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Chapter 338: The Dogs Bark, but the Caravan Moves On (4)
The lighthouse was a building designed by Quay and enlarged with Deculein’s magic. Lia was awestruck looking up at it, observing the sky and the universe from on high.
“And at last, I made it here.”
The thing that should never be completed was already completed, waiting only for the right moment. If it were the game, she would have given up already.
“…Is everyone watching?”
Lia muttered. A magical lens implanted in her cornea was observing the lighthouse, and this lens was connected to the Floating Island and transmitted all images she saw to them.
“Can you interpret it?”
—Yeah. If you give me enough time, I can dismantle and a.n.a.lyze the entire lighthouse.
The great magical island was cooperating with the Empire, breaking the unwritten rule of not interfering in the private affairs of the continent. All the magical knowledge and skill of the Floating Island were working on this task, blocking the lighthouse and trying to stop Deculein and the Altar. In other words, Deculein even made the aloof Floating Island partic.i.p.ate in the war.
—Deculein’s arrogance will be severely condemned. The Floating Island will rule out the great evils that corrupt the world.
“Lia. I heard they’re selling chicken skewers in the bas.e.m.e.nt.”
Hearing that, Lia turned her eyes back to Deculein. He was with the high priests of the Altar, dressed in black robes.
“Lia? Chicken skewers-“
“Go and eat with Carlos, Leo.”
Leo and Carlos went underground as the wors.h.i.+p service for the lighthouse ended. At that moment, the Altar members went away one by one, some into Sanctuary and some heading back to the Empire.
“Are you seeing it?”
At some point, a figure approached Lia. It was Deculein.
Lia nodded without saying a word, and Deculein grinned.
“The knot will be tied soon.”
Knot? The last quest in this game.
Lia held back a sigh.
“At the end of the day, you will be the worst villain, right?”
Worst villain. Deculein raised his eyebrows slightly and then stamped his staff on the ground. At that moment, Lia’s magic lens vibrated.
Lia grabbed at her head.
“…The Floating Island is foolish too. Did they think it would never come back to me?”
Deculein turned to Lia.
“By the way, Lia.”
His voice went low.
“What kind of conversations did we have in the past?”
So, he asked about the past of Yuli and Deculein, which Lia didn’t know.
Lia’s eyes gently rose to Deculein, then moved to the lighthouse again. Was this a test? If not…
Lia said what she had once said to him before; this man wanted to carry everything on his own. Like he wanted to share happiness with her, she asked him to share even the sorrow. Trying to run away without doing that wasn’t cool; it was pathetic.
“You’re pathetic. Because only you know yourself and your feelings.”
Deculein didn’t show any expression. Well, of course not. He was different from Kim Woojin; he wasn’t Kim Woojin. And even though he was the worst villain, he was by no means pathetic.
“Is that so?”
Deculein nodded. Rather, as if convinced, he even smiled. To Yuli, that smile was mysterious and as beautiful as a mirage in the desert. But it only lasted for a very short time.
“Three weeks, Lia.”
Deculein’s face went blank.
“After three weeks-“
Static electricity surged through Lia’s retinas again, and the Floating Island’s magic lens was restored.
“The continent will come to an end.”
* * *
In the desert of Rohalak, camp leader Primienne frowned.
“This is strange.”
All kinds of newspapers were on her table, all news about Deculein.
“It is strange.”
Primienne gathered the continent’s affairs in the desert far from the continent and investigated them independently.
That was all she had to say. Strange, it was really strange.
Primienne knew Deculein. He wouldn’t hate the Demon Bloods as much as the press talked about, and he wouldn’t be as out of control. Rather, Deculein helped Primienne escape every moment they were about to discover that she was a Demon Blood.
The Deculein that the media made up went beyond simply hating the Demon Bloods. He was a terrible pure-blood supremacist and cla.s.sist. She could tell by looking at the books he wrote and published recently.
[Future of the Empire]
This was a book that showed the way the Empire should follow. It was a controversial work that raised fervent support from the pro-Deculeinists, and concerns and fears for everyone else.
“The empire’s future is an iron man’s politics based on cla.s.s and pureblood… hmm.”
Primienne hadn’t much sense of belonging to the Demon Bloods. She was from northern Freyden, where she grew up cold, hungry, and as harsh as the people there. She simply didn’t want to die and liked the rich life, so she hid the fact that she was a Demon Blood.
“Something’s not right.”
However, no matter how much she thought about it, Deculein’s current behavior was strange. Primienne repeated the thought over and over again, but…
—What do you mean?
Someone’s voice flowed from the crystal ball. No, it was a sound closer to a machine than a person. Elesol.
“Deculein. His actions don’t make sense, and I don’t consider him a complete enemy.”
—A friend slaughters the Demon Bloods of Rohalak like that?
“Slaughter? Do you mean the canvas? I don’t see it that badly.”
Deculein’s Painting Prison. There was a lot of talk about it. There was h.e.l.l in the picture prison or nothing — there were many rumors, but it must be a hundred times better than a gas chamber.
“If we go inside, there is a possibility that they will be alive. We don’t know if they’re alive until we open it. However, you die as soon as you enter the gas chamber.”
—Are you serious?
“Yes. Rather, Elesol. What about the lighthouse?”
—The Floating Island decided to intervene.
That was surprising.
—The remaining time is twenty days.
It was too short a time to discuss the destruction of the continent, not quite three weeks away.
“…I’ll have to go myself.”
—Is the place ready?
There were Demon Bloods here, in Rohalak. Carixel, of course, was among them.
—The decisive battle is in Annihilation, at the lighthouse. If it is settled, the years we have been oppressed will be relegated to the past. We will be rewarded commensurately with it. We will be able to take back our land.
A certain thought flashed through Primienne’s mind. Years of oppression, commensurate compensation, and their lost homeland. Those three sentences sparked a thought.
It was a hypothesis but quite probable. No, that hypothesis could explain both Deculein’s actions now and how he behaved in the past.
“Where are you now?”
Primienne’s voice trembled.
—What’s going on?
“I want to talk to you face-to-face just in case.”
Elesol didn’t answer. Indeed, because of the current affairs, Elesol didn’t want to step out of the desert.
—Is it important?
Primienne pondered, but she didn’t need to think long.
“Elesol. Deculein had a chance.”
Primienne knew Deculein had a chance to eradicate the Demon Bloods before. By receiving information from the Demon Blood’s informant, he could’ve killed all of them.
…However, Primienne’s belief in Deculein wasn’t only because of that incident.
“A chance to kill a Demon Blood child.”
Primienne pulled out a journal from the drawer. It was confiscated from a child held in Rohalak. But it was an item that caught Primienne’s eyes just before it was burned in the garbage dump. No one had read it, and there was nothing special about it.
But in the diary, there was a paragraph like this:
[Today, I met the general of the Imperial guard, who is the scariest. He had medals hanging on his chest. It was amazing. At first, I thought I saw it wrong. I thought I would be caught and immediately taken to the camp, but he left without a word. He just told me to be careful. So, I thought I was mistaken. But later, I checked his face again in the newspaper. It was real.
His name is…]
…Deculein, Primienne said as she closed the diary.
“…He wouldn’t kill even a child of the Demon Blood.”
* * *
…The Floating Island, the upper part of Megiseon, where all the advanced magic and records of the great wizards in the world were gathered and stored. There, all the top minds of the Floating Island gathered and were working hard.
“This lighthouse is a medium. The Altar intends to attract comets to this lighthouse, and Deculein’s magic amplifies its performance.”
Including the addict Astal, the etheric-cla.s.s wizards who obtained the privilege of living on the Floating Island thoroughly examined the Altar and Deculein’s goals.
“But whatever the Altar is trying to do, our purpose is simple.”
They didn’t normally get involved in the world. Therefore, the motive that drove them now was nothing more than a personal grudge.
In other words, it was Deculein.
“We’ll annihilate Deculein.”
The addict Astal said. And listening to his words, the wizards of the Floating Island immersed themselves in the development of a technique designed purely for Deculein’s annihilation.
“I’ll say it again. We’ll kill Deculein.”
The addict Astal spoke again.
“We’ll kill Deculein.”
He said it again.
“We’ll kill Deculein.”
And again. Only then did the wizards realize that something strange was happening, and they raised their heads one by one to look at Astal.
“We’ll, we’ll, we’ll.”
Astal was repeating himself.
“We— we— we—”
We will. Astal repeated that, and his movements slowed.
That way, he went completely still as his voice continued. No, time stopped.
A silence fell over Megiseon, laying thick and heavy only to be shattered by a single will.
—I’ll make some corrections to what he just said.
High heels clinked off the ground as a figure appeared in the shadows of Megiseon.
“…Yes. It’s me, Epherene.”
Epherene looked at each one of them.
“It’s impossible to destroy Deculein.”
She spoke with a sneer, resembling her former teacher.
“No, you can’t. As long as I’m here.”
She beckoned lightly. At that moment, time ground to a halt. Everyone on the upper floors stiffened with their mouths open.
Epherene scoffed and sat down beside them. Turning only her head, she examined a record on the wall.
[Locralen — Kaidezite]
The Floating Island record of Locralen and Kaidezite. Looking at it, Epherene recalled the old days.
“I think I’ll see you again… soon.”
To be honest, she still didn’t know what had happened that day. But, she had a gut feeling that day would come soon.
“Until then, I will do my best, Professor.”
Epherene softly muttered and looked around.
Something began to creak.
Indeed, they were tough. There weren’t many wizards who could resist her magic. But, well.
“It’s better that way.”
Epherene, who had already endured an infinite amount of time and had risen sharply in her skill, had enough self-confidence to face them.
“Everyone, bring it on. I will deal with you myself.”
Now, she believed in herself more than anyone else.