Chapter 14: Let’s Incite the Coward, Part 4
With watery eye and shivering body, Sofia slowly fell onto her knees.
Why is Zana here? And why are they all frozen like that? Everything was outside of her scope of understanding.
「Why? This is my castle. Of course I’d have my ways of going about it. And did you really think I’ll be that stupid not to guess that you’ll be rushing towards the guest room?」
In the blink of an eye, she froze Sofia’s hands, making her unable to do anything to defend herself.
But Sofia just repeats the same question again.
「Why did I let you go?」
But Zana just answers her question with another question. Truly, if she wanted to, she could’ve been able to catch her without letting her run around the castle so much.
「That is a good question indeed.」
And she smiled. It was a lovely, peaceful smile, totally unfit for the current situation.
「To drown you in the depths of despair.」
But her tone was so low and cold that it was truly frightening.
「You did well with that little body of yours, I’ll give you that. Maybe you could’ve even saved Aur, but now it does not matter.」
Zana walked up to Sofia, and gently caressed her soft cheeks.
「All you did was in vain. My ability allows me to choose the best possible result, and if I get serious, there is nothing and no one who’ll be able to stop me.」
「Why are you doing this?」
Sofia looked at Zana, still unable to understand what was going on.
「It’s simple, really. All I want is to take you away from Aur. I want you… to become mine.」
Sofia understood the hidden meaning behind her words. In wanting her, she wanted to seize control over Sahara and Yamato. She’s trying to have all of them to herself.
「Do not worry. I will not hurt a goose laying golden eggs, moreover, I will allow you to share all of your wealth equally between all the countries, but with extra attention to Himuro. And once you do, you’ll be able to live happily with your father and mother. So how about it?」
The words spoken in such a gentle voice sounded oh so sweet and tempting. And it looked like she had no other choice but to do as she says. With her cube all frozen up and bound hands, she had no means to escape or fight back.
「I don’t want to!」
But the words left her mouth before she could bite herself in the tongue.
As a new ruler of Sahara and the person responsible for the Dungeon in Yamato, even if she was a ruler in name only, she could not accept something like that.
Zana’s eyes narrowed down.
And she put her finger on Sofia’s forehead.
「…You choose to remain here, forever frozen.」
「S-Stop it, please.」
Just before ice was emitted from her fingertip. The voice she heard was quieter than a whisper and trembled with fear, but it definitely managed to stop her.
「Why did you stop me?」
Zana looks away from Sofia and glances behind her, to the place where Eldav… where Eve, her younger sister, was standing.
「L… Lord Aur, he… he is my… savior. He… he rescued me from… the enemy…」
Eve was visibly scared of her sister, and yet despite that, she continued to talk.
「Sister… Lord Aur, he…. He helped me….」
「You feel indebted to him.」
Zana looked at Eve with her eyes half-closed.
「About that matter with Uzermart, I just cooperated with him because we had a common goal and enemy, nothing more, nothing less. For all those things that he did to us… that he did to you, there’s no way that I would ever forgave him. And when it comes to that infernal collars of his, I’m sure we would’ve found a way to get rid of them ourselves if we just had enough time.」
Saying things that sounded like self-excuses, she turned towards Sofia once again.
「Now, choose, Little Demon Lord. Will you take up my offer and save your family, or are you going to join them in the prison of eternal ice?」
This was not a threat. If she’s going to refuse her here, she’s going to freeze her to death. She was so afraid that tears gathered in the corners of her eyes.
She didn’t want to be frozen for all eternity, without being able to talk to anyone, without being able to touch her loved ones, forced to watch as time passed on without end. She didn’t want to feel lonely like that ever again.
Thinking like that… she gave Zana her reply.
「I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE!」
She was prepared to suffer the consequences of her choice. She decided that she’s not going to run away. If she run away now, she would have never forgave herself as long as she lived. Now, there was nothing to be afraid of. Her answer was decided from the start.
She probably anticipated that, because she lifted her hand towards her forehead with a disinterested expression and channeled her ice through it, filling Sofia’s entire body with a chilling sensation…
「What are you doing?!」
Moments after Sofia’s mind descended into the darkness, the ice was melted down.
「Ex, exactly what you see, sister.」
Sofia was trembling from the bone-chilling coldness, so Eve embraced her from behind and created a small flame in her hand.
「This, is what I want to do.」
「So? See all the f*cks that I don’t give.」
And she raised her hand towards the sky.
「Besides, what are you going to do with such a weak flame?」
With just a small movement of her hand, Zana extinguished Eve’s flame.
「Please, Lord Igarg, the Sun God, lend me your strength!」
When Eve shouted her prayer, a myriad of flames was born around her. Their heat and radiance was so strong that the ice around Sofia began to melt even without being directly touched by them.
But the cruel ice thwarted all of them even before Zana’s words reached Sofia’s ears.
「Speed, precision, power… I have grown quite powerful, Eve. Ever since the day of your kidnapping, I have devoted myself to mastering my Ice Magic, up to the point where every day I felt like my own hands turned into chunks of never-melting ice. Meanwhile, throughout those ten years, you’ve grown weak. I know you were subjected to unspeakable evil, but still…」
With just a small breath, Eve’s body also was overtaken by the ice. She tried to counter it with her flames, but her reactions were just too slow and predictable in comparison to her older sister.
「This wouldn’t have happened if you just sat quietly. You cannot win against me and you know it as well as I do.」
Zana looked at Eve as if she was scolding a little child.
「I…. know that I…. can’t beat you…」
Eve admitted that while she was resisting the ice.
「But this girl… she can!」
The flame erupted, and the ice that was imprisoning Sofia evaporated in a flash.
Zana waved her hand to get rid of the flame, but it was burning too strongly for her to stop it now.
「Your magic is indeed fast and powerful. But you can’t just keep using it over and over, right?」
Sofia said as the flames danced around her in a whirlpool.
「You… no, it can’t be!」
The flames that Eve used earlier were not meant to fight Zana. Eve knew better than anyone that she was too weak to defeat her sister in battle.
「So you’re using such a young child instead!」
That is why she dedicated that power to Sofia.
Taken in by her Dungeon, the fire of the Sun God now became a material that Sofia could freely use and manipulate. That way she could divide it and increase its power in accordance with her needs.
「If it’s her, she can definitely beat you, sister!」