Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
However, when Joshua was prepared to make for the Midgardian Fleet alongside Nostradamus and asked about their defensive perimeter, Joshua suddenly paused mid-flight.
“You’ll go alone first, archmage—I have something to do.”
There were no clouds in the dark space around the universe. When the suns of distant planetary systems covered the extended distance, the effect of their illumination had also been largely lost. Therefore, Joshua’s expression in the blackness was obscure, his expression inscrutable.
“…You be careful.”
Nostradamus frowned, before simply shaking his head. “There would be a huge battle soon,” he said a little feebly. “It could be the greatest in the life of this old man—don’t get caught in some accident.”
With that, the old mage did not say anything else to Joshua. With a pale and hazy light that carried a trail of blue radiance, he flew towards the Third Fleet that was slowly turning towards the inner reaches of the star system, leaving the warrior to stand alone.
It was only seconds later and after Nostradamus had left the place that Joshua reached into his chest and ‘pinched’ out a small luminous orb. “What happened?” he asked curiously, lowering his head to stare at Light which had been unusually quiet since the start of their battle. “You had kept attempting to link yourself to me spiritually in the beginning—but that’s in the middle of a fight, I have not the time to play with you.”
In the middle of the battle, Joshua had melded Ling and Ying into his own body while in giant form. With the divine armaments acting as his base point to create the massive Steel Sword and Energy Axe that could tear dimensions apart, Light had been placed together with the divine armament siblings into a special protective space. But from then on, the typically jovial Light somehow acted atypically quiet, and tried several times to make a spiritual connection with Joshua.
The warrior certainly would not respond in such moments. Even so, Light delivered another powerful link signal a brief moment ago and indicated discreetly that it wanted to communicate privately—as such, Joshua had to temporarily leave Nostradamus to do so.
” Ding-dong … Silent kin… Dong … Wants to talk to you…”
The orb that was squeezed and shrunk between the warrior’s fingers appeared a little weird as if it was still in a sleep. It answered Joshua question with a vague voice, and soon came an even stronger spiritual communication signal.
“Why are you not like your real form? Only able to communicate by spiritual link instead of simply speaking.” Shaking his head helplessly, Joshua could only unlock his spiritual link at the orb’s obscure speech to see what it had to tell him.
With the tough defenses of his will, even beings on the level of the Seven Gods could not glimpse his memories without his permission while linked. In the case of fragments left behind by perished deities such as the River God, they would even self-disintegrate due to overexertion due to their analysis of the warrior’s spirit, which was why he did not fear that linking spiritually with the luminous orb would cause him any damage.
Hence, in the next instant, Joshua grasped the fist-sized luminous orb in his hand and pressed it over his forehead. In coordination, the luminous orb extended a tiny tentacle of light, connect it to the warrior’s head—with a bright flash, the two spirits connected.
In that very moment, Joshua saw it.
An immeasurably colossal Steel Python wrapped around Stellaris!
“A World Will! But it still slumbers.”
There was only a thought in Joshua’s mind at present—so the Steel Python was the ‘silent kin’ Light spoke of! It was certainly a reasonable explanation. Then, as if the sight of the real world became sporadic like a pulled curtain, a great Vault of Stars appeared over the warrior’s head, and within breaths, pulled by a mild energy, Joshua entered the inner sanctum of that world he was familiar with—the Holy Land of Steel between space and time.
Standing below the vastness of the Vault, Joshua looked around. Behind him was a River of History that streamed ragingly which represents the past, while before him were countless dark, hazy diverging paths that symbolize the future. And then there was the incomparably large Python that appeared to wrap around the sea of stars, the past, the future, and the entire world.
It simply closed its eyes, its immense head facing the warrior.
‘— Too big —’
Such was the first thought that crossed Joshua’s mind when he saw it, although it was not as if the warrior’s knowledge and experiences were limited. He had also seen other Steel Pythons—on Karlis, Illgner, while also meeting the World Wills of Grandia and Mycroft albeit separated with seals. Still, Joshua’s was sure that all four World Wills combined was not one-tenth of the Steel Python before him now. Indeed, if Joshua was a sun, then this particular Python was a world devourer who could drag a galaxy into its bowels, instantly consuming millions of planets.
It was difficult to describe the profoundness before his eyes with words. It was nothing less than covering his entire field of vision, and no matter how he turned to try to find the edge, all that there was is the shallow description –’layers of silver serpentine body’. Furthermore, Joshua noticed that it was more appropriate to say that the Python had no clear consciousness instead of not being awakened yet. It appeared to have been the limit for its body to be able to materialize, and there was also dense black mold that appeared to be spreading over its silver scales.
In any case, it was now time for Light to perform. Having seen the appearance of the Python, it abruptly leaped out of Joshua’s hand and flew to the Python’s body. With the flash of indiscernible white waves, the Steel Python suddenly moved once. Its eyes too began to slowly open, emitting dazzling red light as if it had attained something vital and was rapidly waking up.
Later, an illusory and thin voice that seemed to echo across the galaxy appeared in the Vault of Stars and entered Joshua’s ears.
“Good tidings, Foreigner of an Otherworld. How should I address you—guest from the Void who came to protect my children?”
The Steel Python lowered its head colossal head, swaying the sea of stars as it stared down below at the human who stood over the ground and exchanged gazes with it. “I am the Steel Python [Star]. As you have seen, I had always been staying in eternal slumber, rarely having the chance to interact like this.”
“I am Joshua van Radcliffe. I came here to answer the call of the Midgardians and cull the poison of Chaos.” Joshua quickly and clearly replied. Driven by his usual attitude, he did not waste any time and swiftly leaped to ask his questions. “Great World Will, why would you wish to communicate with me? The battle in the physical world is about to arrive, to pick this hour for an exchange isn’t too wise.”
“And why had you kept yourself in eternal slumber, and would have been unable to awaken if not for Light’s unusual move? That’s not too different with the World Wills I have come across before.”
“You have seen beings similar to me? Indeed, your body carries their scent.”
However, the Steel Python ‘Star’ did not answer each of the warrior question, and merely flexed its body. “This is the rift between worlds,” it said slowly. “To the world outside, it’s a place where the flow of time had almost paused—you don’t have to worry about the battle out there. As to why I was always slumbering… It’s because I’m too huge.”
“My will pierces infinite distance and is linked to endless worlds. My thought is spread throughout the entire universe and exists alongside the millions of galaxies and the trillions of stars… It’s a long distance that though could not sweep past in an instant—even light requires billions of years to transcend my body. I could not focus my will, and hence has to govern the circulation of worlds in my slumber. I am far more powerful than most of my kin, and far weaker than they are at the same time.”
It appears that the talkativeness of the Steel Python called ‘Star’ was because it rarely concentrated its will or conversed with lucid thought and intelligence, which now appeared to be the reason it was willing to tell the warrior things.“Just as rainwater requires dust as their core to condense, my profound will requires a little core to integrate it. Your friend there—that little unique creature of light unexpectedly has such ability… It appeared to possess the shape of a World Will, infantile kin of mine. It has awakened me so that I could speak to you.”
Joshua nodded slowly. He understood its current state. The true form of the Steel Python known as ‘Star’– the world of ‘Stellaris’ was simply too huge, and so much so that its will could not fuse with worlds of medium or smaller planes and form complete sentiency. It was only by relying on external forces that it could temporarily focus and gain intelligence to hence interact with humans.
It was as he had guessed before. In the time of Creation, the Initial Flame burned while the Steel of Origin scattered, with every piece of Steel splitting apart and becoming a single world. There were small worlds with superior mana, just as there were immeasurably colossal worlds that effectively prohibits extraordinary powers and was without mana. This particular sea of stars, however, lay between the two categories—it was not as huge as the universe with endless stars while psionic energies were also nurtured within. Nevertheless, as a price, even if its World Will could not freely act like Wills of magical worlds, it was not the same as non-magical worlds that would never be awakened.
It was at this time that the Steel Python ‘Star’ stopped speaking nonsense. It lightly nodded its head as if to consider the current situation before speaking again. “You are the only being I sensed from another world, and hails from the same world as the first majestic will that had awakened me. That is why I believe that you may have the ability to eradicate the stubborn sickness within my body.”
The first being to awaken it? The Sage? And why recently? Joshua first blinked a few times before realizing that to the ancient Will which lived for trillions of years, a thousand years might appear recent. And after having heard the Steel Python’s words, the warrior quickly pressed it. “What stubborn sickness?”
“It is ‘they’ which you have vanquished before.”
‘Star’ nodded its head, and the endless skies of stars beside it started to distort, shift, and finally turned into millions of screens that rapidly flickered. Some showed warships traversing the Void and bombarded invaders with searing cannon fire, while in primitive worlds, savage psionic beings brandished crude stone spears and engaged aberrations born within blackness in melee. Starfighters, small crafts, dashes of rays, human-shaped robots, alien-shaped robots, huge cannons on battleships, biotechnology, psionic powers and a diverse range of warring methods flashed through the screens. What they face, nonetheless, was not other civilizations but clusters of vague, twisting darkness and shadows.
“Aberrations of Chaos. It is how you and that profound being before called these corruptors from the Void. They are foes of civilizations, destroyers of worlds—with all sorts of methods, they had entered my body, slain my children and eroded my flesh.”
The voice of the Steel Python resounded across the entire Vault of Stars, its mildness now carrying a shred of genuine rage. “I who slumbered had no way of solving these problems, but now that I have awakened, I must fix my eyes upon these poisonous tumors.”
At the same time, Joshua could almost see a monumental depiction of a microscopic universe. Trillions of star systems floated like disc amidst the Void, with black rifts appearing in the center of some discs. These were the darkness of the Void that devoured stars—they fed on suns and planetary bodies, nurtured their numberless children to invade entire worlds, and in those black rifts, Joshua sensed many familiar presences.
There were those of the Evil Gods of Famine, Pestilence, Calamity, and Air. There were even residual energies of Fertility—an Evil God that should have fallen long ago—in worlds within Stellaris. Regardless, their minions were rampantly expanding in this broad world, making greater progress than they do in the Multiverse.
“…That’s at least minions of a dozen different Evil Gods that are invading this world! Tsk , this number is above trillions—and far above that!”
Even Joshua could not help making a face and frown. “As a power that could link to the Void, psionic energies are too dangerous. Formidable psionic fusion could bypass world barriers, but its light is the same as a light tower in the Void, attracting the arrival of endless dark beings just as light attracts insects.
“And yet, I could not preserve my will without psionic energies.” ‘Star’ replied calmly. “World Wills without extraordinary energies falls silent as if dying. Psionic energy is the only force which spreads within my body, and it isn’t as if my children have no way of fighting back.”
The millions of screens switched again to display scenes different from before.
In a corner amidst the stars, a lost ancient empire watched the civilizations reborn amidst the stars dispassionately, monitoring them as their juniors explored the stars like they did all those years again and developed technology that appeared insignificant to them. They were survivors of the final war in the last era, a great civilization that had stagnated and was declining—and after long periods, some lost empires could no longer understand the technologies they had and could only stay isolated in their own corner, no longer communing with other worlds until the day they ended.
But when one day, a weak and budding race used their psionic powers to summon being beyond the Void, multitudinous malevolence that represented destruction would extend their talons from the other end of the Multiverse with the intent to pollute their great world. They swept across the stars, massacring feeble civilizations, the incarnation of pure ruination scheming to consume the entire planetary system.
Thus, they angered the ancients. The lost empires remembered once more the reason their civilization had fallen into isolation in the last era, and relit the light in the ancient observation outposts they had left in space, while endless inspection coordinates were shot to every corner of the galaxy. Fleets gathered and armies passed down orders for conscription while loud bangs echoed in old factories once more, their dilapidated shipyards repaired and renovated. When titanic ships that were silent for millennia returned to the frontline, the awakened ancient civilizations began their tasks to ‘protect worlds’.
Joshua could see that in the center of various galaxies, the fleets of those ancient empires were entering decisive battles against the Chaos aberrations that had taken shape. There were those who fail, but most lost empires succeed in closing the Void Doors that transported endless ranks of monsters, successfully purging the invaders of their own home and bringing hygiene back to the stars.
The power of a world to cleanse itself, white cells within a universe.
Those words had somehow flashed in Joshua’s mind, and he soon fell into silent thought before asking, “What would you have me do?”
Even as he looked on at the spectacles that made the blood surged in passion, Joshua was not too emotional. He merely closed his eyes for a while before looking up again to the Steel Python. “As you could see, I’m just an ordinary warrior—my power is insignificant to that final war waged across thousands of planetary systems.”
“You belittle yourself, and that which you embody… Just as there are profound but dark wills behind those creatures of the Void, I require reinforcements to resist the legions of darkness.”
The Steel Python ‘Star’ shook its head at Joshua words and finally conveyed its thoughts again with its hollow voice. “There are those among my children powerful enough to banish the Void presence, but most still had no power of retaliation—in essence, the mold over my body remained spreading without stopping, I could not just sit and watch as myself fall like this.”
“I once saw a great will from the same world you came from… His existence escaped my imagination. That applies to power supporting Him as well, being one which was powerful enough to travel across the Void and send a superior being such as you to aid other civilizations—it, too, must escape any conception.”
“So, I hope that your party could be ‘my’ reinforcement to clear all those world tumors.”
Joshua stayed quiet for a long time towards the notions of the Steel Python called ‘Star’.
If it had been the Mycroft civilization during the Glorious Era—the time when the Sage was still present and the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds was still running, they would definitely have the confidence to answer ‘Star’s Call and become the reinforcements of a world and advance to clear millions of Chaos monsters. The gods and the Sage would probably have excitedly led Legendary champion after Legendary champion, clearing star by star off Evil God minions.
An expedition army, moving across the Multiverse, cutting off poisonous tumors infesting infinite worlds—it was of such splendor, of such emotion and so sensational. The Mycroft Continent would also hence take that opportunity to entrench themselves in millions of worlds, for such was the shape of a Multiverse civilization, a behemoth that occupied innumerable stars, the final form of extraordinary civilization!
But everything ended when it was still budding.
The gods died, the Sage went on a distant journey and the ancient civilization was hence lost in the rifts between history. Like a hex, the Lost Three Hundred years separated all connection between the eras of Starfall and Glorious, and Mycroft was now like those fallen empires in Stellaris that shrunk themselves within some corner of the starry oceans, engrossed in self-civilization. They might even be in a worse state—the descendants of the profound races who built the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds had now forgotten the awe-inspiring technology of their predecessors. Not only did they not have the vigor and confidence to cross the long road to other worlds, they even fell into laughable civil strife.
But… So, what?
Joshua suddenly laughed as he promptly realized that this may be an incredible chance—one to completely changed the trail of history, to rouse the ‘fallen civilization’ that were the many races on Mycroft!
If those ancient civilizations that cowered in a corner of the stars and refrained from reaching out had a day where they could revitalize themselves and return to the galaxy stage, why could the Mycroft civilization not rise again from the muck and reclaim the grand civilization of the Glorious Era?
It was unquestionably unreasonable.
He had surely been too small-minded before. How short was his sight that he could only see things like changing the future or resisting the Abyssal invasion, for what accomplishment was there in changing such frivolities? If he, Joshua, was to do something, it must be grand! Not only would he stand against the Abyssal intruders, but he would also lead the Mycroft civilization back to the prosperity of the Glorious Era! And the first step began with the link to Stellaris. With the knowledge and development of another world, the Mycroft continent would no doubt develop with leaps and bounds as if having a chemical reaction!
More importantly, what could the Sage do that I could not? Was he, Joshua, inferior to the Sage?
Laughable to the last.
At those very thoughts, Joshua raised his head and spoke with no hesitation.
Thus, the contract was made.
The Vault of Star vanished at once, while the Steel Python that was of such grand scale that it wrapped around infinite galaxies disappeared like a mirage. Standing once more in the vacuum at the edge of the Beam System and staring at the dark green psionic vortex that was whirling without stopping, the final words Steel Python ‘Star’ left him with still reverberated by this ear.
“This companion of yours bears the shape of World Wills, and is kin of mine. I know not how you carried it by your side, but without it, I could never reassemble my will.”
Its illusory words were the same as it was uttered, distinct and resonating even as ‘Star’s speech slowly dissipated. “But it is truly too weak, which is why I have empowered it—take this as a token of gratitude for your arrival from another end of the Multiverse to save my children.”
Light, having fallen into hibernation in Joshua’s hand, had turned into a thumb-sized luminous orb. After watching it for some time, the warrior slipped it into his pocket.
After a long time, an old mage came, carrying dimensional ripples as he returned from the direction of the Midgardian Colony Fleet to the warrior’s side. He did not ask what Joshua was doing pausing right where he had been, and instead looked towards that the distant psionic vortex which was endlessly spreading while stabilizing.
“Can we really kill the Void Mother?” The old mage asked rather worriedly. “According to the survivors from the Garden of Roots colony, the Void Mother’s shield is unbelievably powerful…”
“Of course.” Joshua briskly interrupted Nostradamus’s slightly pessimistic analysis in return, shook his head and folded his arms before his chest.
“Who do you think I am?”
On two tips of the galaxy, a Matriarch of Chaos from the Void and two Legendary champions from another end of the Multiverse leveled their gazes at each other over a long distance.
They were on the verge of battle.