The current of annihilative darkness was dispersed by the massive energy emitted from the dream fissure. This dream realm, which was both real and illusory, popped like a bubble following Haniel's implosion.
Amidst the loud rumble, the whole of Norzin tilted several degrees to the side.
Wilde's massive body was also impacted, causing many of his tentacles to snap as he was pushed back several thousand meters.
His eyes widened in shock as he watched Joseph and his daughter hug each other.
The outcome had been directly rewritten just because of an outburst of excessive energy!
This, in fact, wasn't the most unbelievable part. What was even crazier was that Wilde could sense that the power that scattered contained Law, a very complete and powerful one. Just a little leaking out due to death had been enough to injure him. This meant, a Supreme-rank far stronger than them had just recently fallen.
Wilde, a 'newbie' Supreme-rank that had only just mastered the Law of Eventuality, came face-to-face with a Supreme-rank transcendent existence, and his heart couldn't help but palpitate anxiously.
A Supreme-rank who had mastery over the Law of Time was definitely an absolute powerhouse among other Supreme-ranks. However, such a powerful transcendent existence had been killed by time in the blink of an eye.
Was there anyone who could do such a thing?
Wilde could already come to a conjecture without needing to think.
"Melissa... Just wonderful." Hands that he hadn't been able to grab before were now clutched tightly by Joseph.
At this moment, Joseph, a Supreme-rank that had comprehended the Law of his concept, was merely a father reunited with his lost daughter and hugging her tightly in ecstasy.
"Melissa…my Melissa..." The old knight muttered incoherently.
"Dad… Hehe, are you happy? In the past, it was always you protecting others. Now it's my turn to save you..."
Melissa was held tightly in her father's embrace as his warm tears dampened her shoulders. She lightly patted her father's broad and trembling back, sensing for the first time such warm love from her father.
In the past, Joseph never expressed his emotions overtly nor verbally. He was like an unflinching boulder, only silently watching and expressing his strict expectations.
Melissa had always been displeased with her father's negligence and protested in her own way.
But it wasn't until this moment, when she felt Joseph's uncontrollable trembling and the strength of his embrace, did she truly understand how much her father loved and valued her.
"I'm happy, of course I'm happy…" Joseph let go of Melissa slightly, happiness clearly showing on his tear-stained face. Gazing at his Melissa gently, he stroked his daughter's cheeks and hair. "My daughter is all grown up and can stand on her own."
Then he whispered, "Sorry Melissa, no milk today."
Melissa froze, then felt a slight, sharp pain on her nape before her vision turned dark and she went limp.
"Good night. Have a sweet dream." Joseph gazed at his daughter, whom he knocked out, with incomparable gentleness in his eyes. He slowly stood up with the girl in his arms as the gentleness on his face gradually disappeared and a cold, unflinching expression returned.
Melissa subconsciously reached out and grabbed his clothes, struggling to mutter something indistinct.
"It's okay, my daughter. It's okay. Everything will get better..." Joseph gently patted Melissa's back as if he were comforting a baby.
Melissa relaxed her body and fell asleep in her father's arms.
Joseph lifted her daughter in a cradle. He could still feel her daughter's weak but still-existent breath as well as her slow but powerful heartbeat. The warmth of Melissa's life was almost scalding.
A quick look at tinyurl.com/37k7u89t will leave you more fulfilled.
Joseph felt more at ease than ever.
Burning… What can burn isn't just life...
Joseph took a deep breath. Aether condensed as he activated the Secret Rite Tower sigil on Melissa's body and silently chanted the teleportation incantation.
There was a flash of light as Melissa was teleported to the safety point set up by Secret Rite Tower.
Joseph picked up his sword again, his sharp eyes staring daggers at Wilde in the distance who had reestablished his domain. The black magician met his gaze.
The Law of Burning once more converged on Joseph's body with an unstoppable momentum.
This time, both sides had revealed all their cards.
In the following battle, there was no other way except to use their fullest might!
Wilde coldly gathered his Law of Eventuality, knowing full well that this sudden change had disrupted his absolute advantage. Not only had Melissa survived, but Joseph had calmed down as well. Moreover, his previous scheme to fake death through sacrifice had been rendered useless given the reversal in time.
Damn it… Wilde knew that things weren't looking good. In the past, he might have already fled when faced with the same circumstances. In any case, since he had already grasped Supreme-rank power and had a pseudo-eternal life, it would be fine even if he had to wait another two more years to fight again.
As for face... Who the hell cared about that?
However, Wilde felt great indignation in his heart—
Why was Joseph favored? Why was he given a second chance?!
I don't believe it!!!
Even if there's a do-over, I will still win as before!
"Joseph, you can't beat my eventuality!" Wilde roared.
His body rejuvenated quickly as snaking tentacles propped up his massive body and made it squirm forward. Many huge moves appeared, densely packed and overlapping with each other. It sounded like a buzz of thousands of people chanting simultaneously, each individually completing high-level spells.
With the domain of Eventuality enhancing them, the power of these spells were magnified manyfold and launched in Joseph's direction.
He had to strike first!
Since they knew each other's trump cards, both of them would bet their lives in order to complete the final blow!
Joseph watched as the sea of tentacles and intimidating spells towered over him. Wilde's domain of Eventuality that had covered the entire battlefield had started to shrink as well. Wilde had gathered all his strength to defeat Joseph.
The old knight raised his head. His eyes seemed to be burning with flames and emitting a pure white glow.
When Wilde's tentacles reached him, Joseph raised his sword—
It was burning all the same, just that the fuel was completely different.
Just as Melissa had learned from her superspeed learning of Door Key, the name 'Joseph' represented burning oneself; using sacrifice and protection as the source of strength.
Protection and sacrifice.
It wasn't any abstract concept but something that really existed. And that was the source and power of Joseph burning himself.
He had to protect Melissa and Norzin.
Everything he wanted to protect was behind him. So, how could he not give his all?
Joseph watched the tentacles whistling toward him and smiled. Then, he swung the burning greatsword in his hand.
Just like slicing a piece of tofu, the sea of Wilde's tentacles, annihilative darkness, and spells were cut apart!
The shaking ground beneath Winston's feet made him feel as if he were on a high speed rail that had put on the emergency brakes.
In a daze, he rubbed his head and looked around, sensing that something was off...
Noises of intense fighting still resounded from the battlefield. The Dream Creator and the barrier before him was split up, and knights behind were shouting loudly, requesting saving in this emergency.
Yes, the barrier broke. Then... What happened then?
A bewildered Winston stood rooted to the spot.
Something was definitely off. Winston didn't think anything was wrong with the scene before him just a few seconds ago, but he felt that he had forgotten something.
He had no choice but to turn his gaze to the more perceptive chief of the Logistics Division. However, he was surprised to discover Caroline kneeling on the ground and trembling violently. Quite a bit of blood dripped between the fingers of her hand covering her face.
Winston walked over to help her and asked, "What's the matter?"
Caroline took a deep breath and raised her head. Her eyes were bleeding, and she had an expression of utter shock. "Just now, haa... Someone meddled with time and made it rewind..."
The chief of the Combat Division who was usually calm and steady was dumbfounded. "W-what?"
Caroline bit back the pain and pointed to her eyes. "Information I saw via Eyes of Gazing.
"Some other Supreme-rank existence that suddenly appeared was caught by the reverse flow of time and torn to bits, thus interfering with the time reversal… which caused the battle between Wilde and Joseph to be rewritten."
What she said was extremely shocking, yet the manner she said it was so light it didn't feel real.
Anyone who witnessed this with their own eyes would think themselves dreaming.
Given such a degree of time reversal, other than people that saw the fluttering of the butterfly's wings or those who witnessed the time needle being turned, generally, nobody else would notice anything.
Just like Winston's loss of memory.
However, Caroline's Eyes of Gazing allowed her to capture the information flow that dissipated in the surrounding space and time, allowing her to instantly obtain her lost memories. But at the same time, it also made her pay the price of near blindness.
Another Supreme-rank? Winston felt his scalp tingle.
If it was merely a reversal of time, the flow of fate wouldn't change and rewriting the battle would be out of the question.
So, on top of reversing time, a Supreme-rank was also killed? The death of that Supreme-rank transcendent existence was used to affect the entire battlefield?
The only being capable of doing all of this seemed to be that chess player away from the battlefield that was observing it all from start to end.
Is this the true power of that person…
Winston didn't dare imagine and just stared blankly at the battlefield in the distance.
With sword unsheathed, heating up the air around and causing it to ripple, Joseph cut forward with a sky-splitting slash, instantly breaking through the slippery tentacles that were covered with the annihilative darkness of Eventuality. Taboo incantations mixed in between were shattered like glass, turning into dark violet fragments that were blown away by the strong winds brought about by Joseph’s high-speed attack.
Squinting slightly, Joseph caught sight of Wilde's furious face.
"Wilde, let's end this once and for all today!" Joseph faced Wilde straight on, whose original appearance could no longer be seen at all. The annihilative darkness of Eventuality wrapped around his current massive body were like evil spirits circling around him. His body gradually expanded, and countless tentacles pierced into the broken ground, like straws, drawing power from the endless abyss formed by souls of the dead.
Wilde’s response was a roar that didn’t sound human.
Joseph adjusted his position, and the flames around his body instantly broke through the battlefield isolated by this powerful domain.
The raging blizzard in the dark gloomy sky seemed to have been perforated by the sharp sword as the thick, dark clouds dissipated gradually.
The already destroyed Dream Creator meant that this battle was now situated in the real world. Time and reality were connected—
A red sun rose on this cold winter night, and a sharp sword-like gleam poured into Norzin. Snow in the air started to melt silently, just like how the death of everything was silently fading...
Gradually, the temperature started to rise, so much that even the air began to distort. The flames on Joseph's body burned brighter and brighter till the point where roiling heatwaves erupted from Wilde's body.
Joseph stood with his sword held up. His body no longer burned with the indomitable white flames but a red blaze instead.
Softly, he said, "Wilde, this place has been dark for too long... It's time for the sun to rise."
At this moment, the flames weren't burning without any fuel for nothing. Instead, they were burning in the name of protection!
Joseph gradually rose into the sky. Rays of light emerged from his body, as if breaking his human shell and embracing the realm of Supreme.
Many glowing balls of fire surrounded him as Joseph thoroughly became a living flame; a huge, continuously transforming figure that was so bright no one could look at it directly.
Joseph rose into the air and looked down upon Wilde on the ground.
"This strike will sever all our past!"
Wilde looked up at his old foe. There wasn't any light in the dark night. Joseph was light itself!
"Joseph! The one dying is you!" Wilde cried out furiously as his human head went back into the massive body of the evil embodiment. His countless tentacles retracted into a ball at lightning speed as a large pale eye opened in the middle of that huge grayish tumor-like mass.
The brilliant Joseph was reflected in the center of its pale pupil the moment the eye was opened.
Joseph's loud voice reverberated throughout the entire battlefield. In that instant, the ball of light by the name of Joseph hurtled toward Wilde like a meteorite, drawing a streak of light brighter than a newborn sun.
Wilde was not to be outdone either. A huge twisted array spun in that giant pupil, condensing annihilative darkness of Eventuality which was then shot out violently.
Black and gold collided, sending massive shockwaves rippling. Even the clouds in the sky were swept away as the two forces met.
Winston, like everyone else, watched the end of the battle from afar.
Shockwaves and the accompanying loud rumbles blew him down and he was forced to draw his own sword and stab it into the ground, holding onto the hilt tightly to prevent himself from being sent flying away in a sorry state.
The two furious roars seemed to resound throughout the entire world as each other's powerful force caused their bodies to distort and deform!
The parts closest to the epicenter were disappearing at a speed visible to the naked eye. Wilde's massive embodiment started to sizzle and vaporize the moment it came into contact with Joseph, while Joseph started to age rapidly because of the annihilative darkness.
Eventually, massive aether waves rippling out from the death of Supreme-ranks collided and fused together, gradually forming into a ball of light. Like a nuclear explosion, it finally burst with a blinding light.
At the end of a long night, daybreak came.