Starfall Year 833, 20th of June.
Northern Empire, Holy City of the Triplet Mountains, dawn.
A dragging breeze blew through the green plains and emerald hills in the heart of Imperial territory up to the Triplet Mountains. It filled the streets with herbal aromas, and the pleasant sunlight raised the spirits of the residents who were already up and at it, telling them that it would be a good day.
In one of the guest rooms within Morlaix Palace at the Imperial Capital, a black-haired warrior stood beside the window and looked up towards the shifting clouds.
Joshua was already awake.
After leaving the royal study yesterday, he was led by one of the palace servants to this room which was usually reserved for the ambassadors of other nations. Joshua had simply planned to look for a hotel, and wait for Ling, Ying, and Black’s arrival tomorrow before going off.
But since Israel had invited him to stay in the palace, he cordially accepted the Emperor’s goodwill.
He had also quietly sorted some intelligence from the Far South.
To his memory, before the Draconic Plague started in his preexistence in the Far South, the first dragon attack on the city happened on Spring, Starfall 834 while the war only broke out midsummer in the same year. Perhaps it was due to zero interference from warriors and players that the plague came almost a year earlier.
That was why the memories regarding the various turn of events were meaninglessmany things could change in a year.
Naturally, the bigger picture would not change, such as the Evil God of Pestilence and His followers manipulating and inciting the Pentashade Dragons to unleash their fury behind the scenes.
The mad dragons wanted to take down the Far South and spread their forces across the Continent. But two things stand against their waythe first was the Central Defense Line of the Kingdom of the Far South, the second was the Sacred Mountain of the Distant Sea, the holy land of the Church of Seven.
Unable to take down the Central Defense Line, the dragons soon diverted their attention to the Sacred Mountain. The Church knew what they were up to and did not go on a passive defensive stance.
Instead, they gathered any who would answer their call and formed an Alliancewith Joshua being one of them. They also seem to have something in mind to stop the dragons’ advance.
From one of the higher levels on the palace that overlooks the urban zones of the Imperial Palace, Joshua looked at the residences of noble and common folk alike. Those rooftops laid out with black and red tiles were starting to show signs of life, with streaks of smoke coming off the chimneys in diagonal lines.
It was dawn and every family was preparing breakfast. Although there were several houses without chimney smoke, Joshua knew that it was not because they were not preparing breakfast yet, but because they have the latest magical core.
Technology on the Mycroft continent dulled in comparison to those that Illgner’s elves possessed. That was because mana and magic were still thick here and lost entirely for the latter. Still, they were uniquesince ‘magical machines’ was invented by all the famous Mage Academies of the Eastern Plains, this technology built based on magic and runes slowly bore fruit in this world.
The ease of life it provided even ordinary people made it everyone’s pursuitthe nobles and the rich being the first to get their finger over it.
In the Royal Mage Guild, more than half of its members were developing all sorts of mystical mechanism, the magical armor Joshua and the dwarves designing being one of the classical types, albeit also turning out to be one with high-end applications. Not only could it be used in combat, it could also be equipped by technicians to improve their work efficiency.
Where has magical technology reached?
Joshua thought about the pre-existence while tapping a finger on the window sill. Without player opinions and assistance, new little gadgets would probably be rare, but things like War Titans would probably be produced one way or the other.
With the surging numbers of players in the preexistence on the Mycroft Continent, mages involved in magical mechanical development were given plenty of hints and inspiration.
They created many useful trinkets like wristwatches that determined the elemental concentration of the user’s surroundings, magical night-vision glasses as well as ‘a thing that looks suspiciously like a mobile phone but is actually something that carries a self-replenishing communications formation’.
Others, of course, included the inevitable creation of magic carpets, flying broomsticks as well as puppets made exclusively for housework.
Nonetheless, the invention of those items inspired the mages as they slowly took it to the next level. When the magical hearth successfully debuted at the magical labs of the Skypiercing White Tower, all the elites of every nation bought the patent and created countless killing machines from that.
Mycroft has long toiled in war. The nervous elites notwithstanding, the moment the common folk learned that even they could access magic through new technologies, the first thing they thought of was not how they could make life easier. Instead, all they envisioned were destructive weaponrymagical rifles, enchanted bow and arrows, airborne battleships, floating fortresses, etc.
It was almost a culture that the people have. Everyone is alert and wary of the unpredictable figure, which was why most in the continent would not care about keeping their lives mundane, opting to seek power.
Now, every nation was developing magical technology for the next generation. In the wealthy Trade Federation and the Eastern Kingdom of Mages, a new army equipped with magical armaments has appeared.
As the largest country of the world, the Northern Empire naturally did not fall behind. Joshua recalled the first War Titans appearing at the southern fortresses of the Empire. They did not lose out to the ancient Colossal Titans, suppressing the Dark Tide easily then.
While the warrior frowned in old memories far gone and things that happened so many Starfall years ago, someone knocked on the guest room door.
“My Lord, His Majesty is waiting for you at Fort Aden.” The respectful voice of a servant rang from behind the door. “Would you like to leave now, or do you need some time to prepare?”
“Let’s leave now,” Joshua replied.
Turning back to reality, the warrior moved, ready to leave for the South.
Joshua had discussed and agreed with Nostradamus for the elderly mage to transport Ling, Ying and Black here. However, since the Imperial Capital had the magical formation of vigilance, dimensional lockdowns as well as prohibits teleportation, they had to be sent to the fort on the Triplet Mountains by the edge of town.
The servant who led Joshua away from Morlaix Palace did not talk much, seemingly due to extreme fear. As they walked past the many corridors, every move from the warrior seems to make the middle-aged man jump. It was until Joshua left the palace and boarded the carriage to the Fort that he breathed one huge sigh of relief, his cold sweat flooding his forehead as if surviving a major assault.
“That Count’s far more terrifying than the rumors” He mumbled, watching with a traumatized gaze at the slowly departing carriage. “There’s no telling what sort of terrible lives his subjects lead Anyone could tell from his eyes he’s a tyrant”
While Joshua’s overly-intimidating aura dealt a further blow to his reputation, the Emperor was waiting for him on the highest platform of one of the towers at the edge of Fort Aden.
Around him were six lightly armored guards with swords on their hips and four mages in dark green robes. The guards were solemn as they stood in protection over their lord, while the mages were using a bizarre language communicating with some other party through magictheir tone seemed rushed, but also carries shreds of nervousness and anticipation.
Steady footsteps then rang from the entrance of the tower. Israel turned towards it.
“Liege Radcliffe, you’re here.” The dull-blond Emperor nodded lightly at the warrior, smiling carefreely. “You’re late tooyou’ve almost missed it.”
“Miss what, Your Majesty?” Joshua asked. He came as directed by the knights on watch along the way to the top of the tower, but did not sense Ling, Ying, or Black.
He was also puzzled by what Israel said. “Miss Nostradamus’s teleportation? Forgive my frankness, Your Majesty, but I’ve seen that too much.”
That was not a lie either. Nostradamus often warped between the Imperial City and the Winter Fort Academy, which was why Joshua often got to see how he did it. And it was not in this life only eitherhe had experienced just as many times in the pre-existence. So, although that light-blue dimensional doorway was definitely a sight to behold, he was now a little numb towards it.
“No, why would I tell you to watch that.” Israel’s tone was hushed, his lips curling at the sight of Joshua’s doubtful expression. “Patience, young count. Just wait a moment and you will be shocked.”
“As you wish.” It was clear to Joshua that the Emperor wanted to play coy. Humoring the old warrior, he stood and waitedhe had plenty of time after all.
“Calibration complete!” One of the mages said with a thick Eastern Plain accent. Their expressions were one of delight as they turned quickly and reported to Israel. “Your Majesty, the ‘Gale’ is now ready, we can start anytime.”
“Good work.” Israel nodded as his gaze turned serious.
“Begin!” He commanded and turned towards the overtly suspicious Joshua, clapping the warrior’s shoulders firmly.
“Just wait, Joshua!” He laughed loudly. “You’ll soon bear witness to a historical moment!”
Joshua endured the assault by the Legendary warrior, his rather disapproving mood turning into slight anticipation. Whatever the case might be, to have a Legendary warrior be so discreet yet so keen on showing him somethingit must be something amazing. Though Joshua was knowledgeable, he could not say for sure that he had seen everything, especially the supernatural.
And by the next second, the extraordinary happened and the warrior widened his eyes.
Fort Aden had been a normal castle fortress built on the upper portion of the mountains to monitor the magical elements in the Imperial Capital. Its walls formed a hexagon, with spires that stood around it. On the top of the central building was a flat floor with layers of repeated Magical Formation of Recombination, used to manipulate the tremendous natural mana and elementals around the capital.
Right now, on the air above those huge formations were soft blue ripples. That obviously meant something was being transported.
And not just any ordinary transportationthat would not have surprised Joshua. These ripples were twisting with such intensity it was virtually shaking the air into one blurry blue chaos. Soon, however, it became a blue sphere with a radius of hundreds of meters hanging above the fort.
The bizarre sapphire luminescence dyed half the skysomething huge was being transported from an unknown location!
The guards beside Israel could feel the pressure and took a few steps back, while the four mages’ eyes were twinkling with thrill and keen expectation.
Joshua, too, stared tightly at the bunch of blue dimensional sphere, his eyes lit with nostalgia.
He had seen such a scene before in his past life at the battlefield against the Abyss. It was something the Resistance against the demonic invasion of the cities had seen in the Fort Naya at the Ashen Plains.
The blue sphere, too, had appeared then. Now, it fully materialized as the titanic object moved here.
Finally, it arrived, and the blue ripple of light vanished immediately and became normal air once more.
“An airship!” Joshua exclaimed as he took one step forward as he stared at the colossal object hovering over the fort. He then quickly shook his head and corrected himself after having a good look.
“No, not just any airship. An aerial battleship!”
Indeed, it was a super dreadnaught-class aerial battleship that had been transported over the portal. Almost 170 meters, it was built entirely from steel but defies gravity thanks to the twelve magical formations gleaming with clear white light beneath the craft. Those formations kept producing an incessant buoyancy that kept the humongous battleship afloat.
Without a hint of bumpiness, the battleship hung on the air above, its black armor and diamond-shaped appearance presenting unparalleled intimidation and majesty. Anyone could tell that this was one of the most horrifying of killing machines, and there was also that apparent ‘Five Stars Ring around the Sun’ badge that marked it as a property of the Empire.
“Joshua, you won’t merely represent yourself at the Sacred Mountainbut the very might of the Empire too.” Israel said beside his ear with a low but clear voice. “As an Imperial Noble who has decided to aid the Church of Seven, the Empire clearly should not just have you go alone.”
“Now, feast your eyes on the aerial battleshipthe ‘Gale’. Laid down recently with the newly discovered ‘Crystal Core’ as the heart that powering its engine, its special dual-core design allows it to travel furthera breakthrough from the war against the orcs.”
“Inside are five mana-compressing formations that could unleash near-Gold levels of elemental projectiles, as well as forty alchemical cannons for heavy surface bombardment.”
“What do you think, Joshua?” Israel boasted pridefully with a finger pointed towards the aerial battleship, before laughing sonorously and clapping the warrior’s shoulder once more.
“And now, it’s yours.”