Chapter 47:

Aerthus

Mad God


"I knew it…!" Ren laughed, holding her stomach, hearing Leinor's story. "He was checking me out previously."


"He did what?" He asked as his pupils shrunk into small pins.


"Yeah, he was probing me with his aura. Got a backlash; probably that's why he is out cold." She winked at him mischievously. "Let him be; he will have a headache for a day or two," she said as she let out a cute giggle, grabbing Leinor's arm and pulling him in for a hug. "You should concentrate on getting ready!"


"Ready? For what?"


"Fufufu~ You'll know~ First, go home, and meet with your parents. Then come back, and we will talk!"


"What are you talking about? Is there something I missed?" Leinor tilted his head, racking his brain.


"Yep~ Something Big! Now go!" She slapped his butt, sending him on his way, while Leinor was befuddled about what was going on, but her words were enough to make him want to go home and ask about it from Dermitos.


"Mom!"


"Yes, dear?" came the answer as Ren went into the lounge where Anya, Xendar, and Niji were enjoying tea served up by Hal.


"Can I have the left side of the mansion?"


"Mmm? Why?" Xendar raised his eyebrows.


"The Young Lady will soon be a married woman, My Lord." Hal smiled, making Xendar grimace.


"You can, Dear." Anya nodded, looking at her with love in her eyes.


"Tsk… I guess… It is better to have you both live here than you going to the palace." Xendar scratched his throat.


"I wonder how the people will react as the Prince comes to live with his wife and not me moving into the palace… fufufufu, there will be a scandal~" She bit into her small lips.


"There will be nothing!" Xendar snorted. "They better behave!"


"Relax, you are on edge~" Anya stroked his head while Niji looked on with a wry smile.


"I'm starting to get where you're coming from," Niji said to Ren.


"Oh, you saw nothing yet~" She stuck out her tongue as she was excitedly waiting for Leinor, guessing that when he came back, there would be a funny expression on his face.


….

…..


"Wedding…?! In the upcoming week?!" Leinor repeated his father's words with a dry mouth while her mother, Meishan, sat beside Dermitos with a calm, stone-like expression.


"What? I thought you would be overjoyed?" Dermitos blinked his eyes, surprised at his reaction.


"Wha… of course, I am! I didn't prepare any gift… or clothes, or a proper ring, damn it, not even a banquet or what about music? Performances?" He stood up, walking up and down, biting on his thumb.


"Ahahaha, relax, boy, relax! I took care of everything!! You don't need to overthink anything."


"I still oppose his moving into a General's house. What message will it send to the masses?" Meishan spoke up in a cold voice.


"At least there is warmth there," Leinor answered, looking into her eyes without any fear, shaking her, literally, even though he didn't use any powers.


"You two… you should make up; you are mother and son!" Dermitos sighed, trying to appease his son.


"You are not against it, Father? To me, moving out?"


"No. If you are happy with her, then that's enough. You do you, son!" He waved his hand, especially, knowing they won't stay here for long anyway.


Leinor finally had a smile on his face as he bowed toward his parents before leaving. Hearing his hurried footsteps, Dermitos knew he was rushing to find his eldest brother for advice as he was long married before him.


"How long are you going to hold up this farce?" He asked his wife with a hand on his temple, massaging it.


"What farce?"


"Don't play the stupid. I know why you do this! Look, I know how you feel, how you see me. You are my first girl and always will be." He said, stroking her face before his expression turned serious, and his hand changed cold to the touch. Suddenly Meishan's face aged 40 years in a minute. "Don't make me choose between you and my son. Because I won't choose you!" Dermitos whispered, looking deep into her eyes before continuing to supply his energy, returning Meishan's trembling body to its youthful appearance.


She couldn't say anything, as she was petrified, even peed herself from fear, while Dermitos stood up.


"Change your attitude if you continue this and ruin the wedding…." He held his hand together behind his back but didn't say more; he just left Meishan alone in their room.


….

…..


"This place is too noisy," Emi grumbled, sitting in a carriage next to Poli while Hal accompanied them.


Emi was wearing a light green blouse with a wide, long skirt, folding her fox tail around her waist as a decoration while having a cloche hiding her ears.


"This is how cities work. But I guess a farm girl wouldn't know about it." Poli smiled, keeping up an innocent expression.


"A what?" Emi tilted her head, not understanding its meaning.


"It means you are coming from a village, Miss Emi," Hal smiled softly.


"Hmf. And? We live as a tight-knit group. Here? There are so many people; everybody is stranger to the other."


"A million people can't know everybody. It's just not possible!"


"What if the city is attacked? Most of the people here are weak!" Emi added, looking out the window, seeing the swarming masses that reminded her of an anthill.


"We have defenses. If you want to attack this city, you must be prepared to die. Armies are defending it, not to mention experts that only show their powers when necessary." Poli said with a proud expression.


"Miss Emi, people here are safe." Hal said, "They don't need to worry about being killed by a random predator or enemy. Not everyone wants his or her life to be all about training and fighting. Many don't have the talent for it, or they reach a comfortable level and stop living their lives to the fullest. That is why those with the power are also responsible for defending the rest."


"I see..." Emi murmured, turning away her head from the sea of people. "I saw you as hairless monkeys. But you are more like ants."


"Yeah, say that to the others, and you will receive a beating." Poli rolled his eyes.


"I don't care." She snorted, watching him with slanted eyes. "We will fight anyway, so we don't need to be friends."


"Who wants to be friends with you? If not to watch over you, I wouldn't be here."


"I thought you volunteered to be her guard," Hal added, immediately silencing Poli, making him just turn his head, not acknowledging anything.


"Where are we going?" Emi asked, breaking the silence that fell over the carriage.


"To the main market square Miss Emi. There you can see a lot of things our Empire produces. If something catches your eye, the Young Lady said to purchase it for you so you can bring it back home."


"I can?"


"Yes. Master said you should take it as a gift." Poli nodded. "We may have things to settle, but it does not mean we want to be enemies with your tribe."


"I understand. I'll thank her before leaving."


"Good. It took an effort to heal you enough to walk around freely."


"Hmf. I would have recovered by myself anyway!"


"Sure." He rolled his eyes as they arrived and opened the carriage's door, hopping off and stretching out his remaining hand to help her down. "That is why you groan all night like someone being tortured with needles. You don't need to play the strong warrior in front of us."


"You are an insufferable, persistent, and annoying human." Emi snorted, but she still took his hand, getting off the carriage.


As their hands touched, both felt electricity traveling between them; as both of them trembled a little but said nothing, Emi let his hand go as soon as she was down. Each of them knew there were still lightning energies coursing through Poli and Her, sometimes torturing them, as they needed time to expel or assimilate it. Emi had it worse, as her affinity was utterly different, her being a demon folk, and her powers inside her were constantly fighting against it. A battle raged in her every minute that sometimes made her suffer sharp pain all over her body, stunning her until she could regain control over her muscles. It sometimes took only minutes, but there were times when hours passed, and she was still paralyzed by pain. This was the main reason she barely possessed enough power to fight and was more of a mortal than a cultivator.


"Come, I'll get you some snacks. You are sour enough, so some sweets should do good for you." Poli sighed, going forward.


"The only sour thing is your smell." Emi followed him, making Poli look back at her and scoff, but after a few steps, she saw as he started smelling himself.


"No way… I took a bath before coming out…." He murmured, making the fox girl smile but hiding it quickly.


….

…..


"Report." came Carthus' voice, sitting in a gazebo, watching the small pond next to it, while drinking wine and holding a book in one hand.


"We can't get close now that we are back in the capital." Nameless' voice answered, kneeling outside of the gazebo.


"Just survey the area of their home. Maybe they are right!" he sighed, closing the book that was the old diary of his father. "Continue it until he reaches Harmony Realm. If he does and does not use it until then, cease every operation regarding it."


"I…"


"Just say it."


"I have a hunch he did it, just that…." Nameless spoke up.


"You don't have evidence. I get it. Still! Years went by. I may be truly old, and my father's shadow lives inside my heart, causing this fear. If I want to move forward, I need to deal with this. Go! Reduce the surveillance, for now; let them have a nice wedding."


"Yes." Nameless acknowledged before disappearing.


"You still hung up on that?" came a calm voice that made Carthus jump up, saluting towards the voice, bowing his head.


"Forefather! When did you come back?"


"Some time ago. I was watching you; at least you took a step forward which is good. I remember when you contacted me as a young boy, telling me about what Erterion was doing." he came closer to Aerthus, signaling him to just sit back as he sat down on another chair, pouring wine to himself. "I told you then what I am going to tell you now. There is no evil power. Only evil people. Do you know why I made my son bear the same name as me when I crowned him?"


"So that our family stays strong!"


"No. You still have the same problem as Erterion had. You are too fixated on the family bloodline. It is apparent in how you raised your children why one is now in a different kingdom and always bickers with you. If you want to hold too much power, your arms will tire and lose their grip on reality. I made this Empire, so it will stand for a long time. It will give the people home, security, and opportunities! There will always be an Aerthus leading this Empire."


"Of course!" Carthus agreed.


"You don't understand." He shook his head, hearing his instant reply, "The title Aerthus does not mean the one who holds it is of my bloodline."


"B-but…" He tried to say something, but he just raised his hand.


"Even if a dynasty starts out as good, progressive, or benevolent, there will be a point when it falls. It's unavoidable. It may be because it transforms itself into a tyranny. When I heard about Erterion, I guessed this was it! I was waiting for the news that someone overthrew him and ended my line there, taking over the Empire, donning the name Aerthus for himself or herself! And I would be fine with that. I want the name Aerthus to be an idea. A way a leader adheres to himself, following the right path to lead the Empire forward. The Empire I created."


"..."


"People die." Aerthus continued after a short silence, "People can be killed. Bloodlines can be destroyed or just end naturally without successors. But ideals… they can't be killed. I made laws and decisions, lifting up many people, giving them opportunities, and planting my ideals in them to follow. I wish for my name to be a title they aspire to earn… and one day, when my line is long gone, there will still be an Aerthus who follow my ideals and leads my people." he smiled mildly as he put down his glass and then just vanished, leaving Carthus there, thinking over his words, not moving a muscle, even after the sun had long gone down.