Frenda began to talk in nobody in particular. It was a habit she had developed. Whenever she was alone with Leguna, she would talk to herself as if he was listening in. She believed he could hear her, at any rate.
Over the past decade, much had happened on Chino.
"I don't know your grudge with the current Emperor Alissanda, but from the point of view of a common peasant like me, His Imperial Majesty is a rare and wise ruler which is hard to come by. If not for him, we barbarians wouldn't have been able to coexist with the humans for so long. Even now, we are really thankful to him!" she said as she fed him. She often sung Alissanda's praises as she hoped that it could help abate the hatred in Leguna. Over the passing of so many years, she believed she had swayed Leguna a little. At the very least, he didn't look that swept up in despair like ten years ago based on his expression.
"Mom!" Claudius called from outside.
Frenda gave Leguna's mouth a wipe and put down the bowl. "Claudius has come back from hunting. I'll go take a look."
Inside a dark realm, Leguna held a tattered longsword as he struggled to kneel on the ground. He looked at the skies with grit teeth and a resolute expression.
A black lightning bolt struck him on the head like divine punishment, seemingly trying to erase him completely.
However, a weak, hemispherical barrier appeared above his head. Despite looking weak and powerless, it was able to completely dissipate the blow from the black lightning. A loud roar reverberated across the skies of that realm. "Impossible! Why dost thou resisteth? Unbelievable!"
Leguna coughed softly and cracked a smile. "So that's the limit of what you can do, eh?"
The response was nothing but a long silence.
After making sure that the other party no longer had any energy left to attack, Leguna gradually sat up and looked at the skies. "Njolvinr, you asked me why I held on all this time. Don't you already know the answer?"
"What doth thou meaneth?" the being known as Njolvinr asked.
"You want to kill me, so I'll naturally struggle. You're a god, you know. Even though you've fallen from grace for who knows how long, even you should understand that only a fool would give up without a fight, right?" Leguna mocked.
"Back then on the plane of matter, thou hast thyself with thy foe obliterate desireth. Thou placest not value in thy life," Njolvinr said with a hint of doubt, "Returneth mine power and I shall an oath sweareth, the entire continent to dust for thou rendereth."
"You mean, for my desire for vengeance?" Leguna lazily said, "Haven't you said that a thousand times already? Why do you bother to spout this pointless crap again?"
"Desirest thou not vengeance?" Njolvinr asked.
"Of course I do," he said, his relaxed face stiffening into one of cold calmness. "Some debts have to be paid."
"Then returneth mine power--"
"But you misunderstand me," he interrupted, "My target for revenge isn't the world, but specific people."
"Was it not the world that hath your cherished vanquished? Thou dost not this world hateth?"
"I do, I hate this world… But… I also love this world."
"Even now, I feel the world has treated me unfairly and owed me much. But--" He sunk into reminiscence. "--It's only because of this world that I was able to meet them. The world is at fault, not them. I love them, so I have to try to forgive the world for its unfair treatment of me. I also have to protect the world that I hate so much."
After a long silence, Njolvinr finally spoke, "So be it. Let this be mine loss."
"You're giving up so easily?" Leguna was pleasantly surprised. He had thought it would take far longer to deal with Njolvinr.
"Senseless squabbling is not to mine liking. Thy strong will giveth me no option but to temporarily give up."
"Temporarily?" He picked up on the peculiar choice of words.
"Forgest thou not, that I be the Lord of Shadow. Immortal, I am not. But so long as mine power existeth, I shall one day waketh. Also… Thine power hath begun with mine power mixeth. Even now, I can tell not me from thee."
This time around, Leguna fell silent.
Njolvinr was right. The two of them, strictly speaking, were the same being. It was like a split personality. Both had a sense of self, but radically differing views. They shared the same body and part of their memories, but had completely differing worldviews.
After some time, he looked up. Solemnly, he said, "I am me. It is my time now. You are merely a ghost that has been forgotten and left in the river of time."
"Time meaneth not to me. Cometh, Leguna. I shall silently observeth, the path that thou treadest…" His voice got softer and softer and the darkness in the skies slowly dissipated. Green and blue slowly appeared in his vision. With a single blink, the dark scape turned into a beautiful, endless plain.
A refreshing breeze blew past it. However, he was already at the brink of his exhaustion. He didn't seem the least bit excited and merely buried his face in the grass. Breathing in deeply, he said, "It's finally… over…"
White robes appeared in his vision, following which a beautiful face sporting long, icy-blue hair appeared. Annelotte looked at him encouragingly. After a moment's hesitation, she mustered her will and said with a blushing face, "Umm… congratulations."
Leguna didn't seem the slightest bit happy about seeing her. His relaxed face stiffened. He slowly stood up and glared at her. "What's the point in continuing the charade?"
"What are you saying? I don't understand…" Annelotte turned away with a guilty heart.
"What? Are you going to keep me in this dreamscape? Elder Eiron?"
"I would really prefer to do so as a precaution." Annelotte's face began to morph. In a few short seconds, the face of the girl he dreamed of nonstop turned into that of a bearded elf's.
"But you know you can't hold me," he said, letting his domineering aura surge. "I don't know how you managed to sneak into my battle with Njolvinr, but you should know that this dreamscape is my and Njolvinr's territory. Since he chose to back off, even you won't be able to stop me."
"Is this place not good enough? I'm only a spell Eiron left behind. I can turn into anyone you want and spend eternity with you. It's much better than returning to the cruel reality, right?"
Leguna kept silent and seemed rather hesitant.
"I can take on any role too." Eiron struck while the iron was hot and Annelotte, Eirinn, Innilis, Kurdak and Vera appeared before him, giving the feeling of the familial bond he so craved.Previous Chapter Next Chapter