Book 8, Chapter 125

Whispers From Heaven

“How is the Pope such an unknown?” Richard asked. It was near impossible for someone to reach the epic realm without showing their hand. He knew the rough limits of Apeiron’s strength himself, despite the aura of chaos about her.

Martin muttered to himself for a while, “This is related to the situation in Heaven. You know the Radiant Lord’s relationship with the celestials; he was possibly one himself. However, the entire plane is currently in disorder and nobody knows the situation. All portals in are closed, and even citizens like Michael couldn’t return. The Lord hasn’t answered our prayers in a long time.”

He paused for a moment, “Something must have happened that we cannot hope to understand. I suspect he is involved with some outside actors, but I need time to investigate completely. I recommend you don’t challenge him until you figure out the aces up his sleeve; like I said before, he’s trying to light his godspark. If we find ourselves against a true god walking in the mortal realm, we’ll have no chance to resist.”

Richard grew serious as well, simply nodding silently. A deity wasn’t at their most dangerous when they raised their divine kingdom, but in the time leading up to it. The laws of the plane wouldn’t yet reject them walking in the mortal realm, but their power wouldn’t be far from their peak. Even a lesser deity would be strong even for legends, while those at the level of the Radiant Lord could rival epic beings. If the pope had lit hius godspark in secret, then they just could end up facing an epic opponent.

Fortunately, such a period of uncertainty was only temporary. A god without a divine kingdom would be rejected by the laws of the plane eventually, which was why Martin said time was on their side.

The abyssal heart in Richard suddenly throbbed, a ripple of energy bursting through Richard’s body. Unable to absorb it all, he could only let the excess formlessly spread away, causing an energy spike in his vicinity that Martin caught, “Still unable to control it?”

Richard nodded, replying calmly, ”The difference in strength is just too great.”

Envy filled the divine child’s face, “This is why you can layer Midren on top of Disintegrator, isn’t it. Your capacity basically has no limit.”

“Consider me lucky,” Richard smiled, “but I’m nothing compared to you.”

“What do you mean? I’m just like you, struggling all the time. If not for that, how would you take opportunities you come across? You were bold enough to approach that lord’s heart when you had just turned legendary. You should have exploded into bits when it rippled, or turned into a puppet body for its original master! You bastard!”

Richard could only smiled at the hateful voice, “Are we even in the same camp?”

“Of course we are! There’s no time for infighting until the Pope has been taken out. But people like you should be killed the moment the opportunity comes up. The world is large, but it’s small at the same time. It only needs one hero, not two.”

Not knowing how to reply, Richard coughed several times, “So should I side with the Pope now?”

“What?” Martin’s expression warped, “Please, no! Your grudges are serious enough that he won’t take you anyway.”

Richard stared blankly at him, “And the conflict between you two is even greater. Anyway, let’s get serious. How is your situation?”

"Hmm, not too bad. Things with the Pope have simmered down, like there was never any conflict before, and all the decisions are being made by vote at the meetings of cardinals that only the two of us still attend. The old man Hendrick is back too, but his attitude seems to indicate that he can be swayed. I feel like we can win him over if we put in some more effort."

“Then isn’t your situation settled?”

Martin nodded, “Indeed. As long as Hendrick is willing to lend a hand, we will be able to restrict the Pope. This old fellow has many aces up his sleeves.”

“And then our relationship will be different?” Richard smiled.

“Of course! Once I put the old coots of the Church back in their places, my first order will be to rally the troops of the Empire and Church to level Blackrose!”

Richard’s expression darkened. He had known the divine child for a while now, but he still wasn’t used to the constantly leaping thoughts and direct attitude. He coughed, “How does one even describe you? Do you really want a war when even your epic beings are hollow? Your first priority should be to protect your nest.”

Martin shook his head, “You underestimate yourself. To me, you’re more dangerous than anyone else. Destroying you is of paramount importance. I can’t muster enough strength now because we have to get rid of the Pope first, or I would have personally led the charge.”

Richard sighed, “Then you’ll lose your entire army.”

Martin suddenly flashed a brilliant smile, “See, I wasn’t wrong! You didn’t even use all your aces in that battle.”

“Of course I didn’t. Why would I let you know everything I can do?”

“Eh. Anyway, we can’t fight until I get rid of the Pope. Let’s talk about something else; I have this friend of… rather special origin. She’s a citizen of Heaven, but she can’t return now. She needs some equipment and runes, and I hear you’re opening another battlefield against the abyss. Let her participate, and remember to take care of her.”

“… Why would I help someone who’s constantly scheming to uproot me?”

Martin smiled, waving a pamphlet, “You can’t refuse.”

“What’s that?” Richard’s eyes narrowed.

“A travelogue about the Darkness, written by one of the Eternal Dragon’s Chosen.”

“And how do you have that?”

“By accident,” Martin smiled innocently, “You know that the Church of Glory has existed for a long time, and we throw many strange things into our treasury every year. Forgive me, I’m ignorant of its origin.”

“Then how do you know I’d want this?”

“A guess.”

Richard breathed in deeply, “Since you know so much, why haven’t you come and destroyed me?”

“Trust me, I want to But I can’t do it right now. It’s just like that old coot Hendrick. I’m quite familiar with him, and I even know how many girls he’s groped, but what use is that? I still can’t beat him. Just like you said, I’d be wiped out if I attack you.”

“Then what aces does Hendrick have?” he pushed on.

“Don’t take my words that seriously,” Martin said with a smile, waving the small book in his hand, “Do you want this thing or not?”

Richard felt like he was being toyed with, but he still gritted and stretched out a hand, “Hand it over.”

“And my friend…” a vicious smile crawled up Martin’s face.

“She’ll be fine, on my life.”

“As always, it’s enjoyable dealing with you,” Martin’s image started to fade, but then he seemed to recall something, “The Church treasury still has many things that might be of note, so let’s cooperate properly in the future! I’ll come beat you up when I’ve dealt with the Pope, so just relax and wait.”

As Martin’s image disappeared, the communication circle rippled out his last muttered words, “Do I know too much…”

Richard didn’t need to look at the mirror to know that his expression was darker than ever.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Choco

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA