Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
In the pre-existence, there was a trend of searching for ancient ruins in all corners of the world after the Great Mana Tide descended upon Mycroft. Thanks to the silent approval on part of the Seven Gods, many volumes that recorded information of ancient deities were excavated from sealed stores, with the divine titles and names of the Glorious Era gods becoming known to all.
A deity follower of the Mother Goddessthe River God Sinoer was a rather famous deity in the heart of the Continent during the Glorious Era. Its true form being a ‘water spirit’ borne of several rivers, its religion had spread amongst the many riverside towns, watching over the fishing and transport industry and was essentially a benevolent guardian god and virtually showed no sign of malevolence.
Logically speaking, the subject being tested must pass the final checkpoint within the Divine Dungeon Shroud and witness the deity’s mark and true form in order to discover their identity. However, Joshua never paid attention to anything related to the Shroud in his pre-existence and should not know that the River God resided within this particular shroud, but he had somehow distinctly distinguished the essence of the shroud before him and directly utter the other’s identity.
Because he ‘saw’ it.
In Joshua’s eyes, all things were currently crumbling and dissipating into the most fundamental of particles. Invisible mana elements and energy ripples were surfacing in different colors amidst the atmosphere. There were even transparent waves spreading within the sunlight that blankets the landthese diverse things would scatter or assemble, forming the basis of every phenomenon.
This certainly was not accomplished by using his eyes. The warrior had long ceased using such observationright now, his vision was one analyzed by ‘Steel Strength’.
He could see the countless knight legions and Winter Fort Academy students were advancing into the Divine Dungeon Shroud on the surface level. Most of the knights could enter several hundred meters into the shroud while the more ordinary of students would stop around a dozen meters by the edge as they fall into the dream trial. There were also some young men with capable talent who could forcibly move inwards for a hundred meters before pausing.
It was the silver shroud that caused them to stagnate. In Joshua’s vision, the shroud appeared as if a silver sea were transforming into endless translucent particles. The particles would autonomously absorb the energies that lay adrift around them to feed their existence, while slowly expanding and recovering energy. They were immeasurably dormant as if they would not react to anything, with ‘thought’ being the sole exception.
Or perhaps ‘soul’.
At the same time the trialist set foot within the shroud, the multifarious particles that formed the silver sea would act as if sharks that had smelled blood and rapidly surged within their bodies. The amounts of particles they would breathe in were proportional to the trialists’ ability, and it ignored all barriersaura walls or sorcery equipment would not obstruct them for even a single inch.
Then, when the particles within the individuals’ body reached a certain threshold, their mental ripples would begin to resonate with the deity’s mark at the core of the dense shroud, sending the trialist into the dream trial.
With a grasp, Joshua grabbed some scattered shroud from the air. The silver particles swirled urgently within his palm as if to enter his body, but an energy similar to lifeforce that was much more powerful blocked those particles that were supposed to be irresistible, shackling them to his palm.
[I, Sinoer of the Rapids!]
[God of the Rivers, Deity of the Ships and Fishermen!]
[Third Seat of the Earth Gods, Master of the Rivers!]
Innumerable diverged information streamed out of the particles and were ‘seen’ by Joshua. This was why he knew the deity’s identity from the start.
Standing above the head of the black dragon, he solemnly stared at the particles in his hand, his gazed glinting in a cold, metallic silver light. Joshua had certainly seen through the essence of those shroud particles: they were a form of the soul, condensed to the very limit and surpassing even [Supreme Soul].
Mortal souls require a physical body to exist. Uniquely designed worlds like Grandia notwithstanding, all souls would naturally vanish after death, its energy returning to the world and becoming part of the cycle of all things. Still, any adept who ascended into Steel tier would sense the existing energy that flows around the world, allowing their souls to be nourished with the energy into robustness.
There are two aspects when it comes to the level of Silver Radiant spirit. One was to manipulate and utilize surrounding energies for an initial level of combat aura awareness and use intermediate spells exceeding six levels, while the other was robustness of the soul that reaches a level of surviving death. In that state, if the person should die in a night of utter darkness, a silver-white radiance would appear the moment their soul departed their body.
Gold tier would see the improvement of those aspects to the next level for all classes, but it was until Supreme tier when the soul’s evolution would develop a boundary. On that level, adepts had to choose from the mastery of strength, soul, and skillas such, those who picked soul mastery would assuredly improve their soul to become more powerful than those who chose the other two masteries, displaying ‘undying’ facets.
There was nothing in the world that would not die, and it was the same for the soul. The souls of Soul Mastery champions, however, approaches that conceptindeed, the first undead creatures to walk the earth came from the first Soul Mastery champion who perished. Even after his soul left his body it still possessed incredible power and kept most memories it had in life. Additionally, it would survive for hundreds of years without the disturbance of foreign forces, and it would not be a stretch to prolong its life up to a millennium if the soul slumbers in an excellent environment.
When most powerful mages died physically, their souls would remaincertain Legendary mages from the Eastern Plains’ Skypiercing White Tower as well as the Council of Seven were beings of such caliber. History also recorded that many successful adepts of Soul Mastery would choose to seal themselves after their bodies died, awaiting the right time to awaken. The powerful undead spirits that wander prehistoric ruins were basically formed from those champions after having lost their memories in life.
That was certainly extremely formidable. Even Joshua himself believe he did not reach that levelat most, his soul would linger a few years after his body died.
Nonetheless, the cluster Divine Dungeon Shroud that existed before him now was a soul that surpassed Soul Mastery itself.
“Every shroud particle are a fundamental thinking organ on the most elementary level. The formation of countless particles was hence practically unlimited data processing. If the soul and memories of deities are maintained in such a form in the Infinite Horizon, it was no wonder that they would live for thousands of years and not die while leaving their divinity, divine powers and legacy”
Joshua nodded after what seemed like half a day, mumbling as he sent the shroud particles to the main cluster.
Soul and the physical brain complement each other. To mortals, the brain was their only mental apparatus while the soul was just a support.
On the other hand, the soul was a second but much more important organ for thinking when it comes to extraordinary individuals. Its power far surpasses the brain and had no speed limit, which was the reason why many mages could instantly complete rune arrangements that supercomputers would actually fail at and construct astoundingly complex Legendary spells, while combat classes could fight at speeds that were more than ten times the speed of sound without a single erroneous move.
In death, it was possible to lose part of one’s memory despite reaching Soul Mastery. Such flaw did not exist for Legendary tiers, and also why the brains of certain champions were not their vitalstheir souls were already powerful enough to carry all mastery and mental faculty.
It’s emphatically a way to remove the brain as a weakness.
Thanks to the unexpected knowledge gained from his atomic vision, Joshua was now solemnly thinking if he should strive in that direction. Now that his heart was no longer a weak point, and with his entire body being assembled of Steel Strength, if he could just diminish that lacking aspect and fully spare the necessity to his brain, he would be invincible.
“Well, I could take a look inside.”
After thinking for about the thousandth of a second, the warrior briskly made his choice.
Leaping off Black’s head, he dropped towards the Divine Dungeon Shroud.
“Wait for us!”
Surprised by their master’s prompt movements, Ling instinctively leaped down behind Joshua. Her brother Ying stared speechlessly at his sister for a few seconds, before sighing and leaping off Black too.
In the end, only the black dragon was left alone on the floating halo in the air, staring blankly as her master and friends all dropped within the silver shroud and vast unknown.
“Rawr rawr rawr?”
Should I be following suit?
While the flying seaborn flame dragon hesitated, several similarly wavering eyes flashed from a carriage that was slowly treading upon the Ural Mountain trade routes.
“ That man has entered the shroud.” A slightly quivering voice said softly, gulping in a futile attempt to calm himself. “Eta, should we try sneaking in and blending in amongst the crowd?”
At the front of the carriage nearby the lake where the shroud had descended, a group of people who were watching from afar. They were adventurers and mercenaries who had heard the news and intended to glimpse how to explore the dense shroud. Now that they have seen that even the liege named Joshua had also entered the shroud, they no longer found it dangerous, and were hence eager to attempt entry.
“If you say so, Heisen, then please go ahead.” Eta declined with a forced calm voice from within the carriage. “I’ll keep watch from inside the carriage, so safe journeys.”
“No. After serious consideration, I’ve decided to keep watch outside too.”
The red-haired man known as Heisen quickly changed his mind, and thus the pair kept declining modestly until they quieted and sighed simultaneously.
“Why are we sent to the North” Heisen first checked meticulously if the glamour spell and potion over himself was working before throwing himself over a seat. “We’ve always been hiding in the South, why would we be diverted to the Northern Empire?”
“Because the Council of Elders felt that there’re too many dragon people hiding in the South and risk exposure. The North counts as an empty zone, which is why us forsaken bunch with no backing are dumped here to gather intelligence.”
The green-haired man named Eta had a steadier expression, but the convulsing in his leg was still observablehis expression was a mere faade.
After a brief delay, the man tried to test the waters gingerly.
“Heisen, we’re friendsright?”
“Of course.” The red-haired youth paused for a second before quickly replying. “We’ve been helping each other since we were younglings. But don’t count on itour friendship is not greater than my life.”
“I never told you to die.” Eta waved him off and looked towards the faraway silver sea of shroud. A soft presence from spreading from there as if the lingering force of the Legendary champion could lower air pressure even thousands of meters away from him, causing distorted breathing.
The green-haired man then looked towards the black dragon that was still troubled over if it should drop down, and slowly said, “In reality, the council’s orders were only to try and not succeed. Since Jo the man who must not be named explored the Divine Shroud first, failure is reasonable. It’s completely unnecessary for us to enter.”
Heisen’s eyes lit up and gestured for his friend to continue, which Eta did. “We could simply just use a spell to mark it down, before turning to leaveunless you want to stay here!”
Those who wanted to do so were already dead, there are countless dragon corpses as proof!
“Perfect plan!” the dragon swiftly responded without a pause.
Within minutes, with several streaks of spreading spell ripples, the carriage that had been slowly heading towards the main city of Moldavia quickly turned and hurried at several times the speed before, towards Ural Fortress.
Thus, the spying from the distant Abyss ended with nothing of note as the two smart dragons reveled in their wise choice. They never noticed, however, an obscure a blue figure that lingered over their heads in the clouds.
Supreme blue dragon Suralno watched as the carriage drove ahead, while Joshua’s reminder before he left flashed in his mind.
“So there were peeking fellows,” it muttered. Although its girth had gained since it only had to guide the young dragons and Frost Dragon Knights in daily training, its speed never slowed. “And their faction is unknown too.”
The muttering was brief. It had already dropped down from the sky in the very next instant and grabbed the carriage with its talons.
Leaving aside the matter of the two young dragons that were almost frightened to death by Suralno’s ambush, Joshua now had arrived deep within the Divine Dungeon Shroud.
The dormant soul particles that did not move even in the wind as if it was frozen began to boil due to his entrance. It was unlike Ogner’s shroud that carried heavy negative energy due to blood sacrificesthis pure soul energy did not fear the Steel Strength over the warrior’s body. The seemingly infinite silver particles therefore began to resonate with their surrounding kin, and, absorbing the energies around the world, surged rapidly towards Joshua’s bodyor his soul.
And this time, the warrior who went inside the dense shroud to prove his theory did not use Steel Strength to isolate the particles. He let the particles to freely cascade within his body, before carefully observing their actions intently.
The soul particles from Sinoer was glinting in silver radiance as thousands of them assembled into fluctuating bolts and encircled Joshua’s soul. He could see that there was faint divinity reaction within those bolts, each resonating with the deity’s mark as its origin point in the center of the shroud, attempting to move his soul into resonating with them and send him into a memory hallucination inside the mark.
A number of particles no larger than the size of a finger could resonate with the Iron-class academy students, while a palm-sized amount was required for Silver or even Gold-tier elite knights. That being said, Joshua was Legendary. Whether the endless particles kept forming boltswith some of those bolts combining with other boltsor the slight tremors and brightening of the entire shroud itself, nothing could shift the warrior’s soul.
Under the protection of Steel Strength, as long as the warrior’s body did not give any opening he was immune to all external spiritual attacks, with Joshua’s own soul being powerful enough by itself. Hence, the substantial Divine Shroud began to thin as the soul particles began to gather around Joshua.
That, however, meant he would not achieve his objective. Therefore, with a slight adjustment of his own soul to emulate the reverberations amongst the soul particles around him, Joshua began to resonate with the mark at the core of the shroud.
Light and shadow began to shift as diverse, unique and puzzling hallucination came pouring in.
It was as if Joshua saw the memories of the River God in the second he linked with the deity’s mark.
Five streams that flowed down from snow mountains gathered amidst the center of the continent, shaping into a single roaring river that extended across thousands of miles. Endless ice and water elements appeared amidst this assemblage of rivers, allowing a sprite to gestate and slumber within the ripples.
Time flew. As the river shifted its path, so too did the sprite change its position. With the prayers of innumerable fishermen and people, the sprite developed a hazy intelligence and chaotic soul.
Joshua then saw the earth shaking, with a long, stretching arm formed from lava and metals reaching out from deep beneath the lithosphere like an illusion. It poked the opaque water spirit’s body, the monumental divine power instantly completing the sprite’s intelligence.
The original form of Sinoer, the River God, was thus born.
The mirage then vanished as the rumbling roar of rivers flowed into his ear.
Joshua opened his eyes. Before him was no longer the vast lands of the Ural Plains but a river so wide he could not see its opposite end. Cold water struck the stones by the banks, sprinkling the warrior’s hands with droplets.
Lifting his hand, Joshua stared as the droplets dripped slowly from his hand before looking up and staring at the world around him.
A primitive scent emanated from the towering forests and hills; the fires of civilization has yet to burn this place. Countless savage beasts were weaving amidst the thicket while wyverns bellowed in the skies.
It was the Glorious Era.