906 The Empyreans Move
After returning to Ascent, Arthur consulted Aurora, the witch of hearts, about the spiritual dimension. However, she said everything she knew about souls and spirits was related to humans. It was then that Arthur asked her about her story.
Aurora was arrested while traveling through Ilios. The goal of her trip was to guide those with great fates toward their destiny, allowing them to realize their potential. In her words, her eyes could see the potential one had.
The reason behind her quest was the suffering she witnessed during her travels. Initially, she was merely making money by trading secrets and hidden treasures. However, in more than one event, Aurora met with tragedy.
“Man against nature,” said Aurora as she leaned back in her chair, which oversaw the endless expanse of land beside Helios. Despite being nighttime, the moon was bright enough for them to see the forests below the Runic Dome. “This beauty is lethal to mankind.”
“I tend to believe that humans are the parasites, and the monsters are simply fighting us off,” said Arthur while pondering. Aurora did not object, but she did not agree either.
“The real enemy might be the ability to evolve at all,” said Aurora with a weak smile. “If mana did not exist, then monsters would not appear, and humans would not have needed to evolve to fight them.”
“The ifs can go on for eternity,” said Arthur as he stared into the distance. “You mentioned that your knowledge is limited to human-related matters. However, how are souls and spirits different in humans?”
“Our souls are the fuel and the container, and what lies within it is the spirit. Even after our death, some of our emotions and memories survive when only our soul remains. I met more than one human spirit who has not left our world out of regret.”
“This might be the case in this situation,” said Arthur, but Aurora was confused. He had yet to tell her about the two children in the spirit dimension. Once he did, she was even more confused.
“That is… something I have never encountered as well. A human cannot live inside a different dimension, not to mention one that turns humans into ethereal creatures. The human spirits I mentioned are only leftover feelings that the soul leaves behind.”
“Is this similar to how calamities manifest from human sins?”
“Most calamities are born out of sin or carry it from their human lives. Eragon is one special case of a human carrying the world’s remaining spirits in his existence, making him the Sin of Wrath.”
“And now he resides within me.”
“Is he a resident or a prisoner?” Aurora asked the one question that made Arthur pause. He knew the witch could read into hearts and that nothing could be hidden from her. “I can see the change in knowledge within you.”
“I realized that things might not be as simple as two beings inside a single body,” said Arthur with a smile. “No one will answer me about this, but it seems I have changed.”
“There is not a single creature without a limit to what they can reach,” said Aurora as she interlocked her fingers. Then, she raised all ten in front of her and started counting. “I met the master of God’s Blade ten years ago, but he had a limit, despite being fearsome. I met the Heir of Thiria once, and although powerful, he had a limit too.”
“What about the calamities?”
“Calamities are those who have reached their limits more than most. They are the pinnacle of existence that is limited by our world. Not even the guardians have no limits; the sole exception is you.”
“I heard a lot of these phrases over the years, which is quite ironic because all I heard before that was how much of a failure I am.”
“I did not say that phrase to flatter you. I made a simple observation that might enlighten you to who you are.”
“And who am I?”
“Someone on a higher existence than this world can imprison its two strongest beings. The world should not fear Eragon nor the creator, but Arthur Silvera himself.”
“I hope no one fears me except my enemies,” said Arthur before turning toward her. “Are you not afraid that I would grow too arrogant from these statements and misuse my powers?”
“If you were someone who would misuse his powers, then you would not have obtained them, to begin with. As you said, everyone worships you. Yet, I can see that you don’t see yourself as a god. If anything, you have been humbled by this power.”
“Because it feels unearned,” said Arthur as he raised his fist. “There are those who pursue strength and those who obtain it against their will. I have grown… too strong.”
Aurora knew he was not being intoxicated by strength, and he said it with all the bitterness in the world. Before she could say her following words, Arthur continued talking and cut her off.
“As a result, I now have the responsibility of fighting for those who cannot. I was given strength to fight for those without it.”
“…you are perfect.”
Aurora blurted out without much thought, and Arthur raised his brows in surprise. The witch coughed with embarrassment at how her tongue slipped. It seems she has grown to admire him too.
“Thank you, Aurora,” said Arthur with a smile. “I don’t deserve to be admired.”
“If we don’t admire the noble, then who should we admire?” she asked with a smile before she rose from her seat. “I will visit the dimension you mentioned and see the truth behind it. In the meantime, fight your wars.”
“I thought you would be against it.”
“Peace cannot be attained without war,” said Aurora with a weak smile. “If someone should emerge victorious from it, then it should be someone as noble as you are.”
Arthur did not answer her, and Aurora excused herself from the balcony. Then, he was the only one sitting under the moon. All of a sudden, Arthur began to hum.
Aurora praised him too much that Arthur began to doubt himself to be as she said. His reasons for not abusing his strength were his lack of desire, not that he had to restrain himself against it. Furthermore, he was not eager for his role to fight for others. If he had to summarize the two paths in one word, it would be…
The eternal war, guardians, Nameless, and calamities were all things he found too bothersome. What bothered him was that he needed to fight all of them, even if he was tired of it all.
It was a responsibility.
Not a decision.
It was a compromise because no one else could take this role off his shoulder. He missed Diana because he did not need to be anything with her. In that room where the two of them embraced each other, he had no responsibilities to do anything.
“However, she seems convinced that I was noble,” said Arthur as he interrupted his humming. “Does she see what she wants to see, or am I not who I think I am?”
If Arthur Silvera was noble… then who was he?
In the end, Arthur simply stood atop his balcony as he stretched. At that moment, a spatial fissure appeared on the patio as two figures emerged. As soon as the old man and young girl saw Arthur, they bowed.
“We greet the creator.”
Arthur was unsurprised to see them since he had obtained the infamous domain. He noticed their arrival before the fissure appeared, so he waved his hand.
“It has been a long time, Echoless, Miko,” said Arthur with a smile. “Are you here to give me what I was promised?”
“We are afraid to disappoint you,” said Echoless as he raised his head. Arthur frowned, which made the old man quite nervous. “A greater threat looms on the horizon, and we came to warn you as your allies!”
“…speak,” ordered Arthur with intrigue.
“The Empyreans are on the move,” said Miko as she stepped forward. “Your defeat of Osian has threatened every nation in the world. They all expect to be next, and soon enough, they will band together to fight you.”
“As long as Berilo does not aid them, we can always teleport away,” said Arthur with a frown. “Is there something I need to know?”
“…an artifact was stolen from our kingdom,” said Echoless with shame. “A traitor did it from our midst, and that artifact can stabilize space and prevent teleportation. Long ago, Berilo secured this artifact because it was the bane of our existence.”