For some reason, looking at these words, he vaguely found them slightly familiar, as though he had seen them somewhere before, but for now he could not remember where from.
"Ancient Endor… Black blood writing… They just appeared today, the Slaughtering Hand activated automatically…" He could be certain that he did not control that sudden activation of the Slaughtering Hand, at first he had thought that it was the secret technique's instinctive self-defense mechanism, but now he felt it was not that simple.
He bent down and used his hands to splash some water from the tap into his face, instantly feeling a lot more awake.
"Could it be Black Sethe?" He felt that these words seemed to be speaking from an Ancient Endor point of view.
The thing that destroyed Ancient Endor, was an unknown Void…
"Looking at it that way, it makes a little sense. I'm practicing the Slaughtering Hand, so strictly speaking, I'm also one of the inheritors to the Ancient Endor legacy, perhaps there is a hint of Black Sethe's soul left in this secret technique."
Garen remembered all that black mist that had gathered into the secret technique after Black Sethe was defeated. Remnants of Black Sethe's soul could easily have mingled in with it.
If these were the words Black Sethe left behind, that would be very likely.
The more Garen thought about it, the more he thought it was possible.
Suddenly he remembered that when he found the original version of the Slaughtering Hand secret technique back then, the words on it were exactly the same as the ones just now!
"Black Sethe…" He murmured Black Sethe's name in the Ancient Endor language, he could be certain that these words were left behind by Black Sethe, and that power just now was probably also Black Sethe lending him a hand.
He reached out his hand to touch the words on his right shoulder.
All of a sudden, without any foreshadowing, the words blurred slightly, and actually rapidly turned to brand new words.
'You guessed right, I am Black Sethe.'
Garen's heart gave a jolt.
Black Sethe, one of Ancient Endor's 42 Demon Kings, he used to have that unprecedented position, he was one of the 42 people at the very peak of the civilization, so powerful that he was considered non-human, and honored as one of the 42 Demon Kings.
"You're still alive?" Garen asked him quietly in the Ancient Endor language, suppressing the confusion and surprise in his heart.
'This is just a portion of the memories I left behind. My real soul had rotted a long time ago, the real me died several millennia ago.' The black blood writing blurred and changed again. 'I need your strength to maintain normal conversation, with my own power alone, I can't last long…'
Garen did not hesitate at all, this was his first contact with an important figure from the Ancient Endor civilization, he had too many questions and mysteries he needed answered.
Without any hesitation, he moved wisps of life force from his arms, allowing them to move down his arms and biceps, rapidly gathering at his right shoulder.
'Alright, that's enough.' Black Sethe's words appeared again, 'If you have any questions, ask away.'
"What do you mean by what you said just now?" Garen asked in the Ancient Endor language. "Ancient Endor was destroyed by an unknown Void? What does that mean?"
'Haven't you already been targeted?'
"What? You mean by the Blood Breed Death Apostle?" Garen replied with a question.
'Death Apostle? What's that? No no no… the thing targeting you is a Void Creature, not the so-called Death Apostle." Black Sethe replied quickly, the words changing again. 'Back then, the Void Creatures warred against the Warlocks, fighting over domination over the world, but it ended badly for both sides, both sustained damage as never before, they are our arch enemies.'
"Void Creatures?" That was the first time Garen heard that noun, "Are they creatures from the Underworld?"
'No, the Underworld is the Underworld, that is the theoretical world we've been chasing all our lives, there might not really an Underworld at all, our culture believes that there is a source to the Mother Stream, eternal and everlasting, forever flowing with power, that is the place we call the Underworld. That is the end of death, the source of the purest life, we want to go there, but only those who do not wish to live would want to enter the Underworld while alive.'
It was the first time Garen heard such an explanation, he had always thought that this Underworld referred to the Underworld in legends.
"That what do you mean by Void Creatures? And what was that war you mentioned? Could you elaborate?"
'Those were two unprecedentedly powerful wars.' Black Sethe paused, 'Warlocks controlled everything, treating creatures from all other races as slaves, regardless of whether they were sentient or not. The Warlocks were at the very top, their power was limitless, their lives long and vast. In their exploration of the very fabric of life, they went further and further, eventually breaking past the world barrier, descending and infiltrating new worlds one after the other, that time in history, was also one of our most glorious eras. However…'
'While exploring a new world once, the Warlocks encountered pioneers just like them, those were the Void Creatures.' Black Sethe's tone was lonely as he described, 'The Void Creatures are powerful and greedy, they have an endless desire for domination, as soon as the two sides made contact, they began to attack each other in unison, and this lasted almost ten million years. It lasted until both sides sustained heavy losses, even losing all their legacies. That was the first war.'
'And then several millennia later, our Ancient Endor slowly recovered some of our glory as Warlocks, this time we respected and worshipped the Mother Stream, and the Underworld, so we trod carefully and thoughtfully. And this time, the Void Creatures were the ones who came after us.'
"Did you win or lose?"
'In order to exterminate the Void Creatures' world, we incited the wrath of the Mother Stream, and nobody could have predicted what happened next, the wrath of the Mother Stream was far too terrifying, the Void Creatures were completely wiped out, and we were also swallowed by a huge force, the whole civilization became history overnight. Melding into part of the Mother Stream.'
Black Sethe seemed to be getting tired.
'The Void Creatures consider us enemies, they swore to hunt us down generation after generation until eternity. They swore on the name of the Mother Stream, that any creatures who inherited the civilization of the Warlocks would become their beacon in the darkness. They will follow you in your dreams, continuously attacking you, until you die.'
"What kind of an existence are they?" Garen frowned. "In this world, the powerful Blood Breeds, the Death Apostles, have an attack that is very much like theirs."
'The Blood Breed's Death Apostles? I never met them, if you can find me an example, I might be able to give you some suggestions. But I don't think they're Void Creatures.' Black Sethe replied.
"Why?" Garen retorted.
'Because they are greedy and powerful, but they do not exist in a normal world, they are creatures who exist in the crevice between illusion and reality, the weak ones are about the same as a secret technique user at best, the strong ones can even destroy whole worlds. Can you tell me what kind of life form is this Death Apostle of the Blood Breeds you speak of?'
Garen explained everything he knew about the Blood Breed's Death Apostles in the Ancient Endor language.
Black Sethe mused for a while.
'They're somewhat similar, but they're not the same, the Death Apostles' ability has a fundamental difference, the two of them have different systems.'
"How so? They both attack creatures through dreams, right?" Garen frowned.
'No, it's not the same.' Black Sethe explained, 'Death Apostles control the dreams formed by creatures themselves and sneak in, controlling their target's thoughts. The Void Creatures, however, create illusions, not just dreams, and they can forcefully drag other creatures into the illusions they create, or it might even a product of a mixture of illusion and reality.'
'The power of the Void Creatures' lies mainly in confusing you as to whether they're real or not, whether you're living in an illusion or reality. Both are fundamentally different.'
With that explanation, Garen understood.
"In that case, how can I be sure that my conversation with you now is actually taking place in reality, and is not actually an illusion?" He asked suddenly.
'The Void Creatures' illusions have an important characteristic, which is that they fear life force. You can try channeling the life force in your arms all over your body, that way you can fight their attacks to a certain extent.'
Black Sethe did not stop, continuing on.
'Their moves are somewhat similar to the Death Apostles of this world, but they are not the same, only the effect seems similar. I suspect they noticed you when you entered the Mother Stream, and that was when they targeted you, following you here.'
"Why do you say so?"
'Because they have yet to fully enter this world yet, they just sensed your scent, they're still slowly corroding and settling in this world. That's why their power is so weak.'
"This is weak…" Garen was speechless, "If what you say is true, that I was the one who brought this thing to this world, is that so?"
'Indeed, they are using you as their location marker, and with every dream illusory attack, they are constantly settling their place in this world. This connection is established through the link of the ancient oath. You can also sense their position similarly.'
"Then you all would have methods to deal with the Void Creatures, right? And the complete legacy of the Warlocks."
'You want that?'
'Then you must agree on one condition for me, or rather, give me a promise. An Eternal Oath to the Mother Stream. You must dedicate everything to completing an Eternal Oath, or else you will forever be cursed by the Mother Stream. Reply to me when you've thought it over.' Black Sethe's words instantly faded and vanished.
"An Eternal Oath…"
Wiping the water off his face, Garen walked out of the washroom.
He slowly released some of the life force in his arms, allowing it to flow all over his body, and he instantly felt a lot more awake, as though his senses had suddenly gotten a lot clearer.
He just had a lot of information dumped onto him, so he needed some time to digest it properly, the fact that Black Sethe's remaining soul or rather his memory had awoken, the existence of the Void Creatures, the fact that they were not the Death Apostles, but rather an enemy he had brought into this world himself. He needed time to think over all of these things.
It was highly unlikely that this was false, after all even if Death Apostles could control dreams, these were all things he would not be able to know, and it was impossible for them to instantly learn the Ancient Endor language, before this, Garen had never before used this language in front of outsiders.