——”I shall die before everyone, and everyone can remain in the North. This is my…Magdala.”
Saying that, Fenesis proposed a plan that might bluff children.
Why not make a doll and have it drop?
Such a crude plan was unexpectedly convincing.
“People focus only on appearances, not the true nature.
Kusla sensed that Fenesis was reproaching, and felt peeved. However, she was right. Ever since they escaped Kazan, nobody feared her abnormal appearance..
And after the miracle in Nilberk, nobody concerned themselves about who she really was.
Thus, as expected, nobody at the plaza opposed Archduke Kratal’s words, that the bell was not to encourage them. They did not necessarily require the bell for the soldiers to head onto the battlefield.
They just wanted a reason for themselves to fight, to even sacrifice themselves.
With a faint smile, Fenesis explained to Kusla the logic, using a cruel past as example.
“Those that wanted to kill me and my kin did so not because they hated us. It is because we are different, that if we are not killed, the order will be messed.”
People never cared about the inside, just the appearance.
Most probably found them pitiful.
But Fenesis never gave up.
Kusla snorted, but in the end, he never said anything.
“Besides, you will find it boring not being an alchemist.”
Fenesis slyly made her words as ambiguous as possible.
A shrewd alchemist?
Kusla thought unhappily.
Just a snotty young lady!
But if Kusla wanted to remain on these lands, he would have to drop Fenesis into the furnace. At the very least, they had to convince the people that was the case.
After hearing the plan from Kusla’s gang, Alzen was stunned, only to say with amazement,
“Guess it is true that the simpler the plan, the more effective it is..”
And nobody would think this was all an act.
Nobody would doubt.
Nobody would expected a secret panel beneath the trapdoor to catch her, and drop a doll in.
“Luckily, she has a distinct characteristic.”
Saying that, Alzen reached out to grab Fenesis’ hair.
Kusla frowned, not because somebody else touched Fenesis’ hair, but because she had to cut her long hair, and disguise it as part of the doll.
“Shall we leave a bit?”
Irine took the hair that was cut from Fenesis, asking.
For some reason, Fenesis was bashful, and lowered her head.
Kusla seized the opportunity to rag upon her.
“Isn’t this an ingredient to be used for alchemy?”
So use it, he implied. Hair could be grown back after all
Kusla felt that it was fine as long as she remained. He thought of her prior look with her long hair. Once the hair was cut, the silky nape was exposed. Not a bad thing.
Once the hair was cut, the gang was summoned to Alzen. Dawn began to beckon.
“As long as the soldiers’ morale remain uplifted, the war will be won. What happens after? She can’t be moving around freely then.”
In any case, Fenesis was seen falling into the furnace. There was no way they could let her wander.
“Then let us go seek Korad’s footsteps.”
“…That map? No, is that about the dragon? In that case…”
Responding to Alzen’s comments, Kusla earnestly answered.
Alzen’s beard twitched. It seemed the poised commander would only show his true self before Kusla’s gang.
“Hmph. Just be careful.”
Alzen sighed, seemingly unable to vent his rage.
“I will assign some trustworthy spies to you. You should be fine disguised as wandering blacksmiths. Let’s split up. Having her stay around is like a curse to the forces.”
Curse, the term caused Kusla to gasp. Fenesis held his hand gently in response.
At that moment, Kusla thought of something.
Fenesis was neither an adult nor a child. She probably could not be fully called an alchemist, but there was one thing certain.
She was a female.
“The technology left behind by the Ancients…?”
Alzen muttered, and continued,
“It will probably change the world if used for war.”
Such a practical fellow, so Kusla grimaced.
Then, Alzen quietly added,
“And there might be something really worth looking forward to.”
Kusla buried the strange delight in his heart, trying to act stoic.
Alzen might not have noticed, as he continued,
“You alchemists are always like this.”
Alzen scanned across, seeing Weyland who was eager to follow Korad’s footsteps. Irine who was worried about the dragon production, Kusla who was scowling as though he had just woken up, and a smiling Fenesis holding his hand. Alzen said,
“Freedom. Even lead can become gold.”
Kusla tilted his head, as though he had a stiff neck. He smirked.
“Because we’re alchemists.”
Alzen gave a wry smile, and waved his hand, shooing them off.
They got everything they needed, and just had to proceed with the preparations
They just needed to stay low and wait. Life is full of such repetitions.
“Anyway, how long are you going to keep holding?”
They left the Knights headquarters. Cold air struck, and Kusla asked while shivering,
Fenesis looked up at Kusla, undaunted, and narrowed her eyes teasingly, smiling as she said,
“I am grabbing onto my own dreams. Do you not know?”
Weyland and Irine could not withhold their giggles, and the white breath flashed by in the air.
Kusla let out a heavy white sigh, as though spitting out a spitting image of Fenesis himself.
He tersely responded, and strode forth. Fenesis was dragged along, and hurriedly teetered along.
Kusla was still holding her hand.
“So don’t let go.”
Fenesis silently looked up at Kusla, and a tad later, realized she had fallen behind.
She immediately gave chase, a smile on her face.
He could remain an alchemist, seeking Magdala in the North, and Fenesis was with him.
Kusla would not have all these if he had remained as he was, lonely, rouish, cynical.
But at this point, he understood. The image of an alchemist he had was simply an armor for himself.
This was the true nature of an alchemist.
“Wh-what is it?”
A skeptical Fenesis asked, and Kusla merely snorted.
Though still fuming, Fenesis never let go of the hand.
Even in the dawning night, the city remained lively, bustling.
The Church tower had no bell, but the morning sun signalling the end of the dark, long winter night was about to rise from the other side of the wall.