Book 6, Chapter 18

The Power Of Laws

The corridor seemed to be endless, but Richard still managed to connect to the broodmother in his mind. It took a few seconds, but she eventually informed him that the astral chrysalis hadn’t been built with the intelligence to navigate the twisted space in the maze of clouds. She was sending three cloned brains over alongside 200 winged serpents immediately to help him out.

“How long will it take?” Richard asked.

“Ten hours.”

“Alright, I can hold on till then.” He nodded to the rest and informed them of the situation.

However, after a single step forward he suddenly felt the world warp around him. The darkness of the corridor opened up into a night sky while the stone underneath changed to grass. There was an old hilltop castle up ahead with a horrific cemetery around it, radiating an almost-black aura of death.

Richard looked around, but he couldn’t see his followers everywhere. He was shocked for a moment, but then he started muttering angrily, “A fucking semiplane. Should’ve known, of course there’d be one when there are planeshades. Why the fuck didn’t I see… Argh, fuck it!”

He quickly pulled out the Twin of Destiny, walking over to the derelict castle in the distance. Being trapped alone in a semiplane was extremely dangerous, but instead of continuing to curse he made the decision to activate the power of Schloan. The well of stars quietly emerged in the depths of his soul, bursting forth with blue astral energy.

Now certain that the laws of this semiplane were far below those of his own existence, and that his ability to absorb energy hadn’t been blocked, he relaxed a little and started to examine his surroundings. It felt like the entire place was a threat, the night darker than he was used to and paralysing screams of horror resounding in the distance. However, he ignored it all and examined the cemetery; that was the most likely place of ambush while the castle probably held the way to return.

A single step onto the mountain seemed to trigger something terrifying. A white palm suddenly shot out of the earth, a rotting corpse crawling its way out of the dirt before staggering to its feet. It was quickly followed by a second and third, and before long thousands of zombies were walking in his direction!

The sea of undead had some particularly powerful ones as well. The average level was only about 10, but there were even the equivalents of Faelor saints in the mix. Although none of them were individually threatening, an entire horde attacking a flustered individual would certainly have a great advantage. After all, the victim would still be trying to figure out whether this was even real.

This horde could easily kill a sub-legendary being of Faelor, but unfortunately the one facing it was one of the most talented grand mages of Norland. Richard identified that this was a real semiplane in an instant, and given his expansive knowledge knew that one powered by the Valley of Darkness definitely couldn’t be too large. Even a true legend from Norland would find something big difficult to maintain.

There were also telltale signs for those who knew where to look. The dark night of this semiplane seemed somewhat twisted to seem distant, but careful observation revealed the strangeness of its positioning. The creator had only made the place seem realistic.

Noticing that the first of the zombies was finally closed, Richard sped up to greet it. The creature screamed and raised its hands high to attack, but before they even dropped Richard had flown across the sky to continue towards the castle. The two fists just slammed into the ground, throwing up some gravel.

Richard continued to speed up as he activated Mana Armament, so fast that neither the bulky regular zombies nor the taller captains could even keep up with him. Most of them raised their fists to attack, but the strike wouldn’t even be wound up before he was gone.

However, he knew that the cemetery couldn’t be so simple that an agile rogue or assassin could run around freely. Surely enough, it took only a moment before black shadows burst out from the night to strike at him like lightning. He just sneered, twirling the Twin of Destiny in his right hand as his left shot out a dozen tiny bolts of lightning.

This time, the lightning was a milky white. It burst into flames upon striking the black shadows at great speed, invoking terrifying screams of pain as half-metre-tall spiders fell out of the air. The star-shaped marks on their backs were the first to burn away, and their two-metre-long legs were soon to follow.

With some level of analysis complete on the laws of the Tree of Life, Richard now had the ability to integrate the power of life into his attacks. This normally weakened most spells, but it just so happened to be a perfect counter to undead creatures. In fact, it was so effective that he himself was surprised; he had only added in the power as a small test, but the power of the lightning had doubled!

Having dealt with the corpse spiders, Richard made it all the way to the castle before meeting the next obstacle. A large colony of bats rushed down to attack him, but being even weaker than the spiders they were only sending themselves to their deaths. It was one thing to attack a mage with numbers, but it was another thing entirely to deal with the power of Manacycle. Richard created a thick mist around himself to confuse the bats before launching a dozen-odd small fireballs into the area around him. Adding a grade 7 spell’s worth of magical shielding to himself, he aligned them all and had them explode.

*BOOOOOM!* The explosion rocked the castle, raging flames crashing into each other before cascading onto the bats. The mist started to swirl and formed a tornado of flames that burnt everything nearby to ashes. Still the flames reached a tipping point, exploding out from the centre to incinerate almost everything within a hundred metres. Only the zombie generals barely managed to survive.

Richard looked around at the empty sky before laughing softly. He had only used the equivalent of a grade 8 spell, but it had erupted with power beyond grade 9 even as the eye of the storm could be protected by a grade 7 barrier. It was easy to have a bunch of fireballs focus or spread their power, but it was another thing entirely to ensure that this power only spread in a certain direction. If even one of his fireballs had been placed slightly wrongly or exploded with a bit more power than necessary, the shield would have been torn apart in an instant.

He scanned his surroundings before rushing into the castle building, crossing the courtyard in an instant before placing himself against one of the walls. He stared at the zombie horde that continued to approach, slowly throwing out a dozen seeds of fire in all direction.

Another loud explosion rang out as all the seedlings burst into an enormous wall of flames, burning a metre into the air. The flames looked rather weak, and the brainless undead would have walked in anyway, but the moment one tried to step through it squealed in pain as it turned to dust. Another few followed, but they suffered a similar fate. The strongest of them all had made it through three layers before being destroyed.

These walls looked much weaker than ordinary walls of fire, and they were, but they had also been imbued with a certain amount of life energy. They could only burn a few minutes, but every time an undead creature stepped in milky white light erupted from within the flames and consumed them in an instant.

It was only now that Richard realised just how threatening the power of laws could be.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo