Book 1, Chapter 65

Conquering Heaven

“Alright, it’s time for us to go. You’ll have plenty of time to look at all this later,” Mordred waved dismissively as he urged Lava to move forward towards Miracle Peak. Richard managed to suppress his awe and follow suit.

The party took an entire hour to reach the foot of the peak, and only at such close proximity did the five-kilometre-wide and three-kilometre-tall mountain truly show its awe-inducing magnificence. It was impossible for any humans to take in the beauty of the vast landscape all at once, and one had to continuously turn and adjust their viewpoint to look at the different areas, be it the peak or the pathway to the top.

The thin line they’d just seen leading to the mountain peak now revealed itself to be a wide passageway that could accommodate four large carriages side by side. The road was paved in slabs of uneven rock, but they all strangely fit together without any cracks in between. One could see dense granules on the seemingly smooth surface if they looked hard enough, intended to prevent the wheels of carriages from slipping. The edge of the pathway was lined with a steel railing, and barriers topped with metallic beast heads that seemed truly alive. There was a strip of raised stone in the middle of the path, painted yellow to distinguish opposing traffic.

Richard tilted his head upwards, his vision following the pavement. Looking from where he was, even if he craned his neck to the maximum he would only be able to see the thick clouds that surrounded the peak. It was hard to imagine or even think about the island that lay above. Nonetheless, his mathematical ability did not fail him, as he calculated the total length of the pathway from the gradient. However, just how much did they have to spend for a pathway of such a length when every piece of brick and every barrier here was so meticulously crafted? It was an incomprehensible sum of money for Richard. He only ever felt this way when he tried to calculated the construction costs of the Deepblue in the past. And yet, this was only the path to the city of legends.

“Hey Richard, look there!” Mordred’s voice sounded out, and Richard’s eyes flitted to the direction the older man was pointing to. There he saw a mass of peculiar-looking buildings, about one kilometre away. The most prominent characteristic of these buildings was their flat roofs, upon which griffins landed every now and then to build up momentum before taking off. They flew about for a while, before going higher towards the clouds that enveloped the peak.

Most of the time they only carried a person or two, flying alone. But there were some groups that carried crowds up, painting a rather awe inspiring image as the entire pack spread their marvellous wings all at once and darkened the sky as their majestic hoots resounded. One could hear those yells from far away.

“This is the griffin stop. You can get on one to go up or down the mountain for convenience, but do take note that won’t allow you to bring your own ride along. On the other end of the hill, there’s also two wyvern stops and morsehill hawk stops. But then, the people of Faust have a strong distaste for the smell of dragons so the wyverns can only be used to transport goods. Anyway, it’s time to go up, so follow me closely. It’ll be a long journey, so add some more magic to your horse while you can.”

Lava growled lowly and started making its way up when Mordred gave the ferocious beast a pat on its neck. Although the road was wide, it was still relatively crowded due to the high traffic of other knights and carriages sending goods. Surprisingly, many of the knights they saw along the way were rune knights, some making Mordred and party pale in comparison.

When their horses finally stepped into the clouds, Richard could feel a faint sense of magic in the air. The flow of mana was cryptic, but if one put their heart into it, it was still detectable. It formed invisible, condensed threads of energy. When Richard decrypted the purpose of these threads, it shocked him— these were actually part of a spell formation! If every part of the clouds was filled with these threads, how big was the spell formation exactly?

“Look out! The door to Faust is right in front of you!” Mordred’s voice travelled over to Richard from higher up the clouds. Richard gathered his thoughts again, speeding his horse up as he detoured around the path. He found himself having entered a large field.

With no clouds disturbing his vision anymore, the horizon instantly widened. He found that he’d come to a large field that was about a kilometre in perimeter, made out of bronze rock that even he couldn’t tell the origin of. Judging from the fact that their horses failed to leave even the tiniest of scratches on the surface, however, it was clear that this material was quite tough. The entire area was a light gold, with numerous veins dotting it coloured a mixture of navy and deep green. These lines resembled runes and spell symbols, and seemed to be making up a giant spell formation. Richard couldn’t tell the constituents of this rock either, and he was also unable to feel any trace of mana flow from the giant spell formation.

Richard had a gut feeling that he was stepping on a spell formation, but this was something he hadn’t learnt about before. Not only was it different from the conventional spell formations he knew of, he couldn’t even understand the meaning of the individual symbols of it. This spell formation was impossible to explain using what he knew of magic theory.

His attention was soon caught by two huge sculptures at the centre of the field. They were each a hundred metres tall, depicting warriors holding onto swords with their faces covered by cloaks. The swords within their hands were plain and simple, only that there were two peculiar runes— both navy in colour— in the middle of the blade. They were bowed slightly, as if saluting a supreme being somewhere. Although these were merely lifeless sculpture, he could feel their sincerity bursting forth. And somehow, Richard could feel a vague sense of power and killing intent from these sculptures.

Behind the sculptures were two pillars, both a hundred metres tall as well, with the space between them bridged by a domed roof. Be it the pillars or the roof, they were both made of the same rocks used to build the arena, with the same magical veins of navy and green around them that he couldn’t understand. However, no matter how close Richard observed these constructs, he couldn’t find any point with cracks that indicated the joint between two rocks. What exactly did this suggest? Were the two sculptures of warriors and the pillars behind them all carved from a perfect big piece of rock?

Who was it exactly that had the ability to sculpt such a phenomenal piece?

Richard found it hard to breathe again. He closed his eyes, attempting to empty the thoughts from his head till there was nothing but white space. He then gradually opened his eyes to gaze at the domed roof of the arched door. At the centre was the name of Faust, engraved by the same spells used elsewhere throughout Norland. Other than the fact that the name of the city was carved by magic spells, Richard could not find any other evidence of the link between this humongous arched door and the city of legends.

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