Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The Imperial Capital, the chief’s office in the Royal Mage Guild.
“I could mostly discern your intent from your request.”
Behind the table, the new Legendary mage had identified the dimensional coordinates that resonated with the residual undulation in one-tenth of a second. He looked up towards the young man before him, and frowned.
“You’re going to the Abyss?”
“Yeah,” Joshua replied dryly. “I want to.”
Nostradamus shook his head slightly. “Nothing in this world could stop you,” he said a little helplessly, “you can do anything if you want to, but I must affirm one fact.”
With those words, he leaned on the comfortable armchair and raised his right hand to rub his forehead as if in reminiscence. “The Abyss is extremely dangerous—to everyone and not just Legendary. Even the gods have to tread carefully there.”
Because it was a dead world. In that dimension where things decay and vanish bit by bit, many unimaginable yet immeasurably dangerous things are possible. Even eternal and invincible champions would easily fall deep within it, just like those two Pentashade dragon kings that went missing so many years ago.
“Listen, Joshua. I know the two mages Barnil and William—that dimensional ripple had Barnil’s signature. They had simply and deliberately entered the Abyss, and two Legendary mages would never enter any Otherworld without preparations.”
Nostradamus attempted to dissuade Joshua after a brief moment of thought, but Joshua remained unmoved as expected, compelling the old mage who wanted to educate him with his rich life experience to be quiet.
“Well, I have no way of stopping you,” he said, shaking his head. “Anyway, it’s certain. The presence is the same—that dimensional ripple’s target of teleportation is the sixth level of the Abyss.”
“Even so, you must be careful if you are really heading to the Abyss. It’s different from ordinary worlds for it is where the corpses of all things assemble. Every malevolence lies within it.”
“Thanks.” On the other end, Joshua did not feel impatient regarding the old mage’s rather nagging urging—he was even showing a smile. With a simple conveyance of gratitude for Nostradamus, the warrior then lowered his head and spoke with a deep voice at the thing he was carrying in his hand.
“Let’s go, remember to show the way when the time comes.”
The balrog Syndicate that had been held in a transparent cylindrical crystal tube that was half a typical person’s height felt the discouraging turn of events in its heart, while it watched in disenchantment the spectacle where two Legendary champions discussed about the way to enter the Abyss. However, it was impossible for it to shake off its ‘cage’ when its power had been largely sealed. All it could do to escape reality was to shrivel into a blob like a Slime, praying—or not, since praying to anyone was counterintuitive because it was a demon.
Joshua’s actions were always so swift and decisive. Nostradamus never even picked up a hint of thought while the Legendary warrior briskly left with his black dragon mount and that captured Balrog. It appeared that he had determined his actions and his life’s path a long time ago, and since then never hesitated to fulfill it.
Slowly rising from the soft sheep wool chair, Nostradamus went to his office’s window and stared at the warrior’s figure until he left the town, the Imperial Capital’s magic circles and after Joshua’s presence left his area of sensory.
It was then that he muttered softly to himself.
“It’s always difficult for humans to understand each other.”
The fact was something the old mage had known for some time. Just as those nobles would never understand him, he would never understand them too.
A peasant would strive to become a champion after all sorts of ‘coincidences’ and enter higher ranks to become part of nobility, part of the new order as if it was logical. Then, to maintain their own position and the special rights of their descendants, they would seal the paths which other peasants could have used to rise.
These people held legacy that could allow most people to become extraordinary people amidst this Multiverse filled with darkness and evil. However, they never thought for all men with all their heart and soul, instead pouring all efforts to subjugate their own race and ignore the countless threats and horrors of the Multiverse, focusing instead on their own little kingdoms and killing the future for meaningless, trivial powers.
This short-sightedness, this logic of nobles, was something the old man never understood.
It was a simple part of the clash, expressed in terms logic. But in truth, every single conflict would fill a two-million-word treatise since the clash of ideologies amongst humans in all aspects were endless. Just as the mage actually did not understand much in the way Israel groomed his heirs, just as he actually never understood why Joshua did the things he had done.
And yet the differences those two held did not irritate him.
It was because humans were different that they appear interesting.
Unlike the nobles, Nostradamus appreciates them, which was why he was willing to help them.
Of course—it was not solely for that reason, the old mage thought. He shifted his gaze away from the window and smiled as he sat behind the desk again. Closing his eyes, his thoughts drifted into nothingness.
Most importantly, he wanted to see that storms the ever-restless young warrior would kick up in the Abyss that had long fallen into silence amidst the Multiverse.
Meanwhile, as the Abyssal Grimoire wailed shrilly amidst the unoccupied grass plains on the outskirts of the Multiverse, Joshua brutally forced the Book of Eibon again to open a summoning dimensional rift towards the Abyss.
Air welling in stillness, oppression, sulfuric odors, and concentrated toxic emissions surged out of the portal. As the huge amounts of toxic air incessantly pour out from the higher air-pressure of the Abyss, the emerald grass plains of spring immediately yellowed and withered. Although the balrog that was still inside its cage could not sense the change in scents of the outside world, it still subconsciously squirmed its highly toxic radioactive body to try sneaking back to its home.
However, both the warrior and the black dragon girl who stood behind him had a nonchalant expression—that little sulfuric scent and toxic from the Abyss were not worth mentioning to them. With a wave of Joshua’s hand, the scent that brimmed with Chaos and death dispersed as if meeting its archenemy and ceased cascading, while the yellowed land swiftly returned to its emerald state.
“Let’s go,” he said thus, and carried the Balrog to step inside the dimensional rift first. Along the way, Joshua seemed to abhor the narrowness of the passageway and so gave it a nudge with his foot. Immediately, the dimensional rift obediently expanded more than half its original size.
Feels no different from the inside of a volcano.
After the rift expanded, the black dragon followed the warrior’s back with a face full of delight.
It’s rare for Master to take just me along to play, how envious Ling and Ying would be when we return! She thought excitedly.
[Confusion nurtures destruction, anxiety constructs despair.
Abyssal Diaries, Volume 3, Chapter Seventeen]
When Joshua traversed the dimensional rift and tread upon the ash-black land filled with black sand and toxic soil, his entire body could not help shuddering slightly once as it flashed with faint silver bolts. It was ‘Steel Strength’, resonating with a certain existence. However, it was only until after the black dragon girl had stepped through the dimensional rift and the crack closed itself that Joshua nodded slightly and closed his eyes.
Time flowed in the opposite direction within his mind while light and shadows collided in his spirit. Innumerable illusion or vision of the past glinted in his consciousness.
The world was affixed in a winter day seven thousand years ago.
Black sand had been fertile soil then, and the toxic earth was still animated with thickets and plains. Standing upon the top of an unknown hill, Joshua looked towards a nearby city—a sharp, spiraling metallic tower and translucent pipelines that resembled spiderweb formed the magnificent city. Built by intelligent insectoid lifeforms, the metallic tower reaches into the clouds while rhombus-shaped vehicles weaved in and out of the pipes, connecting every corner of the city as if arteries.
The world was prospering at the moment, with diverse creatures the warrior never saw before living amidst the grass plains and forests. The insectoids’ civilization fused together with nature—using heat energy from underground magma to operate colossal steel mage machines, they built one grand beehive-shaped buildings after the other. Everything of such stability that everyone was filled with hope for the future.
At the same time, dark tides surged amidst civilization. To struggle for global authority, several of those insectoids did not mind inciting the fires of war across of all corners of the peaceful continent. They fought proxy wars, wildly underwent arms race to produce one horrific war machines, which were then sortied with the most advance machines as the world war broke out.
Therefore, time paused here. At the time, technology developed explosively with all variety of objects being invented. Civilization was yet to extinguish, the world still had hope, the soil was still fertile, the forests emerald. The revitalizing fragrance still filled the air while unnamed birds soared in the skies.
The sight of their peaceful lives was carved in this world’s long history, eternal and neverending.
But as Joshua’s watched it, his gaze resonated under the lead of Steel Strength and permeated the entire illusion that had paused towards the solid world’s ever unattainable future—the ‘past’ of these lands seven thousand years ago.
Whistling warheads descended. Towering mushroom clouds rose from the cities of spiral towers, the solid metallic construction crumbling and melting as if it was ice cream under the broiling heat. Endless augmented glass pipelines were blown away by the terrible shockwaves, turning into every present crystalline fragment. Endless insectoids were instantly killed, with any survivors dying under the calefaction and toxic, whereas the cities that were once prosperous became gigantic lava craters.
Concentrated black clouds formed out of thin air in seconds. Thunder rolled as storms raged, with thick lightning raining down and killing anything alive with its torrential currents, laying waste to all exquisite metallic objects and wiping of all remnants of civilization. In this land stuffed with a scorched odor, not even bacteria could stay alive.
Bizarre plagues started began to spread, reaching out with death in the silence. There was no dazzling figures or astonishing process—the end of a city came in a few not-quite-simple coughs. In the next dawn where everyone lay in their beds and never got up, the metallic tower no longer hosted anything alive apart from microorganisms, while not one rhombus-shaped vehicle traversed the interior of the once-busy pipelines.
Tens of millions of those insectoids hence perished in the sudden destructive war, shattering their own civilization and world by their own hands. The hatred of the survivors, however, were thrown in confusion in the absence of anyone to complain to, even as the discomfort of survivors—the destruction of the wastelands made all unable to speak.
They could only struggle to survive and slowly propagate under agony in the world that killed itself.
A thousand years passed.
Two thousand years passed.
As the world continued its descent towards the depths of the Multiverse, the insectoids too mutated into a shape they never thought of before.
And after three thousand years, the bottomless Abyss had one more layer, while a new member species the multifarious demonic races.
All of that happened in the brief thousandth of a second. Such a short timeframe did not allow anyone to do anything.
But to the warrior, he had spectated the razing of a civilization.
Joshua opened his eyes. His gaze was still bright like flames.
The warrior neither hated nor favored such illusions. He looked up at stared at the barren plains of wastelands—it was the typical sight of most Abyssal plains.
Folding his arms across his chest, Joshua scanned the world in silence, the sights seven thousand years ago overlapping with the sights seven thousand years later. He appeared to understand something, only to shake his head.
Joshua van Radcliffe. Legendary warrior, the Agent of Steel Strength, the successor to the Sage.
The King of Searing Soul.
Learning the past and devastation of a world was originally the duty of the King of Searing Soul—the one who shoulders worlds. Whichever world he went to or any corner of the Multiverse he reached, things would never change. Worlds still prospering, as if boasting, would show him the most flourishing of spectacles before him. On the other hand, worlds that were destroyed would only lament, warning every civilization that still existed with the reliving of the moment it was ruined.
It was his special right and his duty.
Then, Joshua abruptly remembered the words of the God of Might.
Don’t carry a heart of compassion.
Those recent words from the stalwart God of Justice echoed in his heart.
Do not be compassionate, for it was pride. Facing self-wrought apocalypse and ruination by intelligent life, nobody—not even gods—could brazenly speak of compassion and salvation. Only the living could prudently accept that lesson and admonish themselves.
For the survivors that cried out were already demons.
Even so, the warrior could not help remembering the Sage.
That kind teenager who wanted save all life, who grew and became an adolescent who would use tough measures to acquire peace, the same Sage who watched in stillness as civilizations developed and watched over the world.
In the final scene, the old man stood before endless portals, the world and all life, leading the gods to fight against the endless evil.
Him. Joshua could not help thinking. If it was him, if it was the Sage, if it was that man who also held the King of Searing Soul’s power—what would he think?
He did not know, and was therefore curious.
Joshua had never been so intrigued about a person, which was why he wanted to try and experience the thoughts of an existence that had long disappeared into the other end of the Multiverse.
The Sage had gone to the Abyss once, acquiring the prototype of the Azurite.
Hence, the warrior would go to the Abyss once too.
“Come out, Syndicate.”
Handily throwing out the crystal cylinder in hand, Joshua removed its seal and released the balrog. Stuck inside the can in agony, Syndicate transformed into a beam of red light, its black viscous body that resembled mud monsters swiftly burning in raging flames and shifting into a human silhouette of pure inferno.
Reasonably, the balrog should be doing all it can to flee and escape the warrior’s grasp. However, not only did it not do that, it even reverently knelt before Joshua, awaiting his next command.
“This is the Lava Inferno, the Sixth-Level Abyss.” Sweeping another glance at the surrounding land, the warrior quickly studied the Abyss he was present at while calmly issuing his command. “I’m here to look for someone—you’re more familiar with the Abyss so lead the way, and look for the domains of other demons.
“Yes, Your Majesty!” Despite already knowing that the other was in fact human and not some Demon General, the balrog still followed abyssal habit and addressed Joshua s such.
At the same time, its plain intelligence was undulating with a hint of scheme, which was why it was willing to be so compliant towards the warrior’s words.
Naturally, Joshua could discern that little balrog’s thoughts but did not mind it at all. After getting the balrog to scout the routes, Joshua turned to look at Black who had already wandered a few hundred meters away and was looked around in curiosity.
The warrior snapped his fingers.
Upon hearing the sound signaling her master’s permission, the black dragon promptly whooped. With a wave of stunning mana surge and a heart-throbbing boom, a giant black dragon that was ten stories or around thirty to forty meters thus plainly appeared over the ash-black wasteland, before exuding a thrilled draconic cry.
Even as the dragon howled, Joshua had already stood atop its head, while war armor formed from Steel Strength appeared over his body and instantaneously covered his entire physicality, with two blood-red specks of light flashing visibly beneath his dragon-skull helmet.
“Let’s go.” Joshua laughed softly, stroking the black dragon’s sturdy and sharp horns beside him.
Nostradamus doesn’t understand the Abyss, the warrior thought. His comprehension regarding the planes are nothing but some literature or brief communication with some summoned demon. That’s too shallow.
But he was different. He had gone to the Abyss before and multiple times too. He knows what should be done there, and how to look for someone in this unfamiliar world.
And it was being as high-profile as one could be.
His helmet concealed his smile as he stood over the dragon’s head.
There was completely no need for prudence. A dead world remains a world, and nothing was different if you are powerful enough. If mortals could walk dogs in the Mycroft Continent, he himself could walk his dragon in the Abyss as a Legendary champion.
“Follow Syndicate. Anything else is up to you,” the warrior said. “Run however you want to run.”
The black dragon promptly bellowed in excitement at those words, and a burning crimson gale that wrapped around tremendous fire elements quickly appeared before its body. It strode through the land, blowing away large chunks of barren soil into every-present clouds of dust. And thus the dragon traversed over the dust, and started to chase after the conspicuous flaming human silhouette before it rapidly.
Joshua’s abyssal tour formally starts!