Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
A gigantic Flame Lizard crawled over the scorched surface while a dull fire seared the land. The creature absorbed every flame where it passed, the searing temperature plummeting rapidly.
The Flame Lizard was more than twenty meters in lengththe common size of a typical dragon. Even so, this behemoth that should be burning with flames was different from its cousins that belonged to the fire elements or lived within volcanoes. Its body was immeasurably dark and was covered in a coal-black shell that was filled with cracks. Dull red light occasionally shone through the cracks as if magma was flowing slowly underneath.
If the typical Flame Lizard was a ‘burning flame’, this particular specimen was ‘dead ash’.
Just like this world.
The sanguine sky was engulfed in black dust clouds. The land was filled with innumerable magma lakes that gave this lightless world its final illuminations. However, a menacing and monumental stronghold built from bone and iron still stood in this broken and post-apocalyptic world, surrounded by a crimson river of lava. Countless terrifying monsters covered with black shells hovered over it.
This was the sixth level of the Abyss. Magma sea, fiery hell, [Tear Valley Fortress].
Thud, thud, thud.
In the depths of the fortress, a group of huge and sturdy puppets was holding a cage aloft and walking silently in a dark passageway, their heavy footsteps quaking the metallic corridors. These puppets were melded from bone and lava, with streaming flames driving the corpses of perished champions, granting them strength that surpassed themselves in life.
The reputation of [Magma Sentinels] spread across the first seven-hundred layers of the Abyss. These malevolent constructs built from the bones of champions from different worlds were far more loyal than the chaotic demons and even more powerful. They typical possessed the powers of archdemon-classes, with some even having abilities that held up against weaker Demon Lords.
Still, however powerful the Magma Sentinels were, every being knew that their master was much more powerful.
The silent sentinels entered a hall within the depths of the fortress. Inside, the floor cast in iron glinted with a dull-red light as if it was almost melting, whereas hot, black steam ejected out of the fissures over the surface, unleashing poisonous smoke that could dissipate human flesh. In the rolling smog, the sentinels placed the cage on the floor, raising a sound that made people’s hair stand on end as the metals clashed.
The sentinels reverently knelt with one knee towards the center of the hall that was engulfed in smoke before rising to leave the hall. After they left, the layers of engraved text over the large cage quickly unsealed.
After the cage was opened with a soft sound, a five-meter tall one-eyed demon with dual horns rolled out from it wretchedly and knelt on the floor.
The demon had a body that resembled humans, but possessed a pair of bat-like wings and burly limbs. It was also was covered with a sturdy shell, its single purple eye flashing with an unusual light.
Now, however, what was twinkling in its eyes were not calculating schemes but the purest of ‘fear’.
The Supreme-class archdemon [Heart Devourer Raldan Asth] struggled to rise and kneel respectfully, prostrating itself towards the heart of the hall shrouded in darkness and smoke. Right now, it would rather be held within that cage cast with innumerable torturous curses than to face that gaze.
The dark hall gradually brightened as a deep voice wafted from the distance, its commanding tones that resembled the clang of metals causing the entire fort to quake slightly. An immeasurably powerful will then swept across the half and promptly clearing steam and smoke. Within an area of thousands of meters, every demon felt a throb in their hearts as fear subjugated their chaotic nature, compelling every monster to lower their heads and remain still.
The almost melting metal floorboards now turned into boiling molten iron, its golden red radiance flashing amidst the hall. In the very next moment, a colossal burning eye seemingly formed from the molten iron slowly rosenot only did the thousand-degree heat not damage it, the heat was converted into the eye’s power. A fierce and cruel scent spread from it, and thus a presence that stifles all things descended.
Facing the owner of the presence, Raldan Asth shut its single eye tightly, not daring to look directly at the eye even if it was just part of the being’s body.
“Your mission has failed.”
The burning eye did not stare at the submissive and quivering archdemon, and was looking towards the beings of a distant world instead, as if it could penetrate thin air.
“Your clone did not successfully descend on the Mycroft Continent, and now I’ve lost my chance to explore the world.” The voice reverberated across the hall, carrying layers of echoes as if it came from a bottomless abyss.
“My king” Raldan Asth’s body now trembled violently at the emotionless voice.
As beings filled with the ambition of slaughter and destruction, demons should not feel fear. Heart Devourers, however, were different. They possessed intelligence that surpassed most demons and naturally held fear from said intelligence. As it tried to explain in panic, another silhouette appeared within its mind.
It was the shadow of a black-haired warrior whose body was encircled with crimson flames of aura and a dark Pool of Souls, emitting endless echoing shrill wails. It was him who had destroyed its ritual, cut apart its clone and causing its mission to fail.
Still, the burning eye did not intend to give Raldan Asth a chance to explain itself. It fixed it gaze into thin air, its eyes cutting through the fort made of iron and bone, black toxic fog, the blood-red sky, and the broken sun and moon. Goliath, Demon King of Gluttony, Lord of the Tear Valley Fortress, Sovereign of the Magma Sea and Fiery Hell stared into the void with its own clone, watching the world it had been interested in for a thousand years.
“The world of Mycroft returns to Order, its scent of death of destruction retreating. The world had been fading for over a thousand years and yet found its flame again, returning to life.”
The deep yet grand muttered to itself. “Your failure and the thoughtless actions of the devotees had lost me most of my sight. I couldn’t even observe or learn how those humans made their world receive new life from the death of eternal slumber.”
“The original estimation was about twenty years. Twenty years, and I could have broken through the walls of the dying world, fusing that world into our own layer of Abyss through war and death.But now it’s impossiblethe healthy world is suppressing us who are but a bunch of flameless residual ash. More time is needed to prepare.”
With those very words, Raldan Asth quickly understood the reason he was captured and sent here. It bellowed, struggling as if a drowning man grasping at a final straw.
“I’m willing to correct my mistake, I’m willing to head to Mycroft and discover the truth! Those who called themselves our allies have betrayed us. Not only did they stop providing information, they’re also culling our forces exhaustively. However, I still have some followers hiding deep within the West Mountains, and I still have one unused clone!”
Its heart clenched in fear, the archdemon that corrupted men’s heart and reveled in devouring despair manically squeezed out every hint of usefulness. The burning eye slightly blinked in return, and cut Raldan Asth short.
“It’s normal for them to betray us. Their world is burning again; they certainly wouldn’t need us.”
“I’ll have them pay the most painful price”
“No.” The Demon King cut the archdemon short again. This time, however, its voice carried a curious emotion that resembled either curiosity or greed, or a feeling that was impossible to be found from a demon.
The scent of hope.
“Raldan Asth. Leader of the Heart Devourers and one of the wisest of all demons.” Goliath spoke, enunciating each word at its subordinate, an irrefutable order while suppressing all delight, jealousy, greed, and yearning.
“I want you to head towards the world of Mycroft as ‘yourself’, and seek the truth of how they reclaimed their ‘flame’.”
Finally sensing that the killing intent that had been buzzing over its head was dissipating, the archdemon replied with the most decisive and most determined attitude.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
A long time passed.
The archdemon, branded and no longer capable of betrayal had already left the fortress, heading to its lair to prepare a ritual for moving to another world.
Within the depths of the Tear Valley Fortress, the molten iron slowly froze, returning to its red-hot metal form.
Black flames burned in the center of the hall. After a long silence, the burning eye gradually vanished, and a single complicated ‘rune mark’ whirling where it once stood. Powerful presence emanated from the rune that came from the Demon King and veiled the entire fort.
Flames always would extinguish one day.
Its ashes would lose the residual warmth too.
Even so, the ashes born of a long-dead world also yearn for the day it could burn.
Meanwhile, in the Northern Ural Plains on the Mycroft Continent.
The man who stood on the black dragon’s head up in the air looked up at the sky thoughtfully, the immeasurably bright golden sun unleashing warmth despite the severe cold. Still, his gaze was unaffected by the blinding rays as he stared at the edge of the Void.
His overlooking yielded nothing. Shaking his head, the man looked down at the land below even as the divine armament siblings watched him carefully from behind.
Under his feet was an ‘ocean’ glinting in a silver shroud that blanketed the surface of a lake and reflected the sun’s rays. Cold ripples of light shifted incessantly as the fog moved unfathomably as if a thought. By the edge of that ‘ocean’, more than a dozen team of horses and man were tidying their formation, their preparations complete.
It was the Divine Dungeon Shroud formed from a deity follower of the Mother Goddess, [River God Sinoer]. Not a malevolent god, using him as a trial was not too difficult and he could rescue everyone if things happen to turn awrythere was no better objective for the trial.
At the thought, the warrior briskly issued the order from above the dragon’s head.
Filled with majesty, his voice rang through the entire plain, causing countless wandering enchanted beasts and monsters to recoil, keep their heads low and panickily run towards their lair. Beneath the warrior, the parties that had been ready for some time stepped out at the same time towards that silver sea of shroud that covered thousands of meters of land.
And so the trial began.