The Olden Stele - 3
Floor 1 Rich in Mana
On a skyscraping platform, a myriad of Eldus stood at both sides to greet a troop led by Shamash, who came to the end of the platform confidently. The Grandmasters of the clan had already been expecting them.
Grandmaster: Our fellow Shamash will be leading the elites of our clan on a great journey. Everyone please pray for their safe return.
Shamash: May mana be with us and guide us the path back home.
Shamash: “Safe return? Stop kidding. If I can’t get something impressive enough to put my name in the Hall of History, I’d rather die on a strange land.”
After the prayer, Shamash and the rest stepped into a prepared enchantment to travel across the boundless universe, arriving at the place where mana memories guided them to——a planet called “the realm” later in years.
Enlil: This place is beautiful. Lush forest, clear ocean, and fertile soil...It feels like a sweet dream.
Shamash: ...All because of mana. The abundant mana brings vitality to this planet.
Beguiled by the utopia in front of her eyes, Enlil failed to notice the danger lurking in the shrubs. A predator beast pounced on Enlil——
Shamash: Enlil! Ugh...Die!
Shamash conjured mana in a split second, converting to a sharp arrow to shoot at the beast. When the beast was put down by that single shot, she looked at her hands in shock.
Shamash: “That shot...It’s way more powerful than before...Is it because of this planet?”
In the meantime when Shamash was in astonishment, Enlil hugged her from behind emotionally.
Enlil: That was scary as hell. Thanks for saving me, Shamash.
The sweet pure smile of Enlil made Shamash feel even bitterer.
Shamash: “How come she can still smile so brightly? I treat her as nothing but a tool…”
Enlil: I was right.
Shamash: ...What do you mean?
Enlil: Mana is our origin...No. It’s the origin of everything. If we can master this energy, we will be able to achieve immortality!
Enlil: Oh...The existence that created us...Doesn’t it feel like a mother to you? I wanna meet it as soon as possible.
Shamash: Me too.
Shamash: “Immortality…This is even more long-lived than history...To become an eternal life…”
Floor 2 Hidden Cruelty
Shamash and the other Eldus built their shelter at the realm, travelling around for research. This day, Shamash, Enlil and few Eldus went to a lake in the deeper part of the forest.
Enlil: Shamash, it should be the Floral Elves’ sanctum ahead. Didn’t they banish us once? Now that we’re trespassing again, will that provoke them?
Shamash: ...Don’t worry. They’ve moved away from this sanctum. You can search all you want.
Enlil: Really? That’s great! This forest contains more mana than the surrounding area. We can discover the source by analyzing the mana here.
Shamash guarded silently while Enlil was focusing on the analysis of the lake. At this moment, a male Eldus approached and signalled Shamash, who nodded in return.
Shamash: Enlil, I have some business to deal with. Call me if you need anything.
Enlil said nothing as her mind was all on in the research. After entrusting Enlil to the other Eldus, Shamash followed the male Eldus to a cave, where wounded Floral Elves were crowded inside.
Male Eldus: We’ve captured all Floral Elves living around the lake according to your order. What should we do with them now?
Shamash: Kill them.
Male Eldus: Huh?
Shamash: Kill them all.
Male Eldus: But...isn’t that against the creed of our clan——
Shamash: Kill them all. Don’t make me say again.
Male Eldus: ...Understood.
Shamash: “I don’t care about the creed as long as I can achieve immortality!”
Floor 3 Conflict with Indigenous Species
Enlil: Shamash, I found it! The location of the origin! Whoa——
Shamash caught Enlil with a frown before she stumbled.
Shamash: How clumsy can you be?
Enlil: It’s okay ‘cause I’ve got Shamash. You’ll always be there to protect me.
Shamash: ...What was the thing about the origin you said earlier?
Enlil: I found the source after analyzing the concentration of mana at different locations. The origin of mana must be there!
Shamash: Excellent. We shall set off tomorrow.
Arriving at the destination, Shamash and Enlil found nothing but a mechanical city, where different races of creatures were celebrating together.
Enlil: The origin...Our mother is located beneath this city...And this city is concealing mother’s strength!
Shamash: “These filths must be trying to monopolize the power!”
Shamash: What a hideous creature...You’ve been locking up our mother here. Unforgivable!
As Shamash believed that the creatures celebrating outside had occupied the power of the origin, she rushed down to attack them without thinking twice, leaving Enlil at the entrance.
As everything happened all of a sudden, some of the creatures were injured since they were being raided. The altar suddenly went from festive to tragic.
When Shamash was about to launch another wave of attack, an enormous figure stood in her way, protecting the present creatures with a flame wall.
Shamash: Are you their leader?
Pompeii: We don’t need a leader. Everyone is equal here.
Shamash: Haha. So you’re a fool...Let’s cut to the chase. You can call me the Eldus. We’re here to bring our mother back.
Shamash: The existence lies deeply under this continent. We sense the energy of our mother.
Pompeii: Underground...Do you mean Monesis?
Shamash: It’s not your Monesis. It’s our mother! We’ve come this far for her. Now she is here.
Shamash: The energy exuded by this planet is the same as the force that created us...It can’t be wrong. Our mother lies beneath this continent.
A shadow charged at Shamash——Beta the Machina!
Beta: How dare you hurt Alpha!
Shamash: Tut! Don’t try to bluff at me.
Shamash summoned a billow that flooded towards Beta, who was unable to stop the high speed in time. When he was a few inches away from crashing, an azure dragon carried him away from the billow.
Pompeii: Thanks for saving Beta, Cang Bi.
Cang Bi: No worries...But how should we deal with her?
At this moment, Cang Bi scowled at Shamash vigilantly; the rest of the creatures were also hostile at her. Yet she showed no fear at all. When she tried to attack again, a yell stopped her.
Shamash: “...If any loose canon hit her, I’ll be losing a valuable tool...Let’s retreat first.”
Shamash: I’ll be back. By that time, I’ll take back my mother!
Floor 4 About the Ancestor of Humans
Since the last confrontation, Shamash had done a thorough digging about those creatures. She had been working on turning the dragons, beasts and elves against Pompeii, but the result was not as her expectation.
Shamash: “Our strength is far from enough to defeat those filths... Manpower is the key…”
Shamash: ...If we don’t have enough manpower to dig out mother, we must create tools...Tools that resemble us…
Ninhursag: We can’t! It’s against our——
Shamash: My decision has been made. Don’t make me say that again.
Shamash: “As long as I discover the way to attain immortality, the grandmasters won’t blame me for breaking the creed.”
Forced by Shamash, Ninhursag, one of the Eldus, had no choice but to comply. She used the forbidden ritual to create a lower life form based on Eldus’s image——a being called “Earthling”, which was also the ancestor of humans.
The vivid image faded out, returning to the grey-tone dimension, boundless and endless. Gazing at the twinkling stars, Summoner felt a tremendous lament as he had learnt the origin of humans.
Summoner: So we really are created by those Eldus...We are the creatures that invaded this land...Is that what you’re trying to tell me?
???: Don’t jump to the conclusion yet. This land never belongs to any species. All lives are born to be free. Although humans were created out of Eldus’s malicious intention, that doesn’t mean humans are a mistake, for there are billions of possibilities in the world.
???: Fate can be rewritten by idea exchange, and it rewrote the fate of humans. Cang Bi, the heretic of Runedragons, was also a core part of ancient history…