Book 7, Chapter 158

Rules Of A Sacrifice

The sacrifice of ten top-tier offerings at once was an imposing spectacle that none of the grand priestesses wanted to miss. Despite their differing views, they all stood at the side to watch. Noelene was the gloomiest of them all; the divine grace that should have been hers would now go to someone else, and if Ryan did become Chosen in the future this would only be the spark of an enormous conflict later.

Once he entered the hall, Richard placed his hands on the altar and quietly started to pray. An enormous amount of timeforce converged in the blink of an eye, forming a huge isolating screen that protected him from the outside world. This was a scene he had watched far too many times to count, but now he truly noticed this section of the world detaching from Norland and connecting elsewhere; he would remain protected until he was done.

He suddenly jerked his head upwards, staring at the seemingly endless void that was occupied by faint strips of golden timeforce. These strips would converge on any offerings he put up on the altar, dissolving them and sending them away before coagulating into blessings for the offerer.

For some reason, he felt like activating Insight to study them for a moment. However, his vision suddenly went black as his entire body was drained of all its energy, warm blood starting to leak down his nose, ears, and the corner of his eye. His body shook and almost fell down, overwhelmed with the sheer shock from what he had discovered within. Every single one of those strands was changing so quickly that one could not even see the individual states properly; there were millions of combinations they went through.

In the moment before his senses were fried, it had felt like he had viewed billions of years of evolution in a single second. It felt like an ocean of information being dumped into his wineglass of a soul; if he hadn’t reacted quickly enough to cut off all of his senses, his mind would likely have been destroyed instantly.

When he recovered his senses, he looked up at the strands again. Now, there was a trace of reverence in his eyes at the vast world that he couldn’t yet perceive. Bright realisation suddenly hit him as he realised what they were; this was a pure current of time! The altar was currently in the beginning of everything!

The strips of timeforce constantly phased in and out from the void, glowing and fading with complete disregard for everything around them. This was the current of time, where space and time truly fused into one with the past, present, and future all weaved together. There were countless great people in Norland’s history, but not one of them had managed to touch upon understanding such a thing. Some had stepped into the current of time in an attempt to solve its mysteries, but they had never been heard from again.

Calming himself down, Richard crossed his legs and started to meditate right underneath the altar to recover a little before he continued. At the same time, the screen of light surrounding him slowly faded away as a strong and imposing will suddenly enveloped the altar space. This wasn’t his first encounter with the Eternal Dragon’s mind, but this time his reaction was particularly strong. He found his body trembling uncontrollably, an instinctive reaction to a being so much more powerful than him. Now, he could actually sense a smidgen of that vast power.

Richard had advanced quickly in the past few years, but the higher he stood, the more he realised just how vast the world was. Even something like Norland was tiny in comparison to what lay out in the void. For someone who desperately wanted to control his destiny, this was extremely uncomfortable.

“I didn’t think you would come so far as to probe the currents of time, kid,” the Eternal Dragon’s voice boomed from above the altar, “Consider yourself lucky that your soul wasn’t destroyed.”

Richard smiled bitterly; his actions just now had been akin to suicide. But then again, who could expect those harmless-looking strands of timeforce to be a part of the current of time? In fact, the word current was wholly insufficient to even describe the feeling of experiencing the history of the myriad planes in a single moment.

“Place the offerings atop the altar,” the voice boomed, following up as he placed the first skeleton, “All of them together.”

Richard was taken aback a little, “Shouldn’t it just be one by one?”

“That is only the limit of the conscient I left behind. What you call top-tier offerings are the limits of that conscient’s processing capabilities; since I am here personally, you can just offer it all at once. I’ll even show you a few blessings I don’t normally give out.”

Richard’s face immediately lit up. He had been shown a grade 5 rune design years ago for a single top-tier offering, so ten had to be much better. Could he even get a grade 6 blueprint?

As he started hauling all the offerings onto the altar, the dragon spoke again, “You can also add the necklace you wear, if you wish.”

“Nope,” he answered immediately. The necklace being referred to held the tooth of the Beast God, having gone through some alterations from its original form as a bracelet. He hadn’t agreed to give it up back then, and he wouldn’t do so now. 

Still, even with the rejection he had been given the broodmother and sent to Faelor, triggering everything that brought him to his current position. Even back then ,the Eternal Dragon had shown him a certain level of preferential treatment. Seeing the offerings dissolve into the timeforce, he was overcome by his curiosity and asked, “What would I get if I offer the necklace as well?”

“Not much, now. The grace from this necklace is worth two rank 3 offerings, what you call top-tier.”

This answer left Richard a little surprised. This wasn’t even close to what he had expected, but he also caught on to the specific wording of the answer as well, “You’re saying I would have gotten more if I offered it to you back then?”

Surprisingly, the dragon was patient enough to answer, “Yes, and by a great amount. During that time, that necklace would have been somewhere between a rank 1 and rank 2 offering. My system grows in orders of magnitude, so you can think of it as about fifty rank 3 offerings. In fact, I was in great need of it at the time; I would have given you access to my premium list.”

“Premium list, huh…” Richard smiled bitterly. The Eternal Dragon was someone who existed in a realm he couldn’t even begin to fathom; for it to call something premium meant it would be an item that could shake all of Norland. Falling from such a level to only two rank 3 offerings was strange. He couldn’t help his curiosity, “How did it fall so much?”

“You should already know that I was looking for the tooth; it belongs to a direct descendant of the Beast God, making it extremely valuable. When you first came across my altar, I had never received something of its ilk before, making it very valuable. However, I have come across three such things since then; it no longer matters as much.”

Richard’s heart froze. This information was invaluable, giving him some insight into events that affected a large portion of the myriad planes. He sighed in awe, “Three of these things in such a short span of time…”

“Surprising, yet not very,” the Eternal Dragon commented, “Mortals have always guessed at the kinds of offerings I require, and I passed on the requirement once I saw your tooth. Naturally, they searched through the myriad planes and found them just for the sake of my blessings; Klandor isn’t particularly resistant to such desires. In fact, the number of Klandorian offerings has gone up tenfold ever since I started offering extra grace for them.”

Richard chuckled. He himself was one such person, leaving no stone unturned in his quest for offerings. Even though many powerful beings had warned him against relying too much on the Eternal Dragon, many of them couldn’t wean themselves off their dependence themselves. He had noticed the spike in value of Klandorian offerings himself in recent times, but hadn’t really been able to do much with it.

The Eternal Dragon truly needed no tricks to worm its way into the hearts of men; just a tiny bit of information would get even legendary beings to look for what it desired.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA