LORD SHADOW CHAPTER 181: ONE YEAR FROM NOW

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While all over the world are paying attention to the conflict at the World Government, somewhere in Aleppo a man with black hat and white dress laughed maniacally in his underground room.

The man is tall and thin, his hand is wearing white gloves and at the edge of his finger there is sparkles and glitters that floats around his fingers.

His face is being hidden by the dim lighting of the underground room. But one could see some clues of who this man is.

On a table near the door is a picture. It was a picture of a happy family in a park somewhere in Aleppo perhaps.

This picture is probably taken before the Fall

But there is also a picture after the Fall showing what is probably the father of the children in the picture, posing beside a dead giant bear with his broadsword.

The man after he finished laughing look at the picture and hold the picture before crying.

‘One day…they will all pay!’ he speak with such hatred that could chill a man hearts to the core.

Behind him is the finished product of that man research. It was only a small success. But it proves that the man conjecture is correct.

If Loki is here he would recognize the substance. That is the liquid euronioum. Loki could never forget it.

After all it is with euronioum the New World War Event were started.

No Sovereign were killed in this event but it was a shocking event nonetheless because of the sheer massive casualties to the civilians in that event. (refer ch 100)

Even now, as Loki is preparing to handle the Time Crisis, events that will happens in the future is laying its groundwork.

Loki knows who were involved in the war and who was the perpetrator but he did not know everything.

He did not know how it begins and Loki involvement in this event was only at the end. Outside of the room, inside this area is a woman-like being with five horizontal triangle shaped mark on her forehead.

Inside her eyes are runes, hieroglyphs, matrixes, and mathematical symbols that is unrecognizable.

Her fingers are webbed. She tilted her head to her right side and then look at her finger.

‘This alien life form is like a primate, resembling the Thur’ulan race on the belt rings of Vcrinian of the Inner Sanctum of the Star Hole.’

Her voice is hoarse resembling of a beast then she adjusted her vocal cords and slowly her voice resembles a woman.

Then her webbed finger transform to resemble human hands. Then she smiles as her eyes keep twinkling.

‘This world is quite interesting.’ She said as she got up and went to the walls which is pinned with many calculations that enabled that man to create that euronioum essence.

Meanwhile somewhere in the mountainous region of Kashmir, there is a woman hiding behind a large round rock.

She is full of wounds and she was panting breathlessly.

She has blonde hair and blue eyes, her figure is alluring and add that her clothing is sleek, stunning and stylish it only adds to her beauty.

Below her feet is a blob of water and all over her wounds, there is a bubble of water, healing her.

Her blue eyes is concentrated on one spot in the distance, searching for any signs of danger.

Beside her is an archer with long curly red hair and red eyes.

This woman is a little bit bigger than the blonde girl, a little bit taller and possess a certain aura that seems to be full of passion.

They are the Water Princess Erin and Fire Arrow Frieda.

The moment Storm Tide starts to moves around the Sea to plunder the Island of Peace, Erin and Frieda was tasked to secure areas in the uncontested regions.

With the World Government in chaos and the Republic spearheading the attack on European nations under the World Government, the League of Freedom had the opportunity to grab a few nations under them.

They intend to establish a base around Kashmir so that they could enter either India or the Middle East from around it.

They are now fighting an Afghanistan warlord that also had the same ideas. At least that is how it begins.

It did not take long before an Indian warlord, a Pakistanian general and even Bangladesh to also notice the commotion around Kashmir.

When the battle started in the island of Peace, the island also started in the Kashmir region and a small battle has now turned into a full blown war among forces around the borders of Kashmir region from many interested parties.

While the warlords and the general were acting independently from the directives of their governments or kingdoms, the Pakistanian government, the Indian Republic is purging the World Government influence from inside their capital.

When the World Government is purged then the independent forces and the government forces would duke it out and surely there will be more deaths.

The world right now….is in chaos.

Many other factions is also taking advantage of the period of battle between the World Government and the Death Monarch to make some profit and take some lands.

Erin peek a bit and the moment her head come out from the rock a bullet flies towards her. She opens her eyes as she spits to the bullet.

A water bubble was formed and the bullet was trapped inside that water bubble. Then the water bubble popped and the bullet falls down harmlessly to the ground.

Erin then return back to her original position and look at Frieda

‘What is the plan?’ She ask. Frieda closes her eyes and then nodded before opening her eyes back.

‘Win.’

Then as she finished saying this, like that was a viable plan, her hair turns into flame and her bow is shrouded in fire

The bowstring were something like it was made from fire.

She jumped out from her cover and wings of fire sprouted from behind her back as she pull her bowstring.

And then when she release the arrow from her bow a screeching noise sounded out that shatters the sound barrier.

A sonic blast shot from the sound as a flame phoenix appears in the sky, the size of a building, covering the sky with fire that seems to roll the cloud above.

‘The Phoenix Scream’ she shouted as the flaming figures of the Phoenix turns into tens of thousands of arrows that pierced anyone around fifteen kilometers radius.

Erin seeing that bullheaded Frieda attacking without any plan sighed before she also jumped out from her hiding place.

She raised her hands and the world trembles as jets of water erupted from below the earth

‘Water Transfiguration!’ She yelled as the water formed into a shark.

The area suddenly turned muddy and not before long it was like the area suddenly become an area of the river as the water reaches their ankles.

Erin rides the water at the same time Frieda pull back her bowstring.

That day, the name Water Princess Erin and Fire Arrow Frieda is spread through the world when they defeated the many forces that pinned them down in the Kashmir borders.

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MEANWHILE ON THE ISLAND.

President Ashikaga Hirate. Hirate family name was never Ashikaga. He took the name when the Fall happens and in his rise of power.

He….hated his family name. Sato Hirate. He hated his father. And he never had siblings.

His mother was a soap girl and he was born in Tokyo…on the darkest and deepest corner, where the avarice of men thrive and the sun don’t shine.

He ran away from when he was 14, strong enough, and smart enough. He never admitted it but he was like a father in a way. They both ran away when the going got tough.

He make a name for himself on the other side of the law. It wasn’t until he was caught and by some fortuitous encounter he join the law……by becoming a security guard for a few influential men until he finally guarded the Imperial Family in ceremonial occasion.

When the Fall happens, he took advantage of it fully.

Securing the Imperial Family and he rename himself Ashikaga to claim relations with the Imperial family and established the Shogunate again

Unlike Raymond, who have to defeated warlords, militia’s leaders and idealist in his path of unifying the United States in the initial period of the Fall, Hirate took a different approach.

When he was a kid he was never the strongest among the kids and even when he grow up he was not the strongest.

Yet, he was the shrewdest. And he is cunning

At the time of the initial period of the Fall, dubbed the Warlord Period by some record keeper in the White Owl organization, Japan was not that heavily infested by monster.

But what the world Orb did not give in quantity, it gives in quality. The monster in Japan is not as numerous as in China or Australia but in quality it is a tier higher.

Many people died just to kill one monster.

China was ravaged and many people died because not to mention that the monsters are numerous it is also a higher tier than the monster in japan.

Imagine a billion population reduced to almost a few millions after the Fall. That is what happens in China.

When the survivors of that purge looked back, the saying mountains of corpses is not figurative.

They were literally mountains of corpses back then…that will then get up and attack humans like a zombie outbreak.

Hirate and many other think that perhaps the population factors in the decision for the World Orb to spawn so many monster in certain regions of the world.

Of course there is also a few other factors to be considered but many worldwide researchers after the Fall considered population factored in the distribution of monster during the Fall.

Japan in that initial period welcomes many heroes and villains.

Hirate at the time in Kyoto guarding the Imperial Family or to be more accurate putting them under his control heard about the Dragon of Echigo and Tiger of Kai. Hikigaya and Oreki.

Instead of making plans to declare war and fought them off, Hirate send his diplomats and suggested a sit down.

The warlords met in Gifu in probably one of the historic moment in Japan new history after the Fall.

In that meeting Hirate acknowledged the warlord dominions and the warlord is honor bound to protect Japan.

The warlord now has legitimate cause to expand and conquer more lands. Hirate was the one that stabilized the chaotic condition in Japan after the Fall.

How glorious that day was. Hirate remembers it vividly. The celebration and the stability that followed.

It is because of him that Japan has a say in the World Government and while Oreki and Hikigaya is no mere warlord now, it is clear that they still respected Hirate on certain matters.

He forgot about his past and he truly believed himself as the relatives of the Imperial Family like that somehow will erase his past and his weakness.

Hirate was like Cao Cao, securing the liege to command the officials.

And when his Shogunate was formed, all military power belong to Hirate except for the soldier below Hikigaya and Oreki and the other warlords.

Oreki and Hikigaya conquer the lands under the blessings of the Emperor but controlling the military is those three creating a Triumvirate in Japan

This memory all flashed inside his mind as he saw that hand flying toward him. Even from afar, the force of that hand would undoubtedly pierce his body and he will die.

He could not even bring out his spear Ame-no-nuhoko. His black robe that is shredded in many places and his scraggly hair look even more pathetic as he is approaching his dead.

Hirate could not accept he would die like this.

He wanted to tap into the Psionic Force but he knows he would not be able to tap it and use it to protect him in the timespan of the Death Monarch hand to reach his heart.

Oreki was beside Hirate. The moment the Death Monarch dashed forward, time slowed and lightning erupted inside Oreki eyes.

Azief sensed it and for that millisecond his eyes glanced over and he smirk before his eyes look back at Hirate, ignoring Oreki.

It was not the Speed Source. And that is enough. And Oreki is not a speedsters. The only one that is faster than Azief in this world is only Will.

But Oreki is lightning embodied. He was fast and dangerous like lightning. But his speed could not compare to Azief speed.

Everything slowed down for him, so much so, he could see the flow of the wind, and the dust slowly rising up from the ground in slow motion.

But even as he tries to lift his foot and try to foil Death Monarch attempt on Hirate life, the calculation in his head told him it would be too late for him to stop that attack.

The only way he could stop that attack is to take it on behalf of Hirate. And he would never do such a thing.

He might be acquainted and their relationship might seems close on the surface but his interaction with Hirate has always been about interest.

If not for Loki promising him something, he would not have even meddled in this matter

Raymond and Sofia also was shocked. Sofia had already told, Azief that Hirate was not responsible.

Yet he still attack with the intent to kill. Raymond on the other hand also could not understand it.

After all Hirate did not conspire to pit the World Government against the Death Monarch. Still, Death Monarch seems intent in taking Hirate life.

Even the whole world was shocked to see this and had already lost hope that Hirate would survive this ordeal.

It was then a hand stretched out from a green void. A pair of thin hand grips the Death Monarch hand, Azief hand is only a few inches away from Hirate head.

Raymond and Sofia was shocked with the appearance of that person. Even Hirate did not expect that his life would be rescued by that person.

Sweat was raining from his forehead remembering how close he is to death.

‘Long time no see’ that person speak with a smile on his face.

Azief eyes is cold as he watch at that person and then he shakes his hand and that person was forced to release his grip on Azief hand.

Azief recover his stance as he stand there not far away from Hirate.

Hirate has already jump back with Raymond creating a thick wall of Earth protecting Hirate from four directions.

Raymond then jumped in front of the barrier.

‘What is the meaning of this Death Monarch!’ Raymond yelled as he equipped his mace, ready to battle.

Azief did not pay attention to Raymond. Instead he is looking at the person that has just arrived.

Sofia also look at the person with a complicated expression.

Sina who is about to arrive near Sofia also almost stand still when she recognizes that person from afar.

‘Loki’ Azief said, his voice is devoid of warmth. Sina look towards the figure of Loki and tears stream down her eyes. Only Sofia notices this

Loki on the other hand look at the Death Monarch and flash his smile.

‘Hehehe. Brother, why so angry?’ he chuckles. The Trickster have arrived. The whole world was shocked.

The trickster has shown himself. In the almost three years since the end of the Weronian War, there is only hearsay about the Trickster popping in many places all around the world.

There is traces of him scheming against the Knights of Malta, the Bombing at Algiers, and the kidnappings of the Bernelllis.

But he has never appear publicly and many people speculated about the reason. Even when the Death Monarch call upon his allies, Loki was not present.

If not for the fact that he send soldiers and the Three Sisters of Shadows to the Death Monarch people might have thought Loki has turn to other organization.

‘Why did you stop me?’ Azief ask. Loki look at that glint in Azief eyes. And he knew that the Death Monarch wanted to end Hirate.

‘He is not the perpetrator. You know it don’t you? You have spoken with Pandikar. This is just a big misunderstanding.’ Loki said.

Azief shakes his head and snorted

‘I still want to kill him. So, what you are going to do?’ This time Loki did not understand why Azief is still stubborn.

‘Brother…why are you doing this?’ Loki imploringly said. Azief look at Loki.

‘He has schemed against us for a long time.’ Azief said but Loki could tell that is not the real reason.

Loki did not understand as he tries to persuade Azief once more

‘You let him go before.’ Azief snorted.

‘Today, I don’t want to let him go.’

‘He did no wrong towards you today.’

Azief snorted and with it comes his aura that repels everything nears him. The dust below his feet disperse and the earth cracked, the air and space around him distorted.

Loki was pushed back three steps backward, his foot dragged the ground beneath him.

‘We will talk later.’ Azief take a step forward and this time Raymond was ready.

The people watching this scene from the safety of their hideouts could not help but feel that the war is not yet over.

As Azief take that one step Loki shakes his head and then draw upon the power of his Disk as he appears in front of Azief in matter of almost a millisecond blocking his way.

Azief frown.

‘What do you think you are doing Loki!’ This time his tone of voice hardened and rises.

The clouds above turns cloudy and then dark almost immediately and then thunder break out once again in the sky.

When the Death Monarch is angry, the Heaven follow suit. This is what many people were thinking.

‘Brother, please! Spare him!’ This time those words shocked Azief.

It is because Loki usual playfulness has disappeared and there is desperation in his eyes. Azief could not understand it.

Loki on the other hand did not understand why Azief is so stubborn to kill Hirate today.

It is understandable if Hirate was the one planning this scheme but this time it had nothing to do with Hirate.

If anything Hirate and Raymond were the few dissenting voice that object the imprisonment of Sofia.

Wouldn’t that soften the heart of Azief?

Azief is not an idiot. Of course he knew that Hirate and Raymond fight for Sofia in the meeting when deciding about the matters of the Divine Archer.

‘Tell me why you are so intent on killing him today?’ Loki ask. Azief look at Loki and then closes his eyes before he sighed.

‘I’m doing this for you.’ And Azief remember back what Pandikar said to him. His voice echoes in his memories.

‘Hirate fears Loki more than he fears you.’

It is this word that strengthen his resolve to kill Hirate. That word contains many meanings. One meaning is that Hirate is really wary of Loki.

The other meaning was that probably Hirate has a few plans regarding Loki life and death. There might even be probably a scheme targeting Loki life.

It is better to eliminate such obstacle early now that he knew about it. Whatever his problem with Loki, is his problem.

He did not need to use borrowed knife.

And whatever schemes Loki has hatched against him….for some reason Azief believes Loki has a reason for it.

He had to keep believing that…because if he don’t…he could not bear to be enemies with Loki and end him.

Loki to him is like a younger brother. He’s family.

‘Pandikar said Hirate is wary of you.’ Loki suddenly understand what Azief is thinking and he felt somewhat touched.

Loki…did not have an older brother. But if he have one…it probably feels like this. Loki felt this feeling unfamiliar.

Being protected…having a place to call home…all of this is unfamiliar for him. Loki look at Azief and he could not help but feel

‘What a twist of fate’.

In the timeline he came from, he would be enemies and then rival with this person but in this timeline, Loki….could not help but think of Azief as his older brother.

Loki knows this but he could not let Azief kill Hirate

‘And you believe him?’ Loki ask, trying to talk Azief down.

‘Better safe than sorry’ Azief nonchalantly answer.

Then he took another step forward and Loki tries to grab Azief but only looks at Loki eyes and the image of a giant appears in front of Loki.

It was like he was infinitesimally small in front of that giant.

It was the suppression of Disk. And the traces of the Will of the World. Azief took a step forward sidestepping Loki that was in a daze and arrived in front of Raymond

‘Death Monarch, please do not take another st-‘ But Azief ignore Raymond words and punch his fist, bringing with it a force that crack the space and air around the area.

Raymond had no choice but to also punch out his fist, as his mace fly from behind also trying to smash itself against the Death Monarch

The fist collided, the shockwaves exploded from the point of collision causing the area to be districted into a spiral like they are being devoured by broken space.

Raymond finger bones all broke the moment their fist connected.

He was flung toward his Earth Wall. Thankfully, his feet did not leave the Earth as he utilized the Terra Force to heal himself.

The mace however was deflected back by the prowess of Azief physical body.

‘Terra force huh?’ Azief said slightly amused.

Then he stomp his feet and the Earth Wall as it was invaded by the power of death and slowly the Earth wall lost its energy, and wither away, the mud forming the earth wall turns black before falling down like sandcastle.

Azief is using his Death Source.

As he takes another step forward, all plants, all life around him began to progress to decay, withering and die in an accelerated manner.

This time Azief punch again towards Raymond and Raymond once again punch out but this time instead of being flung Raymond was standing still in his position, his face pale.

Then he falls down in pain as Azief sidestepped him.

Sofia did not know what to do as he saw the person she loves and her best friend after the Fall clash with each other.

She was stunned and did not know who to side with. Sina has already reached Sofia and standing beside her.

Sofia was about to say something when she saw Azief is beating up Raymond but just before she wanted to say something, Loki who has already free himself from that illusion reached in front of Sofia and said

‘Don’t!’

‘Loki.’ Sofia said, shocked by the sudden appearance of Loki

‘Don’t say anything. Don’t worsen this situation.’ Then finished saying that Loki flew towards Azief.

Azief after sidestepping Raymond chase Hirate and Oreki who is running fast with Oreki speed. Instead of saying they were running flying away is the more apt description.

Lightning flashed in a straight line as Azief flies with speed that broke the sound barrier and reaching Mach 2 in a matter of seconds, chasing that lightning

Loki also proceeded to chase Azief to prevent him from killing Hirate. He sighed a relieved sigh as he look behind him before he chase Azief.

At least he managed to keep Sofia from supporting Raymond.

He knows Sofia did not mean anything by it but that would not be what Azief would hear. This two tragic lovers has always been separated by misunderstanding and timing.

Azief, strong as he is…is timid in love, jealous and envious probably because he believes himself to be broken…that he is hard to love.

At least that is how Loki perceived him. By now, Azief and Oreki is running circles inside the island since it is locked by Azief seal.

Azief is gaining on them and just as Azief was about to once again kill Hirate, Loki arrived and block Azief way.

Azief stopped and the force of inertia around him collapsed the space and time around him.

Loki staring at Azief determined expression do not know what else to say and then he blurted out.

‘You must not kill him. Please, brother!’ Loki shouted, pleadingly. This time Azief stop. And he listen. Truly listen.

Loki did not say he can’t kill him. He said he must not kill him. And then one thing click in his mind. He could deduce something.

And the conclusion is not something he like to hear or imagine. He look in the distance. Hirate and Oreki is panting in exhaustion, separated by a distance.

A distance Azief could easily cross in a matter of seconds. His Disk is already recovering more than fifty percent.

Azief look at Loki and then said

‘Could it be…..he is also….play a part?’ Azief ask. Other people might not understand but Loki and Azief understand. What the question means and what the answer signify.

Loki did not say anything and then nodded.

Then there is silent between them as Azief sometimes took a glance at Hirate in the distance. Hirate gulped and Oreki is in dilemma.

Loki is clearly intending to shield Hirate but it seems the Death Monarch has different plans.

Hikigaya would surely say this is troublesome. Oreki did not like doing too much work that does not concern his interest.

Then Azief ask

‘Where is Wang Jian?’ Loki reply

‘He is with me.’ Azief raised his eyebrows. Loki is probably scheming and plotting something again.

Azief look at Hirate and then he look at Loki. He shakes his head.

‘This one time. Only this one time, Loki. I could not always be constrained by something that has not yet happened. You will explain to me later.’

Loki nodded

Azief finally stopped and he takes a deep breath. He closes his eyes and then open it back as he look at the destruction he had caused.

There was flames everywhere. Depression of earth could be seen in every corner of the island. All the four direction of the Island is ravaged by the fires of war.

The initial attack of the Battlestar has inflict terrible damage towards the island.

Especially the northern parts who became the casualties of the Demonic Army and the remnants of the gigantic coffins fragments that falls down from the sky.

Then he took a deep sigh. The dark clouds dissipated and the thunder ceased to beat the skies.

Then he shouted, his voice echoes over the air surrounding the island

‘The war is over. Whoever is not satisfied challenge me now!’ he shouted. No one answer his challenge and then he shouted

‘Let us return!’ The moment this declaration sounded the people of the island felt like a pressure was lifted from their hearts.

People cried as the war was over, cried for their loved ones and cried and screams at the unfairness of it all.

‘The World Government will be unstable for a long time after this.’ Hirate could not help but sigh.

Even though he do not scheme against the Death Monarch this time, other people schemed against him and landed the World Government in this state.

The world will be in chaos after this. Hirate look towards Azief in the distance and was expecting him to launch himself to the air and disappeared among the clouds.

But the Death Monarch did not move as he look at Oreki and then Loki.

He was reminded of Pandikar last wish and then sighing he shouted again, this time his declaration shocked the whole world.

‘A year from now, I will held a meeting inviting all the great factions in the world! Everyone must attend. Those that do not attend will be forfeiting his right! I will be discussing the distribution of the world region!’

The moment this declaration sounded, the whole world was dumbstruck. The neutral passive observer…..has finally made a move.

A meeting to discuss the distribution of the world region!

This is big! This is momentous occasion! Even Loki was shocked. This is because the events of the partitioning of the World did happen but it did not happen like this.

And the Death God at the time did not command such authority during the event.

This time however, maybe because of the accumulation of changes Loki had did in his quest, the script has changed, and the player had also changed.

Then Azief decree one more order that makes all the factions leaders in the world trembles.

‘For one year, no war will be declared on any factions unless there is irreconcilable hatred! Those who do not obey….will make me an enemy!’

Then only then Azief grab Loki and launched himself into the air. He let his word be heard, and let the people interpret it as they will.

Hirate on the other hand was smiling bitterly and then laughing at the irony. With this, World Government had a chance to recuperate and the chaos of the world could be contained.

The moment this declaration sounded those factions leaders that was watching and heard the proclamation all contact their soldiers and subordinates to stop whatever their doing.

No one wanted to provoke that calamity, especially not when he was so moody right now.

Even Narleod who was happily looting the World Government treasury could not help but curse at the Death Monarch.

He had no choice other than retreating with his moving island as he orders Erin and Frieda to stand down and return to Storm Tide for further instruction.

All over the world, this scene played out. People contacting their people to stop whatever they doing and return back.

The Death Monarch has spoken.

A one year ceasefire for one year. The small faction was overjoyed and the big faction was incensed.

Yet…nobody dares defy the Death Monarch decree.

Pandikar was dead. Yet, that one last wish of his was fulfilled. For one year…..the world will be at peace and humanity could grow and thrive in a nurturing environment.

He was executed and would probably be cursed to death by other people, but only Death Monarch knew that it was this man that persuaded him to take this course of action.

And that one year……is enough for him to form a few disk.

As Azief flew on the sky with Loki on his grasp, he look down and saw the vast ocean and he smiled.

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Bromance, y’all. And Pandikar last wish do have some effects. Ch 182 is on patreon. And a year from now…what will happen?

What scheme could one expect? Next chapter would deal with….Loki part of the story and it will begin with Louise, a talk between Loki and Death Monarch and may more.

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