Book 8, Chapter 82

Another Doomsday Imprint

A human mage’s silhouette suddenly appeared outside Faelor’s crystal walls, the same one that had participated in the mysterious trade fair. This time he didn’t barge in, instead placing his hand on the crystal and slowly dissolving it until a passage just large enough to let him through appeared. He then blinked through and disappeared, the small hole quickly repaired by the planar origin. None of the deities of Faelor actually detected him.

His timing proved very fortunate. The entire pantheon of the plane was focused on the south, where the divine kingdoms of three goddesses were floating opposite seven of their peers. These seven deities were mostly focused on the countries to the south of the Crimson Dukedom, six human and one from a different race. Although their numbers were great, they were all lesser deities with minimal power. Overall, the three goddesses were still more powerful. With their battle against Runai having ended within a mere year, all eyes were focused on them to see just how they had accumulated so much power.

While no one noticed this human mage, there wasn’t a single deity in Faelor who could do anything to him anyway. He quickly flashed through the sky, heading straight towards the Land of Turmoil.

The mage didn’t particularly hide himself, but his aura seemed to meld into the environment to the point that few would ever notice his presence. The occasional powerful scan from the broodmother missed him entirely, as though he didn’t even exist.

The Scholar looked down at the flashes of timeforce in the sky, a power capable of deterring even legends, but he didn’t seem to care about the dangers as he slowly floated downwards. A number of rifts opened up all around him, but he seemed to dodge every single one in the nick of time until he was less than 500 metres away from the broodmother’s body.

The broodmother’s entire body was pulsing as she gobbled up her food, a flood of worker drones constantly bringing her nutrition before flying away. On her back were ten huge egg sacks, each swaying ever so slightly, but the mage couldn’t help but focus on a red mark in his vision that implied a completion of the soul-mending plan. This red mark was supposed to be the loophole, but he shook his head and gently mumbled to himself, “Were I the first to see you, I might have fallen for your deception. Such a perfect evolution, this strength of body and truename…

“Sigh, strong, simple, and with boundless potential. A pity you cannot serve me; we are the only ones who deserve you, but one broodmother is enough for Norland as well. So long, beautiful beast.”

The mage was actually speaking every word, but the broodmother didn’t detect this at all. She suddenly sensed a hint of danger, as though someone had been spying on her, but no matter how much she strengthened her perception she couldn’t notice anything at all. The mage himself remained floating above her, rooted to his spot.

He eventually shook his head, flying back from the Land of Turmoil. He casually threw a crystal ball into the larval forest along the way, the doomsday imprint that he had bought from the wanga sorcerer.

One of the broodmother’s workers quickly spotted the crystal ball in the woods, crawling over to sniff at it. However, finding no source of energy from the object, it assumed that it was only a rock before climbing across and pushing the crystal into the earth along the way. The mysterious metal within remained dormant, an occasional blue glimmer flitting across its surface to transmit a message into the depths of the void.

……

Richard had walked through the forest for three full days, covering nearly 2,000 kilometres along the way before finally growing tired enough to need rest. He leapt onto a large tree, adjusting his aura and pulling up his cloak to nap for a while. The well of stars constantly radiated astral energy to replenish his mana, and his connection to his demiplane boosted that greatly as well. Although it was still developing, it greatly strengthened his recovery speeds.

The sky was gloomy as ever, the deep green canopy hiding the fact that there was almost no other life here. This forest had no natural birds, beasts, or insects, no weeds or shrubs. There were trees, trees, and even more trees all alone, a world of life that couldn’t be more empty for it.

Richard suddenly got up, sighing with discomfort after a short nap. This was a sea of trees that left one feeling death amidst all the life. The entire plane always left him uncomfortable no matter how much time he spent here or how far he got in mastering its laws. When he was weaker, the sense of discomfort had come from the will of the forest. However, now the plane considered him more natural than its natives; that suppression was nowhere to be found. In its place was the feeling that he was in the home of a stubborn obsessive who couldn’t tolerate the slightest speck of dirt.

Although the Forest Plane wasn’t too much weaker than Faelor, Richard had realised that it didn’t have the potential to ever become a primary plane. There wasn’t a single deity here; while the World Tree and trees of life were similar, they didn’t have any of the ability to actually affect the plane’s future. Faelor’s pantheon had made the decision that secluded it from the rest of the myriad planes, removing it from contention in planar wars. However, they would have been the ones to push the plane in that direction had they chosen it as well. The World Tree could only perpetuate the status quo.

Standing up, he sensed something off and examined his body. He suddenly realised that he had crossed the threshold to level 22 at some point; crystallised mana was now flowing in his veins, pulling a stray mote of the plane’s origin energy into him. This strand was for him to do with as he saw fit; he could just meld it into his mana pool, or he could use it to strengthen parts of his body or aura. The number of possible uses depended on his control of the plane’s laws; there were incidents in history of people advancing in planes that they weren’t familiar with that led to random bonuses. Mages with increased strength or warriors with a boosted mana pool were only some of the possible results.

Thankfully, Richard was in the plane that he perhaps had the most control over. He didn’t even have to decide instantly, but with a number of options he felt a little paralysed by his options. Mana pool was a perfectly valid choice, but ever since he had absorbed the ancient heart his body was extremely powerful as well. He could now fight dragons hand to claw, and the matchup between Sharon and Apeiron proved the uses of taking that advantage further. Unlike Sharon, he was someone who had spent his life mastering martial arts as well; being able to take a lot of damage and dish it out in equal measure would be very useful.

However, he eventually decided that strengthening his magic was the way to go. His mana pool itself wasn’t a problem, and with the well of stars neither was recovery, but the Apocalyptic Triad was an ability based on his mana output. Strengthening and expanding his pathways would greatly increase the power of each face. In turn, this would increase his total destructive potential in battle.

With that issue decided on, Richard put the strand of energy to task before jumping up and forward, gliding a hundred metres before landing on a branch and propelling himself ahead once more. His arc flattened further and further with every jump, some steps leaving behind deep indents on the trees as he continued his search.

It took a day and night of travel before he was more than 3,000 kilometres from Emerald City, and it was only at this point that he finally sensed something that wasn’t a tree. His ears perked up as he stealthed towards the forest elf whose aura he felt.

Where there was an elf, there had to be a tree.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Choco

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA