Chapter 145: Torch Festival
Hailatedum. In the language of the ancient civilization, it meant ‘Sage’.
In the ancient times, it was the name of a civilization which dominated an era. It branched off from the Ancient Humans, but from a certain point onward, it somehow became the main branch instead.
“Colossus Civilization,” “The Miraculous Era of Gears and Steam Engines,” “The Inconceivable Society Where Everyone is a Wise Man.” There were countless other names and glorious titles for them. In that era in the distant past, they and their creations were once commonplace around the world.
As the most advanced society then, they dominated the entire world. Massive floating islands and towers amid the clouds unveiled the secrets of the sky. A giant barrier erected on Island Turtle became a underwater city and colossal Titan Magic Statues were the guardians of their home. Even the Dragons had to remain humble before their wisdom and strength.
Even today, traces of the race could be seen, be it the Floating Island of the Blackwings, the Air Fleet of Auland Empire, or the Colossus Legion of the Solo Federation.
Modern engineering and alchemy originated from it, and the ruins of Hailatedum were fought over by all countries. After all, it was hard to say if a new discovery found in the ruins could be awakened from its dormancy to become an integral part of a revolution.
During their peak, they even dared to debate about truth and reality with the Gods. How such a powerful civilization abruptly ceased to be was always a mystery of history. Research papers on the civilization were written in various countries, but when it came to their history and the reason for their extinction, it simply wasn’t clear.
“Was it a calamity? Or an invasion by aliens? Ice Aeon struck once more? A catastrophic plague? An update patch? It was none of them. The truth is actually quite simple, they had stepped on the line!”
To some existences, Hailatedum’s destruction wasn’t a secret. On the contrary, it was warning to them, telling them that there were some things that could be done, and there were some things that one shouldn’t even think of.
“Perhaps, you might become a powerful as the Gods, but please, by no means step into the realm of the Gods. At the very least, do not allow those fellows above you to see it.”
Hailatedum was destroyed due to a God Punishment, and this wasn’t any incredible secret. At Cape Glyte, the entrance to the Spiral Empyrean Tower, there was a glyph inscribed in ancient words with the greatest crime of this race.
“Life Creation, man-made souls, racial immortality.”
These were the three greatest taboos that the Gods didn’t allow anyone to commit. The proud Hailatedumers had indeed trespassed into the domain of the creators. As a result, they had received divine retribution.
However, this was only on the surface. “An endless proliferation of their race would have exhausted this world of all its resources.” But to those who were aware of the situation, they only had one crime.
“They managed to bypass Reincarnation.”
When the death rate fell significantly and no new souls crossed the River Styx and entered the Heavenly Pillar, when Life Creation and man-made souls were able to create their own brethren, the original system of reincarnation was broken.
Without a doubt, they had crossed the line for the two sleeping Goddesses with such an act. As such, a God Punishment fell upon them and they went extinct. Everything was that simple.
In order to prevent others from uncovering such techniques once more, the black glyph outside the Empyrean Tower constantly reminded mortal experts they should never touch such techniques.
Thus, even if someone discovered the route to immortality, they dared not utilize it to mass produce immortals. As for the second clause of the Three Great Crimes, man-made souls, the technology for it had already been lost for countless years.
Of course, if there was oppression, there would naturally be those who fought back. The more the Gods tried to suppress the mortals, the more people tried to fight back and trespass the barriers they set.
The Holy Church had used the notion of heresy to sentence many people to death, and in reality, there were also numerous cases of heresy. The more forbidden something was, the easier one would grow curious of it. Throughout the years, the number of alchemists who were burned at the stake for challenging Life Alchemy was uncountable. Furthermore, some of them were part of the core of the Church. After all, the sweet fruit of immortality was difficult to resist.
The previous lunatic who neared the barrier was probably me. However, unlike my other predecessors who sought immortality, my goal was slightly different, causing my means to differ from theirs as well.
“When eternal night descends, all living will disappear from history. From then on, the Undead shall last forever!”
If a Country of Dead were to be established and all living beings were converted into Undead, then reincarnation would become a joke. In another sense, the world would be saved from its doom.
Whenever I recalled the grade-schooler like words of mine, that embarrassing dark history would play in my mind. I couldn’t help feeling relieved about my decision to halt it abruptly back then. If a Country of Death were established, I would probably be destroyed by a God Punishment the next moment.
After which, Ayer had also personally verified my conjectures. It would be impossible for the Gods to look on as a world belonging to the Undead became established.
However, there was a good reason why people still chose to fight back against the oppression of the Gods even so. Those three technologies contained great potential. I had been researching it all along and had achieved a certain level of results with them.
However, I am not so foolish as to display my works before the Gods and incur their wrath. Alright, I admit that the Seven Deadly Sins had already touched on the sensitive nerves of certain existences, but they also heaved a sigh of relief when they realized that I had no intent of mass producing them.
Most likely, I am already on their list of individuals to be wary of. If I had not started from the creation of powerful beings and instead, like some other Undead Lords, choose to achieve racial immortality, those up in the heavens would probably have come after me long ago.
Of course, I wasn’t the only heretic. While I am highly talented in the study of souls and Undead Creation, Amelia’s Life Creation field was a direct challenge to the authority and dignity of the Gods of Creation. It was a simple feat for her creations to achieve immortality…. If not for her cloaking the results of her study through plants and subconsciously circumventing the study of souls, she wouldn’t have been left out when the others underwent God Punishment.
However, there were some things that were beyond the control of Gods. For example, not all of Hailatedumers died back then.
Yes, there were still remnants of them, and they numbered more than one.
In that “history,” if Olivia has solved the greatest bottleneck regarding the energy core, the most outstanding creation of Timmy Lade, then the “Master of Magic Engineering” Timmy Lade, one of the future founders of the Magic Engineering field, was a control system that allowed ordinary humans to wield supernatural abilities easily.
In theory, an ordinary human who had never undergone specialized training could never wield supernatural abilities. Thus, he gave the magic-engineered gears an independent soul such that they were able to manipulate the Power of Elements by themselves. All that the Warrior wielding it had to do was pass down orders to it.
If Olivia had given magic-engineered gears blood and nutrients for them to operate, what Timmy Lade granted it was a new soul.
However, quite a few people had noticed it even though he went in a roundabout manner in an attempt to camouflage the technology. His research was taboo from the very start. He had infringed the taboo of man-made souls!
When I learned of Timmy Lade’s achievements, I was surprised as well.
After all, I am quite well-versed in the field of man-made souls as well. Any research relating to souls was extraordinarily difficult, and in order to achieve results, the researcher would probably have to abandon him humanity and conscience. After all, it wasn’t possible for them to remain moral given the experimental materials they required for their research.
I had spent several centuries with countless experimental matériel before me, and yet, my research was still stuck in the phase of stitching together old souls through extreme emotions to create powerful but twisted warrior souls. On the other hand, he managed to reach the level of mass production of man-made souls. The difference in the level of our technology was truly massive.
I had the advantage in terms of the creations’ individual prowess, but it was a clear loss in the theoretical and technical aspects. Such results made the usually haughty me surprised.
“Could that snotty brat really be that much of a genius? Could he have skipped past the stage of knowledge and data accumulation? Or, just like Olivia, that shocking invention of his originated from a coincidental miracle?”
Thus, I paid more attention to little Timmy Lade and heaped high expectations onto him.
Eventually, I realized that I was wrong from the very start. There were some things that could be explained by coincidence and talents.
“1897 AD, the summer of the Year of the Griffin, on the seventh day of the seventh month… At least it was still summer in Auland Empire. The weather in the Northern Lands was gradually growing colder and it seemed like it was about to snow.”
In the children’s coloring book, an oddly mature handwriting could be seen. However, the words written were completely different from the current languages existing in the world. The words written resembled numbers overlapping one another.
If one looked at the pictures on top of the words, he would conclude that those weren’t words but a series of pictures stacked over one another without any logical pattern among them. There were triangles, circles and twisted numerical digits. Perhaps to some, it was no more than a nonsensical abstract drawing, but to Timmy Lade, they were just some words he used usually—the Hailatedum Language.
“Big Sister Dana has been quite happy recently. It seems like her work is going well. The students in the school respect her greatly and a smile has been on her face recently…. Yeah, Big Sister’s smile has nothing to do with those male cats in heat surrounding her. On the contrary, she must be really annoyed by those flies buzzing around her. Looks like I have to find an opportunity to teach those despicable lads clinging onto her a lesson.”
From a certain sense, the reason why this Miss Dana hadn’t been married yet was truly due to her little brother serving as baggage. However, he was holding her back in a way different from what she expected.
“Those toys of the Goblins aren’t mature yet, but they provided me with quite a bit of inspiration. I should be able to complete XT-2 by next week. Let’s start by sacrificing the son of the boss of the bread shop to it first. Hmph, to dare to cling to Lord Big Sister like that, even gifting her flowers yesterday!”
Upon recalling the bright smile on his elder sister’s face when she accepted those flowers, Timmy Lade’s rage flurried.
In certain aspects, the young Timmy Lade was much more mature than others expected him to be. However, in others, he was like an ordinary orphan who had lost his parents, holding great attachment and fondness to his elder sister who brought him up. This wasn’t hard to comprehend and it was completely normal.… Alright, I understand that this wasn’t normal in any way, but I am just trying to convince myself that there were normal people by my side. Couldn’t you all just go along with it for once?
Timmy Lade, Haku Evon the 17th. The former was the name everyone knew him as in this life whereas the latter was the name of an ancient soul.
When the God Punishment descended, the Hailatedum met with its end. However, a master of man-made souls was unable to simply accept death like that. He wished to use his own knowledge and strength to avoid the unavoidable destruction. He wished to pass down the heritage of his civilization.
“A person’s personality is simply forged by a soul with memories. Since souls return back to the world in the form of reincarnation, if I inscribed my memories onto a brand new soul, wouldn’t that be equal to resurrection?”
In a certain sense, Master Haku succeeded. Every time his soul underwent reincarnation, along with the growth of his soul, a certain apparatus would be activated and his soul would regain the memories of his previous life.
However, from a different point of view, he failed miserably.
Once a person entered the path of reincarnation, he could be considered dead. A new soul meant a new life. Even if the soul had acquired the memories of its past, it would only be able to view it in a third person perspective, as though looking through someone else’s life.
He had already succeeded in reincarnating 17 times, but unfortunately, with the exception of the memories of his first life, which had been stored over and over again, the memories from his other sixteen lives had been washed clean by the River Styx and whatever remained of them were negligible. He was still the same shut-in who isolated himself in the research lab
He was unable to remember how many times he had reincarnated. Even more so, he was unable to remember clearly whether he was the reincarnation of that legendary sage. All he knew was that the memory transfer system had detected souls identical to his and activated sixteen times.
Alright, since that was the case, the reason why that little adult was able to mature so quickly could be understood. The reason why he was able to create complete man-made souls was because of his previous inheritance.
In a certain sense, Timmy Lade was the true protagonist of the currently popular “transported to another world” novels. Putting aside the fact that he had a mobile “grandfather” he brought about alongside him, his parents had died and he had an elder sister whom he was mutually dependent on. Furthermore, he was destined to achieve greatness.… Alright, at the very least, the current little Timmy Lade wouldn’t think too much into it. He was only a child who matured earlier than others, and in order to protect his beloved elder sister, he was currently putting all of his efforts into designing the machine known as XT-2 so as to destroy those pesky flies.
“Life has been fulfilling and it is good that big sister is happy. Even so, war is coming. Yet, this city remains so peaceful. Does everyone really have that much confidence in Roland?”
Thinking of the man who always wore a smile on his face, Timmy Lade couldn’t help shivering with the jitters. His Race Talent “Ultimate Eyes of Wisdom” allowed him to see through all disguises to peer into the true nature of a person.
That day, when he first opened the door and saw Roland, he was almost scared to death.
“Too fearsome. Life and death exists simultaneously in a single person. To think that Chaos and Order could be fused together to form a single bloodline, his physical body is truly ridiculous. His soul is even more so.”
Remembering the apparition of the black skeleton, Timmy Lade shuddered.
“Countless obsessed and demented soul fragments pieced together to form a normal one, and the might I feel from the black skeleton obviously points him as the legendary Emperor Yongye. Yet, this kind of ultimate incarnation of evil is actually the legendary hero of this country?”
Back then, Timmy Lade was in one of the last carriages moving to the secret base. Yet, no one would have thought that little Timmy would be the first person to recognize Emperor Yongye.
“Sigh, I’ll just see how it goes. At least life is not bad here. However, if war broke out… It is truly a wonder how they can be so self-confident. Is that Roland so trustworthy?”
Roland, who was out for diplomatic affairs, had sent news back: “The Beastmen army is about to begin their winter assault. The Sleuweir Kingdom is going to be invaded.” This news had already traveled through every single street and alley. Without a doubt, it would make the difficult winter even more unbearable.
The Beastmen army invading in winter was something that was illogical and inconceivable. Furthermore, the notion proposed of them traversing across the difficult terrain to launch an attack was treated as a joke by many southern nobles. As such, Sleuweir thought that the envoy sent by the Mist Country was up to no good and evicted him from their borders. News of that had already spread.
Yet, amidst countless criticisms, the Mist Country was still able to remain quite confident in their sovereign. This in itself was inconceivable.
Even when everyone thought that the Beastmen army was going to invade next year, the citizens of Mist Country acted as though they were going to invade during winter and made preparations for battle as such.
On the other hand, with the shadow of war looming right before them, while the East Mist military divisions were busy preparing for war, not only did the citizens not panic, they even continued carrying on with their lives leisurely, even conducting a festival today.
“Torch Festival? What a bizarre name.”
Opening the windows, the city square was already filled with tourist groups. It was said that this was a traditional festival from the Liu Huang Mountain City of the Underground World. Every year, when the evening of this very day came, all young and single men and women would have to cover their features with a black robe and carry war flags and metal chains marked with the FFF logo. They would prowl about the streets to hunt down their “prey.”
Yes, prey. The prey of these FFF members were the young “couples” engaged in romantic actions in public!
On this long night, all black-robed FFF hunters would scavenge for loving couples and tie the man onto a burning stake.… Of course, they were only strolling around town. The FFF members and passersby could smash food on them to bless the couple, as well as to pray for a better harvest next year. Actually, carrying torches and touring around town was the same thing as a parade float procession; it was more of a cultural thing.
It was said that this festival was created by Lord Wumianzhe. And the hunter who managed to hunt down the most prey would receive official prize money and a present. There was also an urban legend that the winning hunter would be proclaimed as the Love Hunter and he would soon capture his long-awaited love.
On the other hand, there was also another urban legend saying that “the couple who survives the attack of the FFF members to the very end will earn the blessings of the Goddess of Love. They will be together forever!”
Of course, most of these legends were just hearsay. Of the fellows from Liu Huang Mountain City, the “Love Hunter” from year to year were either be Adam or Wumianzhe himself, but they were still unable to rid themselves of their bachelorhood.
However, the romantic legend of the blessing from the Goddess of Love still moved many of the young ladies’ hearts. Many young guys also made use of this opportunity to muster their courage and pursue the one they loved.
“It is only a game. Perhaps we might even survive until the very end.… If we do survive until the very end, will you listen to my words? You don’t have to answer me, I will be content with you just listening to how I feel!”
Alright, the escapes were, indubitably, a method to win the other party’s affection. Also, one was more likely to succeed with one’s confession when one confessed in the midst of chaos. Furthermore, if they did survive to the very end, they would very likely become a couple.
In the end, a certain someone was extremely disappointed. Quoting from his words, “How can so many couples appear right after such a sacred day of flames? Are the damned heavens really blind! Those heretics must be subjected to the judgement of the sacred flames! Eyesores everywhere! The next month, we will be conducting a cultural check of the city and all couples who display their affection in public will be fined!”
Alright, as usual, Wumianzhe’s sudden outburst was suppressed by the Four Heavenly Kings and his external conscience (Elisa). However, this festival became celebrated by countless young men and women.
With Princess Reyne’s approval, this year’s festival was even backed by Diffindor’s officials, the scale significantly larger.
Little Timmy stared out from the windows. A large amount of black-robed figures were waving scythes and torches, preparing for the start of the hunt. On the other side of the square, countless men and women were holding hands with one another.
“Snuggling together right in front me, look at how decadent our society has become!”
There were some sentiments that didn’t require many words to express. Looking at those blissful couples, regardless of gender or age, the new generation of FFF members lit the torches in their souls.
“Burn! Burn! Burn!”
Without anyone leading them along, their rage exploded into a furious roar, trembling the heavens.
Of course, there were also many people in there who added fuel to the fire.
“Look at how the lazy Adam was able to win the affection of Magaret. This is the magic of the festival. If you’re single, how don’t you give it a try? You might even be able to win your future spouse.”
This was the handwritten advertisement slogan by a certain prince. Under the board on which the slogan was written was a rental store by the Undead Knights under his command.
“Renting torches, whips, stakes, scythes, nooses, and many other commonly used tools. It only costs 3 bronze coins for each equipment per day! Glue, inked eggs, and stink bombs cost a bronze coin each. In order to thank our beloved customers, as long as your purchases total more than 10 bronze coins in our store, we will gift you free FFF uniforms and flags! Long live the FFF army!”
Looking at the agitated young men and women, Timmy Lade shook his head. This world seemed so far away to him.
When he was about to shut the windows to focus on his research, he suddenly recalled something.
“Big Sister Dana should be off work early today, so why isn’t she back yet? Could it be…”
When a certain possibility struck his mind, the shocked Timmy Lade quickly took out a small gadget and checked it.
It was a mini-GPS. At the current moment, the position of the bright dot was the city square before him!
After a moment of silence, Timmy Lade walked over to the wardrobe which was taller than him and patted on it lightly. The wardrobe door immediately opened.
It was a black robe. The original use of the robe was for Timmy’s choir classes. However, Timmy, who didn’t like singing, hated the robe and had never worn it. At the current moment, the silent Timmy was finding the robe more and more pleasing to his eye.
“Yeah, you’ll be it!”
However, as he stared at the robe, he couldn’t help thinking that something was amiss. After pondering for a moment, a thought struck him and he used a red marker to scribble on the back of the robe—FFF!
“Hah, burn them all!”
The childish sounding voice carried in its undertone the determination to kill. In the center of the room, countless machines came to life. The flickering green light in those man-made irises seemed to bear testimony to the young boy’s ability to turn his words into reality.