Chapter 143: Departure and New Discovery

Somewhat embarrassed, Yuri scratched his head with a light blush but Sylvia continued with the same smile, her eyes turning sharp and serious.

“Oh but you truly did save us all. Because, if Shen were to fall in the devil’s hands, he would’ve ended up doing incredible things only focused on evil, then Ryu would’ve been the one destined to stop him. And if these two brothers were to wage wars one against the other, not just Antara, and for sure not only the three continents, but all three planes from Earth, Underground, and Heaven would end up being covered by the flames of war and massacre, turning the entire Sario into a world of destruction and calamities.” → Sylvia

“What…?” → Yuri

Yuri’s complexion paled while sweat covered his entire body as he gazed inside Sylvia’s eyes, deep like the Abyss but white like the heavens, filled with knowledge unbefitting a normal mortal. She then closed her eyes and smiled brightly.

“That’s why, thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving us all, Yuri. No matter what anyone says, for the Antara Kingdom, and even for Shen and Ryu, you are the true Hero. Even for me; thank you for saving my husband and didn’t give up on saving him even though you had the chance to end his life. We all will remain forever indebted.” → Sylvia

Sylvia then bowed her waist to Yuri, making the heroes and the elites from behind him to look in shock, unable to hear what they were talking about.

UP!” → Bernard

Just as Yuri wished to beg Sylvia to stand up, a loud shout from atop the walls of Antara reverberated throughout the kingdom. Bernard stood up in the middle of the walls with Ryu and Bonny right beside him, smiling lightly at Yuri and his group. Then more and more warriors of Antara and residents climbed atop the walls or walked in front of the open gates, everyone with a slight smile on their faces.

“BOW!” → Bernard

Just as Bernard’s explosive voice boomed again, everyone bowed down just like Sylvia, showing their respect to the hero that helped them and everyone else inside Sario. From the heroes party, everyone was stunned and unable to talk while the elites felt prouder and joyful, knowing that the one they were bowing to was one of their own. Sylvia then continued and her words were audible even to the elites and heroes.

“For us, Mister Yuri, you are our true hero. You’re always welcomed here, the Antara’s gates will forever be opened in front of you. Everyone gathered here and are showing their gratefulness to you and only you. No matter what kingdom you decide to take part in, or what group you’re from, we will always be indebted to you as friends.” → Sylvia

She smiled brightly to Yuri then glanced with a crafty glint at Leorio, and Leorio got the message loud and clear.

So basically even if the entire kingdom is indebted to Yuri, Victoria will never be able to use this connection to make favors with Antara, and neither our group or any other kingdom in the future. This is a strictly friendship-based relationship, no politics included and everything can be accepted as long as the balance of power is not affected… Tsk, the people from this kingdom are just too shrewd. Not even their hero can ask for favors in our Queen’s name. Friendship is friendship, while politics and power are another. → Leorio

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Leorio sighed while feeling like nothing has been won from all this incident, but after seeing Yuri’s eyes filled with emotions and shock, he was unable to not feel like smiling as he got closer and ruffled his hair.

“What are you staring like that for? Don’t you have anything else to say?” → Leorio
“Eh…? Ah! R-right!” → Yuri

At first, still dazed, Yuri then looked at everyone then again at Sylvia, his voice still emotional.

“I-I understand,  Miss Sylvia. I’ll be sure to come once in a while and say my hellos to King Ryu and Queen Bonny, and while I’ll be in Victoria I’ll be sure to keep Mister Shen company so to keep a close eye on his seal. Please don’t worry and let this matter on my hands until he’s back.” → Yuri
“Oh, no need to mind that, I’ll come as well~. But as I said, I still have something else to do until then.” → Sylvia

Sylvia winked at Yuri with a crafty smile on her face, making Yuri feel like Shen will have quite the surprise in the future for some reasons.

Yeah… Shen truly needs someone to keep him in control and Sylvia is the best choice. → Yuri

Yuri smiled with an acceptingly and then bid his goodbyes to everyone else while the four heroes bowed down to the kingdom in a form of apologizing.

While Yuri’s group was still saying their goodbyes to the others, I was already quite far from the rest, using my explosive speed to go around two times faster than the elites or heroes at their full speed. Suddenly, inside my head, Ryu’s voice resounded somewhat amused.

Who would have thought Sylvia would acquire such a charming aura? I got shocked when I first saw her after she returned with you. Have you done something~? → Ryu

At his words, I felt somewhat annoyed and asked back in a hurry.

Whatever, man. It’s not from me. Now, why have you contacted me? → Shen

Right. I wanted to say that Master Ignatius told me he will visit our kingdom tomorrow. I wanted to tell you sooner but you rushed to leave. → Ryu
Ignatius? What business does a Legendary Dragon have in Antara? → Shen

Even though these were huge news, I felt no such surprise, rather, that only made me somewhat confused.

Well, he is my master after all. I asked him to help me control the essence he offered me and apparently he accepted. Now he’s on his way here from the far North… He also said that he wishes to examine Thanatos’ Seal and see for how much it will last. → Ryu
What do you mean? Is there a possibility for that dark lizard to appear again? → Shen
It was just sealed. To kill it we need to either transport it on the surface of the Sun or at the center of Sario. → Ryu
… That’s screwed up. → Shen
Tell me about it… Also, has Sylvia told you what she’s going to do? → Ryu
Wasn’t interested enough to ask. → Shen
Wow, you’re cold. → Ryu

Ryu laughed then continued.

Well, no matter then, if she didn’t tell you then I won’t say it either. Other news, it seems that Andrew and Sara are returning with quite a group of around 600 and 800 people respectively. I’m still unsure which races there are, but hey! More people for our kingdom! → Ryu

Ryu seemed very delighted with the fact that his kingdom was growing again and I lightly smiled at his excited tone.

Yeah, good for Antara then. → Shen
Sigh~… You don’t seem all that surprised. → Ryu
Well, it doesn’t really- → Shen
“-have anything to do with me”, right? So you still can’t see this place as your home. → Ryu


You’re asking too much from me right now. → Shen
Right… anyway. Your two disciples started to become quite depressed because you left them just like that. They rushed with everyone toward the Northern Gates to say their goodbyes to you all, but just as they arrived, you were already gone. → Ryu
It’s quite difficult to see two random brats as my disciples when they are so afraid of me. Are you sure they love me as their master? I think I’ve been quite the asshole with them. → Shen
No, no. Don’t misunderstand. All of this is because of the Devil’s aura, they are afraid of the devil, not of you. → Ryu
Right now is the same thing. I’m a Half-Devil and can’t do s*** about it. → Shen

My voice spiteful as I became aware once again of how disgusted I was of devils, and now even of myself.

… Fine, see it as you want. But they’re still your disciples, so do you have any kind of message for them? → Ryu

I thought for a while then asked

Think Ignatius would agree to train the two disciples in my place? At least until they’re able to get past their fears. → Shen
You want to make a Legendary Dragon train them?! → Ryu
Is there something wrong? → Shen
… No, never mind… → Ryu

Ryu felt somewhat conflicted but he thought that simply asking won’t be a problem.

What should they train on? → Ryu
Just the norm; combat, awareness, reaction-speed… Right, while at it, please ask Ignatius to pressure them with his own aura. If they’ll be able to resist his aura, then their fear for me should diminish as well. → Shen
T-that’s quite tyrannical, don’t you think? → Ryu
It is necessary in case there will be an enemy with the same aura as mine. If they show signs of collapsing then just stop the training. But I’m sure that I don’t need to teach a wise old dragon how to train children, right? → Shen

[You are perfectly right about that.]

Suddenly the heavy voice of an old and domineering being resounded inside both mine and Ryu’s minds.

Master Ignatius! → Ryu
Dragon Ignatius… Why the sudden contact? → Shen

I asked somewhat surprised.

[I observed that young Ryu was already in a connection with another soul, the soul of the one which knows about the Winged Arts. How are you, golden soul?]

I’m fine, I thank you for the concern. → Shen

[“Fine” can define many states of spirit. But the way I “see” you is anything but “fine”, golden soul. You’ve been stained and your “heart” disappeared. The reason why you’re still sane is truly a wonder.]

So I should’ve been turned insane? → Shen

I asked somewhat annoyed then Ryu suddenly asked.

W-wait a moment. Master Ignatius? Why would Shen turn insane? → Ryu

[Hm? But you already have the answer; How would you be if you’d suddenly forget all that you loved and enjoyed. All that made your life meaningful and worth living? How would you feel if the personal world you built since the moment you became aware of yourself, suddenly crumbled and left you with nothing? Wouldn’t insanity and madness take over your entire being? I know it would to me.]

M-master Ignatius would?! → Ryu
Is it that bad…? → Shen

Even I felt baffled by the severity of the state I was in. Then I felt like there was truly something weird as for why the maddening and dark hole I felt before in my heart suddenly didn’t affect me all that much anymore.

Is this a spell…? → Shen

I asked unconsciously then Ignatius answered deeply.

[Indeed… I can feel your heart is protected by three different forms of protections; One is a Soul-Connection which appears to be from another world that keeps the darkness away from your heart. Another one is a strong holy barrier around your heart which repels any and all evil essences that try to enter your heart. And the last one is a pure white seal which, in case of darkness in your heart, it quickly releases pure-white energies to cleanse your heart from evil. I can say that your heart is even more guarded than anyone on Sario.]

Both Ryu and I remained dazed for a while then Ryu suddenly asked:

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Shen? Got any ideas? → Ryu


Eh? Ah, uhm… I think the golden barrier is from Hamata, while the white seal is from Sylvia… But the soul-connection…? Got no idea. Found any other details about it, Master Ignatius? → Shen

[Yes. It was created by a witch. The spell seems to be extremely complicated and uses different essences foreign to Sario. I can only say that a witch from another world gives it her all to protect you even now.]

Wow, Shen. A goddess, a great mage, and now a witch from another world, all three of them now protecting your heart. Well, now for sure I won’t need to worry for your soul being engulfed by another devil. → Ryu

Ryu laughed merrily while I only felt conflicted by the new bonuses I wasn’t even aware of. Even Ignatius showed an amused tone in his voice.

[Indeed. You might be the most pitiful man on Sario, but also the most loved. The heavens will always give a man the amount they need of what they need. Don’t falter, golden soul, the heavens forget about no one.]

Just who “is” or “are” the heavens you speak of? → Shen

At first, I always thought that the will of the heavens means the decision of gods or mighty spirits. Now having the gods against me with the exception of Hamata, I was unaware who this Heaven he was talking of was any longer.

[Oh? But I’m talking about the Universal Law created by the All-Father. I thought a golden soul like you already knew of them?]

I-I knew but… I kind of… forgot… → Shen

Even though it was part of my own religion from back on Earth, after entering in contact with little planetary gods like Hamata and Kaveh, my view upon the world of gods narrowed all of a sudden, together with having most of my memories deleted by the devil.

Boahahaha~! → Ryu

Both Ignatius and Ryu started laughing out loud while I felt both ashamed of my blunter and irritated of their reactions. Feeling my head burst from their laughter, I interrupted their joyous moment and changed the subject.

ANYWAY~! Master Ignatius. I suppose you already heard our conversation about helping my disciples with their training. May I hear what you think of this? → Shen

[Hmm…]

Ignatius’ deep voice resounded in both our minds while we waited for an answer. After ten whole minutes of thinking, Ignatius finally opened his mouth.

[Even though you have no recollection about having disciples in the first place, you still wish to help these two children grow. Your heart has been emptied of anything related to them, yet why do you still care?]

Ignatius suddenly asked a question that struck me and made me think for a while.

To be sincere it’s because I was their master before losing my memories about them. Even though I don’t remember, I do have a feeling like I had such people under me. Suddenly dropping my responsibilities is not really my style. → Shen

[So it’s about your pride. Then why aren’t you teaching them yourself?]

Ah, so Master Ignatius didn’t get this part; I can’t teach them because of my aura. Once they get 3 meters near me, they will start feeling the aura of a devil, ending up overwhelmed by fear then freeze in place. I can’t work like this. → Shen

[I see… But do you think the aura of a legendary dragon won’t terrify the children all the same?]

If Master Ignatius fails as well, then that’s that. → Shen

My answer was decisive and even though I felt some obligation over them, I couldn’t force myself on them if they were scared of me. Ignatius then sighed out and answered calmly.

[The disciple is the one who chooses the master, not the other way. If they will accept me, then I will help them grow like my own.]

I thank Master Ignatius for this. I’ll be sure to repay you in a way or another. → Shen

[Take it as thanks for helping us against Thanatos.]

Fine by me. → Shen

Even though I was forced to help in that fight against Thanatos, knowing that I’ll be able to clean my hands from this debt just like that made me more than happy with it. After that, we continued chatting then we bid goodbyes and ended the connection, leaving me on my own.

When the heroes and elites of Victoria flew toward Antara Kingdom, the first 4 days of travels they did so by flying or dashing at top speed, while the last day they did so by walking on foot, turning that one day in another 1 or 2 because of the huge difference in speed, taking them around a week until they arrived. Now with my speed, I was able to reach inside Victoria’s borders in half a day, and by going with this exact speed, I might really reach a city in just another 3 days or less. However, I had no wish to reach the city so soon. After flying around the borders I slowed down and tried to feel around for any kind of forms which would be able to identify my presence. While doing so, I observed a great fortress built in a hurry, filled with cracks and holes. Soldiers and warriors hastily worked on the wall to rebuild it while the rest were now resisting a horde of around three thousands monsters, while mountains of corpses were visible everywhere around, making for a total of more than a few hundred thousands of such monsters piled up here and there. And by how fresh the bodies seemed, the possibility of them being from the same demonic wave are quite high

So they have a different route towards these places. In a way, I’m happy that not every path from Eihwaz goes through Antara. If the kingdom was struck by such a ridiculous wave, then we might have got whipped for quite a few times by now… Good thing our kingdom is surrounded by mountains, giving no opening for such a ridiculously wide wave to get inside. → Shen

As I flew through the clouds to not be detected, I observed a lot of powerful fighters that still fought with no discipline. Some used spells or skills with a wide range in a crowded place, sometimes striking their own people, others rushed inside the swarm of monsters on their own while others preferred to remain behind, simply using their swords and staffs as ranged weapons, creating more Sword Waves or magic projectiles in succession. While this happened in the middle of it all, at sides and behind this messy group, disciplined flanks whipped the monsters that strayed from their groups or were able to break through the disorganized front flanks.

Just what is this mess…? → Shen

Even though the ones from the sides were rather weak, their trained formations left for no loopholes in their flanks. While the frontal lines, even though the strongest, their formation was nothing but a joke, looking as if some kids tried to form a military formation but with no leader to guide them.

I can’t even laugh… Let’s see just what the hell is happening in there. → Shen

From up in the air I focused and a little shadow from atop the fortress separated itself from the wall’s shadow, sneaking inside while being undetected by the rushing soldiers. Not even a few seconds later and it already found the general’s office inside the main tower where three men had a heated conversation:

“Sir Aramis. I’m sure I already told you about how disorganized and laughable your group is. When will you start training and disciplining them properly? Mind answering me?”

A shaved middle-aged man with short gray hair and a deep frown on his serious face stared sharply at a young mage that covered his face with a wide hood. The middle-aged man was wearing a general’s suit with a rapier at his waist, now reflexively holding onto it with a stern look. Beside him stood another middle-aged dragoon that seemed to be his subordinate, standing tall with his arms crossed to his chest, two heavy-looking gauntlets with thick iron pins equipped on his hands. The young mage answered with a smile, holding a golden staff in his hands while gesticulating calmly:

“And I am sure that I told you just as many times. My men are just too powerful to need organizing. If there is enough power to subdue the enemy, why the need for discipline? Everything will be fine while the monsters will be obliterated.”

Hearing his words, the dragoon frowned and commented.

“Brawls with no brains it’s nothing but another tool. However, an entire flank with no discipline is not just useless, but only dangerous even for allies. Your group might be strong, but their uselessly large spells will harm more allies than enemies.”

Then the general nodded and continued:

“Commander Haruto is right. If this continues then we’ll have to ask your group to find another defensive line from where you can gather materials. This is a battlefield, Fire Wings clan leader Aramis, and we can’t suffer any casualties just because of your group of incompetents.”

At his words the young mage named Aramis whipped his smile and answered in a serious tone:

“I’ll ask General Hunter to not use such harsh words as incompetent and such. My people are still learning-“
“Well, they are not learning enough. And their ignorance can harm many more than you’d think. Now if you’ll excuse me, commander Haruto and I need to give out the next orders to our troops. The less we’ll suffer more victims from your uneducated bunch.”

After the general and his aide left, Aramis remained alone in the office and a smirk appeared on his face.

“Squirm as much as you can, Victoria… After the Liberators reach these parts, there won’t be even a tower for you lot to defend.”

After laughing for himself he then turned serious as he touched his forehead, a scar was visible from under his hood.

“And after reaching this low in South, with so many being killed for trying to leave and with so many that escaped… we’ll also strike those bastards from that unknown kingdom… Nothing will be left from the traitors that remained there, together with the bastards that dare to push us around like some flies!”

[One of my warriors punished you for wrongdoing? With only that much?]

“Who’s there?!”

Aramis turned while asking sharply, his mana swirling around. He observed how on a wall, something dark and imaterial moved around on its own, making him understand that it was a shadow. There was nothing at the window, so the presence of this shadow only confused and even terrified Aramis. The shadow then took a more humanoid form on the wall and two red eyes appeared, staring sharply at Aramis. A shudder ran down his spine as the shadow formed a wide smile, continuing to stare at him in contempt and superiority.

[If it was me, a part of your body would have been left behind and used as fertilizer for our trees.]

The shadow grew in dimensions and took a more tridimensional form, separating itself from the wall and standing tall in front of Aramis like a normal human. Or rather, like a dark devil.

“Y-you monster! Just who are you!?”

Aramis became more agitated as he suddenly started to create a great fireball, not thinking that he might blow the fortress as well.

[Your nightmare.]

The shadow pointed at the fireball in the mage’s hands and it started to flicker and pulsate more and more unstable until even Aramis’ hands started to shake.

“W-what are you doing!? I! Can’t! Control it!”

-BOOM!-

The middle tower of the fortress suddenly exploded as Aramis flew through the air and fell onto the ground like a boulder inside the fortress’ courtyard, his hands burnt black. It was a wonder how he still had them, but by the look of it, he would barely be able to hold a glass of water without dropping it. More soldiers then rushed in a panic toward the main tower to see what happened, only to see Aramis’ miserable state, filled with burns and his clothes almost completely destroyed.

“Ugh…”

He moaned in pain but right before he could pass out, the same voice as before resounded in his mind, making him shook once again.

[We have eyes and ears everywhere around us, about anything inside Sario. No matter where you hide, no matter where you run, be sure that I’ll find you, and once I hear you wish for my kingdom’s end, I’ll be the first to reach you, and destroy you.]

With a panic-stricken expression, Aramis fell unconscious and the moment he’ll wake up, most of his memories will be severely affected by the trauma suffered today.

Back in the skies, I looked downwards with a little grin, amused by how things changed after Shiroko joined our kingdom.

So now Fire Wings, it’s under this guy’s commands? Also, from what he said I can understand that many also survived from that internal strife. And, did he just said that the Liberators will want to reach the Southern parts of Vestria? Just how many years will it take them? No matter how strong they are, we are talking about a few thousands of kilometers here, with a few dozens of kingdoms that separates them from Victoria. To move an entire army from one point of the continent to the other would take at least, what. 3 years? And that’s if they don’t start any wars on their way, going unnoticed. → Shen

Although I wasn’t that sure of my own calculations either, I still wasn’t able to believe that a bunch of undisciplined players would be able to create a road to travel from a point to another in less than a few years.

- my thoughts:
Alright! Because I left a lot of open plots before (Thanatos' seal, Shen's disciples, the pirate's enigma, the reason why they got transported on Sario, etc) I had to use some good chapters to describe what happened with them (as you already observed). I'll try not to agglomerate the unfinished plots in just a few chapters then go through them in quick succession as I did just now. MAYBE it might happen again, but not in such an undetailed and monotone form. Sorry again for these past chapters if they were too boring and informative-only, I'll continue the plot from here onwards. The action development with remain just as slow tho, but at least the story will continue in a more fluid form than it did up till now... I think. I wish. We'll see.
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