As Eliza embarked on her journey to attain the Grandmaster Rank, sporadic Enderflames ignited across the expansive battlefield, consuming everything they touched - ground and air alike.

Fire Elemental powers and the formidable Sin Series Mana surged through the area, causing lower-ranking observers to retreat.

To them, it seemed as if another calamity had been unleashed by Anfang's World Will, a punishment and test for someone daring to ascend to Sage Rank.


Sage Zavir, the leader of Sages-only group from Anfang Alliance, abandoned his futile attempts to breach the Birdcage Barrier and urgently signaled his allies to withdraw from the battlefield's center. The intensifying Enderflames gave him a grave sense of foreboding, and he wisely chose not to toy with this all-consuming fire.

Backpedaling in frustration, the Sages appeared defeated, as if they had been humiliated without a single punch thrown. Their combined might, the pinnacle of Anfang's ranking hierarchy, couldn't dismantle an isolation barrier, nor could they halt Eliza's rapid ascension through the ranks. Their hard-earned reputation as Sages was poised to crumble due to this unexpected turn of events.

Swoosh. Zoom. Boom.

Suddenly, a tremendous explosion reverberated across the battlefield, emanating from the heart of the secondary barrier. It created a shockwave that obliterated the encroaching Enderflames, wiping them out of existence.

This formidable force also swept away the lifeless bodies of Rankers who had perished beyond the Birdcage Barrier before it materialized. The corpses, limbs, organs, damaged artifacts, and shattered armors were unceremoniously hurled towards the battlefield's outer rim.

The source of this awe-inspiring shockwave was none other than Eliza Samael. Her mana core had successfully broken through to the elusive A-Rank, propelling her to the revered status of a Grandmaster Ranker.


"Layla, dear, I… I need some breather."

Eliza, visibly drained and panting, spoke to Layla. Beads of sweat glistened on her brow, a testament to the exhaustion she had endured.

Layla acknowledged Eliza's request and momentarily deactivated the Soul Seed Insertion Array. She also sighed with relief, clearly affected by the taxing process.

The struggle was more challenging than it seemed. Eliza had exerted herself immensely to attain Grandmaster Rank in a single bound.

While Layla still possessed an abundance of Mana Essence, ample to facilitate Eliza's progression into Sage Rank for a few times over, she knew it was unwise to push her when she was mentally and physically fatigued. Layla, too, found herself in a weakened state, her limbs feeling uncooperative and weak.

"Haah! So much work in a single day. I never had busy days like these for so long. So I have mixed feelings. Fufufu."

Eliza rose to her feet, stretching her limbs as if waking from a deep slumber. Despite her mental and physical weariness, she couldn't help but feel a sense of exhilaration.

She missed the exhaustion and mental strain she was feeling at the time, akin to someone regaining the ability to walk after a long hiatus, choosing to run to embrace this newfound blessing.

Finally, Eliza turned her attention to the Sages observing her from outside the primary Birdcage Barrier at a considerable distance. She narrowed her eyes, deep in thought for a moment. Then, she clenched her fists.

'I can scare them a bit and make a run for it,' Layla contemplated while igniting a small flame on her right index finger.

'But direct confrontation with them would be quite challenging. If the Alliance decides to dispatch more Sages to stop me, things won't turn out good for me either. I better prioritize something else before thinking of running away from this place.'

The Witch of the Enderflames decided not to engage with the adversaries outside the Birdcage Barrier for the time being.


Eliza harbored the desire to engage the enemy Sages beyond the Birdcage Barrier and assess the capabilities of her new vessel. Yet, her yearning for battle didn't blind her to the distinctions between what was good and bad for her.

The journey to attain the Grandmaster Rank and, ultimately, secure the Sage Rank would be a far more formidable challenge than her prior progression through the Master and lower ranks combined. Moreover, it carried inherent risks, as it was certain to provoke the Rankers' Calamity, issued by Anfang's World Will.

Eliza possessed confidence in her ability to overcome the Rankers' Calamity associated with the Sage Rank. However, she questioned whether Layla and Leela could maintain the Array Formation for an extended period.

Thus, Eliza decided to temporarily suspend the process, affording Layla, Leela, and herself a well-deserved break. She inhaled deeply, relishing the sensation of her lungs filled with fresh air.

'Good. My condition is favorable, I have attained the Grandmaster Rank and the isolation barrier remains intact. These small victories are important,' Eliza contemplated.

'There's no immediate need to disperse this barrier. In theory, the Lazarus Project could conclude here, and I could depart to stabilize my advancement to the Grandmaster Rank.

I could coerce the half-blood clans into setting aside a space for me within the Last Blood Bastion and remain there until I decide to show myself out in the open again. But..."

She gazed at Layla with a sly smile before addressing her. "Layla, dear, do you recall the side project we initiated alongside the Lazarus Project? I believe it's time to put it to the test and observe the outcomes."

Layla, taken aback by Eliza's proposition, interjected with an objection.

"Ma… master, I don't think it's wise to undertake anything too radical immediately following your resurrection. Moreover, the preliminary results I obtained weren't particularly promising. Perhaps we should..."

Before Layla could articulate her concerns further, Eliza interjected.

"You are wrong, dear. In fact, this is the most apt time for me to break my bloodline shackles. This vessel is still malleable. My bloodline is malleable too. This is as good time as any to cause bloodline evolution through mutation," Eliza spoke in a confident tone.

"Master," Layla's hesitation lingered as her gaze shifted between Reen and Eren, her features revealing her inner turmoil. "This idea wasn't included in our initial agreement." She hesitated to comply with Eliza's directive for reasons known only to her.