Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Star the Steel Python bade farewell to Joshua, unable to retort against the warrior’s stance until the end. Ultimately, none could know matters of the future, and godhood was not the only path to greatness—itself being one of the finest examples, not a god, and yet far powerful than one.
“That friend of yours, the powerful psionic named Nostradamus—or a spellcaster, as he is known in your world.”
Before parting, Star passed two more treasures wrapped in energy bubbles to Joshua. “He isn’t you and hence could neither see nor interact with me, but he certainly aided my children and killed the Void Mother alongside you… These are his rewards, I hope you could deliver them to him.”
“Of course. I believe he’ll be delighted.” Joshua handily put them away and wrapped the two energy bubbles in Steel Strength, binding them to his side and smiled. “Well, see you next time.”
“Ha… See you next time.”
Laughing in its deep voice once, as the Vault of Stars swayed like soap bubbles, blurring, and soon the Steel Python’s body colossal enough to wrap around a galaxy dispersed with layers of radiance, while Joshua and the luminous orb returned together to the real world. At that moment, Milhabus and Tarquin were still surprised over the warrior’s words, but soon saw the warrior striding out and dropping down from the steep cliff, instantly appearing beneath the holy mountain. In the distance, Ying and Ling who had been playing with Midgardian children began to make their way toward Joshua as if receiving some order.
“He’s really leaving?”
Tarquin, an old military man, quivered—he suddenly remembered that he had been speaking so much nonsense that he never told Joshua why they came. Milhabus remembered it too, and unhesitatingly tried to communicate with Joshua from the distance with a psionic link—halfway through the process, he suddenly remembered that there was an energy shield over the warrior’s body that no psionic force could pierce. So, the Grand Consul promptly changed tactics, and began shouting from above the holy mountain, “My…”
But before Milhabus could utter the second word, Joshua noticed them and appeared before them as if teleporting. “What is it?” he asked curiously.
“Well…” Gulping down the words he had been prepared to utter, Milhabus quickly used his psionic powers to open a small space. It was psionic storage space that only Omega-class psionics could use, where Milhabus drew out an exquisitely crafted translucent crystal cylinder, carved with innumerable silver-blue runes that were flashing. “As promised in ancient times, my lord,” the Grand Consul spoke with a level voice as much as he could, “we are returning this to you at the moment of your departure.”
At those words, Milhabus knelt on one knee and presented the crystal before Joshua, who frowned at it. “Isn’t that…” he uttered in slight surprise, “your sacred item ‘Droplet’?'”
“Yes.” Tarquin knelt beside Milhabus as well, and began to explain. “A thousand years ago, the Void Saint came to save us from foolish and cruel civil strife before rising to the stars. He set up the shrine on the pinnacle of the holy mountain and left the sacred items before he left, and obscurely prophesized that he or his follower might return one day.”
“We believed the ‘Void Door’ ritual to be a way to summon the Holy One or his followers, but it appeared now that it was the complete opposite.” Milhabus said, staring at the snowy ground and showing a complicated expression. “But this time, guided by the sacred item, you and your comrade came, and the Holy One’s prophecy was fulfilled. Therefore, the sacred item ‘Droplet’ should be returned to its owner.”
“Would have been better if that was mentioned earlier.”
Joshua nodded at those words, and took the amber pole which contained the Droplet from Milhabus’s hands. He had been doubtful—had the Midgardians not been a little too open to completely trust whispers from the Void and did as the Evil God as they told them to, allowing them to be easily bewitched? Now, it appeared that all of it was caused by the Sage’s carelessness with words all those years ago. The Sage must have believed that since the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds were approaching competition, having the Droplet as an anchor meant that the people of Mycroft would come to Stellaris one day, and hence gave the Midgardians a vaccine—after a fashion. It simply escaped the Sage’s own imagination that the Glorious Era was quickly ended by the Abyss and the Evil Gods after the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds were complete. That was why the Midgardians who waited over a thousand years never saw their former savior again, running into a minion of the Evil God that was loitering the Void instead.
An unfortunate coincidence. Concluding thus inwardly, Joshua bound the Droplet with Steel Strength at his side as well, having it make company with the two energy bubbles. He was definitely curious about what the Droplet actually was, but such matters should wait after he returned to Mycroft.
“Are you really leaving?” Milhabus asked carefully as he studied Joshua’s expression.
“We’re leaving immediately—no, we’re leaving now.” The warrior quickly and definitively answered, changing his words mid-sentence since he saw that Nostradamus had led Ling and Ying out of a portal following a faint dimensional ripple.
The old mage nodded at the two leaders of Midgard and said kindly, “Ahem. Though it is a rush, it is what it is… To our world, our departure was an unplanned one. The longer the delay, the more complicated things would become.”
“It’s a shame, but we must leave now.” Joshua continued, nodding and smiling at both Milhabus and Tarquin who appeared unable to take in the rapid unfolding of events. “Don’t worry. If you face another evil from beyond the Void you could not defeat, just give me a shout out.”
“Just stand upon the altar and call my name.”
At present, the figure of the warrior and the others began to blur. It was the Commanding Will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds casting the Multi-Quadrant Teleportation spell, but the warrior’s words remained clear.
“Then I shall answer, and descend once more.”
In the very next second, before the two could say anything in farewell, Joshua and the others vanished from Stellaris, leaving the pair to look at each other blankly before laughing bitterly once.
Stellaris, several months later.
The statue beneath the holy mountain had been completed, but now the workers and craftsmen were diligently carving huge and complex wall sculpting as well as drawing excellent murals and totems. Many ascetics and priests were standing behind them, watching every piece of art whether they had been completed or not.
What the murals and sculpting depicted was nothing too profound or elegant, nor was it some legend worth recording in history books—all it was were the ordinary daily life of the Midgardians in different eras.
The daily life of farming, shepherding and hunting during the tribal era. Images of the developing, migration and establishment of early city states. Snapshots of war, slavery, and slaughter when kingdoms were founded. Scenes of when the industrial dynasty had begun, production of psionic motors, great destruction to the environment and finally a global war.
Four walls, twelve murals, and yet countless stories were embedded within. Now, the fifth wall had already been raised. The first mural and wall relief had been completed—it showed a Sage walking out of a world tear, leading the Midgardians towards the stars.
The second mural was in progress, but one could make out a ferocious crystal insect exiting the Void Door and destroying a beautiful planet. Innumerable warships exploded in space, falling towards other planets, or sliding towards the infinite Void with its remaining mobility.
Work had yet to begin on the third mural, but its outline had been drawn out. It showed the vague shape of a four-armed giant who stood before a colossal planet, watching coldly as the entire planet and the Void Mother was lit ablaze.
Someone raised an issue.
“…That scene isn’t quite right… It’s the image of the Giant God slaying the Void Mother, but why does your outline look more as if the Giant God had destroyed a planet? The children who visit afterward would get the wrong idea.”
The craftsmen took a look, having heard the onlooker’s doubt—and it was certainly so. With a smile, they changed the depiction so that the Giant God’s expression was not as terrifying while enlarging the portions of the Void Mother, and only then did the doubters back off.
The advent of the new god had spread across the entire Midgardian civilization, with new doctrines and ode to the gods appearing in elementary textbooks. The god which the Midgardian government promoted as one of ‘Retribution’, ‘Salvation’ and ‘War’ unexpectedly gained many devotees amongst the Midgardian youths, while his divine name ‘Inferno’ was also set after the blazing vortex and the Void Mother’s corpse in the Sea God Star.
The mighty name of the Infernal God hence spread in Midgardian civilization.
‘—Several months ago, beyond Stellaris.’
Joshua, who would never know what transpired in months, brought Ying, Ling, and the luminous orb along and overlooked the entire Multiverse alongside Nostradamus.
The light of the Great Mana Tide that extended throughout worlds was visible there as well. Engulfing a thousand realms, the energy shroud that allows worlds to irradiate brightly engulfed every corner of the visible Void like a tide. Obscure starlight stirred the shroud, vibrating and forming trillions of repetitive dimensional ripples.
The teleportation that transcended the Multiverse was about to begin. While the Commanding Will was rapidly calculating dimensional trajectories, Nostradamus, having received his reward, inspected the surprise that belonged to him, even as the divine armament siblings were bickering and struggling over who should hug it.
And Joshua was listening carefully beside them.
He had closed his eyes, pricking his years attentively to the sounds of Stellaris.
In the inner reaches of the World Membrane, Star, the Steel Python was spreading its will across the galaxy, the horns of war were resounding, factories boomed as constructions began while warship engines reverberated across the stars. However, beneath the grand sounds belonging to the World Will, there were smaller groan and sounds that were ignored.
Those were the dirges of civilizations, sung by countless people within repatriation vessels after they fled their home planet where monsters wrought destruction.
Those were also battle hymns of civilizations, sung as entire planets entered war and their boundless docks, colonies, and space fortresses went into overdrive, as trillions of people sacrificed all that they have, mustering their full strength to fight against the monsters.
There were many other sounds as well. Fallen empires were reviving, sweeping through the galaxy and extinguishing all darkness. Their majestic fleets were even voyaging into other galaxies, aiding other intelligent beings in their fight against the Void—the most noble sounds of triumph. However, there were weak civilizations that could not shake away the assault from swarms of Void Monsters even at full strength. Their finally warship and repatriation vessel turned into plasma under thunderous explosions that wafted over cold and silent space. It was the gloomiest sounds of ruin.
The sounds over all of Stellaris was like a symphony of utmost majesty and complexity. Listening to alone was as if witnessing the rise and fall of countless civilizations and legends.
‘—Was this the sounds the Sage had heard before?’
Joshua listened quietly and attentively to a world. He opened his eyes and stared into the Void, as if his gaze could permeate boundless starlight to see the millions of worlds behind. Perhaps darkness was breeding behind the lights as well, just as infinite sounds and sounds spread.
“No wonder the Sage had such resolve, to help endless worlds through the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds.”
As he mumbled to himself, Joshua paid no attention to Nostradamus who turned to him in curiosity, his expression as calm as an old well.
At the moment, Joshua could understand the Sage’s thoughts a little—even if He had been a man who stood on high and whose shadow could not be seen even when one craned their necks. As the warrior stood at that elevated point and overlooked the Multiverse, the prideful thought of helping and saving all words would definitely develop occasionally.
The Sage had led the world of Mycroft to glory, raised Midgardian civilizations from ignorance. He might even have helped and saved boundless worlds, almost succeeding in changing the Multiverse.
But he was not the Sage.
The Commanding Will began counting down, the portal that transcends the Multiverse has been open. Pure silver radiance formed a warm door of light, and without responding to Nostradamus’s pressing inquiry after him, Joshua stepped forward and into the portal.
There were no two identical individuals, just as no two grains of sand are the same. He was not the Saint and hence could not tread on his path, but so what? There was no need for similarities in the first place—just as the Evil Gods have countless ways to destroy worlds, there should be countless ways to save the worlds. If there were innumerable methods in which Evil Gods were born, there would be innumerable methods to destroy them as well.
There is only one truth, but there is not only one path to the truth.
Therefore, there was more than one path to paean.
—End of Volume 10, Light of Stellaris.