Prologue: Lamentations and Revelations
The sound of blades spinning still rung in his ears. It buzzed and hissed as they sliced the mixture of rain and damp air that was present on the battlefield that day.
It’s been a month but I can’t get it out of my head, can I?
The very blades that cut down his beloved comrades were nothing short of a double-edged scythe. In the world of Gaea, there were many who would openly claim “What a useless weapon that is!”
And they were not wrong. In fact, on all accounts they were correct as the clunky and flashy nature of the weapon would do nothing to aid its user in battle, other than to hinder him.
However, it was also the weapon that was wielded by the strongest. Mowing down one after another, the blades made no distinction between friend or foe in its war-ravaged path.
“Aegeus! Run on ahead, we’ll hold him back!”
The confident and bright faces of his dearest friends as they called out to him etched themselves into his heart, never to be forgotten amidst the unrelenting tides of time.
Unbeknownst to him, that would be the last time he would get to see them again.
Seeking temporary relief from the plague called grief that had stricken him, he laid his eyes upon the countless shimmering stars that filled the blue empty void above. Flashing and flickering, they were like an everlasting beacon of hope, shining effulgently within the barren, cold expanse that they sat in. Thinking about it now, to the average person living in an era of strife, the idea of something burning defiantly in lonely solitude amidst the perpetual gloominess of the night sky gave birth to the firm beliefs of man where there will always be hope, even in the darkest of times.
Is there truly any hope in these dark times?
He gazed at the twinkling orbs above, as the middle-aged man asked himself while strolled out of the back entrance of his newly acquired palace. Although His coronation as emperor had ended not too long ago, contrary to the happy occasion, a solemn expression instead hung over his round but yet also chiseled face. It was a far cry from his original cheerful self. His previously long, jet-black silky hair that exemplified his confidence and naivety was now reduced to just a trifling trim. He wore a set of overly elaborate red robes, embroidered with gold and silver threads around the various hems and openings. At the centre of the robe was an Oriental Dragon doing battle with a man, all captured within the frame of a kiteshield. It was a perfect fit for a king, flaunting his material wealth and prowess. But yet its thin nature was a poor match for the fairly chilly night upon him. Gentle breezes blew across the open courtyards of the palace, causing the well-trimmed trees and bushes to sway in unison with the rhythm of the wind. However, He strolled forth, not minding the cold, for he was too deeply immersed in his thoughts.
Stars… A light in the dark when there is none. An existence that denies all common sense, supposedly spurring us to persevere forwards. But truth be told, are they no different from the various legends and tales of time long past? It all started with the Twin peaks of Varusia and the loss of Andromeda and as painful as the beginning was, I still believed in the legends and persisted. But now that I’ve lost everything, you still tell me to have ‘hope’?
“Tell me!! Why would the all-mighty gods allow for this outcome to occur?”
He yelled to the sky above him, as if waiting for an answer. Seconds passed, Minutes passed, and yet a reply never came. He shuffled his feet forward towards the balcony and heaved a deep and long sigh. It was a hollow sigh that was filled to the brim with immense grief, guilt and regret. His breath quaked as his emotions got the better of him, leaking faint traces of anguish whenever he exhaled.
I had ‘hope’ before when all felt lost, so why can’t I have ‘hope’ once more?
Seeking relief from the internal turmoil and hurricane of emotions that welled up in him, he directed his gaze towards the view in front of him. Despite the darkness of the night, under the soft glow of the moon, he could vaguely make out the shapes of houses and buildings that were tinted with various hues of the colour palette. Red, blue, violet, magenta…even the word vibrant wouldn’t come close to describing the polychromatic city before him. It was beautiful to say the least.
In fact, it could almost be called unnaturally beautiful as the pristine condition of the buildings and roads wouldn’t lead one to think that a battle of cardinal importance had taken place here just a mere month ago.
Squinting his eyes into the distance, he could barely make out the shadows of people walking under the dimly lit streets. Some looked like they were exchanging goods, some looked like they were closing up for the night. There were even some who just stood by the streets, bent over and chuckling at one another. From afar, they looked like they were engaging in godless chatter, something which was nigh unthinkable under the previous ruler.
Looks like it’s much livelier now even at night as compared to before. I guess that much is to be expected. With the age of corruption finally gone, I’m sure the residents far and wide would feel a lot safer now.
“But was it truly worth it?”
He murmured softly under his breath.
After the innumerable battles, sacrifices and conflicts to reach this point. Was it truly worth it?
He had never thought that there would be a day or even a reality where he would be living the dream that he and his friends had so dreamt together alone, in solitude. And yet he was doing it now. The loneliness of this unfortunate reality bit into him like the sensations from the cold marble railings and floors that he was in contact with, chilling him to the bone. Faces of the many that lost their lives for their cause floated in his mind.
Valten…Lokir…Minerva…Belladonna… Most of all Sakura…
“Why oh why must it be Sakura? Surely, it must all be just a cruel jest of fate?”
He cried out loud in despair, as his shoulders shuddered slightly and tears rolled down his cheeks, reminiscing the events that had transpired between them.
“I never even got the chance to say goodbye…”
He sobbed uncontrollably. Tears wouldn’t stop streaming down his face, wetting the previously dried up streaks across his pink cheeks. His bloodshot eyes and irregular sniffles made him seem completely different from the person he was a few moments ago, completely losing the airs of a ruler. His muffled sobs dyed the atmosphere in a gloomy shade of grey for the next few minutes, before once again, attempting to regain his composure by returning his sight to the peaceful city before him. Seeing the various candlelit windows and doors, as well as hearing the sounds of faint laughter from the streets below, a strange and twisted feeling of joy infected him. It tainted him so much that he could not help but twist his lips into a grin and laugh out loudly into the atmosphere. But yet hidden within his largely sarcastic tone that brimmed with ridicule was also nothing less than acceptance for the cruel reality that he was facing.
“Whether it was destiny or luck, who would know but the fates themselves? The fact that our journey has ended shall bring forth some form of celebration, no? Before long, I too will join all of you, wherever you may be… Ahahah… Ahahah… Ahahahahah…”
With sobs that were faintly audible between his convulsive gasps, his superficial laughter echoed despondently throughout the gloomy courtyard and to the streets below…
Written by: Emelia-Tan
Edited by: Feha, Schwarz13, Rogueclon946 and Mega14343
Proofread by: Yakult