~ Chapter 132: A moment of hesitation (Part 1) ~
[Ayuseya's point of view]
In the end, we rushed to Entalon Town in the hope of avoiding a bad weather that never came in the hope of resting in a good inn, but we were forced by these unforeseen circumstances to camp outside with the refugees instead.
At the crack of dawn, we gathered camp and prepared to leave. As the carriage was set in motion, I looked out the window at the spot by the road where the family of three used to sit. In their place a new group was in the middle of installing themselves there. This time it was a family of four.
If I want to help them all, I must solve the problem at its roots... I thought and then leaned back in my seat.
I found myself to be neither indebted nor troubled by this decision of mine. Although I wasn't a Pleyades anymore, as a Deus, there were many things I could do, but offering asylum to each and every poor beggar out there would have led Illsyorea to a complete ruin. Introducing our values and principles, our way of life, had to be done carefully over the course of a long period of time. Only fools rushed ahead.
“We'll go around Entalon since there's no other way. After that we'll go to Rank Village. Princess, I do hope you won't try to play the hero again.” Green announced our path, but the last line was told in a whisper so that it wouldn't reach the others.
“Just drive, Mister Green. Just drive.” I replied in a calm tone of voice as I took out one of my books and began to read.
The title was 'Trials in the Aura Capital'. It was what Illsy referred to as a soppy detective romance story, but I liked it. The conflicts portrayed by the characters, while exaggerated, they were funny to imagine.
The book kept me company for a couple of hours until I got bored, then I switched to the work I had to complete for the next year on Illsyorea. There was a tone of paperwork to be done, and we had yet to receive the approval of several of the most notable teaching institutions out there. Getting their recognition was probably next to impossible at this stage, but just because we were trying every year was enough to pump up their egos to unprecedented levels and keep us in their minds.
Nanya once told me that the former Headmaster of the Fellyore Magic Academy had encountered similar problems. That was probably one of the reasons why I was also advised of going to another institution rather than there.
Even now I still ponder about why I chose Fellyore exactly and not some other unknown Magic Academy. What exactly had drawn me to Illsy in such a fashion that from certain points of view, I would even consider it ridiculous?
While the previously unstable border relationships between the Sorone Continent and Thorya Continent could have been seen as proof, right now, I didn't feel the same way. No, there was something about Fellyore that drew me there, but as of yet, I had no idea what. It was... mysterious in a matter of speaking.
Tamara once joked about the fact that maybe a god was interested in our fates and chose to influence our paths, but while her words made me think of it as a possibility, the fact that at that time she was stuffing her face with fish made me reconsider.
“We can't go any farther. We'll camp out here for the night.” announced Red.
“Good. Then I'm going to go out for a walk.” I said as I got out of the carriage.
“A walk? At this late hour?” Red tried to stop me by stepping me in front of me and looking at me with a questionable look in his eyes.
“Yes, a walk. Do you really think there's anyone out here who can be a threat to me? Or rather, let me put it in another way. IF there is something out here that's a threat to me, all of you are as good as dead.” I replied with a smile.
He looked into my eyes for a long moment, but ultimately he gave up without a fight.
“Just... don't get lost.” he said as he stepped aside.
“I won't, don't worry.” I replied and then jumped into the air.
Just as I did back when I had a race with Illsy on the other side of the Guardian Crest Mountain in the Paramanium Empire, this time too I ran across the tips of the tall trees. Aided by wind magic, I pushed myself forward while making sure I didn't destroy the trees. Each step was as light as a feather, but I was traveling at a speed no carriage could achieve. In but a few moments, I was running at over 200 km/h, then, when I increased my stride, I surpassed 300 km/h and instead of using the tree tops, I used air platforms I created with my magic. Each step pushed me farther and farther from the carriage until I was running at subsonic speed. At supersonic speeds, the chances of me destroying the trees around me was higher, and I was also a lot noisier with each of my steps.
My current speed, by my estimates, was at around 1015 km/h, just 220 km/h under the speed of sound.
If not for my magic and Illsy enchanting my clothes, I would have been running naked at this speed while causing craters everywhere and destroying everything I stepped on. A single turn of my head would have also been enough to cause me to crash.
I ran like this until I reached the Black Tooth Ridge Mountains and climbed all the way to its highest peak. The whole journey was fairly quick for myself, just a little under an hour. It took me longer to climb the mountain than to reach the base of it.
I stopped on the very edge of a cliff and looked towards the other side, on the land protected by this natural barrier.
It was a sight that brought a great deal of emotion to my heart, and as I placed my hand over my chest, I could feel my tears rolling down my cheeks. This kingdom was not one I was too fond of, but at one time, I believed it was one of the greatest. I loved the people of this kingdom, my mother, who raised me the best she could, my siblings whom I had always treated so dear to me, and the servants who did their best to make sure there was nothing missing from my life.
Yet, right now, when I looked down upon this land, there was no spec of joy in my heart, only pain and sadness. All that I had loved and thought as precious to me, except for the few servants who remained loyal to me, all of it was a lie made so that I would not garner any suspicion towards what they had really planned for me and my future child.
I saw the reality of things for the first time back when the Elders explained the perverted nature of the Ball and then forced me to choose either between it or Dankyun. Then, little by little, the illusion that I had been surrounded with ever since I was born began to shatter like a dome of glass. Mother's letter which begged me to offer my firstborn as a sacrifice was the final drop.
Yet, thanks to my friends and lover, I had grown and become someone far more powerful than either the Council of Elders or my very own mother could have ever imagined. Neither spell nor brute force was going to force me to submit to their will, but if they chose to cast either at me to make me stay in this rotten land, then by all means I was prepared to return the favor in the same manner.
“It won't be long now before I will return to the Pleyades Palace. How will they treat me then, I wonder?” I thought and then shook my head.
The answer was obvious.
They were going to act as fools, but even though I knew this, I couldn't afford to let the other kingdoms across the world know that the Deus family was intent on talking with their fists first rather than adopt a diplomatic solution.
When they will bare their fangs and claws at me, I will be ready, but I won't be the one to strike first. No, that shame shall be theirs. Illsyorea will never be known as a country that adopts violence instead of peace as long as the Deus family has something to say about it! I thought and then clenched my fist.
Standing here, whipped by the cold winds of the Black Tooth Ridge Mountains, I once more tested my resolve of acting upon diplomacy and not violence.
After I had enough of this sight, I returned to the camp. My journey this time took a bit longer because I traveled at half the speed as before. When I reached the site, I landed in the middle of the road at a decent distance away, then I made my approach on foot.
Above me, rumbling thunders announced the approach of a storm.
That night, it rained for several hours and stopped sometime close to the break of dawn. I woke at the same time as I did yesterday and had a quick breakfast from the stock I had received from Tamara. We packed camp in a hurry and then left for Rank Village.
The terrain was a bit muddy and difficult to traverse, but with these three Supremes, there was no need to worry about having our carriage get stuck somewhere on the road. We arrived at the small settlement sometime around noon, but we stopped at the entrance, which I found to be rather odd.
“What's going on?” I asked.
“There's something happening up ahead. I think a peasant got in trouble with the nobles again.” replied Green.
“Why do you think so?” I questioned him as I got out.
My Magic Barrier prevented the mud from clinging to my shoes. A fine control was needed in order to achieve something like this, but I was certain these Supremes could do it as well. None of them appeared to have suffered because of the mud.
“It's tax season, and a lot of them pay with whatever means necessary when they can't cough up the coin.” Green replied and then shrugged.
“What means are you talking about?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“In this case, it might be a woman.” he replied.
When he said this, I looked at the commotion that was blocking the road. There, at the entrance to the village were a lot of draconians gathered near a beautiful carriage decorated with silver and guarded by some tough-looking individuals.
The noble was most likely the well dressed individual in front of a begging old draconian, who was on his knees and had a stream of tears running down his cheeks.
“I beg of you, your lordship, don't take away my daughter!” he pleaded.
“Then do you have enough coins to pay the taxes?” he asked in a strict tone of voice.
“No, Milord, but... this year, the harvest...” he tried to reason.
“You are the Village Chief of this village and yet you failed to provide me with the required taxes! Don't you know that if your village can't pay the taxes, I'm free to take whatever I think is of worth from you? With this virgin woman, your debt will be paid!” he declared.
“You can't, Milord. She's to be wed at the coming of the next harvest! She's my only child, if you take her from me, then I...” the old man tried to reason.
“Foolishness! You dare defy my orders?! Should I make an example out of you?” the noble asked.
“Please, Milord. I beg you, don't harm my father!” the woman who was being held by one of the noble's bodyguards tried to fight back, but she was too weak when compared to him.
“N-No, Milord, I... I was just saying that... Please, I beg you! Don't take my daughter away! Anything but her, Milord!” he bowed his head until his forehead touched the mud.
His eyes and cheeks were wet with his tears that didn't seem to stop. This old man knew quite well that if he allowed his daughter to be taken away, then there was a high chance he would never get to see her again.
At that moment, before the eyes of everyone there, the noble unsheathed his sword and aimed its blade at the begging old draconian.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
I know some of you are troubled by my typos and at times grammar mistakes. I do edit it to the best of my abilities before posting it, but some things just slip through for various reason (mostly because before editing it, the whole chapter is a mess). However, if you have fun looking for them, go ahead and let me know where they are. On my discord server, there's a special channel just for that: help_author_edit
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