Chapter 183 - The Last Fire (1)
It had been several days since Crockta’s party entered the great forest with Zakiro. The road was long and the terrain steep. If Zakiro hadn’t been with them, they would’ve gotten lost several times. There were obstacles scattered all over the map.
“This is your cue, Anor.”
“Scary… I don’t want to look.”
“You are the scariest person here dot! Raise your bones!”
Anor used his necromancy to defeat the monsters.
In the great forest, they fought monsters several times a day. As a result of such hardships, they were able to find a huge wall standing in the lush forest. It was the black barrier which was the symbol of Geherad.
They stood at the entrance.
“Orc, dark elf, gnome, and dwarf. How strange.” The guards’ eyes widened at the appearance of such unique group. The guards themselves were a mixture of humans and dwarves.
“Yes, so what did you come for?”
“To look for a per...”
“Pilgrimage.” Zakiro interrupted Tiyo. “We came to worship the last fire.”
“Hoh, I see.”
The dwarf guards nodded.
“Are you a blacksmith?”
“Do you intend to enter the last forge?”
“If it is possible.”
He chuckled. Crockta, Tiyo, and Anor, who didn’t know what the last fire or last forge was, just stood in the rear.
“Good luck. You can enter.”
The passage was clear. Just like the walls, Geherad’s buildings were made of black soil. The entire city looked like it was covered in coal.
The scale of the city wasn’t that big. After all, it would be difficult to maintain a large city in the great forest. Most of the inhabitants were dwarves and humans, while other species were occasionally seen.
However, a large building at the center of the city stood out.
“That is the resting place of the last fire.”
“What is the last fire dot?”
“Coming to Geherad without even knowing...” Zakiro laughed. “The last fire literally means a fire that will remain until the end of the world. What is the longest lasting fire in the world?”
“The world’s longest lasting fire...”
Tiyo thought about it. He rolled his eyes as he tried to think of the answer.
Zakiro pointed to the sky. The sun that illuminated the world. Tiyo’s face brightened as he squinted at it.
“The sun dot?”
“That’s right. Strictly speaking, the sun god.”
“It is the first time I’ve heard of the sun god dot.”
“He was originally a great god, but now he is said to be in a deep sleep. I don’t know the situation of the gods, but the sun is still burning, so he hasn’t completely disappeared.”
Geherad’s ‘last fire’ was a remnant of the sun god, and the large building at the center of Geherad was the temple of the sun. Originally, the gods revealed their existence by helping out or passing on divine messages. However, the sun god didn’t do that. It was said that the sun god had fallen into a long sleep.
“Then what is the last forge?”
Zakiro grinned at Crockta’s question.
“It is literally the last forge. If the sun is the longest fire in the world, then the last forge is the place that will hold it.”
“There is a forge like that?”
“That’s right. Most people come to Geherad for that purpose. In the place where the last fire is gathered, I want to borrow the best heat to create a masterpiece. It is the holy place of the blacksmiths.”
“So, that’s why you tried to come here.”
Crockta’s group came to find Tiyo’s father, but Zakiro had such a situation.
“Well, I have now arrived. Thank you for helping me get here.” Zakiro said goodbye to them. He only accompanied them here, so it was now time to separate.
Crockta nodded and extended his fist. Zakiro smiled and bumped his fist against Crockta’s. It was the first time he had used an orc gesture, but it didn’t feel bad.
“Bul’tar. I am alive.”
He also said goodbye to Tiyo and Anor. Then just before he moved away, Zakiro asked Crockta,
“Warrior. I heard your name is Crockta?”
He had learned this fact while accompanying them here. The name of the orc, who he had thought was just a skilled warrior, was actually Crockta. Zakiro confirmed again, “The ‘Northern Conqueror,’ Crockta.”
Crockta grinned. “Correct. I am Northern Conqueror Crockta.”
“...That’s right. It was an honor.”
Then he turned away.
Zakiro headed straight to the temple of the sun god, the place where the last fire was kept. In the black temple, a sharp spire stood out that pointed towards the sun.
“Northern Conqueror Crockta is using my sword...”
It wasn’t a bad feeling. Crockta’s reputation was great enough that Zakiro had heard it even back when he didn’t leave his clan’s smithy. Crockta wasn’t just strong. He also maintained the faith. Not only had he performed various activities on the continent, he had also punished the crazy chieftain and blocked the ambition of the empire.
Moreover, it had been done with Zakiro’s sword, Ogre Slayer. It felt wonderful.
That wasn’t the only reason why Crockta’s name was engraved in his mind. Crockta would be in crisis in the near future. They were enemies who couldn’t be compared to the opponents Crockta had faced previously.
“The fickle gods...”
Despite all the work Crockta had done, the gods had sent a divine message pointing to Crockta’s death. It said to destroy Crockta and his orc kin. The dwarves in Zakiro’s hometown hurried. It was a divine message which involved the fate of the entire continent.
As long as the gods targeted Crockta, a harsh future would follow. To overcome such hardships, the sword ‘Ogre Slayer’ wasn’t appropriate. The ending was obvious.
Zakiro worried about it for a moment before shrugging it off.
“I don’t care.”
He was a blacksmith, and his mission was to create a weapon. Zakiro was merely a craftsman aiming to complete the best work. It was none of his business, even if the warrior who held his sword would eventually die because of the gods.
Zakiro stood in front of the temple and blocked everything out.
“Let’s see it once, the last fire.”
The only thing important to him now was the ‘last forge.’
After separating from Zakiro, Crockta’s party explored the city for traces of Hedor. They asked if anyone knew a gnome called Hedor, but there were no answers. Some people remembered small gnomes but didn’t know much about them.
In the end, the sun set.
“That’s it for today.” Crockta stated. He was hungry and tired.
“We should go to the temple of the sun god as our final destination today. There might be a clue there.”
“I think so as well dot.”
“Okay. Let’s go quickly.”
They headed to the black building at the center of Geherad. As Zakiro said, all visitors to Geherad were aiming for the temple of the sun god and the last fire. Therefore, it was like a bustling tourist destination. Hot air blew out as they entered.
“Ahh, I guess it is the temple of the sun god...”
“Are you okay dot? Isn’t a necromancer weak to light? The sun isn’t hurting you?”
The temple contained a place for worship, and at the center, there was an altar which looked like a huge furnace. The heat was flowing from there. Worshippers bowed their heads towards it and prayed. There were various species present. There were warriors like Crockta, magicians, and ordinary people who didn’t know how to fight. They all prayed to the ‘last fire’ in the altar at the center of the temple.
“Isn’t it wonderful?”
A voice rang out. A dwarf in white clothing was standing beside them. He smiled gently and said,
“The sun god has been gone for a long time. He can only be found in the history books. The ‘last fire’ is the only thing left from him. But people still haven’t forgotten the sun god, so they come here and pray. Why?”
He was a priest here.
Crockta replied, “Well… is it because of the last forge?”
“Your answer isn’t wrong. But my own answer...”
The priest pointed to the ceiling of the temple.
“It is the sun god.”
“What do you mean?”
“The sun is the highest existence that cares for all things. Without the sun’s light and heat, this world wouldn’t last more than a day. It creates the seasons, helps buds grow and shines light so we can see the world. Thanks to that, the sun’s grace isn’t forgotten.”
It was a plausible answer.
“Isn’t the fact that we live on this earth the gift of the sun god? People feel this instinctively.”
“It makes a lot of sense that there is a reason.”
Crockta had modern knowledge, so he nodded in acknowledgment. The presence of the sun was the most basic premise for life.
After that, the priest gave further explanations.
Inside the altar was a piece of the sun god, and it contained a powerful heat that could melt anything. The last forge, which was beyond the worship room, used this heat in its furnace. The forge could only be used by selected craftsmen, and this was determined by the piece of the sun god in the altar.
After his explanation, Crockta opened his mouth, “I appreciate the valuable teachings.”
“It is nothing. It is my job.”
“There is one thing I would like to ask. Have you ever met a gnome traveler called Hedor?”
“Hedor… I’m not sure of the name, but there was a strange gnome. I don’t know if he is Hedor or not.”
“He looks like this friend.” Crockta gestured to Tiyo. The priest raised his eyebrows as he saw Tiyo.
“Hoh… It seems like he is.”
“What did that man come for?”
“He kept asking me about the sun god. He was interested in the ancient myths. I recall that he asked about why the sun god disappeared.”
They shared some more stories about the gnome called Hedor. Tiyo’s father had come here to look through the records earnestly. As they talked, it was soon time to close the temple.
“If you come back tomorrow, I will give you more information. There might be some records in the journal.”
“It is nothing. I am grateful that you came here without forgetting the sun god.”
They exited the temple. It was a clear night. Crockta suddenly looked up at the sky.
The sun god...
Did he look different from the many different suns glowing in the sky? Crockta had heard that there were more galaxies in the universe than the grains of sand on Earth. If so, who created that infinite possibility?
Perhaps one of those distant stars was the Earth he lived on. Then at that moment...
His vision suddenly dimmed.
It was the same feeling he’d had when the Gray God’s Eyes were used. The fated deaths in the world entered his vision.
Numerous white stars were scattered in the black night sky. The white stars dimmed and became part of the black curtain. Only the darkness of the night sky remained. This was a black world where all the stars had died.
The end of the stars. He didn’t want to see such a sight. Crockta shook his head.
Then he turned off the Gray God’s Eyes. It wasn’t well-controlled, but if he focused his mind, he could gradually escape that feeling. Soon enough, he was able to leave the power of the Gray God's Eyes.
Crockta sighed. Was he tired, or was the silent gray god doing something again?
“Crockta. Look over here dot.”
Tiyo said. Crockta rubbed his eyes and raised his head. Then his body immediately tensed. There was a group of people holding weapons. All of them had hidden their identities behind hoods.
The man at the forefront declared, “The gods have ordered your death. I will punish you according to the divine message. Don’t blame me.”
The influence of the divine message began to take effect.
Praise the Orc: Glossary Link.
Current schedule: There will now be 14 chapters a week, meaning two chapters every day.
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