"What brings you here this late, Queen Delimira?"

Sylvester's questioned, seemingly shocking the woman enough to stop her in her tracks. However, she soon walked forward and stood beside him, overlooking the graveyard that suddenly had larger trees now. It came as a shock to her since she had seen when the saplings were planted.

"I didn't know you mastered Green Magic as well, Pope Sylvester," Queen Delimira said with amusement in her voice. "Or perhaps it is some other rare ability that none know of?"

'Hostility?' Sylvester felt the change in her scent. It seemed even more confronting than before.

"Magic isn't something that's restrained by the elements—it's our understanding of solarium that restricts it. The plants use it to grow, the animals use it to live, nature uses it to exist; magic is everywhere, merely harnessing it is the challenge," Sylvester replied in a wise but somewhat cryptic manner.

Delimira hummed and folded her arms below her chest, "I wonder if this peace you propose will last that long. I don't mean to be disrespectful, merely curious."

Sylvester chuckled and looked at the twin moons in the sky. "I will outlive everyone who lives in the Holy Land right now. You will outlive me and the many more Popes who will rise after me—Respected Queen, you are an elf; I'm sure you will have plenty of time to see if this peace endures, or for the worse, the fate of this world detours."

"Don't be so pessimistic about your life, Pope. I'm sure you will live for many more years than you expect, and I think you know that deep down," she responded with slight ridicule evident in her tone.

'She knows?' Sylvester deduced in that instant. 'Then why isn't she screaming it to the world?'

"You can speak with me openly, Queen Delimira. I know you were the one who sent those elves to Sol," Sylvester brought the matter out in the open, confronting her directly.

She stared at Sylvester, her brows creasing together, revealing the contempt she held toward him. "Do you know what the most painful feeling in this world is? When you are born and brought up for a purpose, and you give your everything to accomplish it, but no matter how much you try, that purpose remains unfulfilled—all because of things you cannot control. You spend years hoping that things will change, but they never do."

Sylvester sighed, unable to bring himself to hate this woman as he understood where her anguish lay, "And yet you blame yourself?"

"The entire kingdom does! The ladies of the court do—the way they look at me..." Delimira replied, slowly losing control over her emotions. "I and Rathagun were born in the same year. We shared the same cradle. We've been together since our birth, our education, our training—we've been by each other's side, and he promised to never leave me. Yet…"

Sylvester caught a whiff of the slight hint of fear. He noticed Delimira worrying her words would anger him too much.

"Speak freely, Queen Delimira—No matter what you say today, it won't anger me," he assured her.

"S-She…" Delimira still measured her words properly. "Despite our eventual marriage being certain ever since we were born, he betrayed me… He went mad for that slave woman Xavia… Everything was perfect, and then it all changed with her. Am I not beautiful enough? Am I not kind enough? What do I lack that she had? All my life, I lived to accommodate Rathagun's happiness and needs, so why am I always ignored?"

"Do you truly love him? Or is it because your father forced you to be obsessed with him? Does he truly hate you? Or is it hate towards your father that extends to you?" Sylvester asked her back, direct and unfiltered questions that sent the woman into a shocking self-reflection.

She looked down, unsure. "I… I'm sure he used to love me, but now he only thinks about that woman… It's been so many years, and yet… My father only hates him for not taking the union with me seriously. Before, my father used to treat him like his own son—as his most cherished student."

Sylvester could understand that, as even he didn't know why Rathagun was so obsessed with a short period of romance he had in his long life that would last thousands of years to come. By all means, the man should have forgotten them, but on another note, he knew he shouldn't judge the man like that, as even he remembered Diana so fondly to this day.

"If you hate me, why haven't you declared it to the world?" He asked.

Delimira glanced at Sylvester, to his surprise, a little fondly. "I want to, but I cannot… Despite everything, you still have his blood in your veins, and I love him too much. Don't worry, I have no desire to hurt her either, not anymore."

Saying that, Delimira turned around to leave, holding her tears back. The sound of the various insects and the gentle breeze did little to uplift her mood that evening. Seeing Sylvester only made her feel emotions that had been growing for years.

"If…" She suddenly stopped a few steps away but never looked back at Sylvester, for her eyes were shedding some tears, making a mess of her mascara. "Sometimes I wonder how perfect things would have been if it was my womb you were born from."

Sylvester turned around and watched her leave. But before she went too far, he voiced to her. "He feels the same!"

"What?" Delimira paused and looked behind, soon feeling embarrassed at her ruined face from the tears.

Sylvester walked closer to her and, with no ulterior motives, produced a small piece of cloth before wiping her tears, "What Rathagun feels is probably not love, but desperation. He is obsessed not because of his desire to be with his family but rather to have me by his side—the son that was supposed to be his. The strongest person to have ever lived, a Supreme Wizard at such a young age."

Delimira cried uncontrollably at that instant, sensing his concerns for her lacking any wrong thoughts. "Why are you being kind to me? I attempted to kill your mother..."

Sylvester smiled and borderline lied to avoid any animosity from rising in the upper echelon of elves. He wanted to earn Delimira's trust and friendship, and in any case, he wasn't wrong in saying it. "Yes, I should hate you, but at the end of the day, are you not akin to my mother as well?"

Delimira fell silent, not making any sound even while crying. His words took her by surprise on a scale she didn't expect was possible. A strange warmth arose in her heart for some reason, and his smiling face began to feel so much more sincere as if there was a connection between them.

By instinct, she raised her hand and touched his cheek softly, carefully, "Y-You do… resemble him a little."

"Haha, if anything, I resemble you the most, Queen Delimira," Sylvester laughingly replied, trying to cheer up her mood. "Look at my hair. Both of us are blonde."

"Hah…" She chuckled while still crying. "You truly have a way with words."

"My job requires that," he replied and walked with her back towards the castle. "I shall head back to rest now. I'm sure the Elder Council will be very busy and annoyed tomorrow. I will see you there, Queen Delimira."

"Only Delimira," the queen responded before heading to the main entrance. "I will try to find some solace in your existence, Pope Sylvester. So I hope you can address me by my name when suitable."

"The same goes for you, Delimira," Sylvester replied, waving his hand and bidding farewell.

He jumped away and returned to his room through the window. There, he found Miraj already snoring after having finished his dinner. The bowls were still lying on the bed beside his fluffy body.

Sylvester also joined Miraj on the bed and rested calmly, looking at the intricate ceiling and thinking about the man whose blood ran through his veins. "Rathagun, you need to grow a damn spine. You don't run a kingdom by ignoring your noble duties, your queen, and obsessing over something you never had—You can't even make a decision without crying in front of the council."

He felt frustrated by the King of the elves. Although he tried his best to remind the man where his duties and loyalty should lie, it wasn't that simple.

"Everything depends on his ability to stop slavery now."

"Mmm… Slav-ely bad…!" Miraj mumbled under his breath as if talking to Sylvester.

Sylvester chuckled and closed his eyes to rest, or at least seem as if resting.

During that same time, two men wandered the hallways of the elven castle. Bloodrain and Soulbreaker, two terrifying entities of the Holy Land. It wasn't tough for them to fool the guards with Soulbreaker's control over souls—a magic that was nigh impossible to fight against.

Silently, they made their way straight to the guards' quarters. Easily, they made the entire hall full of bunk beds with sleeping elven guards fall unconscious. They then went further into a small lobby that led to multiple rooms, each reserved for the high-ranking officers.

Clad in their complete armours, Soulbreaker had his usual terrifying faceplate. Bloodrain also sported the usual bloodied conical hat and visor with bleeding eye sockets.

Knock! Knock!

A few seconds later, a groaning voice came, and an elven man could be heard opening the door in anger. He was completely naked, with long black hair and fiery red eyes. "Who dares distur—"

It didn't take too long before the elven man wet the floor. Anyone would after seeing the terrifying, tall forms of the two Guardians.

"Knight Captain Kharis Trafir?" Bloodrain asked in his usual emotionless tone.

"Y-ye-yes… Wh-who are you?"

Bloodrain and Soulbreaker clasped their hands together and prayed, "O' the mighty Lord, we serve justice in the name of the Bard."

"What?" Kharis Trafir exclaimed and almost ran back to take his sword from the room. But abruptly, he found his body frozen, sending shivers of fear across his mind.

Soulbreaker came forward and gently tapped on the elven man's shoulder, "Your insane deviancy knows no bounds, and you call yourself a guard? Cry not when His Holiness sends his regards."

"Humans?!" Kharis realised, but it was too late.

Piercing pain overtook him, and he soon realised his body had begun disintegrating into nothingness. His body, losing its soul, was left as an empty husk held together by nothing. By nature, he was born, and into nature, his existence returned.

"May the Lord guide you to the rightful path," Bloodrain prayed for the dead man as the body completely vanished.

A perfect crime in all sense, no trace remained. No one saw them walk out of their rooms or return.

Thank you for reading. Gifts and GT votes are highly appreciated.