Just as she took a step into the palace of Reitdarke, she immediately picked up on the strangeness within.
Within the courtyard next to the Princess’s room was a strange presence and voice.
Other than Naysis Ferne, there was another, foreign and dangerous presence standing in front of her.
Also, there was another presence that felt strangely dead, as if it wasn’t even alive but strangely still emitted a strong presence.
What were they exactly?
What happened while I was out retrieving that armor? Even if all the men Naysis had slighted all gathered together to take revenge on her, there’s no way they could break through the defenses of the palace, mhm.
—as she pondered all the possibilities, she flew off towards the courtyard.
Naysis Ferne: ……
Carmen stared at the baffling scene before her.
Naysis Ferne was currently locked in a stare off, weapon drawn, against an unknown man.
Between the two was a strange, white, rock-like object that was maintaining this deadlock.
That…thing, is that even a life form?
In front of its nearly squarish body, was a couple of plier-like arms that were currently locked tightly around the ankles of the unknown man.
Behind it was a stone pillar-like tail that was stretched out to Naysis’ hands.
No, not her hands…it was the ring on her finger.
It was as if this creature had jumped out of the ring and was currently facing off against the man.
Carmen: —who are you?
Carmen reached for her sword with practised swiftness and lowered her body slightly as she entered a readied stance.
Naysis Ferne: Capture him! I don’t care if you kill him!
Coagan: It’s my fault.
Coagan: I didn’t expect things to go awry like this, otherwise I wouldn’t have attacked myself or try to vent my anger like that…
Coagan: I should’ve just used my trusty traps.
Carmen’s sword left its sheath. In fact, Coagan wasn’t even able to see what the sword was like because Carmen was simply too quick. However, there was no need for him to see it either.
He bent down slightly as a low rumbling sound erupted from him, and within seconds, he shot into the air like an arrow and flipped over the courtyard walls.
Her sword returned to its sheath once more; as for Coagan, he had disappeared into the night.
Without a doubt, there was no way she could catch up to him.
Carmen: Who was that man, Princess?
Naysis slowly took in a deep breath and relaxed her fingers, releasing the weapon within with a loud clang onto the floor.
Naysis Ferne: …he called himself Coagan, he was here to kill me.
Naysis Ferne: He claimed to be a close friend of that man who got killed along with Ferdila’s son by Di Qi Ju. He was here to exact revenge on me.
Carmen: I understand, I’ll have the bounty issued by tomorrow.
Carmen: Then…what’s this?
Their eyes shifted to the white object.
Giving it a few more looks, if she really had to call it a life form…it would probably be a scorpion. A deformed scorpion that had its body plastered with some cement-like substance and carved into a statue.
Even now, its ‘pliers’ were still wrapped around what it was holding onto just a moment ago; Coagan’s ankles.
Looking closer, those ankles weren’t even a human’s; rather, they were prosthetics of some sort. Giving its similarity to the real thing, it had to be crafted by some of the greatest mechanists in Skills.
No wonder he was able to propel himself into the air like that, he didn’t even have a pair of legs to begin with!
This assassin…he wasn’t like any of the other men who bothered the princess. He was dangerous and intelligent. Compared to that man, this stone scorpion didn’t feel that dangerous, instead it was merely perplexing.
Carmen: Princess, where did this thing come from?
Naysis Ferne: I should be asking you that instead…it seemed to have appeared from my ring.
Carmen: I saw that, truly…
Naysis Ferne: Wasn’t this ring crafted from a material you found? Don’t tell me you don’t know what it is as well?
Carmen: I just saw that the material was nice, I didn’t expect such a strange outcome.
Naysis Ferne: !?
The stone scorpion shuddered for a brief moment, immediately catching the attention of the two ladies. All they saw was that it slowly loosened its grip on the prosthetic ankles and gently lowered its claws onto the ground.
??: …return home.
Naysis Ferne: ……
Naysis Ferne: Was it…talking just now?
Carmen: Mhm…it’s our language.
The stone scorpion gently adjusted its bearings. While it didn’t tug on the ring on her fingers, Naysis consciously followed its actions.
It was facing…the north. That was the center of the Divine Hall.
??: I can feel it, it’s very close now, home.
??: Westrealm’s presence is there.
??: Westrealm’s will still exists there.
??: Soon, very soon…
??: Not enough Westrealm…
??: No usable Westrealm nearby…
??: My Westrealm…they’re still on his person…
??: My wish…
The muttering slowly disappeared and the white scorpion began to tremble slightly. It began to shrink, collapsing inwards as it retracted back into the ring. Very soon, the stone scorpion had fully retracted back into the ring.
Naysis Ferne: ……
Naysis: What it said just now…you heard it as well?
Carmen: That’s right, but…
Carmen: What was it even talking about?
Naysis Ferne: I don’t know…it seemed to have something to do with Westrealm.
Carmen: How strange…looks like there are some secrets to that material after all. Making the decision to turn that into a ring was a mistake on my part.
Carmen: Please allow me to take it away and investigate it.
Naysis Ferne: —!?
Naysis Ferne: Err…
Carmen: Hm? Princess?
Naysis Ferne: Ah—it’s nothing, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with this ring.
Naysis Ferne: Didn’t you see it protect me just now?
Naysis Ferne: It’s alright, don’t worry. That’s all for today, you should go report the matter of this assassin to my royal father first, capturing him should be our highest priority now.
Carmen: Alright then, if anything happens, make sure not to force yourself.
Naysis: Mhm…I understand.
As she said that, an energy coursed through her arm and right into her brain in a manner similar to electricity.
It wasn’t a harmful act; rather, it was like the electrical impulses of a living thing being transferred through its nervous systems. Within these electrical signals were the ring’s thoughts and words.
It was currently communicating with Naysis Ferne.
This was the reason why she purposely sent Carmen away and insisted on keeping the ring.
Her instincts told her that this was a key decision.
??: I can feel your thoughts.
Naysis Ferne: (You…can hear my thoughts?)
??: …that’s right.
??: Tell me Human, where is this place?
Naysis Ferne: (…Reitdarke.)
??: Reitdarke…never heard of it.
??: This place, is it not the Core of the World?
Naysis Ferne: (Core of the World…)
Having systemically gone through a course in theology, she immediately recognized this as the old name for the Divine Hall. It was said that before the intelligent species appeared, this name had already spread throughout the lands.
Naysis Ferne: (That’s right, this place is very close to the Divine Hall.)
??: Divine Hall…
??: It’s current name, so it’s that…
Naysis Ferne: (Errr, who are you exactly?)
Naysis Ferne: (Are you even a living thing? Can you tell me what’s your current state and your name?)
??: I have no name.
??: Recently, when I came into contact with other humans, one of them gave me a name.
Naysis Ferne: (What is it?)
Naysis Ferne: (……)
Naysis Ferne: (Truly an ominous name.)
Naysis Ferne: (To us, “star” represents wishes. In that case, doesn’t “Starfall” signify unfulfilled wishes?)
??: …perhaps to humans, I’m not a bringer of good fortune.
Naysis Ferne: (Ah? No way.)
Naysis Ferne: (Didn’t you just protect me? Thank you for that.)
??: No, that was simply my instinct to try and collect Westrealm.
Naysis Ferne: (Collect “Westrealm”? What does that mean…)
??: “Westrealm” is the blessing that Westrealm placed on every living creature. Unfortunately, there was no more to be had on that living creature just now.
??: There’s no more on your person as well.
Naysis Ferne: (……)
Naysis Ferne: (Are you talking about… “Wish Points”?)
??: …perhaps, human semantics.
Naysis hesitated at those words.
“Collecting Wish Points” was a heretical act in the eyes of the Divine Hall. No matter how you looked at it, the creature within this ring was an enemy of the Divine Hall and its faith.
It was something that blasphemed the blessing of Westrealm and had to be exterminated.
But, it had just saved her life. Just like Di Qi Ju who saved her that day.
While what it did wasn’t to the same extent as Di Qi Ju, in her life right now, those who were willing to do so weren’t that many to begin with. She didn’t want to treat it as a heretical existence.
Either way, it’s not like she believed in that so-called god. As long as she said nothing, perhaps no one would find out about her conversation with this creature.
Naysis Ferne: (Oh right, didn’t you mention something about your wish?)
Naysis Ferne: (You have something you want fulfilled?)
??: I want to…return to the Core of the World.
??: I want Westrealm to notice me.
Naysis Ferne: (……)
Such an intangible wish, so intangible that she didn’t know how to go about fulfilling that.
??: Wish points, they aren’t enough.
??: They are still on that person’s body.
??: If I’m able to retrieve them, or maybe just borrow “a little”, I can fulfill it…
??: It’s already so close…he must’ve brought me back here.
??: He will definitely…aid me to the end. He has a reason to do so.
Naysis Ferne: (Who? Who is helping you?)
??: His name is…
??: Di Qi Ju.
Naysis Ferne: …
Naysis Ferne: ……
Special thanks to Kaung Thant Win Naing!!