724 THE VERDICT
WHEN Hanna opened her eyes, she was surprised to find a cute wooden capybara hovering above her face.
[Ah, I know this little one…]
It was the Wood Spirit that Neoma created. The royal princess introduced the Wood Spirit to her a few years ago. If she remembered it correctly, the Wood Spirit’s name was…
“Namoo,” Hanna greeted the Wooden Spirit softly. “Did you save me?”
The wooden capybara nodded her head slowly.
“Thank you,” Hanna said, gently patting the wooden capybara’s head with a finger. “I’ll give you a treat later.”
According to Neoma, the Wood Spirit enjoyed eating Darkness.
As a Darkness attribute user, she could feed it with shadows.
Namoo seemed to understand what she said because it made a cute noise while nodding its head eagerly.
[No, it should be ‘her.’ Neoma said Namoo is a ‘she.’ I’m sorry for my mistake, Namoo.]
“Hanna, dear, are you alright?”
Hanna only realized that she was lying down on what seemed to be a bed made of water when she heard her father’s voice.
She got up and checked her surroundings.
That was when she realized what was happening around her.
Hanna was safely inside what seemed like a semi-transparent fish tank with a mattress made of water.
[This is Dahlia’s ability…]
And Dahlia was currently fighting Regina Crowell.
[When did that wench get here?]
It was a little weird to see Dahlia, who was a Black Witch, fighting on a close combat with Regina Crowell.
[I’m used to seeing Dahlia use her power as a witch, after all.]
But during this fight, Dahlia was physically avoiding Regina Crowell’s punches. It seemed like the crow wench was trying to grab the Black Witch.
[I’m glad we found out about Regina Crowell’s ability early.]
Hanna also noticed that the fake Empress Dowager was already unconscious on the floor, her skin already dried up and black from Darkness.
[Her Majesty looks like an empty vessel now…]
It was her father again.
Hanna turned to her side and saw her father slicing pillars of Darkness with his Shadow Sword.
It was rare for his father to bring out the Shadow Sword because people were still afraid of their Darkness attribute.
But if her father brought it out now…
[Those pillars of Darkness must be dangerous.]
“I’m alright now, Father,” Hanna said while standing up, Namoo choosing to “sit” on her shoulder. “I can fight.”
“No, you’re not fighting,” her father said firmly. “The crows are trying to abduct you and Prince Nero, sweetie. Please, just stay there and let us protect you. I’m begging you, daughter.”
She flinched after hearing her father beg her to stay safe.
[How can I be stubborn about it after hearing my father beg?]
Hanna didn’t want to be protected when she was capable of fighting, but she also had to consider what was best for everyone.
[If the crows are trying to abduct me, then it’s better to stay here.]
Keeping herself safe was also one way of fighting.
“I understand, Father,” Hanna said, nodding. “I’ll stay here. Please be safe.”
She then turned to Dahlia who had successfully created a wall of water between her and Regina Crowell when the witch tried to grab Dahlia by the face.
After that, Dahlia splashed Regina Crowell with water in the face.
And it seemed like it wasn’t ordinary water because Regina Crowell covered her face and was groaning in pain.
[It doesn’t seem like acid, so I wonder why the wench was hurt.]
“You reek of Impure Mana,” Dahlia said in a disappointed voice while shaking her head at the wench. “I can’t purify Impure Mana, but I can hurt you.”
Regina Crowell removed her hands from her face to glare at Dahlia.
The Black Witch pulled out a dagger, then she sliced the palm of her hand quite deeply because it bled right away.
After that, Dahlia splashed her blood on Regina Crowell.
Of course, the crow wench created a barrier to block Dahlia’s blood. However, the barrier easily melted and the blood splashed across Regina Crowell’s face and upper body.
Hanna was shocked when Regina Crowell screamed in agony, smoke coming out of her body along with a sizzling sound as if she was being burned.
[Dahlia’s blood can do that?]
No wonder the Black Witches were powerful enough to kill the de Moonasterios.
[OUR SIDE is losing.]
Calyx didn’t expect their side to lose even though Lord Callisto was with them.
But, perhaps, he should have expected it the moment Emperor Nikolai and Lady Roseheart arrived.
[Moreover, Princess Neoma really dragged the gods into this mess.]
His thoughts were interrupted when Lewis Crevan tried to kick him in the face.
Calyx used his arm to block the kick, but as soon as he did, the Black Phoenix set him on fire.
If he didn’t have the strength of a de Moonasterio and the resistance of a de Luca, he would have died already.
Fortunately, his blessing allowed him to be immune from the Black Phoenix’ flame.
[And the Moon’s blessing gives me quick healing abilities.]
However, he could only defend at the moment. He couldn’t fight back because half of his power was reserved to maintaining the curse on Nero.
He didn’t care if everyone else remembered Princess Neoma.
[As long as Nero doesn’t remember his love for his twin sister, I can endure.]
<“Children, we’re leaving.”>
It was Lord Callisto’s voice, and he was speaking directly to Calyx’s mind. He was pretty sure that their lord was also speaking to Regina at the moment.
Fortunately, Lord Callisto put a barrier made of semi-transparent Darkness around him.
The barrier was sturdy enough to withstand both Lewis and Vespera’s attacks.
Hence, he could properly talk to Lord Callisto now.
He already expected that they would be forced to retreat, however…
<“How about Nero, my lord?”> Calyx asked anxiously in his head. <“Are we really going to leave him behind?”>
<“Nikolai de Moonasterio already damaged my physical body, so we have no choice but to retreat. Regina can’t get near Hanna Quinzel, and Juliet Sloane’s body is useless us. We’re only going suffer more loss if stayed here longer. We can just come back take Nero Quinzel away later.”>
Calyx frowned, not liking the idea.
[I can’t even say goodbye to Nero…]
It was impossible because Vespera and Lewis Crevan were in the way.
Moreover, Mona Roseheart was protecting Nero so closely.
<“But before we leave, must destroy Juliet Sloane’s body so that the haughty Neoma de Moonasterio wouldn’t realize what exactly did to former empress’ vessel.”>
Glenn sliced the snake-like Darkness that tried to attack his children with Ebony– his sword. “I’m sorry, Monik. Daddy is busy,” he said to his daughter apologetically. He couldn’t even turn to Monik because he didn’t want to lose focus. “Stay close to your mother and children. I will end this quickly.”
Ever since Brigitte got pregnant the first time, he always made sure that his wife carried a Mana Stone with her all the time– a Mana Stone that could create a powerful shield, to be precise.
It was put to use today.
Brigitte and their children were currently inside the shield that was similar to Princess Neoma’s Dome.
Of course, Princess Neoma’s Dome was one hundred times stronger.
Even so, the shield was sturdy enough to protect his family.
Moreover, he wasn’t letting a single ray of Darkness touch the barrier.
“Dad, please save Empress Juliet’s body!” Monik begged him, crying. “They’re going to destroy it!”
Glenn flinched, hating the fact that his child was crying. “But it’s a fake…”
“It’s Empress Juliet’s real body!” Monik argued between sobs. “The bad soul that controlled the empress’ body is already gone! Please don’t let them destroy Her Majesty’s body! Please!”
“Daddy, you’re making my sister cry!” Skylus scolded him, crying. “Why aren’t you doing what my sister wants after she already begged you?”
Claude’s loud cry followed Skylus’ resentment. “Daddy is making my older siblings cry! I hate you, Daddy!”
It was actually Glenn who wanted to cry because his heart broke when his children resented him.
[I want to do what Monik said, but I can’t leave them alone…]
Glenn kicked a pillar of Darkness that blocked his way, then sliced the other that appeared beside him before turning to his wife. “But my queen…”
“We’ll be fine,” Brigitte said firmly. “Duke Hawthorne and Gin are here.”
“Your Majesty, we will protect the queen and the children,” Duke Hawthorne, who was busy saving the duck from getting attacked by Darkness, said without looking at him. “We won’t let the Darkness touch the barrier.”
“Leave it to us, Your Majesty,” Gin, who mauled the snake-like Darkness that tried to attack the barrier, said. “Princess Neoma would want you to follow what the little princess said.”
Glenn looked at his crying children, then at his wife.
“We will wait for you here,” Brigitte said, smiling at him while holding their children close to her. “Take care, honey.”
Glenn took a deep breath, then he nodded. “I’ll be back, honey.”
MONA was surprised when she saw Nero cover his ears with his hands and his eyes shut tight.
Her son’s Mana suddenly fluctuated, too.
Fortunately, she had already purified the pillars of Darkness around them. It seemed like Darkness was avoiding them now.
“Nero, baby, what’s wrong?” Mona asked worriedly. She wanted to touch Nero’s shoulders, but she held back because she knew that it might aggravate her son even more. “Are you hurt anywhere?”
“It’s so loud it’s driving me crazy,” Nero said. Then he opened his now glowing red eyes. “Something’s whispering in my head.”
Of course, that made her anxious.
[It looks like Nero’s Lunacy is acting up again.]
Only Nikolai could stop their son’s Lunacy, but she sent Nikolai to Neoma earlier when they saw Callisto de Luca strangling their daughter.
[I have to do something. Should I knock him out?]
Mona was seriously considering knocking Nero out when she felt a strange shift in the air. She was ready to fight when a voice reached her ears.
<“It’s an honor to meet you, Mona Roseheart.”>
The voice wasn’t familiar to her, but the presence felt familiar.
[A de Moonasterio.]
<“I am your daughter’s grandfather.”>
“My daughter has a lot of grandfathers from the Afterlife,” Mona said, sighing while smiling faintly. “But if I may guess who my lord is, then I’d say you must be the First Emperor.”
She heard Neoma call the First Emperor ‘Primo de Moonasterio.’
But she was pretty sure it wasn’t the First Emperor’s real name.
<“That’s correct. Thanks to Neoma using my cape imbued with a piece of soul, I was given chance enter this realm temporarily.”>
“I see,” she said. “I’m sure you’re not here just to greet me, my lord.”
The First Emperor laughed. <“Nero is also my grandson. Hence, I’m here to give the little prince a present.”>
Mona knew that the First Emperor wouldn’t choose that timing to give his present for nothing. “Will it help contain Nero’s Lunacy, my lord?”
<“Now I know why Little Neoma is sharp– she inherited her mother’s wit,”> the First Emperor said. <“I am here to give Nero my mark.”>
“Mark?” she asked, a bit surprised. “You mean a tattoo, my lord?”
Marking skin with ink was a sacred thing in most cultures.
However, Mona hadn’t heard of a de Moonasterio who had a tattoo on their body. After all, the de Moonasterios had always valued having a flawless body. And, unfortunately, the previous generations thought lowly of tattoos.
[I believe the older generations thought tattoos are “dirty.”]
<“I am the First Emperor, which also means I’m first de Moonasterio to experience Lunacy. After all, direct fruit of love between Moon God and Goddess Light,”> the First Emperor explained. <“The Lunacy I experienced back caused me to destroy half of the continent. Haha! The gods in Upper World almost descended just scold me. Can you believe it? But all’s well that ends because was how Great Moonasterion Empire expanded on Western Continent.”>
That… wasn’t written in History books.
<“Ah, forgive me for getting distracted,”> the First Emperor said. <“My Lunacy back then was so bad my father, Lord Yule, had to mark body with a seal. Out of all the de Moonasterios born after me, I can tell that Nero has it as mine.”>
Mona bit her bottom lip.
She had known it all this time.
[Nero’s Lunacy is worse than Neoma’s. My daughter can control it because of her moral compass. But Nero’s moral compass is in the gray field…]
<“The mark that I’m gifting Nero will help him control his Lunacy. Don’t worry, the only appear if it’s hit by moonlight.”>
“If it will help my son control his Lunacy better, then I won’t complain. I don’t think tattoos are bad anyway.”
<“I’m glad you think that way, Mona Roseheart,”> the First Emperor said. <“Can you help me put the mark on Nero’s body then? I need your ability as a Roseheart since have right to summon anything in this world.”>
Mona nodded politely. “Of course, I’ll help you, my lord.”
<“WE’RE LEAVING in half a minute– destroy Juliet Sloane’s body now.”>
Regina, who felt like she was being burned alive because of the Black Witch’s blood, glared at Juliet Sloane’s empty vessel.
After splashing her blood, Dahlia had maintained her distance from her.
On the other hand, Hanna Quinzel seemed like she wouldn’t move from the safe space that the Black Witch made for her. And Duke Rufus Quinzel was still busy fighting the pillars of Darkness.
[This is my chance.]
Regina quickly pulled out a small ball of Impure Mana from the magic pouch attached to her hip, then she immediately threw it into Juliet Sloane’s body.
If the ball of Impure Mana touched the empty vessel, it would melt.
However, her plan didn’t go well.
A thick wall of stones and dirt emerged from the floor to protect Juliet Sloane from the Impure Mana.
It was Glenn, the former vice-commander of the White Lion Knights and currently the king of the Hazelden Kingdom.
[How did he know that I was planning to destroy Juliet Sloane’s body?!]
Regina didn’t have the time to figure it out because her physical body already began to vanish, leaving the fight with Dahlia as if she was a dog running away with its tail tuck between its legs.
She absolutely hated that feeling.
“I’ll make you pay for this later, Black Witch,” Regina warned Dahlia, then she turned to Hanna Quinzel and glared at her. She hated how the Quinzel Princess looked calm, after all. “The next time we meet, I’ll make your life a living hell, Hanna Quinzel.”
“I wanted to be eloquent because my father is here, but I thought me talking like Neoma would annoy you. So let me borrow one of her favorite phrases,” Hanna Quinzel said, then she smiled “sweetly” at Regina. “Fuck off, you cowardly wench.”
Nikolai let out a sigh when Callisto de Luca, Calyx, and Regina Crowell literally disappeared with a loud explosion after their physical bodies completely vanished.
The entire place shook hard, but thankfully, none were hurt by the explosion.
[It’s a mess here.]
Hence, it was time to wrap up the trial.
“Hanna Quinzel,” Nikolai said, looking at his niece who was coming out of a semi-transparent shield. “Are the cameras still working?”
“They are, Your Majesty,” Hanna said politely, then she removed her brooch from her ribbon and made it float near Nikolai. “The cameras are still connected to the screens outside.”
Nikolai just nodded in response, then he looked at the floating brooch before making his speech. “People of the Great Moonasterion Empire, you must be confused and worried about the royal mess that you just witnessed. I know you have many questions, and we still have a lot of explaining to do.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Neoma descend slowly.
He was relieved to see that his daughter was safe, but he couldn’t ask her if she wasn’t hurt anywhere because he was still in the middle of addressing the public.
“However, let me say this first: the Empress Dowager that ruled the Great Moonasterion Empire for the last five years was a fake. The real Juliet Sloane had long been dead,” Nikolai announced, clenching his jaws. “Second, Calyx is no prince. He is not my son. I only have two children– Nero, the Crown Prince. And…” He turned to Neoma. “People of the Great Moonasterion Empire, let me formally introduce Neoma Roseheart de Moonasterio to all of you– she’s my daughter, and the one and only Imperial Princess.”
Please ADD my story to your LIBRARY to be notified when an update is posted. Thank you! :>