VIKTOR SURVEYED THE CULTISTS. He could tell that they were well-built for combat by their physique. These people were most likely the fighting forces of the cult. But why would they need that? They can summon Thirios.“You over there, why are you carrying a Sporos on your back?” the girl asked Viktor. She tilted her head to the side as if to appear innocent and adorable. “Aw, no answer? Are you perhaps an alchemist?”Second Lieutenant Hanafin continued to point her rifle at the man as she talked to them silently. “Cataron is no good either. We need to reach the fourth level and regroup with General Callahan at Groden.”Viktor met the girl’s red eyes who was still grinning at him. Something about her bothered him. His gut told him never to put his guard down around her. It would make sense since her lackeys currently surrounded them. But he was sure that was not the reason. A foreboding feeling about her kept poking him, making his entire body react negatively toward her. Viktor was re
DIMITRY BREATHED OUT. Black liquid was scattered all over the bridge and sullied everyone’s clothes; the dwarf and Viktor were covered by the creatures’ blood the most. “You! The Alchemist’s Apprentice! What do you think you’re doing?!” The captain stomped towards Viktor in a seemingly furious manner. “You’re supposed to just stand back and wait till we clear the way!” Viktor handed the spear back to the lieutenant as he responded to the captain, “Would you have made it in time? Those soldiers, if I followed your orders, will they be alive?” The soldier gritted his teeth. He was aware that Viktor did save his men and it appeared to have annoyed him. “I appreciate your actions, Sir Unfrid. However, you should be more sensible of your position as the assistant of our Royal Alchemist.” Dimitry gazed at Viktor curiously. The man did not give off the impression of someone who studied the arts of alchemy. He appeared more of a warrior than a scholar, judging by the way he fought beside h
THE HORSES' HOOVES CLOPPED as they galloped across the towns of Bronnan. Viktor felt free once again while mounting on the back of the said animal. It was his one and only hobby when he was still a Styrkean prince. Horseback riding and jousting felt as natural as breathing to him.Viktor rode his horse beside the princess' carriage with Brighid Callahan, the general of the Mercurian army. Her carefree attitude reminded him of Amund, his best friend and leader of his knights. He was mentioned in some history books related to Styrkeis, but none of them stated what became of him after The Battle of Sigurd."Have you thought about my offer yet?" The blonde woman on his right asked. Brighid had been pestering him about enlisting in the military for the past two days after he fought one of her men in the barracks. "Fennar was right about one thing, you know? You're better off in the army with your talents. Replace him for me, would you?"He had thought about it yesterday and he wasn't quite
LILLA KNEELED ON THE DAIS, showing respect to the most powerful woman in Mercurius. She could feel her regal aura even from this distance alone — what more if she stood beside her.Empress Katarina Amaris sat on her throne with her legs crossed. Her long red gown reached the floor as she stood up, scanning the three of them. The empress spoke to the princess with a strict tone, “I heard you snuck out of the palace again without my permission, Kristen. Would you mind explaining yourself?”Kristen’s gaze remained directed to the floor, refusing to meet her mother’s. Lilla noticed how tense the atmosphere was between them; she assumed it had something to do with the princess’ visit to Ahlea. “I believe there were no rules stating that princesses are forbidden to sneak out whenever they please too, Your Majesty.”The empress simply stared at her daughter as if to observe her expression with her usual emotionless hazel eyes. Thankfully, she let the topic go and began to explain the reason
THE SNOW CRUNCHED BENEATH HIS BOOTS. Dimitry treaded through the white fields, dragging his warhammer behind him. The echoes of the battlefield came to an end; the only ones left were the victors.Dimitry stopped before a dying boar. A part of its stomach was torn off, barely keeping itself alive. He ran his hand on its neck as if to soothe the poor beast’s heavy breathing. Whispering a short prayer, he raised his hammer and brought it down with one swift motion as blood and snow scattered everywhere. He continued walking through the silent tundra, picking up the red flag with a golden flame symbol. Corpses of both Thirios and warriors were scattered everywhere, the remnants of war. He was accustomed to it; in three hundred years of serving Smihja, he had fought countless battles —against shadow beasts and humans alike. Dimitry managed to stay alive each time, witnessing his comrades’ last breath. He was a survivor.The wars took a lot from him; his friends, his family, and his wife.
THE SUN ROSE FROM THE EAST. Its rays announced the beginning of another day. Three months ago, Viktor would wake up in his chambers, go straight to the Conference Hall after breakfast, and listen to his men’s reports. For some reason, five hundred years in the future, the king woke up in a room of the alchemist’s tower.“You up?” A certain short redhead peeked at the door’s opening. She kicked it open with a sigh after confirming he was already awake, letting herself in. “I expect you to clean this up before the day ends.”Books and journals were scattered on the floor beside his bed. It’s been three weeks since Viktor’s stay in Mercurius and he still couldn’t mentally grasp what happened within the past months. His kingdom fell five centuries ago; everyone he knew and cared about was gone. Every day he hoped to wake up on his bed in the Styrkean palace, only to meet the same off-white ceiling of the alchemist’s guest room. To make matters worse, he also frequently dreamed about the d
THE ALCHEMIST WAS BACK TO WORK, though she did not seem to have the enthusiasm and motivation to finish today’s requests. Something was clearly bothering her but she was fairly sure it was none of her business. Lilla ignored her thoughts and continued writing prescriptions for her patients. She is the Royal Alchemist, nothing more, nothing less.And yet, her mind kept going back to the mysterious prisoner’s nonsensical story, interrupting her work. A disgruntled groan escaped her lips as she leaned on the spine of her chair. Why was she so engrossed in his absurd story? None of it was logical at all. How can a king from five hundred years ago who was presumed to be dead turn out to be alive today?Lilla gazed through the window at her right side. The sun’s orange hue scattered over the skies and on the rooves of Cicero. Friday was about to end again, three more days before Viktor’s court trial will begin. She was already sure of the verdict he will receive without it even starting yet
THE KING WAS DREAMING. His ears rang deafeningly as darkness covered his vision. He felt his knees submerged under a lake of black goo; its putrid smell reeked everywhere. Then, the wind blew, causing leaves to rustle around him. The king stood in the middle of a forest deprived of all light. He blindly ventured into the area, trusting the mental map within his mind created by his limited senses. On his right hand, he held his spear firmly when he felt a lot of eyes watching him. The creatures broke the silence in the once quiet forest; they hissed and growl as though carnivores waiting to eat their meal.A soft hand touched his forehead, its warmth spreading on his skin. It eased the pain caused by the soldiers’ blows. His vision was still blurry but he could barely make out an image of a blonde girl behind the iron bars. She was nursing his wounds. Or rather, she was healing him. With magic.Viktor slapped her hand and immediately sat up with his back against the wall. “Lay a hand o