The fact that all of this was somehow connected to Sylvia didn’t surprise me. If anything, it just confirmed everything that I had presumed until now.
The daughter of the highest position of power in a land of deities…
Even with my status as a king in my previous life, a figure of such stature would be someone I could only kneel down in submission to.
A dry lump caught in my throat as I stared down at my bond. Of course, the possibility of Sylvie being the actual child of Sylvia was always there, but due to the circumstances of her being chased by the black-horned demons… the Vritra Clan, I could never confirm. The fact that Sylvie’s appearance looked vastly different from her mother also didn’t help.
Grandpa Virion’s voice suddenly popped into my mind. He was the one that confirmed that Sylvie was a dragon. From what he told me and what I’d read, while dragons were extraordinarily rare and powerful, nothing mentioned them being higher beings, let alone Asuras.
“So are the dragons written down in past texts actually deities?” I inquired.
Windsom faced me, letting out an impatient sigh. “No. While there are lesser races that have descended from us deities, it is rather offensive to compare us. I will put aside the biology lesson for another time, but there are general facts you do need to know. While there are special exceptions due to innate differences in each clan, in most cases, deities have three main forms. The humanoid form that I am in currently, a draconic form which is most likely the form that Lady Sylvia had used to pass down her will to you, and a third form which integrates both humanoid and draconic aspects.”
“Then you’re saying that Sylvie has a human form?” I couldn’t help but point a finger at my bond in exasperation.
“Yes, but Lady Sylvia must have cast a seal on her own daughter, because the mana signature that she is producing is not nearly the same as it should be. Arthur, how did you come to meet her?”
“Before Sylvia was killed or taken away by the black-horned demons, she gave me a stone that turned out to be what I figured was an egg,” I clicked my tongue. Explaining this made me recall some unpleasant memories.
“Black-horned demons?” Windsom tilted his head.
“It’s how I describe them because of their appearance. From what you told me just now, though, they seem to be what you call the Vritra Clan.”
“Indeed, the Vritra Clan is known for their prominent onyx horns… While this was one of the most probable outcomes, it also means that there is very little hope that she is alive. Arthur, Lady Sylvia undoubtedly put a seal on her child in hopes that the Vritra Clan would not be able to find her.” For once, there was a twinge of emotion on Windsom’s face that wasn’t annoyance. I could see the sadness glazed over his eyes as he took a moment to gather himself.
“So does that mean deities are usually born in a humanoid form?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“Yes. Our draconic form uses up a lot of our mana so we spend most of our time in our humanoid form. However, just like how I can shift into the form of a smaller animal, Lady Sylvia’s daughter seems to be in that form to conserve energy.”
“You keep referring to her as Lady Sylvia’s daughter, but she has a name. It’s Sylvie. I named her after Sylvia,” I pointed out. “Also, is it possible for Sylvie to turn into her humanoid form now?”
At this, Windsom merely shook his head before responding. “Most likely not. The humanoid form is the most natural for us, so if Lady Sylvia’s—Lady Sylvie, was able to transform into this form, she would’ve done so already.”
There was a torrent of questions flooding my mind now that I knew for a fact that Sylvie was an Asura. Imagining her in a human form was hard enough, but what did it mean for us since we were bonded? Did Asuras bond to each other in Epheotus? Although Sylvie was the one that initiated the bond, it wasn’t something that I could imagine doing with someone that looked like a human.
I knew Windsom would say something along the lines of, ‘I’ll only tell you what is necessary for you to know right now,’ so I pushed those thoughts aside and pressed on what we talked about earlier.
“So since Sylvia, the daughter of a very important figure to you deities, did give her will to me, that makes me automatically involved in this upcoming fight that you guys are most likely going to have with the Vritra Clan and co., right? Also, the fact that Sylvie, the granddaughter of the so-called very important figure, is bonded to me begs another question… Are you planning on taking her back to Epheotus?” My eyes narrowed as I tried to read Windsom’s expression.
“Yes. Dumbing it down quite a bit, that is the essence of what I explained to you. You may or may not have figured out just how mysterious and powerful Lady Sylvia’s powers are. Even if you were able to unlock some of the mana arts only she could use, I doubt you were able to tap into a fraction of her true abilities. Arthur, even Asuras would drool in greed at the thought of receiving Lady Sylvia’s powers. While even she wasn’t able to fully control them, her powers had…have the potential to outstrip her father’s.” There was a look of longing and respect in this Asura’s eyes as he explained all of this.
“As for taking Lady Sylvie back to Epheotus, while that was indeed our immediate preference, we have decided on a different route. Arthur, we will be entering into war with the Fallen Clans, the forces led by Agrona and his Vritra Clan, soon. After the last war, both sides sustained immense casualties and had no choice but to settle for a truce. Agrona agreed not to touch Dicathen, but in return, we had to give up the Continent of Alacrya to him.
“While our forces may have stronger powerhouses, they possess too many unpredictable factors with the experiments they had time to explore during this period. The truce is losing its power as the Fallen Clans continue to grow their troops. We have already found traces of Agrona’s troops in this continent. While the upper echelons of Epheotus would never verbally admit it, we need help, and your future potential can play a crucial role in this. As long as you, Arthur Leywin, agree to be our ally, there will be no need to separate you from Lady Sylvie.”
Even though Windsom was asking me for a favor, the way he looked at me dead in the eye made me feel like he was presenting me a role of the highest honor.
He had me. There really wasn’t much of an option for me to choose. If I declined him, he would forcefully take Sylvie away and Dicathen would still most likely end up becoming war torn. With that, my family and friends would be in danger whether or not I became their ally.
He was basically implying that I was going to be involved in this war one way or another. The choice was up to me on how directly I wanted to fight against our mutual enemies.
Letting out a scoff, I agreed. “Since this war involves the entirety of this continent anyways, I would be an ally to you whether I agreed or not today. Rather, what you are asking for is if I can be a pawn under your control.”
“I can’t disagree with your statement. You’re wise for your age, Arthur,” Windsom smirked. “I take it by your answer that you agree to our proposal. This war will change the entire balance of this world. If Agrona and his forces are able to take over this continent as well as all of its resources, there will come a time when even Epheotus will be in danger. That being said, we will need to prepare you. Your mana core is rather well-developed for your age, which is a good sign. But training you will have to come after you’re able to at least reach the white stage. With the resources we will provide you and your comprehension skills, I can’t imagine it to take too long. After that, we will need to take both you and Lady Sylvie to Epheotus to train under the most optimal cond—”
“Hold on, I’m going to Epheotus? Your home? The land of Asuras?” I nearly shouted, flabbergasted.
“Of course. Do you think that my master will stand idly now, knowing that he has a granddaughter? Arthur, you are the last one to have seen Lady Sylvia. On top of that, she has passed on to you, her mana signature. You may not realize what that means but to us Asuras, it would be metaphorically pulling out your own mana core and giving it away. If she was forced into a state where she had no choice but to do this, we have no choice but to assume she has passed away.”
I didn’t answer.
“There isn’t much I can help you with directly for now except provide for you some resources to strengthen your mana core. During this time, I also have things to investigate and prepare for. I will continue to drop by from time to time and check up on you, whether I let you know I’m there or not will be at my discretion.”
“Okay, since it seems like this whole meeting is coming to a close, can I just ask you one thing?” I held my hand out to stop him.
“How come it took so long for you to find me? If her mana signature basically transferred onto mine, wouldn’t either you or the Vritra Clan have pinpointed me pretty easily?”
“Because of that,” Windsom pointed at my arm. “When she first passed on her will, or mana signature, to you, it didn’t show right away. You probably went through a phase where you had to get your body accustomed to it, right?”
I just nodded at this.
“Well after it did, I’m not sure how shortly after her daughter was released from her seal but when you put one of Lady Sylvia’s feathers around your bond insignia, it hid the presence of her will. I’m sure you only put that on your arm to hide the insignia mark or maybe because you thought it made you look cool—”
“It was to hide the insignia mark,” I immediately replied.
“Nevertheless, you did well in doing this.” Windsom shook his head. “Let me take you to where you were actually headed to now. I’m sure the elf princess misses her prince dearly.”
Even though his face stayed straight, I could feel the sarcasm in his voice. Sylvie and I wordlessly followed the Asura as the room we were in began distorting once more.
As I watched the child and his bond go through the gate, I couldn’t help but let out a strained breath.
Every time I saw her, a mixture of emotions would boil up inside of me, making it difficult for me to stay calm. I wondered how Master would feel when he sees her. I could imagine how conflicted he might feel seeing the child of his precious daughter and the man that did that to her…
There would come a time when we would have no choice but to tell Arthur everything about his bond. About Lady Sylvia’s daughter and the lineage she holds…