Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Compared to the so-called Searing Soul Stare, Joshua was much more interested in the System that had not appeared for a long time.
After all, the only existence that came alongside him to this world was probably only this system.
Joshua was not interested in where he came from because he knew who he was.
Joshua did not mind where he goes since his objective had been the same one from the start.
Whatever the case may be, the warrior was aware of his origins. He would not pretentiously claim that he did not feel a sense of belonging in this world, nor would he deny that he had always been curious about the mysterious thing that was the System. After all, it was what had given Joshua’s his first bucket of gold in this world.
The source of the System notwithstanding, being interested in its existence was another matter entirely. He did not search for its roots before since his ability had been insufficient and he did not have to mind it, but now that he had developed into Legendary, he must find the mysterious System to assure that he did not have any weakness.
Doing it once he had the thought.
At the moment, Joshua’s spirit had sunk deep into his own soul as he pursued the ripple amidst the obscurity. Tracing its whereabouts as the ‘System’ supplied him with information, the warrior wanted to catch its tail and seek its source.
Regrettably, his effort was futile.
Joshua’s spirit looked around at the depths of his own soul. It was the reverse image of his subconscious, the materialization of will and soul. Endless mountains stood within that boundless dark space, and in the center of all those mountains was a towering pinnacle that linked and held the world aloft like a pillar. The warrior’s spirit looked down from on high, but still could not find any sign related to the ‘System’.
The warrior was not proficient in aspect of the soul, but he still knew some of fundamentals—for example, if foreign bodies invaded the soul, there would assuredly be abnormalities in the reverse image of the subconscious. But now, however Joshua analyzed his own soul he could not find a hint of difference for a long time.
As such, there were only two possibilities.
The first—his abilities were still insufficient, that the body of the System itself was of ‘deity’ class and surpassed him, a Legendary warrior. Hence, the form in which it existed could not be discerned by normal observation methods, leaving him fruitless.
The second—the system was part of his soul. There would be no abnormalities since it existed in the first place, just like who could notice a drop of water in the ocean? Even if it could be found, the energy cost by the self-examination would definitely crumble a Legendary champion.
With those thoughts, Joshua retreated and stopped examining his own soul after determining that there was no way to find out the truth about the System at the moment. Still, he was not dissatisfied for he did not hold much of hope in the first place. Furthermore, the System did not have much restraint over him for some time now, vaguely recalling that it had become rather quiet after he had ascended into Supreme and no longer issued any mission. He even had to search the story diary for himself, while the System itself crumbled even further towards the latter stages of Supreme—perhaps an augury of its self-destruction.
After the search, Joshua believed that if his ability kept progressing the System might really vanish entirely. That way, he would have no way of knowing the truth behind it. With things concluding there, it could only be left for next time.
Withdrawing his attention, Joshua looked towards the information that was floating in front of his own eyes.
[Divinity—Searing Soul Stare]
[Just as people would be awed by towering mountains and sighed at great oceans, it would naturally be astonishing when one witnessed profound things. In combat, normal creatures that stare into your eyes would be dealt a shock judgment based on your Will points—those that do not pass would fall into a state of stagger and energy frenzy.]
[He closes his eyes. Not out of coldness, but out of love.]
It was a powerful ability that did not dull in comparison against high-level spell such as ‘Death Stare’ or ‘Petrifying Gaze’, and yet Joshua was not too delighted.
“Divinity, huh…” He muttered to himself, shaking his head.
Following his battle against Mandagar in the Bloodmoon Abyss, Joshua never once attempted employing divinity, even during his later encounters against the Longsword of the Ashlands or the endless Death Shades on the world of Grandia. Regarding that, Joshua would earnestly admit that it was power he could not control, for he was uncertain if he could shrug off the massive erosion from divine power. That state also had no intelligence to speak of, which to a true warrior was not empowerment but an incapacitation.
Furthermore, if Joshua could not escape the erosion, there would be just two outcomes—he would either become an irrational divine magical creature which had a heart brimming with slaughter and destruction, or utterly dissolve into the endless stream of divinity within the Multiverse and become part of it. Both outcomes were undesirable or Joshua, which was why he had done his best to not use his divine powers.
Still, that stuff was unlike muscle—not using it did not mean it would not strengthen.
Maybe I have killed too many demons, which fits the three divine essences of ‘combat’, ‘slaughter’ and ‘destruction’, Joshua thought, frowning.
Divinity is not deceptive. Any who acquired it was the one who conformed to that divine aspect the most, which was why any who attained trickster divine aspects was no upright personality, nor would those who acquire the aspect of justice be some kin of evil and intrigue. Furthermore, every act and word from Joshua was his own—he did not feel anything wrong with his slaughter of demons or his wrecking of their fortress, and his divinity apparently thought so too, leading to his synchrony with it being raised another notch.
Ultimately, it’s not a bad thing.
Even if there was not much thrill about it, Joshua would never be too mindful about such a thing. The growth of divinity was not something that ill, it was merely that he has not grasped that ability.
But now, what Joshua had to do was not be tangled with such frivolity, but carry on and complete his objective.
“Syndicate, where are we now?” Joshua asked the balrog that was scampering in front of Black with a growling voice. The warrior himself was standing on top of the black dragon’s head, feeling the wild wind buffeting his armor.
At present, the balrog’s appearance had utterly changed.
Originally, the black-red flames over balrog bodies had the scent of profane corruption due to their inhabitation of the Abyss. Leaving aside other matters such as toxicity, it had a sharp and revolting smell on one sniff, but now Syndicate was completely different.
The entire body of the balrog now combusts in golden-red fluorescence, an incomparably pure radiance that was without half an iota of malevolence. Apart from the toxic that radiated from its main body, the balrog was essentially a floodlight tower that emanated a perception of the ‘sun’ to people.
To Syndicate, it was reasonable—having been forced by a Legendary champion into various forms such as greatsword, cutlass, lance or even dragon-hunting bow, and subsequently distilled over and over by pure Steel Strength, the process would have cleansed even Abyssal Ooze into a Celestial Slime. The balrog now still had a little toxicity only because it was an inborn attribute, cleansing it meant incinerating the balrog itself in its entirety, which was why it was still surviving at the moment.
“I don’t know, Your Majesty. I have never come here before.” The balrog answered honestly, quickly adding more information before the warrior could ask more. “The Sixth Abyss, however, is not that big. With our speed, we should quickly reach its central region, and I will be familiar with the landscape once we see the Nether River.”
Joshua nodded in return. He believed that Syndicate would not dare to lie to him, and it was right anyway—though archdemons could traverse between different Abyssal levels, they could not walk through every corner of the Abyss. For an archdemon with the ability such as the balrog, if they did not want to be forced by Abyssal Lords into their army and kept on those Lord’s planes, they could only wander around the Nether River.
“Grawr.” The black dragon suddenly lifted its head when it heard the balrog’s words, intending to speak to its own master while it scampered. It forgot that Joshua was standing above its own head however; it could not see him even if it turned its head.
“It’s fine, I’m on top of your head… Just say it.” Joshua stroked its horns lightly to gesture for Black so that the dragon would keep itself steady. Focusing to hear its cries, he slowly comprehended its speech.
The black dragon had sensed the presence of a kin.
Even Joshua touched his chin doubtfully, emitting sharp metallic scraping sounds as gauntlet and armor assembled from Steel Strength came in a contact. “But there’s no draconic scent…” he said in disbelief as he looked around. “And I’ve killed so many, how could I not notice?”
Black was puzzled too. It simply had an incidental sense of clarity and detected the immensely familiar scent. That sensation was the same as remembering the smell of home while on the road and almost illusory, so how could it tell if it was real? With the warrior himself doubting it too, it ultimately dismissed as its imagination and merely growled a few times instead affirming its opinion.
At the moment, warrior, dragon, and balrog had just left the Gray Salt Mountains. Since they had been speeding over the land all along, they were not noticed.
In such titanic mountain chains, there were a few peaks that had extraordinary shapes as if something likewise titanic had run through it absolutely unrestrained and forcefully pushed them apart and kicking out a path.
Meanwhile, in the Tear Valley Fortress in the center of the Lava Inferno—the Sixth Abyss.
With the exchange of intelligence across different levels and demon lords urgently communicating with each other, the mountainous fort constructed from black steel and corpses was filled with the sound of footsteps. Within the corridors, high-tier gargoyle communications officers were accelerating as much as they could, even flapping their wings as they hurried to send information into the communication circles that directed straight to the central hall.
Dim runes were glinting in the circles. Whenever each document was placed within a complete copy would appear on the other end—one of the most useful spells the demon had gathered from other worlds. Mana ripples within the Abyss was deathly and decaying, and would easily distort most observation circles. This spell alone would guarantee stable, long-distance information delivery that could even transcend worlds.
A gargoyle communications officer was hurtling towards the path to the communications circle, a large pile of information that had been tidied and sorted by lower demons in its hand. In the Abyss, there were simply too many varieties of demon, but amongst them were many existences—such as balrogs and rotfiends—that could not use tools. To send a message, they could only use simple voice communication, but even then, their accents and speech had oddities of ever single sort. So, to ensure that precise information could be gathered, the Tear Valley Fortress had many inferior acidic and magma demons expressly cultivated to decipher what their high-tier kin were saying.
Inadvertently, the gargoyle glimpsed the contents of the documents. It was nothing serious since regulations were not that strict amongst demons, and so it simply read a few lines of that minuscule text of utterly scrawled abyssal language.
It promptly shuddered once, before darting towards the communications circle as if flying.
Invasion of a Monarch-tier demon. The lords of the Black Sea Plains, the Obsidian Sands, and the Gray Salt Plains were virtually wiped out.
In another world.
Endless veins of fire streaked across the sky above, parting the sea of clouds and finally touching down on the earth. Solid rock from another world, carrying innumerable ferocious invaders fall upon the ground, bringing unfathomable agony and disaster to he unfamiliar world.
Under the heavens that had turned blood-red, war was waged in every cranny of the world. An infinite number of scaled-creatures that resembled saurok but had no tails and were much stronger raised their lances, roaring as they fought against seemingly endless ranks of black demons. It however, was futile—with searing meteor after searing meter plummeting from the portal high above, the forests were ignited while lakes and oceans boiled.
Cities were wrecked, civilizations crumbling, beasts screaming as they fled, while majestic mountains trembled before it.
As the gargoyle communication officer rushed to place the documents in its hand into the communications circle, a rather undersized demon suddenly lifted its head amidst a battlefield burning with flames and dark smoke.
“Elder beholder Kasendi—severely injured. Bone demon lord Crodi—severely injured…” It lowered its head and mumbled with a cumbersome voice. “Twelve fortresses demolished, every single demon along the way dead, not a soul spared.”
“My domain… has been mostly destroyed…”
The more it spoke, the lower and angrier its voice until at last, it lifted its head and laughed coldly. It then cruelly grabbed one of the scaled-people and squashed its skull, and its fresh, pale-blue blood splattered over its body. “An invasion? Someone actually set their eyes on us—the Sixth Abyss? Planning to get us into a three-way fight?”
The demon was about two meters tall, its body covered in streamlined a gray-black shell while its skull did not have any other organ other than two long horns and densely packed, dark-yellow eyes that kept whirling. It did not have any mouthpart—its voice emanated from within its body, with a rhombus-shaped dark-red gem flashing in malevolent radiance at the center of the demon’s chest.
As if angered by the news, the demon’s body slowly floated into the air. The battlefield was just a little ahead of a grand city built by the scaled-people, and upon seeing that a demon had risen into the air countless scaled-people spellcasters shot their magic like arrows rapidly towards the demon. However, there was no hint of nervousness for the demon that had a curiously-shaped head. Its pupils that amounted up to thousands stared ahead coldly and then lifted its right hand, where a long finger that was akin to a blade extended.
A blinding light shone along with a cold reverberation as a dark-red ray roared across the atmosphere, striking the distant scaled-people spellcasters in an instant. A bowl-shaped energy shield swiftly rose with an incredible explosion, spreading and devouring everything around it. In moments, the energy shield shattered into specks everywhere, with demon, scaled-people, steel, and mud all turned into energy particles condensed to its very limits and completely incinerated into nothingness.
Not stopping despite its success, the demon did not make any unnecessary movements. In the air, the shell over its entire body started to squirm and turned into pipes of bones that jutted out, with perhaps what was ten thousand rays like the one just now—perhaps even more focused—ejecting out of it, creating multiple complex afterimages that blasted at the camps up front and faraway cities.
“It can’t be stopped!”
“His Majesty is raging!”
Abruptly, both demon of scaled-people simultaneously screamed in panic and despair in the battlefield, with blinding specks and energy barriers rising one after the other, shrouding the entire war zone and city. Amidst the terrible blast, the sturdy stone buildings constructed by the scaled-people was shattered under colossal impact and combustion, with some stones and metals even utterly vaporizing instantly. The dried artificial rivers and lakes turned into violent steam, while stalwart temples did not stand for long despite magical protection. After being struck by hundreds of rays, they gradually melted under the hotness of tens of thousands of degrees. Golden lava rivers started to flow over the streets of the cities, consuming all survivors.
Not long afterward, the city vanished, leaving just ruins in the middle of the lava lake.
Blistering breeze transformed into violent shockwaves, penetrating the ragged battlefield whereas flaming cyclones danced over the land. The undersized demon descended on the ground, withdrawing the bone pipes over its body slowly and closed its eyes, no longer paying attention to the demons panicking in the thick of dust, fire, and gale or the world that was now engulfed in Lava Inferno.
The demon was spiritually linked to an extremely distant battlefield in another Abyss.
“Goliath,” it said thus through the link. “Your Abyss and my territory have been invaded. Suspected Monarch tier ability, that’s why I’m holding off this invasion. I’m going back to take a look.”
A long time later, the Demon King’s rumbling reply came from another Abyssal battlefield.
“Teach those existence who dare provoke us the heaviest lesson.”