༺ Erin Danua (2) ༻
Erin and I went down to Merkarva City. Excitedly, she went around the town like a young village girl.
Surprisingly, she was more interested in recent and new books, but maybe that wasn’t all that surprising considering how she had already read most of the old books.
“So this is the trend these days in theaters, huh. Back in my days, the general consensus was that violent topics like these were harmful to the traditional customs though.”
“How long ago was ‘back in your days’?”
“I would rather you didn’t try to pry into my age.”
“I didn’t mean to.”
She, the lady with a pout on her face, was quite sensitive when it came to her age. Even though her exact age wasn’t mentioned in ❰Heroic Legends of Arhan❱, I still knew that she was at least 1,000 years old.
“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting you to invite me out for a play,” I said.
“Clara brings in a lot of things from the outside for me, but she can’t do that for things like plays, after all.”
Senior Professor of the Academy, Josephine Clara. Erin said with a smile that she would have died of boredom, if not for her, who could teleport to various places.
The reason why she was able to come out into this world, even though she should have stayed confined in the palace, was because the mages of the Tower had broken the chains restricting her, called ‘Eriu Casarr’.
The Tower of Mages Commotion of the 4th Arc. Essentially, it was the terrorist attack of the black and red mages of the Tower, along with the support of the traitor who caused the King of Iron Mountain Incident, Fermack Daman.
Now that the outer shell called Eriu Casarr was broken, Erin Danua had no choice but to reveal her true body in order to protect this world.
This wasn’t good.
According to the original scenario, Erin Danua would die in the following plot development, while assigning the legacy of protecting the world to the player.
At the start, I simply considered her a bigshot named NPC.
This was different from what happened with Marie Dunareff as well as the Heavenly Yaksha, Hua Ran.
The enemy that I had to fend off to save this NPC was way too superior and powerful. Besides, it was through her death that the hidden piece, Treasury of the Danaans, would become accessible.
The upcoming incident was impossible to stop even with the power of a player so I had internally given up on it, but…
“Now. Let’s go try that one next.”
Her hand leading me forward was warm; and her voice tickled my ears.
With a panorama of the entire city below us, she turned to me with a wide smile blooming on her face, but I couldn’t return her an honest and suitable smile.
I felt rushed.
The plot was about to hit the 3rd year. There will be a fight against the Frost Giant, the guardian deity of the Northern Kingdom to the north, followed by a massive monster wave and the fall of the Academy.
Multiple preluding omens to the final arc of ❰Heroic Legends of Arhan❱ were on the way.
Therefore, now was one of the fewer opportunities for the player and their party members to build up their strength.
Besides, I was starting to have trouble keeping up. During both the werewolf terrorist attack of Dun Scaith and the subjugation of the demon village under Dumnorix’s jurisdiction… I had been utterly close to death. I wouldn’t be standing here if not for the elixir that Sihu gave me.
I needed strength.
And the strength I wanted was the ‘Six Ways of the Spear’.
There was no time for me to waste like this…
A loud clap echoed in front of my eyes. The hands blocking my vision retreated back, revealing a smile on Erin Danua’s face.
“Student Korin. Do you know about the importance of motivation?”
“Yes. That is very important. Having a reason to become stronger is crucial.”
The reason why I had to be stronger.
Although very ambiguous and broad… it was for survival. But at the same time, I couldn’t think of a better reason than that.
“Survival; to help Park Sihu, and to make sure there are fewer casualties.” Erin stated before I could. “Those are excellent motivations and you must be beautifully honest. However, people that pursue their goals with a strong motivation tend to have little regard for themselves.”
“You said you wanted strength, and that was the only element of greed I found in you.”
“Isn’t that the same for everyone?”
“It’s a different story, however, if that is linked to the inheritance of my ‘spear’.”
Six Ways of the Spear.
The secret moves of Erin Danua.
Ominous Snake, Tiger’s Gust, Lan Na Zha, Spinning Heaven, Crumbling Mountain, Shura — and lastly, the Domain of Void.
Those were the refined techniques under the possession of the strongest spearman of ❰Heroic Legends of Arhan❱, Tates Valtazar. If I could lay my hands on that power…
“You know about the story of me and Tates, yes?”
She had been betrayed by her disciple, in the worst way possible.
After teaching him the Six Ways of the Spear and inheriting the Void, she tried to impart everything she owned to him.
However, after realizing that Tates Valtazar’s goal was the ‘Advent of Paradise’, she refused to carry out the last phase of the inheritance.
Choosing Valtazar in the first place… was probably the worst and most terrible mistake she had ever made in her life.
“I was hesitant and very concerned. I had gone through way too many failures, and not all of my decisions had been right.”
The tragic ending of one of the most crucial NPCs of this world, Erin Danua; her past and her sincere hope. Everyone who played ❰Heroic Legends of Arhan❱ knew about the degree of her sincerity, which she had only shown the player in the game.
“I can’t trust that boy, Park Sihu, but you are different, Korin Lork. I am certain that you will not be a part of all the mistakes I have made. So—
“Korin Lork!” She suddenly shouted. “Will you serve me, Erin Danua, as your master?”
It was so sudden that I was momentarily lost for words, but I immediately went on my knees. Those were the exact words that came out during the scenario event of the character, Erin Danua of ❰Heroic Legends of Arhan❱.
That was an event only permitted to the player, after he met all sorts of conditions and built up a positive Karma.
“Ye, yes! I will serve you as my master…!”
“I have accepted you. I, the Queen of the Shadow Kingdom and the Danaan of Justice, Erin Danua, hereby claim that I will teach the ways of the Six Spears to Korin Lork.”
“T, thank you!”
Finally! As long as I could obtain the Six Ways of the Spear… I should have enough power to fight against the King’s Subjects.
“I shall guide your heart down the righteous path, and thus, Korin Lork,” Erin continued after a pause. “You shall pursue justice. Justice and justice alone.”
“I will swear… upon my life.”
As I was on my knees, Erin Danua looked down at me with a stern look on her face. She continued looking at me for a while with her clear, crystal eyes and…
Suddenly, the atmosphere around her changed as she opened her arms out wide.
In the midst of my confusion from the sudden change in atmosphere, Erin walked up and buried me in her chest. I was… actually quite surprised.
Like an adult soothing a baby, she tapped me on the back. Her arms were warmly wrapped around my body, as a soft and ticklish whisper flowed into my ears.
“It’s okay to stumble. You can get back up.
“It’s okay to fail. You can do better next time.
“It’s okay to cry. You can smile a lot more later.
“Stay true to your justice and your convictions. Walk the correct path. As long as you do that…
“No one can tell you otherwise. You will be a hero.”
Although it wasn’t even a tight hug, it was so full of warmth that I just… couldn’t make myself leave her embrace. After staring at my face, she pushed the little strands of hair off my forehead and…
“Let me imbue into you, the blessing of a goddess.”
As proof of her affection, she kissed my forehead.
I probably won’t be able to forget that warmth from back then ever in my life.
“That was fun.”
“You’ve been watching the same thing for 300 years though. Weren’t you bored?”
“It was a lot different from watching them by myself.”
It had been 10 days and another 2 days ever since I arrived in this city. We were currently into the third night of the repetition.
We had a date.
We enjoyed plays, reading books and watching a circus. It was a normal thing people would do, but it was undeniable that it meant a lot more to both me and her.
“I am glad you enjoyed it. It’s a shame that we couldn’t go to a nice restaurant though.”
“You don’t always need to have good food for a memory to be special. Everything was a delight when I was with my dear disciple of the future.”
Even though I had to eat rations while sitting on the dirt and small patches of grass, it was still very fun.
“It’s about to be night very soon.”
The night was coming.
The last night of the third day. Tonight, we would defeat Gerolge the Immortal King and…
“Tonight, we will end this eternal night and cleanse Nazrea.”
“…Right. It shouldn’t be impossible according to your theory.”
It wasn’t just a theory; this had already been proven. Park Sihu and I had planned and proven that it was possible to completely cleanse Nazrea.
This would succeed 100%, as long as there weren’t any outside interferences.
“There are a lot of questions on my mind but… let me just ask one of them.”
“Was it very hard?”
This person… was very mysterious. Even though I hadn’t even mentioned it, she read through me with her overwhelming insight and said the things I needed the most.
She was a considerate, warm, and soothing person.
“Yeah it was. I stumbled, failed a lot, and cried a few times.”
However, I stood back up. This time, I was doing better and there would be more smiles waiting in the future.
“I told you, didn’t I. I’m simply returning the favor.”
I walked up to her. Resting my arm on the wall behind her, I quietly gazed down into her eyes like what she had done to me in the past.
She seemed a little flustered. Right; this was a sentiment that she wouldn’t know, because this was related to a memory of me and my master from a different timeline.
We continued looking at each other. After settling herself down, Erin gave a kind and benevolent smile.
“I am very resentful of my foolish future self.”
“You were by no means foolish.”
I stroked her cheek. This person with the white and delicate face of a baby was still the same as the one in my last iteration… She was still my master and supporter, who always supported me without asking for anything in return.
“You can’t even possibly imagine all the things I received from you.”
I wrapped my arms around her body. It was disrespectful, and I knew it would throw her off but… now was the only chance I had.
“M, Mr. Disciple?!”
Erin was befuddled by my sudden act, but as always, she was considerate of saving my face and only gently pushed me back. After letting her go, I created just a tiny bit of distance between us.
Unable to look into my eyes, she stayed there scratching her cheeks. Looking at her, I raised a straightforward question.
“H, huh? Hmm. What is it?”
“Can I kiss you?”
I had been forever wanting to return it to her; to my beloved master.
She fidgeted and mumbled, not knowing what was going on. Right – I was… seeing her as a substitute for my master. The current Erin was probably slightly different from my master, but…
“Because I want to.”
Erin took a step back, but she was at the wall already. There was no more going back.
“Umm… By the way, Mr. Disciple…”
“W, were we… in this and that kind of relationship? Like umm… a very deep one?”
“I can assure you. Except for my parents, you were the one I had forged the deepest relationship with.”
She was a true adult and a teacher in my attitude towards life, who protected me by sacrificing her own. She was most certainly the most precious person to me in this world which I had been forced into.
“I, I see… What in the world was the future me thinking… He’s a thousand years younger than you…!”
Erin mumbled with such a tiny voice that I couldn’t really hear her words. However, she soon looked straight at my face with a stern look in her eyes.
“Umm… This is superrrr unprecedented, okay? I, I have never allowed anyone to do this to me before.”
“O, of course.”
She would have been close with Valtazar as a master and disciple, but the Erin of this city had yet to meet Valtazar, so it did make sense for me to be the first.
Pushing up the hair from her forehead and wiping the small beads of sweat from it, I said with a smile full of joy.
“You are such a special person to me.”
I returned the proof of affection that she had been gifting me all the time as she stayed there nervously closing her eyes by… giving her a kiss on her forehead.
“Please, this time, let me be the one standing before you.”
Her voice was so loud that I could tell how flustered she was.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
Erin opened her eyes which had been sealed shut. Her cheeks were slightly red, which was probably because of the setting sun.
“T, this will do for today. This… is not good for my heart.”
What did she mean by that?
Although I wasn’t sure about the meaning behind her words, what I could tell was that her lips were shivering from nervousness.
“Are you sick?”
Wondering if she had a fever or something, I was about to place my hand on her forehead but she slapped it away before I could.
“I, I told you that will do for today!”
She suddenly let out a shout, which also ended up surprising me. What did she want me to do…?
“Y, you are the disciple, and I’m the master!”
What was with that sudden outburst? That sounded like something that would come out in old romance dramas. Anyway, more importantly…
“I don’t think of you as my master though, Erin.”
The Erin in front of me wasn’t my master – she was like the distant past version of my master. Even though technically they were the same people… I had to differentiate them in some way or another.
“A, ahh… What kind of forbidden territory have I entered with my disciple…?”
She trembled while mumbling indecipherable words.
“A, anyway, Mr. Disciple. Letting you know, when you are done with cleansing, I…”
Right when she was about to finish her words, a sudden flash penetrated through the darkness and…
It crashed through where we were standing.
“GU, HI, HA, HO, HA, HI, HOHO…”
Gerolge grinned with eccentric scoffs.
There was no sign of flesh on his body, let alone the swollen flesh he used to have. Inside his body was the Soul Heart which hadn’t been fully extracted before. In other words, it meant that he had successfully turned into a Lich.
The Lich turned to the sky.
He looked at the grand magic circle he cast onto this city by relying on the power of the super-blood moon, as well as the Primal Rune of 『n』 which contaminated his perfect spell.
By nature, runes had meaning in itself that turned into magic. So what would happen if another rune was to be carved onto the existing rune?
That was the original meaning of the rune, but if other runes were to be carved before and after the word to alter its meaning… Depending on how that was used, it was possible to absorb the power of the engraved rune and make it one’s own.
“I have connected to the prime. I, Gerolge, will now have absolute reign over the mana of the moon.”
He had carved several runes before and after the Primal Rune. As a great mage himself, adding runes to the sky, next to the existing rune, was nothing difficult.
Now, the Rune Magic enveloping this city would lose its original meaning and have it altered to 『The Paradise of the Dead will Continue』, and thus, the demonic nature of the city was amplified severalfold.
In other words, 1.2 million undead of Nazrea would turn much stronger, and heed the commands of the Immortal King who had finally gone through a proper evolution.
“I will kill you, Witch. This time, I will surely tear down that body of yours, insult your dead body and rape your soul!”
The maddened laughter of the Immortal King enshrouded the city. Thus began the third night; a night where the undead would hum in joy and the living would scream in fear.
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