Book 8, Chapter 55

Those Who Were Left Behind

“Stonelord? What is that?” Praton asked in confusion.

“… Nothing.”

Sharon shook her head and calmed down, but anyone could tell that the stonelord wasn’t just a trivial thing. As an astute man, Praton immediately wiped away the traces of annoyance and forced a smile, “Then you’d be willing to explore the plane with me?”

To his surprise, Sharon just caressed her belly while muttering to herself, not giving him a response. His eyebrows lifted and he gathered all of his determination, “If you’re willing to go with me, I’ll give you 60% of all loot and give you first pick!”

These conditions were quite surprising for Sharon and finally got her to nod. It was clear that the stonelord was the target of her attention; her eyes still hadn’t left the figure of the little creature that seemed to be a sort of earth elemental.

Praton heaved a long sigh, “Then make your preparations, we can leave in three days.”

“That long? No need, let’s go tonight.”

The old mage smiled with glee, agreeing immediately. Sharon was known to be a fickle person, and he didn’t want to risk her changing her mind. As night fell, two beams of light shot out from the Deepblue into the endless void.

……

Elsewhere in the void, at the core of the tremendous energy storm, an old mage dressed in grey robes was looking over the millennia-old Soremburg Castle from its balcony. This castle was far older than any Norlandic history recorded; even few Scholars knew that Soremburg himself had only found the place, not built it. The key to its stability in the void was an ancient spell formation deep underneath, but not one of the extremely talented Scholars of each generation had managed to unlock its secrets.

In the face of the energy storm all around, any so-called power was just a joke. The architecture and longevity of this ancient castle was awe-inspiring, prompting a gentle sigh from the old man before he continued to flip through the pages of the book before him. On the page he flipped to was the image of an elf-like earth elemental, labelled a stonelord.

The old mage carefully read through the description that had already been burned into his memory, chuckling softly as he muttered to himself, “Ah, Sharon… If you really are what I think you are, these should jog your memory. Will you be able to withstand the temptation of your favourite food? The meal that will bring you to your next evolution?”

He suddenly went quiet as urgent footsteps sounded from the balcony, closing his book and looking at a pretty young woman who was walking up to him. The young lady that looked to be fourteen or fifteen years of age had a magical parchment with her that she placed on the table, “My Lord, this news just came from the mirror.”

The old mage picked up the parchment and read through the information carefully, only putting it down a few minutes later, “You did well; being the one to receive this news is a form of destiny. How about this— head over to Grand Scholar Rhodey; if you can pass his test, he will take you under his wing.”

“The Grand Scholar?” the apprentice went giddy with delight, “I… I understand! I will not let you down!”

The young lady immediately sprinted away. As he watched her departing back, the old mage sighed heavily, “Destiny…”

However, the girl suddenly returned, a hint of uneasiness in her tone, “My Lord, I just remembered. The Grand Scholar left the castle this morning, and he will only return in a month.”

“Rhodey isn’t around?” a trace of emotion crept onto the old man’s face, “It cannot be… This destiny…”

He sighed and pointed upwards, forming an elaborate teleportation circle on the ground, “Since Rhodey is not available, allow me to complete your test myself. You will find your task at the other end of this portal, and you will be inducted once you return. Come, brave child, seize your destiny!”

The young lady blushed with emotion, shaking her head hard to steady herself before running to the portal. Light flashed and her figure disappeared in an instant, reappearing only ten kilometres away.

Seeing a full view of the castle in front of her, the girl’s eyes suddenly went wide in disbelief. Without the protection of the castle’s defences, a passing wave of energy turned her into ashes before she even had the chance to scream. The acting lord of the castle sighed deeply, a few more wrinkles seemingly added to his face as he stood up and headed towards the meeting room.

……

“Ah, everyone is present,” the acting lord nodded, “Let us begin.”

“Aren’t there two missing?” one of the holographic figures asked in confusion. It was rare for Scholars to miss emergency meetings, especially two at the same time.

The old mage clarified, “Grand Scholar Rhodey has just started his journey towards the Endless Swirl; he cannot attend. As for the other, the Ascetic is now indisposed as well. This is also the reason I gathered you all here.”

All the holographic images all fell silent, allowing the acting lord of the castle to continue, “The respected Scholar fell to a despicable trap. The broodmother in Faelor has completed the project to recover its soul, but it also discovered our own mechanisms in the process. It used this as bait to try and obtain control over the Scholar, but that process failed and destroyed his soul in the process.”

The old man paused for a moment, allowing everyone to digest the news, “The venerable Ascetic gave up his last chance to escape, using all of his remaining energy to send out a warning that I only just received.”

“Has the thread of fate been cut?” one image asked immediately.

“Sigh. It has been disconnected, but Rhodey wasn’t here to do so perfectly.”

After an uncomfortable moment of silence, the voices started discussing the matter at hand.

“The Ascetic was one of our three strongest when it came to the soul; if he fell as well, we stand no chance in a spiritual war.”

“This is a broodmother that has awakened its truename and can eliminate any hidden dangers. It won’t be long before it follows the trace of destiny back to us.”

“We have to think of another way.”

The acting lord raised a hand to silence the hall, “It is clear that a broodmother without any flaws in its soul cannot be controlled.”

A tall, skinny figure hummed in disdainful agreement, “The broodmother is a dangerous force; we will only be safe if it is under our control. Such power cannot lie in the hands of anyone else, especially Richard.”

“What about Sharon?” a beast asked, “She is very troublesome as well.”

“Rhodey has gone to take care of it,” the acting lord said, “She will not be a problem for long.”

The beast shuddered in unease, “Does the Endless Swirl conceal…”

“Yes, it is the lair of the primal chaos beast, the natural enemy of all ancient races.”

One image asked in a low voice, “Must we resort to this? The primal chaos is an enemy to all life and order; it brings destruction everywhere it goes and returns planes to the void.”

Hearing these words, the bestial figure seemed to grow even more uneasy and curled up into a ball. However, the acting lord maintained his calm, “What else can we do? Would you be willing to try taking this task on yourself?”

The voice just snorted. It was clearly angered by the suggestion, but wasn’t willing to fight Sharon either.

An indescribable sense of oppression filled the meeting room, and without anything else to discuss the holographic figures started leaving. Evidently, the primal chaos beast wasn’t a topic that brought joy.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA