CHAPTER 105: SMALL THINGS

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THE ICE REGION

A woman could be seen descending from a background of white. On her back is a five feet sword, long and slender.

The sword was red and is famously known as the Red Queen.

Belonging to the number one expert of the Revolutionary Army, and is also the strongest woman in the world right now, Katarina Ivanov.

The blizzard on top of the white hill is not something people at the Pillar Forming could withstand.

If they were to reach this Hill they would be rendered frozen in a matter of minutes.

In the place where Katarina gained her understanding in Absorbing Attributes, the snowfall is not gentle, hailstones of ice and cold fall from the mountaintops, and heavy mist of rain, making the already cold places even colder.

Water that rains turns instantly into ice.

That is the kind of cold place the Ice Region is.

After the injury she suffered stopping the avalanche, she recuperated

After she was healed she immediately climbed the mountains before stopping at the Hill on one of the peaks of the White Mountain.

The peak of the mountains is still high but Katarina knows she would freeze to death if she climbs to the peak.

Even at her stage right now, she isn’t confident she could survive the cold on top.

And she knows there is something else on top of the mountains. Something dangerous. Something ancient.

She trod the snows as each steps bring her down.

For three days and three nights she journey down.

She encountered Jean and Paulette group in the second day on the entrance of some cave and shares tent with them for the night before walking down again in the dawn until finally she reached here.

The Ice Palace.

A palace constructed of Ice.

There is magic in every ice brick, every part of the Palace. Because it is made by the Ice of the Ice Region.

And Katarina knows that hidden in each snowdrop is a drop of magic.

She looked in front of her and smiles. Standing in front of the Palace was her brother, Boris.

He was waiting for her, arms outstretched, smiling.

‘It has been hard on you sister’ Boris said as he come closer to her and gives her a long hug.

Katarina nodded and smell the scent of her brother.

Boris has always protected her. He protected her from the abuse of their father. He protected her from evil man.

He protected her in every possible way when she was too weak to fight for herself. She could not be as normal as she is if not for the shelter her brother provides..

If not for him sacrificing many things for her, she would not have been as strong as this.

She would not have been the strongest expert of the Revolutionary Army, standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the big names in the world.

Raymond in the East, Katarina in the West.

Before the shocking rise of Lord Shadow, this is the phrase that comes to everyone mind when discussing the two top expert in the world.

World Government is based on the Eastern Plain on the Plains region which is in the Eastern part of this large Pangaea.

Revolutionary Army is based on the Western Frozen Land on the Ice Region which is in the Western part of the Pangaea.

And two experts headed both of this organization as the morale pillars and figurehead of each respective organization.

And all of this happens because Boris sacrifices many beneficial items and resources to Katarina to better protect her.

Boris had to bow his head, endures humiliation before they manage to control half of Russia.

And all of that is because of her.

Katarina owes her brother very much.

‘Brother, I have returned. I have heard what happened when I was gone.’

Boris nodded, his smile was bitter and his complexion turned bad.

‘It’s fine. We’ll talk about it later. Now, let get you cleaned up. I have prepared everything for you in the Palace.’

Katarina enter the Palace and servants guided her to her room. It was a large space full of many exquisite furniture and paintings.

Seeing it, Katarina could only smile.

Boris has always known that she like paintings.

When she was little she saw the Water Lilies The Clouds by Monet. She saw it on TV on a front store shop when she was buying milk for her father.

She could not take her eyes off from the painting for a long time, almost like she was hypnotized by the colors and the image.

She was very much tantalized by it.

She was not an art lover, she does not like sculptures or carvings or opera.

But paintings?

To think that such beauty could be created by using only hands and the imaginations, she was very much in awe.

She told this to her brother and in her fourteenth birthday, Boris gifted him a replica painting of the Water Lilies.

Boris made one of his friend at school to paint it for him.

It was a sloppy painting and does not possess the same kind of beauty like Monet but Katarina was happy nonetheless.

Boris has always put her happiness before his own. Katarina sit down on the chair of her study and look at the painting with a serene expression.

She remembers her brother affection towards her and she chuckles. The only light in her dark childhood.

He was her lighthouse. He was that shine of light in the bottom of a dark well. The kind of light that absorb the darkness for her.

The kind of light that would taint itself so she could remain pure. Her brother was her sin eater.

Katarina knows her brother is not a saint.

But he had always protected her. Even with all his faults, he is family. And family sticks together, through the good and bad.

With Katarina power, she could get away from this place and live the live she always wanted to have.

A peaceful life. A family to care for.

She wants a happy family. To have a son. And daughter. A big family. She wanted to stop fighting and live on the countryside where the wind is breezy and sunny.

Where she can quietly tending a garden or paint when she has free time. At weekends, they will meet together and talk about their lives.

She wanted to grow old with someone while sunbathing in the sun. She wanted to love someone and not have her heart broken.

She wanted to love and be loved. A peaceful and boring lives. A kind of life that seems like a dream now.

She takes another sip of the warm water. And she smiles and closes her eyes. She didn’t think it would be possible.

At least not in this lifetime.

Because…..it’s her turn to protect her brother. Because that what family does for each other.

They got each other’s back

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NEXT MORNING

It was early in the morning and Katarina was on the courtyard practicing her sword moves. The cold is constant and snows fall down.

Even the trees are white. It is different in the Palace but here in the courtyard, it is as cold and as white as the streets around the Ice Region.

But while she was practicing the cold dissipated and the snows that falls to her evaporated into mist.

The area around her feet vaporized as white misty energy coils around her, like a fog.

She learned the technique Sword Splitting the Air in a skill book she found when she was soloing a dungeon as part of her own training.

The skill is very powerful but requires very fine control, with each stroke and with each strike being thrust out.

The skill help Katarina to understand many intricacies in her opponents attacks and even helped her many time in applying the right amount of force in defeating or deflecting someone else’s attack.

Boris was leaning on the courtyard pillars looking at his sister and then after seeing that Katarina has finished her set Boris said

‘It’s time.’ Katarina looked at her brother, sheathe her sword and nodded

‘Let’s go.’

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EASTERN FROZEN LAND, ICE REGION

The Temple of Erika. Situated on top of a snowy white Hill, it was the grandest structure in all of the Ice Region.

It was a large temple dedicated to one of the most influential person in the world, the Oracle.

The temple resembles a lot like the ancient Greece temple dedicated to the Gods of Olympus.

When Katarina arrived with his brothers, the Paladins give them a nod and allowed them in without checking them which puzzled Boris.

Boris then asked.

‘Will you not be scolded by the Oracle letting us in without any inspection?’

Boris knows that while the Oracle is influential she is weak. Which is why there is so many Paladins guarding this Temple of hers.

And if that is not enough there is also a lot of Seers swearing allegiance to her and guard her in the Inner Sanctum.

The Paladins look at Katarina and Boris smile and answered

‘The Oracle has already foreseen my lord and lady will come here today in her vision. She has already ordered that if both of you came we Paladins will only need to let you come in’ and he keep smiling and then he chuckles a bit.

Katarina was obviously puzzled by the Paladin behavior and she asked.

‘Why do you seem so amused by my brother question?’ Boris was also puzzled and look toward the Paladins

The Paladins then answered

‘My lady must not misunderstand. It’s just….’

‘It’s just what?’

Smiling he replied

‘The Oracle also said that if I let you in without any hassle Lord Boris will certainly ask me about this matter. The Oracle even said word to word what you just ask me.’

He said chuckling a bit.

‘That’s what amused me. It was almost like my lord is acting a script to me since I already know what you are about to say. No wonder the Oracle got so many visitors in a day. If her prediction is all this accurate who will not want to see her and ask her for guidance?’ The Paladins admired

Boris just smiles bitterly.

He himself doesn’t like seeing that woman. She gives him the creep. It makes him think defeatist thoughts.

Like what if the future is already written what point of him doing anything?

This kind of thought always popped up when he consult the Oracle and this is why Boris dread to meet the Oracle.

But many of the lords of the Revolutionary Army urged him to ask the Oracle guidance on how to ride out the new wave.

The new wave is of course referring to Lord Shadow almost unstoppable momentum on the Plains.

The strongest man in the world Lord Shadow!

This is the kind of phrase that has been circulating all around the world after the battle between Lord Shadow and the Seven Fairy been broadcasted.

Some even bought the video recordings in the black market to analyze the fight.

Many forces all over the world has seen the footage.

Katarina hearing the Paladin reply just laughed.

‘Interesting’ she said as she looked at the huge temple in front of her and feel excited to meet the famous Oracle.

Even though the Oracle was famous and live in the Ice Region and everyone knows that Boris and Katarina rules jointly together, Katarina rarely meet people and only appears when there is a danger on her brother.

But unlike her bother who dreads his meeting with the oracle, she welcomed it.

While she knows the rumors of the accurateness of the Oracle prophecy, she always believed that people write their own destiny and fate.

After all she did. She changed her destiny. Witch each steps taken, with each choice, she moved forward and destroy the fate handed to her.

All it needs is courage and will.

After the guards let them come in, they walk the stairs and enter the temple.

The entrance of the temple is full of fine paintings and the interior is entirely white gold painted.

Domed towers encircle the main buildings at all points. The roof is ringed by statues of terrifying beast.

The casing for candles in the walls is filled with eternal candles that continues to burn till night and will not melt.

Many relics and low level artifacts are displayed in the outer sanctum of the Temple.

Inside are sprawling rooms dedicated to Erika.

Many smaller ceremonies are simultaneously going on inside the temple. Katarina could swear she sees an alchemical laboratory as she walk closer to the Main Temple.

The temple incorporates the surrounding around it making it looks exotic and different from normal temples.

In the center of the Temple is a gigantic ash tree that pierces the clouds. The tree is said to be nurtured by the Oracle using a magical water from a hidden and mysterious well.

In front of the ash tree is a fifteen foot statue of Erika the Oracle kneeling, looking at the sky with bloody tears.

On the foot of his statue is Her devotees that worships her.

Katarina could feel the devotion of the people towards Erika.

This is why Erika is one of the most influential people in the world. She inspires blind devotion.

With her ability to see the future, she is a force unto herself.

During the disaster that happens in the Ice Region, Erika opened her Temple to the public and most of its building is converted to a hospital, gaining many believers and capturing the hearts of the common people

Erika posed herself as the savior of the people, their champion, gives them hope and faith and that kind of ability is not to be underestimated.

Within the walled perimeter of the temple, one could see many herbs and fruits that promote healing.

In some part of the temple is currently under reconstruction after the avalanche.

None of the resident near the Temple was injured or dead.

The Oracle has foreseen the events three days before the actual event and warned the people appropriately.

No wonder people worship her.

Some lords even go as far as commissioning great artist to paint large imposing murals on the ceiling, column and walls of the Temple.

The beauty of the frescoes on the roof in other sanctum was like the beauty of the frescoes in Sistine Chapel

Many of them wanted to curry favour with the Oracle.

The reason why the temple is both grandiose, towering over the villages in the Northern Frozen land is because the influence that the Oracle hold over the Lords in the Ice Region.

As Katarina and Boris walked deeper into the Temple, it shows the wealth of the Oracle.

Grand chandeliers, luxurious tapestries, famous paintings before the Fall and her golden statues all to enhance her prestige.

Then they reached the Central Sanctum and they could see a woman with white hair kneeling on the floor looking at the open ceiling.

Two massive towers straddle this structure with massive pillars holding up the ceiling.

‘You have come. I’ve been waiting.’ the voice said, sounding serene, calm and ancient.

The woman stands and slowly dust her knees as she turns to face the pair of brother and sister.

She was wearing an oversized white robe but oddly enough, the robe did not sweep the floor, almost like it was floating making it impossible for the robe to sweep the floor.

She was closing her eyes but it seems the Oracle could even see even as she closes her eyes.

She was smiling in a way that does not seem like a smile which makes Katarina feel quite odd facing this woman.

The woman face was ordinary. There is no freckle on her face, her white hair reaches her shoulder and her body was slim.

There is nothing remarkable about her appearance. That is what Katarina thought to herself.

And then she opens her eyes and Katarina almost gasped in shock.

‘I have been waiting for a long time to see you the heroine of Revolutionary Army’ the Oracle said singling out Katarina which make Boris felt uncomfortable but Katarina could not help but stare at the Oracle eyes.

The Oracle eyes were cloudy, like there is a sky inside her eyes and her pupils were covered with white clouds.

Boris however is uncomfortable when the Oracle single out his sister. Almost like she has some interest in his sister.

And that is not a good thing.

‘Katarina! ‘Boris said gesturing her to stop staring

‘What!’ she replied before averting her gaze from the Oracle

The Oracle smiles looking at Katarina like she was looking at something sacred and holy and she said.

‘It is fine, Boris. Many people always feel amused by my eyes. At least it is one of my weird charming points. Since there is nothing remarkable about my appearance, at least my eyes fascinate people; don’t you think so, Katarina Ivanov?’

And hearing this Katarina was shocked. This is something she only thinks about and does not say.

Katarina eyes sharpen.

No wonder, her brother dread meeting her. Katarina finally understand. It was like she was an open book.

Erika on the other hand could not help but to burn the face of Katarina into her eyes. She is one of them. Erika mused.

When Erika manages to raise her level a few months ago, she tries to divine the fates of a few powerful people in the world and she discovers something shocking.

And that revelation cost her, her longevity

Even though she had to pay a heavy price it was worth it. The reason is because she was curios of the identity of the seven silhouettes in that great battle.

It wasn’t until the rise of Lord Shadow that Oracle finally manages to settle into a conclusion.

What she discovers was that among the many great people in the world, there is seven people of whom she could not divine their future, like their threads of destiny were severed.

Even Karma itself was severed.

Severed by something very powerful. Or someone that is very powerful that could sever the threads of Karma itself.

Seven people. Seven celestial beings that will war against each other, and bring about a great calamity.

And Oracle had the feeling that the seven people whose fate could not be calculated are the seven people she sees in her vision.

She once saw a vision of a great celestial war that overturned heaven and Earth, bringing sea of blood and mountains of bones.

Then there is also the horrendous vision of a great cosmic force approaching, bringing destruction and death all across the universe.

A darkness that this world has never seen before.

But at least she now sees one of the Seven. Katarina Ivanov.  Erika has met Oreki, Hikigaya, Raymond and Jean.

The one she does not yet meet is Loki and Lord Shadow.  Erika believes this are the seven people in her vision.

Erika has always been interested to know how these seven people will grow up to be the kind of beings like that of her visions.

‘Now, now, let us stop gauging each other intention. I know why you both have come.’

Boris come closer and kneels.

‘Great Oracle, the Lords ask your guidance.’ Katarina also kneel behind her brother. Erika looks at Boris and then she sighed, closing her eyes.

‘You honor me, Boris. I know about the sacrifices you made to be who you are today. I only wanted to remind you, that people who are too greedy will meet a bad end. I know what you are planning. I’ve seen it. So much…blood. Is it worth it?’

She said with a tone that was so calm like she was detached from her words and feelings. Then she continues speaking

‘Are you sure that’s the right path for you, Boris? You have sacrificed a lot. At least, don’t sacrifice your soul. You don’t know this…but a soul is very powerful.’ She said and she smiles as she opens her eyes back.

Boris just nodded while smiling bitterly.

‘Thank you for your advice, Great Oracle.’ Boris said. The Oracle just shakes her head in disappointment as another vision flooded her mind

‘I just hope you listen. I can only say that much. But in the end, destiny and fate are guided by human will. And Boris….your will is strong. I guess that is your fatal flaw.’

Boris face darkens. Katarina realizes this and trying to calm the heart of her brother as Katarina hold his hand.

Katarina then speak to the Oracle.

‘Great Oracle, while your advice is appreciated this is not why we came here.’

The Oracle chuckles.

‘Of course. Of course. Lord Shadow is it? You want me to divine his fate?’

Katarina and Boris nodded. The Oracle opens her eyes again and looks around her surroundings and then she said.

‘Leave us’

The guards, Paladins and Seers inside the Central Sanctum all excuses themselves and leave the three of them alone.

‘Unfortunately, this time I could not help you Boris.’

‘Why not, Great Oracle?’ Boris said sounding disappointed.

‘I have nothing that belongs to him to aid me in divining his fates and his destiny is remarkable.’ She said and she chuckles a bit.

Truly trying to divine Lord Shadow fate is like seeing a vast of nothingness. It almost like he exists in a different plane than the rest of humanity.

It was not like this was the first time Erika tries to divine the fates of Lord Shadow.

The moment Lord Shadow rises from the Plains, Erika has tried to divine his fates.

Of course at that time she did not know she was divining the fate of someone that could not be calculated.

She got one glimpse and her longevity dropped ten years.

Only one glimpse.

The glimpse that has become her nightmare. She glimpses herself gouging out her own eyes and presenting it to him.

She glimpse of destruction. She glimpses death.

She glimpse upon destructions of worlds. His fate terrified her so much that it takes her a week to calm herself down

She will not divine His fate unless she is sure she would not be paying too much a price and unless it was truly necessary.

She then continue saying to Boris.

‘The Price I have to pay…..will be steep if I try to divine his fate without something that truly belongs to him. Something that holds certain value in his eyes. And at least for now….I found no way to calculate his fate.’

‘This…’ Boris said, his voice is lost as he tries to think how to present this to the Council of Lords.

But Erika smiles and then she said.

‘But don’t be disappointed Boris. I will allay your worries. ‘

‘Great Oracle, what is your meaning?’

‘Expand your land. Strengthen your armies. Muster your troops. And pacify the Ice Region. Lord Shadow will not set his eyes this far West.’

Katarina was about to say something when Boris then said

‘Thank you Great Oracle for telling me this.’

The Oracle closes her eyes and smiles

‘I require compensation for this information.’

‘Of course, Great Oracle. What is it that you desire?’

‘A herb. Twelve Leaves from the Gryphonia Birthing Tree. My Seers in the Outer Sanctum will give you the pages describing its features and properties. Get that for me, and your Price is paid. Failing to do so, I will hold your Destiny on my hands. And believe me Boris, you don’t want that’

She was smiling as she reminded the warnings that Boris have always heard. To Boris however her smiles seem like a death sentence.

The Price of seeing the future has always been expensive even more so when dealing with Erika.

How do you think she could afford such gigantic temple for herself? Boris thinks to himself but he nodded obediently in front of Erika.

‘Do not worry. I will send my subordinate to find it for you.’

‘I hope so’ she said before waving her hand and magic swirls around her fingers, white misty runes glowed around her, floating in the air.

The Oracle then disappears in a white misty smoke.

‘Brother, why did you not ask her if her information is credible?’ Katarina ask as she got up from her kneeling posture.

Boris shakes his head.

‘I don’t need to. The Oracle couldn’t lie. She might be able to see the future, but she could not lie about it. Why do you think so many people trusted her words?’

‘What happens if she lies?’

Smiling malevolently Boris replies

‘Nothing good’ and he laughed like he was hoping that kind of things happens to the Oracle.

As they got out of the Temple, the Oracle then appears back inside the Central Sanctum, her hand behind her back, her eyes closed.

Alone.

Smiling she crouched down and she pick up something. A strand of black hair. A strand of a black hair belonging to Katarina.

‘HEHEHEHE’ she laughed like a maniac. Her cloudy eyes open and her hand are trembling with excitement.

She looked at the exit entrance of the Inner Sanctum and she could not help say

‘I must thank you Boris for bringing your sister. Now, all is complete. You provided me with the last thing I needed.’

‘Small things sometimes could produce great magic.’ She said as she once again disappeared in white misty smoke.

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Here we see the major players in the future. We see Katarina the only woman Sovereign among the Seven. We see the Oracle with her mysterious motives and learn of her obsession about the Seven.

Anyway, hope you like this chapter as we dive on a bit on the characters that will become integral in LS as they will either clash with LS or befriended him.

Next chapter will be the last that focus on other characters.

We have seen all of them.

Raymond, Jean, Paulette and now this character Katarina and the Oracle. The Twin Sage of Japan will not be shown next chapter but a different side character.

IN 107 a few question regarding the cold-heartedness of Azief towards Loki will be explained as those two talk to each other and voice their true feelings towards each other.

Hope you will support my work and thank you for reading. Peace out!.

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3 comments

  1. You amaze me yet again. Each character apart from Azief/Lord Shadow has his own thoughts, dreams and machinations written articulately, a thing very rare in a wuxia. While I do anticipate more Azief being mentioned in each chapter but all things; no matter how small, an event or a side character or main characters and the protagonist, have to be made evident so that reader too feels the chills while delving deep in this parallel universe of Lord Shadow. Amazing as always.
    P. S. No worries about grammatical mistakes or English errors. English isn’t the First language so I understand the difficulties you face. I come here for your marvelous stories and not rich flowering language(for that I can always wipe my ass with Shakespeare’s works.) just do what you do coz I’m always hungry for all your stories.

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