Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Azra did two things on his eighth-hundred and seventy-fifth birthday: the first was cleaning his wife’s grave, the second was joining the army.
Cleaning his wife’s grave was not something too monumental since death was inevitable despite the longevity of Midgardians. Furthermore, death was a necessary process in the long cycle of life—everyone would ultimately return to the Mother Tree and become part of eternity, and old Azra felt that he himself would be called by the Saint anytime and leave this physical plane, much less his wife who had been a little other than he was.
Things were different this time, however, and very much so.
The death of the kindly old woman who had been Ezra’s wife was abnormal. Midgardian natural lifespans exceeded a thousand years and would merely wither slowly around the time they expire. That painless period would last for one to two years, before the psionic energy of the dying being finally calm and the Midgardians dried up to die. Azra, however, was aware that his wife had not died peacefully—it died to an atypical shift on a space station in an artificial asteroid incident, and as a result, even its psionic will did not return to the Mother Tree and vanished amidst the boundless ocean of stars.
That was the worst, Azra thought. Would she not feel lonely amidst the lonely skies? The stars are so vast—would she ever find the way to home? Her soul might be wandering amongst them, awaiting the day he caught her, and even that was a fantastical illusion since the dispersion of psionic will meant that the soul had vanished, that there was no longer the day he could receive her.
Silently, the old man stared at the words carved upon the gravestone: kind mother, loving wife. It was the very definition of her life—pale and frail—and yet, he knew that his wife, the respectable woman who had accompanied him for six hundred and twelve years of Home Planet orbiting, the mother of their four children, has completely passed, her soul lost to the stars. Even is he returned to the Mother Tree in death, there was no day that they would meet. It was an eternal farewell.
And the reason for all that was that monster from the Void.
That accursed Void Mother.
Azra did not stay too long by the grave. He knew that standing alone before the wooden gravestone was no different from damned fools—it had far more important things to do that was far worthy of the labor. His wife is dead, and only a cenotaph lay before his eyes. It was of no value that he spent his time here, for it was a far greater waste towards an aged Midgardian that did not have long to live in the first place.
That was why, in that afternoon, the old man pushed open the doors of the army recruitment office in the Fifty-first Sector of the Garden of Flowers. Having declined the dissuading of his three sons and one daughter, and scolded the workers as an elder, the Omega-class psionic Azra returned to the army he left three hundred and fifty years ago on the next day, space. Another day later, he was in service the Third Garden of Flowers Colony Fleet, a lieutenant commander and vice squadron-leader of the First Special Operations Division.
He returned to the army he once swore he would never return to, violating his own oath. That, however, was no dishonor—the once young and vigorous Azra was dead, and in his place was an old man who was seeking vengeance for his departed wife.
It was that simple.
The addition of any Omega-tier psionic was an inspiration for any fleet. Though their abilities were insignificant in a universe, they could easily unleash thunderstorms that could shatter asteroid fields through the help of special warship facilities, even directly using psionic to scan planets, finding out if there were life on it. And though the Special Operations Group sounded unique, it was easier to understand by another name: starfighter pilot.
The living Midgardian warships were of monumental scale but of scarce few weapons, which is why they were helpless against creatures or things that approached their warship in certain unusual circumstances. That was where the Special Operations Group came in: the elite psionic would drive specially designed starfighter while ensuring the safety of the craft through a psionic beam. If the navigator was an Omega-tier psionic, he would prove to be a threat against any warship-class enemy—and Azra was precisely one of those men. Under the empowerment of the fighter, his power could pierce warship armor, and though it would hurt his lifespan in the process, who would care if he himself did not?
The old man simply did not give a damn; he wanted revenge even if the price was his life.
“Urgent notice from the Third Fleet. Warning. Urgent notice from the Third Fleet.”
Azra opened his silver-blue eyes at the sound of blaring sirens, burning physical psionic energies flowing in his pupils. The old man was wearing a space battle uniform at present and waiting in the changing room of the Special operations group. Though his body is old, his ears remained fine—he could hear the contents of the notice.
“Massive psionic signature detected at Tumen star region. The colossal target is warping—it has been confirmed the warping object is the priority target, the superior being known as the Void Mother. All personnel, assume level one combat alertness!”
“Comrades, we must fight with our all! The Garden of Flowers—the final Midgardian colony planet—is behind us. There is no way to retreat, if we fall, the Mother Planet dies too!”
Azra listened silently to the rousing pre-battle speech, his heart calm and unfettered. That, however, did not mean that the old man was reluctant to enter the battle—he desired to fight just as everyone else did, but it is crucial that psionics calm their spirits. It is only through a calm heart that they could guide infinite powers from the light of their hearts, and as a former Omega-class psionic who could not unleash his full power due to his old age, Azra know that he has to be calmer the more he wanted to kill those monsters from the Void.
It is through a deathly tranquility that death could be wrought upon the enemy.
Azra heard tidy footsteps: the other members of the Special Operations Group were coming to the changing room as well to switch into their battle gear. He rose from a chair, taking a deep breath. He could feel the psionic energies that were burning infernally within the warship but was suppressed by countless minds, making it calm and without any hint of undulation like fires that burned in the Abyss, and invisible light flashing. The Third Fleet was mostly formed from surviving colonists and remnant fleets—their homes had been devoured by the Void Mother, their families liquefied as organic resources that were absorbed by the monsters, their psionic energies nutrients for the beast swarm while the entire planet turned into ash amidst the blaze. The Saint as witness, these were avengers who now raised their weapons.
“Kids, it’s time for payback.”
Rising, the old Midgardian studied the other Midgardians who opened the door to the changing room, their naked skins colored in a variety of tattoos outside of their army uniform, with brief phrases and words such as ‘Avenger’, ‘For the Children’ and ‘Bye, Mum’. Though simple, it prompted a sense of silence for those who saw it—these Midgardian survivors had lost everything apart from their own lives.
As silver-blue gazes leveled at each other, the Midgardians nodded at each other silently. The squadron leader of the Special Operations Group, a middle-aged Midgardian and another Omega-tier psionic then spoke with a dry and deep voice, “It’s starting.”
It was definitely starting.
Above the Garden of Leaves, the Midgardian colony on the Beam System, three fleets slowly moved out from seven colossal space stations. The first fleet was well-equipped—the faintly-discernible psionic shielding and external armor over their ships were unblemished. The second fleet was rather aged and were fielding mainstay warships of the previous era that was mothballed. On the other hand, the Third Fleet was mostly dilapidated, their previous damages were apparent despite complete repairs. Even so, the three fleets numbered over two thousand, the final fleets formed as the Midgardians abandoned all economic bodies and prioritized military matters, and yet force that was only next to the Central Fleet of the Mother Planet. Amongst them were young men who joined to safeguard their home, elite warriors whose service exceeded two hundred years, with even more retired soldiers who did not hesitate abandoning a steady life and returning to the army.
It did not matter who they were or what past grudges they had now. As warp engines resounded silently in space and silver-blue ripples reverberated amidst a black background and white starlight, there was a single thought in every Midgardian’s mind.
And die here.
Hours later, by the edge of the Beam System, countless compact ripples promptly appeared as if rainwater was falling upon the surface of a lake. Concentric circles of varying sizes appeared simultaneously in space while psionic planetary lightning spread wildly across those vortices. ‘Storms’ formed from energy even blew away thin sheets of celestial dust by the edge of the system as if a violent giant was brushing the land with his own hand, cleaning everything over it.
“The enemy vanguard has arrived at the Beam System!”
Already aware of the direction where the enemy was advancing, the Midgardian fleets waited and watched. Urgent combat station alerts were repeated over the psionic network across all warships, with all crew and captains acknowledging the fact. Through optic lenses, they could clearly see the sight that was not too far away from their position: infinite uniquely shaped Void monsters that were not ferocious yet somehow instilled an instinctive fear in people were swarming out within space like ants. They came in different sizes, with the larger ones being over several kilometers in length and comparable with warships, with smaller ones being just a few meters long and over ten times lesser in size than starfighters.
The three species of Void monsters that were classified separately as ‘Scout’, ‘Main Force’ and ‘Colossal’ had already come out of their warp. Every single monster was emanating psionic radiance—power they plundered from the Folbians and the Midgardians. Once they appeared, they began to spread all over their surroundings just like a virus, and ripples dark green energy started to unfurl, faintly standing off against the silver-blue light of the Midgardians.
“Do not let them escape the fields of engagement! Leaving even one would lead to severe casualties to all that lies behind us!”
Azra listened to his captain’s orders as he sat within the fighter assigned to him, his breathing mask on. Even as the orders came, the old Midgardian could feel that the battleship he was in activating its full power, the whirl of its psionic engine and that endless energies were condensing into a tremendous spear of light.
In the next instant, the lance was shot out.
And he too, received his orders: The Special Operations Group were to move out immediately and clear out any possible remaining monsters. The old Midgardian could not help smiling—the tube attached to the breathing mask on his face quivered.
It was the final battle—for him at least, an avenger who completely had no plan of surviving.
And now, it begins.
In an instant, thousands of rays condensed into lances and shot out at the distant monster swarm. So long was the spatial distance between that it took several seconds for the light attack to arrive, but every single one was fired through estimations according to every warp path, and every Void monster that just reverted out from psionic vacuum undoubtedly took a genuine blow. The result was certainly destructive—the psionic lances that were over millions of degrees and could vaporize all matter, and having penetrate their targets, the ensuing detonation would bring another wave of million-degree shrapnel shockwave, with every speck of psionic light easily killing any being, lighting them as torches in the universe.
The Void monsters had no way resisting that power. The first wave of creatures that warped to the edge of the system which resembled virus was shot down incessantly and without exception, with the sear igniting their bodies and turning them into dust amidst the stars. Having just warped and not even able to unleash their powers in time, they could only become ashes under the Midgardians’ intense bombardment. Now, the edge Beam System had completely changed and was now an ocean where energy cascaded, even affecting the multitudinous monsters that were still in warp and yet to revert to the physical realm, hence becoming lost in the hollow space between realms due to the dimensional shift caused by the monumental energies.
Even those that escaped the first waves of attacks would be hunted and killed by the starfighters that swarmed like tides of bees. These normal spacecrafts that were driven by elite psionics possessed certain short-distance warping capacity and were immeasurably agile, able to easily kill any Void monsters beneath thousand meter-classes. And so multitudinous Void monsters hence curled their joints and tentacles in pain, bellowing silently as they died under the simultaneous bombardment of thousands of beam cannons.
The Midgardians unquestionably yielded great results in the first wave of combat. In minutes, they killed tens of thousands of colossal Void monsters, while the uncountable smaller monsters were mostly turned into ash under the shockwave of the luminous lances. Even so, the three fleet commanders did not show any excitement or delight as they had over centuries—instead, their expressions abruptly shifted at almost the same time: they had miscalculated!
It was not a miscalculation in tactics. The Void monsters had no intelligence, and the Void Mother was not the kind of folktale beast that controlled the wills of every monster. In truth, they were a physical pestilence that instinctively multiplied, enlarged viruses.
What the Midgardians miscalculated was the matter of numbers.