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    Asianovel

    The world's first crowdsourcing-driven asian bl novel translation community

    Chapter 139

    Just as the players arrived at the battlefield.

    With the continuous expansion of the pseudo-divine kingdom, the 'angels' began to display their mythical power. Heavenly flames and lightning rained down upon the colossal Pan, and without hesitation, Lane used the plants to shield the players while the colossal Pan confronted these descending attacks head-on.

    Boom! Boom boom!

    This time, the power of the heavenly flames was even more intense. After this round of assault, half of the colossal Pan's body vanished, leaving the other half pockmarked. The creature instantly lost its balance and fell to the ground.

    Given the colossal Pan's massive weight, another earthquake ensued. Under Lane's protection, the players were relatively unscathed, but on the angel's side, a large number of people tumbled once again. With the crowd pressing against each other, coupled with the cracks in the ground and the surrounding ruins, many were injured in an instant.

    Despite this, none of them were willing to leave. Their minds had been corrupted by the angels, firmly believing that the current hardship was a test for their eventual ascension to paradise.

    Taking advantage of the colossal Pan's incapacity, the angels attacked. The increasing number of believers contributing to the pseudo-divine kingdom allowed the angels' power to surge dramatically within a short period, much like how Lane's strength had surged when he obtained the majority of Arkham's faith earlier. Their means of attack extended beyond corruption and tumors.

    Before the colossal Pan could recover, more black dots appeared in the sky. Lane immediately recognized what they were and promptly canceled the transformation, transforming the plants into shields to protect himself and the players.

    The meteorites crashed down. Perhaps due to the angels not fully mastering their authority, the size of the meteorites wasn't significant, but their range was extensive. In the blink of an eye, the meteorites descended, with most being blocked by Lane's shields. However, the remaining ones landed in the heart of Orlandu.

    Well-ordered government buildings, bustling commercial streets, sports facilities, skyscrapers — all were instantaneously reduced to rubble and flames.

    As Lane's shield dissipated, players witnessed the angel suspended high in the sky, still as divine as a myth.

    The surviving humans on the ground not only failed to regain their senses; their expressions grew even more fervent.

    "Dear viewers, this is Vena from the Orland Morning News, reporting live from the scene. The angel is engaged in battle with demons from Hell. This mythical war may not end anytime soon, but have faith—good will triumph over evil. Let us pray for our angel."

    The journalist, with blood still trickling down her forehead, continued her relentless report before the shattered camera, seemingly oblivious to her own transformation. Her eyes were filled with blind zealotry.

    It wasn't just her. The other survivors who had witnessed the celestial being in the sky exhibited similar sentiments. Culture and religion had deeply rooted themselves in this land, and in times of crisis, the angel's facade proved effective. Even those occasionally lucid enough to realize that the disaster was the angel's doing eventually succumbed to the influence of the false god and their surroundings.

    Players watching the live stream were growing anxious.

    "Why is it still disadvantageous? Is this evil god too strong?"

    "I don't understand their system of evil gods, but from a public opinion standpoint, we seem to be the villains here."

    "Damn, do these people only judge by appearance?!"

    "I feel like only we players don't have the right to say that, right?"

    "Cough, well, that angel actually looked quite appealing in the illusion, perfectly fitting my aesthetics. But unfortunately, after seeing it in this live stream after its death, I lost interest."

    "Ahh, this angel's true form is too sanity-dropping. Lane still looks much better, sob sob."

    "It's not bad. It fits the mythological aspect. Angels were meant to look intimidating to instill fear in humans, while demons were designed to be attractive to lure them into corruption. Now all I want is to fall with Lane's wife..."

    "Beauty worshipers, get out! We're in the final showdown here! By the way, why haven't Nigh and the others arrived yet? I'm so anxious!"

    "Hey, me too! Where are they?!"

    "Switching back and forth between the two streams, it's almost time! Lane, hang on there!"

    The Ark of the Covenant...

    Lane was also aware that the Doctor had orchestrated everything for the Ark. However, he no longer had the chance to acquire it himself.

    At this point, his hope rested solely on the players.

    As Lane struggled to withstand the onslaught from the angels, the black cat suddenly kept glancing northwest, its expression anxious.

    The angels abruptly halted their assault, as if listening to something. After two or three seconds, they seemed to have been triggered and launched into a fierce, relentless attack, even risking harm to the citizens behind them who were praying to them.

    "Ahh! They're here!"

    Lane couldn't see the barrage, his focus entirely on fending off the angel's attacks. But at that moment, the black cat rushed anxiously to Lane's side, and he instantly sensed something. He swiftly turned his head towards the northwest.

    A Ferrari, like a red phantom, dashed into Lane's field of vision, fearlessly charging into the most perilous battlefield.

    Several meteors streaked above them, narrowly missed by Barbara's skillful driving. However, the last meteor was too massive, crashing into the back of their car.

    Fortunately, just as this happened, they had entered the range where Lane could reach them.

    Vegetation wrapped around them, drawing them closer to Lane. The angel desperately tried to intervene, but the giant Pan blocked its way, leaving it powerless as Lane stretched out his hand to receive the Ark from the tax collector.

    In that instant of the Ark's transfer, a smile seemed to curve on the tax collector's face before he leaned back, his breathing ceasing.

    "Woof, woof, woof... Hard work, Tax Collector."

    "Hard work pays off."

    "You did it! You're amazing!"

    Boom!

    In the distance, the angel obliterated the giant Pan and fluttered its wings towards them. Lane used his control over plants to envelop the players, protecting them from harm.

    As the angel arrived, Yaya and the others widened their eyes. They saw the angel gradually regaining its completeness. Its descent was like the sun rising on the horizon.

    " Surrender the Ark," It commanded.

    Lane was taken aback. "You can speak?"

    The angel didn't respond. It continued to tower over Lane and his group, particularly the tax collector and Nian Nian. Upon noticing that the tax collector was no longer alive, its gaze lost interest and shifted away.

    "Hand over the Ark," It repeated. "I shall spare your lives."

    How peculiar, an Evil God negotiating terms. While it's true that many Cthulhu pantheon deities possess intellect equal to or surpassing humans, they had never shown any inclination to communicate with him before. Yet now, one has taken the initiative.

    This indicates that the Ark is indeed of immense significance to the angel, or the entity behind it.

    Lane suddenly smiled. "If I surrender the Ark, will you spare this city's inhabitants?"

    "Agreed."

    He actually agreed.

    But how could that be possible?

    Not only can't he trust these Evil Gods, but the Ark was also delivered to him through the players' arduous efforts.

    Seeing Lane's silence, the angel grew impatient. It raised its hands, summoning heavenly flames and lightning once more. Lane tapped the ground with his scepter, causing countless plants to rise and intertwine, forming a shield-like barrier.

    Taking advantage of this opportunity, Lane examined the Ark in his hand, making various attempts out of sight from the players.

    Roll for lockpicking? There's no lock here. Roll for luck? That seems too absurd.

    Panpipe and staff were equally ineffective.

    What other options remained?

    At that moment, Lane suddenly recalled something. He glanced at the floating angel. Under the cover of his palm, a crack appeared on the back of his hand, and red blood gushed out, subsequently forming the shape of a key.

    This was the only item that seemed to be beyond Pan's authority, stemming from some more mysterious and fundamental ability of his.

    Should he try it? But this key could only open doors; there wasn't even a keyhole on the Ark of the Covenant.

    As Lane was perplexed, when the silver-red key approached the Ark, a rectangular indentation suddenly appeared on its smooth, seamless surface.

    It resembled a tiny door.

    Lane: ? This works too?

    Despite his confusion, Lane didn't pause. As the key entered the small door, the front of the Ark, adorned with the most intricate golden patterns, suddenly swung open.

    In that instant, every human being in the world, whether awake or asleep, working or resting, felt as if their souls had been gently stroked by a feather.

    It was a revelation, as if a long-forgotten pact had been stirred within the depths of their souls.

    The angel abruptly halted its bombardment. Not far away, the Doctor suddenly grabbed his hair in a frenzy, staring at the broken shield and the Pantheon in disbelief. "Impossible! How can you open it?!"

    God had said that no one could unlock the Ark, for it was never intended to be opened from the start!

    But then, the Doctor's expression turned peculiar.

    In the instant the Ark opened, Lane couldn't even discern what was inside; a familiar yet alien fog began to spread from within.

    No, this wasn't the mist he was accustomed to. It was more chaotic, like a mishmash of vibrant colors poured into a gray canvas, forming a jumbled mess.

    The Prophet, observing from a distance, suddenly clutched his head. The joy he had felt watching the players pass the Ark transformed into bewilderment and terror. "Is that... corrupted fog?"

    How could it be? Back then, the gods had clearly given them...

    The Prophet was also aware of the Ark's existence, as were the Three Wise Men, for it had been personally entrusted to them by the deities.

    "This is... humanity's... we, deliver... to you."

    "The day of the pact is upon us once more..."

    "Guard it... it must not... be opened."

    The scene, which should have been etched into his memory countless times in dreams, unfolded across a vast expanse of land. Thirteen figures, their faces indistinct, stood. One of them, draped in a white robe, handed a rectangular column to Fate.

    Their words at that time could only be recalled fragmentarily now, but the Seer was certain that whatever was inside was of immense importance to humanity – the key to mankind's return to that world. How could it be contamination and mist?

    Fate also shook his head gravely, his gaze still fixed on Lane's figure.

    As he was enveloped by the chaotic mist, Lane felt for a moment as if he had returned to that long-ago night in the hospital. The moment he first revealed his true Pantheonic form, a sense of loss of control swept over him, stirring a vague reminiscence of the Dream Rift.

    No, I can't afford to lose control like last time...

    An image flashed through Lane's mind – his previous rampage during the night, when the hospital courtyard had transformed into a forest, and players and medical staff had turned into trees. If not for the unique nature of the Night Hospital and the players' immortality, the consequences would have been unimaginable.

    If he lost control here, in the heart of Orland City, the outcome would undoubtedly be far worse.

    Lane resisted the urge to retreat into the Dream Rift for safety and struggled to contain the sudden surge of contamination. Mist began to emanate from his body, engaging in a contest against the encroaching fog.

    The atmosphere on the scene suddenly turned peculiar. Originally, when the Ark was opened, the players had eagerly prepared to record, eagerly awaiting Lane's fierce battle against the angel. But what was this situation they were witnessing?

    "What is it?"

    "What's going on? What's happening?"

    "What suddenly emerged from the Ark?"

    "Isn't this supposed to be the artifact that turns the tables?"

    The players' confusion in the live stream was almost overwhelming, and even the still somewhat coherent Black Cat and his companions were equally bewildered. However, they immediately turned nervously to the angel, fearing that it might take advantage of Lane's abnormal state to cause trouble.

    What the players could think of, the villain could too. The doctor, agitated, addressed the angel hovering in the sky, "Though I'm unsure of what's happening, this is our best chance! Seize the Ark now!"

    However, the angel dismissed his command with disdain, instead curiously inspecting the fog-shrouded Lane.

    "...Interesting...A kindred spirit? But not quite..."

    It spoke in a language beyond the comprehension of most living beings; those with heightened sensitivity might even go mad upon hearing just a fragment. As for Lane, who could understand the words, he was once again lost in his own world.

    It was as if he had been transported back to that first night upon arriving in this world, sitting on his hospital bed and surveying his surroundings. Before he could fully savor the joy of resurrection, the chilling reality plunged him back into the abyss.

    The eerie hospital transformed into a domain of monsters at night, with its staff turning into grotesque figures. His inexplicable situation was met with incomprehension, and his attempts to escape or seek help from the doctors were met with puzzled glances, followed by a barrage of psychiatric evaluations. Yet, none of these alleviated the terror that descended with each dusk.

    The wandering red-haired nurse in the corridors, the horrifying flesh-eating butcher, and the nails scratching against the wall in the adjacent room at midnight—each blow sent Lane's emotions on a rollercoaster from joy to fear, then to despair, numbness, and eventually, to a resignation that accepted his hopeless fate. As he calmly awaited the end, his sanity gradually eroded with each horrifying encounter.

    Until his will as a human being and his humanity sank deep into the ocean's depths.

    Beneath the consciousness sea, something far more vast began to rise upward.

    The angel's voice faltered, and it turned its gaze back to Lane. Amidst the smog of colors, a pair of scarlet-golden eyes slowly opened. However, there was not a trace of human emotion in them; only the most primal, raw madness.

    The mist began to spread around, and the first player to come into contact with it was the Black Cat. The halted plantification on his body started to spread again. Under the horrified gaze of the Druid, Ye Ye, and Baba, the remaining part of his body began to twist 360 degrees from the waist. Amidst the Black Cat's dazed expression, the entire person gradually twisted into a rope, with only the head, which still held a dazed and fearful look, remaining in the middle position, becoming a twisted-neck tree with a dark artistic flair.

    "Ho, ho, ho! Who would've thought the Ark contained such an item!" The doctor felt as if he were on an emotional rollercoaster. He wasn't entirely sure what was inside the Ark, only that his master desperately needed it. When Lane had opened it, he feared the worst, but now, it seemed to be a false alarm. "Phew, phew! Someone has taken the fall for us. Quick, take care of him while we can!"

    It seemed that the Doctor's voice was too loud, drawing the attention of the rampaging Lane. The fog hadn't yet reached that area, but those scarlet-gold eyes glanced in the Doctor's direction.

    At a mere glance, the scholar's emaciated frame began to bleed from all orifices. His eyes rolled back, and he erupted into a maniacal laughter as he gazed at the sky and cried out, "Lord, my dearest Lord, have You finally descended?!"

    The angel paid no heed to the Doctor, but, mindful of its agreement with that entity, it soared beyond the reach of the fog. This time, a far mightier bolt of divine fire brewed above its head, determined to strike down Lanen in a decisive blow while he was distracted.

    Night Night, Baba, and Druid also began to undergo abnormal transformations, and it seemed that everything was not as they had imagined. Their excited expressions froze on their faces, their eyes revealing confusion. They instinctively hugged the tax officer's corpse and retreated backward.

    It wasn't the first time that Lane seemed to have lost his marbles, either. Players had experienced it during the first Main Quest, in the Night Hospital, when Lane first revealed his true Pan form – approaching him then had been a virtual death sentence for anyone.

    Unlike the Druid, who noticed the celestial fire gathering above the angel's head as they retreated, he dashed madly towards Lann instead.

    At this moment, even the Druid himself was unsure of his thoughts. The image of the black cat's frozen face in terror alternated in his mind with the remarkable relay of the novices.

    Though he was aware that the Cthulhu universe was one of despair, still, they couldn't lose here, not after triumphing in previous main quests. This was the glorious moment for those striving novices!

    Under the gaze of the crimson-gold eyes, decayed poppies began to sprout from the Druid's skin, starting from his feet.

    As the poppies fed on his flesh and blood, the Druid stumbled after only a few steps before collapsing weakly, gradually turning into nourishment for the flowers. More and more poppies concealed his form. In the very last second before losing consciousness, he stretched his arm into the mist, as if vaguely touching something... something utterly non-human.

    "La-arn..."

    Awaken!

    The foggy entity that was advancing towards the angel suddenly came to a halt. The druid's intervention was but a trivial annoyance, yet this fleeting encounter unexpectedly stirred something within Him.

    "Live on."

    It seemed that someone had once spoken these words to Him in His memories.

    Though later realized, those words were merely part of an immersive performance by a player.

    Wait, players, forums, games...

    The Fourth Calamity.

    A sudden rush of memories flooded into Its consciousness, and the human will that was on the verge of collapse was held back by a thin yet resilient spider's thread.

    Lahn lifted His head from the depths of the sea of consciousness, vaguely seeing countless spider threads connected above.

    "The Grass Angel is preparing a mighty move!"

    "Oh no, oh no! It looks like Lane has suddenly lost control. Could it be because of that colorful mist that appeared inside the Ark just now?"

    "For goodness' sake, I thought that was going to be our game-changer! How could this happen?!"

    "Well, it was uncertain what was inside anyway. To be honest, putting hope in an unknown item was quite a risky bet."

    "Sob, sob, sob. This isn't the ending I wanted. The tax collectors fought so hard! Why can't we win?!"

    "lane! Wake up, my love! Please!"

    "lane!"

    "My Lord!"

    "Overturner of fate, great Shepherd!"

    At first, Lane only heard the Druid's voice. But gradually, without him noticing, the voices from the live stream chat, the believers, and even the earnest prayers of some true believers far away in Arkham, began to echo in his ears.

    Those whispers, like delicate threads, pulled his reason back from the depths of an unknown abyss.

    They brought him back to reality.

    Hmm?

    Behind the veil of contaminated mist, Lane caught a faint glimmer of silver light – a quill, made from the feather of an unknown bird, as ethereal and luminous as moonlight. Twelve colorful chains shimmered across its surface, one of them, a green one, shattering with a resounding boom.

    In the real world, the angel's long-awaited celestial fire descended, a massive golden-red flame akin to a second sun hanging in the sky. Amidst this blazing radiance, every citizen of Orland could witness the spectacle.

    The sun set.

    Amidst the intense glare, the angel failed to notice that the polluted mist was gradually dissipating.

    Or rather, being absorbed into Lane's body.

    Yet, the sun's descent did not result in a cataclysmic impact or explosion.

    Instead, it was as if it had been erased by an invisible hand.

    The angel's irises narrowed, staring in astonishment at the scene below.

    The youthful Pantheon stepped forward, his expression calm as if the preceding rampage had never occurred.

    "Odd,"

    Lanen looked up, noticing the angel in mid-air gazing at him curiously.

    "I thought you were one of my kind just now, but now you seem different."

    "What exactly are you?"

    Lanen ignored the question, turning his gaze to the black cat, Nian Nian, and the others who had transformed into trees. He sighed, but he knew that since the players were still in the death retention mode, there was still time.

    In the live stream channel,

    "It's a cutscene!"

    "What was that? Does Lanen's rampage count as a plot kill?"

    "Perhaps?"

    "Can't we say it's the Druids who struggled to awaken her, hehehe?"

    "Aaaah! Lane, don't lose!"

    "They're still watching," Lane whispered. "Of course, I won't lose."

    Countless threads appeared before his eyes, connecting the citizens on the ground to the angel, dense and intricate.

    This vision had emerged after he obtained the peculiar quill. It was somewhat similar to what he had seen in Albert's dream, when he had become Albert's faith and could manipulate dreams to achieve an omniscient state akin to the Dream Gap.

    This quill seemed to grant him similar authority. Just as the angel's divine fire was extinguished by Lane using the quill's power, severing the threads behind it, Lane also knew that the threads connected to the angel were its 'anchoring points,' the basis for Its descent to the surface.

    A faint voice echoed in his mind, hinting at what he could accomplish.

    This time, before the angel could summon the divine fire again, Lane's power began flowing endlessly into the quill. With a gentle stroke in mid-air, he severed a portion of the threads anchoring the angel.

    The angel froze, and the impending divine fire fizzled out as if it had never been ignited. Looking back in disbelief, it saw that some of the previously entranced crowd had suddenly come to their senses, looking around in confusion. Upon catching sight of the floating angel in the sky, they cried out in terror, "W-What kind of monster is this?!"

    In their sight, the 'Angel' had completely shed its divine form, becoming an unsanctified, even horrifying monster.

    As Lane struggled to move the quill pen through the air, more and more people regained consciousness. Having witnessed the malevolent deity in the heavens, some still succumbed to madness, but most scattered in a frenzied attempt to save themselves.

    The once-solid heavenly realm disintegrated in an instant, and even the Angel's form wavered subtly.

    With no angelic presence left, Lane felt no hesitation. As citizens fled in panic, the giant Pan reappeared, suppressing the weakened 'Angel' and tearing at Its flesh. With the loss of Its angelic guise, the evil deity began to fade into nothingness.

    Lacking a tether, It could no longer manifest in reality.

    Of course, Lane himself was not unscathed. The quill pen was a laborious tool to wield; it felt like a black hole, sapping his strength relentlessly.

    Just as Lane was about to erase the last of the Angel's anchors, the deity suddenly picked up the yet-to-disappear horn and blew it. The deafening sound reverberated throughout Orland, and Lane didn't know what It was doing. Those who were fleeing suddenly collapsed, one by one, all falling into a deep unconsciousness.

    Lane hastily erased the remaining anchors of the Angel, but it was too late. The unknown deity, now anchorless, started to fade from the physical realm. Before It vanished entirely, It seemed to give Lane a piercing gaze.

    Lost, Lane looked around him. All the players who had approached him earlier were now dead, while the citizens lay unconscious.

    Unconscious? Could it be a dream?

    Lahn closed his eyes, diving into the misty realm of the Dream Gap, and upon reopening them, he found himself within the collective subconscious of all Orlandans.

    He had done this before, though it was a memory that had long faded—yes, it was during the first Main Quest in Arkham.

    Yet, he couldn't comprehend why the Angel, who had supposedly vanished, would now draw everyone's consciousness into a dream world. What purpose did it serve?

    But soon enough, his confusion dissipated.

    All the Orlandans gazed blankly at this dark expanse of their shared mind. In the midst of the void, an ethereal specter began to take shape, surrounded by seven golden candelabras. The ghostly figure wore a white robe and had a compassionate face, but his expression was now grave and solemn, with fiery eyes and a dual-bladed sword emerging from his mouth.

    At this moment, anyone with even a modicum of knowledge about the Bible could recognize the origin of this scene and its implications.

    This scene is taken from the beginning of the Old Testament's Book of Revelation. The man in question is none other than the renowned Jesus, and this is a harbinger of Doomsday.

    Gabriel, the angel, fulfilled his most critical mission as God's messenger before vanishing – to announce the impending apocalypse to humanity.

    In the eyes of those like Lane, who knew more of the truth, this was the pivotal moment in the enigmatic 'Judas's' plan. Everything that had transpired beforehand, including Gabriel's descent, served as a prelude to this instant.

    In myth and lore, it is Gabriel who sounds the trumpet of the Last Judgment. Believers in God would be spared calamity during this judgment, whereas those who do not believe or have been seduced by devils would face its consequences.

    Recalling the devastation the angel and Lane had inflicted upon the city during their battle, it was unlikely that the citizens of Orland would doubt the accounts in the Bible anymore. Predictably, if this scene persisted, the next sight for the people of Orland would be 'God' replaced by 'Judas.'

    Gabriel has appeared; isn't it strange for God to show up? No, not at all. On the contrary, after the city's calamity, God's appearance would serve as an anchor of stability in everyone's hearts. Every citizen of Orland would become devout followers, and He would inherit the faith in 'God,' descending with countless anchor points.

    What should be done? Wait for His descent and continue using the Ark to eliminate the anchor points?

    Lane subconsciously clenched the quill in his hand, but this time, he was overwhelmed by exhaustion and helplessness. Just erasing the anchor points of those believers in the city center had nearly drained him. If 'God' truly descended, with countless anchor points across the world, it would be impossible to remove them all.

    He had to interrupt this. He had to disrupt the scene before it was too late.

    Lane tried to recall the sensation of controlling dreams previously, attempting to manipulate this immense dream and awaken everyone prematurely. However, just as he acted, 'Jesus' in the sky suddenly turned to look directly at him.

    Lane felt his mind buzz. His attempt to control the dream was like colliding into an unyielding wall, leaving him dazed.

    His attempt to seize control of the dream had failed, or rather, the other party was far more proficient in dream manipulation than he was.

    An... Old God?

    In that moment, Lane vaguely understood why Fate referred to It as 'Judas.'

    Many in Orlandu recognized this iconic scene from the Bible, and those who didn't were quickly enlightened by their neighbors. All were filled with anxiety, except for the devout believers who knelt on the ground, fervently praying to God, hoping even to catch a glimpse of His true form.

    Just as Jesus vanished and a colossal throne began to materialize from the ethereal, Destiny suddenly stood up.

    "I must leave now."

    The Prophet asked, "Right now?"

    In Destiny's eyes, the throne, Lane, the players, and the citizens of Orlandu were reflected. "There's no better time than this."

    "Watch as, for perhaps the first time, Fate steps into the torrent of complete uncertainty."

    Destiny strode purposefully towards the divine figure. With each step, his body shed silver ashes.

    Those ashes seemed like grains of sand swirling in the river of fate, imbued with the essence of time and causality. As he walked through the crowd, every so often, someone would suddenly gain an unfamiliar memory in their mind.

    "I propose a deal. This is all that I have been able to see - the future of this world."

    Destiny knew that, besides the Ark, Judas sought collaboration with him because of his own unique abilities.

    For someone like Judas, who operates in the shadows, nothing is more terrifying than the unknown, and nothing is more vital than information. Though it's unclear what Judas seeks amidst the torrent of fate, he would certainly not resist such temptation.

    The impending revelation of the throne hesitated, as if a figure upon it was gazing in this direction, wavering in uncertainty. Ultimately, the throne vanished abruptly, and the pace at which destiny crumbled accelerated. Countless silvery grains were swept by the wind onto the black canvas.

    Multiple futures, branching paths from diverse timelines, unfolded before everyone's eyes.

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