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Back when Urien was meeting with Theresa in the principal office,
"Hey, Theresa…," Urien leaned forward, putting his arms on the table to make a typical Gendo pose.
"Yes?" Theresa tilts her head cutely.
"Can I touch your Oath of Judah?" Urien asked, gaining her attention. He asked it because he felt as if Judah was calling out to him.
"Hmm? Sure!" Theresa nodded. She put the enlarged Judah beside him. "Lift that if you can, hehe," she looked at him with a smug face.
Urien said nothing and reached out his hand toward Judah. But even before his hand reached toward the 11th Divine Key, the Key of Binding released a bright light and many chains came out of it as if it welcomed Urien.
It shrank itself and wrapped itself with its chain on Urien's wrist like a watch. Urien and Theresa stared at the process with disbelief.
"Did it just?" Theresa asked, not believing what she was seeing.
"Yes," Urien nodded, still in shock. He had touched his Mother's Oath of Judah and it didn't react like this.
"Nobody had ever lifted the Oath of Judah after Kallen Kaslana aside from me," Theresa muttered softly, enough for Urien to hear.
"It can't be…," Urien suddenly thought something strange.
"You… you are my Judah?" Urien muttered which made Theresa confused.
Understanding what Urien had said, the chains from Judah reached out toward Urien's cheek and caressed it tenderly. And slapped him hard making Urien look at Judah in shock.
Again, Theresa asked…, "Did it just?"
Touching his cheek which was slapped by Judah, Urien nodded. He was lost for words as many thoughts flashed in his mind.
"Judah remembered me," that was what was circling in his mind. If Judah remembered him, he was sure now. He was very sure that this world he arrived in is the same world where he lived in his previous life.
"Haha," a weak chuckle left his mouth. So what? Aside from his Divine Keys, no one is waiting for him here. Everyone he knew had already died and reincarnated into someone he didn't know.
KEVIN, SU, KALPAS, MEI, MOBIUS, ELLIE, HUA, and others with whom he had bonded… they are all dead. He alone is in this same yet different world.
No more KEVIN's bad jokes to laugh silently, no more ELLIE's cheerful annoyance, no more EDEN's songs to listen to, no more headbutting with KALPAS, no more drinking tea with SU, no more SAKURA's gentle touches, no more MOBIUS' test subjects to kill, no more HUA's harsh glares, and no more MEI's annoying nagging.
Truly… arriving into the same world but many years into the future where all of his friends died. At least… he can be happy that his friends succeeded in protecting humanity from being wiped out by the Honkai. At least, his sacrifice was not in vain. That alone put him at ease. His friends didn't let him down. His friends kept their promise. So, he will also keep the promise he made to them.
"Uri… Uncle, why are you crying?" Theresa asked him worriedly, making him come out of his daydream.
"Hmm? Nothing, just thinking about the past," Urien smiled weakly. He then turned his attention toward Judah wrapped on his wrist.
"Judah," he started. "Can you protect her for me?" Urien requested, making Judah unwrap its chains from his wrist and wrap those around Theresa's.
"Thank you," he muttered. Theresa wanted to ask but she held herself back. Looking at Urien's face, she knew it was something serious and she didn't want to step her bound.
It was because Oath of Judah that Urien finally knew that the world he is currently now is the same world he lived in his life.
Back to the present,
Hearing her real name again after who knows how long, the 12th Herrscher was stunned a little. Taking that opportunity, Urien turned toward Theresa and the cherry-colored hair priestess in her hand.
"Uncle?" Theresa exclaimed in shock. She didn't know why Urien is here in the Stigma Space but she was sure as hell grateful for it.
"Don't worry, Theresa. Your uncle is here," Urien patted her head and turned his attention back toward the 12th Herrscher.
"How did you know that name?!" The big bad fox demanded but all it got was a shrug from Urien.
"Prepare for some spanking, Apple Pie," Urien took out this Oath of Innocence and prepared himself.
"How dare you call me that! Only my Aneki and Aniki can call me that," the Herrscher got enraged because of the nickname Urien called her.
Urien laughed loudly when he heard her say that. His RIN, his cute RIN always got angry when he called her that. But he didn't think that she would like that nickname.
There will be many enemies he needs to face in the future. So, in order to gauge their power level, he would need to battle at least once. And the big bad fox in front of him is the best target. Even though this Herrscher is weaker than the others, it is still a Herrscher.
He dodged the fireballs sent toward him with Gun Katas. And he also dodged a hellfire coming from the ground. Without a doubt, Urien is having a blast fighting with the Herrscher in front of him. After all, it was already 17 years since he last battled a Herrscher after all.
He shot the bullets toward the Herrscher but all the bullets bounced off from its body. "Hmm… It must be because of its control over this Stigma space," Urien thought.
But unlucky for him, the Herrscher stopped focusing on him after knowing that it would be hard to catch him with its fire and claws. So, the Herrscher started targeting the two girls behind him. It shot out the fireball toward the girls when he was on the opposite side.
"Theresa!" Urien shouted, choosing to trust his Mother's counterpart, he tossed the pendant toward his niece.
As soon as the pendant reached near them, it formed a Kaslana symbol and shielded them from the harm coming their way.
Seeing the symbol, the Herrscher became enraged once more. "How can you be here again, Kaslana?!" it shouted. "I've killed you in the last Samsara! It is impossible for you to be here!"
Seeing the pendant, the sakura-colored hair Miko teared up a little. "Kallen," she muttered, picking up the pendant. "You actually stayed here. You have returned to me once again," she gently caressed the pendant and kissed it.
Some tears from her face dropped onto the pendant and a gentle glow emitted, embracing both Miko and Theresa.
"This light…," Theresa started. "This warmth, I've felt them before," she basked in the warmth coming from that embrace. "This is the light that always appeared in my dreams," smiling a little, she closed her eyes.
The gentle glow transformed into a lady. It was the lady who always appears in her sleep. She never knew why she was always drawn to her. It could be the lady's gentle smile. It could also be her gentle demeanor. But whatever the reason she was drawn to her, it keeps her warm in her darkest days.
Even now, the lady is reaching out her hand toward Theresa. Even though she had never talked with the lady, she took her hand without hesitation, and the lady in a nun outfit spoke to her with a gentle voice. "Sweet sister, please help protect this world and my beloved Sakura," the nun gently talked to Theresa. Even when it was the first time she had heard her talk, her voice was full of warmth and care. "This is our pledge. This is our oath," The voice gradually fades. And the Oath of Judan appeared in the lady's place.
When it was happening, Urien was protecting them from the Herrscher. Seeing the Oath of Judah, the Herrscher howled in anger. "KASLANA! WHY?! Why do you keep fighting me all this time for 500 years?!" it howled.
"I see… Even after her death, Mother kept fighting the Herrscher for over 500 years. From what RIN said, Mother was killed repeatedly from Samsara to Samsara," Urien muttered silently. His admiration for his Mother kept growing. Everyone would go insane from being killed repeatedly knowingly or unknowingly. After all, people die when they are killed.
"The vile humans you fought to protect are foul ingrates who executed you for protecting them from me! You should hate them! HATE THEM!" The line which the 12th Herrscher just said shocked Urien to the core. They did what? They executed who?
It was at that moment Urien thought if Humanity was truly worth protecting. Ah, yes. He remembered. They were also responsible for the death of RIN. Something cracked inside him. Then what did he do in his past life aside from protecting humanity? He sacrificed all of him for them. But what did he get?
Just before he fell into despair, a gentle voice resounded in the surrounding area. "Listen well, fiend," the voice started.
"It was Mother's voice," Urien immediately noticed the owner of that voice.
"500 years may have passed, but our pledge will never fade. Here, I will stay to keep you closer and serve as this eternal vigil's gown. Though the End Times draws ever nearer, my soul and warmth shall be the finest down," the voice died down as Theresa in her new battle suit stood there proudly.
As for Urien, he is not doing well. "Mother? Why are you doing this? Why would you protect them? Why are you willing to protect humanity, going as far as sacrificing part of your soul?" he muttered. Looking at her, he felt as if what he did in his past life is nothing compared to her. He only sacrificed those around him and his body and feelings. But his Mother, she just sacrificed her soul casually to protect them.
"Why?" Urien muttered. "Why are you willing to go that far even when they have betrayed you?" he added.
At the time, he felt something warm embracing him. He turned his head around just to see some remnant of Mother's soul. "Because, my child, humanity is beautiful. Each and every life, trying their best to be happy, is stunning. And the smiles you got after saving them, make it even worthier to protect them," she gently whispered beside Urien's ears.
"Kallen had saved me," another soul formed on the other side of his shoulder.
"Okaa-sama?" Urien was shocked again. What is the soul of his Okaa-sama's counterpart doing beside him?!
"Okaa-sama? … It sounded nice," the sakura-colored hair Miko nodded. "Don't try to shoulder all the burdens alone," she continued. "Rely on those around you more and cherish them," his Okaa-sama added.
"Don't worry, my child," Kallen started.
"For we will," Sakura added.
"Always stay by your side," both of them said as they formed into two balls of light and went inside his Oath of Innocence.
The form of his pistols started changing and so did the colors. On his right side, it was white and yellow while on his left side it was pink and red. [Oath of Innocence: Sakura's Pledge]
Urien was lost for words. His Mother and Okaa-sama counterpart of this world sacrificed part of their souls just to stay by his side. "Idiots," he muttered. "I don't even know if I will be able to protect humanity while cherishing those around me," he added. "But… I will try. I will make it happen," he continued.
Looking at the pistols in his hand, he muttered. "So, please watch over me, from now on, until I turn into dust," he touches the pistols on his forehead.
The flashback got longer than I had expected and I was forced to end the chapter right here. Tee-hee sorry. I intended to show why Urien knew that the world he arrived in was his old world.
Yeah… I did some BS in this chapter.
Honkai Star Rail's gameplay is nice.
And thank you, kinorin69, for the portrait of the Previous Era URIEN. He looks amazing. You can check the Twitter profile of the illustrator and the illustration in this paragraph. Pss... She also draws awesome Yuri illustrations.