The Beginning After The End | Chapter 282

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Beginning After The End Manhwa Novel

Chapter 282



 Chapter 282


Chapter 282: Deep Dive


The nondescript black stone hung in the air just shy of the ceiling before falling back into my hand. I threw it again like I had been for the past hour as I thought about what to do with the relic.


Meanwhile, I could hear the rhythmic thumping of Regis’ tail. He had been sitting beside my bed for about just as long, his eyes following the stone like a starving dog in front of meat. The only thing missing from the picture was a tongue hanging out and saliva spilling from his mouth. Sentient weapon capable of mass destruction bestowed by the asuras, indeed.


“I’m not giving this to you,” I said flatly despite Regis’ subliminal begging.


“Oh come on! You promised a percentage of all of the aether you consume,” he cried.


“I haven’t decided whether I’m going to consume the aether from this relic yet.”


“Why wouldn’t you consume it? That’s something even Agrona can’t do; otherwise he would probably hoard all of the dead relics,” he argued, flabbergasted.


“Dead or not, this is still a relic,” I argued back, catching the black stone in my hand as I sat up on my bed.


My progress with the keystone—the name I came up with for the cuboid relic—was slow, but it had become increasingly obvious how powerful the knowledge stored inside it was.


“If I can somehow tap into this relic as well, maybe I can gain insights into a new god rune,” I continued. “Or maybe this thing is actually a weapon or some sort of tool.”


Regis lowered his ears, dejected. “If Agrona, who has been tinkering with relics for gods knows how long can’t figure it out, how do you expect to do it?”


“Utilize my inherent advantages until I’m able to figure it out?” I shrugged nonchalantly. “I’m tempted to consume the aether in here to refine my core too, but I don’t want to do anything I can’t undo.”


“So what are you going to do with it until then? Mount it on a cane like that old man?” Regis retorted, his eyes narrowing in displeasure.


I smirked. “Maybe I’ll just hang it off a stick and dangle it in front of your face as I ride you around the city.”


“Rude.”


I let out a chuckle. “Then stop looking at it like it’s a carrot.”


With a snort, my mighty steed turned away and curled up in the corner to sulk.


Letting out a sigh, I walked over to the large window overlooking one of the main streets of Aramoor City. The sight of crowded sidewalks that sandwiched a four-laned road designed for carriages lay strewn below. Storefronts with colorful awnings blended in with the rich and vibrant styles of the denizens that walked with a sense of purpose.


Placing my newly-acquired relic into my dimensional rune, I headed toward the door.


Regis’ ears perked at the sound of my footsteps. “Heading to the library again?”


“Mhmm,” I answered. “Are you going to stay behind again?”


“Might as well. I’m going to fall asleep there anyway,” he groused. “At least here, I can take in some ambient aether.”


“I promise I’ll let you absorb my aether again once we’re back in the Relictombs,” I said apologetically before heading out the door.


Heading out into the crowded street, I looked around. I made it a habit to take a different route with every trip, not only taking in the sights that the busy city had to offer but how the people behaved as well.


Four days had passed since my duel with Aphene and Pallisun. After collecting my prize from the reluctant Cromely and destroying the recording artifacts that he had arranged, I bid my farewell to the small and peaceful town of Maerin.


Loreni, Mayla, and Chief Mason were really the only ones I cared enough about to say goodbye. I had assumed that Mayla would be travelling to Aramoor with us but it turned out that due to how rare a sentry of her innate ability was, she would be sent to a larger city capable of properly testing her.


The usually talkative Mayla had barely uttered a word as Loreni explained all of this with as much enthusiasm she could muster, and I left it at that. The two sisters had been helpful since my arrival in Alacrya and I was thankful for them, but that was it.


Belmun, the shaggy-haired kid that tried to make me take him as my student, came with us along with Braxton and an older male from Maerin that I didn’t recognize.


The entire party from Stormcove Academy had been in a foul mood ever since I had beat them in the duel but acknowledged their loss. Thankfully, the travel to Aramoor was short—almost instant, actually. Within the designated landing port on the edge of academy grounds, Cromely handed me a piece of paper and gave me directions to an inn where I would find comfortable lodgings, then bid me farewell.


I watched Belmun shoot me a wide grin before he and Braxton eagerly followed after the representatives of Stormcove Academy. Trailing behind them silently was the caretaker assigned to them from Maerin.


A light brush against my shoulder brought me out of my thoughts.


“Excuse me! Watch where you’re go—” The blue-haired woman with colorful makeup that accentuated her eyes froze as she gazed up at me. Her cheeks flushed but it might’ve just been her makeup. “O-Oh, my apologies.”


“It’s fine,” I replied, deadpan.


I continued walking, ignoring the lingering gazes of passersby. It was hard to admit but even a supposed small city like Aramoor could give Xyrus City a run for its money.


Restaurants specializing in cuisines of the different dominions lay strewn next to each other while well-dressed denizens sipping on drinks conversing leisurely lounged in cafes with outside patios.


“And don’t come back!” a gruff voice shouted ahead.


A well-built old man, face scarlet and eyes half-closed, lay on the ground as the shop owner of the restaurant slammed the door behind him.


“Bah! Your rum tasted like chilled piss anyway,” the drunkard shouted in a slur, throwing the bottle he had been holding at the door.


By now, a small crowd had formed around him as murmurs of judgement and criticism were heard. The drunkard, however, didn’t seem to mind as he spat on the ground, scratching his bed of long and disheveled gray hair.


He did, however, single me out within the crowd and gave me a glassy stare before walking away with surprising deftness despite his inebriated state.


Not thinking much of it, I eventually passed the row of restaurants and arrived at what seemed like the clothing district.


I debated for a minute whether to purchase some new clothes. Even while wearing the plain shirt and pants I had taken from Town Maerin, I had been drawing attention, which I wanted to minimize.


In the end, I decided against it, not wanting to get caught up in frivolous things. Walking past the shopping district, I made my way toward the small building I had been frequenting ever since coming here: the library.


“Welcome,” the attendant, a bored looking teenage boy, muttered, not caring enough to even peek up from the book he was reading.


Unlike the rest of the city, the library was empty and unembellished, with way too many wooden shelves for the amount of books it contained.


While grabbing a few books that I hadn’t read in the past few days, I ran into a particularly older leather-bound book. What had caught my eye was the red splotches on the corners of the cover and spine. When I opened and flipped through the pages, it looked like the words were actually written in blood.


*** You are reading on https://ReadNovelFullonline.com ***


I cocked a brow, briefly studying the content inside. “Well, this is new.”


I dropped the bloody book in my pile of to-reads before taking a seat in one of the less wobbly chairs.


Looking at the stack of books, I let out an audible sigh.


It was disheartening that I had already come to expect what sort of books these would be even without opening them.


As a totalitarian continent ruled basically by gods, the books that were available in this library were mostly propaganda outlining an embellished history where Agrona and the Vritra descended upon Alacrya to help the inhabitants and bring a new age of magic and technology under the safe haven from the other gods that have vowed to strike down all lessers.


These past few days, I had to stop myself from laughing a few times at the sheer ridiculousness of some of these books. Most of them made Agrona out to be a strict but just god that valued and rewarded the strong, while the asuras of Epheotus were gods that hated Agrona for his love and benevolence toward us lessers and were hell-bent on destroying all of us.


I had to admit that, while it was twisted in a very favorable way toward Agrona and his clan, there were some truths mixed in—namely, the fact that the gods of Epheotus had been the ones to destroy the ancient beings of the old, the ancient mages.


And in order to find those tidbits of information that would prove useful, I had to continue sifting through fictional history and veneration for Agrona and his Vritra clan that seemed to be spread throughout the continent.


Hence, me sitting in front of another stack of books.


The first book that I opened was the one written in blood. Despite its rather insidious source of ink, the content written inside might’ve just been a passionate worshipper of Agrona. It outlined that the unjust gods hated Agrona for loving us and bestowing the lessers with magic as well as spreading his blood. It also neatly reinforced why Agrona wanted everyone to get so strong—so that they could protect themselves and help Agrona fight against the unjust gods that simply wanted to kill them for not being gods.


I always wondered why people here referred to family as ‘blood’, and this book had the answer.


“Interesting,” I whispered to myself as I read through the latter half of the blood-scored book.


It highlighted the importance of how rich your blood was with the Vritra lineage. Apparently, Agrona and the rest of his clans had gotten fairly friendly with the Alacryans of old while they were experimenting.


Of course, the book outlined this as High Sovereign Agrona and his Vritra clan ‘falling in love’ with the people of Alacrya and spreading their ‘seed’ for Alacrya to flourish.


How disturbing.


Thankfully, the next book contained some new information that didn’t have to do with asuran reproduction.


Apparently, aside from Agrona, the High Sovereign that resided in the towering spire situated neatly in the middle of the Central Dominion—which, strangely, had no name unlike the other four dominions.


I squinted my eyes, trying to read the faded name of the spire. “Taegrin Caelum.”


Reading on, the author wrote, “Aside from High Sovereign who resided in the mysterious Taegrin Caelum, there exists five other sovereigns that protect and watch over their respective dominion.”


According to the author, these five ‘Named Sovereigns’, even as gods, were much more intertwined in the lesser affairs of their dominion—playing king while answering only to Agrona, the High Sovereign.


The book eventually trailed off into a tangent describing the various great deeds that the Sovereign residing over Etril, the eastern dominion, had accomplished.


After finishing the book, I took a moment to digest its content. I had thought about what the books had taught me. While factually wrong, it shed light on the culture of this continent, and more importantly, what the people here believed in.


Time passed by in a blur as I became engrossed in the books in front of me. While many were basically different authors’ renditions of Alacrya’s glorified history, time wasn’t completely wasted.


An interesting tidbit of history contained within a book titled, ‘Rise of Ascenders’, was that it wasn’t until about seventy years ago that the term ‘ascenders’ was coined. Before then, practically anyone was able to delve into the Relictombs, but because there were so many mages willing to partake in the ascents to try and get rich, Alacrya’s population was constantly declining.


“It’s a lot like how the Beast Glades was responsible for most of the deaths in Dicathen,” I muttered quietly.


According to the book, while measures had been taken by the Vritra to restrict the Relictombs to only those who passed a rigorous test, this only applied to those who wanted to go deeper than the third floor.


Apparently, the first three zones of the Relictombs were an interconnected underground expanse filled with valuable natural resources with very little beasts present.


The author didn’t seem to be an ascender himself because he never went into further detail on the deeper levels of the Relictombs. However, the first three zones only had weak monsters and were prime places to train even without an ascender’s badge, so anyone was allowed to go in.


“Interesting,” I whispered as I read on.


The book went on a tangent, focusing on the mages that had survived several ascents before this test became mandated. These mages had made a name for themselves from the riches they gained, i.e. Named Bloods.


Basically, they were nobles that seemed to be a tier below the High Bloods who were considered true nobility based on their lineage tracing back to an actual Vritra.


The author went on to applaud the efforts of the Named Bloods and High Bloods that soon built academies to raise ascenders and teach the new generation from their own experiences so that they could better survive.


I couldn’t help but note that this was the first instance that an author had praised someone other than the High Sovereign.


Even under the embellished prose of this particular writer, ascenders were just glorified tomb raiders. To the mass, they were seen as heroes, but it seemed largely because of how Agrona himself placed such importance on it.


The author even wrote that there had been many times where Agrona himself said that his biggest regret was not being able to enter the Relictombs. That was because the ancient mages had designed them so that the vengeful gods of Epheotus would not take advantage of the secrets within and use them against the Alacryans, and thereby not allow the Vritra to go in as well.


I couldn’t help roll my eyes at the section that stressed how Agrona and the Vritra wouldn’t go inside the Relictombs out of fear that their presence would destroy the place, rather than say they couldn’t go.


In the end, the ascenders were basically marketed as heroes risking their lives in a place that gods weren’t able to go in to find treasures left in the wakes of the last ‘ancient beings’. Treasures that would ultimately help the sovereigns fight against the other gods.


“Watch it!” a voice rang from the front of the library.


I turned to see the bored teen up on his feet, angrily glaring at the drunkard—the same drunkard from the restaurant—who had managed to spill whatever liquid was in the bottle in his hand on the floor.


“Oops! Sorry about that, kiddo,” the drunkard said with a hiccup. He sauntered inside the library, teetering on his feet but never actually losing balance.


It wasn’t until his bloodshot eyes locked onto mine that his expression brightened. “Aha! I knew you’d be here.”


He ‘knew’ I’d be here?


While annoyed by both his interruption and his foul stench, my curiosity got the better of me. I remained in my seat as I waited for the drunkard to make his way to my table.


He practically fell on the seat across from mine as he slammed his beverage on the table, liquid splashing on the books.


For a moment the two of us sat silently, gauging each other. Finally, he broke into a wide grin, showing a set of white teeth underneath his unkempt beard and spoke.


“So…what continent are you from?”


*

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