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 Sha.... Sha.... Sha .... Sha

Cold gales blew inside the steel chamber for a few moments before disappearing into nothingness, leaving behind a few more scratches on the wall. The chamber was still the same with all of its scratches, blood-markings and curses and the only odd thing was that, Felix was lying down on the floor in a heap, with part of his armor frozen in blue ice.

His armor which was previously entirely black, now had patches of white all over it. It didn't look like an idiot's painting where his colors had dropped from his color-palette. It seemed more like a beast had scratched on his armor and instead of dents, white paint had taken its place. Even his armet had three white-scratches on it, giving it a deadly feel.

In addition to that, there was a snarling Black Wolf sigil covered in flame right on his breastplate, where his heart should be. It spewed fire periodically and melted a part of the ice. The flame released a dark miasma, which had by now covered the armor entirely. It sizzled with fire and thunder every now and then, just like heartbeat. Strangely though, it seemed as if the armor and the body have elongated.

The elongation of armor and body was a side-effect of entering the ranks of Lords. When a person enters this stage, a natural advantage of height and strength is given to them over the other mortals. The size difference between a Lord and a mere seeker is enough to instill fear in the hearts of his enemies. Felix was now almost 6feet tall, nearly reaching his father's height and it was bound to increase.

Badump!

Badump!

Badump!

"Ha!!"

Suddenly, Felix's heartbeat started to increase and become louder and louder and with a shout, he woke up.

"Hah... hah..." he breathed heavily. His head was still spinning a bit and he felt a bit fudgy but then he saw something strange. There was a white-haired child sitting on the magic-sealed box with the Fabled Crown on his head. He wore a weird mask with only two curved slits as eyes. It wore a strange black gown with tears and bloodstains everywhere. The boy stared at Felix constantly with his head resting on his palms.

"Awake finally!" he said in they same creepy voice he heard before he entered the strange dimension.

Confused, startled and suspicious, he grabbed his Greatsword only to find it snapped in two. He looked around himself and found himself back in his own world.

"No weapons?" said the boy, a small line which looked like it's mouth widening as if it was smiling.

"What do you want?!" asked Felix with a hoarse voice, filled with anger and hatred. The boy tilted his head and returned with a question, "Isn't asking for name, first?"

Felix looked a bit startled. He indeed wanted to ask his name but the picture and the anxiety of what he saw was wrecking his inside, not letting him to think straight.

"I don't care! Who are you and what was that I just saw now? Who or what was ... 'it'?"

"Oh~" cried the boy in amusement. "So, you did see it. Eh! Fabulous!!"

"What is?!!!" Felix barked at him, the fear still making him tremble. The boy simply giggled and replied, "That you survived. It's fabulous that someone for the very first time was able to survive the Enigma. Well, second time, pardon!"

Felix frowned and muttered, "...Enigm-"

Kuoooooooo!!!

But the moment Felix tried to say the name, a strange cry erupted out in his ear and the fear he felt erupted back up in manifold. His feets turned cold and he unconsciously kneeled down in complete fear.

"Shhhh!!" cried the boy, "No one but I speak of his name with the intent. The more you call his name, the more he will know about you and your surroundings. Remember, child. Names are the gateways to different worlds. Call the name and a gateway will be created between two sentiences. Misuse it and the person at the other end will consume you. He is called Enigma, but don't call him that. Call him by common things, like 'it,' 'that,' and such. Hehe, surprised aren't you, that the world you knew so simple was actually so complex."

The fear which gripped Felix's heart vanished as quickly as it came. The boy's sound overlapped the strange sound, dimming it down. Overcoming his fear, Felix was finally able to think straight and so, he asked, "Who're you?"

The masked boy shook up straight, as if excited. "Finally on track, are you! I'm happy that you asked that question to me but unfortunately, I'm not someone. I'm of someone. Alter-ego, the otherworlders call me. I'm the alter-ego of a certain individual. You might have heard of him."

"I ... don't understand. What alter-ego? Whom do I know?"

"Jed Marelok. You must've heard of him, right. Hihi!! Actually, even though Im his Alter-ego, he calls me Allie, in short, so you can also call me that, if you want."

Felix squinted his eyes inside this armet and replied, "...you mean that Jed Marelok? I don't particularly know .... But I heard of him."

"Yes, I'm talking about the same person. He was a great person, wasn't he?"

"Ummm.... I don't quite know about that. Lady Yasmina told me he was a great adventurer. Found the Fabled Lands and gave this ... crown to the Sultan of Yasmin. Wicked, Lady Yasmina called him."

"Oh-ho! That's quite an accusation for my little Jed. Not that I care. Anyway, I'm a part of his consciousness and usually travel always with him. Has done so for his entire life, until now.... It was in the Fabled Lands, he met a certain someone whom he couldn't handle and he had to take some ... 'dire' measures to get back alive. The Fabled Jewels were the result of that little event. The jewels, you see, were really cursed with the same entity, I told of. It had a touch of it and therefore, no one can effectively 'throw' it away. In simple terms, if you throw it away, it will come back at you. But if you ... 'gift' it to someone, it won't. Quite simple, isn't it? Or snatch it. Hehe"

"Ha!" Felix huffed and said, "So, that's why he gifted the jewels to the Sultan. Just to save his own a*s!"

"Yep! Basic human intelligence, though, I bet he never thought it would cause such a commotion in another part of the world. Actually, you know, he has hundreds of such cursed objects which when binds a person, never lets him go. But for some reason, this crown was special and that's why...Wait! Maybe..." the kid made a thinking gesture and said with amusement, "Maybe he did know!! Hell ya! After all it all makes sense that he personally sealed a part of me in this damnable crown jewels. But .... But then what was his intention of sending me away? Hm.... This is getting interesting, don't you think, Felix Dean?"

Felix frowned and asked, "How did you know my name?"

"Hehehe!! I knew it the moment your father touched the crown. I know the names of every single people and their families, who touched me, the crown. Yes, I may not be quite accurate, but I can be pretty damn sure on certain aspects. Anyway, what does it matter? It was all fate that brought us together, don't you think?"

"Fate...." Growled Felix as he clutched one of the snapped off piece of Greatsword.

"You tell me its fate that brought this damnable crown to my father. Fate that killed my entire family! It was fate that killed my father, made my mother go insane and led to the massacre of so many innocent lives?!!!"

"Oh ho!" cried the kid amused. "Quite sentimental and childish, aren't you, Mr. Lord. Well, after all you're just a small kid-"

"DON'T CALL ME A KID!!!" shouted Felix at the kid.

"Hehe, something only a kid would do."

"I said... not to call me... a kid..." growled Felix at the kid, but all he got in return was a big smile on the wooden mask. His anger boiled hard but right then, a massive amount of force struck him off-guard and sent him flying.

Bam!!!

"ARGH!!"

Felix cried out as the immense incorporeal force directly ignored his armor and started crushing his bones.

"Grrr!!" Felix growled and bit his lips hard to point of bleeding, to muster a bit of force but it was of no use. The incorporeal force was too great.

"Well, well... I've got to say, you're one hell of a kid..." muttered the masked kid as he started walking slowing towards Felix.

"No one! No one, other than my other-self, let's say, has the right to shout at me. And surprisingly, even HE never does so. Call me pampered, but this is me, dude. Be aware~~" said the kid, closing up to Felix's armet.

"Mind you, Felix. This world is really big and a Lord like you... is nothing more than dust. You consider your strength to be immense, your familial bonds solid and the loyalty of your subordinates as strong as steel, but they are not. It will only take a few seconds for a family like this to be broken up. Just like I have been doing until now and tell me, have you been able to stop it?

No!

Nobody can!

My friend, Felix, the truth is that nothing, nothing in this world is absolute. People die, Monarchs are overthrown and Gods fall. You see, people consider them supreme but there comes time when they fall and when they do, people around them mock. This is the world, my little baby. Infact, you've seen it for yourself, haven't you? Your family's tragedy. Isn't it enough of an example for you. How much more will you need to see for you to understand that these... creature called humans are fickle.

You may consider what I say as blasphemous talks of a little ghost, but tell me honestly, how much longer can your ... so-called family sustain all these insults, as a noble. There would come a time when you would run out of options, out of money and opportunities. And when you do, you would be left with nothing other than... selling your own family. That is hum-"

"I WILL NOT-spurt!!!" shouted Felix with great difficultly, but the moment he did blood rushed out of his throat. The kid turned quiet and stayed quiet for a moment. After a while, he flicked his finger and the force which bounded Felix disappeared and he fell down in a heap.

"Ha.... Ha.... Ha...." Felix huffed for breath and tried to endure the immense pain that was wrecking through his body.

The kid, on the other hand, sighed in relief and started walking towards Felix in slow steps. Felix noticed the boy coming towards him but he didn't have the strength to even lift a finger. The boy stood only a few meters away from Felix and said, looking down, "Felix Dean, the world is cruel. Humans are cruel. Monarchs are cruel and so are the Gods. The world runs on the principle of survival of the fittest. Lords need to improve and improvise every moment in this chaotic world to maintain their dominance and you should consider yourself and your family to be lucky to live in such a peaceful state for so long. But the peace is over. Its time for war. Eternal war.

Tell me, Felix Dean. Do you have the strength, the determination, the hatred for your enemies, for those people who have slayed your father, defiled your mother and insulted your family and siblings? Do you have the courage to make war with them?"

The words struck Felix like lightning. He looked upto the shadow which was the masked boy and replied without hesitation, "I will KILL them all."

"Will you wage war against your enemies and eradicate those you stand before you as obstacles?"

"War.... That's a minimum. I will slaughter them all and after I'm done with them, I'm going to slaughter you!! Mind you!"

"Well, well," the kid sounded amused by Felix's statement. He took the Fabled Crown off his head and placed it gently onto Felix's armet, startling Felix. But strangely, Felix didn't feel the same amount of fear or anxiety from it, instead he felt more and more familiar with it. The small slit which was acting like his mouth, curved up and he muttered,

"Under the name of the Godking Marelok, I, his aide and Alter-Ego, christen you, Felixyon Cross. Holder of the Fabled Crown and the Spark of Invincibility. Tribute yourself to the Ancient Lore and The Unknown and wage war against your enemies. Theorus Grotesqvo!"

Sha.... Sha.... Sha.... Sha....

Flaming gales erupted within the chamber and burnt everything as it started to whirlpool around Felix and the kid. Pain erupted inside Felix's mind in waves and even though, he shouted out like hell, not a single peep was heard. Everything was drowned in the massive flame whirlpool.

...

Crack...

Crackle...

Crack...

"Ha.... Ha.... Ha...."

...

When Felix regained his consciousness, he was found himself lying flat on the cold floors of the steel chamber. The walls and the scratches were the same, the curses and the bloodstains were also the same and identical, but there was something acutely different. Confused, he slowly stood up and again found differences. It was the weight of his armor, which for some reason felt quite light.

After doing a bit of checking and touching, Felix realized, in shock, that he has crossed the boundary of a Seeker and entered the ranks of Lords. He had been rewarded with a sigil of a snarling, flaming wolf, which of course he didn't know anything of. He also found out that his favorite black armor had transformed in a weird way. Other than growing much longer and wider, it had become blacker and has small inscriptions and illegible letters carved on it. These words were nearly similar to those he saw in that Thin Crimson Path and like always, Felix could understand a sh*t about it. Along with that, spikes and thorns have grown out of his left arm guard and gauntlets and a large tuft of white-black hair was now attached on top of his armet. His armor as a whole had a mixture of pure black and white stripes.

The Fabled Crown, which Felix feared so much, was now resting quietly on his head. It had somehow also grown thorns all around it's ivory and stuck solidly to his armet. He tried to remove it many times to no avail and even though, it seemed that the thorns were attaching it, he felt nothing from inside. The Fabled Crown too had a change of color and now looked partly black and white, as if trying to sync with the color of the armor.

The next thing, Felix noticed was his broken Greatsword and a new, shiny Greatsword. The new Greatsword didn't look much different from his own and the only thing which differed perhaps was a small etching, which read Felixyon Cross. Along with that, he also noticed that in the magic-seal box there was a letter lying there silently. He picked it up and it read.

"Felixyon.

I'm Jed Marelok. You may have heard of me from my alter-ego and frankly, I'm sorry for all the disasters I've caused you and your family.

I knew something like this would happen. I had an inkling of it, but .... Well, I had no choice other than to hand the crown to the Sultan. It was ... fate. You must have heard of my reason for letting that crown go, but believe me, there's more to it's secret. Don't lean on the crown's help for too long, or else it will consume you. The creature of whose touch the crown has, is something unspeakable and indescribable. I cannot speak its name like he does, so I'm not. Anyway, what I want to tell you is that, don't fight with it for too long. Remember, the more you use it, the more you get used to it and the more you will be consumed by it. And given that you're a Lord, it will be better if you lead your men rather than going into battlefield. And remember, don't believe all that fella talks about. Don't wage war unless you have to. Wars don't only mean profit, it means a loss of lives. And risks are the very foundations of war. Remember, you start a war and there will be risk of losing your family in it.

At last, I will give you two gifts. One is the Greatsword, a replacement for the one that was broken and secondly, there is a piece of information that you must fetch from Roderick's Bastille. It is in the deepest corner and .... You will know it when you see it. it's catchy.

Jed Marelok

Signing off!"

...

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