Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 565


Chapter 565 Four Plans

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

The Mother Tree’s will was extensive but not proficient, even appearing sporadic. Nonetheless, Joshua allowed the will to link with himself and then seriously studied the information within.

In that single instant, he felt that he had left the coastal cliff of the Midgardian planet, and arrived on the bridge of a battleship. Joshua could sense that there was a three-hundred-and sixty-degrees psionic observation screen around him, while on the bridge, fifteen crewmen were working urgently. A Midgardian which appeared to be captain was settled in its seat, staring solemnly at the dark universe before its eyes.

“The Void Mother is twisting space—it intends to bypass and head directly to the Garden of Flowers!”

“Tether it with the dimensional anchor! The Garden of Roots was virtually destroyed, we can’t allow the Garden of Flowers to suffer the same fleet!”

“Target locked! The spatial distortion is slowing—it’s stopping!”

“Alert! The Void Mother is releasing up to sixty-two hundred thousand spawns… Prepare for battle!”

Silhouettes fluctuated as they moved around amidst the raucous voices. Joshua was aware that this was a recent projection of the Midgardians battle against the Void Behemoth they mentioned, the record being psionically delivered to the Mother Tree without any delay despite being several light years away, and now relayed to the warrior himself.

Joshua slowly walked across the bridge as red lights symbolizing emergency flashed. Midgardian starships were half-creature and half-machine, its floorboard being a unique psionic flora that emits fluorescence that could provide formidable absorption. He headed to the captain’s position, wanting to learn the form of the enemy.

At that moment, the entire battleship started to tremble violently. The psionic engine abruptly operated on full capacity as a physical psionic ray gathered under a guidance unit on a huge crystal that was carved into millions of slices by the ship’s bow, before focusing into a tremendous silver lance of light. At the same time, hundreds of those same lances were shot out from other battleships, piercing the Void they moment they came out and streaking at the speed of light to the distance.

It was a supremely majestic sight as hundreds of incomparably dazzling rays appeared in the dark Void. They came, striking out from different spots around the universe before pouring down on a single spot, tearing across layers of fog-like barriers of the Void Swarm and striking true on their target—a massive planetary body. As the searing luminous lances penetrated the enemy’s skin, they shattered into infinite silver psionic fragments, their obscure light illuminating the universe and reflecting the silhouette of the enemy.

“…Woah.”

Even Joshua, who was prepared mentally, could not help lifting a brow.

“It is a little big,” he said quietly, staring at the vague colossal shadow in the endless distance.

Amidst the Universe, a black planetary body was traversing the Void, with clumps of fog-like black swarms encircling it. Silver psionic light illuminated its form, allowing Joshua to discern it more clearly: it was a terrifying extraordinary being which diameter surpassed seven hundred thousand meters, and was rapidly enlarging incessantly. There were mountainous clusters of protrusions that vibrated over its body, surrounded by dark-red veins of crystals that glimmered in chaotic radiance. It was the Void Mother’s reproductive cavity, and tens of thousands of Void Swarm were spraying out of those flesh mountains, encircling their own mother and using their bodies to stop lance after lance.

It was a monster of Chaos from the Void, a behemoth which physical body traverses the dimensions, a moving celestial fortress.

At the moment, the Void Mother was held down by silver-blue psionic chains and being dragged out by the combined power of hundreds of battleships. The Midgardian colony fleet was determined to put their lives on the lines to resist the advance of that nightmarish monster and reduce its power. However, it was regrettable that it did not work much.

Colossal tentacles over ten thousand meters long volleyed across the void as dark-green psionic ripples spread across the Void, forming a psionic halo that was akin to a sun’s corona. Endless black-green fluids slowly flowed over the Void Mother’s body, with uncountable Void monster embryos gestating within. The Void Behemoth appeared exceedingly irritated as its corrupted push had been held back, and appeared resolved to unleash the most terrific act to end those ants that dare stand in its way, and have them to learn the rampage of the gods.

Thus, dark green light shone from the other end. Struck by several waves of luminous lances and after charging for over a hundred second, a sphere that was almost black due to its concentration began to surface over the dark red mineral vein around the Void Mother’s body but completely vanished without a trace, as if torn apart by something horrific. The light lances in turn became useless after entering the black shield, utterly crumbling in less than a thousandth of a second that not even psionic fragments were left.

It was an inconceivable power for Midgardians. An explosive force that had no blind angle, the shield simply spread too quickly. There was no way the Midgardian fleet could evade in time, and hence could only brace for it head-on—semi-circular blue shields in turn appeared on every bow on every craft, intending use psionic concentration against that shield attack.

But what Joshua saw that all was claimed by darkness after a deathly green glint.

“The Void Mother is a Void Behemoth the Folbians summoned on Talla. According to initial observation, it was just around fifty thousand meters long—perhaps even smaller. However, the Folbians allowed it to grow and empower freely, and after being ambushed, that weak race abandoned their home planet and colonies, allowing the monster to devour organic matter substantially and bloating it over a thousand folds.”

The Mother Tree’s will, connected to Joshua, spoke with a heavily echoing voice. “According to our hypothesis, the Void Mother has the ability to devour and assimilate, and learned to warp space by studying the Folbians’ psionic engine, and unsurprisingly ambushed our ‘Garden of Roots’ colony. 3.7 million colonists on that planet were massacred by its Void spawn, leaving just three percent of our colonizing sprouts alive… most of the other organic resources were also absorbed by the Void Mother, becoming nutrients to nurture the Void beasts.

“The Colony Fleet of the Garden of Flowers was completely wiped out, and we saw that the Void Mother was assimilating the organic sections of our battleships just before they were destroyed, and might have learned how to use our psionic lance and shields… Fortunately, most colonists on the Garden of Flowers had retreated to the second Garden of Leaves, where we set up heavy defensive formations, while endless psionic traps and planetary fortresses spread across the region should delay it for some time.”

As the will spoke, Joshua could vaguely see defense lines armed to the teeth. It was the final bastion based on a planetary orbiting system, with ten million-class dimensional mines and psionic warp traps placed everywhere to obstruct the stride of the Void Mother.

“Your defensive layouts are complete, but I can’t see the possibility of your triumph,” Joshua said, returning the Mother Tree’s earnestness with his own. “I had been doubtful when Milhabus mentioned that the Midgardians would not abandon their home planet since it is not important compared to the continuation of a civilization, and your race could just migrate like the Folbians did. Having met you, however, I understood—you are the hub of Midgardian psionic civilization and the center of their information relay, the Midgardians would have to stay if you don’t leave.

“A live combat target unable to retreat has no chance of victory against a space being several kilometers long and capable of warping. In the absence of superweapons that could destroy the enemy with one blow, the opponent could destroy and devour everything on Midgard by just crashing into it. From the looks of things, your kind don’t have anything like a Star Destroyer cannon, and it is a frivolous struggle for the thousands of defensive Central Midgardian ships to just shoot psionic lances—it would at most pierce its skin.”

Even as Joshua communicated with the Mother Tree, the divine armament siblings, luminous orb, and Nostradamus came to after accepting the information perfusion from the Mother Tree like the warrior did. Compared to Joshua’s composure, they were rather jittery.

“It’s huge… Sister, it’s even bigger than Father Nature…”

“Right… That’s right, brother. It’s even bigger than the Great Ajax Volcano.”

“Ding-ding… Ring…”

Meanwhile, the elderly mage only uttered a single word in wonder. Nostradamus looked up above, as if to estimate its size.

“Really?” He mumbled softly.

“You appear familiar with space battles… And it’s the truth. Midgardians had no interest in weapons development—we are proficient in spiritual energies and environmental protection.”

The Mother Tree paused for a moment, before continuing. “That’s why we would reactivate the Void Door, to summon ‘you’ from the other end of the Void.

“Then, Joshua. May I know if you and your companions are confident in killing the Void Mother?”

“It’s certainly huge, and at least a few times larger than the outer space colony on Mars.” Joshua did not answer the Mother Tree’s inquiry directly. He closed his eyes as if thinking, and soon opened them, having attained his answer. “It’s precisely because it’s too huge that there would be a chance… the more complicated a structure, the more weakness it would have.”

“In that instant it destroyed the Colony Fleet, I saw that its surface that split open. The energy surged out from that point, and if my eyes were not mistaken, it has an organ similar to an energy core.”

At those words, Joshua turned to look at Nostradamus who was still calculating the size of the Void Mother and all manners of energy reaction it showed. The warrior could not help being happy that the old mage was here this time as well since he would have trouble fighting the leviathan if he was alone—he might have to kill tens of thousands or even more Void Spawns to approach the Void Mother’s body, a number that would fatigue even Legendary champions to the point of collapse. Additionally, anything could happen in space—what if he was sent dragged out of the star system by a warping tentacle? He did not know how to teleport.

However now, with a dimensional mage here, they might be able to directly bypass the most troublesome step. Two Legendary champions might not outclass the pure destructive power from a thousand battleships firing their main batteries, but they have the advantage in terms of agility and extraordinary power. Against such colossal monsters, apart from being bigger than it was, and the best solution was to be so small it completely had no way of retaliating.

As an individual who had entered a spacefaring era in the pre-existence, Joshua definitively understood what the Chaos monster was—it was merely an abomination that destroyed the surface of planets by its sheer size alone, a mothership that promptly released hundred thousand or millions of escorting beasts. Its usual opponent is an entire civilization of a universe, and was only equaled by the combined force of billions of citizens from several star systems. If the Earth’s civilization had come across it, they could only use Particle Accelerating Cannons from Star Destroyers and planets to directly destroy it, while the world of Mycroft could only have a solid chance of victory if the true gods acted.

Now, a psionic interplanetary civilization that was half-destroyed, and two Legendary champions… might barely be able to stand against it.

At least, it was not impossible.

And as long it was not, Joshua was willing to try.

“Count Radcliffe…”

Nostradamus frowned as he regained focus. He was frowning, his expression serious and his tone suddenly formal, even using Joshua’s official title. “You really plan to fight against that class of Chaos?” He asked, ignoring the Mother Tree’s will. “What I’m saying is—are your Sage missions you usually carry out that difficult? Even the Void Star-Observatory never detected such level of Void Behemoth.”

“It’s fortunate that I’m Legendary this time,” Joshua soothed him. “Think positive—at least I don’t see any sign of an Evil God’s interference, and that’s worth rejoicing.”

“You’ve even seen an Evil God in action?!” The old mage was truly shocked this time. “And you lived?! How do you even live your daily life?”

In reality, Nostradamus mood had yet to calm from such a bizarre incident on the other end of the Multiverse, before encountering all variety of things without end: a whole new psionic race, a unique spherical planet. That a super plane with a starry sky was not a world, and that the warrior he was well-acquainted with usually vanished to carry out Sage missions, which was either saving worlds or battling oversized Void Behemoths larger than mountain ranges—even so, it was until now when Joshua mentioned that he met an Evil God that he lost composure despite his stalwart will.

“Honored duo, the Hall of the Mother Tree still has much information regarding the Void Mother.”

The Mother Tree Will did not cut in the two’s conversation, and had waited until Joshua’s party fell silent before speaking again. “May I ask if you require aid? Would you be heading to the Hall now?”

At those words, Nostradamus glanced at Joshua, who shook his head. “There’s no need. We’ve already learned the most important details—now, Mother Tree, could you tell me about the remaining Midgardian combat ability?”

“As you wish.” The Mother Tree naturally did not decline—though that information was usually strictly confidential, the Midgardian civilization had no grounds to refuse any help. Furthermore, the two Void Beings who resembled the Sage were serious in their plan to help them, so what if they were informed? Which was why the Mother Tree quickly revealed everything about the Midgardian Fleet to Joshua and Nostradamus.

“Flagship—the battleship Pioneer … Cruisers… Destroyers… Corvettes… Lesser planetary fortress, space stations…”

Frowning, Joshua repeated all the details in his mind. “It’s already a considerable force,” he said softly. It is equal—if not superior compared to the invading Abyssal force on the Mycroft Continent. Of course, the prerequisite is that their warships could pass through planetary shields and dimensional turbulence.”

While the Midgardians were not fit for military matters they were ultimately a spacefaring society. Their fleet notwithstanding, a surface bombardment from the main battery of the Pioneer would promptly vaporize a metropolis, and there are four of them—a small planet can be turned into steam with ease. For Mycroft, a world which had just entered the magical industry, it was equivalent to the forces of divine retribution. Aside from the class of fortress, the Seven Gods Church presided over, nobody could stand against it.

Grand-scale battles were a huge disadvantage for the world of Mycroft, but it was the opposite for their elite combat forces. For each Legendary champion who could sense energy signatures and have a premonition a few seconds before cannons were fired, such rigid offensive was vain and would at most slightly wound its target even if it hits, with anything less than main cannon attacks unable to break through the Legendary champion’s defenses. On the other hand, the Legendary champions who had sublimated as a superior being would easily destroy the outer armor of the warship, massacre the crewmen inside the tin can. It was the exact situation with the Crystal Insect all those years ago as it wiped out half the Midgardian Fleet—an aberration which Joshua knew was Yurmadais, the minion of the Evil God of Famine once he learned of the incident.

“Any ideas?”

Nostradamus approached the warrior. For the elderly mage who had fought the orc cavalry with premodern weapons and warfare, he completely did not understand the current state of affairs and could only estimate the combat strength of both sides instinctively. Even so, the enemy had great advantage no matter how he projected, and hence could not come up with any fine plan at once.

“A lot of them.” Joshua, however, nodded, pressing the luminous orb back into his pocket. His confident demeanor even made the half-kneeling Milhabus unable to help leaning forward slightly, not to mention Ling and Ying. “It’s not difficult to destroy a million-meter class lifeform,” the warrior then explained without holding anything back. “The main thing is to observe the difficulty of execution, possibility, and imagination—in those moments just a while ago, I came up with four plans.”

Everyone listened soberly.

“For the first one, Mother Tree, I would combine with Nostradamus to draw your main body from the lithosphere. With the depth of Midgardians, it would not be a problem to escape with you—if the Folbians could migrate, so could you.”

That was certainly the easiest way, but what did it have to do with the Void Behemoth? Both Mother Tree and Nostradamus were perplexed, but kept quiet and heard him out as Joshua continued. “Before the migration, every Midgardian could hold the psionic gathering ritual once more—or several times more, for that matter. That profound power is enough to maim the Void Behemoth through self-implosion when it approaches the Midgard planet or at least wipe out its spawns. Then, Nostradamus and I would press the advantage—without other beings interfering, killing it is a matter of time. Your evacuation is just to provide a battlefield where we could move freely which isn’t too important.”

After a long silence, the Mother Tree declined with a quivering voice. “…It’s not that multiple psionic gathering ritual could not be held, but that would be draining all lifeforce from every Midgardian of the home planet, in turn causing the death of several generations… And if that happens, the surface of Midgard would be flattened by the imploding psionic energy. The plan is hence no different from mutual destruction, while the Midgardian civilization could win, we would be on our last leg.”

Nostradamus said nothing; he found it reckless too.

Nevertheless, Joshua was unconcerned. “Second,” he added, “us and the Midgardian Fleet would combine and push a small planet, or even two comets to strike the Void Behemoth. Your data shows that both the Garden of Flowers System and the Midgardian Stem have many smaller planets and a lot of gaseous stars which in turn has many asteroids and satellites. As long as the Void Behemoth’s path is determined, we would use the dimensional anchor to push the stars and strike it—if one won’t do, we’ll send two; if two won’t do, we’ll send three—until it’s crushed to death.”

“No, no, no. Joshua, you don’t understand dimensional anchor.” Nostradamus shook his head this time. “Like a ship’s anchor, you must certain mass if you want to tether a massive body, and at the same time the anchor is cast, the caster could not move. That means, to hold down the Void Behemoth once, there must be more than two hundred elite battleships moving together, and there is still the Void Mother’s intense struggle.

“And while it is certainly possible to push a star and send it crashing to the entity, it would definitely be evasive or send its spawns to shatter it. Additionally, if it could not move away in time, striking it once is still equivalent to destroying hundreds of warships. There are only that many Midgardians, so many times could we strike it? And it might now even die—it looked so perfect that the plan is impossible.”

“Just a suggestion.” Joshua did not insist in the face of Nostradmus’s extremely orderly retort. He was aware that the plan had been too idealistic albeit still being one possibility, which was why the warrior did not argue.

“The third—to use the Central Midgardian Fleet as bait and lure the Void Behemoth to the vicinity of the Garden of Flowers. I noticed from the Mother Tree’s information that the star of the system itself appeared to be shifting recently—Nostradamus might be able to grab that opening, combine and trigger a solar flare, completely wiping out the Void Mother and its progeny.”

Of course, that would pulverize several planets closest to the sun, but that did not have to be mentioned.

That way, the bait that was the Central Midgardian Fleet notwithstanding, the ruination of the Midgardian colony on the Garden of Flowers system was guaranteed, or at least become unsuitable for inhabitation. Worse still, if the sun turned into a giant it was a complete pyrrhic victory, but that had nothing to do with Joshua.

“Are you a demon?!” Nostradamus’s eyes were bulging when he understood what was being suggested, his face pale with shock, while the Mother Tree fell into complete silence. “Leaving aside the fact that we will likely die—to trigger a self-destructing Initial Flame and wipe out multiple material planes to kill one Void Behemoth? Won’t it be easier to just think about how to contact Mycroft and get the Seven Gods to act! And why do all your plans self-destruct? Is there really no other way?”

Joshua did not reply. In reality, he could find no way for the Midgardians to hurt the Void Behemoth save for blowing themselves up. That thing was almost the shape of a Celestial Devourer, a being only next to Evil Gods—how could it be destroyed without a great price?”

“If that’s so, there’s only the final plan.” He shrugged as he spoke. “To be frank, this plan is simple but is also the most difficult—the success rate is also so low it’s pathetic.”

“What plan is that?” Nostradamus asked.

“The Central Midgardian Fleet would face it in one, final, decisive battle, while you and I charge inside the Void Mother’s body,” Joshua answered summarily, “and detonate its energy core.”