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14 Imperial Nether Flames

 The crew-mates on the other ships within the fleet had heated discussions about McLeod. Most of them had no idea what attack was coming, but after seeing the Fire phoenix they released shouts of joy.

With a shrill cry the phoenix flew forward like a bolt of lightning. It did not take long before it reached the attack headed for the ships.

It was at this point that the yellow blaze was finally discernible to Windsor.

"A yellow flame with a black purple outline?" mumbled Windsor.

Siren's beautiful face exhibited horror when she heard Windsor speak. She wanted to say something but alas it was too late.

Boom!

The phoenix and the yellow flame clashed, resulting in an explosion, or what should have been one. The phoenix was almost ten times the size of the yellow flame streak but it was instantly devoured by the yellow flame until nothing was left. This Resulted in the yellow streak expanding, in terms of size, multiple times. It turned from a yellow streak to a yellow pillar of flames the thickness of a giant's waist.

Now that it was bigger the yellow flame was now visible for everyone to see. The disappearance of the massive phoenix was just far too eye catching.

Windsor was gobsmacked, unsure of what to do, when Siren's shaky voice sounded out behind him, "It's the Imperial Nether Flame."

Sirens words made McLeod and Windsor take in a breath of cold air. McLeod was a well-travelled warrior who had heard legends of what this was. Windsor dismembered reading records of this flame when he was a child. The majority of the world believed it to be a myth, but now it seemed to be true. The Nether Flame had many abilities, one of which was just exhibited before them.

"The ability to absorb any flame to increase its own strength, it's actually true?"

Windsor finally realized how grave of an error he had made, by making McLeod, a fire user, attack that flame. Unfortunately there was no medicine for regrets in this world. The flame was now quite close, and its menacing aura was starting to take effect.

The eerie black outlines of the flames exuded a feeling of death. Some of the weaker soldiers in the fleet, were starting to faint, with foam coming out of their mouths. Most of those who did not faint started to experience illusions. Illusions of an ancient battlefield riddled with rotting corpses, rivers of blood flowing ceaselessly, unimpeded in this desolate land. Many of the crew mates started to attack their own men, shouting incomprehensible things in a language that no one there could understand.

Those who neither fainted nor faced illusions were only the strongest of the strong among them, yet they were not left of the hook. The aura of death permeating from the flame was so strong many men started to lose control of the mana in their own mana, resulting in them being unable to protect themselves from the surroundings.1

Many of the ships were made from wood, thus they started to catch on fire, even though the yellow flame was still many miles away. Suddenly a frightening thought hit Windsor's mind as he looked back at his fleet which was now caught in a raging inferno.

If the flame is this strong while it is that far away, then what will happen when it gets here?

A chill ran down Windsor's spine when he thought of the consequences. He did not want to see those who had followed him to meet a cruel end, thus he started to circulate his own mana in order to face the incoming attack. He knew that would endanger him, but he felt that he had no choice.

It takes royalty to defeat royalty, sigh.

Siren noticed his actions and held his shoulder. Her own mana invaded his body, cancelling the spell he was about to activate. Enraged Windsor turned around to berate her, only to see an unusually serious expression on her face.

"Captain, this flame can only be used by Gutu royalty. We may not know much about the Gutu but we do know that their royalty are monsters among monsters. This is just a probing attack, thus if we were to retreat they will likely not chase after us. However if you so much as use a single spell, attracting their attention, then this could become a manhunt, one that will result in even more lives being lost."

Windsor could not rebuke her words, thus he could only sigh and look at the incoming inferno.

"McLeod, activate a defence rune around the ship."

"Aye."

McLeod knelt on the ground with one knee and placed one hand on the ground, and a large rune appeared underneath the trio. Following this a shield made of pure energy radiated outwards, creating a bubble around the ship.

"Captain, my rune magic is weak, the best I can do is protect one ship." said McLeod with a sullen face.

"I know old friend...I know."

...

"Hahahahaha! Fools, feeding my nether flames with more fire, how stupid! Looks like there is no longer any need for us to stand here. That fleet is as good as destroyed." harrumphed the little child.

"Let's get back home!"

"Yes your highness!"

Like spectres, the army disappeared from the hill. Leaving it burned to a crisp, to the point that it was no unrecognisable.

...

Fire was a tool mankind could not live without, it was something we couldn't live without, yet it was something we should also fear. Windsor had once heard these words from his uncle but he laughed them off. How could someone as powerful as him fear measly flames? Yet as he looked at the inferno raging around him, he finally learned that his uncle was far from being a fool.

"I want to check the damages, but I can't even sense anything outside this ship." said Siren.

"Don't waste your time; according to the records I read, Imperial Nether Flames have the ability to block Divine Sense. Normal water can do nothing to those flames, and they only stop once they have burned everything they came into contact with." McLeod and Siren became even more depressed after hearing what Windsor said, thus they did the only thing they could do at that time. Wait.

After a few hours, the flames had finally withered. The final embers had just gone out, with only a dense mist remaining. The bubble that was protecting the ship shattered, resulting in McLeod coughing up some blood.

"Are you alright?" asked Windsor with a worried expression.

"Aye don't worry lad. If coughing some blood could kill then I would have died thousands of times."

Windsor nodded and walked to the back of the ship. His Divine Sense had already told him what was out there, but he needed to see it with his own eyes. Once they arrived at the back of the ship, Windsor nodded to Siren.

She clapped her hands. It was a light clap, but the shock-wave resulting from the clap was vast. It immediately dispersed the fog ahead of them, eventually clearing the fog that had enclosed the entire fleet. And what they knew was there, was exactly what greeted them; nothing, absolutely nothing.

"Thousands of ships! Millions of men and women! Dead! Just from one attack." Windsor's body shook as he saw what was left of his fleet. The oceans were clear and calm, without so much as a single piece of debris or life-form in sight for miles, as if Windsor's ship had arrived alone at this place. Windsor looked at his own ship in dismay. Only him, Siren and McLeod were left alive. The rest of the crew had turned into corpses. The rune spell that McLeod had activated protected them from the heat of the flames, but not from the other effects. Siren, McLeod and Windsor had large amounts of mana, thus they were able to resist the Nether flames and unfortunately the same was not true for their crew.

After burning all of the corpses on the ship, Windsor and his friends decided to head back home. It was destined to be a long and lonely voyage, but at this moment Windsor was grateful for the silence. It gave him time to think.

"Yamato." Windsor gnashed his death as he spoke, fury evident in his eyes. He had already chosen who to blame. Windsor was a man of action, since he could not protect his men, he would make sure that he would avenge them and such was the nature of Benjamin Windsor!

...

With a fast hand, a hooded man grabbed a white paper that was scribbled with gibberish on a table within a tavern. The paper was of poor quality, with the only discerning aspect of it being the insignia of a red eagle on the top left corner. The hooded man quickly walked out of the tavern, with 5 men wearing armour in pursuit.

"Captain, he is getting away, we need to walk faster!"

"Shut up! He is a Red Eagle! They are the most infamous criminal organization in the country, controlling gangs across the entire country! Do you think it's that easy to catch a Red Eagle courier? Damn it!" Cursed, one of the armoured men.

These men were highly trained knights belonging to the Palace Guard. That letter had come from the Palace and it was their mission to track it to its recipient. The Red Eagles had already infiltrated the Palace itself! This was a dire situation thus these men were acting like their lives hanged upon the success of this mission...because they did.

"The General said that the recipient is most likely to be a high ranking member of the Red Eagles since this news was released in such a rushed manner. If the Reds had used their normal methods we would have never caught wind of this. This is our chance boys, if we see who receives this letter we will receive an incredible reward. Perhaps even become Lords!" Said the captain ,with unique fervour.

"Aye!" replied the knights in unison

...

The grasslands of the de Watzer territory shined under the intense radiance of the sun above. A lone carriage crept along the plains during this seemingly peaceful day. The carriage itself was simple and only had a few mild decorations. At first glance, one would assume it to be the carriage of a rich civilian or perhaps a low ranking noble. But if one with a discerning eye were to take a closer look they would realize that the two horses pulling this carriage were incredibly large and fit. Their every step made the ground beneath them tremble and the muscles rippled like continuous ocean waves with every trot.

The carriage itself was simple looking, but the material it was made of was anything but simple. Amberwood from trees that were at least a thousand years old had been used as the main material, while chilling iron had been used as the secondary material among others. Just these two materials alone were more than enough to make a Baron tremble in envy.

The driver of the carriage was an old man who was constantly smiling. He was smiling with such an intensity his eyes almost seemed as if they were closed. Yet not even an ant could pass in front of the carriage without his consent.

Inside the spacious carriage were three ladies having a discussion. They were all veiled and wearing long robes but that did little to hide their alluring curves. Two were sitting on one side, while the other was sleeping on a bed behind a curtain.

"Your majesty, are you sure of your decision? This matter is of the utmost importance thus it is best to choose suitable candidate." said one of the ladies.

Her partner who was seated next to her flipped through the pages of the book she was holding and continued, "Your highness I must concur with Agnes, this choice is most...confusing"

The woman behind the curtain giggled, her enchanting voice even made the other two blush. If they were not wearing veils they would have definitely been embarrassed. After giggling the lady behind the curtain spoke, "Julia, look at the book and tell me, what were the abnormalities listed about the de Watzer territory?"