Book 8, Chapter 52

The Source Of The Archerons

Once he was back at the ancient battlefield, Richard calmed himself down and started summoning his followers. They were all surprised by the massive corpse of the abyssal lord, his pulsing heart exerting great pressure on them. Tiramisu was the most affected of the lot, actually collapsing next to the corpse and unable to get up.

No one laughed at the ogre’s state, instead looking at him with envy. For a race that relied as much on talent as ogres, sensitivity was an enormous indicator of potential. The fact that the abyssal lord had shocked him to the floor made it clear that level 21 wasn’t his limit; he would make it far into the legendary realm.

Once they walked past the corpse, the followers saw the endless abyss. Asiris was the one with the biggest reaction, actually yelping at the sight, “Your Grace, this couldn’t be…”

“Mm, a portal to the abyss,” Richard smiled bitterly.

“Master, there’s a shrine here!” Zangru suddenly sent a message, “I think you should take a look.”

A shrine at the edge of the battlefield? Richard headed over, finding a moderately sized building made completely out of darksteel with a demon head on the roof. This was typical architecture for the abyss, but the small size could just have been due to a lack of manpower.

The space inside wasn’t particularly big, but demonic letters carved on all four walls were emitting a dark red glow. Having learnt the language recently, Richard used his limited knowledge of it to conclude that this was a spell formation that gathered energy, just like the others he had seen so far but at a smaller scale. There were two deep pools at the end of the shrine, with powerful divine auras radiating from within.

Richard walked to the side of the pools and looked in, “Hmm… The Highland Wargod and the Goddess of Time, huh.”

Having followed him into his divine wars against these two deities, the followers recognised the bodies as well. He fell into deep thought, starting to connect the dots between past events, but he suddenly felt a cold wind envelop him as two translucent silhouettes rushed towards his body.

Spirits? Richard barely felt a threat from this attack, but before he could act both Asiris and Kellac shouted loudly. The symbol of a fist appeared above Kellac’s head and sent a golden beam towards one of the spirits, while Asiris threw out a black warhammer formed from divinity. These were Smite and Hammer of Judgement, two divine spells that were especially powerful against spirits. The attackers immediately howled loudly, dissipating into thin air. By the time Richard recognised the conscients of the Highland Wargod and Runai, they had been wiped out from the plane.

With the minor threat dealt with, the party started to examine the shrine more closely. In the end, Richard determined that the divine bodies and pools weren’t the most valuable thing here; they could give him about 200 units of divinity, which was a small fortune, but the demonic spell formation could convert any amount of origin energy into divine force.

In a side hall of the church was a thick diary left behind by the Highland Wargod. Having his followers search the battlefield, Richard stayed in the church alone and read through the notebook attentively.

The Highland Wargod was one of the deities who should have fallen during the battle against the astral beasts, but he had sealed up his divine kingdom to delay the process of its collapse. He then used the strength of a servitor to support his avatar’s journey into the depths of the barbarian plains to activate a backup he had hidden behind here.

A long time prior to the invasion, the Wargod had set his sights on the potential of the barbarians, destroying their three strongest ancestors in a divine war before disguising himself as their true primogenitor and stealing their faith. However, out of fear of their battle ability, he had cursed them upon their ancestral altar, spreading the curse through their bloodlines over generations. The power of this curse limited the barbarians to level 10, absorbing any excess energy they tried to accumulate afterwards and sending it to his divine body.

In many ways, this was similar to what the Lady of the Night had prepared, except that he actually got the chance to use it. Successfully escaping to the barbarian plains, he used his powerful backup body to reignite his godspark and return to divinity.

During this process, he had unexpectedly discovered the Endless Corridor underground, following Richard’s route to find the ancient battlefield. As someone who had never left Faelor in all of his existence, the deity was shocked by the power of the demon lord and came to a deal with the conscient. The demon lord had tricked him into thinking that he was the corpse with the still-beating heart, teaching him to extract origin energy from Faelor for the sake of resurrection. Once that was complete, they would conquer all of Faelor and the Highland Wargod could become the Overgod.

The Highland Wargod immediately commanded the only barbarians in the valley with remaining potential to build the energy gathering array. Continuous absorption over hundreds of years had turned the Genesis barren, the scope of decay expanding further out until it had reached its point today.

However, Richard quickly determined that the Highland Wargod had been misled as to the function of the energy gathering array. If this went on for a few more centuries, the damage to the planar origin would be unrecoverable and the Genesis would collapse. This would form a passage that directly linked Faelor to the abyss with no energy cost to teleportation, allowing the demons to surge in endlessly and turn it into a plane of fire and lava. If Faelor could withstand that, it would be assimilated into the infinite layers of the abyss; otherwise, it would become food for the demons’ growth.

This was certainly a plane with potential, but given how the gods had messed with its evolution it would never be able to withstand the might that came with being part of the abyss. Once the plane dissolved, all the deities that relied on its laws would dissipate automatically. Both the Highland Wargod and more recently Runai had sold themselves to a demon for the sake of resurrection, but they had been tricked into putting Faelor on a path to ultimate destruction.

……

Richard and his followers combed through the ancient battlefield for the next few days, but the didn’t find anything valuable and eventually returned to the surface.

A dazed Richard stared at the heart that was almost as big as himself, feeling the life force in every pulse. If he offered this thing to the Eternal Dragon, even it wasn’t rank 1 it would still be five rank 2 blessings or so. Were the dragon kind enough, it could give him a method to repair the Deepblue Aria and perhaps even one or two core materials for the same. Unlike devils, where the skull contained a majority of their power, the heart was where a demon’s essence coagulated. This was why devils could be killed by beheading, but powerful demons still fought on for a while after.

Despite such great value, he felt no compulsion to actually use the heart as an offering. Every beat drew in his own three hearts and forced them to join in its rhythm, and no matter how hard he tried to separate them a moment’s relaxation brought them all in sync. Something like that shouldn’t have happened, but knowing his own heritage, he understood just what this was: bloodline resonance.

In other words, the demon heart before him belonged to an Archeron. That lord with unimaginable might who had been killed by the bug? Likely the source of all Archerons in Norland, or at least someone strongly related to that source. That battlefield was incomparably huge. Richard could tell that it had originally been a complete plane, but the place had been destroyed in battle and left with that small broken piece that floated to connect to Faelor. No powerful Archerons had been found in the abyss before, but maybe that was because the progenitor was dead.

When it came to it, this heart was one of his ancestors, something that left him with very complicated feelings. He had brought it into his lab for study, but even with his irreverence it felt just wrong to throw this towards the dragon or cut it apart. His thoughts suddenly drifted to Gaton; the man had been taken to the depths of the Abyss by Mordred, and the moment he himself had stepped into that unknown layer he had felt a strong urge that compelled him in that direction. It had taken a lot of effort to calm himself down and return, his instincts urging him to ignore the fact that he wasn’t nearly strong enough yet.

Amidst all this confusion, his hand stretched out subconsciously to touch the heart.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: WQ

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA