City of Sin

Book 9, Chapter 142
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The Second Miracle

"Sera? That’s a good name,” Richard felt his heart throb as he called his daughter’s name for the first time. Unlike Sharon she looked completely like a true primal celestial, and unlike either of her parents she possessed an aura of pure ice, but he could only write that off as destiny working its mysteries once more, “Did the machines outside come in?”

“Yes!” the girl nodded with a frown, “They used to come in many times a day, and it was so tiring to wipe them out! Now, there aren’t as many.”

He felt a whirlpool of emotions swirl through his heart. Even with the help of the astral screen and the lightning orbs, it would take more than legendary might to wipe out the reaper attacks. Beneath Sera’s tender appearance was power not befitting of her age, as well as hardship that no child should have to suffer.

He reached a hand out to her, “Let’s go home.”

Sera placed her small hand into his palm without hesitation, “Home? Where’s that?”

“In a world filled with light,” he smiled.

......

A moment later, both Sera and Sharon were on Faust. Sharon continued her hibernation— she was critically low on astral energy, and would only be able to recover and awaken once they were back in the light. There was a silver lining that this slumber would strengthen her like any other for a primal celestial, but he hated having to wait.

As Faust slowly turned around and set sail, he knelt down and hugged Sera, “I know I said we’re going home, but we need to make one stop on the way. I need to get rid of the bad guy who put you and Mom here.”

“Okay, I’ll be here with Mom,” Sera smiled, looking at the Book of Eternity once more, “I want the book.”

Richard was stunned for a moment before shaking his head, “Not yet. Let’s discuss it when you’re older.”

“Then I’ll grow quickly!” she ran outside, prompting a helpless sigh. The Book of Eternity was something even Richard hadn’t understood completely just yet, and just like the destiny crystal was something that could affect one’s fate. This twining of fates with the book rarely led to a positive outcome.

“That bastard Martin,” he muttered under his breath. The divine child had passed the Book of Destiny to him all those years ago, and it seemed like it had all been to escape such a complicated life. He hadn’t actually lost out, gaining many advantages both within battle and without, but he didn’t want his child bearing the burden that came with it.

......

Sera had just left Richard’s room and was rushing towards Sharon’s when she suddenly topped, her gaze turning icy as she looked at the fiery Fiora who had appeared nearby.

“The book is mine,” Fiora said softly.

“Yours? Dream on!”

“Oh? You want me to settle this with violence?” the demon smiled.

Sera sneered, “You wouldn’t dare to do anything here, and when we’re back in the light I’ll recover and beat you half dead!”

Fiora’s gaze turned icy cold, but her smile actually grew even more charming, “You sure are confident, brat.”

“It’s not confidence. We’re not like Dad, and depend purely on our bloodlines. Do you think yours is better than mine?” Sera walked past her older sister with large strides, not even sparing her a glance. Fiora’s fingertips burnt with black flames, but she didn’t actually let them loose.

......

The City of Miracles was peppered with battle scars. Only four islands remained in total, and most of the buildings had been destroyed by the bullets and energy beams of the reapers. Richard found it surprising that it had even survived, but that question was answered by a shrine in the depths that was littered with night elven corpses. Tens of thousands of night elves that each had near-saint strength provided an energy that far exceeded what the core could extract from the void, and was perhaps only second to the energy produced by breaking down the ember essence. This entire hall had been built to extract the vitality of slaves or prisoners or some such thing, but the drones had been sacrificed instead to power the flying fortress.

This dual method of extracting energy from the void and using prisoners from planes that had already been conquered combined with the power of the Rainbow of the Moons to make for a construct that only pinnacle beings like Richard could crash. However, the fact remained that the city had crashed into Norland at some point in time, and the race that had created it had disappeared into the annals of history.

The battered city quickly moved through the void, crossing many chaotic landmasses until it arrived at a strange place that actually had light. Within was a magnificent metal fortress that stood over a thousand kilometres tall, looking like a giant mage tower with countless bridges drawn out from which reapers were launched. From the distance, it looked like a giant hornet nest.

“Oh, my adorable runemaster, you actually found this place!” the voice rang out, “Even my omniscience did not predict such an achievement. This is a minor mistake, but certainly unforgivable. I will quickly improve myself and patch up this last loophole. As for you, you should be proud of being here. This means you are the second great miracle in our world!”

At this point, Richard wasn’t surprised to hear the voice jabbering on and on. He flew out from Faust towards the metal tower, “And you’re the first?”

“Of course,” the squealing voice somehow went up another octave, “No, I’m not insane. What I dream of is something neither you nor any other living soul of light can imagine! It is a true miracle!”

“Whatever, it ends today. The reapers will be gone,” Richard said coldly.

The voice laughed until it almost ran out of breath, “Ignorant! Immature! Foolish! Self-righteous! All a bunch of snake-slaves that guard some rotten meat like it is the greatest treasure in existence!”

“Did I make a mistake now?” Richard sneered.

“Of course! My adorable little runemaster, you simply do not understand the reapers’ nature! Do you think destroying me and this fortress will make them vanish? No, no, no; they will appear once more, no matter how many of them you destroy or how much ember essence you collect. They are a construct of the world itself!”

This was a statement that Richard had no retort for, especially since he himself was inclined to believe it to be close to the truth. He hesitated and wondered whether he should continue to probe this self-proclaimed miracle, but the voice grew impatient, “Alright, enough! It is an incomparable honour to perish to the Light of Annihilation. This is a weapon that has never been used before, the final power of the alter world. Be proud, snake-slave!”

Amidst the high-pitched squeal, a thin black beam shot out from the top of the tower. It was so narrow that it almost couldn’t be seen, and it wasn’t particularly fast either, but everything within tens of thousands of kilometres lit up. The fear of death suddenly gripped Richard’s heart, stronger even than when Gaton had sent him to the Darkness with a single strike. If Gaton’s sword had been the convergence of the power of Arbidis, this beam was the consolidated strength of the alter world!

The beam wasn’t too strong by itself, but the laws it carried were frightening. If they could not be suppressed, no object would be able to block it. It would form a terrifying chain reaction in the domain of order, capable of destroying large sectors like the Land of Dawn and destroying the composition of space to form a second Eternal Vortex!

Richard could never have imagined something with such power. Even with his current power, he could not withstand this light. That would necessitate him reaching the peak in nearly every aspect, which was impossible in this world!

Would he really die just when he had found his lover and daughter? His mind went blank for a moment as the beam struck him right in the chest. Its zip was accompanied by a high-pitched moan from the tower, “A perfect beam of annihilation, such beautiful destruction... This is the miracle of the... Damn it, how?”

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