Chapter 628: 628
Daniel had no option but to smile sheepishly and scratch his nose as he heard this statement from his most loyal commander .
His plan with the Road through Hell had always been that he would reveal later on that he was the one who had subjected them to all of that, so that they could break through . However, Daneel felt those words get stuck in his throat while the image of what Cassandra had just talked about appeared in his mind – he shivered and instinctively covered his crotch with one hand as that happened, while the Grand Court Mage burst out laughing .
Kellor was really relieved as he had seen that Cassandra seemed to be back to normal . His main fear had been that she might be the same as before even after waking up – mute, and unable to communicate in any way . Thankfully, that hadn’t happened, and when Cassandra turned to look at him with an expression of puzzlement on her face as she wondered why he was laughing when she was telling them about something so serious, his laughter only increased in volume .
Calming himself down after a few moments, he couldn’t help but say, “I typically don’t like crass jokes, but I must say that if you do go ahead, toasting Royal balls will definitely be an achievement that you’ll be able to tell even your children about . ”
The confusion that Cassandra was feeling only increased as she heard this, making her turn to the King .
She remembered clearly each and every moment up until she had felt her parents fade away while hugging her, and after that, it was all blank . She did recall a vague feeling of burning up, but after that, she had woken up here feeling very tired .
Even now, she was famished, but she had uttered that statement as she really believed that finding the culprit and the place where she had been held was really important .
Soon, it began to get irritating, as she was genuinely worried about Aran who might also be trapped there .
She had always been known for her fiery temper, and as it began to flare up, it allowed her a moment of clarity to think back to the statement made by Kellor .
Connecting that with the sheepish expression on the King’s face… A supposition entered her mind .
“My king… Are you the one responsible for it?”, she asked, unable to believe it herself .
After else, who else could be capable of kidnapping her when she was inside the Palace?
She knew that although the King could be ruthless and scheming towards his enemies, he cared more than anyone about those were close to him .
So, initially, it didn’t make sense why he would do something like that, but when he spoke, she realized that the answer was pretty simple, and that she had only not thought about it as she was still reeling from the mental fatigue of going through such ordeals continuously for so long . If she were normal, she would definitely have noticed it right away .
“It was all to incite the breakthrough, Cassandra . I really believed that the four of you had been in the Human realm for too long, so I searched for ways in which I could help you to break through . That was when I found this – the essence of a breakthrough is all about pushing past one’s limits, so this was all designed to help you achieve that . Kellor and Faxul were actively watching everything all the time, and they would have stepped in if there was any real threat to your lives . I –”
Daneel had hastily spoken up after seeing the accusatory glare in Cassandra’s eyes . He knew that what he had done was right, but he really didn’t want anyone to feel resentment because of that .
He had been about to continue, but he stopped when he saw Cassandra get up and then kneel on one knee .
In a straightforward tone, she said, “Apologies, My King . I think I was still partly in the state that I was back in that place, which did not allow me to see this right away . I am truly grateful that you went out of your way and did so much for us . You allowed me to see something that I was always ignoring for a long, long time . I will forever be indebted to you for allowing me to go through that experience, and even if I die, I will do so with a smile on my face . ”
It had been quite a long time since anyone had given Daneel such a formal and direct pronouncement of what they felt for him, and it felt pretty good to see his plan work out . In the records about the Road Through Hell, it was also written that those who successfully passed the last phase would almost always find themselves to be mentally stronger than before . It seemed that that was true, as he was seeing it in Cassandra in front of him . She no longer seemed to be the firebrand commander who always acted according to her emotions and was pretty damn unpredictable, which made almost all the soldiers of her unit tread softly around her, especially if she looked even a tad bit unhappy . Now, there was an added measuredness to her, and although she wasn’t a completely different person, this kind of change was a great thing to see .
But right now… There was a different matter to address .
“System, repeat the gist of the Emperor’s plan regarding this particular Hidden Bloodline . ”[Affirmative . The Emperor used different methods to ensure that these Hidden Bloodlines that he picked out would be passed forward to subsequent generations while still maintaining the purity needed in order to result in an awakening . The core plan revolved around modifying the original possessor’s bloodline so that when it was passed down, it would go into hibernation inside one’s body and then peak at certain times in a certain few generations . Different Bloodlines were set to peak at different times . Although he had lofty ambitions, the Emperor had no way to ascertain exactly how the future would unfold, so he simply wished to give a fighting chance to Angaria by making sure that such people would at least be present at all times so that they could be nurtured and turned into powerhouses if needed . Built upon this core plan were different ones for different Bloodlines with different lists of prerequisites that needed to be fulfilled in each and every possessor of a Peaked Hidden Bloodline in order for an awakening to occur .
He knew that there would be no resources or knowledge in order to carry out a proper awakening, so he implemented this method although it was dangerous and guaranteed a very, very low success rate . An additional reason was also there behind this – Hidden Bloodlines came with a host of problems which were real even though the ‘snapping’ of the original Blazing Phoenix Bloodline possessor was fake . Her mental health really was affected with each usage of her power, and she really did come close to insanity, although the Emperor managed to save her after finding out the reason .
The reason was that when using the power of the Bloodline that was passed down from a God beast, a few other things would also be passed down in some cases as they were caused by the power in the first place . In the case of the Blazing Phoenix, it was a Godbeast which regularly went through repeated rebirths . Each time, its mind would completely break down, and it would have to gather the pieces and maintain its sanity if it wanted to live on . And each time, a few pieces would be lost, and although they could be found again if the Phoenix managed to live long enough, there were many cases where that just didn’t happen . This was also why Blazing Phoenixes were so rare . Each and every one of that species always carried the risk of dying, being reborn and then going insane, following which they would be killed and their flesh that was filled with high-level Energy would be feasted on by other Godbeasts .
It was only natural that such a thing would affect a human, as well . In fact, just one rebirth would be enough to completely drive a human mad . So, the prerequisite for anyone awakening this Bloodline is that that they must have overcome a deeply traumatizing experience by themselves . This lets them build the mental strength necessary which can at least act as a base that can develop slowly into one strong enough to use the power of the Phoenix without being affected by the risks . Target ‘Cassandra’ fulfilled the prerequisites, and her bloodline has awakened . Her body has already begun to reform, and she only needs a large amount of Energy and time in order to become a Champion .
Note: There is a high possibility that if others from the same generation exist, then their Bloodline might also have peaked . ]
That last line had been why Daneel had asked the system to repeat the gist, and although he had had to sit through the whole thing, he didn’t mind, at all . No, Daneel was simply awed by the incredible intellect of the Emperor who had thought of such an intuitive plan in order to make sure that Angaria would have a few hidden blades up its sleeves if the time came when it had to defend itself .
Well, that time was now, and he was deeply interested in seeing if there were any others just like Cassandra .
So, he asked, “Cassandra, is there anyone left of your family? Even far relatives whom you might have lost touch with . Do think and let me know, as it is really important . Oh, and, by the way, you are someone who has been blessed with a special power that has awakened now and will let you become a Champion . Well, you aren’t truly one yet as some time and Energy is still needed, but soon, your power will awe the entire world . I ask you this question, because it is possible that if any of your relatives are still alive, they might be capable of undergoing something like this, too . As you know, we can use as many reinforcements as we can in the fight against the Church . ”
This was what Daneel had been excited about after finding out about it from the system after his visit to the Secret Archives, and it had made him decide that he should leave the Sect and talk to Cassandra .
At first, Cassandra’s jaw dropped as she heard the part about her becoming a Champion .
She couldn’t believe it, but as she saw the King waiting for an answer, she put that aside for the moment and hesitated a bit before saying:
“My king, during that experience before, I also realized something that I had stored away in the depths of my mind for the longest time . I always knew that the scene of autumn leaves drifting to the ground among wooden planks was something that could calm me down, as it always brought me happiness . However, I could never remember why that was so, until now . I was actually . . . adopted . That moment that always brings me joy is when I was taken in by my parents . So… I have no idea regarding where I really come from . I have no memory from before that time, so I can’t really help you in this matter . My apologies . ”
This made Daneel frown, as he couldn’t have expected that something like this would be the case .
His plan of having a flock of magnificent Phoenixes under his command looked like it had been foiled, but he soon got an idea .
“Drakos, is there some way to recover her memory?”
“Of course, Young King . However, she needs to consent . ”
Daneel had been able to teleport because he had destroyed the trinket around his Mageroot after agreeing to the favor he had been asked by the Chief . So, he no longer needed to think about being restricted in any way .
Nodding, Daneel asked Cassandra, “I have a way to jog your memory, but you need to allow me to enter your mind . Is that alright? I promise that I will not look through your other memories, although I will be able to do so . ”
Cassandra nodded without hesitation, and said, “You have my absolute trust . Please go ahead . ”
Smiling, Daneel walked forward and placed one finger on Cassandra’s forehead, while she immediately closed her eyes and pressed them tightly together as it was never a pleasant experience to have someone go through your mind .
Drakos was the one doing the searching, so Daneel just waited for the good news .
However, a few seconds later, he heard the Ancient Dragon speak in a baffled tone .
“Her memories from before that time have been erased, Young King . This is something that can only be done… by a Hero . ”
Daneel immediately dropped his hand in shock as he heard this, but when Cassandra opened her eyes and spoke out, he looked at her with astonishment on his face .
“My King… I remember something . A village with lush, green fields . Thatched cottages with stone chimneys . All kinds of…beasts running around . And someone who was called a God . ”
Huh? What the f*ck?
Before Daneel could even comprehend this weird turn of events, a glow appeared in Cassandra’s eyes as she said, “I think I can find out where it is! I have a vague feeling in my head…and although I can’t pinpoint it, if I search, I’m confident that I can find it, My King . That…is where I must have been born? But why was I abandoned in Lanthanor? Why can’t I remember anything?”
Daneel could only shrug helplessly as he heard these questions .
“Your memories were also erased, so I cannot help . “, he said, which made desperation appear on Cassandra’s face .
After all, finding out that everything one had believed about themselves was false was a pretty daunting thing .
After thinking hard for a few moments, though, she spoke in a determined tone .
“King Daneel, I wish to go and find out where that village is . I think it will take time, but I’m confident that I will reach it . You said that you want to find them, too, right? Can I excused from my duties as your Commander until I do?”
Daneel had no idea how they had ended up at this juncture . He had simply wanted to see if there were any unassuming Lanthanorians with a Hidden Bloodline whom he could take under his wing, but he had uncovered something which frankly sounded like a made-up thing in the tale of a wannabe-famous bard .
Seeing the determination in her face, though, Daneel simply nodded, which made Cassandra smile wide .
When bewildered, the best option was just to go with the flow .
Cassandra looked like she didn’t want to wait . The curiosity seemed to be eating her up, so Daneel quickly created a few high-level trinkets for her safety that would also allow him to locate her . Also giving her a bunch of Ker Gems, he and Kellor watched as she set off walking from the Palace .
According to her, teleportation only made the feeling fuzzy, so she had to walk .
A few minutes later, Daneel sat in his room, still marveling at how weirdly things had turned out .
To distract himself, he asked the system to repeat the information about the Hidden Bloodline that had interested him .
When it did, a smile inadvertently appeared on the corner of his mouth .[Bloodline of The Shapeshifter: Allows one to obtain the power of the Shapeshifter which allows it to turn into any Godbeast it wishes . As this Bloodline seemed to have unimaginable potential, it was hidden by the Emperor even though there were severe drawbacks . ]