When Sol reached the city that was under the control of Nent, he couldn’t help but compare it with the main city and found this one to be a little or rather, extremely different.
It wasn’t just a question of scale, but the atmosphere itself. In the main city, the atmosphere was filled with a feeling of freedom and joy. Everyone had smiles blooming on their faces and acted in a carefree manner.
Here though, things were different. The atmosphere felt more stifled and more repressed. People hurried on the streets, their heads down as each and everyone was worried about their own problems.
At the same time, everything felt more organized and everyone had a purpose rather than walking aimlessly without objective.
Looking down at the city from above
“Your city is…interesting.”
Nent let out a gentle laugh as she looked at her creation, “You do not need to sugar coat your words. You must think that my city is awful.”
She shrugged, “I am different from my mother and my eldest sister. Their benevolence in my eyes is nothing more than a waste of opportunity. In my city, everything costs money. Nothing is free. If you wish to live in better conditions, you need to work. Thanks to different policies, such as the opening of brothels and casinos, the cash flow in my city is the highest.”
Her voice was filled with pride. Even though her city was smaller than the main one, it was overall far more magnificent. Living here was in itself proof of a certain amount of wealth, and she had specially created facilities that would milk as much wealth as possible and make them work harder to create even more wealth.
This was one of the reasons why she couldn’t help but scorn her mother and sister as well as most of the other divine beasts in general.
If Vira was just a mortal commodity, a currency with no value aside from what people decided, she would understand if they disdained to make the maximum profit. But far from it being vulgar, Vira was an essential commodity that could bring substantial benefits to the power level of demi-god.
Using force or slaves was not even necessary. Greed was one of the most dangerous sins, for there was no end to it. One did not need to force mortals to produce Vira. They just have to give them the necessary incentive, and those mortals would happily slave away on their own free will, all to enjoy a fleeting feeling of superiority.
Out of all the divine beasts, the only ones she really respected in that regard were Lakshmi, the divine beast of Greed, and Midas, the divine beast of Charity.
Listening to her explanation, Sol had to click his tongue in amazement. To think that Nent was a pure capitalist at heart…
This made him even more curious about her. From what he had learned until now, Nent was too different from the aloof and mighty divine beasts he had learned about. She seemed much more down-to-earth and extremely pragmatic. Those were qualities he respected very much.
“You are truly incredible. I think I could take some advice from you on how to control a territory.”
Just thinking about all the finances he had to understand in a short time made him shudder in fright. Thankfully the king did not have to deal with everything. But, it was still necessary to have deep knowledge, or at least enough to not get cheated by greedy nobles.
The saving grace back then had been Clara. Even though her sense of existence was pretty low, he had to admit that this elf brought by Lilin was truly skilled and alleviated much of the weight on his shoulders after she became his secretary.
Hearing his sincere praise, Nent couldn’t help but be surprised and showed a rueful smile.
It was ironic how none of the members of her family appreciated all the work she put in and in fact even though she was too entrenched in the mortal way. Some even said that of a phoenix, she only had the form. She had to admit had been pretty hurtful when she heard it for the first time.
When you are sad, just laugh, and that was what she did. She did not wish to show any form of weakness.
“Well then, you can sightsee as much as you wish later. The gates of my city are always open for you. Now though, it’s important to talk about business.”
Before she even completed her sentence, she sped up and flew in the direction of the largest palace in the city.
The interior of this palace was not much different from that of Gabriel, but for some reason, the feeling of opulence felt like it was on a few higher levels.
Looking at the row of maids clad in almost transparent pants and top, with veils covering their faces, Sol had to fight his urges like never. It didn’t help that the servants kept sending him furtive glances.
“If you wish once we finish our discussion, you can take any servants of your liking and spend the night with them. They will be honored.”
Sol gave a faint smile but did not answer. It would be a lie to say he wasn’t interested. He was far from being a saint after all. But those servants were not his. Beautiful they may be, but the difference between intelligent beings and simple-minded beasts was the ability to control their urge.
Of course, if it was any other setting, since the servants were willing, he wouldn’t have hesitated. But, he did not wish to give a bad image of himself to people who might become his future in-law.
Finally, the two of them reached an open garden illuminated by floating candles and the lights of the moons high in the sky.
The atmosphere of the garden gave him a sort of surreal feeling as if he was in a fairy tale, which showed how beautiful it was.
Sitting on a reclining chair, Sol felt himself relax a little after he was served a glass of blue wine.
Taking a sip, he couldn’t help but exclaim at the rich taste and asked, “What kind of wine is this?”
Nent chuckled, her cheeks reddening slightly as she also took a sip, “This is a special kind of wine produced by Hathor under my plea. The main ingredient is a special kind of water created by undine.”
‘Special kind of water?’
Sol couldn’t help but look suspiciously at the wine and wondered if he should continue drinking.
“Hahaha! Please, it’s not the kind of water you are thinking about.”
“*Ahem* You are slandering me. I was not thinking about anything in particular.”
He was a little embarrassed about his thoughts having been seen through but managed to hide it behind a light cough.
This short episode had managed to warm up the atmosphere between the two of them and they continued drinking in silence.
It was only after finishing the entire bottle that Nent released a deep sigh,
“You know, you are truly an intriguing boy.”
“And you are truly an enigmatic woman.”
The two of them chuckled faintly.
“Before we begin, tell me, how much do you really know about Blessed?”
Sol thought about all the information and ruminated for a short while before shaking his head.
“To be honest, not much. My father died too soon and I was not made privy to many secrets since I am not yet a king.”
“Hum… That is indeed the case. There are many limitations to what can and cannot be said.”
“Please. Before you begin. Tell me clearly, what do you want in exchange?”
“Oh? Would you believe me if I said nothing?”
“Of course I would.”
“Because few things are more expensive than free favors.”
Selling favors was an art in itself. Before doing so, it was important to grasp the personality of the one you were selling to.
For people with little scruples, clear and direct deals were the best answer. But for people of virtues, giving favors for free was the best way to build a better relationship.
“It seems like I still underestimated you but I guess it’s understandable. To be honest, I really do not want anything from you as you are now. But in the future?”
“As I thought…it’s an Investissement?”
“You could say so. An Investissement with zero risks, and potentially very high returns. Who could pass such a deal?”
“Neither Nephthys nor Gabriel do not seem to think the same. Otherwise, they would have sold me this favor.”
“*Snort* You must understand, Sol. Divine beasts do not think of the future, nor do they like reminiscing of the past. They only live in the present, with their perception of time blurred.”
“What about you? You seem very invested in the future?”
“I am more haunted by the ghosts of the past.”
Thinking about her two old friends, she gave a bitter smile, but did not elaborate,
“Anyway, this isn’t about me, but you.”
Crossing her legs with an elegant movement, Nent closed her eyes as if deep in thought, and finally asked,
“For us divine beasts, the history of the world is divided into three. The first one is the Dawn Era. The bloodiest Era during which the force of chaos and Order fought against each other.
The second one is the Divine Era, during which demi-gods would walk freely in the mortal world.
The third and current one is the Mortal Era.”
Sol put his full attention to her words. After all, he was finally going to learn more about this world.
Watching Sol and Nent discuss, Gabriel slowly bit her lips as she remembered the Dawn Era.
Not all the current fourteen divine beasts were the original ones. Many of her friends died and were replaced again and again in a seemingly unending war that lasted so long she could not even remember.
In the end, the best they had managed to do was to seal Chaos. After all, as a conceptual goddess of a highest degree who represented chaos itself, killing her was impossible as long as the universe existed.
“Mother, is it wise for Nent to do this?”
Gabriel shook her head, “It’s impossible for her to avoid being punished. Speaking about the Divine Era is already problematic, much less the Dawn Era. If she isn’t careful, she could even fall into a coma for a few decades.”
“Then, why is she doing this?”
Nephthys couldn’t understand what was pushing her sister to such lengths.
Gabriel fell silent. Even though she could observe everything, she was not omniscient and neither could she read thoughts.
Looking at her daughter taking such risks she could not help but also ask herself.
Was it because of a need for recognition?
Because of a feeling of inferiority?
She had many ideas but none of them seemed to be enough reasons.
It was sad how she could not even understand her own daughter.
Sighing, she closed the window that was showing the scene of Nent and Sol.
She never interfered in the choices her daughters made.
Whether it resulted in success or failure, it was their freedom to do as they wanted as long as they did so between clear limits.
All she could do was observe and cheer on them.
A bitter smile formed on her face.
‘I am truly a cruel mother.’
: Previously made a mistake with the currency. It isn’t Vanir but Vira. Vira means faith in Czech. Meanwhile, Vanir is a race. Like, I don’t even know how I have mistaken the two. Welp
(AN: Slowly developing Nent’s personality. It’s funny that she is even more developed than Nephthys even though she appeared later. Anyway, time to develop the lore. I think later I will create a timetable for big events and publish it.)