Chapter 5778: Distorted Retelling

5778 Distorted Retelling

Ves quietly groaned and palmed his face.

He could visibly feel the shift in how people looked at him. The more Astrid revealed the hidden history of his mother, the more his public image became tarnished!

Read it on

As the devious fleeter continued to narrate an unofficial biography of the woman known as Cultmaster Original Sin, it had become very clear now what the opposition sought to accomplish.

Not only was Astrid able to give a rich illustration of why red humanity needed to guard against cultivators, she also sought to pass on all of the cultmaster's dirty water onto her son!

This was an exceptionally cruel and outrageous strategy towards its intended target!

The only reason why Ves had yet to feel angry was because he was too damn shocked at what he learned!

Though Veronica had been living alongside Cynthia for many months, the latter had never really shared any information about her mysterious past!

It was as if Cynthia went out of her way to bury her history as deeply as possible!

As Ves tried to process the complicated feelings that surged in his mind and spirit, the water around him visibly shook, indicating that he was having a lot of trouble maintaining his composure!

Meanwhile, all of the people in the grand hall continued to have a dimmer view of Ves.

They no longer strictly regarded him as a rising prodigy and a genius at designing mechs.

It was as if his life-saving products and his massive contributions to human civilization had been rendered meaningless in the face of his tainted origin!

Perhaps many of these people would come to their senses and realize that the son, who was born many centuries after his mother committed all of these alleged misdeeds, was not culpable for all of those crimes.

The only problem was that Ves had gained the unfortunate title of Devil Tongue.

Even though no one really called him that unless he held another passionate speech, the inconvenient title could easily be misinterpreted by people who were unfamiliar with his history!

He earned this title for being dastardly good at winning over his audience with his words, not for being a literally evil cultivator who killed people like cutting grass!

As Ves continued to wallow in his abject misery, the officer from the Fifth Enforcement Fleet continued to describe the known history of the woman who used to live a very different life.

"The records related to Cultmaster Original Sin are sparse and incomplete, but we know what she had done during the most pivotal event that has led to the end of the Age of Conquest. During a devastating uprising against this secret organization, the founders and supporters of the Common Fleet Alliance and the Mech Trade Association launched a surprise attack on a location that was known as the Great Temple."

The cybernetic woman adopted a reverent expression as her story reached this point. "Many brave and selfless fleeters and mechers rose up against the many murders and injustices committed by the power-hungry cultivators. The latter have always behaved without respect for life and laws, but their behavior near the end was especially unacceptable because they were strangling the future of our collective race! Due to the rapidly deteriorating circumstances, my predecessors along with the early mechers initiated the Great Rescue. We dispatched a combined strike force that cut through every obstacle and forcibly invaded the heart of our collective enemy."

Ves jerked a bit. While he might not have a clue who his mother used to be, he possessed a bit more information about how the Great Betrayal unfolded.

Granted, he only had access to the perspective of the cultists, but he was certain that the mechers and the fleeters launched their surprise attack from the inside!

It would have been absurd for the early Big Two to start from the outside and smash through all of the defensive lines that the Five Scrolls Compact built around a location as crucial as the Great Temple.

It became clear to Ves that Astrid was deliberately obscuring the connection between the Five Scrolls Compact and the Big Two. Anyone who did not bother to think any deeper would form the mistaken impression that the latter had little relation to the former!

Of course, this was not a foolproof distortion of the truth, but it was sufficient to paint the Big Two in a more heroic light.

Ves could not help but narrow his eyes in suspicion yet again.

If Astrid or rather the Fifth Enforcement Fleet stooped as low as to distort the MTA and CFA's intimate ties with the Five Scrolls Compact, then what else about the tale had been exaggerated?

Was his mother truly as evil and murderous as the story painted her as, or was the actual truth a lot more nuanced?

There was a possibility that the Red Two had misidentified his mother. Astrid could be talking about a completely different person!

His favorite theory at the moment was that 'Cultmaster Original Sin' may have been his grandmother or a more distant ancestor.

That would have been a much more reasonable explanation of his heritage.

His need to obtain an answer to this matter was so great that he wanted to obtain confirmation from a second source.

He shifted his focus all the way to the old galaxy. He impatiently waited for Veronica to arrive in front of Cynthia's meditation room.

The hatch slid open. The Oblivion Empress had sensed the cyborg cat's arrival.

When Veronica caught sight of Cynthia, the mother looked warm and loving as usual. While she usually maintained a stern expression whenever she interacted with her other subordinates, she always made sure to show her gentle side to her precious children.

"Mother." Veronica began as she floated in front of the True God. "Are you aware of what is happening in the new frontier?"

Cynthia looked severe as she nodded. "I am. The Superior Mother is usually too busy to keep track of you, but every Hexer is paying close attention to the broadcast of this 'public inquiry'. It is impossible for me to miss its significance. My incarnation has refrained from extending her presence in close proximity towards your human self. Her arrival will be noticed, and may cause undue alarm. This will not help your case."

"I understand." Veronica replied. "Mother..."


"Are you... were you..."

The Lady of the Night let out a sigh. "Stop grasping at straws, my child. While I would like to dispute specific details of that woman's retelling, this is not a case of mistaken identity. I used to be a different woman in a past life. I am not... proud for embracing the mantle of Original Sin, but there was a period in my past life where I reveled in my power. I... suffered from the same character flaws that afflicted the rest of the leadership of the Five Scrolls Compact. I was not aware of this at the time, but it seems obvious in hindsight."

Veronica became stunned.

She never imagined that his mother had not only lived long enough to experience the heyday of the Five Scrolls Compact, but also played an active role in the rapid degeneration of human civilization during the twilight years of the Age of Conquest!

"Wait, why are you putting so much emphasis on the phrase 'past life'? You talk as if you have nothing to do with the woman who you used to be. Are you using this as an excuse to shirk your responsibility for all of your past misdeeds?"

"It is not like that." Cynthia elegantly shook her head. "When I succumbed to my old injuries and 'died', I shed much of my power, my memories, my techniques, my secrets and my karma. Death is supposed to be a new beginning."

Veronica's purple cybernetic eyes glared at the True God. "You don't sound like a woman who has lost everything upon death."

"That is because I cheated death, in a way." The Oblivion Empress impishly smirked. "I employed a secret technique to preserve a sliver of my soul, which I have eventually restored with your help. Still, I have only retained a fraction of my comprehensive power at the time. While I have the ability to reconstruct many of the missing pieces, I am not able to recover everything. I do not know what I have permanently shed upon death, but if I was as capable as I think I was, I may have used by demise to discard the most undesirable portions of myself."

"So you took advantage of your own death to throw away all of the really evil and awful stuff."

"That is a crude but apt description of my likely approach. I may have done more, but I do not recall this pivotal moment. There are still gaps in my memory."

A moment of silence ensued as Veronica processed this news. She took comfort in the revelation that the Cynthia of today was not equivalent to the cultmaster of the Apex Predator Cult.

"So... what exactly did you do during the Great Betrayal, mother?"

"I cannot tell you, my child. Perhaps the young lady may be able to give you a brief summary."

Again, his mother refused to offer any clarification!

Trying to pull information out of Cynthia was as difficult as convincing Gloriana to be more frugal in her spending!

"Myaow! I am sick and tired of your constant attempts at hiding crucial information from me! If you told me about your dark past sooner, I wouldn't have been blindsided like this today!"

Cynthia didn't even bother to look apologetic towards Veronica.

She looked as if she did not care at all that Ves was suffering from the sins of one of his parents at the moment!

"Listen to the young lady first. She is just about to reach the most exciting part of her tale."

Back in the Red Ocean, Astrid briefly explained a highly incomplete and simplistic layout of the Great Rescue before she addressed the cultmaster's actions during this historic turning point.

"The Great Temple had become engulfed in the flames of war." Astrid said as her words conveyed the madness at the time. "Many warships, mechs and individual cultivators unleashed violence against each other and the surrounding environment. Both mundane and empowered blood spilled across the enormous space where the five shrines reside. The defenses of many old structures that had been built millenia ago crumbled in a matter of seconds or minutes, causing them to crumble and inflict enormous human and material losses."

The fleeter shook her head in disappointment. "The survivors of the Great Rescue shouldered so many crucial responsibilities that they could not afford to get distracted. Despite Original Sin's prominent position, our predecessors were not able to track all of her movements, especially on an exceptionally chaotic battlefield."

The projection of the Wood Shrine appeared yet again.

"We do know that the cultmaster had been assigned to defend the main structure of the Wood Shrine. As one of the most powerful cultivators among the so-called Wood Keepers, her mission was to defend this crucial holy shrine and preserve the evil reign of this secret organization as much as possible."

Astrid began to grin. "This became an increasingly less enviable assignment, for the forces dispatched by the CFA and MTA were steadily gaining ground. The cultivators not only proved to be incapable of holding back our troops, but they were also far too disorganized to form a coherent defensive strategy."

It was rather hard to organize all of the cultists when a part of their members had turned against the Compact all of a sudden!

"According to our deductions, we believe that the cultmaster knew which way the wind was blowing. As the strongholds of the cultivators continued to crumble, we suspect that the mother of the Devil Tongue ultimately concluded that the secret cabal was a lost cause."

The projection changed to show what happened to the Wood Shrine after a bit of time had passed.

It did not survive the Great Betrayal! Nothing was left intact!

"While we do not have conclusive proof, we have probable cause to believe that Cultmaster Original Sin betrayed her fellow Wood Keepers at the last moment, looted whatever valuables she could acquire in a short amount of time, triggered the total destruction of the Wood Shrine before beating a desperate escape from the special space that hosted the Great Temple."

Though Astrid at least made it clear that the fleeters were not entirely certain what his mother had done, Ves was still inclined to believe that much of it was true!

The only point of uncertainty was how his mother managed to grab a fragment of the Metal Scroll during this incredibly messy battle.

Perhaps she picked it up from another survivor after the Great Betrayal, but... he had a feeling his mother may have done a lot more than running away.

It would be just like her to betray all of her oaths and take advantage of the demise of her previous organization.

Ves felt incredibly ambivalent about her shameless and greedy behavior! A part of him could hardly believe she was his mother! They were nothing alike!