Book 3, Chapter 59

A Horrifying List

“Everything?” Ferlyn’s face changed. This was thirty years of divine grace! She had seen many people with a foot in their coffin move against their loved ones for a mere year or two. At the brink of death, even a single Dewdrop of Life was undoubtedly precious.

“But can I do it? What if there isn’t any such option?” Richard asked with concern. The randomness of the gifts was a standard of the Eternal Dragon.

“Don’t worry, it will be there. I’ve officiated so many ceremonies in my life, I have the authority to allow it.” Ferlyn was evidently elated, ending her sentence with a wink as she seemed to have something up her sleeves.

“Then I’ll be waiting,” Richard said, leaving for the hall where the ritual was slated to take place.

Back in the meditation room, FerIyn conjured a pale gold hourglass. A gentle knock transmitted a soundless wave a far distance away, and after a short while Flowsand entered the room, “You called me?”

“Have a seat. There’s still some time before the ritual begins,” Ferlyn directed Flowsand to the seat that was still warm from Richard. Her joy from the conversation with Richard withered away, replaced by a strict formality, “Flowsand. Quit while you still can.”

“I’ve made my decision,” Flowsand replied calmly.

“Is there any need for that? Your soul already belongs to the old dragon. If you choose to leave the Church this time for Faelor, you will have to give up a large amount of divine grace. Do you even have enough to spare?” The high priestess was stern.

“I can borrow.”

Ferlyn’s brows furrowed as she started radiating a murderous aura, perhaps annoyed by Flowsand’s overly calm tone. “You’re already knee-deep in debt! What more can you offer as collateral? Let me tell you this, if you borrow any more, you won’t be able to repay it for the rest of your lifetime! Do you know how much interest the Dragon charges? It’s nearly thrice the amount you borrow! Didn’t you want to be with Richard? If you keep acting recklessly like this, you two won’t end up happy.”

Flowsand’s expression wavered. Evidently, Ferlyn had exposed her concerns. She sighed lightly, going on to answer, “I know, but… I have this feeling that if I don’t go with him this time, he won’t make it back in one piece. Faelor is a plane with legendary beings…”

Ferlyn conceded silently, gently commenting, “Since you’ve made up your mind, I will give you one last piece of advice. Choose to ignore it, and even if you go to Faelor this time Richard might still lay there forever.”

Flowsand’s heart wavered, and she began to listen intently. Given her position in the Church of the Eternal Dragon, Ferlyn could see into the future. Of course, exercising that power would result in dire consequences.

The high priestess heaved a large sigh, her words now tinted by a holy aura, “Firstly, you need to let Richard make his own decisions. You are not to use your precognition to help him; that will only bring him harm. You must know: the flow of time cannot be changed by one or two changes to one’s actions. Whatever is bound to happen will happen. You need to accept him making his own decisions, this current ceremony being the start.”

Flowsand nodded earnestly, showing her understanding. 

Ferlyn continued, “The second is a somewhat trivial matter. You were talking about Richard’s issues with confidence, so I’ve found a solution to that. I haven’t actually seen any lack of confidence from him over our interactions, however…”

Flowsand laughed gently: “His overconfidence is just a front for his lack of confidence!”

“Very well. Once the ritual ends, hand these things over to him.”

Ferlyn passed her three palm-sized crystal plates, every one lustrous. The right side up held the crest of the Eternal Dragon, and the other Ferlyn’s personal sigil. These plates possessed the power of time, manifested as a bunch of grains of golden sand flying around them.

Even Flowsand could not tell the purpose of these plates, so she asked about their powers.

“Magic artefacts. Tell Richard to have them on his person at all times; if he ever faces a problem he cannot solve, he can break one. These plates can save him thrice,” Ferlyn said flatly.

Flowsand’s expression warped into one of disbelief, her eyes unblinking as they focused on Ferlyn. She couldn’t bring herself to believe the woman’s words; how could such a thing even exist in the world? This far surpassed the ability of a mere magic artefact. Even a divine tool couldn’t possibly solve any problem in the world.

Leave alone Ferlyn’s personal collection, even blessings from the Eternal Dragon with such a function were extremely rare. A blessing that could predict the future was harder to find than an extension to one’s life. Besides, even prophetic blessings didn’t have the power that Ferlyn claimed these plates did. They were undoubtedly a miracle.

She tried to hold back as much as she could, but she couldn’t help but subtly ask the high priestess, “Richard has a very inquisitive mind. He’ll definitely break at least two of the plates before we head over to Faelor to test their power.”

“That I know!” Ferlyn replied. 

Flowsand felt extremely confused, but the bells of the Church sounded to mark the time for the ceremony. She had to rush over to officiate, so she helplessly accepted the plates and decided to do as Ferlyn said. The high priestess had no reason to even exaggerate, much less fool them.

……

With this being the second ritual they had conducted, Richard was already very familiar with the procedures.

This time around, it wasn’t Ferlyn who accompanied him to the ruin-like altar but Flowsand. Richard was carrying the giant astral beast skull on his back, a feat that required a Bull’s Strength spell, a divine spell, and Eruption working in tandem to accomplish.

The ritual began with the same, familiar chant dedicated to the highest level of ceremony. The power of time radiated from Flowsand’s body without interruption, turning into threads of pale gold light that activated the altar. A curtain of timeforce rose once more, isolating Richard from Flowsand.

Within this curtain was a realm completely isolated from spacetime, intended to prevent the interruption of any outside forces, not even the officials of the Church. The essence of the astral beast skull was extracted from the altar, transformed into the power of time before assimilating into the void.

“Mortal, before you lay the divine blessings you wish for. Make your decision!” a sacred, robotic voice bellowed in the empty space, a representative of the Eternal Dragon.

A large sphere of the power of time had conglomerated in front of Richard, the image of a large door appearing within. As he was about to touch it, a message appeared in front of him.

Divine Blessing: Unhurried Travels. Upgrade a planar passage to a designated rank.

Richard immediately chose Faelor, allocating about twenty years’ worth of grace before carving the serial number of the plane onto one of the pillars of time.

This left him with just over half the amount of divine grace as well as a host of new options. To Richard’s surprise, in front of him were two full pages with close to a hundred options for his blessings. This was completely different from his last experience.

Richard immediately decided to browse through all the possible options and scrutinise them down to the very details, afraid that he would overlook the option Ferlyn had told him would allow him to allocate the grace to Flowsand.

However, the very first blessing almost caused him to lose his mind.

Divine Blessing: Ability Bestowal. You may learn skills related to your innate abilities, attaining mastery over them akin to someone with your skills who studied them over ten years of work. The amount of knowledge you shall absorb is limited by your intellect. This blessing can be chosen multiple times.

What truly shocked him were the options under the blessing:

  1. Scarlet Knight rune set (a random two out of six runes).

  2. Mystic’s Set (a random three out of five runes).

  3. Heaven’s Armour rune set (any one of five runes).

  4. Sleipnir’s Foot (from the Prisonblaze Warlord set).

  5. Entanglement (from the Twisted Dream set).

The blessing could be obtained with only fifteen years’ worth of divine grace! In other words, the remaining thirty years Richard had would allow him to learn the famous Mystic’s Set! Even though he currently lacked the power to use that knowledge, once he advanced in level he would immediately be able to craft any of the runes in this set!

If he missed this opportunity, he would likely have to wait for aeons before such an option came across him once more. The chances that he would even see it again were less than one in a million! As someone with a strong foundation in mathematics, Richard clearly knew what this meant.

It was a test of his tenacity to even look at the second option. However, as he tried to do so, a voice sounded incessantly within his heart, ‘If you learn more runes, you can grow stronger much more quickly. That will allow you to give more divine grace to Flowsand in the future! Isn’t that a better ending? This is a small decision, but think about it, the complete Mystic’s Set! You could even learn four of the Scarlet Knight runes, you just have to add in the last two sometime later! It’s a very simple decision to make…’

He didn’t know how he managed to ignore that voice, looking at the second option instead. However, it still took him quite a long time to bring himself away from Ability Bestowal and actually read what the next option was.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Jessa

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA