༺ Resurgence (1) ༻
The Sanctuary had been withdrawn.
Vera took a deep breath and stared at Gillie, who had over half of their body blown away.
What remained of their body lay on the ground writhing, desperately attempting to regenerate. From just the sight, one might assume that they would eventually be able to stand again, but Vera was certain.
The sensation at his fingertips, the reclaimed Sanctuary, were all indicative of something.
Gillie was incapable of standing again. In fact, the rate of their body’s decomposition exceeded the speed of their regeneration.
Vera’s body convulsed. After gritting his teeth and struggling to support himself to stand up, Vera approached Gillie. He yanked their hair up to look at their eyes and said.
“That dagger, where did you get it from?”
The purpose of the interrogation was to gauge the current influence of the Demon King.
As Gillie writhed in agony from the pain of being torn apart, they rolled their eyes up at the voice.
The Apostle glared at them fiercely.
They had no sense of reality. The constant question ‘why’ lingered in their mind.
This wasn’t real. They couldn’t possibly be lying there like this. They were supposed to be the one tearing apart the Apostle and capturing the Saint to fulfill their long-cherished wish.
Their thoughts were in disarray, and their entire body in excruciating agony.
The moment Gillie began huffing and puffing as a result of their current state…
Vera slammed Gillie’s head against the ground.
“I asked you where did you get that dagger from.”
His voice progressively deepened.
As Gillie stared at Vera, their expression slowly contorted. They responded with a sudden fit of laughter.
Vera slammed Gillie’s head against the ground again.
Gillie felt their right eye burst open as they were swept along the ground. It was a situation in which their natural response would’ve been to scream, yet…
The sound emitted was laughter.
Indeed, Gillie thought it was absolutely hilarious.
This situation, that Apostle, and even the sight of themself.
This entire thing was so comical.
“Why do you have that expression, you son of a bitch.”
Gillie’s head was thrust onto the ground again.
Vera glared at Gillie, who seemed unfazed by the treatment, and scowled.
He had to find out why. The reason why someone already possessing the light of the Demon King appeared, and how they obtained that light.
He had to uncover the truth, no matter what, for the sake of the future.
There was no other way.
If Gillie perished here without providing any meaningful information, everything would return to square one. They would have to wait for events with an ever increasing uncertainty.
This was potentially an opportunity to determine the origin of the Demon King, which he never learned even till the end of his previous life. However, with Gillie, who held the key to that mystery in this condition, the truth of the matter was becoming more and more distant.
Gillie laughed hysterically.
Vera gnashed his teeth..
The moment Vera tried to slam Gillie’s head against the ground again.
Someone was approaching from behind.
Vera’s head rotated in the direction of the sound.
The presence that was approaching was…
It was Friede.
* * * *
Friede glanced at Gillie with a distorted face.
The body was almost entirely lacking in the features of a normal body. Only their torso remained. A snicker suddenly emerged on their face. Friede’s expression became gloomy at the sight of Vera clasping their hair.
The emotions that had overturned their mind today, the feelings they only now realized as they watched the scene unfold, were displayed in a state of ‘disorder’.
Friede’s gaze shifted to Gillie. Gillie returned their gaze, and with a battered face pinned against the ground continued speaking.
“Please help me.”
They were wishful words.
Friede replied with a gloomy expression.
“To say that…”
“It’s for our siblings. Think about it. Is this the right thing to do?”
Hesitation-. Friede’s body froze.
“Why do we have to die, why do we have to meet our demise like this? Does every sibling have to accept their death, all because of Aedrin?! I can’t accept that. I can’t accept that the long history of the elves would come to an end just because of this reason.”
Their words were endless, shimmering with determination and desire, even as they were awaiting death.
Friede recalled that even up to the moment of their death, Gillie had never changed. They were still the same since the time they were one and communicated through Mother.
Friede knelt down and reflected on past events as they stroked Gillie’s cheek.
The sibling I had spent the longest time with. The sibling who carried an unwavering desire for thousands of years.
I thought I understood that yearning.
I thought I understood my sibling’s passion.
‘…I was wrong.’
There’s something I now realize. I didn’t understand my sibling. No, I didn’t even try to understand.
I had been analyzing them rather than understanding them.
Though Gillie could no longer become one with Friede, they still attempted to communicate with Friede amidst their strife.
“We still have younger siblings. Those siblings…!”
Their voices trembled with emotions. They vomited blood with an unsightly appearance and uttered furious words.
“…What sins have they committed?!”
A voice filled with resolve.
Friede braced themselves for all of those emotions and spoke.
Friede scanned their surroundings.
The corpses of the siblings who followed Gillie withered and turned into ashes.
“Look around you, this is what your righteousness has reduced our siblings to.”
“It was for the cause…!”
Friede gazed into Gillie’s eyes. Their bloodshot eyes displayed rage as it continuously gushed out tears of blood.
Friede finally understood. The cause was not one of righteous intent. The longing that was always blazing within the depths of Gillie’s heart was not for their siblings.
“It was for yourself.”
Flinch. Gillie’s shivers reverberated through Friede’s hand.
“Did you not utilize our siblings to gain eternal life?”
Friede was finally able to comprehend that irrational desire.
They finally understood that selflessly acting for the sake of others, was not akin to the sequence of events displayed here.
Friede moved their lips again as they sensed the presence of Vera and the slowly approaching Renee from afar.
“Don’t use the cause as justification.”
The cause is never for one’s own benefit.
Friede’s wind sliced through Gillie’s neck, their head rolling across the floor, rage eternally imprinted at the moment of their death.
Vera watched Gillie’s head rolling with a desperate and futile expression, then promptly turned his head towards Friede.
“Apologies. I did not want to continue to witness any more of my sibling’s pitiful appearance.”
A tone brimming with bitterness.
Friede clung onto their grieving heart as their bitter thoughts continued.
How would things have turned out if I didn’t stand by like this? How would things have turned out if I hadn’t turned a blind eye to that longing, if I had stopped Gillie?
The belated thoughts were beginning to take the form of regret.
The blend of bitterness and sorrow suffocating my heart, perhaps this emotion is what would be called regret.
I thought I was being rational, that I always saw straight through their heart.
However, when faced with reality, I realized that I was just a fool who couldn’t even understand what was right in front of my eyes.
Friede’s eyelids reddened.
The rising heat burned their eyes as tears flowed out.
They were tears of sorrow.
The Neuters’ invasion had come to an end. It naturally concluded because there were no longer any Neuters left who could attack.
Renee sat on Aedrin’s roots, recalling the sequence of events she heard and fell deep into her thoughts.
‘In the end…’
One problem had been solved, but the important issue regarding Aedrin remained the same. The elves were still on the verge of extinction.
Renee felt overwhelmed by that reality.
‘There must be something I can do…’
Her thoughts continued, and unknowingly, her hand began stroking Aedrin’s roots.
As her anguish grew, she felt frustrated at those thoughts that deviated from her desires.
Renee exclaimed at the thought that came to mind.
Vera, who was standing besides Renee, responded to Renee’s sudden outburst and awaited her subsequent words.
“Where is the dagger that Gillie was holding?”
“It’s currently in my possession.”
Vera replied carefully, his doubts rising due to Renee’s unexpected instruction to search for the dagger.
“But, why are you looking for that…”
“Can I borrow it for a moment?”
Renee’s hand extended forward.
A pure white divinity emerged above her hand.
“There’s no problem if I protect myself like this, right?”
She uttered those words with a smile. Vera made a ‘Ha-’ sound, voicing his worry, and soon placed the dagger by his chest in Renee’s hand.
“What are you trying to accomplish?”
“I think I can do this.”
Renee focused her mind on the ominous energy she felt as she held the dagger. From what she heard, it was a dagger that absorbed the life force of the Neuters.
Yes, ‘life force.’
The dagger that drained life force, the life that Aedrin also necessitated.
Renee voiced her thoughts to Vera.
“If what is contained within the dagger is life, can’t we transfer the life permeated within this dagger to Lady Aedrin? The life force of hundreds of elves who have lived for over a millennium are contained in this dagger.”
Vera’s eyes widened slightly.
‘Was she worrying about that?’
Admiration arose upon realizing Renee’s true intentions, followed by subsequent doubts.
“It won’t be as easy as it sounds. The ability of that dagger is to drain life, but it’s a different matter entirely if we were to try to use it to increase one’s life.”
“I can do it.”
Renee responded to Vera with a tone brimming with excitement.
Renee was feeling joy.
“Isn’t that my power, the authority that I possess?”
At last, she found joy from finding a use for this useless power.
In front of Aedrin’s thickest roots, the remaining fifty or so elves congregated and watched Renee.
Renee held the dagger and prayed as a means of evoking her divinity. Marie stood beside her to assist in this task.
Friede stared blankly with a haggard face, and questioned Vera.
“Is it possible?”
He asked Vera.
Vera’s words were filled with conviction. It wasn’t an answer given based on the possibility of success, but rather an answer based on his faith in Renee’s capabilities.
Friede glanced forward again and smiled helplessly in response to Vera’s conviction, his unwavering faith.
“Well, it doesn’t matter if you fail. In any case, dying is the same no matter what. I’d rather make the most of my remaining life rather than dwell on the conclusion.”
“There will be no failure.”
The same tone full of conviction.
“…If you’re certain.”
Friede replied roughly and glanced at Renee again.
Renee settled down on Aedrin’s roots, kneeling, and made a prayer to her power.
May these lives save Aedrin, and may the sinister divinity in the dagger be warm to Aedrin.
The pure white divinity responded to her wish and began to purify the dagger’s energy.
As long as the possibility wasn’t zero, if even the narrowest possibility existed, the power of the Lord would make it a reality.
Renee’s judgment was truly correct.
There was a far higher possibility of purifying the dagger’s energy and passing it to Aedrin, rather than directly involving herself with Aedrin. The divinity Renee possessed was of a sufficient level to handle the task.
The sinister energy dissipated, and the light of the divine authority engraved itself within.
Renee realized she was ready and spoke to Marie.
“Lady Marie, shall we begin now?”
“Alright, I’m ready too.”
A divinity reminiscent of a lush green forest exuded from Marie.
Marie infused vitality into Aedrin’s essence as a precaution against any unforeseeable incidents.
Renee sensed Marie’s divinity from beside her. Without further delay, she inserted the dagger in the root.
What followed was an unexpected wonder.
The colossal tree began to grow in an instant. It absorbed the life provided to it and became progressively lively in appearance.
The elves let out exclamations of jubilation.
There was something that the elves could sense. The quiet laughter of their Mother, who had remained silent up until this moment.
Friede stood amidst the elves and widened their eyes. A blank expression emerged on their face as they witnessed the scene and let out a laugh.
At the end of their gaze was Renee, and their Mother, who recovered their liveliness. Fruits began to blossom on their Mother’s thickest branches.
Everything amalgamated to produce a single landscape, giving rise to a sense of awe within Friede’s mind.
Vera’s sense of awe mirrored that of Friede’s.
Vera felt that he was beginning to understand what happened in the Great Woodlands in his previous life.
Is this the reason the elves were able to survive?
In her previous life, she remained until the very end to stop Gillie and took that dagger to infuse life into Aedrin.
That must be what provided the elves with salvation.
Vera’s gazed at Renee’s back. Her small back was covered in pure white divinity.
A miracle resulting from her unyielding faith that never once held doubt, even until the bitter end. It was a miracle that could only be achieved because she had trust and kindness in her heart, unlike himself.
Renee’s light, that faith, brought about a miracle.
What did I judge her as being immature in? How dare I judge that light as one that had yet to grow.
Although she was young and inexperienced, the appearance of Renee at this moment was truly that of the Saint.
The light that illuminated his world.
A smile suddenly graced Vera’s lips. His heart began to race.
Vera couldn’t help but think that this must be the natural feeling of awe as he gazed at Renee incessantly.
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