The sun was beginning to set.
The wilderness was covered in corpses and drenched in blood.
Eternal Night stood alone on the mountain leading to the Mother Goddess Sect, gazing at the mounds of corpses scattered everywhere. His heart ached.
“Your Majesty!” Lonely Skyleap clutched at his chest as he wobbled unsteadily towards Eternal Night. “Serene Dream’s funeral is about to begin.”
Eternal Night silently walked into the Mother Goddess Temple’s Hall of Ceremonies.
Serene Dream Lotus Crown’s corpse lay upon an altar at the very front of the hall. A young maiden wearing a crown of flowers was kneeling beneath it, gently murmuring a prayer under her breath.
Her name was Red Dew Flower, and she was one of the highest-ranking bishops of the Mother Goddess Sect and also Serene Dream Lotus Crown’s personal disciple.
Eternal Night slowly walked towards Serene Dream Lotus Crown’s remains, gazing at them with a sentimental expression as he softly said, “You’ve suffered a lot over these past years. And now, your soul has finally returned to the Heavens. Wait for me there. When I finish my task here, I will come to look for you.”
Red Dew Flower calmly asked, “Does Your Majesty not feel that it is a bit too late to say these words?”
Eternal Night sighed regretfully. “Yes, it is a little late, but I do not regret my decision. Lotus Crown made her sacrifice for the Harpies’ future, as will I.”
Red Dew Flower lifted her head to gaze at Eternal Night. “But what if the Harpies lose this coming battle?”
Eternal Night squinted as he slowly said, “Are you doubting me?”
Red Dew Flower refused to back down as she continued to stare intently at Eternal Night. “I am the new leader of the Mother Goddess Sect, which gives me the right to question Your Majesty’s decisions! These include your sparing of Su Chen and your relinquishing of the Mother Goddess Sect’s treasures!”
Eternal Night frowned.
He knew that Red Dew Flower wouldn’t support him unconditionally like Serene Dream Lotus Crown had, but the fact that she was opposing him this openly surprised him quite a bit.
Of course, this was likely related to the alliance he had made with Su Chen, which had significantly weakened the Mother Goddess Sect’s influence.
When Serene Dream Lotus Crown had been alive, she had shielded him from all of the religion’s criticism. Now, the backlash of that decision was beginning to hit back.
After a moment’s thought, Eternal Night replied, “Red Dew Flower, the survival of our race hinges solely on whether we advance or retreat. The humans are getting stronger by the day with no limit in sight. When they truly reach their full potential, they will not allow us to live.”
“Then you shouldn’t have spared Su Chen in the first place.”
“But without him, Sky City would not have regained its freedom of movement.”
“Even without Sky City’s freedom of movement, we could have maintained our borders.”
So she was still operating on that old-fashioned, conservative mindset?
She clearly believed that, if he had just killed Su Chen, then everything would have returned to “normal.” Even though Sky City would not be able to move, its might would have kept them safe.
Unfortunately, young maiden, you’re just too young.
There are some things that you don’t know about.
Or at the very least, you just don’t know about them yet.
After a moment’s thought, Eternal Night replied, “There is a book on the bookshelf in your teacher’s room. Second row from the top, and the third book from the left. Open it, and you will find the answers you seek. We can talk once you have those answers.”
Red Dew Flower was taken aback.
She didn’t understand why Eternal Night had suddenly mentioned a book from out of nowhere, but since he had said so, then she could only forcefully suppress the doubts in her heart.
Her thoughts went wild even as she carried out the burial ceremony. But no matter what, she could not fathom what that book could possibly contain.
Eventually, the ceremony came to an end.
Next, it was time for the new leader of the Mother Goddess Sect to be inducted.
The long, drawn-out ceremony and the various minor rites frustrated Red Dew Flower quite a bit.
She had dreamed about her coronation many times in the past, but the actual ceremony was so hurried and simple that it left her with a somewhat empty feeling of sorrow and paint.
By the time everything wrapped up, it was already nighttime.
Red Dew Flower returned to the Mother Goddess Sect leader’s residence, only to find that it had already been altered to her personal preferences. The traces of Serene Dream Lotus Crown’s life were already beginning to disappear.
Red Dew Flower gazed at the familiar yet foreign room before her as Eternal Night’s words continued to echo constantly in her mind.
She rose and headed for the secret cultivation room near the back.
This secret cultivation room’s layout was the only one that had been preserved. In fact, there was an ancient rule that said that this room was not to be touched by any of the new leaders of the Mother Goddess Sect.
It seemed there was quite a bit of foresight that had gone into this decision.
Red Dew Flower stepped into the study and walked over to the bookshelf.
Most of the books were about Arcana techniques, and a select few were the Mother Goddess Sect’s divine scriptures.
Red Dew Flower quickly found the book that Eternal Night was referring to: Secrets of the Western Border.
Red Dew Flower attempted to pull the book out of the bookshelf, but was unable to remove it.
She exerted a bit more force. But then, suddenly, the wall to her side began to creak and groan as a dark passage appeared before her eyes.
Red Dew Flower gazed into the darkness, shocked. Inside, she found a dimly-lit room.
This dimly-lit room was arranged very simply in that it was completely empty.
The moment the passageway opened, however, Red Dew Flower felt a wave of energy wash over her.
The room had obviously been equipped with an extremely sophisticated Origin Formation.
Red Dew Flower’s knowledge of the fundamental principles of Origin Formations was quite deep, so she was immediately able to identify that the flow of time in this room had been sealed by an Origin Formation.
Only when the secret passageway was opened would the formation deactivate, and it would also automatically reactivate as soon as the door was opened.
The difficulty of creating a time-dependent Origin Formation was easily imaginable, and yet, such a complicated formation had been created to watch over just one thing.
A jade circlet.
An ancient-looking jade circlet. Even with the masking effect of the Origin Formation, the ancient aura emanating from it was unmistakable.
But what was this circlet, exactly, and why did it need so much protection?
Red Dew Flower carefully walked over to the jade circlet and picked it up. On the circlet were inscribed the words: Scarlet Dream’s Parting Words.
Red Dew Flower was stunned by the implications. Scarlet Dream was the founder of their empire!
And this circlet had been left behind by Scarlet Dream?
She continued to read through the circlet’s inscriptions, her shock only growing more and more with every word she read.
“This...... this cannot be real,” she muttered to herself, still in shock.
“This is all real,” a voice spoke out from behind her.
Red Dew Flower whirled around in surprise, only to find Eternal Night standing right beside her.
When had he come in? She hadn’t noticed his presence at all.
Red Dew Flower was badly startled, but she still put on a calm expression. “Your Majesty! Even though you are the ruler of the Harpies, you cannot come and go as you please within the Mother Goddess Sect’s halls!”
Eternal Night, however, remained completely nonchalant. He casually strolled through the dark room while he gazed at its barren walls.
“How long has it been since I last visited this place? Eight hundred years? A thousand? It’s been so long that I can’t remember anymore,” Eternal Night sighed regretfully as he shook his head. Then, he glanced at the jade circlet. “But even if I forget when I last visited this place, I will never forget what I saw at that time.”
Red Dew Flower asked, her voice trembling, “So what’s written on here is true? The gods...... the gods......?”
Eternal Night nodded gently. “Yes, it’s all true. The gods are the true owners of this world, and also our rulers and enslavers. They left this continent hundreds of thousands of years ago, but they will return one day.”
“And the Mother Goddess is one of them?”
Eternal Night nodded silently.
“If that’s the case, then why do we even worship the Mother Goddess?” Red Dew Flower asked harshly.
“Because we are actually her descendants...... Truth be told, a majority of the Intelligent Races are descended from various gods,” Eternal Night explained.
Red Dew Flower was stunned. “What? So the humans, Ravagers, Oceanids, and Arcanists......”
“Yes, they each have their own god, who is also their ancestor!” Eternal Night replied.
“If that’s truly the case, then why don’t they treat us well instead of trying to enslave us?”
“If you had mountains of children, then you wouldn’t care for any of them either,” Eternal Night calmly explained. “The Lord of the Dreamrealm has millions of Dream Spirits under his banner. The Harpies are the Mother Goddess’s offspring, but how can she care deeply for all million of us? More importantly, the gods do not view us as their children. There is no long period of time where they take care of us and raise us. In their eyes, we are more like a factory than anything else. We are not the Mother Goddess’s children. Rather, we are just a few pitiful creatures that she created when she combined her bloodline power with a divine technique, is all.”
Red Flower Dew started trembling with her entire body as she asked, “So they created us just to enslave us?”
“More accurately, it’s for divine power...... We are the source of their divinity,” Eternal Night answered.
Red Dew Flower lowered her head and glanced remorsefully at the jade circlet as she muttered, “In the beginning, Method Power and energy were abundant and plentiful throughout the land. The Origin Races were born in such a time. They possessed inherent divinity and utilized Method Power to fulfill their wishes, transforming the world that they had been born into. However, this transformation process was more than the world could bear, and it shattered Method Power, causing it to become much rarer and difficult to control. As divine power grew thin, the Origin Races’ divinity weakened as well. Unwilling to accept such a fate, the Origin Races created lesser races from their offspring, from whom they extracted divine power to nourish themselves......”
The more Red Dew Flower read, the more her body quivered.
She turned to face Eternal Night. “So we were created by the Mother Goddess just to supply her with divine power?”
Eternal Night nodded. “That might have been the sole reason at the very beginning, but now, it seems that she harbors other motives as well.”
“Continuing to extract divine power from their offspring is actually accelerating the breakdown of Method Power, making it much more difficult to use. On their side, extracting divine power is becoming harder as well. What hundreds of people could have supplied now needs thousands or even tens of thousands of individuals to match. And as the divine power they received began to dwindle, they switched from using Method Power to using Origin Energy alone. This energy was purer; without the aid of Method Power, their control over Origin Energy became much less precise, and its destructive capacity increased.”
Red Dew Flower said coldly, “So they quickly ruined the Origin Energy realm as well.”
“Exactly.” Eternal Night nodded. “The gods are always fighting with each other, using energy with reckless abandon. This is why the world around us is collapsing. Method Power and Origin Energy was beginning to leak out. Afterwards came......”
“The Origin Beast invasion,” Red Dew Flower said.
Eternal Night, however, chuckled. “You’ve got it backwards. The Origin Beasts weren’t the invaders; the gods were.”
The gods were the real invaders.
During one of their battles, they accidentally opened up a tunnel to the Origin Energy Sea. There, they discovered an environment flourishing with Origin Energy.
For Origin Energy, and for the sake of survival, the gods slaughtered their way to the Origin Energy sea.
Then, they never returned. The Origin Beasts and Desolate Beasts appeared to fill this void, beginning a new era in history.
“If that’s the case, then why do we still believe in the Mother Goddess?” Red Dew Flower was still somewhat incapable of letting go of her suspicions.
Eternal Night said, “Because the Mother Goddess needs us, and we need her. Our worship provides her with small amounts of divine power, and she provides us with guidance and protects us during critical moments. This relationship is mutually beneficial and necessary. But the Mother Goddess cannot return, because the moment she does, we will all become slaves!”
“That’s why you wanted to try and weaken the Mother Goddess Sect?”
“That’s right,” Eternal Night sighed. “The Eternal Treaty’s effectiveness is beginning to wane, and the gods will soon return. If we cannot accumulate enough strength before that happens, we will become slaves once more. Standing to the side and watching idly is of no use. Only by charging forwards courageously will the Harpies even have a chance!”
“What is the Eternal Treaty anyways? And how would Scarlet Dream know about something so far in the future? And the things you are saying are not mentioned on the jade circlet, so how would you know?” Red Dew Flower refused to back down.
Just as Eternal Night was about to reply, a giant explosion suddenly rocked the entire chamber.
“What just happened?” Both Eternal Night and Red Dew Flower were stunned.
An alarm began to blare.
That alarm meant an enemy was invading!
Both Eternal Night and Red Dew Flower were stunned. They hurriedly rushed out of the secret chamber. As soon as they returned to the Mother Goddess Sect’s main hall, Lonely Skyleap burst in, out of breath.
“What is going on?” Eternal Night asked, his voice grave.
“An ambush!” Lonely Skyleap yelled, panicking. “It’s the humans! They weren’t waiting for us at the Skywild Plains! They’re here!”