In an instant, everyone's killing intent intensified. The Stokian assassin actually knew their goal! She couldn't be left alive!
"Calm down!" Leguna raised both hands to get them to remain calm. He knew why One was there was waiting for him, but he didn't think she would be so direct about it.
"Did you call her here?" Myr asked with a furrowed brow. He didn't like that mysterious woman one bit as he could smell the scent of danger on her.
Leguna shook his head. After some hesitation, he said, "But I can promise she comes with no ill intent."
"Sir, our mission is to be kept a complete secret according to His Imperial Majesty's orders," Soulslay said.
"Yes, but His Imperial Majesty also said that you three are to follow my orders no matter what," he coldly snapped, "And now, I want you to watch silently."
After stopping the fidgety brothers, he turned to one and asked, "So, One, what are you trying at?"
"Didn't I say it already?" She played around with the translucent dagger in her hand. "I'm here to stop you from assassinating Nidhogg. Also, I'm called Leybecca."
"How did you find out our purpose?" he asked, feeling rather annoyed at how laid back she was being. "One, if you're no fool, you should understand your current predicament. If you don't answer me properly, I won't bother with you anymore."
"Oh, that couldn't be easier. With the whole continent in this state, the desperate empire would most certainly send a few assassins to take Nidhogg's head. And, let me emphasise that I'm called Leybecca."
Leguna and Annelotte exchanged a glance. In the end, he asked, "On-- I mean, Leybecca, why are you trying to stop us?"
"I think you already have an answer to that. Nidhogg has become an extraneous lifeform," Leybecca said, "So, haven't you found this rather curious? Extraneous lifeforms aren't supposed to be able to influence the world. Yet, Nidhogg managed to turn the whole continent upside down. Why isn't the planar laws punishing him? Don't you think there's something fishy about that?"
"We aren't able to figure this out either. Do you know the reason, young lady?" Myr asked.
"I'm sure you're aware that resisting the planar laws require incredible power. However, the ability to withstand punishment from the planar laws from wreaking destruction over the whole continent shouldn't be something Nidhogg can do, even deities might not even be able to do hold up--" She turned to Leguna. "--However, while the planar laws' punishment is scary, it is incredibly rigid. That's why there are a few ways the punishment can be circumvented. That's what Nidhogg is doing."
"How's he doing that?" Myr asked.
"Simple He tricked Jilroan and had him be the controller of the Tide of Death. That's the only reason he can continue to act from behind the scenes."
"Is Jilroan really that stupid?" Leguna said.
"If you have armies marching up to your capital, I think you'll act even stupider."
"Hey! You didn't have to insult me!"
"Then, what about your reason?" Myr pulled the topic back into focus. "No matter who caused the Tide of Death, the fact remains that it's still here. Why stop us from fulfilling our mission?"
"While the planar laws are rigid, they're no fools," Leybecca explained, "Even though Jilroan was the one who triggered the Tide of Death, the one who masterminded the plan, Nidhogg, would be punished as well, just at a far lower scale thanks to not being directly involved. Even so, taking the lives of half the continent has pushed him to his limit."
Annelotte guessed, "You mean to say that even if we don't go, Nidhogg would stop the Tide of Death himself in fear of the laws' punishment?"
"That's right," she said with a nod.
Leguna shook his head. "If that's your only reason, I'm afraid we can't accept it. All you're saying is the Tide of Death will eventually stop no matter we go forward with the assassination or not, right?"
"Yes, isn't that enough?" Leybecca seemed visibly disappointed by the refusal.
"Then, let me ask you what Nidhogg would do after that?" He couldn't tell whether her expressions were genuine, so he tried not to insert any emotion into the inquiry. "Nidhogg would still exist, right? Do you think the empire can rest easy with a tumor like that hiding somewhere? Even if eternal peace comes after this, we still have to take him out."
"Eternal peace? Stability of the empire? Why bother using those excuses to trick me? Just come clean about it. Your precious Annelotte will only be in danger if he's left alive, right?"
Leguna glared at her angrily, but nodded hard. "That's right."
"Me?" Annelotte was taken aback. While she had noticed the deaths of the agents Leguna sent to protect her, she thought it was merely due to the fact that the Tide of Death was trying to wipe out the humans at the top. She had never considered herself to be the prime target.
"Apologies, child, I shouldn't have hidden this from you," Myr said with a sigh, and proceeded to explain the truth of it.
"That's why…" She turned to look at Leguna.
"That's why Leguna trained hard to get stronger regardless of the consequences and had all the elite agents of the bureau stationed near you. That's why he decided to step forward to deal with this matter. He's not doing this for the nation, the continent, or humankind," Leybecca said coldly, "It's all for your sake."
"That's enough!" Leguna felt his anger boil from her words. "No matter if I'm trying to save humankind, the continent, or Annie, it's my business! I have no need to bother with you right here!"
"Can't you tell?" Leybecca raised her voice and said, "Why hasn't Nidhogg stopped the Tide of Death yet? He doesn't care about killing people! He's just trying to force you out!"
"Force me out?" He was fuming so much he almost laughed hysterically. "Someone like me? I'm not even a saint-realm assassin. Why would the myth-realm Nidhogg waste his time with me?"
"Because you're sha-- Bleargh!" She spat out a mouthful of blood halfway through her words.
[The secrets of the gods are the greatest taboos forbidden by the planar laws. Even if you reveal it, you'll die in vain because the truth wouldn't change the situation either,] a voice rang in her mind.
"Pyro!" she spat.
"Alright, I'm not interested in knowing that--" Leguna furrowed his brow in frustration. "--I hope you understand that any truth you are trying to tell me won't change the fact that Nidhogg's alive. As long as he is, I won't stop advancing. That's all there is to it."
Leybecca watched him silently.
[See? This is it. His destiny is set in stone and will become fact. Now, you have two choices. Either you help him fulfil his destiny or cause him to fail before he achieves it. You'll have to wait who knows how many years for another uncertain reincarnation,] Pyro said before going completely silent.
Leybecca tried to think hard about what she should do under the odd glares of others. But she still couldn't see a better way. Pyro was right. There were only two paths in front of her. She could either advance or continue to wait.Previous Chapter Next Chapter