[The Ancient Hero party had 6 members in it.
The main hero was a charming and friendly person while his twin brother was the exact opposite of him, cold and distant, but quite likable by the party members then.
Their journey started when they first met a water Elementalist that ended up becoming the healer of the group.
There was also this dwarf warrior who had courageously left his village to join the Heroes and their noble mission.
An archer from the Forest Elven tribe followed by a Tamer who’s reported to be not older than 10 years old when joined.
And lastly, a runaway teenager who turned out to be one of the Mages who left her academy to venture for a better in the field experience…]
Whereas, that mage, a couple of years later, after the last infamous journey of the said Hero party, became the first Queen of Amaranth Kingdom.
“The first Queen, your Ancestor, was one of three people who ever returned to their homeland and lived in prosperity.”
As she tried to remember the backstory of the said Hero Party, Serein was keeping things vague or short and never really stepped on details. Afterall, she couldn’t risk suddenly adding up things that are nonexistent yet or being false in this story–
‘But I can’t make her upset either.’
Cherry was their only way out of here with her Flying spell. Which was why Serein had no other choice but to tell the pinknette briefly about this place they have fallen in.
“I know that.”
The princess replied pointedly. However, she still followed her guide through this tunnel that was brightly lit by a pink glow due to the crystals that were all over the walls of the cave.
“Everyone knows that the Hero went missing, the brother died, and only three of them managed to live the way they wished after the group disbanded– all of those are famous lore of the past. But none of this explains how YOU do know about this place or the lyrics of the song passed down to the future Queens of Amaranth Kingdom now, is it?”
“Yeah yeah! That explains nothing! I like the stories though~! You should tell it to Ceva-chi and brother, little human!”
The adventurer hummed upon the excited chirps of the young hatchling.
“Alright, I would, Pam-min.”
After agreeing to the young wyrm, Serein continued without turning to the suspicious mage behind her.
“Well, if you know that much, I’m sure you know a bit more about the great mage’s background before the Heroes era? I mean, being her descendants and all”
“Which detail you are referring to– just say it already. It’s not like I’m going to mention any of it to an outsider.”
A chuckle slipped off Serein’s lips as she glanced past her shoulder to see the pink-haired pretty much glaring at her.
“Well, that is true. But gosh~ you don’t need to be so cold all of the sudden, Princess~”
The roguish adventurer teased the only other human in the cave before then looking forward again, continuing their trip.
“So, I was actually talking about the fact that she ran away from a– ahem– prestigious academy of magic. You know about this, right?”
“Yes, I’ve been told.”
“Then, I assume you also know that this song was actually shared by the students there as a means to warn the younger recruits to leave before they can enter the same hell hole as they were?”
Frowning in confusion, Cherry was about to ask what her guide meant by this, when Pam jumped in with his own question.
“Sounds vicious, little human! There’s stranger danger??”
Pam sounded rather excited instead of frightened, and truthfully Serein didn’t want to tell this story now with the young hatchling around. However, she still needed Cherry’s help as mentioned earlier, and could only hold back this bitterness she was feeling as she opened her mouth to say again.
“Not stranger danger, Pam-min. In truth, the Queen who used to be nothing but a young teenager at the time, a student nevertheless, didn’t actually venture out of the academy to seek adventure and just so happened to conveniently meet the Hero Party.”
Pam tilted his head in confusion because that was what Cherry herself just said.
Expression scrunched up a bit, Serein can easily guess what’s in his mind right now.
‘Did she lie?’
For such a naive and inexperienced child, she can tell that accusing someone of being a liar is the only thing that he can come up with. Well, the young adventurer did not want him to think that way, so she soon gave the clarification needed.
“If there is a liar between us, then it would have been the History itself.”
Cherry’s frown became deeper.
“Yes, Princess. History is made by the one who survives, and the fact that the said Academy is still around and even glorified to be the one who nurtured the infamous First Queen of Amaranth and several other royalties– even yourself. I’m sure you can understand where I am heading with this.”
While the princess remained silent and even stopped on her track, Serein took this chance to look at her properly by turning around before continuing.
“Princess Cherise. The First Queen of Amaranth Kingdom did not leave the academy, looking for real experience in the outside world– no. She left due to the abuse and exploitation that’s happening within the academy. Specifically at the tower mage which has become nothing but ruins now after all the years that have passed.”
Picking up her habit, the pink-haired then could be seen chewing on her lower lip as she tried to connect this possible new info with this song that has been passed down for years through generations, and its relation to this supposedly sacred grave of her ancestor.
“This… no one ever said anything like this before.”
Cherry turned to Serein after giving her thoughts a brief moment.
“This is a big accusation towards the magic academy. If I went to report this scandal, there would be Mages chasing after your head, you know this, right?”
“Yeah? Well, how else do you think I would know about this story if it wasn’t for the reason that I have been told the truth myself?”
Serein casually said, but the monarch’s gaze did not soften whatsoever. She was actually giving that calm adventurer a sharp look filled with disbelief.
Unmistakably, the magenta-eyed princess was suspicious of her, and very likely thinking that Serein was making things up.
Which, ironically, was not all that wrong.
Yet still, looking confident as if she was telling the truth, Serein crossed her arms and leaned toward the wall decorated with glowing pink crystals.
“You don’t trust me.”
She bluntly stated and that was pretty much obvious, especially when the younger then shot back at her with–
“There’s no evidence of a single thing that you just said. And I still couldn’t see the correlation of this story with your absurd knowledge of this place.”
Which was also logical if you think of it from her perspective.
The Academy of magic has had nearly zero scandals since it was built centuries ago. Nothing big, and everything had always settled with someone being caught and blamed–
‘And supposedly, it’s been around thirty-ish centuries since this skeleton got tossed into the deepest part of the cupboard.’
A total of 3.400 years since the Academy had hidden a literal genocide with only 13 survivors left from the students’ side– and even then, the ‘council’ sent hitmen alike to hunt those 13 people along with their lineage.
11 families have discreetly disappeared due to various mysterious causes. The successor of the two people couldn’t be tracked down whether they survived the hunt or had already been killed somewhere.
The first Queen of the Amaranth Kingdom was the only one that was well known and way too infamous to be eliminated without people wondering what happened to them.
That being said, she couldn’t exactly expose the Academy of Magic that easily. Their influence was far too great, and the puppet master behind it all was too meticulous for someone who had just started a kingdom to fight back.
Forget about the big man who seemed to be nothing but a made-up myth, none of the students had ever even seen the nameless councils who ruled over the Academy.
That being said, unlike the ever so mysterious Chairman, there are people who had actually met the councils and even mentioned how they looked to the others. Although, by doing so, they were basically signing their own contract with death.
The council valued secrecy a bit too much, that even if a single word was leaked, an entire family would go missing the next day.
There have been 7 recorded victims of this case, each one of them carelessly mentioning to either their friends or a teacher about the councils’ appearances, their number, or even the topic that they’ve been called for.
Seven, in the course of centuries, might not be much. However, for the first Queen of the Amaranth Kingdom to risk many innocent people for the justice she’s seeking– it’s way too much of a sacrifice.
Rumors of their infamy reached even the dirty ghettos, that they have been dubbed as wise men have gone cuckoo…
“When the heavens look grave my dear
As your heart is harrowed like a tear
After a pour, the day will once again shine
As all the dirt was gone, drifted down the lane.
And once the big tree is done taking you for a ride.
Shall the winter breeze guide your way home.”
Singing this song again after the explanation, instead of wariness, the pink-haired mage’s face turned pale as she could finally see it as ‘a warning’ instead of a lullaby.
“In the old journal of… a predecessor of mine, I ended up finding a much older record about this ‘song’ and bits of what happened behind the perfect screen of that rotten place. The author of that note seemed to know about the First Queen in one way or another, and thus, I was able to find this place. Although, the other details– including the existence of Aidou and how to defeat them have never been alluded to, let alone explained.”
While hinting at the fact that she did some self-research, that hazel pair were actually cast aside since the owner of that beautiful orbs actually planned to set her bearing to be ‘someone who doesn’t really want to talk further about the topic’ rather than ‘someone who just clearly lies by cutting off her own words and moves back to the main topic’.
It was done so calculatedly quickly that Cherry couldn’t even find a moment to interrupt or even process this little mention as she was still pretty much stunned by the big picture.
“Yeah, anyway, It was a caveat of the future of what those innocent souls would go through if they were to accept the invitation of the Academy.”
A true venus trap for the fresh meat and fresh mind of the excited children.
“But… It was recorded that they’ve been nurturing great mages to succession. So, how…”
While Cherry found herself in a state of shock and disbelief, Serein simply shrugged as if she was not even bothered by it.
“Well, they are quite good at diverting the attention of the public.”
The monochromatic-haired adventurer then turned again seeing the end of this conversation nearing. She actually almost forgot the fact that Cevahir, the half-dragon, was still fighting Aidou on the surface above had it not from the faint vibrations that could be felt from the wall and the brief shakiness of the light.
‘Right, we need to hurry!’
Which means, she needs to wrap this story ASAP. Whereas, in order to do that, Serein filled the silence before that pink-haired princess can take the chance to chime in.
“In addition to that–”
While going back to their track, Serein patted Pam’s little head before she then talked a bit more, continuing the topic.
“Don’t you think that it would be more convenient if the ones who got kidnapped are those geniuses that just happen to be that of the lower class, inferior race, or those with problematic backgrounds?”
Her chuckle sounded cold and brought chills to the young mage’s ear.
“Suddenly that offer of scholarships doesn’t sound too appealing, does it?”
Cherry can only stand there astounded by everything she just heard…
Author Note: Heyya folks! Anemic Bunnicula here~! I’m back now with the recovered chapters and updates. Hope you all would enjoy it, and I’ll see you again in the next chapter, Chao~!