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“Then I refuse,” Kasheda replied, strong and hard. “I will serve no coward.”
“It is your loss, Highness…” Daedalus bowed one last time before turning his head to look at the empress. “Kordoza’Pareo,” he called.
The empress remained silent. Her eyes glued at the man.
“Do you still remember the things I told you before?” he narrated as a throne made of ice formed behind him. He sat on it as he put his elbow on the chair’s arm, resting his cheek on his right hand. “About a woman I would never defeat. The reason why I seek your help?”
“I am not a decrepit empress, Daedalus. Do not insult my intellect.”
“Right…” He laughed mockingly. “However, it seemed that I overly overestimated your abilities. This is a warning.” His eyes narrowed. “Leave! If you don’t want to die, run away… You can even bring your queens-”
“Such impertinence to her imperial highness!” Kapeha screeched, her mandibles trembling in utter rage. “To run away? Have you lost your mind, human?!”
Daedalus gently lifted his head and looked at her. He smiled, seemingly satisfied with the turn of events. “I’m just saying that you’ve served your purpose. It didn’t amount to anything, anyway, so I’m giving you some leniency to let you live. I need no thrash in here.”
The angry queen bent her legs and leaped towards Daedalus. She couldn’t listen anymore. The insolence of the human before her was almost inconceivable. However, before she could even reach him, she suddenly fell straight on the ground.
Kapeha howled in excruciating pain as her six feet broke like tiny twigs. Then suddenly, Daedalus vanished and reappeared above her head, his sword extending above the crevice between her head and thorax.
“Do you want to die that badly, Highness?”
“I’d rather die than allow you to disparage the empress’s name! I don’t know what the mother queen sees in you, but you are no friend of ours!”
“Oh?” Daedalus lightly stabbed his sword, a green liquid oozing from the shallow wound on the crevice. He then bent his knees and knelt above her thorax. “I like you too. Your loyalty is outstanding, but you’re giving it to a cowardly monarch,” he whispered, then turned towards the empress. “Don’t you think, Kordoza’Pareo?”
The empress twitched for a moment before recovering her calmness. “Enough with the nonsense, Daedalus!” She said in a cold voice. “This isn’t in the agreement.”
The red-haired man didn’t answer immediately to buy himself more time. Because Daedalus might not be as talented as Pasifae when it came to grand-scale spells, but unlike her, he had a gift. He didn’t need a vocal incantation to use magic. All this time, he had been slowly chanting inside his head.
“I am deeply sorry, your imperial highness. But you’re time,” he finally answered. He smiled and raised his sword. “Is over. Hasudna’Karu!”
“What is the meaning of this, Daedalus?!” The Kordoza’Pareo roared as everyone in the vicinity except for the Daedalus suddenly experienced a massive force pulling them down. To say that it was more powerful than the spell he used before was an understatement. It was so strong that the queens, the empress, and Goliath’s broken parts sunk on the churred ground. The dust in the air also dropped while breathing became harder for the kordozas and the empress. Their feet were also broken and bent under their body.
“Shall we start?”
“What is the meaning of this?!” The empress asked again as the man returned his sword on its sheath and sat again on his frozen throne. “What do you want?!”
“It’s simple…” His right arm stretched to the side, palm open. After a while, Goliath’s head flew to his hand like a metal being pulled by a magnet. Then he gouged out the large ruby inside it before glancing at the empress. “Surrender your crown.”
“You shouldn’t listen to him, your highness!”
“Silence, Kapeha! None of you is allowed to speak!” She snapped at the queens, before looking at the man once again. “Nonsense, Daedalus!” She laughed in disbelief. “Who should I surrender it to? Kasheda? Kapeha? There so much I had tolerated but-”
Daedalus’s eyes sharpened, his right brow slightly raised. No words escaped his mouth as he crushed the gemstone in his hand.
“Hold… on…” Her voice broke. “So you’re aiming for it, all this time…”
Silence. A cold silence enveloped the area while the gemstone regenerated inside Goliath’s head. Once it flew towards the broken parts, it immediately dropped on the ground with a loud clunk. Daedalus smiled. Just as expected, the mana barrier can only protect it from offensive spells.
“It’s that or death, highness.” Once again, he extended his arm, got ahold of the gemstone, and broke it a second time.
“But that’s impossi-”
“So is it death?”
Another silence ensued while Daedalus continued his under-handed tactic to drain Katarina’s mana reserve. It lasted for a few minutes until he broke the quiet himself and pulled out his sword once more. “Make your choice, Kordoza’Pareo. You are running out of time…”
With a heavy heart, the empress began a chant that resulted in an uproar of disapproval behind her.
“Silence!” she declared, stifling the protest. Then she continued with the chant to save her life.
A few more minutes and a white light emanated from the tip of her horns. “Daedalus Harkin,” she began, her voice sounding especially heavenly and regal. “In place of all the Kordoza’Pareo that came before me. In the name of Haleo’Metea, I appoint thee as the new emperor… May thy power lead the kordovas to the land of eternal prosperity. Kordoza’Pareo’Hosana…”
As the white light flew towards Daedalus, the Kordoza’Pareo’s body started to shrink. Her carapace turned golden. Its silvery color that reflected different colors against the sunlight had completely vanished.
The same glow entered Daedalus’s chest. Then he sensed a warmth on his back as though something was being written on it. A new power surged on his veins, flowing in every part and corner of his body.
“Very well…” He flicked and as promised, Daedalus lifted the spell. However, as soon as he did, all of the queens and the former empress jumped on him, blasting different spells at the same time. Unfortunately for them, he already anticipated it. He blinked behind the former empress and severed her head and abdomen while the remaining five kordovan queen’s gasped in disbelief. Her organs and blood scattered across the battlefield, releasing a foul and pungent smell on its wake.
“I am the Kordoza’Pareo,” declared Daedalus as he fell back on the ground. “Heed my call and submit yourselves! Stay wherever you are!”
The kordozas’ movements stopped all at once. They stayed on the ground like a shaking statue. Rage and hurt overwhelmed their body as the ancient spell of their race took effect. The mother queen betrayed them. Even though they served her with utmost loyalty, she chose her own life over the future of her kin. The ancient spell cultivated by countless kordovan generations was no more. Once the man left the island, it was only a matter of time before their race died out on this dangerous island.
“You’ve already taken what’s rightfully ours,” Kareya yelled in despair. “Why don’t you just kill us and get over with it?!”
Daedalus sauntered towards her and laughed. “Where’s the fun in that? And if I want to kill you, I would have done it already. However…” He inched closer to one of her eyes that were bigger than his head. “You still have many uses. The king might even be pleased to take one of you as his pet.”
“Just kill me! I would rather die than serve the likes of you!”
“If that is true…” Daedalus raised his chin, his fiery gaze challenging her. “Then why don’t you kill yourself? You’re allowed to move if you’ll kill yourself.”
Silence. A deafening stillness dawned upon them like a harrowing shriek. Darkness appeared on their faces. So while shaking in hopelessness, Kapeha turned away.
“Wise choice… and this is an absolute order, none of you are allowed to kill each other. Because if you did, then I shall order all of your kins to commit mass suicide.”
And then there was silence again until Daedalus, and the queens that now served him felt an approaching superpower. His lips curved into a smile. “Took you long enough,” he said as he glanced above. “Lady Katarina…”
“Daedalus…” the old woman muttered sharply as she landed before him.
“Lord Daedalus…” Vlanca cried out, her eyes wide open as Kahesa also settled behind the old lady.
“Vlanca?” Daedalus lost his cool for a moment. His grin vanished. His hands clenched into fists.
Vlanca jumped off from the kordova’s back and slowly approached the man, but Katarina held her hand.
“So you’ve used it…” He said flatly, his voice sounding more disappointed than indifferent.
“I’m sorry… I-”
“It doesn’t matter,” Daedalus interrupted before gazing back at Katarina who wore a grimace. He smiled. “Would you have a chat first or a fight?”
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.