Chapter 549 Destruction of the Dreamworld
Izroth set his gaze towards the terrified Asi as he walked over and stopped directly in front of her.
Asi wanted to run away; however, when she witnessed the look in Izroth's eyes, Asi felt that the moment she tried to flee would be the last breath she took.
'This is the same woman who could not disobey Salokin's orders. To think she would attack a Night Lord—how is this possible? Is it because we're within the dreamworld?'
To say that he was surprised when Essirie backstabbed Zarolas was a gross understatement. The possibility of Salokin or Essirie having a stronger bloodline than a Night Lord like Zarolas was infinitely close to zero.
'If it is true that the bloodline restriction is somehow weakened in the dreamworld, then perhaps it isn't something the Skounae are inherently born with. We may have been given roles to play in this world, but our physical bodies should be untouched. There's no solid evidence; however, it's certainly worth giving this information to Amaharpe for them to look into.'
When Asi noticed that Izroth had not immediately attempted to kill her, she believed that he must have been deciding on how he should deal with her. The dreamworld was standing on its last leg and would likely collapse within the next twenty seconds or so.
"If I keep prevent him from killing me until this place disappears, I can escape when my strength returns. He seems hesitant enough... I see, that's it..!" Asi thought to herself as if she came to a sudden realization.
"W-we did it. We got rid of that monster together. If I didn't kill him here, there was no way he would have let me live after leaving this world! It's the same for you, too, right? What say we let bygones be bygones? Besides, I never wanted to forcibly take you away. It was all Salokin's idea—ah, he's dead, by the way. That monster killed him just like he would have killed us." Asi forced a smile but was unable to conceal the fear in her eyes as she spoke. There was an air of desperation that lingered about her.
A carefree smile appeared on Izroth's face as he held out his hand to Asi.
Asi was startled by Izroth's actions. It seemed her words were able to get through to him. Asi was overcome with a sense of relief as she reached out and accepted his hand.
Asi was pulled to her feet, but as she was about to open her mouth to thank Izroth, she found no words left it. Her eyes widened in shock as blood trickled down the side of her mouth.
"...W...hy...." Asi coughed up a mouthful of blood as she struggled to get a single word out. Though it was a miracle that she could speak at all with Izroth's sword pierced through her throat!
Izroth leaned forward slightly and said softly into her ear, "Call it, tying loose ends. Simply put—you are a walking liability, Earl Essirie."
Izroth knew that if he allowed Essirie to walk away after everything she witnessed, what would keep her from telling other Skounae that he killed their Night Lord?
While it was true she had a hand in Zarolas' elimination; it would be a simple matter to pin all the blame on him once she was free. After all, who would believe that a Skounae could go against their bloodline restriction and betray a Night Lord of all people? He would become a primary target for the Skounae!
Izroth was not afraid to face the Skounae, but he already had enough to take care of and plenty of powerful enemies lurking in the shadows. Adding another to the list right now would be too troublesome.
As for Asi, it did not take long for the life in her eyes to fade as she slumped to the floor motionless. At the same time, Izroth received a torrent of system alerts.
〈System Alerts: Congratulations, you have learned a new skill. Would you like to name the skill?〉
〈System Alert: Congratulations, you have made it to the end of the «Tale of The Snow That Falls In Summer»! [Survivor(s): Izroth, Aurie, Maeva][Deceased: Gritt, Zarolas, Essirie〉
〈System Alert: A «Dreamer» grade of S has been recorded for the «Tale of The Snow That Falls In Summer»! You will be rewarded accordingly!〉
〈System Alerts: You have acquired the skill «Sword Arts: Four Steps of Death»!〉
〈System Alerts: You have acquired the skill «Image Training»!〉
〈System Alerts: You have received x1 «Spirit Awakening Contract Crystal»!〉
〈System Alerts: You have received x1 «Essence of a Great Spirit»!〉
'I'll have to look through everything thoroughly after I leave the dreamworld. For now...'
"Name the skill Eighth Sword Form: Formless Sway," Izroth said without hesitation. Most likely, he received the skill after he parried Bahamut's surprise strike; however, the system did not inform him until now.
Skill Name: Eighth Sword Form: Formless Sway
Skill Creator: Izroth
Skill Level: 1/4
Skill Rank: A
Requirements: Sword Equipped
Passive: Parry damage reduction is increased from 25% to 35%.
Active: For the next 10 seconds, the user's parry damage reduction is increased to 100%. Every time the user successfully parries a strike, the user gains 1 stack of «Sway». Upon reaching 3 or more stacks of «Sway», the user can activate «Formless Reflection». If «Formless Reflection» has not been used, it will automatically activate when this skill ends.
«Formless Reflection» - Consumes all active stacks of «Sway». A thin protective aura that resembles water forms around the user and absorbs all incoming damage up to 20% + (10% per «Sway» stack consumed) of the user's maximum HP. Can only be used once per activation of «Eighth Sword Form: Formless Sway». Protective aura lasts 1 minute or until it is destroyed.
Special Note: This skill can also be leveled up through repeated usage and proper execution.
Cooldown: 30 minutes
'With this, I am two sword forms short of completing the Way of The Heavenly Sword. When that time comes, only then will I be able to display the full prowess of the sword forms.'
Izroth looked around the throne room, or rather what little what was left of it. Fraun's knights that had been locked in an intense battle with the palace guards had vanished along with their adversaries.
Now, Izroth stood alone within a dark void as the dreamworld's final pieces were drawn into the vortex in the sky.
The Tale of The Snow That Falls In Summer had officially come to an end.
Meanwhile, in an area located not too far from the ruined Skounae city of Vostracane...
Maeva and Aurie were positioned at the edge of the pink clouds. They had successfully made it out and back to Malentansium after crossing the kingdom's border within the dreamworld.
The moment they exited the dreamworld, Aurie attempted to use a communication talisman. Fortunately, the magic interference in the area had greatly diminished, and she was able to utilize the talisman to contact her War Brigade unit and order them to fall back. She also made sure that they relayed her message to Xanaharpe so that the city could prepare to evacuate.
"How much longer until the dreamworld collapses?" Maeva asked with furrowed brows.
"It should be any second now," Aurie replied calmly.
Right after those words left Aurie's mouth, the massive pink clouds started to shrink as if they were deflating. At first, it was a bit slow, but after a handful of seconds, it began to speed up and rapidly withdraw from the surrounding environment.
In the blink of an eye, the pink clouds that covered one kilometer of land had wholly dispersed as a single figure appeared out of thin air less than five meters away from Maeva and Aurie's location.
This person's sudden appearance startled Maeva; however, when she saw who it was, her eyes lit up, and she breathed a sigh of relief.
"Congratulations on your safe return, Izroth," Maeva said.
Izroth nodded, "I'm glad to see you are safe and sound."
He then looked towards Aurie and continued, "We have much to discuss, Commander."
"Much indeed, Captain," Aurie replied as she released a small sigh. A flash of amazement and regret passed through Aurie's eyes when she noticed that Izroth came out of the dreamworld alone.
Around half an hour later...
After leaving Malentansium territory, Izroth, along with Maeva and Aurie, returned to Amaharpe's Head Command Camp near the Unsanctioned Zone's border.
At the moment, Izroth had just finished giving his report on the events that transpired within the dreamworld that left both Maeva and Aurie momentarily speechless.