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Chrysalis

Anthony has been reborn! Placed into the remarkable game-like world of Pangera. However, something seems a little off. What's with these skills? Bite? Dig? Wait.... I've been reborn as a WHAT?! Follow Anthony as he attempts to adjust to his new life, to survive and grow in his new Dungeon home!

RinoZ · Fantasy
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1257 Chs

Chapter 1299 - Anthony On Tour - Nineteen Is Such a Lonely Number

[You've hinted that there are deep and powerful secrets or whatever. Things that Granin and his fellow worm-enthusiasts don't want to tell me. Is that a fair statement?]

[A serviceable summation,] the ka'armodo nods. [The followers of Yarrum are more… conservative when it comes to spreading certain truths. Those of my order are known to be more open.]

[Hence the name, I suppose.]

[Yes, the Red Truth, granted to the founder of my cult by the Demon God himself, thousands of years ago during the cataclysm.]

[So… all of the various cults are aware of this secret?]

[To some extent. As I said, some of the cults are more cautious, only sharing the knowledge with a few within the inner circle. It is possible your friend Granin does not even know what I am about to tell you.]

Ancient knowledge that Granin doesn't possess? I suppose I never even considered the possibility that not all cultists are equally informed. Obviously, I'm going to have to run all of this back past the big rockhead the next time I see him, but for now I'm keen to get some answers, finally.

[Well, I suppose I have two main questions. First, why the heck the Ancients are so keen to get another member of the club. Second, who specifically is responsible for the Call. I want to take a bite out of them.]

The setsulah, Ammon'sil, doesn't respond well to my casual threats against the Ancients.

[You had best show some res—]

Rassan'tep snorts, and the robed servant freezes on the spot.

[I apologise for this behaviour, Anthony. I will speak to my setsulah about proper conduct at a later time.]

My antennae wave a little uncomfortably.

[Look, don't be hard on the guy. The Ancients are essentially gods to you, right? I probably shouldn't run my mouth so much. I'm just not all that happy about having the Call applied to me. It's rather painful.]

And I FULLY intend to bite whoever is responsible.

[You are correct, the Ancients are godlike beings to us, and if we seek to push you up to that high seat, then you too are worthy of a measure of respect. For you to threaten or insult them is different than if I were to do so; after all, you may become their peer.]

The lizard-wizard gives himself a brief shake, sending his jewellery rattling. Once he settles, the servants around him move quickly to ensure all of the tapestries, rugs and jewellery hanging off him are properly aligned before stepping away again.

[Though we are not in a position to ask the Ancients directly, we believe that only one of them is responsible for applying the Call to promising monsters. That is Odren the Father of Monsters.]

Huh. Just like that?

[Odren, eh? Why do they call him the father of monsters anyway?]

[His cultists would tell you he is the first monster ever spawned within the Dungeon, though nobody else shares that particular belief. Certainly, he is amongst the oldest of your kind.]

[He is not my kind. Unless he's an ant. Is he an ant?]

[No.]

Then screw that guy.

[Odren has mastered a form of magic closely related to the Dungeon itself, turning pure mana into monsters. Using these techniques, he is able to send his awareness spiralling through the Dungeon, using the veins of mana that touch every rock, every pebble and every grain of sand to observe monsters, no matter where they are.

[What criteria he uses, we do not know, nor can I explain more of the method involved, because as far as I am aware, Odren is the only one to utilise it. To know more, you would have to find members of his cult, The Cult of Origins.]

That's… kind of creepy. He's keeping tabs on every monster in the Dungeon? I doubt it. If anything, he's probably latching onto monsters who are stronger than those around them, or something along those lines. I refuse to believe one monster could process that much information. There are billions of demon larvae alone!

[Alright… that was fairly painless. What about the other question?]

[This answer, the Red Truth itself, is dangerous knowledge. Are you sure you want to know?]

Asking me this now? I mean, under normal circumstances, I don't really care what the Ancients want, because why should I? Now that I'm here, though? Asking this is just insulting!

[Spit it out, Rassan'tep. Don't try and act all spooky and mysterious at this point.]

[To answer your question fully, we must discuss the formation of the Dungeon itself. We know that people lived on the surface of this world long before the Dungeon opened itself. Our understanding of that period of history is sourced only from the scraps of knowledge given by the Ancients themselves. They were the only creatures to have survived from the early formation of the Dungeon.

[It began in the centre of Pangera, where the mana is thickest, and slowly spread its tendrils outwards. Monsters born in those times were powerful, emerging from the thickest mana in the planet, and they quickly began to fight amongst themselves. Battles that would shake continents and topple mountain ranges were common occurrences. Only the mightiest survived and began to carve out their own territory.

[So it was for many, many centuries. Very rarely was a newcomer able to rise up and overthrow one of these tyrants, the early Ancients, but it did happen. Slowly, the Dungeon expanded outwards, adding new strata, until eventually it reached the surface.]

I know all of this, pretty much. Ancients stuck in the middle of the world, unable to rise, as the Dungeon slowly expanded, until the mana surged, and the Rending began.

[I mean, this much is basically common knowledge, right? Well, common amongst the people who know about this stuff, anyway.]

[I am merely providing context. For many in this world, the Rending was the time all of modern history began. The old kingdoms were torn apart by a flood of monsters and the Dungeon Age began, new empires rising from the ashes. However, at that time, the Truth had already been discovered.]

Each of the setsulah looks solemn as their master speaks of the Truth. Even Rassan'tep, expressionless scale-face that he is, has an air of gravity. Even I feel like being serious.

[The Red Truth, as told to us by Arconidem during the Rending, is simple. This world is a prison. Despite all of their tremendous power, the Ancients have been unable to breach the wall that separates this place from the rest of existence. They are trapped here, as are all of us.

[When another arises who can match their strength, the Ancients believe they will succeed. By pooling the power of the twentieth Ancient, they will shatter the walls of this prison, and escape into the universe beyond.]