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Chapter: 406

Present

"For what it's worth, I think that Belia's proposal is worth considering. She may be a fair bit weaker now, but she's still very powerful, and could make a big difference against Samsara," Pointed out Diablo. 

Yeah, I know, but...it's just a bitter pill to swallow, the fact that I have to even consider teaming up with the Rustlands... 

"Is this about your imposter?" Asked Lazarus. 

Yup, you got it. That's probably my biggest issue with accepting this proposal...take him out of the equation and I'd have a much easier time deciding. 

"You've been watching him through your invisible monsters scattered throughout the Rustlands, and as we've seen, he's just living a relatively normal life now and seems to have considerably mellowed down, he's not the same person that you fought before," Remarked Diablo objectively. 

You're probably right...but the grudge that I have against him isn't one that I can so easily move past, even if I wanted to.

"Your old apprentice, huh?" Recalled Lazarus somberly, "If you ask me, that's something you should never forgive, but maybe it's time to move past the thought of killing him. After all, he's made friends in the Rustlands, so killing him would just lead to a cycle of hatred."

Move past the thought of killing him, huh? Yeah, well, that's easier said than done. 

I then let out a strained sigh, before standing up and heading back to the throne room, having been in my room for the last half hour or so. About fifty minutes had passed since Belia's visit, I'd informed some of the others about what she'd said, and most of them were of the opinion that it her proposal was worth considering, given the situation. 

I also swung by the area that used to be Silvland, in order to inform Sylvar and the rest about Belia's proposal and to get ready for a discussion in about an hour. I noticed that a fair number of them looked pretty wary and apprehensive of me, which was to be expected, I suppose. I mean, it's unrealistic for them to suddenly forget their prejudices against humans, just like that. 

I decided to take Az and Draco with me, and it was almost time to go. I told them to meet me in the throne room five to ten minutes before the hour's up, so yeah. As I reached and entered the throne room, the two of them were already there. 

"Oh, hope I didn't keep you two waiting," I apologized as I walked in. 

"I got here like a minute ago, no worries," Responded Az with a dismissive wave of his hand. 

"I have not been here long either, my lord," Added Draco, as I glanced at him. 

"You know, you can just call me Kuro if you want. It's been over half a year now, but I'm still not quite used to being called 'lord'," I remarked with a wry smile. 

"It is my belief that a leader should not be overly humble, it may make them seem less authoritative," Draco replied objectively. 

"Yeah, I guess that makes sense, you've got a point. Alright, then, it's about time to go...shall we?" I suggested, as I summoned a monster that was near the area that used to be Silvland. 

"Why do I have to come?" Grumbled Az, letting out a sigh as he dragged his feet over. 

"Quit your complaining, dude," I replied with a grin, as I slapped his shoulder. 

The monster I'd summoned was a Griffin, and I deactivated the invisibility spell that was cast on it so that the other two could see it and grab on. Oh, and after I consumed most of Sant's life force, I can now cast spells without needing a Spell Card or any form of that parchment. 

Of course, I have absolutely no clue how to formulate spells myself, so I have to ask Diablo or Lazarus to formulate them for me. Another advantage I'd gained was that all of my Elemental Magic had gotten a lot more potent now. At full power, my current power level stands at over 400,000, meaning that I finally had a higher power level than Az does. 

"Let's get this over with already," Sighed Az, as we all grabbed hold of the Griffin.

"Yeah, yeah, fine," I replied, as I reverse summoned the monster, taking us to the boundary of the barriers that the targeted Elemental Sages had put up around the area where Silvland used to be. 

They'd built several huts using Earth Magic, and had made some pretty good progress in just three days. 

"Hey, Kuro, over here," Called out Sylvar, he and Bell exiting the barrier and approaching us. 

"Oh, hey, has Belia arrived yet?" I asked him, as they walked over. 

"Not that I know of, no. Hope you don't mind if we talk out here, a lot of the others still haven't quite accepted that we're allied with humans," He replied apologetically. 

"Nah, that's understandable, no worries," I shrugged it off, right as a portal opened and Belia walked out, along with Cusana Bronztan.

Alright, then, time to begin... 

———————————————————————————

Point-of-View: Belia Lasmodeus 

———————————————————————————

"Is that all you have to say for yourself?" Inquired Cusana icily, as I finished my explanation of how my conversation with Kuro had gone. 

"Oh, uh...you're welcome?" I responded wryly. 

"Why are you always so-...tch, never mind, forget it. It doesn't sound like you said or did anything unwarranted, so I will let it go this once," She grumbled, definitely in a bad mood. 

"That wretch, he actually had the gall to refuse an alliance with us...I shall come too, he will-," Began King Rustlands with a frown. 

"Yeah, no, that's a terrible idea. If he sees you, he'll definitely say no...actually, then again, he might straight up kill you if he sees you. In which case, he might be willing to ally with us afterwards, so never mind, you can come along if you really want to," I remarked innocently. 

"As much as it pains me to do so, I have to agree with what Belia is saying. After the way you exiled him, it would be quite justified if he were to react in such a manner. And there are only a handful of people that are capable of stopping him from doing so, most of which are his allies," Agreed Cusana with a nod. 

Hey, why does it pain her to agree with me!? I say sensible stuff all the time! 

"The worst way to handle this negotiation would definitely be to send someone he hates, and he'd have to be a saint to not hate you," Chimed in Agatha.

"Wha-...b-but, I-...," He stuttered in response, taken aback by all of us agreeing against him. 

"Okay, then it's settled, I'll come here in an hour to take you to meet with them, I'll be in my room till then," I said to Cusana, before jumping in through a portal without waiting for her reply.

I didn't go back to my room, instead reappearing in Shiro's room, immediately met with the sound of the bed violently creaking. 

"Wow, you two are really going at it, huh?" I remarked with a smirk, as they suddenly noticed me and stopped. 

"Wha-...hey, get out of here!" Exclaimed Shiro in alarm. 

"D-did you need something, Belia?" Added Minise, as she buried herself under the covers. 

"Not really, just wanted to let Shiro know that we're going to be forming a temporary alliance with Abyss, in order to fight against Samsara," I replied with a grin, as Shiro glared at me. 

"Yeah, well, your timing sucks! And I don't really care about that anyway! If you aren't here to join in, then go away...either strip or leave!" He snapped in response. 

Huh? Wait, that's what he's mad about? 

"H-hey!" Protested Minise indignantly. 

"Uh, with your permission, of course," He defended himself sheepishly. 

"Yeah, no, I don't plan on joining you. I just thought you'd react amusingly to the fact that we're teaming up with Kuro, but you didn't, so...yeah, I'm gonna go now. You two get back to it, pretend that I was never even here!" I grinned, as I fell backwards into a portal, landing in the bed in my room with a sigh. 

Things haven't been great for me lately...I was bored for months because nothing was happening anywhere, and forced chaos isn't any fun. I'm definitely a lot less patient than I used to be...ever since I decided to get directly involved in the chaos I generate, I've gotten a lot greedier, and thus, more impatient. 

In the past, I could go for years, decades, without doing anything and be just fine...I mean, yeah, I was bored as hell during those times, but I could tolerate that feeling a lot better than I can now. 

The world has changed so much since those days though...back then, Sant was my only equal, but now, here in the present, there are several individuals that are far stronger than I am. And strangely enough, I didn't hate that. I wasn't the strongest anymore, but it didn't bother me, not at all...in fact, I think I might prefer it this way... 

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