Book 8, Chapter 124

Blessing: Portal To The Darkness

The list of blessings was dazzling as always, various materials, blessings, and items up for offer. Richard grabbed any legendary or even sub-legendary equipment without much thought, and the Eternal Dragon seemed to really be favouring him as it offered him that equipment more and more often. There was even a number of full sub-legendary armour sets that would undoubtedly be a huge draw to those who couldn’t fight for Midren.

Offerings disappeared into timeforce even as a mountain of equipment piled up next to Richard, and the passages to Goldflow Valley and the Boulder Highlands had been strengthened as well. Now, even armies of level 15 warriors could be sent through and be worth the cost.

The entire process was very mechanical, but when Richard placed the last two top-tier offerings on the altar together the list suddenly changed. A brand new option appeared in front of him, stunning him into silence.

Blessing: Portal to the Darkness. This was a special kind of blessing, one that he had never expected, but Richard strangely found himself feeling rather empty within. He didn’t tremble as he read the description, didn’t even feel emotionally charged. It just felt… strange.

The blessing would form a physical teleportation gate capable of sending an individual straight into the darkness, forming a huge and steady portal that was impervious to any damage. It could be formed in any environment under any circumstance, and using it would also make the user just as impervious until the teleportation was complete. Only those with power greater than the Eternal Dragon could break the barrier, but Norland had never come across such a powerful being before.

However, the Darkness was an enigma that the Eternal Dragon could not control. It wasn’t primal chaos like the Outlands, nor elemental like most other primary planes. It was just… an unknown. Richard had put a great deal of research into it ever since Flowsand went there, hoping to follow and look for her when the time was right, but he hadn’t found a single way to enter it. Even Sharon was clueless about the place.

And now, the list of blessings actually held a pathway to the Darkness.

Seeing that there were several pages of an explanation, he took a deep breath and continued going through it all. Even for the Eternal Dragon, teleporting someone to the Darkness was a huge responsibility. One had to establish the order of time there before they could return, only able to form a portal back once a Lighthouse of Time was established. Of course, this wasn’t for a lack of desire; throwing someone outside one’s domain was one thing, but finding them afterwards was difficult. Even the old dragon would need a beacon of some sort to be able to track the person once more.

The detailed explanation for the blessing pointed out that it only existed for the purpose of saving lives. Preserving one’s life naturally came with a corresponding price, and here that was to open up a new territory for the Eternal Dragon. If they failed, the individual could only rot to death in an unknown land.

However, another question came to Richard’s mind as he went through this; how big was the Darkness? Logically speaking, even the known void was vast and near-boundless, and countless researchers believed that it was only a small fragment of the myriad planes. The Darkness was definitely larger than the area under the control of the Eternal Dragon, something that made intuitive sense to many.

He couldn’t just enter the Darkness rashly. If he did so, there was a chance that he wouldn’t find Flowsand, or worse, fall into a trap and get lost. However, that didn’t mean the Eternal Dragon had no way to reunite him with his love. The old dragon was an excellent salesman, and wouldn’t have shown him this option if he was unlikely to use it.

Surely enough, there was an option to upgrade this blessing. It detailed many different places on the border, each named after the Chosen responsible for charting it. Sure enough, he saw the Land of Dawn in the list, the area Flowsand had gone to. According to her agreement, she could regain her freedom once the entirety of that section was under the Eternal Dragon’s control. However, there wasn’t a single record of a Chosen actually managing the feat in their lifetime.

With this new information, Richard didn’t even hesitate as he chose the blessing, alongside the upgrade to the Land of Dawn. Three top-tier offerings’ worth of divine grace vanished, the surging timeforce fading away, but as the altar returned to ruins he bleakly looked at the back of his right hand. There was a small hourglass marked on it now, the brand that effectively guaranteed him another life.

However, this only increased the number of problems he faced. He was no longer young enough to abandon everything for the sake of love, having millions of lives depending on his. While Flowsand would always have the biggest part of his heart, he still had his family, followers, Sharon, Mountainsea, Rosie, Alice, and Coco. 

Every word of Flowsand’s last letter to him was still etched deep into his heart. She had told him not to look for her until he could defeat the pope of the Church of Glory, a mandate that had left him confused for a long time. Even having fought indirectly, he couldn’t figure out the old man’s limits, leaving him unable to predict the final victor of that battle. It was only because of Martin’s help that he had been able to focus on Michael back then, but even that fight had been confusing. The supposed archangel couldn’t even compare to Apeiron in terms of ability, but it didn’t make sense for him to be restrained by Midren alone.

He eventually reeled his thoughts back in, walking out of the altar. The priestess outside stared at him with a complicated expression before throwing herself into his embrace, planting a forceful kiss on his lips. However, he just laughed it off and patted her on the back, pulling away gently, “Things went well, I’ll be coming back soon.”

“I will be waiting, Your Grace!” the woman bowed.

……

The offerings this time were quite bountiful, giving Richard almost everything he had desired alongside a huge surprise as well. He was rather shocked by the bountiful harvest, but he passed it off as the Eternal Dragon judging him to have great potential still. From the looks of it, the old dragon had basically turned him into a Chosen as well, planning to throw him into the Darkness to conquer it.

With the rune knights lugging back all the rewards, he quickly made his way back to Blackrose Castle. This ceremony had given him a total of five legendary weapons, almost twenty sub-legendary ones, and four full sets of sub-legendary armour. This was enough to support the reward point system for three weeks or more.

Once back in the castle, the first thing he did was to call on Martin, the divine child’s image appearing in the magic circle only minutes after his first attempt. There was even a smile on his face, “My dear Richard, your calls are always bad luck. Tell me, what do you want now?”

Richard laughed, “What do you think will happen if I fight your pope?”

Martin went quiet for a moment before asking with shock, “Have you gone mad?”

“Of course not. Just tell me what you think.”

“Hmm…” the Saint stared at Richard like he was a drunk, but seeing the solemn expression he said earnestly, “It would be best if you refrain from trying something so stupid.”

“Is the Pope really that powerful?” Richard asked, “Stronger than Apeiron?”

“No, he’s an unknown. The ending of such a battle is uncertain, because I don’t yet know of his true power. I’m sure you’ve felt the same; if not for that, I would have thought of a way to pin him down that day. We might win if we challenge today, or we might lose. What I do know is that time is on our side; why would we want to do something we aren’t confident in?”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA