Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
As if a squirming darkness, the tentacle that spread a pungent scent of rot blanketed heaven and earth as it surged towards the warrior.
Staring at the scene, Joshua’s expression did not change even after being bound by hundreds of life radiation. He allowed the tentacles to wrap around him, and to be swallowed into Herlas’s stomach.
Before the cultist high priest had unchained himself from his physical form and revert to his true Chaos beast form, a foreboding sensation had flashed through the warrior’s heart. Reality soon turned out to be exactly what he imaginedHerlas did use his own gigantic body, intent on gulping him down into its body.
Since that was the case, it was only right for Joshua to beat Herlas at his own body.
The direct skirmishes between him and Herlas had been stalematesthe warrior had even been losing out a little. Now, he could find his breakthrough by catching the enemy unawares from within, in turn raising his chances of winning. Therefore, the warrior did not put up much resistance after activating the energy protection around his body, and simply allowed himself to be devoured.
A curious black substance was rubbing against Joshua’s lifeforce barrier over his body incessantly. As both repelled and corroded each other a series of explosions was raised, but the vicious shockwaves did not destroy the layer of seemingly weak flesh. It simply bloated, formed a huge bubble, and soon returned to its original form as if it was never gone.
“This corrosive power would need tens of hours to break through my lifeforce barrier.”
Although Joshua believed that strengths, physicality, and techniques that were created by relying on others would hamper his own improvement and development in powers, it did not mean that he would comprehensively give up on them. In truth, the warrior often took the essence of those techniques and applied it, tailored in the way he fought.
For example, the life energy blast he and Herlas threw at each other contained at least thirty of the warrior’s core technique in condensed energy implosion. And now, the lifeforce barrier he was using around him was a hybrid of more than ten defense skills, including [Heat Haze Empowerment], [Tidal Surge], and [Steel Energy Barrier]. It could effectively hold off every influence that was not lifeforce, holding against and cleansing most curses and debuffs, while also adding boosts that were almost akin to the power of gods.
Joshua believed that with those, he could endure any hazardous zones whether it was the void outside the world or the gut of Legendary behemoths. Herlas’ stomach was a horror in itself, but it was not even on that level.
Still, for reasons unknown, seconds had passed but the tremendous pressure and lifeforce corruption that the warrior waited for did not arrive. Inversely, Herlas had even stopped all movement.
“Wait, something’s not right!”
As he pondered suspiciously, Joshua suddenly felt an extraordinary force surrounding him. A mysterious sense of danger flowed, ringing his internal alarm sirens.
It was the ripple of dimensional teleportation!
The warrior’s judgment was exactly on point, the black flesh around him had been coursing with tremendous dimensional force. Before Joshua could muster his strength and shrug off the dimensional tethering, Herlaswho had been prepared all alongactivate his own powers to the brim, forcefully teleporting the warrior and the black flesh five meters around away.
At the same time, the malevolent behemoth that was entrenched by the banks of Magel’s Unfrozen River and swiftly assimilating the earth around it had stopped all movement, frozen solid where it was. The huge dark green eyes too combined and absorbed all the energy that was wafting around it.
Herlas had ceased all external actions, utterly recalling every bit of his own power and turning his focus inwardly into his own body.
Or perhaps it was more appropriate to call it another world.
Or perhaps another lesser world.
The dimensions contorted, the rippling spreading. A long seam of blackness opened, and Joshua’s involuntary warping had been completed.
I’ve been had!
Joshua had thought that Herlas swallowed him into his bowels was to his own life energy that was thicker to assimilate or corrupt himthat, or use all sorts of horrendously power Pestilence Divine Spells to attack and disembowel him.Herlas was, after all, a cultist high priest.
He should have beento Joshua’s opinionat grandmaster proficiency when it came to twisted pestilence spells. It was already unusual that Herlas had been using warrior combat styles to fight with the warrior himself before.
But Joshua would never have expected the bowels of the Chaos behemoth that Herlas turned into was not a digestive organ that melts all things, but a passageway to subspace!
In the outer layers of the innumerable worlds within the Multiverse, there were many small affiliated world and dimensional lanes. Those were known as half-planes and hidden realms, the most famous amongst them being the Infinite Horizonresidence of the gods, the elven homeland.
Next to those were subspaces. As small worlds that were created by certain powerful existences in imitation of half-planes, they do not differ much from the originals. Indeed, many powerful spellcasters on the Mycroft Continent had created those planes to place their own mage towers.
At first, a newly created subspace would not have a huge capacityit could even be described as small and might not even compare against spatial equipment. However, it would expand incessantly as the power of the owner grew, and in the end might become a genuine half-plane.
Naturally, the subspace that Herlas created was not smallan aspect that Joshua quickly found out after being sent over. With that thought, the warrior uttered a cold humph before brandishing a fist and pulverizing the black flesh that had been wrapped around him.
An extraordinary world stood before him.
It was a land with a myriad of colors, filled with towering moss of abnormal origins that shielded the sky. Layers of spores with atypical colors spread from within, surging and permeating every bit of the world.
On the ground, an infinite number of black, gray uncommon insects that resembled ants and cockroaches were digging and wandering through the fungi, building colossal triangular hives with their body fluids or the fungi.
A concentrated energy cascaded around this world too. Astonishingly powerful, it ceaselessly flowed through every arthropod and piece of fungi as far as the eye could see. Even Joshua was breathless as the wild flow of lifeforce turned into a celestial ring that surrounded all things, providing it an infinite source of energy.
Breathing out, Joshua squinted as he looked around. As if sunlight, life radiation shot out from his eyes and swept across his surroundings, investigating everything.
Although the radiation could easily penetrate snow mountains and land, detecting Gold-tier daemons a thousand and five hundred meters below, it could only go about fifty meters here in Herlas’s world. In this different realm that was created by another person, Joshua could not feel the atomic energy in the air while sensing that his own body was being repelled and corrupted by this world. Even standing up took all the warrior had, much less gathering information.
Still, he noticed something vital.
Joshua exclaimed to himself with a frown. Extending his right hand and grabbing a handful of purple spores, Joshua took off his life energy barrier and allowed it to come freely in contact with his skin.
He felt a piercing pain in the very next moment. Joshua stared at itthe iron fist that could destroy anything was now filled with compactly arranged holes corroded by the extraordinary holes. Within the hole itselfso large it could knock tyrophobic people unconsciouscountless microscopic fungi were propagating as if breathing, devouring Joshua’s flesh and growing to adulthood with his lifeforce as fertilizer.
Then, as the fungus blossomed and opened its canopy to spread its own pores, an aura flame flashed and clearing every bit of the growth from the warrior’s right fist. It soon returned to its original shape without half a scar.
He then looked up towards the sky that was half covered in spore vapor, immediately becoming one notch more vigilant than before.
“Not just fungus. Everything alive here is the incarnation of a plague!”
With his analysis through powerful lifeforce, Joshua had seen through the essence of most life presence.
The spore fog that wafted across this dimension was tens of horrifying plague carriers, amongst them fungus that could grow instantaneously by using flesh as its catalyst. There were other plagues that could control minds and turn sentient creatures into zombies, while the moss on the ground that could erode stone and metals, turning entire cities into ruins and scary bacterium. Even the unique insects too had all sorts of malignant illnesses lodged over it.
The Black Blood Plague that Joshua was familiar with was present too, its appalling vector dancing across the air. The insects, feeding on the bacterial fungi possessed steel-like shell and held stingers twenty-centimeters in length, looking entirely like a gray-black giant hornet, humming annoyingly above.
This was not the sort of land extraordinary champions built that was barren. It had a matured ecosystem, with manufacturers and consumers that complete and keep the food chain running. The only thing different was the element that permeates each stage of the chainthe lethal plagues.
But now was not the time to mind these things.
Joshua looked up slowly towards the sky.
While the multitude of insects were swarming while the spores were spreading, a silhouette was congealing with the lifeforce in the surrounding area, appearing before the warrior.
Malevolence, killing intent, desire to survivethe sinister will so tremendous it was about materialize spread across all directions.
The endless amounts of insects appeared to pause at its very presence. In the air, the giant flies stopped flapping their wings; on the ground, the ants that had been pushing blobs of bacteria allowed their food to roll inside the fungus. Even the colossal fungus that reached up so high above they almost touched the roof of this small world even stopped moving, in ‘reverence’ of the silhouette.
Herlas the Witherer, High Priest of the Cult stood once again before Joshua.
“You’re the first to enter my world.”
Compared to the physical body that appeared in the Mycroft Continent, this Herlas that appeared in this subspace was clearly younger and was not even into his twenties.
His voice also seemed to carry a shred of emotionwithin the dull tones was what appeared to a trace of curiosity. “As expected of you, Joshua. Any ordinary man would have been completely vanquished by my children the moment they enter this world.”
As Herlas spoke, the plane seemed to respond. The countless insects and fungi buzzed in praise of his very voice.
Right now, in this world of plagues, Herlas, its creator was unquestionably the World’s Will.
Joshua also thus understood why Herlas would run rampant around the West Mountain region for decades, wiping out multitudinous lives and races while ravaging cities and villages. When they fought, Herlas’s lifeforce reservoir seemed to surpass his own two-year Supreme strength by just several folds.
But it all came to light with this world. The cult’s high priest was devouring most of those lifeforce and transferring them here. With the highest-class of divine spells from the Cult of Pestilence, he turned it into a nefarious and complete ecosystem!
His wisdom and efforts were entirely devoted to this world of plagues. As such, he was as dispassionate as a machine towards the external world. He did not care about a thing because he never had the energy to, and the one who walked upon the Mycroft Continent was but a shell hosting the titanic powers.
Only with this place would one see the true face of Herlas.
“Life, the most fragile, and the most tenacious.”
Staring at the cautious warrior from above, the younger cultist high priest raised his hand and looked at the lines within his palm. “After my parents perished from my abilities while I grew stronger in turn,” he said with a thin voice. “I’ve understood that.”
He turned, gazing at Joshua. An invisible air current gushed, sweeping away every insect and spore between the two. Dots of red-black life fluorescence appeared over the warrior, while circles of dull black fog floated around Herlas’s body too.
“Do you know the crux of plagues?” Herlas suddenly asked before the impending clash; his tone was so earnest he resembled a curious child. But before Joshua could respond, Herlas had already answered his own question.
“That is a selfish life.”
His gaze emitted a radiance as if a newborn star. It was so pure that the warrior could understand what he was about to say next.
Life steals and slaughters each other. It meant to survive at all costs, to propagate at all costs and to expand at all costs. That applies to all thingswhich includes you and me.
In that very second, Joshua finally understood the quintessence of the man before him. It was not a void that devours all, but a life that lived for himself by consuming everything.
Meanwhile, the Evil God’s agent, Herlas the Witherer stood in the air, smiling slightly as he looked at the warrior below him.
“I am Life, Herlas.
“The blight of all things, the enemy of all life.
“The greatest plague of this world.
“I, the incarnation of life!”