Aizen, Aaron, and Keira had come here in the guest room where a man dressed in a suit waited for them. They were quite surprised to see that he sat there unmasked before them. He looked at them and then grinned.
“I expected a lot more from you than to stand together and be so close with the enemy that killed your family, Morningstar.” His words were sharp and piercing.
Keira felt uncomfortable in her heart but she didn’t show it on her face. She wanted to look at Aizen’s expression but kept her eyes on the man before them.
“We all do things we must not do. Isn’t that why you are here as well, Yuren.” Aizen replied in an equally sharp tone.
The man just chuckled and in an instant, he was behind Aizen reaching for his heart. But his claw stopped just as it was about to touch him. Keira had her dagger lined up on his throat and her expression was grave.
Aaron braved a cold sweat at the Aura that the two people emanated, and he had his sword out now.
Aizen didn’t turn around and still held the serious smile on his face. “Shall we start discussing the deal now?” He said casually.
“Interesting” He laughed maniacally. “You trust your enemy even with Life.” He took back his hand and was back on his seat.
“Tell me Morningstar, how would you have felt if she hadn’t stopped me?” He asked as he gestured them to be seated.
“Nothing” He replied plainly and he took his seat. “Why would I waste my last few moments in regret when I could very well recall some beautiful memories.”
Yuren looked him in the eyes and found no fear of death in them. He couldn’t help but repeat his word in mind.
Aaron sat down as he felt Yuren take back his menacing Aura.
Keira sat close by Aizen and remained vigilant.
Silence loomed in the room and none of them spoke any words. Yuren took his time observing them and they had done the same as well.
Irina had already told them that Yuren could at most only live for a decade more. He had already started aging and his vitality was weakening by every passing moment. He looked to be in his Mid-Thirties and had shoulder-length Silver hair. His eyes were grey and his Elven ears proved his Bloodline.
“My name is Yuren Auraez.” He said.
“What?!” both Keira and Aaron subconsciously blurted and looked at the man with eyes wide open.
Auraez was the Guardian Family of The Garden of Life. It was a small and hidden star that once had hundreds of Trees of Life on it. The star was inhibited by Elves, Fairies, and Dryads that did not contact the World Outside. The destruction had come for the Star one day. Lots of forces had gathered together and invaded it to get the Dew of Life. The host races had defended the trees at the cost of their lives and not a single person was believed to have survived. The war had lasted for 7 weeks and in the end, the Allied Forces had won and extracted the Dew from the Trees of Life. And that day The Garden or Life had turned into The Garden of Death. The star lost all its Vitality and became a barren land that could not be inhabited again.
The Hand of Kosmos was one of the Allied forces. Keira clenched her fists and asked. “That was Ten Thousand years Ago and no one from The Garden of Life survived that War.”
Yuren lightly smiled at her. “I did and I have not forgotten anything.”
“Mister Auraez, I would seriously ask you to not hold any thoughts that would jeopardize this deal and your Life as well.” Aaron reminded him seriously.
Yuren took his eyes off Keira and lightly said. “If I were the man to act on my impulses, I would have died in that War.”
“You already know why we are here. Say what you have to.” Aizen said to him.
Yuren nodded and sank back in his seat. “You cannot obtain what is under my Protection without Mervin and Selena dead.” He started with these words.
Aizen frowned at his words. “What are you protecting?”
“I cannot reveal that to you yet. But I can tell you. If Mervin reveals its existence to the world then even you won’t necessarily be able to protect it.”
“And I wonder if you would even protect it and not use it for your nefarious causes.” He added.
They all had their minds running at his words and Aizen soon spoke. “You are not going to live past few more years. The world would eventually get their hands on whatever you are protecting.”
Yuren was not surprised at his words and only just sighed.
“You want the Dagger I can give it to you if you help me get rid of Mervin and Selena. I don’t ask you to brave the risk alone. I would personally go with you.”
Seeing that none of them showed any change in expression he continued “If you help me get rid of Mervin and Selena, I will offer you the 7 drops of Dew of Life that is in my Possession in addition to the dagger.”
This time all of them couldn’t stay composed.
“You have 7 drops of Dew of Life?” Aaron asked to confirm what he had heard just now.
Yuren only nodded and put out three Vials from his Blood Ring. Each Vial contained 3 drops except for the last that only had 1 drop in it.
Aaron held back his impulse of grabbing them from his grasp. He was not someone who would come as a guest and rob his host.
Aizen nodded to Yuren and he put back the Vials in his ring.
“So these Dews of Life and that Dagger will be yours if you help me get rid of Mervin and Selena.” He said.
“I am really curious about what you are protecting Yuren. After all these years why are you suddenly so adamant about killing those two?” Keira asked to make a few things clear first.
“It is because it was Mervin who had revealed the location of The Garden of Life to the world. He had stumbled upon the star one day and we had treated him as a guest. He was an Elf after all. Elves, Fairies, and Dryads all are the races that are deeply connected with Nature’s Vitality. We never thought that he would harm the Garden.”
“But his greed took over when his eyes came upon something that shouldn’t exist. He left the star and revealed its information to the world outside. And when the armies were approaching he had sent a message to us to inform of their arrival. He had not come himself. How could he? An Elf helping other races eradicate his fellows, how could he show his face to the rest of the Elven race? This was why no one knew who it was that had revealed the location of The Garden.”
“Huh, he has now become one of the rulers of the Elven Race. He’s wicked and a Liar who wears facades that can fool the wisest people. And he is dangerously patient. He’s an existence that I can say I loathe the most in my life. He’s an Abomination that needs to be eliminated.”
“I waited ten thousand years hiding from his eyes. I wanted him dead but I just couldn’t risk my life. But there’s no point in waiting anymore. I will die soon anyway. And I must take him with me or I would fail my mission to protect what I have protected all these years.”
His words were resolute and his pent-up anger of thousands of years was oozing out now.
Aizen respected his devotion and commitment but it was not going to make me falter. He was only in for the treasures and nothing more. It was the same for Keira and Aaron they had seen too much of the world and it had only made them wiser.
“Tell us what you are protecting so we can reach a decision,” Aizen stressed his words and the rest nodded their heads.
Yuren looked at them as he squinted his eyes. He was contemplating whether to reveal it to these people or not.
“Make the blood vow that whatever it is, you would never hold any ill intentions towards it.” He said in a grave tone.
This was an unreasonable demand and all of them were reluctant to agree to it. What good would a treasure be if they cannot use it to fight the enemies and treasures sometimes do get destroyed in the process?
Seeing their reluctance Yuren made no further concessions and braced himself for these future enemies.
The change in Yuren’s expression was not hidden from their eyes.
Aizen thought for a while and pricked his thumb with a knife. He took his vow as the blood dripped on his other palm. “I won’t hold any ill intentions towards the thing that has been under your protection all these years.”
The two were quite surprised by his action but the reluctance only lasted for a moment and they followed the suit as they made their vows in the same words. Even if they couldn’t obtain it later, at least for now they would know what they were getting into.
Yuren nodded in satisfaction and sighed as he could finally count at least 3 enemies out.
“The treasure is my Granddaughter.” He said lightly.
They had expected a lot of things but not this. Why would his granddaughter be sought after by Mervin and be the reason for why the Garden was destroyed for?
“She’s not an elf but a Dryad who my daughter gave birth to. She’s the Dryad of The Tree of Life.”
Aaron couldn’t help but shiver as he heard these words. Keira’s mind was in chaos and Aizen was not in the least composed anymore. His brows furrowed as he let the words sink in.
Dryads were born after a Mystical tree reached the age of its demise or a certain age where it could decide its demise. With its death, a seed germinated inside a fairy or an elf that the tree chose. Then that elf or a fairy would go on to give birth to a Dryad of that tree. The children would be different from their parents in appearance. They would have no traits of a fairy or an elf and would never age after they turn 14.
“Your granddaughter is Immortal then?” Aaron asked. It was a valid question. Trees of Life were believed to live forever if their nectar was not extracted.
“If she’s not killed then she can live forever.” Yuren nodded affirmatively.
“And how strong is your Granddaughter?” Keira asked.
“Dryads get stronger with time. She had lived for 12 thousand years and is almost as strong as the early stage of false origin. It’s just my guess since she has never revealed her complete strength to me. Her expertise, however, doesn’t lie in the combat but her Magical abilities. She’s immensely strong at Healing Magic and also can communicate with Nature. She can talk with beasts and even trees. Other than her Magical abilities she can control Wood, Earth, and Water elements to their perfection.”
All three of them braved a sweat. An existence like that was dangerous, to say the least.
“The reason Mervin wants her is not her strength but the ability to produce Dew of Life. She cries when she’s extremely happy and the tears produced are the Dew of Life.”
Keira was taken aback by this but she voiced her doubt. “A person can only use a single drop to extend his life. What would he do with all that Dew of Life and how possibly will he make her extremely happy when he has killed her all kin for her?”
“He doesn’t plan on having her produce tears but plans on sacrificing her to get the Essence of her Life.” It was Aizen who answered her question.
Aaron and Keira looked at him and then at Yuren who nodded in affirmation.
“It’s just as the Morningstar said. He wants her Essence of Life to gain the final awakening to True-Origin. At True-Origin, it doesn’t matter anymore how long you have lived for since your life becomes Limitless.” He sighed and said.
They have had too many shocking news for the day. When they returned to Aizen’s suite the three people present there were all worried, and it was evident on their faces.
To his surprise, Lysaria rushed to him and embraced him tightly. She was not crying but her body lightly shivered. Aizen remembered the morning when he had told her that he was going to see Yuren and could not bring her along. She was quite adamant about not leaving him alone, and it had taken Aizen to reprimand her to make her stay and wait.
He now felt quite bad for that and squeezed her against him. He planted a kiss on her head and let her stay in his embrace until she settled down.
Aaron was already sitting with Alexa in his lap and informing her about what they had just learned.
Keira was looking at Lysaria who was in his embrace and her thoughts could not be seen from her expression.
Irina too smiled as she saw them hug like that. “If you had come any later, I fear that she might have killed me.” She lightly said.
Lysaria finally got away from his embrace and glared at her, which only made her laugh lightly.
“Settle down you two. We have got things to discuss.” Aizen said to them and sat down on the couch holding Lysaria’s hand.
After they were informed of everything the surprise was evident on their faces.
“So have you and Yuren reached a deal?” Lysaria asked.
“Yes.” Aizen nodded. “We will help him eliminate Mervin and Selena, and in return, he will give us the Dagger and 7 drops of Dew of Life.”
“What about his granddaughter?” Irina asked.
“He has not given a definite answer but he said that if anything happens to him he will leave her in our care,” Keira answered her question and seemed to be lost in some thoughts.
“So how are we going to eliminate Mervin and his wife and not give them time to inform the world about that Dryad?” Aaron asked as he thought for a method.
“We will think of something as the Mayhem ensues,” Aizen said lightly. “For now let’s just have dinner and a good night’s rest.” He said as he bit Lysaria’s earlobe causing her to yelp. All of them couldn’t help but smile at this.
They all had a harmonious and peaceful dinner and went on to get a good rest. Their peace would only last for tonight. Tomorrow would ask for blood. And since they were already in this game, there was no way they were backing off now.
♛ Author’s Note:
The new Poll for the Story of the Month is up on my Patreon. It will be deciding which story I will be focusing on this month, let’s see what happens. The result comes out on Sunday.
To know the result, you can join my discord server. The link is on the ToC page. See you there!