It had been five days since the fight against Rio and White. During those five days, Isis, who had initially scoffed at Sheherazade’s words, found that her friend’s guess had been extremely accurate.
During the last few days, thanks to Sheherazade spying on what was happening in the palace, she knew that different kinds of phoenixes had been contacting Sol and trying to arrange dates or similar things with him.
Normally, the children of the three other King-ranked phoenixes did not like visiting the palace if not necessary. It wasn’t a question of dislike, but rather the fact that the four direct daughters of Gabriel each had different ideologies and refused to bow to each other.
Even though Nephpthys was the Queen in name, her authority on the children of her sisters was rather limited in times of peace. Of course, this was totally different during an emergency.
Though Sol received all those invitations, he gave no concrete answer and mainly observed the situation first. Finally, he decided that he couldn’t make a correct decision with enough relevant information.
“So, if I understand well, the phoenixes are divided into four factions and there were three other great cities under the direct control of Nephthys’s sister?”
Sitting next to Sol on a wall under the shade of a large tree in her courtyard, Isis nodded at his words,
“Well, saying factions is a little forced. The ideologies may be different, but they will not hurt each other. Even if they wished to, they would not dare. Gabriel may not have the Sea of Stars to observe all phoenixes, but it would be impossible to trick her.”
“Hum… I was sure that you would say that it was impossible for them to hurt each other.”
Isis let out a chuckle, “My father always said that as long as intelligent beings live in society, it’s impossible to erase strife. The best possible compromise is for a being with absolute power to take control. But even if it’s for their own good, intelligent beings will never accept their freedom being stripped away. Rebellion will be an eternal problem. Divine beasts are no exceptions.”
Her own grandmother was one of the best examples. Even though she gave them everything, some people still decided to rebel against her.
This went to show how far people were willing to go to obtain their so-called freedom.
Sol nodded, “Your father is a wise man.”
Since he was from the earth, Sol understood clearly just how dangerous ideals could be. History had already proved many times that as long as it was for an ideal, humans were willing to commit the greatest atrocities.
Someone who did evil and knew he was evil was not dangerous but predictable. But someone who did evil while thinking, nay, while being sure that he was doing good was frightening. Because you could never know just how far they could go. At least that was what Sol believed.
“Anyway, about those families?”
Lately, some phoenixes began to show interest in him and he was happy to spend some time with them, but he didn’t want to waste too much time either. Furthermore, making such an important choice meant that he couldn’t rely on one-sided information. As such, in order to get a clearer picture, he decided to glean some information from ‘Sheherazade’ about the different groups.
“Yeah, this sounds pretty good. So the first family is obviously Nephthys, a holy phoenix who has power over light and heat. Individually speaking, she is the strongest. She is also the favorite of Gabriel. So she is the official second in command of all phoenixes. Her family is the smallest and she only has one daughter…Isis. She doesn’t have a particular ideology. But because of some of her choices in the past, she is a little isolated.”
Sol noticed her hesitation but did not pay attention. He wasn’t dumb nor was he dense. She may not have noticed it, but the way the servants looked at her when she walked. The fact that she chooses to hide her identity while being outside. Even the existence of this courtyard.
Sol was 80% sure that Sheherazade was in fact, Isis. The only reason he wasn’t 100% certain was that the aura she emanated did not seem like that of a phoenix. But, it wasn’t as if it was impossible to hide or change one’s aura. He remembered very well that the first time he met Persephone on the plaza during his date with Medea, he hadn’t recognized her witch’s aura.
Of course, it was also possible that he was completely wrong. Though the chances were slim.
‘Anyway, it’s fun. So why would I expose her?’
He didn’t mind playing around a little. Meanwhile, not knowing that her cover had already blown up long ago, Isis continued,
“The second family is under Nent, a lightning phoenix with some control over heat.” There, Isis blushed a little, “Her ideology is reproduction. She believes that phoenixes and divine beasts, in general, should be more proactive about giving birth. She also thinks that mixing blood is the best way.”
Sol found it surprising. Even though he was a perfect hybrid and managed to awaken the main abilities of the two races, the chances of such a thing happening were extremely low. In the first place, the chance of hybrids appearing was also low. So when the two compounded, it was no joke.
“She doesn’t fear weakening the blood?”
At this question, the blush on Isis faded, “She believes in selective breeding. Hybrids or pure offspring with good talent should be allowed to breed more and with different partners. As for the failure, they should be culled or have their reproduction ability destroyed.”
Sol whistled, “Vicious.”
Isis really disliked Nent or in fact, feared her a little. Every time this aunt was looking at her, she could see a struggle in her eyes. As if she was deciding between stopping her from having children because of her necromancer power or if she should put her in a breeding program because she was a perfect hybrid.
Of course, it was just a little fear. Even if they didn’t take her mother into account, her father was not a kind guy. Should anything happen to her, he would immediately declare war on the phoenixes.
“What does Gabriel say about that?”
“Nothing. Nent never used any coercing means. All those who entered her program are perfectly willing and believe in her ideology. Until now her program had produced no perfect hybrid, but the resulting children, albeit limited, are very talented.”
Nent’s direct children were all a result of the division of her own energy. But more than half of her grandchildren were hybrids.
“The third one is Hator. She…” Isis frowned a little, “I don’t really know how to describe her. All I know is that she has control over water and reached an incredible level with it as a healer. She isn’t the strongest, but from what my mo…*Ahem* Gabriel said, she is also known as the immortal phoenix.”
It didn’t need to be said, but each divine beast had their own specialties. For example, Dragons had the highest defense or Kitsunes were the best at illusions. The phoenixes were the hardest race to kill.
Someone said that you die when you are killed. This couldn’t be more wrong for the phoenixes since they could quite literally resurrect after getting killed thanks to <<Nirvana>>, their innate skill. Of course, there was a limit to everything and the limit of Nirvana was used to determine the talent of phoenixes. All in all, for such a race that could defy death, being recognized as The Immortal showed just how respected Hator was.
Sol mulled a little, “What is her ideology?”
“Freedom.” Isis smiled, “Hator is only interested in three things, eating, drinking, and traveling. She rarely stays long in the territory and leaves the control of her city to her subordinates. She has no children.”
‘This one seems worth befriending. A skilled healer is always welcome.’
Compared to Nent, who seemed like a phoenix version of his own grandfather, Hator was more to his liking.
“So, what about the last one?”
“Neith is known as the snow phoenix. She has power over the wind and cold. She only gave birth to two children through energy separation and those children each had two and that’s it. She is the second strongest after Nephthys and not by far. Her ideology is a belief in personal power and isolation, so she isn’t really friendly with Nent and Hator. Her goal is to become a demi-god so she is a true loner and isn’t close to any of the other three.”
‘So, a rebellious daughter, an ultra pragmatic, a free spirit, and an extreme loner.”
Sol had a weird expression as he thought about how much trouble those four must have brought to Gabriel as she raised them.
Still, this discussion had been rather fruitful. His goal this time wasn’t just to bring any phoenixes. He needed an extremely talented one who also had a high <<Nirvana>> level. All phoenixes were also great healers and even though Sol had great self-healing ability, having a powerful healer on his side was of course the best.
He immediately decided to cross Nent’s children and grandchildren from the list. Even though she didn’t seem evil and apparently only had the good of the phoenixes in mind, Sol was not going to give it a try. Who knew what might happen to his own children afterward?
This left Nephthys’s daughter, Hathor, and finally, Neith and her children.
Since Hathor was a free spirit, he doubted she would want to sign a binding contract. Neith was also a loner, but since she wanted more power it wasn’t impossible for her to accept a contract, but he doubted that she would be eligible for a Lust type. A Greed-type seemed more likely.
As for her children, he didn’t know, so he would have to observe. This only left one option — Isis.
No matter how he looked at it, or at least with the current information he had, she was perfect.
She could heal, she could fight and she could even bring an undead calamity. Just imagining the face of the beastmen from Wratharis as the one they killed and their dead companions stood up and began to fight them made him salivate.
Of course, even if he was wrong in his speculation and ‘Sheherazade’ was not Isis, if he could get her as a second contract, it would still be incredible. But, he doubted he was wrong. After all, he didn’t miss her faux-pas when she nearly called Gabriel ‘mother.’
‘Man, I really have become cold.’
A bitter smile formed on his face. The way he was only looking at the situation in terms of gain and losses made him a little uncomfortable, but what could he do? The first contract was irreversible. He couldn’t take the situation lightly in such a situation and had to take everything into account.
Otherwise, if he made a mistake, it would be too late to regret it.
Isis meanwhile was observing Sol in a daze. Looking at his profile while he was deep in thought, she had to admit that in a pure aesthetic sense, Sol was completely in her strike zone.
Of course, his soul was far more attractive to her than his physical appearance. This was also one of her greatest hang-ups.
‘What kind of person was he in his previous life?’
The advice of her father was still in her mind. The time she had spent with Sol had been meaningful, but it was impossible for her to put those pieces of advice away just because she had spent one interesting adventure with him.
‘Should I ask him?’
Just as she was about to pluck her courage, the two of them turned their heads toward the side at the sound of hurried steps.
The one that was running was one of Isis’ servants. Once she reached them, she showed a fretful expression as she exclaimed,
The servant caught hold of herself when Isis began to cough and changed her words,
“My lady, Her grace, Nent, wishes to see the honored guest.”
Sol once again played dumb and ignored the mistake of the servant. Meanwhile, his eyes narrowed as he wondered how this meeting would go.
This promised to be very interesting.