Chapter 1180 Cold Logic
Chapter 1180 Cold Logic
They ate in comfortable silence. Sunny knew that both Nephis and Cassie were tired and only had a little time to rest before Morgan would need them again, so he did not waste that time with idle conversations. It was not like he had a lot to say, anyway. Still, there was one question that he had to ask. Pushing the plate away, Sunny glanced at Nephis and lingered for a moment.
"I was told that there might be some kind of duel instead of a battle. Do you think it's possible?"
She did not hurry with an answer.
Neph cradled a cup of tea in her hands as she stared into the amber liquid. Eventually, she said:
"I don't know. It is... a kind of tradition. The Legacy Clans would not have survived if they resolved every conflict by spilling rivers of blood - there are actually not that many of us, after all. However, neither Valor nor Song are acting the way they used to. So it's hard to tell."
Sunny remained silent for a few moments, thinking about who the champions were going to be if the duel really happened. Would the great clans send Saints to fight each other? Or Masters?
Would Morgan and Mordret cross swords and spill each other's blood?
Or would Morgan send Nephis to fight in her stead?
He just did not know.
Shifting slightly, Sunny looked at Neph and asked:
"What if the battle actually happens? Do you think that Valor can win?"
Up until now, it seemed like Clan Song was confidently pulling ahead. However, he doubted that their enemy would be easily defeated.
This time, Nephis did not hesitate at all:
He studied her motionless face with curiosity. Where did that confidence come from?
Sunny expected Neph to say something in her usual style, like "because I am with them"... or "because that is my will"....
However, she simply shook her head and said in a slightly subdued tone:
"Because they are of War."
Indeed, she was right. Clan Valor was the clan that had inherited the lineage of War God... the deity of warfare, life, progress, technology, craft, and intellect, as well as the patron goddess of humanity.
It was not a coincidence that they were exalted fighters, masters of forging Memories, and the most influential clan among both the Awakened and mundane humans.
They would also be the paragons of warfare.
It did not matter if Clan Song had managed to achieve slight superiority at the earlier stages of the conflict... all that mattered was who would get the last laugh, and Sunny had no doubt that Morgan had many diabolical schemes stored in that pretty head of hers.
However, there was a slight wrinkle in that theory.
He leaned back.
"That is true. But you forget one thing... Mordret is also a descendant of War. He shared the same blood. And he is with Song."
Nephis frowned. It seemed that she indeed had not put too much weight into Mordret's presence in Antarctica. Really, she couldn't be blamed - although Sunny and Cassie had told her about their experiences in the Night Temple and the Kingdom of Hope, she had not lived through those trials herself.
She had not experienced the suffocating horror of being locked in a Citadel with that monster, watching as the number of his victims grew while the number of survivors dwindled.
Eventually, Nephis shrugged.
"It doesn't really matter, does it?"
Sunny stared at her with a dark expression.
"I think it does. Why wouldn't it?"
"What do I care if Valor wins or loses? I just need to survive. If they win and I help them, my status within the clan will grow. If they lose and I survive, it will grow even more - simply because there will be fewer powerful warriors for the clan to lean on. In their absence, my importance will grow. Either way, many members of both Valor and Song will die."
As she spoke the last words, white sparks ignited in her eyes.
Suddenly, the interior of the APC seemed to be filled with incinerating heat.
Nephis had been acting strangely placid for a long time, so Sunny almost forgot how frightening her murderous obsession was. He looked at her, surprised by that cold logic.
Well, she was right, in a way. But...
"It matters to me, though."
Nephis blinked a couple of times, startled, then looked at him in confusion.
"Because these people that are going to die are supposed to be protecting the refugees from the hordes of Nightmare Creatures. Who is going to do that if the bastards all kill each other?"
Neph seemed as if she didn't know what to say. She remained silent for a long time, then sighed.
"...I wouldn't put my faith in the great clans. Doing so will only lead to ruin."
Sunny chuckled, thinking how funny that sounded coming from her. Shaking his head, he then looked at Cassie, who had been silent until now.
"What about you? What do you think? Any helpful visions of the future?"
Cassie smiled weakly.
"...No. No helpful visions."
She touched her hair, and then suddenly said:
"Oh, but I think that you should check on Rain."
Sunny flinched. His eyes widened.
"Why? Have you seen something?"
Cassie tilted her head, then paled slightly and looked away in embarrassment.
"Ah... I'm sorry. I worded that poorly, I think... no, I haven't seen anything. It's just that we are going to venture deep into the wilderness, and who knows what will happen next. Chances are, we're not going to have access to the network for a while, so... you mentioned that you're exchanging messages, and she might get worried..."
Sunny stared at the blind girl for a few moments, flabbergasted. Standing up, he picked up the plates and walked away to clean them.
"Gods... think before you speak next time, alright? You almost gave me a heart attack, damn it. Go to sleep, you two..."
Nephis and Cassie climbed into the sleeping niches while he washed the dishes. Once that was done, Sunny threw an irritated look at the niche where the blind girl was sleeping and grimaced.
'She is right, though... I might not be able to send a message to Rain for a while.'
Settling in the pilot's chair, he took out his communicator and checked his messages. To his relief, Rain was perfectly fine - she was going to school, training, and showing zero symptoms of being infected by the Nightmare Spell.
Soul Serpent was with her, as well, so Sunny allowed himself to calm down.
He stared at the screen of the communicator for a while, then sighed and started typing.
"...Yeah, I'm doing well. Naturally. Remember that promotion I wrote about? Well, I am a glorified pencil pusher now. Most of my duties have to do with confirming requisition requests and forwarding letters. Honestly, it's driving me crazy... scouting the wild expanses of the Southern Quadrant alone was much more fun! Anyway... I've been thinking about this and that recently. Like what I want to do with my life, and how I'm not that young anymore. Stupid stuff like that. So... this is what I was thinking about..."
As he typed the long message, the cold sun slowly moved across the sky outside the APC, never falling behind the horizon.
The day never seemed to end, but time was flowing by.
Soon, the forces of two great clans were going to meet in the wilderness of East Antarctica.
...The outcome of their ill-fated clash could very well decide the fate of the dying continent.