Tree of Provenance? Luna, Mirage, and Azalea remembered that one of the elders, Nainia mentioned it; however, none of them knew what this Tree of Provenance was nor the importance it held for members of the Trephasia race.
"In RML, every race that exists has a point of origination—the Trephasia are no different. According to the legends, when time, space, and matter first formed, at the same instant, a seed smaller than a grain of sand had morphed into existence. It was this seed that one day grew into what the Trephasia calls the Tree of Provenance. From what was written in the Amaharpe library, the Tree of Provenance's size is massive enough to pierce through the firmament of this world and is directly linked to the next." Izroth explained.
"There's another world?!" Mirage exclaimed. Players had not even traversed the entirety of the kingdoms, and now she was suddenly being told that there were other entire worlds? How could she not be shocked?!
Luna and Azalea, however, did not appear as shocked. Since Luna had participated in the world quest The Beginning of Beginnings and traveled to several places with Izroth, she was well aware of the existence of other places such as the Nether Realm or the Shadahi Realm.
As for Azalea, she was also privy to some things as a result of certain circumstances.
"Indeed. Though how many such worlds exist is something that I cannot answer. However, this is a topic for another time." Izroth replied. There was not much he grasped about the other realms in RML, so even if he wanted to go into further detail, it would be impossible.
He then continued, "The legend goes, "From the Tree of Provenance, a single branch and a single leaf fell unto the Mortal Realm. From this branch, the Mother of All Forests was born. From this leaf that touched the soil of the Mother of All Forests, the Trephasia was formed and breathed into existence. It is believed that the Tree of Provenance sits at the center of the Mother of All Forests and that the Mother of all Forests is the birthplace and origin of all plant-life in the Mortal Realm. In other words, if one goes there, they will not need to journey elsewhere to find the plant or herb they are searching for."
"Does a place that amazing really exist?" Mirage questioned with a look of excitement in her eyes. One could tell that she wanted to leave right then and there to search for that miraculous place! What an adventure it would be!
Izroth shook his head and answered, "This, I cannot say for certain. However, within every legend, there is usually tied to it a strand of truth. Whether the story is true or not, perhaps with time, something similar to it can be located."
Mirage was a bit disappointed when she heard Izroth's response. But, she was not disheartened! At that moment, she made a decision. Once this quest was over, she would search for clues to this mysterious Mother of All Forests!
Falcinean had a frown on his face as the Life for Life stone in his hand pulsed rapidly.
"Is it broken? No, I have never heard of a malfunction occurring with the Life for Life stone. Could he be hiding using a special technique or item?" Falcinean questioned.
At the moment, Falcinean sat on the back of a beast that resembled a rhino and lizard with scales that matched the color of the Pzenium desert sands. It was a Pzenium Desert Crawler, a popular mount for traveling fast through the harsh kingdom's unforgiving environment.
Falcinean swept his gaze across the endless sea of sand, but he did not discover anything strange. But, as a Controller, he knew for a fact that there were no oases within many kilometers of here.
However, what Falcinean did not know was that he was not just anywhere in the Pzenium desert. He was at the same location where Izroth and his party entered into the Millennial Veiled Oasis!
"Having some trouble, Controller Falcinean? Just say the word, and my Sandstorm Walkers will take over." A voice echoed from out of nowhere. The bizarre thing was that Falcinean was alone! Just where was this voice coming from?
"Hmph, you and your Sandstorm Walkers are under my command. Unless I give you a direct order, you are not to act. Is that understood?" Falcinean responded coldly. From his tone alone, one could tell that he did not get along with the person he was speaking to.
"Heh, very well. Then, we shall await your precious command, Controller Falcinean. Ahahahaha!" The voice slowly faded away.
"Hmph, lowly scum... Naturally, I have my own methods." Falcinean said as he reached into his garment and removed a necklace. Attached to this necklace was a red-eye that looked as though it belonged to a demon of exceptional strength.
"Reveal the enemies that hide from my site, Eye of Xroshier!" Falcinean chanted as the red-eye light up and released a foul aura that spread out into the surrounding atmosphere.
The roar of a bloodthirsty beast exploded from the necklace in Falcinean's hand as the space before him started to distort.
Falcinean furrowed his brows when he sensed the abrupt shift in the space around him.
"Spatial magic?" Falcinean was startled to discover spatial magic in a place devoid of any life. What shocked him was not the spatial magic itself, but the sheer size of it! If the Eye of Xroshier was not malfunctioning, then this spatial magic easily covered an area well over a hundred kilometers!
"How could spatial magic this powerful in my Pzenium kingdom go undiscovered for so long?" Falcinean questioned. But, the truth was that Falcinean nor anyone else in Pzenium would have ever discovered this spatial magic, even with the help of an item like the Eye of Xroshier, if it had not recently been activated.
The moment the spatial magic reacted to the Empress Brooch in Izroth's possession, it had temporarily entered a weakened state. It just so happened that Falcinean was at the right place at the right time to take advantage of this vulnerable state!
A few seconds later, the space before Falcinean tore open, and when it revealed what was on the other side, his eyes widened from shock!
"T-This is...! Impossible...!" Falcinean exclaimed. What came into his sight was an immense oasis—it was even bigger than the oasis owned by the Grand Sovereign themselves! If news of this place were to spread, without a doubt, the entire Pzenium kingdom would be thrown into a state of civil war!
Izroth and his group had wandered far away from the village as they just arrived at riverbank. However, on the other side of the riverbank was not the same paradise that existed everywhere else in this oasis. Instead, it was a deserted wasteland with an absence of life.
But, what stood out the most was that located just ten meters away from the riverbank on the wasteland side was a small hunt made from the earth itself. Its appearance resembled that of the ones back at the Trephasia village; however, it looked more rundown and abandoned in comparison.
"That must be the forbidden area that elder mentioned. Should we investigate?" Mirage said eagerly.
"We gave our word that we would not trespass into that area. Do you intend to go back on it?" Azalea stated. But, there was not as much contempt in her voice as before whenever she addressed Mirage.
"If I remember correctly, 'we' never gave our word. They completely ignored us the whole time, and the promise was only made by Luna. Not to mention, the first condition was that Luna stays near us. However, they never clearly defined just how 'near' she should be. Therefore, we can assume that they left this to our discretion. So, even if we investigate a bit, we would still technically be following the conditions they gave to Luna." Mirage explained with a smirk on her face.
"You- How shameless..!" Azalea scoffed. How could someone twist the words of others so well to make them fit with their own agenda? The worst part of it all was that Azalea could not retort because everything Mirage said was true!
"That's certainly an interesting way of looking at it." Izroth said with a carefree smile on his face.
He then continued, "Though I suppose we humans do have a difficult time understanding the complicated words of the wise Trephasia elders so accurately. Azalea, stay here with Luna."
"Teacher?" But, before Azalea could say another word, without hesitation, Izroth jumped across the riverbank and landed safely on the other side!
It was not merely because of Mirage's words that Izroth chose this action. It had to do with the second spot marked on the damaged treasure map. If his estimations were correct, then that mark should lead to this area!
Not to mention, it seemed that the Trephasia feared for Luna's safety, more than they wanted to keep others from entering this area.
But, most importantly, the Isolation Compass had pointed him in this direction! If that was the case, then there was a good chance that there was a separate area on the other side of this wasteland where other Trephasias dwelled.
As for the curse that was mentioned, Izroth was not concerned. He possessed the Heavenly Golden Body and consumed the Evil Cleansing Pill. Not to mention, he had already been cursed by a legendary existence like the Netherworld Envoy—what curse did he possibly have to fear?
〈System Alert: You have discovered the «Land of the Forsaken One»!〉
Not too long after Izroth reached the other side of the riverbank, Mirage jumped over to join him.
Mirage looked in every direction, but no matter where her gaze landed, she was met by nothing but dirt and rotting trees.
A frown appeared on Mirage's face as she said, "This is the so-called forbidden area? What's so forbidden about it?"
Izroth's eyes narrowed as his gaze locked onto the small hut several meters away. He had just activated his Energy Vision Sense and immediately had to turn it off before that flame overloaded his senses. He had not seen such a boundless and powerful flame since he exchanged pointers against the third young master of the Dragon Palace, Kayn! What was in that small hut that was capable of releasing such a terrifying amount of energy without restraint?
"Stay close." Izroth warned Mirage as he walked towards the small hut.
Mirage was confused by Izroth's sudden change in tone. Did he discover something wrong?
Izroth approached the small hut with Mirage as he prepared himself before slowly opening the door.
However, the moment he opened the door and saw what was inside, Izroth inwardly furrowed his brows. At the same time, the Isolation Compass in his hands shook violently as the Empress Brooch in his inventory did the same.
Mirage peaked over Izroth's shoulder and covered her hand with her mouth. She gasped when she witnessed what laid on the floor of that small hut.
"It's a child...!" Mirage exclaimed.
What was a child doing in a lifeless place like this?