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1-39 Revelation

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Author: EnroItzal Original Source: Scribble Hub

“No talking until we’re out of the woods,” Aedan firmly reprimanded Lyra and Erin as the two was about to escalate their bickering to new heights. Ironically, the contents of their bickering was largely attributed to Aedan himself.

Erin had no problem in complying but Lyra on the other hand was boring her gaze at Aedan. Vexed would even be underrating her current mood. She had strings of questions and she had no desire to be stalled from the answers. However, she could understand Aedan’s intention behind those words. Given the very recent event, it was best for them to not drop their guard when surrounded by nothing but potential points of ambushes. Adding to that, Lyra’s role in the group was a scout. She couldn’t exactly do her job if she stayed by their side asking questions.

And so, silence descended upon the party with a discontent Lyra peering back at the wagon every once in a while.

Erin took a gander at Cal, Selene, and Free who were still snoring away from the sleeping dust Aedan scattered. Looking at their status, Erin could breathe a sigh of relief.

Their journey through the dark woods wasn’t without potential obstacles. With her heightened hearing and smell, Erin could pick up a vast number of scents across the woods. There were even scents that she wasn’t familiar with. The number of scents was reaching a worrying quantity.

“Be at ease, lass. They won’t come near us.” Aedan assured her after noticing her fidgeting glances. He was only whispering but being a Fox-kin, Erin had no difficulty in picking up his words.

“You’re sure?” Erin responded, also in a whispering tone.

Aedan murmured with a nod.

“Absolutely?”

“As sure as the sun will set by evening and the sun will rise at dawn.”

Erin looked around. “I wish I had your confidence.”

“It’s not confidence. It’s knowledge.”

“You think the monsters will absolutely not approach us because they’re afraid of you and I?”

“Rather than fear, it’s more of them being cautious,” Aedan explained. “We are already emitting a threatening scent. To exaggerate it further, we came off unscathed from the encounter with that relic. Unless they are extremely fearless or hungry, they will never dare to step into our sights.”

It sounded hyperbolically erroneous to Erin but there were ample proofs to Aedan’s words. In spite of the growing numbers of monsters crawling in the woods, none of them make any attempts in approaching the wagon. From the sounds she picked up, there were a few monsters which were simply colossal but even they maintained their distance from the wagon.

“Is this one of the reasons why your father has you accompany us?” Erin asked with an eyebrow raised.

Aedan shrugged. “Not the main one but certainly one of the reasons.”

“You’re confident that nothing out here would challenge your presence?”

“Out here as in Green Scar? Yes, I’m sure nothing will be that brave but I can’t say the same for the places beyond.”

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After an hour to almost two, the group eventually left the woods and entered into a path with plains spread as far as the eyes could see. The sunlight greeted them in full glory. They were now relatively safe or at the very least, they didn’t have to be cautious of any ambushes. Lyra wasted no time in matching the wagon’s speed and steering her horse to the side of the coach.

“Start talking,” Lyra demanded from the two.

Erin and Aedan exchanged glances and gestures. Ultimately, it was left to Erin to explain the whole story. She made sure the trio in the back were still unconscious before beginning her explanation. Although the contents were heavy, it took not even ten minutes for Erin to finish her explanation. Obviously, Erin omitted a lot of details and gave her only the parts she deemed necessary.

“You’re not joking?” Lyra stared wide-eyed at Aedan. “You really are a Dragon-kin?”

“As your partner had repeatedly confirmed it for you, yes,” Aedan answered without sparing Lyra a single glance.

“So… for more than fifty years… you have been living under the guise of a Dwarrow in the town?”

Aedan nodded lazily.

“Does Sven or your father know about this?”

“I didn’t tell them but father definitely knows. As for Sven—” Aedan shrugged. “I don’t think it matters.”

“How does it not matter?” Lyra wanted to raise her voice but the sight of the sleeping trio forced her to remain prudent. “You’re keeping secrets from your own family and people who trusted you.”

“I appreciate your concern, lassie but know this—” Aedan sent her a glare. “This is my problem. Stop projecting your own issue unto mine.”

Lyra stiffened. It was nothing more than a glare but it was enough to send shivers down her spine. It strengthened the proclamation that Aedan was indeed a Dragon-kin.

“That’s enough, Lyra.” Erin chimed in. “He’s not causing any trouble. Well, not yet at least. I don’t think we have any rights to reprimand him.”

“You’re on his side?” Lyra asked with a face that said she had been betrayed.

Erin sighed. “It’s not about taking sides. It’s about having peace of mind. Is it so bad to not want a situation to escalate more than necessary?”

After a brief glare, Lyra clicked her tongue. “Fine. I’ll stop pursuing but take heed, if his secret causes any trouble, I’ll put an arrow right between his ears.”

Erin gave a cramped smile. “That’s a little extreme there.”

“So is keeping such a big secret from the town who took him in.”

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“You’re welcome to try when that time comes,” Aedan muttered. “More than that, there is one thing I would like to ask you, lass.”

“Me?” Erin pointed at herself. Although she was irked, it was difficult to complain since it was an issue of her gender identity.

“I assume you have heard what the ancient one called you and the cause of its interest towards you. Really intriguing, won’t you agree?”

“Ah…” Erin stiffened. She had wished for that subject to be forgotten but as expected, Aedan wouldn’t let it go since his own secret got exposed.

“Yeah, I heard it too,” said Lyra. She glanced at the Fox-kin. “That so-called ancient one, it called you an Outworlder. Why?”

Erin’s gaze was swimming. Although she was excellent at discerning a lie, she herself wasn’t that amazing of a liar. Especially if she was called out directly or suddenly.

Seeing her stammer, Lyra instantly knew it to be true. However— “What’s an Outworlder?” she asked.

Aedan hung head as he thought about how to explain the term. After a few murmurs that seemed to grate Lyra’s nerves, he said, “simply put, people not of this world.”

Lyra furrowed her brows. “That’s too simple,” she retorted.

“I’m no scholar nor am I a bard. Don’t expect any fancy or highbrow words.” Aedan stretched his neck before continuing. “This is a secret older than probably this world itself. There are other worlds out there. Worlds that drew many similarities to this world or worlds that greatly differ to this one.” He then paused to see the two’s reaction.

Erin was nodding attentively.

But Lyra was canting her head in puzzlement. “Other worlds?” she asked.

“Parallel worlds. An alternate reality, you can call it. And in each of these worlds, there’s the cycle of life. When a being dies, their soul joins this cycle. After some time and a series of complicated processes, they are reincarnated into a new body.”

“I didn’t know that…” Lyra muttered.

“You wouldn’t have. Not even my father does. Anyways, sometimes, at the whims of fate, a foreign soul, a soul originated not of the present world, will join the cycle. It doesn’t sound like much of a problem but here’s the interesting part, these foreign souls, they are not bound by the concurrent world’s rules. There are no shackles in place to limit what they can and cannot do, for most things.”

Lyra blinked. “Like what?”

“The common trait is that they retain a portion of their powers from their previous lives and almost all of their memories. As for particular traits… there was this Outworlder where levels meant nothing to him. He does have a level but it might as well just be a display for him. He was level fifteen in his stats but he managed to kill a level sixty with a butter knife. The level sixty person was donned in Arcane Armor but he was stabbed with a cutlery imbued with an enchantment from a level fifteen. Right through the magic armor, through the man’s flesh, and right into his heart. The butter knife wasn’t even anything special. It was just some plain cutlery.”

Lyra widened her eyes. “That sounds exaggerated and these people sound dangerous.”

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“If history is any indication, they are very strong and indeed very dangerous. Nine out of ten of these Outworlders had been corrupted by their powers. They have caused numerous near-cataclysms event throughout the course of history. It took the intervention of Gods to finally put them down.”

After hearing this, Lyra stared worriedly at Erin.

“Hey, I’m not going to be like that,” Erin refuted.

“That’s what they all say, at first,” Aedan remarked. “Some had even made a vow to the Gods but only to be tempted by their boundless powers and be slain in the end by the Gods they had once devoted themself to.”

“D-don’t worry, Erin. E-even if the whole world becomes your enemy, I’ll still be by your side.”

Erin’s jaws fell in disbelief. “First off, you’re stuttering. You don’t sound convincing. Second, stop assuming the worst already, damn it!” She then turned to Aedan. “How come no one seems to know of this Outworlder business? I read nothing about this on the various books I have picked up. Not even a single brief mention.”

“Come to think of it… that’s true.” Even Lyra was in agreement. “Not even a hint of whisper or rumor about all these.”

“Because they are dangerous,” Aedan answered. “The superpower factions worked hard in order to not let that knowledge spread. Otherwise, it would induce panic into the whole word, people would lynch any strangers that looked them the wrong way, throwing every country into disarray. That is what an Outworlder is.”

“That is an Outworlder, my foot,” Erin spat. “You make me sound like I’m a harbinger for the end of days.”

“You potentially are,” Aedan retorted. “However, I gave that relic my word. I would not let that happen.”

“You won’t need to not let anything happen because nothing will happen.” Erin glowered.

Aedan chuckled inwardly. “Your will is admirable but unbearably naive.”

“I have another question,” Lyra spoke up.

“Hmm?” Aedan grumbled.

“What was that anyway? That thing you called the relic… the ancient one?”

“A… Spirit…, Entity, maybe?” Aedan replied.

“You’re not sure?”

“I know what they are. I just don’t know what to call them.”

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Erin gave a dubious look. “Given how long you have supposedly lived and how knowledgeable you prove yourself to be, I find it hard to believe that you aren’t in the know of this.”

“I’m not all-knowing. I’m no god. I’m old but they are way older.”

“They?” Erin questioned. “You mean—”

“Yes, they. There are lots of them in the world. They have existed long before any civilization did. They see themselves as some sort of balance keepers. Guardians, I guess you can call it. As long as the balance is maintained, they prohibited themselves from meddling in any affairs, not even if an individual is slaughtering children left and right without probable cause.”

“What is exactly this balance they seek to keep?”

Aedan shook his shoulders. “I don’t know about that either. I think the definition differs between each of them.”

“Wait.” Lyra cut in. “You said you’re old. Just how old?”

Aedan chuckled amusingly. “Old. Older than my so-called father actually. Older than I can remember.”

Lyra stared blankly at him.

“You f-forgot?” Erin managed to restrain herself from blanking out at the revelation.

“Not exactly. If I have to give a number… I would say I’m approximately two hundred and forty seven, not counting my multiple past incarnations.”

“Your multiple past incarnations?”

“Aye. I retain my memories from my previous lives. Mentally speaking, I’m many times older than my current body.”

“You’re just like me?” Erin threw a hopeful question.

“A very distant relation, maybe,” Aedan shot back. “I reincarnate into the same world for most times. Also, Dragons reincarnating is a norm. It’s how Dragons came to be known as versatile and powerful. This is natural for us. For your case, it is not natural. In fact, sometimes the presence of an Outworlder is caused by divine meddling.”

“Divine meddling?” Erin furrowed her brows. “I thought you weren’t a scholar or a bard.”

Aedan sighed. “It’s when a God intentionally summons a soul from one world into another world.”

“Why?” Erin questioned.

“Many reasons but most of the time, it’s because they’re bored to see the world stagnating and so, they inducted a soul into another world to instigate a massive change.”

Lyra had a horrified face. “How could they do that?”

“They’re Gods. They sit on the zenith. We’re just mortals. Who are we to say no to them?”

“You said most of the time,” Erin pointed out. “What about the other times?”

“To save the world, for one.”

Wait… I heard someone laughing when I died. It was a female’s voice. Perhaps I was...

Erin’s inner thoughts were cut short by Aedan’s words. “There was this Demon Lord… his name was Zar… something…”

“Zarkoth?” Erin said.

“Ah yes, Zarkoth. I’m impressed that you knew. Well anyways, this Zarkoth was so powerful and ambitious and also… evil, of course. He culled off many races from the face of the world.”

“And the Gods?”

“They can’t do anything. Zarkoth was a native of this world. He was nature’s apex evolution. Some of the Gods actually enjoyed this. Some didn’t and those that didn’t, they tried summoning a hero to defeat this Demon Lord.”

“Did it work?”

Aedan was silent for a while. “On their fourth attempt, yeah.”

“Fourth attempt? What happened to the previous attempts?”

“The first hero died horribly. I believe he was an arrogant sod. Too proud to believe the demon lord was stronger. And his lack of preparations became the cause of his demise. Good riddance there, I say. As for the second one, he was tempted with women and power by the Demon Lord and he ended up joining his forces. And the third one had a good head and a good heart but she just wasn’t strong enough. In the end, the third and fourth hero worked together and took down the Demon Lord. And everyone lived happily ever after.”

Erin narrowed her eyes. “Really?”

“Nope.” Aedan admitted. “Lots of people died before Zarkoth fell. Everyone was just relieved that his reign has ended. No one was happy. There was no festival. No one celebrated.”

“Hmm…” Erin began musing.

Lyra on the other hand was not able to follow the story at all. Unlike Erin, Lyra did not have any proper education at all. Everything she knew about the letters and language were either self-taught or taught by unreliable people. So to say, her literacy was improper. It helped through simple conversations so far but when it came to profound and intricate matters, she was at an impasse. She tried her hardest but in the end, she understood only the rough gist of the story. But of course, she didn’t show her confusion on her face.

“Where were you in all this?” Erin asked.

“Me?” After some thinking, he let off a strained laughter. “I was dead for the most part.”

“Dead? You mean most of the story is based on second-hand experience.”

Aedan nodded.

“You were dead… How? Your body got old?”

“I was murdered.”

“Murdered?” Lyra blurted out in disbelief. “A Dragon-kin, murdered?”

“Of course, it’s not as bad as it sounded. The concept of death for Dragons and Dragon-kin are vastly different to others.”

“Who killed you?” Erin asked.

“The second summoned hero,” Aedan answered with a self-deprecating smile. “Actually… I was his teacher. Taught him a lot of things and like many of his predecessors, power got to his head but damn, he was good at hiding his insatiable hunger for power and women. Everyone was fooled… I was fooled. It didn’t even occur to me until it was all too late. And well, I died and by the time I was reincarnated, Zarkoth was long dead.”

“You being an Outcast… does it have something to do with this….?” Erin’s question trailed off.

“It’s one of the reasons but not the only one,” Aedan responded indifferently.

“Then what are the—”

Aedan stopped Erin with a finger to his lips. He then pointed at the trio, who were fumbling in their sleep. “They’re almost awake now. We can talk about this some time in the future.”

Although Erin really wanted to know, she complied with his wishes.

Lyra also moved back to her position at the front of the wagon.

“Aedan,” Erin whispered. There was something she really wanted to know. “About you vouching for me, I—”

“Not now, lass.” Once again, Aedan stopped her from speaking about the matter any further.

Even though she didn’t manage to say it, she guessed Aedan had probably figured out what she wanted to ask. “Did you vouch for me in order to atone for your failure with the second hero?” was her question. Though, the answer would only come much later.


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