Book 7, Chapter 178

An Unusual Sacrifice(2)

Within Dragon Valley, all of Richard’s followers who had nothing else to do were gathered at Nasia’s courtyard, watching her build the altar. The Faceless Knight had become famous in Richard’s absence, almost single-handedly being responsible for how peaceful the valley had remained despite the addition of nearly a hundred followers of the legends exploring the Dragon Plane.

The portal wasn’t done yet, but Richard had arranged for griffins and wyverns to transport the followers of the legends directly to the valley. Half of them were saints and grand mages, with two even being saints; although they were servants and sometimes helpers, many of them were arrogant and looked down on the Archeron. None of them were dumb enough to scorn Richard himself, but they had no respect for his followers.

Several conflicts had arisen once these people arrived at Dragon Valley. Richard had made sure his followers knew to be firm in their control, killing the troublemakers if necessary, but Nasia had taken care of everything before the rest had to take action. Seven battles in one afternoon had resulted in seven opponents with broken bones, with one of her opponents even including a sky saint. She had dragged everyone down to level 16 before beating them up.

In fact, there was even a level 14 fellow amongst her opponents who she actually boosted to level 16 with War Fanatic. The poor youth didn’t even find the time to get used to the new power before he was filled with bruises.

The Faceless Knight had a distinct fighting style when disciplining the unruly. She always fought in close quarters, punching her opponent’s face until their nose broke. It was only when the one sky saint was reduced to a swollen mess that the unruly new entrants learnt their place. Some of them would rather just be injured heavily than have to live with a black eye for several days.

Most of Richard’s followers were armed with items acquired from the Eternal Dragon. Hearing that Nasia was building an altar for sacrifices, many of them had their interest piqued. If there was a proper altar in Faelor, the plane as a whole would rise greatly in value. However, as she found a section of land in her courtyard and started building, they were all dumbstruck by her choices.

The materials she used for the altar were simple mortar and stone, left over from the construction of the manors. There weren’t any magical resources at all; in fact, even a family of peasants could do better. She spent two hours making a plain platform, but then she declared that she was done and started lazing around nearby.

This was meant to be an altar? Nobody could understand at all. Even a goblin would know to use some branches as decorations. They wanted to laugh it off and leave, but Richard had sent word that he would arrive within the hour so they just chatted while waiting. Just like Richard, they had learnt not to underestimate her.

Not long after, the cloned brain descended into the courtyard. It set down a crystal platform that was exuding a mysterious glow, drawing a rare expression of seriousness even on Nasia’s mask. She circled around the platform a few times as Richard climbed down, checking everywhere before cutting off a small piece and throwing it into her mouth. Chewing it for a bit, she remarked, “Not bad.”

Even as Richard’s eye started to twitch in wonder at the capabilities of her stomach, the knight swallowed and nodded, “Mm, this thing is worth two top-tier offerings.”

“Two?” Richard was a little surprise. When he checked himself, he had estimated it to be worth only a little more than one.

“Don’t compare your crude methods with mine. Go put this on the altar, we can start.”

It was only then that Richard realised the crude stone platform was supposed to be the altar. His annoyance only increased; a true altar of the Eternal Dragon looked shabby because of aeons of erosion from the current of time. Those things were filled with ancient desolation, this platform was just crude. However, he knew it was unwise to argue with her and just did as he was told.

Richard watched as Nasia walked over to the altar and placed her hand on the platform, his eyes widening as motes of pale gold energy flew out and fluttered in the sky. This was the sands of time! Having seen the procedure countless times in the past, he instantly recognised that this was the step before timeforce would absorb the offering and turn it into divine force. However, that had all been in the Church of the Eternal Dragon; Nasia wasn’t even a priest!

This had to be proof that the altar truly did work, but when he used Field of Truth to look at it he couldn’t tell the difference from regular stone. He couldn’t explain just how the crystallised timeforce had appeared, but at some point he had stopped breathing. The same was true of his followers; even the ogre lord felt tiny in the presence of the sands of time.

The ceremony proceeded silently, the entire platform dissolving away. Richard felt a faint tremor in Faelor, as though the laws had been changed, but the feeling passed in a moment.

……

An enormous war was currently underway in the skies above Faelor. Several battlefields dotted a section just outside of the crystal walls of the plane, portals on each end. Divine warriors bathed in golden light were gushing out continuously, entering the bloody battlefields.

There were no commands or formations here, just a chaotic brawl to the death. A hundred blades would find their way to every warrior that so much as lost their footing, ripping them apart before moving on to the next target. The mangled body would then disintegrate into divine force and disappear into thin air. More warriors would quickly take their place, continuing the seemingly endless cycle.

This was the divine battlefield between the three goddesses and Runai. Every dead warrior was turned into pure divine force and absorbed back into their respective deity’s divine kingdom alongside their soul, used to form a new divine warrior once more. This process wasn’t perfect, losing a bit of the original divine force each time, but far more dangerous was the weathering of the souls involved in it. Even an elf would be permanently destroyed after a hundred iterations.

The defences of a divine kingdom would only start to weaken when it started to run out of divinity and warrior souls. Only then would an invasion grow feasible, the process normally taking at least a few years while some drawn-out wars could last centuries. Divine wars were undoubtedly primal, cruel, and dull.

In an effort to hasten the progress of the war, the three goddesses had opened up six battlefields in tandem, resembling six pearls that formed a ring in the sky. Right in the middle of these pearls were the divine kingdoms of the four deities involved. Each one looked vastly different from the rest, but their surfaces were covered in hazy glows of different colours that represented the laws their owners controlled. If one observed closely, they would notice that this glow came from thin, disjointed crystal barriers similar to the sphere that protected the entire plane.

Within their divine kingdoms, the three goddesses were seated on their respective thrones as they observed the situation on the various battlefields. Even though they now won out in total faith, centuries of accumulation still left Runai with access to both a greater pool of divinity and more souls in general. Ten years of rapid growth just couldn’t make up for such a vast difference, and being too hot-headed would only lead to their own demise.

Even now, the battlefield was almost at a stalemate with them on the back foot. Runai just had too many soldiers for them to fight on an equal footing, but they were still pushing up and maintaining a delicate balance. While they weren’t in a position to win right away, the power of faith was still constantly refilling their lost divine force. With the Divine Fort destroyed, Runai had already fallen far below the point of being able to keep up; she would eventually run out.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: WQ

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA