Chapter 700: 700
As Lan walked toward the gates of the mansion, it was almost like he could feel the gaze of the Warrior mage on his back .
He had been careful not to let anything slip, but because of the highly agitated state his mind was in, he didn’t know whether he had succeeded, perfectly, in that, or not .
Well, he was still alive, so there was a high probability that he had .
Each step of his seemed to echo multiple times in his head, and the closer he got to the gates, the more he started to realize that it was now, or never .
After meeting the official at the gate, the only steps left were to escort them to a place inside the mansion, invite the official for tea, knock him out and then impersonate him to remove the seals on the money .
To reach this point, he had had to do a lot of hard work, and it had pushed him farther than anything else in his life so far .
The choice now almost seemed simple: he could take the money and not care about what happened to all the kids, or he could follow his other plan, which had such a low probability of success that it was laughable .
Slowly, Lan knew that he had been pushed toward the latter, even though it went against everything that he had stood for these past few years .
He was only 20 years old, but the hardships he had had to go through had apparently made him look older, as almost no one could guess that there was just a young man behind the facade of toughness that he put on display day in and day out .
The gates were a few meters away, and they blocked out the vision to the outside for security purposes .
Unable to go forward, Lan stopped, and his butler and the two guards who always accompanied him stopped, too, and wondered why their Lord had paused here .
This was also the point where all the tents in which the orphans were living ended, and even as the butler opened his mouth to say something, Lan turned around and took one last, long, hard look at the sight in front of him .
“Give me a moment to gather myself . This is what we’ve worked so hard for, all this time . ”
The butler and the guards nodded as they heard this, and Lan got a moment to himself .
Nothing had changed in the tents, and in the lives of those who had gathered here .
If he left with all the money, nothing might ever change, too .
Yet, there was change, somewhere, and as Lan looked for it, he realized…that it was within himself .
He had ruminated on everything that he had been feeling and seeing for these past two days, but he had never taken himself into the equation .
At this moment, the question that had been swirling in Lan’s mind ever since it had appeared to him came to the forefront, refusing to be ignored and shelved again .
What have I lost? What am I searching for?
Again and again, he repeated this to himself, and like an avalanche that was building its might before crashing down with limitless might and speed, the answer that he had known all along, yet hadn’t been able to find started to come to him .
For help, he started to look around, and his gaze finally fell upon a puddle of water in the ground .
The grounds of the mansion had used to be perfect and immaculate with lush green grass, but the lodging of so many children on them had caused holes like these to appear due to the frequent footfall . The field had also been watered, so this was even more exacerbated now .
Children always found ways to amuse themselves, and this puddle had inspired a group of four to jump into it, one by one, while laughing heartily to themselves and then climbing out to let the next one enjoy that moment when muddy water splashed onto their faces refreshingly while their feet felt the soft embrace of the earth .
As Lan began to walk towards that spot, his retinue was puzzled, but they followed .
When it finally became clear just where he was headed, the guards immediately ran forward to stop the kids, as they thought that the Lord might be displeased with what they were doing .
The children obediently stopped and stood in a row beside the puddle with their hands behind their back while waiting for this group to leave .
Smiles lit up their faces when they saw the man who had come to them fo two days along with sweet toffees and candies to listen to their stories, but they didn’t go forward to greet him as the elder orphans had told them not to do so unless they were approached .
Lan walked up to the puddle and stood in front of it, and his reflection met his eyes .
Of course, it was Dominic’s face, but in it, he saw all the disguises he had taken on over all these years .
They flashed in front of him, one by one, with each showing him the process with which he had lost that most important thing .
Or maybe…he had never known it, in the first place, and all this had only made it worse .
After all those avatars he had taken up were done showing themselves, one last, strange image lingered, and it was actually…himself, without any disguises .
However, even it felt foreign to him .
As soon as this realization came, Lan walked forward, and he finally saw what he had been led to over all these days .
That step forward caused the reflection in the puddle to change from his to the kid who was waiting for them to leave, and the face of that kid…changed to his own .
Yes! This…was what he had lost!
Who was he?
As soon as this question appeared in his mind, the answer was also presented to him, and his eyes went as wide as saucers .
At the same moment, it was as if something inside him…woke up, but before Lan could see what it was, a knock sounded on the gates .
Those from the bank had been waiting for quite a long time, so they must have wondered if anything was wrong .
Turning around, Lan confidently began walking in that direction, and as the butler and the guards saw him, they felt happy that taking that pause had helped their Lord immensely .
He seemed more relaxed and sure, and mostly, he was more…himself .
This was the man they had pledged their lives to, as he had had the charisma of one who could make the world his if they stood by him .
True, that had been back when he was younger, and even though they hadn’t seen that side of Dominic Viscargo in quite a long time, they did now, and it made them feel bolder as they walked behind him, with their chests puffed out .[Awakening process has begun . As it was listed in the records, awakening process is different for each Bloodline . Fluctuations in Elementary particles being studied and recorded . ]
As soon as Daneel, who was standing in the balcony while watching all this with an invisibility spell cast over himself got this message in his mind, a wide smile greeted his face, as the second step of his grand plan to handle his situation was soon going to come to an end in a perfect manner .
Everything that followed went smoothly . It even looked like there had been a change in Lan’s impersonation skills, as they seemed to have reached a different level . He had had an indication that that would happen, but it startled him, as before, his own dabbling in the art of camouflaging himself as others had allowed him to see very few minute imperfections in Lan’s actions if he used the help of the Basilisk’s Breath . Now, though, they weren’t present anymore, and he was practically living in his role .
The money was in the form of a large levitating cart on which a wooden box had been placed to hide it from the sight of others . After being taken to an underground room in the mansion, the box was removed to reveal a huge pile of shining Gold Coins and Ether Blocks . The Coins were still in the currency of Lanthanor, as the minting of the new currency had not begun yet . After checking that everything was in order, the official was invited to tea where he was promptly knocked out, and after an hour, Lan arrived at the room again in the form of the official and asked them to unseal the money, which they did so even though it was strange .
After that, Lan’s job was to hide while Daneel, in the form of the Warrior Mage, would arrive to disable all the guards .
Until now, Daneel had been viewing all of the actions of Lan through the system, but at this point, he stopped that as he would have to spend a little time to disable all the Human level Fighters and Mages in the room . Lan ducked into a closet on the side which had been prepared beforehand for this purpose, while Daneel entered and simply walked among the Humans, making them faint and fall to the ground .
In a few seconds, he was done, and he waited calmly in front of that closet door for Lan to come out .
The moment that he had been waiting for was now, and the actions of Lan after he exited would decide his fate . True, Daneel had seen most of the signs which allowed him to guess what the man would do, but he wanted to see it for himself .
The first possibility was that he would say that they should leave, and would flee with the money .
Their original plan had been to part ways here, itself, with Daneel saying that he would teleport Lan to the place he wanted with his portion of the money .
So, if Lan chose this, he would find that he had unlocked the Path for himself to become a Champion, but that he would never have the chance to reach that level as he would be killed .
The second possibility was that he would try to attack Daneel with the crossbow which had a poisoned dart affixed on it . The Viscargo family was a major trade family, after all, and they definitely had precious poison which could kill a Human if it entered the bloodstream . Most Mages were said to be weak in body training, so the probability was high that he was only a Human-level Fighter, and that he would die if he was struck with it .
If Lan chose this, he would find out the truth behind everything that was happening, and Daneel would give him a spot in his posse .
Daneel hoped for the latter, as Champions were precious, and because he quite liked Lan, As the door finally began to open, Daneel put on a sagely smile on his face .
However…when it did, what he saw made his mind feel as if it was being battered with a tsunami of shock .
Behind the door…was himself .
King of Lanthanor, Leader of the Alliance, Killer of Champions and Saviour of Elves .
Using that moment where he was completely gobsmacked, Lan swiftly took out the crossbow and shot it .
He watched as the bolt smoothly hit Crazy’s arm, following which the paralysis immediately kicked in causing the Warrior Mage to topple onto the floor .
With elation covering his face, he jumped out and exclaimed, “Yes! I knew that the image of the one you hated so much would make you pause because he can kill you easily! I don’t know how the f*ck I was suddenly able to mimic someone even though I only saw them on a trinket, but blame that for your death!”