Book 9, Chapter 50

A Ray Of Hope

“You requested my presence?” the voice of the Eternal Dragon rang out as Richard placed six bottles of ember essence on the altar, the grand aura of its true will covering the isolated space.

“Yes. I’ve sustained heavy losses in the battle against the reapers, and hope for some assistance in the war,” Richard replied calmly.

“The reapers come from a domain beyond my light. They are not under my control, and even have the ability to erode my domain. You should be well aware that I cannot assist you significantly.”

“A little is good enough,” he almost seemed like he was begging..

“Who are you doing this for?” the old dragon asked.

Richard paused for a moment, feeling like the dragon suddenly sounded conversational instead of formal. However, he still answered the question, “A small number of people, and for a large number of people.”

“So disappointing. You are a titled worshipper of mine, someone with a boundless future. Your world should revolve around you alone, not the other way around. Your strength should be their hope, but you are engaging in a war with no chance of victory.”

“I’m sure there’ll be a miracle.”

“Miracles are not something you can summon whenever you wish,” the dragon’s tone turned distant and icy once more, “As someone with a rank 2 title, you do indeed have the right to request a special blessing once a year. This is yours now.”

An orb of light floated in front of Richard, filling his mind with information the moment he touched it. It was Divine Omniscience once more, concerning advanced information about the ember essence. It took five top-tier offerings’ worth of timeforce before that knowledge was burned into his mind, giving him a detailed explanation about the properties of ember essence and also showing him how to craft it.

Richard’s eyes lit up as he saw these instructions, but as he continued to read the glow faded away. The steps were quite simple and straightforward: all one had to do was place the ember essence in a current of timeforce so it could regain its vitality quickly. However, no one could actually find currents of timeforce accurately and also have the courage to jump within.

A current of timeforce contained terrifying energy that even an epic being would be unable to withstand. It could force hundreds of thousands of years to pass by in an instant, turning anyone to dust. Only a master of both space and time could survive in such a location.

However, there hadn’t been a single individual in Norlandic history that had mastered spacetime entirely. From another perspective, the concept of levels of realms simply couldn’t fathom a being of such power. In the end, that only meant the Eternal Dragon was the only way he could acquire activated ember essence.

However, Richard didn’t believe he would have to give up five offerings for such useless information. In fact, he fully trusted in himself that he would eventually be able to travel in the currents of time without restraint one day, at which point he could find them and test this process himself. As he continued reading, however, his frown quickly dissipated as a small passage gave him what was very critical information.

It was unknown just how ember essence was formed, but the Eternal Dragon had never once been informed of an instance where the reapers had created it in a world they invaded. This meant there was a limited amount of it, in turn implying that the limit to reapers wasn’t the resources they obtained, but the amount of ember essence they entered the world with. While he hadn’t known this, he was already focused on gathering all of the ember essence to sacrifice to the old dragon anyway; this would be the path to victory!

The conscient of the Eternal Dragon had already departed at this point. With twenty top-tier offerings’ worth of divine grace left behind, Richard looked at everything he could get and eventually chose a divine weapon, legendary equipment, and a number of important materials before leaving as quickly as he could. He wanted nothing more than to fly back to Faelor right away; there were entire warehouses of reapers that he hadn’t refined just yet!

……

A storm was currently brewing within Soremburg Castle, all available members of their high council currently gathered for a meeting. However, unlike most instances where all of the members showed up, three seats were currently empty.

Unsure of the circumstances, some of the participants turned to each other as they saw the empty seats and started whispering amongst themselves. Seeing this happen, the acting lord of the castle coughed to garner attention, “Respected Scholars, you can see that we have faced heavy losses recently. Two of our former companions have departed, and it is uncertain whether Soulwalker Jinfarah was successful. However, his resonance crystal is still intact, so I believe this is good news.”

The acting lord waved his hand to show an image of a dark hall, with several large crystals placed in a ring at the centre. The image was focused around one crystal whose name plate read Jinfarah, but it was currently buzzing so fast that it was almost a blur. A wave of formless energy suddenly crashed into the crystal’s surface, immediately cracking it apart and shattering it loudly. Each of the fragments showed an image of the broodmother. Jinfarah’s name plate dropped to the ground from the explosion, turning around before falling bottom-up. However, a falling fragment crashed into it and flipped it back up.

The meeting hall went deathly silent, but the acting lord of the castle eventually spoke up, “It appears I have to recall that statement. The High Scholar has failed.”

“Is that broodmother not only level 12?” a voice piped up.

High Scholar Rhodey answered, “It awakened its truename when it was level 10, and even saw through our traps. This situation is unprecedented, and there is no means to predict its next actions.”

“Two of our members have died at its hands, we might need to deal with it seriously.”

“How?” a bestial figure voiced dissent, “I believe we should look back at every step of our operation and erase all traces. If it truly grows up and leaves its plane, leaving threads of destiny connected to it will lead to disaster. Does anyone here believe they have the power to match up against a matriarch?”

The members started to discuss this with some clear discomfort, but the lord coughed once more and interrupted them, “There might not be a reason to worry. The reapers are already within Faelor, and the broodmother cannot leave yet. Once the plane is destroyed, even a surviving seed would only lie dormant in the broken earth while awaiting its next chance to awaken.”

A withered old man spoke up, “It will be of great benefit to search for this seedling once that occurs.”

As these words rang out, even Rhodey’s breathing grew louder. This was the seed of a terrifying broodmother that had already proved itself, controlling it was akin to controlling Faelor. The Scholars knew just how powerful a fully grown broodmother was; with one, they could take over all of Norland in less than a century and bring their united power to explore the mysteries of the world! This was the closest they had ever been to achieving their goal!

The acting lord shook his head, “That is indeed true, but acquiring this seed will demand that we risk a thread of destiny. This will have to be approved formally.”

All the members of the council went quiet for a bit before someone suggested, “Then let us put it to vote.”

Both the acting lord and Rhodey looked at each other before nodding slowly. This was something that could affect the existence of Soremburg itself, so everyone would have to be invested. The vote would tie their fates together, ensuring that they would share in both consequences and benefits.

“Those in favour of retaining the thread of destiny, raise your hands.”

A wave of hands rose in response to the lord’s words, with more than two-thirds in favour of the decision. After some hesitation, even Rhodey voted in favour. While he didn’t agree himself, the castle lord could not change their minds. He sighed softly, “Greed is the root of destruction.”

Of course, his own hand had gone up and down repeatedly as he struggled to make a decision.

Once the decision was made, one of the members switched topics, “Empress Apeiron has asked Hasting to begin his annihilation of the Land of Dusk. However, Richard is still fighting the reapers; is it wise of us to exhaust ourselves?”

“I see no issue. This is the best time to prove our prowess to the Empress. She and Julian are in control of the laws and chaos, and will be key personnel in the future. Hasting has been prepared for a long time as well.”

“What happens after we defeat the Daxdians? Do we build a forward base in their plane?”

Those discussing this had no idea that the Daxdians were currently enjoying a huge upper hand in the Land of Dusk. From their words, it almost seemed natural that they would win.

“Daxdus still has ten epic beings,” the oldest member countered, “Even if two of them have yet to recover after Philip’s attack, that is still eight epic beings to face in the worst case. We need to be adequately prepared.”

“Let us establish a forward base first. It will be easier to absorb their powers afterwards.”

“I agree.”

“Agreed.”

The meeting eventually landed on its last topic, the bounty Richard had placed on all Scholars. Rhodey stood up and read out a number of statistics, “We have lost fifteen advanced Scholars very recently, including one member of our council. There are about 90 intermediates as well, and a few hundred lesser ones and 400 imposters. Our surface strength is almost entirely depleted.”

“The bounty was this enticing?”

“The sum was enormous”

“Do not forget, humans are capable of all sorts of foolishness in the face of greed.”

“It seems like we have to introspect. Our disguises weren’t as brilliant as we thought.”

Eventually, a member who was so skinny that he resembled a bag of bones asked with bloodlust in his eyes, “Who accepted these rewards outside of the Millennial Empire?”

“All ten of the top assassin organisations on the plane,” Rhodey said calmly.

The skinny man’s bloodlust seemed to solidify in response.

“We have another choice,” the acting lord of the castle spoke up, “It is time for the sleeping hawk to return to the sky.”

“I agree,” another member nodded, “Richard will not be able to touch him with his unique identity. That would be akin to declaring war on Klandor.”

“Then I will send him a letter.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA