Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
While he was at it, Joshua took a look at other functions after he had finished reading his character card.
Those came multitudinously and came under many different categories, including a list of achievements, the Liege System that had been opened in some unknown point in time, mission diary and some jumbled coding that Joshua did not know what it was before. Since the warrior rarelyor neverused them, Joshua only noticed now that those options were now completely blocked. Only the character card was still considered normal despite certain malfunctions.
The System was almost crumbling.
Though there was no evidence, the warrior was positive that the System that had followed him across worlds would vanish entirely in the near future.
But who caresJoshua never did mind the truth and origin of the System. Quickly throwing the matter away from his mind, he began to consider the issue of the Divine Shroud.
The Divine Dungeon Shroud. Logically speaking, as an existence originating from perished gods, it should appear in the later stages of the [Saint’s Advent] together with the gods. They would appear at the intersection points between the Infinite Horizon and the Mycroft Continent, disturbing the normal phenomenon in selected regions or even drowning an entire city in the thick shroud, pulling hundreds of thousands into illusory planes.
In truth, those were the residual marks of gods that were too powerful and hence extremely difficult to be removed, which in turn was why mortals would be mindful of it. Furthermore, there were falling stars even in the early stages of the Advent and the spread of dense shroud.
Still, the owners of those shroud were secondary-tier gods from the Glorious Era. While they were indeed deities, their ability could never compare to true gods such as the Mother Goddessit was exactly because their mark was integrated with enough stability to the Infinite Horizon that it would drop off into the mortal realm during the initial stages of the Great Mana Tide.
Nonetheless, the multiple Divine Dungeon Shrouds did not make many waves in the pre-existence, merely developing many champions who possessed many secondary-level divine legacies or divinity. Even so, Joshua’s current threshold would allow him to ascend into godhood even if he had been in the Glorious Era. as such, those divine legacies and divinity were chicken-feed to him and utterly useless.
Even so, it was one matter for that it was not useful for the warrior, and another when it came to his subordinates.
That includes a hundred and fourteen ‘Iron Wall Knights’ stationed at the Dark Forest Fortress, fifteen under the direct jurisdiction of the liege’s residence, the eighty-men reserve force the ‘Frost Dragon Knights’ and the two-hundred and fifty-five instructors and students of Winter Fort Academy. Even discounting the enfeoffed knights scattered around the land, the thousands of city guards and officers, hired adventurers and the three thousand private army yet to be fully drafted, there were almost three-hundred Silver-tier and several Gold-tier champions amongst Joshua’s men. With their prowess, they just might be able to reap the awards by training in the shroud.
Even if there’s no way to completely clear the level and receive the ultimate legacy, it was a tremendous advantage for them to experience the trials of a deity. That was why, to Joshua, having a Divine Dungeon Shroud falling into the North was good news. As a public ‘dungeon’, it could swiftly raise the live combat powers of his subordinates, preparing them for the future tides.
“Let’s go back to town first.”
Having made the arrangement in his mind, Joshua nodded and continued leading the team to the nearby main city of Moldavia.
To train the team of youths behind him, Joshua had especially asked Pope Igor to transport them to the depths of the Ural Mountains and let them experience some cross-country trekking. Soon, it became clear that those who could survive in a post-apocalyptic world had an assured ability of surviving in the wildeven the youngest child could keep up and not be left behind. It definitely also had something to with the Kokyu-ho that the warrior had tailored for them.
Under Ying and Ling’s watch, although the thirty or more youths from Grandia were rather tired due to the long journey, they were filled with spirit and were neither anxious or impatient.
However, they still did not know that they had arrived in an otherworld until now. After all, how would uneducated younglings who lived at the southern wastelands since they were born understand the connection between worlds and the secrets of the dimensions?
Hence, they were merely aware that they were sent to a place far away from their homeland by their powerful instructorthere were no Death Shades here, the sun was bright and all things glowed with life. Most importantly, they could fill their stomachs every day, and not worry about the sudden arrival of death as they slept.
It was plenty enough for them, and they were perfectly content.
Apart from those things, they did not have other thoughts.
Meanwhile, at the Imperial Capital of the Northern Empire, Israel and Nostradamus stood at the top of Fort Aden amidst Triplet Mountains.
Thin vapors floated beneath their feet as the Master of the Empire and the Chief of the Royal Mage Guild watched silently while a dozen bright silver stars plummeted from the skies, descending within the borders of the Empire. The majestic radiance was reflected within their eyes, but to these two extraordinary champions those were not just stars.
Instead, those were pieces of a domain that was imbued with incomparable divine might, falling from the outer layer of this world. Not only would their descend create ripples around the continent, it would send tremors in the monumental heaven that hung above the world of Mycroft.
“Even the Seven Gods would not hold out for long.” The aged mage said nonchalantly after some time when all the shaking stars had fallen. “The base of the anchored Infinite Horizon has been shakenthat could never be reversed. The many gods’ descent into the mortal realm as Saints is now assured.”
“Everything is unfolding as expected. The only uncertainty is when the latter phase of the Great Mana Tide would come.” The revered Emperor mumbled, before promptly raising an eyebrow towards the North.
“Oh? He has returned.”
Sensing the faint Steel presence in the distance, the two made a surprised expression, albeit they did not seem too astonished.
“It seems that he has surpassed me.” Nostradamus had a curious expressionthe archmage who manipulated the dimensions subconsciously raised streaks of pale-blue splendor in his hand before stifling them in his grasp. “The Empire is going to have a second Legendary champion.”
“He has that capacity of his, as well as his opportunity and inherited Legacy. I’m not surprised,” Israel said, his face showing a hint of a smile. “Igor had long hinted thatperhaps he believed that I would suppress Joshua, so I could only surmise that His Holiness has really aged.”
The pair then looked up again towards the stars that twinkled everywhere over the sky, not wasting any more words on that issue.
In the silence, the grand Emperor suddenly spoke softly as if talking to himself.
“Teacher. You’ve once asked me what I sought.”
“That was decades ago,” the archmage spoke leisurely, his gaze towards the sky appeared distant for a moment.“I remembered that you were still young then.
“Right. Thirty-seven years ago.” Israel’s expression softened as he reminisced. “I wasn’t the First Successor then, while the Empire was in a total war against the orcs. The frontlines were in dire waters, while the two Grand Dukes and the nobles behind us were all rebellious. To hold the core of the troops, Father and Brother led the Five Grand Armies to the Tartaros Highlands where the fight was.”
“Brother had fooled around with me thenhe said that I would be next if he died, whether it was front-lining or being next in line.”
A light breeze blew past, drawing a turbulence across the three towering mountains. The pine leaves and branches moved amidst the wind, creating shuffling sounds that resembled sea tides from the moving clouds and vapors.
“He didn’t return, and I entered the battlefield,” the Emperor said after some time. The Legendary champion’s tone did not oscillate, and was merely one of mild remembrance. “All I’ve desired at the time was for a good night’s sleep after the war ended. That way, I wouldn’t have to think of anything, be vigilant of orc assassin ambushes or suffer the rage and helplessness as my own kin and comrades died every single day.
“I had zero intention of becoming Emperor. I just wanted to wipe out all orcs and conclude everything as early as possible, and then become a free adventurer who wanders the quiet forest path.”
“But you couldn’t,” Nostradamus calmly replied as Israel pondered. He did not glance sideways at his own student either, keeping his eyes fixed on the night sky instead. “After the war, you were the most powerful person in the Empire.”
“Indeed, I can’t. That desire was too selfish and narrow-minded.”
Israel took a few steps ahead and arrived at the end of the city wall, stretching out his right hand and making a fist.
“I’m the most powerful person of the Empire,” he said, his voice suggesting that everything could not be more reasonable and was as it should be. “In my body is the blood of the Diamond family, I’ve slain the three Great Generals of the orcs, the Imperial Army is grasped tightly within my fist. After Father’s passing, who else is there except me who could subdue the Imperial Nobles? Who could lead the unbeatable army? It’s my duty that I must carry.”
“The desires of man do change, teacher.” Israel turned his head, his eyes glinting with spirit as if some radiance surged and boiled in the depths of his eyes. “Recently, due to my dark wounds, my desire was to hand over a stable empire to my successor and prevent unrest in this great land. But thanks to Liege Radcliffe, that was all in the past.”
The elderly mage smiled lightly and silently, while the Emperor laughed heartily. “They all say that you did not ascend to Legendary was because of methat I stopped you so that I had absolute authority over the Empire.”
“They also felt that I could not tolerate Liege Radcliffe, what with that young genius acquiring the power of the Initial Flame and ascending into Legendary.”
“And they’re all wrongam I that short-sighted? The more champions the Empire had, the more pleased I would be.”
Nostradamus stared in content at the Emperor who held nothing back and displayed the most genuine thoughts in his heart, remembering the youth who learned the way of ruling in all those days past. That boy who was occasionally cowardly and timid was losthe was now the invincible sovereign who wiped out the orcs, subjugating millions of nobles beneath the crown and led the Northern Empire to greater prosperity by each passing day, displaying an unprecedented pinnacle of exuberance.
The Master of the Empire grinned and spread his arms against the sky as if to embrace the stream of stars. “Just one Legendary. So what if there are two, three, or even ten? The Great Mana Tide arrivessoon, the number of champions around the world would become uncountable. How could I be overly anxious about such triviality and constrain talent? I’m not such a shallow Emperor.”
“Cowards never know what success is.” Israel looked towards the sky above; his eyes seared with ambition none had seen before. Divine radiance surfaced over his body too, as if a layer of scorching flame.
“What I’m after far across the distant sky, above the starry sky.”