130. [Chapter 7] Chapter of the World – Prologue
Helpharon was walking in a damp and musty underground. Helpharon, who had a lantern to guide him through the pitch-black darkness, carefully trod down the slippery stone steps. Even though his steps should have been loud in this narrow path, only an unpleasant splash resounded in the area.
The stench of rotten flesh and mold wafted into his nose, with rats soaked in blood crawling around. Seeing Helpharon, the rodents bared their fangs and screeched rather than running in fear. Helpharon stomped the angry little creatures in a bid to restore the silence.
How far had he climbed down…? He lifted his lantern with surprised eyes. In the humid, ankle-high, rotten, bloody water and air, he laid eyes on a set of ruins and a large skeleton.
It was a strange, peculiar mummy. Its size reached 20m, and its head was that of a lion, but he noticed a set of deer antlers on its sides. Scales covered its body, while its long arms and strange hooves, along with a snake’s head for its tail bone, were all well preserved. It was a mysterious and large mummy of grotesque shape.
Helpharon whispered, “…Arrtark.”
The God that had created humans and Demons. Its remains were right before his eyes.
‘…It’s the same as the pictures on ancient scrolls. I only searched for this place after seeing a map found in an ancient dungeon, but to think there would be something like this!’
For this grave, he had scoured the land for dozens of years under the orders of Pope Salem. He had wandered several undiscovered dungeons, and as he did, he discovered countless treasures and maps, yet the clues were unsatisfactory. As he continued working, he stumbled upon a dungeon and found a map pointing to a particular location.
The map led to a place that the former Holy Kingdom had demolished before. Within the forest of the long-abandoned capital of the Holy Kingdom, Lania, Helpharon found this grave in a ruined church. Pope Salem had long desired this place, where a Fragment of God was supposedly buried. Also, it was a place known to grant eternal life.
“However…there’s nothing here.”
Helpharon looked around. There really was nothing. The only things present were the remains of worship and the skeletons of those who had died while worshiping God. They were frozen stiff like a fossil.
“Did someone…already find the Fragment of God?”
In that case, someone else would have inherited the consciousness of Arrtark and had been granted a portion of power. The owner was probably…
‘I can make a guess.’
The very person that was currently making an uproar in the continent, the Devil of Lania. The one with the power of God, making use of both Holy and Magic Power at will! He must have found the Fragment of God, and he also knew the name of the individual who had discovered this fragment.
“…Hero Thoma. Have you obtained the Fragment of God?”
This was a path connected to the church where Thoma had stayed. Coincidently, the capital of the Holy Kingdom, Lania, was assaulted by the Undead on the very same day Thoma was released. The capital had fallen in a single day, and Pope Salem escaped out of fear. With just these facts…
“Does that mean Hero Thoma is alive, and he also acquired eternal life and the power that comes with it?”
He finally understood why Lania was destroyed and the Undead who chased Salem had rage deep in their eyes.
“Then, we will end up fighting against the Fragment of God.”
The Devil of Lania, once the Hero, Thoma, was moving as the center of the Demon Kingdom at the moment. He had also allied with the Kingdom of Aylans and ruled the Kingdom of Lome as a vassal state. Once he managed to get the remaining nations of the continent under his heel, it was difficult to know what he would do next.
‘…It couldn’t be that he went to such great lengths for just revenge? Though, it is understandable if he did.’
But, once his vengeance was sated…? Would the world find peace?
“…He was once the savior of humanity, but now he has become its destroyer. It’s hard to know his end game.”
Still, if Thoma was the Devil of Lania, he would contest Salem or be powerful enough to at least divert his attention, as Salem would also want the Devil of Lania. It was obvious. If he could obtain the Fragment of God, Salem would obtain his long-sought immortality, the power of eternal life.
‘Even if one obtained the fragment of Arrtark and got the power of God…it’s not true immortality.’
It was said that when a human who was granted God’s power, their life span would no longer matter. Yet, that did not mean they couldn’t die since even the God, Arrtark, killed himself in order to bury that fragment. In other words…
“If he kills himself or suffers death countless times…even one with the Fragment of God can die.”
Even God had died, so it must mean that despite having the power of the fragment, one could not escape death. If Salem noticed this, he would do whatever it took to kill the Devil of Lania and obtain that eternal life.
“But if that happens, the world would truly be destroyed.”
If Salem obtained eternal life, it would be hell on earth. A rule dyed in madness would begin, and a great calamity where everyone killed each other out of distrust would ensue.
‘Currently, Salem is growing his power through human sacrifice. The Order of Evilesse Knights is also increasing in size, and all of them are Hero-grade.’
There would be no kingdom or empire that could stand against his might. Would the Devil of Lania be able to win against dozens, if not hundreds, of Hero-grade warriors cultivated by Salem?
“It’ll probably be too much.”
Helpharon, who couldn’t guess the Devil of Lania’s might, could only shake his head. Salem’s faction was growing exponentially. The whole nation had collapsed due to his insanity. Nonetheless, the Order of Evilesse knights that followed him like a god, the Black Priesthood, and the Golden Cross Army would subjugate other nations for Salem. There would probably be complete destruction waiting for the world in the end, an end in which Salem would remain breathing.
“There is only one thing left to stop him.”
If he could not be defeated in a war and couldn’t be killed, there was only one way left. Before Salem could get Thoma, who held the Fragment of God, and take the fragment for himself…
“I have to kill him with my own hands.”
Helpharon held the lantern and left the dungeon with a newfound conviction.
— Ω —