Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
In the depths of the sea around the Far Eastern Vortex on Midgard.
As a tear opened out of thin air, powerful psionic waves emanated from within as Joshua left the Mother Tree’s body and arrived in a vast space beneath the oceans, held aloft by its psionic power.
There was a reason for this: Joshua must revert to his true form if he wanted to construct a Psionic Warp Engine in his body. Though the Mother Tree was colossal, it could not accommodate a giant over several hundred meters tall and unleashing its full power within the Mother Tree’s body as it liked, which was why it used its own power to pillar a hemispherical space beneath the ocean for the warrior that was ten kilometers wide.
With a flash of crimson radiance, Joshua released his restraint over his own power with no hesitation. In that instant, searing heat spread with distorted waves over a few kilometers and directly evaporating seawater behind the psionic walls. Countless bubbles swarmed towards the surface of the boiling sea that now had a dark-red circular burning region, while the smell multitudinous dead fishes being charred spread towards the environment.
Boom. Two feet stood steadily upon the stone layer of the sturdy seabed, as sand and marine remains accumulated over millions of years were blown away as Joshua materialized his monumental power. Now, a four hundred meters tall four-armed golden-red Steel giant stood over the land, his body gleaming with a layer of hazy silver radiance. Overlapping, complex yet philosophical stripes spawned and then vanished within, displaying the meaning of indestructible.
Unlike other occasions, the golden-red outer shell of the giant cooled in seconds in the company of cracking sounds as if metal was quenching, turning into mix patterns of silver and black hues. There was a fluctuating golden light glinting on his chest, and beneath it was a heat that could incinerate everything that throbbed steadily, kicking up ripples in the surrounding space.
Joshua was aware that his shift in appearance was thanks to the complete grasp of his own power. The Steel Giant’s golden-red shell and its surface calefaction were due to his inability to suppress the monumental energies produced by the Nuclear Heart in his body, which was why light and heat were brimming visibly from within, turning him into a human-shaped sun. The warrior had, in fact, controlled that power, but the force that the Midgardians assembled to open the Void Door had been plundered by the commanding will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds and placed in him, allowing his power to become so overwhelming it could not be controlled at once.
Having held himself steady, Joshua had wanted to alter his body immediately. However, before he could act and his feet just exerted a little bit power, the seabed beneath promptly shattered with cracking sounds. Endless sedimentary rocks were turned into minuscule flowing sands as if cookies, intending to pull the warrior under. It was fortunate that Joshua reacted quickly by forming a barrier with his power that mostly repelled gravity—he would have sunk into the core of Midgard otherwise.
“As expected. After attaining psionic strengthening I have really become too heavy, and almost comparable to a little planet.” Joshua could not help but sigh at the fact.
At present, the skin over Joshua’s steel giant form was a layer of densely packed degenerate matter that was supremely thin. On a microscopic view, it was completely formed from compact neutrons and protons. Ninety percent of his Steel Strength was used over it, and exactly because of that, the thin layer of shell could divide anything from the outside from seeping within, something that even the minions of the Evil God of Pestilence’s assimilation were powerless against.
But even such a powerful defense was a skin-deep appearance. The most formidable power of that Steel Strength layer was absorbing foreign energies, temporarily assembling matter around its surroundings. Theoretically, if the enemy’s attack did not reach a certain threshold like Demon General Helm’s gamma ray, it was simply a dish for Joshua. The attack which energy was stolen would cause the Steel Strength to reflexively assimilate the surrounding dust, land, and stone to boost its own mass. That was why Joshua would be several times heavier whenever he turned into his true form—he had released the restraint over his Nuclear Heart, and the profound energy would charge his Steel Strength, in turn leading to a tremendous shift in mass.
That was especially the case after he attained the psionic empowerment from the Midgardians.
Then, after mostly controlling his own power, Joshua noticed another entertaining thing.
“A message from the System at this time? It’s actually appearing—long time no see.”
Turning his attention to the System, Joshua could not find its origin as usual—even the intricate observation and control of a Legendary champion could not find where it came from.
[Foreigner—Joshua van Radcliffe]
[Status: Foreign Guest, Psionic Soar]
[Foreign Guest: You’re not a native of this world, but the world unexpectedly doesn’t ostracize you, instead welcoming your arrival voluntarily as if welcoming a visitor. Nullify the process of ‘Otherworld Adaptation’, temporary ‘Native’ boost.]
[—This isn’t a return to your home. This is now your home.]
[Psionic Soar: Millions call for your arrival, and you came. For certain special reasons, the energy that should restrain your actions is completely added onto your body, greatly empowering your body. Temporary substantial basic attribute increase, sectional technique level increase.]
There should have been tables and data stating things such as Age, Attribute and Charm, but now everything was completely scrambled codes. The most repetitive and indecipherable unique patterns reminiscent of magic runes flashed and surfaced at the bottom of the Stem, an erratic situation that was much more serious than before.
“The System is virtually crumbling the moment my true body unleash Steel Strength…”
Joshua watched the few lines of words in the System that were recognizable even as the data display intermittently generates static as if having a troubled connection. He could not help but sigh, but precisely because of that, the reaction of the System allowed the warrior some inkling in regards to the essence of its existence—there must be some energy existing within that it would be affected by Steel Strength, one of the fundamental powers. Still, now was not the time to mind a mere System. Having solved every other matter, Joshua clenched his right fist, and a sheet of obscure silver radiance glinted over the Steel arm, and in the next moment, he pressed that palm over his chest that glimmered in golden light.
As if a valve or a seal had been unlocked, the dense matter shell over Joshua’s body was opened like a bottle cap by that right hand in the company of a tremendous rumbling akin to a roaring river. An opening that was a dozen meters wide and almost a hundred meters long appeared over Joshua’s immeasurably complex extraordinary organ that was completely formed from diverse half-energy, half-physical constructs.
At the moment, the insides of Joshua’s body remained slightly human since his Steel Strength had yet completely assimilate with his body. The bone frame that supports the giant body, with divinity as marrow and dense matter as its substance. Muscles that were red as if burnt metals that were all composed from a spiral of Steel Strength fusing with an unnamed extraordinary matter covered the bone frame that was glinting in silver, connecting every bizarre organ within the body.
And the most important organ was that huge nuclear reactor core at the center of the giant’s body, where the heart once was.
Like a sphere, the crimson core that emulated the self-destruct energy of Nuclear Stars were producing incredible energy flow in every moment. The liquid energy drove every organ and muscle to produce majestic power that allowed Joshua to move mountains and fill seas. Now, ninety percent of matter in his body was equivalent to powerful cellular machines—every excess information was completely removed by him, leaving just aspects that were most advantageous to combat and survival. With pure muscle strength alone, Joshua could now lift a small continent and create a large artificial island.
While all of that made the Steel giant’s appearance more ferocious, there was also a complete, simplistic, and futuristic aesthetic.
“Apart from the Thousand Eyed Serpent that was the true form of Demon General Helm, I have not really exchanged blows with another Legendary champion in real combat. But now it seems that if I seek a perfect, indestructible Steel incarnation by refining myself little by little, it probably had been seeking the extreme of ‘energy condensation.'”
Joshua now had a whole new realization in regards to the threshold of Legendary as he experienced his own colossal power. “To the Beholder, their form, size, and number of eyes or perhaps even the eyes themselves were unmeaningful, because it could innately manipulate energy, in other words, an extraordinary being of primeval beam magic—the gamma ray which Helm studied meticulously was the most correct path for Beholders, it was not unusual that it would develop into a Legendary.”
It was easy to comprehend its serpent form as well, since neither humanoid form nor those grotesque bodies of demons were advantageous in terms of focusing energy. However, as a serpent, its lengthy shape would act like a particle accelerator that concentrates energy to maximize the destructiveness of the gamma ray. Joshua believed that if Helm could, it would definitely have turned into something similar to ouroboros, in turn building an unlimited cycle of energy condensation and ‘singularity’ level of lethal force.
In a nutshell, the path of extraordinary is nothing other than to compress a natural evolution process that would take over million years into a short few decades through self-cultivation, energy absorption, and fixed-point breakthroughs, to completely present the ‘self-path’ with a single stride and becoming the zenith of the body. That was why every Legendary pinnacle champion could be viewed at the pioneer and achiever of their race’s final evolution—they abandoned the slow and ineffective act of natural evolution, directly reaching the final step of being.
Natural evolution was a simple-minded beast; it walked the only path and runs towards a predetermined end. The extraordinary path on the other hand was to grasp the path of evolution for oneself—a path countless people had countless uncertain divergences—and hence undergoing cultivation of millennia to the final stage.
“It’s a pity that the extraordinary path that the Mycroft Continent inherited is not complete.” Indeed, not only Mycroft, most beings that achieved that step in the known Multiverse were all seemingly incomplete.
Joshua sighed again at the thought.
Legendaries strode through the million-year process through extraordinary power and directly turn from a mundane being into a superior one. In addition to the incomplete evolving body that was the path of extraordinary, the stride was truly too fast and too far, and ignored much, which was why all Legendary champions were in fact imperfect superior lifeforms. Legendaries would have been capable of completely altering the bloodline of a race solely by reproduction otherwise, and hence directly ascending that race into ‘gods’ in the eyes of mundane races. If so, they would not be as they were now, barred from procreating with ordinary life, while their lifespan was far from achieving eternal perfection.
“My Steel Strength body is different from Helm’s body that relied on focusing energies and imitated particle accelerators to emit gamma rays. It is born of the essence for better combat.
“Sturdy, incredibly difficult to destroy, could be widely used across all worlds. Beyond that, it is imbued with diverse special constructs, in other words better so-called plugins that fight accordingly. It’s a form that computes with my innate nature.”
Pressing his right hand over his Nuclear Heart, a throbbing silver light gathered as Joshua simply stabbed his hand into his own body. Like lightning, the light spread over every single one of his muscle, organ, and bone instantly while the entire underwater space turned into a sea of silver energy. It was so powerful that the Midgardian Fleet which was floating in space issued an alert that an energy flow was detected by the eastern sea. Each time it flashed, the space around was illuminated, and each part of Joshua’s body that was touched by the lightning was changed into limitless ash-like silver particles. Those particles in turn danced in resonance of energy ripples, drawing an orderly trace that resembled a blueprint by the warrior’s right hand.
The boundary of matter reassembling!
At the moment, Joshua was breaking down part of his organs and muscles and rebuilding it into whole new existences. With unstable energy ripples that panicked the Mother Tree and would scare humans, a giant crystal sphere around forty to fifty meters appeared beneath the warrior’s furnace heart. Streaks of golden-red spiraling tubes connected the two, providing physical energy flow while the charging crystal glinted in mysterious silver-blue radiance. It connected with the heart, releasing powerful psionic undulation that was capable of warping reality—underneath its brush, stone and dust levitated over the seabed within ten kilometers as if completely losing all weight, flowing in accordance to the undulation, their rise and fall unfathomable like a thought.
Joshua Psionic Warp Engine Mark One—installation complete!
Having accomplished that, Joshua withdrew his right hand while layers of metallic flesh and blood covered their original parts, forming a dense outer shell once again. With Joshua’s information processing and control that permeated to a particle level, he could use Steel Strength to directly disassemble the structure in his body, which in fact could be used for offense as well. Still, the time required for analysis would be too long—in that time, his fist would have killed the opponent a dozen times.
One way or the other, after completely studying the Midgardian warp engine, Joshua’s body now also had one that belonged exclusively to him. The output had yet been tested but the initial trial was fine, and the warrior estimated that his typical warp length would be two to three times of the Midgardian fleet, meaning that he was two to three times faster.
“Turning extremely condensed psionic energy into a long, singular line, opening up a psionic vacuum. Meanwhile, the ship would thus resonate with the psionic energy and move to the end of the line… As expected of psionic power, truly an ideal ability as wonderful as thought.”
Joshua could not help but nod in awe as he felt the tremendous power of his psionic warp engine and atypical method of operating. The Midgardian civilization was assuredly wondrous and completely different from typical scientific civilizations. Even the Mother Tree’s vast psionic spread would have only engulfed a single world, but when that power was turning into a single virtually infinite line, even the power of one warship could stretch out to trillion kilometers away. And now, with Joshua’s power, the psionic energy could move even beyond that.
“One thing to be careful about is not warping carelessly into a planet or a sun’s interior… It was fine on a universal scale, but warping within a system is too dangerous—it would be better to fly.”
Apart from allowing the warp engine to operate, the monumental psionic energy also brought Joshua a new sense. Now, like Midgardians, he could sense the psionic energies around him as if feeling air. With a single glance, the warrior could see that psionic light of the Mother Tree that emanated like a sun and filling the world that even the warrior’s Psionic Soar status dulled in comparison. That energy, however, was definitively sporadic and unfocused, which greatly diminishes its combat affinity greatly. Even now, the Mother Tree that was the integration of countless psionic wills was fearing and staying alert against him, although Joshua understood how it felt—he knew that it was just an instinctual fear and evasiveness in the face of an overwhelmingly dangerous character, but still an ally in the end.
Apart from warping, the existence of the warp engine was an emancipation of Joshua’s strength as well. His original dense body shell was built in correspondence of the world of Mycroft and had no way of completely blocking the curious energy that is psionic, which in turn allowed a psionic of Milhabus’s level to see through Joshua’s fearsome strength. But now, through previous adapting and reassembling, the warrior’s shell was enough to resist psionic scan—he would be impervious even to a battleship-class radar.
Such was the way Joshua chose to evolve—through ceaseless imitation and assimilating new systems for self-empowerment. Just like how primeval stars absorbed smaller planets to increase their own mass, he could become stronger by unceasingly experiencing new civilizations and energy systems.
“From now on, when my outer shell is pierced, terrible power akin to nuclear fission or even nuclear fusion would be unleashed… To a certain definition, it’s a nuclear reactor armor.”
As Joshua clenched his four first and brandished them, enormous energy churned the underwater air and formed streaks of unique hurricanes. He nodded, satisfied. “If I face another direct blow like the Longsword of the Ashlands back in the battle of the Sacred Mountain, I could simply block it with my external armor instead of skewing it with my full strength.”
If it further developed, Joshua estimated that even Helm’s gamma ray would not tear through his outer armor unless the demon used its full strength. He might even catch it with his face—if that happened, it could be called a Neutron Star Armor, or perhaps a Blackhole Armor… although the latter was a little far-fetched.
It was in that moment that the Mother Tree’s will came, having sensed the intense psionic undulation wafting from Joshua’s body.
“Foreigner beyond the Curtain… is it done?” It asked a little carefully.
“Yes, it is.” Joshua nodded nonchalantly. From start to finish, he had used almost a day to study the psionic warp engine and the essence of the Void Mother, a speed that was so fast it was inconceivable for normal beings. However, for the warrior who was an assimilation and emulation given form it was just about right. He ultimately did not have to understand completely how the psionic energy operated—it was alright if he could use it, things such as principles could be studied later.
“Your friend, the other foreigner from beyond the curtain, has created an unprecedented scale of spatial storm at the center of the far eastern continent. He seemed to have found a way to warp with his own bodies energy, and was finished before you.”
The Mother Tree’s voice appeared to be awestruck. It could not be helped—it had taken the Midgardians millennia to find the way to head towards the skies and navigate the stars. In the end, these two superior beings from the other end of the Void accomplished the same feat within the period of one single day, and even if it was aware that both Joshua and Nostradamus had to build on their own achievements to succeed, it could not suppress the desire to sigh.
“Nostradamus is a Legendary Mage of the dimensional discipline; he even knows how to warp in the first place. All he needed was adapting to your local energy and spatial constants. Compared to my type of teleportation that requires a tool and could only be forcibly used through physical analysis, it is perfectly normal for him to be quicker.”
Joshua smiled, but did not continue on that topic.
“I sensed your urgent and anxious mood through psionic energy…” The warrior spoke in his usual straightforward manner. “Speak, Mother Tree. Has the Void Mother been moving unusually?”
“That is indeed the truth.” The will of the Mother Tre had hesitated for a moment before answering in a dry tone. ” The remnant fleet of the Garden of Flowers and the Garden of Roots had rallied to the fleet of the Second Garden of Leaves. They had returned to the colony planet for repairs, but at the same time, psionic radar picked up a massive dimensional anomaly movement—the Void Mother, in pursuit by following their dimensional tracks, was distorting space…”
“In other words, the circumstances are dire, and your last colonized planet is about to be invaded by the Void Mother?” Joshua cut the Mother Tree short, even as the four-armed giant gradually shrunk before assuming the shape of a human warrior wearing black armor.
“Then there’s nothing more to say,” he added calmly and collectedly. “Just tell me where the Void Mother is right now and send me its coordinates.”