Chapter 526 Tragic Tale of The Snow That Falls In Summer
After Izroth entered the pink cloud, everything around him turned dark, and for a few seconds, it felt as if he were floating in mid-air. A flash of light filled the world of darkness, and before he knew it, Izroth had arrived in an unknown land. At a glance, he immediately understood that he was no longer in Vostracane—at least, not consciously.
At the moment, Izroth was at the edge of a forest on a man-made stone road. The road originated from a town in the distance and ran deep into the woods. But, calling it a town was somewhat of a stretch.
There was an imposing palace at the town's center with towering walls that encircled it. Outside the palace walls was the residential area; however, it was filthy compared to the palace's majestic appearance. Even from a distance, Izroth could see the rotten wooden buildings falling apart, and there was a somewhat gloomy aura that lingered about in the atmosphere.
'As I thought, even with me leading the way, Empyrean was unable to follow me inside.'
Izroth tried to connect to Empyrean via Mind Link, but there was no response. Of course, Izroth expected once he realized that almost all the system features had been locked.
Equipment, stats, skills, inventory, communication—all of it was inaccessible. Besides what the Dream Domain granted him, Izroth could not use anything in his arsenal! Fortunately, he could still access the system alerts.
However, as Izroth read over the system alerts he received after being pulled into the Dream Domain, he was surprised to learn that this place contained a stringent set of rules.
Skill Name: Tale Immersion
Skill Level: None
Skill Rank: Unique*
Passive: If your true identity is revealed, you will suffer harsh penalties, followed by death. You must complete the tasks given to your role. Failure to complete tasks may result in harsh penalties, including but not limited to death. As the «Dreamer», you have access to the skills «Dreamer's Knowledge», «Eyes of Knowledge», and «The Dreamer».
«Dreamer's Knowledge» - Gain information about «Tale of The Snow That Falls In Summer».
«Eyes of Knowledge» - Reveals all roles and names to the «Dreamer».
«The Dreamer» - When someone with a role is discovered by the «Dreamer», they will not suffer the penalties of «Tale Immersion». If the «Dreamer» reveals a role's true identity or discloses any information within the «Dreamer's Knowledge», the «Dreamer» will suffer harsh penalties, followed by death.
-(1)Change the outcome of the tale without revealing your identity as the «Dreamer». [Incomplete]
Izroth wanted to grasp the situation better, so the first thing he did was make use of the Dreamer's Knowledge he acquired. After all, when faced with the unknown, information was more precious than gold.
'Now I understand why the Commander refused to use her domain on the battlefield even after being outnumbered. Though I have to say... This domain is quite ruthless.'
With Dreamer's Knowledge, Izroth obtained a few critical pieces of important information. The first key detail was the number of people trapped within the Dream Domain. Including himself, there was a total of six individuals who had been assigned roles.
The second, and what Izroth considered to be the most crucial detail, had to do with the story itself, the Tale of The Snow That Falls In Summer.
The tale was about a powerful king, Sonamus, who fell in love with a princess from a small kingdom. This princess was known as Nixpera. Having personally traveled to a foreign land to ask for Nixpera's hand in marriage, Nixpera's father could not deny Sonamus. After all, to Sonamus, asking was a formality as the gap in power between their two kingdoms was too big. Thus, Nixpera's father promised his daughter to Sonamus.
However, Nixpera's heart already belonged to another—a minor noble hunter named Venare. The two shared mutual feelings for each other, but fate was cruel. Venare returned from a weekly hunt to discover Nixpera had departed to foreign lands having been promised to its king. Without a second thought, Venare rushed off to Sonamus' kingdom to search for Nixpera. After much effort, Venare found a way to sneak into the palace's back garden and waited for days. He knew how much Nixpera loved flowers and gardens, so he could only take this bet, and it paid off.
After waiting for three days with no food or water, Venare met with Nixpera and expressed his feelings to run away with her so that they could be together. This was Nixpera's wish as well; however, things soon took a rather dark turn.
Sonamus had a mistress named Asi. Just as Sonamus loved Nixpera, Asi had intense feelings for Sonamus and despised Nixpera's presence in the palace. However, Asi hid her hatred for Nixpera behind a silver smile and concocted a scheme to get rid of her.
But, there was one issue—Nixpera had no flaws to exploit! At least, that was until one faithful day.
By complete coincidence, one day, as she was walking by, Asi witnessed Nixpera being suddenly pulled into a group of hedges in the palace's back garden. Frightened yet curious, Asi secretly moved to get a closer look through the crack of the hedges while maintaining her distance. What did she see? A man! Not just any man, but this man seemed to be quite intimate with Nixpera—almost as if they were lovers! It was upon this discovery that Asi finally saw a chance. However, merely telling the king would not be enough as he would dismiss her words as simple jealousy. Asi needed a more concrete method to get rid of all the problems at once.
This is where an influential nobleman named Fraun, who always had his eyes on Asi, came into play. Fraun had very obvious and deep feelings for Asi, but he did not dare make a move on her since she was the king's woman. But, the temptation was too sweet an allure, and Asi soon had the nobleman wrapped tightly around her finger.
Asi informed Fraun that she wanted to be with him, but alas, the only way this could happen was if he overthrew the king—and she knew just the person to assist him.
Later that night, when Venare came to sneak into the castle's back garden, he was discovered by Fraun's men and captured. But, to his surprise, he was not thrown in prison or killed on the spot. Instead, he was taken to meet Fraun.
Venare was astonished to learn that he and Fraun had goals that aligned. Since the king had taken the women they loved as his own, Venare felt as if he had come across a dependable comrade and agreed to help Fraun with his plan.
Fraun met once again with Asi to tell her of his plans and to stay safe on that day. But, it did not take long for things to come apart at the seams.
Naturally, Asi revealed the assassination plot to Sonamus, along with Nixpera's connection to the mysterious man in the garden.
Then, as one of the secret meetings took place, the palace guards stormed the building and arrested everyone inside. This, of course, included Venare and Fraun. Their actions were seen as treasonous, and everyone involved was sentenced to death. It was over before it even began.
When Nixpera learned of this matter, her heart sank, and she pleaded with the king to release Venare—or, at the very least, keep him imprisoned. However, her pleas had the opposite effect as Asi's whispers still lingered in the king's ear. In his moment of rage, Sonamus confined Nixpera to her room and placed guards outside her chambers. Sonamus then proceeded with the execution as both Venare and Fraun were killed.
But, against everyone's expectations, Sonamus still decided to marry Nixpera and take her as his queen! Despite feeling a sense of betrayal, Sonamus could not remove the princess from his heart.
However, the day before the official ceremony occurred, Nixpera ended her own life. With the one she loved having disappeared from her world, Nixpera lost her appetite for life and could not live with the burden of being with the man who stole something so precious away from her.
Sonamus was devastated and heartbroken. Asi used this opportunity, and at last, the king officially made her his queen. However, day by day passed as the king slipped further into depression and a dark state of mind at the loss of Nixpera.
Sonamus' personality began to change. His taste became more... Unique. To feel something, anything, Sonamus performed unspeakable things on Asi to the point where it became a pure form of torture.
Unable to take it any longer, one night, Asi snuck into Sonamus' bed chambers with her body battered and broken. That night, she stabbed the king hundreds of times in a fit of unbridled rage. In the end, she plunged the knife one last time into Sonamus' heart.
At this point, Asi's mind had already become unstable and lost its grip on reality. Once Asi realized that she had taken the life of the only man she ever loved, she clutched the same knife she used to kill Sonamus and sank it into her heart with a smile on her face. Finally, she could be with the one she loved. Right in that room, Asi died next to Sonamus.
This was the tragic story of the Tale of The Snow That Falls In summer. Izroth knew that if the story was allowed to progress this way, then...
'Everyone will perish.'
In Izroth's eyes, Aurie's domain was not a double-edged sword as he initially believed it to be. It was a death trap—a gruesome tragedy!