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Chapter 361 [END]
#16. Imperial University Magic Tower
The Magic Tower of the Imperial University was Ifrin's hometown. Now she was looking at the local landscape, having returned here after a long time.
Cherry blossoms bloomed all over the campus, under which couples nestled.
Looking at the strolling students, Ifrin remembered her time at the university, which now seems too far away for her.
To borrow Sylvia's words, "stupid Ifrin" who knew nothing came here that spring with a grudge against Declain. She had a clear plan in her mind.
- I wanted to destroy the professor.
Muttering an old goal that might have already been achieved, Ifrin took a step forward.
At that moment, space warped, and she immediately entered the top floor of the university's Magic Tower. In the office of the chairman.
At the sudden appearance of the chairman, immersed in her work, she shuddered.
Surprised enough to unleash her magic power in a hurry, she frowned, but then saw that the intruder was Ifrin.
- Why so scary?
- Long time no see, Professor Luina.
New chairman, Luina.
Declan's replacement... no. In fact, due to the fact that all records of Declain were erased, and because Declain turned into a villain whose name was not liked to be spoken, Luina became the next chairman after Adrian, and not "in place of" Declain.
- Did you come for what you asked earlier? Luina asked with a smile.
- Yes. As I said before, I will go to the extinct… to the borderlands.
The extinct lands were completely cleared.
Therefore, now they were not extinct, but borderline. Now it was full of vegetation and animals.
- You need the key to the lighthouse, don't you?
The lighthouse, the work of Declain and Altar, still existed.
Thanks to Declain's intervention, it never broke or collapsed, and was now under the supervision of the university's Magic Tower.
Luina handed her the key without hesitation. Ifrin took it in her hand and smiled.
- Thanks to.
- What? Rather, I am grateful,” Luina said, holding out her hand. “I wish you good luck, my esteemed archmage. Whatever you do
Ifrin happily grabbed her hand.
- Yes thank you.
In the past, Professor Luina was Ifrin's role model and still is, so she was pleased to hear such words.
- And you success in your work, chairman.
Perhaps this was the last goodbye.
Ifrin, who was about to leave, suddenly remembered something. She was interested in the 77th floor. A place that has now become another senior professor's floor.
Ifrin took a step and immediately found herself on the 77th floor, looking around blankly in the middle of the corridor.
She sighed without realizing it. Her body trembled, overflowing with emotion.
The layout and structure of the lab, office, conference room, and other areas were very different from when Declain lived here, but the corridor remained the same.
She saw images of herself running down the hallway, Allen saying she would be punished for it, Drent following her with a slightly goofy face, and Declain always walking with a proud and confident gait.
Those memories that can't be brought back surfaced like afterimages.
Suddenly, tears welled up in Ifrin's eyes.
However, she quickly shook her head to stop them and forced herself to take a step forward.
When she reached the borderlands, Ifrin lifted her head, silently staring at the lighthouse.
A majestic building that seems to reach heaven. In this era, this symbol of Declain and the Altar was called the "root of evil."
The entire lighthouse was made of Snow Obsidian, beautiful, glowing bright blue and white.
A "beautiful" lighthouse that cannot be described in any other way. A work of art containing Declain's efforts and feelings.
- I'm ready.
At that moment, Sylvia's voice rang out.
Ifrin came to her senses.
- …Yes OK.
Looking around, the blue lines around the lighthouse formed a huge magic circle. These were magical threads, embodied by Sylvia's three primary colors, to open the [Passage].
The hearts of all those gathered here will serve as fuel for the manifestation of magic, as well as fragments of the meteorite obtained by Sofien.
“I will start soon,” Ifrin said, looking at the audience.
There were many familiar faces here.
First, Sylvia, who helped her the most with this plan.
“Haughty Ifrin, please return with Her Majesty.
Then Riya from the Red Pomegranate adventurer team.
- Can you do it. However, I will not be with you. I can't meet the professor.
Riya's words were meaningful, but Ifrin didn't have time to ponder their meaning.
Also Delric and Lavein from the Imperial Knights.
“We will trust you, Archmage Ifrin.
- We'll be waiting.
And also Idnik and Arlos, who made special clothes that will protect them from the cold of Eternal Winter.
- However, these clothes are not omnipotent. You shouldn't stay there for long.
- Good luck, Archmage Ifrin and Your Majesty the Empress.
Nodding her head to the two of them, Ifrin turned to the empress who would be accompanying her.
- Are we leaving now?
Sophien calmly replied:
Only these two people will enter the [Aisle].
There is no need for more people, as this will only increase the risk of temporary entanglement.
- Do not worry, Your Majesty. If the remnants of the Altar attack, I will do my best to stop them.
Before they left, Delric declared his resolve.
Remains of the Altar.
The Quay has already disappeared, and the Altar has lost its doctrine and God, but some of them continue to drag out their miserable existence, like zombies. They seemed to know some of the truth, and considered Declain a traitor, so it was still a big problem for the Empire.
- I believe in you.
Delric's face turned red at Sophien's words.
- Y-yes, it's an honor for me, Your Majesty!
Ifrin activated her magic, pouring mana into a huge magic circle.
Ifrin's mana slowly began to circulate around the magic circle. It was a quiet stream that flowed like a stream.
The mana went berserk, ripping through space and causing huge vibrations that caused cracks to form across the ground. This phenomenon, which could be misinterpreted as a calculation error, was in fact precisely planned by Ifrin.
- The process runs smoothly.
Sophien made edits for just that. A dangerous technique that deliberately causes a clash between magical forces for faster and more destructive use of magic.
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A magical technique that emits a sound similar to static electricity. It distorted the space of the world itself, embodying the elliptical [Passage] in this distortion.
Time itself became particles that vibrated as they engulfed space.
Everyone who witnessed the space-time warp was momentarily speechless.
- Your Majesty.
Ifrin turned to Sophien. Sophien also looked at Ifrin.
There was no need to say anything to each other. There was no need to hesitate. They'll just go there as promised.
In [Passage] where he was waiting for them.
#18. Eternal winter
Traveling through the [Passage] was dizzying.
In an instant, the body began to rotate, and the bones and muscles trembled from the pressure exerted on them. It was a very strange feeling.
However, after a small bout of nausea, they found themselves in a non-existent era of the continent.
Forgotten and lost past.
- This is Eternal Winter.
A world where everything is frozen. Ten thousand years of winter.
- Yes, that's right. Luckily it's not very cold here. Soon the moment of awakening people from hibernation will come.
Sofien and Ifrin looked at the frozen continent.
All things, both heaven and earth, are in perfect dormancy. Looking forward to the coming spring.
“Still, you have to hurry. We can't stay here long.
They didn't have time to look around. Ifrin took the initiative and opened the lighthouse door. Sophien calmly followed her.
At that moment, the ticking of the clock sounded in Ifrin's ears. Her body froze for a moment, and her face showed tension.
Sophien looked at her and asked:
- Intervention of the world?
- Yes ... let's hurry.
This course of time, coming from the heart, counted the approaching intervention of the world.
If they don't rescue Declain by then, the "deterrent" will catch them.
Ifrin ran up the stairs of the lighthouse with the canvas in her hands.
The sound of the second hand gradually accelerated with each step, but there was still time.
Luckily, Declain's whereabouts were already known. It was driven by wood steel.
Using the timber as a GPS, they ran until they arrived at the very center of the Eternal Winter.
- There ... Here it is! Professor!
In the place guarded by Knight Julie was Declain. Still proud with a straight posture, like a crane, as if he had not been frozen.
Ifrin walked over to him, injecting her mana into Sylvia's canvas.
Sophien nodded her head.
Just one deep breath.
Ifrin's magic power, manifested in this way, enveloped the frozen Declain, and then carefully lifted him up and placed him on the canvas.
The sound of the clock got louder. Ifrin bit her lip as there was still a lot of work ahead.
The alarm bell continued to weigh on my nerves.
Immediately after that, a crack was heard from somewhere. Like ice cracking, here and there cracks appeared in the air.
It was a distortion of time.
This is the intervention of a "deterrent" that will destroy the continent again if ignored.
However, Ifrin was already prepared for this. She had a decision.
- Your Majesty.
Ifrin called out to the Empress, who silently looked at her.
- Your Majesty, come back...
Interrupting her, Sophien took the canvas with Declain from Ifrin's hands with [Telekinesis].
“Your Majesty, what are you…
- I'll take care of the rest.
As if she knew everything, the empress smiled at her. However, Ifrin hurriedly shook her head.
- Your Majesty!
Sofien drew a sword from her belt and aimed at Ifrin with that blade.
- It takes a sacrifice to close the rifts. I can go into the crack to patch them up like you were going to do now, right?
As if in answer to Sophien's words, the space-time distortion yelled even more fiercely.
“Haughty Ifrin, I said I would dedicate myself to this. This is my task.
- Your Majesty...
Ifrin's expression tightened. Sophien only pursed her lips.
"Professor Declain wouldn't want you to sacrifice yourself." I don't want that either," Ifrin said.
- That's how?
Sophien rubbed her chin nonchalantly.
- The Empire needs Your Majesty. You must guide the Empire on the right path...
- Not. The Empire is already on the right track.
- I'll say it again. I love Declan.
Sophien boldly confessed her feelings.
“However, if you think I'm only doing this for Declain, you're wrong.
TFR! TFR! TFR!
Meanwhile, the cracks got bigger and the clothes that protected them from the cold began to crumble.
“I bear the burden of the Empire and the continent.
- No, it's not...
Ifrin denied this.
After the incident with the Altar, Sophien became the greatest emperor in the history of the continent, who single-handedly stabilized the situation in the Empire and the continent, formulated and implemented new laws and policies, and broke all the chains of hatred.
“The Continent needs Your Majesty. The Continent still relies on Your Majesty's judgment, on your wisdom and strength. We need to deal with the remains of the Altar. And most importantly, Your Majesty... you have always been right.
Sophienus was the absolute ruler.
- Ha. Like you said, I've always been right.
Sophien smiled contentedly.
“However, the fact that I was always right, that I was never wrong, makes people think of me as someone with absolute judgment. They will believe me even if I say dog ??dung is miso soup.
Ifrin's eyebrow twitched.
Absolute Judgment. She knew the meaning behind her words.
- Your Majesty...
“In this Empire, everything is decided by my will and the will of the imperial family. If so, was this Empire solely founded by the imperial family?
Even though Sophien asked this question, she immediately answered it herself.
- Not. It was not the imperial family that built the Empire. The empire was built by subjects.
- As Maho said, the master of the state is the vast majority of its subjects. It is they who constitute the state, and from them comes the power of the state.
Ifrin tilted her head without saying a word.
- As long as I rule, subjects and everything around will depend on me. Everyone will rely on me.
At that moment, Ifrin already realized that she could not convince Sofien.
“Besides, if I die of old age, there will be heirs to the throne. But in this case, this is nothing but the usurpation of power.
Sophien tried to return the Empire to its master.
- The greatest man of this time must break this chain himself.
Her will will spread not only to the Empire, but to all kingdoms, and eventually change this world.
- In other words…
Sophien looked into Ifrin's eyes.
I will free them with my death.
Ifrin couldn't help but admit it. She couldn't help but accept it.
- You'll go back and tell Declane.
The space-time rift had already opened wide.
- That I gave him a new continent.
There was happiness in that smile. There was joy. There was an achievement. There was love.
She sincerely wanted to die for the one she loves.
She will give him life on this continent.
Sophien swung her sword sharply and slashed Ifrin's chest diagonally.
Then, Ifrin's figure disappeared before she could say anything.
The sword of the empress "banished" her back to her original time.
Sophien pursed her lips and looked around.
The storm of time has come.
A tidal wave of containment that covers the entire body.
Ifrin, cleaved by Sofien's sword, returned to her original timeline.
She stood near the lighthouse and stared blankly at the approaching group of people.
Sylvia, Delric, Arlos, Idnik, all said something to her, but Ifrin did not hear anything and could not say anything. Because their eyes, looking at her, were looking for someone else.
Suddenly, a small drop of rain fell on Ifrin's nose. At the same time, the vibration of wood steel spread through the body. Those two cold and noisy auras awakened Ifrin.
She silently turned and opened the lighthouse door.
She stepped inside as if possessed by something. And she just ran. The woodsteel guided her forward until she was in front of some doors.
Opening the doors, Ifrin looked around. It was the gallery where "he" was.
Canvas with Declain. Her Majesty hung it here.
While Ifrin stared blankly at the canvas, Sylvia ran up to her and shouted:
- Did you make it? Ifrin! The professor is here. He is still sleeping, but I can wake him up.
At these words, Ifrin burst into tears. She didn't know if it was joy or sadness.
Now she was so happy, but so sad.
Seeing her like this, everyone else tensed up as well.
Delric was the first to ask:
- Where is the empress?
Ifrin was in no hurry to answer.
However, she answered quietly in a trembling voice:
- Her Majesty the Empress went on a long journey.
From which she will never return.
Time passed, the continent changed.
After the sudden death of Empress Sophien Creto issued the will of Sofien - the Declaration of the Republic.
A 500-page compendium that promises to transform the empire into a republic, temporarily leaving the imperial family in power, but retaining the status system only as a form and abolishing it over time.
It was the last will of the empress, published in book form, and it was read by everyone on the continent.
Of course, this was a catastrophic event that many could not accept, but even the greatest nobles who should resist the most: Yeriel of Uklaine, Sylvia of the Iliad, Zeit of Freiden, and finally Brother Sofien Creto stood up for it.
The empire was slowly turning into a republic.
And not only the Empire changed.
[Side Quest completed: Windless Cave]
- This is the end?
A quest completion notification popped up.
It was a cave in the south where crazy monsters lived.
As the deputy leader of the Red Pomegranate adventurer team, Riya was doing her quests.
She lay down on the ground and stared up at the dark stone ceiling. The stalactites hanging like icicles were beautiful.
- ... about a year has passed.
She may have been influenced by this peaceful atmosphere after a long fight, but she remembered the boy she had almost forgotten.
These memories rolled on like an annual event.
No, Kim Woojin.
No, Kim Woojin.
- What are you doing now?
Now Ria knew it, she could admit it.
It was no longer the same Kim Woojin that she passionately loved. It was a new identity.
Although she wasn't very sad. Sometimes she was soaked in sentimentality, but even these memories brightened her days.
"I hope you're having fun here too," Riya muttered, as if talking to him. - I'm happy, even though I can't meet you.
She can't meet Declain. A character named Riya is under close surveillance by the world - "the system", so she cannot reveal his whereabouts.
“Even if we are in the same world like this, we cannot meet.
Riya lifted the corners of her lips.
- It's good that I was able to visit there in your last moments.
Declan's last moments. The words she then said to him as Kim Woojin were still in Riya's memory...
- Ria! Riya!
Suddenly, Leo screamed from the side. A loud echo that reverberated throughout the cave.
- Here! Riya, come here! Help!
He is almost an adult, but he still behaves the same way.
- Riya! Go faster! My feet are stuck in the mud!
One way or another, there are still many unknowns on this continent.
There are many problems to be solved, the villains are still endless, and there are many interesting dungeons.
- Where's Carlos?
- He left me!
That's why Riya's heart boils every time she embarks on a new adventure. She is interested in exploring the unknown, and enjoys encountering new areas, people and life.
Of course, this can also be related to the profession of "Adventurer".
- When will you guys stop fighting?
But it does not matter.
Just like he was Kim Woojin and Declain.
She seems to have been Riya and Yuara too.
- Good. I'm going, I'm going~
As she sighed and stood up, a small letter flew out of Riya's pocket. The paper that fell to the ground without her knowledge was quickly swallowed up by the darkness of the dungeon. The sentences written in it were full of simple and sincere emotions.
As you said then, my world is not you. Now I know exactly what you meant. My world is everything that I see, hear, feel and experience, this continent. This planet is very different from Earth. So I'm glad that I'm an adventurer. I am glad that there are so many adventures on this continent.
Do you know what the giant once said? The blessing given to people is their limited mind, small eyes, short legs and life, which ends with the advent of death.
No matter how much I run, this continent will never end, right? I am waiting for endless meetings and a huge unknown.
This land without borders, endless skies, a continent that I can never conquer is the happiness that was bestowed on me. Only thanks to you I have found this happiness.
In fact, I don't even know what kind of letter I want to write to you right now.
So, to summarize in a couple of words. I am happy to live on this continent. I think it's better not to return to the original world. I want you to be happy too. I wish you a good life.
Hmm... Writing this letter makes me think about the past...
I might not even be able to deliver it to you. However, it's not scary.
Be happy Ugin. And I'll be happy too. If everything is fine with you, I can also enjoy life.
I really loved you. This is true.
#21. last point
Metropolis of the Republic of Krebaim, Khadekain. Ukline's most luxurious mansion in the big city with a very high-tech and modern landscaping.
Sitting in a rocking chair, I was reading a book on the theory of magic that Luina had published.
I peacefully flipped through the pages, enjoying the unexpected daily life.
When I met Yeriel again, she was crying, unable to find words, but now, after about a year, she has again become annoyed over trifles.
It's good because it's more like Yeriel.
Although I'm still bored...
I closed the book.
Luina's theory is too simple. After all, I am someone who specializes in teaching the theory of magic.
Anyway, I read the whole book in 15 minutes and looked out the window.
- Clear weather.
Blue sky without a single cloud. The brightly scorching sun.
I was still alive thanks to an absurd plan that aimed at the gap between the past and the present.
However, at first I was dissatisfied. For all the villains, such a death is the right end and the right fate.
I was not happy to be alive. I couldn't rejoice.
- Your Majesty.
However, I remembered Sophien.
The Empress who devoted herself to giving me peace has liberated the Empire.
- You gave me an award worthy of your greatness.
The time she gave me won't be particularly long. I was still slowly dying.
“However, if that is Your Majesty’s wish…”
If that was her wish.
- I will live and enjoy this life.
I smiled softly. I'm still Declan and Kim Woojin. My personality cannot be expressed by a single name.
However, there is one promise that I have not yet kept.
- See you at the last minute.
To keep this "last promise", I will do my best as long as I live.
- Brother! What are you doing over there? Come here soon.
Suddenly, a loud voice rang out from the crystal ball. It was Yeriel.
- The dinner table is ready.
I shook my head, put down my book, got up from my seat, and walked into the garden of the mansion.
This place, dedicated only to me, was fenced on all sides, and no one would see it from the outside.
There are a lot of good people here now.
Delric, Lavein, Sylvia, Ifrin, Yeriel, Arlos, Idnik, Jackal and Carla, Ellie, Julie, Maho…
- Brother! Why so long?!
Yeriel yelling at me, Ifrin busy eating roahawk, Sylvia smiling slightly at me, and Julie frowning.
- Go here!
Listening to this impudent cry, I was already preparing a crack. Even the presence of guests will not stop me from giving her a lesson.
I approached her and...
There was loud laughter from the crowd.
On this clear and windless afternoon, fallen leaves mingled in the garden. It was autumn and the leaves were turning red.
In a world without an empress, seeing autumn leaves reminiscent of her, and seeing Ifrin smiling at me, I quietly thought.
This is a very simple idea.
This is the life that Sophien gave me. Her dedication slightly increased the time allotted to me.
I have people with me whom I can trust and rely on.
The villain wants to live.
The birds sing their tunes. The sun stings closed eyelids.
Sophien, who was tossing and turning all over because of them, involuntarily opened her eyes.
And stared blankly at the sky. Looking at this landscape, she briefly remembered the past.
After hanging Declain's canvas in the gallery, she was banished by the storm of time, her body tearing and breaking in the tide. And as it unravels...
- Is it a continent?
Was it the past, present or future? Was it a continent or another planet? She fell into an unknown forest, not knowing either time or space.
Sophien checked her condition.
She'll last another day or two at the most. Death is already inevitable, but such is the price for blocking the "means of deterrence".
This body has already been destroyed.
Will such a death be happiness or misfortune?
Sophien unconsciously smiled and forced her broken body to stand up.
Now all that's left is to find a place to die.
Of course, only dust will remain from the corpse, but she does not want to die without knowing where she is.
But just as she was about to walk a little, the sound of roaring and crackling trees echoed through the area.
Sophia turned around.
The tiger was chasing an unknown woman.
A woman in a magnificent dress ran away from him with a child in her arms.
Sophien could ignore her.
Even if it's just saving one person from a tiger, it could be fatal for Sophien right now. It can cut her miserable lifespan in half or more.
- A day or half a day.
In any case, it doesn't matter. This life is already over. She went through an endless regression so she had no regrets.
Sophien drew her sword, took a step forward, and swung her sword without hesitation.
The sword went up and cut off the tiger's head. The wind, caused by her magical power, caught the woman too, causing her to stumble.
Despite this, she still held her baby in her arms.
Sophien approached her without a word.
At the same time, the woman jumped to her feet.
- Thanks! Thank you! I was going down the mountain with a child and I met a tiger...
She bowed her back and expressed her gratitude.
- Thank you…
A red drop fell to the ground.
- Ah! Are you okay?!
The woman hastily looked at Sophien and asked.
Sophien shook her head.
- Not okay.
- Ah! Forgive me. My house is nearby, so let's go there as soon as possible. At least some treatment...
- That is unnecessary.
The woman came closer and tried to take her away, but Sophien refused.
It was already too late.
Oh no, how can you say that...
At this moment, the child began to cry. The woman became frightened and began to comfort him, and Sophien's eyebrows twitched slightly as she glanced at the child.
Sophien then spoke again.
- Say, near your house, right?
- Ah! Yes! Follow me!
The woman quickly led Sophien.
Following a mountain path, they reached a small hut built on a hillside.
- It's here. Come in.
The woman opened the door, which creaked like it was about to break.
Sophien went inside.
- Lie down.
She then laid Sophiene down on her only bed and began to grind the herbs in her mortar.
- Wait a minute. I will heal you...
- More importantly, there is something I want to ask you.
- You don't need to be treated. It's too late," Sophien said, covering her pale face.
She wanted to ask what time it was, whether it was a continent, an empire, a republic, or a completely different alien planet, however…
- What is the name of the child?
- ... you want to know the name of the child?
The woman opened her eyes wide.
Sophia's voice was very soft. Too joyful for a dying man.
This was unexpected for the woman, but she nevertheless answered:
Sophien unconsciously chuckled.
Boy with black hair. Even though it was a newborn baby, she could recognize him.
“…Caeron. It's clear.
Her broken body seemed unable to take more, and her mind gradually began to drift away.
- Are you okay?..
The voice of the woman she accidentally saved also faded away.
She hurriedly applied herbal powder to the wounds, but there was no effect.
Sophien slowly closed her eyes.
The world got darker and darker.
Sophien's body was slowly sinking into the abyss of death.
It was the end she longed to experience someday.
The soul finally departed completely from the body.
- Your Majesty.
Just as she was about to enjoy the end, a voice spread like ripples.
Sophien opened her eyes again.
The landscape reflected on her retina was very disconcerting.
It was the shore of the lake.
A whimsical and fantastic view with lotus flowers on a transparent water surface and a light haze of fog.
- Your Majesty.
Then the voice came again.
Sophien seemed to know who he was without even seeing him.
When she called his name, he smiled.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
- This is a dream?
Is this a dream or the afterlife? Even Sophien, who is an easy learner, couldn't help but ask Keiron since this is the first time she's encountered something like this.
- It's a magical space. It seems our souls have been imprisoned here for a while.
A kind of magic capable of trapping even souls.
- Terrifying, isn't it? Keiron said with a laugh.
Sophien made the same expression on her face.
It became clear to her whose work it was.
- It must have been Declain from the future. To keep the last promise he made to Your Majesty.
Saying this, Caeron pointed somewhere.
A square wooden board placed where lake and land meet.
Seeing her, Sophien smiled broadly.
- Is it th?
Sophien asked Declain for one last match and Declain agreed, but Sofien herself turned him down on a whim.
- Yes. The last match is left.
This magical space, captivating even souls, was conceived and implemented by Declain from the future.
The mediator of such fantastic magic is the very "promise" that they made to each other during their lifetime.
- Until the match takes place, Declain will not let us go.
Sophien nodded at Kaeron's words.
If they can't get out of here. If that goddamn bastard had locked her in here.
- So be it.
She walked through the mist to the lake and sat down in front of the blackboard.
"Will you stay with me until Declain arrives?"
It's a question that shouldn't even have been asked.
Keiron quickly replied:
- Of course. Knight Keyron will serve Your Majesty forever.
Sophien nodded. If he is by her side, she can focus solely on go.
- Then let's wait.
Sophien looked at the plank and the stones and said:
- I'll think about how to defeat him.
To confront a man who can be called a master of Go, any time for preparation will not be enough.
So the time will pass quickly.
Thinking for a moment, Sophien touched her fingers to her lips.
- I hope… this last match will last a long time.
So simple was the desire of the Empress.