Chapter 161: Dangerous Ignorance

After I left, Sylvia still remained on the screen and smiled bitterly at Ashura.

[No need to take what Shen said at heart, Dhavala. Just like what happened just now to you, Shen also suffered at the hands of devils and he is, in his own way, afraid for you to not lose heart and fall into their hands as he did; that’s why he wishes for you to grow stronger.] → Sylvia

Sylvia said calmly and Ashura lowered his head, feeling somewhat dejected as of not knowing what to do to grow stronger when he’s still unable to fully master the powers he already has, let alone grow even stronger. Seeing him like this, Sylvia sighed lightly and continued.

[I understand that you’re afraid of your own powers, but you shouldn’t let your fears take over and decide in your place. Just focus on training the Yang-Sun set Shen offered you back then. Once you’ll be able to turn your chi into pure Yang, your heart will also achieve tranquillity and you’ll know what to do and how to control your powers. As for the ring, just try to understand what happened. Power is power. Is neither good nor bad. What decides how it will be is our own heart and judgment, Dhavala. Continue training, discipline yourself, and don’t let your fears take over. The heavens will never offer power to those who can’t handle it. If they lose control over it because of their own inner demons, then this is something that’s outside the powers of the heavens, such you must learn to master yourself first, and let the power naturally flow through you.] → Sylvia

„…Yes. Thank you, Miss Sylvia.” → Ashura

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Hearing her words, Ashura’s helpless appearance changed for the better as a more confident glint appeared in his once panicked and sorrowful eyes.

I can’t screw around any longer… This fear… this pride. I need to either get rid of them or control them. I cannot let my own emotions control me from now on. → Ashura

Seeing the resolution in his eyes, Sylvia smiled brightly as she bid him goodbye.

[I wish you luck in your training. Master yourself and true power will follow right after. Until then, don’t give up, Dhavala.] → Sylvia

After these words, the holographic screen disappeared and the crystal lost it’s shine completely. Ryu patted Ashura’s shoulder then said:

“Now you still have one more thing to do. You already know where the infirmary is located.” → Ryu
“Yes, King Ryu. But I will do so after everything will calm down at least a bit more… Now if you’ll excuse me…” → Ashura

Ashura bowed his head and left from Ryu’s office toward the newly built temple inside the new mountain-kingdom, not toward the infirmary, but toward the meditating rooms used by the Antara warriors to calm down their minds and hearts after deadly and violent fights.

Meanwhile, Ryu also left his office towards the Separate Space. After entering it, a deep voice resounded from a neighboring mountain.

[How are you doing now, Little Dragon?]

“I’m fine, all thanks to master.” → Ryu

Ryu cupped his hands and bowed his head to Ignatius who relaxed atop a mountain with a flat tip. At the moment, Theo and Melinda were inside the library, having homework from Ignatius to search for ways that would make the two’s control over their own auras to grow, then to come back and discuss them with Ignatius. Although he wished to make them grow stronger, Ignatius still wanted to use the same style I used, the less Theo and Melinda will have to learn the same thing with another form.

Ignatius’ golden eyes shone for a moment as he examined Ryu’s structure, only to feel his powers slowly growing by the day. At this feeling, the dragon nodded his head in approbation.

[Not much longer, and you will finally achieve the true powers of a dragon. You just need to continue on believing. As for today, are you finally going to visit the long-ears?]

“Yes, master. I promised that I will make them a visit. It would also bring forth great honor if the master could accompany me.” → Ryu

[Haha~ no, no. Dragons and elves share quite the sensible bond. Some adore us dragons because we’re born from the same Mother Nature as them, while others despite us for our draconic features that resemble Nidhoggur. You might now share my dragon-blood, but is still too weak to seem like a danger for the elves.]

“This suddenly seems more troublesome than expected…” → Ryu

[I bid you luck, Young Dragon.]

Ryu smiled wryly then walked through a gigantic forest at the base of the mountain until he reached a green portal surrounded by a thick mist. He continued forward through a dark tunnel just like when he entered the separate space, then one of the twin elves appeared through the dark and bowed with a polite smile.

“Glad to meet your majesty once again, King Ryu. I’ve been ordered to wait for you in the Tunnel Through Time and Space for your highness. Our queen has been expecting you.” → Evan

Although twins, they both wore an earring on different ears. While Oliver whore the earring on the right ear, his brother Evan wore it on the left ear. And the elf in front of him was wearing the earring on the left ear.

“Lord Evan Greenmaple. Glad to see you again, as well. Now, shall we continue?” → Ryu
“This way please.” → Evan

Evan then walked in front until they reached another mist which had green leaves flying around or simply levitating. After two more steps through the misty portal, Ryu found himself atop a humongous leaf in front of a great palace completely made from other humongous trees. It looked as if the trees grew while undulating and combining in such a way that it created a palace with its own green crown on top of it.

“Woah…” → Ryu

The view could not be described by any other word than magical. Visible green sparkling lights ascended from through the leaves, upwards everywhere around the great palace while green leaves fell because of the strong wind, only to be later absorbed by the wood and turned back into energy. Seeing Ryu so mesmerized by the view, Evan smiled lightly as he asked:

“May I have the impertinence to say that this place might be to King Ryu’s tastes?” → Evan
“For sure. I don’t think I ever saw a more beautiful place than this one.” → Ryu
“I’m glad is up to your highness’ tastes… Lord Shen called it uselessly large. We were afraid that his highness might be troubled the same way.” → Evan

Damn Shen… → Ryu

Ryu had an awkward smile on his face for a moment then continued onwards, following Evan inside the palace. Without moving too much, Ryu stared around in surprise and admiration, going up the stairs then walking through a long hallway that gave out the fresh smell of grass and wood.

“King Ryu, now please wait for my calling.” → Evan

Evan then pushed the door but just at that moment, a loud shout resounded everywhere inside the palace, making even Ryu freeze in place for a moment:

“I’m the queen and I decide who will be my king!” → Elizabetta

“”……..””

Both Ryu and Evan froze in place as sweat dripped down their foreheads. Then with a frozen smile, Evan turned toward Ryu, unsure if to enter anymore now.

“Yes? Who’s there?” → Elizabetta

Just as he wished to close the door back, the voice of the queen resounded irritated from the other side. Sweat fell down both of them but Evan still entered and with a stuttering voice, he announced.

“G-greetings! Q-queen Elizabetta of Alfheim. H-his Highness King Ryu o-of Antara has come to greet the Queen!” → Evan

I know you can do it, Evan! Hang in there! → Ryu

Ryu couldn’t help but cheer internally for Evan as the Queen’s domineering aura was felt even by him from the other side of the door. 

After being called, Ryu entered and looked with a sympathetic gaze at Evan who was wiping with a tissue the sweat from his forehead. He then turned around only to see the queen with a surprising glint in her frowning eyes. There were more nobles around who all froze in place after the thunderous shout of the queen, all of them nodding in respect to Ryu but not daring to say anything else. The queen then made a light smile and welcomed Ryu in a respectful manner.

“I, Queen of Alfheim greet his Majesty King Ryu of Antara. It gladdens me that his majesty has finally arrived at our place. But is his majesty alone?” → Elizabetta

Ryu then answered calmly as he nodded his head in sign of accepting her greeting.

“Greetings to Queen of Alfheim as well. I am indeed alone. Founder Shen was unable to accompany me today because of a sudden need for interventions inside another kingdom together with Miss Sylvia. As for my Queen, Bonny, she had to take care of internal strife inside Antara, is also unable to accompany me today for this visit. However, we do promise that by the next moment some free time will show up, we will do everything in our power to visit together. We are still in troubled times so I’ll ask her highness to pardon us and won’t take it to heart.” → Ryu

With a warm smile but a firm tone, Ryu explained the reason why he was alone. The fact that not even one of his subordinates or guards wasn’t present showed just how hectic the things were inside Antara kingdom, and this only surprised Queen Elizabetta even more.

“Oh my? By all means, there is no problem. Moreover, Alfheim will always have an arm stretched out to help Antara whenever in need. I’m sure Lord Shen also knows about this. Even though he refused our hand for help, I still believe that such major choices must be taken with clear judgment.” → Elizabetta

She said while remembering the cold and unfriendly glint inside Shen’s gaze after he declined any forms of help from Alfheim. Although he took the rewards for saving Alfheim, Shen never accepted the help Queen Elizabetta talked about.

Understanding her words, Ryu nodded and said with a smile.

“I agree completely with Queen Elizabetta’s words.” → Ryu
“Then-“ → Evan
“However.” → Ryu

As Evan wished to interject with a cheerful smile, Ryu continued as he shortly glanced at him, the same smile still etched on his face.

“Antara does not need any kind of help or assistance at the moment. It is true, everyone is busy and has a lot on their heads and hands, but the fact that everything is going as planned while the Kingdom is quickly expanding still remains. We had and still have some conflicts with the neighboring kingdoms, but nothing we can’t handle, for now.” → Ryu

The elven nobles talked between themselves, Evan now sitting by Oliver’s side as they continued to quietly converse with other nobles. In just ten minutes everyone reached a conclusion and Oliver, who was also the nearest to the queen, whispered in her ear the decision everyone arrived, and the queen thought for a moment. Then, she looked at Ryu and with a calm smile she said such:

“So I heard that Antara already entered into conflicts with the neighboring kingdoms while the threat of the Demonic Beasts still remains strong. As such, Alfheim is proposing to King Ryu to accept a group of 200 elites as guardians around the Antara’s borders.” → Elizabetta
“?!?”

When Ryu heard what they wanted to do, the first thought that appeared in his mind was how along the river of history, every time a protective army of another country entered the territory of the kingdom, the internal conflicts would suddenly explode inside the kingdom and in an indirect way, the foreign army would influence the government inside the kingdom to favor the country of the foreign army.

In short, it’s like when a country is under the Protectorate of another country… If it goes like this then we might have Autonomy, but our independence would remain in Alfheim’s hands as long their army is present… Wait. Only 200? Did I hear that right? → Ryu

Ryu then thought for a moment and asked once again:

“Just how strong will these 200 elites be?” → Ryu

Right after asking such, another high elf beside Evan stepped down and bowed slightly.

“I greet his majesty, King Ryu. I go by the name Argo, titled as the leader of the elite army. In the war against the 13th demonic prince, Lord Shen and his friends greatly surprised us with his power and dominance. It would be a great honor to fight alongside your highness and the Antara warriors.” → Argo

Ryu examined him and his dragonic eyes shone for a moment as he identified his power.

Saint, intermediate stage… If he is the leader, then the weakest must be at least at Grandmaster power rank… Having 200 of such monsters together inside my kingdom… → Ryu

Ryu then stared sharply at the queen and asked somewhat suspicious of the idea that Alfheim, an allied country, would wish to put Antara into their protectorate in such an obvious manner.

“May I ask what is the meaning of this? Although we are allies, just how does her highness expect for Antara to simply accept foreign armies into our territories just like that? Or is this a form of indirectly asking us to become subordinates? Don’t forget that both portals must work to reach our place.” → Ryu

His dragonic aura, now strengthened because of the Yggdrasill, broke out inside the Throne Hall as the elves finally felt the dragon’s essence inside Ryu.

“A dragon?!”
“So the king of Antara is a dragon!? B-but why are we feeling this only now?”
“No. He’s not a fully-fledged dragon yet. I think he might be a half-dragon…”
“Yes. But feeling his aura, I can say that is a matter of time before he completely becomes a whole.”

Loud whispers resounded everywhere around, but with some sweat still falling down his neck Oliver interjected.

“W-wait! Everyone, please refrain from adding your personal racial preferences into the discussion and seriously analyze King Ryu’s question from just now! I for one am confused. Just why would king Ryu take our wish to help under such a threatening form? And in what way are we asking for Antara to become our subordinate?” → Oliver
“Huh? But what is so hard to understand? You might bring in an army to protect us, but at the same time, you can announce that our every militaristic move is in your sight while the threat of your army being at our doorsteps would be imminent. This is what being under Protectorate means, Mister Oliver, and for sure my kingdom would never accept such a title without a fight.” → Ryu
“P-please wait a moment, King Ryu.” → Elizabetta

This time even Queen Elizabetta was overwhelmed by the turn of the conversation. The nobles started to converse once again with worry all over their face while Ryu stared at them quite confused. He then raised his hand and asked:

“May I ask one question? It might prove to be an insolent one, so I beg for your forgiveness in case I’m offending anyone.” → Ryu
“By all means, please ask.” → Elizabetta

Elizabetta nodded in approval as the others quieted down and stared at Ryu in curiosity and some even with worry, thinking that Ryu might ask for the end of their alliance.

“I’m curious about one thing… Just what does Alfheim understands from the words of External Relationships? How much had Alfheim dealt with such things in the past?” → Ryu

I might be wrong but… seeing their reactions just now, my doubts might be right… → Ryu

Elizabetta then thought for a while and answered truthfully, without even thinking that her next words might prove to be one of the weakest points in Alfheim’s defensive system.

“The only external relationships we had since times immemorial were those of war with the demons and acceptance of the mages and shamans from the beastmen tribes. Being a rather isolated kingdom, Alfheim had never truly completed alliances with any other kingdom except Antara. But why ask such questions?” → Elizabetta
“… This… might prove to be a piece of information much heavier than expected…” → Ryu

Ryu massaged his temples with trembling hands as he thought to himself:

So I was right… they have close to no experience or knowledge about external relations… Who would have thought that the history classes from my Literature University would actually help at such moments? → Ryu

After sighing out once again, Ryu looked upwards at the high elves and at the queen together, his voice firm while a slight frown on his face.

“So I understand that proposal from before was not intended for a Protectorate, but a sincere request to help Antara. Am I right?” → Ryu
“Yes.” → Elizabetta

The queen answered immediately but Ryu only shook his head.

“Then for such future decisions, I’ll ask of her highness, or at least of a High-elf, to learn and study about the political forms of establishing a positive external relationship with another kingdom. You are not aware of how open you’re showing yourselves to a possible internal attack. Seeing how the demons took no initiative into exploiting such a great weakness, they either are still unaware of it, either found no need to do such, thinking that they might be able to conquer Alfheim whenever they wish.” → Ryu
“H-how is that possible?!” → Elizabetta

The high-elves and the queen herself felt a chill down their spine after hearing such. Ryu’s words made them finally aware of the danger of not being able to understand just how external relationships work. Everyone started to converse between themselves and thought of more ways to combat such a weakness.

“Just how are we going to learn about how the relations with other kingdoms work?”
“Well, what if we just continue our alliance with Antara? Won’t we understand some more just by interacting with them?”
“And risk doing more mistakes with our only ally? That’s beyond foolish!”
“Exactly. We can’t risk making another one of such blunders. We already made a foolish mistake which almost made the kingdom of our hero into a possible enemy.”

As the high elves continued on conversing by themselves, even Ryu found this predicament quite troublesome.

Should I just send Bernard here to teach them about the external connections? No, he already has too much on his head: To rule his group of workers and warriors, to continue accommodating the new immigrants and make them true residents. Gerome is also unable to help as he has to deal with two groups of children now Tama has gone until Fiora’s sister takes her place, but she first needs to pass some tests. While Gregor is… Oh damn… I forgot that I sent him to the Pirate Peninsula for information gathering… → Ryu

Ryu massaged his temples as he found no way to help the elves, until the queen opened her mouth, a sly smile on her face.

“We actually have someone that could help us with the external relations quite well~.” → Elizabetta
“Eh?… Oh no…”

The nobles looked at the queen once again then a sudden headache took over them as they knew what followed. The queen’s smile widened as she announced.

“Bring Sir Charl Haineken to me!” → Elizabetta
“Yes, my queen.”

The guards at the door hastily left while some nobles even got up with revolting faces and loud voices.

“But my queen! How can we-!”
“And so who is the ruler of this kingdom, and representative of the Yggdrasill?!” → Elizabetta

The queen boomed once again and everyone froze in place while she continued.

“If any of you was the ruler, then I might have followed. But seeing how I am the true ruler and head of Alfheim, I am free to choose who will be what. Or is there anyone who wishes to go against my words?” → Elizabetta

They all shook on their chairs as the queen’s gaze washed over them all until it ended at Oliver beside her who didn’t even dare to breathe as he never wished to go against her highness’ orders in the first place.

“The demon is ready to greet her highness!”

The guard loudly announced and not long after, a tall demon with a fit figure, sharp eyes and an aura of a composed sage entered the hall, his clothes shriveled while his once well-trimmed hair, now seemed rather messy and unkempt. Chains made of anti-magic locked down his legs and hands then connected with another chain to an iron collar around his neck. When the queen saw the state he was in, furry took over as her aura started to boil. The leaves of the tree behind her turned copper-red and its crown of leaves moved violently with no wind. Seeing this the other elves palled in the face while even Oliver felt like wanting to run away from there. With a calm tone that emanated rage and fury, the queen asked:

“I was sure to tell everyone to welcome anyone who wished to meet me with utmost courtesy. May I ask what is the meaning of this?” → Elizabetta

The nobles had no courage to say anything as Charl’s eyes opened wide after hearing her words. He then chuckled while attracting the attention of everyone inside the room. Confused, the queen asked him but mistakenly with the same firm tone.

“May I ask what’s so funny for sir Charl?” → Elizabetta
“Ah, my apologies, Queen of the Elves. This time it was my mistake entirely. Your people have done nothing wrong as I was the one who sneaked inside your majesty’s capital.” → Charl
“What…?” → Elizabetta

The queen and Ryu both looked dumbfounded at him as Charl continued with a confident and calm smile.

“I am incredibly apologetic, Queen of Alfheim. Or should I say, Miss Elizabetta? I am not aware of how I learned of your greatness’ name or appearance, but I could say that now I’m willing to die if needed, for I already saw true beauty with my own eyes and felt what true love is with my own poor heart. May her majesty do with me as wishes for I have no regrets any longer.” → Charl

Charl bowed respectuously while smiling enchantingly at the queen, sincere eyes of a man reconciled with his fate sowing through the messy hair.

Although lovestruck, Charl’s eyes weren’t those of a man intoxicated by love, but those of a man that truly believes he fulfilled his greatest desires and asks for nothing more from life. Such eyes were now gazing at the Queen in a calm manner, awaiting her decision.

The queen herself had no reaction, however, the three behind her gave birth to a full crown of cherry flowers, as hundreds of pink petals flew through the great hall with no wind. Afterward, a slight blush appeared on her face as she was unable to control her feelings any longer. Two innocent eyes took the place of the former cold and furious stare, dumbfounding everyone inside the hall to a stand-still.

““…….””

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Nobody was able to say a thing, and even Ryu was frozen in place with a dumb smile on his face. However, the corners of his mouth trembled quite visibly.

Don’t laugh, don’t laugh, don’t laugh! T-think how Shen would have reacted at such a view! → Ryu

Then the face of a dead-pan Shen with sleepy and bored eyes suddenly appeared in his mind, having this normally romantic moment bypass him like an arrow shot by a blind man.

Wrong choice! → Ryu

He swallowed once then covered his face so nobody could see his exaggerated smile, still trying not to laugh.

The high elves, however, had pale faces as they observed the queen suddenly fall for the demon’s words just like that. Then Argo, the leader of the elite army interjected and warned the queen while wavering, still aware of her furious aura from a few moments ago.

“Y-your majesty. Please don’t listen to a demon’s words. They are tricksters. They would be able to lie with a straight face at any time! Besides, he said he was ready to die only after seeing her highness’ beauty? I dare to suggest to test his words.” → Argo
“If her highness accepts such, then I’ll agree.” → Charl
“Very well!” → Argo

Argo immediately dashed toward Charl with his sword out, aiming right toward his neck.

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