I feel drowsy, like I’m swimming through the air. I want to move, but… I feel so tired.
It felt as if he was looking down from outside his body, like a ghost.
As soon as he realized he was in a dream, the landscape exploded into crimson flames. Joshua recognized this place from his past and his present.
The Agnus Duchy…! Duke Agnus’s grand palace, rivaling the splendor of the Imperial Palace, was ablaze. One figure, sword in hand, stood with his back to the smoldering castle.
Aden von Agnus? No… not him. The man wielded the Duke’s signature magenta greatsword, but that face…
Babel von Agnus. His son. The heir of the Duke, in his first life. This wasn’t the prepubescent boy Joshua knew now, but a fully grown man.
Is this what the Duchy looked like when it was destroyed? It should have happened in ten years, so why…? The razing of the Agnus Duchy shouldn’t happen for a long time—what’s more, Joshua had not seen it happen. He only heard it long after he’d abandoned the Duchy and taken up mercenary work.
But what does this dream mean, then? Is it an oracle?
I can make an educated guess: I recently obtained a new ability—this dream is most certainly connected to it.
Babel von Agnus staggered forwards. His body dripped with crimson blood, but he never slowed down.
Two people stood in opposition. Though the clamor of battle filled the manor, the three seemed to stand in a bubble of calm. Their voices were inaudible as if enchanted to silence, but Joshua’s vision seemed to become unnaturally sharp in exchange.
One man and one woman. The man’s face was cloudy and obscured, but the woman’s face was clear. A young woman, in her thirties or so; the brown hair the Igrant continent was known for; a gorgeous body even her robes couldn’t conceal. She wasn’t beautiful, but her face would draw a second look.
Wait… that’s the girl… Surely this was the girl he knew as “Anna”?
“AHH!” Babel howled in a fit of rage. The woman’s face contorted murderously, and she waved her hand. Her actions were light, but the results were anything but.
A short scream was torn from Babel’s lungs as a gale ripped his battered body to shreds. Silion, a superior wind spirit that took on the form of a translucent lion, revealed its true nature through Babel’s scattered blood.
Anna Bell Grace. Joshua’s skin dimpled with goosebumps. What the hell is going on with that girl? Why is she here?
I must check. Silion’s appearance dredged up memories of a certain someone—Anna’s teacher was that man.
Even in a dream, he drove Joshua to the verge of madness.
I can’t see him! His blood boiled. He felt so powerless when answers were right in front of him. Damn it!
His face, his voice—nothing. Only his foggy outline indicated there was anyone there at all.
“AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” Babel reached the limits of his grief and loosed a deafening scream. It wouldn’t be strange if he bled to death then and there.
The man raised his hand, dissipating the spirits like a lie. He approached Babel’s kneeling form and opened his mouth to speak.
“Do you believe the Agnus name can halt a tide like this?” His voice came through first—then, slowly but surely, his face began to clear. He raised his hands to the heavens, drawing Silion into a new form.
Amidst Babel’s anguished screams, the man’s face was finally revealed.
Just as Joshua opened his mouth to cry out, the world erupted into dazzling white light.
“Draxia Bell Grace…!”
Joshua inhaled sharply and blinked his eyes open. The first thing that greeted him was the magnificent chandelier; gradually, his surrounding became clear.
“This place…” Joshua scowled as he looked around.
Intense aches wracked his body. Joshua sighed as he recollected what had happened just before he passed out.
My body still struggles with it?
He had progressed well beyond the first stage of his spear arts, but he had also acquired new abilities he hadn’t had in his past life. Being unable to absorb those powers on his own placed far too many constraints on him.
However, it lends me significant strength. The second stage of the magic spear arts is roughly equivalent to the highest levels of a C-Class Knight. However, in terms of monster fighting, it could contend with an entry-level B-Class Knight.
Bronto… The origin stone with the attribute of thunder. Unlike the other stones, Bronto was relatively small. It constantly shot bolts of lightning in all directions. I swallowed it whole, so it might have burned my stomach…
Joshua couldn’t help but giggle at how ridiculous that sounded.
Bronto’s strength… Is it truly all about possessing the right qualities? In his last life, the great tower’s magicians had not gleaned the true nature of the origin stones even after nearly a century of study. Perhaps I just won’t tell the world…
But if that dream was actually a new property of Bronto… Joshua absolutely had to investigate. That kind of ability went beyond personal power.
I’d like to learn a little more about the other origin stones, thought Joshua.
Having settled his thoughts, Joshua gingerly raised himself up. The pain was tolerable but still present.
Then he saw the Duke standing at the window, silhouetted by the pale moonlight.
“Aren’t you intrigued?” The Duke slowly turned around.
“Yes?” What kind of question is that? Where’s the context?
“Only a few hours ago, the light of the blood moon seemed to devour the entire world—now it bathes it in such cold, serene moonlight.”
“Ah…” Joshua followed Duke Agnus’s gaze out the window. They both basked in the cool, clear light for a moment.
“You will depart for Arcadia as soon as you return. As I stated, you will no longer be ‘Joshua von Agnus’. You will be the only son of the troubled Viscount Frederick, a fallen nobleman trying to resurrect his shattered family.”
“I understand.” Joshua nodded firmly. He agreed with the plan—no good could come from attracting attention while he regained his strength.
“And—” Duke Agnus’s aura clamped down on his body. “I don’t know if you were sleep talking or not, but you mentioned a quite amusing name.”
Duke Agnus’s eyes glittered brighter than the icy moonlight.
“’Draxia Bell Grace’. Hmph. How did you come across that cursed name?”
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