Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
As the blade of the Holy Swordsman returned to its former glory, another event unfolded at a vast and empty plain in the former Ulan Empire, far behind the frontlines where the undead and the living fought their last battle.
A stretching wind bellowed through the mountain forests, sending yellowed withered leaves and dust streaking across the ground. A flag that had long eroded was stabbed into the soil flapped against the wind, and before it was an elderly man. He sat upon his warhorse that was as bony as a rod and stood in front of the flag.
The old knight wore a dilapidated set of armor. The leather between the plates seemed to have worn off for some time, leaving just thin thread holding them together as if it was just dug out of a grave. Even so, the man’s back was upright like the straightest pine tree, while the old horse’s posture was just as solid, so much so that perhaps the quaking earth or sky’s thunder would not even sway it.
And at present, the sun had disappeared from the sky. All luminosity was lost, leaving nothing but the deathly cold that spread throughout the world.
Still, the old knight was unmoved. He merely watched everything quietly as the clouds and winds cascaded while sun and moon dimmed, his grey pupils filled with reminiscence.
While streaks of chilling air currents engulfed the plains, the old man appeared to see the sight in a bygone time. A warm wind blew across this land then, causing the blooming green grasses to dance in waves. As herds of goats and cows grazed, a young child was chasing after the Saint and listening to her teachings.
But everything was in the past.
Once the old knight returned to attention, all the illusions disappeared. The Saint’s obscure expression that gave the impression of a smile broke like glasses, and thus the warmth of the dissipated, leaving the deathly energies of the Death Shades swirling around the world.
And he was one of them.
Suddenly, the old knight looked up thoughtfully towards the other side of the continent, where golden blade light tore through the horizon, cutting apart cloud and starry sky. Hills and ground crumbled before it as innumerable Death Shades were wiped out in the light, turning into nothingness, while the old knight’s own subordinatethe powerful swordsman who was ranked thirdwas pulverized with that single strike too.
“Jarien Astoria.” Slightly moved and praiseful, the old knight nodded slightly on his horse. “Such a blinding radiance of the blade, as expected of the most powerful Holy Swordsman throughout Grandia’s history.”
Truly, a man who lived up to his name.
And that was thatthe old knight stopped paying attention to the swordsman, turning his gaze back towards the front, to the edge of the plains.
In that place, a dim scarlet radiance walked the land, and at its heart was a man who swept past undead spirits over thousands of miles. Intending to stop him, millions of soldiers went up futilely, only to be destroyed head-on by utmost power.
That was the target he waiting for. An existence he waited a thousand years for.
The scrawny warhorse neighed lightly as if in anticipation, but for some unknown reason, the old knight’s spirit scattered once more.
Time flowed in reverse to a scene that happened a thousand years ago.
The Sage stood in the center of the plains, scepter in hand. His form slightly illusive, he watched this brand new yet prosperous world and the countless people who lived peaceful lives.
Though his expression was tranquil, there was a hint of his decisiveness that would never be swayed. He spoke softly to the Saint who was half-kneeling behind him, his tone neutral and yet not reprimandingmerely reminding.
“Cynthia, giving hope and subsequently destroying it is much more hurtful than sowing despair from the start. Are you prepared to shoulder everything?”
The elf, who was named after the stars, nodded firmly.
“Yes, teacher. I’ve prepared everything,” she replied in a hoarse voice, and slowly turned to look at the son of a shepherd who was observing them sneakily.
“I’ve chosen my student.” She smiled slightly.
“He would definitely fulfill my wish.”
Shrill winds echoed throughout the plains as if the world was crying.
The ancient knight did not say a world while different sequences flashed through his mind. The first child born in this world, the young shepherd boy was receiving teachings from the Saint. He had learned extraordinary martial arts and knowledge, and would unite the descendants of the one hundred and three thousand pioneers to establish the first and largest empire, setting incredible feats that escaped the imagination of normal people.
This man, the founding emperor of the Central Empire, heroes amongst heroeswould watch as his teacher died before his own eyes.
“Akhar,” the Saint had said. “Do not mourn, for I’m merely melding with this world, and will be with all of you forevermore.”
The elf, beautiful and youthful as she had been decades ago, caressed her student’s cheek as she lay in her bed. Then, turning into particles of ever-present starlight, she fused with the world.
Expressionless, the middle-aged man could only clench upon the bed sheets that covered nothing, never softening his grip even as his own veins were pinched apart by himself.
All that was left were the final words of the Saint that reverberated across his ears.
“Do not forget your purpose. Please grant everyone salvation.”
“I did not forget.” Akhar Akyev, the revived Founding Emperor of the Central Empire, muttered softly to himself. “But I’ve let you down, teachernot everyone would be saved.”
The weak would not stay weak forever, just the courageous might not be perpetually courageous. Although the ancient knight could make the other knights under his banner fearless in the face of death, he could not maintain that spirit eternally. There would always be running and abandoning in this worldeven majestic empires and seemingly indestructible achievements would be overturned after many schemes and betrayals.
The elderly Founding Emperor never did lose to age or time, merely a cup of poison served by a maidservant that ended his life. While he did not mind which son of his was so impatient to ascend for the throne, he was certainly disappointed.
If those dearest to him could not be trusted, what was there to believe in within this world? If sons and kind would betray oneself, what belief was there to uphold beneath the sky?
He was still filled with disappointment a thousand years later, when the old knight was awakened by the Ulan Empire’s nation-breaking power. That was why, using his earlier preparations, he activated the final solution left behind by the Sage without hesitation and pulled this world into apocalypse.
And yet it was now that his viewpoint changed a little.
In Four Holy Cities some distance away, the last humans, led by their commanders, were fighting with incomparable bravery and will against the innumerable armies of undead spirits.
An elder who was an incarnation of machine and the crystal spellcaster were chasing each other in the air. Streaks of huge vines wrapped around a summoned frost wyrm. Dwarven warriors were in a melee against the traceless and formless fog human silhouette in the middle of the battlefield, while the giants brandished their swords, parrying every arrow shot out by the archer how now had a flesh body.
This was the final checkpoint between life and death. It was the eve before world’s end, the indomitable human spirit was finally smashed by the iron hammer known as despair, unleashing radiance that would make men turn in awe.
Look, teacher. That’s the radiance you seek. Even if they were descendants of traitors, they would still possess such courage and resolve when the time comes.
Nonetheless, all of this had nothing to do with the old knight. Akhar lowered his gaze towards the end of the plains where a warrior strode forward. Endless numbers of Death Shade troops chased after him, but not one of them could break through an invisible shield around him and approach his body.
He had red eyes and black hair, and in his hands was the Dragonslayer Swordspear. As if weightless, stones and dust revolved around him, while the Steel Strength that shaped this world quivered under his will, emitting an extended but powerful sound of a horn.
“I’ve been waiting for you, successor of the Sage.” The old knight laughed heartily as he pulled the flag off the grown.
It soon became clear that it was no flagpole, but a lengthy lance. After the tip was pulled, the damaged flag curled and wrapped around the other end of the lance. Akhar then drove his aged warhorse forward, approaching the warrior slowly.
“Grandia’s brief history ends here. I know what you’re thinking; I know what you seek.”
The lance ignited, and soon both man and steed were shrouded in a golden-red flame that started from the flag. With a wild neigh, a robust warhorse that had firm muscles built seemingly from steel strode out from the searing fire with his now-youthful master and returned to the world.
Just like stepping over an entire millennium.
The damaged armor was now unscathed, the cracked plates now smooth like it was brand-new. Dragon fiber held silver-gray steel together, and the knight, no longer elderly, carried an orichalcum lance in hand. His gray pupils were scorching with infernos, while space and energy condensed around him into an invisible fort.
The First Grand Commander of the Death Shades, Akhar Akyev held his lance aloft, carving out an arc that broke the clouds apart.
“As long as you defeat me, you would learn the truth of this world,” he said calmly to the warrior who was now quite close. “And thus, hold its fate in your hands.”
And before him, the warrior nodded solemnly.
“Just what I had in mind.”
At the moment, by the edge of the plains.
Joshua strode through what was almost half the continent, wiping out Death Shades in the process. He now fixed his gaze at the lone knight who stood in the center of the barren plain.
As if an indestructible stone statue, the immeasurably robust war horse and silver-armored knight stood as if they were mountains. Though there were just one man and one steed, they were much more terrifying and more powerful than the undead army that was crushing everything.
A wind blew past, causing the stones around the warrior to sway. Joshua then narrowed his eyes, his gaze rather lost.
There are billions of worlds out there in the Multiverse. Amongst the infinite numbers of individuals, why would I be selected to come here, to the Mycroft Continent, to this world?
Perhaps it was to push everything back on the right track.
Perhaps it was to change the future that made men despair.
Or perhaps it wassomething or many things that only I could do.
Changing the future, shifting fate, choking the throat known as ‘fated’, turning around the tracks known as ‘inevitable’those were perhaps the reason he stood here.
But who cares, the warrior never did mull over such things.
He who wasQiao Jinglin1of the previous world and now Joshua van Radcliffe of the Mycroft Continent would never think of such things. He only knew that man should never rest and fight hard against chaos and despair, never retreating.
That was his Truth.
And now, after the warrior demolished endless ranks of undead spirits, a powerful foe that came out of the pages of history now stood in front of him. He knew everything, and only that.
That was enough.
Softly uttering the name of the person who caused all this, Joshua raised the swordspear in his hand. A spiraling air current swirled before it, and he aimed the spear at the knight who accelerated as he charged towards himself, and sighed with much emotion.
“You are worth fighting against.”
[Energy Output level: 99%]