Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
In the Lava Inferno—the Sixth Abyss, the demon king that was only shadow sat upon its own throne. It was watching the flame in its hand silently at the grand hall inside the depths of the Valley of Tears Fortress, just as the battle around the world of Mycroft erupted.
The flame was incandescent white and burned silently without consuming air or fuel. It appeared to be incorporeal, and yet it incessantly generated sacred energies out of thin air. Even so, the pure-black Demon King kept the flame in its palm, and each time its dark energy touches the white flame it would burst with black smoke and white vapor that filled the hall, a reaction akin to the moment boiling oil touched water.
If any of the Supreme-tier High Priest from the Seven Gods Church had been present, they would be left in utter shock: the flame itself was the completed form of the greatest divine spell of the Seven Gods Church, ‘Eternal Holy Flame’. Though it appeared weak in itself, it was actually correlated to the Void and could keep burning forever, even as all Chaos and evil beings it struck would be incinerated for all time, until they earnestly repent or were completely purified.
But now, Goliath, the Liege of the Sixth Abyss, was holding such a sacred flame in its hand as it pondered. While it appeared to have been staring at the flame in its hand, its thoughts had actually wafted to the distant past.
That was something that happened a long time ago, before it was demon or the Liege of the Sixth Abyss, or the King of Demons that ruled over all demonkind.
The Demon King of Gluttony was but an Abyssal worm then, having awakened around the ruins of an ancient Insectoid civilization.
Icy acid rain was striking the canopy of an ancient laboratory that had protruded amidst the mountains following erosion from the rainwater. As the energy circulation that had remained operational for millennia ended due to compromised circuits, the lab was finally rendered silent, opening the gates for itself to the sealing of an era.
However, in the depths of the lab, a hibernation chamber that had been sealed for a long time opened. Inside, an insectoid slowly straightened itself and opened its eyes to look around, studying the world that was thousands of years after its time.
It was in that moment that an Abyssal worm entered from the damaged main gates. It tunneled into the lab and lunged at what may be the last ordinary insectoid, biting off its windpipe due to its immobility following a long sleep.
Green blood splattered, and there was the sound of flesh being devoured and innards being gulped.
That was the first time Goliath consumed the complete soul of an intelligent being, the first time it developed the concept of ‘self’.
And the first time it cannibalized.
Most demons were mere survivors of former destroyed civilizations and mutated under extreme environments. A point in case was the insectoids’ own civilization that found ruin in civil wars, as their superweapons destroyed lifecycles globally. Though there were some survivors that struggled and live through centuries of winter, they had forgotten all knowledge and devolved into mere beasts. And as thousand more years passed, the hostile environment caused the beasts to change and mutate into ferocious monsters of bloodlust… Eventually, the insectoids lost their glorious and prideful name, becoming the ‘demons’ as described by other civilizations.
As for the so-called Abyssal worms, they were simply the propagation method for insectoid civilization. Before having a society, they had spread their eggs around the world to nurture succeeding races through sheer luck. After they gained civilization, they learned to collectively nurture their progeny instead of throwing their own eggs around, allowing the infant worms to crawl everywhere. In the Sixth Abyss of the present, however, no demon had such concept.
At the time, Goliath did not know what it had encountered then or what it had to shoulder. As a demon of unparalleled greed, it was simply rejoicing that it found a huge, living chunk of delicious and extremely weak meat, filling its stomach for days and aiding it in completing its first metamorphosis. It was until it became Abyssal Liege and the King of Demons, and knowing what happened in this world during the past, that Goliath understood that itself may have killed the last normal insectoid in the world.
But so what? The age of the insectoids was long gone, and they were the ones that destroyed themselves. There is no one to blame, much less a demon.
Nonetheless, hundreds of years after it had its fill, the King of Demons pondered. In that very moment, it was not considering the ‘destruction’ or ‘conquest’ demons thirst for, but ‘future’ and ‘hope’.
Was it funny? Not quite. Even the Demon King that was immeasurably greedy… Or more precisely, it is definitely because it was a Demon King that was immeasurably greedy that Goliath yearned for the eternally unattainable future and hope. In the end, compared to absolute ability and triumph ins wars, the hope for a future is the only thing in the Abyss that was rarer and inconceivable. The most naïve of demons would not dare to seek it, but it was also precisely why the Demon King feel silent.
Under Goliath’s centuries-long rule, the unified demons were no longer savages, nor do they embroil themselves in chaotic slaughter of each other, Once again, they hold basic concepts of collectivism, and learned how to build cities. In turn, its demonic grand army would follow it in conquest of other worlds, and ironically, it was when the Sixth Abyss influence kept expanding, reducing their targets that somehow started to become stronger as well that the formerly callous Demon King gradually calmed. It started to think about how it could keep developing the civilization of demons—not Insectoids, a civilization that belonged to demons.
If they maintained their warmongering ways, there would be one day that the Sixth Abyss would collide against an iron wall they could never break. That superior civilization would certainly lay waste to the Lava Inferno, leaving the demons no place to even die. That was no laughing matter, for Goliath was aware that the Multiverse never lacked champions—even the Mycroft world that had been its former target had recently unleashed overwhelming deft and ability, evident to that very point.
Then, give up on war and develop themselves with ease of mind?
That was impossible too.
The Demon King’s shadow lifted its head, a map of the Sixth Abyss appearing in its mind: their world was devoid of resources, ever-present toxic gases and billowing tempest would wipe out every citizen there is. It is difficult for demons to survive in such despairing apocalypse—indeed, if not for the resources they plundered over the last few wars, the swarms of aberrations and demons would have started to kill each other over hunger, waging a civil war that would engulf the entire Abyss. It was also a normal thing for most Abysses, with any remaining lifeforms devouring each other until the entire world dies completely, just as the Seventh Abyss did.
At the very thought, the cruel and heartless Goliath could only remain silent, unable to say a thing.
Should it be building schools with what few resources, so that the next generation of demons could have a faint hope and order, or should it focus everything it had upon champions like Demon Generals so that those beings would become the lynchpins in perpetuating their civilization? For demons that were so old they no longer pulled their weight, should they be banished cruelly into the wilderness to fend for themselves, or should it build centralized encampments so that those aged but experienced demons were given appropriate treatment?
And there were the more radical issues… Are the corpses of their own kind edible for survival? Could the cadavers of parents be recycled for the continuation of future generations? Should they respect the dead, raise meaningless graves for them over sheer emotional concern, or consider dead bodies reusable resource, heartlessly sending them to canteens?
Having gotten used to devouring and killing each other, would demon really grow to possess morals and conscience, picking up the norms of civilization from the garbage pile of millennia past?
The answer was no.
It was now the end times, and this place was the Abyss. Here was the storied hell of implacable hatred, the eternal spot of the fallen. That is why there is no sympathy or salvation to be found here.
This is the problems a civilization that rose from the ashes have to face, after the original Order of the world was destroyed.
Demons are demons not because they wanted to, but because they could only be demons. The Insectoids were fated to fall, and in such end times, any life that wants to survive must give up on all rationality and morals, for they can’t ask for more apart from staying alive.
The Demon King that was the only shadow watched the incandescent white flame that danced before its eyes. Its warmth could melt steel and boil stone, containing sacred energies that would keep Supreme-tier archdemons cry in torment over seven days and seven days before it died, although it could purify polluted water and revitalize tainted soil as well. Nevertheless, Goliah silent extinguished if in its hand—it did not want to look at it for that holy flame was useless in efforts to revive an Abyss.
It needed another.
Another Flame, one that could reignite worlds and satiate its greed, the Flame that could give the Demon King the most precious thing in the Abyss—’hope and future’.
Of course, if there was a day that the demons could reach the threshold they desired, they must trample over the vengeful, wailing corpses and bones of other civilizations. Rebirth of one civilization meant the extinguishing of thousands of other civilizations, and who could judge who was being the cruel and callous one? Who would ultimately be sacrificed, who would ultimately lose it all, and who would ultimately cry amidst their own ruin? Goliath did not care for those. It was demon, it was Demon King, it was the Lord of the Sixth Abyss.
“I want it.”
Goliath muttered softly to itself, but soon, its voice seemingly multiplied from one to voices of millions, declaring in synchronous echo, “We must have it.”
Circles of distorted space rippled behind the Demon King as that voice spoke, as if in reply.
The Abyssal Will was with its Liege. Its hope was ‘its’ hope.
Meanwhile, the two Demon Generals embodying hope of the King of Demons was facing their fear in the Bloodmoon Abyss.