Mycroft Continent, Southern Sea Region, far side of the frontier of the sea.
Right above the boundless blue sea in the South, the sky was covered with dark clouds. A storm was brewing on as if the place was rejecting anything that was trying to come into the region.
However, there was a grayish-white island right in the middle of the swirling whirlpools and tides on the surface of the sea. It was hiding in the misty fog and tides, allowing the raging waves of seawater to pat the rocks on its cliffs. It seemed so indestructible.
According to the legends told by the people of the sea, that was not the true face of the gray island. One day, if the storm across the distant sea ceased to brew and dark clouds above the sea dispersed, then the pure white Sacred Mountain towering all the way to the top of its peak which penetrated through the layer of clouds would reveal itself right in the middle of the brewing tides across the surface of the unsettling sea.
The Church of the Seven Gods, the Sacred Mountain of the distant sea.
The gray island that was named Aida was almost completely surrounded by walls of cliffs. Meanwhile, in front of the only entrance into the island from the sea, there was a huge white holy stone tablet. There were numerous large word characters crafted on it, as bright as the red fire.
'When faith arrives, the storm will stop.'
There were many white buildings and shrines on the gray island. Tens of thousands of residents were currently living there. They were all saints, the clergy of the Church of the Seven Gods that were currently receiving training, or serving as trainers.
Some people were born there, and they would also live out the rest of their lives there. There would always be newcomers coming to the island constantly to strengthen their faith. Then they would become eligible saints, the clergymen before returning to their mainland to battle against evil and expel diseases. There were also many elderly people that returned to the island after long years of hard lives. They would just come back to the island to enjoy the tranquillity of the holy ground.
As the gathering spot of all the faiths of the races of mankind from all around the world, the power of the Holy Light had been shrouding over the entire gray island like a barrier at all time. Under the protection of this light, all evils would not be able to approach and breach into the island. Evil would not even get the change to form into shape as well. The Seven Gods of humanity would always keep a watchful eye on that spot.
Meanwhile, in the Central Holy Palace, the mainframe of the teleportation framework.
Along with a flash of silver light, a heavily wounded knight, soaked in his own blood walked right out of the teleportation circle.
His armor was tattered from battles; traces of acid and various marks left from strange and bizarre attacks were all over the armor. In the meantime, under the purifying power of the Holy Light on the gray island, the knight let out a miserable groan, and yet, the groan sounded like he was a little relieved. Puffs of black gas began to leak from his wound and the cracks on his armor, slowly being purified inch by inch, reduced to nothing.
After taking a rest and recovering a bit of his strength, the knight walked past silently through the blocking of the guards by the shrine. He stopped the attendant from changing the armor for him. He also refused to be cleaned up first. He just kept walking forward and went all the way through across the buildings on the gray island as if he wanted to get to the Sacred Mountain that was hidden deep within the clouds with his heavily wounded and tainted body.
Legend has it that one must walk restlessly for seven days and seven nights in order to set foot onto the peak of the Sacred Mountain.
The guards and the attendants along the route knew the knight personally. So they were being hesitant to look at the knight in the eye. They had no idea if they should go up and stop the knight from pressing forward. While they were hesitating, the knight had already set foot on the road to the Sacred Mountain.
The purely white high mountain was so sharp that it penetrated deep into the gathering clouds. Lightning was surging around the mountainside again and again, eventually striking the ridge.
The knight looked up at the mountain and paused for a brief moment. He could not be helped to be impressed by the grandeur and ruggedness of the Sacred Mountain no matter how many times he looked at it.
However, now was not the time to stay and get astounded by the magnificent appearance of the mountain. The knight shook his head and set foot on the long staircase that led all the way to the top of the mountain. The staircase looked endless. Each step of the staircase was made from pure white rocks. Both sides of the staircase along all the way to the top were decorated with countless gray arches, one arch after another, forming an extremely long archway that looked like an endless long chain.
On the Sacred Mountain, there was an immense power of faith and holy light gathering to form a Mythal Spell to keep those who do not possess the power of Order or holy light out. People without those powers would be blocked and stopped. Time and space would be distorted because of that, making them unable to reach the destination for eternity. Only people with faith in their hearts would be able to reveal the true paths that lie ahead of them. That was the truth about the fact that one must walk for over seven days before one could reach the peak of the Sacred Mountain.
So how strong was the knight's faith then? He had not come across any obstacle. He ran all the way through the stairway like a flying arrow, straight towards the top of the mountain.
Along the way, he went past the holy statues of the Seven Gods. The black halo of the God of Might and Justice, the withered heart of the God of Love and Hate, the white Ouroboros of the God of Order and Destruction, thorn birds of the God of Law and Freedom, the book of the hammer that belongs to the God of Conservation and Reformation, the dividing eye of the God of Skills and Schemes, the remaining bones, earth, and green grass of the God of Life.
The knight did not even show the slightest respect towards the statues though. He only slowed down a little when he came across the holy artifact of the God of Life. There, he lowered his head to express his respect.
Finally, he crossed through the layer of clouds, through the misty fog and the lightning, arriving at the top of the Sacred Mountain. The shrine right on top of the mountain had been forever shone upon by the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Right before the entrance of the shrine, there were countless shadows of guards wearing white robes with gold linings. They looked very different from the guards at the bottom of the mountain though. Even though they also knew the knight, however, they did not give way to the knight at all. Instead, they went forward together to block him. The guards were expressing their apologies through words though. They did not use their weapons. They just grabbed the body of the knight with their bare hands in the attempt to stop the knight from pressing forward. They were doing that as if they wanted to get him off from the current spot.
However, the body of the knight was as unmovable as the mountain. He allowed the guards tograb onto his armor, his hands and even his feet. His body was currently radiating with holy light. No one could actually stop him from moving forward. The knight remained in silence as he went forward, one step after another, with an unstoppable vibe. All guards were being dragged by a gentle and yet powerful strength, along right behind him. They could not get up on their feet while they were being dragged by the knight.
Along with firm footsteps, he entered the shrine.
On both sides of the majestic and massive arch of the shrine, there were statues of the guardian of the Sacred Mountain in ancient times. These statues were armed with giant swords and shields in their hands. They looked determined. They seemed to keep guarding this place until the end of time.
Meanwhile, right above the arch, there was a clear line of text crafted over there.
'Solitary sun, dual moon, countless stars, origin of a thousand years, only light will exist for eternity.'
Deep within the shrine, by the end of the arcade, a white-haired old man with golden eyes who was wearing a holy silver crown on his head with a pure silver scepter in his hand was sitting in his chair. He seemed to be waiting for the arrival of the knight.
"So you've come, Roland."
The old man had a kind look on his face. He seemed to be aware of what have known about what happened down at the bottom of the mountain. He did not stop the knight from advancing forward. He even ordered the guards who were blocking him to stand down. He did not seem to be angry with the knight for breaking into the shrine. The old gentleman addressed Roland. "Actually, you don't have to break into the shrine by force at all if you wish to enter. So may I know your reason for doing this?"
There were line patterns that carried an ancient feeling over the simple white robe that old man was wearing. However, the scepter he was holding in his hand and the crown were emanating with a powerful radiance that was so dense that some might not be able to breathe just by looking at it. The white chair that the old man sat in seemed simple. However, the chair was actually crafted with rare holy crystals. The sunlight shone into the interior of the Shrine through its window, shining upon the old man's body. The old man was radiating endless Order energy.
Facing the old man, the knight took a deep breath. The wounds on his body were slowly recovering with the recovery power that the old man emanated. Even the scars on his skin had disappeared completely without a trace.
However, even though that was the case, the knight's breath seemed to be trembling as if he was suppressing his anger. He looked obviously different from before when he came all the way into the shrine with an unstoppable aura.
"Godfather Igor Weiss is dead."
After a long moment, the knight had finally calmed his breathing down. However, his voice was heavy as he spoke, "My comrade, my friend who had grown up together with me, the man who saved my countless time, Weiss he is dead."
Remaining in silence for a brief moment, the old man called Igor shook his head a little. His voice still sounded gentle, however, that voice also carried a cold and realistic tone. "Although I can comfort you in such regard and release you of your grievance. But Roland, you as the strongest knight in the new generation should know better than anyone that there will always be sacrifices. Not to mention that you're up against spawns of Chaos, evil creatures that come from beyond our world. They come from other worlds."
"Facing against such threatening existences, there will naturally be deaths. Not all are as powerful as you are."
Igor said it as if he had seen through everything, "I thought you've gotten used to this long ago."
"Godfather, no one will ever get used to such matter!" The knight replied furiously. He took off the helmet that was stained with brown blood all over it as he revealed his white-golden hair and his pretty and yet determined face. His blue eyes were blazing with the flame of wrath. The Knight that looked like the statue made of marble had an angry face. He then spoke to the Godfather, the Pope of the church, in a loud manner, "Weiss is dead, Grell is dead, my elders, my friends, and many more of my comrades They're all dead!"
"I have been taught by you since I was a child. I have been faithful and devoted to studying martial arts. In the Shrine of Heaven, I have vowed to guard the world and fight against all evil. Although I only survived in this world for twenty-seven years, however, I've never swayed from my conviction and determination, I've never had a single moment of doubt. I've totally dedicated to serving the gods and all humanity!"
Roland's voice was raised all of a sudden. He then frowned and shouted loudly at the old man in front of him. "Ever since I attained certain achievements in regard to my martial art skills, I've been battling against those evil beings in rough and dangerous battles across the lands that were plagued. I've been fulfilling my duty. I've been devoted to the cause. Even after experiencing several times close to death, I have never doubted my faith. But!"
Upon saying that, he lowered his voice as if the voice was coming out from the gaps between his teeth, " They're all dead. Five times have they changed the people around me. They all ended up dead. Whether it was the best knight in the church or not all of them had bright future ahead of them, many more I first thought I can handle all that, however, now I've realized that my heart is not indestructible."
"This time, after Weiss's death, I've finally started to doubt the meaning of my vow and the meaning of all those battles that I've fought- after the last battle, I've put a lot of thought in this for a long time."
At that moment, Roland's voice became calm again. Then he looked at the old man that was calm and quiet. "Godfather, Pope, I don't understand whether it's the plagued land of the West Mountain or the sealed lands of the North that belonged to the Empire, what is the meaning of all these? What is the meaning of having these Chaos tumors infesting in our world?"
" Flowers need the dirt and soil to bloom, even the floating plants without rooting themselves in the ground would need a river for them to float and survive."
After listening to the question of his apprentice, Igor pondered and replied the young knight gently, "Just like humans need food, fire needs wood. The Order of the world needs to be maintained. So it can only rely on the Chaos as the source to combust."
"The sparks of the flame has long been ignited since thousands of years ago. Without these cancerous tumors of Chaos as the source to combust, the Flame in the Mycroft Continent would have been extinguished a long time ago."
In a few sentences, the old man told the truth about the matter. However, the knight had a doubtful look. He seemed troubled by the look on his face. Although he knew that his own godfather did not lie to him and gave him the truth straight away, however, the young knight could not understand it even by the slightest bit.
Upon noticing the expression on Roland's face, Igor smiled and shook his head. "I've given you my explanation, my child. You may not understand all these now. It is really too early now Even though you've attained the pinnacle of the Upper Gold tier at the age of twenty-seven, however, you've not been able to cross into the realm of the Supreme. You've yet to attain 'Mastery'. Even if I tell you all the origin and the process of it, it will be pointless for now."
"How could that be pointless?!"
While he was listening to Igor, Roland could not help but refute, "Godfather, you took me in and raised me when I lost my parents because of political struggles. Even though you are not my parent, you've done their jobs better than they ever could. However, you've always been so secretive, you've never wanted to tell me any truth!"
"With your current strength, you already have the capability to purge the Plagued Land. The power of Legendary tier is equivalent to the Gods that walk on our world. Even if you cannot purge the land, you can still completely seal all of the dimensional rifts and completely seal the Plagued Land. You're still capable as the Legendary-tier mage of the Kaos family from 400 years ago in the northern Empire! However, you've not done anything yet. You're just using our lives to fill up a bottomless pit!"
"Even after I seal them off, there will always be new sources. Although the dimensional rifts have all been sealed, however, there are still remaining, prices to pay. Did you actually know what Carbala Kaos sacrificed in order to Sigh ."
Suddenly letting out a sigh, the old man seemed a little down-hearted. He spoke slowly, "You still don't understand. Some things cannot be done in your ways. The Plagued Land must be left alone for now. What you can do now is to get stronger in battle. By doing so, you will not let your comrades' sacrifices be in vain. When you become the Pope of the Church of the Seven Gods, the descendant of the Sage..."
He paused for a moment. Then he spoke again, one word after another, crystal clear, "By then, you shall understand. You shall know the truth."
Roland seemed to have to mean to refute further, however, the purely white scepter in the hands of Igor had suddenly flashed with a blinding light.
The eyes of them both were set upon this emanating scepter. They were observing the radiance that was flowing like the pace of breathing.
The old man smiled. The wrinkles on his face were obviously revealed all over his face. He seemed to be genuinely happy from the bottom of his heart.
The knight looked at him quietly, feeling surprised in his heart. He knew clearly that although his Godfather was kind and gentle, however, he had not seen the old man smile so genuinely from the bottom of his heart for a very long time.
After smiling joyously for a brief moment, the old man remained in silence.
"Go to the North."
Igor suddenly opened up his mouth to speak to the knight again. The expression on his face suggested that the old man was not joking around. Instead, he looked very serious. "I can't tell you anything now. However, if you truly want to know what is truth, then you can go to the sealed land in the North to have a look at it."
"There's someone that is similar to me, and also someone that is similar to the future you."
Upon saying that, the old man lifted up his scepter and hinted the knight to take leave.
Although Roland was puzzled at the moment, however, all of his rage had been vented out. His mind was also thinking about what Igor said before. Hence, after bowing to show his respect towards the old man, he slowly left the place.
After the knight left the place, the old man sat on his crystal chair as he looked at the scepter in his hand in silence.
On the top of the scepter, a faint flame surrounding with countless radiating halos was combusting in a slow manner.