Book 19, Metamorphosis - Chapter 64, Gathered From Many Places
The skies were dark, and the vast earth seemed dry and barren.
This was the northern part of the Undead Realm, the 'Ashbelle' [A'she'bei'er] Drylands. Group of skeletons were scattered throughout the drylands, along with groups of zombies. Undead generally moved in groups; very few dared to move about by themselves.
Suddenly, those slowly shambling zombies suddenly turned to look towards one direction.
A rhythmic sound could be heard coming from the ground. "Graaaaaaawr." A gold-furred zombie raised its head, releasing a howl. Instantly, the group of zombies all began to move at high speed, but moments later, more than ten black blurs emerged from the ground at high speed. These ten blurs were 'Black Knights', fairly powerful undead in the Undead Realm.
Even the weakest Black Knight was at least an undead of the fifth rank.
This squad of Black Knights had a total of nineteen members, with the leader being dressed in blood-red armor. His face was covered by a visor, but his cold gaze swept out through it towards the surrounding area. Those weaker undead were all so terrified that they hurriedly fled, but the Black Knights were able to easily catch up to them.
"Aaaaaaaah!" The leading Black Knight raised his head, letting out a furious roar, as though giving vent to his anger.
The eighteen Black Knights didn't understand; their lord was a very powerful Saint-level Black Knight, a monarch of the Undead Realm who had his own castle and a large number of Black Knights under his control. But today, their monarch had led his Black Knights to randomly, furiously gallop throughout the drylands.
Gallop around senselessly while venting!
"Enough. Let's return." The Black Knight leader said calmly.
The nineteen Black Knights once more began to gallop backwards. In the Ashbelle Drylands, every single Saint was considered a supreme expert, and this Black Knight was one of the ranked experts of this region.
"I...I suddenly regained my memories from my previous life. What is going on?" The Black Knight leader's heart was filled with confusion and shock.
"I...will I ever be able to return to the Yulan Plane?" The Black Knight leader said quietly to himself.
"My sons. Linley. Wharton. How are they? It has been over two thousand years. Are they Saint-level Dragonblood Warriors now, or have they yet to reach the Saint rank? Did they become undead instead?" The Black Knight leader's heart was filled with complex emotions. Ever since he regained his memories, his mind had never stopped pondering.
This Black Knight leader was Linley's father...Hogg!
Ever since gaining his memories from his past life, Hogg was no longer able to remain calm-minded. He missed his sons. He also wanted to get revenge for his wife. But he understood that given that more than two thousand years had passed, Duke Patterson of the Kingdom of Fenlai had probably died of old age long ago.
In the blink of an eye, forty years passed since the day Hogg regained his memories.
The castle of the Black Knights. Hogg was still dressed in that bloody red armor. He stood at the very peak of the castle, his head raised as he stared into the dark skies. Suddenly, a figure flew over at high speed.
"Huh?" Hogg was startled.
"Whoosh!" The person charged straight downwards at extremely high speed.
"Who is it!" Hogg let out a low growl.
"Clang!" At the same instant, the many armored Black Knights within the castle all rose to their feet.
"Haha..." The person let out a loud laugh, and then a terrifying majestic presence spread out. A powerful divine presence covered the entire castle, and all of the Black Knights within felt as though the end had come. All of them knelt in terror; this was an absolute difference in levels.
Hogg raised his head to look at this person. This was someone who looked like a youth, with short silver hair and a baby's face.
"Hogg?" The youth said casually.
Hogg was shocked!
Before regaining his memories, he had no idea that his name was 'Hogg'. As Hogg saw it...in this world, aside from himself, there shouldn't be anyone else who knew who his true identity was. But this person before him had just addressed him by his name. "Who are you?" Hogg stared at this person. "Was it you who gave me my memories back?"
"I don't have that power." The youth laughed softly. "Only Sovereigns are capable of restoring your memories. Come with me!"
"Sovereign? I..." Hogg didn't even have the chance to argue before a surge of divine power swept out and bound him. The youth thus forcibly carried Hogg off, and the two flew towards the south. That youth even mumbled, "This undead was actually so far away. I had to go from the Netherworld to this place, and now go all the way back to the Abyssal Mountain. This really is quite a journey."
The many Black Knights of the castle stared, speechless, as their monarch was thus dragged away. They weren't able to do anything about it.
Linley's father. Yale. George. Dixie. Bebe's father and mother. The Chief Sovereign of Death arranged for people to take them all away.
The Netherworld. The base of the Abyssal Mountain. Within the Abyssal Inn.
Linley was seated in a chair, while Bebe was standing and frowning. "Boss. We've been here for more than ten years now, but no one has arrived. How much longer are we supposed to wait for?"
Linley and Bebe had arrived at the Abyssal Mountain long ago, but as there were no other residences here at the Abyssal Mountain, the Chief Sovereign of Death had permitted Linley and Bebe to remain within the Inn. But who would have imagined that despite the passage of more than ten years, Linley had yet to see a single person arrive?
"Keep waiting." Linley sat there calmly on his chair, flipping through a book. "The Sovereign arranged for people to find Boss Yale and the others and bring them back. They are all in different locations. My father is in the Undead Realm, and from there to here is quite a journey. It's not that they are slow; rather, it's that we were too fast in flying from Tartarus to the Abyssal Mountain."
Although they rode on a metallic lifeform, Linley had been able to infuse his Will into the metallic lifeform and make it move much faster. In less than ten years, they had travelled from Tartarus to the Abyssal Mountain.
Linley raised his head to look towards the skies. Bebe looked at Linley in surprise. "Boss, what is it?"
"A powerful aura." Linley said in a soft voice. In the Netherworld, Linley had incredible powers of control over the surrounding area; after all, the spatial walls of the Netherworld were far weaker than in the Planar Battlefield. Upon sensing an expert draw near, Linley spread out his divine sense...
A hundred kilometers away, a metallic lifeform shaped like a golden fish flew towards the inn, with George and that violet-robed, golden-haired man within it.
George glanced at the violet-robed man. "This Seven Star Specter, Beverly, said that he came to receive me at the orders of the Sovereign, but says he has no idea why the Sovereign wishes to see me." George himself didn't understand; he was a Demigod, a minor figure. People like him within the Netherworld were beyond count. Why would the Sovereign want to see him?"
"Here we are." Beverly said.
The metallic lifeform suddenly disappeared, with Beverly and George appearing in midair.
"Second Bro!" An utterly delighted voice rang out, while at the same time, a figure suddenly appeared in front of George and Beverly.
"What sort of speed is this? I am a Seven Star Specter, but I wasn't even able to react!" Beverly was completely stunned. He had no idea; even commander-level experts, when faced with the speed of a Paragon, would find it hard to react, much less him, an ordinary Seven Star Specter.
George's body trembled as he stared at the person in front of him.
That familiar figure, that familiar face, that familiar smile...
"Third Bro!" George was so excited that his face instantly turned red, and he charged forwards, wrapping his arms tightly around Linley.
"Haha, Second Bro, I've finally found you." Linley tightly embraced his friend for a long while before releasing him. Linley was incomparably moved upon seeing George, his lifelong friend since youth.
"Third Bro, you...why are you here?" Only now did George finally think of this question.
As for Beverly, he bowed slightly towards the direction of the Abyssal Mountain, then turned and left. George, seeing this, couldn't help but feel surprised. "Beverly, this Seven Star Specter, was supposed to take me to see the Sovereign. He's leaving?"
"I asked the Sovereign to arrange for you to be brought here." Linley laughed merrily.
"Third Bro, you asked the Sovereign...?" George was stunned.
After having lived in the Netherworld for a long time, George had learned of the various tiers of power within the Netherworld. Even the highest level experts like Lord Prefects, however, were but ants in the eyes of the Sovereigns. To ask a Sovereign to help out...the difference between a Deity and a Sovereign was like the difference between an ordinary mortal and a Deity. A mortal, ask a Deity to help out? This was utterly inconceivable.
"Haha. What's the big deal?" Bebe suddenly appeared from nearby, chortling. "George, in a little bit, Yale and Dixie will come as well."
"Boss Yale?" George looked towards Linley in disbelief. "Third Bro, you actually asked a Sovereign to arrange for so many people to be found and brought over? This...what's the relationship between you and this Sovereign?"
"Come, let's go inside first." Linley said with a laugh.
George's starting location had been fairly close to the Abyssal Mountain, and so of course it hadn't taken too long for him to arrive. Shortly after George's arrival...Dixie arrived as well! And then came Bebe's parents, with Yale coming next.
Yale had arrived!
George and Dixie had died before Yale. They didn't understand how terrible Yale's death had been, but after arriving in the Abyssal Inn, they had learned from Linley and Bebe about what had happened after their deaths in the Yulan continent. After hearing the details, they couldn't help but blaze with rage as well.
"Third Bro! Second Bro! You are here?"
As soon as Yale arrived, upon seeing Linley and George, he was utterly overjoyed.
"Boss Yale." Linley and George couldn't help but rush forward. The three friends tightly embraced each other. When Yale thought of all the suffering he had endured over the years, and how today, he was meeting his dearest friends yet again, he couldn't help but shed tears.
That night, at the banquet.
"I really didn't imagine it!" Yale's eyes were moist, but his face was filled with an excited smile. "I thought that after dying, it all would have ended, but who would have imagined...that I, an undead, would actually regain my memories from my past life, and also be brought here. We three brothers are reunited once more! Third Bro, I have to thank you. You let me once more feel hope. Hope for continuing the lineage of my Dawson clan. Hope for revenge!"
The nearby Dixie sighed as well. "The Netherworld is incredibly dangerous. I had originally managed to train to the point of developing a divine clone, but soon after entering the Netherworld, I died. Fortunately, I was cautious and left my Saint-level original body within the Undead Realm. I had thought that I would have to continue to live and die in those fields of slaughter. Linley, thank you."
In the past, in the Ernst Institute, Linley and Dixie had been acclaimed as the two stars of the Institute.
That young magus held incredibly powerful influence, to the point of being able to ask a Sovereign for help.
"Enough about these matters. What matters is that we are all together again." Linley lifted his wineglass in a toast. "Come. What's past is past. Come, cheers!"
Bebe called out happily as well. Next to Bebe was a man and a woman. Bebe's mother looked very kind, and she was dressed in a long, violet robe. As for Bebe's father, a strong, baleful aura emanated from him, making him look very cold and remote. But in this situation, even he revealed a smile.
Yale, Dixie, and Bebe's parents. On the way over, Yale had been given a Demigod spark and refined it to become a Deity. The same had happened for Bebe's parents. Only Dixie...remained a Saint. Dixie still wanted to rely on his own efforts and continue to train.
For Saint-level undead, as long as they devoured enough souls, once their own soul reached a certain level of strength, they would become Saints.
But to go from being a Saint to a Deity required an understanding of the Laws. For Yale and Bebe's parents, they held no understanding at all regarding these matters, and so naturally they chose to fuse with a divine spark to become a Deity.
Linley was anxious and impatient by now. Everyone else had arrived, but his father, 'Hogg', had yet to come. Linley had even gone to ask the Chief Sovereign of Death, but the Chief Sovereign of Death had only told him to keep waiting.
"Swish!" A black, sword-shaped metallic lifeform flew over at high speed.
Within was the Saint-level Black Knight, 'Hogg', as well as the silver-haired youth. Hogg had already become a Deity, but of course, he had done so by fusing with a divine spark. Hogg had a very low level of insight into the Laws, and he would probably spend countless years without being able to become a Deity on his own.
"We are arriving up ahead." The silver-haired youth said with a calm laugh. "This mission is finally at an end."
"Thank you." Hogg still bowed gratefully.
"Why thank me?" The silver-haired youth made the metallic lifeform disappear with a thought. Hogg and the silver-haired youth appeared in midair, not too far away from the Abyssal Inn, and right at this moment, a blur suddenly moved through the skies, so fast as to badly startle the silver-haired youth. The blur solidified in front of them.
"Hm?" Hogg looked carefully at the person before him.
The man in front of him was dressed in sky-blue robes, and had long brown hair. His face looked exactly as it had in the past. "He is...?" But Hogg still didn't dare believe it. He had the feeling...as though the person in front of him had just teleported to him. Even this Seven Star Specter by his side was not capable of such speed. How could this expert be his son?
"You...you are...?" The silver-haired youth was rather frightened. But Linley's gaze was locked on Hogg!
In Linley's mind, one scene after another appeared.
His father's resoluteness and loneliness. Back then, he had protected Linley and Wharton, those two children.
His father's request to him. His hope that Linley would acquire the warblade 'Slaughterer'.
His father's bitterness, hidden within his heart, which he had borne alone.
His father's death. Only a letter had been left behind, and only when reading it had Linley learned how tragic his father's life had been.
Linley stared at the man in front of him, so excited his eyes turned moist.
"Father!" Linley called out.
Hogg stared in disbelief at the person in front of him. When he died, Linley was just a youth. Although Hogg could somewhat see traces of the features of the young Linley in the face of the man before him, in terms of demeanor as well as everything else, the current Linley, one of the supreme Deities of the universe, was far too different from when he had been a child.
"Linley? It, it is you?" Hogg couldn't help but feel stunned and excited as he looked closely at Linley.
"It's me, father!" Linley was no longer able to control himself, and his tears came falling down.
Yale, George, Bebe, and the others just watched from afar, smiling as they saw father and son reunite again, after three thousand years had passed.
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