Haymand's Blood - Chapter 4
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t wake up, but…”
Long hair that glistened like gems fluttered in the wind and an emotionless voice flowed from lips redder than rose petals. Sitting by the window, Serenity leaned against the frame and looked into the distant sky.
How many times has it already been…?
This was exactly like the previous fifth and sixth time. She soon gave up and leaned back slightly as she continued to count in her head, well aware that it was pointless.
When Serenity woke up from her sleep, many memories of her past were erased. She needed to keep track of the times that she woke up and which memories still remained, but was often confused as to whether the hazy flashbacks were even from the same time period.
If she could rather remember the members of Haymand’s bloodline, she might’ve been able to recall how many times she woke up. But strangely enough, she couldn’t remember any of them. Like someone had wandered into her mind and erased them.
How long has it been since I fell asleep this time…?
She held a drowsy expression as her eyes wandered. She could neither wake up nor fall asleep since it wasn’t of her own will. It entirely depended on the passage of time and how the descendants of Haymand’s blood decided to deal with her.
Slowly, Serenity’s eyes closed. She murmured softly, letting her body become one with the cold breeze.
“Come and quench my thirst, child of Haymand. Then, I can fall back into eternal slumber…”
The nobles glanced at the emperor’s appearance, which seemed particularly solemn today. He usually didn’t laugh during the parliament meeting, but the air around him was even chillier than normal.
The Marquis of Chelto rose at Kairas’ words.
“The agenda item regards…”
He swallowed while examining the emperor’s frosty expression.
“It’s about the conquest of the Kingdom of Alito, which became a subordinate state, as ordered by His Majesty. The rebuilding of the former Khazar Kingdom has drained more troops and funds than we had originally predicted, delaying the schedule by two months…”
He didn’t even understand why he was the one who had to report this. The Marquis of Chelto really wanted to cry. There was no way that the emperor, who hated delays, would just let it go. As expected, a cold voice broke the silence immediately.
“Did you say two months?”
“Yes, Your Majesty, or I will have only about two-thirds of my troops ready for our next conquest.”
The Marquis answered frankly, slightly confused. He lowered his head and waited for the impact. Surprisingly, the blow did not come and the Emperor did not respond with his usual remark of, “I did not take you to be so incompotent.” or “Are you out of your mind, Marquis?”.
Kairas, with his long legs crossed, sat back and was lost in thought. Normally, he would have said something, but he suddenly remembered the contents of the Imperial records he had read yesterday.
As Serenity said, the Imperial records contained less than half a page of information about her. Kairas’ elegant face crumpled when he remembered searching all over the empire until dawn for that one page.
Fortunately, it wasn’t a useless effort. He learned a lot from skimming through the accounts of the empire- like why wars of conquest broke out every 300 years or so.
Serenity, who was known as the Goddess of War and the Goddess of Death, was the key to every great conquest.
‘As the Imperial records state, I won’t need two months. With her, just two-thirds of the troops would be enough to wipe out the kingdom of Alito itself if the records are true.
Frankly, what the records described would’ve been difficult for any ordinary person to wrap their heads around. He would have laughed if he hadn’t met Serenity in person and experienced her strength first hand.
Kairas tapped his finger on the armrest of the throne with his chin resting on the other hand. He felt his head throbbing and scrunched his eyebrows.
Serenity’s appearance got on his nerves, and he stayed up all night looking at past reports, giving him an intense headache. He looked at the Marquis of Chelto, who was still standing stiffly in place, and thought that he needed a break.
Kairas shook his hand and rose from the throne as if he was annoyed at the Marquis, who waited nervously for his words.
“Prepare the two-thirds you mentioned. You said about doing that much at least.”
“Hm? Yes, Your Majesty.”
Expecting the usual vitriolic remarks, the Marquis of Chelto, who had become dazed for a while, quickly bowed his head after replying. Kairas didn’t see his face, but he was sure that the marquis was internally asking,
‘What’s wrong with His Majesty?’
Kairas twisted his mouth slightly, looking around at the dumbfounded nobles.
“Let’s wrap up today’s meeting here. I will start again tomorrow morning. I’m not going to skip it then, so make sure you’ve prepared your documents well.”
Then, an expression that said “That’s right” appeared on the faces of the Marquis and the other nobles. The doors to the parliament chamber opened and the chief of staff quickly approached Kairas.
“Your Majesty, I think you should go to the Imperial Knights Corps right now…”
Kairas looked with wonder at the urgent voice of the chief of staff.
Serenity shot a pathetic look at the Imperial Knights rolling around in the smokescreen. Her hand held a practice sword.
“You’re the weakest Imperial Knights I’ve ever seen. This is why I can beat you guys…”
Shame spread all over the faces of the knights who were on the floor as she clucked her tongue softly. Those who were unconscious after being hit by her wooden sword were also in trouble,
Serenity, in fact, didn’t mean to come to the training grounds. She was just sitting dazed by the window of the room and came here wondering what it was like to hear the sounds of two swords swung at each other.
The location of the training grounds in her memory wasn’t where it was now, so she didn’t think the sound she heard would be from the training grounds.
Come to think of it, over the past 300 years, the training ground has changed completely. With regards to the sword, she was able to compare the differences from before, as one of the memories of the training ground remains clear.
The location was moved, but the size and facilities located here weren’t, compared to before. Maybe that’s why. She would normally have gone right back to her room.
The day before, she had defeated her colleagues miserably which led the knights to constantly stare at her, but she didn’t care. Those eyes were now as normal to her as the air around her.
Slowly looking around the training grounds, a large barrel in the corner caught Serenity’s eye. It was full of rugged wooden swords used during practice.
She stopped and looked at the swords. One of her memories that had sunk into the abyss vaguely came to mind.
[ I prepared this for you. You can practice with it. ]
[ Is it heavy? Then I’ll change it to a lighter one. ]
As the soft and sweet voice of a man lingered dimly in her ears, she approached the wooden swords as if possessed by something and pulled on out of the barrel. The shape and size were different, but the touch she felt in her hand was exactly how she remembered it.
But soon the sentiment turned into hatred. She didn’t know what was causing it, but it was an anger so intense that it was hard to resist it flowing throughout her body. She needed a place to take out the frustration.
What caught her eye were the Imperial Knights, who were looking at her disapprovingly. Unfortunately, they were going to be sacrificed to relieve her anger just because they glared at her.
“But it’s not enough…”
Serenity, whose anger had not been fully relieved even after knocking down all the imperial knights, spun the wooden sword around. She wasn’t thirsty, but her anger hadn’t subsided yet. When she thought that she needed to find somewhere to get rid of the rest, she heard a strange voice.
“Then are you willing to duel with me?”
It was a low voice that was emotionless but not cold. Serenity turned her head around to see a handsome man in a neat attire walking toward her. He was the man as tall as the child of Haymand’s blood from the banquet hall.
Serenity’s red eyes slowly examined the man from head to toe. As she looked at him with his dark purple eyes staring back at her, Serenity smiled with interest.
Asilde Oreman, a beautiful man with black hair, instinctively felt nervous when he saw Serenity. She was simply holding a wooden sword, but a chilling, strong energy was emitting from her body.
‘Lloyd’s words were not exaggerated.’
Thinking of Lloyd, who had been shivering as he called her a monster, Asilde thought that he would test it out. He was known as the Black General due to his black hair and was known as the strongest prosecutor in the Empire, but he didn’t think he could beat her.
Nevertheless, he asked to fight her not because of revenge for the fallen Imperial Knights, but because he purely wanted to see her wield a sword. However, the wooden sword seemed a bit mismatched in his eyes.
“I’d like to duel with you with real swords, not a wooden sword.”
“A real sword? Oh~”
Serenity frowned slightly at Asilde’s request. It wasn’t hard to duel with a real sword. But…
After a while of contemplation, she threw the wooden sword she was holding in her hand. Even though she had thrown without looking, the wooden sword flew to the barrel where it was originally located and was even sticking upright.
“Then let’s do it.”
Serenity picked up a random sword on the floor. It was the sword that one of the imperial knights dropped when they got flung away. Her actions raised a question in Asilde’s mind.
“I thought you said you wanted to use a real sword.”
“Ah, that’s what I said, but…”
Serenity, who shook off the dirt by slashing the sword lightly, smiled at him, her arms hanging by her side. It was a beautiful but gruesome smile.
“When I take my sword out, it isn’t sheathed without seeing blood. Seeing that the scent of Haymand’s blood is strong, you must also be precious to him, and if I kill you, he will resent me. So let’s settle at this. We can play as much as you want.”
“…If you say so, then I won’t refuse.”
Asilde pulled the sword out of the scabbard and held it in his hand. His heartbeat was pacing quicker little by little. His heart, which couldn’t be shaken under any circumstances, was pounding only when he faced a strong opponent with his sword.
The first attack went to Asilde’s side. The two swords collided lightly in the air as if they were checking each other’s opponent. But it was Asilde who was immediately pushed away by the collision. He couldn’t handle Serenity’s power and took a few steps back.
As soon as he faced her sword, he looked down at his own hands, recalling the numbness that the handle of the blade had given him. It was only one strike, but he could tell how strong she was. His heartbeat began to accelerate as he jumped at her again.
The sword of the two cut through the air so quickly that they could not be seen clearly. Serenity was surprisingly picking up all of his moves from the way he stood. No matter how much he attacked her, Asilde couldn’t seem to find any openings.
‘She’s really so strong.’
Standing back again, Asilde unwittingly clenched his teeth and looked at Serenity. Standing with her sword at her side naturally, she seemed to be a giant tree that could not be cut down.