XXXII. Even Villains Have Dreams

  The Phantoms of Sargata was formed long before the name Atlas Reinhardt spread across the continent. They were a cultist group dedicated to the Goddess of Destruction, Sargata, using whatever means necessary to please her. War, poverty, famine: the malice they aim to spread. The rampages of the Phantoms were recorded to be catastrophic, time and time again. It wasn’t until the intervention of the Hero King and his followers when the order truly collapsed.

  Or so they thought.

  Deep in the sunken depths of society lied the remnants of the Phantoms. Slowly they grew in numbers, planning to take revenge against those who tried to destroy them. It went to a point where a conflict was inescapable, but then, something strange happened: they called off their attack and vanished into the shadows. No one knew what happened to them, but since their disappearance, they were written off as history’s most notorious criminals.

  Then, a poor soul wandered into the midst: Zarayah Greydan. She was nothing more than a young girl in an abusive relationship with her parents. Every day, she was under great torment and only the tender grace of Death would free her from it.

  Then he came into her life, Jason Greydan. At first, he was a shy, scrawny boy who was aided by his competent brothers Iskander and Atlas Reinhardt. Jason spoke out against her parents and one night when everyone was asleep, he clumsily made his way to her home, helping her escape. Since then, she followed their adventures and when Jason became King; he asked her to marry him. The two were a great couple and no one, not even the nobility, disputed their relationship.

  Then that day happened: the news of Jason’s death. After that, the records did not state other than “… She Mourned, She Vanished.” Her name, as well as her appearance, disappeared without a trace…

  That was until Dickus came into the light. Using his influence and power, he gained access to the Royal Archives. There, while Aren and his party left for Greenville, he investigated the connection between the current Witch of Sargata and Zarayah Greydan. It turned out that they were the same person, but with different roles and names. Within the hidden shelves of the Archives lied a book recording strange occurrences throughout history. His agent managed to get the item of interest and with that, Dickus indulged himself into its writings. He traced his finger over the table of contents, searching until he found Zarayah Greydan. Apparently, Zany and her current name, Zyna, were her nicknames of the past.

  He tapped his finger on the key information, holding his chin. “Hoho looks like we’ve found a connection. Good job, my little bird.”

  “May I speak, your Grace?”

  “Go ahead.”

  “If I may be so bold, just because if there is a single connection between them doesn’t mean they are the same person. Though uncommon, I am sure there are people named Zany or Zyna through the continent, milord.”

  “Hmm… You may be right. But still.”

  Dickus furrowed his brows. “We need to find her motives. We cannot predict Zyna’s moves without ample research.”

  He turned to his agent. “See if there are any more findings you can muster. If you can, spy on Harley for me.”

  “At your command, your grace.”

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  The agent vanished and Dickus eyed on the book.

  “Zyna… If you are indeed Zarayah Greydan, then I know of your plans. For that, I must bear witness to the miracle you are about to perform.”

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  When the assault on Eadburt Estate failed, the remaining troops retreated through the portal in the basement. There, the Forest of Sorrows was their escape and after conquering the Impenetrable Fortress, the survivors regrouped at the fortification by Zyna’s command. While they were making preparations for the upcoming Damorian attack, an altar was constructed at the center of the mystical forest. Even though it was made in a hurry, it was suitable enough for the ritual to be taken place. Followers of Sargata sketched the arcane circles quickly, though they made sure none of the markings was even a millimeter off from their desired position. Watching them, in the distance, was their Mistress Zyna.

  This was an exciting day for the Phantoms since they will bear witness a power that can defy fate itself. Nothing was standing in their way, yet they noticed their Mistress be at unease. Something was nagging at the back of her mind: it was her encounter with Nyx. Zyna wondered if Nyx truly was the person she believed him to be, and if so, why didn’t he stop her? Did he, as well, long for His Return, or there was a plan she could not foresee?

  “Mistress, everything is according to plan,” Aiza said, walking to Zyna.

  “Mhm…”

  Aiza noticed the melancholy when staring at her eyes. “Mistress, is everything okay?”

  Zyna’s eyes widened. “Huh? Oh yes, right. It’s just

  She shook her head. “That Nyx reminds me of someone. His form, the way he talks: can it truly be… who I think it is?”

  “It’s strange to see you like this. However, have no fear. I will come up with a plan to stop him if he ever comes.”

  Zyna laughed softly and Aiza was confused by the reaction.

  “Do you think I am not worthy of such a task, Mistress: am I not good enough?” Aiza lamented. “Forgive me, I—”

  “No, it’s not that. If he ever does make an appearance, I doubt we even can do anything to stop him. Our success is under Nyx’s hands now.”

  “Mistress…”

  “Nonetheless, we shall proceed run full speed ahead, Aiza Sokei, leader of my Elite Guard.”

  Aiza smiled. “Yes, my Mistress. Everyone, form up!”

  The Elite Phantoms gathered in front of Zyna, bowing before her presence. Zyna looked at her ten Elites, expressing a serious demeanor.

  “All of you have been summoned here for the upcoming battle. This will determine if all of our efforts were for naught! Phantoms, go now and make your King proud!”

  “Yes, my Mistress!” they all chorused.

  They left with haste, leaving Zyna and Aiza alone. In the bushes rustled and Harley came out with Layette under her arms. He quickly approached her, letting out a sigh of relief.

  “We managed to escape before the Knights of the Realm came. It was a struggle, but that portal of yours proved useful,” he said.

  “Did they follow you through?” Zyna questioned.

  “No, I used those impudent fools to cover for my sake.”

  He set Layette down on her feet and she walked around, expressing a blank look on her face.

  “Where are we, Harley? Is this the place of our dreams?” Layette asked.

  “No, it will be soon, my love.”

  Harley turned to Zyna. “Will she be alright? No harm will be done to her?”

  “I will make sure of it, milord. When this is all over, you will have both your mother and Layette at your side.”

  Aiza put her hand over her ear and an arcane circle hovered her head. She listened in and her eyes widened when she heard the news.

  “Mistress, High Lord Dickus, and his party came out from the portal!” she exclaimed.

  Harley grunted. “So, he has arrived. Zyna, I will deal with him myself! Lead him away from his party.”

  Zyna bowed. “At once, my lord.”

  Harley kissed Layette before leaving the premise. The Phantoms bound her in rope and tied her to the columns at the center of the altar. A black box was presented to Zyna and when the Witch opened it, a red stone was revealed inside.

  “The Philosopher’s Stone. There was only one in the world, but after years of research, I finally made one.”

  She took the stone and held it high in the air. “With this and the Phoenix’s power, we will resurrect our fallen king and bring an end to this world! Bring forth the catalyst!”

  Her followers brought the Bandit King to the altar, forcing him on his knees as Zyna shoved the stone down his throat. The Bandit King coughed vigorously and soon, his blood poured out. He fell to the ground and only his lifeless body was left. Once they confirmed he was dead, the Phantoms hauled the body next to Layette. The altar shined in a bright purple and sparks of red lightning crawled its way out of the Bandit King’s body. Layette screamed in pain and tears streamed from her eyes. After a moment, a white light hovered over the artificial shrine, slowly growing in size.

  “Now, let the miracle commence!”

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- my thoughts:
ALRIGHT, this is it guys/gals. It took a while but all of the chapters are now updated to PATCH INFINITY+1. I'll leave the fake chapter up until chapter 33 has been made. I thank you guys for your patience and now, here it is. Happy reading.
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