The Stall spell slowed the monster down a bit, but the effect was much weaker than expected. Richard frowned as he activated Mana Armament, dodging the enemy’s attacks as he cast Tomb of Light, Banishment, and Disintegration in quick succession on it. However, all of those spells performed pathetically.
The monster continued a slew of fierce attacks, its strikes growing faster and faster as the spell effects wore away. Even with Mana Armament, Richard was starting to lose out in terms of speed. His situation continued to get worse and worse until eventually the monster got close enough to bite right through him.
It was then that his eyes gleamed coldly. He boosted Mana Armament to the maximum, speeding up further to dodge the attack before slicing half a metre deep into the creature’s body. Using the momentum of the dodge, he continued to cut through horizontally for nearly a metre before pulling away.
The wound itself was huge, but its true lethality only showed itself once Richard opened up some distance. The monster suddenly stopped moving, its eyes gleaming with immense fear as it let out a primal howl. Tens of cracks spread out from the wound, each one extremely deep.
This was Lacerate, one of Lifesbane’s special effects. The monster’s blood sprayed out from the wound, flying more than five metres in the air before it splashed into the ground. Its flesh curled up, patches of the ash-grey tissues turning completely black. Other parts of the exoskeleton instead burst open, releasing a bloody mist. One effect was much flashier than the other, but they were both just as deadly.
By the time the blood stopped flowing, the monster was breathing roughly. It panted in seeming relief, thinking that its biggest crisis was already past, but then it howled in pain once more. Countless hands seemed to tear into it as the wound split open ruthlessly, breaking apart half its body as it collapsed to the ground. Blood sprayed out once more, this time gushing ten metres into the air and peppered with chunks of internal organs.
Even Richard himself was left aghast at such a scene. This was the first time he had gone all-out after he got four Lifesbane runes, and now he was finally seeing just why it was reputed to be amongst the best at harvesting lives. He could only overlay ten attacks at a time now, but when his skill grew in the future his attacks would become all the more terrifying.
However, this one combined strike also drew out most of his energy. Both his mana and energy reserves were almost completely drained, leaving him with no time to inspect the monster in detail in case any Daxdians smelled the stench of blood and rushed over. Quickly harvesting what he thought was most important and slicing off a piece of the exoskeleton, he scurried away.
A short while after he left, two balls of dark fog floated towards the location. The wanga black sorcerers within inspected every trace of battle on the field in detail, discussing things for a long time.
Richard was currently sitting behind a rock to protect himself from the wind, his eyes closed. He was in a state of shallow meditation, at the same time eating diced meat. Sometimes he chewed for a little while, but most of the cubes were swallowed directly.
This monster’s meat didn’t even provide as much energy as from a skaven, and to make things worse it reeked! Skaven meat could even be considered delicious, but this tasted worse than mud from a sewer. He forced himself to swallow, consoling himself with the fact that starving would be worse, but even with his strong will it took the blunting of his senses by meditation to bring himself to eat it all.
As he sat there, lost in his own world while trying to ignore reality, he suddenly felt the earth below him trembling again. A pulse of crimson energy rushed into his mind’s view, twisting and struggling as though in great pain. It jolted him into awareness, the aura similar to when the Tree of Life had advanced causing him to fill up with excitement. The mix of awe, fear, and confusion it inspired indicated that this blood-like energy held the laws of the plane!
His soul form immediately rushed out to capture this energy pulse, but the moment he made contact a searing pain flashed across his mind. This tiny droplet contained surging power that seemed almost like a tide.
However, this only left him more excited. Especially in a dying plane like the Land of Dusk, such condensed energy could only come from the plane’s core. Normally the will of the plane would limit the amount of energy a legendary skill could invoke, but with that will dead, the chances of some of this energy leaking grew exponentially. The plane itself would consume far more energy than it could create, slowly drying up until it collapsed. The scorching sensation was coming from a conflict between the plane’s laws and his own power.
This was the ultimate chance to peer even further into the realm of laws, far better than during the advancement of the Tree of Life. Enduring the pain, Richard forced the energy pulse into his body.
All of his bloodlines immediately started to tremble restlessly, in fear of the sheer power behind the origin energy. He tried his best to extract strand after strand of energy and absorb it, but most was wasted due to a conflict of laws. However, that didn’t mean it was all for nothing; even the destroyed energy gave him a chance to analyse the laws of this plane further.
Unfortunately, the energy pulse had been too short. His analysis was stopped right at the gate, leaving him unable to even tell how many laws this plane functioned on. There was a massive amount of information hidden within, but he needed much, much more to even discern the most general outline.
If he could truly solve this mystery, he would only be a single step away from touching upon the realm of laws. However, he couldn’t even begin to fathom just how much of the core’s energy he would have to absorb for it.
Just as he was analysing the core energy, his astral affinity world tree suddenly started to move. The roots that were touching his Archeron bloodline started to wave frantically, grabbing the remnants of the core energy and sparing no effort to absorb it. The energy pulse seemed to radiate sheer terror, culminating in what felt like a piercing cry that could rip apart one’s mind. There was little energy left, but it still burnt layer upon layer of the roots to ashes before it dimmed.
The astral affinity trunk trembled in severe pain, but its sheer size eventually gained the upper hand in what was now a battle of attrition. Richard, who was left dazed for a few moments, quickly recovered and mobilised his entire mana pool in support. The tree’s roots finally encircled the origin pulse entirely before absorbing it.
Once it was done absorbing the core energy, the world tree quickly turned still. Its leaves all stopped swaying, and the broken roots didn’t even start to regenerate. However, Richard was actually rather delighted at this. All signs pointed to the tree entering hibernation, likely preceding a breakthrough.
Richard hadn’t even planned to get any of his affinities to the fifth level before he took the step to become a grand mage; his silvermoon bloodline seemed to be bottlenecked at the fourth. For his most important affinity to take this step was a pleasant surprise.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA