34. Prologue, The Growing Shadows of Nelferia
The unnatural silence within the upper residential district of the Imperial Capital is illuminated by the faint light cast by the moon and stars. The stones paving the road are without any gaps. They luster with the polish of the dim moonlight. Lovely red brick walls run between the houses. Engulfed by the night, they lend a rusted appearance to the darkness. The buildings between them are large and packed tight. The roads are abandoned due to the lateness of the evening, both filling the area with a sense of loneliness and creating a sensation of oppression.
The area is nothing like where the ordinary citizens live. Their townscape within the Imperial Capital is plain, made of wood and stone. One could even claim that they’re in a different city. It’s there where a tall shadow and a small shadow pursue someone through the darkness.
He wears an overcoat created by a famous tailor within the Empire, hinting that he’s self-conscious of his wealth. Yet, despite his apparent affluence, he has no leeway over his current situation. Foam flies from the man’s mouth as he loses himself to his rage and shouts at his hunters. “You bastards! Do you really think you’ll get away with attacking me!?”
As anticipated, his impatience to shake off his pursuers makes him careless and causes him to trip. He falls powerless onto the pavement just like his guards did earlier. “Kuh, someone! Is anyone here?! Please! Save me!!”
The arrogant man cries out for help, but no one responds. The only ones who hear him are the two shadows. Once the echoes of his shrieks die down, the tall shadow, a person draped within a black robe, says, “No one will come. No one will hear you no matter how much you cry.”
The man loses himself in panic. Despite knowing that the tall shadow’s whispers are wrong, uneasiness holds him down. “Tha- That’s impossible… This is the middle of the Imperial Capital. No matter how many back alleys I am from the streets, someone should notice…”
The tall shadow is telling the truth. No matter how much he shouted out in denial, neither the patrolling military police, nor the inhabitants of the area, came. His cries of fear and the tall shadow’s words is all that exists. Everything else has been placed behind a black curtain.
The man, unable to hold back his despair any longer, releases everything with a shout. “Why are you doing this to me?”
“There’s no point in telling that to someone like you.”
The man slides up to the two shadows at the tall shadow’s words. “Wa- wait! Did someone hire you? I can pay how ever much you want.”
The man tries to save himself by striking a deal. “There’s a man I want you to eliminate! Well? How about it? I’ll give you a 100 of the Empire’s gold coins as down payment. Since there’s two of you, I’ll give you 100 each!” Seeing small shadow tremble makes him smile as he thinks his words are working.
The tall shadow says, “One hundred gold coins is an extraordinary offer.”
“Undoubtedly! But the two of you are worth it! You took out my guards in a flash!”
“They were weak.”
“They really were. I paid them a lot of money, yet they’re useless when I need them most. The two of you are different in that respect. Even though we’re in the renowned Empire, you’ve driven me this far into a corner.”
The man uses the tall shadow’s words as confirmation to praise them. Then, while trying to reel them in, he says, “How about it? Not a bad deal, right?” The man seems to think the two shadows are wavering. The disgusting grin on his face would make anyone feel sticky.
The man’s anticipation is shattered. The small shadow rejects his offer by stepping towards him. “……”
“Wh- Why! One hundred gold coins! That much is inconceivable!”
The man hears the small shadow speak for the first time. The voice that comes out belongs to a child, one whose voice has yet to distinguish itself as a man’s or woman’s. “It certainly is. However—”
Hearing such a voice makes the man swallow. “….Then why?”
“Like you said.”
“There’s someone we want to eliminate.”
“What’s wrong with that? Doesn’t everyone want one or two people eliminated? I don’t know who ordered the hit, but if you’re here, then someone must have a grudge against me. Right? Was my offer not enough? I can raise the—”
The man continues to speak without realizing his words were returned to him. As he continues to run his mouth, the small shadow emits a chilling wave of hatred. As the man freezes mid-sentence, the small shadow says, “….that person, you’ll never touch him.”
“—!? You! Is this his doing!? No, not that bastard, I—“
The tall shadow cuts off the man’s words at his epiphany. “There’s no need to tell you. –Do it.”
The small shadow acts at once by muttering a spell. “—Darkness! Thou, body is wrapped by nothingness, envelop my enemy, drown him within yourself! Imprison this person entrenched within his own wretched desires, and consume everything of him. Argo, Lukla, Lagua, Skiot, Raphael, Babylon….”
The spell recited by the small shadow is of the dreadful dark magic. The key words, however, are out of place. The shadow doesn’t seem to have properly been taught the spell’s chant. The words spoken are gibberish. No, the small shadow is making a course, inhuman, roar— “Give more wickedness than is received.” (Darkness Torment)
A curtain of darkness swells out from around the small girl at those words. The magic power within the surrounding darkness swells and follows the outstretched hand with a squirming feeling.
“Sto- Guh! Arg ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” The man’s pathetic screams are silenced as he’s swallowed by the darkness.
His body is soon released from the darkness where it crumbles over the stone paved ground. Everything has vanished from his eyes. Nothing reflects off of them; neither the shadows, the moonlight, nor the starlight.
The tall shadow says, “Let’s go.”
Both shadows vanish. They slip into the night without a sound. Only the moon floating above the upper residential district alongside the twinkling stars bears witness to what happened.
T/N: My first double release! Yes, they’re short chapters, but still, double release! The epilogue was translated first, but I’ll be releasing a few minutes after this one. See all of you there.
 The raw literally says “small girl.” It’s probably a typo by the author, but if that’s what has been put, I won’t argue. It does kill the (not really) mystery of who the small shadow is, though.