Edited by Jiem, milady
Characters in this chapter:
- Cohen Kheda: The main character.
- David: The Protoss God of War.
- Michael Knarch: The Protoss elder princess.
“Just tell me about it!” I asked Eve with a smile, “What kind of a god is she? And, that War God David has such an impressing name!”
“You wanna know?” Eve said, “You’ll know when you meet them yourself. I’m not allowed to disclose such information.”
“You should not know about such matters, yet. Regardless,” She said, “How I see them might not be how you perceive.”
I had truly underestimated her impenetrable reasoning. It was like a soft and thick wall that made me think all my efforts in tricking her were for nothing.
“What about me?” I did not want to resign to failure, “How should I present myself to her properly?”
“I’m not certain about others Gods. However, you must not stir up a ruckus in front of Her Grace Charlotte.” Eve said, “For example, the mess you caused regarding the Cardinals.”
“Oh, yeah? Then, how does the Protoss regard me?”
“Are you truly curious to know what they think of you?” She said with a faint smile, “I suggest you remain unaware of their thoughts.”
“Why?” I didn’t understand.
“Before you came…” She held her hand up and outstretched her thumb and index finger, “Before you met them, your value to them was worth this much.”
“Then… they met you.” Slowly, the gap between her two fingers shrunk till there was only the distance of a grain of sand between them, “Do you understand?”
I shook my head with a bitter smile, “If you would be so kind as to slightly increase the gap between your fingers… to comfort my kind and delicate spirit? ”
Eve nodded seriously and spared me the distance of an additional three grains of sand.
“Thank you!” I said amusedly and bitterly, “I am immensely grateful.”
Turning around, I returned to the path while thinking I had suffered a great loss in this endeavor. I failed to obtain any useful information and ended up being mocked by that Protoss Maiden. It would be hard for me to regain my dignity!
A gust of wind seemed to caress my cheek. Subsequently, Eve had appeared and was already walking by my side.
“Milady! My great, great lady!” discouraged, I said, “Could you please notify me beforehand the next time you do something like that? I’ll die from shock!”
“Notify, huh! Alright.” She said, “From now on, I shall do as you say..”
I assumed Eve was about to teleport here and there again. Thus, I kept my eyes wide open to observe how she teleported.
Who knew that in the next moment, I found myself standing on a platform facing an enormous palace. My armor felt much looser than before and dust had dirtied my face. I looked behind me to realize I was already brought to a place under the snow mountains which seemed unreachable earlier on.
“My… my lady!” With a gust of wind, the hairband which once kept my hair in place flew away and caused my hair to whip around messily. I said, “Please stop messing around with me. I’m not used to flying around. Furthermore, I don’t find my mussed hair and face befouled with dust to be amusing!”
I had yelled out the last sentence. Immediately, a loud voice roared, “It is forbidden to cause a ruckus whilst under the feet of His Protoss Majesty!”
My ears hummed.
Using both hands to cover my ears, I looked towards the origin of the voice to see a man with a height much taller than mine standing behind me. There wasn’t any damned thing behind me just moments ago! He wore a daunting suit of armor that radiated a golden sheen and glared at me with his large eyes.
I asked Eve, “Isn’t his voice loud enough to cause a ruckus, too?”
“To you, it could be considered as such!” Eve said, “However, you are the only person who heard him. Didn’t you say that you wished to meet the War God? There he is, David.”
Before I could lament over my bad luck, David bowed to Eve and said, “Your Grace, you have returned,”. Eve exchanged a few pleasantries with him before the pair of wings on her back increased to three. Even her facial structure was altered.
How I wished I had a brother by my side. At the very least, I could have him beat me up so I wouldn’t experience such immense shame.
“Weren’t you yelling out just a while ago?” Eve stretched out her wings, “Why do you not dare to look me in the face now?”
“When facing the great and holy Protoss celestials, I represent the entire Protoss Alliance and its millions of members! Should I act in an insolent manner, even if our benevolent Gods forgive my sins, I would spend the rest of my life in condemnation.”
“You’ve memorized what to say relatively well.” Eve said lightly, “However, it is difficult for me to believe what you said at the end.”
“To be able to memorize more than half of the script is good enough for me,” I looked at her and said, “How should I address you, My Lord? I’m curious about one thing.”
“You shall address me as Her Elder Princess Michael, for I am Princess Charlotte’s elder sister.” She said, “If I am in my previous get-up, you must address me as Eve. What are you curious about?”
“I’ll have a headache if you continue to change identities so often,” I said, “If the Protoss are truly benevolent and merciful, why didn’t they take charge of the Protoss Alliance themselves instead of having us construct temples? ”
“Naturally, it’s because I’m bored! I just like to switch identities, and there’s no such maiden amongst the Protoss named Eve. I’ll pull your tongue out if you tell anyone about this.” Michael said, “The Protoss has much more important matters to attend to. It is also wiser to not partake in the managing of the Protoss Alliance for fear of conflict arising because of our different races. Having a temple to serve as the middleman proved to have a better impact on the relationship between the Protoss and humans. Furthermore, humans think alike and would come to terms with one another better.”
“I see!” Although it still confused me, I stopped digging deeper into the topic in hopes of retaining this rare relationship, “However, Your Grace, do you not think my current appearance might be improper for the occasion?.”
“David,” Princess Michael told David, “I’ll be troubling you to help me get him a new suit of armor from the armory. I was the one who caused him to become such a mess.”
My heart was pounding! This was the armor of the Protoss, after all… it would definitely sell for a hefty sum!
“As you wish, Your Grace.” War God David said, “However, will this armor be formally blessed upon him?”
“No, this cannot be counted as one.” Michael shook her head, “It is my personal compensation to him.”
“I cannot do so, Your Grace.” David refused, “Each and every weapon and armor in the War God Armory have detailed records. If it is not given through a formal blessing… I sincerely apologize. I ask of you to forgive my inadequacy”
I was stunned. My hopes of obtaining a suit of golden Protoss armor was shattered into pieces.
“Is that so… my request had overstepped the boundaries.” Michael mused, “You do not need to take my words to heart.”
Then, she turned to me and said, “Governor Cohen, follow me.”
Though I was reluctant, I bowed to the War God after considering there was a chance that I would have to work with him in the future and left with Elder Princess Michael thereafter.
The Elder Princess’ palace was rather tasteful with a scenic view. However, it appeared rather empty as there were only ten female Protoss in total who lived there.
I walked behind her while secretly trying to peek at her face. Even though I was only able to see her side profile, I enjoyed doing so nonetheless. Princess Michael’s original appearance was brimming with vitality and vigor that made any normal and healthy man not want to let their sights off of her.
Furthermore, she would act like a mature woman at times, while child-like in the other. She was calm and quiet yet also innocent and lovely, as well as having an intelligent mind and varying personality. All these variations were extremely natural and the changes in her behavior didn’t make me feel uncomfortable at all. No matter how she acted, she pulled me in with her charm and made me want to keep on watching her and unravel her mysteries. I did not believe I was being a pervert. Rather, her charms were just too enticing.
“We have arrived.” Michael finally stopped by a wall, “It’s been a long time since I have come here.”
“Long? How long?” I said confusedly, “You took me all the way here to see this legendary wall?”
Princess Michael outstretched her arm and gently tapped the wall. Soundlessly, a large door appeared.
“Get in!” She said, “Inside of it contains all the things I had grown bored of.”
I followed her in and the things within the room almost blinded my eyes.
On the left, hundreds of various styled weapons were lined up immaculately in rows while floating in mid-air. All of them revolved in the same direction at the same speed: single-handed swords, bi-handlers, spears, war bows. The right side had hundreds of sets of different colored armor which were floating as well: wood made magic resistible deck, light leather shell, full body metal armor. There were countless wands at the center of the room regardless of length, too. All of were exuding colorful brilliance and made me feel as if they were telling me a tale that had not been said for thousand of years.
“Stop your dazed stupor.” Michael said, “Quickly choose what you want! Your companions have almost reached the foot of the Holy mountains.”
“Can’t you at least show me where to begin?” I said with a pathetic tone, “My head is already spinning…”
Michael chuckled and said, “Sure. Let’s start with armor.”
Shen then began to describe the usage, origin, spell chants and special enhancements of each and every item in the room without missing out a single detail.
“Have you decided yet?” She looked at me and said, “We don’t have much more time to spare.”
“But… I think all of them are equally as splendid… may I take a few more? You’ve gotten bored of these things, anyways.”
“No.” Michael refused.
“Okay…” I glanced over at a few suits of armor that would have suited my brothers well with longing. Finally, I pointed at a suit of armor that was entirely black and said, “I’ll take this one.”
“This?” Michael frowned, “Hadn’t I already told you there were minor damages in this suit of armor? ”
“But, it looks awesome,” I said, “Plus, it’s already equipped with a cape…”
“Alright then!” Michael said with a smile, “The choice is up to you. Now, I’ll teach you how to use it.”
“First and foremost, you should put this on.” Michael detached a small piece from the chest plate of the armor and taught me a spell, “When you wish to use it, chant the spell and it will show up on your body by itself. Give it a try.”
I received the piece from her hands and was about to take off my original suit of armor when I noticed Michael had no intention to avert her gaze and was looking straight at me boldly.
“Your Grace…” I said embarrassedly, “Could you please turn around and admire something else for the time being?”
“There is no need for you to worry as you are just a mundane human male.” She said, ‘To me, your naked body is the equivalent of a tree or a drop of water. Therefore, you need not worry about troubling me.”
“You won’t feel that way, but I will!” I felt like I was about to faint, “If the temple or the priests come to know of me changing in front of you, they will crush my bones to fine powder!”
She did not engage in banter with me and simply pointed her finger towards me. Immediately, a clangor rang out and my silver armor had already fallen to the floor.
Thankfully, God had not forsaken me as I still had a layer of clothing on me.
“You like black, right?” Michael thought for awhile and with a wave of her slender and fair finger, the black suit of armor began assembling itself onto my body. With another wave of her finger, a silver belt appeared from out of nowhere and snapped itself onto my waist tightly.
I was scared and at a loss for how to react. My body had been forced into various positions to accommodate the assembling of the armor! At this moment, my body that was floating in mid-air did not belong to me and my previously rigid arms had raised themselves to put on the upper half of the armor and my two legs were brutally pushed together by a force that originated from God knows where to be devoured by the lower half of the armor.
I had no idea as to how anyone would react under such circumstances, but I dared not resist it. Summoning clothing was one thing while angering her and making her summon an axe above my head was another. It would be a meaningless death if my head were to roll for such a reason.
“What’s missing?” I dared not interrupt her conversation with herself, “Right, boots!”
She urged me to put on the chest plate, which I obeyed while trembling in fear.
The plate was not large and only covered the left side of my chest and was shaped like an irregular triangle with a wide top and narrow bottom.
I had just laid the chest plate it above my body when belts protruded from each of the bottom corners of the chest plate and wrapped around my body from the back. Then, the belts went over each other to move back to the chest plate and attached themselves onto the third and uppermost corner of the triangle.
As the belts tightened themselves, the corner of the chest plate morphed to fit the left side of my chest perfectly like a second layer of skin.
“Not bad!” Michael watched me and nodded, “Though it may not be completely alike, it is sufficient!”
“Your Grace!” I said, “May I have your permission to speak.”
“May I know who was the original owner of this suit of armor?” I asked with caution, “He has a refined taste…”
“The original? That’s a rather intimate way to address its owner.” Michael said, “It belonged to the first generation of Asmodian’s, the Lord of Death!”
I quickly grew faint and dropped to the ground. Out of all the armors to choose from, I had chosen a suit of Asmodian armor!
“What are you doing?” Michael said with a smile, “You chose this yourself.”
“But you didn’t mention that it’s an armor that belonged to an Asmodian!” I groaned, “And didn’t it once belong to some death lord? If I walk out in this getup, I’ll be ground into meat paste by both Protoss and humans alike!”
Michael shook his head, “They won’t. It is what it is. The armor itself is not evil.”
“But, its reputation.. is bad!” I said, “May I choose another one?”
She shook her head to say no.
“Put on your armor first.” Looking at the despair expressed on my face, she said, “There are a few more things I have to tell you.”
Without given a choice whatsoever, I nodded and summoned the full suit of armor using the spell.
As I chanted, the armor pieces that had once floated around me began to disappear from the area on my chest and gradually reappeared seconds later. By the sound of metal hitting against metal, the armor was then completely assembled. I couldn’t help but to stretch my arms out and instantly, I found a large black cape billowing behind me.
“Take a look for yourself.” Michael placed a water mirror spell in front of me, “What do you think?”
The mirror shown with dew and the water within rippled gently. Looking at the tall and heroic figure reflected on the water’s surface, my mind wandered for a moment.
Inside the helmet decorated with dozens of long and short ribbons, under the flat and smooth shoulder plates of the armor, within the angular yet beautifully shaped armor lived a man. Was this man under the full-body armor with dim light floating above it, me? Was this man who was covered in completely black metal really me?
All of a sudden, the reflection in the mirror seemed to come alive. The reflected face smiled gloomily at me and I actually saw thousands of soldiers and millions of horses roaring and charging towards me.
That was not me!
Under the influence of this phenomena, I could barely control myself from lunging at the man in the mirror to tear off his helmet and get a closer look at his face.
However, just as my hand began to reach out to the man, I came to my senses and realized that I had almost been enchanted by the scene in front of me.
I turned away from the mirror and gazed at Michael. Though I was still confused, I knew it had something to do with her!
“Congratulations.” Who knew that she was still as calm as usual as she said lightly, “Governor Cohen, your perception is much more concise than before.”
“If you are willing,” I took off the helmet and carried above my chest, “I would like to hear what you wanted to say to me prior to this.”
“This was a test for you that I am in charge of,” Michael walked by a row of weapons and examined them closely and said, “Each and every one of you will be personally tested by me, and you have just passed the test.”
“What about the others who don’t have the chance to wear this armor?” I followed her and asked, “How will you test them, Your Grace?”
“The armor is not the focal point of the test.” She fetched a single handed sword and appreciated it closely, “They will be tested while remaining oblivious to what is happening.”
“Is that so?”
“Don’t think that you can tell your friends and help them cheat.” She gazed upon the sword and glanced at me before grabbing another sword casually, as if she was merely picking clothes for her doll, “That, instead, will defeat the purpose.”
“I see!” I said.
“Done!” She had finally come to a decision, “This one doesn’t look too bad.”
“That…” I watched her attach the miniature round shield onto the armor on my left arm, “That’s far too small, isn’t it?”
“It’s not small.” Michael looked at me with satisfaction, “It is complete.”
I smiled bitterly, “Your Grace, does everyone tested by you receive such treatment?”
“Are you referring to the humans who do not even dare to lift their heads?” Michael raised an eyebrow and said, “When faced with a bootlicking, imploring and hideous visage and the only thing you hear from them is an unrefined, cowardly voice without a single trace of vigor… would you act as how I have?”
“If there were merits in doing so,” Without pondering too much over my answer, I said, “I would.”
Michael frowned for a moment but immediately reverted back to her usual calm expression. However, this meager action of hers had caused me to break out in a sweat once again.
“This is where you are different from them.”
Had I just imagined her say that? Was she actually complimenting me?
“Come, Governor Cohen.” She walked toward the exit, “Considering your test results, I grant you… the right to walk with me side by side. However, should you surpass by just one step, I will punish you.”
As this wasn’t the right time to banter and argue, I quickened my pace and caught up with her.
“Everything that you are currently wearing can only be worn by you and must not be lost,” Michael walked and said, “Otherwise, I will personally execute you.”
“You are not allowed to utter a single word about matters regarding me to any sort of lifeforms, including the things I have said and done.” Michael said coldly, “Otherwise, you will be punished by your execution which I will personally carry out.”
“Do you have any other inquiries?” Michael said, “You seem rather down in the dumps.”
Was it weird that I felt dispirited? Who would be in high spirits after having their life threatened?
“There are far too many things I wish to ask you,” I said, “What are the origins of what I’m wearing?”
“The suit of armor is called ‘Suit of Hypnosis’ which is able to hypnotize your foes during a fierce combat.” Michael said, “The belt is named ‘Wind Bondage’, while the boots are called ‘Rage of Roar’. As your physical strength increases, their effectiveness would have proportionate increase, too. This will aid you in defeating enemies stronger than yourself.”
“Impressive!” I said, “Then, why is it that I don’t feel a difference in my body?”
“They need time to familiarize themselves with your body.” Michael said, “Naturally, you will be able to use them properly once they acknowledge your existence.”
“What about the armor?” I voiced out the question I wished to ask the most, “I don’t see any damages on it!”
“You don’t understand, I didn’t mean physical damages.” She smiled, “I was referring to the curse which had been imbued into this armor nine times”
“Curse? Nine… ninefold?” My brain had frozen over, “I’ve never heard of such things!”
“Your ignorance is commonplace.” Michael said, “That’s the Asmodians’ specialized magic.”
“Lord of Death, a tyrannical lifeform.” Michael stopped her steps and tidied her scattered hair, “The day we ganked him remains vividly etched in my memory.”
We were out of her palace and were standing side by side on the steps of the long flight of jade stairs. With a gust of the mountain winds, the cape of my armor billowed out and the sound of it whipping in the wind resounded.