I Became The Pope, Now What? - Chapter 619
The Light Ropes tightened around Julius, catching him off guard. But instead of resisting or striving to be free, he continued to speak with Sylvester. "If the pain never goes away, then what is the point of living?"
Wounded and bleeding profusely, Sylvester clenched his teeth, feeling an invisible force attempting to sever the Light Ropes binding Julius. Yet he managed to respond, "We live in hell, Julius—What do you expect in hell but to be burned and damaged? Yet to live is to aspire to see past this hell—To keep moving forward to see what lies beyond."
"Ugh!" Sylvester groaned, struggling to restrain Julius.
"Haha…" Julius started laughing uncontrollably, almost manically. "Hahaha… What if limitless darkness is all that awaits beyond?"
"Then your journey is not yet finishe—"
The Light Ropes fractured suddenly, producing a crackling noise akin to thunder. The backlash harmed Sylvester, too; he spat blood from his mouth, bracing himself for an imminent attack.
"I have no interest in a journey where I walk alone. If darkness is the only thing I can have, then why shouldn't there be darkness for all?" Boomed Julius and turned back toward Mount Primis. "Your tricks will not work on me—I will kill him and anything that stands in my way."
With a groan, Sylvester lunged forward, desperate to intercept Julius before he could take flight. Light Tiles shattered beneath his urgency as he hastened. "What after you kill him? Only more misery!"
"Then I will embrace misery." Julius soared, his departure reverberating like a tumultuous clap of thunder. Sylvester accelerated, too, but the man was faster.
'If I don't stop him now, he will forever be a nuke ready to destroy the world—Bloodrain must not die.' Despite his severe injuries, Sylvester exerted every ounce of his strength. The frigid, biting wind assaulted his face as he pursued Julius, venturing into the remnants of Mount Primis through the narrow passage.
Everything was collapsing around him. The very earth shook as the fury of a Supreme Wizard was not something nature could bear. Sylvester could visualize Julius upheaving the entire mountain in his restless search for Bloodrain.
Sylvester kept following the scent of rage. "Calm down, Julius! You won't find him here!"
"Then where?" Julius appeared out of nowhere in the tight, body-sized tunnel. He grabbed Sylvester's head and pulled him upwards through the dense stones and earth of Mount Primis. "Where is Bloodrain?"
Once again, Julius dragged Sylvester out in the open sky, this time above the mountain's peak, more than ten thousand meters in the sky.
Grasping Sylvester by his hair, Julius brought him uncomfortably close to his face, his voice thick with menace. "Let me kill him—or die."
Sylvester surveyed the state of the man. Eyes so red he could glimpse blood pooling in the pupils. Julius was a grim spectacle, coated in blood from head to toe, as veins burst open from the surge in blood pressure incited by rage.
The halo returned behind Sylvester's head, and he replied in a painful voice of hymn. Something he hoped would find reason in Julius' heart.
♫The giggles and laughs awaited you at home.
In pursuit of them, throughout Sol you roam.
In the boundless night, yearning for their affection.
Hatred they'll harbor as you tread the wrong direction.♫
A momentary flicker of vulnerability crossed Julius' face as a few tears escaped his eyes. Yet, it was fleeting, for he promptly struck Sylvester square in the face, shattering his nose and fracturing his skull, momentarily robbing him of vision in one eye.
"What makes you so different from the other Popes? Dozens of them came, and dozens of them left—why the misery still plague these lands? Where is your so-called light of Solis? Why is there still such coldness?" Julius questioned Sylvester and raised his fist to strike again. "You are no better, merely younger and even more dangerous!"
Julius punched Sylvester in the face again, hurling him into the vast distance. Sylvester fell down from the great heights. It took him time to return to his senses after the second punch.
'I can't feel the right side of my face.' Sylvester groaned and tried to halt his fall and stand on a Light Tile. 'I cannot win against him a direct battle. There has to be a way to enter his mind.'
"Maxy!" Miraj came from below, panting and fluttering his wings. "I looked for you everywhere! You're bleeding… Let's go away."
"Not yet, Chonky. Stay back now and let me fight—I cannot rely on miracles each time to win." Sylvester said and looked up, forming his light sword again. "Our enemies will keep getting stronger as we go, buddy."
Crafting Light Tiles, Sylvester ascended steadily, aligning with Julius' elevation. "What's left? Your Supreme Void?"
Julius growled and brought his palms together. In the middle, he created a tiny black ball. It was a void so profound that even the blackest black appeared vibrant beside it. "I wanted to let you live, but you invite death. When my void consumes you, do not curse me, for you chose this—to stand where nothing lasts. The void devoures all!"
Sylvester held his ground and watched as Julius did his magic. The dark black ball began to ooze a lot of solarium from it, clearly channeling much of Julius' energy.
'As long as the Void doesn't affect me, he will be the easiest to beat inside it.' Sylvester didn't rush to attack and hoped his four years of training would help.
Then, like a blink, the small ball of darkness in Julius' hands expanded and covered Sylvester inside it. Almost instantly, shadows enveloped him, but he was careful enough to keep a shield of pure, solidified light magic around his body. And from that, he understood an extremely terrifying thing.
'This… Darkness is not related to light.' He realized that the shield he had made reacted as if it was constantly attacked by something unnoticeable but strong. 'This void is trying to eat me and turn me into finer particles.'
"Remarkable that you can withstand my Supreme Void." Julius voiced, floating closer to Sylvester. "But for how long, especially when I unleash my attacks?"
Similar to Sylvester, Julius created a sword of pure dark magic in his hands, seemingly inspired by him. Then, he began to hit the shield.
'Ugh! It's already cracking!' In desperation, Sylvester gasped, attempting to bolster his shield while earning some time to think. 'He has lost control. His strikes are aggressive but mindless.'
The strikes were constant, and the damage was double. The Supreme Void tried to eat his shield, and if it succeeded, he had no doubt he'd be disintegrated into nothingness.
"Haaaa!" Continuously, Julius struck, roaring in madness.
'There is only one option then—I hope this one works.' Sylvester raised his hand toward Julius and rested it on his shield as if reaching for the man's face. 'In this void, I can be the sun.'
The cracks continued to spread across the shield.
However, Sylvester closed his eyes and tried to channel the solarium energy surrounding him through his body, harnessing his elven magic to its fullest extent. In that moment, the training he had received from Nehilius was all that mattered, as the countless civilizations he had conquered were built upon dark magic itself.
First, Sylvester's body became enveloped in a brilliant golden light. Then, a halo formed behind his head, making him appear otherworldly, not human. The entire spherical shield that Sylvester had made started to get filled up with liquid plasma that was light magic as well, similar to the Wrath of Heavens he had mastered.
The radiance was blinding, causing even Julius to squint, but he never ceased his onslaught with the dark sword. However, this time, the shield did not fracture; instead, it began to mend.
'I am the light itself, and the fuel is my spirit—I am its origin and its limit.' Sylvester muttered his observation and lost his mind in the five-meter-wide orb made of pure light plasma. It felt as though the sphere had become his body, and as Julius' Supreme Void disintegrated him, more liquid plasma took its place. He was as boundless as the solarium enveloping him—demanding on his mind and body, yet in harmony with his magic.
"Ha!" Julius tried to slice the orb that covered Sylvester.
However, he received only astonishment as his dark sword clashed against a luminous Light Sword that emerged from the orb. But on another look, the entire surface of the orb on all sides was covered with swords or spears.
"What are you?!" Julius exclaimed in amazement.
Mindlessly, Julius tried to strike, but Sylvester's blades and spears neutralized him. Certainly, he wasn't as potent as Julius, but every time his orb got damaged, more solarium replenished the spot.
Gradually, Julius began to pant from exhaustion and retreated. He raised his hands high and conjured enormous spears of dark elemental magic, hurling them toward Sylvester.
Sylvester's radiant magic orb dissolved the pure dark magical energy, consuming it as if it were a feast.
Julius attempted various dark elemental attacks, from physical to occult, but nothing proved effective. No runes, no incantations worked against the orb that had now become Sylvester's body.
Like an eternal, ethereal sun in the sky, emanating immense blinding light and energy, its swords and spears resembling solar flares.
"The sun!" At last, Julius muttered what he felt.
"You are right." Sylvester, from within the shield of light around him, voiced. His voice got muffled due to the liquid light and came out as echoey and otherworldly. His voice became muffled due to the liquid light, emerging as an eerie and otherworldly echo. "Darkness triumphs over light when the source is feeble, but when the source is darkness itself, my light shall remain eternal!"
Sylvester unleashed a plasma beam of light toward Julius. It was colossal, encompassing Julius' size. Nevertheless, Julius was still a Supreme Wizard and countered with a similar black beam of pure Dark magical energy. It remained invisible in the black void, but Sylvester's beam clashed against it.
The sparks erupted, on one side Sylvester's sun-like orb body, and on the other side the battered and bloodied Julius Aurelius Alexander.
"Haaaa!" Julius roared and pushed forward against Sylvester.
"You are my fuel!" Sylvester voiced and gave his all in pushing against Julius. He broke the weak equilibrium and pushed back. However, in doing so, he had to expend more solarium than he absorbed, causing the protective orb around his body to shrink.
"This world is not your enemy!" Sylvester shouted as he pushed forward. He was so injured and battered that his body had almost lost all sensation of pain and touch. He had no idea how he managed to stay alive. The exhaustion of solarium didn't frighten him, but the overuse of his body as a medium did. Every muscle in his body tore, and every blood cell in his veins screamed under the strain.
"Do not fall into the void I fell." he continued, inching closer to Julius, hoping to be within arm's reach one more time.
"Hyaaaa... I... Have... Nothing..." Julius growled, his long beard and hair stained with blood, as he pushed himself to the brink and unleashed all the magic he had left in his body. After all, he was just a first-level Supreme Wizard. "All... Is lost!"
"What?!" Julius exclaimed suddenly, looking above himself. Out of nowhere, golden raindrops fell on his face, and upon closer look, they fell everywhere, even piercing through his Supreme Void, and likely the entire world.
'He's—Ascending…' Julius realized and stared at Sylvester. 'Why is he doing this?'
"Julius!" Sylvester, unaware of any golden rain outside his orb of liquid light, gave a last push as if he found it easier. "There is still some light to be found—"
Shocking Julius, Sylvester's arm emerged from the massive, raging beam of light and touched his forehead. The arm instantly began to succumb to the Supreme Void's effects, the skin disintegrating, revealing exposed muscles. It was excruciating, and Julius knew it, but he couldn't react, for his eyes had turned completely white, radiating with light.
"Aaaa…!" Sylvester groaned in agony, feeling his arm disintegrating layer by layer. But he could not afford to retract his arm, as his move required the touch with the mind. "Look at the pain, the loss, the suffering, the misery—Once, I was you, so learn from my history!"
A portion of Sylvester's life flickered in Julius' mind, modified to seem like it belonged to this world. Not the intricate details that might cause issues but the joyful moments he had experienced, followed by his eventual sorrow and torment. His memories consistently drew parallels with Julius' own.
"Y-Your loss… Then why do you try so hard?"
Julius felt Sylvester's palm leave his head. He opened his eyes and looked, but to his panic, the protective white orb of light around Sylvester's body was gone, his clothes had vanished, and now his skin was disintegrating, revealing his muscles. Quickly, Julius nullified his Supreme Void in an attempt to stop the damage.
But as Sylvester felt himself succumbing to the pain, he managed to utter his final words through gritted teeth in the hope that through experiences of his old age, Julius would find some wisdom and change his course.
"Why?" Sylvester grunted. "To not be a failure... To not be ashamed of myself when I see her again—someday."
Before Sylvester's sanity slipped away, he smiled while gazing at the sky, raindrops pattering on his face.
For so long, the envious golden celestial rain he longed—To him, it finally belonged.