Book 8, Chapter 50

Lord Of The Abyss

Not feeling threatened by the loud voice, Richard walked directly into the middle of the hall. A wave of his hand prompted his followers and rune knights to file in as well, entering battle formation around him.

Tiramisu was the last to enter, and the ogre lord kicked down the doors before he joined the rest of the troop; he wanted to make sure that the exit wouldn’t be sealed off. Seeing this, the self-proclaimed abyssal lord grew even more enraged, “Disgusting insects, I will burn you all in lava for ten thousand years!”

The palace started shaking violently, rocks falling from up above as an enormous conscient gathered to attack the souls of those present. A few of the rune knights immediately paled, almost paralysed with fear, while even Kellac and Asiris had unnatural expressions on their faces. Spellcasting didn’t matter the slightest when it came to a direct contest of souls.

Richard was the only one who remained entirely unaffected, his legendary might showing itself as he took a look around and said dully, “A lord of the abyss? You don’t even sound like a lesser lord, and even if you were, there’s no need for your arrogance here.”

“Even your gods have to crawl before me!” The demon’s growl turned even more fearsome, its spiritual attack trying to pin Richard to the ground.

“Not my gods, but there’s a limit to my patience. This ends here!” Richard raised his right hand, blue astral sparks forming in his palm. Similar flames formed all around the palace, dancing in the air like a magnified version of the display above his hand as they started burning through the thick fog all around. The fog seemed to be absorbed by the flames as they passed through, making them brighter and more powerful.

The demon suddenly let out a cry of pain, “These flames, how can they burn souls? How can you conjure something so powerful? Who are you? What kind of fiend are you?!”

The mournful cries almost brought the rune knights to fainting, but Richard merely sneered, “I’m Richard Archeron. Curse me all you want, but fuck right off to the abyss for now.”

The sparks in Richard’s hand quickly grew in number, mirrored by the flames in the hall until there were hundreds of blue fireballs rushing around. The demon’s cry immediately went up in pitch, but its powerful conscient was swept away like a current until it completely disappeared.

“I’ll be back!” a faint voice rang through the hall, the change so sudden that even Richard was a little surprised. He growled in disappointment; he had hoped it would press the attack and give him a chance to catch its soul.

With the mind controlling them having vanished, the fog in the palace immediately faded away. This mist had been a physical manifestation of the conscient’s spiritual power, which was why Richard had burnt it up. With the demon lord having escaped, Richard just clenched his fist and all of the flames flew back into his body.

“Tch, escaped so fast,” Richard muttered under his breath, looking around a few more times before shaking his head helplessly. He then ordered the rune knights and winter soldiers to spread out and probe the magnificent building.

The palace was enormous, larger than even the hall upstairs. It seemed to be created naturally and was devoid of decoration, but at its end was a tall darksteel platform with a throne. The arm rests were in the form of demons facing each other, a classic design for abyssal lords.

Once the mist cleared, the sheer size of the platform and throne became all the more apparent. The demon that occupied it had to be at least a hundred metres tall, signifying great might in a society where a being’s power was represented by their size. At this height, even if one wasn’t necessarily an archlord that controlled an entire layer, they were still much more powerful than a lesser lord. To Richard’s knowledge, no lesser lord was big enough to occupy such a throne.

He didn’t think the demon earlier was a greater lord; had it been one, it would have been impossible to scare it off so easily. However, he was still interested in just how the demon conscient had managed to slip away from his powers before escaping; his flames would normally have followed the conscient all the way back, but this time they had failed.

He floated up to the platform and flew once around the throne, but even after close inspection couldn’t find anything of value. The only thing worth a significant amount here was the darksteel that made up the throne itself as well as the engraved art. Behind the throne was a hidden door where the space was rippling ever so slightly; Richard quickly figured out that this was a short distance intraplanar portal, and given its stability there was nothing to worry about.

Entering this portal, he found himself coming upon a strange space that smelled of flames and sulphur. Smoke filled the air and twirled around constantly, illuminated by the rays of light coming from the dome. His gaze pierced through this natural barrier and swept across the surroundings, finding a natural underground space that was large enough to fit in a dwarven city. The domed top was a hundred metres high with a dense growth of glowing mould all over, and there were two waterfalls flowing right out of the void in the distance.

All of Richard’s attention was drawn to the two waterfalls and their strange aura. The liquid from them converged into a small stream that made its way to a distant hill, and a faint blaze could be seen on the other side. Flying over to examine closely, he was surprised and delighted to find that the liquid contained so much energy that a bottle would be considered a high-quality potion without any refinement.

Activating Insight, he finally came to the conclusion that this was where the majority of the origin energy of the Genesis was headed, converging into these two waterfalls of pure energy that flowed towards the hill. The stream shimmered ever so softly, and the bottom was filled with scattered specks of magic crystals just like in his own demiplane. The surprisingly fast current made its way around the hill that was a few dozen metres tall, finally converging into a pool.

When Richard flew up to see what exactly was on the other side, he almost lost control of his flight for a moment. Lying in the pool of energy was a demonic body over a hundred metres tall, clearly coming from a powerful demon lord who could even have been an archlord of a layer. He instinctively flew back a hundred metres, but still couldn’t bring himself to feel safe at all. If the demon stood up, even an unconscious swat could hit and kill him.

Demon lords were the top beings of the abyss, every one of them powerful enough to leave the other demons trembling. Many powerful ones ruled entire layers on their own, with only the largest or most powerful of layers being divided between multiple. Even Sharon couldn’t beat a greater demon lord yet, and his first instinct was to just run as far as he could.

It was only after he retreated that Richard realised the demon lord wasn’t moving at all. In normal circumstances, it definitely would have noticed him, standing up or at least sending a curse or other skill to turn him to ash. Instead, his ears were filled with the loud heartbeat that had plagued him for months, this time confirming the source of that sound.

This heartbeat felt a little abnormal. It didn’t cause him any discomfort, just a faint sense of temptation that pulled him closer. Rationality told him to stay as far away as he could, but his subconscious mind was telling him that approaching the demon wouldn’t result in any sort of threat to his life.

Composing himself, he calmed his followers who had sensed his uncontrolled shock and ordered them to stay in the hall until he gave them the signal. Taking a deep breath, he decided to trust his gut feelings and carefully approached. Demon lords didn’t need to care about any number of opponents at the level of sky saints; a single attack could wipe them all out. Only those in the legendary realm even qualified to be considered pests.

Even when Richard flew up high, the demon lord’s mountainous body still remained prone on the floor, not making a single movement. Only then could he be sure that it was dead. It wasn’t unusual for the body to still be in such pristine condition either; demon lords were equivalent to deities in other planes, and their bodies were even more resilient. It wasn’t surprising for them to last millennia without a single sign of decay.

However, this corpse clearly had a steady heartbeat that was drawing him closer. Richard’s own heart almost froze as he observed the demon lord carefully, the Field of Truth turning its body translucent and revealing the interior. Thankfully, most of the body’s energy had drained out so he could see past it, revealing great damage to the internal organs. The heart was basically the only part that looked alright, but it was much weaker than at its peak as well. Even so, each beat caused a tidal wave of energy in its surroundings, sometimes even ripping space apart for a moment.

A quiet calculation told Richard that a single pulse from the heart was more powerful than a full-strength blow from him. He wasn’t even on the same level as the demon lord; this was clearly an epic being or even greater.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA