Edelstein couldn't decide if this sudden occurrence was a blessing or a curse.

On one hand, he'd never seen the other nations this focused. El Nath and Nihal weren't fighting for once; Sleepywood wasn't nodding off; even Ludibrium was paying attention, not fiddling with those toys of his. This was the first time Edelstein had seen the nations so united, so centralized on a common objective.

On the other hand, this could mean the end of the MapleWorld.

Ereve hadn't thought much of Magatia's complaints, and the other nations concurred with him. After all, civil wars were painful, and very much destructive; not to mention that the Alcadno-Zenumist war had been going on for centuries – it was about time it ended, even if it was with a big bang, Edelstein thought cynically. He couldn't really spare a compassionate thought for the fellow Ossyrians, not after the millennia of isolation. Edelstein was independent, or so he liked to think, and quite frankly he preferred the old days before the pirates and ships became so prevalent and introduced him to the boisterous mainland.

However, Magatia continued to insist that this pain was different – a darker, slimy, evil pain that stabbed right through his capital and spread throughout his lands. Not the prickly fires of hate his citizens harboured against one another, though he did mention that the war was getting worse. Ereve waved away his concerns; now was a relative time of peace for everybody, and nobody wanted it spoiled. It was so much easier to close a blind eye towards what may or may not be trouble; the long life of a nation taught them that nothing was certain.

Ignorance was oh, so bliss.

Despite everyone's clear dismissal of the topic – much to Magatia's visible distress – something nagged at Edelstein's subconscious. At that moment, he couldn't quite have put a finger on it; his condition was flourishing, there was nothing wrong with his country. Nonetheless, he couldn't quite shake the feeling that something was brewing; something bad. Something to do with him.

Edelstein was different from everybody else, he knew that. He even considered himself special, when his ego allowed it. His people were special, adapting to his rather-odd bestiary with more flexible jobs (he had never been prouder then when the first Wild Hunter was officialised) or with better technology (clockwork was invented by one of his, dammit, not Ludi's pathetic excuse for playthings). His very composition was different from the other nations – no one would deny that Edelsteinal gems were the best quality; flawless in every way and harder than whatever enchanted metal the magicians could come up with. His steep cliffs were contrasting with Mu Lung's rolling hills, or El Nath's icy peaks; his land was enriched with minerals that even competed with Minaran soil; his magic essence unique in every way.

Even his physical appearance was distinct; his black hair in stark contrast with the lighter haired Ossyrians – the fairies Orbis and Elluel with their golden locks, the cooler hues of El Nath and Rien, the earthy browns of Leafre and Nihal. While the other nations' eyes ranged from gentle blue, brown, and green, - water, earth, and flora - Edelstein's were a piercing red from his abundance of red rues. His magic was more mechanical, less natural; he was the black sheep among the nations.

Edelstein couldn't decide if it was a good thing or bad. Such a fickle mind.

Edelstein was different, very much so, though at this moment, he wished that he weren't. The threat to the MapleWorld, one that they had ignored for so long, hoping that ignoring it would resolve the problem like ignoring a pestering child would make them leave out of boredom, was very, very real. And it was one of his.

The Transcendents were stirring, Sleepywood and Minar declared. Alice and Rhinne themselves were uncomfortable with the situation. That in itself should have alerted them of the severity of the problem; the Lady of Life and Lady of Time were gods. Very little ought to faze them, what with their supreme power. And yet, the people of the MapleWorld chose to remain oblivious.

It started with Aurora. Magatia had been so euphoric when he announced the group: an organization that researches and protects light. Edelstein was elated alongside him; after all, it was led by one of his. It was one of his who had created the guild; one of his who had the passion and ideals and fire to help the people of the MapleWorld; one of his who wanted change for the better; one of his whose heart was so bright that he became the Transcendent of Light.

One of his who discarded his light like it was trash, who willingly walked into the depth of shadows and darkness where no light reached, who corrupted his beautiful heart with magics so black and so twisted, the nations themselves felt the MapleWorld cry out in pain.

One of his with such great power, with the ideals of something to great and good –

But it was so wrong, this is wrong he shouldn't do that –

How else would the MapleWorld achieve peace? How else can there be harmony without a good leader –

No, he's hurting them, he's hurting Leafre and Nihal and Ereve, they're screaming, they're in so much pain he's killing their people –

It'll be over soon. Great things will come, just wait. The end is near, the outcome is certain. The future is bright.

Edelstein still can't decide if what he was feeling was dread or hope.

He didn't know which scared him more.

A/N: There really needs to be more fanfictions like this. And to those wondering, Edelstein looks like Austria with red eyes. Carpe deim. (It was so perf I couldn't resist)

What do I call Victoria Isle if it's not an island O.O

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