Deep Sea Embers-Chapter 678: The Path in the Mist

If audio player doesn't work, press Reset or reload the page.

Chapter 678: The Path in the Mist

This novel is translated and hosted on bcatranslation.

The declining frequency of regular patrol fleets, alongside the conspicuous build-up of ships, personnel, and resources near the Eternal Veil, was something the neighboring city-states along the border could not ignore. Lucretia had known about these unusual strategic movements by the Church for a while, information she received from Sara Mel. However, both Duncan and she were puzzled about the Church’s motives until now.

Duncan’s insights into the gods’ demise, the real purpose behind the Arks, and the early start of what was being called the “corruption phase” of the gods led him to theorize about why the Church was deploying these fleets.

“…We are searching for ‘Them’,” Helena finally ended the silence, “That’s one of our objectives, and it was our first.”

Shocked, Lucretia stood up quickly and asked in disbelief, “You mean to say the gods are hidden within the Eternal Veil!? Right beyond what we know?”

Banster, an elderly man in a black robe, replied uncertainly, “We can’t be sure, but we suspect that the initial ‘stench of decay’ came from the Eternal Veil at the frontier, so our current mission is to locate the source of that stench, but what we will find there… nobody knows.”

Lune then added, hypothesizing, “It might be the ‘realm of the gods’, or perhaps a ‘connection point’ they created with our world, or possibly…” He paused, leaving his thought incomplete.

After a moment of silence, driven by curiosity, Duncan asked, “You mentioned that this is just one of the goals. What are the other objectives? Besides seeking ‘Them’, what else are you trying to achieve?”

Helena answered, shedding light on another goal in this forthright and revealing meeting, “Our other objective is to understand the current changes in our world. Reports of border collapses are increasing daily, and with recent disruptions to the sun, the anomalies linked to the Eternal Veil are becoming more common. Clearly, the dense fog may be hiding secrets deeply connected to the current state and foundations of our world.”

Sensing that Helena was holding back, Duncan pressed, “…And after we understand what’s happening with the world, then what?”

Helena revealed their ultimate goal, “…If possible, we aim to find a ‘new passage’ that might allow complete travel through the Veil. Then, before conditions deteriorate further, our plan is to evacuate as many people as possible. If the collapse within the Veil is inevitable, our only option is to leave. There might be another, broader world beyond the Veil.”

In the tense hall, Helena’s statement resonated deeply, “While the Boundless Sea might appear inhospitable or even more dangerous, our survival depends on our ability to adapt, no matter how harsh the conditions. Civilizations can thrive in new environments as long as they persist. Life always finds a way, even through long and difficult processes of adaptation, or even mutation.”

The room fell silent after her words. Duncan sensed the tension in the air as Vanna, Morris, and others nearby held their breath. Moments later, Vanna broke the silence, “Has our situation really become that severe?”

Shaking his head, Lune said, “The most serious aspect is our ignorance about how bad things could get. Without the warning from the Vanished, we wouldn’t have known about the sun’s twelve-hour blackout. During those hours, four Arks and most city-states vanished, forcing us to prepare for even worse outcomes.”

Duncan responded with a calm yet sharp voice, “But the idea of a world beyond the Veil is merely speculative, with no solid foundation.”

Unflinchingly meeting Duncan’s gaze, Helena replied, “Taking action, even amidst uncertainty, is better than doing nothing. We might find nothing beyond the Eternal Veil, or it might be a vast expanse where we never find a new path. Nonetheless, we must try…”

She paused, allowing Frem, who had been silent, to speak in a grave tone, “In the worst-case scenario, we’re considering survival within the Eternal Veil itself.”

Startled, Nina responded, “Survival within the Eternal Veil! Is it even possible for mortals to live in such dense fog?”

Frem replied, “Not with our current form and knowledge. Mortal society, as it is, cannot thrive there.”

Helena continued, “That’s why adaptation, or even mutation, might be necessary. We may need to evolve into something unlike ourselves to withstand the coming world, like the mysterious shadows in the fog or the whispering winds…”

Duncan posed another daunting question, “What if even that isn’t enough? What if the chaos of the Eternal Veil is fundamentally impossible to adapt to? If both the new route and adaptation plans fail, what then?”

Amid the serious discussion about survival in a grim future, Banster spoke calmly, “If needed, we’ll turn to the spirit world. Should that fail, we will launch an all-out assault on the abyssal deep sea. If there are beings who can summon demons into our dimension, then we, too, can venture into the realms of these demons. If survival is possible in the abyssal deep sea, we will make it happen. And if all else fails, we still have the option of subspace.”

Shirley, typically reserved, couldn’t hold back her curiosity this time: “Subspace? What do you mean?”

Banster nodded, “Subspace is a realm believed to be uninhabitable. Anyone who has seen it has been consumed by eternal madness and distortion. But in a situation of absolute desperation, subspace might be a viable option. Any choice, no matter how dire, is better than passively accepting the end of the world.”

Both Shirley and Nina were visibly shocked, their expressions reflecting their astonishment.

Deep in thought and staring intently at the group across the table, Duncan finally spoke softly, “Is this guidance part of the ‘revelation’ you mentioned?”

Helena answered, “It’s not a revelation but more of a ‘suggestion’ we’ve discerned from faint and chaotic messages.” She raised her hand to her chest, tracing the storm symbols, “The intent is clear: they urge us to survive by any means necessary, regardless of the cost.”

Affected by this, Duncan fell into a contemplative silence.

He had to admit that these individuals, whom he had previously seen as often too late or ineffective in crises, were taking more substantial actions than he had realized. They lacked the power of the ancient gods and the Vanished but were attempting feats beyond both.

After a prolonged silence, Duncan finally broke it: “Tell me about the progress you’ve made so far.”

With a hint of regret, Helena responded, “Our progress is limited. We’ve established a few forward bases within six sea miles of the Eternal Veil, just managing to hold our position there. But that’s as far as we’ve gotten. No one has yet surpassed the ‘record’ left by the Vanished.”

Duncan replied, shaking his head, “The Vanished itself faced catastrophe beyond six sea miles of the Veil. That wasn’t truly a successful exploration.”

The expressions of the four Popes shifted uncomfortably, indicating a reluctance to continue discussing this sensitive topic.

Unfazed by the group’s discomfort, Duncan collected his thoughts and sat up straight to share something potentially significant. “Given the challenges you’re facing, I have some information that might be of interest to you,” he stated composedly.

Helena’s interest was immediately piqued: “What kind of information?”

Duncan began, “A few days back, my niece and I intercepted a ship. It was a large vessel constructed by followers of the Annihilation Cult and used as a base for invading dreams during the recent Wind Harbor incident. The ship was covered with signs of bloodstained rituals and blasphemous creations. However, that’s not the critical part. The important thing is that such a ship wouldn’t be able to dock or resupply at regular city-states. Can you guess where its home port might be?”

Helena and Lune exchanged a quick glance, but it didn’t take long for them to catch on. Lune was the first to react, “Wait, are you suggesting… the frontier?!”

Duncan confirmed their suspicion without prolonging their curiosity. “Exactly, they are hidden within that dense fog,” he said gravely. “That location is likely a major stronghold for the Annihilators, possibly even their primary base and ‘holy land.’ I can’t determine this holy land’s exact nature or whether it lies inside or outside the six-sea-mile boundary. But even if it’s within the more stable region, a ‘Veil Colony’ that has been secluded in the Eternal Veil for an extended period and serves as a large-scale resupply port would undoubtedly hold immense research value for us.”

This novel is translated and hosted on bcatranslation.