.
There were still some things that Ellie hadn’t mentioned, but Calron did not want to press any further.
“It’s getting late, you should sleep, Ellie.”
Calron stated with warmth, as he walked over to the little girl and patted on her head.
“I’m not sle- “
Ellie started, but she soon fell asleep at Calron’s touch.
“What are you doing, big brother?”
Roran appeared next to Calron, seeing that his brother still had his hand on top of Ellie’s head.
“I’m removing the soul stamp on her body.”
Calron stated briefly, as his eyes morphed into a deep shade of grey.
“Wait, you can do that!?”
Roran exclaimed with surprise.
“I cannot remove it completely as I don’t understand the technique, but I can make it so that Ellie’s mind is not tied to it or forced to comply with any orders sent through the soul stamp. I’ll study it a bit more, and then remove it wholly later.”
Calron replied while a faint white glow shone above Ellie’s head.
After a few seconds had passed, Calron finally isolated the soul stamp and he broke its link with Ellie’s mind.
A trace of pain appeared on the sleeping girl’s face, but it immediately vanished a second later.
“I need to prepare more God Tiles for tomorrow, will you be alright here?”
Calron asked Roran, as he smiled at the blissful expression on Ellie’s sleeping face.
“I’ll be fine. I wish big sis, Felice, was here so she could play with Ellie. I think that Ellie would have really liked her.”
Roran whispered quietly to Calron, afraid that his voice might wake up the little girl.
“Yeah… I agree… ”
Calron responded half-heartedly, not being able to picture the cold Felice trying to entertain a young child.
It’s been a few years since we last saw each other, I wonder how Felice looks now…
Calron pondered, but he soon shook those thoughts out of his head.
In the center of a large and colorful garden, the back of a young woman appeared as she playfully petted a tiny silver kitten.
Dressed in a simple light blue gown, her dark hair smoothly cascaded down her shoulders and her back like a flowing river. The kitten jumped around her, causing her soft and melodious laughter to echo in the garden.
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