It was a monster with a beast body and a human face.
It was calmly lying on its stomach, its eyes as big as Marvin's fists. Next to the strange beast body was a shabby iron sword stuck in the ground.
Three paths spread behind its back.
Each path seemed to lead into a very different direction.
Marvin took a deep breath.
This was the last stage of the Thorny path.
Pain and Fear had already been cleared.
Next was [Choice].
"Hello Marvin," the strange beast said, its voice very cold.
It would make people who heard it shiver.
Marvin didn't know this monster's name, but he knew it was here to guard.
If it didn't allow him to pass, there was no way to pass through the last part of the Thorny Path.
Thus, he walked toward the monster and greeted, "Hello, Mister."
"Mister? I like this honorific." The strange monster used his large dragon-like claws to scratch his back where two pairs of sturdy wings were folded.
He looked like a pretty strong guy.
"As a Night Walker, since you reached here, you have proven that you have the endurance to withstand pain and the willpower to withstand fear."
"But inheriting the Night Monarch's heritage isn't that simple."
"It's well-known that if you want to get something, you have to give something up."
"Tell me your choice," the strange beast said with his ice-cold voice.
Every word he spoke made Marvin feel cold, but he still slowly drew closer.
His pace was very slow, yet steady.
"Choice? What kind of choice?" Marvin asked, even though he already knew the answer.
In fact, Marvin had already seen a Night Walker expert's public video in his previous life. The scene was very similar, and he also knew the meaning of the three paths behind the monster.
The expert at that time had stopped there and made a choice, only to fail.
Then many people started discussing which one should have been chosen. But Marvin felt that their way of thinking was mistaken.
If he or another extremely careful player had been in that Night Walker's position, the quest might not have been failed.
He couldn't try it in the past since he wasn't a Night Walker, but this time he could find out if his own choice was correct.
Thus, he kept approaching.
The strange beast's eyes closely watched Marvin. "I'll tell you the meaning of each path behind me."
"You can't tread through every path. You can only choose one path."
Then, clear pictures showing different people appeared in front of Marvin.
The first path was the Path of the Saint.
At the end of this path were the Ancient Saints. They spared no sacrifice to protect Feinan.
Stepping on this path meant following the footsteps of the Ancient Saints, taking on the responsibility to protect all of Feinan.
This was a very challenging path!
At that time, the Night Monarch also walked through this path.
"The Path of Saint. Will he choose that?
Beside the furnace, the two generations of leaders looked at a distant place.
O'Brien couldn't help but ask.
They could see Marvin arriving at the fork and facing the monster's question.
"No idea." Sean was still expressionless. "But I think he won't choose this one."
"This kid is definitely not a Saint."
O'Brien shrugged. "Not picking this one is also good. I failed when I chose the Path of the Saint."
"I refuse," Marvin firmly answered.
"I know myself, I'm not Saint material."
The strange beast relaxed, a strange glint appearing in its eyes. "Good, then let me reveal to you the second path."
The first path disappeared from Marvin's sight.
Ripples appeared on the second path.
White RIver Valley, River Shore City, as well as a familiar new harbor appeared in Marvin's sight.
He saw the old butler, he saw many citizen of White River Valley, he saw the guards being busy.
"This is your territory, these are your subjects."
"You cannot guard the entire world, but guarding an area is good too."
"Thus, this second path is the Path of the Ruler.
Path of the Ruler.
It meant that you didn't need to protect the entire continent, but just your own territory.
All the subjects were under your protection.
They could live because of you and regardless of what kind of disaster came, you had to protect them.
This was the duty of the Ruler.
Many Ancient Rulers walked this path. They might not be Saints, but they were like gods to their citizens.
They were Rulers who established a territory with their own power.
Stepping on this path meant that you pledged to protect your own territory for the rest of your life.
Marvin was calmly looking at the pictures in front of him.
The strange beast's voice echoed next to his ear. "Will you choose the Path of the Ruler?"
"Will he?" O'Brien asked again.
The old blacksmith couldn't help but roll his eyes. "How would I know?"
"I think you are smarter than me," O'Brien honestly answered.
The old blacksmith was speechless, but after a short time he replied, "Unlikely."
"Why?" O'Brien seemed very surprised.
The old blacksmith sneered, "Because he already made a choice."
"I refuse!" Marvin answered.
Thus, the second path disappeared from his sight.
The gaze of the strange beast turned unpleasant.
"Oh, young Night Walker, you are a selfish person."
"I'm starting to dislike you."
"But due to my duty, I'll still tell you about the 3rd Path."
"Looks like you intend to pick this path. Indeed, this path is the easiest, but it is also dangerous. You might feel very strong, but you will be bound to suffer a setback!"
The third path.
Marvin successfully became a Ruler of the Night, having killed countless people to get there.
He became the continent's strongest person, but he could only protect a few people at his side.
Some familiar faces could be seen in front of him: Anna, Wayne, Hathaway… Even Lola was surprisingly among them!
These were his closest friends.
The third path was the Path of the Mighty.
A sole man, continuously growing stronger, protecting a small amount of people.
Perhaps one day you could become an exceptional Powerhouse, but in front of the approaching calamity, you could only protect yourself and a few people.
Afterwards, you could only watch as countless innocents died.
This was the lonely Path of the Mighty.
"Looks like he wants to choose the Path of the Mighty," O'Brien said somewhat dissatisfied. "Isn't this selfish?"
The old blacksmith sighed and chided, "Can't you be patient? Wait for him to make his decision before saying nonsense."
O'Brien nodded, before freezing and shouting, "What?!"
"He actually refused again?!"
In front of the third path.
Marvin refused for the third time.
This time, he was already very close to the strange beast, so close that he could clearly see details of the strange beast's features.
"I refuse to take this path," he said.
The strange beast angrily roared, "You can't!"
"This is the final part of the Thorny Path. You have to make a choice!"
"Tell me what your choice is! Otherwise you can't get through!"
Three paths once again appeared behind it.
The Saint, the Ruler, the Mighty.
But at that time, Marvin did something which completely shocked O'Brien and the peeping blacksmith!
He suddenly dashed up, threw himself at the side of the strange beast and then picked that sword.
"What are you doing!" The monster seemed to lose his head out of fear.
"I am letting you know my choice!"
Marvin lifted the iron sword and leapt high, fiercely stabbing it into the strange beast's head.
The seemingly blunt iron sword pierced through the strange beast's head up to its hilt.
"It is… Screw you!"
After Marvin's words, the monster began to howl in pain.
Its terrifying body began to shrink, turning into a little Imp. It was as small as a fist but was firmly nailed down on top of a stone by the sword.
"I'll walk my own path. Even if I have to make a decision, you have no say in it," Marvin coldly declared as he released the sword.
Then, a new path appeared in front of Marvin. He ignored the Imp howling in pain and quickly walked forward.
By the furnace, Sean and O'Brien were dumbstruck!
"Hey… That sword was stuck there for so many years, why did no one notice it!?"
"This was just a fucking Imp? How did Marvin notice!"
"Is that the right choice?"
The two were extremely shocked.
In so many years, they had never seen a Night Walker go through the final step of the Thorny Path.
Because each one made a choice.
But no one was like Marvin, making a choice that was outside the three offered.
Killing the strange beast and treading on his own path.
This was a test set aside for the Night Monarch's heir!
Marvin followed this path forward. He soon arrived in front of a mountain.
The Endless Mountain.
He raised his head and looked up. This mountain wasn't too steep, but he couldn't see the end.
Only by passing through this mountain could he reach the sea of darkness where the warriors were slumbering.
Marvin took a deep breath and began to climb.
This was the first time someone set foot on this mountain ever since the Night Monarch left the Eternal Night Kingdom.
Marvin took step after step forward. Climbing a mountain was a very exhausting work, needless to say an endless mountain.
He only knew up to there because no one had been able to pass through the Thorny Path.
He would have to completely rely on himself for the rest.
'The Thorny Path tested endurance, willpower, and decision making.'
'What is the Endless Mountain testing?'
'It wouldn't really be endurance, would it…'
Marvin climbed for a long while and then looked up. He still couldn't see the top.
He was already completely exhausted.
He clenched his teeth and climbed a bit more, preparing to rest once he was totally exhausted.
How could he have expected to find that his hands had become very rough!?
These weren't the hands of a 15 years old.
There was a small pond of water not far away. Marvin forcefully dragged himself over to take a look inside.
He stared into the pond, and a middle-aged man marked by the passage of time stared back at him, appalled.