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CHAPTER 261

LADY OF INCLEMENCY

Syvelic Ocean, the northern and southern end point of the Holy Continent, was the deepest ocean in the entire world with the recorded depth at nearly fifteen thousand kilometers. It divided the two ends of the entire continent, in addition parting the furthest, eastern part into a wedge, carving itself out a spot further inland. It created a makeshift island up above deemed the paradise by many due to the innumerable species of flora and fauna inhabiting it.

The sore spot of the landmass was also a host to many underground rivers, tunnels, caves and coves most adjacent to the rugged shoreline. Though quite well hidden from any ordinary eye, they were mainly used as designated getaway spots for the young more so than anything else; yet, one of the smallest and most inconspicuous of the coves lying in-between the two cliff-stacked landmasses cut apart by a rapid, circulating phenomenon that was the Cyclic River, where the river both drained into the ocean and got pumped full of the life by the ocean.

Within the cove sat eight ruggedly-dressed people of mostly the same bearing -- tired. They floated freely on a mid-sized board made of bamboo which remained still despite the rapid current beneath it. A singular, bright and golden sphere hovered in-between the eight, lighting up not only the board but also the surrounding walls of the cove.

Of the eight, five were women and three were men, all seemingly in their mid-forties, bearing remarkably similar features -- black eyes and hair, broad shoulders and slightly freakishly long arms. All three men had faces full of beard, while all five women had rather explosive and pronounced cheekbones.

“... the thread.” one of the men said in a somber tone as his eyes flashed in blind-white for a moment. “It’s reached us.”

“She works quickly,” one of the women said. “How long do we have?”

“Two days.” the same man replied.

“Which dog did she unleash this time?” the woman asked again.

“Ananith.”

“... this isn’t good, One.” another man quickly chimed in as they all frowned.

“Bad for us, good for the world,” the woman spoke, smiling lightly. “If she’s sending out Ananith it only means that the Lord had already stirred the hornet’s nest.”

“I guess it’s my time to shine.” the remaining man who hasn’t spoken out before joined in, his beard ruffled due to the smile.

“How long do you think you can last?”

“I’d wager a couple of weeks, if nobody else joins her.” the man replied. “More than enough for you to return home.”

“... come back to us.” the seven spoke out loud suddenly in the same, somber tone.

“As all shall.” the man briefly cupped his hands together and nodded before disappearing, leaving the remaining seven to sit in heavy silence for nearly ten minutes before also vanishing.

Outside the cove, a bit further into the ocean and away from the shore, the solitary man reappeared, hovering just slightly above the water, cross-legged, with his hands clasped in front of his chest, eyes closed, breathing entirely stopped.

Though the sun above burned away, he seemed unfettered by it, as though it wasn’t even there. After all, he had been preparing for this moment for tens of thousands of years; from thousands, they dwindled down to solitary eight. Some were felled, some fled, and some were corrupted and enslaved; in the end, however, it was all worth it -- he believed so from the depths of his Heart, Soul and Will.

On the dawn of the second day since he appeared above the ocean, his eyes slowly opened as he looked up, just in front of him. The space ripped open like a piece of canvas, spitting out a figure which with her brought a blizzard that froze the ocean for thousands of miles around within a single breath. It was the man’s second time seeing her, he mused, yet he was just as startled and shocked as he was the first time.

“... just one?” the woman frowned, looking around. “Huh, I guess one of you became a Fate Diviner since we last chatted.”

“How have you been, Lady Ananith?” the man asked in a rather jovial tone, as though he was meeting an old friend.

“Great, until a few days ago when I was woken to deal with you lot.” the woman replied with scorn.

“... the rest of them, as well as I, were rather honored when we heard that none other than the Lady of Inclemency was sent to deal with us.”

“... I do not like when people call me that name, Eight.” a frigid smile made appearance on the woman’s face, frosting over even the sun above. “You must have been very desperate for attention to steal the Descent’s entire identity.”

“... we, indeed, very much admire the Noble Descenders,” the man replied, still smiling. “After all, they were the first -- and still the last -- to show the entire world that gods were just fancy names you lot had given yourself. By now, I suspect, your little sister had grown back up considerably. Still, over a thousand generations in a row... light has dulled. That one must still sting.”

“... it does, indeed. But, fortunately, you aren’t a Descender,” Ananith smiled emptily. “You are just a broken soul bearing a broken dream for a broken promise that can never be fulfilled. Empyrean will never be allowed to cast the Crown, Eight.”

“... perhaps.” the man said, looking up beyond her, into the now stormy sky. “But, for some reason, I have a gut feeling... it will happen. And it will happen not too far from now. By now you should know, Lady Ananith,” he glanced back at her, slowly getting up. “Any Empyrean capable of pulling the Primordial Spirits to their side... always, without exception, brings the world to its knees. You should be ready Lady Ananith... Origin Wars should rekindle eons old tales and secrets that none of us were ever privy to. Perhaps... we might finally be able to gleam past the Sheen and see to the other side. That would be... fulfilling.”

“... we might,” Ananith said, landing onto the flat world of ice frozen over the ocean’s deeps. “You certainly won’t, Eight. Point me, and your death shall be quick.”

“... to die a long, grueling, excruciatingly painful death at the hands of our foes... ay, it almost seems as though you’ve never smitten another Agent of Entropy before, Lady Ananith. It is in our veins to bleed as it is in our veins to defy.”

**

Lino stared at Eos with evident frustration in his eyes; he’d already spent two days locked up inside the cave with her with seemingly no progress. By now he had grown to miserably miss the civilization and people whose eyes weren’t infested with murderous intent toward him. He sighed, readily admitting his mastery of tongue was inadequate for today’s mission; at last, he mused, it has failed him. It was about time, he thought. He was beginning to think he would never craft a better weapon than the one gods have already given to him.

“... you are making this whole thing really, really, really fucking difficult.” he sighed, shaking his head. “I mean, I’ve met difficult women before, but geez. Have a pep in your step, you know?”

“You’re wasting your time. Just do what you promised already and try to outweigh my Will. I’d sure love to see how that one goes for you.” Eos smirked victoriously.

“... hm?” Lino’s eyebrows curled up in a smile as his eyes glistened strangely. “What’s she doing here?”

“...”

“Heh,” Lino suddenly chuckled, glancing at Eos. “He he he he, ha ha ha ha ha ha, oh boy. This shit’s going to be priceless. Wait, wait, I need to be ready for this. Huuuuuh.” he took a deep breath, focusing entirely on Eos. “Please, please, show me the most beautiful expression in the world.

“What are you talking--” the space rippled momentarily next to Lino, drawing Eos’ attention away from him. The spatial rip spat out a figure clad in a simple, yet oddly familiar, one-piece dress. As Eos’ eyes ran up the dress, her expression became odder and odder while Lino stopped holding back on his laughter entirely.

Eos’ eyes quickly met a pair of emerald which shone like gems; the familiar, crimson hair spilled like threads of fate, the slightly freckled cheeks giving her even more charm that any one individual should have. An explosive expression awaited Lino who has by now fallen off the chair, rolling around the floor like a little kid. Hannah glanced at him and sighed, rolling her eyes and wondering for the umpth time why was she attracted to him. Shifting away her attention from him to Eos, she smiled bitterly when she saw the latter’s gobsmacked expression.

“... hello, Eos.” Hannah said. “Long time no see. How have----is she naked?” her mellow, bitter expression suddenly flared up as Lino’s laughter ended imminently. “Lino?!! Is she fucking naked?!!”

“Oi-oi-oi!!” Lino quickly darted to his feet and ran to the cave’s edge. “I swear to god I bore no perverted thoughts!! It was a purely practical decision!!!”

“Practical decision my ass, you little shitface!!” she screamed at him. “If it was practical, why didn’t you clothe her in some random robes instead of leaving her naked?!!”

“... oh.”

“Oh? That’s all you got?”

“No, I just didn’t think she’d pass out.” Lino said, pointing at Eos who was currently foaming from her mouth. “Man, either she’s really, really, really embarrassed that you saw her naked... or that one hit deep for some reason.”

“... I imagine it’s the latter,” Hannah sighed, giving up on being angry with Lino, taking out a blanket from her void storage and wrapping it around Eos. “After all, she was -- or at least tried her hardest -- to be my Mentor of sorts. Teaching me about Writs, Gaia and that sort of a thing.”

“... yauza.” even Lino felt a sting in his heart for a moment. “You can be a real cruel bitch, you know?”

“Maybe I’ll live up to that name by strangling you the next time you fall asleep.” she smiled innocently, glancing at him.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Lino played along. “Anyway, why are you here? Ella should have already told you what’s what.”

“Yeah, I should have actually come the moment she told me, but figured I’d give you a chance.”

“... you knew I couldn’t crack her, huh?” Lino chuckled bitterly.

“Eh, I knew you could eventually get it done,” Hannah said, crouching in front of Eos and moving away the few strands of hair behind her ears. “Just didn’t want you forcing yourself to do something you didn’t want to.”

“... you were close?” Lino asked, walking up and crouching next to her, handing her a gourd which she readily accepted.

“Not really,” Hannah replied, smiling. “I mean, I’m sure she thought that way. After all, she had this rather maniacal need to be a proper Big Sister to every girl younger than her, and I was pretty much her dream project.”

“... you didn’t need to come.” Lino said, caressing her hair gently as she leaned sideways, resting her head on his shoulder. “I’m certain my encumbered soul is able to take on one more sin and add it to a pile.”

“... I know it could have,” she said. “But, this is the only way to drill it in your head it seems.”

“Drill what?”

“That you’re not alone anymore,” she said, glancing at him from the corner of her eyes. “And that you’ll never be again.”

“... that sounded awfully creepy.”

“Oh god yes, it somehow managed to actually sound endearing in my head.” Hannah shuddered. “Something’s wrong with me.”

“... oh, there’s a lot wrong with you dear.”

“Hey!!”

“But your ability to make endearing sentiments out to sound like creepy threats... that’s a treat I wouldn’t trade in for a whole wide world.”

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About the author

beddedOtaku

Bio: Bad writer, worse painter, terrible singer. Accumulation of all things gone wrong. Rather proud of it, actually.

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