Polymath Redux Annex
Chapter 51 – Convictions for the strong
Yda’s eyes twitched; she grimaced as she stared down at the single black bolt in her hands. The evil aura emanating around the small ammunition felt as though it could smother and choke her. “With this… in two days’ time,” she thought to herself as the image of the bolt piercing through the First Prince’s chest in front of a large gathered crowd haunted her. Something felt as though it were climbing out of her throat. She quickly covered her mouth and turned away, but nothing came out. “Shit…!”
When one thinks about the First Prince of Xagontetita: ‘Leon Mil Avis Chrom’, the immediate image is that of the ‘peacemaker’. Throughout these lands ruled and tainted by the greed and lust of nobles, he had been the one person that had been the light for the populace. Of course, no one was so perfect; perhaps he had partaken in some villainy in the shadows, however no one knew about that. Not even the ‘Rat Queen’ who specialized in information brokering could find any dirt on the First Prince’s actions. As long as he stayed that way, he could be the ‘light’ of the country.
However, Yda didn’t particularly care about such things. Whatever happened to this country, whether it rose or fell, there had only been one thing she had cared about. What scared her the most were the looks that would be on Rena and Charlotte’s faces if they knew what she had done. That single thought alone petrified her. She didn’t want to do it. As she navigated her way through the mostly empty streets of the commons, the strength in her body drained. Started to stagger and eventually found a wall to slide down into a foetal position. “Rena… Charlotte,” she called out as with her face buried between her legs.
“You have a real pathetic look on your face. It’s especially unbecoming, even for someone who has the nickname ‘rat’.” A voice suddenly called out to her. It wasn’t one she had gotten familiar with but had heard it enough times to memorise who it had belonged to. She meekly glanced up her face to see the same dull armoured man who had previously saved her, ‘Mordred’ as she remembered his name. His crimson eyes stood out notably in the darkness, almost as though they were glowing. ‘The devil? Or God?’ this man was an enigma and both descriptions could equally fit.
That said she didn’t know him well enough. They had exchanged only brief one-way conversations after all, “what do you want? If you’ve got nothing better to say then get out of my sight.” She brushed him off as she waved ‘shoo’.
Yet, the man did not leave and instead crouched down to her eyelevel. He stared directly into her and asked with a voice colder than the night gale that blew past, “aren’t you going to do it? Kill the First Prince, that is.”
“What…” she moved her head back. “Where did you…”
“It doesn’t matter where or how I knew, my question was simple. Are you or are you not going to do it?”
“I…” Yda averted her gaze. “I’m going to… do it.” Even she felt that her voice wasn’t convincing, but what other choice did she have? If she didn’t do it then it’d be Rena and Charlotte who’ll end up dead. “To save them… my family, I’ll kill the first prince that everybody loves!” she shouted, not even worried anymore that someone might overhear. However, words that could not convince herself could never hope to fool the ears of another.
“I don’t think you truly believe that, nor do you have the conviction to do so,” the man shook his head, a small smirk upon his face revealed by the shine of the full moon. “In the first place, are you sure this is what you should be doing?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?! Of course, it is!”
“Are you sure you haven’t gotten your priorities backwards?”
“What are you trying to say? Ah, I get it, you’re telling me that I’m just a powerless bug, right? Yes, yeah… if you’ve just here to tease me then fine, whatever. Unlike you, I’m just a weak and useless pest. So, for insects like me, this is the only way I know how to do things. This is the only thing I can do to save the ones important to me. I can’t just waltz back into that church and rescue Rena and Charlotte like some indestructible white knight! Okay?! So just leave me alone! People like… people like you who think everyone can do what you do piss me off the most!”
“Killing a prince… do you truly have the strength to do it? To drive that bolt straight through his heart? Watch him squirm as he struggles until he expires…?” He pointed to her hands, “look, you’re shaking even now.”
Yda clenched her fists, enough only to suppress her fear but not dispel it. She felt angered and insulted by the words and accusation this pompous bastard spoke. She gritted her teeth and stood up to glare him down, “what do you know about me?! You don’t know what I can do! If I say I can do it then I can!” Her voice echoed through the empty streets. Probably everyone who had been sleeping had heard her.
The man stood back up. He suddenly started to take off the plating off his armour and tossed it aside. Yet, they were not ‘discarded’, instead they disintegrated into thin air after a few brief seconds. He then summoned a long white overcoat that flapped behind him like a gallant cape. He also donned a blank white mask that he retrieved from nothingness. The aura about him changed significantly. He had been an incomprehensible person before but now more than ever he was like a ghost; an existence that could not be properly perceived, ‘A phantom…’ The man stared back at her with those red eyes through a single eye-slit on the left side of the mask.
He directed her eyes as he pointed towards the city’s gates. “It is especially easy to track people’s movements during the dead of night when no one should be active. I’ve not met nor seen the ‘First Prince’ before, but I do know that there is a powerful being that is quickly approaching this city via carriage. Most likely that presence belongs to the one known as the ‘Dragon King’. Logically, that would also mean that the First Prince is with him too, now returning to the city after his ‘success’.”
Of course, to Yda who could not ‘see’ what this man claimed he could, she did not quite understand what he was trying to tell her. “What are you even talking about? What do you want from me?” He abruptly and forcefully took a hold of her wrist. “Hey, what are you doing?!” and with his unoccupied hand took out a small red crystal from his pocket. It glimmered dimly through the darkness.
Before she even understood what was going on, the world around her flashed into a brilliant bright white. She had been blinded and all she could see was a constant stream of whiteness. Suddenly she felt air rushing past her, she was falling. “Wha!” she screamed, blinded and terrified. As she flailed around someone grabbed her and reassured her that she would not die.
When the bright light subsided and her vision was regained, she thought she could understand the situation. Her fears came true. She was actually falling from the sky embraced in a bridal carry by the ‘Phantom’. “What the hell?!” she shouted as she clung on tightly. Shut her eyes tightly and braced herself.
A few seconds later she heard an earthquake. Not just that, but the screams and shouts of startled horses and men sounded from around her. Weapons and metal clanging across the ground, as though there had been some sort of transport accident. When she peeled her eyes open she was met by a horrific sight of a derailed carriage and people thrown about the place. “We’re under attack! Protect the Prince!” she heard voices from the distance rush out to them.
Soldiers, several dozens of them all gathered around her and the phantom with their swords drawn. It was dark but she could faintly make out the mark of the ‘Royal Guard’ emblazoned on their plated armour. They all vigilantly circled around her party as some of the other Royal Guards carrying shields went to mark a certain VIP. There was no mistake, that smooth blonde hair and clear blue eyes. He looked at them with startled expressions, “the First Prince?!” she shouted.
The Phantom carrying her suddenly dropped her to the floor. She landed on her rear with a ‘thud’. After that, a small iron shortsword was dropped onto her lap. “You said you had the ‘conviction’ to go through with it. That this was the only thing you knew how to do. Then show me. Forget two days later, you’ll assassinate the First Prince here and now.”