Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The Initial Flame granted the Steel Ashes power, allowing the Steel Ashes to nurture every living creature. Though it was not so all the time, it was how the ‘People of Midgard’ view the sun over their heads and the land beneath their feet in their plain worldview.
When the scarlet satellite rose and set for three cycles, when the stars in the system arrived at the right place, a ritual to summon a great being from the distant Void began in the Midgard Star.
Grand Consul Milhabus stood at the top of the world, on the highest platform of the imposing yet ancient temple. It was a colossal temple built by the Midgardian ancestors seventeen-hundred years ago, a time before they left their planet towards the vacuum of the universe. Through the might of their physical bodies and insignificant psionic power, they constructed a grand, miraculous edifice on the eighty-four hundred meters high summit in the Midgard Star to consecrate the ‘Void Saint’ who came and led the entire Midgard civilization into prosperity.
The faith allowed the Midgard people who were still in a state of schism to end the chaos struggle for dominance between the nations, with one single undivided divine administrative body unifying the whole world, after which the Midgard people never hesitated in stepping out towards the stars, chasing the footsteps of the Saint who had vanished in the Void.
The platform on the temple was a hexagonal tower, the diameter of its base being almost two and resembling a small mountain. It was mainly composed of pale silver stone polished to shine, and the highest artificial point. Standing here, one could trample the clouds, hills, lands, and seas beneath their feet, aligning themselves with the stars. However, Milhabus had not a single sensation of surpassing everything as it stood upon the platform, feeling a profound reverence instead.
It was precisely because he knew that there were the stars and other worlds beyond the sky, and precisely because its race had already traveled across the universe to colonize other worlds that it knew how inconceivable this temple had been to the Midgard people seventeen hundred years ago. What was more, that flawlessly unblemished outer wall of the tall that had virtually zero scrapes remained an unexplainable miracle even with their present technology, and hence exact origin of the Midgardian faith.
If not for the Grand Consul office not being a permanent one or the discovery of brand-new intelligent civilizations beyond the starry skies, the Midgard people would never have built such a grand temple. They did so not only because of Milhabus’s arrival, but it had also what was alleged to be a great treasure left behind by the Void Saint, a sacred object consecrated in the grand temple of the Midgard capital—the [Droplet].
At the very thought, Milhabus could not help looking downward at its own gray plant-fiber hands in front of its floral body that was composed entirely of roots. Within its grasp was an elegant, finely decorated transparent cylindrical container carved with countless praiseful and worshipful text. It was the finest creation of the Midgard people from technology and spiritual sustenance, and in its middle, a fist-sized, green water droplet-shaped gem floated.
Affixed through psionic and powerful electromagnetism, time was frozen within the container known as the ‘Amber Pole’. The temperature inside was almost an absolute zero, while matter itself was held fast, immobile. It was only through that method that the indestructible and smooth Droplet which no Midgard person knew how it was made could be stored. It was a strong evidence for the faith of the Saint—even the Midgard peoples that had now entered the embrace of the stars could only find compactly arranged atoms that were without any gaps in between when they scanned the Droplet with a scanning tunneling microscope.
Milhabus, the Midgard Grand Consul certainly did not bring the treasure the Saint had left behind to the most majestic and holy great temple out of personal desire. In fact, its every mode was now being streamed life through real-time psionic communications to Midgard people across the globe, with millions of psionics—priests of the temple—assembling beneath the hill. Amidst the reaches of universal space, the central flagship of the Midgardian Starfleet, the ‘Pioneer’ that was leading its escort ships hung above the atmosphere, with the fleet commander as well as every soldier and officer watching the spectacle through the observation tools on the battleship.
For what Milhabus was about to do was something not done in a thousand years, and yet was the most dangerous and holy of rituals—the [Void Door].
A thousand years ago, the Midgard expedition fleet had finally found a planet that was suitable for them to live in. Delighted, they swiftly commence a colonization project that had been drafted for years, with migrating ships carrying Midgardians and seeds warping across the dimensions through incredible psionic ability and arriving at that beautiful green planet. Perhaps because Midgardians were now truly a star faring civilization, every single person felt a thrill in their soul the moment their colony ships landed in the new planet—their psionic talents had surpassed the initial shackles and every Midgardian was blessed with it at once. After that, the psionic ability that only priests and various hierarchs could grasp was now something all Midgardians had, even if there were differences in intensity out of individual factors.
On the other hand, the Grand Consul and formidable priests that were holding office then and the strongest psionics did not attain any benefits through the extraordinary sublimation. However, their level temporarily rose beyond a single notch, with their powerful spiritual sensory surpassing the planet or even the limit of the universe itself, hence touching the being on the other end of the ‘Void Curtain’. They could feel that there was still vast, endless space across the universe, and in that space, some profound being was whispering into their ears.
It was the Saint!
Everyone including the priests, the Grand Consul, the technological commander or leaders of the national security who could hear that powerful psionic who was whispering believed it without a doubt. They believed that it was the Saint’s reward for their progress, and so compassionately allowed them to hear His voice. The Midgardian leaders also could sense that the voice was telling them of a secret way that used an incredible psionic ability to tear across the Void so that those profound beings could come to them—and such was the origin of the [Majestic Ritual—the Void Door].
Taking fully opportunity of the fervor following the colonization of a new planet and the comprehensive awakening of psionic ability, the entire Midgardian civilization boomed with unprecedented focus power. Within months, they constructed a psionic focusing equipment that imitated a star ring that could assemble the ability of psionics. It was a gargantuan steel creation that whirled, circling mountains, with every psionic and priest pouring and gathering their psionic ability in that star ring, before the Grand Consul guided that power to host the ritual, tearing apart the Void for the ‘Saint’s’ advent.
Millions of psionics’ powers became one, forming a monumental beam that pierced the Void, breaking through the atmosphere in a single breath and extending four hundred thousand kilometers to the depths of vacuum, even exceeding the path of the Midgardian moon. The beam could be seen distinctly even in the universe for that incomparable power undoubtedly tore the Void apart to allow the advent of a higher existence.
And an unprecedentedly harsh tragedy followed.
The being that arrived was not the Void Saint the Midgardians were devoted to, but a supreme and gargantuan insectoid lifeform which had a body covered entirely in crystals. At first, it was subservient to the Midgardians thanks to their psionic abilities, and the Midgardians who were a little disappointed that it was not the Saint excitedly studied the powerful Void Lifeform. By studying its shell and energy core, the Midgardians physics and energy researches progressed by leaps and bounds, and it soon turned out that the Void creature was far stronger in combat than their Starfleet—it even learned to use psionic abilities to warp through space and move side by side with the fleet, directly increasing the Midgardian army ability exponentially.
However, the Midgardians were too careless in believing that the crystal insect was a follower of the Void Saint. The moment the psionic energy gathered from the millions of populations gradually dissipated and finally utterly vanished, the mild and obedient crystal insect promptly showed a ruthless gaze—a will to destroy everything, devour everything and to turn it all into nothingness. The supreme lifeform ambushed the defenseless Midgardian Fleet, and after destroying dozens of the most advanced escort ships at the outer perimeter, the crystal insect headed toward the colony planet named the ‘Garden of Leaves’, massacring every colonist and absorbing all their psionic ability and lifeforce.
Hence, the life in a planet died.
The Migardian government immediately understood their mistake despite their shock, finally realizing that the Droplet did not react abnormally due to the crystal insect being a follower of the Saint. In truth, the two were the greatest of enemies, and what Midgard summoned was an Evil God minion in the naive belief that it was a part of their religion, almost condemning their world eternally. Therefore, the vengeful Midgardian Fleet brought every powerful psionic including the Grand Consul, transcending the stars in pursuit of that Chaotic and berserk crystal insect. Both sides fought intensely in the Garden of Leaves which ended up with the triumph of the Midgardians, but the price was that the beautiful and lively colony planet was now mostly a barren wasteland where nothing grows, while a great number of high-tier psionics and their legacies were lost as well.
Since then, the [Void Door] ritual was completely banned, the Midgardian population that was dealt a severe blow only attained two more external planet colonies after a thousand years despite the fact that it was achievable within a millennium. But now, the Midgardians rebuilt the star ring that encircles the holy mountain, gathering millions of powerful psionics with the intent of holding the ritual once more, and have the door that would tear through the Void summon a being beyond this world.
Because their lives hung in the balance.
In Year Sixteen Hundred and Twenty-Three of the Midgardian Star Sky Calendar, the Midgardian had come across a huge exiled fleet. It was the main fleet of the ‘Folbian people’ whom they had once contacted as well as thousands of migrating crafts. Like the Midgardians, the Folbians were a civilization that believes in the existence of deities and the psionic doctrine, and the two races never clashed due to their considerable distance from each other. Their relationship was hence considered fine, although there had been rarely traders and communications from the Folbians in the last century or so, while the Midgardians who became a little xenophobic due to the Void Door incident had also been focusing on colonization efforts, and did not have the time communicate with the outside world.
That was why they were unusually surprised when they found the Folbians exiled fleet, but only received a bizarre reply when they asked why they were exhausting the entire civilization’s efforts to leave their home planet.
“The Darkness… the Darkness is coming… They’re here!”
Leaving just one perplexing line, the Folbians subsequently vanished into the distance. None knew how they ended up, but losing their mother planet was equal to losing the base and pillars of their own civilization. They would never regenerate their vigor, and become an eternal stray.
And although the Midgardians did not understand those words then, they did decades later.
Squirming beasts that were carriers of plagues, erosion, and calamity struck the ‘Garden of Roots’, the third Midgardian colony closest to the Folbians’ planet while blanketing the skies and the land. These creatures that could wander the Void wrought pure slaughter and destruction, and as the Midgardians turned their telescopes away in agony, they soon saw another transcendent lifeform that was at least a hundred thousand meters large.
It was a spherical leviathan that was akin to a meatball, with countless twisted and alien vortices over its body that resembled eyes. There was a great slit that stretches diagonally over it like a grin, while an infinite number of tentacles reaches out of its body, dragging behind it, each being at least dozens of thousand meters long. Dark green like glimmered incessantly over it, releasing starkly different energies from psionic power and yet could distort dimensions as well.
Using that leviathan as base, the multitude of beasts streaked across the starry skies, attacking world after world. It was a Darkness that engulfs the stars obscures suns, the Chaos being that was almost a satellite warping across space, traveling between systems. It was the Chaos the Folbians had summoned just as the Midgardians did a millennium ago, but unlike them, the being the Folbians summoned was far more powerful. The perpetrators even failed to defeat it, and haggardly escaped from their mother planet instead.
Now, it was heading towards the mother planet of the Midgardians. Though the fleet attached to the colonies moved to stop it, there was no hope of stopping that onslaught which was brimming with resolve.
“Midgardians are no Folbians. Our civilization resides right here in this Holy Mountain, and we would never abandon our home planet. We are children of the Saint, and we never evade a battle against Evil Gods.”
“However, only beings beyond the Void could stand up to beings beyond the Void.”
“We could at least control one or two minions of the Evil Gods, and before it would defy us, it remains our power.”
Standing upon the platform of the temple, Grand Consul Milhabus recalled the conclusion in the psionic conference. It closed its three eyes—the one on its forehead a symbol of the Midgardians incredible progress in psionic awakening. Holding the Droplet and the Amber Pole aloft as it stood in the center of the platform, streaks of silver-blue beams emanated from its body brightly, with the thin dust of high altitude encircling each ray. In seconds, as an even more powerful psionic energy was released, everything including air that was thousands of meters around Milhabus was repelled, forming a vacuum bubble over the platform.
In the very next moment, the inexhaustive psionic energy condensed, moving along the dull silver hexagonal tower and assembled on Milhabus’s body that was in the vacuum and forming a tremendous halo. The silver-blue light emptied the cloud years several hundred kilometers around the holy mountain, and soon a psionic beam that slowly formed in the center of the halo reached out incessantly, extending across the air, the atmosphere and then the universe itself!
The [Void Door] ritual has commenced. From then on, the Midgardians had no path of return.
At the heart of the beam, the exuberant energy that emanated an explosive sensation assembled over Milhabus’s body. It felt as if it was bathing in lava, and yet the Grand Consul—the most powerful psionic was not shaken. Enduring the anguish of being seared by incredible radiation throughout is body, it silently raised the Amber Pole in its hand, and allowed the incredible power to gather over the ‘Droplet’.
If the Evil God minion was summoned from the Void last time because my predecessor heard the whisper of those beings, then this time I shall use a sacred object from the Saint, and summon a being next to Him!
Milhabus’s fiber skin layers began to peel off one by one, revealing the floral roots body within. Midgardians were psionic plants that were born after receiving intelligence in the first place—they now possessed form resembling humans merely because they were imitating the ‘Saint’ who descended on the peak of the Holy Mountain and guided the Midgardians in building civilization.
“I, the ancient contract as my proof, summon the majestic behind the Void Curtain!”
“Envoy of Flame and Onwer of Steel, kin of the Saint who wanders the Void, heed the call of my race. The Imposing Stage as deed, the Holy Droplet as a promise—”
“Watch us from the other end of the Void, and…”
“Descend upon us!”
The moment the prayer concluded, the Droplet within the Amber Pole that should have frozen time itself suddenly glinted in a faint light that shot into the powerful psionic ray that pierces the atmosphere, spreading into the endless Void.
In a colossal yet dim world within another corner of the Multiverse, a weak radiance suddenly glinted. It was so weak that it was utterly eclipsed by the Great Mana Tide, and neither ancient beings that roam the dimensional turbulence nor the Gods of Chaos that carried infinite vengefulness noticed it. And yet, there was a unique ripple that transcends a distance incalculable by words or numbers, arriving at a dimensional anomaly that orbits the outer reaches of another world.
The massive dimensional anomaly violently quaked once, making every member who was managing the information flow in the encampment at the edge of Fairyland to jump in fear. They watched the scene in astonishment before urgently contacting the respective Legendary champions of their own faction, only to receive the reply of ‘There’s nothing wrong here’.
Amidst the Plains of Death, Joshua was still frowning as he pondered where the curious call was coming from, only to return to attention when Nostradamus barked at him. He called for Ying, Ling, and the luminous orb that appeared very comfortable, following behind the old mage as they headed towards the center of the demiplane to continue their exploration.
Meanwhile, an ancient will that had slumbered for a long time inside the demiplane slowly awaken from its millennial slumber. Its soul had been maimed in a war in the distant past that was yet to be repaired until now—it was even festering incessantly. Even so, sensing the arrival of its task, it awakened without any second thoughts.
“Controlling will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Ground—restarting. Soul self-diagnosis… Damage level 89%, controlling will approaches destruction… Examining Void distress signal, pausing self-repairs, setting distress signal as first priority.”
“Searching for First priority mission handler: codename Saint. Search failed, no correlated ripple existing. Searching for Second priority mission handler: codename First Apostle, correlated ripple deceased. Searching for Third…”
After a long self-diagnosis and cycles of corresponding procedures, the ancient will finally paused slightly, as it entered its fourteenth cycle.
“Searching for the Fourteenth priority mission handler: codename Heir. Success. Existing number of ripples: 3.”
“[Multiverse Project] execute.”