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Grand Duke Liam's voice trembled with disbelief as he surveyed the gruesome scene before him. "What happened here?".

Yes, he could see it. But believing it was something else entirely.

Queen Mavena responded to his question with a sidelong glance, before shifting back to the lifeless remains of the mutated beasts scattered throughout the crater. "Are you really asking that question after what we witnessed in the city?".

The mutilated corpses of the creatures were a macabre spectacle to behold. Severed heads lay strewn amidst piles of shattered bones, while torsos and limbs were ripped asunder, leaving a trail of gore in their wake. The horror of the scene was inescapable, and the stench of death hung heavily in the air.

The sight before her was overwhelming, but Queen Mavena did her best to process the situation with a clear head.

Grand Duke Liam let out a heavy sigh, acknowledging the gravity of the situation. "I understand your point, but this is a lot to take in" He said, turning to his nephew, who appeared to be lost in his own thoughts. before he shifted his attention in time towards Prince Beck who opened his mouth to express his thoughts.

As Prince Beck began to speak, his words only served to confirm what they all feared: the devastation was not a coincidence, and Ag'na was the perpetrator behind it all. "The partially frozen city, the ruined kingdom walls, the remnants of the brutal battles, and now, the corpses of these mutated beasts. It appears that you were right, Queen Mavena. Ag'na is not dead, and he is responsible for all of this" He said grimly.

In the span of just a few hours, the power dynamic had shifted dramatically, and the Prince had unfortunately become a looming threat.

"I couldn't agree more" Queen Mavena replied resolutely. "Ag'na is the root of all our problems, and we can no longer afford to remain in hiding".

Knight Boris, who was clearly on edge, interjected with fierce determination in his eyes. "We must take action now. Now that we know the truth, I think that it's time we stop hiding and start fighting back" He said, his sense of urgency palpable.

While some of the group may have been content to return to their homes and formulate a plan, Knight Boris was the only one on edge, his fiery gaze betraying his urgent need to take action. But given the gravity of the situation, it was understandable that anyone in their right mind would feel the same way if they had experienced what he had.

Grand Duke Liam couldn't help but inwardly sigh once more. 'So, it seems that the only remaining survivor of the Eser Kingdom is their Royal chief Knight..... How ironic?' He thought to himself. He would have laughed at the irony of the situation if it weren't for the seriousness of their current predicament.

Queen Mavena nodded in agreement. "Yes, that is precisely why I called for this meeting. Unfortunately, it seems that time has run out, and the beast has decided to come to us".

Knight Boris interjected with a question that was tinged with a hint of revenge. "So, you're proposing that we fight it?" His tone was not lost on those who could discern the difference between a simple question and a desire for vengeance.

Queen Mavena shook her head, a fierce hardheadedness etched on her face as she let out a bitter laugh that escaped her lips before she spoke with a rigid tone. "No, I am not proposing..... We are going to fight it". Her eyes swept over the faces of everyone present, daring them to doubt her resolve. "And if you are afraid of being frozen to death by its ice, fear not, for I have a way to ensure such a thing doesn't happen. After all, I didn't keep the Vrymath Kingdom protected for this long by relying on ordinary means".

Before anyone could respond, Prince Beck interjected, cutting through the tension with a calm yet forceful voice. "I understand your words, Queen Mavena, but with King Ameal dead and King Bor barely clinging to life, not to mention the fact that parts of the Vrymath kingdom have been exposed to Moonlight's ice, I must first meet with my people and discuss this life-threatening situation." His gaze met the queen's, silently conveying his respect for her but also his need to weigh all options before making a decision.

As she stood there, a cloak of silence enveloped Queen Mavena for several seconds. Her piercing gaze bore into Prince Beck, who stood resolute, unfazed by her scrutiny. "Can't you take the decision on your own?" She finally asked, her voice edged with impatience.

Prince Beck nodded slowly, his expression thoughtful. "I can. But given the gravity of the situation and the recent events, it would be unwise for me to act hastily without considering all options". He couldn't help but feel his lips twitch at the thought of the countless questions that awaited him upon his return home.

Queen Mavena nodded in understanding. She said "Very well. I trust that you will make the right decision, now that you are convinced of what is at stake. I will give you until this evening to make your decision." Unlike the other leaders present, she knew that Prince Beck was merely a representative and did not hold any real power for himself.

As such, she didn't see him as a threat. Previously of course. But as of now, everyone, including him was a threat, due to the current perilous state of the Vrymath Kingdom. At least, what was left of it!

"I shall be taking my leave" Prince Beck with a regal bow, before elegantly turning on his heels and striding away

"If you'll excuse us, we must depart as well" Declared Grand Duke Liam with a courteous nod, leading his nephew towards the Kingdom.

The final remaining individual, Knight Boris, silently nodded his head before he turned around and left.

With rapt attention, Gideon observed the conversation unfold before him and queried "Should you be giving them so much time? I thought that you would have taken control of their kingdoms by force".

"I have to" Queen Mavena replied. "I'm still uncertain about what occurred. Though the behemoth attacked my kingdom, it seems that its assault was purposeful".

Gideon's face twisted in bewilderment as he repeated. "Purposeful? Targeted at someone?".

Queen Mavena affirmed with a nod. "Indeed. Someone specific. Based on the destruction and tracks we've analyzed, it's likely that a mage ranked ascendant mage had led the beast out of the city to battle it in the open area, sparing both the citizens and the kingdom from harm". Her voice was pensive, lost in thought.

As she peered down into the vast crater, large enough to engulf her entire city, the profound depth and density of the magical energy lingering in the air offered a clue to what they had been missing.

"So you're suggesting that a higher-ranked ascendant, someone in this region, was able to rouse the slumbering behemoth and provoke it to action" Mused Gideon.

Queen Mavena responded. "That seems to be the case". Nonetheless, she still had her doubts as she was the only one who still had the memories of what had truly taken place in the past.

'Was the ascendant responsible for Ag'na's freedom?' She wondered, her brow furrowed in deep contemplation. 'Perhaps this individual can alter memories, which would explain why others recalled a past that didn't quite match up with the events that occurred. Although some people recognized it as a single event, things just didn't add up'.

She scowled. 'For an ascendant to possess such a capability on such a large scale, they must be incredibly powerful. Furthermore, they may have been watching and observing everything that has been transpiring even before the Moonlight's ice catastrophe, which means they are likely from this region".

Their region!

The realization of having an ascendant who could match up with a beast like Ag'na, and yet remained in hiding, like any ordinary citizen, plotting everything from behind the scene, left her stunned. She couldn't help but wonder about the capabilities of this mysterious ascendant.

"My Queen" Gideon's sudden call jolted her back to reality, making her aware of her surroundings. He seemed concerned about her health, as she had drifted into a daze for the fourth time.

Queen Mavena let out a heavy sigh, realizing that she had almost lost herself for a minute. However, she was relieved that no one was around to witness her moment of weakness.

"We should go now" She said to Gideon. "After all this, I need a warm bath before I can continue with my day". With that, she turned around and left the vicinity of the crater. Her steps were so graceful and precise that she glided across the snow several meters ahead with each stride.

But before Gideon could even respond, the ground shook with a tremendous force that made him stumble. And then came the deafening sound.


Queen Mavena slammed her feet forward, and took into the sky with incredible speed. The sheer force of her takeoff created a deep sunken crater that fissured the ground.

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