Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
Starfall Year 833, the riverbanks of Magel, a winter evening in Moldova.
The sun was falling on the west as dusk clouds filled the skies. As the cloud layers gradually thickened, they concealed any starlight, darkening the land.
Suddenly, wild winds billowed, and the air halfway up the sky thundered. A stunning light flashed over the earth like lightning, but it differs from the real natural phenomenonthis particular bolt resembled more of a fissure, and the giant dark-red crack did not dissipate but instead lingered solidly over the air.
In an instant, the light was gone and the dark-red crack revealed its true form. It seemed to be a rupture that was cut open by a sharp blade, hanging over the space. Hairline fractures then started to extend erratically over both ends of the rupture.
On the other side of the rupture, an extraordinary but horrifying world was almost visible. There were countless bacteria and toxic bugs within, while the scent of corruption spread out from within towards the immediate environment.
As if guided by the scent, the dark clouds above Magel’s Unfrozen River thundered just before lightning danced. The reverberation spread across the mountains, and frozen rain poured in the company of violent snow, turning the entire world into a dark and blurry realm of frost.
As another bolt of lightning flashed across the night sky, a deformed figure darted out forcefully from the rupture, drawing an extended arc amidst the curtain of snow before falling to the land.
Later, another man whose bones and muscles were contorted by a horrific power walked out of the dimensional rupture too.
Joshua stood in front of the dimensional rupture that was quickly closing up, activating life force all over his body to repair the damage on his body.
The very second the warrior brandished the Dragonslayer Swordspear and shot towards Herlas, his body had been buffeted with tremendous impact, with most of his flesh twisted by terrible gravity. If not for the divine power in the warrior’s bones, his bones would have been compressed and mangledor even churned into shards of bony waste.
The last divine spell that the cultist high priest used contained unimaginably monumental power. If not for Herlas’s own inability to control it, causing it to vanish halfway through, Joshua would not be sure that he would survive.
Whatever the case may be, everything at present was as he had foreseen. With the full power of both men, the warrior managed to break open a dimensional rupture towards the Mycroft Continent, whacking Herlas out of his domainthe world of plagues.
A pungent odor wafted in the air, caused by the airflow within the several breaths that the Mycroft Continent was connected to the world of plagues. The battle between two Supreme champions had formed clouds and vapors of blazing heat energy, which in turn escaped the rupture, causing snow and rain. It was an unintended stroke of luck, however, since the extreme colds suppressed the spread of malicious plagues and prevented them from running rampant.
Soon, Joshua had mostly recovered from his wounds. In the distance, the forest that Herlas fell into started to swiftly wither too.
A low, booming voice that was laced with anger echoed throughout the land. In one part of the forest that had now completely dried, the cultist high priest who had also finished regenerating looked up at Joshua who was in the air.
And though his voice was enraged, there was also a hint of awe. “Never imagined that you would know so much about the dimensions, and precisely find the weak spot that leads back to Mycroft It seems that you’re amongst the powerful individuals right after Legendary.”
The subspace that Herlas opened was located at the void on the outer reaches of the Mycroft Continent. The distance between worlds in the void was both infinitely close and infinitely far. Apart from using some natural dimensional lanes, only powerful individuals familiar with dimensional patterns and capable of precisely determining all sorts of axis could travel across the realms with their own power.
People would be lost in the infinite void otherwise, which was why Herlas was impressed that the warrior could find the coordinates and return to Mycroft.
Still, that would be overestimating Joshua. He simply wanted to break a hole into the dimensional wall. Any world it led toeven if it was the endless voidwould be better than fighting Herlas in his own domain where the High Priest unleashed one astonishingly harrowing attack after the other.
Even if it were the completely empty void, at least Joshua could temporarily banish Herlasor even seal the virtually unkillable extraordinary individual.
Having lost the lifeforce support from the world of plagues, the various peculiar bioweapon shifts around Herlas’s body slowly returned to normal human limbs and organs form. He had not ascended into Legendary and utterly modified his living morphology and hence lacked in aspects of energy. That was why he could not use his full power in Mycroft.
Herlas’s original body was located in the world of plagues. The once that walked upon the world of Mycroft was an alternate shell. Therefore, when the Legendary champions besieged him at the West Mountains, he lost just one single shellhis real body stay unscathed, and continued to rampage through the West Mountains a while later.
On this occasion, however, Herlas had believed that he could definitely best Joshua. Still, the alternate shell could not, which was why Herlas dragged him into the world of plagues and fought him with his real body, but ended up being kicked out of the world of plagues in a mutually destructive manner.
Now, it was Herlas’s true body that was damaged and not just an expendable incarnation. Even the difference in energy consumption between the two was on a whole new level.
Even so, the Herlas at present still gave Joshua a sense of terrible threat.
“Inconceivable. You have yet to reach thirty, and yet you hold such colossal vigor. If not for the anguished cries of beasts and daemons I can sense from your body’s power, I would even suspect that you’ve butchered humans by the millions.”
Extending his regenerated hand and grasping empty air, layers of black fog spread and assembled within Herlas’s hand, forming a longsword that glittered dimly.
“There are a limited number of daemons in the Northern Empire,” he said, his gaze pensive. “Even the Dark Tide could not gather so many powerful mystical creatures It’s impossible that you’ve collected your lifeforce in the Mycroft Continent.”
The high priest of the cult purred, before smiling lightly.
“Indeed, seeing as how you could proficiently rupture the dimension, you must have plundered and slaughtered int other worlds. The soul shards that surround you howled and told me so.”
Meanwhile, Joshua did not reply.
Holding his spear, he pointed the edge of the Dragonslayer Swordspear downwards, directly at Herlas.
He could tell that the real body of the cultist high priest was still not used to the environment in Mycroft, having rapidly shifted his morphology.
That was why Herlas was so chatty nowto delay the warrior.
And why would the warrior grant his enemy their wish? Of course he should strike when the rod is hot!
In Joshua’s hand, the spear trembled once. In the blink of an eye, Joshua had changed into a flash, charging towards Herlas!
The spear strike was like a plummeting meteor. Joshua energize the Infernal Breath, concentrating the thousand-degree elevated heat in his arms and the tip of the spear. The edge was now an energy blade that could vaporize all thingsit even utilized the power flow structure in the self-destruction of Nuclear Stars, and the shockwave behind Joshua brought flaring orange-red winds.
Herlas too displayed agility that did not dull in comparison to Joshua’s. With a cold ‘humph’, he met the warrior, longsword in hand.
In that very moment, the carnage unfurled.
It was not a battle between normal powerful individuals, but a clash between two Supreme-pinnacles who were approaching the threshold of Legendary.
Up in the air, two flashes of light struck each other, parted and stuck each other again in full tilt, bringing about ceaseless booms and grating echoes as spear and sword clashed. Herlas and Joshua were fighting on a narrow region at more than ten times the speed of sound. The warped air raised spatial faults, bending light and blurring the course of their battle.
The physicality of the two men had reached the point of extreme. Even giant dragons or Abyssal behemoths would not possess such sturdy physiquethe shockwaves from a slight collision between them would create huge explosions at Magel’s Unfrozen River beneath them.
After a while, the two parted, and the two faced off against each other for the thousandth of a second.
Right then, Joshua’s chest had been pierced open, several ribs that shielded his heart had been severed by the longsword that was imbued with malevolent murrain. As his chest thumped with blood that seemed to be alive in itself streamed, the warrior’s leg snapped under the kick of an enormous power and became slightly bent.
Herlas was even worse off. There were fifteen huge cavities that had burnt through the high priest’s body, shattering his backbone into three parts and penetrating his heart. There was even a gaping hole on his forehead that was cranial fluids were flowing out of.
Still, such injuries were trivial for the two men. Within the thousandth of a second, the two met again as if teleporting, and started to battle again.
Lance, sharp sword, fist, kicksboth men were sprinkling every technique that humans could use on one another, attacking each other like storm and kicking up sparks upon their bodies that were harder than iron. One gaping wound appeared after the other, but were completely healed in moments under the pair’s instant regeneration power. It was as if time was rewinding as each wound recovered after being dealt.
The land around Magel’s Unfrozen River had been utterly destroyed. As incessant waves of impact and gales billowed, several kilometers of land had become sunken for one whole layer. If not for the shockwave of the battle, the river would have streamed within and turn it into a lake.
In a flash, the energy blade in Herlas’s hand was shattered by the swordspear, but the forceful implosion also shook off the divine armament. Seeing it as an opportunity, Herlas strode forward instead of retreating, breaking into the inner reaches of Joshua’s body and gripped the warrior’s left shoulder.
With a surge of energy and violent burst of strength, one whole surface of flesh was utterly torn apart, revealing the skeleton that glinted with divine runes underneath. At the same time, Joshua briskly threw his spear away, and punch through the ribs and flesh over Herlas’s chest and squashed Herlas’s heart.
It was another wound for a wound. Still, unlike Joshua, Herlas’s heart was a decoration. Although the warrior was a class above in melee combat, Herlas’s special aspect meant that both were not dealt a lethal blow.
Even then, the body of the cultist high priest had changed entirelythere was no vitals to speak of.
Just one step away from Legendary, Herlas’s living morphology had become similar to a void behemoth in its infancy. As long as his lifeforce was never exhausted, he would never die.
On the other hand, Joshua still had the two vital nodes in his bodyhis brain and his heart since he required an explosive core and mental hub to activate his energies. Although they could be recovered, but if the damage was severe his combat abilities would take a nosedive for a certain period, making him vulnerable to a fatal ambush.
As Joshua brood over how to kill Herlas, Herlas too was thinking how to snuff out this enemy who made him feel annoyed for the first time.
Divine spells and magic were useless. Furthermore, there was a mysterious power that surrounds the warrior’s anatomynot lifeforce, but the scent of Order that the high priest hated extraordinarily. Nonetheless, it would repel all debuffing curses and divine spells that Herlas would usemuch less evocation spells that would be nullified by his concentrated vigor. It would not work unless in close distance.
Melee physical combat was much more unfriendly. Herlas was admittedly one of the ranked specialists in martial arts since he had learned to wield all sorts of weapons. He was proficient in everything and could wield them in great effect be it sword, lance, knives, axes or bow.
However, Joshua’s art of combat was so exquisite it simply escaped his expectations. It was difficult for Herlas to comprehend why a person less than half his age would be so much better in this aspecteven one who started to learn would not have trained their technique to such levels.
The only thing he beat Joshua at was his huge reservoirs of lifeforce, as well as the [War Mode] he could only use in the world of plagues.
Nonetheless, the two did not give the other too much time to think.
The Dragonslayer Swordspear had been recalled by the warrior, as another energy weapon formed in the high priest’s hands.
Meanwhile, in the airspace of a faraway place.
A white-haired elderly man was watching the battle in Moldova beside a burly warrior with dim-gold hair.
“Israel, are you really not going to fight?” The Supreme-tier archmage asked the Empire’s sovereign with a pensive voice. He had just returned from the Void Star-Observatory to the Mycroft Continent, and hurriedly teleported to the Northern Lands. “Did you just come to watch after hurrying back from the Sacred Mountain?”
“I did plan to put a stop to things, but it seems that I don’t need to,” Israel spoke in reply to his own master, shaking his head.
The two focused once more on the battle over the riverbanks of the Magel, their gazes moved.
Herlas’s powers were not one Nostradamus could easily claim victory over. In the best-case scenario, the archmage would use the dimensional magic he was adept at to temporarily seal that monster with endless vigor in the voidalthough it was more likely that his old body was outlasted by Herlas’s infinite endurance, and then die after the high priest used his innate gift of lifeforce absorption.
Israel naturally would have some special method to exterminate Herlas, but the high priest was no foolhe would simply flee the moment the Legendary champion moved. Furthermore, with all his divine spells and mystical power, the emperor might not be able to catch him.
“I would never fear a champion even if he desired my throne. No matter how powerful he is, no matter how wild his ambitions were.”
“What I fear is that he possesses no desire. Those without desire would not know what they want for themselves, how would they able to lead the people?”
As Israel muttered to himself slowly, his cape flapped heavily as wild winds from elevated altitudes blew upon it.
“Joshua has no desire to most things, be it power, gold, beauty or wine His only mind is an anticipation to fight against the strong.”
“So how could I rob him of that pleasure?”
Suddenly, the Legendary dragon knight’s pupils contracted.
“It’s about to end!” He exclaimed, his voice shaking.
And it was exactly so.
As if a blunder, Joshua’s suddenly seemed to lose strength halfway as he lunged forward with his lance. Parried away by Herlas’s longsword, his chest was left wide-opena chance the cult’s high priest would obviously not miss. Although he was a little curious why the warrior would reveal such a sub-par flaw, it was a price he could pay even if it was a trap.
And so, with a burst of the longsword in his hand that transformed into a surging shockwave, the warrior’s defensive posture was frozen temporarily. Herlas plunged forward boldly at his opponent, and with an outstretched hand imbued with lifeforce, he shoved his right palm inside Joshua’s left chest.
Blood and flesh splattered as two contrasting life energies repelled each other forcefully the moment they touched. Joshua’s vigor cascaded wildly, intending to push Herlas’s hand out of his body, but the cultist’s own vigor was much more than the warrior’s all along.
It was fine if it were hand-to-hand combats, but if it was overwhelming if it was already in his body.
“This time, you lose.”
The immense lifeforce vibration broke through Joshua’s ribs as Herlas’s right hand penetrated the barrier of organs to grab Joshua’s heart. Herlas’s lips curled up in the hint of a smile while his natural gift moved, the power of Void Plunder beginning to grab Joshua’s vigor.
The warrior also visibly paled. As if a dam had crumbled, his own lifeforce was drained away like floodwater, and he could clearly feel his life being swiftly reduced. That being said, Herlas’s also looked unwellJoshua’s vigor contained Order power that was unusually unbearable for him.
Still, he could not stop right now. All he could do was keep absorbing Joshua’s vigor, betting everything on this one move take out his enemy and prevent more problems.
The abundant energy took even the high priest by surprise when it poured into his own body. Joshua’s lifeforce also appeared to be active even after being absorbed, churning and rampaging within the high priest’s body. Herlas had to forcibly suppress it so that his body would not collapse even before he killed Joshuahe gathered every bit of Joshua’s vigor to form a core, keeping it within his body and slowly soak it all in later.
It was at that moment, the warrior suddenly smiled.
“Been waiting for this moment.”
A green flash suddenly appeared on his chest. Order power exploded out in a second like a wave from the Azurite, and spilled into Herlas’s body along with Joshua’s own lifeforce. Engulfed by the green light from head to toe, the cult’s high priest was rendered immobile.
Joshua lifted a trembling arm, pulling out Herlas’s palm that had stabbed into his chest. Then, without a change in his expression, he plunged his own hand into the gaping wound and corrected the position of his slightly withering heart. After that, he patted his chestblazing aura passed through his chest like fire, leaving a fluorescence that was blended with ash, and the wound was healed.
There were now many ancient wrinkles on the warrior’s face, and his black hair was mostly whiteonly his eyes kept emitting the same blazing gaze that was as hot as lava.
The warrior then approached Herlas who remained bound by Order power. Without hesitation, he grabbed his own left arm, and pulled it out violently.
Bloody flesh splattered again as the arm that still held arteries and muscles was torn away from his own body. However, amazingly, not a half drop of blood flowed out of the serious wound. As for the arm, streaks of red-black circuits appeared over the skin that circulated with the radiance of divine runes.
“I knew a person so greedy and selfish like you would never destroy my heart, instead try to use this opening to directly drain away all my lifeforce to kill me.”
Holding his detached arm with his right, Joshua did not hesitate. He aimed for the core that Herlas had condensed after absorbing the warrior’s own vigor, and quickly stabbed the hand into it.
“You’ve absorbed it yourself.” The warrior spoke with a little sneer. “I could never do that.”
The red-black arm unleashed endless radiance immediately after penetrating Herlas’s body and the lifeforce core he had condensed. A terrible breath with astounding stateliness began to spread from the hand, imposing itself boundlessly. Then, under the stimulation of Joshua’s divinity, the vigor that belonged to Joshua freed itself from Herlas’s suppression and madly outspread in the High Priest’s body.
Just like cancer cells.