LTBE - Chapter 318: Her Return
Priestley immediately raised his staff and attempted to stave off the brilliant iridescent light pouring through the cracks, but it was already too late.
The clash between the white light and the iridescent light stirred a huge shockwave that swept across the ground.
Priestley was already in his waning years, and the acceleration of his decline caused by Tempest Caller weakened him even further. It was just a single clash against Astrid, but it jolted him to the point that blood started to seep from the corner of his lips.
Even so, he still firmly stood his ground.
Priestley raised his head to look at the shattered skyline and the black-haired man floating in mid-air, and he finally understood why he had sensed a bizarre aura from the moment he entered the barrier.
He shook his head and said.
“Your plan all along was to use that wind of degeneration to force me into shattering the barrier? It’s a well-thought-out plan. Even if I had known beforehand, I would have no choice but to do the same. But do you think that you have won with just this?”
Priestley’s eyes gleamed with renewed confidence as he eyed the slowly repairing cracks of the barrier. With a peal of laughter that was also tinged with burning rage, he roared hoarsely.
“Something of this extent won’t allow her to fully escape from the Dream Realm! In fact, I reckon that the earlier attack was already the limit of what she can do. It’s futile. She isn’t able to kill me!”
The Magician King smashed the bottom of his staff onto the ground, and the shadow extending from his feet split into three. His body began glowing brilliantly once more as he forcefully dispersed the dusk yellow wind that was trying to concentrate around him once more.
“This is an ancient spell from the long-forgotten Country of Shadows in the ancient era. Other than Tempest Caller’s degeneration ability, there is no means in the world that can kill me without triggering it. I still have three chances whereas you’re already on your last legs. A spell like yours can’t possibly be without cost, and it should be about time for you to repay your debt.”
“… I shan’t deny that.”
The earlier clashes with Priestley had nearly depleted Roel’s mana, which meant that he couldn’t sustain Time Devourer for much longer, not to mention that there were side effects for using it too.
Roel frankly admitted to his poor condition, but his eyes showed no traces of the despair Priestley was hoping to see. Instead, his lips curled into a smile as he repeated the words he had said earlier.
“I have already told you that you have lost, Magician King. You lost not to me but to our clan. Have you forgotten that there’s still one more of us around?”
Right after those words were spoken, a black-haired woman suddenly appeared by Roel’s side. She shot a cold glare at the lanky old man before offering her hands to Roel.
Roel interlocked his hands with hers, forming a bridge that catalyzed a powerful resonance between them for a brief moment. At the same time, a droplet of fresh blood wrapped in iridescent light was delivered straight to Lilian. She parted her lips and swallowed the droplet of blood without any hesitation.
Astrid had used the passageway forcefully opened by Priestley to traverse from the Dream Realm into reality in order to deliver her blood into their hands. This was the bloodline that boasted the greatest degree of status immunity—the Dreamwalker Bloodline.
With this, Lilian would be able to pull off a single night of miracles.
Glistening clear wings extended from Lilian’s back as her little ears grew slightly sharper. Her changing disposition granted her already beautiful face a dreamy charm that made it hard to tear one’s eyes away from her.
Under the iridescent light, using her ancestor’s blood as a catalyst, Lilian was able to pull off a temporary transformation into a dreamwalker.
It was also then that Roel activated the spell bestowed upon him by the Witch Queen—Artasia’s Summon.
The moment that this spell was invoked on Lilian, dark red mana pathways began crackling outward like bolts of lightning. The possessor of the Crown traversed across time and space to offer an invitation toward the royal court of the Witch Queen.
“It’s about time for you to join us on the stage, Your Majesty.”
Dark billowing clouds had covered the sky at some point in time. Under Roel’s soft invitation, a black mist suddenly swooped downward and enveloped Lilian. By the time it dispersed, the black-haired woman had already morphed into the white-haired Witch Queen.
After countless ages, Artasia had finally reemerged in this world. She looked at the young man holding onto her hands and revealed a moving smile.
“What a cunning one you are, my hero. Your fingers are locked so tightly onto mine that I couldn’t bear not to appear at your summon,” she spoke with an amused chuckle.
A gleam flashed across the madder red eyes of the white-haired witch floating in mid-air, and the world suddenly froze in place. The next moment, everything started reversing.
The devastated ground reverted back to its original appearance, and the collapsed buildings rose up once more. Dust and sand lingering in the air vanished completely from sight.
It was almost as if the world was Artasia’s playground. At her arrival, everything had to be dignified and elegant.
Priestley widened his eyes in disbelief at the incomprehensible miracle he was witnessing before his eyes. From the moment of Artasia’s arrival, he felt an emotion that he thought he had already left behind him centuries ago.
Witches were said to be a race born out of Sia’s shadow. Danger and enigma were words they were associated with. Of all the ancient beings, they were the hardest ones to approach and communicate with, if anyone was fearless enough to attempt that in the first place.
“Holy Saints’ Tree!”
Priestley’s furiously thumping heart told him of the unparalleled danger before him. The oppressive premonition of death he felt compelled him to take the initiative to curb Artasia, knowing that it was the only way he could possibly survive this ordeal.
Even while he was shouting, he had already started bleeding from his eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. The heavy price he had to pay translated into greater power as he invoked the absolute defense of his bloodline ability.
A humongous holy tree rose from the ground and grew at a terrifying rate. Glowing spirits chorused harmoniously around it. An altar rose from where Priestley was standing. The apparition of the ancient gods resting in the Holy Saints’ Tree slowly awakened and granted him protection.
Under the sanctuary of divine light, the old Magician King pointed his staff at Artasia and released the most insane attack he had ever unleashed under the pressure of fear.
With his blood as tempering, his bones as the structure, and a branch of the Holy Saints’ Tree as the blade, a godslaying sword came into existence. Looking at the impeccable sword glowing beneath the divine light, Priestley’s face flushed in excitement despite his withered body and missing arm.
This was a miracle that Priestley had pulled off by fusing his body as a Human Sovereign with the Holy Saints’ Tree. At the moment of its completion, it was blessed by the apparitions of the twelve ancient gods dwelling in the altar, granting it absurd power.
I can win this fight.
The birth of the Holy Saints’ Sword convinced Priestley of his victory in this fight. It was an unexpected product created from his fear of death, but the great power it harnessed was unstoppable.
“I don’t know what kind of existence you have summoned, but the results won’t change. Disappear!”
Priestley tossed aside his staff and grabbed the glowing Holy Saints’ Sword with his remaining arm. The moment he came into contact with him, his body released blinding radiance. The blessings of the ancient gods allowed him to temporarily reverse his time, regressing him from an old man into a dashing youth.
He swung the sword with great might, and a tidal wave of light rushed out. It looked as if even time would be severed before it.
Yet, Artasia stood idly before the tidal wave of light, examining the floating bits of light particles with an amused smile, almost as if she was watching an extravagant performance.
“How beautiful, my hero.”
“Indeed. Are you not intending to defend yourself?”
“It doesn’t matter. Have you forgotten what kind of witch I am?”
Seeing Roel widen his eyes in realization, Artasia’s lips also inched upward into a playful smile.
Many apparitions suddenly flashed across the two of them. Palaces and towers, stone pillars and white gravestones, crowds of deafening cheers and warriors clashing blades with one another on a bitter battlefield…
Eventually, it all reduced into a single warrior wielding a shield marching in front of the two of them. He raised his shield, and a humongous crimson eye manifested in front of him. It unleashed a sea of flames that kept the tidal wave of light firmly at bay.
Artasia looked upon the scenes calmly despite the deafening explosions going off around her, almost as if she was just watching a firework show. She happily pointed her finger at the shield held up by the warrior in front of her and started explaining to Roel.
“That’s the cursed shield forged out from the eye of the first generation Fire Goddess. She fell into depravity and burned down the Forest of Life, making that shield an antithetical existence to that sword, which was forged out of the branch of the Holy Saint’s Tree.
“This creates a contradiction. Anything that exists with a contradiction is incapable of harming me. Now, it’s about time to put an end to this farce.”
Artasia turned her gaze toward the young man standing beneath the humongous tree in the distance. He was roaring at the top of his lungs, but even so, he was still unable to push his prided Holy Saints’ Sword through the flames.
“A traitor of your own kind? How repugnant. There’s nothing more distasteful than that to me. Not to mention, you dared to hurt my hero? What a vile cretin you are.”
Artasia’s madder red eyes glazed with frost as she waved her hand disdainfully, reminiscent of a divine being cleansing filth from the world.
“You shall repent for your crimes in the Primordial Inferno.”
With those words, the blazing flames flooded the verdant paradise, devouring the sanctuary for the sinner.