"I want a real body."
03 whispered her wish. Meanwhile, the corner of Joshua's mouth curved up slightly. He did not seem to feel troubled by that request. "That is actually a reasonable wish."
Thinking back, when 03 was staying at the liege's mansion, she always paid attention to Ying and Ling's bodies. Although the warrior did not know what she was thinking at that time, he could tell she had an unspoken longing.
Moreover, similarly as an artificial life form, one had a body while the other did not have one. That could really make 03 feel a little envious at the very least.
After giving it some thought, the warrior replied, "Regardless of whether it's a spiritual body entity or an artificial body, the research regarding this aspect already has a certain breakthrough. Maybe soon, they will find a way to create a real body that works like a human being."
He looked relaxed as if it was not a big deal. "If there is an opportunity later, I can contact the Mage Guild or the academies in the Eastern Plains. This is not a big problem."
"This is my promise to you."
03 did not answer. She only looked at Joshua's face with a serious look as if she was confirming whether his words were true or not.
Soon after, she smiled faintly. "Okay."
The Artificial Intelligence then hung up automatically. Right before she left the communication screen, Joshua could hear what she said softly, "I shall work well!"
"It seems that even though she said she was alright, in truth, a little reward is required still in order to keep her motivated in doing her work well."
The warrior laughed gently and kept the communication circle back into his backpack.
Now was already the time to travel to the Imperial City.
In the meantime, in the other world, on the other side of the dimensional passage at the Great Ajax Volcano.
The sky was dark as the night, and the dark clouds were forming in the heavens. The peak of the mountain gushed out like a pillar supporting the sky from falling upon the world. In the meantime, where countless ashes were pouring down like a pouring rain, the presence of blazing heat and hot dry winds were brought into the surroundings.
Five kilometers from Mount Sigma, there was a magic-enhanced armored car speeding on.
"As you can see, this is the most dangerous place."
A voice came from the armored vehicle. Inside the wide carrier seats, there were twelve warriors equipped with heavy armor with magic patterns all over them were sitting on two sides of the seats. Meanwhile, at the center, there was a tall and equally dressed warrior speaking to the rest of them.
The dull voice came from behind the helmet, reverberating across the atmosphere of the air, turning into words that sounded powerful and loud. "Mount Sigma is about to erupt. The lava rain, the lava meteors, the ashes that are enough to drown people, and the heat that are thousands of degrees will destroy everything in the surroundings of the volcano. Even if you're wearing the most advanced heavy armor that the Confederation has to offer for the moment, your armor will still be destroyed. You might die anytime out there."
The warriors sat silently on the bumpy armored vehicle. However, from the looks in their eyes, none of them were afraid.
The person that spoke seemed very satisfied with the reaction from the other warriors. He remained in silence for a moment and continued to speak, "We, the Taruila Special Force have been through multiple dangers, survived the cold of the glaciers, the despairing underground caves, the blazing endless desert... We've reached all of the dangerous regions in this world. We scout and we get out mission done. And this time will not be an exception either!"
When he said his piece, his tone was flat. There was not even a single fluctuation in his tone when he was saying that. It was flat and narrative. However, the tone was filled with great confidence, "Now, we're about to arrive at our destination."
The armored vehicle was moving at an extremely fast speed. Currently, it was approaching the approaching the foot of the volcano. The violent rumbling was shaking the tough and sturdy armored vehicle like how an earthquake would shake a sturdy vehicle. Meanwhile, there was flowing dust that looked as if an avalanche was collapsing along the sides from time to time.
"Attention! Repeat our current mission one more time!"
Suddenly, the warrior who turned out to be the leader of this party roared out with a thundering voice.
Meanwhile, the warriors who were remaining silent roared aloud at the same time. "Locate the missing crews of the Volcano Investigation Party. Investigate the reason for their disappearance!"
"Very good, ready! Move out!"
As soon as his voice was cut, the armored vehicle stopped at a stable location on the hillside. Then, twelve warriors came out from the vehicle one after another looking like flashed of lightning coming out from the vehicle. Every one of them were heading towards a different direction as they sprinted forward.
The leader was still standing on in the carriage of the vehicle though. He was witnessing his party members moving towards their respective directions. He was basically expressionless at that moment. However, after a brief moment, the warrior looked up to look at Mount Sigma that was unleashing thick black smoke blazing sparkles of lava from the tip of it. It seemed that the volcano was about to erupt. The warrior could not help but let out a sigh because of what he saw.
In fact, even if he was a confident man to begin with, he currently had no confidence in completing this mission.
Since October last year, there had been various kinds of natural disasters such as earthquakes, sandstorms, glaciers, heavy rainstorms, droughts, heavy blizzards, extreme colds, and icy rainsInnumerable disasters had been ravaging on the territory of the Confederation, causing all of the rescue team members to struggle like hell in carrying out their duties. Meanwhile, currently, it seemed like it was the turn for the volcano to erupt. Mount Sigma, which was initially deemed as dormant, actually revived and became active again. Meanwhile, in just tens of days, it had become so active that it was about to erupt.
To that end, the Confederation urgently sent out a party to investigate it. As such, the party was given the authority to utilize the most advanced probe detector (It was a device that was so expensive that no one would even want to think about how much it cost) to assist in the research of the reactivation of the volcano. However, not long after, the probe detector lost its signal. Just when the higher-ups of the Confederation were fuelling up their rage, they were also appalled to find out that the investigative party of ten, every single one of them, had lost contact. The crews of the entire party seemed to have vanished.
There must be an unknown reason behind all these. Hence, they had sent out their finest, the Taruila Expedition Elite Special Squad, aka the Taruila Special Force. That was how the squad received this mission to identify the reason behind all that.
The volcano was still bubbling. The warrior walked out of the armored vehicle. As the steel soles underneath his feet made contact with the gray-white soil, he could even feel the ground pulsating. The boiling blood of the world was gushing through the veins underneath all that rocks and soils, expecting an opportunity to erupt. As a living being, he felt fear, yet excitement, coursing through every part of his body because of that.
- This was the view that ordinary people would not see regardless of how many years. It was the reward for the bravest who would be daring enough to venture here at this time.
At the same time, magical communication circles were lighting up one after another from within the armored vehicle.
"Number one status report, Section 7 has nothing, over."
"Number two status report, Section 13 has nothing, over."
"Number three status report, Section 32 has a visual on a metallic item. Permission to place a vibration sensor upon it for investigation purposes, over."
"Conduct investigation with that spot as the center point. We would probably find some other traces." The leader of the squad who was on the armored vehicle swiftly gave his order, "Keep in contact from time to time, over."
After that, the captain only received reports on some scattered small discoveries. In the process of rapid investigation and exploration, the squad's warriors had found traces left by many investigators. It seemed that they did their job well before they all went missing. They did not forsake their responsibility like a bunch of irresponsible people as the higher-ups assumed.
"Number nine status report, Section 41 has a visual of the campsite of the investigation team. Similar to the recorded data we received, the coordinates of the location of the camp remains. Nothing has changed."
Upon hearing this news, the captain immediately and solemnly issued a follow-up order, "Investigate the compound of the camp and report the situation at any time. Other members from three other areas, regroup at Section 41. Other warriors, remain on course, scout the surroundings, over."
Meanwhile, Warrior Number 9 did not stop with his reporting.
"There are no signs of any shadows in the hall. There are many cluttered files on the table. It appears that the investigation team left in a hurry."
"There are a few scattered shoes and documents in the hallway."
"The food in the warehouse area and all kinds of weapons research tools have not been used in large quantities. It can be assumed that the investigation team began to evacuate very urgently. There was no time for them to perform anything else other than just evacuation."
"This is the research center, we have visuals on numerous muddy shoeprints here. It can be assumed that many had gathered around here before."
Warrior Number 9 on the other side of the communication link swiftly swept through the entire campsite. His tone sounded a little puzzled though, "Other than that, there is no sign of any other discovery. The ashes of the volcano and the muddy rainwater have covered over all sorts of external footprints. I cannot determine the direction the investigation team took when they left."
Suddenly, an immensely incomparable sound that sounded as if the heavens had collapsed upon the earth was heard. It was a sound that was a hundred times louder than the sound of thunder. The captain of the party who was staying at the mountainside lifted his head and looked at the top of the volcano. He slightly opened his mouth to nullify the tremendously powerful impact that his eardrums had just endured.
In the meantime, his eyes were witnessing the trembling of heaven and earth.
The immense power was pulsating in the depths of the earth underneath his feet. That was the heat unleashed by the very world itself.
Torrents of molten lava converged, and the volcano was about to erupt. This was not a result of using any skill or magic. It was a message that was told by the basic survival instinct of the warrior, as a living being.
The volcano was about to erupt.
"God damn it! The volcano is actually going to erupt two hours earlier than we anticipated it to!"
Gritting his teeth together, the captain decisively roared out into all of the communication circles as loud as he could, "Abort mission! I repeat! Abort mission! Everyone return to Section Zero! I repeat! Everyone return to Section Zero! Over!"
"Number 9 reporting in! What about the information of the investigation team? Over!"
" Then bring back all of the information, be quick!"
The Taruila Expedition Elite Special Squad was indeed the finest elite force in the Confederation. Within a few minutes after the order was given, everyone on the team had swiftly returned to the armored vehicle to regroup. Meanwhile, a few of the warriors were carrying several cardboard boxes and some instruments in their hands. They quickly got into the armored vehicle. Then the armored vehicle had already started rolling before everyone could sit down firmly on their seats. Without even the slightest delay, the vehicle headed straight for the bottom of the hill.
Sounded as if it was wailing and crying mournfully, a high-velocity hurricane that was enough to melt steel was spewing out from the center of the mouth of the volcano. The enormous pillar of smoke suddenly roughened up and turned thicker by twice the size of its original size. It even seemed to be pushing away the thick dark clouds in the sky, with a gaping hole, causing the thick layer of clouds within the radius of tens of kilometers to roll over and over again. Because of that, some sunlight was able to enter the atmosphere beneath the thick clouds, shining upon the body of the volcano itself. Along with the golden light gleaming across the entire area, the scenery looked holy.
Although the gap was immediately blocked back by the clouds, everyone was shocked to witness the appearance of that scene.
This is truly the force of nature!
But after that, they no longer had the energy to feel astounded.
First, it was silent. Then came the eruption. A sudden violent explosion burst out on the peak of Mount Sigma. The round peak of the volcano that was formed initially had been completely shattered and turned into countless endless balls of meteors sinking deep into the thick layer of clouds. Meanwhile, gold-red lava seemed to be spewing out like fresh blood spurting out from arteries.The lava then spilled over onto the earth in the surroundings of the volcano.
What kind of situation is this? The warriors on the armored vehicle could not find a way to describe that kind of shock in words. They could only watch this scene without moving their eyes away from it.
After some time, the red balls of meteors left the earth and then fell back down from the sky. Those meteors erupted from the volcano and rose into high altitude before falling down onto the earth like bright fire lines one after another. Not only the surroundings of Mount Sigma, even any of the spots on the area within a radius of several hundreds of kilometers was having the risk to get hit by those balls of blazing meteors.
The whistling volcanic rocks fell upon to the peaks of mountains, the forests and the hills. Hence, the mountains trembled, the forests were incinerated into ash and dust. Meanwhile, the hills were leveled and turned into basins. In the meantime, a stream of blazing meteors were flying straight towards the spot where the armored vehicle was. Along with a raging roar from the captain, under the violent tremble that could cause someone to become unable to think, the engine of the armored vehicle let out a roar. It was bringing all the warriors on board away from the dangerous distant at maximum speed. Meanwhile, the intense explosion occurred right behind their backs.
The supersonic shockwaves quickly approached the armored vehicle, followed by the hot fumes right at its back. However, their speed slowed down pretty fast after a brief moment. Hence, the meteors did not catch up to the armored vehicle. The warriors watched the earth behind them getting turned into lava as the earth and trees were scorched on fire. After that, everything was blazing with flames, the high heat that scorched everything up and reducing everything into ash and dust. Quartz were condensed and formed into glittering glass-like crystal forms. In the meantime, the lava and dust had everything covered underneath.
They could not help but only to pray to the gods. That was not something humans could stop. Hence, they could only pray for the best.
Once again, the eruption of the volcano spat innumerable lava and fumes into the sky. Golden red lines of fire passed across the sky one after another. They then crashed into the ground and brought forth fiery flames to scorch anything they hit. The forest continued to burn, turning the area within hundreds of kilometers into a sea of flames. The lakes and the rivers evaporated, along with the endless stream of mist rising and mixing into the black volcanic ashes, forming a muddy mist and murky heavy rain which was about to fall.
"The map has to be redrawn again"
Inside the armored vehicle, someone said that. Meanwhile, none of the other disagreed with that opinion. Because what he said was true. The truth was indeed just as simple as that.
Even if Mount Sigma stopped erupting, the damage caused by the devastating impact would never be restored. The meteors had caused the collapse of countless peaks, land subsidence, severe earthquakes which have trembled the region within thousands of miles, and the destruction of the underground waterways. The forests had also been turned into scorched earth. If the Confederation did not evacuate the vast majority of the people from that area, this explosion would have caused at least one million casualties. The disasters would continue on for hundreds of thousands of years.
All of them were immersed in deep thought for this foreseeable future. They were also members of the Confederation. Even if their hometowns were not here, their feelings to mourn for the others would not differ much.
This is a difficult year. There have been many calamities throughout the year.
Just as the captain was having such thoughts, a sound that expressed astonishment was suddenly heard coming from his side.
"Look! What's that?!"
One of the warriors stood up as he pointed his finger at something outside of the armored vehicle through the opening that they used to observe from within the armored vehicle. Then he sounded very loud and shocked as he said, "Use the binoculars to observe Section 83! Quickly!"
Section 83? Isn't that the mouth of the volcano?
The captain and the other warriors had doubts in their minds. However, they were also curious about what was over there. Hence, they picked up the binoculars by each of their waists looked at Section 83.
Within the field of vision of the binoculars, there was a huge dark shadow hidden in the golden red molten lava. Meanwhile, that dark shadow was slowly rising out of the surface of the lava. Then it came out of the molten lava completely. One step after another it walked up onto a towering rock cliff.
The hot lava flitted from the side, outlining huge size of its body and its strong muscular physique. This was a half-horse-half-dragon sort of terrifying creature which had a completely black body. Its chest had a bright golden crystalline core that kept flashing with the light of a golden sun. At the sides of the creature's front legs, there two less obvious spurs sticking out from the surface of its skin. It looked like a pair of wings though.
During the eruption of the volcano, the creature's whole body began to appear with a set of red-colored elemental energy around it. The elemental energy behaved like armor that covered the body of the giant beast, repelling all dust, meteor rocks and lava away from its body.
"What what creature is that?!"