Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
There was no need for more words.
A black fog swirled around Herlas. Spores of myriad colors and fluttering insects flew into it as if moths to a fire and assimilated within, invigorating his vitality.
In past decades, Herlas had used his own lifeforce to transfuse energies that maintained the balance of the ecosystems here.
Now, the circles of life returned its favor, providing him endless reinforcement.
“You might be the key to my breakthrough.”
As the voice so calm it was cold spread from within the fog, Herlas’s entire body was swallowed by the darkness. It dispersed in the very next second, completely dissipating with the high priest within, leaving an impassive voice that permeated the subspace.
“Become fertilizer for my world, Joshua.”
With those words, the world returned to silence save for the harrowing cries of the winds.
Then, the world trembled.
The incomparably dim back vapor that was slowly revolving suddenly churned violently. The little world, created by Herlas, started to quake madly and shifted extraordinarily in the very next second!
On the land and towards the right of the warrior, a colossal mound suddenly surfaced beside the hive of land insects that was covered in fungus and moss. With a sharp cry, a monster so big it was a fortress broke through stone and climbed out from a seam in the earth. It was an insect daemon resembling a horned beetle. Almost two-hundred meters long and also a lot more vicious, it leveled its gigantic horn and charged towards Joshua.
To his left, the dense fungi pillars that seemed to hold the world aloft quivered too. Countless translucent bacteria spilled out, condensing and forming three hands with three fingers in the air. Those hands had simple composition but was supremely grotesque. All manner of moss, fungi and cancerous growth came slapping down on Joshua from on high, with razor sharp toxic bacteria protrusions that would completely intoxicate ordinary humans with a single touch.
Under stimulation from the black fog Joshua turned into, the entire plague world attacked Joshua. The pillars of bacteria and the giant beetle were the mainstays of the assault, with the endless ranks of poisonous insects hovering around, looking for an opportune moment to attack the warrior.
Apart from them, Joshua also noticed that his own lifeforce was indeed being drained. It felt like a curious force was dragging away his energy, melding it within this small world.
Herlas’s innate power [Void Plunder]!
It was a power the cult’s high priest, Herlas the Witherer was born with. His living morphology was almost ‘perfect’ when he was young, reaching the thresholds of behemoths within the Void. It was not substantial, but its sheer quality, when compared to a mortal, was exactly the same as comparing a stone planet and a white dwarf.
Furthermore, through his innate absorption powers, he could take away the lifeforce of other existences. He had used that ability against Joshua when they fought on the Mycroft Continent, but it was nullified was not much weaker than his.
Now, however, in this world of plagues, Herlas was empowered by the entire world. With the gap between abilities widened, his natural powers were now effective against Joshua.
In this very moment, the gigantic plague had already rushed right in front of Joshua, its mandible opened and biting towards Joshua ferociously. Its teeth were compactly arranged and flashing in red light, its orifice thick with pungent paste, brimming with mucus that dripped with poisonous bacteria.
It was intent on tearing Joshua apart with one bite, but there was not a hint of nervousness in the warrior.
Just as the plague beetle lowered its cranium and prepared to gulp down the warrior, a hand pressed upon his mandible.
Joshua lifted his head and raised his right hand. Red-black flames of life were ablaze, swiftly surging into the beetle’s mouth along his arm.
The colossal and brutish insect froze for an instant; red-black circuits with scorching heats soon appeared over its shell. Within heartbeats, a crimson light detonated, and the lines of blazing lifeforce that were hot like lava shattered the giant beetle’s shell, creating an incredible explosion within its body.
Scorching winds thousands of Celsius engulfed the land as the plague beetle was blown into smithereens, leaving a whole earth worth of corpse shards.
Meanwhile, the assault of the fungi pillars soon followed.
Before the blazing air current that whistled shrilly as the plague giant beetle died could calm, a thunderous reverberation that broke through noise barriers echoed as the three huge fungus arms that were over eight meters came swiping down.
The fungus in the world of plagues was entirely different from that of the ordinary worlds. Compared to those feeble liquid constructs, these arms were congealed from special fungus was opaque with cold silver light.
It came at Joshua, unstoppable, tearing through the air like a serrated iron knife, the sharp undulation wobbling the earth. Even if they were not struck by the fungus, any person engulfed by the quaking would be torn apart and shredded into a meat puddle.
Still, it was meaningless.
Against the three fungal arms swiping down one after the other while cutting off any escape routes, Joshua merely shook his head. The muscles on his right hand bulged, gathering lifeforce that was as majestic as a roaring river. Turning slightly, he stamped his foot down, the brutal force cracking the ground and granulating the millions of toxic insects under its shockwave.
In the blink of an eye, his left arm vanished
The terrific left hook swung upwards with a scorching heat wave at the fungal arms. The fists of giant and man met, forming a horrendous burst and a powerful illumination that brought rare daylight to the dim world.
Within the radiance, the colossal fungal arm was broken into shards that blanketed the world as if awash by the tidal wave. Even the towering bodies of fungus behind were not sparedthe brutal shockwaves simply cut them in half.
One palm to kill a giant beetle, and a punch to pulverize the giant fungus. Nonetheless, Joshua’s expression neither shifted nor did he let his guard down. He only frowned, sweeping his gaze at the ever-present black fog, searching for Herlas’s true body that had vanished.
In the plagued world, the vector bacterium as well as the insects were helpless against him, but the warrior still maintained his strength and did not rampantly wreck the world. He knew that he would never best Herlas in terms of life energy alone, and that if he still wasted his powers on such trivial things he would be losing a load of his energy reserves when the final battle came.
Cleary, the High Priest of the Cult of Pestilence was aware of the fact.Herlas was undoubtedly a champion who had run rampant on the West Mountains for decades without being once bested by Legendary or Supreme combatants. His combat style was not lost in its cautiousness, direct and yet does not lack in technique. Even if his own life energy reserves far surpassed the warrior’s, he never wasted an ounce and did all he can to rely on external sources to shred Joshua’s own.
That was why, with a quiver of the black fog that shrouds the subspace, innumerable deadly flies darted out from hives, moss, bacteria and spore vapors as if hearing an order. Like a concentrated black cloud, they darted like bullets towards at breakneck speeds towards Joshua, their entire bodies laced with blight.
“Quite playing cheap tricks.”
And fight me face-to-face.
Closing his eyes, Joshua appeared to lazy to even notice the insects around him, briskly releasing his lifeforce barriers, allowing the unusual insects with endless poisons dive towards its body.
Cinders flew as the sharp mandibles of the insects tore and bit upon the warrior’s body. It was utterly futilethe arthropods were incapable of even leaving a print on Joshua’s skin even at full power.
There were some special-types that could use innate abilities, buzzing as they ejected streaks of brown-black radiance towards the warrior’s vitals. These however, could not even break through the warrior’s passive live magnetic field, dispersing as a bunch of green smoke around him.
The other large bacteria were also absorbing its smaller kin without stopping, after of which they assumed a variety of forms to assault the warrior. Joshua, on the other hand, just needed to punch them to tear them down, his pure muscular strength reverberating throughout the plane.
Nonetheless, the entire world of plagues was spilling its fury at Joshua, as every assortment of organic weapon poured out from the land and fungus. While there were cannon insects which had bodies that eject steel projectiles, others were razor-wing bugs with sharp wings that would shred steel plates into steel sheets.
Herlas was releasing his core strength that was stored for decades in the plague world with a bang. In the blink of an eye, every sort of abnormal attack fell upon Joshua’s body.
Millions of pestilent vectors released melting and mutilation hexes hovered in formation above the air, unleashing their innate spells at the same time. In ten seconds, thousands of hexes thundered firmly towards the warrior, who stood upon a piece of soil that was not even five meters wide.
On the land, a gigantic pillar of smoke rose in the company of endless ash and dust that were rocked by incredible tremors, engulfing the sky of the entire plague world.
However, it quickly dispersed under a single scorching cyclone, as a tall figure stepped out from a crater of magma. It was Joshuahe was clutching a steel-shell bug that was essentially an enlarged bee with a cranium formed from special layers of alloy, still struggling fiercely to free itself.
The alloy could withstand tens of tons in pressure, as well as incineration at thousands of degrees. However, as the warrior’s five fingers clenched slowly inwardly, the formidable insect that would have been a headache Gold-tier champions was squished alive into mush, its body turned into ash under the incredible heats.
“Stop wasting your collection of poisonous bugs, Herlas, and face me.”
You shouldn’t be that stupid.
On the warrior’s chest, green radiance flashed as the Azurite modified the lives of the insects Joshua had killed to replenish the energy he had used.
In this world, it was perhaps Joshua who would have the least fear against attritional warfare and assault en masse. If it was a single match against the cult’s high priest himself, he would probably have lost due to insufficient reimbursement of energy reserves.
Inversely, within such a realm where minions came in droves, his endurance would escape human imagination.
“You have the same type of power as I.”
In the air, Herlas’s silhouette condensed alongside the black vapor once more. He stared at the body that the warrior had molded to its limits and was virtually without flaw, a flash of understanding eventually flashing across his eyes.
“So that’s why your power is so similar to minewe’re the same breed.”
Joshua did not reply, merely bending his knee to stomp the ground. The land shattered, and the warrior’s body rocketed straight for Herlas!
Through his attacks with the plague giant beetle and every form of poisonous bug, the high priest had already seen through Joshua’s tactic.
Naturally, he had materialized to face the warrior head-on, and was already prepared against his opponent’s silent strike.
As the warrior’s fist came, he stretched out a hand and caught the heavy blow with his palm. Herlas’s fingers then tightened, and with powerful quiver, rays of pure white concentrated lifeforce sprayed out from his fingertips and palm, reverberating as if a volcanic eruption, or thunders across the horizon.
This was the pale-white skill he and Joshua bombarded each other with on the Mycroft Continent. It was a power nigh destructive, easily shredding boulders over the land and cutting through entire snow mountains!
With a soft bubbling sound, the warrior’s iron fist that was unscathed after the endless tear and bites of the poison bugs were dismembered into more than ten segments, before being absorbed by the high priest’s lifeforce plundering ability.
However, Joshua did not seem surprised. Even if his fist had been shredded and devoured in its entirety, there was no hint of pain in his face.
Instead, there was a vicious smile.
“I’ll let you have that fist!”
Without any hesitation as he pulled back what remained of his left knuckle, the warrior swung out the right fist he had been holding by his hip and putting a lot of strength behind, tearing heavily across the atmosphere!
That punch was imbued with Joshua’s full power. Shrouded in black fluorescence, it became a focal point as it tore a radial-structure crack into the diminutive plague world. Even Herlas could not dodge it with all his reflexesall he could do was shift slightly sideways.
The heavy fist ripped apart Herlas’s chest completely, but the brutal strike that could implode air and raise thunders in voids was unable to shred Herlas’s sturdy body. Still, Joshua was not surprisedagain, which was why he unclenched his fist, caught the cult priest’s lungs and ribs with a vice grip and viciously dragged them out of his body!
There were many forms of physical combat, but ultimately all of it could be categorized in two configurations. One was the use of agile mobility, evading and force the opponent to waste all their strength while saving their own for one single lethal strike. The other was to fight fire with fire, trade damage with damage, utilizing their incredible body essence to enter a melee against the enemy.
Joshua was a proficient user of both, although he was using the latter form right now. With his left fist as bait, he had devastated Herlas’s body. The lungs that the warrior had tore out carried more half of his gut and trachea, while there were bits and pieces of internal organs over those ribs.
Of course, both the warrior’s left fist and Herlas’s vitals were small matters for Supreme champions who possessed lifeforce as vast as the oceans. Within seconds after the exchange of blows, Joshua left fist had regenerated, while the gaping wound over the high priest’s chest had closed itself, even if Herlas had used more lifeforce than the warrior.
Still, he took no mindhis lifeforce was so grand it was several times than what the warrior carried.
Exhaling once, the man with dark-green hair said nonchalantly, “Was that your full power I may not be above you in close-ranged battles, but you won’t last long with that alone.”
Although his expression was impassive, Joshua could still hear a hint of disappointment.
However, Herlas’s words only received a sneer from the warrior.
“Full power?” Joshua reacted as if he found it humorous. “You’re saying that the blow just now was my full power?”
“Wasn’t it so?” Herlas lifted his brow, a slight curiousness in his voice. “You’ve activated eighty-seven percent of your lifeforce with that attack, the sheer power even penetrating the dimensional barrier of this subspace. If I did not augment my body with lifeforce several times your own, I would definitely have been broken into mincemeat that fills the world.”
Joshua was not even bothered to reply. He looked upwards towards the dark sky of this world of plagues.
The warrior was not a combat monk. Even if unarmed fisticuffs were his favorite, it was not Joshua’s full ability.
In that very moment, two blinding radiance lit up at both his wrists as if they were turning into brilliant newborn stars that glowed in silver and black-gold light.
Joshua raised both hands, aimed true towards the sky. As if answering, two rays of lightone silver and one black-goldglowed in the sky of Herlas’s small world!
A low but wild voice echoed across the subspace.