Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
There was a long silence in the Void.
Joshua, who was prepared to attack, clenched and unclenched his fist several times, staring at the Demon King which was swearing fealty to him. His mouth also opened several times, only to quickly close wordlessly.
The fist of the champions should only be waved against champions—since Goliath had broken its own weapons to greatly lower its own abilities and became less of a threat, Joshua had no reason to punch out as long as he needed the demon to work for him.
“—No one would believe in a demon’s fealty.”
The bowl-shaped space slowly reverted to a normal state, while the stars of supernatural forces wafted around Joshua was also withdrawn into its own body. After a lingering look at the motionless Goliath, Joshua shifted his gaze, shaking his head. “However, you have made the right choice… at least before the threat of the unknown Evil God is neutralized, you don’t have to worry about your safety since we don’t have the excess power to wipe you out.”
Joshua turned his back to the Demon King, showing a great opening—but he was impenetrable from front or rear, in or out with his current level, since he could grow three heads and six arms to perfectly counter any oncoming blows.
The warrior had sheathed all his defenses just to put his vulnerabilities right in front of Goliath’s face, but it did not make a move despite such an opening.
It stayed where it was, maintaining its laughable posture.
Still not turning, Joshua looked afar at the stars in the Abyss, breathing out before saying quietly, ‘Why would the demons suffer the humiliation? To be slaves for their civilization to live? I would believe in the Pentashade dragons, the Drakonids or the Simboans but not a demon, for they know not civilization or legacies—you are nothing but groups of beasts, and if not for archdemon leadership, you would prefer to fight amongst yourselves than to invade foreign lands.”
“Goliath. Tell me the reason for your fealty.”
The man’s cold voice resounded over the dark Void. Their fight before had shifted surrounding worlds from their orbits towards the distance, with the Sixth Abyss itself leaving their area of engagement. Goliath lifted its head slowly at Joshua’s questioning, its eight eyes calm and appearing unashamed of its surrendering and fealty.
“No reason,” it said quietly. “If I had to put my finger on one, it’s probably for the future.”
Joshua narrowed his eyes while Goliath continued. “You’re right, Radcliffe the Searing Soul. I don’t care about the Insectoid civilization or the so-called demonic tribes—the former was long destroyed by a war of their own doing, a reasonable demise. Furthermore, I am no Insectoid, and their world had nothing to do with me.”
“As for the latter, they have no worth at all. I don’t consider them my subjects, nor do I care about my minions. I am aware that they were complete beasts that yearn for chaos, thirst for blood, enjoys infighting and violence. All of them serve me only because of my power, and not because I’m their leader.”
Such was what Goliath said. It spoke so flatly without any hint of lying, and appeared to be truly convinced that there was no falseness in its own words.
Born from acidic wastelands, Goliath the Demon King had no compassion for the former Insectoid civilization at all, himself even devouring the last member of that race to utterly end their era, allowing the beginning of the demonic age. Even so, it did not like demons either, even thinking of them as tools and not subjects.
Be that as it may, why would Goliath swear its fealty to Joshua and the Mycroft civilization? Being a champion that was equal to a god and possessed by Abyssal Will, Goliath alone was almost an equivalent of demonic races and Abyss—none could stop it if it wanted to run, nor was there a reason for it to break its own weapons and act as it did.
Joshua said nothing, and simply kept his back to Goliath while waiting for it to reveal its reason.
Soon, the Abyssal Liege spoke calmly.
“However, the new generation came—unlike the demons born in the Sixth Abyss and innately bound to Chaos, true demons were born.”
Goliath sheathed its two scythes—the weapons were originally the sturdiest parts of its wings, but now, with the wings fractured, the demon’s wings were bent raggedly. Still, Goliath appeared unconcerned and continued, “Half a year ago, demons placed in other worlds and lived upon a ‘part of my body’ had given birth to a new generation in a world of Order.”
“As all would know, World Wills rejects refugees such as us who scorched and plundered. However, after the Abyssal Will has fused with me into one body, my body itself is now the Sixth Abyss. As long as my body was placed in another world, I could create an Abyss of Order, fooling the world. That is why half a year ago, a demon garrison had birthed a brand-new generation of demons with genuine souls. They were born naturally, unlike myself, Helm, Saluka, Drier and Grutia, demons that only obtained intelligence from countless soul fragments… their souls are complete and empty.”
“Without natural soul legacies or power from soul fragments, the demons are pitifully weak.”
“But so what?”
With those words, Goliath was actually smiling—none could ever have imagined how terrible a vicious eight-eyed Demon King’s smile would be, and yet it was doing that. “The rage, treacherous nature, bloodlust, warmongering, insanity and recklessness all originate from their incomplete souls. The Abyss could not create new souls, and only countless fragments could be put together to form an intelligent mind. That is a natural condition that made demons demonic: the daily repeated illusions, headaches, and spiritual distortion would never nurture ordinary minds, and the chaos of countless souls would tear apart all rationality.
“They, however, are different… They are normal creatures that could gain normal intelligence if they grew well. I could even feel that they were born with an affinity to Shadow, the first time such power was found hosted on a new species. I believe it to be a blessing form the Multiverse, as if regaining new life. It may even be possible that they are a completely fitting cultivation—unlike us, unlike all demons.”
With those words, Goliath looked up slightly, its eyes no longer emanating magma radiance. Now, those eyes resembled dark red crystals with the color of blood, and for the first time, it spoke quietly with a begging tone, “If Mycroft is willing to acknowledge that they are ordinary beings of Order and not see them as demons…”
“I promise—until my death, all demons in the Sixth Abyss would be loyal and reliable.”
Joshua turned. The Giant God’s silver eyes were leveled at the eight dark red ones. In that very moment, Goliath could not feel any emotion, movement or intent from the other, for his gaze was so pure and blazing that each idea appeared to be impossible lusts.
The only thing worth rejoicing was that the lack of emotion meant no killing intent.
After some moments, with rumbling, thunderous echo, the Giant God began with a dull voice, “As expected of the Demon King of Gluttony. What greed.”
“By a mere swear of fealty, you desire future, hope, even wanting my promise and protection… what a bargain, no wonder you didn’t hesitate to admit defeat and surrender.”
“However, Goliath, if you swear loyalty to the Mycroft civilization and myself, what about the worlds that you had plundered and destroyed over the last few hundred years? What about the people of Mycroft that had been killed and sacrificed to demons?”
The Giant God slowly approached Goliath, raising his hand and conjuring a storm in his palm that soon turned into a long, thick chain. The warrior threw it in front of Goliath and lowered his palm, holding the Demon King’s right hand and continued without emotion, “I know what you fear.”
“You fear that we hadn’t had enough of killing you or destroying the Sixth Abyss, even killing anything that had the smallest of relation to you, along with the Demons of Order… but don’t be afraid, I won’t do that—I’m Joshua van Radcliffe, He who burns souls and guardian of Order. If those demons never killed, I will treat them fairly.”
“Even now, I only have one request for you demons—control the Abyss, and send a demon familiar with the path and take me to the Abyssal Paradise with the quickest path through the Nether River.”
On Joshua’s left hand, the light of Order burst forth. As Goliath’s dull grunts and suffocating Abyssal Breath emanated, the warrior raised his left hand, and a weird rune appeared over the demon’s right horn.”
“If the unknown Evil God awakens, your sacrifices, struggles, and burdens, along with the future you wished to see would all become meaningless. Remember that, and do your best to accomplish your duty.”
The Giant God spoke quietly, turned and said nothing else, while Goliath endured the agony over its right horn and struggled to rise. It briskly tore a shadow out of the shade of its wings, and threw it at Joshua.
“I do not know what the Abyssal Paradise actually was. But if you are referring to the Root of the Nether River or the deepest part of the Abyss, I had certainly been there.”
Goliath picked up the chains, which at once wrapped around its hands the instant he did as if a serpent. The Abyssal Liege, however, did not resist, but continued, “That’s a part of my soul which would guide you there. However, Mycroft champion, not even I had truly reached the place where no light touches. Unlike Abysses where demons like us lived, that is the true Dark Abyss!”
“Is that so.”
Joshua looked down on the shadow that he had caught, and realized that it was a bundle of solid soul that kept squirming and shifting—it was certainly the soul of a Demon King, with no tricks put in. Pocketing the shadow soul and leaving without turning back, the warrior headed for the depths of the Abyss, leaving a faint but calm voice that echoed behind him.
“We will illuminate it.”
Having achieved his end, Joshua hence left the Void around the Sixth Abyss without hesitation.
Leaving Goliath the Demon King where it was, bound by the Steel Strength chain.
The chain was actually fragile to an Extraordinary champion such as the Demon King. It would only have worked on an ordinary Demon General that had just risen to Legend—Helm or Saluka would have easily torn it apart.
Still, that was Joshua’s intention: if Goliath burst in full strength, the shockwave alone would tear the chains apart, and the warrior would know at once that the King of Demons was acting unusually.
Silently stroking the runes carved on its right horn, Goliath was unaware of its meaning, but the Abyssal Will and instincts told him that it was not harmful, like a monitor, seal or lock. In fact, it could faintly feel that the rune was helping it, although it was very discreet and imperceptible.
Goliath did not ponder for long, and its body soon disintegrated into countless fragments: limbs, backbones, ribs and innards—all body parts that contain boundless powerful Shadow and Abyssal force darted as if a storm of flesh towards different directions in the Void. A single burning dark red heart that was wrapped in a silver chain was left circling the Void once, before it, too, flew towards the Sixth Abyss.
The top of the Valley of Tears Fortress, the Sixth Abyss.
Saluka, the only Demon General standing guard looked up at the skies as the dark red heart of the Demon King descended upon the land like a meteor. It streaked through endless smoke and dark clouds to return to the center of the Sixth Abyss through a rift—Goliath’s heart pulsated, maintaining the last vigor of the Sixth Abyss core. While its departure had been short, it caused the core’s vigor and warmth to decrease rapidly as if falling off a cliff.
Watching as Goliath appeared before itself in pure smoke form, the Insectoid Demon General knelt reverently in show of loyalty, but it spoke in bewilderment and rage. “I heard that human’s ravings—ought we bend ourselves without resisting? We are demons, and our name leave worlds trembling in fear!
“And you are our king—”
Because its very flesh was the Sixth Abyss and it had kept nothing for itself, the Demon King stood over its own castle, shaking its head and cutting short its minion’s questioning and complaint.
It overlooked the dark iron skies of the Sixth Abyss, as well as the mountains and plains that were filled with toxins, dust, smog and the presence of death.
“Do you not understand?” It said quietly after a long time. “It is precisely because I am the King of Demons that I must never be as shortsighted as one, to do as demons did.”
Beyond that, Goliath did not explain or did anything else.
But that was enough.
Saluka lowered its head deeply and said nothing else. It might not understand, but it knew that it must obey the Demon’s King’s command.
Thousands of years ago.
Demons General would never serve any experience, much less vow allegiance.
Over the Abyss, countless Demonic Lieges divided the lands, killing each other and invading opposing lands. They exhausted the last shelters on their world without restraint, slaughtering their own kind simply because it was fun and interesting, convinced that it was their nature.
A powerful Demon Liege may temporarily rule over a flock of Demon Generals to invade other worlds or Abysses, but that was all there is to it. When the Liege dies, its empire, dynasty, tribe or court—whatever name or form it once held, all that it ruled would be left in shambles, with no rule or unity left behind.
A Demon General would rule a single Abyss, but two would fight against each other. No demon would bow their heads to another, and would endlessly fight amongst themselves to their last drop of blood—even if there were the occasional demon that could obtain the favor of an Abyssal Will, it would at most stabilize the Abyss for a bit.
The immeasurable darkness embroiled in an age of blood and evil hence kept prolonging… until a soul of greed opened its eyes.
Goliath, Demon King.
No demons would know what it sought apart from the Demon Generals that served it. Still, they had to know that even the Demon Generals, the champions who never served and would rather fight amongst themselves were united under a single flag for the first time.
Warm breeze, acid rain, dark clouds of gloom, lightless heavens and sun without heat. Everything swirled around faint black mists over Greystone mountains, stretching over the Nether River of the entire realm.
Those were the sceneries of the Sixth Abyss, a long dead world.
The Demon King that was only shadows stood over the Valley of Tears Fortress, forged from its own bones and dark steel. It was indeed a valley that was formed as tears flowed from all lives over thousands of years of anguish, although none would know why the Demon King would name its own fortress as such.
But like how all demons are unaware and did not want to know what the Demon King desired, humans and demons would not care.
Now, the Demon King closed its eyes as it looked out upon its domain and home.
Even if they were born in a dark world, demons would not innately enjoy the shadows while not yearning for Flame and Light.
It was the same for demons, even if the Flame burns and the light blinds, or the heat incinerates everything that no shadow could remain.