Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
The Great Ajax Mountains stretched on for thousands of miles, covering the entire North with its countless majestic and menacing peaks, the most famous being the Great Ajax Volcanic Mountain itself.
Still, apart from the volcano that shares its name with the mountain range, another solitary peak stood, stealing the attention of many.
The Mountain of Deep Frost, Ximinir of Moldova.
When it came to grandness and altitude Mount Artha of Central Dark Forest had no equal, while the ruggedness and difficulty for ascent gave the Empire’s Mount Ural its name the ‘Impenetrable Heavenly Moat’. Even the snowy Mount Nissia that stood amidst the Great Ajax Mountains could be described as spectacular and beautiful.
Nonetheless, Mount Ximinir eclipsed all of those other summits. It was a summit that stood thousands of meters tall, half of its body being covered by deep frost.
A miracle amongst miracles, there was none other like it.
Surrounded by other mountains, the flawlessly white pinnacle penetrated the clouds like a sharp sword, its surface, smooth like a mirror, reflected the light of dawn, as if putting on a layer of golden yarn.
But now, a single figure stood above the very peak of the frosted mountain, bathing in the sunlight.
Joshua stood on the very top of Mount Ximinir. He looked towards the morning sun on the horizon, his body aflame, a river urgently cascading beneath him.
The ice that had accumulated was slowly melted by the flames over the warrior’s body, the freezing water flowed into a single stream that gushed towards the cliff of the summit, pouring down over altitudes thousands of meters above sea level. Most of the water disperse into vapors halfway and hung above the sky, while others plummeted in white waves, striking the rime stones beneath the mountain.
The roar of this icy waterfall was deafening, thundering ceaseless and echoing amidst the many other mountains around it. Quite a few avalanches were thus triggered, with tons of stagnated snow bellowing as they plummeted.
Joshua took no mind of the awe-inspiring scenery caused by himself. He kept his eyes fixed on the scorching sun, thousands of thoughts swirling within his mind.
The warrior had already stood atop Mount Ximinir for a day and a night, from the first glimmer of dawn until the next. It was an impossible task for mortals, but trivial for Joshua’s body that had gone through endless training and had surpassed every metal in this world.
Dawning sunlight swept across the ice layer, refracted into a myriad of ravishing colors. In the North, a land of extreme cold, ice shavings would never melt however much the sun blazed. On the other hand, a blistering but pure radiance spread from the warrior as his heart thumped, and it was what easily melted the hardened ice of the summit, turning all of it into swirling ice water and rocketing beneath the mountain.
This was not real radiance, but simply Joshua’s tremendous lifeforce given form. The warrior did not even use aurait was the mere release of the sign of his being, and it had already led to such an extraordinary phenomenon. If the Life Flames of common folk were the innumerable stars that sparkled across the sky, the warrior was the burning sun in the day.
That peerless lifeforce contained limitless vigor as the power to repel everything. Any existence that came too near would be exposed to the huge life radiation and experience bizarre shifts in their bodies, such as growing a third hand or misshapen organs. Gold champions would feel their own lifeforce being suppressed too, unable to use ninety percent of their power.
Be it aura, technique, combat knowledge or reflexes, the warrior only needed lifeforce along with his body that was as powerful as it could be to step into the intermediate phase of Supreme, capable of stopping an entire berserk-dragon swarm with one hand.
But Joshua appeared far from satisfied as he pondered.
Joshua knew his own power and body far better than anyone else.
Was his lifeforce powerful? Yes. Was it enough for him to improve his tier? No.
Because he had not stepped upon his own path.
As the sovereign of the Church of Seven Gods, a deity amongst men, Pope Igor’s path was to grasp all light that shone upon the world. He could create duplicates of himself by the Sacred Light, project himself in the North across the entire continent, or use insignificant light ripples as a medium of his power, killing millions of frenzied dragons with a single move.
The old man did not even conceal a single iota of his own power, generously displaying it to everyone instead. He had already shifted the very essence of life, becoming an existence formed from elemental condensation.
And then there was the nature magister, leader of the elves in the Distant South and mentor of the druid way. Her path was to become an incarnation of nature; her body that walked in the mundane world was just a surrogate puppet imbued with Legendary prowess.
The real form of this elven champion was in reality the forests within the domain of the Distant South elves that cycled with life. That was why she could manipulate the forces lying within the soil, skies and every living beast, in short using nature itself to counter foes.
As for Emperor Israel, the Celestial Dragon Rider, the warrior had learned a little about the difference in the cruxes of their respective powers thanks to their brief exchange of blows. It was the materialization of will, a flawless strength that changes illusory concepts and grandeur into reality.
Those were their paths, the power that each Legendary champion found after surpassing divine spells, Sacred Light, magic, aura or even the forces of naturea power that exclusively belonged to them.
Joshua closed his eyes at the very thought, withdrawing his will deep into his own body.
He had already found his own path.
Through his sense of self, the warrior found that every bone, artery, drop of blood and muscle had gone through the endless destruction of rebirth, cultivation, and compressionso much so that his physicality had exceeded the threshold of an ordinary life and became the crystallization of pure lifeforce.
If Joshua did not hold himself back from time to time and bind his power that could implode at any given moment, his concentrated Light of Life would shine like a sun upon the main city, its terrible radiation stretching towards the borders of the territory.
That was the very limit for Supreme champions. Of course, the warrior could keep on molding and compressing his power, but it would merely be a shift in quality and not essence.
He had come to Moldova alone after telling Ying and Ling to stay in Moldavia. While there was the thought of being inconspicuous, but he mostly wanted to think about the way to Ascension in quiet.
He was neither Pope Igor nor the nature magister. What he pursued was different from Israel, for Joshua wanted the purest and most pristine of powers.
To turn lifeforce into Steel Strengththat was the warrior’s objective.
In that very moment, every bit of strength Joshua possessed originated from his aura, which in turn was driven by his skill. The two complement each other and leads the warrior to victory, but both were ultimately created by the many wisemen who lived in Mycroft before hima method created by others to exert their full power. Imitating others would only get him to where he was now, making it impossible to walk any higher.
That was why Joshua had attempted to develop the Infernal Breath and control it in his own way, improving on his own strength.
For Joshua, aura is something that binds him right now. It’s a power molded from lifeforce, and spawns from lifeforce ultimately would never escape from the essence of life itself and Ascend into Legendary. On the other hand, Steel Strength was the source of all things, it creates life and forms every masseven life force was one of it completely tributaries. If the warrior could just complete a switch between the two, he would smoothly progress to the higher threshold.
Nevertheless, Joshua could not find the way at the moment, but he would try using his own routine.
The warrior closed his eyes tightly. Lifeforce flowed from his heart that thumped with the force thunder or a few Gold-tier daemons and streamed into his head. Limitless power thus simply gathered at his eye sockets, and when he opened them a blazing ray of crimson shot straight out, smoldering like the sun.
The crimson light shot downwards and swept across the land. Whether it was gushing ice rivers or billowing snowdrifts, majestic snow mountains or vast icy plains, every locale dimmed under the illumination of this radiance. Life radiation compressed to the very limit was extending across the mountains around, leaving all lifeforms with no place to hide.
Hibernating beast, sneaking daemons and even adventurers who were strolling around the snow mountains could sense it. From the critters that concealed themselves within holes and Gold-tier daemons that wander below the surface, all of them felt the colossal power penetrate them with the utmost tyranny, scanning through their entire body. Countless beats fled their lairs immediately and scattered across all directions, panicking and running even towards the underground.
The red light kept stretching on towards the distance. Joshua looked towards the southeast of the Great Ajax Mountains where Moldova was, his gaze permeating every snow mountain, discovering every powerful or feeble lifeform until his gaze reached a mountain.
Around it were innumerable rippling of energies as if they were tiny suns. Those were the Life Flames of Gold-tier championsand every Flame started to fluctuate in panic when they detected his sight.
Still, amidst the ruckus there was a particular bunch of Flames that stood out, and was perfectly tranquil. Joshua sensed the familiar surge, but did not let his eyes linger and kept looking even further.
Until he finally found his target.
It was a vortex that was walking by the banks of Magel’s Unfrozen River, immense and absorbing ever light around it like a black hole. Sporadic Life Flames around it were quietly snuffed by it, and where it passed no radiance survivedleaving just a barren blackness.
The vortex detected Joshua gaze too. With the slightest movement, it violently surged in lifeforce ripples, colliding with Joshua’s own power across space.
In that split second, Joshua could sense the one-sided nature of the other individual.
It was a void, utterly empty and yet consuming all, that existed within the vortex. It was devoid of friendship, love or familial bonds, or even rage, fear, and hatred.
In short, it had no human emotions to speak of, and possessed just a single-minded desire.
The desire to consume everything and fuse it all within its own body.
The vortex never once hesitated to swallow the life radiation that he threw at him from afar, but why would Joshua let him do as he wished? After that brief grappling across space, the warrior quickly closed his eyes and ended his search after knocking away the other person’s tendrils.
In the very next moment, a bold laugh reverberated through the world, seemingly becoming the only sound there was for an instant.
Was there anything more worth rejoicing than finding a foe with equal poweror perhaps a notch aboveto allow your own powers to grow?
There was none!
Joshua van Radcliffe never tangled himself in dull things like energy ascension or one’s own path. All he needed was to find more opponents who more powerful, and use them as fertilizer so that he could burn more gloriously.
The warrior looked up to the distance where his enemy was. There were tens of mountains and frozen cliffs that stood between them, but those were pebbles beside the road or little ditchesand could be traversed with one lift of his feet.
In a flash, Joshua stepped out, transforming into a crimson star as he rose into the air, with the very sound of his movement breaking apart the icy peak of Mount Ximinir. The condensed ice that accumulated for millions of years, mixed with surging ice water was vaporized into steam under exposure to the warrior’s burning lifeforce.
Then, the vapor dispersed, giving way for a thick black smoke to rise. The once flawlessly white mountains were now shone upon by a blazing crimson illumination, whereas most of the deep frost over the peak of Mount Ximinir vanished and turned into a scorched black as if it had melted. Now, there was even a deep golden-red pool of lava over the surface, spreading heatwaves that could dissolve everything.
Meanwhile, by the bank of the unfrozen river, the man with dark green hair raised his head, staring for a long time at the sky above in the distance.