The Price of Victory
Lisana fell silent, before looking up at Nidhogg. "I don't know what he did, but I know he suffered heavy injuries to drive the corpses back! I also know that the only one who's unforgivable is the one who created the Tide of Death!"
"Is that really what you think?" Nidhogg didn't seem to mind. He stood up and leaned in with both hands on the table. "You really think that bastard did something good?"
"Yes! He stopped the Tide of Death!" Lisana replied loudly with a firm nod.
Nidhogg fell silent. "Let me tell you this then… To stop the entire horde, that bastard sacrificed all the warriors defending Fort Kesta!"
"They died fighting bravely in battle! They sacrificed themselves willingly!"
"They are courageous, I give them that. That's right, they did willingly fight to their deaths. However, they never consented to have their souls sacrificed for the cause! That bastard had sacrificed all their souls to stop the Tide of Death!"
"What did you say?!" the rest snapped.
"Surprised?" he said with a chuckle. He waved for another screen to come up. "Alissanda knew long ago that the fort couldn't be defended by the warriors alone. So, before the fight, he went into the Church of Bright Sun and prayed to Pyro for an oracle. The sun god did give him a solution: to convert the souls of all the dead warriors into the purest divine energy for the casting of a divine miracle -- Vaporize!"
Myr, Annelotte and Lisana were speechless. They knew about Vaporize; it was a miracle with great might, but the cost of using it would be the lives of the priests. The power from the souls of tens of thousands of warriors would also be enough to wipe out all the undead attacking the fort. However, their souls would be completely spent and burned up.
Having one's soul destroyed didn't only mean they would be swallowed up by abyss and nothingness, forever unable to be reincarnated. More importantly, their existences would be completely erased from the wheels of fate. Future generations would gradually forget everything about them, their names, tales, and so on. It would eventually be as if they had never existed in the first place.
And Alissanda was the one who made the choice for them, all ten thousand brave warriors of the empire! They had their own families, friends and feelings! They had willingly sacrificed themselves for the empire, yet they would not be remembered nor thanked. The living wouldn't even know they even existed. Was that fair to say the least?
The screen showed the scene of Alissanda discussing the matter with the priests of the church. Those devotees received the oracle from Pyro and told him the solution, and to everyone's surprise, he agreed without any hesitation.
"If sacrificing ten thousand can save all life in the continent, I'm more than happy to," Alissanda said from beyond the screen.
"Can you still call what he did right after hearing that?" Nidhogg asked snarkily.
Lisana's face paled. She pondered quietly for a moment and firmed her resolve. "Yes, he's right. He wasn't able to save everyone, so he sacrificed some to save others. No matter how unfair it was, he did right for the greater good!"
"Then did you ever consider how the sacrificed felt? What about your thoughts? No, what would you all think?" he asked, looking everyone in the eye.
Everyone was silent.
"Sacrificing a small number of people for the benefit of the majority seems like straightforward and simple logic, but the real questions are never that simple because not everyone thinks the same. What you consider a noble sacrifice is nothing but something you people in power force on the weak who can't decide for themselves! You're asking them to pay the price unconditionally!" Nidhogg suddenly turned to Myr. "And I hate dirty methods like these!"
"Don't think Alissanda didn't make his own sacrifices either! He fought at the forefront and almost died! He would always bear the burden and be tortured by it! He sacrificed lots too!" Lisana argued.
"I don't care what kind of price he paid. I only want to know what he would do if he had to face the ten thousand dead warriors."
"He would feel sorry," she whispered.
"Yes, sorry. What then? He's still the glorious prince of the empire and the fate of the ten thousand would still remain the same."
"Don't put the blame entirely on him," Annelotte said, "You are the root cause of all this. You're the one who truly holds the blame for all the evils."
Nidhogg turned to her and said in a thoughtful tone, "I hope one day when he apologizes to you, you will be able to accept it."
She didn't say a word and merely gave him a weird look.
"Alright, dinner is over and our discussions can end here." He took a step forward and pushed the rest back with his surging mana. "I know what you have come to do. Let us begin!"
The first one to react was Lisana. As the fighter among the three, she had to make sure the two magi were well defended behind her so that they had the time they needed for dictation. The two swords in her hand radiated beautiful and fatal auras that enveloped Nidhogg like an airtight net.
She gave off an absolutely terrifying vibe. The move she just used was one that could deal the most damage. The rapid swings even caused enough friction in her leather armor to start to smoke from the heat.
Nidhogg seemed completely distant. His two black pupils glowed blue and a barrier appeared before him. Lisana's strikes rang out sharply as they collided against the barrier, but the barrier didn't shimmer at all under the savage barrage.
"You're a rather decent girl," Nidhogg said, stretching his hand out. The next moment, he suddenly teleported in front of her and accurately struck his hand out to choke her. "But, you chose the wrong man."
The back of Nidhogg's head suffered a heavy strike. He lurched forwards, but didn't let go of Lisana at all.
"Release her!" Annelotte coldly said. She had launched a frost blade towards his head at an unconventional angle. Had he not reacted quickly enough, even a myth-realm magus like him would end up rather injured.
"Don't worry. She won't die." He turned to look at her with interest. "Is that order spell from back then still effective?"
"Order spell? It was you!" She instantly recalled the part of the backed-up memories she emphasised. Back when she and Leguna were returning from their sabotage on Seatide, they ran into a mysterious myth-realm magus. He was none other than Nidhogg!
"That's right. It's been a while since we last met."
"Let her go!" Annelotte's eyes flashed blue, a sign that she was about to use Host of Glacier and Absolute Frostscape.
"Suppress," Nidhogg said plainly. Annelotte was shocked to find that the frost aspect around her that she used to be able to manipulate freely stop responding altogether.
Nidhogg applied more force and caused Lisana to faint from asphyxiation. He tossed her on the ground and said, "I admit that you do have talent. It's a shame your training is still far too short."Previous Chapter Next Chapter