Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
The Abyss was a world formed from the combination of countless shattered or distorted plane. All of the innumerable legends and myths viewed it as the place where the evil and the twisted congregated, the root of all suffering and despair.
There were many different conjectures regarding its origins, among those was a bold one made by a demonologist who had traveled within the embrace of the Abyss itself and carried out decades worth of research. He believed that the Abyss was, in fact, the graveyard of the multiverse, and that those small, misshapen planes were the shards left behind after the death of infinite worlds.
And the door to the Abyss is the passage that connects it with other worlds.
During the first Abyssal invasion in the Glorious Era, what was perhaps the largest Door to the Abyss known since the birth of the multiverse opened in the outer reaches of space over the world of Mycroft.
It was an unprecedented phenomenon, a colossal dimensional passageway linked to every plane in the Abyss. Although most pathways would self-destruct automatically the moment they activated, there were hundreds of large-scale paths that stayed intact.
From those paths, the endless multitude of demonic forces swarmed out, almost wiping out the entire world of Mycroft.
Nevertheless, the dimensional passageways opened in the second Abyssal Invasion during the Starfall Era was every bit as terrifying as the first. About tens of those channelsmost of their scale being rather modestwere scattered across the entire continent.
That, in turn, allowed the diverse races to counter-attack under the leadership of the humans. After years of toiling battles, most of the smaller doors were destroyed by the multiracial Allianceleaving three larger ones that stuck firmly on the Mycroft Continent like toxic spikes.
Amongst them were the [Burning Eye] that resided within the Ancient Dungeon of the Ashen, as well as the [Crevice of the Icy Hell] in the Frozen Wastelands. In the preexisting game, both had been severely challenging Apocalypse-class dungeon levels. In that period, Joshua and his own band had been stationed within Naya Fortress within Ancient Dungeon of the Ashen, fighting against the demons that spilled out of the Burning Eye.
On the other hand, the [Vortex of the Abyssal Sea] at the distant seas of the South did not have much of a presence. The danger that lurks within, however, was much more significant, for it was connected to Abyssal planes where a multitude of deep-sea behemoths lived. As those abominations prowled the corrupted local marine life of Mycroft, it became far riskier to fight these monsters than the demons.
Joshua had gathered with a hundred percent certainty from what Roland had said that the Anos Abyss was the early form of the Vortex of the Abyssal Sea.
At present, it was a little Abyssal fissure and largely anonymous. But in years to come, it would expand gradually into a huge whirlpool that eventually allows behemoths of the thousand-meter class to pass through with ease.
Although the Church of Seven Gods had discovered it earlier, they were unable to locate the crack. Furthermore, the assault from the draconic plague had forced the Church to divert knight regiments stationed around the area, which in turn gave it a chance to grow.
“ What? That’s it?” Joshua asked.
He had been waiting for Roland to continue shedding light on the state of affairs regarding the Anos Abyss, only to notice that the holy knight had suddenly stopped speaking. Looking up doubtfully to see what was going on, the warrior noticed that the blonde man’s interest seemed to be waning.
“That’s about it,” Roland smiled bitterly, sighed and straightened his hair. His gaze was hesitant, as if uncertain what to say. “Joshua, you are definitely a fine comrade, but this matter definitely has nothing to do with you. Just think of it as my rant, and thanks for telling about it.”
Joshua’s eyebrows twitched. Since the other person did not intend to continue, he had no reason to press him after being flashed with the good-guy card.
“ It’s fine if that’s what you think,” the warrior simply replied. “Either way, I have to thank you for helping me interrogate those cultists.”
Joshua did not find it unusual that the holy knight would suddenly stop himself.
Ultimately, the warrior himself was a noble of the Northern Lands, and Roland was a holy knight serving the Church of Seven. There was no other reason other than their personal relationship if he were to divulge more about Anos.
It should be noted that all intelligence regarding Abyss and the Evil Gods are kept sealed from outside knowledge. In the preexistence, most of the commoners did not even know what the term ‘abyss’ meant even on the eve of the demonic invasion.
In fact, Joshua was aware that Roland’s willingness to tell him so much about Anos under such high stakes was a display of his tremendous trust in him.
Through it all, Artanis did not say a thing. He, along with Ling and Ying, only sat in a corner to listen quietly. The archbishop was a smart person; he would not have gained his title if he wasn’t.
Even as the elderly man digested the story about Anos, he shrugged at Roland’s unusual behavior. It was simple homesickness after being away for so longArtanis’s own rich lifelong experience allowed him to see through that at once.
Afterward, Joshua and the old priest discussed issues regarding the Dark Forest. The warrior had permitted the knights who were based at Dark Forest Fortress to explore the Great Ajax Mountains. Before this, the holy knight had been helping under a private capacity, and now the Church wanted to formally join in and dispatch some veteran priests and knights to join the expedition team.
Naturally, Joshua welcomed that propositionthere were not many habitable lands in the North, which in turn kept the population static. As such, he had started to survey the Dark Forest since he had inherited the domain in preparation for developing the new land.
Still, due to a lack of spellcasters within the expedition team, they could not raise their efficiency. That was where Artanis would come in, which pleases the warrior very much since priests were more valuable compared to mages in this instance.
As the two delved into the finer points of the issue and arrived at the initial resolution, a rhythmic knock promptly rang from outside the door.
Ling and Ying stood up at virtually the same time. After exchanging a look, Ying sat down again, while Ling went to open the door with a gesture from the warrior.
It was a housemaid with a brown ponytail wearing a uniform of the duke’s residence. Clearly a servant of Joshua’s, she appeared anxious, holding an envelope without any decorations in her hand.
“Good day, my Lords,” she explained with a slightly panicked voice after noticing the stares of her own master and the Church’s bishop. “Here’s an urgent letter from Winter Fort Academy. I believe it should be read as soon as possible, but you couldn’t be found in the entire residence”
She could not stop herself from pausing. Even if Joshua did his best to shrink his own presence, the incredible pressure still made the ordinary servant’s throat dry.
“Miss 03 mentioned that you were at the cathedral, that’s why I”
“It’s alright. It’s fine, you’ve done well.”
Picking up on her nervousness, Joshua softened his voice, and gestured for her to hand the letter to Ying with a nod. “Your name is Leah, right? It’s been hard on you to have you come here to the church looking for me. Take a break for the rest of the day.”
Despite being accustomed to Joshua cordial and unpretentious mannerisms, the maid still appeared to be under duress of the warrior’s sheer presence. Not daring to linger in the room, she quickly made her leave handing off the letter to the black-haired youth.
Receiving the envelope from Ling, Joshua did not behave evasively towards Roland and Artanis, and simply opened it.
Artanis himself held a high regard of Winter Fort Academy.
“Establishing a professional academy is definitely a way to strengthen the Extraordinary-tier force within the territories,” he said with a little nostalgia as he remembered the past.
“All pioneers of the four territories in the Northern Realm were warriors, with most of their followers being knights or warriors too. Spellcasters had always been rare in this region, and it’s quite difficult to groom new Extraordinary individuals. The last count had always wanted to train a private team of mages, but never realized the dream up to his passing. You, on the other hand, only need years to succeed.”
“But what’s the message that was so dire? According to what I know the Academy has been running quite well, and the students never met any accidents either.”
“Most of it was thanks to Nostradamus’s contribution, all I did was give a piece of land and nothing else. As for this letter” Joshua shook his head, showing that he did not know the reason behind it either, before calmly pulling the letter out.
“They wouldn’t send an urgent mail if it wasn’t something important Wait. What?! Dragon eggs?”
The warrior had kept talking even as he read the content. He then promptly exclaimed in shock, his expression changing into a frown right after he finished reading the first line.
“What dragon eggs?”
Roland quickly turned towards Joshua and asked seriously. He had been staring blankly on his own seat after speaking about the Anos Abyss, but he was now filled with curiosity. “Is it Black?”
“Joshua’s draconic horse? It’s a mare after all.”
Artanis joined in, stroking his white beard, appearing quite interested too. “If I remember correctly it had awakened its bloodline in the previous year and turned into a half-dragon And it is already laying eggs now?”
“That shouldn’t be, we’ve just met just a few days ago” The silver-haired girl said, her tone slightly shaken. Unable to resist the urge, Ying stood up and slipped behind Joshua with Ling in tow. The pair leaned on Joshua’s shoulders together as they tried to glimpse at what was written.
“Huh It’s fine, it’s just that the letter seems to have a problem with phrasing” Joshua squinted and briskly scanned through the letter, before breathing out a long sigh while the divine armaments pressed down on him.
“It’s the eggs I brought back from the white dragon nest,” he continued. “I’ve placed them in Winter Fort Academy after it was established to be used as samples, but one of the lecturers in the academy noticed that some of them were showing signs of hatching in a routine check.”
With that, the warrior’s expression softened as he returned to his usual calm. “He intends to place the eggs beside their draconic cousin Black to see if the incubation process could be accelerated The sender is a failure at the common tongue. I’ve almost thought that Black was suddenly laying eggs from his wording, simply shocking.”
Exactly. How would the primordial dragon be able to breed so easily?
The warrior thought, shaking his head regretfully.
“The dragon eggs are hatching? That’s worth congratulating.”
“It’s indeed a good thing.”
“So we’re going to take care of those hatchlings, huh”
“That’s impossible, sister.”
Ignoring the divine armament’s hushed complaints and compared to Roland’s plain felicitations, Artanis could pick up the meaning behind this event.
If those dragon eggs do hatch without issues, the formation of a dragon rider squadron could be considered. Though it would take more than ten years to bear fruit and truly take shape after a century, it was an investment that not deal with losses and would also benefit future generations.
“Indeed, I’ve never expected them to really hatch either,” Joshua nodded agreeably. He seemed to be in a pleasant mood after the good newseven his tone was quite light. “I’ve been nonchalant about their care but they’re still hatching regardless. It proves that they are good seedlings with extraordinary health.”
A giant dragon just needs three years to quickly grow from infancy to childhood. If its body is healthy and acquires sufficient nutrients, it would leap to adolescence after five to eight years. By then it would have combat capabilities comparable to adult land dragons, with certain proficiency at spellcasting and flight.
Nevertheless, it would take decades to truly groom one into a Gold-tier adult giant dragon. As such, generations of labor as necessary for men who wish to establish a dragon rider squadron from ground-up.
The most famous dragon riders at present were the Sea Dragon Riders of the Eastern Plains, and the Order of the Celestial Knights, of the Southern Floating Island. As for the Northern Empire, even the world-renowned dragon rider Emperor Israel did not build a dragon riding platoon.
The Church of Seven Gods too had deployed dragon riders before, but they seemed to have curiously disbanded two hundred years ago. In the game of the past life, some players had apparently discovered the truth behind that incident. Joshua, however, took no notice, and as such could not recollect the reason that also seemed to have quite a few conspiracies behind it.
In spite of that, Joshua did remember something funny about the celestial knights. Having a history of over five hundred years, this huge team had over thirty adult dragons but just one single knight. Every operation of the platoon including public relations were handled by the giant dragons who assumed human form. The knight himself did not even need to fightall he had to do was care for the draconic infants.
Hence, the celestial knights were no different from a huge draconic family business, with the only unusual aspect being a human acting the part of a kindergarten nanny. And exactly because of that, they have often nicknamed the ‘Order of the Babysitting Knights’ or ‘Knights of the Menagerie’ and so forth.
When he previously learned of the fact in the past life, his entire face had a ‘so-there’s-this-kind-of-setting-too’ expression.
Even now, he could not help smiling to himself.
“Right, that’s about it for today.”
Joshua rose, preparing to return to his residence. The message had indeed been important, and he was a little impatient to head for the academy and take a look at the eggs’ condition.
Nodding slightly towards the old clergy and the holy knight, he said, “Thanks for your help, both of you. If you two did not help to guard the town when I wasn’t here, the town would have been a mess after the cultists raised a ruckus.”
Roland and Artanis stood up, too. Roland did not say a thing, while Artanis smiled and shook his head. “Miss 03 is the one you should thankher effort was much more than ours.”
Although the conversation left both sides largely enlightenedeven the holy knight had received news of his own friendsRoland remained distracted. The blond knight shook his head from to time and looked towards the south from time to time. Even if he said nothing, anyone who was not blind could tell that he was behaving differently.
Naturally, Joshua picked up on it too, which was why he parted ways with the knight with a single line.
“Go back, if you wish to.”
The warrior spoke thus, his speech ever so straightforward. “It isn’t that hard to bring it up.”
With those words, the warrior left the church room with Ling and Ying following behind.
After a pause, Roland smiled begrudging and asked Artanis, “Was I being that obvious?”
As Artanis nodded affirmatively, Roland pondered and then mumbled to himself.
“It had been due to my fickle attitude that I’ve left the Sacred Mountain and journeyed to different places. Now that I’ve cleared my mind, they are fighting against the berserk dragons”
“Really, it’s time to say goodbye.”