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Chapter 856 Stalkers
On one of their nights in Runera, after she returned from her special division, Dia chose to sit by his bedside before he woke up. Her breathing was steady as her blue and red eyes read through a scroll she had.
Arthur was awake for a few minutes, but she didn't seem to notice. This allowed him to see a different side of her: a mix of serenity and devotion. Several strands of hair fell between her eyes as if separating the twirling red and blue of her eyes.
"Spear Division Third Member, Yokai," muttered Diana as she read some files. Although even the stars admired her beauty, her face was laced with killing intent. "I need to kill him."
A giggle escaped his mouth, unable to contain himself. Diana paused her reading and turned toward him with a raised brow. She placed the scroll down, and her lips curved into a smile.
"You are one perverted man to stare at me while I'm unaware," she said with a smile that didn't fit her mood. "How long have you been awake?"
"Long enough to hear your plans to kill someone. Should I be worried?" asked Arthur as he turned to sleep on his side, allowing himself to look at her. "I might be a stalker, but at least I don't plan to kill people so early in the morning."
"What is a stalker?" asked Dia as she rose from her seat to sit beside him on the bed. "Is that another word from your world?"
Arthur realized that he said it in the Yalveran Language because this world didn't have a word that meant stalker. There were Alvan words for a spy, prying, or a pervert. However, there were no words describing a person obsessed with another. Thus, Arthur explained its meaning.
"Oho?" said Dia with a smile as her hand held his. "Are you saying that you are obsessed with me, darling? You are making the Princess of Ice and Fire blush."
"…a stalker is a bad person because they usually hara.s.s their target with their obsession. I don't think I want to be called a stalker."
"I wouldn't mind it if you were obsessed with me," she said while climbing the bed and then lying on top of him. Her head rested beneath his chin, making her heart beat above his. "After all, I might be your stalker too."
"You are not a stalker."
"I think I am if it was for you," she said while her gentle breath touched his neck. "If a day comes when you disappear and go back to Earth, I will look everywhere for you. I might even visit your world just to catch a glimpse of your eyes."
"I never took you for a poet, Dia," said Arthur as his arms wrapped around her. Their bodies were glued together, making him feel her warmth. "I will be a stalker, too, if it's for you."
"Heh," she chuckled while raising her head to stare into his eyes. "I made you call yourself a stalker," she grinned triumphantly, and Arthur sighed before pulling her toward his chest. His heart was too full of this love. Then, while her face was buried in his chest, she asked him, "Would you look for me too, even if the world ends?"
"I will build it anew, just to spend another minute with you."
The two spent their morning this way, whispering their love for each other. Diana was cold on the outside, and not many people saw her smile, but she was the sweetest when the two of them were alone.
After the memory faded, Arthur opened his eyes. He found the dark abyss was gone, replaced with golden light from his body. As for the ender, it was still dissolving into nothing but bones.
The three stared at him with pale faces, giving their backs to the ender. Arthur was confused since he expected them to finish it while holding it back.
"What are you doing?" he asked, confused. "I thought you three would be fighting it off while I push it back."
"We… were about to, but…" muttered Aurora, the witch of hearts, as she snapped from her daze. "Your head… and your body too…" she pointed at him.
Arthur looked down to see himself covered in golden mana. However, something was different. Vines wrapped themselves around his body, sprouting red and blue ice flowers. He started becoming aware of the things covering him, and one of them covered his head.
As he raised his hand to touch what crowned his head, he found a crown made of golden vines and flowers. As he took it off and stared at it, he realized what this flower was. It was Greatest Harmony, which he once used to cure Diana.
"What is this doing here?"
Even if Arthur had somehow stored this within his body, it shouldn't exist in this timeline. The only possibility is that his memory of Diana has forced his subconscious to create this.
After coming to Arthur, he was focused on the changes over here. He forgot his promise to Diana, but she didn't forget hers. He wanted to leave this moment and go to Runera.
"We need to get out of here," said Arthur with a frown as he wore the crown again. "If the powers of creation cannot tear a hole in this fabric, then the breaker can."
A day before Arthur's entrapment, in the Living Forest of Ilios, a pair of men sat inside a tree groove. It formed a cave, giving them shelter and protection from the guards still patrolling the area.
"The dogs are getting closer," Casper said with a frown as he peeked outside the groove. "We managed to stay hidden because of the rations I have, but their search is relentless. Isn't there a commotion in the capital? They shouldn't be here!"
Although he said that, Casper knew that the border patrol was just a disguise for the protection their base had. If anything happened to one of the bases, even one of the commanders might visit the scene.
After a sigh, he sat down and took out his wallet. There was an old tattered photo inside of a family of three. His son looked das.h.i.+ng, but he remembered it blood-coated every time he looked at his face.
"When I received this job offer, I thought it was a chance to do good for the human race. But unfortunately, after a while of working here and realizing the inhumanity of our experiments, it became a prison that I couldn't escape. I wish we have seen it sooner, Henry."
His boy was ambitious and dedicated, believing the emperor's words. However, when the two of them were captured by invaders, that loyalty served as a scythe.
No one believed their lack of knowledge about the real goal behind this goal. Those robotic soldiers, armed with advanced technology, didn't believe them. In the end, Henry lost his life, and his helpless father lived on.
"If the G.o.ds let me, I would trade your life for mine, Henry boy. You were only following your foolish old man, right?" the old researcher said with teary eyes. "However, that will never undo the crimes I committed. So, wait for me since I will visit you soon."
Casper pocketed the photo and looked at the young, feverish man on the ground. He was as old as Henry, but their personalities were opposite. His boy was curious and calm, while this man was furious and vengeful.
Even though Casper knew that if this man awakened, he wouldn't spare his life, something made him take care of the knight. It took him almost two days to figure it out, but he realized his actions were guilt-driven.
In a book he read once, the author said that a sinner would seek punishment because the moment they admit they have sinned, it means they realize their wrongdoings. No man believed he was right but sought retribution.
"You will be my punishment," said Casper with a smile as he soaked the clothes before wiping the man's forehead. His fever had gone down, and he was starting to utter weird sounds in his dreams. "The hallucinations have started."
At that moment, Casper heard footsteps approaching them. He closed his mouth before rus.h.i.+ng toward the knight's sword, holding it close to his heart. Then, he pushed his back to the giant tree branch.
"We need to find the culprits now," said a distant voice, getting closer. "The emperor has decreed that this matter cannot be a coincidence since the project was almost beginning. Therefore, it is labeled as a terrorist attack!"
Casper listened while peeking through the branches. He saw five knights standing before their captain, making this squad far more than he could handle. Even one knight would end his life quickly.
"Sir, the culprits wouldn't stay here for a long time," said a knight. "Even though the report mentioned tree spirits, we cannot be certain that anyone is here."
"Our arrays discovered some lifeforce in this area, so keep looking," said the captain. "Search this area until the last corner!"