Translated & Edited by: Tianic
Note: Please click on the character name for their illustrations.
Characters in this chapter:
- Cohen Kheda(Alias: Claude): The main character.
- Fischer Summers(Alias: Raven): Cohen’s friend and the prince of the Swabia Empire.
- Dior Merlin: One of Cohen’s wives.
I woke up at dawn, flipping through the pages of a random book as I laid in bed and listened to the sounds of birds chirp. I had no intention of knowing what was written in the book.
What I was thinking were all the things that happened these days. In my mind, a future blueprint was slowly taking shape.
The Aqua Clan has agreed to join me. A powerful fleet will be ready by the next year. I have foreseen, when ships that no one has seen in this world sailing across the winds and surfs with my Dark City banners hanging along when we defeat those enemy battleships fragile as toys, how world-shaking would that be to the people on this continent! Moreover, I will have a troop of elite soldiers going along, my enemies will flee in fear!
The next step was to seize more land with force and actions. I should subdue more alien clans by my unusual methods of conciliation and rather mild laws. In this way, I could increase my Dark City population in order to build an even stronger economy to support my mighty troops.
By that time, not only I can kick the Minister to the lady’s room, Fischer’s throne will be as steady as hell. As long as he wanted, no one will be able to threaten him.
This will be a challenging objective, which will make my life so much more interesting by its endless unpredictability and variable. I loved it, the feeling of standing on the edge. The thing about this future made my blood boils.
However, there were still much to be done. What I currently had done was far from enough. My Dark City construction progress was one problem, its population was another.
I intended to have a thorough conversation with Fischer. This guy has been more responsible and smarter since he lost his virginity.
While I was meddling in my mind, the door opened. Fischer entered with a smile.
However, he made the first step, then was dragged backward by a pulling on his back clothes. Fischer looked embarrassed while I pondered who could be brave enough to do that.
I heard slight sounds of arguing out of the half-closed door. Obviously, a female voice won, then Fischer’s voice disappeared.
I recognized the female voice’s owner then hurried to mess up my face, making my eyes dry, lips pale, face numb. By the time that voice: Dior Merlin, came into my room, I was looking extremely blunt, pitiful as if I could die at any second.
I was the one who threw our relationship into such embarrassment. I just wanted her to leave my room sooner.
“Gosh! What happened to you?” Unbelievably, Dior dashed to my bedside, lowered her body and took my hand firmly, “They told me that you have a minor wound. I had no idea how bad it is. Forgive me for not showing up earlier, forgive me…”
Ten days, just ten days! Her change made me overwhelmed. Could it be what she said when I confronted her by the castle was true? I did not do anything that touched her. Although I have intended to do.
“No, please don’t blame yourself.” I finally found a word suitable for this conversation, “It’s not your fault.”
“Where’s your wound?” Dior asked hastily, “Is it healed? Who cured you? Did you heal it yourself? Let me see, you are not that good a healer…”
“N… nothing bad. It’s alright.” I pressed Dior’s hand, “I just need more rest. My wound was cured by the best physician. Don’t worry.”
“Really?” She said softly, “I’ll stay here. If a somewhat pretty and not that annoying lady presents herself in front of the wound, her fine image will be faithful for you to heal faster.”
“Sure you can.” I said, “Then will you just stay here for the wound? What about after it’s healed?”
“That’ll depend on the timing.” Dior made a playful smile, “If the speed you heal turns out satisfactory…”
“But, dear.” I felt a bit anxious due to it was the first time I call her ‘dear’, “I’m too tired to quarrel.”
“Then get better sooner.” She opened the curtain to let in the sunlight, “By that time, if you quarrel with me sometimes, I’ll reward you.”
“Oh, yeah? I’m so looking forward to it. By the way, where have you driven Raven to?” Where Dior presented, Fischer and I have been calling each other Claude(cloud) and Raven.
“Raven?” Dior approached my bed and sat, “You mean Fischer? I told him to come for you after breakfast.”
“Okay, but I’ve got things for him! Important stuff.” I watched as she engaged in business for me, then said in a rare fine tone, “Can you fetch him now?”
“Are you sure?”
“Alright! I’ll get him.” Dior said, “But don’t be too long.”
I nodded. Dior smiled at me pleasantly then disappeared at the door.
Not long after, Fischer’s dissatisfied voice came from the outside, “What are you couple doing? One drove me away, one summoned me back. Hi, Claude, you look just fine to me!”
I signed the chair by my bed to let him be seated.
“Dior, come around.” I called her in as well and took her hand, then watched in her bright eyes and said, “Can I trust you, my darling wife? I mean everything.”
“Sure, what’s wrong?” Dior asked in confusion, “Did I do anything wrong?”
“Nothing on you!” Fischer said as if he was once again hosting a wedding, “Claude was asking you, are you willing to be with him, for better or worse, loyally and faithfully without lies or cheat.”
“In my mother’s name.” Dior said prudently, “I acknowledge our marriage. We’re a couple that respect and loyal to each other.”
“As for now, I’ve got things that should be remained untold.” I said, “If I tell now, there’ll be more trouble for you guys. But I promise I will say the words at a proper time. I mean well, that I’ll never hold anything back to you.”
“Ok?” Dior pondered and looked up at me, “I’ve sensed that you can’t be just a smuggler. So, can you give me a timeline?”
I pondered for a moment and told her, “A year! Give me a year!”
“Alright!” Dior said, “You said it. Now, excuse me. I’ll give you some room to talk.”
“Darling, you don’t have to go. That’s fine.” I hinted Fischer to inquire his opinion, Fischer nodded at me, “We’ll probably need your advice.”
Hearing this, Dior smiled again. She made herself comfortable on my bed without a single resemblance as the old Dior Merlin.
“Raven, I’ve gained big this time.” I said to Fischer, “The Aqua Clan has agreed to join us!”
“Cool!” Fischer patted my shoulder hard, “Good job, man!”
“Be gentle!” Dior said.
“I get it!” Fischer said awkwardly.
“Their leader came back with me.” I continued, “We could work out the detailed cooperation plan by today. Oh, Dior, with Sander’s help, our ships will be able to travel to any ports safely!”
“That’s great news.” Dior pressed my blanket, “In that case, the profits from every shipment will be maximized.”
After I told them about the Aqua Clan, I continued with the Arethusa story.
“Normally, all legends are based on something. It’s rare that it is just made up. Let alone there’s already an Arethusa’s avatar.” Fischer commented.
“You’ve mentioned that you shared a moment with that avatar?” Dior frowned, “What was that like?”
“It was a rather odd feeling…” I tried my best to recall the situation of that moment, “I have never heard of Arethusa, though when facing her, I found myself thrilled with intimacy and familiarity…”
“Was it like that you were bonded to each other?” Dior asked.
“Hell yeah! That’s about it!” I tumbled by Dior’s reminding.
“That is to say, the God of Water did exist.” Fischer became unusually severe, “Despite that Arethusa was that impressive like what the aqua people had said, or she somehow had anything to do with the two temples, those are not what we should concern about right now.”
“You know it, what we saw and heard have proven the Light Temples are lousy as hell.” I shrugged, “So then, who is the real God? The Asmodians?”
“You’re running off the subject.” Fischer reminded.
“It matters? We’ve come so far to this point!”
Fischer gazed at Dior and questioned me, “Do you think it’ll be a proper thing to discuss in front of a Light Temple follower?”
“Have I said I’m a Light fan?” Dior objected, “Since fourteen when the Light Lord had refused to save my mother, I hated him. You two boys, otherwise. You’re like two devils with horns on the heads.”
“He might be, hehhe.” Fischer giggled, “Watch out for your husband to turn at night.”
“Of what? He’ll still be my husband after all even if he turns.” Dior gave no damn about what Fischer said, “If he steals, I’ll watch for him. If he robs, I’ll help with his weapon!”
“Those are your words!” Fischer continued baffling on purpose, “What if he goes to a whorehouse?”
“I’ll buy up the whole damn building.” Dior lifted her chin, which revealed her slightly pointy and graceful lower jaw, “So he won’t be paying!”
“Good job, haha!” Fischer laughed, “I have my eyes on you!”
“Alright, thank you, Dior.” I said with a smile, “Now, Fischer, tell me your opinions on the God.”
“Okay! Since you care to listen, I’ve been on this issue for a while.” Fischer stood up and paced in the room with both of his hands back on the waist, “My childhood had seen people saying Protoss was kind to us. There would be nothing to be afraid of with their grace and concern. By when I had grown up, I came to understood that the Protoss needed worshipping. They needed lots of tributes and money because they have to battle, to kill. Protoss had desires!”
“Who do we fight? The Asmodian! I’ve asked many as to why were we fighting Asmodians? They answered by saying that Asmodians are devils, that’s why we fight. What a funny reason! The Asmodian Allied people worship the Asmodian Lords, which we saw as evil, as their Gods. The Dark Temple were their sanctuary! In their point of view, Our Protoss Gods were real devils…”
“As thus, all the empires did whatever it took and split into two allies to battle each other. During some most heat moments, even the Protoss and Asmodian Gods joined the war. I had no ideas or clues whether it was our enemies were killing us, or there were something else killing us? Or was it that we were appealed by the Lords and offered our bodies to sacrifice. We did it like it will prove we were faithful.”
“As a result, I am currently confused.” Fischer said softly, “During the days staying with you, I’ve been considering this question. Perhaps what I saw isn’t enough yet, I wouldn’t follow others blindly. Thus I’ve been only starting to doubt the faith on Protoss.”
I watched as Fischer finished and gave him a thumb up.
In my point of view, what the Protoss did was far derailed from what made a real god. And even for an actual god, I would not smile at him if he was not my type of thing.
But for Fischer, it was very precious that he had a view like this. We knew this was not a subject to talk about in public.
Dior watched Fischer in confusion. Probably she did not expect anyone to judge the Protoss from this aspect.
“Wanna hear my words?” I said.
“Sure do, pour it out!” Fischer sat up on the bed. He and Dior were both gazing at me.
“Firstly, we need to know what defines a god. With the god’s definition, then could compare anything to that definition.” I pointed out a finger, “If it fits, then God he is, vice versa.”
“Secondly, we need to know more about the Light and Dark Temple, figure out where they are come from. What kind of beings they are.” I stuck out my second finger, “That’ll benefit the debate.
“Thirdly, we need to conceal this thought. If today’s talk goes out, we’ll all be dead.” I frowned, “Our current power is just too weak to battle against any of the two parties.”
Dior and Fischer agreed by mere coincidence.
“So tell me what makes a god?” Dior asked.
“I dunno.” I sighed, “That’s probably my shortcoming! I’m good at breaking the rules or telling problems. If you ask me for a standard, it’s harsh.”
“Liar.” Dior puffed her lovely eyes, “Shifty man!”
“Need my help again?” Fischer said softly, “Same old, same old!”
“I think, what makes a god…” Fischer crossed his fingers against his lips, “Gods should be the kinds… gods should be the source of power that’ll carry forward the advancement of all beings. Gods would not act superior and tell us ‘I need a brand new temple this year! You need to start building immediately! I also need 3,000,000 pieces of gold!’. God won’t do this. A God will offer their help. However, they’ll never ask for anything from us! Yes, gods might need nothing, nor will they require any of us to show loyalty, nor reject alien races! We can obtain power from them instead of offering anything in exchange!”
“Sounds…” Dior cut in, “You’re like a mean businessman!”
“Am I? Hehhe.” Fischer acted embarrassed, “I was just saying, hehhe.”
“Those are sincere words you said.” I told him.
“Meaning?” Dior said.
I looked at Dior’s shining eyes, “I was saying that Raven’s comments were correct. Our connection with the God shouldn’t be like what we currently have.”
“I don’t mean to disprove.” Dior pondered though she spurred her thoughts, “Maybe there are mistakes. The most flourishing tree has drooped branches. The Gods became what they are for a reason. You can’t prove anything by just saying words, at least not enough to convince me.”
“Yeah! I think we’re missing something from the temple side.” I looked at Fischer,”If we can’t convince our beloved ones, means there’s insufficient evidence.”
“You are right. That’s why it’s our job to keep understanding these two races, which will benefit the future.” Fischer nodded, “So which side to start?”
“Surely the Light Temple. Whatever you wanna do.” Dior said, “At least my family is still part of the Rivalzian nobility system. And Rivalz is an important Protoss Allied empire. You two have my approval to take advantage of it to ascend to the Rivalzian upper class. I need a bit of time to prepare for you.”
“Ah! Sounds great.” Fischer said exaggeratedly, “Claude, you are halfway to success with a good wife!”
“There’ll be a girl for you as well, my dear Raven.” I said, “If you fix your barking problem.”
“Stick to the subject, you two.” Dior continued, “How do you two define a god? I’m curious, tell me.”
Fischer lowered his head and pondered, then raised suddenly and gazed at me. I smiled and nodded.
“No chance to refuse a lovely lady. O, forgive me, it’s madam.” Fischer said proudly, “It’ll be my honor to explain it for you, by the two of us!”
“Together?” Dior said unbelievably, “When did you two agree on each other?”
“My graceful and elegant Mrs. Merlin!” Fischer shooked his head and said, “Many times men could solve things by eye contact rather words.”
“Well, I’m all ears to your sheep eyes…”
“Madam, careful on your words.” Fischer said with a smile, “Make a note on our sheep eyes, those are sheer brotherhood eyes. We wouldn’t want anyone to think otherwise.”
“So, we’ll begin.” Fischer said, “I’ll start.”
I nodded and made a ‘please’ pose, “I’ll add up.”
After a brief silence.
“Gods, should care for every being…” Fischer said softly.
“… no matter lord or loon…” I continued.
“They are mysterious…”
“They never demand any worship…” Fischer watched me.
“… but our least respect…” I watched back.
“They spend time with those who need help…”
“… whenever and wherever they are…”
“They offer courage to live.”
“They afford dignity to life.”
“They pass on wisdom as legacies.”
“They bring passion in the heart.”
“They grant faith to carry on.”
“They uphold rights to explore.”
“Gods are invincible!”
“Gods are unsurpassable!”
As Fischer and I said seemingly simple words, Dior expressed more curiosity. As a matter of fact, Fischer’s and my thoughts were alike, though the words that poured out were inspired by each other. After finishing with the speaking, Fischer and I had learned much from it and come to agree on the subject. Our hands were holding on each others firmly!
“Courage, dignity, wisdom, passion, faith, rights…” Dior murmured those words, “Who’s able to offer these things?”
“A real god!” Fischer and I said together, “We believe firmly!”