Chapter 1:

Chapter 01: The Messenger

Carmine Knight: Legacy of the Last Guardian

My job is simple, I am a messenger.

Yes, I am a messenger. I am supposed to be just a messenger!

How the hell am I stuck here writing these records? For heaven's sake, someone please take over the pen in my stead.

Now then, no matter how much I hate this task, I so have to do my job properly.

As I stated, I was a messenger. My destination was one of my favourite places in the entire universe, the world called Aether. It is a planet full of life and joy, and the civilization became advanced enough in science and technology, to the point where not a single person uttered the name of God.

Just like any other advanced civilizations, they were noticed by those standing on higher grounds. Portals connecting Aether to other worlds opened up and Aether became a chaotic barbaric place before it turned into a land of science and fantasy where technology co-existed in harmony with magic. The denizens of the world had won and adapted to their life and had advanced even further.

It would be fair to say that Aether had become one of the most resilient and advanced worlds.

I first encountered them when a gate opened up and connected their world to ours. After a decade of bloodshed between the two worlds over resources on the other side, we reached a stalemate and agreed upon a trade treaty to suit the needs of both worlds. That was an arduous journey but it all somehow worked out in the end.

I was then a young merchant seeking adventure and wonders.

The connecting gates to Aether closed on their own after merely half a century. The gates not only closed to my world but to the others as well. Well at least the ones I managed to contact and gather information from. Since then no one had heard from Aether again.

And I am on the way to the shut world.

How? Now that's a trade secret I cant reveal.

It did take me two years by Aether's time standards just to open the gate to the world.

In my hand, I hold a letter in a pitch black envelope. This would the last delivery and then my promotion would be a guarantee.

The gate to Aether this time however felt different, it had always been noisy and erratic, but this time it was calm like still water. My assumption would be that the energy must have been highly concentrated, due to all the other gates remaining closed for years, stabilizing the gate.

Without wasting time over useless thoughts, I excitedly step through the gate and get greeted by a vibrant world, full of energy and vigour. The skies were bright blue and the surroundings were lushful and green. The gate opened up in a meadow.

Although there was abundance of mana and energy in the air and the ground, something did not feel right. Something felt a miss.

And then I came to a sudden realization, that the would was void of life.

The plants and the greenery were simply feeding off the energy and mana in the air but it was in no way alive. There was not a single sound of life. Not a single breath. The more I stood and observed the world the more I realized how void of life the world was. There were no insects, animals, or even micro-organisms around.

It was like everything had been inanimate and replaced by statues of themselves, including the ground, the skies, the winds, anything and everything, I saw or felt.

What horrified me the most was not the sinking sense of morbid void, but my instincts screaming at me to run from danger because I was being observed.

I kept looking back at the gate, hoping that it would stay open and that the ominous feeling originated from the other side of the gate.

I held my breath and soldiered on to complete my task. A couple steps forward and I felt as if I was walking in darkness with all my senses stolen.

"Maybe I'm just nervous because things are different," I reassured myself and closed my eyes. I inhaled a deep breath and slowly exhaled. I repeated the relaxation breathing a few more times and felt my muscles loosen up and the tension leave my body with each exhale.

The feeling of standing in emptiness was still present but it was more manageable. I slowly opened my eyes and immediately held my breath in shock.

I could hear my heart beat ring in my ear and head, and my body heated up. My chest tightened and my palms and feet went freezing cold from sweat.

A humanoid figure clad in black fluttering shadow-like mist stood before with only its eyes visible against the black canvas. It's eyes glowed bright red, staring right at me, silently standing before me. The misty black shadow made no noise, and just like the entire world around, I could not sense anything from the figure before me except for it's sight which were set on me.

The unblinking glowing red eyes continued to glare at me eerily while I stood frozen in cold sweat.