Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 564


Chapter 564 Mother Tree

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Not minding Ling and Ying’s surprised cries of ‘it’s Master Nostradamus!’ behind him, Joshua hurried to the old mage as he held himself aloft. The warrior had wanted to extend a helping hand, but Nostradamus appeared in a better state than imagined. The mage merely pressed on his own forehead and complained something that sounded like ‘my old bones are about to be shaken off’ before quickly realizing that the warrior was coming to him.

“I knew you would be here,” he greeted a little feebly. “Joshua, it’s great that I could see you here… By the way, your actions are unpredictable as ever.”

“I could say the same—your performance is even more unexpected than I imagined… Nostradamus, how did you get here?”

Clapping the old mage on his back, Joshua ignored Nostradamus’s slightly unrelished gaze or the dimensional aftershock wafting from his hand and merely stared at the Legendary champion as if he had seen something inconceivable. “I’m saying that even if you are a Legendary mage specialized on the dimensional aspect, there is no way you could come here from the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds!”

And it was a fact. As a Legend himself, Joshua knew the limits of novice Legends like himself. While he could cause catastrophic damage upon the world of Mycroft or the entire surface of a planet such as flattening a mountain range and simply wiping a dozen cities within a nation, it was impossible to cause destruction to the entire land. It was the same for the mage—Nostradamus may be able to freely transcend worlds amidst the Multiverse, but it was limited to hopping between worlds, and absolutely not covering endless distance in an instant to the world which the Commanding Will had called ‘Stellaris’, for that was not something not even the gods could accomplish.

“I’m not too sure about that either…” Nostradamus appeared to be a little shaken towards the subject of Joshua’s question, and frowned as he recalled the situation at the time. “You suddenly blew out your full power at the time and flew towards the center of the demiplane. Worried about your safety, I quickly casted spells to follow you—I’m quite unfamiliar with the demiplane you seemed so acquainted with, which was why I had to use multiple short burst warping, stopping to confirm the coordinates from time to time. It was during one of those halfway stops that I heard a voice that echoed throughout the demiplane.”

There was a serious expression never before seen on the old mage as he remembered the voice from before. “The moment it rang, a tremendous energy ripple that trembled the entire demiplane soon followed. Even so, Barbarossa, myself and the others sensed that the gazes of the Seven Gods had descended from the Infinite Horizon, seemingly astonished by that ripple. It even shone over the Mycroft Continent as two silver-blue suns! I thought you had triggered some ancient ruins and hurried to help, but ended up being sucked into a huge dimensional vortex in the middle of a teleportation.”

Joshua quickly became aware that the so-called huge dimensional vortex was a phenomenon caused by the Commanding Will activating the Pluralistic Quadrant Teleportaion, and that the elderly mage had arrived on Stellaris because it accidentally sent another person over.

“And then you’re here?” He could not help asking at the thought.

“Of course not—do you know how dangerous it is, being drawn into dimensional turbulence? It could mean being drowned eternally, far more dangerous than exile into the Abyss!”

Nostradamus tidied his rather disheveled robes, straightening the belt decorated with a dozen runic stones at his waist, his expression somber as he spoke.

“If not for the help of that demiplane will, I would probably have been crushed by the Multiverse’s dimensional vortex at the early phase of my teleportation, just like how an ant would be when two pyramid tips crashed on it simultaneously… You might not understand that simile, but that was the situation.”

“Now that you mention it, the civilization of the Glorious Era was truly powerful—they could actually create a World Will! You know what that means? They could virtually create worlds!” Suddenly, Nostradamus’s expression was rather zealous as he changed the topic himself, his voice suddenly lowered as he mumbled expectantly and helplessly at once. “If a brand-new world existed for farming, how much dispute on the Mycroft Continent would be diminished…”

Joshua was understood fully the old mage’s excitement and zeal. If the warrior himself had come across a series of similar occurrences while being unaware of the story behind the Multiverse and information of the Sage, he would be just as thrilled. Nonetheless, he had greater knowledge and seen more, and so did not intend to continue the topic at hand.

“Whatever the case may be,” he said, “I’m delighted that you came, since two powers are larger than one. With you here, my mission would definitely be a lot easier.”

“That’s for sure. There’s nothing too difficult in the world when two Legendary champions combine.” Nostradamus smiled; his spirits appeared high. “A temple platform above a summit?” He asked as he looked around.

“I could sense a presence similar to the Seven Gods… Joshua, where are we again?”

Joshua proceeded to briefly explain their current situation, amongst of which included the dire circumstances plaguing the Midgardians, the Sage religion as well as the cause and effect of the summoning.

“My goodness…”

Nostradamus’s eyes widened, his aged beard bristling as he repeated after Joshua and shaking his head in disbelief. You’re saying that trance in the demiplane was because you had been receiving the Will left behind by the Sage and accepting the mission assigned by the demiplane Will, coming forth to an otherworld in the Multiverse to help them banish Chaos?! Truth on high, that’s a feat no hero of Mycroft ever achieved!”

And it sounds like it wasn’t the first time, Nostradamus thought. It was therefore not unusual that Joshua always appeared to be busy recently even as his ability developed swiftly—it seemed that he was discreetly rushing around for such business.

“Then, our enemy—the Chaos, what’s the specifics? Any intelligence gathered regarding them?” Nostradamus briskly cut into the matter of information without asking anything else; he was an elder who had lived for decades and naturally knew the weight of things. “With intelligence, countermeasures could be arranged—there must be a plan in everything.”

Joshua, meanwhile, turned to Milhabus which was standing by a corner and shrugged. “It was what I was just about to do.”

The moment Milhabus saw that the two Void Being turned their gazes to itself, its heart throbbed—which was perfectly reasonable. Even if the Grand Consul had long gotten used to the sensation of being in the center of the attention, it was another matter entirely to be ogled at by two superior beings that never appeared on Midgard.

“I’ll lead the way at once!” it quickly exclaimed as Joshua deliberately conveyed their intentions through Steel Strength.

If it were to be truthful, Milhabus was not sure if it should be delighted or worried at the moment: a second superior Void being! Possessing intelligence, communicative, and appeared to be familiar with the first being as well! Not only did it mean that the Void Door ritual succeeded with flying colors and went far beyond attaining their objective, but it was also its greatest accomplishment.

Even so, it was naturally distressing that one of them was worth sending the entire Central Midgardian Fleet to vigilantly control the scene. For two to come, it basically meant that the Midgardian civilization was helpless against them—it was even more frightening that the two superior beings were very close, which apart from insinuating that the pair would not betray one another, there might even be an entire Void civilization behind them!

If that civilization ever launched a huge invasion, then it was not a calamity solely for the Midgardians, but a universal-scale disaster for the entire galaxy. Their fleet was powerful, and could even bombard and destroy a planet’s surface bit by bit, but to a supremely agile superior being it was only a huge target.

Especially Nostradamus… Milhabus thought, unable to help glancing at the old mage. Compared to Joshua’s rather modest, withdrawn energy signature, Nostradamus’s powerful magic and spirit that transcends between dimensional fissures were as conspicuous as a second sun to their psionic race. The Grand Consul could even feel that his own psionic was fluctuating due to Nostradamus’s very breath and was completely influenced—such was the most direct comparison between powers.

“Please, the psionic warp gate is up front.”

Meanwhile, the flagship of the Central Midgardian Fleet had anchored in the silvery cylindrical space harbor.

On the bridge, Tarquin was in its seat, quiet as he delved into deep thought.

If it had been one superior being, he would still have incited Milhabus to use the Psionic Beam and exert control over him. If it was two, he had to dispel the idea—if it was three, there was no victory even if Midgard exhausted all its powers, and even self-destruct would be meaningless if more came. There was a single lesson Midgard’s proud race had learned in the battle against the Crystal Insect a thousand years ago—that while these Void Beings lacked edge in technology and even appeared primordial, they treaded another path of civilization development and perhaps walked further than they did.

A path known as ‘extraordinary power’.

Leaving aside the Holy Council and the Research Center that were either pondering or discussing aggressively or the Midgardian peasants that were boiling with the appearance of the second Void being, Nostradamus was observing the portal in the Thunder Temple meticulously.

The temple over the summit of the Midgardian holy mountain was built in a Grecian style which Joshua was familiar with. It was held aloft by one huge stone pillar that was combined with resilient plants, and at the heart of the vast yet spacious building was the psionic warp door. Through it all, Nostradamus was circling around and surveying the portal from top to bottom, blocking Joshua and the others as they prepared to enter.

“Interesting.”

Nostradamus stopped studying the portal after a dozen seconds; he watched the portal before him and spoke thoughtfully. “The design is exquisite, and it might be… No, it’s more correct to say its much more exquisite than the portal network established in the Empire. Its resource usage is quite low—probably five percent of the energy that we used, and it certainly is because Mycroft is rich in particle energy and hence do not require thrift, but this civilization is unquestionably very advanced.”

“It’s the technological tendency caused by the difference in environment.” Joshua nodded in agreement. “While the Mycroft world might be more powerful thanks to superior individual ability, we still lose out greatly in other aspects—according to what I know, the Midgardians even achieved complete racial psionic awakening, an equivalent would be having every inhabitant on Mycroft becoming an adept.”

After they were done with their study, the party were led by Milhabus to the other end of the portal, to the so-called [Hall of the Mother Tree].

*****

At the same time, a sensational news spread throughout the higher hierarchy of the Mycroft Continent—after approaching the artificial demiplane behind the dimensional anomaly built in the ancient Glorious Era, Legendary warrior Joshua van Radcliffe and Legendary mage Nostradamus went missing when they were exploring the center region of the demiplane, while no word from them until now.

In response, the remaining three Legendary champions halted the expedition. It was not out of fear for the pair’s disappearance, but due to the presence of the [Giant God Warriors], the ancient grand-scale magical puppets that reactivated amidst the tremendous energy ripple. The entire center of the demiplane had been shrouded in mana as well even as the countless artificial puppets of slaughter wandered within.

While one would have been handled by a Legendary champion at the snap of their fingers, there were dozens and up to hundreds now roaming around the central region. With the objective of not using their full power and in turn angering what appeared to be the Will of the demiplane, neither Barbarossa nor Vahina had any way to counter those ferocious Supreme—even Supreme-tier marionette, and could only retreat for the time being and wait for the chance. It was precisely why the demiplane had become an extremely dangerous zone at present, with the Empire and the Eastern Plains formally preparing for the next official joint expedition to search for any trace of the two missing Legendary champions.

Right now, Emperor Israel was sitting upon his own throne in the Morlaix Palace, the golden goblet in his palm knead into a mess like rubber mold. He looked up at the skies with a sullen face, as if his eyes could see the demiplane beyond the Void.

“It’s fine if it were just Noble Radcliffe—he is a Successor of the Sage and is very likely to activate something while exploring ancient ruins, and vanish for some time. Indeed, I’m prepared for that mentally early on.”

At the very thought, he sighed heavily. “But how is it with you, teacher? Why would you get drawn in as well?”

Having lost two Legendary champions, the Empire’s state that was slowly becoming cheerful abruptly became puzzling and tangled. Israel, who had been in a fine mood, was now abruptly thrown into severe melancholy. He could only watch the grandly decorated ceiling of the Morlaix Palace and mumble to himself. “The plan can’t keep up with changes.”

“Looks like the reforms will be delayed.”

Every move of any Legendary champion would influence the state of the world, not to mention two who belonged to the same faction leaving simultaneously? Even so, Joshua and Nostradamus had not the energy to mind the state of Mycroft—it would be futile even if they did, and so both Legends left the thought at the back of their minds and focused on the current tasks.

For example, heading to the Hall of the Mother Tree.

*****

Midgard, Far Eastern continent, the Great Vortex Oceans.

Joshua, leading the gaping Ying and Ling as well as Nostradamus, looked at the wondrous sight before them. Even Light poked out of the warrior’s pocket to take a peek, jingling in awe as it did.

Any spectacle that could have given two Legendary champions pause was certainly incomparably fascinating, and what lies before their eyes completely utterly deserved the title of ‘wonder’.

As they stood on a cliff over the Far Eastern coast of Midgard and looked to the distant azure sea, a colossal vortex was churning thunderously at the dark depths beyond it. It was so large that it could have easily devoured a metropolis, and any pair of eyes could tell at once was over dozens of kilometers long, with countless black cyclones encircling it. Even so, the grand view was entirely caused by a supreme floral being which roots reached deep below into the oceanic depths as it slightly quivered its roots and tentacles to absorb seawater and fertilizing soil. Its leaves and stem were as huge as hills, and it stood at the center vortex, a willow tree that appeared to have been enlarged by millionfold. Countless willow strips stirred in seawater and in the air, raising the incredible vortices and hurricanes that the entire continental coast moves along with it.

Apart from that, Joshua could also sea dense psionic waves emanating here from all corners of the world or even beyond the Void of the Universe, right before assembling onto the body of the Mother Tree. Uncountable tales and information were contained in the waves, which seeped into the Mother Tree, after which it streamed out the Tree.

“That’s the sapling the Mother Tree had named ‘Lagopos the Tidemaker’. It’s in charge of stirring the seas and absorbing the surrounding plankton and minerals to provide nutrients for the Mother Tree.”

Milhabus reverently knelt on one knee at the awe-inspiring sight and bowed, before standing up and speaking softly once more.

“The true body of the Mother Tree is deep underneath the lithospheres, and entrance of the Hall is at the center of the vortex. The psionic energies there can be violent and warping is impossible, which is why only special methods…” The Gran Consul then became rather apologetic as it remembered the pair’s ability. “Ah, I’ve forgotten. You may fly there.”

Joshua took no mind, and simply nodded. “It’s a little different from the Mother Tree I had in mind,” he said in awe.

On the other hand, the elderly mage unwittingly made comparisons. “It seems that this Mother Tree of a foreign race is even more powerful than the Mother Lifetree of the elves. Though I heard that the Mother Lifetree was an excess product of the elves’ decline, while their patron deity was a towering tree that holds the sky aloft… As expected, this civilization should never be underestimated.”

Joshua, himself having witnessed the splendor of Father Nature, was aware that while the Mother Tree assuredly appeared powerful, it was still a far cry from a genuine god. Leaving aside the fact that Father Nature could influence the mana rise or decline of an entire world, subjugate the World Will and force reshaping through its divine Nature Power, the Midgardian tree was no match even in size alone. Father Nature’s tree crown that juts out of the surface formed the Mountains of Origin on the world of Illgner, while its body pierces the atmosphere when it extended beyond the crust—the genuine epitome of a world tree that holds the sky aloft. Nevertheless, such comparison did not mean much since the power of this particular Mother Tree still exceeded the warrior’s imagination.

While both Nostradamus and Joshua reveled in wonder, a profound will projected to the coastal cliff from the distant sea where the five had teleported. Upon sensing the arrival of that will, Milhabus quickly kneeled again even as he rose albeit on both knees this time.

“Mother of Midgard—” it cried out in veneration.

“Rise, my child…”

The Will mildly replied Milhabus, before turning to Joshua and Nostradamus—or more specifically, solely upon the warrior.

“It’s you…”

It called softly. “It’s the Saint. We still remember the presence as if it was yesterday.”

“Mother Tree… How should we address you?” Joshua replied calmly through his own spirit, not too surprised over the self-styled title the Will used. “You have met the Sage?”

“You could call me Mother of Midgard, or just Mother Tree—we do not mind.” The voice laughed. “To be specific, I do not. It was part of me that once witnessed the advent of the Sage. He judged the direction our race would go in the future, a Saint of utmost veneration… Psionic abilities are the composite of the soul and memories, the creation of will and spirit. Psionic is omnipotent, and I am the synthesis of wills from all Midgardian psionics, as well as the hub of their information. That is why what one of us saw is hence witnessed by all of us.”

Joshua understood those words immediately. As a person from an era where information exploded universally, he naturally understood the Mother Tree’s meaning. Whether it was that unique self-styled title of hers or the similar presence to Father Nature, everything pointed to the fact that the being called Mother Tree was probably the crystallization of infinite psionic energies from perished Midgardians—an assemblage of souls. It was even possible that the so-called Mother Tree was the final destination of Midgardians after death, which was why Milhabus revered the Mother Tree so much even with its position as Grand Consul.

In the future, it would become part of the Mother Tree.

It was an otherworld form of Father Nature, but from the looks of things, if the psionic link between Midgardians was a network and everyone was a terminal, the Mother Tree was the hub of their information transference, or what was called a server.

How unique… But for the Midgardians to not become a civilization of collective wills in spite of such requirements, could it be that it was also result of the Sage’s presence?

Even as Joshua thought thus, he did not spare any words and simply asked, “If you say that you’re the hub of Midgardian information, then tell us—what kind of being it is that your kind is about to face?”

“How direct, Foreigner. You desire knowledge of the enemy of the Void?”

Seemingly unsurprised, the Will of the Mother Tree gradually became obscure.“Your powers are exceedingly formidable—I would not have been able to completely transfer my knowledge to you if I body was not in the Central Hall… Even so, some basic details would not prove an issue.

“But don’t be frightened, Successor of the Sage.”

“It is a horrific entity that even your kind had never come across.”