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478 A Stain of Blood in the Snow Part 2

    The loud beating of Daniel's heart resounded in his ears, and the feeling of a lump formed at the bottom of his throat. His vision narrowed over the carriage, whose movements appeared in his head like a memory that did not belong to him.

    "Is everything okay, Outcast?" Asked a particularly old bishop, who was looking at him with confusion from the seat to his left.

    Daniel did not look away from the carriage for even a moment, and the moment the bishop's words reached his ear, he mindlessly muttered, "Of course. Just some old memories.."

    The door of the carriage was directed towards the side where the emperor and the envoy were sitting, and therefore, it was impossible for Daniel and Edmund to see Alesia. All they could see were a pair of pale and bare feet step over the carriage's steps, and onto a small cloud-like patch of spiritual essence which formed underneath just before she could touch the ground.

    Once Alesia left the carriage, a few spiritual warriors walked past her, and with noble and dignified movements, they mounted the winged horses, and with a weak tap of their boots, forced the reins that kept their wings tied to their backs to disappear. The horse-like spiritual beasts quickly unfolded their wings and stretched them backwards, releasing a white smoke from the ends of their feathers, and then, after a weak verbal sign from the knights that were riding them, took off in the sky while carrying the now empty carriage with them and uncovering Alesia's figure.

    Alesia's appearance was a shock for the guests, who in the white-haired young woman dressed in a just as white strapless trumpet cut dress whose bottom of the hemline turned from fabric into threads of spiritual essence that hovered over her ankles, they saw something more ethereal than a woman. Something more similar to a fairy.

    However, that was not the same for Daniel.

    The happiness he was feeling for seeing that Alesia was well was forced down his throat by her expression, which was devoid of any of the happiness, cleverness, and mischievousness he was so used seeing on her face. The only feeling he could see now was one of resignation, and this seemed to hurt him to his core, more than anything else that had happened to him in his life.

    It took all of the self control he possessed to stop himself from just starting a massacre, and he was sure that, had he not been in possession of mental fortitude, that was exactly what he would have done. Daniel could also feel Edmund's mindset, which was full of a nervousness that had taken control over his body, making him too focused on the plan to even notice Alesia's state of mind.

    "What a beautiful lass." Said the leader of one of the mental factions to his companions, who were sitting right behind Daniel.

    "Beautiful indeed. The Spiritual Emperor really knows how to pick them." said a bearded man clad in heavy ceremonial armor, butting into the conversation between the two mental warriors in hope to start a conversation. However, his words were ignored.

    After seeing that the mental warriors did not appear to have any interest in talking to him, a general of the army of the universal government, the general turned to look at Daniel, and noticed how he was looking at Alesia. He then leaned forward, appearing in between Daniel and Edmund, and said, "I know that Iewah's children don't have that kind of interests, but even you can concede on this, don't you Outcast?"

    The words of the general shook Daniel from the state he was in, and after breathing out slowly, he rested his head over the back of his hand, and with as much indifference as he could muster, he said, "I have broken a lot of pretty things.. Why should I care for this woman's beauty?" Almost as if he was expecting this kind of answer, the general let out a dry laugh before leaning back over the back of his chair, and focusing on what was happening.

    Once the carriage left, the maidens that had accompanied Alesia until now kneeled behind her, and she, just as instructed, began to walk on her side of the platform. Each step of her bare feet created a new cloud which allowed her to walk a few centimeters above the ground.

    Her expression had not changed for even a moment, and the feeling of resignation she had felt was enough to take away the curiosity even to look around to see who could be in the guest area, so she continued to walk until finally, she reached her side of the platform, where she was quickly reached by the happy looking spiritual emperor.

    Just like tradition dictated, the spouses would need to face each other from the opposite side of the platform, bow to one another, and then, find each other through the use of their spirits. Once these extensions of their spirits would touch, the two would need to merge them to a point where neither of the two could be perceived by their guests. Only then, would they be considered a married couple.

    This form of merging required being comfortable with one another to a point where one's spirit would not reject the other, but from what anyone could see from Alesia's expression, it was clear that the love in this relationship only went one way, and not the other. However, since they were guests, and in the end their objective was to please the spiritual faction, the factions leaders and important individuals decided that, during the part in which they would be required to contest the union of their spirits, they would remain quiet.

    Soon after Alesia's arrival, the spiritual emperor walked down the white steps and joined Alesia in the platform, where he looked at her with happiness and love.

    The crowd suddenly became quiet for the most important part, and almost as if on cue, the spiritual emperor grabbed the hilt of his ceremonial sword, placed his right against his heart, and bowed deeply, until he was facing the ground. Alesia instinctively hesitated for a few moments, but then, grabbed the lower part of her dress, lifted it up to just below her knees, and bowed in feigned reverence.

    The actions of the two were extremely well prepared, and pleasant to the eye, causing the crowd to burst in loud claps which stopped only after the two went back to their standing position.

    Once there was once again nothing but silence, a small compartment in the middle of the platform opened, and from it, emerged a transparent sphere.

    This sphere confused the members of the spiritual faction. Especially those who had witnessed other weddings, as the merging of the two spirits would usually be done in the open, as to show that there was true love from both spouses and that not even the elements could stop their union.. And yet, in this marriage, a spiritual container was being used. A sphere that would entrap the portions of the spirits of the two, and make it easier for them to be merged.

    This method was usually used for arranged weddings between the noble families of the spiritual factions, and prevented the spirit of either of the two parties to reject the other, forcing them into a constrained space, which ultimately, would bring them together. Regardless, the guests did not know the difference, and since the members of the spiritual factions weren't in any hurry to humiliate their emperor, the ceremony went on without a problem.

    With great difficulty, both Alesia and the spiritual emperor released a portion of their spirits, and guided them into this sphere, which just like expected, trapped them, and forced them to clash with one another.

    At first Alesia's spirit could be seen dashing on the edge of the sphere in an attempt to avoid the Emperor's, but as more of their spirits filled the sphere, evading became too difficult, and the two started to press against one another.

    It was extremely clear to anyone who knew this process that this marriage was a farce, but no one said anything. After all, no one amongst the guests was bothered by what was best for Alesia. Or at least, that was what Alesia was thinking..

    Unbeknownst to her, one of the guests was counting the seconds in his head.. Looking at the spirit of his beloved come in contact with that of another person, and feeling  an irrational hate for the flow of time, which in his head, could not go any slower.

    And yet, time still passed.. One second after the other, until finally, Daniel muttered while inadvertently following the beating of his heart, "three.. two.. one.."

    "I hope that we are not too late for the ceremony." Said a voice that resounded through the entirety of Anima, reaching the ears of every single living being on its surface like the drums of war that foresaw a massacre.

    This voice brought a bright smile on Alesia's face, who turned to look at the sky just in time to see a flotilla of ships who wore the mark of the Domain of the War God. The voice belonged to the war god himself who, along with millions of warriors, was floating around ten thousand kilometers outside of Anima's atmosphere.

    Suddenly distracted by the domain's apparition, Alesia pulled her spirit back, stopping the process of spiritual merging right when it was about to show some result.

    Silence reigned for the following few moments, but the feeling was all but peaceful. A faint dark mist was being emanated from the body of the Spiritual Emperor, which relied all of the heightened feelings of anger, hate, and violence that he was feeling. This mist shrouded the area, weighting over the guests like a solid nightmare. "Kill them all." he ordered the bishops while using every bit of self control he possessed to stop himself from acting overboard.

    The bishops reacted in just a moment, disappearing from the chair where they were sitting, right next to Daniel, and reappearing outside of the atmosphere. The first and second bishop directly attacked the war god, while the rest focused on keeping the other moon warriors at bay. However, right as Yuto and the second bishop reached the war god, the latter's body moved in a flash, and the second bishop found himself falling towards Anima's surface like a meteor before even realizing what had hit him.

    When he landed onto the expanse of grass within the garden of union, the guests of the wedding noticed that he was on the verge of dying, and that not only was his body almost split cleanly into two, but so was his spirit.

    Yuto immediately stepped back, and observed the war god from afar, but before he could order his companions to do the same, each of the moon warriors unsheathed a weapon which emanated the power of their spirit, their own personal spiritual weapons, and advanced towards the other bishops.

    The envoy of the soul clan looked at the body of the second bishop with surprise. In the millions of years he had lived, he had never been able to see a weapon that could injure people's spirits. A weapon such as that would be a bane for any form of spiritual cultivator, and that included him, and his whole clan.

    Such a dangerous weapon could not be allowed to exist, so he turned towards the enraged spiritual emperor, and ordered, "Bring the one who made those weapons to me. Kill the rest." If not for the limitations that prevented him from meddling with the universe's indigenous forces, he would have acted personally a long time ago.

    The soul of the envoy was different from the emperor's spirit, and due to its mental and spiritual nature, it allowed him to have control over the emperor, calming him down when he wanted, or riling him up when needed. This time the envoy needed the emperor to kill everyone, so he used his power to affect his spirit so that he could unleash all of his power at the early stages of godhood.

    After listening to the envoy's orders, what was left of the spiritual emperor's sanity was just enough to allow him to turn towards Alesia's maids, and order, "Take her back to her chambers." He then joined the envoys in the battlefield.

    The maids, accompanied by the spiritual warriors that were part of Alesia's procession, walked towards her with hurried steps, but just before they could get a hold of her, Alesia's body disappeared.

    Confused beyond words, the maids and guests looked around in search of Alesia. None of them had felt the signs of either spatial, or mental teleportation. She had just disappeared in thin air, and no one could find her.. Unfortunately, what had happened did not escape the envoy's eyes.

    Standing in mid air a few kilometers away from the garden of union, was the envoy of the soul clan. He was standing in front of a constructed bubble of time essence fed by a wooden trinket wrapped around his wrist. Inside this bubble, were the figures of Edmund, Daniel, and the girl that he was holding in his arms, Alesia. She was looking at him as if unable to believe what she was seeing, but after only a few seconds, two tears formed by the corner of her eyes, and as they started to stream down her cheeks, she sobbed, "You took your time.."
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