‘Look at that...that lance looks kinda strange…”
Not sure who it was from, but as exclamations were heard, the weapon broke apart, like glass it fractured and cracked, and the true Azure Lance revealed from within.
Majestic like jade, two bolts of intertwining lightning rotated across the Azure Lance; its blade radiated golden rays as Johann’s corpse shot out, beads of tainted blood-spattered.
Jaws dropped as everyone promptly froze, even the Kirrlutzian nobles were left dead silent.
The reveal of the Azure Lance left everyone terrified. Witnessing as the lance cut through the Lines of Laws, Johann’s sword actually did block Scarlet’s lance, but the lance seemed to have appeared from a different realm, and there it pierced right through Johann’s heart, completely negating any form of defense.
It was a recurring scene proclaimed in the Pale poem.
The Kirrlutzians’ own creationary myth.
The Lance of Subversing Mortality.
“This is the lance art of the master,” Ovina proudly declared, “Its true purpose was for it to break the rigid order, and to bring forth a new future.”
Watching Scarlet herself gradually opening her eyes, and was bewildered by what she saw in her hands, it just meant she had not yet fathom what had just happened, and Ovina felt it a pity, “It’s unfortunate that you could yet comprehend the greatness within it, for it had no equal, not before, not now, not ever.”
“I...I don’t really understand…” Scarlet frowned, for she could wrap her head around what had just happened, all she knew was that the Azure Lance broke through a certain law in place, and twisted its way to hit a target that was logically impossible to hit.
The truth was it all felt rather muddy to her like even after she wielded the lance, killed her adversary it all still seemed like a pure coincidence.
“The truth is simply because the logic of obeying the natural order is not the actual truth. Just like good and evil, right and wrong, they are all just concepts with value.”
Ovina glanced over at the baffled young woman and was greeted with perplexity, belatedly aware that none of what she said was getting to her.
She said, then decided to make it simple and short, “Alright let’s put it this way. In most cases, whether our attacks hit the target or otherwise, it relies on the understanding of both attacking parties, and the key factors naturally include strength and balance; these are the usual rules of the game, played by two sides.
But what if I'm telling you now that the Holy Lance of Heaven broke this rule, and the mortal rules no longer apply? Its attacks now adhere to the Laws of its own creation.
These Laws are far superior to the usual “game rules”, for a mortal dodging from an attack with conventional rules can never avoid the attack of the Azure Lance.”
The Kirrlutzian nobles at that moment had finally snapped out of their panic and distress, prompting Ovina to speed up her debrief. Scarlet also took notice as she strenuously drew her weapon back into a defensive stance. Nevertheless, she followed up on Ovina’s explanation, “So...what is this Law called?”
Ovina’s reply was emphatic.
“Reverse cause to effect.”
Babarn ultimately snapped back into reality, but he sure wished he never did. It all just felt like slapping himself in the face.
The Aouine people dug the Azure Lance from under the Ampere Seale, then handed it over to the Buga people, which was a truth that no one could sugarcoat, not even Princess Gryphine to begin with. Instead, she ought to scapegoat other parties for this mishap, even intentionally requesting Brendel to brazenly spread it out into the world.
And throughout the entire process, one name was unable to hide from public attention, the one of Count Trentheim, since Brendel was the star of the Battle of Ampere Seale. Not to mention that the Holy Lance of Heaven was dug out from beneath the city after its besiege. If anyone were to divert the finding from that name it would only attract unnecessary suspicion.
The Lance of Subversing Mortality had a recurring presence in the Pale poem. Legend has it that it could pierce through the world, negating the Laws of the mortal realm.
And here it was, presented before their eyes.
Now along with Scarlet’s identity, and all the tumultuous history between the Aouine and Buga peoples, if Babarn by now could not comprehend that he, along with the other Kirrlutzians had been played a fool by Brendel and the Buga people, he would have been an unredeemable idiot.
He sure got this point by now, but another arose in his mind. The truth of this enormous secret is exposed before me, but the problem now is, can we survive this to tell the tale?
He couldn’t help but share a glance with the others, each sharing the sentiment of greed alongside utter fear.
“Even until then, they wanted to snatch the Azure Lance from you!”
Babarn at that point knew that his compatriots were all familiar with the origins of the weapon in her grasp, and even if one or two of them were still slow to react, they could have guessed just from the looks of their fellow noblemen.
It was the greed in them however that left him astonished, yet it was forthcoming, for it was a shared sentiment that the mere spark of thought was about to lead to a forest fire.
It was the crown jewel among those named in the Pale poem, a true weapon from the preceding era, the lance that pierced through its cocoon, leading to a new era, the weapon of the warrior of the Azure skies. Whoever possesses it might just become the king of the World!
But Babarn had not yet succumbed to their shared delusions. Aware that the divine weapon was not suitable to be wielded by just about anyone, after all, it was a Holy Object from the prehistoric era. Not to mention fame almost on par with its capabilities, the Wind Elves, the Farnezains, and themselves the Kirrlutzian people were all ogling this divine weapon!
After all, who wouldn’t?
Now even the Silver level Buga people are on the search; the dragon tribe might not have officially heard of its return, but given their self-indulgence they would never give up the divine lance without a fight. These forces, we can’t fight these forces! But Babarn knew well that he had another option, and that was to hand the Azure Lance to the king.
As his thoughts spiraled, they began to saturate his mind. Unable to consider otherwise, he could not help but mumble into the ears of the other nobles, “Guys, I’m sure you all know what that is by now, Veronica and Count Trentheim’s dirty little secret, now exposed to us. The fate of our names and success lies here today lads, right now!”
Listening to Babarn, the others were slightly riled up, with all eyes on him at this point.
But these were all the cream of the crop among the noblemen, now aroused by Babarn’s grand plan, compared to their original scheme to keep Scarlet as hostage to blackmail Veronica, this seemed far easier.
The Azure Lance was right here within an arm's reach, it was ripe for the taking. Besides, with Veronica being their superior, who would believe their empty words? As one of the highest-ranked commanders, this was her own misdeed, but now with such a grand gift within grasp, they have the leverage they needed before the royals!
With their new plan, not only would they be left unscathed when they return, they might even be generously compensated. And when that happens, as the heroes who returned the Azure Lance to the kingdom, House Cecil would have to think twice before seeking their revenge.
If they played their hand well, House Cecil would throw the blame on Veronica, which would break the alliance between House Ashric and themselves!
Upon this point, the Kirrlutzian noblemen were now all solemn and keen. Their gazes fixated upon Scarlet, from the preceding fright, their gaze was now imbued with thirst, like gamblers at the sight of a casino.
“Babarn’s right, this is a huge secret and she’s not gonna let us live with this. Life or death, we have got to decide.”
“Enough with this garbage talk, we all know about this. Let’s get her!” One of the Kirrlutzian was rather brash and bold. Nevertheless, it was not his usual tone, he was just nervous.
Scarlet took a few steps back, “They seemed to realize that this is indeed the Azure Lance,” Frowning, she whispered to Ovina.
“That shouldn’t matter to you, if there’s anything just kill them, dead men tell no tales,” Ovina brushed her concern off, unfazed.
Clearly, she had gone through the potential outcomes the moment she flashed the lance art, considering that Scarlet was still far too weak, having the news that she had the Azure Lance would be a call for trouble.
Scarlet nodded at Ovina’s “solution”, but chose to keep her silence.
Killing without remorse had yet come naturally to Scarlet, and would still leave her hesitating on her decision. That said, killing was not the issue, for she was a mercenary, to begin with.
The last days of intense and harrowing events had taught her several decades worth of experience in the span of weeks, and had made her see clearly how the world really was.
Now the thought she had instead, as if she hadn’t saved Babarn from beneath the ice sheet, how different it would all have been. The Highland maiden was now a changed woman.
She was now inclined to believe she should not offer mercy to strangers, and the only one she would offer compassion to was her Lord commander. Him and only him.
Raising her lance, the same weapon that made her hesitate her mortality just moments ago after Ovina revealed its true capabilities, had now placed her beyond the reaches of the specks of humanity.
On the other side of the battle, the nobles were fueled with insatiable greed. Weapons were drawn as they eyed the lance like deprived hyenas at a carcass.
Humans are just delusional in a way, even when suspended above the jaws of death, they would still give in to greed, eyeing the chance of fortune at the expense of their lives. More so that the prize was one that would drive anyone mad, confidence on both sides was at a high. The fight was nigh.
A brutal fight ensued.
Scarlet, from the moment she held the true Azure Lance, felt her chi transformed. It was now that she was no longer at the helm, for it was Ovina instead in the battle.
That was the power of the Lance of Subversing Mortality.
In the minds of mortals, what they could perceive as Laws of battle no longer apply to the lance. The battle had promptly morphed into a massacre. The Azure Lance now boasted the rules beyond the Laws, and defense was nothing but a flimsy concept.
If there was a target it was aimed to hit, it will hit.
The piercing of the lance was the filler to the absent narrative. As the blade had already ripped through the human body, the world would not allow for a gaping hole in the flow of space and time while a mortal life was taken. Hence the lance at its endpoint provided a haphazard reminder of its otherworldly outcome.
Scarlet held the lance, two steps back and one lunge forward, and upon that the Kirrlutzian noble seemed to have set himself up as a human sacrifice, with despair and distraught he was brought against his will through the middle of the blade, with his heart sliced apart in its center.
Scarlet stoically tossed the corpse from her weapon, turn around, and thrust it towards another Kirrlutzian, of which he intended to block with his sword, only for the Azure Lance to cut through like butter, along his shoulder, as it belatedly detached and fell like it was meant to be.
Only a blink of an eye and the battle was set.
Babarn and the last remaining Kirrlutzian noble, retreated in horror, fearing for their lives. Only then did they fathom why the Azure Lance was held in such divine regard in the Kirrlutzian book of creation.
It was this gift, bestowed upon by the heavens. This gift, that was not supposed to be in this world, yet with an unparalleled purpose it was brought about to the mortals, and hence opening a brand new page in the history of the world.
That was the Lance of Subversing Mortality no less.
A boat rocked above the choppy seas. Babarn took a sip of water, still feeling the dryness in his throat as he narrated his experiences before, albeit with bits and parts intentionally left out.
As he narrated, still visibly shaken, under the dim and flickering oil lamps within the damp and tapered lower-class cabin, it felt as if they were in the sailors’ “cages”.
Under the barrel-shaped cabin was a few hammocks, and on them sat three people, Babarn, Boymer, and another in exquisite clothing. Their outfits were in stark contrast with that of the peasant class cabin, but they felt right at home.
Well, they didn’t have much of a choice.
Viscount Bernie sat before Babarn, this time as the special envoy for Her Majesty the Queen, with a special mission but was defaulted before he could even step on Aouine lands.
He was not disappointed, however, feeling more fortunate instead that the Aouine people were not notified beforehand of his supposed arrival. It would raise suspicions if he did, but now he had far more urgent issues to deal with, for the “item” was on this ship.
This was far more crucial than anything else he would have had to handle in Aouine. By a mile.
Patiently interpreting Babarn’s narration, he mimicked his exact action in the process, raising the cup for a sip, a cup filled with watered-down rum. It was revolting, a taste that leaves the drinker far thirstier than he started with.
Quietly he sat, and after several moments he took to ask, “So, why didn’t she kill you, and how did she become like this?”
Babarn was perplexed, cold sweat dripping down his forehead. Boymer across from him was hardly doing better as they both appeared shell-shocked.
After what seemed like a deep contemplation they finally replied,
“It was the explosion…”
Viscount Bernie naturally did not experience the battle, hence was far quicker in recovering than the other two.
Frowning at the battered men before himself, he was ready to blame yet ultimately thought it was not worth the hassle. After all, it was chilling just to hear the events of three dozen Gold-level noble militants slaughtered in an instant, and it was within the same ranks!
At this point, he was not sure if Babarn was lying, and instead determined that the blame lay in its entirety on Scarlet and Brendel.
After a quick thought, he calmly added, “Speak in detail, so we can save the hassle when we meet the queen.”
Babarn was rather touched as he gazed over to the Viscount. Viscount Bernie was from the Pratt family, a closely acquainted royal clan to the queen. And for a member of a highly regarded clan to even offer his attention was rather surprising, to Babarn at least, and it also confirmed the queen’s interest in the Azure Lance.
Guess I won the bet this time! After a long pause, he replied, “She did intend to kill us, but a certain something cut her short of murdering us all.”
Viscount Bernie frowned, wondering to what extent an explosion would stop the Azure Lance.
But all of a sudden, a face of bewilderment flashed through his face, as Babarn and Boymer watched in confusion. The Viscount exhilaratingly hopped off his hammock, his face reddened as he strode in circles within the narrow cabin.
After several moments, he took a deep breath, halted his circling, and aggressively patted Babarn on the shoulder as he shouted,
“It’s the explosion! It must be! The explosion of the Deadly Tundra forest must be related to the Azure Lance, it’s all coming together now! Viscount Babarn, please enlighten me on the incident from start to finish, make it as elaborate as possible.”
Viscount Bernie was thrilled, but he could sense that his tone was rather aggressive, given that his unnoteworthy audience might one day in the future be of great admiration by the Queen Her Highness.
Promptly, he tried again, this time with his words rephrased, “I’m sure the both of you are aware of my trip this time around, Her Highness is rather concerned by the recent explosion.”
Babarn belatedly nodded, but his reply was noticeably vague.
“That explosion...I don’t actually know how it happened…”
“Wait, fill me in if it’s related in any way with the Azure Lance.” Viscount Bernie cut him short.
Babarn glanced over to the Viscount, slightly taken aback by his obsession with that matter, yet chose to only reply with a shake of the head.
“I don’t know, maybe not, can’t really tell. But one thing’s for sure, is that the explosion happened behind us. I could feel the strong flare and humming but the whole thing was rather sudden, nobody knew what was actually happening.
It just felt like the Earth was shaking and the entire world fell into a blinding white void. If you find this hard to believe you can ask Boymer, he’s experienced just as much.”
Overhearing the conversation, Boymer appeared rather traumatized as he nodded.
Viscount Bernie turned towards him, paused for a moment, before he continued, “What happened after that?”
“After that? After that a strange woman was saying, ‘Damnit, what is this...be careful, I’ll protect you!’ but I can’t promise that it was true, the voice was loud, and it might be part of my imagination,” Babarn replied.
“No, Viscount, I heard it too,” Boymer further verified.
Bernie nodded, with a frown he continued, “So what I’m getting is that all of you were close to the site of the explosion, but you have all lived, is that so?”
Babarn let out an awkward grunt.
After a moment of hesitation, he ultimately nodded.