In the gloomy depths of the sea, Roel slowly woke up surrounded by a shimmering seven-colored light. The battle above the water’s surface had already reached its final moments while he was away.
At the forefront of the humans, standing in front of the dozens of warships, beneath the golden deluge, were two females—one of them an auburn-haired woman, and the other one a girl with hair of a lighter shade.
Isabella looked at Charlotte in shock. It was weak, but she was certain that she had sensed the mana pulsations arising from the activation of the seven-colored gemstone. She shot a quick look behind, only to see that Roel was nowhere to be found.
“What a foolish child. But again, I don’t think that I’m qualified to reprimand you either.”
Isabella opened up her palm and looked at the gleaming ring she had been grasping tightly onto all this while. It was her engagement ring.
Protecting human civilization was a noble and glorious aspiration, but aspirations were often not enough to fuel one through times of difficulties. When calamities strike, what allowed humans to bring forth power far beyond their imagination was often the bonds they had, be it kinship or romantic.
Protecting her kin and her lover; these were the thoughts fueling Charlotte, and they held equally true for Isabella. It was the source of their courage.
Amidst the roar of the ancient monster, the two of them exchanged smiles as they let go of their fears. Together, they stepped forward and raised their hands, and the avatar standing in the middle of a golden deluge shuddered as it made its last stand against Sire Darkness.
Meanwhile, in the dark depths of the sea, Roel had already seen past life and death. He reached out to touch the seven-colored barrier that was protecting him as an auburn-haired girl surfaced in his mind.
He reminisced the first time they met, how they tried to scheme against one another in the Ascarts’ manor, then their temporary cooperation in the study room, to the butterflies they watched at Austine, and the camaraderie they shared onboard the Golden Fleet. All of these dissipated with the final small click of a trigger.
For a brief moment before he fell into the sea, he caught sight of Charlotte’s face. It was not a forced smile but an expression of her trying her best to hold back her tears. She was crying from the pain of separation, as well as her innate fear of death.
So, why did she still choose to do so then?
Is it to repay my favor of saving her earlier on? Did she feel responsible for implicating me in this? Or is it due to the almost searing feelings she has been stifling in her heart?
It is impossible for humans to truly understand one another, for each of us operates differently from one another. Roel couldn’t figure out Charlotte’s feelings, but was that even important at all?
No, none of it is.
What’s important is for her to live on so that she herself can relay how she feels to me. That’s the most important of all.
“Though it might be a bit regretful that the listener might not be able to be there to hear her words…”
Mana was being swiftly drained from Roel’s body. He could feel that a humongous body was gradually forming in the darkness beneath him, but just as Peytra had said, his mana was far from enough to sustain this manifestation. So, he could only expend his life force in exchange for that.
Crimson mana covered Roel’s body with a searing light. Grandar’s undead reanimation ability was desperately trying to stall for time for Roel, but even so, multiple adverse side effects had already started to show on his body.
He was gradually losing strength, and his mind was blurring. He looked at the dark waters around him, and he suddenly had a feeling that he might just end up staying here for all eternity. It was not that he was terribly frightened of death; he just felt unbearably indignant.
I really want to see her, even if it’s just to say my farewells. What should I do…
A small wish popped into Roel’s head.
As he sank deeper and deeper, the surroundings seemed to grow colder and colder. In his groggy state, he felt like he had returned back to that moment on the observation platform of the Leumann Forests when a golden Nightglow Butterfly vied its brilliance against the stars and the moon.
The butterfly was as noble and beautiful as a golden rose. It was his first gift to her. It sparked the start of their feelings, as well as the intertwining of their fates.
“She likes butterflies, doesn’t she…” murmured Roel weakly.
He raised his hand, and the golden brilliance of the incubated butterfly shone once more. In his cold body, his seemingly frozen bloodline started to circulate once more as the Crown Origin Attribute began to resonate with his will.
Yes, this is the feeling I remember.
Roel remembered how he infused the power of his bloodline into the egg before the King Butterfly emerged from within. Just like how the incubation of the Nightglow Butterfly didn’t take much mana, he also didn’t have to expend anything much here either. Golden butterflies unfurled their wings one after another and fluttered around their master.
There was light amidst the darkness once again, just that it was not under the night sky but in the sea this time around.
Unknowingly, Roel began to emanate golden light too. His golden mana diffused into the surroundings, inducing the humongous silhouette beneath him to abruptly open her eyes.
The ancient goddess raised her head, and to her disbelief, she saw broken fragments of a crown. At the same time, Roel revealed a satisfied smile too.
“Go,” he commanded.
The golden roses born from the Crown Origin Attribute spiraled their way upward, creating a golden stream in the midst of the dark sea. Schools of fish scattered hurriedly to open up a path for the fragile butterflies to ascend. Even the sea monsters could only tremble in fright in their lairs, not daring to appear at all.
On the surface of the sea, Isabella was in the midst of fighting against the calamity when she abruptly turned her head around. She felt like her mana was being drawn to something beneath the water. At the same time, the massive dark silhouette in the sky halted as well.
A moment later, thousands of golden butterflies rose abruptly from the sea to soar into the sky. Like a river of brilliant stars, they flew toward an auburn-haired girl and began circling around her.
On the warships, the crewmates stared at this miraculous scene with their mouths agape.
“Butterflies? How could there be butterflies in the sea?”
The sailors couldn’t help but voice their doubts.
Meanwhile, Charlotte, standing at the center of the phenomenon, quietly raised her trembling hand, and a butterfly intimately landed on the tip of her finger. It fluttered its wings, revealing a familiar golden rose insignia she had once seen before.
“It’s him… It’s Roel…”
The familiar aura coming from the butterfly broke through the last of Charlotte’s defenses. Tears began spilling out of her emerald eyes as she cried out sorrowfully. At the same time, high in the sky, the black ancient monster took a step back from the golden butterflies, seemingly out of fear.
It was the second utterance from the ancient monster since the start of the battle. Sire Darkness turned its eyes toward the source of the butterflies, peering through the water to gaze upon a black-haired boy shrouded by seven-colored light. Then, a pair of brilliant eyes reminiscent of the sun suddenly lit up behind the boy, staring coldly back at it.
The eyes of the ancient monster widened as fear arose in its heart. It was a form of natural deterrence, arising from the natural suppression that those who stood at the top of their authority had over those beneath them.
In the sea, the draining of Roel’s life force came to a halt. Noticing the change in his condition, he turned to the humongous silhouette behind him and asked.
“It’s already enough,” replied the ancient goddess gently.
She gazed at the congregation of golden butterflies above. The familiar power left her feeling as if she had returned back to the ancient era.
“How beautiful,” remarked the Primordial Earth Goddess.
Light gleamed in her massive eyes, and the world began to shudder.
“You have shown me utmost beauty. In return, Roel Ascart, I, in the name of the Earth Goddess, shall lead you to victory!”
Peytra’s voice gradually changed from a smooth feminine voice to the thunderous rumbling of the earth. She rose up, and the seas began to rage. The warships shook violently as they were buffeted by furious waves, and the sea monsters below anxiously fled as far away as they could.
The massive shadowy silhouette in the sky roared back angrily. Ash and dust converged together within the deathly fog to form a fist. It harnessed the hottest flames born from the earth’s veins, capable of reducing all beings to cinders.
The searing scarlet fist, wrapped in layers of murky black fog, was like a comet plummeting from the heavens. Even the sky seemed to further dim in its presence. Yet, beneath the surface of the water, the Queen of Saint Beasts remained perfectly composed.
The World Serpent charged out of the sea with a massive pillar of water ascending along with her. Her massive body was like a released arrow, piercing through the surface of the sea to shoot through the clouds.
A deafening explosion sounded.
Her golden glimmering body collided with the fist, but the flames and ash just scattered harmlessly against her face, hardly slowing her down at all. Her charge was unstoppable.
Before Sire Darkness’s frightened screams, she opened her massive maw wide and devoured its upper body whole. Before the World Serpent, even the terrifying calamity seemed mortal in comparison.
The surrounding ash and dust immediately billowed as Sire Darkness tried to reconstruct its body, but it was to no avail. With a shake of her body, the earth elements filling the sky began pouring toward Peytra, like children returning to their mother’s embrace.
In the depths of the sea, Roel watched on as the massive snake continued absorbing black fog as if she was devouring the sky, and he smiled in contentment.
Sire Darkness was indeed a calamity that was nearly unkillable. There was nothing current humans could do to fend off the deadly volcanic ashes that it scattered. Humans were so poorly mismatched that it wouldn’t be far-fetched to call it a god. However, it was still far from enough to match Peytra.
Peytra was the Primordial Earth Goddess, the Queen of Saint Beasts. She was the one who used her own body to stabilize Sia when the world was still unstable right after its creation. The earth and mountains were all her children. As a calamity born of earth, Sire Darkness was like a helpless child before her.
The huge tidal waves created by the World Serpent rising from the sea were still raging on. The crews of the Golden Fleet were desperately trying to remain afloat in the face of this crisis. However, there was a part of the sea surrounded by golden butterflies that remained peaceful, as if it was isolated from the rest of the world.
The World Serpent gazed down on the auburn-haired girl surrounded by the golden butterflies. The black fog shrouding her manifested into a hand that reached out to carry Roel out of the sea.
The sky gradually cleared up, revealing the sun once more. The massive snake exchanged gazes with Roel from afar. She nodded her head lightly before her massive body descended back into the watery depths once more.
At the same time, new notifications popped up on the System Interface.
【The goals of the Witness State have been fulfilled. Remaining time: 22 hours 35 minutes】
【Evaluation: Perfect (115)】
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And with that, the cliffhang finally ends hahaha. All that's left is the resolution ~~