In the Divine Realm, to kill a god is to become one yourself. But who would dare try?
Alex Connor’s life was turned upside down when the god of light Arre summoned him to the world of Lehask. Alex went from being an ordinary high school student who loved fantasy games to living in a true fantasy world. Despite that the only monsters he’d ever killed were on his computer screen, Arre compelled him to kill the Demon King. Against all odds, the former nerd gamer completed the mission, but he was badly wounded and the friends he brought along to help him fell. As payment for his bittersweet victory, the evil avatar attempted to kill him and murdered the girl he loved.
Following his narrow escape from Arre, Alex is found by a powerful mage who hides, heals, and apprentices him. Using transformative magic, Alex makes himself stronger and harder as he plots his revenge. But, to take on the demiurge who betrayed him, he’ll need to be nearly invincible…and ready to face rivals on other planets in the Divine Realm if and when he becomes a god himself.
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GENRE: Fantasy ISBN: 978-1-925574-84-5 ASIN: B08F4YMF5T Word Count: 119, 331
Who am I?
Well, I am known by my name in my previous world, I am Alex Connor. I was summoned here on the orders of a god, summoned for a specific job, which I accomplished long ago. However, right now, I am fighting an aggressive tangled mass of spiky vines, a magic Monster of the wood element, a tree Monster.
This Monster is called a ‘Living Bramble’, at least that’s what I called it.
The true species name is unknown, even in the ancient lore I read in my free time. This Monster has been unseen, or no one has lived to tell about their encounters, for untold millennia; the time-span was, of course, a guess of mine, but I have read books that cover epochs of knowledge which is both human and inhuman.
The Living Bramble is a ‘cataclysm’ class Monster. So if a normal city was to encounter it, they would be completely wiped out with a very low chance of survivors, which would explain a lack of records.
I barely managed to duck under the lash of an elastic and spiky vine which had been swung at my head while I was zoning out.
Since I was in the middle of combat, I really should concentrate on the situation, instead of ruminating on the past.
With an ear-piercing shriek the sickle-shaped spikes, which grew out of cracks in the highly flexible bark covering the vine, slashed deep grooves into the stone wall behind me.
The Monster screamed in anger as it got annoyed by the fact that I was much faster than it.
Ahh, fighting like this really got the blood pumping.
I had been told before that I was a combat freak, a ‘muscle brain’, and of course, I punched the idiot who called me that.
While this fight may seem deadly serious from an outside perspective– both the Monster and I were bleeding and my clothing was torn so badly that a beggar would give me money to buy better clothes–but I was only playing around.
I hadn’t even started using magic, which was my forte. I wished to test myself and fight this powerful creature while only relying purely on my physical capabilities.
The monster kept lashing at me and I enjoyed the oppressive feeling of powerful killing intent being directed at me. I also got a minor sense of danger when I waited to dodge until the last possible second.
The Living Bramble may be incredibly powerful, but it isn’t the most dangerous ‘cataclysm’ class monster out there. It only fought using its whip-like, spiky vines to attack its enemies. While its vines numbered in the hundreds and could stretch to impossible lengths, its attack patterns were predictable.
As the fight dragged on, I found myself laughing because of the adrenaline and dopamine surging through my body. I love this feeling, this sense of happiness and freedom.
This fight was a fun one.
The Living Bramble also used its vines for propulsion.
When I fought without magic, relying on my physical abilities, I fought using a dagger in each hand. It was the style that Master taught me, what she was famous for when she was a Shadow, a fanatic follower of a famous and deadly order of assassins. This was before she was discovered by an incredibly powerful mage and taught their skills, becoming a powerful mage herself, thousands of years ago.
It would be difficult to run away if I wanted to, the speed of this monster’s appendages were faster than the speed of sound. While this was very fast, it was still within a manageable speed for me to run away from, it would just be difficult.
I am not really an average person, anymore.
Because of the amount of times the Living Bramble had attacked me, and I had subsequently dodged or deflected the vines, massive rents and holes pitted the stone walls and floor of the corridor in which we were fighting.
Ducking under a rebound attack, I stepped forwards and slashed my primary dagger into the thickest cluster of vines, as near to the main trunk as I could reach. I didn’t get too close, I kept a buffer between me and the Monster, so I could jump back if needed.
There was a soft, sickening, squishing noise as the vine cluster was separated from the trunk. When it hit the ground, it began to spasm and writhe convulsively.
The thick white ooze was highly acidic and started to eat through what little remained of my shirt.
Luckily, the enchantments on my dagger were strong enough to protect it from the corrosion. The sap just oozed off the blade and dripped onto the floor, leaving smoking craters.
My skin started itching a burning a little, but I was used to this level of pain, so my nerves just tuned it out. This acid wasn’t strong enough to do more than just eat through the first few layers of skin, stopped by the magical energy that flowed through my veins.
The Living Bramble shrieked again, all of its remaining vines slashed at me in an instinctive, and pain driven, counterattack. It seems to have lost its sense of reasoning and was now acting like a blood-crazed fiend.
Well, a more blood-crazed fiend than it was before.
This reaction hindered my ability to predict the trajectories of its movements as easily as I could before. However, because of Master’s very strict training, I managed to deflect most of the attacks that I couldn’t dodge.
While the Monster was in control, I had to watch the patterns and predict changes. But since it lost control, I just had to match it in pure speed and timing.
Master had taught me this simple skill rather early on.
I finally got bored of the fight, and the timing was right, the Monster slipped up and showed an opening.
Jumping over the vine aimed at my waist, I took the chance and lunged in towards it. My fore-hand dagger was swinging at another vine cluster and my back-hand dagger guarded against the scythe-like spike aimed for my face.
Managing to sever a few vines, I turned my swing into a stab, my dagger piercing deeply into the Living Bramble’s main stalk. Again, the Monster let out a shriek.
I could feel dampness on my neck, and when I checked out what it was, it seems that my ears had begun to bleed.
Ignoring the annoying noise of the shrieking plant, the minor physical damage, and the acid that had begun to spray and covered me from head to toe, I Flash Stepped forwards and swung my blade.
The dagger was already partially embedded in the primary trunk, I just had to apply a sideways force, and the main body was completely bisected.
The Living Bramble died.
Flash Stepping was one of my trump cards when it came to melee combat.
By applying a massive kinetic blast under my foot as I stepped forwards, I increased my speed exponentially for a split second, the movement came very close to teleportation.
This was a well-known Elven Ranger technique, so I was careful to not use it around anyone. The Humans and Elves have a very rocky relationship and I could be hunted down as either someone illegally trained by Elves, or someone with access to Elven military knowledge.
Both sides would probably be trying to hunt me down, either to kill or capture me.
“Finally. Good fight, plant.” I muttered to myself as I cast a minor Anchoring Charm onto the end of a rope, attaching it to the ceiling. I wrapped the other end of the rope around the plant and hoisted it up, hanging it upside-down from the dilapidated ceiling.
The sap was a valuable Alchemy reagent, and since I had some spare enchanted Alchemy vials, I decided to collect as much as I could.
The sap was both valuable because I used it when I played around with Alchemy, and Elven master and grand-master Alchemists used it. However, humanity’s skill in Alchemy was much too low to know how to utilize it. But even the sap of the lower Ranked Monster–the ‘Vine Lasher’, which was A-Ranked–had the same worth as a small city.
After the sap was drained from the Living Bramble’s body, and my vials were filled, I placed them into my Spatial Ring.
It had been around a year since I had last travelled in a party, and after traveling alone for so long, I had developed a habit of talking to myself.
Well, I had been speaking to myself since before I was summoned to this world. But when I was moving and operating alone, I spoke to myself almost constantly, to fill the silence.
Master always said that: “Your own company is the best company”.
She always said that this saying was how she managed to stay sane during the centuries that she had been exiled, living alone on a secluded mountain deep in the Dark Lands.
Anyway, why was I fighting Monsters, each of which were ‘Calamity’ class and could easily destroy a medium sized city by themselves?
I had heard rumours of a very powerful, and long lost magic that could be found here in this old, abandoned, and slightly spooky temple.
The monsters, with their speed that was faster than sound, their bodies so tough that most weaponry would be barely able to scratch them. They were Monsters so tough that only a Human army with around a couple hundred thousand soldiers and a few dozen covens of Archmages could have the chance of driving off.
As for why I could kill them…I was a Monster myself. I had Master’s training, combined with many Forbidden Magic ceremonies and spells which had changed and enhanced my body.
Luckily, I still looked human. I may be a Monster in physical and magical capabilities, but I hadn’t changed much on the outside.
Because of these enhancements, unless I was attacked by something on the level of a demi-god or Ancient Monster, I could fight back. Even if I couldn’t win, I could still escape and live to fight another day. Purely judging by the power I could wield, I could flatten entire countries if I wished to.
I could do all of this, and I may have done so before…If I wished to put in that much effort into doing something that, in the end, wouldn’t really change how Humanity functions…how the parasites that belonged to that race acted. One country may fall, but the atrocities of the humans would still continue in other countries.
These Cataclysm class monsters weren’t threats to my life, but I had the habit to seal my power, so that I could have fun and not be bored out of my mind. I wouldn’t unseal my full power unless I either really needed it, or if I had someone to protect.
It’s lonely at the top.
But even with my full power, I couldn’t protect or save Master.
Inside this temple, I had found a lot of plant Monsters, which ranged from ‘Living Brambles’, to ‘Miasma Hedges’. Of course, these were just my names for these Monsters.
These Monsters were beyond rare, and beyond powerful by Humanity’s classifications. Monsters were rated by the intercontinental association called the Adventurer’s Guild, they were arranged into ranks denoted by letters of the alphabet for the weaker ones.
The ratings were, in order of weakest to strongest: E, D, C, B, A, S for monsters found in normal and inhabited places. The next rankings were in the Adventurer’s Guild records, but registered as myths: SS, SSS, and Divine.
The Calamity Rank was one that was debated and didn’t really fit into the ranking. It was an intermediate stage between S and SS, but no one could decide on an exact power, other than it was much stronger than S-Ranked but couldn’t wield the special skills of an SS-Ranked Monster.
An ordinary person, with some training, could kill an E-Ranked Monster. The Monsters Ranked C and above would usually require a small party of four Adventurers of a similar Rank to kill them, or two Adventurers one rank above.
This didn’t take into account powerful equipment or spells.
Even the Demon King, the being which threatened the whole civilized world, outside the Dark Lands, was only high Calamity-Rank. They were almost SS-Ranked, but he couldn’t use the Demonic special skills.
SS-Ranked beings, and the Ancient Monsters in the Dark Lands, could use species and specialization specific special skills.
Long ago I had wondered why the rankings were like this, and Master told me that the guilds had been formed by Heroes summoned from other worlds. A lot of the human civilization was influenced by these interlopers.
My journey was finally almost completed, after weeks of fighting these Calamity-Ranked Monsters, I had managed to traverse the dead city, and enter the temple contained deep within.
It took me a month to track down the city, a week to kill enough monsters to get into the temple, and this was my third day inside the temple itself.
At the end of the corridor–the walls and floor of which were shattered and cratered because of my fight–stood two massive wooden doors. The wood was reinforced with some form of pitch-black and wet looking metal, which I couldn’t identify.
Master had taught me to not charge aimlessly and uninformed into unknown situations, so even after defeating the final plant Monster I was cautious enough to unleash a large Grimoire worth of searching and probing magics as I approached the doors.
Once I had gotten the results back from the spells, and they said that there was nothing bad around, I finally walked towards my final goal, whatever lay behind those doors.
It was only a few meters away from me, I approached slowly and carefully, taking almost two minutes.
I gently touched the doors. The wood, though ancient, was incredibly tough and hadn’t decayed. The metal was uncorroded and it didn’t feel as damp as it looked, it was smooth and strangely warm. It also had tiny flecks of gold in it, flecks that couldn’t be seen from a distance.
Gold was one of the best metals when it came to magic conductivity, almost every magical civilization, past or present, used it for large-scale spells.
Gold was also highly sought after by Inscribers, because as well as conducting magic very well, it also preserved inscribed spells.
When I looked closer, and enhanced my eyesight, I could see that both the metal and the wood were densely packed with runes. The tiny runes were so closely packed and designed in such a way that it looked like normal metal and wood.
For the next hour I studied the inscriptions, deciphering what I could. I had long learned the hard way to not barge unprepared into a room that was protected by powerful runes and inscriptions. However, the arrays on this door were primarily for the preservation of the contents of the room, as well as to lock and seal the door. The inscribed runes also protected the door from almost all forms of damage, they were more powerful than any I had seen before, but they didn’t seem dangerous.
Reciting the opening phrase that I had found in a hidden chamber in the temple, I slowly pushed the doors open. Opening them millimetre by millimetre, activating my strongest defensive magics.
I noticed that the hinges didn’t squeak, even after not moving for an unknown amount of time.
The preservation spell is very powerful.
Once the doors were open, I cast ‘Omni-record’, to get me a copy of the magic so that I could study it in depth later. All of the runes, compressed and layered millions deep were copied into a small, special, notebook that I kept in a special folded space in my Spatial Ring.
The open doors revealed what was hidden behind them.
What was hidden was a mostly empty stone room.
The room was strangely silent, I couldn’t even hear the noises inside my body, including my heartbeat, which would usually be obvious in a silent room.
The strong smell of dust made my highly sensitive nose itch.
Looking up, I noticed that the dome-shaped ceiling was covered in a bright and well-preserved fresco. Though strangely, the faces of the people depicted within it were somehow obscured.
The ceiling was held up by marble pillars, inlaid with gold and set with strange patterns and brackets in which jewels sat.
The stone walls were covered by well-preserved murals, the paint was so colourful and clear that it seemed as though it had been painted only a day before.
The paintings showed a story.
From what I could read, the story was the life of a man. The man was born into a poor farming family, he grew up, following in the footsteps of his family and helping on the farm. Until a war broke out and he was press-ganged into an army when he was sixteen.
I couldn’t identify any of the symbols on their flags, so they were some long-lost people.
He fought in the war and worked his way up through the ranks.
Soon, people noticed that he had talent, so he was recruited by a church of some kind. He became a squire at eighteen, and managed to become a Paladin by the time he was around twenty.
The war was still going on, and the other side started summoning Demons and other monstrosities.
As a Paladin, he became well renowned for killing Monsters and enemy summons that others couldn’t.
His enemies became more and more powerful as time passed.
By the time I had finished a complete loop of the room, reading the frescoes, he was challenging a god on its throne. I found myself admiring this man, a commoner born who killed god; a mortal who fought for immortality and killed a deity.
I had finally finished circling the room, and read the entire mural that was much too big for such a small chamber. I arrived at a large throne which was in front of the stone wall, a throne that hadn’t been there when I first entered the room.
The throne seemed to be constructed completely from Onyx, however, there was a strange crimson discolouration inside it.
Placed on the seat of the throne was a small leather-bound book, and a golden key that seemed to shimmer in and out of my vision. The book’s cover had golden lettering on it, but I didn’t know what it said, I put it into my Spatial Ring.
I picked up the key and held it in my hand.
Now, I need to find the lock which this key unlocks.
‘For every key, there is a lock’. This saying had been proven true many times while I was exploring many lost and forgotten sanctuaries, caves, cities, and vaults which were filled with magic and lore of days long gone.
It wasn’t very difficult to locate the lock, it was situated in the stone wall directly behind the throne.
After taking a close look at the keyhole, I trusted the Goddess of Luck and inserted it.
Pushing the key in until it clicked, I gave it a turn.
With a harsh grating, the door which was skillfully constructed into the unassuming stone wall opened, it had been hiding with illusion magic that even I couldn’t break.
Either the preservation magic on the door was weaker than that on the main entrance or it was designed that way, because it made a loud noise, unlike the quiet entrance door.
Inside the aperture was a deep and gloomy darkness, but that was no problem for an enhanced human, and mage like me.
Well, I say mage, but I was closer to a battle-mage. I used enchanted daggers or short swords, but I used magic to reinforce my body and boosting my physical capabilities to upper Cataclysm-Ranked levels even with my normal seals in place.
It was only when enemies were much stronger than me, or if I wanted to finish the fight quickly, that I used my magic. In combat anyway. I used magic for convenience fairly often.
I created a Fire Glyph with a thought, and a partially transparent and ghostly Glyph appeared and floated in the air behind me for less than a second. With a soft ‘Poof’ sound, the Glyph disappeared and ten massive fireballs appeared instead, floating behind me in an array.
Each individual fireball was the size of an average house cat, and I modified the spell so that they changed their array to orbit around me, floating a meter above me.
They lit up the darkness.
Of course, I could have used a normal light spell.
However this struck me as being irreverent to such an incredible place.
The dusty room was empty.
But there were large words carved deeply into the wall at the back of the room. The words were written in the Ancient Language of Magic, which squirmed and rearranged itself as I looked at it. I had only ever seen this a few times, one of which was in the Demon King’s archives, the other in a few of Master’s books.
The words were terrible for people with dyslexia.
The language was extremely strange. As I read them, I felt a powerful intent pulling at my soul. It felt like my soul was going to be ripped out of my body, the intent was so powerful that I could feel a physical pull.
If anyone with a weak soul, or less magic power looked at these words, their soul would immediately be torn out. If I looked at the words for too long, even I would have damage occur.
The stolen souls and magic power would be used to sustain and enhance the intent in the room, strengthening it even more.
But, what was written on the wall were some of the secret Ways to Apotheoses, the ways for mortals to ascend to Godhood.
These were those long lost and profane secrets:
The first and most common method to ascend is to collect Faith energy from worshipers and followers. To do this, one must perform deeds of great valour and repute, gaining the worship of citizens. One must become an unrivalled hero, or an all-powerful emperor of an eternal empire. There, however, is a weakness to this Path. If the number of worshipers decrease below a certain amount and the input of Faith energy decreases, the god will descend to mortality. Or in the worst case, the god would lose everything, including sentience, and become a Fade.
The second Path is to collect negative energy, taken from fear and hatred. This Path has the same weakness as the first Path.
The third Path is for the Seeker to give up on their race, using long lost and powerful transformation magics to take the form of a creature that naturally achieves deityhood when it reaches maturity. A few examples are the Dragons and the Phoenixes. Polymorph or illusion spells, as well as temporary transformations will not work, and the Seeker soul power must reach a certain level to match their form or they will die.
The final method is to collect an army or the favour of other gods and kill a deity, consuming the divinity of a fallen or dead god will allow the Seeker to Ascend. The Seeker will be faced with the choice to take over the dead god’s Domain, with the previous power, or they could form their own Domain from scratch. This new Domain however would be very weak for centuries, leaving the new deity in a very weak and dangerous position.
This was very dangerous knowledge, if it fell into the wrong hands.
Hands like mine.
I can understand why the Intent protecting this place is so strong, and why the Monsters in and around the city were ridiculously strong.
And I had removed this protection.
There was no way I could undo that now, but on my way out I will lay stronger protection magics–Stronger than the currently decayed magic, but not even close to the original magic which was laid both by a lost civilization and a god.
However, these weren’t the only Paths to apotheosis that I had ever found, but they were the only non-fragmented ones. The other ones that I had found had pieces concealed purposely or otherwise, pieces missing, which was to increase the difficulty in utilizing them.
This was the only one that I found that listed the weaknesses for the first two Paths, which I had long guessed, but this officially verified my guesses.
Of the recorded Paths, the only one that I couldn’t utilize was the third one. Because I had done quite a few full and partial transformations, all of which were permanent and I was no longer sure what species I was and I couldn’t become a pure Ancient Godbeast like a Dragon or Phoenix.
To become an Ancient Godbeast, you have to be a pure and unaltered being of a species, and could not have Demonic or Abyssal forms or spells mixed in.
I wasn’t the sort of person who would follow Path one or two, because they needed enormous amounts of upkeep and effort, and to be completely honest, I was fairly lazy.
The fourth Path was the most feasible, because I had already had a grudge against a certain bastard of a god. I had decided long ago to kill him, to toss him into the depths of hell, to consume his divinity while he still lived and looked on in horror.
There was also the added bonus that I could achieve godhood from that, but he did rule a Domain that I hated, so I am not sure if I could stomach ruling that.
I now knew that I could give up the Domain and form my own, but what happens to the left over power I don’t know. Luckily, now I had read these Paths, I could be better prepared for when the time comes.
However, these were all worries for the future, I wasn’t yet on the level of killing deities…yet. I still struggle against Demigods, well, with enough preparation time, I can run away.
My plan was to gather an army, or very powerful companions.
Because if I could kill enough priests and worshipers of Arre, and wipe out enough of humanity, I would weaken him and force him to come out and play.
Looking away from the writing, before it overcame my defenses and consumed my soul, I cast ‘Omni-Record’. I recorded the writing into my notebook, which was enchanted by Master herself, so it could defeat an ancient and weakened Intent.
Going back to the throne room, I decided to act on a feeling. I sat on the throne and took out the leather-bound book. For some reason the language was automatically translated.
It seemed that I had felt the throne calling, which was why I tried this strange idea. The creator of this place placed a spell on the throne so that the book could only be read here.
The book recorded a large list of gods, the Domains they rule, and their weaknesses. This knowledge was thousands of times more valuable than the Paths, it was worth more than anything I had ever seen or heard of.
This was knowledge that Seekers of Apotheosis would use to rise, and new gods would use to overthrow their more powerful companions and to rapidly rise in power, by consuming the dead gods’ Domains.
Though this was ancient knowledge, and the gods may have found ways of defending their weaknesses, no weakness could be completely negated, especially if it was an antithesis.
However, the gods listed in this book would likely now be overthrown or become Elder Gods. Elder Gods had powers that reach levels that I couldn’t even imagine, they had probably even left this backwater world.
I could trade this with one of the current gods for favours, which I would use to destroy the bastard Arre. However, that was a very dangerous gamble and I would only use it as a last resort.
Once I finished reading the book, I stored it back in a sector of folded space in my Spatial Ring, where it was very safe. Even if someone stole it from me, they would have no way of reading it if they didn’t know of this location or how to use it.
It was now time for me to leave this old and ruined temple.