Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Joshua had rested for a considerable period after returning to Moldavia with the others.
Having no official duties, cultists, monsters, evil dragons, and… no official duties. Everything was so peaceful that even the winter grain harvest was not bad, as if all calamity has left the North.
The reason why there were no official duties was because the authority of the liege’s residence had been mostly delegated, the management being handed to the subordinating personnel in the newly established city hall. The management personnel who were formerly in charge of the city guards, settling disputes and responsible for construction were hence now part of the officials in charge of Moldavia.
Ling who had been busy all along was also released from the infinite official duties. While management by handing all duties to the liege was certainly satisfying for personal lust of power and control, it was in fact an unscientific and unhealthy management style. That was why the youth was absolutely welcoming toward the management change Joshua had put forward, before simply lying down prone on his bed for a good few days to genuinely enjoy the relaxing sensation.
Meanwhile, Ying had been wandering around the Nissia Snow Mountain and bonding passionately with the dozen little white dragons—it was fortunate that those white dragons did not know that their parents had actually been cut apart by the greatsword that was the cute little silver-haired girl, or they would not have dared to approach her even if they were given ten thousand guts.
The typically extraordinary discreet Zero-One had also been very discreet. According to Moreila the old dwarf, it had contributed greatly to the construction of underground transport lines, and chased away many powerful underground monsters, while removing most boulders and mineral obstacles from the trail with its steel element attributes.
At the same time, after Zero-Three had obtained the Mark, she had stayed in the secret room within the secret room on the second floor of the liege’s mansion. She was perhaps studying the knowledge within the Mark in her own real form.
As for Joshua, the warrior had been tidying his gains at this time.
He had certainly received much from the venture to the Divine Dungeon Shroud. First, he found his way for Soul Mastery, and the next was how he should view his own divinity.
According to Joshua’s understanding, divinity was something akin to tumorous cells hosted in the soul—it was unknown if it was benign or malignant. It was so powerful that it could inversely erode the physical plane, marking his bones with divine patterns. If no control was exerted over it, it would spread just like cancer cells and assimilate the entire soul of the individual and turning it into the physical form of the Multiverse Origin Force, and when that time comes, Joshua would become a genuine agent of destruction, the incarnation of war.
On the other hand, if it could be controlled, an individual’s soul that melded divinity attributes as its own would refine itself into something similar to a deity, powerful and indestructible, capable of leaving its ‘Divine Dungeon Shroud’ Legacy even if perished for a thousand years.
Apart from that, Joshua also had to help Zero-Three analyze the knowledge in Gale’s Mark. Though he was not quite learned in magic, he was a grandmaster when it came to lifeforce and energy control—Zero-Three hence would project herself from time to time and ask the warrior about such questions.
As for Black… since everyone else was leisurely resting and not paid attention to, the black dragon sneaked beside the Nissia Snow Mountain. According to Ying, she would suddenly spring out in her black dragon form to scare those little white dragons as entertainment.
Naturally, Joshua knew all about it, but was just too lazy to mind her. When he had the time in a few days, she would have the little female dragon know how he had trained his apprentices in his own martial arts dojo to the point that they were crying for their mummies, exclaiming straightforwardly that they could not take it.
But now, the warrior was staring at the illustrated System that had mysteriously appeared before his eyes. Joshua had already become reluctant to search for the source of the System, and would simply use it for the time being if it appeared. And in the very center of the system, a curious rune mark in a twin-wing shape was whirling incessantly, emanating obscure radiance.
It was a Mark flickering in dull green radiance, its form remarkably similar to a pair of spread wings, with each feather formed from uncountable divine runes. They were linked to each other and moved incessantly, the entire Mark shifting its own form without stopping just like the wind.
[Heaven’s Raging Wind—Mythical, One and Only]
[God’s Children: protection from god is not limited to place, time race, life or death. The wielder is immune to all negative-spells below Supreme-tier, immune toward all enmity spells below Gold-tier, immune toward most negative status, immune toward most soul spells, immune toward curses, immune toward sudden death, greatly decreased Chaos corruption speeds.]
[—You have unyielding courage. Do not fear or panic, for god’s protection is with you wherever you go.]
[King of the Avian People: The Avian People’s King.]
[—From Mycroft to Karlis, as long as there is one Avian, as long as there is one…]
[Lord of the Skies: All tempest of the atmosphere is at my disposal. The wielder possesses the freedom of flight, immune toward air-element spells below Surpreme-tier and could dominate certain levels of air-element mana. A wind-elemental giant is summoned thrice a day. A wind-elemental titan is summoned once every ten days.]
[—The ruling scepter of the skies, the cornerstone of the Throne of Cyclones.]
[Description: Divine relic, entrusted upon an Heir who passed the trials and is acknowledged by god. The wielder will become the next King of the Avian People, and the future ruler of the skies.]
[—Legend claims that a Road of Wild Winds directed to the top of the skies lies on the peak of the West Banks. Courageous ones who braved the trail and its numerous obstacles would hence walk the path toward the skies, acquiring the Sky Sovereign’s blessing. When that time comes, giants would gift them with fine wine, while titans would award them with sword and shield.]
At the very bottom of the illustration was a few lines of text.
[After his passing, to have free winds keep billowing the land brimming with vigor, such was the final wish of the Sky Sovereign.]
[His wish had been fulfilled.]
“…So the gods of the last era had died out, huh.”
Springtime in Starfall year 836. The Squirming Forest in the Great Ajax Mountains.
On the research vessel of the two Legendary mages, Joshua was sitting on the plus-sized chair designed especially for him and mumbling at the white ceiling of the laboratory. “With Their ability and the Sage’s power, even if victory was difficult, they should not have ended up so tragically.”
“You’re talking about the Glorious Era?”
Both Legendary mages Barnil and Gaskel looked up at the mumbling Joshua. The two had been playing Fairy Cards next to him, having led their students to complete most of their subjects and experiments.
“Us two had dove deep into quite a few ancient ruins of the previous era to study Ancient Dragons,” Barnil said. “We did think about that question at the time.”
On the other side of the card table, William nodded as well while playing a card, making a reminiscing expression before speaking slowly: “That should have been decades ago and nearby the Far Southern Trade Federation, in a temple ruins around a misty Dark Forest. Barnil and I were not Legendary champions then, but went to investigate a cave after hearing about some extraordinary energy signature in the vicinity. We end up venturing deep, only to find a dilapidated temple ruin sealed by a salt layer on the cavern wall.”
At those words, he played another card and ended his turn, throwing a ‘your life is now a candle in the wind’ remark in banter before continuing his story.
“Thanks to the layer of salt, the ruins were preserved well—even the deity statues were complete. We could not help touching some of the figures after clearing away the salt layer, only to have them burst with a powerful energy ripple that left me shocked even now… It is a little shameful, but both us had fainted then, and the temple vanished when we came to. According to how the villagers who lived nearby had put it, there was an immeasurably bright beam of myriad colors that pierced the skies from top to bottom… For a simple temple to have such power residing even after a thousand years, what could it be that had destroyed the last era?”
Barnil nodded thoughtfully, and simply conceded after seeing the Eternal Sleep on the table. Having ended the game, the two ended the game and turned to discuss the issue seriously. “Now that you’ve mentioned it, we’re really thankful for you, Joshua. As a Sage’s successor, the information you’ve revealed in the Void of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds allowed us to understand the truth of the last era.”
At that, the Rune Master nodded. “With the cause and effect known,” he said calmly, “I could make a simple guess about the situation then.”
Joshua, who had still been looking at the ceiling sat up and asked good-naturedly. “Could you two be privy some hidden information?”
“The Lost Three Hundred Years.” Barnil let out a breath. “Of course we are aware of many hidden information—you should know that William and I had explored many ancient ruins, while many nations gave us access to their secretly inherited text in an attempt to pull us in, just because we are wandering Legendary champions with no definite faction… Apart from ancient records and information of Ancient Dragons, we also vaguely noticed certain details.”
At that point, William cut in, speaking with frankness and conviction despite Barnil’s unhappy glare. “To summarize all the specifics of every text, one conclusion can be made: Although the gods and Legendary champions of the Glorious Era met heavily losses, they did not meet such disastrous end like now. However, there seemed to have been a considerable conflict between the surviving gods, with some wanting to leave this world that was about to be destroyed, heading to other worlds to revitalize their respective races. On the other hand, the other gods including the Mother Goddess protested against that idea, and the disagreement almost ended with a civil war. However, given that most mortal races were unwilling to leave their homeland and the Sage’s support to rebuild the Mycroft Continent, the disagreement ended inconclusively.”
Joshua, who had been listening attentively to William’s narration had waited for some time, and frowned when the mage did not continue. “That short?” He asked a little disappointedly.
“What do you mean, ‘that’s it’?” William replied unhappily. “Please recognized the erudition of the two before you—If I’m not number one in richness and vastness of ancient knowledge, it would be Barnil.”
“That’s right. If I acknowledge myself as number one, number two would be William.” Barnil pointed to his own brain unabashedly. “There are hundreds of thousands of grimoires and ancient texts recorded here!”
—Huh. Joshua stared calmly at the two.
A Rune Master of Strength Mastery, A Mind Lord who had not made a breakthrough in Soul Mastery.
Though the warrior kept quiet and said nothing, the two Legendary mages could sense a great ill intent coming directly at them. Thus, the two began another game of cards, their attention quickly absorbed by the game.
“By the way,” one of them muttered softly, “those liquid crystals that change colors and information relay organs we found in the Squirming Forest seem applicable for this playing table. It should greatly lower the cost of making this magical machinery.”
“It’s a fine plan, o friend of mine. Truly, it is a little monotonous playing with you alone.”
“Come to think of it, what about the Ancient Dragon? Hadn’t you two calculated the coordinates to the world where the Ancient Dragon was? Why haven’t you guys started?”
Joshua could not help asking as the two continued the game, teasing each other while cheating with a variety of moves. It was why he came to the airship hovering above the Squirming Forest—the warrior only intended to ask when they would search for that Ancient Dragon, not to watch two Legendary mages play cards.
“The world coordinates where the Ancient Dragon had hidden itself… is temporarily inaccessible.” William said simply, playing a card. “It is using powerful Origin Magic to hide information flow from the entire world. Now, we could only find an entire layer of spatial turbulence.
“But there would be times it couldn’t hide.” Barnil, controlling his minions to attack William, was equally concise and comprehensive. “Ancient Dragons don’t have unlimited mana. According to my estimation, it’ll reach its limit in half a month.”
At that, both mages spoke at once, “And that will be the best time to depart.”
Joshua returned to his chair at those words, shrugging. “Alright. Heaven knows why I, the one who was asked to help, is more focused about the matter than you two masterminds.”
A Drakonid village, the Kronos Mountains, an unknown world.
“Mister Syndicate, Mister Syndicate!”
The excited cries of a young girl could be heard clearly outside a little sturdy stone hut. The Celestial Slime that had spread itself over a table and solemnly reading a book—the balrog Syndicate abruptly shivered, and accidentally closed the book on itself.
And once Lisa returned to find the half-shut book on the desk, she happily flipped it open and put the dispirited balrog into her palm. “I’ve awakened!” The Drakonid girl exclaimed excitedly, her tail swinging from left to right. “Though it’s not much, the elder told me that I have awakened!”
“…Is that so. That’s normal since I’ve been helping you all along.”
Syndicate felt weary in its heart. It had thought that it had been rash in the first place, but now it appeared that the girl right in front of her was worse off. The life of mortals was truly relaxing and much better than the environment in the Abyss—the archdemon thought helplessly, before saying dispassionately: “Didn’t we agree about concealing my presence? Why were you barking right in front of the door? Luckily, I could sense that there was no one within hundreds of meters, or your father would have brought an axe to me, ‘Mister Syndicate’ who appeared out of nowhere and axe me, the bastard peeking on her daughter.”
“No way. If that happens, I would explain to my father that it’s you who helped me succeed with my Initial Awakening!”
Lisa shook her head seriously, but soon sighed softly. “It’s a pity that it’s just an Initial Awakening. The elder added that my bloodline had not even awakened by one-tenth—which is a little low compared to typical Awakened… But I will definitely keep improving in days to come, and one day become the strongest Fully-Awakened hunter!”
“It’s fine if you have that intent…”
Syndicate, not knowing how to keep up with Lisa, could only speak with a tone unfettered by emotion. “I was just reading about Drakonid history and had reached a vital spot. Could you put me down first?”
“And how much have you learned—that move I’ve obtained from praying to that Monarch and passed on to you?”
“Oh, right—Mister Syndicate!”
Lisa, who had seen Syndicate as some unusual being in the beginning, had become more and more trusting of the curiously adorable Slime that called itself an archdemon, while giving it the greatest support in all its operations including learning the Drakonid language and helping it browse through a library. As she returned Syndicate to the desk, her eyes were glittering with spirit as she clenched her fists.
“As for that move, I’ve almost mastered it!”
“Actuate Bolt… I’ve now experienced its true power!”