35 Dawn of Victory
(From the point of view of God of Death Vilhelm)
Approaching the first city at the edge of the south of Varba, Prince Vennefore finally met with Prince Vonerich. Prince Venne immediately dropped his luggage upon seeing his older brother and swiftly ran towards him with tears gushing out of his eyes like waterfalls. The older prince then embraced his brother tightly when he stumbled upon him now that he's almost near the empire that he loves.
"The God of Death told me everything." The young prince Venne said to his older brother as his tears fell upon his eyes uncontrollably. "He went inside of my head, and I don't know how he did it, but he showed me everything. He made you king." An overt pained expression then swept upon the boy prince's face as he looked at the now ashen hair of Prince Vonerich. "And it seems like he also changed your hair color too." The boy prince said in a chuckle; however, when he saw the tattered right side of his older brother's harem pants, he winced with a pained expression. He knew exactly what happened to his brother, and why he now had a different-colored leg.
Prince Vonerich then nonchalantly pulled his bangs down, so he could see if his hair had truly changed color. "You're right, Venne. Maybe the God of Death likes Frigg's hair more?"
Prince Venne then chuckled upon hearing his older brother's words. "Is Sir Frigg doing well inside of you?"
"So God of Death Vilhelm even told you that much, huh?" Prince Vonerich uttered with a saddened expression, finally realizing the extent of the knowledge Venne received after my visit. Prince Vonerich merely shook his head with a smile as he replied, "He's doing fine. He even tells me that you're a hypocrite piece of shit and is wondering why you're here to escort us back to the palace."
Prince Venne then showed a puzzled look, one that shows his now confused psyche. Would he laugh after hearing Sir Lars' usual animosity towards him, or would he be sad that his older brother didn't seem to understand why he's walking towards the far south?
"What's with all the luggage, by the way? Don't tell me you brought all of those spare clothes for me? Isn't that a bit too excessive?" Prince Vonerich joked further, which made Prince Venne even more pained and confused.
"...I didn't come here to escort you, my brother." The young prince uttered in a blank expression as his shoulders dropped weakly while a sullen expression crept upon his face.
Prince Vonerich then continued to look at his younger brother with the same gentleness on his smile. "Why? What's up? Did you miss me that much?" The older prince chuckled while tapping his younger brother's shoulder with a hearty laugh.
"...He's claiming me, brother. The God of Death is telling me to claim my rightful place in his hall. I'm here to go to his kingdom in the far south." Prince Venne honestly uttered those words. It seemed that the years he spent lying to his brother have finally started to backfire to him because his older brother obviously isn't taking him seriously. Thus, with all the sincerity he has not used throughout his life thus far, the boy prince told his older brother the truth and nothing but the truth.
"...what?" Prince Vonerich clearly doesn't understand what his brother is saying, or he simply refuses to comprehend the words that left the boy prince's lips. "What is this all about the God of Death claiming you? You're the Herald of the Gods! You should be the king!"
Prince Venne then shook his head. "The God of Death Vilhelm had told me everything. He appointed you as his king, and I am to be beside him during his fight against a frightening enemy in the far south. I have no place in Varba anymore. The empire is yours, brother. It's all yours."
"NO!" Prince Vonerich uttered with a crazed grin while his eyebrows are raised into a trembling frown. His saliva started to drip out of his lips as his reddened eyes began to water. He then gripped his younger brother tightly, shaking his body as he continued to heave with a deranged tone. "NONONONONONONONONNONONO! NO! NO! YOU WILL NOT LEAVE VARBA, AND THAT'S FINAL! NO! NO!"
"Cease this futile effort, brother." Prince Venne said as he grabbed his older brother's trembling hands. "The God of Death's will be done. There's nothing we can do about it. He's lenient to you because he has bigger plans for you, but he is not a patient person." Prince Venne uttered in a monotonous voice as a blank expression crept upon his face while gazing at his older brother's distorted appearance that looked like a mixture of anger, sadness, and happiness. "You don't want the God of Death to punish you, just like how he punished our father."
"...what are you talking about?" Prince Vonerich said to his younger brother as a shade of gloom flush through his face. "I ASKED YOU A QUESTION, VENNE!? WHAT DID HE DO TO FATHER!?"
Prince Venne blinked twice with a cold emptiness on his face. "The inevitable and a warning to people like you who would stop his plans." I have seen the young prince's memories, and I know that this is not how he would usually react or talk. He's more emotional than this, but he doesn't need such quality anymore if he wishes to serve me well. I made sure to convey that message to him very well.
"YOU WILL NOT LEAVE!" Prince Vonerich then raised his brother and placed him on his shoulder. I can tell that Sir Lars is trying his hardest to stop the older prince's sudden emotional side. Maybe Sir Lars' outspoken attitude had collided with the prince's impulsiveness in the wrong way. Perhaps this is a side effect of combining two souls inside of a single body? Sir Lars is probably much more emotional than I thought, and it's tapping Prince Vonerich's doting side. "I HAVE DEDICATED MY LIFE TO SUPPORT YOU! MY VERY BEING SHALL BE SPENT SERVING YOU! YOU WILL RETURN TO VARBA!"
I feel like this is my fault. Perhaps it is, so I will be lenient on the prince, but that doesn't mean I won't stop his rampage. Maybe my haste has backfired against me. I then opened my palms wide, and there appeared two hearts that I grabbed with each hand. Strings that looked more like spider webs are attached to each heart, and both threads are connected to Prince Vonerich's chest. I then slowly descended into the ground while Prince Vonerich continued to lash out uncontrollably. Slowly, I tightened my grip on each heart, which swiftly stopped Vonerich's rampage. He then clenched his chest tightly with gritting teeth as he fell into the floor. With widened eyes, the prince gradually raised his head to see me standing a few feet away from the young prince Venne. When I combined the souls of Prince Vonerich Lardizabal and Sir Lars and placed both of them inside of the prince's body, I made sure that I took their hearts first. This way, I can replace it with a diamond heart that would connect both of their still-beating hearts in my possession. Thus, I can hurt, kill, or punish the two souls at the same time from afar.
"Let him go, Vonerich," I uttered solemnly while holding their beating hearts on each of my hands. "Go home and let your brother go."
"Why, Vilhelm..." Prince Vonerich said while gritting his teeth as he dug his fingers into the darkened soil of Nihilheim. "Why did you punish my father, and why are you taking my brother away from me? IS THIS MY PUNISHMENT!? IS THIS THE COMPENSATION FOR SPARING OUR LIVES!? WHY!? WHYYYYYYYYY!?"
I can't calm him down; he's clearly distraught. I will have to fix him; I must correct him. This is my mistake. There has to be a way.
I then bowed my head down with eyes closed to show my sincerity to the Varban prince. "Forgive me, Prince Vonerich, but this is necessary."
"THEN EXPLAIN! EXPLAIN TO ME WHY YOU NEED TO DO THIS!? TELL ME!" The Varban prince audaciously told me, which made the young prince Venne shocked. Perhaps his jealousy towards his brother had increased after seeing this moment of weakness.
"I can explain, but you will not understand," I said before raising my head to show a calm expression on my blank face. "You must see it with your own eyes in the future."
Prince Vonerich then started to heave uncontrollably while clutching his chest tightly. A pained expression began to creep upon his face as he gazed upon my domineering calmness. "Then, promise me, God of Death... promise me that you will take care of my brother at all cost! Promise me that my father will have a place in your halls. Promise me that you won't take my family to a cruel place."
"I promise all of that and more." I nodded as the two beating hearts in my hands slowly disappeared and turned into smoke. "I will make your brother the greatest man that you'll ever see."
Vonerich's body fell into the ground as he pounded both of his fists on it. Tears then started to fall into the Varban prince's eyes before he weakly uttered, "Go, Venne."
The younger prince then frowned as he tried to extend his arms to his brother. "Brother, I--"
"JUST GO! GO! THE GOD OF DEATH'S WORDS ARE ABSOLUTE! LEAVE NOW, AND DON'T YOU EVER TURN YOUR HEAD BACK!" Prince Vonerich continued in rapid-fire succession as he placed his forehead onto the floor.
Prince Venne then looked at his older brother with a weakened expression before nodding. He then turned back to get the luggage he dropped earlier and saw me there behind him, already carrying it for him. I gently gave the suitcase to the young prince Venne and saw him walk away from his still-crying brother with a newfound determination in his eyes.
Just then, Prince Vonerich screamed. "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! DAMN IT ALL! DAMN IT AAAAAALL!" He then started pounding his fist onto the floor while gritting his teeth. Meanwhile, Prince Venne continued to walk towards the far south without looking back, just like what his brother told him.
I know that Prince Vonerich had told himself a long time ago that the reason why he was created in this world is to serve his younger brother as his loyal aide. However, now, I stripped all that away from him.
But, now, his purpose had been renewed.
I then knelt before the still weeping Prince Vonerich. I then pulled my glove off my right arm and used that now bare hand to raise the prince's head. There, I managed to see the wretched expression of the soon-to-be king of Varba.
"Let us go, King Vonerich," I said with a smile as I looked at him with great pride. Good. He didn't die when I touched him. It must have meant that his soul is gripping onto his body tightly thanks to the diamond heart I have placed into his chest. Prince Vonerich then looked at me with outstretched eyes upon hearing my words. "We have a throne to claim and an army to defeat."
Thus, he marched forward. He continued to scream and cry and roar and howl as he ran as fast as he could towards Varba with me following him intently in the air. Ignoring literally everyone who would approach him and pushing everyone who would stand in his way, the prince swiftly ran towards the palace at the center of Varba. Soon, he stood before the throne room of the empire and kicked it open, something that only the king of Varba can do--only he can do. With fire in his eyes, he walked towards his uncle, who's audaciously sitting on Varba's throne while happily talking to his friends in the court. When they finally laid their eyes upon the tattered, tired, and furious Prince Vonerich, their attention was swiftly caught, but none of them were clearly afraid of him or even remotely worried about what he would do. For all they care about, he's just now an injured prince who lost in the north with no allies, no army, and nothing but an empty claim to the throne.
"Ah, Vonerich, my nephew! I heard what happened in the north; are you okay?" Prince Carnegie uttered upon seeing Prince Vonerich sweating before him underneath his red velvet throne. The throne itself looked a whole lot like my throne but red, which I find weird. Everything else around is red, red, red, which is... a choice.
"Get out of my throne, Carnegie." Prince Vonerich uttered without even addressing his uncle with the usual formalities while panting heavily as his sweat washed away all of the dirt on his face.
"Your throne!?" Prince Carnegie said while looking at the pathetic figure of the prince and his tattered clothes. He then touched the crown sitting comfortably on his head. "Just because you heard that your father is dying and your brother is missing doesn't mean the throne immediately becomes yours. No one in this empire will back you up unless you want to fuck each and every one of the powerful men in this country like the whore that you are!" Prince Carnegie uttered with a proud sneer while the rest of his friends all laughed along with him.
"Oh, but he does have friends in this court, PRINCE Carnegie." The imposing voice of a young man resounded from the corner of the throne room.
"SAILAS!?" Prince Vonerich uttered upon seeing the prince of the Crespas in Vega, a dear friend of his from childhood.
"I came here to send a message from the frontlines in Valencia, but none of these old fools would even listen to me." Prince Sailas uttered as he stood on Vonerich's right side with his arms crossed. "But, now, there's finally someone who would listen, and I say I back him up more than this ugly crook. Know that the prince and princess of Valencia also share the same sentiment as me in this decision."
"WHY YOU..." Prince Carnegie scowled at Prince Sailas while gritting his teeth tightly. The crown then started to tip from his head, which Prince Carnegie noticed, so he fixed it right away to make it sit on his head just as comfortably as it was earlier. He then heaved a sigh and snickered lightly while looking at the two princes before him. "You may hold great power in your empire, but you're nothing in Varba! Who would possibly accept a foreign royalty's words!?"
"I would." The sound of a woman then resounded from somewhere in the hall. She then stepped towards Prince Vonerich's left side. "The Song family accepts and legitimizes Prince Vonerich's claim to the throne." A woman whom I remembered to be named Miriam Song proclaimed as she banged the blunt end of her scythe onto the floor. She's wearing a black heavy metal armor, which covers every single area of her body. Meanwhile, she holds her darkened helmet, which is shaped like the head of a dragon, on her other hand. It seemed like Madame Miriam is heavily injured based on the countless bruises on her stern face, but from what I can see, she didn't seem to mind any of it. "Would that be enough for you to step out of King Vonerich's throne?" The lady roared as she pointed her scythe towards the man sitting on the crimson throne of Varba. When Prince Carnegie saw this, he leaned his body back to the throne with a shriek. The crown then finally tipped out of his head, rolling onto the floor away from his reach. One of Prince Carnegie's friends then took it before it reached Prince Vonerich's side and hurriedly handed it to the man sitting on the throne.
After putting the crown back to his head, Prince Carnegie then balled his hands into a fist while trying his hardest to calm himself while looking at the people around him. It seems like his friends are swaying away from him; some even looked at him with gazes filled with judgment. The shame this charade had brought upon his proud heart had broken his psyche to the point that it clicked this particular insane side that he had kept in his heart for far too long.
"SOLDIERS!" The desperate Prince Carnegie screamed as he stood up while pointing at the young prince. "SEIZE THEM!"
"Carnegie, stop this..." An old man who's standing beside him uttered with a worried gaze. It seemed like every noble person in the hall had acknowledged Madame Song's influence. Perhaps all of them understood that they can't afford to support Prince Carnegie if the Song Family waged a civil war against the ruling figure on the throne of Varba.
"ARE YOU CHALLENGING ME!? I HAVE THE CROWN, I AM ON THE THRONE! WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED!? JUST BECAUSE AN OLD WOMAN AND A FREAK PRINCE STANDS BESIDE THIS WHORE OF A MAN MEANS MY CROWN AND MY THRONE IS MEANINGLESS!?" Prince Carnegie roared in a futile protest that further shows his avid desperation to get this throne. He wants this, and he wanted it more than anything in the world. Now that he has it, he can't even see a future where he's not with it anymore. "SEIZE THEM, I SAY! SEIZE THEM NOW!"
The soldiers in the throne room all looked at Prince Carnegie with worried expressions. They all then cautiously pointed their spears towards the three people standing before the throne. There's about ten of them, but none would even wish to take a step closer towards them. They just circled around Prince Vonerich and his supporters with frightened expressions. Perhaps they're afraid of the three people's might, or perhaps they're so confused that they're following an order that they think is wrong. Nonetheless, they're still soldiers of the empire, and they cannot deny that Prince Carnegie is still the current king of Varba.
"THIS IS TREASON! TRAITORS, YOU LOT! BETRAYERS TO THE CROWN! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!" Prince Carnegie then stood up from the throne with a deranged expression filled with the purest form of anger all over his face. "WHO ELSE!? WHO ELSE DARES TO BETRAY THE KING OF VARBA!?
The throne room then shook, specks of dust started to fill the area, and cracks began to appear on the crimson walls. The soldiers all looked at one another with confusion and fear, the noble people all around Prince Carnegie with terrified faces, and the two people standing beside Prince Vonerich both started to look around their surroundings with widened eyes. Everyone seems to be at a loss until they saw smoke forming behind Prince Vonerich, who remained unfazed even after the tremors happening all around him. As the blackened cloud continued to develop behind him, he just looked at the trembling Prince Carnegie intently with a pair of blazing eyes. When the people around Vonerich started to see the smoke appearing behind the soon-to-be king, they all began to scream with helpless expressions. They know the tale of how the God of Death shrouds himself in smoke; they know, but none of them wishes to admit that I genuinely am appearing before them. Gradually, the black clouds around me turned into my familiar human form as I slowly walked towards Vonerich. Then, I wrapped my hands around the king I appointed, placing my head on his shoulders lightly with a blank expression. Madame Miriam saw me and immediately fell on his knees while sweating profusely as if she had just seen a monster that she could never defeat no matter how much she sweats and studies. Prince Sailas then took a step back but accidentally walked on a pebble, making him fall on his ass to the ground.
"I, Vilhelm, Ruler of Nihilheim, God of Death, and Third Child of The Old God Hatu, do solemnly proclaimed that Vonerich Lardizabal shall be the ruler of Varba until the day he dies!" An arrogant smirk swiftly perked up on the side of my lips as I tightened my embrace around Prince Vonerich's body.
"YOU'RE NOT VILHELM! ANYONE THAT THE GOD OF DEATH TOUCHES WILL DIE! SOLDIERS, SEIZE THESE TRAITORS AND BRING THAT IMPOSTOR'S HEAD TO ME!" Prince Carnegie loudly ordered the trembling soldiers around us.
One of those armored-men screamed out loud and swiftly moved towards Vonerich and me. However, before he could even plunge his spear right at us, his body slowly stiffened, and gradually, it looked as if it's turning older, thinner, and weaker as time passed. Suddenly, a green light slowly leaves the poor soldier's disintegrating body and swiftly turns into smoke. It then swirled around me, becoming a part of the thickening cloud of smoke in my surroundings. Prince Sailas then crawled as fast as he could away from me while Madame Miriam continued to bow even deeper as her sweat flowed even more onto her skin, dripping onto the floor until it formed a small puddle on the ground.
"Worry not. That man was already dead when he approached us. I just made his death quicker and less painful. As for why King Vonerich is not dying on my touch, well..." I then glared at the people around Prince Carnegie, which made all of them cry out loud in fear. "That's none of your business."
One of the noblemen around Prince Carnegie then swiftly ran towards the prince who's still cowering on the crimson throne. The old nobleman then threw the crown towards us by rolling it onto the floor towards King Vonerich's feet. The young king then stepped on the surface of the red, circular, gem-filled crown to stop it from rolling, and it kicked it up into the air like he's playing with a ball. I then caught the crown in midair with a pleased smirk before slowly placing it on King Vonerich's now ashen hair.
"All hail King Vonerich! All hail Varba!" I muttered slowly with a calm voice. However, no one spoke a word back right at me.
Just then, Madame Miriam stood up and raised her scythe onto the air as she roared, "ALL HAIL KING VONERICH! ALL HAIL THE NEW CRIMSON KING!"
Seeing this, the Prince of Vega, Prince Sailas, immediately yanked himself up to the ground and raised King Vonerich's hand into the air before thundering, "ALL HAIL KING VONERICH! ALL HAIL VARBA!"
The people around the throne then raised their fists into the air while they all looked at the crown sitting on the young king's head.
They all applauded and screamed with so much vigor that none of them realized that I was no longer there with them.
However, as the people in the throne room all cheer and applaud for the proclamation of a new king, Vonerich remained there with a saddened expression and a pair of dead eyes. Then again, even if he refuses this, he knows that there's no point in thinking about it now. He lifted his head and looked at Prince Sailas with newfound confidence.
"Sailas, tell me what's happening in the north."