There were definitely a few events in Vaunte’s long history that were destined to shine like bright stars in the night sky, but the most glorious of these was undoubtedly the legend in the Pale Poem about the Azure Knight who started the age of mortals with his lance.
The Kirrultz people wrote about the beginning of the world in a historical poem, a world that was born from imagination.
At the beginning of everything, the world was in a state of chaos, surrounded by water and wind, fire and lightning. The first creatures were born in the water and multiplied on land. They were then blessed by the wind and given wisdom by the fire.
From her mouth, Marsha uttered the name Nainta. The six elements that surrounded the world were light, darkness, wind, water, fire, and earth. Fourteen thousand gods were also formed in the original rules to govern everything.
Everything was a success.
In the first epoch before the glory, the gods built kingdoms above the clouded earth, and giant towers through the heavens connected the kingdoms of mortals and gods.
But then, all hell broke loose.
This was an account that began with the Pale Poem. Players had repeatedly speculated that this war was the war between the Gods, the Golden Race, and the Twilight Dragon.
It was a history that Vaunte had long since been far removed from, and the rivalry between all Wise Beings and the Twilight Dragon seemed to have existed since before the beginning of the Era. After the first epoch collapsed, subsequent accounts of the Azure Knights appeared for the first time in history.
The historical poem read:
The Azure Knight shouted out to the mountains, "Mountains, I challenge you!", and the mountains answered him, “Let the ice and snow be added to his shoulders, let the wind make it impossible for him to move forward, let the fog cloud his vision, let the cold rob him of his right hand and eyes.”
However, the Azure knight was destined to be the owner of that lance.
The hero stood above the lofty mountain, firm and unshaken, one year after another.
The mountains whispered, “Behold, this is the master of the lance.” They bowed down and called him king.
That lance was the Holy Lance that shattered the heavens and pierced the heart of the Twilight Dragon, causing the stars to fall to the earth, leading to the beginning of the Second Mortal Age.
The Holy Lance, the Vault of the Heavens. Everyone present was familiar with this account. Whether they be human or elf, knight or princess, or even a witch, it was as if they had been told all this at birth. This was a piece of history known to everyone who lived on the continent, whether it was a farmer in the middle of nowhere or an educated nobleman, no one was ignorant about it.
That history was from so long ago that it seemed like a legend. However, it was a truthful account, and the stars in the sky could bear witness to this.
Legend mentioned that the Holy Lance is nine feet long with a tip like a pike, and its entire body is like an emerald, hence the name Azure Lance. After the Azure Knight fell alongside the Twilight Dragon, the Min’er people retrieved the weapon from the Great Plains east of Sansoro in present-day Kirrultz and carved the lance into the blade that cut through the heavens and caused the stars to fall to the earth with a motto in honor of the hero who saved Vaunte.
That Lance was exactly the same as the one that Brendel's men were seeing now, no less.
"This...this is?" The knights could not help but be dumbfounded.
All of them were reluctant to believe that the legendary weapon would suddenly appear in front of them, which caught them off guard. One widely circulated legend mentioned that when the Twilight Dragon died, the Min’er people who followed the dragon carried the Azure Lance into the depths of the glacier and buried it.
But what is this in front of our eyes?
Brendel only felt his mind buzzing.The most famous weapon of Amber Sword was undoubtedly the Amber Sword that was said to be able to fight against the fate of all things and the world, but the Holy Lance of Heaven and the Amber Sword were both weapons that belonged to the Azure Knight and had likewise left an illustrious name in history.
As a matter of fact, when it came to the extent to which the legend has spread, the Azure Lance’s fame was more far-reaching than the Amber Sword. Even in Aouine and Kirrultz, there were very few people who knew of the existence of the Amber Sword and these were either home-schooled nobles or knowledgeable scholars.
But, the crux of the matter was...
Somehow, it was here.
Brendel knew that the Holy Lance of Heaven had also been counterfeited more than once throughout Vaunte’s history and there were even several huge hoaxes that revolved around this famous lance. The reason was simple: because it had never appeared throughout history. Since the fall of the Azure Knight till the collapse of the Darkness Dragon Odin's Dark Reign, it was as though it had disappeared from history and had never appeared again.
For a weapon with such a lofty reputation to be buried in history so silently, no matter how you look at it, it was abnormal. Because of this, it attracted the interests of many players. Brendel also knew that many guilds were privately searching for the whereabouts of the Azure Lance.
And yet, surprisingly, it was here.
"...Might… might it be a fake?" Her Royal Highness the Princess of Aouine held the highest title among them, and was the most knowledgeable. She was the first to react, questioning with an uncertain tone.
That was also Brendel's initial reaction, but that wave of oppression reverberating in the hall made it difficult to dismiss it as a fake. Crucially, his first thought was whether the Witch Queen who had long been sleeping under Trentheim could have been the one who had brought the Azure Lance here.
But why didn't she tell Romaine?
However, he immediately dismissed the conjecture, as this relic of the Ampere Seale Underground was clearly a lot older. That is to say, the Azure Lance had probably been resting in this place long before then.
But how could the witches’ heritage have anything to do with this place? Brendel couldn't help but look back at Babasha. Even the old witch herself had a look of disbelief. "Perhaps...perhaps it was the Lord Darkness Dragon who hid it here?" Babasha replied telepathically.
That statement didn't convince Brendel. He felt that there was something wrong with it. Soon enough, the majestic power outside awakened Sanorso, The Wind Empress, who couldn't help but let out a low cry when she looked at the lance in the hall. "Ah, you've found the Azure Lance!"
But then, she immediately caught herself and rebuked. "Brendel, what this witch said is absolutely impossible."
"Why?" Brendel couldn't help but be relieved to see that the elfin mistress hadn't played petty at this crucial moment. The Wind Empress grunted coldly. ''If Odin had the Amber Sword or the Azure Lance, how could we have won? Brendel, you severely underestimate the power of a divine weapon."
Right. It was only then that Brendel came to a realization. It turned out that this was what he felt was out of place. Whether it was the Azure Lance or the Amber Sword, both of them were real weapons that existed.
The power possessed by the divine weapons in Vaunte was transcendent and had long since left the realm of mortal imagination. In a war such as the Battle of the Saints, where hundreds of races were involved, the most powerful forces in the world came together, but the only divine weapon that appeared was the Flaming Blade.
The power of the artifacts could change history and they would only appear when history is at a major turning point. It was like what was written in the Pale Poem.
The first kings were given swords and they forged the Covenant of the Gods with the Wise Beings to rebel against the reign of the Darkness Dragon.
That was yet another saga for another time.
"Your Highness, I'm just afraid we'll have to retrieve it to be able to see whether it is the genuine article." Brendel heard one of the Lantonilan Knights suggest this.
He looked back and saw Her Highness frowning. "Retrieve it? How are we going to retrieve it?" she asked rhetorically.
The question made everyone go quiet. Hanging in this hall was potentially the most powerful holy artifact since the first epoch. Its power could not only change the fate of a kingdom, but even an entire continent. The question was, wouldn’t there be any traps set next to such a powerful divine weapon?
Assuming that it wasn’t a trap, on its own, it was powerful enough to turn people that harbor evil intent into dust. Furthermore, who did not have a selfish agenda and was brave enough to go up and bring this Holy Lance of Heaven down? Or rather, who in the room thought that they were comparable to the Azure Knight?
The knights couldn't help but stare at each other and Brendel soon found all eyes falling on himself. The witches, the knights, and even Her Highness Gryphine looked at him without saying a word. The meaning of those gazes was obvious.
If it was fate that brought everyone here, then the most qualified person here to pick up the lance was undoubtedly Brendel.
However, Brendel internally swore. How could it be so easy to be fated to hold a divine weapon? While it may seem awesome for a divine weapon to recognize its owner, most people who thought this way suffer a miserable fate. If he really was Brendel, he might have his heart set on it, but half the soul in his body was that of a player, and he knew exactly what that was.
An actual divine weapon.
The Eternal Holy Lance.
He hesitated and asked cautiously, ''Your Highness, I get what you’re trying to say but how long do you think it would take if we were to take this holy lance down?"
The princess looked at him, puzzled. "Can't we just take it?"
Brendel suddenly realized that the princess seemed to know nothing about it. But then again, how could a mortal have many opportunities to learn about divine weapons? Those things seem to be some illusory, unattainable existence.
He had no choice but to explain it to her. "More or less. First of all, the divine weapon has its own will. Secondly, this hall is definitely filled with traps, and collecting the divine weapon is an extremely dangerous and time-consuming thing unless someone can resonate with it and make it automatically recognize its master."
"Do we have that much time to waste?" Princess Gryphine couldn't help but frown. Hearing Brendel’s reasoning, she also seemed to realize that the problem was that they didn’t have that much time to waste on this place.
"I'm just afraid not." Brendel shook his head as expected.
The crux of the matter wasn’t this; acquiring the divine weapon was a very dangerous job. If they were successful in this gamble, all their problems would naturally be solved. With a divine weapon such as the Azure Lance, once its power was mastered, it would be effortless to drive those demons and cavemen on the surface back to their homeland.
But the problem was that if they fail, there would be no chance for Aouine to start again.
The wise princess obviously thought of this as well and she immediately thought of another question. "Brendel, how about the cavemen outside?"
Brendel knew she meant to ask if the cavemen out there had come for this too. Suddenly it seemed plausible to him, but where did the demons get the news from?
"So is it safe to put it here?" After thinking about it for a moment, Her Royal Highness still gritted her teeth and somewhat reluctantly asked.
Brendel could only look to Babasha when it came to this question.
The old witch also felt uneasy as she was unsure as well. It was the Holy Lance of Heaven, a weapon that existed countless centuries ago and was mythical enough to defeat the Darkness Dragon. In that era, the Silver Race was only cannon fodder. It might have been even earlier in time, when the gods still roamed the earth.
Still, she steadied herself and nodded. "My lord, no one but us can come in here."
That was enough. Of all the people present, Brendel was certainly the most qualified one. The player in him could only see the Holy Lance of Heaven as a mere weapon with great power. So what if it was a divine weapon? In the end, it was just a piece of equipment.
Of course with that being said, Brendel still wasn't fully confident in his decision. He could only turn back and try not to look at the thing. "In that case, everyone just forget about it for now," he told everyone,
He glanced sternly at those present, especially the knights of Lantonilan. He wasn't afraid of the Azure Lance falling into the hands of the cavemen of Jorgendy Ridge. But if this news were to get out, Aouine could be in hot water.
The knights understood Brendel’s decision and vowed never to spread the word. Brendel didn’t really pay attention to their vows since he already knew how to handle it when everything finally calmed down.
A player's means was not something these guys could imagine.
Brendel then led the crowd out of the hall but everyone looked distracted. The shock of seeing the Azure Lance was beyond words. Even Brendel had a hard time understanding the special feelings the first settlers held for that piece of history.
It was as though figures from those myths suddenly appeared before his very eyes and told him that everything in the past had truly happened.
He could faintly see the same implication from the thoughtful eyes of the Princess.
As he was about to leave the hall, Brendel suddenly remembered something else. To his knowledge, the power of divine artifacts were capable of changing history and they would only appear when history was at a major turning point.
In recent history, the Flame King acquired the Flaming Blade Oderfeiss at the Great Plains and subsequently forged a Holy Covenant with the Wise Beings to rebel against the Darkness Dragon’s rule.
So what did the appearance of the Azure Lance in Aouine indicate? At least he knew that the fate carried by the Azure Lance would never be to save this ancient kingdom.
However, Brendel was terrified.
Just as Lady Medusa Lysemeka was unaware of the great change that had been birthed in the underground of this vast harbor, Brendel was equally unaware of the situation above ground.
The beautiful lady raised her head and looked into the rainy sky to see a golden-red glow float up before the bull-headed Minotaur and her.
Her beautifully prismatic pupils reflected a magnificent red color. A huge light gate cut across half the sky, forming a giant Door of Flame tens of meters in diameter in the pouring rain.
Then, a demon with three heads, a pair of huge fleshy wings and a flaming red body slowly stepped out from behind the door. Even though the portal was huge, the demon had to hunch its back and squeeze through the portal. In fact, its massive horns could barely even get through.
Lysmeka looked cautiously at the behemoth then respectfully greeted it. "Honorable Lord Mesika, you have finally arrived. Lord Varab has been waiting for a long time."
The massive demon looked at her, revealing an expression that could hardly be described as a smile and replied gruffly. "What about the preparations by that bunch of bugbears?"
"Naturally, it is ready my lord."
The Min’er language. Vaunte did not refer to the first and second epoch of the Kirrultz calendar. The first era, which according to the players testimony, should precede the Chaotic Ages. And the beginning of the second era was the beginning of the Chaotic Ages.
But a different name was adopted by the other races, one that seemed far more tranquil than humanity’s definition.