Legend Of The Empyrean Blacksmith is a Webnovel completed by beddedOtaku.
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How large is the universe? No, Ella dissipated the thought; it wasn’t just a single universe. The makeup of everything transcended the ordinary thought. This universe, the one Lino was currently trying to upturn, was a speck of dust. All these heroes that gathered here, all the souls that trounced millions of others to rise so far up, were just a tiny droplet in the ocean. She could see it – the extending tendrils were like the branches of the World Tree sucked away into the void, each linked to the living and breathing universe hosting an endless stream of souls.
She, too, felt small beneath the behemoth that was Everything. Originally, it shouldn’t have been like this. Two Edifices would be at constant war, maintaining only a single world – not even a single universe, but just a singular planet – where their chosen would clash. It changed, however. When? Ella didn’t know. It happened long before her time, long before the time of all the current Agents, even the first one. The Creator prevailed over the Destroyer and monopolized the Chaos, allowing it to sprout like a tree.
The Destroyer came back countless times, but couldn’t contend. This time wouldn’t change anything, Ella knew. Even if she failed and died, Lino would be unable to realize his dream. That is why she begged him to give it up. That is why, even now, she couldn’t help but cry, tears streaming like waterfalls from her eyes. Her heart was a storm, and there was no ending of it in sight.
Her plea, one she commenced from the depths of her soul, one she expressed with all her heart, wasn’t even considered. Destroy. That was the reply she got. Though in the depths of her soul she knew it would turn out like that, she still hung onto hope. But… why?
What was different this time? She loved billions of times before, and she grieved just as much. She watched the fleeting life fall to ash before her time and again, but what was different this time? The difference… was that she watched him from the very beginning. From the very first steps he took as an ignorant, little boy to the Emperor that he was today. She watched him struggle, bleed, cry and scream in anguish. Why? Why would anyone want to invalidate his sacrifices? All he sought was the strength to prevent his heart from breaking like gla.s.s. Isn’t that what everyone was doing? His sole fault, in comparison to others, was the source of his strength. Was it just?
No, Ella knew. It was as unjust as it gets. Yet… what of it? She couldn’t defy the Order. It was in her bones. In her heart. In her soul. However much she loved Lino, that love could not be compared to the one she felt toward her Creator. Yes, he struggled, he endured and he climbed when everyone thought he would fall. He overcame all the walls, all the barriers, and he reached the apex. But, so did the countless others who subsequently fell. There was no eternity to an ordinary name. His light, however brilliant, would eventually die either way.
She tried to justify it, but it failed. Her heart wouldn’t calm. The image of him dragging his tired, breaking body over the muddied streets underneath the burning sun… the image of him leaving the village for the first time, his back that seemed so tiny back then… the image of him crying in her arms as he felt the loss of heart for the first time… she couldn’t stop the flood. The picture of him meeting her beneath the earth, his smile ringing out with true joy. He never gave up the creed, the one she instilled in him. He embodied the grief and the loss and all the whispering demons that accompanied them. Even now, she knew he will take the burden upon himself. He will fight the universe if it meant protecting what he cared for. However… it wasn’t just this single universe he was fighting. He was fighting the Creator of Everything.
Ella stumbled and fell to her knees. The praying mat beneath her was already drowned in her tears, yet it didn’t change. Everything around her was still the same. n.o.body cared, she realized. n.o.body cared about who that man in the fire was; they feared his strength, certainly, but n.o.body asked about his story. Why? Why was he defying the Creator? How did he come in contact with the Destroyer? Why was he trying to resurrect it? n.o.body cared.
This was the reality of Everything – this cold, frigid reality. Self-interest soaked the landscape of reality, be it of the lowliest or of the highest. Those few that tried to transcend above it were punished, in return making even fewer willing to follow in their footsteps.
Did she hold a grudge against the Creator because it was forcing her to act against her heart? No. The one she loved was Lino, but the one she despised was the source of his strength. Because the Destroyer didn’t exist, the countless universes flourished. How many souls that live today wouldn’t exist had the Destroyer continued struggling? The number couldn’t even be reached. Why should they be deprived of life? They shouldn’t.
Her determination remained firm, despite the cracks of her heart. Until the very end, she would seek ways to rip Lino away from the tendrils of Chaos. She would do all in her power to restore him and destroy the link he formed with the terrible existence. If she failed? That was it. She would grieve, as she had many, many times before, and ensure his legacy will never be forgotten.
The boy who transcended the thought of reason, the one who withstood the barrage of the Creation and defied. He wasn’t alone; many before him tried, but each was as transcendental as he. Special existences, those that could not be measured with common sense. He belonged in that hall, in the string of names that shook the Creation.
Ella rose from her knees slowly and wiped the tears from her eyes. The sorrowful expression was replaced with one of determination. She couldn’t falter, not anymore. She would fight, as she always has.
As she left the squared chamber, she found herself on the Pathway of Stars. Small, pebble-sized rocks s.h.i.+ning in the colors of the rainbow stretched in an upward slope throughout the black void, rounding around into a ma.s.sive network of pa.s.sageways. Her eyes, however, steered away from the magnificent staircase and onto the figure waiting outside. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, with similar features to her – beauty beyond description, eyes s.h.i.+mmering in deep azure, blonde hair fluttering freely even in the open s.p.a.ce.
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He had a faint smile on his face, clad in trans-formal armor of gemmed silver, two scabbards adorned with rainbow-fluttering gems hanging on his sides, a halo of silver rotating behind his back.
“—you’ve suffered, little one.” He said in a calm, loving tone. Yes, this was her true family. All other bonds she formed failed to match the original one. She replied to the smile, her lips curling up gently.
“Sorry for worrying you.” Ella said in a truly tranquil voice.
“You don’t have to go,” the man said, fluttering over and hugging her gently. She could feel the soft tremble in his voice and the shake in his body, stirring her heart. “We’ll deal with it.”
“… no.” she let herself be embraced by the brotherly love she had been missing. Though he was countless eons older than her, it didn’t matter. “It is my failure, and I need to correct it.”
“Failure? Hardly,” the man said, pulling back, his smile turning slightly painful. “It is never a sin to love, little one. It is a sin to deny love.”
“After all,” the man said as the two began climbing the brilliant, cosmic stairway. “The essence of Creation is love, Elanor. Father made us with love – and he gave us hearts to feel it. Whichever way we are swayed, He is never disappointed. If possible, I’d also like to save the boy.”
“… is there a way?” Ella asked with a hopeful tone.
“It is up to him,” the man said, sighing lowly. “Do you think he will be willing?”
“… no.” Ella didn’t need long to realize that.
“Why?” the man asked.
“Because it would mean he has lost control of his destiny.”
“… he has lost it the moment he surrendered himself over to the Destroyer.”
“He doesn’t feel that way,” Ella shook her head. “And that stubbornness… ah, I suppose it will become his undoing.”
“—I’ll still try,” the man said. “No, we’ll try. We’ll get through to his heart, little one. Anyone loved by you cannot be that far gone. It proves that he’s a good man.”
“… yes… we’ll try.” Though Ella said so, she knew, deep in her heart, words would not change Lino’s mind.
In reality, she had thought of several ways to end this without fighting till death – but each was more deplorable than the last. Threaten to destroy Noterra, kidnap Aaria or Hannah, even threaten to kill herself… there were many ways to manipulate Lino into doing what she wanted him to do. But… were any of them right? No. She couldn’t do any of them, to begin with. Even if she had the heart to go through with them, the risk was too big. Despite all his growth, Lino was a ticking time-bomb. Should a single thing go awry, he might truly let go of himself. Ella knew the best that was specifically why the Edifice chose him over Ataxia; the latter was cautious, never letting his emotions get in the way of the cold, calculated plans. It was difficult to harness the Destruction in such way.
On the other hand, Lino wasn’t as unshakable. If someone close to him was harmed or killed, chances are that he would forget reason, as he did many times before. That was both his strength and weakness; while those like Ataxia could maintain themselves for a long time, they would always fall short of breaking past the gripping barriers. On the other hand, those like Lino come and go like b.u.t.terflies – in billions across the universes. They mostly fall, their stars diminis.h.i.+ng after a brief flash. However, among the ma.s.ses, some still succeed. And they become the figures that can defy everything, including the Creator. That untamed nature is a variable that can never be predicted or understood. She prayed, above all else, it would not come to that. Else, perhaps everyone, including Ella and her brother, might die alongside him.
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