Book 8, Chapter 24

Eve Of Destruction

The body of a dead divine warrior landed beside one of the feeding worms that had already eaten once. The drone immediately jumped onto him, activating the freezing light to prevent the body from dissipating as it started swallowing. This time, it managed to swallow all of the body before the energy could flow away, having to switch to another target that Richard had thrown in its direction.

The other feeding worms broke through their eggs one after the other, devouring the corpses of the divine warriors and valiant souls. When the first of them had finished its fourth, its light could cover the entirety of the warrior’s body, giving it all the time in the world to finish up its target.

Finally, the divine force wasn’t being wasted. Or at least, that was Richard’s point of view. To Runai, her divine force couldn’t be retrieved. The number of corpses these fifty worms could swallow was almost negligible, but that was the same case as with Richard when he had first started swallowing souls. The damage would quickly add up.

Once the first worm was done with twenty bodies, its entire abdomen lit up with coalesced divine force. It stopped feasting and turned motionless, abdomen wriggling around for a moment before it suddenly split open. The creature forced itself a few metres forward before losing all signs of life.

Richard immediately blinked behind the corpse and picked up the palm-sized divine force crystal the worm had left behind, stowing it away before grabbing the twenty eggs that were now lying in its wake. He returned to a battle with dozens of divine warriors, cutting them apart before placing the eggs in their corpses.

The first batch of feeding worms all quickly died, leaving behind the divine force crystals and numerous eggs. The second batch went up to a full thousand of them, reaching the point where they could keep up with his killing rate without issue.

This time, it took half an hour before Richard managed to give all of them enough corpses to feast on. His bag was immediately packed with divine force crystals, with the remains forcing him to summon a valiant soul from one of the three goddesses and have him arrange for warriors to transport these crystals back.

At this point, he had more eggs than he could handle. He decided to just pile them all up, pulling in enemy warriors and valiant souls with spells or just throwing their destroyed bodies onto the eggs. As the worms absorbed the blood and awakened, connecting to his mind, he almost buckled under the weight of 20,000 existences directly asking him for direction.

This time, there were some changes to the appearance of the worms. They had grown a pair of wings that allowed them to fly short distances, keeping up with him and saving a return trip. They already ate faster than he could kill, so he had to battle for hours before this third batch reached maturity. The team of divine warriors transporting the divine force crystals grew immensely.

Richard’s brow furrowed as he looked at the knights and soldiers charging towards him with utter neglect for formation and strategy. Runai’s army had gone crazy today, but such attacks just allowed him to kill even faster.

……

The Goddess of Time sat motionless upon her divine throne, goblet long since crushed into dust. Scarlet wine flowed down her fingers like fresh blood, but she couldn’t be bothered to clean it up. The two remaining servitors only grew more frightened at this sight; this was the most depressed they had ever seen her.

With limited divine might, the servitors couldn’t sense the danger that she could. She had felt the threat the moment Richard entered with his eggs, and now she was acutely aware of the sharp decline in the amount of divine force she was recovering from the battlefield. It was still bearable now, but she had calculated how much worse it would become over the next few days and… it wouldn’t be a month before there was none.

No matter how vast her reserves were, once she couldn’t recover the souls and divine force of her warriors Runai would quickly run out. The divine kingdom would shatter the moment she ran out, resulting in total defeat. Originally, the loss had been a distant threat more than a few centuries away, during which she could execute a number of plans she had in mind. Now, however, destruction was looming right before her eyes.

“Go back, there’s no point staying here to watch,” she said to her servitors as she left the throne, walking towards the back hall. To her there was no difference— her ability to see everything in the divine kingdom wasn’t predicated on where she was— but she just didn’t want to face reality.

Once away, Runai sketched a portrait in thin air, depicting a graceful and mysterious lady with an air of cold indifference and pride; this was the Lady of the Night. Was this how she felt when her divine kingdom fell?

……

Even the divine kingdom had daybreak and nightfall. Richard was exhausted by early dawn, the feeding worms now numbering in hundreds of thousands with a steely carapace surrounding their cow-sized bodies. He had no way to provide for even most of them any longer, so they began scavenging for their own food and even participated in the battles. A portion of them ate through the divine kingdom itself— extracting divinity from the dirt, flowers, plants, and stones before dispelling the impurities— while a number just attacked the divine warriors. Most divine attacks just bounced off their tough shells, while they could still bite through divine bodies with ease. Only a few bites could incapacitate a warrior, turning him into fodder. They ganged up on the valiant souls, whose fate wasn’t any better.

Some of the worms had continued their evolution while others died amidst the battle. Although divine attacks were ineffective, bludgeoning weapons were still quite powerful against them. Thus, the fifth generation evolved even tougher carapaces with crisscrossed skeletal structures to allow them to withstand strikes from even valiant souls. Even the external edges of their tendrils sprouted dense scales for protection.

The new feeding worms had an obvious increase in combat ability. Although their bodies had shrunk slightly, their speed and agility grew enough for them to consistently manage the first bite. They could even bite into the valiant souls’ weapons right away, while their resistance to any divine spells rendered them practically invulnerable. At this point, Richard didn’t even need to participate; these worms could wipe Runai out before long.

The entire divine kingdom was filled with the sound of chewing, everything in sight having been stripped of its outer layers as the worms ate all they came across. Richard had perched himself atop a high boulder, recovering his mana as he watched the terror these creatures inflicted as they threatened to wipe out the entire divine kingdom in days. He now waited for Runai to appear.

……

The three goddesses were currently staring at a pile of divine force crystals, the numbers so great that perhaps half of Runai’s accumulated divine force had been concentrated into one place. There were many uses for this energy, but outside of placing it in the bodies of their warriors and valiant souls it shouldn’t have been retrievable. However, they had personally seen Richard’s army of creatures eating up Runai’s divine kingdom.

Even though they were just here as projections, the three goddesses carefully maintained their distance. Ringing the pile of divine crystals were a number of pale green eggs, the shells littered with divine runes. The trio could barely understand what the runes did, but it seemed to be a powerful seal that kept the eggs from hatching; even so, these eggs projected a stronger sense of danger than they had ever felt before.

As they crept closer, they could hear the steady pulse of hearts from within those shells; evidently, the creatures within had terrifying vitality and could hatch prematurely if prompted to. These were sixth-generation feeding worms in their true forms, possessing great power against anything to do with the divine. 

The Goddess of the Forest was flickering, her divine force unsteady due to the great danger in her realm. She wanted nothing more than to shriek and throw her entire shrine into the void, hoping the energy storms there could destroy the terrifying creatures. She just couldn’t understand why Richard would place such dangerous things in her divine kingdom without giving her any sense of security. This was her own shrine, but she, her servitors, and her valiant souls couldn’t enter without inciting a reaction. Only the divine warriors managed to approach, but they just added to the pile before moving away as quickly as they could.

The Goddess of Spring Water was the one to answer her suspicions, “I think… he might have overheard our conversations.”

“That’s… impossible…” the Forest Goddess wanted to shriek, but that sound quickly came to a halt. She went almost mute, shivering as she continued to stare at the divine force crystals.

These crystals left the three goddesses with a trace of sympathy for Runai, but by far their predominant reaction was fear. Every egg quietly pulsing in that ring was an enormous threat that had could rear its head at the slightest provocation.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Choco

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA