Unlike the treasury of noble families, the warehouse of the Church of Seven Gods was true to its name.
In the vast rectangular underground space were countless tightly arranged black steel containers, keeping different items apart just like a typical cargo port.
The Church knight in the lead activated a divine spell circle, illuminating the dark warehouse in pyroxene white instantly.
Pyroxene was an unusually common translucent crystal on the Mycroft Continent. It looked utterly normal, but once it was injected with energy, it would emit an almost-blinding cold light, and thus became the go-to lighting tool for all races.
It was also so easily available that even peasant families hat one or two irregular pyroxene stones. They would charge them by placing them under the sun by then, and the stones would bring light by night.
Naturally, the pyroxene used by the Church in the underground fortress was not of that cheap make. The white light was brilliant but does not hurt the eyes, and with the flashing holy runes, it even emitted a scent of divinity.
Since Joshua had already mentioned that he wanted to get to Zone 3, the escorting knight never stopped as they made a beeline for the designated location. On the way, the warrior simply swept his gaze across the surroundings.”
Halfway through, the middle-aged knight suddenly spoke, “My liege. Although it’s impolite, the Church has to admit that some of us clergies had troubled you.”
Because he was wearing a half-enclosed helmet, the knight’s voice was a little low and sulky, carrying a shred of echo in the empty vault.
But Joshua could hear the earnestness in his voice. Unable to help it, he turned and asked in a rather puzzled manner, “What sort of trouble? The Church’s hospitality to all guests has always been so praiseworthy. I feel that this place is quite nice too.”
The warrior was saying nothing but the truth. Although clergies tend to seem a little distant or behave awkwardly because of their teachings, most of them were good people. Even the kind and honest on a secular level could never understand the power of the Sacred Light.
Therefore, living with these people was not that bad.
Hearing Joshua’s praise, the knight straightened a little as if in pride. But he soon shook his head. “Not that” he said, his voice rather chagrined. “It’s about those rumors, my liege.”
“Rumors?” Joshua’s raised his brow as he waited for an answer.
“Yes, the rumors that are spreading in the circles of intermediate-ranked clergies.” The knight replied in a somber voice, pausing a while to consider his words. “Many are calling you out that you’re here only to quench your bloodlust and desire to fight.”
“Hold on.” Joshua blinked, his brow furrowing. “What did you say?”
“Apologies! But many still believed it since if it wasn’t for that, no Imperial Noble would come to risk their neck even if the reward was greater. In the end, this place is quite some distance from the Empire, and the frontline of the draconic plague.”
At that, the knight stopped in his tracks, turned around and bowed deeply at Joshua. “Sorry! It’s a neglection of our duty to let such rumors to spread.”
“Ah Hmm.” The warrior was dumbfounded, his face a bizarre expression. “Right, I am a little uncomfortable, but they’re not really”
“But I know those are nonsense!” The warrior cut him short as he stood upright, straightening his waist plate. He clenched his right fist before his chest in rage over the matter, and spoke clearly, “My liege, though your appearance is like malevolence itself, you have been extraordinarily kind and do not behave arrogantly like most nobles do.”
“No, please hold on a moment.”
“My liege, you’re undoubtedly a man free of mortal pleasures! A great man!” Although the knight’s expression was behind the helmet, he must have been very emotional.
“You must have come here to rescue the innocent citizens of the Far South, and had left home and country to stop the dragons here at the Sacred Mountain. To think that those scandalmongers would not understand such simple things, and intentionally sully your name”
Joshua muted out whatever the knight said next. Occasionally, some words like ‘trust in the Sacred Light’, ‘Hero of Justice’ or ‘Exemplary Noble and Lord’ escaped through the filter but he muted those out too. It was only when the knight started to calm a little that he spoke.
“Right. Let’s put those aside for the moment, and please lead the way to Zone 3.”
“Yes, my liege!”
Hearing his request, the knight who clearly worshipped the warrior stopped talking and returned to his journey.
As the journey resumed, Joshua could not sigh internally.
Lately, he had indeed been helping the Church of Seven to fight against the dragons. It was not curious that such gossip would appear no thanks to his gory fighting methods and negative charm. After all, followers of the Holy Light never lie and their guesses did have a basis.
Still, such rumors would disappear from Joshua’s mind in days. But it shocked him to find out that he had an admirer despite such ‘charm’. It was unbelievable!
That, of course, was also Joshua being a little too humble. For the many knights of the Faith, a Supreme-tier warrior who could reach that threshold was a genius amongst geniuses.
Even the more conceited would admit that such ability would be humbling for the masses. And yet, this talented and genuine noble of the Northern Empire, a man destined to become a Legendary champion, willingly left his territory to aid the Church at the Sacred Mountain and assist the entire Far South to hold the dragons back.
If this spirit was not virtuous, then virtue did not exist at all. To the middle-aged knight, that was the way of the Sacred Light.
Joshua was still deep in thought when the two arrived at Zone 3..
Most of the fortress were linked. Zone 3 was located near to the center, holding most items produce from the Church’s alchemical research made from divine spells.
The moment Joshua stepped in, he quickly observed that the security measures here were clearly far tighter than those that guard rations and normal weapons at the outer perimeter.
Although there were still metallic containers and black wooden racks, there were also divine circles of anti-dust, anti-dampness and other divine circles that quarantined the store from elemental corrosion. The runes from the formations were flashing, and outside the steel frames was a translucent crystalline energy shield, barely visible under the pyroxene illumination.
It turned out that the middle-aged knight was also in charge of this particular zone of the warehouse. He knew all about the items here and had slowed down as he described every treasure that was stored in the rack.
To Joshua’s right were twenty energy cores used to power Silver-pinnacle divine puppets. Produced by the Church, the reputation of their technology stands shoulder-to-shoulder with that of the mages of the Eastern Plains.
This meant that they were a notch above that of other major powers, and at the very least, the Empire could not mass-produce combat puppets of the same quality. Each of their core was also priced above eight thousand Far South gold piecesenough to but a small manor in the suburban areas.
It should be noted that if a typical silver-tier fighter does not risk their life hunting daemons and work as a city guard for a year, they would only earn two to three hundred gold. Furthermore, one hold set is worth a hundred and six thousand goldenough to arm two thousand troops to the teeth.
Nonetheless, that did not capture Joshua’s attention. Ignoring the fact that his domain already had runic factories, Miss 03 would one day be able to mass-produce enchanted puppets. Additionally, being Silver-tier is a little awkwardthe warrior’s subordinates do not lack firepower, although there is the glaring absence of a Gold-tier character to bring up the rear.
Since the four major districts of the North was located near the Dark Forests ice plains, there were already hundreds of Silver knights after long days of battle. If the city guards and every civilian reserve conscript were taken into account, each district would have thousands of Silver-tier heroes.
That, of course, was because the North is sparsely populated, lack resources and the many casualties left in the wake of the Dark Tide.
Many Silver and no Gold. It would take seven to eight years for Winter Fort Academy to grow the batch of elites studying there right now. But when that time finally comes the warrior would be thirty going on forty. It was even worse for the dragon knightseven with accelerated growth, Joshua would become a grandfather by the time the dragons matured.
Noting Joshua’s disinterest, the knight quick turned and started to talk about alchemical produce.
The Church’s technological reserves did not lose out to the major factions too. Even the Eastern Plain mages whose eyes are only fixated upon the pinnacle would not outdo them outrightly. In fact, the Church’s alchemical standard are among the top three on the continent, capable of building fortress deep beneath the sea and propel it with divine spells to hunt underwater behemoths.
It was hence almost regretful that the Church’s alchemical style varies greatly from the mages of the East. For the former, most of their creation were gigantic war machines that require many clergy crewmen to make it move. As for the White Tower, although they did design War Colossus they tend to focus on miniaturization as well as making it cost-effective for mass production purposes.
That was why Joshua shook his head at the knight. It was not as if the items were lackingthey just do not suit his purposes.
On the containers elementals that are active within a ten-kilometer range, the ‘Crystalline Core of Elemental Resonance’ that could help detect magic, as well as the stealthy ‘Aura of Purification’ that also cleanses an area of hundreds of kilometers with sunlight or ionization.
All of them were true treasures but were simply too large. Their cores alone were tens of meters tall, and the Church would have to send hundreds of specialists to produce spare parts locally. Piecing together would take the larger part of half a year.
The knight understood that it was not realistic too, and simply give up after a few brief words while the warrior patiently looked around.
It was fortunate then, that he soon found something of interest.
“Floating halo” Upon glimpsing at the object made from crystals and steel that resembled something out of science fiction, Joshua quickly turned towards the knight. “What is that for?”
“That?” The knight looked up at the gigantic halo that was over ten meters in diameter, pondering for a moment. “It should be a supporting accessory fitted onto huge steel puppets. Since most divine puppets are unable to flylarger ones even more sosome of the clergy though about making them capable of flight…”
“It was an utter failure. Instead of making more parts it was better to put some floating spells on the puppets. It saved on materials too. Of course, the halo could allow users to take into the air, but it was too big and costs too much.”
The knight made a baffled expression. “My liege,” he reminded kindly. “You’re a Supreme champion; you don’t need it to take flight. Even if you want a flying mount, I would still recommend carving circles of flight and not this The power output is powerful enough to levitate your residenceto use this on carriages is sheer overkill.”
Joshua knew that the knight was right too. The halo was an object that was a waste to be dumped and meaningless in usage. Even tanks and cannons would not need it. Floating fortresses or battleships, on the other hand, had circles carved on it and does not need extra accessories.
Still, how should he put this there was a flightless sea dragon in his house! Even Joshua himself became a little annoyed at that though.
Riding a domineering dragon was the dream of any man, which was why his efforts made since the start to awaken Black’s blood inheritance was not to make her the cannon she was nowbecause who knew Black was a sea dragon that has wings but was flightless!
At Anos, Black had performed well by fending off sea beasts and deciphering the oceanic flow. However, the fact that she was flightless dealt a huge blow.
Dragons are powerful because they could suddenly drop down from the skies spewing dragon breath and magicjust like Mandagar did. If it had not been necessary for it to protect the Chaos Rune, the crystal dragon could have killed Joshua by kiting alone.
Black’s dragon breath was powerful too. Even Joshua would not dare to take one blow if he did not prepare for it.
So, the only flaw was she could not fly. But now, with this thingperhaps she could?
Joshua noted this down at the thought in his list of picks.
Suddenly, a severe tremor shook the floor the warrior stood upon.
“What’s happening?” The knight beside him was surprised, and looked up at the swinging pyroxene lights. “Earthquake?”
“No,” Joshua shook his head calmly as if he expected it. “Just like Pope Igor had thought, it’s been brought forward.”
“What? What’s been brought forward?”
“The assault,” Joshua replied dispassionately, before turning and walking towards the exit of the warehouse. “The Pentashade Dragons are making their final push.”
The pair made it out of the warehouse along the sturdy stone passageway out of the underground fortress in the company of ringing sirens.
Like them, many clergies were heading for the surface, while others who were incapable of combat calmly remained in the fortress awaiting orders for their next move. It was a procedure practiced in drills for countless times.
The underground fortress was augmented by divine runic spells. As long as the Sacred Mountain does not crumble, there was no chance of the fort caving in. Even earthquakes would not harm its integrity.
Meanwhile, Joshua had left the fort and exited the doorway of the Altar that led to the surface.
He looked toward the sky and the seas.
Clouds of gloom were gathering and stormy air currents were billowing tidal waves after tidal waves. The horizon was now concealed by darkness. Lightning danced and thunder rumbled, as colossal shadows weaved in and out between the clouds.
Everything came as expected.
Starfall Year 833, 26th of August, a night of torrential rains and angry gales.
The Pentashade Dragons finally attacked the Sacred Mountain of the Seven.