Existence Chapter 1: The Beginning
On a cloudy day, amidst an endlessly dreary drizzle...
A bunch of knights, dressed in the silver livery and armor of the Church’s Crusade marched across the fields like a bunch of white ants leaving their nest. With morale high and supplies abundant, they made their way towards the palace of the First Demon King.
The symbol of the holy cross fluttered proudly in the air as the flag bearers carried the banners across the desolate plains. Whatever obstacle that could possibly hinder them had already been cleared out by the crusaders in an unstoppable show of force that made the earth itself tremble.
High above the marching soldiers was a giant white whale that swam amongst the darkened clouds, cutting a stark contrast against the black backdrop. Its massive body was so massive it was able to blot out the sun as it floated through the air. On top of its head was the golden halo of an angel while its tail fins fanned out like a set of angelic wings.
In order to contain this behemoth, the Crusade had to tether it to the ground with twenty sets of chains that were as thick as a bucket. These chains were then dragged along by over one hundred Ground Dragons.
“Remember the teachings of the Goddess of Light!”
“All the evil in this world will be purified by the Light!”
“For the Goddess, Fight! May thy body turn into flames that burns the devil into the ground!:
“In the name of the Goddess Maria! May the warriors here achieve unlimited glory!”
A man dressed in the red frocks of an Archbishop stood atop a towering war chariot. With bible in hand and cross in the other, he roused the troops below him with a stirring sermon, all the while waving the cross in his hand.
Having been inspired by the man, they raised their spears high into the air and roared in a deafening and unified voice.
'Ummm….why did it feel like I had just joined some kind of evil cult? Maybe it would be a better idea for me to finish off this Demon King ASAP. Once they pay me, I can leave these nutjobs behind.'
Those were the thoughts of Alice who was currently standing at the head of the giant crusade.
She wore a helmet that covered up her head completely. On her back, was a cape that flowed behind her like snow, its purity unsullied as it fluttered in the wind. She wore an ornate set of armor made out of a mix of silver, gold and mithril, engraved from top to toe in a complex set of magical runes. Without a doubt, this piece of luxury good was worth a city by itself.
These were the benefits given to Alice for agreeing to take part in this Crusade against the demon king. As the 233rd generation of heroes, strength didn’t matter, what was more important was looking cool!
(TL: 2B or 23 is a slang for retard/idiot/showboating idiot, etc.)
Back when Alice was still at a tender age, she was already raring to leave the mountain she grew up on and make a name for herself. Having reached the lofty heights of the Expert realm thanks to the abilities she learnt from her teacher not long ago, she did just that.
Before leaving however, she stole one of her teacher’s hidden swords [Breath of Light]. This thin sword was classified as a holy sword and dealt 200% damage to any creature of the darkness.
However, having left the mountain for the first time in her life, she didn’t realize how hard it was to travel this world without money. Had she known that beforehand, she would’ve stolen some gold coins instead.
Thus, with the obstacle known as poverty standing in her way, she had no choice but to accept the call of the Church and become a hero. As long as she was able to destroy the Demon King, the rewards given by the Church would more than last her a lifetime.
Beneath the metallic helmet, her lips broke into an extremely strange smile.
'It won’t be long before I get a promotion, become the commander, become an archbishop, marry a rich handsome guy and become a winner in life. Just thinking about it makes my belly tingle!'
“Sir Hero, we’re about to enter combat, are you prepared?”
The archbishop abruptly cut in with a question, interrupting her endless daydreaming.
“Ah? I...I’ve already made my preparations, I was just a little worried…”
“What are you worried about?” The archbishop’s eyebrows jumped, a pressure that could only have come from a greater power, radiated off him as he did so.
“I’ve heard stories of Lucifer the Third’s immense strength. The Crusades in the past three years had all but failed, will we…” Alice paused for a second before continuing in a hesitant tone, “Will we really be able to win?”
“The warriors of the Goddess will never lose! This time for sure, we will achieve victory!” The archbishop yelled with bloodshot eyes that were filled with determination.
“How...how can you be so sure?”
“Because I’m a survivor of the previous Crusade! Lucifer the Third isn’t even that strong at all! The only reason we failed last time was because we weren’t prepared enough and we didn’t have a strong hero like you to aid us!” Answered the man in a serious tone.
Hearing the archbishop praise her, Alice couldn’t help but feel a sense of overwhelming pride. Being of the Expert Realm, there were hardly any like her in the mainland so she could definitely be considered one of the leading fighters in the realm.
'Perhaps that Lucifer the Third wasn’t as strong as the rumors stated, perhaps the previous heroes were simply too weak...'
“Besides, this Crusade isn’t like any before it, have a look, Sir Hero!” He raised his arm and pointed at the sky.
Following his finger, she raised her head and looked at the chained up whale whose massive body inflicted a crushing pressure on her just by looking at it.
“This White Beluga took a hundred years of engineering by the Church to complete. A floating siege fortress! There’s nothing like it in the entire mainland. Just in terms of power alone, it’s able to raze a city to the ground in one shot!”
The archbishop raised his long sleeved hands into air, the crimson fabric fluttering violently in the air as he chanted: “Ah~! It’s the strongest in the mainland! The most beautiful! The most fearsome weapon! Representing the crystallization of the Church’s greatest intellects! Such a wondrous artificial life form!”
Alice didn’t say anything but merely stared at the white beluga. That whale didn’t seem the least bit beautiful to her at all, in fact it seemed a little mangled to her.
Even though she could clearly sense the danger emanating from it, she was still wary of its effectiveness as a weapon.
By now, the Crusade had already slaughtered its way to the front of the palace where a horde of howling demons awaited them with fangs bared and black wings fluttering.
'So the demon king’s army had already prepared for this attack…'
Floating high above the crusade, the demon horde covered the sky in a darkness that seemed to have been made out of millions of flies that was currently rushing right at them!
Each of them was filled with a bestial blood lust that could only be sated by draining these humans of their blood.
“Sir Hero, you should feel honored!” He raised his staff into the air and pointed it at the approaching horde. “Have a good look at the strongest creation in the history of the Church. Now, it will reveal for the first time ever, its fangs!”
An ancient chant filled her ears as the archbishop began waving his staff in the air.
The dormant whale suddenly jerked to life as if it had been summoned and let forth a screech that almost sounded like a baby screaming, filling the soldiers below with goosebumps.
It’s tail fin completely opened up and began voraciously consuming the mana in the air. The air around it began to distort and soon even the halo atop its head began to turn a violent crimson shade of red.
'What’s up with that dangerous vibe I’m sensing off it?'
'I’ve never heard of such mana density before! Don’t tell me this man-made weapon has reached the Saint realm!?'
Her eyebrows knitted together in anxiety as her heart screamed a warning at her. Before she could even figure out the situation, the archbishop let forth a thunderous yell---
“DIE! YOU DIRTY DEMONS!!!”
The White Beluga opened up its giant mouth and shot forth a giant beam of condensed mana!
Its scorching radiance was even brighter than the sun and was more than enough to rend the cloudy sky asunder.
Its colossal power and pressure made everyone present tremble in their boots as even their souls began to kneel in submission before the unstoppable might displayed in front of them.
Alice wasn’t able to see exactly what had happened. All she saw was a blinding ray of light cut across the blackened heavens before her vision was filled with a string of explosions as a tidal wave of crimson mushrooms had sprouted across the sky.
The surrounding crusaders were immediately thrown back, with the weaker ones even taking to the sky like a loose kite.
The terrifying demon horde was wiped out in an instant. Under the fury of the mana cannon, their bodies were turned into a pile of mashed tofu which soon shrivelled up into nothingness!
Alice barely managed to keep her footing as cold sweat ran down her shocked face---
'So powerful! Is this truly the might of a man-made weapon? A strength that’s at the level of a Saint… No! It might even be stronger than a Saint! That shot was powerful enough to even stand up to a Saint’s Mystery Arts!'
Alice simply couldn’t understand why the Church needed a hero if it had such a powerful weapon. That whale was more than enough to wipe out the demons so was she simply here as a flower vase?!
'That Luci-whatever the Third would probably get blown to bits before I even get the chance to attack. There’s no way anyone in this world who can survive against such power…'
She sighed in her heart as her face paled.
“HOW WAS THAT, FILTHY DEMONS!?”
“TREMBLE BEFORE THE MIGHT OF THE CRUSADE!”
“IN THE NAME OF THE GODDESS MARIA, I’LL BANISH YOU LOT BACK TO THE DEPTHS OF HELL!”
The archbishop raved like a madman, his mouth watering from the sides as he shook uncontrollably.