Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Standing before the cylindrical pallet at the top of the altar, the girl took a deep breath and raised her finger. Then, like the elderly Drakonid before her, she cut the artery by her wrist and pressed it over the altar.
As pain and blood spurted, she heard an extraordinary voice that was cold and without emotion.
At the same time, the pale-blue sphere of light that hovered above the altar was flashing with magical radiance. Countless numbers and runes flickered within like a waterfall, with a bizarre voice wafting from within.
[World Link Divert Ritual reactivated. Ancient Dragon existential core construct included, supreme concentration of Ancient Dragon Blood needed at the moment]
[Ancient Dragon Blood detected, transferring… Bloodline Power under guidance… Progress: 77.74%, 78.31%, 78.92…]
A mysterious power emanated from the pallet, absorbing the power inside the girls’ body, and Lisa’s entire body promptly flashed with powerful yet dense bolts that began to surge toward that the flashing radiance over the altar boundlessly…
Though that was the case, the ritual was unexpectedly mild in its power absorption and did not forcibly drained Lisa’s body power, instead taking what she could give with a faint induction… But the power it needed was simply to great. Each time Lisa applied Actuate Bolt Kokyu-Ho and mustered a clump of power in her body, the progress number would rise for just 0.05%. And soon, the girl found an extreme fatigue after the fact despite not feeling tired after three days and nights of continuous running.
Lisa felt her mind blurring, and golden stars were leaping out of the corner of her eye. Even so, she gritted her teeth and mustered her full strength to drive Actuate Bolt, contracting her bloodline power and did her best to keep the lightning flow moving incessantly… The ritual was not draining the girl, but she was draining the depth of her body and will—the process could not be described as laborious, but as pure torment.
And the balrog was aiding Lisa at the moment—in fact, if Syndicate did not keep the energy in the girl’s body flowing, Lisa would have self-destructed from the few errors she made in exhaustion earlier. Still, as if gradually getting used to the fatigue, the girl did not make any other mistake despite her anguish, while the Balrog realized in shock that as the girl drove the Actuate Bolt in her body determinedly, it evolved and ascended… An omen that promptly left Syndicate shocked and chagrined.
As a former Archdemon, its progress was actually slower than a native Drakonid. It was truly inconceivable.
However, the improvement of bloodline could not conceal Lisa’s deficiencies in pure power—as the blood flow from the girl’s wrist slowed, the number displaying the percentage progress slowed as well.
It was at the time that the twelve walls of the ritual hall became transparent. Just like before, the light-silver crystal hall turned into lenses that displayed the sight outside the Kronos Mountains.
At the moment, the skies shook, and infinite darkness unfurled over the elevated skies. Everything from starlight and sun was obscured by the unusual dense fog, and the cloud which darkness formed made all things silent—within the mountains, those rampaging demons were withdrawing their wings and quivering, just as the dull black dragons were spread prone over the ground, trembling incessantly. The golden flying machines over the world too hid, not daring to show its face before the darkness, because they could no longer receive the signal from their Mothership. Deep within the Desert of God, the fluctuating beastly howls were slowly muting—the powerful monsters that possessed Ancient Dragon Blood were fearing the approaching darkness.
Lisa watched as the dark dense fog spread, a curious despair filling her heart. She seemingly felt that she, like the entire world of Kronos, was slowly devoured by darkness.
—That darkness… could it really be broken?
Even if the Dragon God was freed of its chains and reclaimed its freedom, could it win?
She thought pessimistically, finding her previous courage laughable. The alliance of the ancestors and Dragon God could not defeat their opponent entirely, even with the price of a world destroyed. Hundred of years had passed since, the enemy had recovered—perhaps even growing stronger, so could the Dragon God that had yet to fully cover protect his world? The darkness had devoured the champions that the starry skies trembled for, so would mere Drakonid sacrifice defeat it?
Above the altar, green-blue lightning current was also weakening along with faint breaths. The Drakonid girl had now cut her arteries on both wrists, her palm, and elbow, so that the bloodline power, blended with fresh blood, could pour down into the altar as much as possible. Still, the diligence was meaningless—the progress display stopped moving at 99.17%, unchanging even after a few minutes as if mocking coolly.
The concentration of Bloodline Power remained just a little too low, unable to completely activate the ritual… it was simply too inadequate for the old Drakonid and Lisa herself to complete the ritual that was once scheduled for twelve Drakonids—it was a gap no sacrifice could traverse.
“Damn it, still not enough?!”
Syndicate bellowed in rage within, its tone filled with irritation. To help Lisa complete the ritual, the balrog had even offered what little of Ancient Dragon bloodline in its body, throwing its labor to utter waste. Even so, the progress improved for an insignificant 0.5%, incapable of reaching hundred percent.
—Damn it, is there only failure? After giving and sacrificing everything, is there only failure?!
The balrog’s heart grew cold. It was a demon that lived for many years, and was certainly aware that giving does not equate to receiving, and sacrifices would not always be successful. However, as things mattered to it, there was still a hint of despair in its heart.
When he had seen That Person once again, in the skies devoured by darkness, Syndicate remained convinced that he would not lose so simply, but there was still a pressure in its heart… Without question, That Person was battling against the darkness, and it would certainly be best if the Ancient Dragon could be freed from its restraints and battle against the darkness it was familiar with—so why was it unachievable?! Could the ritual really not be accommodating even for a gap that was not even one percent, must the ritual move by hundred percent?!
Is there really no third awakened pure-blood Drakonid in their entire race? It was just one over a hundred—not even that much!
Now, Lisa was almost fainting. Even her breathing was becoming faint, while the girl’s vital signs were weakening, leaving the demon to labor alone… Syndicate had always claimed that it entered a pact, instructed her in Actuate Bolt and cared for the Drakonid girl to recover its power, but it was only now that the archdemon became aware that it acknowledged and liked the diligent Drakonid girl.
So hardworking and never slacking. Lisa never gave up even after learning Actuate Bolt, a skill that was so complex that even the former archdemon found difficult. The girl’s simple mind lay in a distant ambition, pure curiosity and happiness—each of which Syndicate admired. She had even learned a legacy from That Person, a Monarch, and that was enough for the demon to acknowledge her.
Lisa truly awed it, which was why Syndicate wanted to help her.
On the crystal walls, the sights of the outside world were still changing dramatically—due to the spreading darkness, the global temperature was rapidly plummeting at an extraordinarily abnormal speed, and in half an hour, the rivers of the Kronos mountains turned into icy veins, while trees were hung full of white frost. The flames over demon skins were doused, the wings of the wyverns could not be spread, and the illusory concealment ability of the golden flying transports had lost function with the lowered temperature, revealing its true form.
The crystal walls around them reflected the upheaval as it is, including the cooling of the ritual hall that was wrapped in magma. The girl breathed meekly and intermittently as if about to stop at any time, keeping her eyes that were about to close at the numbers that had stopped moving, feeling indignant over her own helplessness while the balrog bellowed in rage.
The end is about to come for all things.
Until that very moment.
At the center of the skies where the darkness and dense fog was most substantial, an incandescent golden light suddenly pierced the bottomless darkness, as if something was burning and fusing while providing a hint of light.
In the very next instant, a parching crimson sun that carried immeasurable might and killing intent tore apart the darkness and appeared in the center of the skies!
But soon, the sun was consumed by the squirming darkness once again. Even so, the darkness was unquestionably torn apart just now, and beneath the shroud of the dense fog, other light was also unfurling as well—the splendor of the other champions. As if the sun had been exceedingly incandescent, the dense fog that engulfed the world was quickly shrinking back to the Void outside the world, while the frost that eroded the land was diminishing. Plundered energies hence returned to the world, returning warmth to the Kronos mountains.
Stimulated by the light, the feeble Lisa slowly opened her eyes toward the crystal walls, looking upon the skies where the struggle between darkness and light was not stopping. The girl hence stared blankly at the incandescent radiance that would reappear no matter how it was consumed and obscured, her expression stagnated, her thoughts unfathomable.
Still, the girl began to laugh after a few seconds. Though her laughter was weak and ill-at-ease, it eventually quieted, but Lisa was now fully conscious, revived from her feebleness. She found her thoughts unprecedentedly clear, her thinking never so clear before.
“So that’s how it is… My power is still not enough.”
“But it still is not the time to despair.”
The girl mumbled, even as she was about to fall over the altar, her stance now unable to straighten. It was now clearly visible that Lisa was but a small girl of great endurance—her own height was not much taller than the cylinder and pallet on the altar, needing to tip-toe just to reach the top of the altar.
Despite that, there was once again lights in the eyes of such a delicate and weak girl.
—The meaning of a hero’s existence was not triumph in every battle but to give others the courage to keep going on.
Closing her eyes and opening them again, Lisa looked at the crystal walls around her. Darkness remained over the star skies, and she kept silent for a while before speaking softly. “I’ve always known that Mister Syndicate was not some fairy that fell from the sky to grant wishes.”
It was the identity Syndicate crafted to fool the girl about its identity, but she was now shaking her head nonchalantly. “I also know,” she continued, “that the power I awakened was given in exchange of my life.”
Syndicate kept silent and did not respond in return, but the Drakonid girl did not mind. “Every night I go into sleep, I could feel that something searing was incinerating my heart and releasing the power of my body… it was an unbearable yet comforting sensation, and I would have occasional nosebleeds or hair loss when I wake up.”
Sighing softly, Lisa closed her eyes, her speech becoming feeble. “You actually came from the same world as the beings who killed Dad, right?”
“I could sense a hint of a similar presence in my spiritual link with you… They found the Dragon God because they were pursuing you, right?”
The balrog stayed quiet.
“It’s neither a blame nor a grumble, since I don’t really know if it was the case… moreover, we would have a mutual enemy if it was.”
The girl looked up, opening her eyes that flickered in green-blue lightning. She looked toward the surging darkness on the crystal walls, her tone calm.
“And in the very first place…”
Had nothing to do with me at all.
The balrog knew very well that all of it did not matter to him. What was it compared to the draconic roar that resounded over the Multiverse, to attract the arrival of so many Legendary champions? It was at most driven by fate to land on this world… but how could it say that? It was Syndicate the Archdemon! How could it excuse itself of such trivial things!
Even demons had their pride.
“What are you trying to say, Lisa.” Syndicate said, its voice low. “Could it be that you’re remembering the past because you believed that you have failed? If that’s so, I was wrong about you.”
“Of course not.” The girl replied, shaking her head determinedly but slowly. “I’m just remembering a question my dad once asked me when I was younger.”
Squinting as if in remembrance, Lisa said mildly, “He asked, ‘Lisa, if you wish to go far away, where is your goal?’”
“‘And what price are you willing to pay to reach your destination?’”
“I completely did not understand the meaning of my father’s worlds. Therefore, I answered that I would give everything.”
At those words, a blush suddenly appeared on the Drakonid girl’s pale-white face caused by blood loss. “Mister Syndicate!” She gritted her teeth and exclaimed sonorously with a determination she had never shown before. “You could burn my life so that the awakening of my bloodline power could be accelerated, right!”
“It’s thanks to your power that I could become like this from an unawakened loser, and arrive on this threshold!”
The girl pressed over her own chest, speaking loudly and immeasurably clearly, with a voice that was unclear whether it was rage or determination. “The ritual is not successful because I’m too young and can’t awaken much of my own bloodline… Mister Syndicate! Don’t mind my lifespan—burn it so that I could complete the ritual!”
“I am willing to give everything, whether it is life or soul! Take it all! I will advance and keep going!”
Having lost too much blood and exhausted her physical strength, unable to feel the warmth in her arm or sense what Syndicate was doing, Lisa’s delicate yet pale face became ferocious. “I shall never surrender!” She enunciated every word. “Mother left, Father left, and the elder has paved the way for me… I would never take one step back even if I die!”
“I must complete the ritual!”
The archdemon became silent.
The balrog in the girl’s chest was sensing Lisa’s weakening heartbeat, speechless.
It did not want to explain that it simply had no way to control Lisa’s bloodline awakening.
It did not want to explain that it actually did not have the ability to burn life to empower.
It did not want to admit that it was helpless in the current situation.
Give up, Lisa—I’m just a normal demon. Pact notwithstanding, it is not within the span of my ability to tap into some deep power to turn the tables. What meaning is there for you to make a wish from a demon like me.
The archdemon had wanted to say those words, but could not do so. The balrog felt disgraced that it could not say no to the girl she cared about—it, Syndicate, was unwilling to admit its helplessness in front of Lisa, a girl who had resolved herself.
Therefore, after a moment of silence, Syndicate spoke.
“I… promise you.”
There was a calmness never before heard in its voice. Even as the words were voiced, the demon sensed a pureness unfound even in its former past, with no excess thoughts… indeed, it was nothing else other than accompanying a Draknoid girl in her madness. And if a girl was not afraid, why would it be concerned over its own life as a balrog?
Thus, the demon said, “The pact is made.”
At the very moment the words were spoken, Lisa sensed that her soul was grabbed by a great power, leaving her incomparably shell that was about to expire. At the same time, another throbbing, searing and great soul was approaching her.
The new pact was made, meaning that the original one was moot. Nothing should have happened with both demon and subject breaking their contract—the girl’s soul would not enter the demon’s possession, and vice versa. Nevertheless, through Syndicate’s power, an even more mysterious link was born.
Both of them now held every right to the other’s soul, their spirits linked together by the pact.
In the physical world, on the chest of the Drakonid girl, the balrog’s true form that had returned to white melded into Lisa’s body like liquid. The pure and powerful lifeforce that belonged to the demon was wildly surging into every inch of the Drakonid girl’s body—thanks to the link between souls, Lisa and Syndicate were now assimilating. As the two’s shared life burned, the girl’s drained bloodline power appeared out of thin air once more!
She could see, that the numbers that represented completion progress on the blue luminous sphere above the altar were rising without stopping.
99.42%, 99.56%, 99.68, 99.80%, 99.92%…
The numbers kept leaping, but Lisa’s awareness was slowly diminishing as well. The profound delight and sadness over the days had greatly depleted her spirit, putting her on her limits early on—and now, the toll and tiredness from the fusion of body and soul had left her with not one ounce of strength. Her fuzzy gaze was focused on the leaping numbers before her eyes, and she even noticed the vein of radiance that was still tangling with the darkness.
Lisa’s eyes slowly closed, sensing that her consciousness was slipping into darkness. It was now the cold darkness over the sky, but appear to be a warm embrace… She seemed to hear her parents’ voices, the elderly Drakonid’s laughter. She sensed that she was about to sleep, and slumber in that warm darkness.
If you could hear my voice.
Please light my life aflame.
Before her consciousness completely vanished, the Drakonid girl closed both her eyes. At that moment, there was only a final prayer in her heart to an unknown recipient.
—Please light my life aflame.
Burn all those ordinary days into divine blessing… allow me to become such a hero.
Over the skies, the flash of the blazing sun suddenly blasted and shattered darkness, bringing a hint of light for the Kronos Mountains. Though the dense fog gathered again to obscure light, the warmth brought from the flash was not fake.
Whether for a minute or for a second, I wish to stand there… I wish to become such a person! I wish to protect this world! Protect my home!
Please help me do so—
I’m willing to give everything for that.
In the instant the girl utterly lost consciousness, an emotionless voice echoed over the altar.
[Bloodline Power Guidance 100%]
[Ancient Dragon existential core construct completed]
[Existential guidance executing, Steel Strength link redirect underway]
[Ritual success… lock temporarily removed]
[—May the Light of Triumph shine upon us eternally]
The calm and emotionless voice vanished, and the silver radiance from all directions utterly materialized, turning into gigantic silver chains that wrapped over the altar and onto the girl’s body.
And in the heart of the Desert of God, the Ancient Dragon spread its wings, the chain of Steel Strength no longer binding it this time. Thus, the silver dragon bellowed, trembling the heavens and earth and completely shrugging off its own fetters, and began to soar toward the skies, the darkness over the heavens and the sun that was flashing in light.
As the Void passageway in the skies opened and closed, all things in the world of Kronos became silent, uttering not one word.
Meanwhile, in the depths of the subterranean reaches, Lisa closed both her eyes tightly.
Those great men above ground were fighting for Ancient Dragon, civilization and world. They might be here for the sorrowful wish to shape their world, or merely desiring to attain the power to reshape their world. They might be here out of sheer curiosity or to correct their own mistake, to battle against the Ancient Dragon and the darkness of the stars. All of them had their own reasons to fight.
As for Lisa, it was simple.
Just for the desire to advance.
Just for the desire to save her own home.