Return of the Fallen Volume 8 Chapter 23
Just as King Azar and the other Ancient beasts moved from the far east, so too did the Miasma. After Garn burned an entire city to the ground along with the millions of innocent civilians who resided there, the Miasma as if it could sense all of the magic energy Garn used, began to move south.
The Miasma divided itself into two. More than 90% of it headed toward the vast Patar desert, while the last 10% of it moved toward Glacious’s location. The moment the Miasma arrived at the edge of the desert and came upon the still-burning city, the flames in the city, as if they had a mind of their own, jumped into the air and were sucked up and into the Miasma.
As soon as the flames were sucked in, the purplish-black Miasma expanded outward and grew rapidly.
The Azirians as well, seeing their shield growing, started to spread out and invade the dry desert.
As soon as the Miasma ate all of the magical flames in this singular city as if it caught a whiff of a new meal, it shifted slightly, turned, and headed further south. Another city was burning, and the inhabitants were reduced to smoldering ash.
Garn observed the Miasma moving accordingly high in the sky, safe in his floating palace.
(The Miasma truly eats all energy. As long as I leave behind a great deal of energy, I can lead the Miasma deep within the desert and starve it. At the same time, by burning these cities, I’m removing millions of mouths I’ll have to feed in a single go. Foolish Bozek. He was a dirty halfbreed, but I could have used his power. The moron couldn’t see past these people; he couldn’t see the bigger picture. He didn’t understand my burden. This war is eating away at all the gold, food, and other resources far too quickly. If I didn’t do this, then as soon as this war is settled, I would have rebellions and constant famines pop up again and again. These cities have to burn, and these people have to die. Their sacrifice is for the greater good.)
Garn’s mind was at ease as he thought about it logically. To him, this was the natural thing to do. There had been a little more than a year of constant battling. Because he split the land at the beginning of the war and cut off millions of people, those people had been turned into Azirians. This was a grave mistake, but Garn would never admit it. Because of this, though, the number of Azirians shot up drastically, and in turn, the number of casualties suffered on humanity’s side skyrocketed as well.
Not only that, the land that was lost was mainly farmland. Garn, in his infinite wisdom, had cut off more than 30% of his own food supply. There was constant recruitment of fresh troops, and once battles were over, you would have to quickly burn and destroy all of the bodies so that they could not be turned into more Azirian’s. This meant that after every battle, there was no way you could recover most equipment.
More and more resources were being pulled from all over the Feya continent, and the bodies were piling up. The Miasma had yet to be fully dealt with, and it seemed that the number of Azirian’s had barely fallen. Yet on their side, they were starting to get low on everything.
It had taken about 6 months for Garn to realize and come to the conclusion that something drastic had to be done or they would be bled dry without making even a dent. The main problem was the Miasma but no one could come up with a proper solution. How does one deal with an enemy that cannot be reasoned with? An enemy that is essentially immortal. An enemy that can not be destroyed with a physical blow and who only grows with energy.
An enemy that can kill with a simple touch. An enemy that needs no rest and never stops. In his madness, Garn found his answer. By understanding what the enemy seems to need, aka energy, Garn came up with a plan. Lead the Miasma to a place where there is no energy. Make it follow you to a place where it can no longer feed and grow.
And so, in order to lead the Miasma, he had to feed it. At the same time, he didn’t wish for it to grow too large, but he had to give it just enough. At the same time, to lead it perfectly, the cities could not be avoided. If he did nothing, the Miasma would head toward the cities that were full of life and energy all on its own. It would divert from Garn’s true path and devour millions upon millions of people anyway, and with that, it would grow at a terrifying rate. That or the Azirians would get to the cities first and turn those people to their side, adding millions of Azirian’s to their rank.
In his mind, the people were either going to die from the Miasma, the Azirian’s, or by famine after the war. In his eyes, all of them were already dead. To kill them himself…He considered it an act of mercy.
Those aboard the floating palace with him had ill expressions; they were all terrified. They were suspicious of his tale when he blamed the first city being burned down by Bozek. Bozek was someone whom many of them looked up to, for he was truly dedicated to protecting people. They did not see things play out properly, so they couldn’t say for sure, but to many of them, it did not sound like something Bozek would do.
As Garn moved to a second city and again it was lit ablaze, they knew right away what Garn had done and who he was. To move against their King though, was not something just anyone could do. Instead, they buried everything down in their hearts and watched on in horror.
After Garn observed the Miasma moving toward the second burning city, he nodded to himself.
“Right, things are going accordingly. It’s time we head for the next city.”
The moment these words fell, so too did the hearts of those with Garn.
A woman watched all of this with a pale face. She had stood by Garn’s side as his secretary through many things and thought she had seen the worst of him, but this was breaking her.
Garn caught her with a side glance.
“Mila, is there a problem?”
Mila swallowed hard and shook her head.
“I..I..There are no problems.”
“Really? I look around this room, and none can even lift their heads in my presence. Hmph, none of you understand what’s important!”
Even though things were going accordingly, Garn had dealt with a few people recently. They had looked at him as if he were crazy and begged him to stop. Of course, he couldn’t allow those who couldn’t follow his orders to live, and he promptly killed those cowards. Since then, none had dared to even glance in his direction. They all trembled around him and appeared like frightened animals.
This pissed Garn off greatly. He did what he had to do.
(These fools! All of them! Why can they not see what I see? Why can they not realize that I am doing this for them? They don’t appreciate my sacrifices. They don’t get it at all, and I am the one burdened with everything. I have to put it all on my back and protect all of these weaklings. I show them my loyalty, and they stomp all over my pride. I show them my power, and then they cower in fear. Just like my predecessor, King David. These people only take advantage of my good grace and expect to be protected in the bubble that is my presence. King David betrayed me…These suspicious and cowardly looks…Would they betray me as well?)
Garn started looking around the room and noticed several faces that he didn’t recognize at all. His suspicion and paranoia started to deepen. A young woman accidentally looked in his direction and avoided his gaze. The moment she did this, Garn too noticed and shouted at her.
“YOU! WOMAN! WHO ARE YOU!? HOW DID YOU COME TO BE HERE!?”
The woman went wide-eyed and didn’t know what to say, as she was afraid she had done something wrong. Garn saw her nonanswer as confirmation she was guilty of something. He curled his finger, and wind gathered around the young woman and pushed her forcefully against the floor. She couldn’t move nor breathe, and she began to choke.
The other people in the room became frightened, but none dared to move.
“Hmph, not willing to answer. Traitors should be crushed on the spot.”
Garn was about to wave his finger once more and cleave the woman in half when Mila jumped in front of her.
“MY KING! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?”