Chapter 624: The Mysterious Gear in the Void (2/3)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“I don’t know. I’ll probably leave Firuman once I’ve repaired the Void Ferry.” Piasce shrugged and then sighed.
In truth, he did not know what he was supposed to do at this point. He was no longer the Soul Tutor he once was. He was simply a stray cast out by his own kin. The only thing on his mind now was survival.
Link gently tapped on the table as he sank into deep thought. Suddenly, something occurred to him. “Do your people know you were the reason behind the demons’ invasion of Omir?”
“Everyone knew. That’s why they all hated me. That’s why they are all so intent on killing me.” Piasce closed his eyes, visibly tormented by the events in Omir.
The way everyone looked at him with such visceral hatred still haunted his every waking moment. His students numbered in the tens of thousands, but after the incident, everyone avoided him like the plague.
Even the student who had freed him from his prison had looked at him with disgust. The only reason he had come to set Piasce free was that he did not wish to see his former teacher die in a prison. However, like everyone else, his liberator did not think he should remain in Omir any longer.
“Blind old fool!”
These were but a few of the names that his people had called him.
“So do you think that the Omir realm has any chance of resisting the Abyssal Demons?” asked Link.
Piasce shook his head. “Though I had hope, reality has always been a cruel thing. My people are not well-versed in the art of combat. As a result, they may have succumbed to the demons easily. A few probably survived, but the Omir realm is probably done for at this point.”
“I don’t understand. If they can’t even protect themselves, and there is a high chance they have already been overrun by the demons, why are they still coming after you?”
Link sensed that there was still something missing in Piasce’s account.
Piasce chuckled bitterly. “This isn’t too difficult to understand. When the Omir realm was occupied, my people were probably either killed or corrupted by the darkness into mere vessels for the demons. In any event, they still harbor a burning hatred towards me. There were three Soul Tutors back in Omir. When I left, one of them was already corrupted by the darkness. He had slaughtered his own people, and still, he hated me. He would probably torture me until the day I die if he ever found me.
“No, no, no.” Link shook his head. “You were hated by everyone, I get that. But you’ve left the Omir realm far behind. Your people would not have gained anything by coming after you all the way here. Mere hatred could not have driven such a pursuit for so long. There must be another reason why they are still chasing you!”
Link’s eyes were now fixed intently on Piasce. He extended a hand towards him. “You must be carrying something that they wanted or feared. What is it? Show me what you’re trying to hide from them, and from me.”
Celine was also curiously looking at Piasce, wondering how he would react to this.
Nana remained motionless. Before, she simply had a hand placed over the pommel of her sword. Now, she was gripping on its handle, ready to pull it out should Piasce try anything funny.
Piasce was stunned for a moment. He did not move a muscle as he sat there on his chair. After a while, he sighed. “My lord, I have no intention of keeping this from you. It’s just… it’s just that I don’t think your current power level would be able to withstand the heft of my secret. It may bring you more harm than good if I reveal it to you.”
“Oh? Don’t you think you’re a bit too quick to judge my abilities?”
Link sat up straight and listened intently to what Piasce had to say now. He sensed that there was something more to his situation and that whatever secret Piasce was withholding from Link would be able to fill the holes in his story.
Piasce still seemed unsure about revealing his secret.
Celine then said, “Mr. Piasce, you may be our guest, but one could also argue that you’re now a prisoner within these walls. I don’t think you have a choice in this.”
Nana sharply drew out an inch of her sword. A clear clang sounded from within its scabbard, making its owner’s intent clear to Piasce.
A tired smile surfaced on Piasce’s face. He looked at Link. “My lord, is this how you treat all your guests?”
Link nodded. “Speak then.”
“Alright then.” Piasce took out a notebook with a blue cover. Magical runes were etched on its cover. There were also dazzling gemstones embedded on it. Judging by its resplendent appearance, it seemed to be a magic book of some sort.
“This is my training notebook.” Piasce handed the notebook over to Link. “As I mentioned just now, Soul Roamers are able to forgo sleep by meditating. Through meditation, a person’s soul will be allowed to roam free in the infinite expanse of the Void. Before meeting Nozama, I stumbled across something of considerable value in the Void. I’ve taken a note of it on page 189.”
Link took the notebook and turned to page 189. On it was inscribed the diagram of a type of gear. The gear had eight teeth in total around it. Light of various colors radiated from it. Magical runes were etched across the middle of the gear, forming a pattern which resembled an eye. Though it looked alien, for some reason, it seemed familiar to Link.
This was strange.
Link could not figure out what was familiar about the object in question. He then saw that there was something written below the diagram.
“It was enveloped in blinding light when I first came upon it. It was huge. At that moment, I was like a speck of dust in front of a huge ball of fire. It floated there in the emptiness of the Void, continuously spinning at a constant speed. I then approached it. As I drew closer, there was a sudden rhythmic rumbling sound in my ears. It was then that a weird sensation came upon me. For some reason, I sensed that the gear was the core of the Void keeping everything in it in balance. When I got closer towards it, it seemed to have spotted me, as the magical eye in the center of the gear swiveled towards me. The eye gazed at me apathetically, as if I was nothing more than an ant before it. Then, darkness swallowed me up, and I was forced back into my body.”
The whole account was bizarre. Beyond the appearance of the floating gear, Link was unable to glean anything concrete from it.
Link then found a set of coordinates as he continued reading down the page.
“Where do these coordinates point to?” asked Link while pointing them out to Piasce.
“Ah, that,” said Piasce. “After my first encounter, I went back to where the gear was a few more times. It would always float there each time. I would always keep my distance from it in order to avoid being cast out by it like before. It would simply rotate in place at a regular speed. I even managed to calculate how fast it was going. It would make one complete rotation in every 2.06721 seconds, never going too fast or too slow.”
The object’s precision that Piasce had described was uncanny. It seemed to be a part of a really huge machine, where such precision would be vital to its function.
Thinking about this for a while, Link asked, “Did you tell Nozama about this?”
Piasce smiled bitterly. “I did tell him a bit about this. At the time, I thought he was a friend, so I shared with him the diagram I had drawn of the gear. He was fascinated by it. He then asked for the coordinates of this mysterious gear from me. For some reason, I didn’t tell him where it was. He tried asking me a few times later on, and that’s when I grew suspicious of him. I think that this may be the reason why Nozama’s hunting me down.”
Hearing this, Link grew even more curious about the gear. He looked at it closely, and the inexplicable sense of deja vu in him intensified.
He felt as if he had seen it somewhere before.
Celine was staring at it as well. She then said, “Odd, why do I get the feeling that I’ve seen it somewhere before?”
“You too?” Surprised by this, Link then turned to Nana. “Nana, what about you? Have you seen something like this before?”
Nana had existed in the realm of Firuman for 800 years and another 100 years in the realm of Aragu. Naturally, she saw and heard more than any one of them in her travels.
When Nana looked at the gear’s diagram, she paused, as if trying to recall something. A few seconds later, she nodded. “Yes, I’ve seen it before. It was on the emblem of the Aragu Empire.”
“Aragu? And on the empire’s emblem?” Link could not understand what this all meant.
Like himself, Celine seemed to be familiar with the gear, which meant that it had probably existed in Firuman once. However, Nana had seen something like it too in the Aragu realm. And now, through Piasce’s notes, they discovered that it had appeared in the middle of the Sea of Void. What exactly was it?