This… I cannot even gather my thoughts.
What the hell was going on?!
My mom came upon the scene, talked to this woman, who happens to be a genius, and kissed each other in front of us.
What was their relationship!?
My mom was a lesbian?!
My cheeks are bright red, replaying that scene in my head. Over and over, I can remember each action with the greatest of details- maybe I shouldn’t brag about that.
Ugh… This is awkward.
“Yes, I am the genius, Brynhild! Years ago, I was an adventurer with your mom. And as you can see, we have a very good relationship.” Brynhild emphasizes this with a nudge to my mom. Amelia playfully shoos her away, a smile still plastered on her face.
“I am known for the unique perk that I created from scratch. Well, it’s based around a few theories and other sorts, but I doubt you can comprehend the process.” I glance at the young woman again. She must have been one of the few young geniuses out there. She must be new. Reading several books about geniuses, Brynhild was not on the list. A sudden thought played in my head, recalling some huge news about a couple of new geniuses in this world. As if she was reading my thoughts, Brynhild cheerfully says, “I am relatively new when it comes to the genius population.”
“Wow,” Nero said.
“There aren’t a lot of young geniuses in this world. Geniuses tend to be old. With the right potions and creams, they can look young, but I believe that you became a Demigod around twenty?” Dan got up from the ground, saying a smart remark for once. Usually, he would say something perverted.
“Almost. I became a Demigod when I was sixteen-years-old.” The knights stood there, looking at each other.
“I do not want to stop your conversation,” Amelia started, her eyes glaring at Brynhild, “But didn’t I tell you to meet up with my idiotic husband. He will surely panic. Then, he’ll be enraged at your tardiness. He can’t do anything to you, but remember, I can get harassed by that greedy man. And I don’t want to talk to him as much.”
“If he does that, I will surely kill him.” Brynhild replied coldly, her gleeful personality dying in an instant, She shakes her head, placing her hand on her forehead “I swear. Why did you marry him?”
“He was nice… till he changed. You know, people can be corrupted by greed so easily once they get a taste of it. He lost himself to all the wealth and benefits of being a noble.” Amelia shakes her head as well, sighing.
“Don’t worry,” Brynhild laughs it off, “I made one of my messengers deliver a letter to your man. In the letter, I said I will be a bit late. An issue of great importance popped up to slay some dragons.”
“Did you delay your arrival just to sneak a glance at me… Or specifically, kiss me and have some fun without anyone noticing?” Amelia deduced. Brynhild nervously chuckled at my mom. Her shaky smirk on her face and eyes looking in the opposite direction from Amelia confirmed her true motives. I blush at the thought of it.
“Hehehehehe, would I do something like that? I-I don’t know. That’s low.”
“Stop lying, you needy woman.” Amelia smiles, pulling Brynhild in for another quick kiss. The genius lets out a cute yelp, blushing.
“Oi Amelia… You naughty girl…”
“You seem more of a child than anything, Brynhild. I doubt you had any experience with anyone else than us.”
“Hey! Don’t say anymore!” Brynhild clasp a hand over my mom’s lips, “We have a youngling here! We don’t need her to know about THAT!”
Surely, she’s not referring to me, right? I am not that innocent- well, I never done it before, but still! Wait.
My mom did it with Brynhild already?! Pushing her hand aside, Amelia continues.
“Oh please. You are a genius, locked up in your little abode. Secluding yourself, I doubt you expanded your contacts as much. While you do multiple experiments, I ended up with this man, gave birth to twenty-seven kids, and had the opportunity to talk with various noble families and high ranking individuals. If we were to do it, I would easily dominate you, Brynhild. Even if you are a ‘genius.’”
Alright, that confirms it. Is it me or was it getting hot? Fanning myself, I try to remain calm.
“Shut up…” Brynhild whispers.
“Ahem!” Nero coughs.
“Right… Business. I thought you were lying when you mentioned these guys Amelia. Thought there were thirteen of you guys?”
“Six of them are in the palace, guarding the other family members,” Gale explains.
“... You seven are the strongest out of your little party, right?” Brynhild pointed out.
“They are?” I asked.
“Oh… You lot haven’t explained that perk yet?” Brynhild asked, purring a bit.
“Aisha is still young, but I guess it is time for the knights to reveal their secret,” said Amelia.
“Well, I knew that they were strong, but I did not know how strong,” I answered.
“How about we go to that open field and have a little sparring session?” Brynhild suggested.
“Let’s.” Titan said, punching his fists together, “I want to see how strong a genius is anyways.” We all walked through the large hedges and gardens to the open grassy field. Before we start, I decide to voice my concerns.
“Is it safe to fight right next to the palace? Surely, someone will notice everyone’s presence and strength.” When there’s a fight, there are times when one can feel or sense it. Depending on the rank, people can use this to find strong opponents or avoid them. There’s more to this concept, but I will explain it later. The knights glance at each other, forgetting about this little issue.
“Shit. There goes our plans.” Dan sighed.
“Don’t worry, I got that covered.” Brynhild tosses a strange spherical contraption into the air, covering the entire grassy field with a light blue magical circle.
What is this?
“This device can hide our presence. Only those who are inside this sphere can sense each other. Very handy when forcing someone into a fight. Escape is also cut off by this contraption. Once it’s activated, you cannot enter or leave unless you deactivate the device. Other options are to force the user to turn it off or kill the user.”
“Oh? You made this device?” Gallant asks, intrigued by this.
“Yeah. It was a mini project for certain missions. Now, I am surprised that Aisha is a high ranking warrior AND mage. That’s rare. What have you been teaching your daughter? It seems like Aisha has a special case when it comes to her ranks. I scanned the premises already, spotting a few high ranking individuals, yet they do not grab my attention that much.”
“Oh? So you know about the Forgotten One? And Jamey?” Forgotten One? What was that? And I knew Jamey was up there.
“Oh, come on Amelia. You should know that nothing can escape me. Besides, I am still shocked at the sight of these guys.”
Does everyone know how awesome my knights are? I am still clueless about their actual identity.
Sensing my disappointment, Brynhild continues, “I bet Aisha has no clue about the [Hidden Rank] perk. Perks tend to stay active, but this one can be toggled on and off. Like its name, [Hidden Rank] hides one’s actual rank. Several beings within the vicinity have enabled this perk, hiding their true strength. You can think of it as a self-defense mechanism against idiots.”
Ah, that explains so much.
My knights, for instance, elude their true rank by being a rank nine warrior. Zen has a rank nine mage rank along with his warrior rank. I raise my eyebrow at a frustrating thought.
How about Jamey?
This explains how she can hide her rank, but this does not explain the altering numbers. Jamey must have some other technique or perk. [Hidden Rank] should not alter the numbers. Reading my mind, Brynhild assures me, “[Hidden Rank] will allow one to establish a false rank they can go with. For example, your knights are rank nine warriors, however, they choose that number for their alibi. They can only swap their numbers if they reveal their true rank, then activate their [Hidden Rank] again.”
“Can you read my thoughts?” There goes my privacy if she can.
“No. I figured you might have some questions about Jamey. She has a special case. You must have come to some conclusion saying that she has some technique or perk that can alter her numbers like that.”
Once again, is she reading my mind?
“Don’t spoil everything now,” warned Amelia. “Aisha still has a lot to learn.” Brynhild eyes Amelia with a raised eyebrow. There was a slight moment where their eyes met. As if they were reading each other’s minds, I am sure Brynhild can read minds, Brynhild shakes her head for a few seconds. “Goddamn it… Amelia…”
“Gallant, Dan, Golem, Gale, and Titan reveal your ranks,” Nero ordered.
I feel like my eyes would have rolled out of their sockets. My knights were this strong?! Deactivating [Hidden Rank], Gallant, Dan, and Gale are Demigods. Sadly, I could not read Titan’s or Golem’s ranks. Amelia decides to speak up.
“Golem and Titan are both in the God rank. Golem is a Lesser God while Titan is a High God.”
Sighing, I now understand why I cannot read their ranks. The huge gap between my current rank and theirs are too high. This is a normal occurrence that happens every day. A low ranking individual cannot view a person’s rank if it’s high. By default, the low ranking individual will automatically assume that the being they’re trying to inspect is at a higher rank. This is my first time experiencing this, my knights showcasing their actual ranks before me.
“I won’t be revealing my rank. Understand that I have to keep it hidden. Any leak on my actual rank might lead to my demise, especially against other geniuses.” Brynhild warns, stretching her arms above her.
Isn’t it a bit unfair that there’s a huge gap between her and my knights? I got a hunch that Brynhild exceeded something above a High God rank.
“Don’t worry, I won’t be using a lot of my techniques. Aisha, you should join in as well, I want to see how you fair against moi.”
“Me!?” I yell in astonishment. I doubt I can do anything and for obvious reasons.
“Yes. Oh, you guys can go all out. My magical sphere will not break no matter what.”
Before she finishes her stretching routines, Gale was right behind her. That was fast! What was that?! Brynhild remains calm, hands still over her head. As the blade moves towards her body, Brynhild ducks below Gale’s attack in a split second.
At that same moment, she sweeps the knight off of his feet. Dale and Gallant are running towards her, cutting the huge distance between them. Brynhild focuses her attention on the two, waiting for their attack. Gale tries to swing his blade at the genius’ legs, but she jumps high in the air. Dan quickly tosses his spear as Gallant activates one of his techniques. The spear was flying right at Brynhild, zoning in on her. Four crescent moon shape energy slashes fly out of Gallant’s blades. These slashes sped through the air, targeting the famous individual. Brynhild calmly grabs the spear before it reaches her face. Dan placed a lot of force in his throw. There was a slim chance of stopping the thrown weapon, yet this genius grabs the weapon right before the tip touch her face. She flips the spear in the air, grabbing the wooden body of the weapon. Before the crescent energy slashes reach her, she swings the spear violently against the attack. All four energy slashes have been destroyed. It was strange though. In one swing, all four energy slashes have dispersed. I think I notice a small wind slash flying off of her swing, but I was at a loss to what she did.
Dan appeared in front of Brynhild as if he teleported. Raising the spear horizontally, the genius blocks the incoming blade. Gale appears behind her, swinging his blade once more. By turning her body for a split second, she allows Dan’s sword to slide against the spear. She redirected his attack towards Gale. The two knights slam their weapons against each other, watching Brynhild slip away from them. Touching the ground, Golem charged forward. He violently slams the earth with his two abnormal size shields.
Large spikes emerged from the ground, traveling to Brynhild’s location. Avoiding the attack, she jumps into the air once again. Gallant twirls in midair, activating another technique. As if he was a tornado, he swings his entire body in a circular motion wielding his two blades. Gallant told me the move’s name, [Furious Tornado]. Brynhild’s response was a simple one. She threw the spear she took from Dan at him. Out of nowhere, Dan appears above the spear and Gallant. He grabs the spear, spins in midair, and toss it back at Brynhild. Compared to a regular toss, there was a thin strip of white energy around the spear. Empowering with chi, the spear pierced faster through the air, appearing before Brynhild in a few milliseconds. It would be impossible to grab it.
The genius disappears, teleporting a bit higher into the air. Gallant was right next to her, still spinning. Brynhild just snaps her fingers, blowing Gallant away with some invisible blast. Even though I am describing everything in great detail, everything was happening in mere seconds. Dan and Gale would always follow up with their attacks. No, not just them. Each one of these knights did a follow up if one failed. They will not give Brynhild any rest.
“Princess, you should join in as well,” Titan suggested. He hasn’t drawn his two greatswords yet. I would love to join in, but this is overwhelming.
What can I, a rank nine warrior and mage do against a genius like her? And not only that, my knights are superior in every way.
“I-I doubt I can help. This fight… is intense. It seems like you guys know what you’re doing.” I answered. Truthfully, I might mess up and ruin their formations and strategies
“Nonsense,” Brynhild started, appearing right behind me, “If you don’t join in,” Her hands ended up at my sides. A strange noise escapes my lips. Giggles?
W-Wait?! Is she tickling me?!
“I’ll tickle you!” Brynhild playfully sticks her tongue out and winks at me. My face must have been embarrassing or something. Titan was laughing at me or laughing at the strange event that unfolded.
“Oh! You’re getting it!” Even though I am wearing a gown, it does not hinder my movements that much. I wanted to get back at her for doing such a weird thing! I tried to tackle her but that was no good. Brynhild evades my charge along with Gale’s and Dan’s attack. It seems like they teleported to my position once they found her.
Gallant appears right before Brynhild when she evaded the other two knights, unleashing a [Dual Barrage]. She just evades the technique with simple movements. I was a few feet away from them, holding my hands up in front of me. Locking onto Brynhild, I mutter a few words under my breath.
“[Lightning Flash]!” In a few seconds, lightning erupts from my hands, lashing all across the open fields. Acting like some tidal wave, the lightning rushes towards Gallant and Brynhild. Gallant immediately teleports out of there while Brynhild stares at the electric wave. Her foot taps against the ground, giant square-shaped rocks emerge from below. It surrounds her entire body, protecting her from my lightning magic. Titan followed my attack, bringing out his greatswords from his back. He appears immediately in front of the rock formation, pulverizing the rocks into bits with a single swing.
Getting blown away, Brynhild just flies into the air, levitating at a certain spot. A barrage of weapons surround her and engulf her. Or so I thought. She snapped her fingers, dispersing the conjured weapons. I looked towards the back, watching Zen join the fight. He conjures more magical weapons behind him. Looking at Brynhild, it seems like she was enjoying herself. A grin is plastered on her face, her eyes resonating with excitement.
“My god, Amelia, you outdid yourself! These knights are exceeding my expectations! Hell, they’re better than the ones we fought back then!” Brynhild exclaims.
“Getting a bit too cocky now Brynhild,” warn Nero. “We haven’t shown you our true powers just yet.”
Disappearing from her spot, I can hear her say, “You’re right. Sooooooooo what happens if I decide to take this princess hostage? Can you lot attack me now?” Feeling a tug from behind, I blush at how close I am to Brynhild. The rosy scent from before enters my nose, my mind becoming mush again. Wait! Not now me! She better not tickle me to submission or something, that would be very bad. Actually, she could do that right now- NOT HAPPENING!!
“You are underestimating the princess now,” Titan smirked. Before Brynhild could respond, I empower my body with a very clear, white like energy. Still holding onto me, I ram my elbow against Brynhild’s chest plate, forcing her away from me. I spin around, holding my arms up in a fighting stance.
“Ouch! That stung a bit!” complained Brynhild. Before she regains her composure, I dashed towards her, slamming my fist into her stomach along with a kick towards her head. Her left arm shields her head, but she did not protect her stomach. Flying from the force behind my punch, she creates some distance between us. It seems like she can withstand my attack, not showing any signs of pain. Instead, she laughs it off, noticing my stance.
“Oh? Amelia! Your daughter is grabbing my full attention now. Not only did she master magic and physical prowess, but she can also use martial arts?! Heh, this is interesting. Too interesting!”
“Of course.” Amelia replied with satisfaction, “My beloved daughter needs any form of protection against vile and wicked creatures.” Brynhild turns to Amelia, asking this.
“You’re not referring to me right?”
“Hey, eyes on us!” Gallant yells.
Three knights surround her after I forced her away. In response, she did something that blasts all three of them across the field. Furrowing my eyebrows, I can only stand there in confusion.
As Dan and Gale fly past me, they toss two swords next to me. Titan and Golem followed up on their failed assault, ramming their heavy weapons against the genius. This reveals a transparent shield around her. Brynhild was getting a bit… serious. A smile was still on her face, but her movement is different. She quickly empowers her body with chi as well, ramming her hands against Golem and Titan. The two knights skid against the ground, standing beside me. As I pick up the weapons and ready myself for combat, Titan empowers his blades with red energy. He slams the two blades forward and into the ground. Two lines of red energy traveled to Brynhild’s shield, destroying it. The woman stood there unharmed. Zen orders his weapons to surround Brynhild right after the shield was down. Clapping her hands together, the sound sends a shockwave through the air, forcing the conjured weapons to disperse again.
Gale and Dan rush Brynhild again, both of them ramming their shields forward. The genius stops their charge, pushing them back when she resummon her transparent shield. Titan appears above Brynhild, slamming his blades at her position. She jumps away from her spot, bumping into Zen. He conjures another ten or so weapons to target her. She evades each one of them, destroying one weapon at a time with a slash of her hand. Zen, however, summoned more and more weapons every time she destroyed one. I was a bit stunned at the dance she was doing when she evaded Zen with relative ease.
Golem looks at me, waiting for his cue. I just nod at him. Picking me up, the knight swings me around him once, letting go after the full rotation. Flying at Brynhild, I start to usher words my breath again.
“May I beseech the thunder and fire to coil into one. They shall consume all within my sight…” Locking onto Brynhild, I swing my blades, screaming out the two skills I want to activate.
“[Explosion Burst], [Lightning Burst]!” Brynhild turns to me, watching a bright light engulfed us. The lightning coiled around the flames I unleashed, the flames burning everything in front of me. The attack was like a tidal wave, lightning, and fire moving all across the field. Sadly, Brynhild ascended into the air. She was safe from my magic attack, her laughter ringing into my ears.
“Impressive! Dual magic as well?” Brynhild noticed, “Seems like you’re being serious Aisha. How about you guys? I know you’re using the…” Titan quickly flings me high into the air, following the genius. I start to chant off another line, activating two more magical skills. I activate my version of [Furious Tornado], but I also buff my blades with flames and thunder. While I spin towards Brynhild, the fire and lightning start to wrap around me, acting as if I was some elemental tornado.
Shocked by this, Dan took the opportunity to toss his spear again. The spear shattered her transparent shield, but it bounced away once it was broken. Brynhild drew her sword out, stopping my momentum. Our blades are locked against each other, Brynhild’s eyes bursting with excitement. “My, my, you have a lot of tricks up your sleeve. Fusing magic with your physical attacks, then twisting them into something unimaginable. I am seriously impressed.”
“I learn from the best,” I replied. Sadly, I do not have the techniques, skills, or perks to stay in the air. I back away from Brynhild, falling back towards the ground. Golem tossed Gallant at me, the slim knight catching me in midair. I watch Brynhild stand there with a strange look. Dan, Gale, and Titan appear around her, yet she dismisses them with her transparent shield again, forcing them away. Gallant placed me down next to Amelia, teleporting back to Brynhild. Looking back at Brynhild, I was dumbfounded at the new figure.
A tattered red cape flows in the wind, Nero levitating in the air. He has his left index finger aimed at Brynhild.
“[Dark Beam].” Nero releases a dark blast of energy straight at her. The genius took it head-on, absorbing the blast into her open hand. The shield that was around her shattered immediately from Nero’s beam. Once the beam dies down, Brynhild has a small dark orb in her right hand. She crushes it, staring at Nero. It seems like he wanted in on the fight as well. A familiar feeling took over me. Heavy pressure forces me on my knees.
What is this?! There was an invisible force pushing me down. I could barely breathe or talk! My vision is blurred, my body is shaking, wanting to lie flat against the very ground. The tremendous pressure disappeared when someone touched me.
“That feeling is from the technique [God’s Pressure]. [God’s Pressure] is given to those who reach God, Angel, or Titled rank. The lesser version to combat against [God’s Pressure] is [Demigod’s Pressure]. [Demigod’s Pressure] also has the same abilities as [God’s Pressure], but, once again, it’s the lesser version. These techniques test one’s strength in harsh conditions. Anyone below Demigod rank will surely bow to that sensation. A few can defy it, but there will be consequences. Your bones can shatter under such pressure. Important organs can be crushed in the process, and the slight chance of death is there as well. There have been reports of people dying to this skill alone if they are really weak. Brynhild is getting a bit serious along with the knights. Observe.”
POV Change, Nero 3rd Person view
Even with all of our [God’s Pressure] and [Demigod’s Pressure] activated, Brynhild is unaffected by this. She has not activated her pressure, showing the huge gap between our ranks and hers. Shaking my head, I wonder what sort of monster she is beneath her facade.
At the moment, we can only read her as an eight-winged angel, but that is a lie. Angels are equivalent to titled ones and Gods, however, their alignment is with the light. If one was aligned with the light, instead of calling someone a Demigod or God, they would be called a saint or an angel. There is a difference in appearance-wise as well. When one reached the angel rank, they will grow wings out of their back. Two, four, six, eight, ten, and twelve are the number of wings one can have. Depending on their number, that is their rank. The higher it is, the stronger they are.
Yet Brynhild stands before them having no wings whatsoever. Nero just sighs at the other thing Amelia hinted at. This woman was a genius because she created something that defied logic. Especially with her attacks. The old general watches his knights use everything they have, but Brynhild easily evades them and unleashes her skills here and there. When doing this, Nero realizes that this woman can use the Dark Arts. It wasn’t some nasty attack that curse her opponents, even though the knights are already cursed. It was just some fancy shadow attacks.
A person aligned with the light CANNOT use the Dark Arts. The Dark Arts can only be used by those aligned with evil. Once again, this woman defied logic. She created something that transcended the basic principles of this world. This was what a genius is capable of. In the back of his mind, Nero fears what the other genius has to offer. If Brynhild is aligned with the light and was this scary, how about the other genius aligned with evil. Shudders run down his spine thinking about it. Nero lifts his blade to stop Brynhild’s charge. She appears before him, saying, “What are you thinking about, leader?”
“You do not need to call me that,” Nero replied, a blast of dark energy erupting from his body. Brynhild moves away from him, Gallant dashing right at her, spinning like an actual tornado. Flying downwards into the ground, Brynhild blocks the attacks from the slim knight, flying back into the air. Zen release an arsenal of magic and weapons, the ground exploding with different colors. Brynhild easily evades this as Dan charges into the hectic skies, swinging and thrusting his spear at the woman. She counters the spearman, hammering her sword violently at the spear. Gallant follows up, the man appearing right behind her. The three dance about, evading the magical explosions and weapons trying to stab at one another. Gale teleports above her, unleashing several streaks of energy at her. Brynhild activates [Holy Burst], forcing the three knights back and dispersing the energy slashes. Knowing some of her basic attack patterns, Golem tackled her right away, making the genius skid across the ground. She was still standing and blocked the attack with her sword. She conjured a quick shield before the impact. Gallant shrouds his blades with chi and magic (aka energy), swinging them at her. Two light red dragon heads appear from his blades, heading towards Brynhild. Brynhild powers her blade in several different colors. White, red, and purple energy coat around her blade as she held her sword close to her body. Chanting something underneath her breath, the dragons descend upon her.
The attack did not succeed, a flame engulfs Brynhild before the dragons consume her. The flame dies down, coating her entire frame with a thin line of red, white, and purple energy. Her sword is still wrapped in this energy as well, the knights coating themselves in their chi and mana.
This was not good. There was no way to win against her, and this genius had more tricks up her sleeves. She was not revealing everything to them. Nero decides to give this command, hoping it would increase their chances.
“Go all out. Use everything without dying.” Several knights pull strange weapons out of their rings.
Change of POV, Aisha’s 1st Point of View
After Amelia’s explanation, I only awe at the scene before us. All seven knights were traveling all around the place, unleashing magical infused attacks or high powered strikes. The grassy, flat field we used as a training grounds was transformed into a warzone. Spikes stick out of the field, patches of grass have been cut clean or burnt, holes and ditches were created- this fight is a whole new level of engagement.
No, this was a fight between the strong. I never have seen anything like this. I was utterly speechless. My eyes can only see a glimpse of their bodies before they disappear again. Explosions, metal clashing against each other, cursing, laughter, a lot of noises echo between the eight fighters. I still have questions about the techniques my mom brought up, but I can ask them after this fight.
“Mom?” I started. Amelia turns to me, raising an eyebrow.
“What is it, Aisha?”
“You were able to do this too, right?” I asked. This was… amazing. Even though I can’t see them, I can feel the intensity. It gave me goosebumps, knowing that if I continue down this path, leveling up and gaining more insight into techniques and skills, I can become a strong warrior and mage. Joy burst through my body as I thank my mother and knights for training me. I really can’t express how grateful I am. Without these knights, I would be a doll.
A doll to serve my father’s greedy expectations. A tool to be tossed aside once I can no longer entertain them. No more. And these knights, they are like my dad I lost years ago. Well, dads, since there’s a bunch of them. And my mom… she’s too awesome.
Did I ever mention how much I love my mom? Even if she’s a lesbian, she’s cool. Actually, I don’t mind- wait, why did I bring this up? Stupid head- stop playing the goddamn scenes again.
“Yes,” Amelia laughs, “I was able to do this as well. To be honest, I always fought against Brynhild and our other friend way back then. It was… fun.” I can hear a change in her tone. Her voice trailed from happiness to sadness. There was something she was leaving out- something she did not tell me. It must be because of this other person. Another friend? Is she a genius too?
“Other friend?” I turn towards my mother, seeing her sad expression. Before she can answer my question, we both yelped at a strange feeling. Brynhild teleports behind us, squeezing our sides and tackling us to the ground.
“What are you doing!?” My mother and I shout in unison.
“Taking a break!” Brynhild complains, “Those knights won’t let me breathe. I’m using you two as hostages… or shields. Either or.”
“I know you’re not tired… You just want to have fun with us.” Amelia pointed out. The knights teleport around us, sheathing their weapons.
“Guess we can call it quits. We won’t force you to fight us any longer Brynhild. If you’re done, we’re done as well.” Gallant states, “Besides, I think we all enjoyed that little sparring session. It has been too long since we fought against a worthy opponent. You haven’t used a fraction of your true strength.”
“I thought we were doing alright.” said Dan, “I thought we fooled her a couple of times.”
“A couple of times? The only one who touched me was Aisha. You guys need more work.” said Brynhild.
“But you allowed her to touch you,” said Amelia.
“... I-It doesn’t mean anything! She got me when she elbowed and punched me!” Brynhild protest, She stares at me, her eyes traveling downwards and then back at my face. Wait, why did she look down there?! Amelia gropes Brynhild’s left breast, getting the genius to let out an intoxicating moan. Brynhild’s face turns bright red, noticing my gaze.
“HEY! Don’t do… THA-OH! AMELIA!” scream Brynhild.
“Whatever do you mean. I think it’s fair for me to do this when you were ogling at my daughter in front of her mom!” Amelia retorted, “Besides, you like this.”
“PUTTING THIS ASIDE,” cough Nero, “I think it would be best to have you visit Eadric. The old man might be impatient as ever. It’s best to get this out of the way now.” Brynhild stood up, pulling Amelia and myself off the ground. The genius had a sour face, disliking Nero’s suggestion. She would have voiced against it, but she knows how important it was to meet Eadric. And Nero had a good point. The sooner, the better. Scratching her head, Brynhild says, “Right, right, right. Let’s meet your old fart of a dick. Guessing you lot will stick with Aisha?”
“Zen, Gallant, Dan, Golem, and I will accompany Queen Amelia and you. Aisha, return to the banquet with Gale and Titan.” As Nero says this, they activate [Hidden Rank]. Walking about as rank nine warriors, Brynhild raises her hand and deactivates the blue sphere around us. The small blue device appears in her hand, sliding the device in her storage ring. I would go back to my room, but I want to see how everyone reacts to Brynhild’s appearance. Nodding at Nero and saying my farewells, we split to our respective groups. Once Brynhild and the others left, Titan and Gale sigh in amazement.
“She’s really strong,” said Titan.
“Even with the seven of us, she just moved about nonchalantly and barely showed her true powers. She only released bits of her skills but goddamn.” Gale added
“You guys are amazing as well,” I said, giggling.
“Oh? You always say that though.” Gale said, laughing a bit.
“I truly mean it. You guys are amazing. You’re like the dad I never had. Or dads. This just confirms my suspicions and increases my praise for you lot. These Imperial knights are nothing compared to your group.” I state, giving them my honest opinion about them.
“A dad, huh? I am okay with this notion.” Titan admits, folding his arm as we walk back into the palace. “We can’t have kids anymore.” What? I would have questioned him, but we are back inside the palace. Appearing before Olivia, Ethan, Jennifer, and Jessica, they were shocked at my arrival. They know my usual routine, seeing me here was unexpected. I would have gone to my room by now, not back here at the gathering. Seeing Titan and Gale, Ethan asks, “Where are the others?”
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!” exclaim my father, “WE HAVE A VERY SPECIAL GUEST TODAY!” Ethan hastily turns towards the front. I just roll my eyes. At least Ethan’s curiosity about the guest can come to an end. Olivia, Jennifer, and Jessica avert their attention towards the front as well. The sight of my younger siblings trying to view over everyone’s head is a conundrum. Being in the back, it was hard to see what was happening upfront. Feeling pity for my younger siblings, the knights picked them up onto their shoulders. Now they can see what’s going on. I silently walked over to an empty hallway. I wanted to think about peace. Sadly, I found two familiar faces in this hallway.
Lady Melantha and Jamey.
Seeing those two, I immediately did a 180, going back to the others.
“Nope. You’re not leaving.” Melantha said in a stern voice, grabbing me by the collar. I let out a little yelp, pressing my body against hers. My face lights up, feeling her soft breasts against my back. Oh, Melantha didn’t sound dead- I mean, she is adding emotions in her voice now.
Was she hiding her true nature from my knights?
“What are you doing with Aisha?” Jamey asks, shaking her head. “If she wants to see Brynhild…”
“Nope. She entered my territory, I want to chat with her a bit more. As I said, she’s interesting.” Melantha said with a honey-like voice. She nuzzles her head against my shoulder, a tingling sensation flowing down my spine. Why is she doing this to me!? Jamey pulls me away from Melantha, asking me, “You alright? You can leave if you want.”
I already met Brynhild, so there was no point in seeing my father announce her arrival and make a huge scene out of it. Also, the thought of it made me sick. I like the privacy we had earlier, not a huge audience of people gawking at the genius and doing something stupid. Besides, the two people before me caught my attention. Amelia and Brynhild mention these two to be high ranking individuals... Melantha and Jamey are hiding something, I might as well talk with them.
“I already met with Brynhild. I want to know about you two though.” This caught their attention, each one raises their eyebrows at my statement. Melantha, however, changed her expression in a heartbeat. She has a devious smile on her face, eyes locking onto my figure. It’s like she was going to pounce on me. I guess I can continue. “You are hiding your ranks, aren’t you?”
“Oh? You know about [Hidden Rank]?” they both asked. Huh? Melantha is hiding her rank as well!? I should have faked my shock. My gaze shifted to Melantha, the woman placing the puzzle together.
“Oh, you were directing that to Jamey. Goddamn, I hate being at the top- I am losing too many brain cells. Or maybe it’s because I have fallen in love with you, Aisha.” Wait what!? “You see… I wasn’t lying about what I said earlier. And you making me fall for you a bit more. Coming in here, wanting to know about me-”
“Us.” corrected Jamey. Melantha ignored Jamey, continuing her dialogue.
“You can ask anything you want. Did you know I was also a Forgotten One?” There’s that word again. I heard it from Brynhild, mentioning a Forgotten One and Jamey. Diving into my brain, I think I recall some history about the Forgotten Ones.
“Forgotten Ones are beings that can absorb all types of magic. They are known for their high intelligence and exposure to various elemental magic. They are also known for their unique craft in combining magic. When it comes to their affinity with magic, they are one of the highest beings that can easily dispel or disrupt another being’s magical usage. This is more of a hereditary perk passed down to their children. They have been feared for some years due to this perk, making them the obvious winners in any magical confrontation. If a human mage fought against a Forgotten One, the Forgotten One will easily win. Despite their fearsome affinity with magic, Forgotten Ones are weak in the physical side of things. Their society was more of a monarch and magically society. Forgotten Ones use to roam around the world until a certain individual devoured them all. The details are still unknown. And they are extinct.”
Wait a second. I was saying this nonchalantly, but my last sentence woke me up from my explanation. A Forgotten One? If they are extinct, why is there one before me… Unless… My face turns pale.
“I am the last Forgotten One, Melantha. Also known as the Gluttonous Queen. You are right in some aspects of the Forgotten Ones, but we’re not extinct. More like endangered since I am the only one left. And secondly, I made sure to hide them so-called details. Just know that I was the cause of it though.”
Why would she casually walk into a party then!? Wouldn’t she kill everyone! “Please calm down Aisha,” Melantha frowns at me, “Seriously? I am not a mindless killer now. There are reasons behind it as well…” Is everyone reading my mind? No, it’s just that I’m too easy to read.
Ugh, I need to work on that. “To some extent,” she mutters. Before I can say anything, Jamey steps in, shaking her head.
“At the least, she hasn’t done anything bad. If she wanted to do something, she would have executed her plan years ago. She has been coming to these parties for a long while, you know?”
“Blondie, you defending me now? Even though you are here to watch over me?” Melantha said with shock, motioning her hand over her open mouth.
“Shut up. You are aligned with evil and the Dark Arts. I rather trust any other being than you right now.” commented Jamie.
“Hey, at least I use my Dark Arts for good.” Melantha retorted.
“Oh? Do tell?” That was a new voice. Turning around, I eye at-
“BRYN-” the genius rush to me, wrapping her hand around my mouth.
“Shhhhh! Do not say my name so loudly! I swear… I did not want to meet that idiotic man, so I summoned a clone. Now, be a good girl… or else.” Taking her hand off my mouth, I only eye at her with shock. She would fool my mom and knights with a clone!? Well, then again, my dad is annoying to talk to. I can hear the loud chatter coming from the main hall.
“Ah, the young genius Brynhild. Wow, you’re beautiful,” said Melantha.
“It is an honor to meet someone like you.” Jamie bows at Brynhild. Brynhild was puzzled at something. Her gaze was on Melantha, the woman tilts her head.
“Is there something wrong-”
“Why are you a ghost?” Brynhild asks, “I can see you above this girl, Melantha.”
“What?” Jamie and I said in unison. Melantha sighs. Something ooze out of Melantha’s body. Or was this someone else? A long dark hair beauty hovers before us in a very simple gown. Her pale skin contrast against the blue outline around her body. Her red eyes lock onto Brynhild. She folds her arms against her flat chest, questioning the genius.
“Why did you reveal this?”
“I did not force you out of the body now. I am curious as to why you’re a ghost. There are various reasons why someone would become a ghost. And technically, you are extinct if you possess people like that.” I can hear Melantha scoff at Brynhild’s last remark.
“Possess? This shy beauty wanted company, so I fulfilled her request. I did not force myself onto her. And once again, I’m not that evil.” Turning back to the girl in question, she was standing there like a zombie. Brynhild turn towards the girl, asking her, “Is this true?”
“Yes.” Okay, her voice sounds dead again. Although it has some cuteness to it- wait, wait, why am I thinking about that? Oh god, did I get infected with some lesbomancy or something? “And my name is Alice.” Brynhild nods quietly, rubbing her chin. “What is your goal Melantha? If you’re a ghost, what can you do exactly? Why are you still residing in this world when you can be at peace?”
Rolling her eyes, Melantha says, “Look. That’s my private business. I will not share it with you. No offense, but you’re aligned with the light side. I bet you have an urge to exorcise me or something. Until I complete my goal, you will not kill me. I already had my fair shares of idiots. They tried to exorcise me and guess what happened to them. They’re dead.” Rubbing her ghostly forehead, Jamie asks the genius, “Why did you come here Brynhild?”
“Well, I wanted to meet you and Melantha for a bit. However, I got lucky and also met the other person I wanted to chat too.”
Their eyes locked onto… me!? ME?! EH!? Hold on! I should have braced myself for this. Titan already told me about this. Why am I getting nervous?!
“E-Eh... Uh… Me?” I point at myself. Brynhild, Jamie, and Melantha giggled at my flustered self. Alice, on the other hand, unleashed a very deadly smile. Oh my god, she’s cute when she does that. Catching my gaze, Melantha says, “Seeeeeee. Alice is a good catch. I love her quietness and awkwardness so much. You see, she’s a lesbian as well Aisha…”
“Oi, she’s mine.” Brynhild decides to snatch me into her arms, “I will take her away now. Excuse us.” Without even saying my farewells, I got dragged away by the genius. She guides me away from the entrance hall into another abandoned hallway.
While we were walking away from the two, I still question Jamie’s origins. I have no new information about her, yet she seems friendly. She always hangs around my mom during these gatherings. Melantha and Alice, on the other hand, surprised me in some way. Melantha has a high rank. I could not figure out what she was when I try to read her. Alice, however, is a rank twelve mage and warrior. What was her story? The sight of Melantha’s ghostly body left too many questions in its wake.
Why is she a ghost? What is her goal? Why is she here? Why does she come to our banquets? Brynhild, surprisingly, remained silent. She checked the perimeter to make sure no one was nearby. I guess she won’t fill me in on the details.
“Ugh, I hate these things,” she comments. That was random.
“I hate them too. Don’t you go to a lot of them though? You know, gatherings and banquets? And parties? Surely, a genius like you would have emperors, kings, and queens ask for your attendance in their events?” I asked.
“Me? Please.” She shakes her head, laughing a bit, “Those things are outdated. For a genius like me, it’s also a waste of time. The only reason why I, no, any genius partake in such trivial things would be out of self-interest. Increase one’s reputation, gaining something out of it, or fooling around. The genius department is a competitive field. Society barely knows about the struggles we geniuses have to put up with. To stay on top, we fight against each other. And by any means necessary... Geniuses will kill each other to remain popular. I had my fair shares of assassinations and fights. I killed a couple of geniuses that tried to corner me.” Brynhild scratches her head. It seems like she has been dealing with her issues. Her words sent a shiver down my spine.
“...Your presence here wouldn’t start any problems, right?” The silence that lingers between us lasted for a good minute. I think my face turned pale and I had a worried expression on my face.
“Relax. I have ways to deceive my enemies.” Brynhild stated, nervously. I can hear her mutter, “Hopefully…”
“Figured a genius was a handful.” We avert our attention towards Titan. I also notice two small figures with him. Jessica and Jennifer awe at Brynhild. “I notice that you… sneaked out. Nero sent me some coded message to find you and our rebellious genius. Really? Making a clone? Only a handful of people will notice your trick. If Eadric learns about your little ruse, he’ll be piss.”
“Hey! That man, Eadick? Whatever his name, deserves no real handshake from me. Not from the shit I heard. I swear Amelia would have been living with us if THAT didn’t happen.” I glared at Brynhild.
“Hey! Language! My younger sisters can hear you.” They blink innocently at us, Titan shakes his head in disapproval.
“Sorry.” The genius leans down and pats their heads, “Don’t use that word, okay? It’s a bad word.”
“Sister, why is she here?” Jennifer asks. I think it’s Jennifer? Why did they wear the same outfits?!
“I am here because your father is a meanie. Did you know that? Your father wants money more than you two. You must not be like him, Jessica.” Apparently, I was wrong. The one that spoke was Jessica- wait a second, how did Brynhild know their names?
Voicing their concerns, Jessica asked, “How do you know me?”
“Because,” Brynhild smirk, “I am your godmother.”
She is? Did my mom agree to this? Well, they’re old friends and usually, godparents are trusted individuals to- HOLD UP!
“How did you know she was Jessica?” I asked with judging eyes.
“Well, it’s because she has bigger bre-”
“Jessica, Jennifer, your godmother is a pervert. Make sure you call her that.” Baffled by my sudden command, Brynhild stood up from her spot.
“Hold on a second! I will not have-”
“Pervert.” they both said in unison. I feel like Brynhild got attacked mentally by their adorable voice. I relished in her pain. Titan just laughs at the scene for a few seconds. The atmosphere change when he brought up a serious question.
“Despite your predicament, why do you want to speak with Aisha?” Titan sternly asks, his voice showing an icy tone.
“The main reason involves a certain object I wish to give Aisha, however, I will disclose the information later. Too many unwanted ears. You will have to wait till later. I just want a friendly conversation with Aisha though. I guess you’ll be sticking around no matter what?”
“Yes. I am her bodyguard after all.” Titan answers back, patting the twin’s heads, “Sadly, these two will be here as well so watch your tongue.” Brynhild just shrugs, redirecting her gaze at me.
“You understand why Amelia is still young, right?” Brynhild asks.
“Yes.” I just gave her a simple response. Brynhild pulls out an object from her storage ring. It was a strange rectangular device with several buttons on it. Pressing the big red one, a transparent shield wraps around us.
“This shield will allow us to talk in private. It’s a handy device I developed after dealing with annoying pests. I am glad you did not explain the full situation of Amelia. That is to be kept hidden at all costs- you hear that Jessica and Jennifer?” The two twins nod their heads, playfully sitting on Titan’s shoulders.
“Where should I start? You might be wondering how she got cursed? And knowing her, she told you about the Dark Arts to some extent, right?” I nod my head. “The Dark Arts are inhumane skills, techniques, curses, and hexes that would degrade one’s being. It defies the laws of the ranking system and also places extreme pain on their victims. For example, your mother. She told you that the curse on her denied the rank ups. Amelia still has her perks, but she did not tell you the other curses inflicted on her.” Titan and I glance at Brynhild, listening attentively.
“Amelia cannot learn certain skills anymore. She can still retain the information on said skills and techniques, yet she can never use the skill itself. For example, [Holy Javelin] is a move to conjure up a light manifested javelin in one’s hand. It’s handy against the undead. The curse does not allow her to use it anymore even though she knows how to use it and acquire it. You see, Amelia did not tell you the full truth cause she knows that her previous goals will never come to fruition. The truth of the matter is this, she is always in agony. The pain of being cursed is a heavy one. Your mother was supposed to be the first genius out of our little group. And the first person to recreate Chaos magic into this world.” She pauses, letting the words settle into our minds.
Chaos magic? Sadly, I never heard of that magic. Reading my expression, Brynhild can figure out my cluelessness. On the other hand, Titan was extremely silent.
“What!?” he exclaims. His sudden outburst shocks most of us. Brynhild wasn’t fazed by the change in his demeanor. Titan gently puts down Jessica and Jennifer, storming towards Brynhild, “Chaos magic?! How!?” This was my first time seeing Titan out of character. He is usually calm and collective.
“Aisha, chaos magic is lost magic used by the Divine Beings. Maybe Celestial, who knows. It’s a combination of dark and light magic, but even that explanation in itself will not reproduce this forgotten magic. Many people try to recreate this mythical magic. Hundreds of researchers travel around the dimensions, the various worlds, just to figure out the basic concept of it. Chaos magic is the most powerful magic within our existence. It has been used to challenge Divine Beings and bring damnation to civilizations. Chaos magic also defies the logic of the Dark Arts. Chaos skills, techniques, perks, understandings, and other sorts cannot be stolen once they have been embedded into your head.”
Catching her breath, she continues with a sad tone in her voice, “Your mother had a very good teacher. She already knew how to recreate it, and it was only a matter of time before it happened. We were hoping for her to become a genius right away, but we had to enter that room. Something went dreadfully wrong when we reach our destination during that time. I cannot explain the details in earnest but know this, there was no way to prevent it. There were consequences even if we tried to do something. And Amelia selflessly sacrificed her goal for another.”
I can hear my heart tremble at this revelation. Brynhild paused there, crying a bit. She told the story with a painful tone, forcing every word out of her mouth. I already acknowledge how awesome my mom is. This left a wound in my heart, knowing that my mom was punished unjustly. Rage swirled in my body, yet I was overwhelmed with immense sorrow. No, not just those two emotions. A lot of mixed feelings hammered me after hearing this vague explanation. Confusion, doubt, what-ifs, sorrow, anger, joy, all of them mix inside of me. I can feel tears streak down my cheeks. My mom had to deal with so much, and she still suffers due to these curses.
“After that event, we never saw her again. With her gone, we went our separate ways. Your mother never contacted us ever since. She covered her tracks and kept her distance. I know that she wanted to avoid us because of our reputation. That wasn’t the case. She still loves us and would have stuck with us despite her rank. No, she left us due to her pain. The goal she abandoned. The recreation of chaos magic was her life. her goal. Her dream. She was proud of herself. Her determination had her charm. The curse inflicted on her took that all away. It ruined her life.”
“Wasn’t there a way to get rid of it?” question Titan, “Surely, a curse can be taken away if there’s a user.”
“If it was some physical being before us, yes.” Brynhild stated, “The curse Amelia has come from the room itself. You cannot force a room to lift a curse. It’s an inanimate object. Along with such ridiculousness, the room has never been opened for years. The caster can be anyone.”
“So it was a booby trap,” I stated. Brynhild nods her head, wiping the tears from her eyes.
“Despite all of this, I am glad to see her alive and well. I ended up talking about her tragic story when I was supposed to inform you about the Dark Arts and such.”
“You’re a bad teacher.” Amelia sighed.
The twins ran towards her and nuzzle her waist as the three of us gawked at her sudden appearance. When did she appear behind us?! Amelia wiggles her finger into the air, showing her left hand. Resting on the palm of her hand is a silver ring with a strange gem in the middle of it. Brynhild’s eyes grew wide in astonishment.
“You still have that!?” Brynhild asks.
“Of course. It’s the first item you gave me when we first met. The invisibility ring I kept for all these years. Ironic that I used it against you. Usually, you would have noticed me if you weren’t telling my story.”
Amelia emphasized, showing a cold stone face towards the genius. Brynhild did not act innocent, holding her hands up.
“I just wanted Aisha to know the truth before I give her my gift. I knew you would be a crybaby if you told her the story.”
That awkward silence kicked in again. I was at a loss. Is my mom alright? I can get why she would be upset at Brynhild for revealing this without her permission. I just wait for Amelia’s response.
“You’re right about that.” She shakes her head, “I could never bring that up. It was the lowest part of my life. My dream, my goal was to remake chaos magic. It was my life’s work. I was devastated when I was unable to carry out my plans. Time changed that though. I have a new goal. I just want my sons and daughters to live their own lives.”
She hugs the twins closer to her body. Her expression displays warmth and sincerity, smiling in earnest. “Aisha, Jessica, and Jennifer head back to the banquet. Olivia and Ethan are worried about your absence. We will follow you in a bit.” I stood next to Amelia, hugging her. I am really glad that she’s my mom. After that silent action, I took Jessica and Jennifer with me.
Change of Perspective, Nero 3rd Person Point of View
Stepping out of his hiding spot as Aisha, Jennifer, and Jessica left the scene, Nero gaze at Amelia. This woman had the chance of becoming a genius. He bumped into some scary individuals. Amelia displayed a lot of power despite her low rank. She knew about magical theories and some techniques that can be used beforehand. Her spar against him and Mel also revealed her skills being rather high.
Earlier, Amelia told half of a lie and truth about her story. She was weak, but she wasn’t entirely weak. If a God rank individual fought against her, she would not win. If she fought against someone like Eadric, she could win. It’s just that Emperor Titus and some other individuals within this kingdom may hunt her down if she usurps Eadric.
For better or worse.
And chaos magic?
That would be groundbreaking. Everyone would be flocking to Amelia for answers. None of the geniuses of this time can use chaos magic.
Correction, no one can use chaos magic.
Brynhild glance at Nero, asking him, “You were listening too?”
“I am the leader of my knights. It’s important to keep an eye on all of them. Especially the heir of my title.” Nero answers. He was referring to Titan. He has the greatest potential to be the future general if Aisha aids them. “Although I came here for answers about the other thing. Amelia told me about it, but I want to hear it from you. Is it true that you can give that special perk of yours to her? Perks are things you learn naturally. It is given to you upon doing some achievement. One will need to study multiple theories and laws before having one. Your perk, the Defeat Inheritor, is your creation. How do you plan to give Aisha a perk in one night?”
“I only created three pills for certain individuals. This pill contains my Defeat Inheritor.” replied Brynhild, “I already used one for myself. The other one I gave to my first apprentice, and lastly,” her gaze shifts to Amelia, “The last one was for you, but you want Aisha to receive it.”
“You already know that these curses cannot return my former glory. Even if I regain the ability to level up, it will not aid me in using light and dark magic. I am banned from using those two elements. Besides, I don't have any urges to go on any adventure now.” Brynhild rolls her eyes.
“Please, you’re still young.” Brynhild retorted.
“Regardless, I want Aisha to obtain your power. She has a lot of potential compared to me. Her grasp on the laws, theories, techniques, and skills are extremely high. She will become a deadly warrior with time. The knights can vouch for this because they supervised her training. They taught her how to use martial arts and her skills with two swords. Besides, Aisha cannot listen to their story. These knights are here for a reason.” Brynhild glance at the two, nodding her head.
“You promise to keep in touch with me then? I don’t’ want you to push me away again once I give Aisha the pill- I miss you, you know.”
“I will. And I miss you too.” Oh great, they have that dangerous look in their eyes. Nero lets out a cough, interrupting their attempts to kiss each other.
“We thank you for your help Brynhild. Although hearing your stories, I know that you lot entered the Pillars of Gluttony. It’s rude for me to ask this, and I apologize for any unwanted memories, but who did Amelia save? Is it Valarie? The other genius from your past group?”
Amelia mentions another person in her talks. Her past group consisted of three people and they both became geniuses. One was Brynhild, the genius that created her perk that defied the ranking up system. Defeat Inheritor is a perk that obtains every skill, technique, and perks from their defeated foe. This perk allowed Brynhild to use the Dark Arts in their earlier engagement despite her alignment with the light.
The other genius is Valarie.
Unlike Brynhild, she created a new curse. This is a grand feast and a scary one. Creating a curse is tampering with the lines of life and death. Nero does not understand how to create a new curse, but the process is extreme. Most people who tamper with this line of work either die from it or turn into some crazed lunatic.
“Goddamn Valarie. She’s doing her things again. I would scold her, but she and I barely... talk with each other. The only thing that kept us together was Amelia. That woman’s lust is uncontrollable. She wants to capture me and do stuff with me as well. Plus, she already established her faction.” Brynhild commented. “Illegally and without proper diplomatic talks, mind you.”
Sighing, Amelia says, “Yes, Valarie is the third person in our little group. I have no clue how she became a genius other than the fact that she created her curse. The process to do that is mind-boggling. You have to be careful or else you might inflict a curse on yourself."
“That sounds suicidal. Was she this crazy?” Titan asked.
“It’s fucking Valarie. Who else would be batshit crazy? Even though you saved her from a hideous fate, Valarie changed. After you left, she went mad. She loathed herself for..." Brynhild paused for a bit, but continues, "She decided to go somewhere, reappearing before me when she became a genius as well. Thinking about it, Valarie will surely welcome you with open arms. Despite the many years that flew by, she loved you dearly.”
“Knowing her, she’ll create a mess soon.” Amelia stated, “Her agents are around the place. They heard about a certain genius coming here, and most likely, they will show up later. I doubt Valarie knows that I am here." Amelia sighs.
“Anyways, let us go back. I still need to discuss with Aisha about the Dark Arts. I don’t mind creating a scene either. Me hanging out with your daughter might make that old man jealous. My clone can transfer everything into my head. I swear Eadick will try to do something stupid. Like, get one of his sons to marry me or something. Your husband corrupted some of your offsprings with stupid laws and ideals. Forcing them to marry someone of nobility, jeez. This is why I am glad we stole you away from your own family.”
“Heh, right. You did. Thieves stole me away- come on. You were adventurers. At the time, you also fell in love with me. Both of you did. Remember what you told me when we first met.”
“Ah jeez, you didn't forget?! And don’t use sarcasm on me, missy!” Brynhild warns, “I will have you know, we rightfully corrupted you in a matter of seconds!”
“You shouldn’t brag about that.” interject Titan, “More of a reason NOT to let you be Jessica’s and Jennifer’s godmother. You might corrupt them too. And I, for one, will not allow that.”
“Godmother? When did I declare this? Brynhild…”
“Oh! Eh… I-I will be heading to Aisha right now! See you later!” Brynhild already left the hallway, retreating towards the princess. Titan turns towards Nero and Amelia, bowing. Amelia scratches her head, giggling at the goofy genius.
Before Amelia head back to the banquet, Nero asks this.
“You are scheming something, aren’t you? Tell me what it is.” After years of service towards the queen, Nero has watched Amelia very closely. There was a particular look that she reveals only when she was plotting something. When Titan and Brynhild left, she displayed it for a brief second. The old general can only assume that if Brynhild is good, Valarie is evil, then Amelia is a mix of both. Several other things lingered on Nero's mind. The biggest thing that bothered Nero the most is the presence of their old enemies. The ones that brought his faction into extinction.
The other knights cannot sense them for now, but they are within this region. To be precise, they are slowly marching towards the settlement. Nero has the most experience when facing against his archenemies. He has several perks that can identify a Death Knight, even if they masked their presence with [Hidden Rank]. Amelia turns to Nero, her expression flipping into a serious one.
The look of a ruthless killer.
Nero felt a chill run down his spine, but he stands fast. He waits for her response.
“You can sense them, right? The Death Knights? There is a reason behind their approach. Better yet, you have another question about Valarie. Ask away.” It was going to come down to this.
“Even after I told you about Valarie’s agents, you do nothing. Why?”
“What I reveal to you will leave a sour taste in your mouth. You will not like what I have planned. And if you don’t, then I will get rid of you.” she states, “Valarie is an ally and a crucial part of my plans. Her agents are like a letter sealed in an envelope. They are my messengers to her. Valarie is a cautious woman. She will not come unless I give her key hints about my existence. She will be coming tonight to curse Aisha with her gift.”
Nero stood there, frozen with dread.
Anger snaps him back into reality, “What?! Are you mad?! I heard stories about Valarie’s curse! She will devour her! Why would you-”
“Aisha will be able to receive chaos magic if she obtains Brynhild’s perk and receive Valarie’s curse,” Amelia replied. Nero’s eyes widened at her statement.
Aisha can learn chaos magic?
No, no, this left a lot of questions now. Amelia continues her explanation.
“I know that this one theory of mine will work. Compared to all of the other geniuses, they do not have a way to physically give anyone their gifts. They must be taught or go through some groundbreaking realization with a technique, theory, skill, or perk. There are several ways to recreate chaos magic. The one I plan to use on Aisha is the fastest and easiest method. At the time, it couldn’t be done. Now, my two best friends can hand their creations to my daughter. Not only that, but they also have to be light and dark. Brynhild is of the light, Valarie will be the darkness. My daughter will be able to unlock chaos magic because of them.” This…
“I… You haven’t told Aisha this? I know that you love her, but using this method… It’s… Unforgiving.” Nero understands how big this is. And not only that, if Aisha helps the Black Knights and becomes their leader, she’ll be the greatest leader of the Black Knights ever. Although the method is harsh. Inhumane. Sickening. As a Black Knight, no one should be forced through a painful crisis. A curse will bring agony and excruciating pain.
“I will not tell her,” Amelia answers, closing her eyes. “That will destroy the other theory of mine that will allow her to gain chaos magic. You see, not only does one have to gain it through abilities, skills, and perks, she must experience utmost happiness and despair. There must be chaos in her body and thoughts. It has to happen naturally. Only then, she can truly obtain chaos magic.” Nero stood there in silence.
Did Amelia plan this out thoroughly?
This was planned ages ago.
“When you told me you sense something from my daughter, I also sensed her potential. You see, out of all my children, Aisha has chaos essence in her. Elemental essence is really important for a mage, but it’s extremely rare. It enhances and strengthens their element, and it can aid in her understandings and development of new skills, techniques, and perks. Having chaos essence is a whole different story.”
“Answer me this. Why are you going to make your beloved daughter experience hell? I understand how groundbreaking this is, but you won’t even disclose this information to your daughter. Does Aisha want to learn about chaos magic? You are forcing this onto her without her approval. You were right. This does not sit well with me. And I heard stories about Valarie’s curse. She can take away all of her hard work. The skills, techniques, and perks she gains will be lost.”
Amelia stood there with a pained expression, knowing full well that this was not right. Yet it disappeared in an instant saying, “I do not want my daughter to venture the world without the best gift I can give her. I know it might sound selfish of me to make her go through this. I know it’s wrong to do all of this without her permission, but I will not falter. I know that she’ll be in pain. I will explain all of this once she is cursed. Also, your enemies are extremely dangerous. If she becomes a leader for your people, she needs to be strong.” Nero reflects on his thoughts and Amelia’s words.
She’s right. The fact that their previous leader could not survive means they need a new powerful leader. If Aisha receives chaos magic, then she’ll be stronger in time. Morally, once again, this is wrong. Doing this behind Aisha’s back, it leaves a bad taste in his mouth. No, Amelia is suffering as well.
This world is harsh. Aisha will need everything she can get. With the Defeat Inheritor, she can easily regain skills, techniques, and perks. Valarie’s curse is questionable. Once Aisha gain chaos magic, she’ll be the deadliest warrior out there.
Yet it will be a traumatizing experience.
Losing all of your hard work? Going up against someone who can easily crush them? But then, there's the Defeat Inheritor.
“What’s the plan? Obviously, Aisha can regain her skills, techniques, and perks back once she obtains the Defeat Inheritor. How will-”
“She needs to kill one of your knights,” Amelia replied.
“Your plan is leaving more than a bitter taste in my mouth.” Nero understands what Amelia is suggesting. No, more like its a needed requirement. He has to sacrifice one of his knights to make Aisha stronger again. She will lose the majority of her life’s work, but she’ll get higher tier stuff. “Is that why there are Death Knights? To make us fight?”
“I asked Valarie to use Death Knights in this scheme. If you did not want to follow my scheme, then you will be forced to. Most of those knights are easy to dispatch, but there are a few strong ones to force one of your knights on the brink of death.” Amelia explained.
There was a long moment of silence between them. Amelia says nothing more. Nero stands there, thinking long and hard about everything.
This is wrong. He stood there for a minute, staring at Amelia. Then, he does something.
He kneels, saying, “I will enact your plans, Queen Amelia. I will follow your schemes out to the very end.”
“Good. Are you going to tell your knights about this plan?” she asked.
“Only a select few,” Nero said. “I am being tainted by your ways. I hate leaving my knights in the dark about this scheme, yet we will do whatever we can for Aisha. Gale will be the one to die. If Aisha is in endanger, then we’ll do what we must to protect her. The knight must protect their new leader. We should go back now. They will be waiting.” As they walk out of the hallways, Nero knows for sure, if Gale dies for Aisha, she will be guilted in helping her knights.
They did so much for her, and she’ll repay them the favor. No matter what. She will be guilted to aid them.
Everything was messed up.
How did it come to this?
He knows the answer. He remembered the words of his old friend and leader. Nero vowed, swore, that he would do whatever it takes to find a new powerful leader for the Black Knights. He would sacrifice his pride, his morales, his code, and his life to make it happen.
This is why they were the Black Knights.
Even if they can be righteous, they can easily break any rules or code to do what they need to do.
And with his eternal promise to his old Imperator, he will ensure this.
Even if Aisha despises him the rest of her life and he ends up in Hell...
So be it.