Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
As if metals were steaming, a pungent rust odor spread and engulfed the entire bank of Magel’s Unfrozen River.
On both sides of the river, the standoff between the giant of light and the lifeforce behemoth had entered a stalemate for minutes. Since its full power blow was unexpectedly shaken off by the giant, the behemoth started to behave cautiously.
Since those bodies were intangible and were constructed from pure lifeforce, the behemoth’s layers of shells could keep on morphing incessantly. The countless tentacles would become huge appendages one moment, huge pincers the otherit was as if the behemoth was thinking what shape it should take to counter the six-armed giant before it.
In the end, the behemoth stopped entirely. Its tremendous body paused slightly before changing into lifeforce that flowed throughout the air, absorbed once more into the body of a human silhouette that had been at its core all along.
Herlas stood mid-air, his dark-green hair flowing along the lifeforce his body emanated. He stared at the giant in the distance without a shred of emotion in his gazenot even the glint of observation and pondering.
On the other end of the river, the six-armed giant also crumbled at the same time. It turned into streaks of thick veins of lifeforce, assimilating into the silhouette at its core. Like Herlas, Joshua stood mid-air, flapping his right wrist where there was a rather inconspicuous red scar.
After some time, Herlas spoke.
“You are Joshua van Radcliffe, the Dragon-slaying Liege of Moldavia.”
His voice was neither cold nor dispassionate, for that carried waves of emotion. Instead, Herlas’s voice was formed by an organic machine, without a hint of rippling emotion, but a mere statement.
“You’re stronger than the rumors and what I expected. As per the fellowship’s presets, your threat level has raised from ‘slight’ to ‘extremely dangerous’.”
As if getting it out of the way, the Supreme champion with dark-green hair voiced his thoughts plainly.
”Change of plans, killing you takes priority over exploring the ruins within Mount Mordus.“
“Oh?” Joshua did not react much to his words; he had heard such words too many times before.
“What does that mean?” The warrior asked flatly, clenching the fist that has now recovered without any problems.
It meant that the warm-up session was over.
After abandoning the lifeforce incarnation, Herlas body now disseminated life radiation. Naturally, he could bind all of it within his own body with his Supreme-tier abilities, but he had no intention to care about such trivialities.
Instead, he raised his right hand with the utmost seriousness.
The pale-white palm almost appeared to be made of crystals and ironit was virtually perfect, without a hint of a crevice or a flaw. It soon bunched into a fist, pointing at Joshua who kept quite some distance.
At the moment, Herlas’s body was still within the dark abyssal vapors, but the extremely powerful lifeforce radiation was spreading cleansing radiance, illuminating his body within the blackness. Countless dots of light gathered, forming a brilliant white radiance reminiscent of a newborn star that gathered on his fingertip.
So pure.The thought flashed across Joshua’s heart when he saw the scene. Even with the powerful threat alarm blaring in his mind, the warrior was in earnest awe of that radiance.
Such pure lifeforce condensation was just one step away from Steel Strength, was it not? Herlas was indeed, as the rumors had it, a genuine Supreme-pinnacle champion.
In the next instant, layers of radiance moved slowly, unleashing white light.
A feeble hum that was nothing more than a murmur rang. Along with it, a white ray that was so thin it almost could not be seen by the naked eye shot out from Herlas’s fingertips.
Though largely unremarkable, the ray was incomparably dazzling. Brighter than the sun itself, the entire bank of Magel’s Unfrozen River dimmed by its sheer luminosity. Apart from that, there were no shockwaves or explosions as it simply streaked towards the warrior, the extreme condensation of energies causing rippling in the space it traveled.
Joshua raised his fist in reply.
Concentrated lifeforce gathered and combusted over the steel fist that was even more formidable than iron itself, changing into a bunch of black fluorescence. The incredible strength unleashed radiance tooit churned with horrendous heat, as if it was the real sun itself.
Facing the silent pale-white ray that caused oscillation in space itself, the warrior did not waste half an ounce of strength to cry out. He solemnly clenched his fist, and punched out forcefully at the terrifying ray that kept closing in
In that very instant, a vein of intense red luster expanded sharply!
First, there was silence, and then came the ear-splitting crash.
Socrasson, who was in the thicket somewhere in the distance, hurriedly threw himself over his own apprentice when he saw it, using his body as a shield to protect the youth. Even then, he could sense the apocalyptic reverberation, contorting his expression as he felt his brain tremble. Violent shockwaves bombarded his body one tide after another, forcing the knight to cry out in painful grunts.
Meanwhile, in the dead center of the far away Magel River, one white and one red piercing radiance was colliding head-on. Neither were caving. Endless bolts flashed around them, and the water that once flowed in the Unfrozen River were instantly vaporized into nothingness under exposure to temperatures that far exceeded the sun’s own. The sand and pebbles beneath the river and banks too turned to ash, fragment into the smallest shards.
A second detonation was heard. This time, where the two radiances struck, an invisible wave unfurled wildly, cutting Magel’s Unfrozen River cleanly in half and blasting a huge crater that was hundreds of meters in diameter. Everything within was pulverized by the flawless lifeforce into lava.
Then, a ball of light swiftly expanded, before shattering into energy shards across the entire sky.
In the next instance, perhaps due to a mistaken estimation of each other’s energy output, both men were left staggered by the incredible explosion caused by the condensation of their energythe Light of Life explosion, and blown off diagonally towards the other direction.
The white rays blasted out in a straight trajectory towards the endless distance like a white scar that stretches out for over a thousand meters, bringing a distinct illumination for the world. It easily penetrated the hills and peaks in its way as if they were mere thin sheets of white paper.
The very next moment it diagonally cut across one particular summit, a dazzling golden scar of magma briskly appearing over it. Afterward, the entire colossal peak above the scar tilted and slipped to the earth below, thus parting the clouds above just like scissors cutting through cloth.
Still, the red-black light and the white light were starkly different. It carried streaming heat that melted iron and slowly moved towards the distance, creating ceaseless sounds of explosion, the scorching windstorm even melting the snowy earth several kilometers away and bringing back the parching heats of summer.
The radiance itself plummeted from on high, crashing down on a frozen pool beside the river. An infinite steam rose in the shape of a cloud curtain that connected heaven and earth as it rose high above. Within the cloud pillar, the black red radiance swelledstreaks of bolts flashing around it.
Meanwhile, around Mount Mordus that was quite some distance away, personnel gathered from eight factions was battling against the Cult of Pestilence members that had completely transformed.
Before they had morphed their bodies, the cultists only possessed abilities ranging from higher Silver to Silver-pinnacle powers, with Randall the Priest being the only Gold-tier individual. However, after completing the transfiguration of the Corrupted Spider-Demon and the Giant Abyssal Beetle, every single one of them broke through their own threshold of power.
The eight factions include the prefectural government of Moldova, the Skypiercing White Tower, the Imperial Royal Mage Guild, the Eye of Kaiser, the Bladed Wyvern Mercenaries, the Blue Shield Mercenaries as well as the Bucktooth Adventurers’ Guild. The seventeen Gold champions and their followers of every single one of those factions were now fighting against these unusual monsters with bursting powers. Each spider-demon could utilize vast amounts of Silver-tier combat prowesswith the stronger ones especially needing the powers of a Gold-tier champion.
Nonetheless, the most difficult opponent was the Giant Abyssal Beetle that Randall had morphed into.
The insect monster was tens of meters tall and its shell was sturdier than metal. Even Gold-tier champions would not break through its defenses in a hurry, and right now the gargantuan abomination was charging around like a tank, the appendages that were its feet leaving deep tracks into the ground and soil.
Brandon and several other Gold-tier champions were battling against the Giant Abyssal Beetle. The blond swordsman brandished his dual swords and swung both calmly on the monster’s body. Both blades were sacred items, therefore easily breaking through the armor’s shell, dealing realistic damage and prompting a painful wail.
With his powers, Brandon could handle the Giant Abyssal Beetle alone. However, the battlefield beneath Mount Mordus was not his aloneas evident of the Moldovan Knights who were engaged against the spider-demons. While the abyssal beetle could act negligent towards its own comrades, Brandon could not, and had to do everything to kept the opponent where it was.
Vale Dani too was fighting rather restrictedly. She was a war mage, proficient at terrifying spells that could shatter cities and mountains with a single strike. As such, using those spells on a melee skirmish would essentially mean self-destruction, which was why the violet-haired mage could only stand behind the blond swordsman while constructing magic circles.
From those formations, golden crystals formed from elemental power floated behind Vale Dani, periodically shooting more than ten razor-sharp beams, intending to pin down the Giant Abyssal Beetle.
Despite his transformation into a monster, Randall the Priest did not lose his intelligence and could even use spells. With a loud roar, a circle of impure halos appeared around the beetle’s body, devouring every beam Vale Dani unleashed. Then, as it were a gigantic steel tank, it dashed straight for the violet-haired mage.
Vale Dani did not dodge. She was still a Gold-tier mage even if she could not use the combat spells she was adept at. Layers of walls formed from mana started to build up in the airit appeared that she wants to block the monster’s charge directly.
However, her entire body suddenly shuddered, her hand motion stopping instantly. The Gold-tier swordsman let out an angry bellow at the sight, and leaped like a flash of lightning, grabbing her into his arms and quickly leaving where she was.
The charging Giant Abyssal Beetle too stop in its tracks for an unknown reason, even turning back and running away with urgently without hesitation.
In the very next moment, a pale-white ray cut across the atmosphere, splitting apart where Vale Dani and the Giant Abyssal Beetle had been, cutting diagonally into Mount Mordus.
After several heartbeats, a tremendous boom reverberated as the not-too-grand-or-tall Mount Mordus was split apart cleanly by the ray. As the men and aberrations watched, bits of lava slipped down from the opening, while a cavern that leads deep underground appeared before everyone’s eyes in the heart of the mountain just like that.
The entrance to the ancient ruins had been opened!
Everyone including the Blasphemous Spider-Demons did not know who released the supremely hazardous ray that easily cut through the summit, although it did not affect the shifting thoughts in their hearts.
Only Brandon and Priest Randall looked towards the direction the ray had been shot from, both at the same time. A pair of human eyes and the giant beetle’s six pairs of observation orifices glinted with the same expression of astonishment.
“High Priest Herlas!”
The pair had felt the same thing: the exchange of blows that trembled the very earth in the distance, the dreadful tidal rippling of lifeforce that was sent here only now. The hearts of every Gold-tier champion present leaped, a chill rising up their spines.
Far off, over the two riverbanks of the Magel, the two men were still at a standstill as they bombarded each other with lifeforce.
A boiling killing intent shrouded Joshua’s like a layer of magma. He narrowed his eyes, the crimson gaze scanning his opponent’s energy flow and weakness.
His relative ease of glimpsing the weaknesses of Supreme-tier giant dragons in the past notwithstanding, that ability of his seemed to be completely useless now unlike before. Right then, Herlas’s body was engulfed with a lifeforce shield as solid as the lithosphere itselfit was not without weakness, but even the weakest link could only be penetrated with Joshua’s full strength.
Such was the advantage of keen attention to detail. Even if the warrior did step through several worlds and massacred daemons in a frenzy, it did not compare to the opponent’s accumulation that came bit by bit. Herlas was rich in power and possessed artistry in manipulating it. Even if it could not be called perfect, it would still be without flaw.
And right now, the most fearsome opponent the warrior had yet to face before suddenly spoke.
“The ruins have been unlocked.”
Even after the strenuous battle, Herlas’s voice remained emotionless. He turned towards the direction of Mount Mordus and said dispassionately, “As expected, ‘Its’ shard is right there, but the seal is still sturdy.”
The warrior who was still in an impasse against the cultist high priest could not help but flinch, his lightning reflexes allowing him to reflect on the meaning behind the other’s words.
“Right, the Pawprint Lake” He said, realizing with a start. “This was a battlefield for the Glorious Era against the Evil Gods and the demons, so how could there be ruins here!That’s it, it’s a sealed shard of some Evil God or Abyssal Sovereign that resides below Mount Mordus! No wonder your kind had been scheming in the Northern Lands, never giving up even after taking such huge losses!”
The train of thought quickly reached where it was intended. Only the other factions who were unclear about the truth would believe that the lower reaches of Mount Mordus contained Glorious Era ruins!
Despite that, Herlas did not keep up the conversation, and turned to fix his gaze on Joshua. Then, the Supreme-pinnacle champion who was a step away from Legendary had the slightest change in expression.
“Your lifeforce is the most substantial one I had ever come across,” he said, his brow slightly wrinkled as if in distaste. “My ability to consume is actually useless Joshua, you were a good opponent. To fight against you gave me a little corroboration of my path.
“It’s a pity, but now.”
Before he finished speaking, Herlas’s body suddenly emitted a black halo, his body swiftly expanding along with it.
This was not the materialization of lifeforce, but enlargement at its purest meaning!
In just that small period of time, the cultist high priest’s body had become a colossal cluster, an unnamable beast of indeterminate form. The moment it touched the ground it started to fuse with it, river and pebbles being assimilated by units of ten tons.
Be it organic or inorganic, solid or liquid, all was being digested by the monster that Herlas had turned into.
Joshua inhaled deeply. Even he had been left shocked by his opponent’s move that was unprecedented. But even as he mustered his energy and prepared to strike this sea cucumber or minced meat or whatever the unnamable beast really was, its body suddenly flashed with innumerable dark-green radiance.
Those were eyeballs and compound eyes that never seemed to stop whirling. Compactly arranged next to each other, they were a scene straight out of a nightmare.
As the dark-green globes kept jittering madly, rays of solidified Light of Life shot out from within, striking with a focus on Joshua who could not evade in time, freezing him where he was. In the next second, a hefty tentacle shot out of the titanic beast, dragging the entire body of the warrior into its stomach.