Book 5, Chapter 28

Forging Ahead

Sharon’s residence was right before Voidbones’ eyes. It was a dazzling array of various ecosystems, ranging from volcanic mountains to marshy plains. Every type of terrain imaginable could be seen in this world, thus giving its name of the Mirror of a Thousand Forms. Every individual that stepped within would be greeted with a different sight, a record of one of the many planes that the legendary mage had been to.

What he saw this time was the same as always, the Emerald Dreamscape. This was a land of mysterious beauty, the entire world seemingly a mirage of light and shadows. Even the trees, grass, and waterfalls seemed to be out of a picture; not because they were beautiful— they were some of the most gorgeous sights one could lay their eyes on— but because one could not blend into the surroundings even if they could enter and exit at will.

The roof here was pitch black, inundated only by the glow of what seemed to be stars. However, these stars were not fixed in place; they roamed freely across the walls, dome, and even the many independent ecosystems, as though nothing was concrete. It felt like one was walking amongst vast, formless clouds with Sharon relaxing in a distant lake.

Voidbones couldn’t help but sigh. He had forgotten when he had last been here; the memories from his childhood seemed so distant and hazy. The all-powerful master of time had taken its hold on him, making him forget its flow in all his travels. This place was his most treasured memory, but it had all been washed away by tides of age.

This was something common amongst wanderers of the myriad planes. The blurring of memories was only the start; some even ended up forgetting who they were. They would just stand in the void, faced with countless strange planes yet unable to recall which was their home. Voidbones didn’t know just how long he’d been exploring, but the passion and dreams of his youth had all been washed away.

He stopped for a moment to organise his thoughts and memories. The wound on his face still hurt, but it also served as a reminder that he was in Norland, within the Deepblue. He wasn’t just drowning in memories.

Eventually he moved forward, fuzzy memories telling him that the other end of the Emerald Dreamscape would exit from the Mirror of a Thousand Forms, leading into a long corridor that ended in Sharon’s bedroom.

She had doted on him a lot during his youth, but the closest he had ever gotten to was still far away from the entrance of that corridor. Now, just one step forward and he would be able to surpass his previous limits. Voidbones raised his leg up to take a step, but for a second his foot refused to come down.

For someone of such might, a second was perhaps enough time to think a thousand thoughts.

When the leg finally landed, the step was extraordinarily heavy. The entire residence shook with the force, showing his sheer power. However, Voidbones was fully aware that this was not a display of his might; he had simply been gripped by the fear in his heart, unable to control his own strength!

He had always been terrified of Sharon, awestruck by her sheer talent. Even now that he possessed powers he had never dreamed of before, he still feared her. This was not a fear that could be quelled rationally; if Sharon hadn’t fallen into a deep slumber, he would never have dared to act so brazenly in the Deepblue.

A while ago, he had managed to gain a little information on Sharon’s race, specifically what hibernation meant for them. That was why he had rushed over the moment he found out she was asleep; he knew there would be no chance if he missed this opportunity.

He inched forward, step by step. By the time the exit was nearby, the trees and grass were withering all around him while more elven homunculi melted in quick succession. Even the clear lake water had turned into a puddle of wax. Outside of the materials that held the residence together, everything was destroyed…

He didn’t know how long it took for him to make it through the corridor, but he eventually saw Sharon. The legendary mage was still in deep slumber on her crystal table, oblivious to the world around her. However, a strand of golden hair stood alert as though scanning the surroundings.

The moment Voidbones saw Sharon’s face, he stopped in his tracks. An expression of helpless struggle rose up on his face; he didn’t know whether he could proceed forward.

“Master…” his low voice rang through the room, but Sharon didn’t respond.

“Indeed… She must have been injured greatly…” he muttered to himself as though to validate something, his eyes finally lighting up with a sinister glow.

“Nobody knows that your magic and your bloodline are useless compared to….” he finally stepped forward into the world of blue.

……

Outside the residence, the crowd of grand mages were like a bunch of ants whose nest had been flushed with water, running around helplessly. Following Sharon’s orders to the letter had been ingrained into them for a long time; they wouldn’t dream of breaking one now.

“Richard!” It took a few minutes for someone to finally realise something was wrong. Everyone instinctively looked at the spot by the gates where Richard had fallen, only to find it empty save for a trail of blood. This trail dragged forward across the floor, moving further in towards the residence for ten metres.

Richard was still on the ground, lacking the strength to even raise his head. However, an unknown force seemed to push his body closer and closer towards Sharon’s residence. His hand was clasped tightly on the elven sword that he had dropped at the end of the battle, but at the point instead of the handle. One could hear the blade scraping against bone with every movement he made.

Blood gushed out from that wound in Richard’s hand, just as it did from all the others. Every inch he crawled past was left covered with blood. The grand mages were all stunned into silence, too shocked to even think of healing him. Theodore did step forward, waving his hands to cast a greater healing spell, but there was no effect at all. In fact, Theodore himself let out a groan of pain, swaying as he took two steps back. Blood started dripping from the holy spellcaster’s mouth.

“Voidbones…” Theodore cast two protective spells on himself before taking a step forward, wishing to try healing Richard again, but an aged hand blocked his path. He looked over at the grand mage that had stopped him, who shook his head in response, “What good will healing him do?”

Theodore was startled, taking a long glance at Richard who was still struggling forwards. He immediately understood the sentiment; if Richard was healed, he would just rush into the residence without hesitation. It would be better to keep the current situation as is; he could be saved once this passed.

Once this passed… Just that thought left all of the grand mages burning with shame. They knew in their hearts that it was not Sharon’s orders stopping them right now; it was their own cowardice.

“WHERE IS HE?!” A booming voice shook them all from their stupors, bringing their attention to Blackgold who was charging up the stairs. He seemed to be the very embodiment of rage, but the moment he saw the open gates all of that anger faded away. It was replaced by a calm determination as he slowed his footsteps, gripping the gun in his hands so tightly that the steel weapon creaked. Unlike the rest, he was going to head straight in.

Another figure rushed over from the opposite direction, quickly joining Blackgold. Fayr had left for a while to change into his battle mage robes, but there was no staff in his hand. However, the scroll he did have radiated such force of mana that one could tell it was a legendary spell at first glance.

Wouldn’t using such a powerful scroll in a confined area be suicide? This was the only thought in the minds of the other grand mages. However, Blackgold and Fayr just exchanged looks and the grey dwarf sped up to move a few feet ahead. Blackgold wasn’t a warrior, but he believed he could delay Voidbones long enough for Fayr to activate the scroll.

The other professors started breathing heavily. They knew that the delay would be bought by Blackgold’s death. Fayr wouldn’t be lucky enough to survive the spell either.

It was then that the ground started shaking gently, the tremors growing more pronounced with every second. The broken rocks all around mysteriously started vibrating, slowly floating into the air!

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA