The hermit looked like an ordinary, albeit injured, middle-aged man.
His legs had been lost in the battle against the Dark Specters, so he could only walk with a pair of crutches.
But this didn't make him look weak at all.
Marvin felt a powerful aura coming from him, like a beast that had been laying dormant for a long time, one that had lost its anger but was ready to burst out with extreme power upon being reignited.
For him to be able to live from that distant chaotic era all the way until now, his bloodline from that plane must have been from a long-lived species.
Someone that had lived for a very long time would naturally see a lot of things. Even an idiot could become wise after enough time, let alone someone who was already clever.
From what Marvin understood, the Hermit had remained in the Underdark all this time to watch over the Eternal Frozen Spring's seal.
He hated the Dark Specters to the bone because they had destroyed his homeworld.
He had no special feelings for Feinan, but he was unwilling to see the Dark Specters have free reign over yet another world.
He was now wearing a strange expression.
Marvin hesitated for a bit before calmly asserting, "In any case, there must always be someone that will stand up to try to prevent it."
"I hope that you are willing to help me."
The hermit took a long glance at Marvin. "Youth, have you ever thought that there are disasters that can never be stopped? Even if you save the world, it's very likely that yet another crisis is imminent."
"You can't save everyone on your own, and furthermore, it's not your responsibility."
"Why don't those guys who destroyed the Order settle this issue? If the Universe Magic Pool still existed, the Eternal Spring Seal wouldn't have come undone, and the Night Monarch's power wouldn't have faded from it."
Marvin's expression became a bit strange.
He knew some secrets about these matters, especially after the talk with Lance that resulted from Ambella invading his dream.
He had learnt from that conversation that it had actually been Lance's idea for the Gods to attack the Universe Magic Pool!
And based on the hermit's sarcastic words, it seemed that he knew about it.
He was actually criticizing Feinan's God of Creation?
Marvin frowned. "You think someone is taking advantage of me?"
The hermit shook his head. "I don't know your origins, but only those who have faced despair can pursue such extraordinary aspirations."
"I can lend you the Demon Subduing Sword, of course, but I can see some… influence on your body that's hard to describe."
"Thus, I can't help but remind you: You might think that some things are favors, but to the others, you are merely a chess piece."
"You should think about the meaning of your life."
Hearing this, Marvin laughed a little. "Before reflecting on the meaning of my life, I should first focus on surviving."
"You are right, some matters aren't my responsibilities, but there always need to be people who stand up to take care of it, right?"
"I'm not a noble person, but in order to let the people at my side live well, I must go all-out and fight against that disaster."
"As for the meaning of life, after everything else settles, it will naturally appear before me."
The hermit smiled calmly, looking at Marvin and thinking of when he had been a hot-blooded youth.
He didn't want to say too much, so he just handed Marvin a small box.
This box held the Demon Subduing Sword.
The hermit calmly explained to Marvin its uses.
This weapon had been made by gathering all the remaining power in his world before the collapse for a last-ditch effort.
It had a limited number of uses, and right now there were only two uses left. After the uses ran out, the Demon Subduing Sword would cease to be.
After Marvin understood how to use it, his countenance became more dignified.
The strict conditions to use the Demon Subduing Sword made it more challenging for Marvin to kill the Final Ghost Mother than he had thought.
No wonder the hermit wasn't too optimistic about Marvin trying to stop it.
But he ultimately lent his weapon to Marvin anyways, which seemed a bit puzzling.
Marvin didn't question his decision, though. After saluting the hermit respectfully, he left the quiet ravine.
Soon, only the hermit and the toad remained.
"A young fool, isn't he?" the frog mumbled as he watched Marvin's retreating figure.
The hermit slowly shook his head.
"If I really thought he was a fool, I wouldn't have lent him the Demon Subduing Sword."
"That kid is a bit interesting. He speaks of righteousness, but that's not necessarily what he believes in."
"Wait until everything is settled? Nice talk. Ahh, I feel like these old bones should enjoy the story that is unfolding."
The toad was looking at the hermit, seeming to be at a loss.
The latter chuckled gently as he continued, "Everyone wants to break through the cage."
"This world is already done for because even the God of Creation wants to destroy this world so that he can become free."
"But he knew that he could not do this on his own, so he could only try to get support from other forces. He found that these others in Feinan weren't suitable either, and thus he simply looked for someone from another world."
"That kid definitely came from another world, because he doesn't have the mark of Feinan. He is like me from that year... He is the only variable of the chess game. Lance feels that everything is under his control, but his scheme might not go as planned."
"After all, some pawns can be shockingly stubborn, and if they keep rushing forward, leaving behind a trail of blood, they might also be able to sweep across that chessboard and become something more."
"When the chess piece becomes the chess player, wanting to overturn that chessboard might not be that easy."
The toad showed a very since expression as it muttered, "To be honest… I don't understand."
The hermit laughed, "It's fine if you don't understand."
"Right now, us outsiders will just watch the play."
Marvin was walking silently, but the words of the hermit were still echoing in his mind.
Those words didn't leave him as unfazed as he had pretended to be.
Lance had definitely brought him to Feinan for some particular reason. But this reason... What was it? Marvin wasn't too clear about it.
As the matter of being called a chess piece, Marvin could only laugh at himself. He felt that becoming a chess piece was always better than remaining a disabled person.
At the very least, he still had hope.
With hope, the possibilities were limitless.
Lance and the Gods, that layer of conspiracy, or the overt plot... All these things, he didn't have the qualifications to think about them for now.
He was clear about one thing, though. Only with enough strength would he be able to influence the course of this Universe, and at that time, he would be qualified to think about what he was putting aside.
Otherwise, there was no point worrying about it.
The hermit's words might have been out of kindness, but it was way too early to think like that, in Marvin's opinion.
It would be better not to worry about all the messy things that he couldn't affect anyways and focus on improving his strength.
Of course, not worrying about it didn't mean ignoring it completely; on the contrary, Marvin had some very clear thoughts about it all.
Everyone didn't act completely spontaneously. Their actions were all driven by interest.
If one day, when everything came to light, even if he had to become Lance's enemy, Marvin wouldn't be afraid.
Because at that time, he would have grown to a point that even Lance couldn't imagine!
This was partially Marvin's self-confidence, and partially his own requirements for himself.
A few days later, North of Rosen Strongholds.
Inside a small stronghold.
On a duel arena, two groups of people were bearing down at each other with daggers drawn.
"Raven, did you really think this through carefully?"
"Even if you win, you might not hold that seat. And obviously, with the difference in strength, it's impossible for you to win."
"Our Ruby Stronghold was originally a small stronghold. The things you want are far too lofty for you. Unless you consider my previous proposal…" A middle-aged Underdark Human was looking greedily at Raven and the beautiful female Drow at her side as he gulped shiftily.
"We'll join hands, you'll help me sit on that seat, and we'll share everything, how about it?"
The people at his sides were all nodding and sycophantically making noises of acknowledgement in response to their leader's words.
He had more people, at least three times more than Raven did.
This time, in order to consolidate the strength of his Ruby Stronghold, he didn't spare any expenses to hire forces from other strongholds in order to take down Raven's group in one fell swoop.
It didn't seem like it should be difficult for him, because he had the Black Dragon God's blessing, having been chosen by the God.
Raven and the others had already been discarded by their God and surely couldn't compete with him at all.
He still decided to try the diplomatic approach first because he didn't want the Ruby Stronghold to lose strength because of internal friction.
But Raven still didn't say anything in response. Instead, the Drow at her side suddenly stepped forward and coldly asked, "Why do you need to speak so much nonsense?"
"We agreed to a duel, whoever loses gets the fuck out. The rest can be dealt with afterwards, can't it? You are such a bother."
The middle-aged man's expression became extremely unsightly.