Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The Conspiracy Behind The Destruction
Joshua kept going forward resolutely without stopping due to the sound.
At the moment, he was already five thousand meters deep beneath the sea, the surrounding pressure of which was enough to press ordinary steel armor into thin sheets. Joshua, however, had an invisible barrier around his body that repels the concentrated scarlet liquids, allowing him to ‘descend’ deeper without being impeded.
Meanwhile, the deeper he went, the sound that that resounded in his head became more distinct. It was no speech but a simple, clear dinging like a wind chime, speaking with an unusually mild demeanor to Joshua. Words such as ‘Creator’, ‘Shard of the Sun’ and ‘Light’ were heavily repeated as if to convey something, but either due to language barrier or incomplete intelligence it could not convey it completely.
That being said, it was unusual—though Joshua was not some vigilant person he would still be alert toward fundamentally dangerous circumstance. Reasonably speaking, this place was the Bloodmoon Abyss and one of the most dangerous realms within the Multiverse, a place where he had once fought against many powerful adversaries and almost died here due to betrayal. So, in this place, he would not have so easily approached a voice that had appeared bizarrely in the Abyss, however bold he could be. Furthermore, the voice came from the deepest and most mysterious part of the Blood Moon, and to most others, such brash behavior equated to seeking death.
It was certainly so, but Joshua did not mind.
The scarlet seawater around his body was becoming heavier as Joshua was now ten thousand meters below the sea. It was a depth that surpassed most oceans and a sensation that could only be experienced in this moon formed entirely from liquid. There was nothing but the shade dark-red and borderless light beside him. Devoid of life or sound, it was as if he was the only existence in this world, while the soft murmur from the depths of the celestial body kept echoing in his mind.
Formidable power was not solely used for combat and threat, for there were many varying applications for it in different scenarios. After ascending into Legendary, Joshua became the swiftest builder—he could become the best miner, carve a mountain into a sculpture of himself or directly draw out a vein of ore from below ground. The warrior’s power allowed him to ignore most common sense and allow him to freely do what he wanted, amongst of which adventure was included.
Walking the furthest road, diving into the deepest sea, exploring the most dangerous spots and search for every truth that could be searched. Joshua naturally knew that the mysterious voice that summons him was a huge threat, but so what? Even if it was a newborn deity or the new Abyssal Lord of this level of Abyss it might not be able to do much to him. He could simply satisfy his curiosity before retreating safely without ever considering most safety issues ordinary adventurers needed to be concerned about.
Being able to shoulder the outcome of one’s own choicest was precisely the smallest unit of freedom.
Infinite scarlet seawater pressed down at him from all directions, the severe heat and pressure that resembled the earth’s mantle causing the sea to boil. Joshua arrived at an unknown depth surrounded by thunderous booms, a phenomenon that could not have happened in a normal world. Even war tanks that were forged in adamantite would probably be twisted into something deformed here, but Joshua’s shield never changed—it was an outpour of his very own Legendary body’s ability, its sturdiness hence equivalent to the sturdiness of the external form of his Legendary body. Since that external form was the densest next to substances from the earth’s core, the blood sea alone was nothing to him.
It was only when a mild light shone before Joshua’s eyes that an invisible power gently stopped his advance. Pausing, Joshua stood amidst the blood sea and looked down at the moon’s core that was as bright as the sun. He knew that the owner of the voice was about to appear, and he also knew why the Bloodmoon Abyss would change so dramatically in such a short time.
And as he stopped, the center of the red sea began to change extraordinarily.
Phew. A deep sound reverberated, and as the viscous blood sea cascaded, searing substances began to condense. As the warrior looked on in astonishment, the incandescent inner core of the moon began to change shape—the bottomless red sea around him rapidly lost all color, turning into a pure white that was the most unsullied of positive energy in this world. It was the sun’s force, and part of that unsullied energy was released from the inner core of the moon, turning into what was the outline of a pair of huge eyes.
It murmured softly with that clear, chiming sound and leveled its gaze at the warrior. There was no ill-intent in those eyes, a solely instinctive curiosity of newborn life.
Returning its gaze, Joshua once again sensed a familiarity and resonance from the depths of his own body. It was exactly thanks to that instinctive resonance and familiarity that he came without looking back—to meet this behemoth creature without a name.
And now, the warrior recalled that origin of resonance and familiarity.
Joshua stared at the unique lifeform before him, suppressing the throb in his heart and spoke with a stifled voice to himself.
“No. The presence is similar but in truth, completely different.”
Regardless of whether it looked like a Steel Python, rays of pure light were released from the eyes. Joshua’s body was slowly filled with the whiteness, and in that radiance light and shadow shifted as countless scenes in history came streaming against the flow of time.
It was the recollection of every life within a world.
In a prehistoric era so many distant eons ago, the world had not been like this. The sky was clear azure whereas the Bloodmoon Abyss had pure and vast airspace, as well as many floating continents between the clouds and the celestial bodies. It was a world that floated in the wind, with numberless islands separated by powerful cyclones and thick clouds into three major aerial regions as they slowly orbited the sun in the center of the world. And upon those islands, one unique civilization after another thus propagated over the different environments in the infinite islands and continents.
The ecosystem of the floating world was unique too, with each cycle being completed by the wind. Most of the year, the sky isles were encircled by cyclones—nothing goes in or comes out, while during other periods, the wind barrier would weaken significantly, with the other aerial regions and sky isles visible.
Water flowed off from the edge of the continent and was subsequently blew into the Void, and mud would drop off the sky island or return to its original island after being buffeted by the local cyclone—a perfect conclusion as if having gone through a complex calculation. However, there was no true perfection in this word either—there would one or two errors in every few hundred years, such as lost water did not return to the continent within the preset time, causing decades or drought. Otherwise there would also be forceful cyclones that tore the land apart, utterly destroying an entire floating island and the civilization above it.
Thus, civilizations over the islands also began to learn storing water and augmenting their own island so that they could reduce the damage from natural disasters. It was also because of those calamities that they began to view the other end of the skies as well as other islands as their subject of worship—they believed that there was a much more stable environment over there, the stable land of which milk and honey flowed. So, under the drive great threat to their survival as well as to explore the kingdom of heaven in their hearts, the different civilizations simultaneously developed airships—a transportation that could freely travel the skies.
Joshua watched the sight, at the thousands of intelligent races being forced to a corner of their living environment almost to a point of madness. It was unbearable for them to live in such an enclosed environment with so many natural disasters, and with that as their motivation, they had built airships that symbolized ‘hope’ and ‘future’ almost at the same time, before resolutely advancing to the unknown skies.
Steel strength had noted everything down. The mood of countless chosen crew members before they departed froze in that amber of time. Their hopes for adventure, anxiety towards the unknown, their melancholy towards the present as well as the despair that it was very likely that they had no return trip and their love for their homeland—every emotion, every sight was maintained perfectly, and now reflected beside Joshua’s body.
Soon, however, it was the clash between the races.
Most of the airships did not find the ‘New World’ that they see, instead finding floating islands of other races. Under immeasurably nervous exchanges that were filled with the smell of gunpowder, with robustly built taurens that had long horns meeting pint-sized dwarf fairies, while mole-men that habitually dug into their land to strengthen their islands meeting harpies that were born with wings. These races that had always struggled to survive in the dangerous environment notice for the first time that there were other intelligent lifeforms apart from themselves that survived under the azure sky. Hence, some races interacted amidst prudence and peace while others started the earliest invasion battles in that world.
History therefore progressed under chaos and the fires of war. Apart from natural disaster, the civilization that lived in these skies welcomed another adversary of their survival: other intelligent beings. Due to war, multifarious unique races were extinct—but also due to war, civilization developed at an exponential progress. Within a few centuries and a great many exchanges, the mystery of magic and runes began to spread across the innumerable islands, while blueprints of steel and machinery were developed within several large-scale civilizations—when the first steel airship broke through the obstruction of cyclone and forced a landing on another sky island amidst cyclones, the dawn of a new era has arrived.
Time flew, and the complicated emotions of war dissipated entirely amidst sighs. The outcome of the century-long war for dominance was having a single joint-faction utterly uniting the three aerial regions. Dozens of races thus lived under the powerful Federation, which named that world [Xillia]—which bore the meaning of ‘the people who navigate the skies’ in their language.
Due to their capacity to traverse cyclones along with the Federation’s policies, the natural calamities that interfere with the sky islands for millennia were solved one after the other, while entire floating world welcomed an age of rapid development as well. With the advance of technology, the Federation could even combine smaller isles into a single huge one, even using artificial methods to gather obstructing clouds and floating boulders to build a whole new sky island. They replaced the deities as they became architects of nature, pointing everything towards a great direction.
All things prospered in the new era. The skies were now rivers formed from airships, with mana light now replacing sails so that those tremendous creations could navigate the skies. Hence, the races that grew through such adventurers were no longer satisfied with the airspace they had now—they turned their eyes beyond the skies, intending to progress towards the world out there and views the sights outside their own world. They had the ability, with grand-scale enchanted crafts that could traverse the Void already being designed and constructed in the central region of the Federation, estimated to be completed in thirty years. When the time comes, the civilizations in the world of Xillia would definitely be freed from its fate of floating in the air and finally set foot on solid ground.
But everything ended when the sun died.
The sun of Xillia was at the center of each aerial region, as well as the origin of the infinite cyclones and cloud barriers. It was not as if no one had thought about flying towards that place where all gales and radiance was born, but due to the incredible air currents that kept buffeting towards external regions no airship could approach it—not even the most advanced enchanted battleships. Then, one day, with a sound that resembled a sigh or a wail, the entire world of Xillia dimmed, with the floating islands nearest to the sun discovering that even the searing winds from the stellar body was about to vanish, and was as faint as the breathing of an old man just before he died.
The panic spread like the plague. In days, millions of gigantic aerial battleships flew in from every corner of the world and assembled at the isles nearest to the sun. innumerable mages and craftsmen with broad knowledge drove their research vessels forward towards the sun, intending to ascertain everything.
The answer was not too complicated, however. The sun of the world of Xillia was definitely about to extinguish.
Facing such a simple yet hopeless answer, every citizen and highest leader of the Federation fell into silence. They had struggled and survived up to ten thousand years on the floating isles, using up to two millennia to explore the external regions, conquering each other before finally uniting and forming a complete civilization in the Federation, with every race living happily on stable ground. They could have gone even further, but now everything stopped spontaneously.
Without the warmth and cyclones from the sun, the entire civilization in the world of Xillia did not last for months—it was the arrival of the apocalypse when the recycling of water could not be ensured.
In the face of the unprecedented danger, research of the sun went on at an incredible speed. Within days, they learned that the sun was merely not burning as intensely, while the residual heat could probably still last around three thousand years. So, to prolong civilization, the Xillia civilization came up with a plan that was at once mad and bold.
The Federation pushed the island so that the endless isles combined into three monumental ‘discs’ and orbited the dying sun as close as it could. Within that calculated distance, even the faint sun could provide sufficient warmth necessary for life—as long as the civilization could continue, the world of Xillia would still have a chance. In the meantime, enchanted battleships that could traverse the Void was being built in overtime, and when it was completed a new era would come.
It was nothing more than another Age of Great Development, everyone consoled themselves thus. Everything was the same as it was a thousand years ago the difference only being that Xillia civilization was merely leaving the floating islands before, while this time the civilization did it to leave that world. That fate seemed to be certain somehow, causing the people who navigated the skies unable to live in peace over the land.
Therefore, in the darkening skies, regional stars began to shine and approached the slowly dying sun. Those were innumerable floating islands driven by mana flow, orderly progressing through the trails set by the Federation towards the [Rimworlds], each of which was distinct and neat, and soon the three rings rapidly took shape.
“But they did not succeed.”
Joshua stared at the spectacle—even he could not help feeling moved by such a stalwart civilization. “The sun extinguished, the floating islands shattered, leaving only the Blood Moon.” He mumbled with a quiet voice that contained slight pity.
And the truth was as he said.
Many issues were exposed in the process of the Rimworlds construction. It was certainly most reasonable for calculations and plans to go wrong, with intermittent incidents of millions of people falling into the sun as the composition of their island crumbled. Even so, the Xillia Federation was already at a position that they could not stop anything—it was the only way to save civilization, and after several such oppressive and nerve-wrecking decades, the Void airship was finally finished. The battleship that carried all hopes of the Xillia civilization hence underwent inspections after inspection of utmost carefulness, after of which a dimensional passageway was opened and it sailed to the world out there.
But when it finally returned, it was already fifty years later.
After those five decades, the Xillia civilization was very much on its last legs. The sovereignty that came from a thousand years of Federation rule has fallen in its entirety. On the three wobbly Rimworlds, the races were independent once more, slaughtering each other to struggle for the dwindling supply of food and water. By then, civilization was already in ruins, leaving just ‘individuals’ alive—there was nothing more hopeless.
Even then, having seen the enchanted battleship that returned from the Void and laden with scars, every race that was still fighting each other lowered the blades in their hands and looked upon it with a yearning gaze.
It was the final hope.
Everyone rejoiced when they learned from the person who walked out of the battleship, that although they neither found a new world suitable for living nor a way to save the sun, they were provided a way by a profound being in the Void that could help everyone survive. The only thing was that the method was rather unusual.
However, there was nothing unusual for the Xillia people who were now living in desperation. Compared to the laborious survival now they would rather the sun to simply die so that everything ended quickly—living in such a world needed greater courage than to seek death. That was why it did not take long for a mammoth magical ritual to blanket the floating ring around the sun. It flashed in a bizarre yet indescribable light, with every surviving individual on Xillia simply following the instructions of the enchanted battleship crew who returned from an unknown place, puncturing their finger and dripping blood that represented their existence on the runes for the ritual.
“From now on, my kin.”
The elderly captain who presided over all of it stood in the center of ritual and revealed an odd smile in which its mouth parted, splitting at an inhuman arc. “We shall fuse into a single body, living eternally and never dying.”
And then there was darkness. As the sounds of endless water flow resounded, it was as if every drop of liquid in the whole world assembled…
Thus, the sun died, and the Blood Moon hung at the center of the world.
While the illusion was over, the cascade of light did not stop.
In the center of the Blood Moon, Joshua raised his head and leveled a complicated gaze at the pair of gigantic eyes. He was now aware of their identity.
Just as the black dragon Mandagar had once said… It was the being birthed after every lifeform in a world fused into a single body. Every water, blood, and life of Xillia was condensed within it, forming that single liquid star, while what was born within that star may have been the most ancient and most powerful demon in the Abyss… an Abyssal Will.
It was a being composed entirely of pure positive energy, it was perhaps truly the Abyssal Will of the Bloodmoon Abyss!
An Abyssal Will, or in other words, an extinguished tinder. It was the collective husk of every sentient will and the final destination of innumerable spirits. It longs to burn again, to regain life, which was why in other worlds they would select those powerful demons filled with the will to invade and give them strength, allowing them to invade other worlds to seek the possibility for igniting.
In the Bloodmoon Abyss, however, everything was different. Due to that deviant ritual before its ruin, the spirits of all things had condensed into one—it was no longer a sporadic collective view, but a being that was ‘only one’.
“Because of me, huh… The sun was the only obsession of this world, which was why when I triggered the Nuclear Star to detonate, your silent will also hence awakened.”
The warrior spoke softly, sensing the warm, undulating light around his body that was a friendly gesture from that tremendous existence. Joshua removed the helmet formed from his Steel strength and showed his true face, staring solemnly at the other being.
He was the Blood Moon, the Abyss, the child of the world and all things incarnate. He had neither knowledge nor awareness in the first place, but was awakened by the unexpected acts of a human. His body contained shards of the sun, He… may become the second sun of this already-vanquished world.
“It’s really… unforeseen.”
Extending his hand to attempt contact with that incarnation of light, the warrior shook his head amidst the laughter that was reminiscent of a wind-chime.
“I’m not your creator…” he said. “You’re born naturally. There’s no need to approach me—everything is just an accident.”
But how would newborn will understand such complex words? So, streaks of warm rays kept flowing towards the warrior’s body as if to stroke every inch of the warrior. Helpless, Joshua shook his head and allowed Him to do as He pleased since he was aware that it was the friendliest of touch from that being.
However, now was not the time to fool around.
At the thought, Joshua frowned and looked above at the blood sea that was several dozen thousand meters tall. It was the shattered world of Xillia, and was also the boundless Void of the Multiverse.
It was a conspiracy. The warrior thought. His heart a clear mirror, he certainly could see through that unreasonable and freakish act in the final moments of the world of Xillia. Be it the crew that had returned from the Void as if they were changed into a different person entirely, or that ritual in the very last instant where ever life, organic lifeform, water and the world itself assembled.
“Blood Moon… contains titanic energy, an unsullied fused body. Just because little shards from the sun was attained, it now carried the depth of becoming a tinder once more.”
And it would remain a tinder no matter how small it was. Having or not having were completely different concepts.
Toward that, Joshua had two guesses.