City of Sin - Book 9, Chapter 146
To The End Of The World
Norland quickly entered an era of great changes, with the human territory being warped greatly. The Crimson Empire became a behemoth that far outstripped the other countries of the plane, the Archeron bloodline reaching a peak of existence while the silvermoon elves piqued the interest of any powerhouses proficient with bloodlines.
An army of night elves set off for the Land of Dusk, initially to take charge of the one fortress that the Crimson Empire was now responsible for. However, they were quickly amassing in number, and it was only a matter of time before they began their offensive. Once they set out, the fall of Daxdus would only be a matter of time.
Right around the time Richard returned to Norland, a young mage arrived at the Deepblue and asked to see him. The youth carried a letter from Mordred, claiming that sending him here was Mordred’s last act before truly merging with the will of Arbidis. This was the same youth that High Scholar Rhodey had thrown into the abyss all those years ago, and having been saved by Mordred his destiny truly had changed forever.
Richard actually met with the youth, granting him his dream of studying magic in the Deepblue. However, it wasn’t only this one life that had changed; with a thread of destiny at hand, Richard quickly found the location of Castle Soremburg in the depths of the Eternal Vortex. He quickly teleported over, staring at the Scholars who had repeatedly attempted to change his life for the worse before sighing. A black hole formed above the castle with a mere thought, and he turned around and walked back through the portal he had just arrived in without even waiting to see the result. Only a pinnacle powerhouse could escape the draw of his black holes now, and even a resurrected Soremburg wouldn’t be that powerful. The tranquil corner of the Eternal Vortex would soon be completely destroyed, consigning the Scholars to the current of time. They could be remembered or forgotten, but he wasn’t concerned at all.
Some time after Castle Soremburg was destroyed, Richard returned to the Archeron tombs. He climbed step by step to the highest peak, digging out a pit and placing Gaton’s armour within. He then took out a small case that contained Elena’s ashes, pouring it into the armour and burying them together. A tombstone appeared with the wave of his hands: Gaton Isaiah Satanistoria Archeron and Elena Ragobar. His mother’s last wish was finally fulfilled.
Before leaving the cemetery, he thought for a moment and left an empty tombstone for himself: Richard Dizmason Issa Archeron.
Time passed quietly as Faust crossed the boundless void to arrive at Faelor, merging with Mountainsea’s main body. All damage to the city was repaired, and it became an unprecedented amalgamation of organic and mechanical excellence that would allow him to chase after the final goal of all existence— exploring the limits of existence.
Richard spent an entire year preparing for his exploration, and Faust changed beyond recognition in that time. Everyone who mattered to him gathered in the city, except for one person who was perhaps the most important of them all.
“Do you have to go?” He was currently floating in the skies above Floe Bay, staring at Nasia.
“Of course,” she dismissed lazily as ever. Her divine equipment was shimmering under the evening sun, but behind her exaggerated pretense he finally saw the sadness hidden within.
“You still owe me a look at your face,” he suddenly remarked, recalling the promise she had made long ago.
“Was there such a thing?” she tried to act ignorant, but under his firm gaze she eventually shrugged, “Alright, there was. But whether you see it or not makes no difference, I’m still leaving.”
Having said that, Nasia raised her hands and slowly removed her mask, prompting a gasp. Under the mask was nothing! She actually looked like an empty shell of armour that could move!
She slowly put the mask back on, “Do you understand now? I don’t want to go, but I shouldn’t have come here in the first place. I should have left three millennia ago.”
She turned and left towards the sunset, her figure slowly disappearing into the distance. Richard felt an incomparable weight on his heart, wanting to call out for her to stay, but he knew it was futile. As she was now, every moment with him only caused her suffering. She had already given her everything for him over thousands upon thousands of years, and he had no right to demand more.
The time eventually arrived for Faust to set off. Richard sat at his window and watched the magnificent scenery of Norland, an image he was likely looking at for the last time. The new generation of Archerons were striving to build a myth of their own, but they could just disappear into the annals of history just like the others before them. Whatever the end, destiny wasn’t set in stone.
“My dear Richard, are you sure you don’t want to come with me?” His tranquil mood was suddenly broken by a voice resounding in his mind.
“I’ve told you 99 times already, no! Never!”
“Dear Richard, you should know that there are no such things as forever in this world. If you’ve refused me 99 times, then I’ll ask the hundredth. Do you really not want to come with me?”
“I’m about to set off, I’ll find the end of the world in my own way.”
“But your path is fated to have no outcome. Only mine can break the fetters of this world and explore higher meaning!”
Richard snorted, “Says someone who would die in a minute if he challenged me. Even with all your followers, you aren’t my match. If I hadn’t helped you with the avatar of destruction, you wouldn’t even have won your measly war!”
“No matter what you say, you would have helped me win,” Martin responded, this time manifesting an image as well, “If I was going to lose, you would have run to heaven yourself.”
“Impossible,” Richard grunted.
“Come on, you know that lying to yourself is meaningless.”
“Ugh… Even if I went, it would have been to repay your debt!”
Martin smiled wickedly, “Suuure, whatever you say.”
"Whatever I say is the truth!"
The incarnation of light ignored Richard’s snarl, changing topics instead, “Alright, there’s no point in bickering. Let’s talk about our path. You know I believe in pure light. What you passed to me brought my faith to perfection, and allowed me to keep walking down my path.”
He waved his right hand, revealing strands of light floating within, “Richard, our world is like a giant prison, an endless loop of destruction that eliminates all powerful beings. I think you know that we are in the Seventh Era, and that the six powerful races before us were destroyed. Now, you’re attracting the world’s attention to Norland; isn’t that why you want to leave for the depths of the void?”
Richard remained silent, which was as good as agreeing. At their level, there truly was no point in self-deception.
A little darkness now appeared in martin’s left hand. “There are two ways to break out of our cage— from the light, or from the darkness. Setting off from the laws of darkness would destroy this world, but there is a chance with the light. I’ll morph into light itself, and you can adhere to me as I break the laws of the world and reach another dimension of existence. We might find a new world, or there might be nothing. If it comes to certain destruction, I’ll become the pivot that supports the laws of the completely new world.”
“But you would lose your soul regardless,” Richard quickly pointed out the problem. Both transforming into light or into a world would destroy one’s soul.
“There is a price to be paid for exploring the limits of life,” Martin said with a smile, “But your path won’t go anywhere.”
“Still no,” Richard simply didn’t want to debate any longer.
“My dear Richard, you’ve sacrificed so many offerings that your strength is too reliant on the dragon. Your soul has too many imprints of this world, you simply cannot find a way to break through the laws of the world.”
Richard felt a headache coming on and started to massage his temples as he dispersed the image, “I’m starting to feel like anything is alright as long as it isn’t with you.”
“You’ll come with me one day!” the incarnation of light shouted in the background.
As Martin vanished, he instantly felt like the world was tranquil and beautiful. Teleporting to Faust, he gave his orders to the City of Miracles and watched as it blinked into the void.
“Huh, let’s go check it out.” After some time and quite a few teleports, involving the exploration of countless new planes, Richard’s awareness swept across the endless void and found a rather interesting plane. Faust nimbly flew towards the new target, a beautiful secondary plane with a giant altar in the centre of the boundless highlands. A million warriors had gathered up in formation, but the only thing on their faces was dense sorrow.
On the altar was a priest so old that he could barely even stand, gazing into the sky. Around him were dozens of other priests, generals, and kings.
“Your Excellency, have the demons from another land finally arrived?”
“Are we truly going to die?”
“Can our destiny not be changed?”
Many people couldn’t bear the unspeakable repression and were badgering the priest with questions, but the man who had been ignoring them suddenly spoke up, “They have arrived.”
The sky rippled, showing the grotesque image of an organic machine of a city sliding through the sky instead of the demons they had expected. The priest suddenly slammed an ancient tome into the alar.
Up in Faust, Richard continued to play with the Fulcrum of Fate as he observed the million soldiers gathered below him with surprise. He would never have expected such a large-scale battle in a secondary plane, and the mobilised troops were far stronger than those of Norland. “Hmm? Why aren’t there any enemies.”
“My dear Richard, this is my 1,314th time asking. Don’t you want to come with me?” Martin’s voice suddenly rang out without warning.
So annoying… Richard had the power to destroy entire planes with a wave of his hand, but he couldn’t stop Martin from talking in his mind. He snorted, finally giving a different answer for the first time, “You know what? Fine. Only if this crystal shatters.”
He tossed the destiny crystal into the sky, allowing it to gracefully spin through the air before grabbing it and forcing down.
A soft crack rang out as the firmest material in the world shattered.