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Chapter 216 - Stolen (3)
The Plain of Darkness was in a state of pandemonium.
It wasn't as if the Plain of Darkness had been a model of stability before this. They were floundering as they fought an underground war with the organization called the Guardian's Shadow.
They felt shocked when a being came looking for them that day. The feeling couldn't be compared to anything from the past.
Dragon Demon King Atein had returned.
Aincera spoke in an excited manner. When Almarick saw her face, he felt a feeling of deja vu. It was as if he was back in the past.
While Aincera carried out the role of custodian of the Great Darkness, her sense of self had wilted away. Her emotions had withered away. However, Atein had returned after the long years of waiting, and he was in front of her. Aincera looked like a girl that had her dream come true.
In the distant past, Aincera had been rescued by Atein, and she had become infatuated with him. She had been part of a powerful clan in the north, and she was a member of the ruling family. Her clan had wanted an alliance with Atein, so her clan elders had pushed her to marry Atein. It started out as a political marriage, yet she became filled with burning and all-consuming love for Atein as time pa.s.sed.
From beginning to end, her love remained the same. She knew the price that she would need to pay when she became the custodian of the Great Darkness. She did it for Atein. She had carried out that role until now even though she had lost her humanity as a price.
'Was her love for the king the only thing that she was able to preserve?'
Aincera looked as if she wanted to cry. Her face looked raw with emotion. It was as if Atein had made her awaken from a very old curse that had sealed away her sense of self.
Atein let out a gentle laughter as he looked at her.
"I am sorry for being late, my beautiful queen."
He elegantly grasped Aincera's hand, and he kissed the back of her hand. Then he gently embraced her.
In the past, it had started out as a one-sided political marriage, but it was different now. In the true sense of the word, she was Atein's partner now. She had become worn down over the years, and she had even lost her sense of desire. Now she had gained what she had wanted. It was a partners.h.i.+p she had always desired.
"I was able to revive thanks to you."
"You are making me blush. I just safeguarded what you gave me. I was too busy that I was neglectful in practicing the king's ideals."
"That wasn't your responsibility. It's the responsibility of those that used my legacy for their own selfish interests and desires."
Atein was well aware of what the Plain of Darkness looked liked right now. He was especially knowledgeable on the topic of how the members of the Plain of Darkness lived. He had learned it through Yuren, who was his reincarnated self. The truth had been laid out in front of him.
"It is time to end this experiment."
Atein spoke those words as he manifested his magic. The members of the Plain of Darkness felt something intrude into their mind. They flinched at this foreign feeling.
There were those that rose to the ruling cla.s.s of the Plain of Darkness over the long years. There were the young generation that had been nurtured by the ruling cla.s.s. Then there were the humans that were at the bottom of the society. They had to sacrifice their lives as the labor force…….
The will of the individual didn't matter. They realized that they were put under the will of transcendent being.
"Gentlemen, I am Atein. As promised long time ago, I have returned from across the lake of death."
Atein spoke in a low voice, but it didn't sound low to everyone. Everyone had felt the revival of the king, but they had never expected to be approached by Atein in such a fas.h.i.+on. They couldn't hid their surprise.
From all directions, people continuously appeared as they felt shock and awe. Some were moved to tears. From their perspective, Atein was a G.o.d that had overcome death to guide them towards their utopia. The top members of the Plain of Darkness had been successful in raising Atein to G.o.dhood amongst their followers through the long years.
Atein knew all of this through the Great Darkness. He closed his eyes for a brief moment to calm down everyone's emotions. Then he continued speaking.
"I'll be the one to confess first. I felt despair when I saw all of you."
Atein's emotions became turbulent after it had reached a low. He started speaking again.
There was a man that dreamed about a utopia.
It was a world where everyone would be able to live happily. There would be no hunger, discrimination, oppression and stealing. He thought he could make a society where everyone would be able to live a full life as they respected each other.
However, sacrifices were needed to make the world that way. He had to tear apart and rebuild the world, which had turned out wrong. He had to go through the process of conquering the world.
He decided to fight the world, so he gathered those that shared his ideals. Then he conducted an enormous war.
"The Dragon Demon war feels like yesterday for me, but it had become a page in history for you all. We fought for the highest ideals. We wanted a better world. Many bled and sacrificed their lives to make a world where everyone would be happy."
The war had swept across the continent, and countless people had died. The Dragon Demon King's army had precipitated the war, and countless number of them had died too.
"Even though we lost our fight against the world, our ideals hadn't died. It should have died. I believed that the ideal would become a guiding light for my descendants, who would have to wander the dark wilderness. That is why I made preparations for the future."
There was the Dragon Demon palace and the Plain of Darkness. He had started making preparations for his people when his side started losing. Even if they lost the Dragon Demon war, their enemies wouldn't be able to eradicate all of them. He couldn't win against the world, but he prepared tools that would allow his remaining force to work towards his utopia.
Even in a severe environment, the Dragon Demon palace would ensure the survival of the survivors of the Dragon Demon war. Then there was magical abilities of the survivors and the Road of Emptiness that allowed one to travel all over the continent. He believed it would be enough for his people to work towards the utopia. He couldn't changed the entire world into a utopia, so he created a small isolated land where outsiders could not interfere. He had thought his followers would work towards making his utopia there.
"However, you threw away the ideals we had been pursuing. You purused your own greed and interests. You are the survivors, and you were once my comrades. I am saddened, but this is the truth. You all have become corrupt."
While he was conducting the Dragon Demon war, he knew that there was a discrepancy between his ideal and reality. He realized that he had been wrong in believing in the potential of the Dragon Demon race. He admitted his failure, and he started preparing for his next attempt.
As he was doing so, he didn't completely give up on the hope he had placed on his army.
Atein had left behind the Plain of Darkness. It was his last hope, and it had also been another experiment. Even if he was dead, his followers might work towards bringing his ideals into life. He didn't care if they weren't successful in making the utopia. Atein's expectation and hope towards the Dragon Demons and humanity would have remained.
However, the experiment ended as an extreme failure after 220 years. The utopia dreamed up by Atein couldn't be found in the Plain of Darkness. There wasn't even a trace.
"It was a false expectation. I'll make this clear. My past comrades are no longer my comrades."
Atein was cold in his declaration. His tone of voice was calm, but the content of his words was stern.
A state of unrest came over the influential people of the Plain of Darkness.
At that moment, the emotions they were feeling was fierce and complex. It couldn't be put into words.
'What are you saying? We believed only in you! We waited for you to come back! We gave up everything to live in this black darkness, yet we continued to wait for this day. We doggedly held out for your return! Yet you dared to say that we were wrong?'
A fierce sense of betrayal and anger arose within them. The being, who they had elevated to G.o.dhood, had rejected them. He had rejected their way of life. They couldn't stand the fact that they had been ruthlessly criticized.
At the same time, they felt guilt and fear wash over them.
They were well aware of Atein's ideals. Despite know it, they had made the Plain of Darkness into an organization composed of religious zealots. They politically crushed those like Saibein, who had wanted to continue working towards Atein's utopia. An extremely twisted cla.s.s structure was created.
Of course, Atein would be extremely angered by their actions. However, he was able to separate emotion from logic. He understood the truth of what had happened.
Still, it didn't stop his followers from trying to justify their actions.
'How many people during that era truly believed in your ideals? We all followed our own greed. We followed you, so we could gain more for ourselves. We didn't want a world that was better for everyone! We wanted a world that was better for us!'
Their justification merely affirmed once again as to why he despaired for this world. However, they couldn't help, but try to justify their actions.
Atein listened to their emotions through the Great Darkness. He also listened to their spoken words. These beings had lived for the past 220 years by relying on the Great Darkness. From Atein's perspective, their actions were like prayers that offered their inner conflicts to their G.o.d. Atein continued to speak.
"However, at the same time…. A part of me thanks you."
Atein's words were unexpected, so everyone flinched as they tried to listen to him.
"I was able to get rid of any lingering attachments thanks to all of you. I won't hesitate any more. I came to the conclusion that I have no other choice."
He had long come up with a plan that he would pursue after he revived. He had already prepared everything that he would need to carry out his plan.
Despite having this plan, he had chosen to go through with an extreme method called the Dragon Demon war in the past. He had done so, because he had believed that humans and Dragon Demons could help create his utopia.
He no longer thought that any more. He had thrown away his belief in humans and Dragon Demons. Atein was choosing to go through with his last option now.
"Let me make it clear to my old comrades and those that are called the Dragon Demon King wors.h.i.+ppers in this era. I am not your G.o.d. The redemption you are searching for doesn't exist. It is merely an illusion that was created in the head of the corrupted beings."
Atein denied his G.o.dhood in front of those that wors.h.i.+pped him as a G.o.d.
It didn't affect the survivors of the Dragon Demon King's army. It was like a bolt out of the blue for the fanatics created by them. The fanatics had given up their souls in their devotion for Atein, yet they had been wholly rejected by Atein.
"I just want to give you the option to choose. Listen to me!"
Atein's words were like a whip to those that were shaken up.
"This world is wrong at a fundamental level. In the current world, utopia cannot be reached no matter how hard intelligent beings work on it."
This world and those that live in this world were wrong at a fundamental level. From the beginning, there had been no path that would have allowed them to create a utopia. After countless failures, Atein was sure of this truth now.
"That is why I will change the world."
If he had won the Dragon Demon war, he would have worked to change the world in a very humane way. He would have created a societal system that was based on consent from his const.i.tuents.
However, he came to the conclusion that such a method couldn't work. It wasn't the right answer. He had no choice, but to acquire an answer that transcended the system established by human culture.
If the way of this world world didn't allow him to reach his ideals, he just had to change how the world worked. He had done this in the past. He had reset the relations.h.i.+p between the humans and Dragons. He had unified the language of the world.
"Choose! Will your follow me or will you not follow me? For old time's sake, I will forgive the sins of those that used my relics for selfish interests. If you won't follow me, leave."
On that day, Atein destroyed a version of his own divinity, which had been created by the Plain of Darkness. On that day, his followers met the true G.o.d that they should wors.h.i.+p.
However, not all agreed with Atein's wishes.