Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
At the moment, in the Sixth Abyss.
Apart from the occasion every archdemon of Gold tier and above were wiped out for reasons unknown one thousand two hundred and fifty years ago, there was nothing worse than the matter at hand.
For the demons, at least.
It was the fifth-hundred and twenty-eighth cycle lava had ignited and subsequently extinguished—an ordinary, bloody day like usual. Imps that were birthed in fortune were just opening their yellow eyes. Wandering demons were hunting across every corner of the Sixth Abyss to acquire energy. Gigantic warbeasts reared by lords were leisurely chewing one magical monster corpse after another.
It was a day so normal that nothing was of note.
And yet a grievous news with no precedent came to them, that the rule of demon lords over the land was rapidly crumbling.
Cities were destroyed, sturdy fortresses ravaged by blaze and dragon talons. From some point in time, a destruction walked the earth—with the Black Sea Plains as the starting point it sped the other realms at a speed that exceeded demon common sense, and equally blessed all unfortunate beings that ran into it with death.
One, two, and soon a dozen demon fortresses were completely vanquished. Nothing from above to below or from lord to abyssal worm were spared from the disaster, and within days almost seventy thousand were slaughtered, the black smoke from their incinerated corpses rising into the air and becoming part of the dark clouds.
Most killed demons never even knew what happened, and were in fact killed before they could react because most demons did not possess existing organs for logical thinking. Before growing into archdemons, most inferior demons’ mental faculty was solely a single, not too complex ganglion and Chaos soul combined from countless shards. It was also the reason they were easily manipulated by warlocks.
Still, unlike those ordinary demons, many demon lords had acquired the secret news early on.
They were actually aware of the truth behind the destruction, and also aware of his route and intention.
It was hence a pity that arrogance did not permit those lords to avoid the destruction. They chose instead to experience the other’s power, to attempt resisting, and that decision finally claimed their lives.
Now, in the fourth day since the nameless destruction spread, all demon lords were forced to admit one fact—the Sixth Abyss that had always so rampantly invaded other worlds in the past was now being invaded by a certain powerful being from another world.
On a vast black magma plain, there were black-stone buildings that were spread everywhere wherein tens of thousands of low-tier demons lived. While those rocky constructs were crudely built and were contorted in form, it was certainly a rare sight of civilization in the Abyss.
At the edge of that unruly city, innumerable imps were toiling as they dug out black volcanic rocks and piled it into little hills under the whips of their gargoyle supervisor. A dozen low-tier beholders whirled their large eyes as they identified and picked the rare mana shard, placing them in a separate corner. Those shards would in turn be transported by berserker demons to the center of the city, and becoming a part of a black, thick and colossal tower.
A crest of a giant, intimidating eye flashed in fluctuating black-red radiance, with apparent surges of mana flowing around the entire tower. It was precisely the way in which the local demonic lord displayed its power, since it was not easy to build a magic tower such as this in the Abyss where resources were scarce. If the owner was no Monarch, they would at least need to possess the depth of an archdemon-pinnacle lord to raise it.
At present, in a dark room at the core hub of the black tower, a powerful Thousand-Eye Beholder was waving its tentacle that was socketed with a dozen secondary eyeballs and listening silently as the magical projections of a dozen demon lords argued.
The Forest of Rotten Ruins, the Flame Stream, the Nether River Port, the Pus City… Virtually all demon lord with considerable ability had joined the meeting with mana projections. These savage beings that usually would have beaten each other’s brains out once they saw each other were now forcibly suppressing their lust for destruction, tempestuously arguing and discussing with the other lords.
And the reason was to discuss the response against that otherworld existence that was moving swiftly while launching large-scale massacres.
Demons were free and disorganized, with little meaningful interaction between their lords. There were two circumstances in which they would usually meet—one was summons by the Abyssal Lord, the other was a declaration of fealty in a one-on-one encounter. There was no question that this environment of hostile interaction would cause their reactions towards sudden incidents to be extremely slow, especially when it came to otherworlder’s invasion.
After all, how many years had it been since anyone entered the Lava Inferno? Demons were effective at plundering, destroying, and were aware of any matter correlated to subjugation and ruin. On the other hand, ‘defense’ and ‘counteracting invasions’ far escaped their ability, and the powerful otherworld being was also moving at such accelerated velocity that even other typical, normal worlds would have a hard time standing against it.
“My elite troops had been taken by the Sovereign to join in the [Blood War].”
Most of the dozen demon lord projections were still squabbling or bellowing meaninglessly, even as the rare few held rational discourse and shared information. One of them, a Bone Demon so huge that the magical projection could not completely capture its full form was speaking with its rowdy voice.
“Including the few demon lords in the Black Sea Plains that are currently unreachable, all the destroyed demon fortresses are the same. The troops of each lord left guarding this place don’t amount over ten thousand, and is also pointless against that powerful existence—they could not even delay it.”
It spoke the truth. In reality, since the Sixth Abyss was invading another world at the moment while undergoing a Blood War against another Abyss, most demon lords and their armies had been conscripted by the Abyssal Lord into the butchery. The lords at this conference had merely and coincidentally been exempted, although most of their forces were still sent to the frontlines, leaving the Sixth Abyss at their weakest state like never before.
“Their movements had always been in a straight line with no diverting.” Another demon lord—an Icy Devourer which had a body shrouded in frost and rarely seen in the Lava Inferno spoke with its sharp voice. “All perished lords were only pulverized because they deliberately provoke it. As a matter of fact, that brain demon lord in the Corrosive Swamp’s territory had exactly been in their way, but since it was slow-witted it did not act and hence kept its life.”
Such a conference was rare even in this huge environment, but it was not rich in content either since all demons that witnessed the powerful being had died horrible deaths and left no information. After listening for a little more, the old beholder waved its tentacles in irritation. Its body resembled a squid with dozens of tentacles, but at its core was a giant eye that came across as if a dull gem, and not a brain of unusual form. It also did not have any vocal chords, and could only communicate through psionic ripples, hence it was only to listen in the mana projection conference.
But it was exactly because it could not interact that its attentiveness allowed it to note each shift in each mana projection.
That was why it was the first to notice when puzzling movements appeared in a certain mana projection that was quiet throughout the conference too.
It was a real-time broadcast from an observation circle with an overlooking vision from the skies. The shot was also stable—it should be a high-tier gargoyle holding the observation circle and was rapidly flying amidst the clouds in an unknown bearing.
The beholder was not the only one to notice the unusual movements, with the sound of the quarreling demon lords gradually fading. Somehow—perhaps out of instinct, they stared viciously and simultaneously at the capture angle, which gave the impression of shot from an observation circle usually held by a gargoyle on its daily patrol.
“That’s the Gray Salt Mountains,” the Icy Devourer lord suddenly spoke. “According to his movements, that otherworld being should be there.”
None of the other demons replied. Each lord frowned at the shot, a hazy sense of foreboding echoing in their hearts. However, it was also perfectly reasonable that no demon would admit their fear.
The gargoyle was still flying. It appeared that the situation around the Gray Salt Mountains was calm—in the spectacle captured by the observation circle, there were no wandering demons engaged in melee, and neither was there any enchanted beast or Abyssal lifeforms roaming around aimlessly. All was calm in the realm, with absolutely no strife.
Even if that appeared normal, it was a great abnormality for the Abyss! Not a single wandering beast or cursed beast amidst the vast mountains? How was that possible!
Regardless, the peculiarity soon happened.
The angle of the observation circle turned slightly, allowing the demon lords to see a large pillar of smoke rising above by the edge of the Gray Salt Mountains while moving urgently to the other end of the mountains. Several lords even left their seats and approached the mana projection as if to carefully observe the details of that pillar of smoke.
There was no need to think about it—the true form of that ‘otherworld existence’ they had been discussing hotly about was in that huge smoke pillar!
The spectacle was soon distorted as if the signal was interrupted, but it quickly recovered. The pillar of smoke, however, rapidly closed in at the position of the observation circle, causing most of the demon lords present to hold their breath subconsciously. They knew that the face of the enemy would soon appear before them.
Low, thunderous tremors resounded from the pillar of smoke. It was faint at the beginning, but soon turned deafening. The shot too started to become extremely unstable as the flight path of the gargoyle started to slant as if affected by a powerful presence and unconsciously wanted to distance itself. However, the demon lord that was controlling it certainly did not allow it, and with a series of painful turns in the air, the gargoyle obediently carried the observation circle towards the smoke pillar.
The first thing that entered the demon lords’ eyes was a golden-red flame.
It was a sprinting balrog, its body burning with such pure blazes that it had no hint of abyssal scent, and was dragging out a trail of flame over the earth swiftly like a meteorite. The might that emanated from the balrog caused the flying gargoyle to shudder, while the demon lords on the other end frowned. Those curious pure flames notwithstanding, they could sense that the balrog’s speed had reached several times the speed of sound, proving that its ability had reached the pinnacle of archdemon-class, especially considering that balrog was not adept at speed.
Still, it remained obvious that it was not the source of the smoke pillar, and so the lords suppressed their mood and kept their eyes on the spectacle.
And the next to appear was a giant black dragon of a curious appearance.
The beast scampered swiftly in front of those rhombus-shaped clouds of smoke. It was over thirty meters, its robust, streamlined body revealing a beauty of power even as its limbs burned in flames akin to a nightmare steed. Each stride of the dragon would kick up large explosion and convulsion—the source of the pillar of smoke, and while it had two wings grown full of bony spikes, it had no wing membrane suitable for flight and was more of a constitution that stabilizes its body than an organ for flight. Its brutish tail that resembled a chainsaw struck the earth intermittently, kicking up endless pale-blue sparks over the sturdy ground of the Gray Salt Mountains.
With balrog in front and black dragon behind, they ran in a straight line quickly through the central zone of the Sixth Abyss. Even so, that view alone made quite a few demon lords felt troublesome—a balrog of archdemon-pinnacle rank was enough to continuously destroy multiple sub-par forts, and with that black dragon of abnormal form in tow, it was a partnership that was difficult to handle even with the combined force of all demon lords present.
Oooooom! The shot became more and more distorted as an incredible cascade of energy caused the observation circle to operate normally. The gargoyle meanwhile simply dropped from the sky, with its lord having probably exhausted its physical strength after its forceful subjugation. Nevertheless, all the present demon lords were satisfied for they now know the face of their enemy—one abnormal black dragon and one formidable balrog, probably having come from another Abyss. Though such foes were strong, it was far better than completely not knowing since they could at least prepare countermeasures.
That was the same for the ancient beholder. Watching the view from the observation spell was plummeting from above and whirled unstoppably, the leather folds over its body that signified its age squirmed—a sign that the archdemon was in a fine mood. Even if it was not adept at fighting against a balrog, a high-tier archdemon that possessed heightened anti-magic attributes, but it had more than enough power against a black dragon. Additionally, if it just relied on the magic tower when the time comes, it was confident about resisting the two foes.
The conference thus started anew, the raucous sound of their exchange appearing across the mana projections again. But before thing ended, something that left the demons astonished occurred.
With a great distortion of the shot, it suddenly dropped away from that probably-dead gargoyle and quickly darted at the black dragon’s head.
Amidst the static screen that was infinitely obscure, the old beholder almost made out a silhouette wearing an armor with a dragon head helmet.
Ooom! Its energy core seemed to suddenly stagnate, while every demon lord that was staring at the spectacle quivered simultaneously.
The observation circle appeared to have fallen into the hands of some being, and it was so distorted now that the image could not be discerned. Warped undulation mixed with flashing static clouded over the mana projection, and yet, inconceivably, the link held on. The spectacle rotated for a moment as that unknown being appeared to be searching for the lens, and in the very next moment, two dull red specks of light appeared in the center of the white communications lens that was now snow-white.
Time seemed to freeze.
“You bunch of fellows.”
The owner of the red light, that unusual being’s gaze appeared capable of penetrating the mana projection and directly shoot to the other end. He sneered, and said coldly, “You’re watching, right?”
In the next instant, time flowed again!
K-Klak! Klak Klak Klak!
“My eyes! My eyes!”
With the brisk sound of something shattering, the demon lords that participated in the projection conference cried out in anguish forcefully as black-red flames shot out from their eye sockets as if pillars of ire. At the same time, in the center of the demon city encircled by mountains and volcanos, a series of cracks began to tear over the outer surface of the towering black magic tower, before crumbling violently. Along with supremely unstable mana ripples, countless magical objects were destroyed by the energies each embodied, exploding consecutively even as everything crashed!
In the control hub of the shaky black tower, the old beholder had already ignited into a ball of fire while its spirit screamed shrilly, knocking more than half of the city’s demon unconscious. The beholder, however, was not dead. Despite the mana over its whole body turning erratic and self-combusting following the unknown being’s stare, it protected its own life core—that may be the case, it still involuntary remembered that sight which inspired fear even in demons.
As if a bottomless abyss in itself, the scarlet specks of light devoured its entire will in endless darkness. The flame that suddenly ignited was the only light in that abyss, illuminating the darkness while burning every aspect about itself.
It was the gaze that incinerates souls, a flame that vanquishes intelligence.
On the other end of the lens.
Joshua, standing above the black dragon’s head, crushed the obsidian communications circle in his hand and turned his attention to the System’s notification that had not provide any new updates for a long time.
[Searing Soul Stare]