Having gone into the depths of the barbarian plains, the Highland Wargod had recovered from the brink of death and miraculously recovered his divinity, even growing steadily in power. If not for Richard coming out of nowhere, he might even have had an opportunity to become a greater deity. There was definitely some kind of secret hidden within those highlands that had allowed him to recover so quickly, and as someone who was about to lose her divine kingdom Runai knew that this was her last shot at survival.
The invaders would have to leave eventually. As an immortal being whose life was tied to that of the very plane, Runai could take her time returning to power. She quickly made the decision, having her last avatar hidden in the mortal realm head towards the ancient highlands to explore its secrets. Now feeling more at ease, she returned her attention to the battlefield.
With Richard gone, the situation returned to a standstill. For as long as he wasn’t present, the three goddesses actually lost more troops than her, taking months to push the lines only a few metres. However, Richard always destroyed that balance thoroughly. She was losing far too many souls and was at her limit; it had reached a point where the three goddesses could take her down if they attacked together without caring for their losses. They would be weakened for a while from that war, to the point that any lesser god could harm them, but with the powerhouses in Dragon Valley and a higher plane backing them, nobody would want to become a target like that.
Another section of the divine kingdom slowly slid away. While the land was very far from the grand shrine, it was still a beautiful piece of scenery there that Runai adored where she placed her most powerful valiant souls. Now, she had no choice but to give up that border region.
Back in the shrine of the Forest Goddess, Richard took out the divine crystal from the servitor and examined it carefully. It had around a hundred units of divinity within, but it would have 150 had he not used his truename. Stowing the crystal away, he carved a new date on the stone pillar and began wondering about how he would use this divine force.
Divine force was the basis of a deity’s power, forming the bodies and equipment of their soldiers. It was a much greater quality of energy than mana or internal energy, and the gods’ use for it was rather fascinating. Divine warriors were basically magic summons, but unlike summons that lacked extensive intelligence or were projections from other planes, these summons had no time limits and could operate independently. He had killed hundreds of thousands of divine warriors in the past months, but the damage to Runai’s soul reserves was much more significant than that to her divine force reserves. The loss of energy from a single unit’s death was almost negligible. For context, a similar level of control over his mana would give him control of thousands of summons with his current mana pool.
From another perspective, divine warriors had more power and intelligence than even the broodmother’s battle drones while retaining most of their advantages. Gods truly were war machines; within her divine kingdom, Runai could constantly keep up an army of hundreds of thousands.
However, the inherent quality of divine warriors that gave them their advantages was also their biggest weakness: their souls. A large army didn’t come out of nowhere; every petitioner was once a pious worshipper who had prayed and held to their faith all their life. These souls and their own image of themselves made for an easy template to reform a warrior from, requiring little effort on the deity’s part. With them helping, the gods themselves could focus on a better use for their minds in their avatars.
The soul was still a mystery to Norland. Generations of legendary mages had thrown themselves at the topic, but the results of their research were meagre and didn’t progress general understanding significantly. Even the gods who used souls didn’t know the working of the process, only able to access it through their connection to the plane.
A legendary mage had once said that souls were the most powerful energy source in the world. However, his research in that direction hadn’t gotten very far when his laboratory had been turned to dust in an accident. The explosion had been so powerful that the entire lesser plane the laboratory was located in had been blasted apart, killing all life on it.
Another renowned mage called Garillo had been performing research on the creation of souls, claiming that a complete soul would allow him to create entirely new races whose every attribute he could control. However, he had left for the depths of the void before he finished his research, deciding to complete his work so far away that he could never return to Norland. He had left an open letter to the public whose words had been carved into the minds of many mages, “I do not know what lies behind this veil. There might be nothing, or the secret to all existence, or an unstoppable monster that will destroy everything, but I cannot resist the urge to part it.”
Richard recalled the underground shrine belonging to the Lady of the Night. The defences there had left even Runai at a loss; the Goddess of Time had known exactly where it was, but couldn’t enter despite her best efforts. The core of that array was composed of once-living servants who acted as both conduits and energy sources; an arrangement that had powered the defences for centuries. All of it had been sent to the broodmother for analysis, but having tried and failed himself, he didn’t have high hopes.
He shook his head from the diversion, looking back on the three months to evaluate his progress. The constant cycle of battle and rest had greatly improved his combat ability on all fronts, leaving him completely different than when he started. Wisdom had broken through to grade 8 at some point, dropping the millions of days that he had once needed to analyse a number of laws to a few hundred thousand. This was still uncomfortably large, but at the very least it could be accomplished in his natural lifespan. Once he managed to finish the analysis of a top-tier law system and control the power it held, he would become an epic being.
His blessing of truth had been upgraded as well, but the best term he could find for the new ability was Intuition. From what he could tell, it would just give him a vague sense of unease whenever he met issues that would have a huge impact on his life. It was a strange, uncontrollable ability that did not make much sense to come from this particular blessing.
One major benefit over the past few months was his increased control over his legendary ability. The angel and demon allowing him to multicast spells was one thing, but the middle face that held control over life and death showcased the true might of the Apocalyptic Triad. He had the feeling that this was far from complete, and it would likely evolve at least once more. He would need to grow his control of the related laws for that to happen, however, and that would take time.
He walked back to the stone pillar and looked at the line for the new date, adding a few flourishes to make it look different from the rest. Today, he could finally claim that his powers had matured; all he needed was his own demiplane, and he would be able to call himself a true legendary mage.
Once he was done, Richard tried thought a little about the situation down below. Realising that this was around the time the broodmother would be done with her own ascension, he tried to contact her. It took a while, but a faint voice rang in his mind, “Where are you, Master? I can’t… reach…”
It was only then that he remembered he was in the divine kingdom of the Goddess of the Forest. All communication with the outside world normally needed her as a conduit, but somehow the broodmother had managed to contact him. However, he hadn’t yet realised the significance behind this and continued to speak, “I’m right outside Faelor, in the divine kingdom of the Forest Goddess. There’s—”
*BOOM!* A huge clap of thunder interrupted him before he could finish speaking.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Choco
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA