Vanessa stared dazedly at the crimson letters suspended in the sky. Although she was not a wizard, she had a certain level of knowledge on magic. She was the shepherd who guided Erna when she was still a clueless young girl.
In the past, Erna was afraid of people, thinking they’d only bully her, but she opened her heart to Vanessa and learned to trust her as her mentor. When the time came that she learned to acquaint herself with other people, she realized she needed to become her own teacher. In earnest, Erna began to study and explore subjects Vanessa hadn’t taught her. Magic was one of them.
Vanessa was delighted to see Erna learning so quickly, but her thirst for knowledge was a challenging experience. Erna would occasionally seek her counsel, so Vanessa, perforce, schooled herself in order to be of help to the inquisitive duchess. The black hounds in the Council often commented on her hard work.
Vanessa gritted her teeth. She had fantasized the deaths of her enemies, but it was not her concern now. If Erna triggered the magic into life, no one would be spared—including her.
Having heard the reports on the demon surge in Lake Haldis, Vanessa was aware of the toll powerful spells inflicted on the caster. At that time, Erna had expended an enormous amount of energy to subjugate the demons and suffered the repercussions. She laid unconscious in bed only to awake several days later.
A magic of this scale, however, wouldn’t promise a recovery.
Vanessa urgently rode to the castle, and as they drew nearer, the horse refused to move forward as if it felt the imminent danger. Vanessa hopped off without delay and began to run. Seeing her, the council members also dismounted and sprinted after her. The knights of Haband were confused at the sight. They looked like ordinary legislators at plain sight, but their movements spoke otherwise. Adelaide screamed as the knights scrambled to and fro, not knowing what to do.
Adelaide stared at the sky above the castle with shaky breaths. Like everyone else, she sensed an ominous foreboding. From its sheer magnitude and its sinister red glow, everyone could tell it was nothing less than danger. And above all, the moment she realized they were the subject of its wrath, Adelaide felt her heart leap out her throat.
“Stop it! Stop it right now!”
She commanded the army of Haband consisting of the best knights and wizards. Perhaps they might put an end to it somehow, but looking at them, Adelaide felt her own expectations crumble. They were as helpless as her.
“Oi, hurry!” shouted one.
“It’s impossible!” yelled another.
A wizard hurriedly grabbed the reins of his horse and mumbled to himself, “Things like that…nothing we dare to stop! My god, how is that…I’ve never seen something crazy in the tower! How can a person manage that by herself? Does such a magical power exist in the world?”
Each of them instinctively felt that the magic was directed at them. They also knew that they wouldn’t be saved the moment the magic was cast. Some wizards found themselves transfixed as they stared at the heavens, while those less curious obeyed their instinct to survive. Even as they fled from the capital, they turned their heads to look back, fearful that it might devour them at any moment. They ran and ran, constantly wondering if they were far enough.
Among the wizards, there was one who could decipher the characters. He squinted his eyes to search for the characters that revealed the magic’s range, but upon discovery, he feared he might collapse.
“Oh my god, the entire Hessenguard…!”
The wizards of Haband knew the true purpose of the magic Erna had created. It wasn’t to subdue the capital’s intruders, but the complete annihilation of the armies of the four kingdoms that gathered in Hessenguard. That was what Erna intended.
Hessenguard had already been a battlefield once and history was bound to repeat as the four kingdoms contested to conquer Hessenguard once more. Of the four kingdoms, the first to colonize Hessenguard would be the final victor of the war.
This magic, however, would put an end to this conquest, and none among the four kingdoms would emerge victorious. Only Hessenguard, the prey of the continent, shall be the final victor—an outcome that will forever change history.
While men and women continued to flee the capital, an army suddenly appeared.
“Is that Kelon or Nandes?”
At the wizard’s nervous question, a man approached him and replied.
He said, “We are the owners of this land.”
It was only then that the wizards noticed the familiar crest of Hessenguard engraved on their bloody armors. Before the wizards could respond, the knights dashed towards the Grand Castle, the heads of their enemies rolling to the ground as they passed.