‘Pity that the elves don’t know much about anything in here, because my great-grandfather Nikanomikos Theripides and his team of scientists and constructors from Parthenia built it. The elves only planted their epitaphs here in protest, because the Parthenians didn’t wish to leave any clue at all about how to pass these chambers and the guardians within. The elves knew very little about these rooms, so the epitaphs are not very helpful.
My grandfather has handed down the entire information to me, a Nikanomikos descendant. So it means I’m the only one who knows this place the most. Follow me, and you’ll be safe.’
‘Yes, he has helped us greatly with his precise instructions. Follow Lord Paliades, and you’ll be safe!’ The second man talks in support for Paliades. He is a short, skinny old man. Chunks of his hair are missing, leaving only bald patches and some white strands of hair on his head. From the look on his face, we may presume that he is a sly, deceitful old man, and all he does or thinks are always for his own gain. This man is obviously not a fighter type. His crooked figure is entirely covered with a very long, hooded robe, from head to foot, with a pointy wizard’s hat to cover his half-bald head.
Orlevant responds to this man scornfully, ‘Well well, isn’t this mister Eidos Crydias, the legendary scientist and chronomage from Parthenia? If so, naturally you do agree with Lord Paliades, because you’re working for him, right? So let’s get this straight. I’ll ask all the champions present here, recipients of the red envelope. Whom do you choose as leader? Lord Adler, me, or this Lord Paliades who claims to be a know-it-all?’
Dar’gum speaks up first. ‘I choose Paliades. At least he didn’t humiliate us or trying to subdue our kind.’
‘I personally choose Kyflynn,’ says Sheena. Everybody stares at her. The fact that the dark side champion, Sheena chooses someone from the light side is surprising for them. ‘That’s because Kyflynn’s decisions has been quick and accurate. I think we’ll better off with Kyflynn than others.’
Orlevant doesn’t want to show his disapproval by turning towards the other champions for support. ‘So, whom do you choose, Robert?’
Robert answers indifferently, ‘I don’t care who our leader is, and I don’t want to be one either. If anybody has any solution to pass these chambers safely, just speak up and we’ll follow. I speak on behalf of my friends here.’
Robert’s answer is greeted approvingly by the rest of his party. And Kyflynn speaks up,
‘I agree with Robert. I say let’s not fight against each other until we see the sword. After that, we can decide who’s our friend or enemy. We need as much help as we can get.’
‘Good thinking, Kyflynn. I think Paliades will be an essential help for us,’ says Hernan. ‘For the moment. Let’s just try it first. If his information is as good as he said it is, Thank Vadis. But if he deceives us, anybody may attack him anywhere, anytime.’
Orlevant grunts. He knows he has lost the vote utterly. And Adler, knowing that he also gets no sympathy at all, tries to gain support by asking the third man who came with Paliades and Eidos, standing silently and low-profile at the back, wearing a cloak and a simple traveling suit. Adler asks that man,
‘And what do you think, Your Highness, Prince Alexis of Arcadia?’
Robert is shocked. Alexis is here! He is here! Ah, gather yourself, Robert. Just consider him forgiven, not forgotten. Your sword skills are no match for him, so don’t seek revenge, for Lord Walhorn’s memory.
Robert kisses his ring just to keep himself focus. Orcs are here. And now Alexis is here too. But no, better meet Alexis in the battlefield to settle the score – if he ever attacks Lore again!
The third man lowers his cloak to reveal his face. It’s Alexis, all right. Alexis Deveraux, the Red Prince of Arcadia. His appearance is quite different than the Alexis who attacked Lore several years ago. Now he seems a bit older and more mature, but still not losing his aura of intelligence and authority that befits a crown prince.
He becomes more handsome than ever. His long, flaming red hair is tied on the back, giving him an impression of his great-great-grandfather Sage Deveraux the Fireheart at the time when he successfully destroyed Vordac the Dark Overlord in the First Crusade and crowned the first emperor of Arcadia. Then Alexis responds,
‘Lord Adler, although we know the majority has chosen Lord Paliades as leader, but you will always have my support, my friend.’
‘I’m glad to hear that, Your Highness,’ says Adler. ‘I’ll fight by your side from now on, and overcome the dangers ahead together.’
Paliades speaks in an impatient tone, ‘Let’s get to business, folks! Don’t let the heir wait or even breathe!’
Robert stares at Alexis from a distance. Thoughts are racing in his mind.
So he is Alexis. He sure looks kingly, a perfect man to rule an empire. I’m sure he’ll be a great emperor someday. But, wait! Chris also has red hair too, does he? Ah, their faces are different, but somewhat familiar with each other.
As he walks on, Robert tries to imagine Chris’ clumsy look, in comparison with Alexis’ cool, mature look, reassures something in his mind.
No way! Chris and Alexis are totally different! There are so many red-haired men in this world; it’s no way they can be related to each other!
Then Alexis who is standing near the epitaph stares back at Robert with widened eyes, as though he recognizes Robert. Robert is startled.
Suddenly somebody taps Robert from behind, saying, ‘Hey! Stop daydreaming, Rob! We’re on a mission here! Don’t let anybody catch you off guard!’ Robert is more startled, turns and finds Carolyn there.
Robert forces himself to remain cool, but it only makes him look silly. ‘Oh, there’s something in my mind, that’s all.’
‘Then spit it out! Share it with us, champ! Honestly, I’m quite touched back there when you told everyone that we are your friends. I can’t imagine what it would be if Chris and I met Adler or Hernan. Adler would treat us like his slaves, and Hernan would have all his eyes on me and ignored Chris utterly.’
Robert forces himself not to smile or laugh, although he finds it amusing. Instead he asks Carolyn, ‘By the way, Carol. Don’t you think Prince Alexis looks like Chris in any way?’
Carolyn suddenly becomes nervous, saying, ‘Oh, er… yeah, I mean, no! No way! You see? Their eyes are different. And you know Chris; he always acts like a peasant or a bad jester. There’s no way you can compare him with a royalty! Don’t be silly, Rob.’
Robert shrugs, ‘Oh, well, I guess we better press on to find out what’s in store for us.’
Tentative Image for Ice Mirror, as depicted in Star Wars Wookiepedia