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Translated by Wook
Edited by Iris Sakura
“You can… bring back… this darkness…”
Ricardis didn’t really hear her last words. Isserion had covered his ears with both hands and urged Ricardis to leave quickly, so he also left the cell.
Ricardis recalled her last words in his head. The shape of her mouth drew one letter, then another letter. ‘Is it a curse? Or a hint for something?’ He wouldn’t know now. He left without ever looking back to her solitary confinement.
[Whether you can bring back the white night with the presence of Idelavhim alone. I will watch from this darkness, Ricardis.]
Isserion was nagging so much that it was almost deafening. ‘Black Moon’: a group of fanatics who worship Crean Tidanion. Ricardis had been thinking of what he would do if they couldn’t have an honest conversation with that witch, Katelyn. He was shocked to find that her venomous tongue was friendly.
They confirmed with her words that magical power was mixed with the poison intended to kill Ricardis. Elpidio and the Emperor’s people, who were listening to her in the dungeon, will spread the word that the Black Moon and the kingdom Balta had created a new poison that made even holy power useless. It was a grave threat not only to Ricardis but also to the Illavenia Imperial family. The more known enemies there are, the better. The problem is that there are also allies who are holding hands with the enemy.
Ricardis tossed around in bed for some time while following the pattern on the ceiling with his eyes. He didn’t usually fall asleep easily but today was especially difficult. Unlike his tired body, his mind was alive. It was a type of sleep disorder he suffered from due to frequent assassination attempts from an early age. Ricardis closed his eyes, counted a few sheep over a black background, and thought of a lullaby for little children. Despite all his efforts, his mind only became more lucid.
Ricardis took a deep breath and stood up. It seemed like it was too late to fall asleep again today. There was always a lot of work to do to keep the long nights boring. He has always held a quill on his sleepless days, but…
Today, his eyes went to the closet where wine was laid out one after another. Ricardis knew that on days like this, sitting at a desk was not a good option. He picked up a bottle of wine and sagged down on the long sofa. There were only a few candles, so the room was not bright. He stood out even more in such a situation. A faint white light shone on the wine glass and the table as moonlight peeked through the gaps in the slightly opened curtains. Ricardis followed the light and shifted his gaze. He saw a part of the full moon floating in the air. It was like the white, milky eyes of a woman. Feeling dirty in an instant, he gulped down the wine in the glass.
Black Moon. White Night. They were not simply the names of a group of fanatics serving Crean Tidanion or the name of the Knights Order of the 2nd Prince of the Holy Empire. It was a legend from long ago about the splendid past of the now aging and dying continent.
[Idelavhim, the god of light, drove out Crean Tidanion, the god of darkness, during the night when his power reached its peak.
The white light of blessing, which was brighter than daylight, lit up the whole world. Everything was revived. The black veil, which had covered the earth and the sky, slowly retreated to one side of the sky. The shadow, the symbol of darkness, also disappeared, leaving no trace of the darkness that had settled on the earth. A white night covered the world. Crean Tidanion was kicked out of the night, hid in the moon, and stayed on the blackened moon until the night Idelavhim, who dyed the world white, finally disappeared.]
… It was a legend that spread throughout the continent of Illavenina. ‘No. Legend?’ Ricardis tilted his head. He judged for a moment whether the word was appropriate even though he also realized that he couldn’t simply say it was a mere ‘legend’. He also knew that it would sound infinitely absurd had he said it was a true story.
Until about three hundred years ago, it was known that there had been a Blessed Night. A day of rebirth where there was a white night and a black moon. But hundreds of years were enough time to make the truth one of many legends.
Many people thought that the story of the Blessed Night was just something added to grant the legitimacy of the kingship, like the founding story of all countries. It was an era when even the power of legend had faded a lot, but Ricardis knew it. An unrealistic world where even the shadows disappear. That short moment of the Blessed Night exists.
In the Imperial family’s temple of Illavenia, there is an old library hidden deep inside where no one can enter. In the booklet written by several people, records of the white night and the black moon, which have been repeated as stories since the founding of Illavenia hundreds of years ago, were vividly chronicled.
1 year… 47 years…
236 years… 243 years, 263 years.
297 years… 345 years… 3… 4…
[The Emperor of Illavenia, with the blessing of Idelavhim, has driven Crean Tidanion to the moon and brought about the white night. The earth where the shadows have disappeared is colored with blessings and circulating with life: buds are sprouting, flowers are blooming, and fruits are growing.]
It took a lot of energy to sing ‘Blessed Night’. It was the natural procedure for a person with enormous power to become the Emperor. However, as time passed, the Blessed Night gradually disappeared, and opinions began to be heard about whether the emperors alone were sufficient. They pointed out that the holy power of the last 2-3 generations of emperors before the current Emperor of Illavenia was not strong. But since the Blessed Night had not been sung since long before, those opinions were not strengthened, but they never died down and were still silently buried to this day.
Hundreds of years have passed since the last record of the Blessed Night. The continent was slowly dying. The land blessed with holy power and holy water was revived, but the yield of grain and the number of trees bearing fruit gradually began to decrease.
It was because the dying land did not fully recover even with the holy power’s intervention. If it did not receive regular blessings, it would return directly to the state of parched land. As a result of various experiments in the temple, it was possible to preserve the land with holy power. However, they confirmed later that it only worked because of the effects of herb decoctions given to the most harmed areas. There are visible effects, but the fundamental problem has not changed. The consequences of a land where life force did not circulate were obvious. It was an urgent situation.
Ricardis avoided the Emperor’s eyes and investigated the Blessed Night. If the materials in the Imperial family were not available, he had to find oral traditions or Bibles from old libraries. However, as the years passed, the data was lost, and the old stories were corrupted and forgotten.
Only the Emperor knew the intricate truth about the process and conditions. Calling the Blessed Night is the greatest duty and exclusive right of only the Emperor of Illavenia. In other words, the act of someone else singing the ‘Blessed Night’ is considered an act of rebellion against the Emperor. Even if Ricardis could sing ‘Blessed Night’, he should never try it. Not until he at least ascends to the throne.
It was really stupid and boring. The current Emperor is unable to sing the ‘Blessed Night’ even if the other conditions are sufficiently satisfied, but he still held on to power.
If the Emperor finds out that Ricardis is digging for information on ‘Blessed Night’, Ricardis will not die well. The apex, which stands above all humans. It was an act of rebellion against the only person who could kill tens, hundreds, or even tens of thousands with a single word. Ricardis knew he was in a risky situation, but he thought it was worth the risk.
On a day when all conditions are met, it would be a significant threat to the Emperor. It would be like a kind of insurance, not a sword used to cut someone down. It’s a sword to protect oneself. Therefore, even when rolling around on the battlefield, when seriously injured, and even when loved ones are dying, Ricardis has been looking for clues about the ‘Blessed Night’.
What used to be so blurry that even a shape could not be seen has only been revealed a little bit today.
‘Whether you can bring back the white night with the presence of Idelavhim alone. I will watch from this darkness, Ricardis.’
Ricardis drank the wine like water. Indeed, he decided to admit it. He was only looking for one thing. From the last words of the witch Katelyn, he got an important clue. On the day the white night appeared, there was always the black moon. If the white night was not found, only the black moon remains.
“This… What are… What are you doing, Sir Rosaline?”
Ricardis took a glass of wine and headed to the balcony. With a reddish face, he opened the window. He stiffened before he set his foot outside. It was because he made eye contact with someone on a branch from a tall tree in front of him. Ricardis wrinkled his brows.
In response, he stuttered in embarrassment, and his voice was a pitch higher. He was so surprised that Ricardis should be praised for not screaming. Rosaline Radwiell, lit by the moonlight, answered him naturally while sitting like a cat on a branch.
“… Isn’t your escort hours from morning to evening?”
“The assassins don’t come on my escort time.”
And Rosaline immediately confirmed her words. She grabbed something from within the lush tree and smashed it to the floor. It was a human wearing black clothes. The man had already passed out, perhaps after being beaten by Rosaline. Ricardis glanced at the insanely capable escort knight once, then glanced at the assassin who fell bleeding under the tree once. Then the bell rang. Shortly soon after, the knights arrived.
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