Seed of Destiny
There were two ways for the families in Faust to improve their position. The first was direct conflict, while the other was what was currently happening to the Archerons— to have luck so supreme that they would receive blessings from the gods. The expansion of the island here was secondary; what was more important was that it proved the family had the grace of the Eternal Dragon for a while, at least for the next year and at most for the next three. To launch a frontal assault on such a family in Faust would likely result in dire consequences, such as a drop in blessings received by the attacking family themselves.
However, there were very few families who have actually done this throughout the history of Faust, one of the contributing factors being the randomness and unpredictability of such grace from the gods. Besides, without the strength to make such rankings foundational, it would all be false glory. Barely achieving such a ranking would not ensure that the family could maintain it for a long time to come. Unless the family has already made sufficient preparations to climb through the hierarchy, it would be futile to try their luck. For example, the islands on the seventh layer did not have any magic defense, while there was divine magic protecting the islands in the sixth.
This was not the first time Gaton had offered a sacrifice. For the island to change orbits required luck, yes, but it had to come from the blessings of the sacrifice. Unfortunately, it seemed like Richard had left half of the blessings given to him to the Archerons.
Suddenly, before he could utter a word, Gaton turned pale. High priestess Ferlyn also revealed shock from the side, the hands holding onto her sceptre beginning to tremble uncontrollably.
“This is…” Gaton was dumbstruck. He immediately looked towards high priestess Ferlyn, expecting her to have been her usual calm and elegant self. Yet, what greeted him was an unrestrained look of astonishment, ecstasy and bubbling reverence.
Mordred, though late by a moment, had the same change of expression. He looked up into the endless sky above the church, where an indescribably enormous conscient was slowly descending.
Outside of that, everything was peaceful and serene. Be it the rest of Gaton’s knights or the other members of the clergy further out, none of them were aware of the events at all. The only thing they realised was the peculiar behaviour of their master, which earned various stares.
High priestess Ferlyn tried her best to maintain a calm expression, though her voice did not stop trembling. In a low, almost mumble, she said, “This is the main conscient of the Eternal Dragon, a true miracle! This is impossible, it was merely the heart of a lesser demon lord, how did it draw the descent of the conscient of the mighty Eternal Dragon?”
Suddenly, she turned to stare at Gaton, eyes shining like stars. “Marquess! What other offerings did you prepare?”
Though shocked upon hearing that this was the main conscient of the Eternal Dragon, Gaton was able to relax, loosening his taut nerves. Smiling bitterly, he shrugged, “Those two are all I offered. This is the Church of the Eternal Dragon; how can I keep any secrets from you?”
The dazzling shine from the eyes of high priestess Ferlyn started to dim. Without saying anything more, she gazed at the pillar of light with incredible zeal, conviction, and sincerity. It was a pity that even she could not see through the screen formed from the strength of the Eternal Dragon. Even her superior status did not grant her the right to disrupt a ceremony that did not belong to her.
All of a sudden, high priestess Ferlyn leaned her head towards Gaton. In a deliberately hushed voice, she whispered, “Marquess Gaton, I recall you saying that Richard will be going on an expedition to the numerous planes very soon?”
“That’s right, I have already prepared a suitable secondary plane marking for him; I’ve already established a foothold there,” Gaton replied.
“I have an apprentice, a level 8 cleric named Flowsand. I hope you can give her a spot on Richard’s core team.”
With a stern expression, Gaton asked, “The same one who received the title of ‘Daybreak’?”
Ferlyn nodded, “That’s her.”
Titles were not self-conferred in the Church, instead granted by the Eternal Dragon after one received enough blessings. Only two officials of the Church in Faust had been conferred such a title, Ferlyn the First Light of Dawn, and Flowsand Daybreak.
Muttering to himself, Gaton nodded repeatedly while signalling agreement. “Sure!”
High priestess Ferlyn laughed, the divine beauty immediately lighting up everything before everyone’s eyes. Reaching out her arm, she placed it on Gaton’s chest, promising, “Gaton, if you fulfil this promise, you shall have the highest level of friendship from me for ten years.”
Gaton grinned along. The effects of Ferlyn’s friendship on the Archerons, even if only personal, was a valuable asset in Faust that would have clear effects. The time limit was just something any priest of the Eternal Dragon would impose on anything; it was their way of expressing their faith.
Ferlyn added, “Richard hasn’t chosen his followers yet, has he? What about his soulguard? Any candidates?”
“There were a few suitable candidates from our death camp recently. He will choose for himself when the time comes. But yes, there aren’t enough followers in his core team,” Gaton explained.
High priestess Ferlyn smiled meaningfully. “I heard that the batch arriving at Mokoff Port next week is pretty good. Morfan, the portmaster there, still owes me some favours.”
“I understand,” Gaton responded with a nod…
At that moment, Richard who was within the screen was indescribably shocked, unable to recover the autonomy of his body. The will and soul he’d thought of as firm were actually tottering with the ripples of time, threatening to collapse and dissipate at any moment. This was no intentional attack, just an aftereffect of the descent of the Eternal Dragon. However, the dragon’s will was far too powerful. Even if it had slowed its descent, it still gave rise to tsunami-like waves of time.
“Mortal…” The voice of the Eternal Dragon rang once again in Richard’s soul. This time, the formidable existence only let a strand of consciousness into the range of the altar, and the strength of the soul’s echo was halved. The first time it called out, Richard’s soul was nearly destroyed.
“What can I do for you, mighty Eternal Dragon?” Richard responded through clenched teeth, barely clinging on to his unstable consciousness.
“Mortal, I see offerings from you that please me. Put them on the altar, and you shall have a title and blessings.”
Offerings? Richard was stumped for words: he’d given all the offerings already… Unless— he suddenly got an idea. He glanced at the ivory on the bracelet around his left wrist; it was radiating pale gold light, the power of time. This gift from Mountainsea was what had attracted the central will of the Eternal Dragon!
Richard’s thoughts immediately went over to the barbarian girl. Someone with hugs as heavy as mountains, with the greatest of backgrounds and most incredible wealth, but who’d never taken it all to heart… He did not hesitate for long.
“Almighty Eternal Dragon, forgive me for my impudence. This bracelet is a gift from my friend; I’m afraid I cannot offer it to you.” It was difficult to say this, but Richard was firm.
“Mortal, all that you treasure now will eventually turn into nothingness.”
“But it is what I treasure now, having it now is sufficient for me!”
The conscient of the Eternal Dragon appeared to have been shaken, though it rang again in Richard’s consciousness afterwards, “Mortal, if you ever change your mind after today, you may offer sacrifice to me in any of my churches.”
Soon after, the indescribable conscient gently faded, leaving Richard gasping desperately for air. He laid paralyzed on the ground, so weak he barely had strength to move his finger. As the gigantic conscient slowly rose above, he could almost feel his soul being lifted and drawn out of his body. However, he did see that as the main conscient of the Eternal Dragon left, there seemed to be a few specks of light dropping from overhead, blending into the time sphere that was still floating in the sky above the altar. Suddenly, a ripple of violently strong life force burst out of the time sphere
After catching his breath, Richard managed to stand and walk towards the time sphere, albeit with much difficulty. This was the biggest prize, though he had no idea what was inside. However, no matter what it used to hold, Richard completely did not have any expectations after rejecting the request of the Eternal Dragon. He reached out to touch the time sphere, causing a burst of strong light. A dark green egg appeared on his palm soon after, radiating a strong life force that could be felt even on the outside.
Upon receiving the strange egg, Richard only got a short message in his mind. In fact, it was so short there was only a word, “Seed.”
Seed? What seed?
While Richard was left confused, the brilliance of the altar had already faded. Once again it became an abandoned stone tower that was corroded by the sand and winds. The screen of time also slowly scattered into nothing.
As Richard stood dazedly in front of the altar, carrying the ‘seed’ in his hands, high priestess Ferlyn had already cried out in alarm, “HOW IS IT A SEED?!”
“Seed? What is that?” A glimmer flickered in Gaton’s eyes; though he had no idea what the seed was, he could tell from Ferlyn’s terrible complexion that it was definitely something unusual.
With a complicated expression, high priestess Ferlyn started to explain slowly, “It is formally called the seed, but in private we refer to it as the seed of destiny and destruction. It is a blessing that is hard to describe; its specific purpose is one of the most classified information of the Church, that must never be leaked. It is both good and bad news that Richard was conferred the seed. On the good side, he will be able to give his enemies in the myriad planes a huge surprise. However, his journey out must be brought forward. We cannot let the seed take root in Norland, it has to enter another plane within a month. This request… You can take it to be a divine command from the Eternal Dragon himself.”
Grimacing, Gaton grabbed Richard’s shoulder and pulled him by his side. Frowning, he asked, “Just one month?”
“At most a month. The earlier he goes, the less damage there is to his sacred blessings.” Ferlyn was firm in her decision.
“What about Flowsand?” Gaton tried to sound Ferlyn out from another direction.
“Of course she will follow along.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: SY
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA