Level Up Legacy - 895 Cruelest Fate
“Is there something you need?” asked Arthur again after the three did not answer. Then, they snapped out of their daze, and Zonas Mantra cleared his throat.
“Everyone is worried about you, sir,” said Zonas with ultimate respect. He seemed to forget that Arthur was less than a third of his age. “Empress Ai wanted to ask some things about her ruling practices, and I wanted to ensure you were fine.”
“Worry less, good knight,” said Arthur with a smile. “I am the last person to be worried about, but I appreciate the sentiment. I can tell that you aren’t lying.”
“I have sworn to follow you ever since you saved me in the Light Palace,” said Zonas as he bowed. Then, he glanced at Ai, who was staring at Arthur Silvera with an expression that could not be understood. “Empress Ai? You can talk to him now.”
“Seika,” called the Empress as she placed her scepter on the ground. “I know not why you asked me to be the Empress. Rain or Zonas would have been chosen just the same by the people. However, I don’t want to be another puppet.”
“You are not,” said Arthur with a shake of his hand. He waved his hand, and the scene around them changed. The four were now floating about Helios, but none moved a muscle. “Look at the people.”
Ai could not understand, but she turned to look down. She crouched on the invisible floor and saw right through it. It looked like the people below did not see her, but she could see them.
Most of them turned away from the knights serving the previous emperor. Although pardoned, these knights were weeded, and those remaining made spiritual contracts to serve the new Ilios.
Despite that fact, the citizens did not trust them. Whenever these knights went, the citizens ran. Those who entered shops were asked to leave. It was a cruel sight to see these men who wanted to protect others get alienated by the people.
“Citizens of Helios would not trust someone who served the previous emperor, who wanted them dead. You were the one who revealed the truth behind the emperor with your elements.”
“Then, you should….”
“And if you ask anyone in the street, none of them will talk ill of me, but none would say they want me as their emperor. You cannot love what you do not understand,” said Arthur covered in his golden mana as he stared at the sky. “This will be the fate of those who transcend humanity. They either rule with fear or live in the shadows.”
Ai did not answer but simply clenched her fist. Humans did not want someone too strong to rule them because, at that point, no one could oppose him.
“Human evolutions have been a mistake,” said Arthur after a brief silence. “It might have been needed, but we are foolish greedy creatures. This power will be used to fight against each other rather than monsters. Sometimes I forget who is the real enemy.”
“My father thought the same,” said Zonas Mantra while closing his eyes. “He believed that we have misused the powers given to us by the gods, and one day, one of them will come down to reclaim them.”
“Arthur might be that,” said Rain with a smile. The three turned toward her with blank expressions before Arthur smiled. “He is not a part of this world, right? So, he came to teach us a lesson.”
“I might be,” said Arthur with a smile. “I wish to ask some things after the other two leave, Rain.”
“Finally spending quality time together,” said Rain as she crossed her arms with pride and turned toward Ai and Zonas. “Be quick and leave.”
“…I have just one more question,” said Ai as she brought her hands together. “I believe that we should forge alliances, not make more enemies. We should accept the trade routes with different nations in things other than artifacts.”
“I seek no allies, Ai,” said Arthur with a blank expression. “If everyone allies themselves to whoever is winning, then there is no point in fighting.”
“Should there be a point?” asked Ai with a frown. “Ilios has just come out of a devastating civil war. It cannot withstand the skirmishes of other nations on its borders. You chose me as the ruler; this is how I rule.”
“Fighting will always be required as long as the current rulers remain the same. I chose you to rule Ilios, and I seem to have made the right choice. Do what you see fit, but remember to inform them that these alliances do not involve me.”
“What do you seek, Seika?” asked Ai after a brief silence. “I cannot understand what you want to do. You saved Ilios, so what makes you oppose the other nations?”
“I seek what I lost,” said Arthur as he looked at her with tired eyes. Ai opened her mouth but closed it because she knew what he was talking about. Then, although she was not there, Julia told her what had happened to his mother.
“Thank you for listening to my request, Seika,” said Ai as she bowed and turned toward Zonas Mantra. “We can leave now if there is no more to be discussed.”
After Zonas Mantra nodded, the two disappeared and went back toward the Light Palace. Then, Arthur and Rain were the only ones remaining floating in the sky, which made the lustful woman quite nervous.
“I never did it in the sky.”
“…you are not about to,” said Arthur without a change of expression before he sighed and smiled. “I’m glad to see that you have retained your usual self. It seems to be a different case for Layla, Zonas, and Grandma Mo.”
“Ivory is even worse,” said Rain with a sigh. “She is grieving her cousin, not the rest of her family. It was a terrible loss for all of us, but we two managed to see where he went. That cannot be said for the others.”
“Sometimes, death is a liberation rather than an ending,” said Arthur as he stared at the blue. Rain was silent as she stared at him with concern, and he smiled. “I would never take my own life.”
“You seem very eager to lose it,” said Rain as she walked toward him. “What did you want to tell me, Seika of Living Beings?”
“That title brings me memories.”
“It is what she first called you, right?” asked Rain with a smile as she stood a few inches from him. He looked down, staring at her eyes. “Her name was Diana.”
Arthur did not answer. He looked at Rain with his golden eyes, making her lose her calm and look away. No matter how often she sees them, they seem to intimidate her. It might be the effect of her previous life.
“I thought you just wanted a child.”
“I still do, but…” said Rain with hesitation before she looked down on the golden flower field. “If a man loves me enough to create a flower field when he remembers me, I cannot say love is meaningless.”
“This brings me to the topic I want to discuss,” Arthur said, avoiding the question. Rain smiled with helplessness since this subject was the one he had always avoided. “I want to know what the Sin of Lust wants.”
“I can answer that, but you have to answer a single question of mine,” said Rain while swinging her index finger. “Does that sound fair?” she said with a grin, and Arthur nodded after a few seconds.
“Tell me your question.”
“You seem to be confident to talk about everything, even the times when you are not so confident. But I wonder why you never seem to talk about the person you love. You never told anyone about what she was like, or why you love her so much. I want to know why.”
Rain expected another monotonous answer from the apathetic man, but he looked at her with what she guessed to be sadness. The sky began to change color, choosing a soft orange hue as sunset arrived. Arthur never looked away from her before he answered her question.
“I cannot talk about her because it hurts too much.”
His answer left her baffled. This man had defeated enemies who shook the world with their might. He was even being called a god in certain places, but he could admit so readily that something hurt too much.
“…why does it hurt?”
“Have you ever loved someone only to realize that it was a lie?” said Arthur with the same expressionless eyes before he turned toward the setting sun. “And then to realize they knew it was a lie but still died for your sake. I failed to save her from the cruelest fate and will never live past the guilt.”