What does death feel like?
The existence that called itself Harmonic Interface 7 (HI7) never had that sensation or understood the meaning of it.
It was a terminal from the Circle of Realm Regulators that conducted missions to the world outside, a puppet without feelings. Though it has a soul it was a mere external gifttherefore it should be a life that was absolute calm and rational and be accepting even when death comes.
But now, the depths of its soul felt cold.
The perception of dying was like being soaked into the lake in an icy mountain. The freeze was watery that seeped into the bones, while the ice chilled the skin, immobilizing body and spirit.
Standing his ground, the black-haired human raised its head and stared back at itself. HI7 gazed upon those gleaming red eyes of his, sensing that the killing intent within the man was tearing its very soul apart.
The attack is coming
It was not something the existence came up with through calculations and guesswork, but through sheer instinct. The warrior was not doing anything, there was no sign of an explosion that was to come, and neither were his muscles or combat aura contracting.
Still, that was what the terminal concluded.
And it was too late. The instant a magic circle of observation orbited the black-haired human vanished from sight; all that was left were fissures on the ground and the dust he kicked-up.
Time stood still. And then HI7 felt the halo in its head completely stop moving, while his thoughts froze.
It attempted to evade the anonymous man's attack but failed; in the next second, the silver human silhouette's vision was stuffed full with a hand that twined around the red-black ripple, moving to grab hold of its own brain.
A streak of red light broke through the horizon; Black and every elf lifted their eyes in that direction.
Before they could think, a tremendous explosion blew.
A violent bang sounded, and even the half-dragon shook its skull as if aching. It felt a ringing noise in its head while a gigantic mushroom cloud rose into the sky. Thunderous tremors resounded through the earth into the distancethe capital town of Babel could clearly feel it.
Elves taking refuge beneath the underground shelter waited for the battle to end nervously. Being peasants that had no way to fight, they could only believe in the victory of their fellow brethren.
However, the sudden tremors came, prompting waves of screams within the quiet shelter.
The immense impact was accompanied by howling winds, along with an unbearable sulfuric odor.
As the dust settled, the black-haired warrior held a broken piece of a silver halo in his hand, frowning at it as he slowly walked out of the enormous burning crater.
"What was that thing. So tough that it left pieces after my full-power blow" he muttered.
Behind him, a silver-haired girl and a black-haired teenager followed. They slapped the dust off themselves, and then sighed at the same time.
"Master, didn't you mention something about being calm?" Ling said in an unintelligible voice. He looked slightly puzzled, and shook his head before adding mystically, "Or perhaps this was what calm looks like?"
Ying, on the other hand, thought for a moment. Her finger drew circles at her own cheek before slowly saying, "Think about it. Compared to the last few battles, at least Master remembered to bring us along!"
"Maybe this is a calm performance!"
Taking no notice of the banter between his weapons, Joshua held out the halo shard and picked out the system decisively.
[Shard of HI7'S Core]
[The root of a magic of extraordinary scale. It could materialize energies and ferry souls. Imbued with unimaginable power, now smashed to pieces. Would there be secrets lying within the shards? Who knows.]
[Do not handle the remains carelessly!]
Joshua lifted a brow, his expression shifting while he looked at the halo; the brief assessment appeared to have intrigued him.
"Interesting. A being directly descending from the Circle of the Apocalypse? It's even from the origins, from the looks of the halo but it's not very strong."
The silver human silhouette was formidablein terms of its spiritual prowess it would reach the Gold tier in the very least. If the halo that was virtually indestructible by physical means was included, it would have an easy time dueling against any Gold tier adversaries.
As long as its opponent wasn't Joshua himself, a creature of such level could vanquish an entire army without breaking a sweat.
He handed the halo over to Ying beside him. The girl pocketed it, while Joshua turned to look around for the half dragon. His expression turned a little gloomy, and he laughed coldly once before walking over to Black.
"Now let's go check up on that scampering fella."
When Black saw that Joshua was running towards him, its face looked emotional as it rumbled forwardseemingly prepared to lick the warrior. It was fortunate for black-haired warrior that he quickly held up its chinhe would have been soaked in dragon saliva otherwise.
Joshua's expression was extraordinarily ugly. With a low growl, he ordered, "Black, sit! You're not a dog, why are you licking people?!"
Hearing its master's command, Black pathetically lowered itself as its golden gaze watched the clearly raging warrior cautiously. Its thick tail was wagging around behind its body, kicking dust off the ground with heavy throbbing sounds.
Joshua shook his head at the sight, which had dulled his original intention to teach Black a lesson. It would have been embarrassing to do so; he hadn't sunk to a level where he vented his temper on others.
All the elves that watched the scene unfold from their circle of observation breathed a sight of relief at once. Then their faces went pale and their mouths agape, as if they had seen something utterly inconceivable.
That volcanic dragon that had destroyed many adamantium golems, held a huge chunk of their army back, and could very well be the great being behind Mount Sigma's eruptionwas now wagging its tail begging for sympathy from a humanoid? (They were calling it a humanoid because none of them were willing to admit that the individual who wiped out thousands of golems alone was an elf or just any ordinary life as told in legends.)
Be that as it may, most of them quickly reacted and assumed that it was normal since the humanoid was so much more powerful than the volcanic dragon. Maybe it was the dragon's owner as they had previously guessed, nothing would be out of the ordinary if that were so.
Still, it was an unusual surprise. The mayor of the city rubbed his chest while breaking out in a cold sweat. The view of the black-haired warrior sweeping away at the golems just now had almost stopped his heart.
Maybe, just maybe if that being has ill intentions towards the elves.
He shuddered, unable to imagine that possibility, and issued an order.
Fortunately, Joshua was not concerned about any such problems; he had no intentions whatsoever where elves were concerned. He was frowning, interrogating his mount and disciplining it.
"How on earth did you get to this world? Didn't I tell you not to go to the other side?"
"You don't know either? Weird. Perhaps some accident happened at the dimensional passageway? Just like the last time me and the old dwarf were sucked into a parallel world at the dwarven settlement" Joshua frowned.
"Or maybe it was caused by the magma backflow from the volcanic eruption? There's that possibility so I'll spare you this time. How did you come up against the agents of Chaos of this side anyway?"
"A monster that fell from the sky through a gigantic magic circle? Perhaps it was the Formation of Divine Signs are there sentient creatures here too?"
The unusual conversation stopped there. Joshua glanced at the run-down capital of Babel which still housed several tall buildings, and couldn't help but mumble, "Last time it was the Avian people, and now elves; how did the Mycroft Continent come to house every being from other worlds? Perhaps there is some connection?"
Before he could finish he thoughts, a flash of white, late to the party, landed beside Ying and Ling.
" Joshua, your speed, how are you so quick?"
The holy knight walked out of the light. Due to his class and build, his flight speed was a lot slower than the warrior'sand would be one step behind even if he did put his back into it.
Stepping towards Joshua, Roland looked over at the growling half-dragon and turned to the warrior who was shouting at it with an utterly serious face.
"Since when did you learn to talk to dragons?" the knight asked, his face puzzled.
"It can be done long as you put your heart into it," the other answered, a little carelessly.
Joshua was having a headache over how he'd make first contact with the local sentient beings. Only Mobile Fortress A.I 03 was left amongst the A.I. systems the Karlisi had left behindthe others were dead.
Along his journeys, he had never met any living thing except Aragamis. Now, as Black told him, there were up to millions of them, and possessed a civilization that was comparable to the Mycroft Continent.
"Other than the lower magical standard that in turns affected individual ability, they may even be superior over the Mycroft Continent." The gaze of the warrior turned somber. "And it's a magical civilization too."
When the Dark Abyss invaded, the continent's magical technique had advanced swiftlyeven breaking normal reasoning. Looking back at it now, perhaps it wasn't the threat of war that pushed the innumerable mages and accumulated their datait may be thanks to this world that they were able to progress.
That was the conclusion Joshua and the holy knight came to after looking around. It was virtually identical to the continent; the air, water and soil were virtually the same. The Karlis world, on the other hand, was a world starved and about to end, and not in any condition to be used as a reference.
This world, though, would make people can't help but wonder if it was naturally connectedthe environment itself had such natural resemblance.
Black suddenly roared before they could finish examining the problem; an armored car adorned with a white flag was driving slowly towards them from Babel.