Reincarnated Princess Wishes To Avoid Death - Chapter 515
The High Priestess of the Chaos Serpents Dances
In a forgotten realm lost to the passage of time, nestled at the base of a perilous mountain separating the Kingdom of Remno and the Holy Principality of Belluga, there existed a place erased from both history and memory. Concealed within a dense forest, a forsaken structure stood—solitary and forlorn. Yet, to label it a castle would be a misnomer, for it lacked the grandeur, visual finesse, and architectural grace associated with such fortifications. Rather, it stood as the remnants of an ancient people’s fleeting dream, constructed stone by stone in this refuge where they sought sanctuary.
This place was meant to be the rallying point for the defeated, a stage for their triumphant resurgence. However, that anticipated day never dawned. The inhabitants lived, and eventually perished, within its walls. The fortress, devoid of a master and untouched by the chaos of battle, faded into obscurity, erased from the records of time. Aged by the relentless march of years, the crumbling edifice transformed into a gathering ground for the Serpents.
At the heart of the dilapidated stronghold lay its throne room, where a lone woman, seemingly in her midtwenties, engaged in a silent dance. Her glossy, jet-black hair cascaded and swirled with each movement. Expressionless and wordless, she danced with unwavering focus. Her motions, though peculiar and disconcerting, possessed a unique beauty, devoid of any specific form or style, creating an eerie yet enchanting aura.
It was difficult to imagine a dance more befitting the Chaos Serpents, who sought to destroy all order. However…
“What the hell are you doing?” The man who walked into the room shot her a bemused look.
“Performing a dance,” she said, placidly answering the wolfmaster’s question, “as an offering to the Archdaemon. What do you think?”
Despite the sudden interruption, the woman stopped dancing without the slightest hint of reluctance. She dabbed away the sweat on her forehead with a look of boredom.
“I made it up, but I think it actually passes for a ritual dance. Personally, I feel like I really evoked the image of the high priestess of the Serpents being an apostle of the Archdaemon.”
The high priestess favored the wolfmaster with a bewitching smile. The wolfmaster remained unmoved.
“I don’t remember us becoming apostles of the Archdaemon.”
“We are…and we aren’t. It’s a fuzzy line. What we do is destroy order. Sometimes, as apostles of the Archdaemon. Other times, as atheists. So long as we can destroy this hellish invention of order that is the source of our endless persecution, we will become whatever, whenever. We are shapeless and formless, united only by our goal and suffering. That is our greatest strength, no?”
The wolfmaster was well aware that a portion of the Serpents’ adherents were devout Archdaemonists. The high priestess, though… He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the woman before him did not believe for a second the existence of such a deity as the Archdaemon. And it was because she didn’t believe that she could conduct herself as the ideal priestess that her followers desired. Her irreverent objectivity made her an extremely effective leader who could unravel all forms of order with great efficiency and composure. She was, in short, a consummate actor whose ideology was rooted in destruction.
“So? What is it? Do you have some news?” she asked.
“I received a report from Ka Kunlou. He’ll go into hiding instead of coming back here.”
“Ah ha ha, okay then. I wouldn’t worry about him. He’s a shaman, after all. Wherever he goes, I’m sure he’ll be a model Serpent and do a great job of destroying all sorts of order.”
The high priestess smiled her bewitching smile again.
“But isn’t it dangerous to fly solo right now?” asked the wolfmaster. “The Holy Lady Rafina… Given her recent actions, there seems to be a significant risk of being captured by agents of the Central Orthodox Church.”
“Just as one cannot change the flow of a river by scooping out its water, there is a limit to the degree of impact the actions of a single agent can have. Should he fail, it will be a minor setback. Should he succeed, his feats will compensate for the failures of other agents. All is but a small drop in the greater current of things.” Her smile grew even sweeter. “The fact that he left Sunkland, well… I assume that means he successfully planted the seeds, in which case, I think we should wait a while. Then, we’ll spread a new rumor that says Prince Echard is hiding some poison. If they plan to hide the fact that he used the poison, then the rumor will damage trust in Sunkland’s royal family. If he hasn’t used the poison yet, then it should still stir up a lot of suspicions.”
Her tone was so insouciant that it sounded like she was planning a simple prank rather than plotting to the downfall of people and kingdoms alike.
“Sounds dangerous to me. Are you sure we should be going so deep into Sunkland?”
“There’s no need to worry. Even if our actions lead to our ruin, the Serpents won’t die. There’s Kunlou and the other shamans. A new high priestess befitting the times will rise and lead the Serpents anew. In fact, the existence of a high priestess itself is in no way critical. It all depends. Whatever is necessary, the Serpents will create, be it a priestess, a princess, or even a king. That is our way, is it not?”
“And you’re okay with that? Even if you’re not there to see it all happen?” asked the wolfmaster. “Wasn’t the destruction of order your dearest wish?”
She regarded him for a moment, then shook her head and smiled. “Men are such glory-seekers. You seek simple outcomes. Ones that visibly distinguish your accomplishments. Not that I don’t understand this desire of your kind, of course… But I personally couldn’t care less about any of that. Ruin is inevitable, after all. Eventually, everything will be destroyed.” She spoke with no passion or zeal. To her, it was merely a statement of fact. “What do you think is the strength of the Chaos Serpents?”
“Beats me. The ability to manipulate people with words?”
“That is neither true nor correct.”
The priestess fixed the wolfmaster with a look. It was calm and unassertive, but there was a depth to it, as if she were peering into some cosmic truth.
“The strength of the Chaos Serpents,” she explained, “is that they cannot be killed. They cannot be eradicated. They may not succeed today, or tomorrow, or the day after, but they are eternal. And with enough time, they will eat away at the world until nothing is left. So long as humans continue to exist, so will Serpents. That’s how this world works. And how it will unravel. There is no future in which we fail.” She folded her hands before her chest and closed her eyes. “And no one can change that. Not even the Great Sage of the Empire.”
Then, a playful smirk spread across her lips.
“Unless, of course, she replaced all the humans in the world with those horses your people love so much. Then, the Serpents would indeed disappear. Because it is the ever-unchanging nature of humans that the Serpents are a curse upon.”
She paused. Her pursed lips suggested the abrupt emergence of a thought.
“That reminds me. Your little sister… Is she out plundering again?”
“We need enough food to feed the clan, after all, or our people will starve. I believe she’s operating near the Sunkland border…”
“Is she? Well, tell her to come pay me a visit some time. It’s high time we had some tea together again.”
She smiled, this time with all the grace and polish of a princess.
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