Agaphe Philia - Chapter 1 - Preface (1)
Chapter 1: Preface (1)
The Devil of Fear –– Astaroth
The Devil of Jealousy –– Leviathan
The Devil of Wrath –– Satan
The Devil King –– Angra Mainyu
They were devils, the hellion beasts who drove the world to ruins.
In a world where despair and forlornness pervaded the air, humanity had given up on life, their hopes nonexistent. The devils, they could not be defeated. And magic, it was useless.
Yet there bloomed a golden flower in the fields of anguish and sorrow.
There exists hope in Pandora’s Box. He was mankind’s savior, the hero who held the world on his shoulders and cut through the skies, stretching his sword out like a meteor. The world was saved by a hero and his name was Rohen.
The three devils, Astaroth, Satan, and Leviathan wreaked havoc throughout human territories — half the lands left in devastation.
And the source of all evil was the last enemy, Devil King Angra Mainyu. The hero, Rohen, struggled against the darkness that is the devil king and through the last bitter struggle, light finally beaconed in and darkness was no more.
Rohen was a peasant-turned-hero. It seemed like the world would soon usher in a new era of peace with him as the leading pillar, and he’d soon mary Beatrice too, the second daughter and saint of the empire and… his lover.
He thought a bright future laid before him. Everyone thought so and so did Rohen.
But reality often differed from the truth.
The hero who saved mankind knelt before the guillotine.
“Beatrice… answer… answer me…!!” Rohen’s angry cry echoed.
In front of Eichel Square and the empire’s capital, Rohen knelt on the platform and faced the people with great agony, receiving treatment unbefitting of a hero.
Beatrice moved her eyes unwittingly, beautiful golden hair cascading down her hair. She was the second daughter and saint of the empire. She was beautiful. She looked over the crowd of people gathered in the square.
“My fellow citizens, you lie here because you’ve noticed the truth that hid in the bottom of the well, but for those who do not know, I will tell you the truth as a woman and a saint.”
Beatrice caught her breath and looked at the audience giving their ears to her. Then she continued.
“The true enemy of mankind is not the devils but the hero in front of you! He’s a warrior, yes, a hero, yes, and he saved the human race, yes, and that is a fact that cannot be erased! But, there’s a conspiracy!”
“Don’t be ridiculous! Beatrice! Beatrice…!” Rohen’s voice was inaudible. It could not be heard and it could not reach the people, Beatrice included.
“He’s a cold-blooded and vicious man!” Beatrice said flatly. “I realized too late that when more of us die, the stronger he becomes of his own accord!”
The citizens of the empire were eerily quiet. Even without the presence of mana, quiet stillness enveloped the air and gave Beatrice a boost of confidence. Her words spread through their ear and soon manifested and spread through their hearts.
“When the Devil of Fear, Astaroth, attacked Benitez, he stood by while many died in vain. While the elite imperial soldiers fought desperately, he stood by to build his strength and I was blinded…! After many bled to death did he appear like a knight in shining armor straight out of a fairy tale and defeat Astaroth!”
Beatrice donned a sad, teary look appealing to the masses.
“The people cheered! I too cheered in glory. I saw hope, I saw that light would finally come to us… I saw hope in our survival! But, in truth… this hope was a degenerate hope!”
“Beatrice…! Don’t be ridiculous! You… you know my strength… the source of my strength—“
As Rohen faced injustice, an angered knight behind him kicked his body. Mana was involved and a feeble groan came out of Rohen’s lips.
Rohen grunted and his weak cries could no longer be heard.
Beatrice continued her melancholic speech.
“Of course, he was afraid, Rohen was afraid. He was a peasant! He did not know the strength he’d need to defeat Astaroth! But is it true? If Astaroth did fear Rohen, Astaroth would have used the monsters under his command as bait. But he did not! The two battled right away. The monsters be damned. They did not care to help Astaroth! Why is that?”
Tears flowed down from Beatrice’s eyes, a sign of truth from the saint. She choked on her words, but she forced down the lump swelling in her throat and continued.
“I know what you’re thinking… I too saw Rohen as nothing but a savior at the time and it would contradict what I’m saying today, but I too was blinded and played along like a fool!”
The people grew agitated. Some shook their heads in denial while others threw hurls of insults at Beatrice, the second daughter and saint of the empire. A stone had even flown in and hurt Beatrice. And then another. Amid the bloody throwing, no knights stepped forward to protect Beatrice.
She had planned this.
It was staged.