Wilde stretched his own domain to the limit, and at the same time his body continuously swelled as if it were being inflated. Waving tentacles emerged from the ground, slashing and destroying all around it.
He was like a huge mountain that wouldn't even be shaken by the blizzard.
Merely looking at it was more than enough to make one feel insignificant and hopeless.
However, there was nothing inconvenient about such a magnificent body. The black magician even felt that he had never been this limber in his life.
As his soul and will had already reached its eventuality, the power surging from death gently lifted his body as if it were a floating bubble.
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As he continued rising, he reached a height where his field of vision could see all of Norzin as well as the gray wall of fog surrounding the entire world. At that instant, a realization truly emerged in his heart—Wilde, as a human, was indeed dead.
The new Wilde could be called a 'god.' He who had control over the eventuality of everything. Now, as long as 'he' wished for it, he could use all his strength to bring the whole of Norzin to its eventuality of complete destruction.
All that existed in his line of sight were mere ants that could be effortlessly crushed to pieces.
'His' breath stirred up a violent wind, and 'his' every move raised the ground. 'He' was capable of shattering everything in an instant, and at this moment, Wilde felt as if he had been born to dominate everything.
Joseph raised his head and stared at the writhing colossus in the sky. Panting heavily, he gave his all to raise his sword once more. The sword burned with white flames, but his hands began to tremble.
This wasn't fear. However, the bloody wounds on his body and the broken sword in his hand were like a mountain about to crush him at any moment...
The body of that divinely evil entity before him was like a huge tumor with countless tubes stuck into it. Thick, slippery tentacles of purple and black drenched in blood covered it.
Using several of its largest tentacles, it propped its massive body up, causing even more cracks to appear on the ground that already had several layers stripped off during the process of battle. The further breaking of the ground revealed the intersecting steel structures beneath it.
Floating in the sky, Wilde was now like a humongous ball of thread and also the head of a witch with snake for hair from legends that could petrify anyone with just one gaze.
Every tentacle was a part of his body.
Accompanying this strange sound, the human Wilde's face took shape on the top of this giant tumor, opening his eyes and looking down.
From above, this entity could see the entire battlefield. With sight at the level of Supreme-rank, he could easily see the faces of everyone on the battlefield, as well as their looks of fear and despair.
A cackling laugh resounded from within his body, and as the sound wave spread, several people that heard it screamed and fell dead.
"Such a wondrous feeling, overlooking the world. This is the power I've been seeking my entire life..." muttered Wilde before he suddenly remembered a familiar face.
A gentle smile and that indescribable gaze that seemed to transcend entire worlds of that scholarly young man.
Is this how the bookstore owner viewed the world?
Wilder thought to himself, Could he also be like me... No, Mr. Lin far surpasses me, at unfathomable levels. How could I so easily be able to grasp how Boss Lin thinks that easily?
Even having attained this much power, Wilde still didn't dare think of Boss Lin's realm.
Because being able to attain Supreme-rank had been entirely down to Boss Lin's instructions and guidance. It was simply impossible to imagine how powerful the latter could be.
Wilde observed Joseph, who was both physically and mentally exhausted. This old adversary that had tangled with him for so many years was just an ordinary old man now. Having lost his armor and strength, his body was wet with sweat and melted snow. Those wrinkles, tired eyes, and white hair could no longer be covered by a strong and powerful body.
It was hard for Wilde to imagine that two years ago he had still been in hiding because of Joseph's relentless pursuit.
But now... Things were entirely different.
Gazing at the dark battlefield, Wilde suddenly felt a child-like sense of anxiousness. He really wanted to end everything and quickly submit his completed homework to Boss Lin. Perhaps that existence might then lavish generous praise on him along with that gentle gaze.
Haa... No way, no. You're being too greedy, Wilde, he told himself.
He only needed to humbly lower his head, offer up his all, and accept everything.
That should be enough... right?
The remaining knights retreating under Winston's orders didn't dare look back to continue watching Wilde as they went all out trying to escape the expanding domain.
The ground split open as even more tentacles snaked out from the cracks, grabbing the knights before they could react, snapping their necks effortlessly as blood and viscera splattered everywhere like paint.
Melissa watched as entails fell together with the billowing snow, dousing her with the blood of her fellow knights and bringing about a strange burning heat.
However, Winston didn't stop at all. Still carrying Melissa who had just woken up on his shoulder, he dodged several tentacles and continued to run at full speed.
Snapping out of her daze, the young lady struggled and screamed, "Put me down! Let me go back! Didn't you say Joseph was a hero? Why are we running? Why aren't we saving him?! Why..."
"There's nothing we can do."
Winston felt as if a knife was being twisted in his heart as he said with difficulty, "You've already seen it for yourself. We can't help save your father with our strength. We can't even survive the aftershocks! Listen, he will be remembered by everyone as a hero..."
"I don't want that! I don't want a hero… I don't want Joseph to be a hero…" Melissa closed her eyes, tears rolling down her cheeks. "I only want my father to be alive," she choked out.
Winston fell silent momentarily, then said, "Unless…"
Melissa's sobbing voice faltered. "Unless?"
"Unless the bookstore owner is willing to lend us a helping hand," Winston said grimly.
"Bookstore… You mean Boss Lin?" Melissa winced at the name.
"Yes. Only he can save your father."
Winston hesitated for a bit, but realized that Melissa was no longer a child after having gone through this hellish experience firsthand and should probably understand what it all entailed. "Secret Rite Tower has probably decided to give up Joseph. The only person who can save him is the bookstore owner who is observing everything."
Warm blood from yet another knight torn apart by tentacles splattered on snow, creating wisps of steam.
But in that instant, Melissa's frazzled mind came to a calm.
It had been several months since she first met him. Those dark abyss-like eyes of the bookstore owner and his bewitching voice sounded in her head once more—
"You want power? As long as you are able to gain enlightenment and endure this pain, these books will be the keys to open all those doors.”
Then, Boss Lin had handed her a book titled Door Key: Origins.
She reached out and flipped it open—
Strange characters rushed into her mind like a torrent, transcending time. The doors to the taboo were once again reopened as twisted symbols once again appeared before her eyes.
Suddenly, Melissa clutched her head and gritted her teeth. It was as if someone had used a red-hot shovel to stir her brain, causing her to feel an immense wave of pain. It was even more unbearable when facing the newly formed body of Wilde's.
During this episode, Winston seemed to have put her down and asked anxiously, "Melissa, what's wrong?"
With her cognition crumbling, Melissa crashed to the ground in pain...
——You want power?
Taboo knowledge in the book flowed continuously before her.
——As long as you are able to gain enlightenment and endure this pain…
"ARGHHH!" Melissa screamed.
——These books will be the keys to open all those doors.
The pain didn't stop at all and instead intensified.
Melissa curled up on the ground, blood flowing from every single of her orifices that made for a horrific sight. She was drenched in cold sweat and shivering, yet tried her best to pry her eyes open and looked toward the center of the battlefield.
There, a cluster of white flames still lit up in the raging darkness. Though small, it seemed capable of illuminating the entire world.
At the same time, the world deconstructed and reassembled before her again.
The countless incantations of taboo characters flitting before her were from the contents of the books that Boss Lin had given her... Akin to a bridge that allowed to reach whichever place she wanted to go.
The bookstore owner had said, “Don’t be afraid. It’s the price you must pay to open this door. The future you will definitely be grateful to the present you."
Endless time and finite fate intertwined at this moment.
Somewhere along her fate, within that gloomy bookstore. Her deepest intrinsic essence had been forcibly dug out, filled with that strange void matter, and transformed into the cornerstone of all things. From then on, as long as she wished, she could instantaneously seize a certain ability she required.
However, this cornerstone had restrictions and could only be used with regards to the concept of 'knight.'
Melissa's eyes jerked wide open, and she felt her vision expanding continuously. She saw the world she'd deconstructed intersect and shatter as her gaze seemed to reach her father who was battling several thousand meters away.
Though her father, whom she respected and relied on the most, had yet to grasp the power of Law, his intrinsic essence had already broken through to Supreme-rank.
In other words, he was the highest existence for the concept of 'knight'!
Dook Key's ability activated the moment she saw her father. The shattered world around her spun, pulled away from the timeline, and pieced together from chaos to order, forming a concept named 'Joseph.'
From the moment Joseph joined the knights of Secret Rite Tower as a young, talented genius; the very first mission he carried out; everyone he saved; every fallen enemy slain; every time he was criticized by superiors due to his stubbornness; the highs and lows of his entire life; every step he took become strong, reaching the point he was currently at.
Everything became clear to Melissa.
A short glimpse of her father's life flashed before her like a slideshow. Her father's entire past engraved in the river of time surged into her mind the moment Melissa had opened the 'door.'
This was the only word that could summarize the life of this Radiant Knight of Secret Rite Tower.
Always sacrificing himself without a single care.
Sacrificing his time, his ideals, his friends, his body... sacrificing everything.
Joseph was like a torch—never light itself, for he couldn’t illuminate everyone forever. Beneath his cold, hard exterior was a burning heart that would continue to burn for others even if it was dug out. Even when turned into ashes, he would still use the lingering heat to warm others.
That's why... there would be so many who followed him with admiration, right?
"Burn," uttered Melissa in an eerily calm voice.
"W-what?" Winston was baffled. As he helped Melissa up, he noticed the young redhead's eyes suddenly glow. As if struck by a bolt of lightning, an uncanny sense made him tighten his grip on the girl's hand.
Every Supreme-rank existence would have a self-formed domain that could change the laws of the world.
Just like the present Wilde, who had a conceptual Law of 'Eventuality.'
Joseph also had his own Law, but those concepts were still floating around him, and he didn't yet have time to gather them to form his domain.
But... they could still be seized.
"I said, Father's domain is Burning."
Drawing her sword, Melissa gently pushed Winston aside and stood up slowly.
The ominous sensation in Winston's heart intensified. He reached out to hold her. "How do you know that?"
"You just said that only Boss Lin can help us… Ha, Boss Lin did help us, but I only remembered it now..." Melissa laughed self-deprecatingly and muttered as if she had just woken up from a dream, "I see. The reason he gave me those books then was so that I can help my father today.
"He's right. The future me would be grateful to the present me." She gazed at the center of the battlefield. Taking a deep breath, she whispered to no one in particular, "—Thank you."
Winston's eyes widened as a realization came over him. "No..."
"I am going to save him."
Melissa coughed twice and wiped some blood from the corner of her mouth.
Turning to Winston, she said resolutely, "None of those people he sacrificed everything to save in the past have turned around to save yet. So now... now I'll be the one to save him! The daughter who never understood her father saving him. That makes sense, doesn't it?"
The girl's blue eyes gazed through her father's life and deconstructed everything about him.
At this moment, via the key, she had already comprehended the domain that her father hadn't yet been able to complete. The Supreme-rank Law was being constructed on her.
But at the same time, her Pandemonium-rank body couldn't withstand this massive power.
Raging flames wrapped around Melissa in an instant, and her wounds began to heal. At the same time, an immense force gradually tore her body apart, turning her completely unrecognizable.
"Melissa!!!" Amidst Winston's panicked shouts, the girl shook off everything. Carrying her father's unfinished power, she became a streak of light that shot forth and split open the dark battlefield.