LTBE: Chapter 109: Where Are You, Milord?
Chapter 109: Where Are You, Milord?
“You saw an ancient god awakening last night? Ahh, I see.”
By the edge of the forest, in the middle of a bunch of sword-wielding heretics, the still steaming Rodney feebly responded to Old Wood’s words with an attitude of humoring an old child.
Wood was the previous village chief, having led the villagers for many years before Rodney was even born. He had already gone into retirement after passing his position down to the meritorious Rodney, but due to the major crisis the village was facing from the evil cultists, Rodney had no choice but to ask for his help.
Despite Wood’s advanced age, as an Origin Level 3 transcendent, it was still well within his means to deal with a couple of Origin Level 4 evil cultists. However, just like Rodney, Wood also had to bear a heavy side effect after using his strength in battle…
To put it in milder terms, he would become as daft as a doorknob, though those who were from Earth like Roel would relate better with the term, ‘senile’.
So, when Wood fell from the sky and started rambling confidently about how their god had awoken, Rodney’s first thought was that the old man’s illness had struck again. However, in view that Wood was the previous village chief, the well-mannered Rodney decided to go along with the old man, so as to not anger him.
“Yes, of course. You’re right.”
“You darned brat, I’m speaking the truth over here! The price of my transcendent ability is already over, so stop looking at me as if I’m off my rocker!”
“Yes, old village chief. Everything you say is right. Is there anything else?”
“… Son of a banshee! Kuri, you tell him!”
Seeing how Rodney was treating him like a senile old fool, Wood became so infuriated that he began smacking his own chest to alleviate how stifled he felt. Eventually, he pulled a blue-haired young man named Kuri forward to vouch for him. Kuri stroked the fur of the dog in his arms as he began speaking.
“Village chief, what the old village chief mentioned is true. It’s not just him; those who have a stronger spiritual sense in our patrol squad also saw the vision last night. We came together to describe what we saw later on, and it turned out that the visions we saw are the same as one another.”
As it turned out, all of the magician transcendents in the village had all received the vision. There were some minor discrepancies here and there in their depictions, but overall, there was little doubt that they had all seen the same things.
“A little boy standing on the shoulder of a humongous skeleton. This is really… Are you certain about it?”
By this point in time, Rodney’s body had already cooled enough to stop steaming, and the redness had started to recede too. He began inquiring about the details with a confused and skeptical look on his face, but the responses he received weren’t satisfactory.
A humongous skeleton could be referring to the corpse of a giant, but the significance of a little boy standing on his shoulder… No matter how he analyzed it, it was a symbol of an equal relationship. But how could a human possibly have an equal relationship with a giant?
One must know that the giants were viewed to be a race equal to the angels in the legends; their existence was no different from a god to humans! How could such an existence possibly allow a human to stand on his shoulder?
“But it’s really a little boy judging from his height and physique! It’s just that we weren’t able to make out his face.”
“That’s only to be expected, Kuri. The bodies of exalted beings aren’t to be peered at. There’s a good chance that the little boy could be a God’s Envoy!”
“God’s Envoy? You mean a Holy Son?”
“That’s right, a Holy Son!”
“Hold on, hold on. Give me a moment.”
Rodney stood forward and stopped the two overly agitated men in their tracks with a raise of his hands while he quickly sorted out his thoughts.
Heretics were known to have Origin Attributes that differed from the Three Main Origin Attributes, and they had their own separate religion from the Genesis Goddess Church too. That being said, many of the heretics actually weren’t devout believers of their own faith.
There were two reasons for that.
First, their identities as heretics hardly brought them any benefits at all. Second, many of the worshiped gods had already vanished from the face of the world, leaving behind just their Origin Attributes and Evolution Pathways for humans to use.
Rodney’s village was in the Strength Origin Attribute Faction, and in accordance with their faith, most of their transcendents carried some level of respect toward the ancient gods too. However, this respect was more of one to the deceased, and none of them wanted to see the return of the ancient gods.
If the origin of the Strength Origin Attribute were to return, they, as transcendents who bore the Strength Origin Attribute, would surely be influenced in some way as well.
On the positive side, the awakening of the ancient gods would reinforce their Evolution Pathway, thus bringing their powers to greater heights. To use an analogy, it was somewhat similar to a modern man appearing amongst a group of primitive cavemen and showing them the way forward. The closer they were to this origin, the more their strength would be enhanced and the smoother their breakthroughs would be.
On the negative side though, the ancient gods were frightening existences that stood at the very pinnacle of their Evolution Pathway. They could use the resonance with their Origin Attribute to influence those beneath them. A typical example of that was heretics converting into evil cultists. Not all evil cultists became evil cultists willingly; it simply happened when the ancient gods above them fell into depravity.
Such factors couldn’t be controlled, which was also why most of mankind rejected all other Origin Attributes aside from the Three Main Origin Attributes. Right now, Rodney and the others were facing the same risk as well.
“Based on what we saw from the vision, he doesn’t have any intention to control us. However, it’s possible that our existences are too faint to catch his attention too,” said Wood as he stroked his beard.
Just like how humans wouldn’t pay attention to the gazes of ants, it was perfectly normal for exalted beings to disregard insignificant humans too. However, this appeared to be a good thing since a lack of interest meant that the exalted being had no intention of controlling them.
“If we could find the Holy Son, the little boy, we might just be able to plead for the protection of an ancient god through him. However, other than the vision, we don’t have any clue as to where he is…”
Wood sighed with a deep frown. Their information was sorely lacking at the moment for them to make any decision.
Rodney took some time to organize the information he had in mind before speaking.
“I have taken note of the matter. However, we don’t have the spare time and effort to devote to dealing with the issue of the Holy Son and the ancient god just yet. The Marta Merchant Association has already set its eyes on us, and from the looks of it, they will spare no cost to obtain the Scale of the Snake God. I interrogated one of the evil cultists earlier, and it appears that there’s an influential power that is seeking to purchase it at an astronomical sum.”
“Are you saying that there’s another power behind the Marta Merchant Association?”
“That explains why there’s no end to the evil cultists harassing us!”
Both Wood and Kuri’s expressions turned grim. What should take precedence at the moment was to ensure their survival against the evil cultists. The Marta Merchant Association rose to prominence under the support of several evil cults, and no one knew how deep their waters were. If one thing was for sure, a minor heretical village like theirs, which hadn’t had enough time to grow and develop yet, wouldn’t stand a chance against them.
“Should we try seeking help from the Coalition of Villages?”
“This is a personal matter of our village. The Coalition will not get themselves involved in this.”
“They won’t care whether we live or die. In fact, they might even get us to hand over the scale to them.”
The three of them fell silent. They really were in a terrible position right now. The simplest solution to the problem was indeed to hand over the Scale of the Snake God, but that wasn’t an option for them.
Due to the safety bestowed by the mystical effects of the magic tool, Rodney’s village hadn’t faced any large-scale attacks from demonic beasts for the last decade, allowing them to expand their population significantly. Unfortunately, they were still in a vulnerable phase where the younger generation had yet to mature despite the increment in population. Because of that, there was a huge strain on the village’s security force. They didn’t have enough transcendents to protect so many people yet. In fact, the only reason why they remained safe to this day was due to the protection of the scale.
If they were to hand over the scale, it would really be the opening act of a huge tragedy. Countless people would lose their lives to the demonic creatures, and they could possibly end up in a worse position than before they had acquired the scale.
“Let’s migrate. We’ll move deeper into the mountains and try to last till spring. If there are no results after three months, the power that’s trying to purchase the scale from the Marta Merchant Association might just give up.”
Left with no choice, Rodney could only choose to escape and have everyone bide their time. Neither Wood nor Kuri had any opposition to his decision. After all, they couldn’t afford to clash head-on with the Marta Merchant Association with their current strength.
“What if they refuse to give up even after spring? We have too many people in our village. We won’t be able to procure enough food just by hunting the beasts in the region.”
“… Worse comes to worst, we’ll hole ourselves up in the mountain and start farming there to grow our own food. That being said, even though we don’t need to worry about getting assaulted by demonic creatures, it’ll still be hard for us to survive with the thick miasma there,” said Rodney with a worried frown.
“Speaking of which, should we consider approaching the Holy Son for help then?” proposed Kuri carefully.
He had a feeling like the awakening of an ancient god during this tumultuous period was the calling of fate. However, his suggestion was met with silence from Rodney and Wood.
Seeking help from the Holy Son, or to be more exact, an ancient god, was a definite gamble. If it worked out, it would be all confetti and happiness. However, if they betted wrongly, they could very well end up as mere puppets. Even the usually optimistic Wood couldn’t come to a decision easily regarding this matter.
“We don’t even know where the Holy Son is right now. Let’s treat it as our final resort for now,” replied Rodney.
Wood also nodded in agreement with his decision. It was better for them not to stake their all on such a risky gamble, especially since the lives of the entire village were at stake here.
“It would indeed be the best-case scenario if the Holy Son really exists and is able to bestow us with the protection of an ancient god, without enslaving us. However, is such a thing really possible?”
Rodney shook his head skeptically. In the days he spent traveling around the world, he had heard too many stories about heretics falling into depravity and becoming evil cultists. It was inevitable that he felt distrust toward the ancient gods of his faith, and he didn’t believe that there was any human in the world who could stand side-by-side with them.
Both Wood and Kuri could also see where Rodney was coming from. If it was a powerful transcendent they saw in the vision instead, there might still be a possibility that the ancient god would view him as an equal. However, it felt a little too far-fetched that an ancient god would think of an immature little boy as his equal.
“Sigh, let’s make preparations for the migration then. If what we saw in the vision is real, we should see more visions in the future.”
Wood looked into the faraway distance with his gray eyes as he wondered about the future of his brethren with a mix of worry and anticipation.
“Let’s wait and see. At least until we can finally verify the whereabouts of the Holy Son.”
Translated by StarveCleric. Edited by Welmar.