The Beginning After The End - Chapter 234 - Remembrance
Chapter 234: Remembrance
“Seth, report back to General Varay. She’ll be in charge of the battle,” Bairon ordered, gesturing the soldier away.
He turned to me and we locked gazes for a second before he nodded, saying to me, “The rest of us will head straight to the Castle.”
I nodded back and Sylvie transformed back into her dragon form before we immediately took off.
Taking deep breaths, I tried to remain level-headed. Trusting that Elder Hester, Elder Buhnd, and Virion were enough to deal with whoever had intruded.
Those black and red flames billowing in the distance were an ominous sign that it was what I had feared—either a retainer or even a scythe. I steered my mind clear of the ‘what ifs’ by thinking up of a strategy upon entering. I tried not to think about my mom and sister, as well as Tess, who were supposed to be safe there.
‘It’ll be okay,’ Sylvie conveyed to me, but even she couldn’t keep her worry from leaking onto me.
I didn’t respond, and instead, manipulated the wind around us, lessening the air resistance pulling Sylvie back. Whatever I needed to do to get us there even a second faster.
I continued manipulating the wind, cycling mana through my body as well, preparing for battle as soon as possible. Taking a peek back, I could see Bairon and the other mounted soldiers slowly trailing behind, but we didn’t slow down.
Please, everyone, be okay, I prayed, until the Castle was almost upon us.
The barrier protecting the flying fortress from the sky had been destroyed, allowing the raging winds to fan the dark flames.
Sylvie easily blasted a hole in the closed loading dock and we landed inside. Thankfully, the layer of mana I had enveloped myself in kept the harmful smoke from entering my lungs. Still, there was a thick blanket of black all throughout the loading dock.
“Let’s go,” I said to Sylvie, who had turned back to her human form.
Taking no chances, I ignited the dragon will inside me. Under Realmheart, my vision became monochrome, highlighting the ambient mana around me. With my enhanced vision and unparalleled mana acuity, it would be impossible for any enemies to sneak up on us even under the heavy smoke and fierce winds shrieking through the openings of the damaged castle.
We spread out about five yards apart, our teamwork seamless through our bond, as we searched collapsed rooms and dark hallways of the lower floors.
We inched through the fractured floors, sidestepping any debris that had been either dislodged from the walls or fallen from the ceiling.
Crashes echoed from above and even around us while the howling winds filling in the gaps of silence made it almost impossible to find any sign of live battle that we could assist in. The only thing we could do was search the premise carefully, taking it a step at a time.
‘Over here,’ my bond conveyed from an adjacent room.
Inside, I could see Sylvie on the ground, hunched over what seemed to be a person partly buried underneath a mountain of rubble. My chest immediately clenched and a wave of panic rose from my stomach until Sylvie reassured me that it wasn’t anyone we knew.
By the fine garment interwoven through thin layers of chain-mail on the corpse’s body, along with the wand just a few feet away, it was easy to deduce that this unfortunate victim was one of the few guards left here.
I rubbed the bridge of my nose, embarrassed and frustrated at how fragile I was, mentally. After taking a moment to compose myself, I inspected the corpse. Through Realmheart, I was able to tell that the fallen mage had died by fire.
With a flick of a wrist, I blew the rubble away to get a closer look at the corpse.
“What the…” I muttered, lifting his clothes.
‘What is it?’
I continued searching but couldn’t find anything. “There aren’t any burn marks.”
“He died from fire?” she said aloud, surprised.
Hearing another crash in the distance, I got up. “Come on, let’s keep moving.”
The two of us continued down the hall, scouring every room in the lower floors, searching for anyone that might still be alive. All we had found were corpses, all burned to death with no apparent wounds to show for it.
‘I don’t understand. Perhaps it’s a fire that burns from the inside?’ Sylvie suggested.
It doesn’t matter at this point. All we need to know is that our opponent uses a fire that doesn’t actually burn the victims physically, I sent back, lifting a fallen wall in search of anyone that I might know.
With the stairs nearly unusable from the destruction, the two of us climbed the levels of the Castle through the various holes in the ceilings. Even with my Realmheart Physique able to spot nearly anything that normal eyes would miss, we were tense. Every corpse we came across, my chest squeezed in angst until we were able to verify it wasn’t anyone we knew.
After searching for several floors, Sylvie and I came across signs of a large battle. Intricate spears of stone jutted from the floor and walls while earthen golems lay scattered on the ground like petrified knights.
Yeah, I know, I interrupted, signalling for her to keep close.
Because of the mana coalesced into the rock spears and conjured soldiers, it took a while to finally find the source responsible for all of this.
I knelt down in front of the elderly dwarf, trying to find a pulse when he suddenly coughed.
“Elder Buhnd!” I exclaimed. I fashioned the ground beneath him into a chair, sitting him up so he didn’t choke on his own blood.
I turned to my bond. “Sylv!”
“On it.” My bond hunched down, laying her hands on my mentor’s chest. A soft light emitted from her palms, absorbing through the dwarf’s clothes and skin.
After ten painstaking minutes of life aether being transmitted into Elder Buhnd, we finally got another reaction.
“Elder Buhnd—hey, come on, stay with me,” I roused, patting his cheek as the dwarf furrowed his brows.
“Arth…ur?” His eyes opened but shut back after a few seconds.
“Yes! It’s Arthur. What happened? Who did this to you?”