Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
When the dragons on the western zone of the Gray Island fled, the other dragon factions turned, intending to retreat after losing just one of their flanks.
More than ten minutes later, the swarm retreated to the darkening clouds with scattered wails due to the very presence of a certain powerful warrior.
And thus the fifth dragon ambush of the day ended without much fuss, and the skies were clear again.
Right now, the priests who had been activating summoning ceremonies were healing the many injured crew members beside the Epoch.
After charging into the Abyss and engaging the crystal dragons in battle later, the ark had been struck several times. Weaker crew fainted, not regaining consciousness just yet. There were also some truly unlucky ones who got caught by the scouts as well as the brain-eating parasites Nolan slipped into their food and water.
Unlike the powerful scouting team, they did not have the ability to withstand the parasite’s damage. Even with the Church trio’s emergency rescue quite a number of crew members were in critical condition and required an emergency operation.
But all these matters did not concern Joshua’s party within the central altar zone. After chasing off a large portion of the draconic assault through their sheer majestic presence, they quickly received a message from the Church.
Pope Igor was at the summit of the Sacred Mountain, awaiting Joshua’s arrival.
The silent Steel Elemental, 01whose method of communication were just buzzing noisesheld the still-slumbering Black underneath its armpit. It was also carrying the Divine Armament twins on both its shoulders as they followed Joshua.
Led by a young priest, they quickly headed up the mountain.
Along the way, the procession walked past several abandoned towns. Those had been the living quarters for the clergies living around the sacred mountain, but they moved to the garrison surrounding the altar that was far more secure.
Still, some altars at the outskirts such as the thirteen western costal temples were basically deserted. If not for the Epoch being constructed in that area and being set as the default teleporting axis, they would never have been activated.
The Sacred Mountain was a grand sight to behold. Anyone looking towards it could see the mountain body that glows with pure white light, with countless huge temples were built around it.
Under the guidance of the trembling and somewhat mobility-challenged young priest, the moody Joshua arrived at the first defense line of the central temple encirclement, his face dark.
With prior notice, the clergies stationed here did not stop Joshua and the rest. However, there were a few knights who had less self-restraint who unsheathed their swords the moment they saw Joshua, but since it was self-defense instinct the warrior did not become enraged by it.
In fact, Joshua did not react much even when there were clearly suspicious comments and exclamations that include ‘Demon!?’, ‘Why would a human have an Aura of Despair” or “Is he a demonic dragon in human form?”
Of course, he had also been poring over his system panel, not quite paying attention to the meaningless chatter.
[You’ve slain the Demonic Sea Dragon of the AbyssShadra the Corruptor]
[You’ve slain the Black Dragon of the UnderworldDeath Smoke Grundy]
[You’ve reached the thirty-first level of the Abyss the Blood Moon]
[You’ve slain an Agent of the FamineCrystal Demon Dragon Mandagar]
[You’ve destroyed a large-scale Chaos Ceremony of RecombinationOverlapping Realms]
[You’ve completed a Legendary missionThe Dark Moon!]
[You’ve made an achievementStaring into the Abyss]
[You’ve returned safely from the Abyss, proving that no hostile environment could stop you. You’re now thirty percent more resistant against any malevolent attribute, and several times the resistance growth.]
Having resistance against malevolent attributes meant cutting down the speed of special corrosive air in the Abyss, Chaos planes or any other planes, for that matter.
Be it corruption from the Abyssal breath, Chaos Forces or the Four Great Elements all would be weakened. To some extent it was a general resistant empowerment.
Demons possessed heightened mystical powers, and because of that they had a natural resistance that allowed them to adapt to any environmentand would survive for a certain period even in voids or the absence of air.
Joshua nodded approvingly at his new attribute. At least this was way more useful than that elven affection thingamajig last timehe never even met an elf since leaving Illgner and returning to Mycroft either! Still, it was fine since they would probably be alert and nervous like the clergies around him right nowthey seem to need tremendous courage to even level their gazes at him.
Either way, aside from divinity, the adventure in the Abyss may have been dangerous but it was far more rewarding than that one in Illgnerhe almost died then too!
Joshua then turned to his own character card.
[Name: Joshua van Radcliffe]
[Designation: Destroyer of a Hundred Races (Unlocked by slaying a hundred different existences)]
[Race: Human ???]
[Race Special Skill: Divinity (?)]
[Level: LV 63, Upper Middle-phase of Extreme-tier]
[Challenge Level: LV59 (Hero)]
Joshua let out a strange noise when he saw the part about charm. He had already been jaded by those devastatingly low numbersit was lucky that he did not kill many monsters this time and did not made it plummet any further.
His biggest contribution was perhaps destroying the Chaos Ritual and get the reward from killing those demonic dragons, as well as reversing the Chaos curse.
Usually after massacring swarms of daemons, adventurers would tend to gain much honors. That in turn led to praises of glory and curses of resentment cancelling each other, causing charm to either increase or decrease slowly. However, Joshua’s own charm had dropped like a meteor no thanks to a curse, probably punching through the lower limit record in Mycroft’s history too.
As Joshua prepared to keep reading the other statuses in his own character card, the system suddenly blurred.
That feeling was indescribable. The system screen appears in the warrior’s mind and was projected to his eyeswhich meant that it was a change in spirit for him too. It felt like a thought about to be forgotten.
But it had happened for a brief moment. Even Joshua could not be certain that it was just an illusion since he did not use the system much and was not clear on how it usually behaved.
He could only frown at the phenomenon while taking a note the weird change before continue reading his character card.
Since his inherence, class, statuses and skills were simply too many and did not change much, he skipped a few pages to look at the new special buffs that were added.
[Silent Destroyer: You will cause extreme distress for a selected race every day, and damage inflicted upon the corresponding race will increase with large marginslasts for three days.]
[No words are needed for the slaughter, just the movement of the arms.]
[The Mute Rampager: Ignore spells or special abilities of combatants who are two-tiers lower (Current highest tier ignored: Silver-tier middle phase)]
[The rampager never gives a fart about the counter-attacks of the weak.]
Description: Your name and deeds has spread across the seas. Rulers of the land would note your voice and peasants who lived deep within the ancient forests would hear of your exploits. Your reputation alone has gain you a place carved deep in the Mycroft’s history books.
The moment he read it, Joshua could not help turning to look at Ling and Ying who still sat on Unit 01’s shoulders. Idling, the silver-haired girl simply swung her legs.
On the other end, the black-haired youth surveyed the scenery around with interest, as if observing the layout of the Sacred Mountain’s defenses. Black, who was still held under Prim’s armpit remained asleep. Its eyelashes were slightly moving, as if dreaming.
The two extra buffs were unique abilities the divine armament siblings possessed. As their Master, Joshua would receive their power as long as their blood contract was not nullified.
But no matter how one looked at it, these powers does not bear a hint of relation with positive vocabulary like ‘justice’ or ‘hero’ more bad news, perhaps?
Crisply ignoring notifications of those like, Joshua turned off the character panel.
They had now reached the foot of the Sacred Mountain, the entrance and exit towards the Great Altar on the peak. The passageway was built within a plain stone temple, which they enteredled by the young priest.
Pyroxene lights on the walls illuminated the passageway, decorating the simple altar with a shred of holiness.
Unlike the environment outside that was covered by clouds of gloom, the interior of this altar was filled with a fresh and gentle air current that kept blowing incessantly and purifies the air around. A stony arch stood by where the gateway was, and the end was a long flight of stairs that stretches on to the pinnacle.
There was not many patrolling guards and clergy around, but any who they bumped into was at least a formidable Gold-tier champion.
“‘The Grand Altar of Compassion’ is one of the oldest temples of the Church of Seven Gods. It was once the God of Life’s altar, later renovated into the gateway towards the peak of the Sacred Mountain.”
The young priest had slowly gotten used to Joshua’s suffocating pressure along the way. Although he still did not dare to stare into the warrior’s eyes, his speech was not so choppy anymore.
“My Liege, I can only send you to this point,” he said while staring solemnly at a wall on the other side. “Ordinary clergies cannot simply enter the Sacred Mountain without permissions from the bishops.”
“Understood. Many thanks,” Joshua replied, not missing the flutter from the blond priest after hearing his voice. One way or the other, this was not the time for him to mind the little thingsthe guardian clergies had parted and made way for him.
Without any hesitation, the warrior entered the arch and walked past the passageway.
In seconds, the stately white mountain appeared before them.
As if a sword, it pierced deep into the cloud layers. Low booms of thunders rang midway through the peak, while strokes of lightning were visible. The stony stairs were a long chain that stretches on and on windingly past many gray archways underneath the storm.
“Path of the Fiery Blade.” Joshua murmured softly and turned to give the quiet Unit 01 a kind reminder. “Keep close. This place has many dimensional maze locks, you will get lost easily.”
“Buzz-buzz-buzz.” Unit 01 emitted its usual reply which the warrior never quite understood. That being said, it had been contributed greatly to their fight against the Abyss this time.
The Steel Elemental hid the party’s unconscious bodies and awakened Hill, so that Robzek could help Joshua demolish the Chaos runes. If not for its actions, the battle would not have gone so smoothly for them.
Without question, the Steel Elemental was an intelligence beyond comprehension.
Thus, Joshua made up his mind to get Miss 03 to give it one majestic alteration once they returned to Moldavia. It would definitely be happy.
As they quickly journeyed on towards the summit, Joshua and the Divine Armaments did not meet any resistance. This was, of course, thanks to the warrior’s Azurite, along with the sibling’s holy protection they gained after soaking in the sacred light at the Holy Hall.
Occasionally, statues of the Seven Gods would appear on both sides of the Blade of Fire. They had an unusual presence, and Joshua would not be able to identify it before this, but he could now identify a shred of divine attribute in those sacred objects. Perhaps they tether the power of the Seven.
While not a believer, Joshua had respect for these awe-inspiring existences that watched over man’s civilization. According to Father Nature and Ogner, they never idled after the Apocalypse, and kept protecting the development of civilization for over a millennium. Having learned of such incredible feats, any individual would stop and show their appreciation.
Not long after they had negotiated past the Sacred Items of the Seven, the warrior and the rest walked past the clouds, vapors and lightning to the pinnacle, to the temple shone upon by the sun, moons, and stars at any given time.
There were many guards wearing white robes with golden stripes by the doorway to the Altar. They were given pause when they saw Joshua, before saluting him solemnly, their iron boots ringing dully as they moved apart to let them enter the inner cloister of the Altar.
To these clergy with rock-solid will, the variance in charm levels of different humans were like the differences between pebblesit meant nothing. As such, they did not feel a hint of fear against Joshua, whose charm was a notch below rock bottom.
At most, it meant a normal physical reflex.
The warrior nodded to them in return, and entered.
‘The lonely sun, twin moons, endless stars, the Thousand-Year Plains, only the Light prevails eternally.’
The warrior glimpsed the holy words carved upon the awe-inspiring arch leading to the temple as the party walked towards the very edge of archway.
Reaching the heart of the temple, he found an elderly man wearing a crown of sacred silver, whose hand held a pure-white scepter of power.
Pope Igor, who had been gazing out from a window, lowered his head. He watched Joshua closely, his eyes sweeping across his entirely before finally resting on his chest.
“Count Joshua van Radcliffe.” The aged man said kindly, looking up and staring into his eyes. “Greetings. We meet again.”
“Greetings, Your Holiness.” Joshua nodded as a simple courtesy towards the real Pope of the Church who was not a projection this time. Afterward, he quickly returned to his usual self. It was a habit from his adventuring days of receiving missionshe never chatters.
“Why did you call for me?” he asked curtly.
“Perhaps you don’t know,” the Pope smiled slowly, once again not quickly answering his question. “The Epoch’s design and construction are all done by meevery spell was carved into it by my hand.”
Lifting an eyebrow in curiosity, Joshua was curious as to why Igor would do the enchanting of the sacred ark since he was the Pope. However, he quickly understood when he realized that the destination was the Abyss, although it still did not explain why he would talk about this right now.
Was it to reveal his struggles? Indeed, the ark had been severely damaged in the expedition. But the old man wouldn’t be calling him here for such a trivial matter, would he?
Igor, meanwhile continued, “Luminous Flame Seed is my discovery after years of research. Its intention is to switch Holy Light and Positive Energy to form the purest shield of Order power, and suppress the corruption of the Abyss and the Breath of Chaos. It’s the core plan for the Church after decades.”
Then, the Pope flashed a weird smile. “I’ve also put in a Circle of Observation in the formation itselfalthough I’m a little ill-at-ease about it. That was why the moment the Ark left the Abyss and returned to the Gray Island, I know of your experience in this expedition.”
Joshua nodded, not quite minding it for it would have been abnormal otherwise. “It’s normal,” he replied. “It spares me or Robzek and friends from making reports.”
What you see is what you getthe warrior has always behaved that way.
Still, the Pope froze briefly and frowned in notable distress. “Joshua Don’t you have any afterthoughts?” He asked, as if testing him.
Sensing his solemn tone, the warrior turned serious too and lifted his brow. “Excuse me but what sort of afterthought would Your Holiness like to know?”
“Divinity,” the Pope said crisply with a sigh. “Although it’s shocking, but your body has divine power given form now.”
“Joshua, I can’t be as calm as youthis is an incredibly serious matter.”