Chapter 40 – He knew so little

 

After defeating Arcadeus, I headed back to my castle where Alae was waiting for me. I had made the twins wait for me in Naxus. It was now time to celebrate my victory but I first had to announce it to every inhabitant of the capital. They deserved to know that they now had a new ruler after all.

 

I warped Alae and myself in the Imperial Castle and walked outside, on the balcony dominating the entire city. The twins were standing on each side of the door, guarding it.

 

I then fired a succession of fireballs in the sky, as fireworks. I made it last for a couple of minutes. Wahnsinn had regrouped the Golems that were now either in front of the castle or around the city’s walls, patrolling.

 

Little by little, the residents of Naxus came outside. They still felt threatened but I had made sure that no inhabitant was harmed by the Golems during the invasion.

 

“Dear citizens of Naxus ! Today, the Porcephone Empire fell to me, the Dark Joker ! I am here to instigate some change in the twisted society that is ours ! From today onwards, there is no longer any Porcephone Empire. Naxus is now a part of the Kingdom of Shadows !”

 

“A very nice speech, as expected of you, Joker !”

 

Behind me, Alae was kneeling while the twins were applauding. No one else in the audience was applauding or cheering their new ruler and that was fine. I did not come here to please the weak, I came here to claim the prize of the strong. Not that I had any intention to bully the weak either though.

 

“Armius, Burs. Go dispatch some messengers from the Adventurer guild to spread the news that I, the Dark Joker, have taken over.”

 

“Yes, my lord.”

“Immediately, lord Joker.”

 

They rushed outside and I was left alone on the balcony with Alae. Now, what were my priorities ?

 

The first thing I needed to do as the ruler of a kingdom was to dive into politics. Luckily, I had already established strong links with the Dwarves thanks to my intervention in the Klug continent.

 

Thanks to the favour the Dwarves owned me since the war against the Orcs, I had secured the knowledge of their technological improvement. As a race that lacked physical power as well as Magic mastery, they had made use of advanced technology to keep up and that had got me very interested when I witnessed it in Klug.

 

I wanted to use this connection to turn the cities of my Kingdom of Shadows into something greater, something more advanced – I had developed this wish after seeing the architecture of the Elven capital in the Dorua continent. A greater technology meant a higher standard of living for the citizens, a more secure nation and more possibilities for further improvement.

 

Furthermore, I had planned to open the Kingdom for mass immigration from the Klug continent. After all, many Dwarves were now homeless because of the war and the Kingdom was in need of diversity and a variety of skills. I was also aware of the racism going against the Hybrids and the Half-race. I wanted to sort that out as quickly as possible. After all, I did not want people to suffer like Alae did because of their background.

 

The next matter at hands was my promise with Spades. I had thought of simply killing him now that the war was over but after being witness to his raw power, I had developed an interest in the potential of the dragon race as well. Was there a need to exterminate them ? Well anyway, I’d find the answer by dealing with Spades.

 

Hmm… what else ? It seems like I was forgetting something. I turned around and noticed Alae was still there, pouting.

 

“Ha, ha, ha, why are you making such a face ? Did I do something ?”

“Yes, you sure did. Before going on about politics and such, maybe you should pay more attention to the one close to you ! Don’t you want to spend some time with me ?”

“…”

“Ugh… am I so unattractive that you have come to dislike me ? C-Could it be, you hate the type of woman I am !? No, wait I’ll change my personality to fit your tastes ! I can…”

“You’re cute, Alae.”

“Huh ?”

“Sure, let’s spend some time together. I haven’t really rested since the beginning of the war. Let’s go on a date. The Golems haven’t gone on too much rampage in the shopping district.”

“But.. a date !? Is that fine ? Won’t people recognise you ?”

“Ha, ha, ha. There’s a reason why I’m constantly wearing a mask, Alae.”

“Oh, right ! Let’s go then !”

 

Just like that, the day ended with me spending some intimate time with Alae for the rest of the day. But even after so many years, it seems I still had a lot left to accomplish. But now that Arcadeus was out of the way, I had as much time as needed. Or so I thought…

 

***

 
“So sending you there wasn’t the right choice either, huh… Well at least the fake clone of yourself I dropped there seems to have worked. Although faking your death is only a temporary solution. After all, you will have to go back to Dorua at some point. Fake or not, you’re still considered as the leader of the Elves. And it’s only a matter of time before Joker sets his sight on Dorua…”

 

“Where am I… ? Am I dead ? Lizabeth… “

“You are not quite dead yet.”

“You…”

 

Lurking in the shadows, a man was facing the injured body of the Fake Sage, Arcadeus Sigitor. He was wearing ragged black robes and his face was hidden by a hood. He was standing in the darkness and was hardly detectable. Not for Arcadeus however.

 

“So you saved me at the last minute, huh ? And you even healed me.”

“I was merely doing the world a favour by not allowing the seal to break. And it is not so much healing you as rewinding your time. Be careful though. I can alter an individual’s time as long as they are alive only because I influence their Mana flow. Thus resurrecting you is impossible so try not to die on me please… I thought you could easily get rid of Joker but it looks like you were not up to the task.”

“Tch… if you can freeze people’s time to rescue me like that, why did you not use this opportunity to kill him ?”

“I cannot kill him myself, I believe I already told you that. Me killing a person in a world that isn’t originally mine would cause a continuity failure and break the balance of the world. That’s why I asked for your help.”

“But why did you advise me to fight him in his own world ? Even with my power, he was able to beat me because you recommended that ! If it was up to me, we would have fought in Sigmas, not in his world of shadows… I was at a total disadvantage there.”

“Think about it like that : if he had really killed you, Ox would have been trapped inside his realm. On the other hand, if Ox was released in Sigmas, there isn’t much that could have been done to contain him. I do not want history to repeat itself.”

“Then why rescue me ? If I was going to die in this other realm then there was no problem for the balance of the world, right ?”

“Unless Joker allowed him to escape. It has happened before you know ? I just don’t want to make the same mistake twice. Or should I say thirty-seven times ? The probability that these two end up working together is too high to be ignored. It’s one of the two worst possible outcomes. This was the first time I actually sent you to fight there. I want to try every single possible situation if it can stop the world from being destroyed.”

“As usual, it’s quite hard for me to understand what you’re talking about, lord Zeit… well I understand some of it though. But the blabbering about your time travel is confusing.”

“Listen, there are two outcomes that lead to the world’s destruction. First is Joker allying with Ox. The other one is even worse, it leads to Ox breaking free and defeating Joker, leading to the end of the world. Either way, as long as we avoid Ox’s escape, there is still a chance to preserve the future.”

“It wasn’t a very good idea to tell me to go fight Joker in the first place then…”

“Yes. But the twenty-two times when I didn’t tell you to lead to you dying anyway so I thought I might give it a go.”

“What I don’t understand is why you didn’t advise me hundreds of years ago ? Or tell me to kill Joker when he was born… if I had known… we could have avoided all this trouble.”

“I cannot go back to a time period when I wasn’t born. I need to use a percentage of the Mana of my own self in this world as an anchor to exist in a world other than mine, hence why I cannot go back to a time when I did not exist in the first place.”

“Sigh… changing the future sure is tough isn’t it ?”

“Yes but if you keep helping me, I will keep my promise and rescue Lizabeth for you.”

“Of course. That’s why I joined forces with you in the first place, lord Zeit.”

 

Arcadeus left the dark room they were in. After making sure he was gone, the man known as Zeit chose to light up the room revealing his face. Or rather, a mask that was hiding it. It was a simple white mask with two holes for the eyes.

 

It was identical to Joker’s mask, aside for the fact that this one had cracks in it.

 

The man with the broken mask sighed and started thinking.

 

“How many more failures will I commit ? How many more worlds will be destroyed because of… me ? But I have a feeling… that this time around, my struggle will finally come to an end.”

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