Game of the Gods
Some two months after the battle in Melindor, Leguna and the rest returned to Starfall quietly. They were living in seclusion within a small house. Leguna sat within it alone. There was a small and intricate enchanted box on the table before him in which Annelotte’s soulstone was kept.
Even though he cherished it dearly, he didn’t look at it with a friendly gaze. In fact, he even seemed hostile towards it.
He grimaced as he stared for a long while at the stone before he whispered, “Pyro.”
A faint, milky white light flashed from within the stone, before a sense of pressure came from it. Any priest would know that only divine will from true gods could create that kind of pressure.
“You’re finally willing to call out to me,” Pyro’s voice rang from within the stone.
Leguna remained silent for a moment. “I have many questions for you. Your answer will determine my stance.”
“Getting straight to the point, huh? I like to communicate like this myself. What do you want to know?”
“Is this soulstone real?” That was the question he was most concerned about.
“Don’t question the promise of a god. You know the answer to your question too, don’t you?”
“Where is the other half of Annie’s soul?”
“It’s with me, including with half the soul of that devotee of mine. I preserved them really well,” he said with a devilishly tempting voice. “In fact, I can return them to you.”
“What do I need to do?” he asked expressionlessly.
“Hell,” Pyro said the name.
“You expect a mortal to kill a foe even the sun god is unable to defeat?”
“See you, then!” Pyro said casually.
“No, wait!” Leguna panicked and yelled.
“Understand your position, mortal. My war with Hell has lasted millennia, and I don’t mind wasting a few thousand more years on that skeleton. You, however, are different. I have your everything. You have two choices. Either follow my will, or never see the rest of the two souls ever again.”
“Huff… huff…” Leguna breathed heavily like he just did heavy exercise. He wiped the sweat off his forehead and asked, “You better keep your word.”
“Of course!” he said with a hint of laughter. The soulstone glowed silver and Leguna looked inside it, only to be surprised to find Eirinn’s sensation within.
“Consider this soul fragment an advance payment. The spell to fuse a fragmented soul isn’t rare. I’m sure you can find a high-order priest or necromancer to do it for you.”
Leguna looked intently at the soulstone and nodded. “I understand. I’ll work for you.”
“Alright. Now, go and check if I’ve kept my word. I need a loyal follower in the mortal realm. When you fully trust me, I’ll give you your next assignment,” Pyro said before the ball of light dimmed.
After a moment of silence, Leguna kept the soulstone and left the building.
[Now, you trust me, right?] another voice rang in his mind, [I’m no normal mortal. Instead, I’m an existence created by Pyro’s divine power and will. Decades ago when Njolvinr’s divine power resurfaced, Pyro already had a plan drafted based on his foresight. While much has changed since, the power of the you now… no, the power of Njolvinr, rather… has finally become the weapon Pyro will be using against Hell.”
[Even if what you say is true, why should I help you, Nidhogg?]
Nidhogg laughed in a disgusting voice. [Because, I’ve given you hope.]
Leguna fell silent. He knew what Nidhogg was referring to. During their battle two months ago, Nidhogg handed Leguna the six aspect elemental essences at the final moment. Those were the key to rebuilding Annelotte’s body and reviving her. While Leguna’s predicament has nothing to do with Nidhogg, he still placed his final bet on Leguna. He believed that Leguna stood a better chance than himself to break out of the game played by the gods.
Currently, Nidhogg wasn’t simply asking for help, nor was it a transaction. He was only begging. Nidhogg’s true soul had returned to Pyro’s divine will. All that’s left in Leguna’s mind was a fragment of the spell he had used. He had no right to bargain with Leguna, nor did he have a weakness of his like Pyro did. He used to be a flourishing myth-realm magus, yet now, all he could count on was Leguna to help him out after he solved his own issues by handing him one last hope before his death.
[I can’t promise you that,] Leguna finally replied, [But I can promise you I won’t let Pyro or Hell off without consequences.]
[That’s enough… thank you… that’s enough…] That was the last thing Nidhogg said to him.
Leguna carefully took the little box out of his dimensional pocket. The soulstone rested quietly in its center.
He gave it a long look before he whispered, “Wait for me…”
The Sword and the Shadow (END)
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