Book 7, Chapter 133

Dark Void

“Those eggs taste horrible, Boss!” Medium Rare suddenly woke up, rubbing his eye, “There’s enough energy in there, but almost no lizard at all. It’s basically human, that’s such a bad taste!”

Ogres were able to somewhat analyse the composition of things they ate, with this ability only growing with both their level and mind. However, Richard smiled softly; the only reason this one hated humans was that he had been brought up by one. Most normal ogres ate anything from dragons to bugs and sometimes didn’t even mind plants. Humans were decidedly average for their palate, which was why the original word for ogre in old Norlandic translated to something like “man-eating devil.”

“Anyway,” Richard shook his head, “I agree. These eggs aren’t natural; they should be human infants injected with draconic blood with some growth catalyst.”

“But what’s the point?” the ogre scratched his heads, “These people can’t breed, so they’ll only be useful once.” This was a general rule. Most artificially created lifeforms— and even a good chunk of normal ones that were modified— ended up losing a good chunk of their reproductive abilities. Even the Schumpeter Family that had studied selective crossbreeding for years had failed to overcome this issue.

“It still allows them to send a large number of soldiers through to another plane quickly. Each of these things can get to level 10, and half a month’s worth of blood is enough for hundreds. Even for everything in the hall, two dragons would have been enough.”

“But that needs so many babies. Won’t the chance of fusion be low?”

“Would you worry about chickens if you could use a few of them to maybe make clones of yourself?”

“Uhh… I understand,” the ogre nodded hard, realising why Richard looked so uneasy.

Richard himself sighed, heading for the hatchery where hundreds of worker drones were tending to the eggs. They had taken up the draconians’ job perfectly well, and in some cases were performing even better than the original caretakers. In charge of them all, the Thinker was present personally and directing the hatchery.

Looking at the special unit, Richard suddenly thought about how useful it had become in recent years. Outside of small battles, the Thinker was now more useful in any situation than Phaser and Zangru, with the astral chrysalis sharing a similar status. Be it the regular flying chrysalides or the wasps, nothing could compare to the astral chrysalis at logistics and transport; just it alone was enough to support a small war.

Brushing away the thoughts, he waved at the Thinker and asked, “How is it going?”

“The samples have been sent to the Creator, but she will need a month to completely analyse them. The eggs have been slowed down as we wait; she anticipates that she can turn all of these things into obedient servants just like us.”

He nodded and left the hall. The hatchery was a rudimentary attempt at creating drones, as were most draconians, but the broodmother was someone at the end of that path. He didn’t need such techniques when she was around, but now that she was completely independent he needed to grow his own sources as well.

Once he was out, he soared a kilometre into the sky to overlook the entirety of the valley. After sweeping his gaze across the area, he flew over to check on the battle situation at the Pearl Necklace.

Gangdor was currently leading an army of 30,000 to attack Zabal’s remaining forces, but this time he only had 2,000 humanoid knights on hand while the rest were living warriors. He had even been ordered to refrain from using the drones as much as possible; Richard wanted to make sure his generals would be effective even without having to rely on the broodmother’s drones and communication system.

To his credit, the brute had won every battle despite being outnumbered six to one. In mere days, he had exterminated the two main legions of the opponent, and was currently marching on the capital. His talent at the helm of an army was clearly leagues beyond his personal talent for battle.

The entire battle situation was actually a sham that was only being used as training. If he wanted, Richard could lead the army personally and destroy the Pearl Necklace in a day. However, planar wars were meant for resources and not conquest; without a proper use for the land, he had no need to pay attention to it himself.

Confirming that things were going smoothly on that end as well, Richard took out the Doomsday Imprint and activated it. Many mechanisms within fluctuated rapidly as he put his mind to the device, warping into all sorts of miniatures that represented objects with great power. These weapons were extraordinarily complicated to the point that he could barely understand the surface of their functioning, but even so he knew that even the flying warships and ballistae of the dragonblood gnomes could not compare.

Every time he studied these machines, Richard felt a strange gloominess. Norland’s powerhouses thought of war machines as large toys— after all, a legend could destroy most with a single good attack while someone on Sharon’s level could wipe out an entire fleet of gnome airships with minimal effort— but he didn’t feel so confident against these.  His own Core-Melting Explosion could turn a flagship to ash, but his instincts told him that the ships he was seeing in the Imprint were far more resilient. For some reason, they reminded him of the terrifying scene at the end of the Godnest in the Resting Orchid Plane. The dead battlefield was a testament to the desperate battle of ages past.

Sighing, he lifted the Imprint higher and continued to study its changes. This had become a pastime in recent months, an exercise that strengthened his blessing of wisdom and allowed him to improve rapidly.

However, he was less than an hour into the process when he suddenly lost all vision, body suddenly dropping out of the sky for a moment before his senses returned and he caught himself. Shaking his head as he felt the onset of a headache, he stowed it away and returned to the valley before heading into his room to meditate and recover.

One’s mind and soul were the source of their comprehension of laws; if their minds were exhausted, it was impossible to control laws accurately. As someone who depended on laws for a lot of his power, from the Judge of Destiny to Kingsteel, he couldn’t take the high risk of using the Imprint to drain himself completely. It was only when he was assured of his safety that he did such a thing, but sometimes he just grew immersed in the process and couldn’t break out.

Assigning a troop of shadowspears to guard his room and entering meditation, Richard quickly realised that something was strange. Not too long after entering meditation, his mind was pulled from the vast world of the Deepblue Dream to what felt like a closed void. He sent feelers out in all directions and got nothing back, but he felt strongly like the darkness before him hid a number of different worlds.

No matter how hard he tried, he remained unable to break through the veil of darkness covering him. For a while, he even seemed to be stuck in this strange world, unable to escape to reality. Second after second began to pass, and as time dragged on he felt his thoughts starting to slow.

Strangely enough, none of this affected his mood. He felt no fear, no unease, no frustration. Constantly trying to feel out his surroundings despite the failures, he eventually managed to find a fundamental resonance in the world that anchored him in time. With the support of Truth, he quickly realised that the sluggishness was just an illusion from a process that stretched out the time he had. It felt like every second could be stretched to millennia in this dark void.

Nobody could hold on in this environment for a length of time. Richard felt a wave of fear passing over him as he realised that he could have lost himself in this darkness, but with the anchor the empty world seemed to change. An enormous warship leapt out from the darkness, sweeping past him before floating away.

In that moment, all of Richard’s minds froze. The warship looked odd and complicated, clearly made of millions of metallic parts linked together in an unbelievably intricate manner that he failed to comprehend. It took up all of his senses and even his mind, but produced no numbers at all. Truth seemed to lose all effect, with his own ability to judge things fading away. He couldn’t even be certain if the ship was enormous or tiny, but his instincts told me that this definitely wasn’t a normal size.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA