Chapter 264 - Epilogue (3)
He was called the White Sword Count in the Rios kingdom. It had been awhile since Bokard Lakardi was able to return to his castle.
It had been two months since he had participated in the final battle as a member of the suicide squad.
During those two months, he hadn’t been able to rest. The Plain of Darkness had meddled in the affairs of the world, so his country had been fighting a war against the Rulain kingdom. He had been ordered to lead the troops into the war.
Fortunately, the war hadn’t reached a point where the relationship between the two kingdoms couldn’t be salvaged. In the end, the two kingdoms reached an end-of-war agreement. It was all thanks to the effort made by the members of the Guardian Shadow in both countries. They patched up the relationship between the two kingdoms.
Bokard had been of those members. When the agreement to end the war was finalized, he returned to his castle, and he headed straight towards the field in the back.
It was a graveyard. It was where his parents, who had died at the hands of the Dragon Demon king worshippers, had been buried. Moreover, there was also a new grave placed next to the old graves.
“Our dreams will come true soon. Please look over us, Eileen.”
He poured alcohol straight from the bottle over the grave. Bokard was wearing an eye patch. He had lost his left eye in the fight within the Dragon Demon castle.
However, his loss was small compared to his other loss. In the final battle, he had lost his beloved little sister. He had lost Eileen Lakardi.
He was pouring a brand of liquor that Eileen had enjoyed in life.
“Oppa, you’ve returned.”
While he was remembering Eileen, his remaining siblings arrived behind him. Sarah and Jierens held the same brand of liquor as they approached the grave. Bokardi turned to look at them.
“Yes. Did you hear about the cessation of war?”
“You did good.”
“What about you guys? How was count Karzark?”
“He is still ridiculous as ever.”
Sarah burst into laughter.
While Bokard participated in the delegation that had brought about the cessation of the war, Sarah and Jierens had accompanied Azell’s party.
Their enemy had been one of the pillars of Darkness. He was a transcendent being called the King of Emptiness. The party had made many preparations. However, it was unnecessary. The fight was fierce but short. They were able to kill the King of Emptiness.
Bokard spoke after he listened to their account of the fight.
“I see. I wanted to join you guys in that fight. However, you guys did your part in achieving our dream. Eileen would have been happy.”
Sarah’s eyes were filled with sadness.
In the final battle, around half of the suicide squad had died. Everyone had been prepared for the possibility of death. Their deaths had not been in vain. In death, they were able to achieve their goals.
Still, one of his blood had died. Of course, he was sad. Each Lakardi sibling felt as if a piece of their soul had been torn away. They were still in the grips of sadness.
Bokard looked at his siblings for a moment then he changed the topic.
“Did count Karzark leave behind any message?”
“What did he say?”
“He said he’ll head towards the Bijes kingdom after the last pillar is destroyed. He’ll focus his energy in rebuilding the County of Karzark. He asked you to visit when he succeeds in his task.”
“He said he’ll freely shared Atein’s research material in regards to the Demon problem. He looks forward to working with you in solving the problem.”
Atein had left behind a homework for humanity. The remaining Guardian Shadows had to work in place of the Dragon Demon king worshippers. They’ll have to fight against the calamity that would befall on the humans in the distant future.
“We still have work to do. Of course, I’m willing to cooperate with him. However, I put more importance on both your input than mine.”
“Of course, we are of the same mind as you.”
She passed the liquor bottle as she spoke.
“Eileen would have wanted that.”
“Yes, she would have….”
The three of them mourned the loss of their sibling as they drank the alcohol.
It was a bright moonlit night.
The bluish moon was at the center of the night sky, and countless stars surrounded it. Darkness was rising into the sky like a geyser.
The darkness pierced the sky, and on the ground, it spread like wildfire into the surrounding as the darkness dissipated.
This place had been a reservoir for magic, and it had encompassed the whole continent. The destruction of this reservoir was the last step in destroying the Great Darkness.
Kayalia was watching this sight when she opened her mouth.
-My work is done.
She had her back to the moonlight, so she looked like a forest fairy. She let out a bright smile as she looked at her party.
Azell’s party and the phantoms of the Guardian Shadows were the only ones to participate in the destruction of the last pillar. Azell, Laura, Kairen, Leticia and Arrieta were standing in front of Kayalia.
As he called out her name, Azell felt a lump in his throat.
She knew what her fate would be if she accomplished this task. Despite knowing what would happen, she went through with it.
Kayalia watched Azell bite his lips. She flew through the air as if she was a fish in water. Her half translucent hand stroked Azell’s cheek.
Of course, it was pretense. She was an illusion, so she could never touch Azell.
-Azell oppa accepted me. I can end my life without any regret.
She was reborn in this state thanks to Atein. It had always felt as if she was no longer alive. It didn’t feel as if she was a part of this world.
The only meaning she could find in this world was her ties to her old life. If there was no connection to her past, she couldn’t find any meaning in this life.
It was as if she was dreaming a never-ending dream. Her life should have ended a long time ago, yet she continued to work towards the moment when her incomplete life would be completed.
That moment had finally arrived.
Kayalia put her finger on his lips as she let out a bright smile. It was a mischievous smile.
-Please don’t say anything sad. I want you to laugh. I want to remember your laughing face.
At her words, Azell tried to force a smile onto his face. It was a really awkward smile, yet he had done his best.
-I really like oppa’s smiling face. When I was a human, it was that face that I always remembered.
Kayalia let out timid laughter as she nodded her head.
At some point, white figures lined up behind her. They were the Guardian Shadows.
「Our long wish…….」
「It has been granted…….」
The forest had been destroyed from the battle, yet Azell could hear whispers emanating from his surroundings.
No matter where he looked, he could see the Guardian Shadows. Their numbers had dwindled a lot through the continuous fights, yet there were over 2,000 of them gathered at this location.
However, he would have to say farewell to them too.
They were in the same boat as Kayalia. Their existence had root in the Great Darkness. Soon, the Great Darkness will be no more, and their existence would end soon.
Despite knowing this, the Guardian Shadows weren’t sad. They had given up on their eternal rest to become the Guardian Shadows. This was the first time they were happy. Their whispers rang out in the forest, and it sounded like an ode to joy.
As the song rang out, Kayalia retreated backwards as she spoke.
-Please be happy.
She let out a bright smile as she melted into the darkness.
Then her world changed.
Her connection to reality was severed. Instead, her consciousness flowed into the world of the Great Darkness. It was where her essence had been stored.
At one point, everyone within the Great Darkness had once existed in the real world. It was a world made out their experiences in life. This world was falling apart. The Great Darkness had lost all its pillars, yet it didn’t mean this world would immediately disappear. Still, the destruction of this world was right around the corner.
Kayalia was within this world as she looked at the memories that made her who she was.
She watched the distant past when she started walking this world as a parentless Dragon Demon.
She remembered her fear of death. It drove her to create the Reincarnation technique.
Then she watched herself go through reincarnations, and she saw the first moment when she started losing herself. She started changing into different existences….
She saw her twin brother, who had fallen under the weight of his sad fate. Since a single entity had been split into two, Kaydika couldn’t withstand the hatred that had been awakened within him towards Kayalia. He had lived a luckless life.
When Kayalia approached the figure in her memories, he laughed. This was him before he was crushed under his cruel fate. He had treasured her as someone that was of his flesh and blood.
Kayalia continued to fly through the world of memories.
Countless people passed by her. She couldn’t even remember the names of most of the people in her memories. It was rare for anyone to evoke any meaningful emotions within her.
Amongst all of them, there were figures that she couldn’t forget.
They were part of her memory, yet the shadows of their former selves still remained within the Great Darkness. Atein was smiling towards her, and Aincera was next to her. She was smiling too. It was a smile that Kayalia had never seen before from Aincera.
‘You’ve acquired your salvation.’
As the world continued to deteriorate, the shadows of the dead looked at each other as they laughed.
Kaylia flew past them, and she flew deeper into the world. She wanted to meet all of the remaining shadows within the Great Darkness.
Almaricked looked as if he had no regrets. The two of them showed respect towards each other as they brushed past each other.
‘Hey. You did a good job.’
Unlike the other beings, there was a being that spoke in a carefree manner. He was a Dragon Demon with an unusually large body.
When Kayalia saw him, her eyes widened in surprise.
Her surprise lasted only for a brief moment. Soon, she put on a gentle smile as she flew into his arms.
The two shadows, who had finally lived a life with no regret, smiled at each other. They greeted their final moment of peace.
There was a strange echo as the whispers filled the forest.
Each Guardian Shadows followed Kayalia’s example. They started disappearing in ones and twos. It was as if they were melting into the moonlight.
The sound of their whispers started to sound distant as each Guardian Shadows exited this world. It had sounded as if several hundred children had been whispering to each other, but the unnatural sound started to die away. In the end, every one of them as gone. The only thing left behind was silence.
“…please rest in peace.”
Azell murmured to himself as he touched his cheek. It was where Kaylia had placed her hand.
There was no way this could be true, but somehow, he could still feel her warmth on his cheek.
He was the Dragon Demon prince of the Rulain kingdom. Seigar Weil Rulain had participated in the final battle as a member of the suicide squad, and he had survived until the end. After the battle ended, he departed from Azell’s party. He returned to the Rulain kingdom, and he gave his report to his mother, the Dragon Demon Queen. Afterwards, he ceased doing his public duties.
Seigar ventured out of his residence after four months had passed after the final battle.
He hadn’t gone out, because he had to fulfill his duties as the Dragon Demon prince.
Seigar took couple talented bodyguards as he headed towards the County of Michael.
After he shifted all duties to his successor, Count Michael was currently enjoying his retirement. Seigar had traveled here to meet archmage Beorein Michael.
“It has been awhile.”
Seigar gave a respectful greeting.
Beorein had also participated in the final fight as a member of the suicide squad, and he was a fellow survivor. This was why there was mutual respect in both their gazes even if there was a gap in age and station.
“Did you achieve your goal?”
“Yes, it took a long time.”
“May you show it to me?”
Seigar closed his eyes, and at the same time, a powerful wave of Dragon Demon magic was emitted from his body.
-Release Dragon Soul!
A half translucent blue dragon appeared as it wound itself around Seigar’s entire body. At the same time, sparks started to erupt from his surroundings.
Beorein looked impressed as he asked a question.
“As expected, your Dragon Soul is a Thunder Dragon.”
“It is. My sister probably has the same Dragon Soul.”
Seigar unsummoned his Dragon Soul.
He had been holed up in his residence, because he had wanted to perfect his Dragon Soul. In the final battle, he had been lacking in power, so he hadn’t been able to play a significant role in the fight. It had frustrated him.
Beorein asked him a question.
“What brings you to this retired old man?”
The County of Michael was pretty far from the capital. Seigar had went through the trouble of coming here, so he must have some business with Beorein.
“I would like to commission you to make me a Dragon sword.”
“You want a Dragon sword?”
Dragon sword was a weapon created by Kairen and Michael. Of course, several more people had collaborated in the endeavor, but the two of them was crucial to the process. If one wanted to make a Dragon weapon, either Kairen or Beorein had to be involved. If they were excluded, it was impossible to make the Dragon sword.
“Yes, the crown acquired all the ingredients. I’ll be sure to compensate you very well too.”
Since Seigar had awaken the Dragon Soul, he would never be able to acquire a Dragon Demon weapon. Aside from the Dragon Demon weapons, the Dragon sword was the best weapon in the world, and he wanted one.
“Also, I would like to leave behind the Dragon sword to my descendants.”
Unlike the Dragon Demon weapon, Dragon Soul was part of oneself, so it couldn’t be passed on. Moreover, the Albatan Forest had put a strict restriction on who can learn the Dragon Soul. This was why he wouldn't be able to teach the Dragon Soul to his descendants.
He wanted a Dragon sword the more he thought about it. He’ll marry someday. If he had a son, he wanted to leave behind a weapon for him.
Beorein nodded his head.
“I see. Alright. This might be a good opportunity.”
“A good opportunity?”
“It is time for me to start teaching my pupils on how to create the Dragon weapon. I cannot take this precious technique to my grave.”
Beorein had spoken some wise words.
Seigar suddenly asked a question.
“Are you solely focused on teaching your pupils now?”
“I’ve taken my hands off from the family affairs, so I guess so. However, that isn’t the only reason why I’m doing this.”
“I’m looking into the research material given to us by sir Karzark. We are furthering Atein’s research with the other members of the Guardian Shadows.”
This was the first time he had heard such news. Azell’s party had handed over Atein’s research materials in regards to the Demon race. Azell had suggested they should collaborate in furthering the research, but the offer had been made to mostly magicians. This was why Seigar hadn’t heard about it.
Beorein stroked his beard as he laughed.
“It’ll be something that’ll happen in the distant future. We have to steadily make preparations, so we’ll be able to escape Atein’s prediction. I never expected to find so much motivation in my latter years.”
“I see. If you need my help, please ask. I’d be happy to help.”
“Understood. I’ll be asking the throne for support when I’ll be expanding my research. Please support my endeavors when the time comes.”