Three Thousand Years Waiting
“I need permission to enter the city?” Richard asked the youth who had blocked him.
“Obviously!” the youth stomped down, “I’m the boss here. If I don’t let you enter, you’re going to scram out of the veil of order! I’ve taken a liking to that thing on your back. Hand it over and come serve me; once I’m satisfied, I might let you in. Otherwise, you’ll rot outside!”
Hearing these shouts, several other loiterers nearby surrounded Richard as well. However, he ignored them and stared at the primary instigator, “And what if I don’t agree?”
“Then go to hell!” a sharp cry rang out from behind him, the air rustling as a heavy stick smashed towards Richard’s head from behind. There was a considerable amount of strength behind the accurate strike, with some aura inserted as well. Most would have their skulls split open and lose their lives.
The burly man named Nanook went wide-eyed, but he was too late to get up and help block. However, a green radiance suddenly blinded everyone nearby and the stick didn’t actually land on its target. Instead, it split into two and the upper half flew away, the wielder who was from another race watching as his arms separated from his body before his head rolled onto the floor.
“… BOSS!” It took a moment for the youth to react, and before he could retract his leg that was blocking Richard’s way a hand gripped his ankle while Moonlight slashed across the sky. He screamed like a banshee before the pain even set in, so frightened that he blacked out for a moment.
Richard casually threw the leg aside, looking back at the others nearby who started screaming and ran away instantly. He didn’t give chase, simply sheathing Moonlight and continuing into the city.
“Do you plan to leave just like that?” Nanook suddenly asked.
Richard stopped and looked at him calmly, “Are you with them too?”
“Of course not!” the man sighed, walking to the youth who was now squirming in pain and smoothly sending a dagger into his heart. Even Richard frowned slightly as the dagger was shaken around, but he stood up and explained calmly, “Taking away a leg is no different from killing him. To keep the meat fresh, the people here will slice off as much as they can while he’s still alive. It’s a painful process.”
"It could also be enjoyable to some,” Richard dismissed.
Surprise flashed across Nanook’s face, fear now clouding his eyes as he stared at Richard, “You’re not new here. Where did you come from?”
"I’ve only been in the Darkness for a short while, but that was in a small town nearby."
The burly man even retreated two steps, “A small town? All the towns here are far away. Did you cross the entirety of the wastelands?”
“Hmm? Not the entirety, but quite a bit maybe.”
“Why would I tell you that?”
Nanook hesitated before looking at Richard’s sword case, “Is that spatial equipment?”
“Yep,” Richard admitted freely.
“Sigh. You’re more powerful than I thought. But I must warn you not to go too far; we have powerful people here as well, and they’ve been in this city for a long time. If you follow me, I’ll bring to a place to stay in. You might be able to help us deal with those things in the future.”
“Things?” Richard asked calmly even as he motioned for the man to lead the way.
"I can’t describe them well, but… You’ll know when you see them. They should be the natives of this damned place."
Natives? Richard was surprised; he hadn’t thought he would obtain this information so quickly.
Nanook brought Richard to a small and shabby estate, but unlike everything else nearby it had a gate and even a courtyard. He walked in first before inviting Richard, “Come in!”
Richard followed, finding that this place was built only slightly better than the small town. They still used rocks for tables and chairs, but they had been carved and tidied up a little.
In one corner of the building was a skinny old man, constantly drawing strange symbols on the ground. He raised his head when Richard walked in, his empty eye sockets still locking onto Richard’s position with ease. He flashed a creepy smile, “You’re finally here! I’ve been waiting for 3,000 years!”
The civil war in heaven was currently in full swing, with battles occurring at every corner of the vast world. Countless celestials fell by the minute, their bodies and souls returning to the origin of light. This was a special world where newborns were actually reincarnations, but that cycle of life was currently threatened.
The celestials had only ever pointed their blades towards the outside for hundreds of thousands of years, but the race that worshipper the origin of light had suddenly split into two factions. All celestials were purists, unable to tolerate any deviation in faith. In their eyes, there was no middle ground or compromise when it came to belief. Both sides believed in slightly altered explanations for the source of this origin, but that gave rise to a war that now encompassed the entire plane.
Amongst the incessant fighting of the celestial warriors was an unusual specimen— a human named Martin who had come from one of the lower worlds. He would not return to the origin of light like the other warriors here, and his death would be a true dissipation of body and soul, but he fought on with vigour regardless. He wasn’t the only one of his kind here either; both sides had mortals participating that were viewed as insane fanatics by the celestials themselves.
However, amidst the incessant fighting, Martin did a truly crazy thing— he had the warriors under him break away from the main fight. The war had been in progress for a long time, and while Richard had defeated the reapers, crushed Lithgalen, and even reached the depths of the Eternal Battlefield Martin had survived battle after battle after battle. Regardless of how much of a disadvantage he was in, he fought with the same passion he had first entered with and was now a low-level officer who led thirty true celestials.
Celestials were a contemptuous lot who disdained all mortal life. Martin wasn’t promoted because they appreciated him, but because most of the other warriors he fought alongside had died. With the other recruits being too green to take command, they had no option but to give control to him.
Martin had gained many memories of running with his tail between his legs during this war, and now he faced his fourteen remaining warriors and prepared them for their last mission. They would break away and cover the retreat of the main force; their side had lost again.
The team of thirty had been whittled down over the course of this battle, and those that remained were riddled with injuries. Most of them looked numb and simply weren’t listening to him anymore; were it not for his four massive wings of light, they would have dispersed long ago. However, a four-winged warrior had the qualifications to lead a thousand-man force of celestials, while Martin only had thirty at best who were constantly malcontent. However, he didn’t even pay attention to such things as he focused on the relentless battle.
“That piece of is our last battlefield. We will fight to the very end, until the main army can counterattack!” he pointed at a floating rock in the distance, a common one that was found throughout the heavens. It represented stable space, and the enemy would have to pass through that region if they wished to pursue the fleeing forces. Any detour would add enough of a delay for the retreat to be successful.
“For the Light!” Martin screamed and waved his sword, the same actions he had always taken to spur on his subordinates. He spread his four wings and flew up to the tip of the pumice, preparing for the white tide of celestials that were rushing towards his position. Turning around for a moment, all he saw was fourteen pairs of wings desperately flapping into the distance.