The illusion dissipated.
The battle once again returned to the platform within the deep ravine, as the atmosphere fell back to utter silence. No time was lost at all.
Everyone was frozen exactly where they were in time. Veronica was still frozen in the position when she was diving towards the lower sections of the platform. Ash saint Mephisto held onto the broadsword, charismatically he stood.
Ciel’s magic was still sparkling in his hands, yet all were stationary at the exact moment in time they were paused. The crumbling ice walls were halted in mid-air, and within the cave itself, four of the Black knights were in a raised bow position.
On the platform, Brendel and Dim Korfa each took half the space, one in motion and the other lacking thereof, a stark contrast between them both.
Brendel slowly got back on his feet, still topless as blood began weaving down his forehead.
From there it slithered down his neck, along his shoulder, biceps, arm, and eventually to his wrist, akin to a stark tattoo.
Dark red droplets gradually rolled down the pitch-black Staff of Earth, slowly and steadily before they made their way to the ground.
Brendel silently watched from afar, and there Dim Korfa was, in a kneeling position, wickedly laughing as if she had just lost her mind. Her body then began shivering as she vigorously coughed, on for several moments as she gradually shrivelled up into a ball.
The teenager’s forehead was splattered with blood, but it was Brendel’s, the blinding lightning had now dissipated from her body. Her pupils returned to its gentle pink, her luscious black hair, dark as coal, a stark contrast to her fair, pale skin.
Her black robe spread out evenly on the platform like a black rose on the verge of blooming atop the unforgiving platform.
Dim Korfa coughed and wheezed, seemingly jubilant yet shoulders shuddering. Lifting her head across as their gazes met, with detest and loathe she stared at him with condescending eyes.
At that moment, she resembled a lone wolf and its cold and calculating gaze.
“Haha...cough cough...did you feel that?”
Brendel was quiet, for, from his vision, his surroundings slowly became light grey, and as its radius readily expanded with Korfa in the center, it gradually crept towards where he stood.
With the increasingly rapid expansion of the sphere of grey, seemingly having a life of its own, engulfed where Brendel stood, and from there, silently he could feel an old, ancient yet bearing the vibrant energy of a new beginning, gradually blending into this world.
Milos’ Power of Law.
“Hahaha cough cough...you sure are a genius aren’t you, mortal,” Dim Korfa cracked a bright smile, taking a quick gasp of breath, then shaking her head.
Pitifully she remained curled up where she was, like a feeble young teenage girl, even appearing rather exhausted as she remarked to her adversary, “You are so close to succeeding...”
It’s a pity…”
“You are a god now.”
Brendel solemnly replied.
As the Laws of the world went into reset, all space and time beyond the God's Eternal Resting Place went to an extended pause.
And within this vast emptiness, a new flame was reignited. Like the birth of a new light, it rekindled each of the prehistoric era’s line of Laws, and along with them a name.
The call of a name that was deep asleep in the dark abyss.
The father of the Frost Giants.
From beyond the line of separation, Dim Korfa had reached God-level. Beads of tears hung frivolously by the edges of her eyes, there she cracked a broad, genuine smile for the first time in forever, “Huh, so do you still think you have a chance?” Whilst speaking, her head tilted as her gaze fixated upon Brendel, curiously anticipating her reply.
Yet this curiosity carried unfathomable vengeance. As Dim Korfa mellowed her smile, her canine teeth were prying through her lips.
Brendel remained fixated on the ever-expanding silver realm.
“Five more minutes,” He then solemnly remarked, “Until I’ll kill you for good.”
The teenage girl cracked a smile, once again lasted hardly any time before she started choking and coughing.
“Cough cough...sure, if only you were a real mortal…” Her coughs got ever more severe, yet on the verge of tears from laughing at Brendel as if she just heard the most hilarious joke she had ever come across.
In her blood-red eyes was a sympathetic gaze, “A pity isn’t it, that the Gods and the Crystal signed a treaty to hand the mortals the power of the future.”
“Brendel,” Dim Korfa was still happily smiling, almost attractive in a way, “Meaning I, as the descendant of the Darkness dragon, cannot be killed by a member of the Divine folk, specifically, you.”
“Only a mortal can kill me.”
“But thanks to you, hehe, only the Divine folk could move within this realm.”
“Do you understand? Nobody can stop me…” She stumbled as she came onto her own two feet, softly she added, “Millions of years later, humans would have chosen their fate, but this time around, nobody could change it.”
Brendel remained silent.
But an answer came from an external source.
“Brendel couldn’t,” This voice was crisp and decisive, “but I can.”
Brendel and Korfa’s expressions took a swift turn in opposite directions.
“Who are you?!” Korfa’s face instantly dulled, panicking she shouted into the abyss. Out of mid-air, in the sidelines of the standoff between the two, a door was drawn on the air by a ray of blue light, and out came a young woman, clad in Cavalry uniform as she strode onto the platform.
She turned towards Dim Korfa, with a serious tone she remarked, “I do not know where Brendel is from, or why he is unable to defeat you, but I know one thing, Your Divine highness, that I can make that choice.”
“Because I,” She pressed onto her chest, word for word she declared, “am from Bucce, and I am that mortal that you have chosen to name.”
As she proclaimed those words, Dim Korfa’s reactions were equally interesting, as if all her emotions were clumped into one.
“That’s impossible,” Desperately shaking her head in denial, “It cannot be...no, you have to make the right choice, for it influences the future of this world.
Now heed this advice, young maiden, for it was Marsha that had granted you everything, your kind cannot betray her virtues.”
She watched as Freya solemnly drew her longsword, the light reflected upon the blade was blinding to Korfa, her face now paler than ever, “No, I can make you a demigod, you can be with him till the rest of time, we can return this world to its historical glory.”
Her continuous rambling seemed to be completely disregarded by the Cavalry maiden, and as she held onto the Lionheart sword, she turned back to look at Brendel.
Brendel gave her an acknowledging smile.
Brendel raised his Staff of Earth, “Show me what they’ve taught you at the Royal Cavalry Academy.”
In Milos’ realm, all abilities have been fully repelled, even Korfa’s own.
Now they had with them five minutes, five minutes until the Silver realm fully merged with Dim Korfa.
And in these five minutes, it was a battle purely rested upon skill and experience.
The two adversaries were dead silent. Korfa seemed to have lost her ability to speak, her face appearing stiff, for she had witnessed the sky blue radiance between Freya.
“This is my agreement with the Crystal, Korfa, and it is only right that we offer them with more options,” A voice seemed to resonate from the background.
“But that’s unfair!”
“Korfa, you and I are from different camps, we have different beliefs and faiths, but I do have a tiny request that I would like to seek from you...to allow fairness to blossom in the sands of history,” The voice appealed.
“If you are certain Chaos is the only Truth in the universe, then you shan’t be worried that it would fail, is that not so?”
The voice stopped, with a more prominent tone it then remarked, “For the same decision befalls upon me.”
Dim Korfa scoffed but with no words in rebuke. Lifting her head, she sees a man and a woman.
Both in an attacking stance.
The Staff of Earth vibrated ever so slightly as Brendel shut his eyelids. Before him was now a summer night, and amidst the darkness was a night sky complimented by scattering stars. There he made his steps forward, feeling each and every step with his body, and there by his side was Freya, doing the same, almost to identical beats.
The obsidian-colored blade and its metallic counterpart hovered in mid-air as they charged.
“You remember the battle of Bucce?” Brendel took to asking, still in stance, “the battle of the Golden garden.”
Freya was caught off-guard, yet nodded nonetheless.
“This time,” Brendel continued, “I shall cover you again.”
He laid down the Staff of Earth.
Dash was once again initiated, and like a ray of light Brendel went straight at Korfa, this time around it had nothing to do with the Laws, or the Elemental powers, even the power of Milos’ realm was restricted to the bare minimum.
It was just a simple battle of life and death.
Dim Korfa’s rage could easily be noted through the fiery gaze, yet she adeptly took a step back and conveniently blocked off Brendel’s blade. Her reaction was from pure battle experience, one that was undoubtedly among the best.
It was a pity for Korfa however that Brendel was not fighting alone.
A sky blue silhouette presented herself as Brendel, the Aouine Cavalry uniform was all the more eye-catching to the Eldest daughter of Hati. The metallic gleam of the Lionheart sword revealed itself like a fang of the lion, thrust towards her.
Maynild once entrusted all hope that this sword could change the fate of a kingdom, but here it was instead, ready to change the fate of someone else.
These people covered the entire Warndt mainland.
Dim Korfa howled, witnessing Freya’s sword art was on full display, one she deemed completely vulgar. In visible disdain, she retaliated with a claw towards the warrior maiden, yet what came next was a blade, black as obsidian coming in between!
“You damned brat!” She lifted her head and once again Brendel was there in her way, and yet again with a vague smile on his face. She couldn’t help but gripped Brendel’s blade instead, forcing it away before taking an abrupt step back to avoid Freya’s attack this time around.
Brendel, however, was not going to let anything go her way. Tossing away the Staff of Earth, he instead grabbed onto her wrist.
“You scum!” Korfa was furious, without second doubt she thrust a concealed dagger with her other hand towards Brendel’s waist.
Nevertheless, after the attack was struck, she thought of herself: This cunt before me is already a dead man! Korfa lifted her head, and all she saw was Brendel ominously smiling at her.
Oh fuck! Hati’s eldest daughter instantly blanked out.
And with a snick, she could feel the weapon in her hand unobstructedly piercing into Brendel’s abdomen. Yet there Brendel was, barely twitching, devoid of any signs of pain as he clenched onto her hand. A single jerk and she was pulled towards him.
Into Brendel’s embrace she fell before he forced him to turn around towards Freya.
“No!” Korfa screeched.
Freya and Dim Korfa both had their eyes wide from terror.
Dim Korfa gasped as she watched a blade thrust into her heart. It was the Lionheart sword. Her eyes opened wide, yet there she was, voiceless, gasping and slowly suffocating, before blood spewed from the edges of her lips. The teenage woman furrowed her brows, her face wrinkled as she huffed and puffed, even in immense pain, she was not yielding, not like this.
Not like this…
Watching the platform that was supposed to bring her glory and praise, then onto the barrel-like valley, then to Freya.
And lastly, with a last-ditch effort, she forced her head behind to take a look at Brendel, the one mortal that was the bane of her existence.
“Korfa, this is the answer…”
“Vile…” She feebly spouted.
Freya, almost restless witnessing the goddess sinking to her death, pulled out the sword. Her lips twitched, a thousand words she was ready to speak yet words were stuck in her throat.
Ultimately, a simple reassurance she settled upon, “Brendel, are you…”
“I’m alright,” Brendel let out a sigh of relief, Dim Korfa gradually feeling lighter in his arms, as she had begun fading into obscurity once again. Time and space around them began to gradually resume into action.
Staring to the far corners, Brendel noticed that the grey regions at the edges of the platform had finally begun to dissipate.
Milos’ law was now once again returning to the dark void.
A good marker for a new beginning.
Letting out a deep breath, he wearily replied, “Good thing she avoided the heart.”
Whilst speaking, he began coughing, a chain of fatigue and chills came up at him as if they had been waiting for the battle to end. He faltered and stumbled, on the verge of collapse before a reassuring embrace came to his rescue.
It was Freya. Freya was there for him.
Time in its normal order seemed to have resumed the moment Dim Korfa died, Haruz was baffled watching the caped Black knights raise their bows and to have marched towards the edges of the glacier.
The Black Knights’ actions were so natural, it was as if there weren’t any pauses in-between time, not even acknowledging the obvious changes on the platform. To them, it all seemed as though it happened in a blink of an eye.
Like clockwork, they raised the longbows within their grasps and raised it as planned.
Right then, the ice shards that were stuck in mid-air since time was paused came crashing into the valley.
The Black knights aimed directly at Brendel and Freya. As time was fleeting, they were not aware of where Freya had originated from nor did they care. All that intuitively recognized was that Freya was Count Trentheim’s ally, and as such, they drew their bowstrings.
Haruz took two quick, panicked breaths, and just as he was going to speak, Shido by his side seemed to have guessed his motives as her eyes popped wide. She frantically shook her head, hinting at him to not make rash decisions, yet the young prince only had his teacher’s safety in his mind.
Given his almost childlike innocence, his own circumstances were early on relegated as an afterthought.
The riders let loose their arrows, and faint swishes were heard.
The long arrows were released from their source.
“Teacher, watch out! The Black knights, they are here!”
The young prince screamed at the top of his lungs.
The leader of the Black Knights quickly reacted, drew his sword, and came towards the exposed delinquent!
Just as his sword was headed towards the neck of the young prince, he found himself frozen in position, mid-way from his attack. The truth was, each and every one of the Black Knights present was too.
The Line of the Golden Law seemed to have extended within the glacier and coiled around every person, startling the Black Knights by the cavern entrance as all their arrows seemed to deflect off a massive figure.
It was a dragon.
The dragon spread its wings, its scales shimmering from the golden flow, its equally golden pupils burning with scorching flame.
Lifting its head, both horns in full, majestic display as the Giant dragon stared down upon its adversaries.
The Giant dragon, one that could only possibly appear from prehistoric times, which moments ago was just flaunting its regal wings on the other side of the valley, had now made its way right before their eyes.
Shido, on the verge of tears, couldn’t help but call out her name.
“Haha, can’t believe our lives are spared!” Filas too remarked.
Right beside him, Laurenna let out a sigh of relief. Naturally, everyone did, even the likes of the tense Kirrlutzian crown prince, which now could finally catch a breath, only to watch as the younger prince shouted out a rash call of warning.
From the immeasurable anxiety, his body gave in.
“If I was you,” Aloz warned, albeit teasingly as she winced her eyes towards the leader of the Black knights, “I would drop the sword.”
The knights were not in their wildest dreams expecting a dragon before themselves. Visibly shaken, the leader of the Black knights raised his sword, then loosen his grip as his weapon fell, a loud clunk was heard as it hit the ground.
In the ice cavern, the Black Knights shared an understanding gaze, pausing momentarily before the clanging of heavy metal was heard as weapons were thrown to the ground.
Brendel turned his gaze to the skies as the silhouette of a massive sentient beast soared past.
His head, now resting on the young woman’s lap, was attached to a body which at this point was utterly depleted, giggling from genuine joy radiated from deep within.