Chapter 227 - Father & Daughter's Choice (1)
Niberis was deep within her thoughts as she walked through the field of flowers.
After arriving at the Albatan forest, she continued to enjoy an unbelievably peaceful life. She was having a hard time remembering the last time she had lived such a life.
It brought stability to Niberis’ heart. It would be a lie to say that she didn’t hold any resentment towards her father. However, she had learned about his story. She heard about the process in which he had been pushed towards despair. Even when he was in such a state, he had tried his best for his daughter. She was happy that she was able to reunite with him.
However, her heart turned gloomy when she thought about the future. She had escaped from the Plain of Darkness on an impulse. Now her actions had to be made according to her will from here on out.
Suddenly, Kieren called out to her.
His att.i.tude had remained the same as before. He was the heir to Baldazark. He acted bold and confident in front of others. He only turned into a shy young man in front of her.
He had put aside everything, and he had put his life on the line for her. He should be a bit more bold with her. They were finally able to shed the yoke that had been placed around their necks…. However, he was unable to be brave when it came to her. He made no moves towards her.
“Sir Reygus said everything has been resolved.”
Niberis had continued to reside in the Albatan forest, but it hadn’t been solely for Saibein. She was waiting for the result of one event. It would allow her to make her decision in regards to her future actions.
“Kayalinim was accepted by Azell Karzark.”
“I see. He is an amazing man.”
Niberis didn’t know about the true story between Azell and Kayalia. This was why Niberis thought Azell had accepted Kayalia, who had been his enemy in the Dragon Demon war. Azell’s bold action made a deep impression on her.
Niberis was about to talk about what they should do from here on out. However, she caught sight of Kieren. He looked tentative. It was as if he wanted to say more, but he was having a hard time formulating his words.
“What is it?”
“It’s nothing. That is….”
“If it is a problem that is too difficult to tell me, I’ll go check it out for myself.”
“I understand, Niberis.”
Kieren let out a sigh. Niberis’ eyes widened when he unloaded the information he had been holding back.
“Laura is here.”
“It is nice to meet you again, Ms. Laura.”
“I want to congratulate you on reuniting with your daughter.”
Saibein looked a bit surprised at Laura’s words. A slight questioning look appeared on her impa.s.sive face. Saibein let out an awkward smile as he tried to explain himself.
“It hasn’t been long since I saw you last, but it seems you’ve changed a lot. I never expected to hear such words from you.”
It had been 4 months since Azell’s party had left the Albatan Forest. At the time, Laura hadn’t cared about observing common courtesy like she did right now. She was still like a doll that had no expression, and she didn’t reveal much emotion. However, for some reason it felt as if she had changed.
It seemed Laura liked his a.s.sessment, so she put on a small smile.
She had changed after meeting Azell. She was still changing right now, and she hoped she would continue to change in the future. She was happy that her change had been confirmed by someone else.
“When I saw your Dragon Demon weapon, it made me curious as to what has happened since we parted ways.”
Laura had arrived with Arrieta. She had travelled the long distance using the Crying Phoenix.
Saibein recognized the Crying Phoenix at a glance, so he became surprised that someone other than Azell was using it. Even if she was his comrade, it wasn’t something he would easily give up. Something must have happened.
Laura lowered her head slightly.
Saibein accepted her answer.
Albatan forest had revealed their neutrality in the fight. Since they weren’t clear allies, Laura couldn’t give them any information. Saibein understood this.
“I feel a familiar energy.”
Suddenly, Arrieta mumbled to herself. Laura spoke.
“It is Niberis.”
From Arrieta’s perspective, Niberis had made her suffer an unforgettable humiliation. This was why she was able to recognize Niberis, who was approaching them from a distance.
Soon, Niberis and Kieren revealed themselves. Kieren awkwardly raised his hand, and he gave his greeting towards Laura.
Niberis’ eyes narrowed. She was trying to press down on the hostility and annoyance she felt towards Laura. It was something that naturally arose within her.
Niberis was no longer part of the Plain of Darkness, so there was no reason why she should feel hostile towards Laura. Moreover, hadn’t she incurred a debt to Azell’s party in the process of running away from the Plain of Darkness? Still, her ill feeling towards Laura had been built over the years, and those feeling were hard to shed. She was having hard time keeping her composure.
There was another factor that was bothering her. Arrieta was glaring at her from behind Laura.
“Dragon Demon Princess…….”
“I never expected to meet you again like this.”
Laura wasn’t showing any emotions. On the other hand, Arrieta was overtly glaring at Niberis. Arrieta knew she shouldn’t be hostile towards Niberis, but the sight of her reminded Arrieta of the humiliation suffered under the hands of Niberis. She couldn’t help it.
Arrieta was trying hard to calm her emotions as she had this thought.
‘No matter how I think about it, she isn’t a good person.’
However, she didn’t have much of a choice. In their current situation, it was better for Arrieta to come here rather than Azell coming here.
The two women had been glaring at each other, but the first one to back down was Arrieta.
“I’m sorry. I failed to act like an adult. Laura, I think it would be best for both parties if I fall back for now.”
Arrieta was well aware of their current situation. Her pride wouldn’t allow her to jeopardize their mission. Niberis mumbled to herself as she watched Arrieta fall back.
“…it makes me wonder if she really is the Dragon Demon princess I know. She has changed a lot.”
When they fought in the past, Arrieta hadn’t been a threat to her. She had been a weakling that Niberis could easily kill if she wanted to.
However, that wasn’t the case any more. Niberis could sense the amount of Dragon Demon magic possessed by Arrieta. Moreover, Niberis could tell that Arrieta had the skills to back up that power. Niberis could tell at an instinctual level.
When Arrieta stepped aside, Niberis spoke.
“Our relationship isn’t good enough for us to have an amicable conversation. Just get to the point.”
“I want to tell you about Kayalia.”
“I’ve already heard about that. Did you really need to come here yourself to tell me that?”
“I also have to deliver something to you after I hear your intentions.”
“What do you mean by that?”
Niberis furrowed her brows. Laura spoke in a calm manner.
“I heard from Kayalia that she was able to sever your connection to the Great Darkness.”
It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that Kayalia knew the most about the Great Darkness after Atein. She was able to completely sever Niberis and Kieren from the Great Darkness. She did the same for Saibein. Saibein’s connection to the Great Darkness had deteriorated during his stay in the Albatan forest, but he still had the link. Kayalia severed the connection for him.
In the case of Laura, Yuren had severed her link when he liberated the Vitan’s Chalice from the Great Darkness. Yuren had done this, because he had no idea how Atein would use these connections once he was fully revived. It was unknown as to what method Atein would use to read the information of beings connected to the Great Darkness.
“I know that sir Reygus has decided to go against Atein.”
At her words, Niberis flinched. It wasn’t the content of her words. Niberis flinched because Laura had spoke Atein’s name.
They had always referred to Atein as king before, and now Laura had called him out by name.
It was a simple gesture, but Niberis could see the determination behind the eyes of the usually expressionless Laura.
Laura had accepted Atein as a true enemy. She had thrown away her past where she had worshipped Atein as a G.o.d. She would be able to fight Atein with every ounce of her strength.
In truth, Niberis was very impressed by this. At the same time, she felt really annoyed.
‘It seems you are always ahead of me. Even this time….’
It had always been like that. From Niberis’ perspective, Laura was an annoying rival.
Laura had more achievements as an officer, and she had been able to acquire a Dragon Demon weapon before her. Moreover…. She had abandoned her life as a member of the Plain of Darkness, and she had chosen to walk her own path in life.
“Niberis. Kieren. Do you guys plan on joining sir Reygus?”
“Why should I tell you that?”
“I have to make a judgement call based on your answer. I have to choose whether I want to tell you something important or not.”
“I don’t know what it is, but I don't need it. Above all else, will you be able to believe my answer?”
“I’ll believe it.”
Niberis’ eyes widened at Laura’s answer.
“Niberis, you aren’t the type of person that’ll lie about your own position.”
Niberis was momentarily speechless. She spoke.
“…I plan on joining the fight.”
“You’ll do this despite knowing Atein’s goal?”
“I know it. All of our beliefs were ugly distortion of the truth. It was made up by the old ones that wanted power, and I know they are the ones that deserve my enmity.”
“Yet you’ll fight him?”
“He… He is my grandfather. I used to feel proud about being his direct descendant. That is no longer the case.”
Niberis spoke with a cold expression on her face.
“He loves the world, but I don’t think he loves anyone within it.”
When she found out the entire truth, Niberis had realized that all her beliefs were an illusion. She had floundered in the shock when she had learned the truth. However, she was able to somewhat recover from the shock when she met Saibein. Afterwards, anger surged up from within her.
Did she harbor resentment towards those that made the Plain of Darkness?
Of course. Niberis felt a deep anger and hatred towards them. She’ll gladly slit their throats when she came across them next. She would exact a price for their sins.
However, she despised Atein more. Atein had denied responsibility for the madness that had arose within the Plain of Darkness, and he was still preaching his ideals.
“He experimented on those that were still alive from the war. His purpose was to see if his followers could overcome their base nature. I cannot forgive him for that.”
Niberis had learned the truth from Kayalia. She learned about the truth of Atein.
He gathered the Dragon Demon King’s army under the flag of his ideals, yet he foresaw his plan failing. That was why he decided to revive himself in the distant future. He didn't take any responsibility for the results he had created through his actions. He completely ignored it.
His followers had believed in him. The defeat had been devastating, and it had left behind deep wounds within his followers. However, Atein didn’t even think about how the deep psychological wounds caused by him would change his followers. He went straight to the next experiment where he tried to ascertain the nature of his followers.
“Doesn’t that sound like something a G.o.d would do? He denies being a G.o.d, yet he acts like one.”
In the old tales, the ancient G.o.ds required endless sacrifice from their followers. It was required that people prove their sincerity towards the G.o.ds by sacrificing their lives towards the G.o.ds. Even if it led to a bankrupt life, one had to prove one’s faith. Instead of giving a helping hand to those that walked the arduous path of following the will of the G.o.ds, the G.o.ds continued to give arduous trials that required them to prove their faith. They made unreasonable demands.
How was Atein’s action any different from those G.o.ds?
He had supernatural powers that allowed him to overcome death. Instead of soothing the wounds of his followers, he imposed an arduous trial on those that were hurt and despairing. When those people failed to overcome his trial, he had labeled them as being evil.
“…he has a double standard when it comes to himself. He is truly selfish. He’s afraid of the possibility of corruption within himself, yet he immediately reincarnated himself. He shoved the whole world into the brazier of war, and he was the very reason why countless people had lost their lives. He didn’t deserve to make such a choice.”
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