Imperial Northland, Moldavia, The southern region of the Great Ajax Mountains, dwarven settlement.
Starfall Year 832, 1st of March, 9.45 a.m.
A relatively young-looking mage was holding a brown wooden staff standing in front of the Volcanic Lake. He was observing his own teacher levitating right above the golden magma building up a huge and complex dimensional magic circle.
Right before his eyes, the white-haired old mage who was wearing a long robe with golden lines all over it was smoothly controlling the blue dimensional rift, forming them into magic letters that were radiating one after another. They turned into space nodes one after another, repelling the fire elements in the surroundings. After that, these space nodes were then rooted into the void, connecting two different spaces of two different worlds.
Along with the enormous magic energy being priming up, the blue rift was opened up little by littleit was not difficult. Opening up the rift would not even need any effort at all. In fact, what the old mage did was attempt to restrain this dimensional distortionits endless expansion.
"After it is fully deployed, the rift will have a radius of 700 meters. With such a large dimensional rift, even the dwarven settlement underneath the ground will be heavily affected."
Sighing, the young mage looked at his own teacher with his eyes filled with admiration. "If Teacher did not suppress the dimensional rift, it would have caused some unimaginably terrible geological changes the moment it is activated."
The mage's name was Lorrain. Meanwhile, his teacher was in fact, the archmage of the Empire, Nostradamus.
The 21-year-old mage had been studying at the Royal Mage Academy in the Imperial City for eight years. Today, he joined his other thirty-one classmates to assist Nostradamus in the task of exploring the dimensional rift and maintaining the passage.
These thirty-two mages were all the most loyal apprentices of Nostradamus. They were basically civilians that were born in the streets. None of them were of noble blood. Even if they didn't have the money to buy materials and magic books for the purpose of experimenting with spells, they also worked hard with their talent and under the circumstance that they did not have any superior bloodline. Currently, all of them had attained the strength of Silver tier. In a sense, they could be deemed as prodigies in the art of magic.
A few days ago, Nostradamus hurried back to the academy and summoned his apprentices. He informed that they would all be going to the north of the Dark Forest for a practical lesson. They were told that they would be observing the corruption of Chaos and the effects up closeof course, their performances in this practical exercise would be credited into their year-end results. Those with excellent performances would also be given priority to apply for scholarships.
Needless to say, all of his apprentices immediately got attracted by that excellent condition. Instantly, the party of thirty-two had been filled up.
In the weather that was gradually getting warmer, they had crossed many heavily guarded checkpoints. The reinforced checkpoints that were being set up due to Black Rising that came during the winter had not completely withdrawn just yet. The mages could still see various troops stationed in various fortresses. These heroic forces had made those common mages feel excited.
That's for surecivilians could only rely on contributing to the military force in order to swiftly improve their own statuses. If one could perform a great and significant service in the military, one could even swiftly become a duke. Eighty percent of the Empire's noblemen got their titles this way. The army would be where these mages would work after they graduate.
Under the support of flight and teleportation spells, these mages only spent a few days to arrive at the south of the great Ias Mountains, also famously known as the dwarven settlement of the northern runic dwarves.
Of course, they all knew that this sudden field trip was definitely not to observe samples of Chaos and how they would corruptcompletely not what they had been working on and studying. Their own teacher was merely searching for an excuse. Meanwhile, Nostradamus had also swiftly revealed the true reason for coming all the way to the north to his fellow disciples.
To locate the dimensional rifts.
The old mage explained briefly to his apprentices about the origins of cause and effectroughly speaking, it was because the Count of Moldavia in the north, a guardian of the ancient elves from far south, and the leader of the dwarves had disappeared without any reason or trace. It was possible that they had been sucked into a dimensional rift that that was open all of a sudden. So currently, they would need to locate the rift that caused them to cross into another world and carry out a search and rescue operation.
"About that, Teacher how long have they been missing? What is their Class? For each of them, I mean."
"Approximately two days. One is a Gold-tier druid. The other two are both Gold-tier warriors."
Ha, two of them are of a barbaric Class. Also one of them must be a nature lover who does not understand magic.
Lorrain let out a 'Ha' deep in his heart. If three Gold-tier mages were the ones that were sucked into the dimensional rift, they might have relied on the local magic materials in the other world to reconstruct the rift in order to get back into this world.
It appears that only us mages could understand the secrets of the dimension!
After going back and forth a few times around the area, the mages led by Nostradamus had finally determined the location of the rift and established a restraining magic circle.
At that time, it was also the time that the old mage was about to open up the dimensional rift.
Upon the activation of the magic circle, the thirty-two Silver-tier mages gathered their power to cooperate with Nostradamus in hooking the passage to the dimensions of the two worlds, allowing the blue rift to open up slowly. The presence of Chaos instantly spread out from the rift. However, the mages who came well-prepared already equipped themselves with the [Purification Shield] as their protective barrier. So they were not affected by Chaos that was gushing out from the rift. However, the moment when the presence of Chaos came in contact with the Volcanic Lake, the temperature of the lake swiftly dropped and the lake itself started to freeze, turning the hot boiling lava into black and gray rocks.
After the dimensional rift was opened, a few mages left the formation of the magic circle. They equipped themselves with a full set of magic armor, ready to go into the other world to rescue the few that were lost.
However, before they could even set foot into the door, along with the wave of the dimension, two shadows appeared at the entrance of the passage.
Along with the golden Combat Aura and the green primal energy flowing through the door, Clyre and Moreila swiftly came out of the dimensional passage and landed on the lava that had already condensed.
"Nostradamus, it really is you!"
The old dwarf seemed to be acquainted with the mage. After appearing from the rift, he lifted his head to look at Nostradamus, who was levitating in the air, maintaining the formation of the magic circle. Then he immediately laughed and greeted the old mage with his mouth opened. "You've come so swiftly after I disappeared."
"Thank you." The elf did not behave as big-hearted as Moreila though. Even though she also knew the old mage, she did not say much to him. She only bowed slightly to express her gratitude.
"Let's end the chatter first. Moreila, Joshuathe human count that everyone's talking about, is he...?"
Seeing his two friends returning safe and sound back to this world so quickly, Nostradamus felt a little bit surprised. In fact, he felt glad. However, after looking around for a long time, he still could not see the third shadow coming through the dimensional passage. So he furrowed his brow and asked doubtfully, "You're back, so why is he not back with you then?"
"He said that he has something to take care of. So he left us halfway. We have no idea where did he went."
That was Moreila's reply.
The blue radiance looked dim and bright at times. The immense power was vibrating tremendously. Nostradamus and his apprentices were doing their best to maintain the dimensional rift. The old mage spoke anxiously, "The nature of this large rift here is like a tide. It expands and shrinks along with the gushing waves of the magic. It can only be opened up again one day after."
"If you don't come now, he'll have to wait for the next day to return!"
Meanwhile, by the side, Lorrain who was assisting in maintaining the dimensional rift let out a sigh.
The rift right before them contained an enormous power that went beyond the imaginations of everyone in the vicinity. In order to calculate its dimensional characteristics, everyone present felt that there weren't enough brains to determine that. Even with a Supreme-tier mage as the leader of this operation, these Silver-tier mages would still feel a little stressed out maintaining the opening of the rift.
Feeling exhausted, Lorrain could not help but start feeling a little frustrated with the baron that had yet to reveal himself, "He's just a warrior that does not even know how to create a dimensional rift! So why the hell is he taking his sweet time taking care of his personal matters?! The dimensional passage will not wait for anyone!"
From the outer world, the decaying wind was constantly blowing through the dimensional passage into this world. Although the Chaos energy that came along with the winds from the outer world had been nullified by the shields, the scent of the air could really make people feel nauseated. On the other hand, the dwarf and the elf were letting out sighs of relief. They felt that the surroundings were much better now as they felt much more comfortable after traveling back to this world.
"This is not working well. If we keep doing this, the dimensional waves would retreat. By then, even I will not be able to prevent the dimensional rift from activating itself!"
Saying that the situation was hopeless with a soft voice, Nostradamus felt that his physical strength was dropping rapidly. Meanwhile, that would also be a sign that the dimensional waves were slowly retreating.
Not only that, the old mage had also noticed a trace of Chaos corrupting in.
Another five minutes had passed.
A sigh was heard.
The dimensional wave had almost completely retreated. The supporting force of nature had vanished. Currently, the power needed to support such a huge dimensional rift was indeed a little too much for the fellow mages to support
The dimensional rift that originally expanded to a radius of thirty meters was slowly shrinking now. Meanwhile, Nostradamus was gradually closing the rift as well.
Well, it seems that we can only wait until the next day, thought the old man regretfully.
However, suddenly, completely the opposite of the scent of decay and deaththe refreshing wind of Order was felt, emerging out from the shrinking dimensional rift.
Everyone was bewildered.
This feeling why is it completely different from before?
However, the rift was slowly being sealed up already. Everyone no longer had the strength to support the opening of the rift now.
The wind of Order grew stronger with every passing second. Nostradamus felt his chest tighten.
The Chaos Guardian had the 'Purification Strength'. Right on the opposite side of the dimensional passage, that must be Joshua rushing towards the exit of the rift to this world. However, the dimensional rift was about to close now. The warrior would definitely not going to make it in time!
Buzz buzz buzz buzz
Deafening sharp sounds of the dimensional space began to reverberate as the rift was getting smaller by the second. It had shrunk to the point that it was too small for a person to come through it now. Upon seeing that, the dwarf and the elf could not help but let out a sigh.
"It seems that Joshua would need to wait for another day to return."
"Why isn't he coming over quickly"
All of the mages that were present were feeling disgruntled about it.
Do have to do all that again tomorrow? All of them had that thought in mind. In their defense, they had wasted so many days staying in the north now. Their time was previous. Even though they could get marks and the results of their finals as their reward for coming here, they should not waste their time like this!
Lorrain was having the same thought as well. He began to regret leaving his research on spells behind to come all the way over to the north with his teacher to do some pointless things.
Meanwhile, Nostradamus was somewhat puzzled. He believed that Joshua was not the kind of person who would deliberately make others worry about him, waiting for him to return.
So what is he up to exactly?
A trembling sound was heard. The dimensional rift was almost completely sealed now.
However, everyone's eyes did not look elsewhere. Instead, they fixed their eyes at one spot and one spot only.
Right at the spot where the dimensional rift once was, a finger came through from the void into this world, right in the middle of the air. Surrounding of that finger were ripples of blue waves vibrating at a rapid pace.
The finger slowly slid in as the rift expanded along with it.
Under the witness of everyone in the vicinity that was watching in silence, more body parts of the owner of that finger were entering into this world.
First, a palm.
Then, an arm.
After that, half of his body followed through.
Crossing through the dimensional passage had caused some disturbing sounds. The violent vibrations came along with red impact, put a large opening in the dimensional rift. Meanwhile, Joshua and Ling came out of the hole and appeared right before the eyes of everyone who seemed to have dropped their jaws at the same time.
The fresh air of Order and the decaying winds of Chaos mixed together. Meanwhile, the source of the Order energy was, in fact, Joshua himself. He was holding Ling in one hand and a huge violet-blue runic core in another. He looked rather exhausted.
Ignoring the shocked look on their faces, Joshua frowned. Then he looked at the small piece of silver crystal that was still combusting, having no idea at all how that crystal even come into his possession.
[Fragment of Searing Steel]