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Daughters of Hati
“Lord Milos, she must be judged properly. Because of her, millions of lives have been lost at Toquenin and Lozka. While I have no relations with these people, if I sit by and do nothing, I am just as much of a culprit as she is. I am not looking to exact my revenge, I am just trying to uphold justice. No one should be able to walk away freely after committing a crime,” Brendel replied to the tall figure in front of him while lying in the embrace of Freya. He stood on a platform in a world of emptiness and darkness, a cube of Light Law separating the plane on which he stood and the void beyond. Ferocious currents of raw energy raged within the darkness, but all its power could not break the lightning-blue hue of the Light Law. The G.o.dly strength of Milos was still thousandfold the strength of Dark Korfa.
Milos shook his head gravely, his voice rumbling, “If you kill her, the other Korfa who is innocent will die too.”
The frown on Brendel’s face deepened as he pondered over Milos’s words. Dark Korfa’s sins were unforgivable, but if her punishment would extend to the other Korfa, then the issue had become much more complicated. Both of their weapons had been cast aside, the Lionheart Sword and the Halran Gaia laid on top of each other, the matte black and l.u.s.trous silver of the blades contrasting with each other. A short distance away, Korfa’s face was as white as a sheet of paper as she laid amidst a pool of her own blood, her ebony locks fanned out on the platform. At that moment, she looked like a sacrificial offering. Despite her predicament, a pair of blood-red eyes was staring at Brendel, the hatred burning within them was still far from peris.h.i.+ng.
Veronica’s weak voice drifted into their ears. “But she isn’t innocent. She had been sharing a body with this person all this while. It is because of her actions that Dark Korda has managed to spread such destruction, so it cannot be considered unfair for her to receive the same punishment. She should have understood this when she decided to separate her darker self from her body.” Her voice was low, her manner of speech betraying the anger she felt. Lozka, which Dark Korfa had destroyed, was a city under the rule of the empire. It was understandable for someone to be enraged at the person who would harm their country, of course the commander would feel the same.
“That may be so,” Milos’s gravelly voice replied, “But her sins do not warrant that she pays with her life.”
“What do you mean?”
“She was merely following my will. If the one who awakened had been me instead of her, the consequences would still remain. She may have committed some wrongdoings because of her fickle personality, but she does not need to die.”
“Then does this mean that the millions of people who died deserved it? Lord Milos!” Veronica yelled. Brendel looked at the commander with respect. Despite knowing that she was standing before a deity, she still had the courage to speak in this manner. The war G.o.ddess of Kirrlutz would truly never turn her back on her people.
Milos let out a sigh.
“Trying to summon a deity into this world is already a mistake. You may perceive it as cold and uncaring, but the awakened one must carry out the promise. Even though I cannot understand the feelings of mortals, I understand that they are precious to you. I too do not wish for such tragedies to happen, but since they already have, the person responsible will be held accountable. However, that person is not Korfa. Your anger is misplaced, and it will not bring peace to the souls of the dead.”
Brendel had already expected this reply.
“In my eyes, this world is weak and ignorant, filled with impurities and falsehoods. It is not as glorious as the Ancient Civilization, nor is it as exciting as the Golden and Silver Ages,” Milos’s grave voice said. “But, it is precious to your kind, and that is enough reason to let it exist. There is still tomorrow for your kind, and so there is hope. Cherish this hope of yours, and tell your people to stop repeating the mistakes of the past. Let the knowledge of Order and deities be buried with history, your kind no longer has any need for us.”
His voice grew louder and louder, like thunderclaps overlapping, before disappearing entirely.
The room they were in disappeared as the Law collapsed.
“Lord Milos?” Veronica furrowed her eyebrows, feeling that there had been a change.
“He has recognized Freya’s decision.” It was impossible for a mortal to kill a deity, but Milos had managed to keep his promise. When Arreck’s group had made their choice, he had been brought back to this world. Because of his promise with Alphonse and Crystal, he was forced to destroy the current Order. He would try to manifest the glory of the olden days, whether it be through the hands of Korfa or another person. However, there was another myth within Milos’s heart, after a millennia of pondering it had become something that resembled mankind. Perhaps he had given proper thought to Crystal’s words at the Holy Cathedral in the clouds, and he had come to agree with those words.
Thus, when Freya made the decision once more, it had self-destructed, disappearing from this world entirely.
Just like how the Azure Knights broke into heaven.
A mortal had killed a deity.
Milos said that someone had to pay for the world’s sins. That person was him. He had already forgiven Korfa. Brendel could not fathom how the two former enemies had come to understand each other. He looked at Dark Korfa. Instead of glaring at him, she was now looking into the darkness. Brendel caught a glimpse of her blinking hard, trying to hide the redness in her eyes.
“Utterly hopeless. The weak get weaker, the strong become stronger, that is the truth of this world. That person tried to go against it, which is why he failed. A false Order,” she said distastefully. “In the past, he had also waged war against us, the winner would get to decide the truth. Does he think he is some hero just because he was willing to compromise?”
“Shouldn’t you be happy right now? You have one less enemy, and you are one step closer to your goal,” said Brendel. The founder of the Frost Giants had already shouldered all of the responsibility, so he could not go after Dark Korfa anymore. Just as Milos said, she did commit a few wrongdoings, but it did not mean she had to die. However, her att.i.tude and mannerism were still extremely infuriating. Brendel wondered where she got her rudeness from.
Korfa sighed dramatically. “My enemy, at least he was an honorable man, battling against him was something I took pride in. But the only enemies I have now are you people. So weak and insignificant, I don’t even think you are worthy of opposing me.”
“Well, these ‘weak and insignificant’ people are going to kill you,” Brendel threatened.
“H-how dare you! You already promised Milos!”
Dark Korfa widened her eyes at Brendel, her expression exactly the same as back then. However, they were not on the ground of the Deadly Tundra Forest, nor were they within Milos’s protective cube; they were in the hall under New Valhalla’s tree, basking in the warmth of the sunlight s.h.i.+ning through the windows. Brendel put down the papers in his arms, pointing to his forehead before turning his finger towards the pale-as-snow brow of Dark Korfa. “Did you already forget?”
Dark Korfa’s face immediately became flushed. She gritted her teeth and said, “How dare you mention it! Do you know how much it hurt when you poked it in? You had absolutely no consideration for me! Plus there was so much blood!”
Maynild and Kind Korfa were shocked at her words. The both of them looked towards Brendel with disgusted eyes, as if they were seeing their leader in a new light.
“My Lord, what did you do to my sister?” The words tumbled heatedly out of Kind Korfa. The next moment, she lowered her head embarra.s.sedly, her blush reaching her neck. “Forgive me. What I meant was, if you want to do something to my sister, please seek out my permission too…… Even though this seems unnecessary, the both of us share the same body, so anything that happens to her will happen to me as well.”
Brendel almost choked at both their words. He turned to glare at Dark Korfa. “Stop with the nonsense. That thing is now in your body. Unless you have a way to return it to me right now, you will be working for me.”
Dark Korfa turned pale, she touched her fingers towards her forehead. She had lost Milos’s G.o.dhood, and the power of the Month of Lies resided in Kind Korfa’s body. At that moment, she was as weak as a normal human girl. If she were to open up her forehead to retrieve that thing, she would not be able to survive the process. After some consideration, she said weakly, “After the thing has been returned, will you let me go?”
“f.u.c.k you!” Dark Korfa snapped. Defeatedly, she exclaimed, “I’m completely powerless right now. I am no different from a normal human, so what could you possibly want from me?” Immediately after she said it, a horrified expression appeared on her face. “Could it be…… You are after my body?”
“Stop it!” Brendel interrupted her. “What I need is your knowledge. I’m sure that no one in this world could match up to your knowledge about the eras that came before.”
‘You mean the ancients?” Korfa’s expression changed into one of calmness. “If you are trying to obtain the secrets of Twilight, you can just give up. Even if I die, I will not betray the Twilight Dragon.”
Brendel was surprised at the determination shown by Dark Korfa. He shook his head in response, “I have no interest in that. Right now, I have a few items with me that I need your help identifying.” As he was talking, Brendel started taking out the items from his Dimension s.p.a.ce, placing them onto his desk.
Korfa’s expression turned bitter the moment she saw the first item. The pair of gloves was made with silver silk, with pearls adorning it. Most prominently, there was a blood-red gemstone on the back of the gloves surrounded by mysterious arrays, with silver threads connecting the arrays to the fingertips. She looked at the other items and her anger grew tenfold. She turned to glare at Brendel, her eyes seething with rage.
The second item was a breastplate with a double-headed eagle carved on it. The strange part about the breastplate was that it seemed to fade in and out of reality. Despite standing in front of it, the mystical armor piece felt as if it only existed in a different dimension.
Next was a bow, but the bow grip was actually the skull of a demon. The demon’s two pairs of horns extended vertically to form the limbs. Instead of a bowstring, a faint purple imprint connected the ends of the limbs.
The fourth item was a cane. The cane mildly resembled a hammer because of the stone cross that sat atop the cane. On top of the cross was a statuette of the G.o.ddess Gaia. This was a common item to see in the Holy Cathedral of Earth because it was often used as a staff. However, this staff was different from the ones normally seen. There were four glowing runes on the staff, which Brendel recognized to be the Ancient Runes of the Law of Earth. To his eyes, the runes were not a cheap knock-off, which made him even more curious about the origins of the staff.
The final item was a soldier’s sword. It was a simple-looking sword that looked like the works of an elven smith. The only thing that stood out was a carving of the Flame Elven King at the hilt of the sword.
Among the five items, Brendel could only recognize one of them, which was the gloves — the Dragon’s Mystery. This pair of gloves had the almost same effect as Bahamut’s Blessing, except that the gloves were meant for women. Another difference was that Bahamut’s Blessing was more focused on defense, while the Dragon’s Mystery was offense-oriented. Both of the items could perform instant alchemy, but the Dragon’s Mystery could also summon magic arrays. Magic Array Arts were the strongest Calculation Magic, but it was also very c.u.mbersome and lacked versatility. Since most of the Array Arts required rituals to operate, it would require prior preparation of the arrays and a lot of people to activate the array. The Dragon’s Mystery was the perfect artifact for an Array Spellcaster.
This was the reason why Bahamut’s Blessing was only a Mythical Artifact, while the Dragon’s Mystery was an Ancient Relic, just slightly below a Divine Artifact.
Looking at the items on the desk, Korfa felt a burning rage in her chest. She stared at Brendel’s with eyes that seemed to spit fire. “These things are all mine!”
“And now they are my spoils of war,” replied Brendel.
“So you want me to tell you how to use them?” Dark Korfa responded through gritted teeth.
Korfa, I’m sure you wouldn’t be satisfied by becoming a normal person, would you?” asked Brendel. “Even if I let you go, the best you could do is use your good looks to become a concubine for another ruler. I know you won’t be satisfied with that. You are someone who can control your own destiny, I’m sure you would not want to be restricted by someone else. Once upon a time, you stood at the top, normal humans were merely ants beneath your feet. It’s hard to live a normal life after experiencing the view from the top, don’t you think?”
“Am I not being restricted by you now?” Dark Korfa muttered angrily. She put on a charming smile and said, “But I’ve heard that in the history of humans, there have been many women who were the true rulers, manipulating their kings from behind. With my wisdom and capabilities, I don’t think it would be too hard to climb to that position. If that ever happens, I will do everything in my power to oppose you. We shall see how you deal with me then.” She giggled.
Brendel went silent as he tried to imagine the situation she described. Brendel wondered if this woman was someone tasked to specifically antagonize him. She had already caused him a lot of trouble. Luckily for him, it was nearly impossible for that situation to happen. He knew that Dark Korfa would rather kill herself than submit to the whims of another man. With his worries resolved, his emotions started to calm down. He shook his head at her and answered, “Why go through all that trouble, Miss Korfa? The Heart of Disaster is already with you. If you can utilise it properly, you will be able to regain your phenomenal strength and write your own legend.”
“Heart of Disaster?” Korfa was shocked at his words. “What Heart of Disaster?”
“Of course I’m talking about Hati’s Heart of Disaster.”
“Hati’s Heart of Disaster, My Lord?” This time, the one who was speaking was not Dark Korfa but her younger sister. Kind Korfa, who had been silent ever since her sister had started bickering with the Count of Trentheim, wore an expression that was a mixture of shock and awe. Brendel looked at her curiously, wondering what piqued her interest.
“Ah!” Dark Korfa suddenly yelled, as if she had realized something. She furrowed her eyebrows like she was trying to sense something. Looking at her expression, Brendel understood that she did not actually detect what was in her forehead. Maybe it was because she thought it was a trap set by Brendel, or perhaps it was because she had lost her powers, so it did not give her any signs.
She raised her head, her blood-red eyes staring at Brendel with a perplexed look.
“Mother’s key…… My dear mother’s key……” she muttered to herself, her voice sounding excited yet confused. “You gave me this thing because you were trying to harm me?”
She leered at Brendel. “Humans truly are stupid! This thing that you gave me, do you even know what it is? This is the key that opens the door to that world! Now that you’ve handed me this key, you are completely done for this time, little Brendel!” She let out a cackle.
A s.h.i.+ver ran down Brendel’s spine. Did I make a mistake when judging the power of Hati’s Heart of Disaster?
“Sister, the key has to mature before it can be used. The process takes a very long time, so stop scaring the Lord already,” Kind Korfa reminded her sister.
“You idiot! Why did you expose me?” Dark Korfa yelled angrily.