Unity displayed by humans in the face of crises was heartening, and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for one another was touching.
With that being said, there were still limitations to what collective strength could achieve. There were simply some beings in the world that mere mortals couldn’t stand against. Sometimes, a gap in strength could be so great that no quantity could hope to bridge it.
Terrifying explosions of lightning echoed throughout Leinster for the umpteenth time, but mana continued to gush with relentless momentum as if it was boundless. Priestley continued standing in the same spot with a green lantern in hand, not moving an inch at all, but the guards and students on the academy walls were already forced to flee in a fluster.
At the very back of the escaping crowd stood an exhausted Antonio. He could feel a complete lack of fluctuation in the prowess of the lightning bolts, and he was able to easily deduce what the enemy was up to.
Priestley was trying to preserve his strength. Unwilling to waste his energy against Antonio, he chose to launch a continuous bombardment equivalent to the prowess of an Origin Level 2 transcendent instead of going all out.
But even so, Antonio was already on the verge of reaching his limit.
Once everyone on the academy walls had made their retreat, the barrier finally dissipated. The instant Antonio made his escape, lightning bolts tore down the towering academy walls, ricocheting the rubble toward the academy.
Despite their resistance, they were unable to put a halt to the Magician King’s advance.
The Salvation Legion marched across the rubble to pursue the fleeing soldiers and students. Their blasphemous whispers echoed throughout the academy, but their effects were neutralized by the special properties of the Dream Realm Barrier.
Astrid’s barrier granted humans increased immunity toward the blasphemous whispers, such that they wouldn’t feel extreme discomfort toward it. However, it wouldn’t work if they were to engage the monsters in a prolonged close-range fight.
Due to that, the guards and students didn’t allow themselves to get tied down by the monsters. While fending them off, they continuously retreated toward the second wall, where they would reorganize themselves and swiftly construct a new defense line against the monsters.
It was just that it wouldn’t be as effective as before.
The second wall wasn’t as resilient, and it didn’t have powerful magic tools embedded into it either. The garrison troops weren’t able to withstand the endless onslaught of monsters, such that they eventually got forced back to the third wall, fourth wall, and so on.
By midnight, those monsters had finally breached the final wall and successfully intruded on the central area of Saint Freya Academy.
Priestley also entered into the academy that was ironically under his management. There was a smile on his wrinkled face as he walked with a pace that was neither fast nor slow, reminiscent of a king returning victoriously to his kingdom.
The moment Priestley entered the Dream Realm Barrier, he felt a familiar sensation rushing over his body. Before he could figure out what that sensation was, powerful mana suddenly pulsated from the sky as an iridescent pillar of light gushed from the barrier’s center.
Countless glowing dream spirits fluttered around the sky, forming a beautiful aurora that illuminated the faces of the intruders.
Beneath the aurora, Priestley stood unfazed by the phenomenon. He slit his finger and activated his bloodline ability. A mystical tree imbued with dazzling light reemerged in the world, inducing the rapid growth of greenery in the vicinity.
Under the protection of the spirits, he was able to walk away unscathed from the killing blow prepared by Astrid.
“Meaningless tricks,” murmured Priestley as the edges of his lips curled up.
The combined prowess of those dream spirits was powerful, but something of this caliber was far from enough to harm him. The fact that Astrid was attempting to pull such tricks showed that she was powerless to struggle free of the Dream Realm.
Seeing his hundred years of effort was on the verge of coming to fruition, the Magician King took a step forward with a green lantern in hand. He was like a death god emerging from a mysterious fog, leading hordes of hellish monsters to unleash destruction upon the world.
But all of a sudden, his movements jerked to a stop.
It was a faint and inexplicable sensation, leaving a feeling of unease looming over his heart as his breathing hastened a little.
The Magician King had honed his sense of danger over the many battles he had fought over the years, and he instinctively knew that the sensation signified the presence of impending danger.
Priestley quickly scanned his surroundings with narrowed eyes.
The next moment, he abruptly turned his head sideways. With eyes as sharp as those of a hawk, he peered through the many obstacles to lay his gaze upon the highest level of a clocktower, where a young man with flowing long hair stood.
This young man had a delicately beautiful appearance that seemed almost ethereal. He wore a dark overcoat that made his body look thin in comparison, and his skin was still pale from having yet to fully recover from the severe loss of blood. The night breeze tugged on his long shoulder-length hair as he gazed down from the tower with cold and imposing eyes.
Under the dim glow of the moonlight, he looked like a mysterious being who had walked out of a dream.
That familiar yet foreign silhouette left Priestley’s eyes widened in astonishment. A simple change in appearance would have never surprised the Magician King; what left him taken aback was the look in Roel’s eyes.
It was a pair of quiet and deep eyes that had seen through the vicissitudes of the world. The brilliance that once shone in his eyes seemed to have been erased by time, replaced with a solemn dusk yellow color. Those eyes left Priestley with an inexplicable feeling that he was staring straight at an ancient being.
Something is off.
Priestley kept his eyes focused on Roel as he started to channel his mana warily. He couldn’t feel any murderous intent coming from the latter, but that was also why he felt unnerved by him.
“What did you do?” he asked with a deep frown.
Without bothering to wait for an answer, he raised his hand and unleashed a blast of blinding white light toward the man in the clocktower. The night sky was swiftly devoured by the light, morphing the surroundings into white space just like what happened last night.
The familiar phenomenon induced a gleam in the black-haired man’s eyes, but he wasn’t the same man he was before. Things wouldn’t end in the same way again.
An instant before the white light arrived, a dusk yellow wind suddenly gushed forth from the black-haired man’s body before swiftly expanding into the surroundings. It firmly held off Priestley’s spell before reducing it to nothing.
And this was just the start.
As the dusk yellow wind roared with increasing fervor, the entire Saint Freya Academy abruptly fell into another world in the blink of an eye.
It was a world filled with dusk yellow wind, reminiscent of a barren apocalyptic world. The sharp howling of the wind mixed with grinding sand and dust gave rise to a deathly cacophony.
The change in scenery brought an alarmed frown to Priestley’s forehead. He previously dealt with the frost aura from Glacier’s Touch by scattering them with blasts of mana, but he didn’t do the same this time around. He knew that the dusk yellow wind was different from the frost aura in the sense that it was omnipresent, making the notion of dispersing it ludicrous.
“I’m surprised. You managed to gain a new ability.”
Priestley’s eyes slowly turned livid as he began channeling his powerful mana once more. Roel’s massive change over the course of a single day was completely unexpected and came as a huge shock to him, and it drew out his killing intent.
I have to get rid of this fellow here, or else it’ll just spell endless trouble in the future. It’s not too late yet.
“This turbid wind must be the power of a Crown’s Stone too. How ominous. But as I told you last night, you shouldn’t have appeared in front of me before reaching Origin Level 3.”
Priestley stared at Roel sharply as flames and lightning began crackling around him.
“Even the strongest of abilities has to be built upon a strong foundation in order to exert its true prowess. You had that gullible woman who was manipulated by her own feelings to save you last night, but she doesn’t appear to be here with you. Who else is going to save you now?”
“Manipulated by her own feelings?”
Those jarring words spurred the black-haired man to speak up for the first time. Priestley nodded his head in response.
“You and that gullible woman from the Ackermanns share a bloodline bond, but that’s no more than a coincidence caused by chance. There’s no blood tie between the two of you, and you’re just attracted to one another under the effects of resonance. It’s as unseemly as unintelligent beasts who blindly obey their instincts,” remarked the Magician King disdainfully.
But Roel shook his head in response.
“No, Magician King. You’re the one who is blind.”
“There’s only one bond in this world, and that’s the desire to cherish, protect, and tolerate one another in this insane world we live in. It’s based on the intensity of these feelings that we classify them as kinship, romance, and friendship. It’s not tangible blood ties that make a relationship special; it’s the feelings attributed to it.
“Chance? Bloodline resonance? Don’t make me laugh. You claim that the sentiments we have for one another are shallow, but someone who has forsaken his family, friends, and the whole of humankind is hardly qualified to make such a judgment.”
The Magician King’s face warped lividly. He glared at Roel and spoke in a voice trembling with rage.
“You’ll pay for your arrogance.”
With a burst of light from Priestley, tremendous pressure that threatened to freeze one’s blood flow crushed down on Roel.
However, Roel didn’t panic in the face of danger. He calmly uncorked a bottle and poured its content into his mouth. Red fluid flowed down his throat and ignited the Witch Queen’s blood.
Excruciating pain immediately gripped him. Unbearable noises and inexplicable scenes overwhelmed his consciousness. He could see majestic palaces, a bloodstained battlefield, ancient gods, shadowy divine idols…
All of these flashed across his head swiftly amidst the pain before finally stopping on a smiling Witch Queen sitting before a tea table.
“Show me your answer, my hero,” she said with a voice overflowing with anticipation.
Roel’s bloodline started to resonate with incredible intensity. A faint apparition of a black-haired woman manifested behind him. He turned around and exchanged a smile of mutual understanding with her before the two of them melded into one.
Before Priestley’s astounded gaze, Roel’s mana gushed furiously toward the sky and stirred up a violent storm amidst the dusk yellow clouds.
“Magician King, I might not have reached Origin Level 3, but ‘we’ have,” he said.
Roel pressed his hand downward, and the dusk yellow wind descended at his command, unleashing a cataclysmic dusk tempest upon the world.