Absolute Reality: A Chance in Restoring a Foredoomed World
“Queen Fiora! Please excuse the interruption, but… it’s an emergency.”
The front doors to the Queen’s hall burst open, a messenger revealing himself as he tried to catch a breath.
“Is that so? Go on, what happened?” She could see the sweat and panic that surfaced on the elder’s face. Surely something important went down or was yet to be unveiled.
“B-Benareth… Officials from the Benareth Empire are outside the castle!” Her eyes went wide and she stood, unsure of what to make out of the messenger’s words.
“Benareth? How did they make it through the Kingdom walls? Did… anyone get hurt?” Panicking for her people, she hoped that the worst hadn’t happened. But how could she be so sure? Benareth, although said to be a home to the other half of humanity, never maintained good ties with her empire, Trestia. As a result, any news that involved them was a major concern.
“Your highness, I’m not sure how they got this far, but the guards claimed that they’re here to establish a treaty of peace with Trestia. They wish to speak with you and the others in regards to their offer.”
“This sounds too convenient to be true…” Frowning, she walked down the throne stairs before asking the messenger one last question.
“I’ll ask once more, was anyone hurt?”
“N-No your highness. Even members of the Elite regiment accompanied them to ensure that nothing suspicious would happen. What should be done next?” He could start to feel the intensity of her unease, likely due to how stressed she became.
Taking a deep breath, she lowered her voice as she spoke. “Very well. Please send them here, and we shall have a meeting to see if what they speak of is the truth.”
“Yes, your highness!” Bowing down, the messenger sped walk and closed the doors behind him. Turning to a guard beside her, she gave him an order to further enhance their safety.
“Order twenty more guards, Fabian, and several members of the Elite Regiment to maintain our security as the officials discuss. Hurry.” Without delay, the guard nodded and did as she commanded.
“What tricks do you have up your sleeve this time, Benareth?”
Two days later...
“Hey, will you hurry up already? The ceremony starts soon!”
It wasn’t unusual for Syrus Belwin to cram something. Even during a special, rare occasion, he wasn’t making any preparations for an announcement the queen had for their empire.
“Jeez, it takes me just over a minute to slip on my clothes. Relax.” Sitting back on his chair, he stretched and stared at the news poster everyone around the city had received regarding the event.
“Ugh, you never change. We’re leaving in two minutes, mister slippery pants...” Lisa, a roommate of his, groaned to herself. After straightening her lengthy orange hair a bit more, she took a quick glance at her black skirt before walking out and slamming his door shut.
“Yeah yeah.” Syrus went to his closet and slipped on a uniform. The outfit was a pair of slim black pants and a thick white overcoat. The dark red lines spread on its edges was a distinct design of none other than the uniform of Galrich Academy, a well-known school in the city.
Having left his private dorm, Syrus sprinted past the city crowd. Although everyone was headed in the same direction, students were encouraged to show up early.
"There you are! Did you fall asleep in the bathroom again?" Lisa said to the panting Syrus.
"Sheesh, does ten minutes seem like an hour to you or what?" Another roommate of Syrus teased.
Chuckling to himself, Syrus finally caught a breath. "It's fine Damien, I should be more punctual in general."
Lisa sighed and shook her head, the glossy orange bangs bouncing along with her movements. "Honestly, you say that, but you never change. Queen Fiora did so much for you, the least you could do is be early to the ceremony."
"Well, she got you there buddy." Damien slapped Syrus on the back, making him jump a little.
After a few minutes, all three made it to the front of the castle—the area where everyone was instructed to line up for the queen's speech.
"I can't wait! This will be one of the few times the queen ever publicly showed herself, so her appearance alone is exciting!" Lisa, although clearly eager for what was to come, frowned when Damien commented.
"Appearance? I mean, I guess she's kinda hot from what I've heard, even if she's not the youngest person out there. You know what I mean, don’t ya Syrus?" With a questionable wink, he nudged Syrus on the shoulder.
"That's not what I meant by appearance, pervert…" Lisa glared at Damien through his vibrating glasses. It wasn’t unusual for him to make such remarks, though it was still a blessing that Lisa took action this time instead of Syrus.
"It's been a long time since she last came out, so I'm happy to see her as well. After all, since my parents died, she was the reason I got to live a normal life and meet you two. The queen is more than just a ruler." Syrus smiled and looked up at the wide, ornamented balcony above, hoping to see the queen at any given moment.
“Isn't that right, Aunty?”
Both of his roommates exchanged a smile and nodded before a loud noise caught everyone's attention. A gust of wind blew, its temperature somewhat chilly since the sky had become cloudy.
After royal horn blew for a few seconds, silence embraced the atmosphere. A line of heavily armed guards, known as the Elite Regiment, lined up before the balcony rails, the Queen following up at the center.
The crowd quickly became loud, cheering and whistling in joy upon seeing their beloved ruler. She took the time to wave and show her appreciation until it quieted down. After beaming out a warm smile, she began to speak.
"It's an honor to stand before all of you on this glorious day. I hope everyone is well. To those who could be better, I hope for the best. To those who are well, I hope it remains that way."
Much of the crowd was touched by the kind words, the smiles only increasing in number.
"For more centuries, we, the Trestian Empire, lived in a Cold War with the other half of humanity, the Benareth Kingdom. Even after the bloodshed, the outbreaks of the assassin organization, Limination Wing, the countless wars, and further back into history, the great clash of the elder dragons, we never truly attained the unity of being one race."
The people acknowledged the history as if they witnessed the entire timeline itself.
"But today, today is a day history will forever cherish." The queen looked up into the sky, her happiness being more apparent than ever. Her maroon hair shined nearly as bright as her diamond crown, her ruby-red dress no less in elegance.
"The Benareth Kingdom has finally come to an agreement—a treaty of true acceptance.”
“No way…” Syrus could not believe what he was hearing. No one from the crowd did.
"We’re proud to acknowledge that the Elder Dragons and Limination Wing have continued to keep their distance from us. We achieved centuries of peace from the monster that took lives and memories of many, and maintained security from a terrorist group that stayed prideful of their cowardly ways when killing our people.”
Taking a deep breath, the Queen raised her voice. “But these accomplishments have not hindered us from evolving and seeking the betterment of our people, for today, the Cold War of Benareth lives no further!"
Now in tears, the queen used a cloth to wipe her face as she smiled towards the joyful crowd. People screamed and cheered, some throwing their hats upward and hugging their loved ones. Knowing that another conflict was put to sleep, their emotions could hardly be suppressed.
"After all these years, is it actually happening? We’re achieving absolute peace…?" Syrus could not believe it, especially since to many, the conflict of both empires seemed like it would never come to an end.
"Ahaha, this is so amazing!" Lisa grabbed and hugged Syrus, Damien doing the same from behind.
"I totally can't believe it either!" Damien shouted.
Just as the laughter and chatter continued, an abrupt cry began to dwindle the voices of the crowd, everyone now puzzled as to who it was coming from.
Several people moved away from a particular person. It looked to be a short, middle aged man with a dark brown hooded cloak that covered most of his body.
Turning his head up, he glared at the queen, who exchanged a blank look.
"Fool, you dare interrupt her highness?!" A guard next to her shouted. The queen quickly raised her hand, gesturing to the guard along with the other aggravated ones to hold back.
"This was an agreement that the officials of Benareth discussed with us. But please, define 'nonsense', perhaps we can ease your consequences if there's reason behind it," she replied.
The man grit his teeth and continued, his unusually loud voice echoing in all directions.
"There is no treaty! You're stating nothing but lies!"
The queen's eyes narrowed. "And what makes you think that the empire would fake such a thing?"
"I'm one of them. I arrived from Benareth yesterday to market my goods on the low. No such thing was ever announced! You're lying to your people, this isn’t some kind of fairy tale!"
Upon hearing this, the queen, once again, gestured for the guards to halt, since they began to draw their weapons forward.
"Each foreign merchant here, in this crowd, can attest to the truth I speak!" Various men and women in cloaks and coats revealed their faces as they slipped off their hoods, simultaneously shouting "Aye!" in agreement.
Syrus and his roommates listened nervously.
“This man has lost it beyond help!” Damien whispered.
“Without a doubt, like who does he think he is?” Lisa added.
Glaring at the rowdy man, Syrus continued. “What does he even plan on accomplishing from this?”
It didn't take long for the crowd to begin questioning those beside them, the confusion growing by the minute.
“What is that man saying, is he mad?”
“The Queen wouldn’t hide the truth from us, would she?”
“I don’t know who to trust right now.”
A slight frown grew on the queen's demeanor as she also questioned the events that went down. "What in heaven's name is happening?" She whispered to herself, now feeling slightly uneasy.
“Your highness, do not worry, we will take care of the peasant.” A guard beside her began to scan the masses as suspicion grew. His gaze eventually caught onto someone, who looked like one of them.
"Paladins, why is one of us over there? They are completely out of position. Someone go there and identify who that—"
Before one of the guards could finish what they were saying, another began to fling their body right in front of the queen. Assuming a betrayal was taking place, a few began to sprint towards the potential traitor.
This, however, didn't last long. The three guards that were charging quickly halted when they knew what was really happening.
The crowd, once again, went mute.
Upon realizing what went down, some of them went pale beneath their armor. A long, black knife could be seen penetrating through the breastplate of their fellow knight, alarming everyone that someone had thrown it from the crowd.
The guards gasped, as it came to attention that the lengthy blade was thrown with so much force that it had pierced through the queen as well, who stood in horrified shock.
Not a moment later did another two identical blades follow up, both sliding through the two before they collapsed to the floor. A pool of blood began to form rapidly, the crowd shattering into insanity.
“W-Who did that?”
“Is this some kind of magic trick?”
Amongst all the questions raised, the trio remained frozen. The one responsible quickly made their presence known in the crowd. Previously in an attire identical to the Elite Regiment, their appearance faded with specs of light into a hooded individual—seemingly a female judging from their figure.
A hefty man attempted to charge and strangle her from behind, only for his head to immediately separate from his body. She had swung her blade so quickly that it looked as if she never moved in the first place.
Blood splattered like paint in all directions as the body dropped to the floor in a pool of blood. As several individuals began to vomit, a few more brave men lunged, only for their chests to be punctured in milliseconds.
Once again, it seemed as if the female didn’t move at all.
A barrage of arrows flew towards her as the guards roared and stormed towards her from all directions. “IT’S ONE OF THEM, THE LIMINATION WING! SEIZE HER, DEAD OR ALIVE!” A commander growled.
The female simply exploded into a small cloud of black smoke, leaving no trace behind whatsoever.
Even as some citizens ran for their lives, the three could not take their eyes off the scene, praying that it was nothing but a nightmare. Syrus dropped to his knees as he saw the medics, who scrambled to tend to the Queen’s body, shake their heads in anguish. Damien fell back, struggling to breathe. With eyes that were no different than the lifeless, Lisa held onto her mouth and shivered as she began to weep.
The prince could be seen shrieking to the top of his lungs as tears poured through his eyes, desperately trying to get his mother to show any sign of life.
“No… please no..” Syrus’s disbelief was slowly starting to vanish. The reality of the situation was surfacing.