As the divine ruler Angus of the land of light, the holy land of Yslandia maintained an atmosphere of solemn tranquility, interrupted only by pilgrims seeking solace and sending their voices directly to heaven.
Yet, there are exceptions to everything.
With the impending Hell War, emissaries from the nine realms gathered in the sacred land.
In the azure sky, endless defense enchantments continuously emanated and dissipated, dragons, pegasi, and magical beasts, ridden by various powerful beings, descended from the distant sky, landing on the towering marble cathedral.
As the sun set, the attending holy knights, yawning, assumed their work was done for the day. To their surprise, they glanced up and saw more powerful beings arriving at the luminous sanctuary.
A colossal whale soared through the sky, its tail wagging, with several figures in cloaks visible on top, appearing like faint dust against the gray-blue canvas.
The ethereal song of the whale echoed repeatedly in the air, beautiful, gentle, and resonating deep into the soul.
Standing on the deep-blue spine of the whale, Aphra slightly tiptoed, overlooking the mentor's shoulder.
The sunset reflected on the towering clock tower and the pristine angel statue, casting a faint golden halo, enchanting and ethereal.
"So beautiful," Aphra exclaimed.
Once, a poet said, if there is tenfold beauty in the world, nine-tenths resides in Yslandia; if there is tenfold sorrow, nine-tenths lingers in Yslandia.
Aphra refrained from commenting on the latter part but silently agreed with the former at this moment.
"Aphra..." Mentor Nidhogg looked over at this moment, saying, "...don't forget why we came here."
Why did we come?
You are the only one who knows the purpose. How can I forget something I don't know?
Aphra thought silently, maintaining a smile on her face. She clasped her hands in front of her chest and bowed to her mentor, showing respect.
"Of course not. Aphra is at your service, and your will is my highest command," Aphra said.
Nidhogg's expression softened slightly. He urged the colossal whale beneath his feet to land on the ground.
The summoned whale dissipated into a light blue mist, and Nidhogg, shrouded in a black cloak, interlaced his hands in his sleeves. With an arrogant posture, he stood with a few apprentices behind him.
Soon, several knights of at least eighth tier arrived, asking the routine questions about their origin and race.
Nidhogg was well-prepared for the identity question.
He gestured with his finger, and one of the apprentices, also dressed in a black robe, stepped forward, presenting their identity documents.
—From the Silver race of the Ocean Kingdom, Ninth-tier Mage Nidhogg and his apprentices.
This identity had long been flawlessly fabricated, and the holy knights found nothing amiss.
Following behind the mentor, Aphra breathed a sigh of relief, barely noticeable.
Although she was prepared, the nervousness did not completely dissipate when her identity attributes were examined by a nine-tier powerhouse standing at the pinnacle of the world.
Once exposed, with Nidhogg's formidable strength, nothing would happen, but she, a mere fourth-tier apprentice, would inevitably become cannon fodder.
She, a dark mage from the hellish realm, worshipped the Death God Moroga, making her a natural enemy of the Illuminated Tribunal.
If possible, Aphra didn't want to appear on the land of the Illuminated Tribunal while she was still weak.
However, six months ago, the Death God himself dispatched an incarnation to the Thunderous Caverns, where her mentor Nidhogg resided, and delivered a prophecy.
Upon receiving the prophecy, Nidhogg immediately, without hesitation, disguised himself with his outstanding apprentices, intending to infiltrate the Illuminated Tribunal.