Truth of the Empire
[The truth… Gaaah!] Leguna was struck by a stone thrown by a commoner in the corner of his eye. Without the protection of any impetus, his eyelids cracked and bled.
However, he couldn't be bothered to mind the unfair treatment the foolish populace gave him. He was more concerned with what Nidhogg said. [Was what Grandmaster Myr said all lies?]
[No, Myr didn't lie, but he didn't speak all the truth. Marolyt, Kevin and Myr all knew about 20 years ago. Like you, they thought they knew everything, but I have my own understanding of the truth from back then.]
[Then what's this truth of yours? You're going to tell me you didn't try to rob others of their gifts?]
[Of course not, because I have never needed them!] Even though Leguna couldn't see Nidhogg's face, he could hear the self-blame and stubbornness in the magus's voice.
[How so? Because I had all six aspect gifts myself! I didn't need to take the gifts of others!]
[What?!] Leguna's mind blanked out. Someone had gifts from all six aspects?! Wasn't Nidhogg only a triple gifted?
[Surprised?] Nidhogg completely expected that kind of reaction from him. [Think about it; if this is something even you would be shocked about, imagine what kind of commotion that would've caused if I had made this public. How would the people of the world perceive me? How could the two empires not fear my power?]
[That's why you hid that fact and pretended to only have three sets of gifts?] Now, Leguna finally understood the truth. It was indeed that having too much power would cause the empires to be wary. If one had enough power to wipe out all the magi in the court magi association, what kind of emperor would feel that their reign was stable?
[That's right! It was because the founding emperor of Hocke, Hector, feared my power! That's why he plot to separate me from Marolyt and the rest and forced us to fight!]
[Then what in the world were you doing back then? If you hadn't been acting so suspiciously, why would Grandmaster Myr attack you out of nowhere?!]
[I already told you it's a plot by Hocke! You should know that I had cut ties with Stok because they killed my beloved. After that when I helped Duke Hector Mellin found his empire, he found out that I'm gifted in all six aspects and was really wary of me. After that, he pretended to give me an ancient tome, in which I found a forbidden spell.]
[What kind of spell?]
[The genesis spell! I found a spell I could use to revive her! Apart from some rare materials, the spell also needed the six aspect essences that form the basis of the planar laws!]
Hearing that, Leguna felt the pieces click together. He understood everything and understanding flooded his mind. Everything was due to Hector Hocke's plot.
Hector had given the tome with the genesis spell to Nidhogg. One could only imagine how madly happy Nidhogg had been, so he spent all his time after that seeking the ingredients he needed. When he had all of it, he returned to Melindor and tried to use the spell to revive his beloved.
At that time, hector told Marolyt and the rest that Nidhogg was trying to transplant the gifts he stole from others to himself. When they arrived at the scene and saw six different aspect essences in a formation they didn't recognize, Marolyt broke the formation out of rage. Nidhogg, on the other hand, lashed out because all of his effort over the past few years had gone to waste. The inevitable battle thus ensued.
The ending was the same as what Leguna knew. Nidhogg managed to avoid being killed by Myr's Death Sentence, but he was still in a half-dead state when Eiron found him while living in seclusion. In the end, Eiron, who couldn't bear to let Nidhogg rage rampantly across the continent, chose to kill him. Before his death, Nidhogg probably used the last of his power to transfer all six of his gifts to other people and resulted in what it was today. Leguna inherited Nidhogg's shadow dancer abilities, Annelotte inherited the water swayer abilities, Saron became both a wind walker and a fire guide, and Alissanda became a light breaker. It was no wonder their ages were that similar, despite how rare gifted should be. However, what happened to the earth aspect?
[Wondering where the earth gifts ended up?] Nidhogg said as if he had read his mind. [Barbarian king Legg.]
[It was him!] Everything was connected. Leguna even recalled the first time he met Leybecca and why she said 'it had been half a year'. Back then, both Legg and Saron were dead. Nidhogg definitely managed to collect his fire, wind and earth gifts back, and those were only half of them! She had envisioned how it would turn out from back then!
[See? They're still the same and haven't changed one bit. Back then, Hector feared my power and eventual betrayal, so he chose to betray and kill me first. Now, your good friend, Alissanda, also fears that you could be the final spark of the Tide of Death and chose to kill you.]
[But he didn't really have a choice.] Leguna didn't really feel like arguing. Even though he had accepted Nidhogg's version of the truth and no longer saw Alissanda as a friend, he still believed Alissanda was different from Hector. He didn't do it for the throne, but for the lives of the people on the continent.
[Didn't have a choice?] Nidhogg laughed mockingly. [Even after experiencing all this betrayal, you still believe anyone bearing the name of Hocke is any good? Let me tell you a few more things then. Do you know about Marolyt and his woman?]
[I do.] Leguna had heard Marolyt talk about his history with Annelotte's mother before.
[Actually, that was a Hockian plot as well. Back then, Hector had long had the thought to declare an independent nation. However, he would need a lot of help to achieve it, so he set his sights on that fool, Marolyt. He sent Annelotte's mother to Marolyt, but before doing so, he made sure to ruin her pretty face and ordered her to blame it all on Jilroan. That sowed the hate Marolyt had for Jilroan and made him an obedient hound of the empire!]
[Shocked? Why don't I tell you something else? The association of court herbalists have a secret lab. They're trying to synthesize a bacterial toxin. Once one person gets infected, it would spread like a plague! Think about it. If the Tide of Death didn't occur, where would the toxin be used, then?] Nidhogg's words sounded like the devil's.
[The millennium capital!] Leguna said in terror.
[That's right! The millennium capital! It's all planned in advance by the Hockian Imperial Family. If the millennium capital couldn't be taken, they would use their catapults to toss infected agents of the toxin inside. In another month or two, the city would be completely exterminated! Oh, let me add that the one who suggested this is Alissanda!]
[Impossible? Do you remember the attack on Annelotte's lab where she worked on her restoration on the magic cannons? The Stokian assassin left Geoffrey's emblem there. Actually, the emblem had been intentionally given to the Stokians by Alissanda because he wanted to escalate hostilities between you two to force you to join his side. Don't be in a hurry to argue. You're already reached the execution grounds. Look at who's standing the closest to Alissanda.]
Leguna looked up and froze. The one whom he thought was close to Geoffrey and was his greatest support, Premier Alfreid, was actually standing the closest to Alissanda and looking quite tight-knit!Previous Chapter Next Chapter