Commander Eiga had never felt relief like this while sitting in a warm room and listening to the castle beings. Even though the conversation was not what they used to have, the feeling of warmth made him endure everything else going on around him.
Ser Akimitsu had been on speaking without any interruption ever since the council had sat on the table. Counselor Padoreigu never left a chance to take a jab at Ser Akimitsu. Sorcerers were excluded from joining the discussion and were sent to take care of the soldiers who had developed frostbites.
As usual, Genzou’s alchemy skill didn’t serve him a lot while continuing on the discussion.
All the while, the empty chair stood with nobody on it.
“You.” Ser Akimitsu remembered Eiga’s deed, “How did you even think of bringing those outsiders here?”
“They still are outsiders, knight.” Eiga said, “You never let them in. They will remain outsiders. Even their frozen bodies.”
“I don’t know how much wit you have lost in your journey.”
“I wonder how much paranoia you have gained meanwhile.”
“Is a moment of peace possible to exist in this moment of bickering?” Genzou stopped them.
“Yes, it is.” Ser Akimitsu looked at the doctor, “When we have a solution, there will be….”
“Come on knight, do you expect him to end this with stir on pot?” asked Padoreigu.
“I don’t expect the solution to come through your lips either.”
“You want an expedition, isn’t it?” sighed Commander Eiga.
“Is there any other way?”
“Doctor Genzou, can you prepare warmth potion by the morning?”
“I won’t be able to meet your expectations, ser.” was Genzou’s answer.
“See, Ser Akimitsu, this is the trouble. We may lose half of our army before reaching Hilcastle base. Our Lord left ill-prepared because he could. But we don’t share the same fortune. Whatever doesn’t even hurt Wernh’An can kill us.”
“Aren’t you ready to die?”
“Yes, I am. I am sworn to it. But we are sworn to protect Lord Wernh’An as well. Dying doesn’t complete our duty. It instead leaves things unfinished.”
“SER AKIMITSU!” a guard ran inside the room with someone.
It took Commander Eiga to realize who the guard had come with.
He was Wernh’An’s squire who had gone to Pryeg with him.
The squire had reached Hilcastle in the most miserable way possible. Even with the blanket around him, he was shaking. Underneath the blanket, his purple toes peeked at the council table.
Purple lips and near-frozen tongue was making him unable to speak.
“Where is Lord Wernh’An?” Ser Akimitsu didn’t let a second go in vain.
The squire was still shaking.
“Genzou, bring him some medicines!” Commander Eiga bellowed.
Genzou lifted his cloak’s end and ran towards the potion chamber.
“Where is he?” Ser Akimitsu asked again.
Squire still was in no condition to speak.
“Let me ask him.” Padoreigu put his hand on Akimitsu’ss shoulder, “Let me talk to him.”
Ser Akimitsu stayed still with open mouth as Padoreigu spoke to the squire in low voice, “Is Lord Wernh’An alive?”
The squire nod.
Counselor Padoreigu squinted towards Akimitsu.
“Medicine!” Genzou came with a tiny bottle and fed it to the squire by himself.
A minute later, the squire’s skin began to redden. So did his lips and tongues. But the fingers struck with frostbite burst like bubbles and leaked blood.
“Tell us more, squire.” Padoreigu caressed his head.
“I couldn’t bring him here.” Squire explained, “Because he was near to death.”
“Where did you leave him then?”
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.