Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“Lisa, you could not awaken your bloodline.”
As the ever peaceful elder of the village spoke those words calmly, the girl felt confusion striking her heart. She held her hands tightly across her chest, every single one of her fingers clenching. Nervous, she looked around subconsciously—in the vast memorial hall, all the other youths from the village of suitable age watched her with mixed expressions. Some with pity, some with suspicion; some with anxiety, some with insolence.
“Your bloodline is pure but had fallen into eternal silence, and could never awaken the power it inherits.”
Having spoken with a rather cold voice, the elder whose every hair was white and twin horns were suffused in a green color sighed softly. “Step down, Lisa. Next.”
Unwittingly following the words of the elder, the young girl muddleheadedly stepped down from the stone platform of the trial, almost falling down in distraction. However, none stepped up to help support the shambling girl. After returning to her seat by the corners of the memorial chamber, sporadic voices wafted from beside her.
“Hmph. Grinning so widely, arrogantly and disgustingly just before the trial—and now she failed?”
“Lisa won’t do either? Her bloodline should have been the purest…”
“What good is purity. She’s just a normal Drakonid if she’s unable to awaken.”
“To think that the monster hunters had such hope for her. With Lisa’s bloodline concentration, she would definitely become the mainstay against those monsters if she awakens… How could this be?”
“Perhaps she isn’t blessed by the gods.”
Through it all, Lisa never heard not one word even as the people around her muttered away. Immeasurable disappointed had pervaded her heart, causing the confident girl to lose composure.
“How could this happen…” She mumbled quietly.
Ten minutes ago, she thought that she would have logically awakened her bloodline and become the first ‘pure-blood’ in decades within the surrounding villages, thus becoming their pillar and share the burdens of her father who was the captain of the hunters. She imagined that she might grow and become a powerful hunter who could venture deep within the ‘Desert of God’ and find the monster that killed her mother and avenge her.
But now, all illusions for the future were gone. Unable to awaken bloodline meant staying a mortal for her whole life—it was a dangerous daily living, much less becoming a hunter of monsters. In the vastness of the Kronos mountains were innumerable behemoths, that, if not for the Drakonid monster hunters purging monsters from the mountain time after the time and did their best to set up safe zones around villages, it was tremendously dangerous for mortal Drakonids to even farm.
In the time that the girl was distracted, youths with two horns on their heads began to proceed, stepping up to the trial stone platform at the center of the memorial hall one after another. Each of them would cut their own fingers and dripped their blood on a gem held by the elder. The gem itself had been sky-blue, but the moment their blood touches it, it would shift, forming either a green-red hue and bolts of varying intensity.
The darker the hue and the thicker the bolts, the more the delight and pleasure from the elders. It meant that the concentration of bloodline and the possibility of awakening was higher.
Lisa watched it all apathetically. In her own trial, the hue of the trial gem had changed into a purple that was almost black, meaning that she was a ‘pure-blood’ who could never be found even amongst a hundred thousand Drakonids. However, at the same time, the gem did not flicker with any bolt at all—meaning that though her bloodline was pure, she could never tap into that power.
It was unquestionably a joke of immeasurable proportions.
Before puberty, there could only be tests for bloodline intensity, and having the capacity of procreation when puberty began—in other words, it was only after having enough lifeforce that the power could be tested for possibilities of awakening. Every year, each village would gather youths of suitable ages in spring and test their talents. Those who failed would step down, while those who fit the requirements would be kept in the memorial halls, where they would become powerful hunters through costly rituals of awakening.
Both of Lisa’s parents were hunters—and the strongest in the village, although her mother was killed by a monster from the Desert of God during her patrol when she was eight. Since Lisa herself was born, she was entrusted with everyone’s hopes, while she too kept striving and grooming her own power, so as to meet those expectations and attain the power to avenge her mother.
Beyond that, the girl also had a profound dream: she wished to explore the Kronos Mountains and venture deep into the barren desert in search of the origins of legends. She wished to found where the being known in old texts as the ‘Ocean’ was, and to learn if the Desert of God had a border.
But now, it was all over. Be it expectations or vengeance, dreams or future—all had ended. Everything was just empty words without power.
After the trial ended, every unsuitable youth left the memorial hold, leaving only those who do. Lisa slowly made her way home, her head filled with grudgingness and bitterness.
“Could it be that I really can’t awaken…”
Reaching home—a hut ground out from log and limestone, the girl sat on a corner of her bed and lied down, her thoughts unwittingly spreading.
There were countless Drakonid villages amidst the vastness of the Kronos Mountains. Millions of Drakonids with twin horns on their heads and tails, as well as some who grew two wings were lived in these mountains where vigor was present and was surrounded by mountains. Due to complex and volatile geographical compositions, every Drakonid settlement were separated by jungles, mountain ridges, cliffs and valleys, while different species of monsters that outnumbered the Drakonid populations by several fold also resided in these mountains. Both sides competed for habitat, and so the interspecies war ranked with blood lasted for centuries.
There were snow and rain in the mountains, as well as flora and fauna. Rivers flowed over the valleys, and the winds carried the fragrances of plants. Beyond the mountains, however, was the borderless ‘Desert of God’. None had ever reached its edge, and none knew what creatures lived in the desert. The Kronos Mountains were hence a solitary island in the middle of the oceans of sand—only the island itself had signs of life, while everything else were sand with no trace of vigor.
According to ancient Drakonid legend, the world was not like this in the beginning. In the distant past, the entire world was filled with green grass and trees, rivers surged in the thick of valleys and plains. Countless races flourished over the continent, while the Drakonid civilization prospered. But one day, an abrupt calamity struck—on the day the sun vanished, fiery rain and darkness plummeted from the skies, destroying all nations across the land. But just as the world met its Apocalypse, the colossal Dragon God appeared from beyond the heavens. It commanded thunder and lightning, defeating the darkness that engulfed the skies of this world.
The Dragon God’s battle with the Apocalypse ended after a hundred days and nights before the Dragon God triumphed albeit being severely injured as well. But when it saw the world that was now a barren wasteland, its heart could not take it, and so created the Kronos Mountains, granting the last blessed soil to the Drakonids. Even so, the residual might of the Apocalypse, its power turning into monsters that swore to destroy all life.
To stand against the monsters, the ancestors of the Drakonids borrowed the power of the God, altering themselves into the current Draknoid form that bore twin horns and a tail, hence establishing the earlier settlements. There were those amongst their successors that also inherited that power, and those were ones now known as monster hunters.
“Monster hunter… Dragon God…”
Lisa repeated the words softly. Just days ago, all Drakonid settlements had observed the extraordinarily and almost exaggerated lightning and thunder in the depths of the Desert of God. Endless bolts that could tear the skies apart descended, and black sandstorms much greater than the mountains brewed gales that could be distinctly felt even in the Kronos Mountains.
And in the very heart of the sandstorms, the outline of a silver dragon could vaguely be seen.
It was rumored to be the form of the Dragon God, that the deity who saved the world had awakened from its long slumber. It should have been a news that delighted everyone, and yet Lisa had not a hint of happiness—she was still delving in the fact that she could not awaken, and unable to rally from it.
Suddenly, the girl heard a great boom from the heavens. Surprised, she sat up on her bed like a spring, gulped and quickly ran to her window. Thus, she saw a meteor burning in a white blaze and dragging an arc across the sky, descending rapidly!
After that instant and before Lisa could react to what had happened, the meteor landed on a ridge near the village with ease, the great tremor causing the whole village to sway. The girl also heard the jarring rustling sounds from her hut’s ceiling, promptly frightening her enough to make her bolt out of the door.
Outside, Lisa could see that everyone else in the village was also left shaken by the suddenly foreign object. Several houses of poorer workmanship by the frontier of the village had even crumbled—it was thanks to the thick skin of Drakonids that everyone buried beneath could crawl out. Still, as the other villagers debated in panic, Lisa did not spare concern over her kin’s safety.
For some reason, her heart was thumping.
Forcing herself to calm down, Lisa somehow felt her whole body heating up when she saw the unusual white meteor. A sensation of being exposed to powerful solar radiation had ignited, and as if struck by that warmth, the silent bloodline in her veins throbbed, and a bolt flickered between her fingers.
That white meteor appeared capable of unlocking her silent bloodline?!
“The village would definitely send monster hunters to assess the situation… Whatever happens, I would never reach that thing since I’m not one, even if my father is a captain.”
Despite being unsure if it had been an illusion, Lisa now was reluctant to give up that tiny hint of possibility. She would never want to be a mortal, cowing ordinarily in the mountain village to live out her days! She will become the greatest monster hunter of this world, and she would explore it, searching for the seas and finding the edge of the Desert of God!
“There’s no way I would live my life like a fish in a bowl!”
Rash, staking everything in one blow, mad—or perhaps another word for courage. Innumerable moods filled her mind, and the Drakonid girl thus resolved herself. She would never believe in the providence of others, she would decide her own fate. Since the monster hunter part would not bring her along, she herself would leave the village and find the meteor that just might awaken her bloodline!
Without hesitation and acting on the thought, the girl quickly slipped out of the village along a small path while others were still clueless and panicking. All Drakonids were soldiers, with their clothing and fashion mostly jungle-camouflages, while even Drakonids that did not awaken would at least have basic training. Additionally, there were safe zones around the village, which was why Lisa’s journey was basically smooth and without obstacles.
However, due to her meager age, her unfamiliarity with the path as well as her need to find a road that evades the monster hunters, a detachment of hunters had already reached the meteor despite leaving later to where the meteor fell just as she hurriedly arrived.
The meteor had fallen upon a hill without trees, spreading searing heat in all directions and distorting huge sheets of air around it. Panting, Lisa hid behind a huge tree despite her disappointment, watching as her father—a robust, single-horned Drakonid with a firm expression ordering the party to split and move the remains of a huge white meteor. There were precious and sturdy metals contained within those rocks that fell from the sky, and given that there was not just one Drakonid village around here, they must move the largest and most useful portion of the meteor as soon as possible before other monster hunter teams from other villages arrived.
“Damn it, isn’t that speed a little fast as well—never giving others a chance!”
Despite her disgruntlement, it was Lisa’s limits of what she could do. In the end, she was still a fourteen-year-old girl—and without the awakening, it was too much of a stretch to wrestle against elite monster hunters who trained for decades. Watching helplessly as the party moved away more than half of the white meteor, Lisa started to hurry back for the village. Because there was no chance now, she should not risk it, and instead try to see if she could touch the white meteor in days to come. Though it was not much, there was still hope.
Nevertheless, just as the girl watched the monster hunters hurried away with the meteor without once checking the surrounding thickets, she noticed a vital fact—the curious radiation that warmed her body as if about to awaken her bloodline had not vanished, but was still where the meteor had fallen!
“Could it be?!” Lisa promptly held her breath once the thought flashed through her mind. Could it be that the monster hunters did not move away the catalyst that could awaken he bloodline from the meteor? It was possible since all the hunters were awakened individuals—how could they be failures like herself that could not awaken?
At the very thought, the girl had no longer the intention to hide. The party from the village had already left, while parties from other villages and monsters had not come—this was her best chance! Moving at the thought, Lisa leaped out from behind the tree and sprinted toward the crater, taking no mind as the burning presence streamed into her lungs. Lisa ran with all might, climbing up to the top of the hill in a brief dozen seconds, arriving beside the crater.
It was a hole that was about a dozen meters long but unexpectedly shallow. While the meteor resounded and shook the ground stunningly, its damage to the hill was not that extensive. At the depths of the crater was red-black lava that was beginning to cool, while a greatly damaged white meteor lay at the center of the crater, emanating the searing presence.
Most of the meteor had been carried by the monster hunters, leaving worthless scraps and little portions of its outer layer. Be that as it may, it was clear that the meteorite substance was extraordinary—instead of calling it a rock, it was more fitting to name it a metal that appeared to have been compressed, condensed and purified by some profound power over thousands of times. With a single glance, Lisa could feel that any weapon crafted from such materials would be invincible… it would be even better if it was used to craft a greatsword!
However, the girl’s attention was never caught by the meteor. Indeed, she only had the time to glance at the meteor once before her gaze moved away involuntarily.
For a bunch of things that resembled white gelatin had incidentally climbed right before her eyes.
“Weren’t they all gone? Why are there still people?! And where did this farm girl come from—no, she actually has horns?”
A certain heavily injured archdemon, which body was completely destroyed exclaimed in surprise.
“Heavens… What, what monster is this!”
A certain Drakonid girl, who had gone out on an adventure to fight for her future exclaimed in surprise as well.
The powers of the balrog called Syndicate was virtually exhausted. It was left with just a cluster of purest flame, hence condensed into something similar to an Abyssal Flame Slime. It was thinking calmly as it studied the Drakonid girl who had black hair, two green draconic horns and shuddering as she tried to find a pebble to extinguish last vestiges of its life. To survive, the balrog’s mind whirled furiously, with subconscious flashes of a certain black warrior’s silhouette. After the briefest but humblest of prayers, Syndicate’s mind suddenly flashed with inspiration—the archdemon directly linked its own spirit to the Draknoid girl, and began to speak with the most solemn, imposing and convincing voice in its entire life.
“Young girl—do you have any wishes you desire?”
“Eh?” Lisa paused, stopping halfway in her motion to strike it with a rock.
The North, the Mycroft Continent.
Joshua was suddenly staring blankly just as he finished his conversation with Igor.
“What happened, Joshua?”
The old pontiff asked simply as he noticed the warrior’s blank expression. Joshua shrugged in return, and said puzzledly, “Seems to be… the sound of a prayer?”
‘It should be an illusion,’ he thought.
After all, were there any demons that prayed in this world?