Chapter 656: Heart of Eternity (I)
The sadness in Elux’s eyes gradually turned into coldness, “You are feeling that the mere betrayal of Fulo shouldn’t be enough for me to betray my holy convictions? You misunderstand. This alone would still be insufficient to cause these changes in me. But Long Haochen, as a Scion of Light, you should understand that the Scion of Light is the one chosen by the Goddess of Light, and the resolve he has as such. However, the one to betray me was not princess Fulo alone, but this whole world.
“Through the Escape Scroll, I broke away from their ambush, and only felt a great chilliness fill me at that time. The beautiful parts of my heart disappeared with Fulo’s betrayal, but even so, I couldn’t bring myself to hate her at that time. I loved her deeply, and wanted to think of her good parts no matter what. That black clad man’s final appearance caused me to guess that maybe Fulo was coerced into doing that, and was completely unwilling. Although I was clearly aware that, as the princess, it was almost impossible that there could be anyone who could coerce her, I still wanted to keep this way of thinking. At that time, I was just really too foolish.
“Fulo’s stab was aimed right at my left chest, but she didn’t know that unlike an ordinary person, my heart was located on the right side. Although her poisonous dagger caused heavy wounds in me, these wounds were not mortal. I resisted the pain with great difficulty, finding a hollow tree to treat my wound. Relying on medicine I had gotten in my adventures, I forced out the poison from my body before gradually eliminating all this poison by the means of my pure light essence.
“This process was painful and long, but I knew very clearly that even if I wanted Fulo to clarify all this, I had to first wait for my body to recover entirely for that. I heard a lot of brouhaha outside the hollow tree in the process, as if large armies were transferred around. But at that time, I did not expect the reasons for these armies to be deployed.
“It took two entire months for my injuries to get better, and my cultivation to recover. I stealthily exited the hollow tree to return back to the empire. But before arriving at the city gates, a thunderous scene came to my sight.
“A very clear announcement from the royal family was displayed right nearby the city gate, in which was written: ‘The duke of the empire, Elux, who attacked the princess Fulo to steal a powerful martial technique, snatching it and causing her to sustain heavy injuries, is wanted for the crime of treason. Their whole family is to be deprived of their territory, and get death penalties. Every commoner reporting traces of the criminal will get rewarded with ten thousand gold coins.’
“I absolutely didn’t expect them to use such despicable means, actually making such bogus accusations. Furthermore, this announcement from the royal family was not the only thing. There was also an announcement from the Glorious Church with the same contents, designating me as a heretic corrupted by darkness.
“At that time, I took a whole half-hour to gradually come back to my senses. I loved Fulo deeply, but I wasn’t a total idiot. If I hadn’t realized this huge plot aimed against me at that time, I wouldn’t be fit to be the inheritor of the identity of Scion of Light. I immediately went into concealment to disguise myself, thinking at that time that I had to find a proof that they were deceiving His Majesty and the church; to prove my innocence. The key element to this proof lay in Fulo, which is why I went to look for her to make it clear.
“Perhaps it was because several years had passed, or perhaps because I was thought to have died from the poison, the empire did not put emergency measures in place. So after I disguised myself, returning to the empire’s capital was very easy. Looking at these formerly familiar places, my heart was in great pain. At night, I stealthily infiltrated into the royal palace, still extremely familiar with that place. Although I was a mage, having a cultivation reaching the eighth step, I had numerous means for infiltrating my destination. Coming into Fulo’s quarters, I saw another man there. The son of the Supreme Pontiff, Pelo.
“They were discussing, and that was in Fulo’s bedroom. At that time, I already had guesses about the relationship between them, but was still unwilling to believe it. But when I clearly heard the contents of their discussion, I finally realized how stupid I was, and the extent of that plot.
“Back then, Fulo questioned Pelo on why they hadn’t found me, and he replied that he had already mobilized the Glorious Church’s force, matching with the Empire’s forces to find traces of me, dead or alive. That martial technique in my hands had to be seized ‘at any cost’. I gradually constructed it all from the clues I heard in the midst of their conversation. It turned out that as early as when I was out for a few years, Pelo had already made a trip to the Imperial Academy, having two purposes in mind. One was to discuss the matter of pulling me into the Glorious Church with the Emperor, and the second, to chase after Fulo.
“At first, His Majesty had no interest in enticing me to join the Glorious Church. But Pelo insisted, using countless means to seduce Fulo. Though, Fulo being so materialistic, due to his flowery speed and the appeal of the numerous martial techniques and pills at the disposal of the Glorious Church, she finally gave in to his continuous offenses. Pero mentioned to her that the Scion of Light would be a threat to the Glorious Church, hence the Church needed absolutely to get rid of me, to make sure of their eternal rule at the time he would become the pope and Fulo would be his empress… Originally, Fulo still had some apprehensions, but Pelo expressed to his Highness the will of the Glorious Church to support their empire in vanquishing the other empires and in uniting the continent. Moreover, he promised Fulo to give her all the martial techniques from me for her to learn. Both the royal family and Fulo were finally ensnared by the benefits that way, while I became the sacrifice for all these benefits to be obtained.
“This was supposed to be a perfect plan: by taking advantage of the trip I took with Fulo to ambush me, they wanted to deplete my strength, and then on the way back, Fulo would take advantage of my lowered guard and exhaustion to move against me, making it hardly possibly for me to escape. At that time, they would only need to kill me and report me as a betrayer to the Empire and the Church, so that even despite my reputation as the pride of the empire, the truth behind this conspiracy would rapidly be drowned.
“I hated them bitterly; I never expected my homeland, my lover, and my convictions to actually betray me together. At that time, my brain went blank, and as Fulo and Pero were in the midst of making out, I suddenly rushed in and launched fatal attacks against them.
“My appearance was just too sudden for them. Although they were top figures of the younger generation, there was a significant gap in our strengths, and this was moreover a situation of ambush. I very rapidly took the advantage, wounding Pelo seriously while suppressing Fulo with my attacks. Although a large amount of powerhouses from the palace immediately gathered as a result, they did not dare act rashly as I held Fulo and Pelo as hostages at that time.
“Then I questioned Fulo, ‘Why did you have to do this to me? What in me dissatisfied you?’ She only kept begging me for her survival then, but I had already heard all their previous conversation! How could I still trust in her words after that? At that time, my only thought was take to them down with myself. The former me was incredibly proud. At that time, I had been reduced to the position of traitor to the nation, completely unable to accept such a huge downfall. Having no more attachment to my own life, I only wanted to take down this cheating couple with me.
“But that Pelo was, after all, the son of the pope, having many survival means at his disposal. Right when I was prepared to take them down with myself, he used extraordinary means to summon the pope’s attack, causing me to get seriously wounded. And, in the end, as I couldn’t bear to move against Fulo, I could only choose to escape the encirclement. After I finally made it out, I went into hiding in the capital, covered in bruises after a narrow escape.
“Immediately, the Empire initiated a manhunt in the whole city, looking for traces of me. It was through the help of a beggar that I formerly saved that I luckily escaped their chase. But as I was just done healing my wounds came thunderous news. They had caught my family.”
Elux gritted his teeth and declared, “They knew that I was concealed in the Empire, which is why they released an announcement about executing the traitor’s family. I still remember that day clearly: the sky seemed to get blood-red colored as His Highness passed down the execution order in front of the masses. When I saw Pelo and Fulo clad in armor and cutting off my relatives’ heads, I lost the last ounces of hope and light in me, which all faded away.
“Can you imagine? Someone who witnessed all his kin getting killed. My father, mother, older sister, younger sister, and the rest of my family; even the young children were not spared: my whole family was executed with no exception.
“I knew that they were waiting for me to show up at that time. Waiting for me with a perfect bait, they just understood my character far too well. But at that time, a black tile I had formerly gained in the previous training trip got affected by my dark emotions, turning my whole body cold and unable to move a single step. It was because of this that I had to stare blankly at the scene of my family getting slaughtered one by one.
“At that time, I was furious, having entered a frantic state. My kins’ blood dyed the ground of the public square of the empire’s capital: not a single one of my three hundred sixty-seven family members escaped this fate. They all met with violent deaths under their butchers’ knives. At the time I recovered from that cold state, the rest of my family was already extinguished. I seemed to catch sight of their specters, pacing back and forth irresolutely in the sky, utterly unreconciled.
“I didn’t step in as my family was already all dead, and I left that place with an overwhelming rancor. As I did not appear from beginning to end in this slaughter, they believed that I already had left the Pombo Empire, hence the hunt came to a provisional end. Instead, they went on to search for my traces over the whole continent.”