Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
In the sky over Moldova, an inconspicuous flash darted across the distant horizon. It flew at a low altitude just dozens of meters over the surface, swaying the snow forest firmly with the sound of tumultuous tidal waves.
Along its path, snow scattered upon the earth before the flash finally landed on the peak of a hill. Vale Dani, who had come rushing from Mount Mordus, could only see the final scene.
There was distinct resonance as if something was broken. Then, a white halo spread in every direction, with Magel’s Unfrozen River at its center. Like ripples, it cascaded equally towards every life, creating varieties of curious transformation.
The effect upon the earth escaped all human imagination. As pure living energy was unleashed, algae propagated, the land revived, and dozens of bestial cries echoed within the forests.
The mage was no exception. She, too, was touched by the white lightstartled and intending to use a spell as a precaution, the weariness from extended battles and speed flight was removed by the white light.
Apart from that Vale Dani was also surprised to find that there were waves of comfort that flowed into her body. It was proof her internal injuries she received over the yearsbacklashes of dangerous magical experimentswere being healed.
However, she did not express surprise or delight, but became more anxious as she peered nervously at the huge crater by the river plains.
So, who won?
She was already aware of the battle between Joshua van Radcliffe and Herlas the Witherer beside Magel’s Unfrozen River, just as the life radiance split apart a hill and unlocked the ruins in the bottom of Mount Mordus. Nonetheless, everyone had been held back under the assault of the Cult of Pestilence’s priest and cultists, unable to leave and take a look at the situation.
As an elite priest of the Cult of Pestilence, Randall’s ability did not lose out to Gold-pinnacle champions after transforming into the Giant Abyssal Beetle. Even Brandon would need to put in some effort to kill him.
Furthermore, there were also those blasphemous spider-demons that rampaged and charged around like tanks. As a result, the allied forces that the eight great factions had formed were dealt heavy losses, with many intermediate Silver-tier members completely pulverized.
Still, the cultists were no opponent of more than ten Gold champions combined. Knowing that they would never win, they simply rushed into the ruins of Mount Mordus to grab the treasure within so that their foes would not destroy the things that lay within.
Most of the Gold-tier champions followed, but the interior of the mountain was filled with traps. Unable to quickly exterminate Randall and the others, they were delayed instead.
As a war mage, it was not suitable for Vale Dani to enter the narrow underground ruins. So, Brandon kept up the pursuit of the cultists while she stayed at the surface to keep watch, and therefore met Socrasson who was hurrying towards their camp.
Although the Gold-tier knight was not a member of the Moldova territory, he knew that this was not the time to care about such things. After he hurriedly described the current state of the battle between Joshua and Herlas, Socrasson left his apprentice at the surface encampment while he rushed into the ruins to notify the other Gold-tier champions so that they would be prepared to evacuate.
It would be a false alarm if Joshua won, but if it was Herlas instead, everyone here must flee. They could never hold against the high priest of the Cult of Pestilence who was closing in on Legendary even if they fused together.
That was why Vale Dani rushed to observe the state of the battle. Herself a student of Nostradamus, while she did not specialize on dimensional magic, she was learned in warping. As long as she concealed her own scent, even Supreme-pinnacle would never affect her fixed-point warping.
The mage had certainly seen the end of the fight, but she did not know who gained the final victory. She could only anxiously wait where she was to see how the situation unfolded.
After a long time, a warrior with white hair and crimson eyes walked out of the freezing river with a spear in his hand. There was a hint of fatigue in his expression, but he stood with an upright posture that spreads a majestic presence.
Vale Dani knew it the moment she caught the sight. She let out a long sigh and stopped concealing her breath and walked towards the warrior.
The mage was not very familiar with Joshua. She had always stayed in Moldova, pouring her attention towards her domain and magic research while essentially ignoring the surplus information of the outside world. Though that was the case, Vale Dani was still aware of the many feats the warrior had achieved in recent years and his exponential growth in power.
In over two years, the heir of the Radcliffe family who had been an intermediate Silver and barely a talent began to tread over the corpses of daemons and giant dragons to progress at a speed that made others speechless.
After retaking his domain and ascending from Silver-pinnacle to Gold, he improved to intermediate Gold as he fought against the Mana Tide, before rising to Gold-pinnacle after wiping out an entire dragon lair.
When the mage heard more news about Joshua, she found in shock that her neighboring liege had already reached Supreme, and was even heading for the Sacred Mountain to join the battle against the berserk dragons. There, he slew several Supreme giant dragons, and survived the strike from a sacred weapon.
And now, he had grown to such a level that he could slay a high priest of the Cult of Pestilence in a one-on-one duel. Furthermore, it was none other than Herlas the Witherer, a man who had already gained a fearsome reputation several decades ago.
Vale Dani was a competitive championshe would never believe that she was inferior to others, but she could only stay silent when it came to Joshua’s wild progress of ascension. Never had such a character exist before in the history of Mycroftthis head of the Radcliffe family had no predecessor, and might not have a successor too.
But as Vale Dani greeted the warrior, she found in astonishment that the warrior seemed to be blanking out.
Joshua did sense Vale Dani’s approach and was not surprised. A while ago, he had already seen the mage’s flames of life when he looked for Herlas with his life radiation. As was customary, the warrior’s body greeted her but he was focused and thinking about other matters.
Those texts that appeared in the system but was obscured. What was that?
Joshua had always been nonchalant about the system. Even if he did rely upon the system’s ability in order to ascend, the warrior still had a shred of instinct that kept him cautious over it.
He had become absolutely certain that this was a real world in the few years he had come to the Mycroft Continent. All the experiences in the game were specious, information had to be verified while every individual was no longer A.I. but living beings with soul, self, and made of flesh and blood.
If that was the case, why does the system exist? If the increase in experience could be explained as the plunder and devouring through Steel Strength, then what were achievements and ability identification?
The warrior did not mind about whatever schemes there were that lay behind the system. In truth, apart from Charm, he quite favored functions such as system identification and character card. Still, as a human, Joshua naturally had a curious heart to learn the truth being the system.
Additionally, an error akin tomojibake1had appeared in the systemit was perhaps a chance to discover the truth.
“Steel Request Temporarily unable Observe new reaching Ascension”
Joshua expression was serious even as he mumbled inwardly.
“Progress is at four-fifth. The text is all over the place but the gist could be seen. It should be referring to the sublimation of my body’s lifeforcein other words, my progression towards Legendary. However, it seems that there are still some unfulfilled requirements for the time being, which is why there is no way to ascend.”
The last part was easier to understandthe warrior has to observe something new, thereby fulfilling the conditions to condense Steel Strength and in turn progress towards Legendary. As for that certain something, he had mostly observed it, leaving just one last condition to be fulfilled.
Although he mostly got the idea of the text, the doubt in Joshua’s heart became heavier instead.
“What on earth is the thing connected to my ascension to Legendary? And I’ve already observed four of those?”
His brain whirling, all forms guesses passed through the warrior’s minds’ eye.
Different path to ascend towards Legendary? That was possible. The elderly Pope Igor, Nature’s Magister Aydril Galanoud, the Emperor Israel Diamond, and Herlas the Witherer whom he engaged in a mortal struggle just now. These individuals had already progressed towards Legendaryor more specific, found their path towards Legendaryand there were exactly four of them.
Nonetheless, Joshua shook his head since that was not quite right. Although learning about the path of ascension for those Legendary champions had broadened his reasoning, the warrior did not receive any epiphany. He did not desire to become a living light or a forest, while realizing will and evolving into a Void behemoth seemed far-fetched. The path that Joshua chose was completely straight and plainto sublimate his lifeforce, nothing too roundabout.
Then was it too kill enough Supreme champions who had the potential to ascend towards Legendary? That idea was rejected by Joshua as soon as it appeared. Apart from the Supreme Aragami that he and 03 slew on Karlis, Mandagar the Undead Dragon, Grundy, the Death Smoke black dragon and the many other Supreme giant dragons he had slain exceeded four a long time ago, hardly matching up with the number on the progress counter.
There were also many other conjectures, such as his lifeforce reservoir or certain undiscovered secrets of his body’s energy. Nevertheless, most of the guess do not have any grounded evidence, and so were all dismissed by the warrior.
At that moment, radiance sparkled over the Dragonslayer Swordspear in Joshua’s hand. With a flow of mana tide, a silver-haired girl appeared, holding the warrior’s waist and so spent she was about to fall prone on the ground. On the other hand, the black-haired youth simply dropped onto the earth, making company with the snow.
“Master, that fellow just now was quite strong” Ying mumbled as if having lingering fear as she turned to look at the sunken lake beside the river. “In that otherworld, the force of that sphere he blew out was too strong. If it did not disperse halfway because he could not control it, I almost thought that I would be blown into pieces.”
“That’s right, Master.” Ling echoed his sister even as he lay prone and breathless on the ground, as if he would stop breathing entirely soon. “We could compensate for your energy flow this time, but it’s still difficult when you start fighting Most importantly, there was some extraordinary incredible force within Master’s bodyespecially the bones. It’s too scary”
That should be the divinity.
Joshua shook his head grudgingly as he listened to his weapons. He still did not dare to use the divinity in his own body. He would not have the focus to control the power even if he used just a little part of itespecially in a fight against such a formidable foe like Herlas. One moment of carelessness and he would assimilate completely with the divine power, becoming a monster without reasoning that only understands destruction, combat and slaughter.
There was no reason to use divine power against weaker foes either. Such a thing would be a double-edged sword for self-destruction before the warrior could attain more significant abilities.
As Joshua prepared to speak and soothe the divine armament siblings, he suddenly blinked, an idea flashing like lightning across his mind.
He softly murmured the word, catching even Vale Dani by surprise as she summarized the situation on Mount Mordus beside him. Joshua did not have the strength care about other things, and simply latched onto the inspiration and keeping to that train of thought.
“The different worldsKarlis, Illgner, Mycroft and that world of plagues just now No, the subspace Herlas opened does not count as a world, it’s as most a half-plane Right, Bloodmoon Abyss! Although destroyed, it’s definitely a realm too!”
The Initial Flame created worlds, Steel formed all things.
With Steel being part of Creation, Steel Strength was in turn the power that created all things, and the origin of all energy flow, the purest of essences. Different worlds would naturally have different Steel Strength, and exactly because of various fortuitous encounters he traveled many different realms, witnessing the different Steel Strengths that exist!
If the text that had been obscured meant observing the Steel Strength in five different worlds, then everything made sense!
The Steel Rain on the Karlis realm and its World Serpent along with Father Nature of the Illgner Realm and its own World Serpent were the most powerful and most essential origin of power. On the Mycroft realm where Joshua lived, his aura cultivation and vigor condensation were completed here and therefore counted as having its essence observed.
It was rather hard to explain for the case of Bloodmoon Abyss. But one way or the other, the warrior did feel a shred of a different scent when he fought against Mandagar in that world. Perhaps that had been the residual Steel Strength in the Bloodmoon Abyss?
Although it could not be proven now, Joshua felt that this guess was the most likely.
In truth, Joshua’s current inability to reverse lifeforce and sublimate it into Steel Strength had been precisely due to his lack of understanding towards it.
Even if he had a further grasp of the course of his fight with Herlas it was still far insufficient. On the contrary, if he could head for five different worlds and carefully experienced the various little differences in the foundations of energies, the warrior would definitely find a clue from within to ascend towards Legendary.
As Joshua became a little thrilled with his hypothesis, something Vale Dani said beside him completely grabbed his attention.
On the surface, the warrior appeared to have been listening carefully to the mage’s summary of events, but his mind was entirely absorbed on the problem regarding ascension. Then, Vale Dani’s sudden mention of something made Joshua focusedhe even frowned.
“Wait a moment, Vale Dani. You were saying that, to wipe out the cultists, Brandon and the others had chased them into the ruins?” The warrior asked gravely. “When was that?”
“A few hours ago.” Vale Dani curiously noted Joshua’s change in response, before shrugging lightly. “I had kept watch outside until Socrasson came, whereby I thought to come here and see the outcome of your battle against Herlas On that note, Joshua, your ability”
The warrior did not hear the rest. His brow furrowed, he looked worriedly into the distance, towards the direction of Mount Mordus.
Then, Joshua spoke with an incomparably solemn tone.
“No, Vale Dani. That isn’t a ruin.
“That’s a seal.”