Reborn: Evolving From Nothing / Reborn: Evolving From Nothing Chapter 178 Confrontations
Internally, he broke out cursing.
‘What the hell?! How many freaking clones do you have?! I know you said you spread them everywhere, but really?! All the way over here?!’ Why?! His internal monologue went forward at an accelerated rate thanks to his Perfect Body Ability being active.
“Yes, a pleasure to meet you Lord Inigo.” When Mello said Lord Inigo, he twisted the words, putting special emphasis on them. It was apparent that Mello recognized him. The feeling each Anomaly gave another Anomaly was unique. Dorian could recognize Mello as well.
“I hear you are going on an expedition to Moria, right?” Mello continued, smiling genteelly.
“That’s right, Lord Kent! On a quest to find a legendary treasure that can cure the cursed slumber of his wife, a sleep no Shade has been able to heal!” The merchant broke in excitedly, explaining Lord Inigo’s legend.
‘Huh, it just gets bigger every day.’ Dorian observed.
“Well, I actually plan on heading towards Moria as well. As my friend Tankito said, there is a Demonic remnant I am hunting. Perhaps I can be of assistance?” Mello nodded as Dorian inquisitively.
Dorian groaned internally. The real Lord Inigo would never turn him down.
“Your help will be greatly valued, Lord Ken-” Dorian began but was interrupted.
“Mello, please, just call me Mello.” Mello broke in.
“Very well, Mello. You can call me Inigo. Your help will be greatly appreciated. Perhaps you and I can retire to a more private location to discuss the specifics?” Dorian responded, eyeing Mello meaningfully.
“That would be my pleasure.”
.. .. .. .. .. .. ..
On the planet of Evonon, the World of Eternal Evening…
A man wearing a smooth pair of black leather pants and a relaxed grey vest with a white undershirt stood in a large room with a glass of wine in his hand. His handsome face, with a smooth jawline and piercing green eyes, made him look the very picture of elegance. His long white hair was wrapped up atop his head in a bun, with an ornamental needle keeping it in place.
Marcus Aurelius swirled around the wine in his glass, looking at it intently.
He then sighed deeply, and then looked back down at the map spread out upon a table before him. A majestic air seemed to gather around him as he leaned forward, dignity wrapped around him like a cloak.
He slowly raised it to his lips, drinking it slightly, his movements full of calm assurance.
“Ahh. A most excellent vintage. Is it from Touranat?” He said, his eyes studying the map before him.
A woman glanced over at the Vampire Highlord, rolling her eyes as she did so. She was wearing a tight, form-fitting red dress and had brilliant black hair that rolled off her shoulders, carrying herself with an elegant and powerful air. She smiled as she spoke, her beautiful lips warming while her purple eyes gleamed.
“Milord, this is the 43rd time you’ve repeated this, can’t you at least use a different lin-
“WOMAN! I AM 7,000 YE”
“Milord you’ve repeated that 43 times as well. I am well aware of your advancing age and possible senility.”
The powerful Highlord turned to glare at his Spymaster, eyeing her sternly for a moment. After a moment, he relented with a snort, turning back to the map.
“Fine, Julia. Tell me what you have to share.”
“We’ve pinpointed where we believe all three of the missing members of the Reavers are located.” Julia began, adjusting her dress slightly.
“Trajan and Probus are together as usual, the pair as close as brothers. They don’t appear to have any intention at all of returning back to Evonon and have disabled any Artifacts we could use to try and contact them. They are currently in the territory of the Graal Alliance.” Her voice was smooth and emotionless as she spoke, giving away none of her true feelings.
“No intention at all, huh? And they are in the territory of the Graal Alliance? That damned monkey…” Marcus set the wine glass down for a moment, rubbing his hands together.
“Are you sure they’re there of their own volition?” He queried.
“Very well. Leave them for now. I may have pressed them too hard, especially given their rather frail ties to us. That was my mistake. We will try and contact them in a few months, assuming the war continues to stall.” He rubbed his eyes, his shoulders slumping for just a brief instant. A moment later, his majestic and confident image reappeared.
“How about Helena?”
Julia paused as she heard Marcus’ question, her face twisting slightly to reveal a frown.
“Helena… Helena appears to be deep behind enemy lines within the territory of the Shade Commune.”
“What?!” Marcus spun around, his eyes wide as he glared at his Spymaster. At the same time, a powerful Aura rippled around him, one full of blood and darkness, waves of power vibrating off his body.
“When did you find this out?! Where is she? Is she alive still? Is she being held captive?” A flurry of questions was hurled at Julia as Marcus stepped forward, his force of presence causing the air itself to tremble.
“Hi-highlord.” Julia squeezed out a single word, her face growing pale. The sheer power that Marcus could emanate was something that could cause her, a King Class expert, to almost faint.
“My apologies, Julia.” Marcus’ deadly Aura vanished as he apologized. He stepped forward to catch her as she slipped, holding her till she regained her balance. The two of them looked at each other eye to eye, their lips only half a meter apart.
“Uh-ahem. Right.” Marcus stepped back, blinking several times as he apparently dusted himself off, despite the fact that there was no dust on him.
“We have just received word of this. Her presence was detected within the locale of one of the Golden Moon Mercenary Alliance’s Superior Auction Houses, specifically the Superior Moon Auction Houses on Shaptle. She is located within 10 miles of that Auction House.”
Marcus spun around, looking over at the map on his desk. It was a rather large map of the 30,000 Worlds, covered in tiny glowing lights that symbolized the various Vampire Noble forces. They were currently engaged in a drawn-out war with the Shade Commune, one that was drudgerous and painful, dragging onward to a stalemate.
The defensive measures they had put into place were quite effective ever since the last war with the Commune. Marcus had specifically created certain choke points in specific World Bridges, making it almost impossible for the Shades to make any progress without throwing away tens of thousands of lives each attempt.
Of course, that hadn’t stopped the Shade King from trying.
‘He cares nothing at all for the lives of his people.’ Marcus’ eyes flashed angrily as he looked at the map. His chest twinged as he thought of this, the enormous black scar that covered it twitching. The injury he had received from the Shade King long ago had never fully healed.
“She’s behind enemy lines, huh?” Marcus said calmly, forcing himself to regain control of his emotions. His cool and awesome demeanor returned as if it had never left.
“Balbinus returned last week after killing that King Class Shade Stalker, right?” He began, placing over at Julia.
“Yes, Highlord. Pertinax and Lucilla are still manning the defensive stopgaps to prevent the Shade Commune from advancing. General Carus and the rest of the Reavers are spread out tactically covering the other Worlds. Balbinus has been on standby, ready to provide support should the Shadow Dukes or Generals of the King’s Army appear.”
The Aurelius Family power structure wasn’t complicated. There were four Family Generals that held the strongest strength in the Family, followed by the Reavers, and then the rest was split into the elite troops and the normal troops.
General Carus was in charge of the Reavers and one of the Family Generals. Pertinax, Lucilla, and Balbinus were the remaining Family Generals, each one a powerful leviathan in their own right.
“Have Balbinus leave standby and report here.” Marcus swirled around a glass of wine as he picked it up, his eyes dark,
“I made a promise to protect Helena, after her parent’s death.” He continued, his voice calm,
“I will not break that promise.”
.. .. .. .. .. ..
“So. Mello. Long time no see.” Dorian studied the other Anomaly, his eyes betraying nothing.
They had left the Superior Moon Auction House. Dorian currently wasn’t wealthy enough to afford anything. It might be possible to borrow some wealth from his subordinates, but would Lord Inigo do that? He’d rather not risk blowing his cover while behind enemy lines and instead take on Moria and whatever treasure could be found there.
He did have a small army to help him, after all. He was feeling decently confident.
“Dorian, Dorian, Dorian. My, my, it hasn’t been that long, has it?” Mello smiled and laughed as he replied, crossing his arms casually.
It was late evening outside. They were currently resting in a random room inside a nearby inn, renting it for the sole purpose of this meeting. Dorian made Mello pay. It wasn’t a fancy room, just a small wooden apartment with a set of chairs and a table and a pair of beds, though they had no plans on sleeping here.
“I suppose not.” Mello had hundreds if not thousands of clones. That was a power or Ability unique to the Bloodline he came into the 30,000 Worlds with. Mello had spread those clones out, sending them all over the 30,000 Worlds on various missions.
To meet yet another clone here wasn’t entirely improbable. After all, Shaptle and Moria were two very important places. It wasn’t like they had met purely randomly, though given that their souls twisted Fate, that was a possibility as well.
“What do you want, Mello? Why did you want to meet me?” Dorian cut to the chase immediately, not mincing words on niceties. The two were already quite familiar with each other.
“Abrupt as usual, my friend. I see that you have yet to accept the vileness of this reality.” Mello sighed dramatically.
“What do you want, Mello?” Dorian repeated himself, his eyes boring into Mello relentlessly.
“Alright, alright.” Mello held his hands up in the air and then continued,
“I actually never expected to meet up with you here, Dorian. In fact, I had no idea you were Lord Inigo.” Mello began, motioning at him.
“However, upon realizing you were, well, an idea came to mind.” Mello nodded,
“I’d like to propose an alliance between you and I. No, not my official Alliance between Anomalies, just a temporary one.” Mello quickly corrected himself as he saw Dorian’s initially disgruntled expression. He had tried to recruit Dorian onto his side in the past, to no avail.
“A temporary alliance?” Dorian blinked. This had been outside his expectations.
“According to that merchant fellow, you are looking for a fighting force to hunt down a specific Demonic remnant?” Dorian continued with a question of his own, shifting slightly in the chair he was sitting in.
“Yes, that is accurate. I’ll be honest, my target is not truly a Demonic remnant, but another Anomaly. One that ruined some of my plans here in the Commune, exposing my presence and causing several of my clones to die.” Mello’s voice was calm as he explained,
“Of course, he did not get off unscathed. When I was originally trying to make contact with one of our now fallen brethren, Veritas, I managed to arrange for the two to meet, a meeting that was more of a large scale battle due to each of their personalities. It ended poorly for him. However, with Veritas’ death, it’s likely that he has been fully restored.” Mello continued,
“His personality is one that is rather deranged. Leaving him here to grow stronger will only plant seeds of trouble in the future, especially given our grudge. Thus, I have sent one of my strongest clones here to handle him.” Mello finished, looking over at Dorian.
“Hmm. Just one clone?” Dorian asked, staring back.
“Just one. Multiple clones in close proximity are actually difficult to control due to how my Ability works.” Mello responded.
“This Anomaly you’re looking for…” Dorian folded his hands together, leaning back slightly.
“Does his name happen to be Fifteen?”
.. .. .. .. .. .. ..
“Well, that went as well as it could go, I suppose.” Dorian muttered as he walked down the dark street, lit by the rows of glowing lights that hung across it in intervals, a unique aspect of Shaptle. It had been such a hectic day, meeting so many unique and powerful figures. Yet it seemed it was finally coming to an end now as evening fell into night.
After talking with Mello for several minutes, the two had eventually agreed to a tentative alliance. Mello needed Dorian’s help and Dorian could use Mello’s strength. They both had similar goals, with Fifteen being their common enemy. There was no real reason that Dorian saw to refuse his aid.
“We leave for Moria tomorrow…” There was no delay. They were immediately setting off for the Blighted World, without hesitation. After all, they had come all this way, there was no reason to not continue.
Dorian quickly made his way through the city. His Jade Memory made it laughably easy to find his way back to his inn and in no time at all.
Soon, he was back in the room he shared with Helena. The female Vampire rested peacefully, her appearance still sickly. Nothing of note had happened to anyone in the inn. The fact that they were a literal powerful army rebuffed any potential trouble. No one would dare to mess with them.
Dorian settled down to meditate, leaning against one of the luxurious padded chairs in the room as the night bled onward. He didn’t allow himself to rest, using his Growth Points as a substitute.
He began to plan for the upcoming adventure towards Moria. He went over his various forms, taking note of them.
‘My Void Raptor form has its own unique points, especially with its Void Shock Ability that can create shockwaves that penetrate through space itself and its fast agility. Eventually, I’ll be off on my own…” He muttered quietly,
“When it comes to speed and agility, even my Balance Demon form won’t hold up to that one, in addition to considering the Mystic Armored Body Ability will be extra effective on my Void Raptor form, given that the Ability originated from it. I’ll use you as my primary exploring form.” He planned on separating from his army at some point. While the other Shades might be useful in helping clear out the outskirts and taking care of monotonous issues, Dorian knew that he himself would be the one fighting the truly deadly fights.
“Still, the help they can provide isn’t nothing. It will help me conserve my energy until I have to face Fifteen. They can also help me find rare treasures and explore faster.” He nodded and continued to plan.
“Should I grow some new Bloodlines?”
“Hmm… I don’t really have anything I want to devote a lot of points to, not right now.” Even though he had a large number of points now, none of his Bloodlines stood out particularly much to him. Not enough that he was willing to let himself get distracted by them, anyway.
“Well, I do have that Warping Turkey Bloodline… eh.” The Warping Turkey Bloodline was one of considerable interest to Dorian due to its ability to teleport.
“No, not yet. I’ll need to wait for Helena to wake up. I become basically brainless when I’m in that form. Even if I have Ausra transform me out of it the moment I can, I don’t want to transform into it to let my soul adapt when I’m on my own.” He shook his head and sighed, his thoughts clouded as he continued to make plans.
.. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Early morning the next day…
Dorian stood alone on a roof that wasn’t too far from his inn, taking in the slowly dawning morning light. He took several deep breaths, clenching his fists.
Today was the day they left for Moria.
“Ahem, ahem. Excuse me.” A voice called out to Dorian, distracting him. He spun around in surprise, going on full alert.
He hadn’t detected the arrival of the speaker at all.
Out of nowhere, the figure of an elderly Shade, wearing a long white gown with the insignia of the Church of Light on it, appeared standing about a dozen or so meters away, on the same roof that Dorian was standing on.
As Dorian looked at the Shade, he realized that, unconsciously, he wanted to shrink backwards. The physical body of this Shade was incredibly fierce, far stronger than the Warrior-Alchemist he had battled the other day. It gave off a tangible Aura that he could feel in his bones.
“Yes?” Dorian said, cautiously. He prepared himself to twist Fate if need be, his eyes flashing.
“Greetings, Lord Inigo! You may call me Gamin, I am a representative of the Church.” Excelsior Gamin’s voice was cool as he spoke aloud, not fully revealing his identity.
“Oh, well, greetings.” Dorian stuttered out a response, still surprised by the abrupt meeting.
‘A representative of the Church? What does he want from me? I suppose they have been spreading my story…’
“Recently, the Church conducted a test in Fate to discover your moral alignment. The first test came up with a Neutral result.” Gamin continued, nodding at Dorian calmly,
“The first test was conducted across a great distance. Due to that, the results were obscured. Thus, we conducted a second test over the course of the last night.”
Gamin stepped forward.
“And your results came back Evil.”
The air around Dorian shivered as a feeling of incredible pressure settled upon him. It was as if he was being eyed by a gargantuan predator, one that was stalking him and watching his every move. Dorian’s heart beat erratically as this mental weight slammed into him.
“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t kill you, here and now.”