In this hostile environment filled with toxic gases and air that was hundreds of degrees hot, three aged elves were hauling a puppet powered by natural energy towards the center of the karst, in the direction of the erratic dimensional passageway the warrior had opened.
The solidified volcanic magma carried their weight as they paced steadily. Like them, the Nature's Magister walked step-by-step to the pale-blue doorway.
The fluctuating blue radiance within the door was like jumbled lines, the countless dimensional circuits stirred by a terrific power, completely unable to search for any connection from the other end.
The blow from the Evil God of Calamity had utterly destroyed the dimensional passageway. To have it recover by natural means would require centuries, and before that happened most people would be helpless, only able to wait.
But while most could not do a thing, that did not mean everyone could not.
And at the very least, the Nature's Magister could.
Carrying the old wooden box in her hands, Aydril Galanoud arrived right below the dimensional passageway. She looked up at the pale blue radiance, and with a shift of her Legendary will the restless cavern fell silent immediately—the entire Great Ajax Volcano, extremely lively and ejecting smoke pillars from time to time, stabilized too, as if knowing its place.
Regulating nature—even the depths of the lithosphere and creating energy that could trigger volcanoes, the Nature's Magister slowly rose into the air and drew level with the dimensional passageway. She pointed with a finger, and countless red-gold specks of light that represent the volcano's power assembled at her fingertip, before transforming into a beam that streamed into the pale-blue door of light.
The two colors mixed to form a soft violet color. Manipulating her own power, the Nature's Magister did all she could to penetrate the dimensional turbulence and find the world on the other end of the doorway.
The result, however, was unsatisfactory.
Joshua stood in a corner as he watched the Grand Druid converted the energies of the volcano for her own use, attempting to catch an edge of the World of Illgner.
Nevertheless, it was as meaningless as trying finding a needle in a haystack. The warrior could see a hint of anxiety flashing across the face of the Nature's Magister—the discomfort from sensing Father Nature's presence but ultimately unable to grasp His specific position.
"But I did find it… The Father was indeed there!"
Taking a moment to compose her stature, the Nature's Magister continued to search within the dimensional network. Still, her doubts toward Joshua and Igor had been swept cleanly away by now. They certainly did not lie, for the world that Father Nature resided was indeed on the other end of the dimensional passageway.
But she could not pass.
And not just that—she could do nothing. All she was doing were grasping at straws or hauling buckets of seawater even as she kept searching for the faintest of information.
Such was perhaps the lengths that the Church of Seven Gods went through in their search for the Fourth Object of the Sage's Legacy—or not. As a bare minimum, the Nature's Magister had a dimensional door that was ready-made albeit misfiring, while the Church had to open a door by themselves and sense, try and resonate with one world after the other. If not for the Sage's Legacy delivering its own coordinates by itself, the search would have taken a period counted in units of decades. And when that time comes, everything would be too late.
However, as the warrior thought about it, the old wooden box that the Nature's Magister carried suddenly quivered by itself.
And then started to unleash a tremendous brilliance.
Emerald nature energies that were brimming spilled out from the wooden box, spreading pure green light. Then, a shriveled wooden ball the size of a human skull leaped out from the box by itself and floated before the doorway.
The wooden ball was dried and sunken; its surface filled with patterns after it withered. The cracks were even spreading, but now, the ancient ball that appeared as if it was about to turn into powder in any moment, emitted natural energies that left the three Supreme-tier elves beneath it in total disbelief.
Its appearance stunned even the Nature's Magister. For a thousand years, the World Seed had displayed no divinity, and was even gradually drying and shrinking as time passed, turning into the shriveled state it was in now. If not for the elves' prudent care, it might have broken by itself naturally earlier on.
But now the seed was displaying a power nobody expected.
Absorbing the volcanic forces that the Nature's Magister had gathered to swiftly restore itself, the cracks over it started to shut, its cavities recovered while the seed itself slowly expanded.
Soon, the wooden ball returned to its original state—a perfect, stark-white seed the size of half a human head.
Overflowing with the vigor of life, the seed swayed slightly in the air as if resonating in this very moment. Then, in the blink of an eye, the chaotic circuits within the violet doorway was smoothed with brute strength, as an endless vast and majestic power akin to a world's incarnation harshly broke through the whimsical dimensional barriers and arrive at the magma karst deep below ground.
As the Nature's Magister and the other elves bowed reverently despite their surprise delight, an ancient but mild voice reverberated through the air.
"My children, there is no need to bow. I am but a derelict deity, unable to comfortably accept your honor."
Father Nature's voice was immensely exhausted; He must have used much power to awaken from His slumber. Still, it spoke with a serene tone to the four elves who were present.
"It is My greatest joy to see that your home is safe and prosperous, and yet still willing to meet me once more. But do not come over—never come over."
Whilst it spoke, the ancient voice appeared able to sense the countless elves that were living in peace at the distant south, even as it spoke with thick cautionary intent.
"Illgner had been exposed to the prying eyes of the Evil Gods. They would invade a second time at any given moment. It is endlessly dangerous here, never approach this place.
"That is why the location of the homeland must never be exposed."
Gradually, the ancient voice became thin and hollow as if about to vanish, why the chaotic circuits in the dimensional passageway slowly reappeared.
"My power is not much, and hence could not say much, but I could still give you—"
As the voice slowly weakened with every word, the people present could still hear the last few words distinctly.
"—one last blessing."
Unlike that voice, a frightening power that even made Joshua naturally assume a vigilant pose simply broke through the doorway once more and flowed into the seed in its entirety.
It was a divine nature power that left even the Nature's Magister astonished. Conjuring the illusory image of a towering tree that held the sky aloft, it then tore apart turning into ever-present specks before being completely absorbed by the seed as if it was a black hole.
Having taken in the divine nature power, various patterns that were at once ripples and gullies started to appear over the smooth skin of the seed. Those patterns were naturally connected to all forces of the land, causing the magma cavern to quickly cool. Soon, the molt started to freeze, its radiance fading, before eventually becoming a simple, dark underground karst.
There were two lights amidst the darkness. One was the dimensional passageway that was slowly dissipating completely.
The other was the World Seed that had recently absorbed divine powers and the energies of an entire magma lake.
Under the illumination of the seed, the Nature's Magister, who almost seemed the same as a normal individual, extended her hand in a daze and took the seed into her own embrace. She caressed the repetitive and orderly nature runes, speechless for the moment.
Father Nature had sternly severed the connection between both words, separating Illgner and Mycroft. The elves had most certainly met their Father God once more, but had in turn lost him forever.
His last blessing was the perfect World Seed. The runes that surfaced over it made it the most complete legacy of nature, while the seed of the divine tree imbued with divine nature power would also benefit the elven race endlessly.
Breathing out a long sigh, the Nature's Magister closed her eyes. Her body could no longer let tears flow, but anyone could hear the complicated emotions within that sigh.
"It's finished," she said softly, her tone unclear if it was one of disappointment, or one of happiness over a fulfilled wish. "Let us return"
The three elven elders shuddered, finally reacting after the incredible sight.
"Yes, ma'am," they replied at once.
And so the party left the cavern.
Joshua, who was leading them, turned to take a long look at the spot where the dimensional doorway vanished as they were about to leave the cave.
"Evil God invasion, huh…" He chewed on the words.
It was the past of the Karlis realm.
It was also the present that the Illgner realm had to stay vigilant against.
It was even more so, the future that the Mycroft realm would eventually encounter.
Starfall Year 834, the Great Mana Tide would arrive. The gods would watch over all of it, as the demons that lurk within the Abyss and the malevolent spirits that wandered the void await the destruction and corruption of another realm.
The day where all life screams and eternally had no rest was about to arrive.
But the man who thought nothing of fate turned to leave the cavern of frozen lava, arriving at the surface.
The knights stared at their liege while the elves awaited the actions of the master of this land.
"Depart," the warrior ordered, standing on top of the black dragon and looking towards the distant south. He knew that everything before was not some trivial dispute—from now onwards was the point that completely changes the world.
He would seize Fate by the throat and change the path of destiny.
With his hand that holds the blade, and a heart burning with incredible flames.
Deep within the volcano, red-black tuff held the entire underground karst aloft. Starry fire-element crystals were congealing on the rocky cracks, while swirling golden magma undulated incessantly as the volcano breathed.