In Anos Abyss, the splashing waves blotted out the sky and the rain poured. Other than the Epoch itself, there was no sign of life in that region. Everything was in darkness, including the heaven and earth. Only the thunders tore through the silence.
On the surface of the sea, corpses of the sea monsters, with their bellies either facing the sky or burst opened, floated. The boiling heat from the seawater released an extreme stench as the sea water slowly turned into layers of red mist. There were miserable mourning on the surface of the sea.
However, any humongous wave calmed down sooner or later.
The attacks of the sea monsters had been nullified by the members of the expedition party sent by the church. Even the black dragon lurking in the shadows in the black shroud had been slaughtered by the warrior.
The battle had come to an end. With the command given by Robzek, the white ark once again restarted its engine. The ark began to move towards their destination again.
Their destination was in fact located in the region of the sea where Joshua and the Grundy had fought each other.
In the red mist, there were black gigantic objects drifting on the surface of the sea. It was a gigantic head of a dragon, while the others were body parts. It was pretty obvious that its limbs and its tail were torn apart by a powerful force before being cast to the sea, like garbage.
The body parts of the dragon made cracking sounds. Joshua was actually walking on the body parts of the dragon. He was stepping on the gigantic spine of the black dragon. Each step he took crushed the draconic bone beneath his feet. His red combat aura had also raised the body of the dragon as all of the magic runes that were engraved onto the bones of the giant dragon were wiped away.
The warrior walked from the dragon’s back to its throat. Every spot he passed by, the magic energy in the draconic bones of the giant dragon would drift away as the energy was turned into mesmerizing colorful lights in the clouds.
He arrived at the dragon’s head and stood between the horns. Then he spoke with a heavy tone, “Stop pretending to be dead, Grundy. I know you are still alive.”
The black dragon did not respond. Its eyes seemed dead. They appeared to be tarnished. The draconic eyes that were as shiny as crystals had turned into two pieces of purplish rocks with no sign of life in them.
The gigantic head was covered in wounds and injuries. Its jaw was smashed to pulp by a gigantic hammer. Its tongue and its tough draconic teeth were destroyed. Black blood leaked out of its half-opened mouth and tainted the sea black.
It was obvious that the dragon was already dead.
However, Joshua did not fall for it, not even by the slightest chance. He shook his arm and plunged it into the gigantic draconic horn next to the dragon’s body. He did not say a word as he exerted his strength in an attempt to pluck the entire horn from the dragon’s head.
The draconic horn that was a few meters tall was instantly broken, revealing the skull that was directly connected to it. Joshua gave the skull another heavy stomp. Instantly, large pieces of shattered skull flew into the sea with some flesh and blood.
On the head of the black dragon, a deep hole passed clean through its head.
The warrior saw that Grundy was non-responsive. He furrowed his eyebrows and reached out towards the hole on the dragon’s skull. Then, a black and red combat aura gathered on the tip of his finger and formed a light beam. Then the warrior struck that solidified light beam into the black dragon’s head through the large hole.
A layer of extremely thin Magic energy appeared before the combat aura beam but it barely interrupted the warrior from attacking its brain.
“I knew that you’re still alive.” Joshua halted his attack immediately and calmly told the brain through that black hole, “I don’t like to play games. So the next thing that’s going to happen is, I’ll ask and you’ll answer. If you obey the rules, with a good manner, I shall not destroy your soul or give you to the Church of the Seven Gods.”
Leniency to those who confess, severity to those who resist.
“Can I surrender myself?”
After staying silent for a brief moment, an old, helpless voice echoed through the warrior’s mind through spiritual presence. “I’ll tell, I’ll tell you everything as long as you spare my life”
“Cut the crap.”
Shaking his head, Joshua pointed his finger as another beam of combat aura appeared and struck Grundy’s brain. This time, the black dragon no longer had any juice left to use its magic energy to block the second attack from the warrior. Instantly, the spiritual presence in the warrior’s mind immediately dispersed. It took a while before the spiritual presence was able to gather into one piece again.
The hole in the brain stayed visible. There was a gray wriggling worm crawling around the cranial cavity. It looked just like the Dhole Worm, a sort of worm from the Dark Abyss. It was stabbed by the combat aura and looked like it was suffering. Looking closer, it looked like a large brain, it was capable of moving on its own. There was even a layer of fine black dragon scales on the worm.
Grundy, the Smoke of Death, modified itself into a half-spectral living being a long time ago. Its body had transformed into all sorts of magic equipment. It seemed that the black dragon had even modified its own brain.
“Reincarnated from the Dark Abyss but only limited to the main brain.”
After witnessing the disgusting brain, Joshua’s eyes narrowed and said, “I’m beginning to doubt it. Are you really Grundy? Or are you actually the demon from the Dark Abyss that took over the central system of Grundy’s flesh and bones?”
“So tell me,” the warrior was not too bothered by that. He looked at the bizarre-looking creature and continued, “Why did you come over to Anos Abyss? Why is a Supreme-tier black dragon, a dragon liege that is capable of raising the odd against the battle with the Church of the Seven Gods doing here? Aren’t beings like you supposed to join the battle at the Sacred Mountain? Why are you here to intercept the expedition party of the church?”
“ Because that’s the direct order of the elders. My ability is more suitable for great-scale suppression. However, my attacks will affect anyone within the range, no matter if they are friends or foes. I wound my own comrades by accident. The Church of the Seven Gods is great in cleansing negative energy. My strength will get affected very badly. I’ll not much good on the battlefield.”
The black dragon seemed to have learned how to behave obediently now. It answered the warrior’s question without leaving out any details, “Whatever happened in Anos Abyss was planned by the elders. I was sent here to work with another black dragon to guard it.”
“What plan? Why are you stopping us from going into the Great Central Whirlpool?”
“I have no idea,” the speed transmitting its words to the warrior was quick. The black dragon was worried that the warrior might misunderstand and end its life right there. “I joined when the plan was already halfway done. The mission was to cooperate with my comrade. It was in charge of the entire plan. It sent the other sea monsters and I to stop you people from approaching the Great Central Whirlpool. It did not specify the purpose.”
“Is that right?”
The warrior did not seem to try to verify whether the words were true or not. Joshua did not hesitate and immediately continued with the interrogation, “Who is your comrade? Why were there spawns of the Evil God of Famine among the sea monsters that attacked us?”
Before he even finished his words, the warrior pointed at Grundy’s head. Another beam of combat aura struck the cranial cavity of the black dragon. That combat aura beam penetrated a few layers of barriers that seemed to be summoned with some stealthy spells and some other spells that could hide a presence. That beam of combat aura went to the center of the sky and held down a Dhole Worm that was lurking in between the cracks of the skulls, trying to escape. After that, the black and red combat aura burst into flames and burnt the creature into ash and dust.
In that vague moment, the Satsui Hadou spread violently. A small part of the soul of the Dhole Worm was devoured. The spiritual presence of the black dragon faded away again. The gigantic Dhole Worm that looked like a brain in the middle of the cranial cavity and began to curl up. The warrior stared coldly at the creature and waited. After a while, Grundy finally gained consciousness.
“ You, you can actually eat my soul?!”
This time, the black dragon felt genuine fear.
As a spellcaster, the Grundy’s spiritual world was indestructible. It deeply believed that a half-baked interrogator like Joshua would never stand a chance of breaking it. Even if the true demon from the Dark Abyss tortured it, Grundy was confident that it would never reveal anything. Furthermore, the black dragon had adjusted itself. Even if its soul was completely destroyed, it would still be able to survive.
The black dragon had behaved obediently before that because it was attempting to buy some time for itself. It was waiting for an opportunity to flee. The large modified brain could split itself into many fragments. It even possessed a secondary brain that carried a fragment of its soul. That secondary brain was capable of growing on its own to turn into the complete ‘Grundy the Smoke of Death’ after its body was destroyed.
The small Dhole Worm carried a fragment of its soul that had been compromised. The only chance it had to flee was gone now. However, that was not the most important thing. The black dragon noticed that a fragment of its soul did not return to its body. Instead, it had completely vanished. It was devoured by the energy embedded within the combat aura of the warrior.
Even Grundy was not sure that its soul could still be revived after being devoured by that energy.
“I have told you. No more games and behave nicely.”
Joshua was not bothered by the black dragon’s behavior. He just warned again, “Or else, next time, more of your soul will be devoured.”
The threat went beyond death and the destruction of its soul, Grundy instantly behaved politely and obediently. It cooperated as much as it could with the warrior. It gave up a large amount of information to Joshua.
“My comrade is called Mandagar the Dragon of Death. Its name should be quite familiar to some of the elders in the land of the distant south.”
The black dragon’s spiritual wave was weakened by a lot. The speed of giving information to the warrior was three times faster than before. “Mandagar is one of my few friends. It almost died in the hands of a wielder of the Holy Blade in the distant south. I was the one who performed the ‘Soul Binding Ritual’ on it to fix its soul However, ten years ago, it disappeared into the wild and I could not contact it no matter how much I tried.”
Grundy was a little doubtful, “Evil God of Famine? What’s that? Is that some name of a liege in the Dark Abyss?” Grundy seemed to have no idea what the Evil God of Famine was.
That was actually pretty normal. Most of the people in this world did not know the names of the Evil Gods. Only a few of them who was responsible for guarding the Sealed Land like Joshua himself, and some of the powerful leaders in the Church of the Seven Gods would know about those secrets. Even though Grundy was a Supreme-tier black dragon liege in a small kingdom that was destroyed long ago, it only knew the existence of the ‘multiverses’ and ‘many other worlds’ other than the Mycroft Continent. It would only know about the Dark Abyss. It had no way of knowing the Evil Gods.
It seemed that it did not even know that its underlings ‘Desolate Predator’ was actually a spawn of the Evil God of Famine. Perhaps Grundy had mistaken it for some special demon. However, truth to be told, there was a huge difference between the demon that possessed the power of Chaos from the Evil Gods and the demons that possessed the power of pure chaos and destruction.
“Then… alright then.”
Nodding his head slightly, Joshua also understood that even though Grundy was powerful, it was not in the inner circle of the Pentashade Dragons and so, it did not know their plans. After giving it some thoughts, the warrior asked the black dragon coldly, “Why did you try to stop us from going to the Great Central Whirlpool then? Is your comrade coming here now? What is it doing right now?”
“Mandagar is performing a large-scale magic ritual at the moment. It must not be disturbed by anyone or anything. It did not even let me help. Instead, it sent us here to stop you and your people.”
The black dragon answered the question before the warrior asked. Grundy was so terrified that it did not think about whether it was alright for it to tell the warrior about it. Or perhaps Grundy already knew what the warrior wanted to ask. “And now, the Great Central Whirlpool will be blocked by a magic barrier. Mandagar will carry on with its ritual until its completion.”
Grundy had already told him everything he wanted to know. He knew that Grundy must have known nothing about the ritual. However, the black dragon was a little doubtful. “Without any reason, Mandagar’s body seems to have recovered its youth. I first thought that it had used the ‘Reincarnation Magic’ to switch to another body. But it seems a little weird The ritual that Mandagar is performing right now also seems very odd. The power of that ritual is unlike any power of any liege in the Dark Abyss. However, it is similar to an evil presence from ancient times”
Grundy reminded the warrior out of goodwill, which was an odd thing for Grundy to do to its enemy. “Right after me, there are also three more Supreme-tier daemons approaching to stop you. They move much slower than I am but I can already sense that they are nearby now.”
Joshua eyes narrowed as he already understood most of the information he acquired from Grundy. Coincidentally, the red mist had dispersed into thin air. The white holy ark was also sailing towards Joshua and Grundy.
After some thoughts, the warrior shook his head regretfully. “Unfortunately, Grundy. You did not cooperate well enough and you knew too little information. I will destroy your soul. But I will not pass you to the Church of the Seven Gods.”
The warrior was straightforward and did not hide anything from the black dragon. “You can resist, you can also attempt to flee. As a reward for answering my question, I shall give you a chance and not devour your soul.”
The warrior felt bad to go back on his own words. He gave Grundy a few moments to do whatever it wanted to do. He was hoping that the black dragon would surprise him before he took him out.
Onboard the ark.
Everyone noticed the huge corpse of the black dragon that was scattered on the surface of the sea. The dragon claw, wrapped in a mass of magic light that was floating in the sea was scooped up by the crews on the ark.
Saya’s extraordinary vision was best used in this situation. She easily found the warrior who was standing on top of the dragon’s head in the mist as she guided the ark to pick up the warrior.
As they approached Joshua, they slowed down. The red mist was instantly blown away by a powerful force. Black and red flames began to spread through what was left of Grundy.
Sparks from the red combat aura burnt the remains of the black dragon. After everything had sunken into the seawater, everyone noticed that Joshua was flying towards the ark.
The warrior landed on the deck. The big pit that he left behind after stomping the deck of the ark was extremely obvious. The black draconic girl ran towards her master in joy and lunged herself into his arms. She seemed to have the habit of licking her master’s hand. However, before she could do that, Joshua stopped herand without any reason, whenever the black draconic girl opened her mouth while she was in her human form, she would accidentally breathe out her Dragon’s Breath. Previously, the warrior chest was burnt from her breath.
The warrior responded to those who came up to him to check on him, one by one. As they were on a tight schedule, he did not tell everyone the details of the conversation with Grundy before he killed it. Everyone only knew that Joshua had gone through a tough battle before he slew the black dragon. Everyone also knew that the warrior had obtained some information from the dead dragon.
Roland eyes narrowed. He paused before asking Joshua, “So that thing is performing a ritual that’s related to the Evil God in the surroundings of the abyssal rift? What is Mandagar preparing to do? Is it trying to let the Evil God into the Dark Abyss?”
Squinting slightly at the blond holy knight, who was filled with so much hatred when he mentioned the Evil God, the warrior knew that he was actually the traitor among the humans who got influenced when he activated the dimensional door to the Dark Abyss ten years later in the past life. Although that was just a rumor, the possibility that the incident would repeat itself in this life was not really that big. No matter what it was, there was definitely something connected with that.
The warrior had doubts as well because that possibility still existed. In the past life during the invasion of the Dark Abyss, it was obvious that there was more than one Evil God involved in the conspiracy behind the incident. With just a few lieges in the Dark Abyss and a demon lord, they did not stand a chance in breaking the seal of the Sage.
Joshua patiently explained, “I can’t answer those questions. Even Grundy did not have the answers to all of your questions. So now we can only focus on what we can do. The only thing we can do now is to go to the Great Central Whirlpool as soon as we can and get rid of that black dragon.”
“That’s right,” Robzek nodded. “Even though we do not know nor do we understand those questions, we will eventually solve the problems when we destroy it.”
He was similar to the warrior in his attitudes. Saya sighed gently.
Hill and Funa were not paying attention to the conversation between the warrior and the two holy knights though. They were not interested in getting answers. The two of them were just chatting casually with each other. But no one knew what they were talking about.
Suddenly, a gigantic rune appeared in the dark clouds.
That rune was distorted and reeked of blasphemy and deprivation. It was so indifferent and obvious that everyone immediately felt its presence.
Many crews instantly knelt down and began to groan in misery when they saw the rune. Some of them covered their eyes with their palms.
The members of the ark who possessed powerful strength were not affected at all, of course. However, they looked extremely bothered. That rune carried the power of Chaos. Everyone’s hearts started to pound.
Obviously, the unknown ritual mentioned by Grundy had begun. The power that came from the outer world relied on the abyssal rift and invaded part of Anos Abyss.
Not far from that region of the sea, three powerful presences of Chaos approached the ark.
“Don’t get tangled in a long battle with them.” Joshua turned around and looked at Saya and Hill. Then he solemnly said, “Which direction is the Great Central Whirlpool?”
Saya immediately pointed her finger toward the direction. Hill focused on that waves in the ocean for a brief moment before he adjusted himself towards the right direction.
Under the command of Robzek, the Epoch once again set sail towards their destination.
However, the speed of the ark was not sufficient. Soon, a second rune appeared in the sky.
Black rubbed the warrior’s chest with her head. Joshua patted her head and frowned. Then he looked into the distance with his extraordinary vision. He could already see that the three gigantic crystalline monsters rapidly swimming towards the ark, hiding their presences in the waves. Based on their current speed, the three monsters catch up with the ark soon.
“This is not good. Allow me to give us a little push.”
After making up his mind, Joshua walked to the bow of the ark.
Combat aura flowed from his body.
Combat aura, the power of the life force, originated from a powerful body and tough will. They were just like magic energy. They contained the power to change the reality.
Because of the Azurite and the tremendous amount of daemons he slaughtered in the previous battles, the combat aura of the warrior was limitless. The combat aura exceeded the strength of a Gold-tier, or perhaps even a Supreme-tier champion. It gushed out from Joshua’s muscles, internal organs, and his bones and completely engulfed the ark.
Gradually, the entire ark that was exposed to the sea water was completely covered with a layer of crimson red combat aura. It seemed as if the other warriors on board were also using their combat aura and their swords to assist the power that engulfed the ark. However, what Joshua did was putting his combat aura over a gigantic ark that was almost two hundred meters long.
“Stand still and stand firm everyone!”
Joshua controlled his combat aura as he distributed his combat aura to every corner of the ark. His hands were crossed over his chest and his red eyes were excited and joyful as he looked into the distance. “We’re going to accelerate now.”
A strong flow of black and red combat aura exploded behind the ark, propelling the ark forward like a rocket. The ark penetrated the waves like a bullet. The speed of the ark was increased. The three Chaos daemons were instantly left behind as the ark had pulled a great distance between itself and the three monsters.
Gone with the wind and sailed through the waves.