Book 8, Chapter 23

Devour

Once within the shrine of the Forest Goddess, Richard scooped up some of the spring water and poured it over the feeding worm eggs. They immediately absorbed every drop and swelled up, growing enormous and translucent to reveal strange black figures within. The bellies of the insects swelled up as their hearts started to beat in unison, their pulse shaking the very soul.

Richard himself was completely unperturbed, scanning the eggs to ascertain that all of the eggs were incubating. The worms’ minds slowly awakened, linking to his own.

While the feeding worms were small and lacked combat ability, every one of them was an elite unit. In fact, they were a full level 17 once they hatched, and their final evolution was well beyond that level. The broodmother herself had only managed it because she had awakened her truename early; one would normally need to be at level 13 to accomplish this task.

Based on the information she had given him, these feeding worms would evolve once they obtained enough divine force, achieving their true forms which were two levels higher. Richard was quite curious about how a level 19 drone with no combat abilities worked, but that would have to wait until he got them to that point. He submerged the satchel with all the eggs into the pool, “You can absorb all you want, but you’re not to break your shells until you have permission.”

Each of the feeding worms gave him a clear affirmative response; their intelligence was clearly beyond their size. However, what came next was a surprising scene that left Richard wide-eyed: The large pool of spring water started draining visibly, and in only minutes was emptied! This was a magic spring coming from the Goddess of Spring Water herself! Even he could only have three mouthfuls before he was full!

“Oof, you really have quite the appetite,” he sighed before picking the satchel back up, his figure flickering away as he appeared before the divine passage. The three giant goddesses went absolutely silent the moment he looked at them, only resuming their conversation once he entered the portal.

“This is… such evil!” the Goddess of the Forest groaned, her voice almost a sob. Every inch of this divine kingdom was effectively a part of her body, and for those worms to be upon it for even a moment felt like insects crawling all over her.

“I can’t believe it…” Even the battle-loving Goddess of the Hunt now sounded like a frightened rabbit.

The Goddess of Spring Water was the last to speak, her voice fragile and hoarse as though she had come down with a terrible illness, “We need to fulfil our part of the deal with Richard… And then, we wait for him to show mercy on us.”

The two others had no objections. They had never imagined that Richard could possess something so terrifying as to threaten the very core of their existence, leaving them trembling in fear. They simply couldn’t think of a way to deal with what they realised those worms could do; even elephants would die to ants that could bite through their skin.

Once their short exchange was completed, the three goddesses looked back towards the battlefield, waiting for what they knew would eventually happen. Not long after, the divine passage jolted as a powerful wave of energy was transmitted from Runai’s divine kingdom. Surprisingly, this wave left them heaving a sigh of relief; this meant Runai was the one who would have to deal with the problem, and in the best case she would die after wiping all of those creatures out.

“WHAT ARE THOSE? HOW DARE YOU BRING THEM INTO MY KINGDOM, HERETIC? KILL HIM, MY SOLDIERS!”

Richard had stepped out of the divine passage and headed towards the frontlines as usual, but to his surprise, Runai welcomed him very fiercely. An enormous rock that was a few hundred cubic metres was launched straight for him, startling him for a moment before he blinked a hundred metres away.

The earth shook as the boulder hit the ground, rolling for a few seconds before coming to a stop. A deep imprint was left on the earth behind it, hundreds of divine soldiers crushed under its weight and beginning their journeys back to their shrines. The slaughter had been indiscriminate, affecting both sides equally.

Richard appeared back where the boulder had just landed like a ghost, the Judge’s glow arcing through the sky as he picked out Runai’s souls to kill them. The sword had grown immensely over the past months, the soul force stored on its tip almost ready to burst out the moment he commanded it. That one blow would be the strongest in his life.

At this point, the blade’s power was growing difficult to control. Despite his best attempts, a simple swing tore apart all the souls within ten metres of the strike, eliminating quite a few of his own allies as well. The Judge had long since outstripped Moonlight in terms of damage it could deal, even if the green blade was still able to cut through things more easily.

A dull thud rang out behind Richard as a valiant soul leapt high into the sky, spinning with his battle-axe as he tried to chop down. He used all his strength for the attack, but it merely struck the ground and buried itself within. He gripped the weapon and tried to pull it out, but suddenly found that he lacked the strength to do so. Richard drew the Judge out of his chest and nonchalantly stuck a feeding worm egg into the wound.

Far in the distance, a sturdier knight was accelerating towards Richard with a sword in hand. However, Richard brushed past this new enemy in a moment and sent her head soaring into the sky; divine blood spurted out from the neck, but it was quickly plugged by another egg.

More and more valiant souls rushed towards Richard, but he killed them before they could even react. Every kill he blinked dozens of metres away, appearing at the next strongest one while leaving an egg behind. Even the strongest of them didn’t manage to react to his presence, chest exploding alongside the soul before the remaining body was flung a hundred metres forward from its existing momentum.

Once all the valiant souls nearby were wiped out, Richard ambled towards a group of Runai’s divine warriors. They noticed him and roared loudly before charging over, but he just smiled at the fact that they had saved him the trouble of chasing. As these warriors fell to the ground and their souls were devoured, the first of the eggs finally hatched!

A worm-like creature the size of a fist leapt out from its shell, all eight tendrils grabbing onto the dissipating body of a dissipating soldier. The mouth in the middle was opened up wide, expanding to larger than the stomach before a light snap rang out and the creature swallowed the flesh. The flesh immediately dissolved into divine force, but a maze of organs within the stomach wiped out all of Runai’s brands and refined the energy into a crystal. The crystal was so small that it was nearly invisible, but the worm was soon taking its second bite to continue the process.

In the blink of an eye, a large section of the warrior’s chest was missing, with more disappearing by the moment. When the soldier’s body started disintegrating to return to the shrine, the worm’s compound eyes suddenly bathed everything within a metre in yellow light to stop the process. Not everything was covered, but when it was done the worm had grown to the size of a human head and started looking for its next target.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA