Armad rolled the ring on his hand and felt its unnatural smoothness despite the numerous runes carved into it. It was created from a stone that was hard as a diamond and light as air. It gave a strong, nauseating stench of blood.
"A spatial ring? Just what the hell is your relationship with this woman?" Iqra asked.
"It's my turn to ask the questions, remember?" Armad said.
"Yes, master. I'll answer any questions to the best of my ability."
"Who are you? And I don't mean your name." Armad strongly suspected the voice was coming from book but it was better to confirm things.
"I am the guardian of the legacy. My name is Saif Iqra. His majesty, King Aeriyon Wilberforce, entrusted the legacy to me. In order to protect it from the enemy, I joined my soul with the legacy." The voice stopped as if that was all the explanation Armad needed.
"The legacy, King Aeriyon Wilberforce and you Saif Iqra are all foreign concept to me. So, why don't you explain clearly and slowly. I remember losing consciousness in the fallen city of Bayajidda and then getting killed by the Book-sword. But when I woke up I was fine. What happened? Who's that guy speaking in the fallen city of Bayajidda? Why is he fighting the First Worlders? Tell me everything from the beginning."
Iqra sighed in a very human manner. "I guess I should start from the beginning. What year is this?"
"1852 after The Descent ." Answered Armad.
"That's one thousand eight hundred and fifty-two years after the First Worlders took everyone down from the First World to the lower worlds." Iqra started. "The Descent simply refers to the act of taking everyone down from the First World to the lower worlds. The inhabitants of the seven worlds know the history of these eighteen centuries after The Descent, but very few know what happened before The Descent. Most of them are dead. I happen to be among the few living who still remember what happened. For I am 1981 years old."
Armad widened his eyes at the sudden revelation but he didn't interrupt.
"The time I was born in was the most dangerous period in history. A time of war like no other. My mom was killed immediately after giving birth to me. She sacrificed her longevity so I can survive. My father had been dead long before I was born. I grew up as an orphan and managed to survive because of the longevity I had received from my mom. King Aeriyon took me in and trained me into who I am. It's only fair I sacrificed myself for his cause."
Armad couldn't remain silent anymore. "Hold on. Who're you again?"
"Let me explain, master. Do you know what caused the war that killed my parents?"
Armad shook his head.
"The entire First World is divided into right and left hemispheres by a gigantic water body called Black Sea. Aldaima Wilberforce became the first King of Men in 9541BD. He was popularly called Wilberforce I. Aldaima was the first person to rule the entire world north of the Black Sea. He joined everyone under a single banner and reigned for six thousand years. He died in 4033BD and left the crown to his brother king Aeriyon Wilberforce (Wilberforce II).
"King Aeriyon reigned peacefully for three thousand years until Urúrú arrived in 945BD. We had a solar eclipse for three days and when it cleared we saw a fleet of black-eyed men on the shore. They claimed they were from the south but that might have been another lie.
"The northerners didnt like Urúrú when they first came. What's with the foreign invasion and all the black eyes. After several skirmishes, king Aeriyon stopped the stigma against the black-eyed Urúrú with a single word.
"Five hundred years later, the leader of the black-eyed Urúrú and his son began preaching for the commandments. They started with just The Jinzidal, and then came The Contract and later The Descent. I don't know what happened after, but King Aeriyon demanded them to stop or leave.
"Urúrú ignored him. A few years later, Aeriyon called his one hundred commanders into battle. He fought Urúrú for three hundred years. A war that led to the death of more than ten million people, my parents included. When I was growing up, the ground was no longer brown but blood red. For the sheer blood that was spilled.
"I'm Saif Iqra, his Majesty's steward and the man entrusted with the legacy. When it became clear we've lost the war, his Majesty sent me away with the legacy. He believed someone else, Wilberforce or not, will complete his work and abolish slavery.
"Urúrú won and implemented the three commandments. Meanwhile, I ran away with the legacy, accompanied by commander Arun Wilberforce and the sword iris Nuru to the lower worlds. But Urúrú somehow found out about us and they sent the Wraith after us. We crossed blades in 16 AD. I know we couldn't win so I turned myself and the legacy into one soul. Uznu found out about it and he coined the term Book-sword and spread word about the battle. Shamelessly naming it the Battle of the Book-sword."
Armad fell silent. The battle of the Book-sword was one of the most famous battles since the beginning of this era. How Urúrú sacrificed themselves to save the world from the 'vengeful spirits' of the old Wilberforce empire, and how Uznu Urúrú was the only survivor. Everyone knew about it. They taught the children about it in school.
"So, you, Arun and Buru were the three riders that were chased and killed by the Wraiths in 16 AD. Except that you didn't die, and you used a spell to join your soul with the Book-sword. In other words, Uznu wasn't the only survivor of the battle."
"Yes, master. I survived together with the legacy. I served seven people before but none of them was the one his Majesty was waiting for. None of them could understand the legacy." Iqra said.
Armad still didn't understand how Iqra had joined his soul with the Book-sword or how he became a talking book, but he'd other things to worry about.
"What's in the book? What does the sword do? What can you do?"
"Yes, that has always been the first question for my past masters. I don't know what's in the legacy. I was just asked to protect it and find the rightful owner. Whereas my abilities solely depends on my masters. Right now, I've one ability."
"Only one? That's all? As old as you claim to be, you should have plenty of spells and swords." Armad asked.
"Unfortunately, I lost everything after joining with the legacy." Iqra said. The regret in his voice was palpable.
"Your ability is to create blue screens and quests, right? But where did you get the one hundred years?"
"Those are from your Djinn. I snatched them just before he died. The connection was already done and it wasn't like he was going to use it anymore. The screens... well, that's still under testing. The System you currently used is from the First Worlders, right?"
"They stole the idea from his Majesty's Longevity Satellite (LS). One of my past owners had a powerful Bayajiddan blood in him, so I got the ability to manipulate time and space. Even create pocket dimensions. You, on the other hand, have a very strong Wilberforce blood in you. That's probably why I now have the ability to use his Majesty's Longevity Satellite. I don't dare say I can replicate his Majesty's feat with the satellite but I've a pretty good grasp.
"The old network created by his Majesty is still functional, Just dormant. Apparently, the black-eyed monsters couldn't destroy it. Now all we need is to copy the longevity signature of any mage and add it to the network. Then we can freely communicate with them at anytime and even give them quests and... rewards, that's of course if we have any. That reminds me I've copied Nostalgia's signature and sent her a message. Perhaps, we can use her as the first test subject."
"What?! You sent her a message?" Armad shouted angrily.
"Master wants to talk to her, right? I felt it's better to clear any confusions now before its too late."
"Don't ever do that without my explicit approval!" Armad snappped. "And what message did you sent her?"
"...Er... I... "