Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 596


Chapter 596 Speed Of Light

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

What was light?

It was electromagnetic radiation visible to human eyes. In fact, every intelligent being had a different definition for light since their visual organs have subtle differences, but light is ultimately a high frequency electromagnetic radiation as well as a fundamental atomic flow formed from photons, an existence embodying the wave-particle duality of quantum mechanics.

Those were the text noted in the fifth paragraph on page thirty-five of the Earth Federation’s textbooks. Joshua could not be more aware of it and yet he did not answer the old pontiff’s question, for this was not Earth but the Extraordinary world named Mycroft, a miracle land of magic, aura, and magic.

Ultimately, none knew what ‘light’ was.

At the moment, Igor’s form was becoming incorporeal. The smiling old man’s body was becoming translucent amidst an obscure radiance while releasing powerful light, turning the elderly pontiff’s body into a dazzling diamond-like body of crystals. Behind him, infinite particles resembling stardust levitated in the darkness and formed a whole new shape. As the dimensions distorted variably, luminous spheres that unleashed different color and mild radiance appeared one after another, fusing and splitting, expanding and contracting before eventual building into an unusual yet holy sphere of myriad colors with pure and simple aesthetics, guarding Igor’s back.

At the same time, Joshua spread his arms. Innumerable veins of silver light shot out from around his body and condensed into streaks of nerve constructs and circuits resembling bone, and materialized a profound shadow. With bones and veins as its base, the shadow turned from incorporeal into physical—it was a four-armed giant that stood over a hundred meters and was assembled out of Steel Strength, encircled in a vast electromagnetic field, while a pierced halo hung behind him and whirled slowly.

Legendary was the sheer summation of thought a being has for their own ultimate form, and was precisely the overture for them to unleash their full power. The luminous sphere behind Igor like a star, but the myriad colors fused into thin white light just a little further away from him, filling the entire dark Void. On the other hand, around the Steel giant that Joshua had shifted into, space quivered slightly under the substantial shift of mass, making his outline appeared distorted as if light was changing trajectories due to his power.

“Against you, I wouldn’t—”

While Igor tried to convey something through spirit across thousands of Void meters, the old pontiff was forced to stop before he could finish, for Joshua, driven by the force of Nuclear Fusion, was shooting towards him like a silver arrow!

Covering the thousand-meter in an instant within the Void that was without obstacles, Joshua accelerated with his greatest momentum that even the surrounding blackness retreated like a surging river. Igor was the only target in his eyes, and now he was right in front of him.

But could Igor be so easily taken by surprise with an ambush? Against Joshua who closed in like a steel mountain crashing down, the old pontiff did not show a hint of shock. He raised his left hand that emanated warm radiance like diamond and spread his five fingers, and uttered a simple syllable.

“Shield.”

Word of Truth—Shield.

Within the ten thousandth of a second, a translucent shield of light formed from innumerable minute particles abruptly appeared before Igor and barred the path of Joshua’s onslaught as rapidly vibrating high energy particles formed an indestructible wall. It was the most basic of divine spells for clergies in the Seven Gods Church—if it were anyone else who had cast it, it would at most block some projectiles mid-flight. However, with Igor’s powers, the thin sheet of light could stop the breath of Legendary dragons and falling stars.

However, was Joshua’s momentum and impact force just a mere ten times heavier than a meteor? With clear sounds as if glass was broken, the Steel giant shattered the sheet of light as if nothing had existed there, and kept its charge towards Igor’s real body.

A silver greatsword has also now materialized in the warrior’s hand. Serrated edges of Steel Strength whirled rapidly over it like a chainsaw, stirring water-like ripples out of space itself. In the very next moment, the fearsome and violent chainsaw sword that was longer than sixty meters, and could very well be a weapon of weapons slashed down directly at the elderly pontiff who was still the size of a human!

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

Barriers of light raised one after another in the split second the slash swung, but were shattered consecutively by the greatsword. Joshua’s strength was churning waves, ceaseless and became heavier with each blow, his Nuclear Heart Furnace worked swiftly to supply the warrior incomparable energy source. If that slash had been swung in the world of Mycroft, the entire Great Ajax Volcano would have been split in two cleanly—even in the Void, there was a trail that resembled lightning.

All was fragile before such a blow.

Crash!

The sound of the final barrier being broken echoed. Having pierced Igor’s defense if his hardest form, Joshua darted inside the barrier with sword in hand, while hundreds of translucent barriers slowly crumbled beside him. In less than a second, he had clashed with the old pontiff in the fiercest of clashes between sword and shield, and it appeared that the sword was a class above.

But the time of less than a second was sufficient for the pope to flip tables despite being struck pre-emptively.

Against the chainsaw sword that seemingly wants to dice him, Igor, the face of calm, extended his right hand. A dazzling light shone on his palm, and he grasped thin air as he retrieved a pure-white scepter from that light. Unlike the Bright Scepter shown to Joshua initially, the Sage’s Legacy now had nothing on its tip, no longer bearing the Initial Flame that burned slowly. Even so, it was the Bright Scepter, a relic of the Sage and a sacred item that wields the Initial Flame. Now that its task of reigniting the Flame Seed was completed, it could act as a weapon, an indestructible scepter.

Igor lifted it, brandished it through thin air and parried Joshua’s sword from below. It resembled an ant waving the stalk of a leaf with the intent of blocking a giant stone that was crashing down towards it, and yet the chainsaw sword as really held back by that little scepter, and did not budge an inch!

In the very next moment, endless light poured out from behind the old pontiff’s body and drowned the warrior.

The amalgamated sphere of light that had floated behind Igor from the start thus began to turn. Having stored sufficient energy, with a dull hum, endless rays, bolts, thick high-energy beams, and luminous missiles shot out like a tide and struck Joshua’s body.

The sped of light was almost three hundred thousand kilometer per second. There was hence no need to worry about whose attack would land first when it came to luminous attacks—they would always strike first.

Under Igor’s peaceful control, thousands of strips of beams and over ten thousand high-energy photons assembled into a great current of light that was more than thousands of meters wide. The light was as dazzling as the beautiful rays of sunrise, embodying limitless vigor and the sear that could turn all into nothingness. Imbued with broiling energies, it shifted into a profound, violent energy flow that could destroy all things and pressed towards Joshua head on without holding back.

Just as Igor had wanted to say just before—against Joshua, he would not spare any power and attack the warrior with ‘killing intent’.

Drowning the warrior in an instant, the Void around Joshua even began to form a green-blue ion-shroud due to the intense energy surge, with great electric currents flashing. The shockwaves of that blow could pierce a summit or turn an entire mountain range into a sea of flames—it would easily kill a hundred thousand mortals easily if not used in the void, and even the barriers shielding the headquarters of the Far Southern Sacred Mountain could not withstand such penetration force.

But as Igor looked on in astonishment, the million-degree ion-shroud was torn apart by a silver giant silhouette. As a billowing gale blew away the clouds of energy, the unscathed Steel giant appeared before the old pontiff, his sturdy outer shell reflecting light around like the smoothest of mirrors while a virtually undetectable yet strong magnetic barrier field enshrouded the giant’s skin, flickering like a circuit.

Could Joshua not be cautious against the attacks of Igor who was known as ‘light’ incarnate, especially when he planned to challenge him from the start? Evidently, target-oriented defenses were definitively effective.

“Not bad. You wouldn’t find even five individuals who could directly withstand [Light of Dawn], but you are the strongest I have seen in terms of defense.”

Igor nodded slightly, his hand grasping the Bright Scepter as he acknowledged Joshua’s ability with pleasure. However, not intending to waste time chattering with the pontiff, Joshua materialized the Sword of Mass once more—the one before had been pulverized by the brush of light, and his weapon was not as stout as his own body. And as Igor spoke, the warrior burst out his energy once more and rushed towards him.

Igor could only shake his head helplessly against the warrior who always charged directly. The bubbles of light behind him started to whirl behind him and kept unleashing searing high-energy rays, but it was a meaningless blow for Joshua who had long been prepared—with a swing of his sword, the lights were cut like streaming water by the great mass, and the ripple from the mass itself that distorted space kept stretching forward, cutting towards Igor.

“[Holy Light of Heavenly Illumination] seem useless against you. Well, let’s try [Holy Light of Adjudication].”

Having decided that Joshua was immune towards pure beams after letting fly another vein of high-energy particle flow, Igor did not panic, and instead manipulated the sphere of light behind him to release hundreds of tower-shaped spikes. Each of the spike tips were tied in endless twisted specks that flickered once, and the mass ripple that could cut through light vanished without a trace abruptly, while hundreds of spikes shone at once and poured down invisibly at the warrior like rain.

“Gravity wave? That count as holy light as well?!”

It was Joshua’s turn to be shocked this time. According to his general knowledge, nothing was same about focused gravity wave and holy light, yet it appeared to be general knowledge for Igor who lived in an extraordinary world. Therefore, the warrior could only stop the tracks of the impact, his four hands assembling Swords of Mass at the same time and solemnly parrying each invisible blow.

Gravity waves were invisible to the naked eye of humans, but through Steel Strength vision and his ability to discern microscopic angles, Joshua could observe the blows that would leave strong magnetic field reactions and warped space along its wake. Specifically, those were extremely bright plasma sparks and dimensional ripples that was certainly a form of beam attacks from certain perspectives and could be categorized as Holy Light, capable of splitting all substance in microscopic view.

Naturally, Joshua was reluctant to allow such threatening offensive to strike himself even with his invincible Steel body. It was precisely due to the extreme density in his own body that it would be too ridiculous if a chain reaction suddenly happened. Joshua brandished Sword of Steels and used the same mass frequency to counter each gravity wave. However, that meant he would not be able to interfere with Igor’s follow-up assault, a tremendous disadvantage for Joshua whose ability did not compare to his opponent in the first place.

And such was the truth. In that moment, Igor was still standing where he originally was and had never moved once, appearing unhurried to use his full power and instead desiring to discern the limits of Joshua’s defenses. Although his hand could not touch Joshua who stayed some distance away, light was his hand—the assemblage luminous sphere therefore launched all sorts of unique luminous attacks that blasted towards Joshua’s position. [Heaven Scorching Holy Light], [Starpiercing Holy Light], [Holy Light of Judgement], high-energy microwave rays, bound particle flow, plasma lightning… chains of attacks that had some unknown relation to light but bore it in its name kept the warrior defending where he was, unable to inch forward.

Still, Joshua had a countermeasure at the ready against this scenario.

Against the infinite heaven-knows-what variants of particle attacks, Joshua stood at the center of the Void in the Infinite Horizon. While three of his arms brandished the Sword of Mass in defense, on of his right arms was raised before his body, fingers spread. Soon, as five supremely blinding nuclear fusion turned into sparks, his five fingers condensed out of the purest of Steel Strength exploded like five missiles of light, pushing with tremendous force and piercing heavy layers of projectile defense and darted towards Joshua’s real body!

Unlike Joshua’s body that offered a huge target, the target his five fingers were aimed at was not large, and yet under the warrior’s delicate calculations, each one evaded any threatening attacks and arrived at Igor’s vicinity, whose eyes widened in return. The sprightly old pontiff quickly ceased his assault as a circle of white light surfaced around him like a star belt, intending to deflect the five silver Steel Strength body missiles. But just the light spread, Joshua’s five fingers scattered and convert itself into the purest of Steel Strength impact force, clashing against Igor’s own energies forcefully!

Boom!!!

A monumental explosion unfurled, quaking space itself even if it was the Void within the Infinite Horizon. Following the detonation, Igor’s figure was nowhere to be seen, while a dark dimensional fracture that resembled spiderweb tore the dimensions apart, revealing the true Void fissure behind where a dimensional passageway could almost be seen.

The battle between two Legends had shattered even the barriers between worlds, sending Igor flying into an unknown realm. With no hesitation, Joshua quickly followed, traversing the dark fracture and entering the passageway behind it.

In seconds, the split space began to seal itself. Though it happened in a matter of seconds, the fight in the Infinite Horizon would have left anyone shaken in their core. Then, several profound wills around the Infinite Horizon withdrew their observing gazes, with one tentacle evening out the space that had yet to completely seal itself.

“Shouldn’t have let them fought here… the stability of the Infinite Horizon has fallen for another 0.13%—our descent into the physical realm has accelerated once more.”

“However, being able to see Igor and Radcliffe’s battle is worth it. The Legendary powers of this era, when compared to three eras before, improves time after time. They have found the right path of improvement identical to the last era.”

The majestic wills interacted and eventually fell silent once more.

On the other end of the dimensional passageway was the Seventh Abyss, a shattered world of cold silence.

This was a sundered continent torn apart by Teutonic movements. Under the billowing of cold winds, the ice layer and surface crust shifted incessantly under powerful tremors, tearing one deep abyss after another. The terrible calamity destroyed the former civilizations of this world, while incessantly tormenting the frost demons that survived within.

But now a far frightening disaster has arrived.

[Holy Light of Divine Retribution]

Just as Joshua passed through the dimensional passageway to the Seventh Abyss, he saw a cyclone that carried golden lightning charging directly towards him. The alarm in his mind resounded, but being unable to dodge in time, he could only hold his arms up in front of himself to block, mustering his full strength in defense. It was only after he weathered a reverberating boom and the crushing impact of a mountain that Joshua relaxed his arms and turned to look around—

Half of a mountain had vanished.

He was sure of that because there was the husk of half a mountain stood over land, mostly pulverized with a smooth huge fissure that was streaming with magma at its edge. The cold world was heating up, with crimson-gold lava replacing blue ice layers as it began to appear in that cold and deathly world. Over the skies, the thick clouds of gloom were cut open in a conical shape and spreading towards the distant horizon. Countless frost demons were devoured by the sudden attack, and any survivors panickily wailed amidst the now-warm gales, their cries echoing far away.

The soundless and inconspicuous ray attacks were thunderous in the physical realm and created such destructive force. There was little wonder that Igor was willing to be encircled by three Legendary dragons than to fight them near the Sacred Mountain. It felt like entering a boxing match while protecting a basket of chicken eggs—all coastal areas of the Far South would have been consumed by the surrounding seas.

Still, such a blow merely heated and reddened Joshua’s skin, forming a trace similar to iron inside a furnace with the red spot quickly cooling. Thanks to his gift from the Steel Python, his body’s density had risen a notch once more and he no longer feared such pure energy attacks. Indeed, he would be able to parry even Demon General Helm’s gamma ray bombardment directly now.

At the same time, Joshua could not help raising his opinion of the three Legendary Dragon Kings. He had thought nothing of it even when they had almost jointly defeated Igor in the pre-existence, but now it seems that their depth was truly extraordinary.

“Looks like standard holy light has no effect on you.”

‘I say, is that even ‘light’?!’

Almost unable to suppress those words from escaping his mouth, Joshua took a deep breath as he looked up at Igor who arrived before him, now feeling a hassle that left no openings.

The Void Mother’s vastness granted it the capacity to destroy ecospheres by simply crashing into one with its sheer mass, but its defenses could not hold up well against Joshua’s assault, which was why it was defeated after an extended melee against Joshua and Nostradamus combined. Be that as it may, even if Igor kept standing where he was, the old pontiff could stop his most vicious assaults without moving half a step.

‘Powerful. As expected of Saint Igor, the strongest individual serving the Seven Gods and the deity who walks amongst man. But this is just fine, it would only be interesting to fight such champions!’

Igor had similar thoughts now as well.

“The Church likes to dub divine spells with the title ‘light’. However, nothing in the classical texts recorded what was light, nor was there anyone who studied it in detail.”

Standing halfway up the air, Igor spoke with a doubtful voice, the Bright Scepter grasped within his hand. It was not clear if he was speaking to Joshua or making a rhetorical question, while below him was a conical magma ditch over several hundred meters long that had yet to close itself. It was created by the shockwaves from one of the greatest divine spells inherited by the Seven Gods Church, [Holy Light of Divine Retribution].

“I never considered the problem before I ascended into Legendary. But after I did, and acquired the Bright Scepter, I gained a deeper understanding through the Initial Flame… Therefore, I tried to grasp that power that was much closer to the Root.”

As he spoke, the old pontiff looked up at Joshua, who was unscathed like him as well. Igor smiled slightly and said: “I am about to unleash the very definition of my full power. Not just divine spells of the Church, power that belongs to me alone… are you willing to try?”

There was something akin to anxiety of being declined in Igor’s tone, as if it had not been easy to find an opponent he could unleash his full power against, and who in turn could match it. Joshua did not find the old pontiff in regard, for it was reasonable champions.

“Of course.” He agreed without hesitation.

“Is that so…”

Igor did not spare any excess expression in return. As if expecting the warrior to agree early on, he lifted the Bright Scepter straightaway.

Ancient Legends told that the Sage once defeated multiple Abysses with the same scepter, while several worlds were torn asunder under its power. Even so, the Bright Scepter was not corrupted, but was instead the ‘purity’ after everything had been turned into nothingness.

Right now, the scepter that once cleansed worlds was now lifted by a successor. Pope Igor’s power was at the tip of the scepter, a hint of radiance now shining where the Initial Flame once burned. Though faint, it was actually was enough to display a power equivalent to the Initial Flame, sweeping across an area of hundreds of kilometers albeit just that.

The series of actions did not cost Igor a single second. Even if Joshua was not the type of person who wasted the hundredth of a second, he had habitually launched his own attack just as Igor spoke.

However, the warrior did not attack. It was not because he did not want to, but because he was unable to.

Boom!

With Igor’s very words, Joshua dropped down heavily in a standing posture from above into the magma layer as if losing the ability to fly. But as the warrior frowned and strode out of the magma, he suddenly fell raggedly on the ground!

“…What?!”

There was genuine astonishment in Joshua’s mind. If Igor’s attacks and defense before was to sow emotions in him that made the warrior felt he has encountered unexpected things but nothing too extraordinary, then the warrior could not understand anything at all now. This was the very first time he could not fathom—after all his battles since coming to the world of Mycroft—what struck him.

In that very brief moment, Joshua could sense that he had abruptly lost all ability to manipulate the magnetic fields around him. It had promptly made him lost all ability to resist gravity for his overbearing mass and fall from the sky, and soon, his invincible Steel Strength body began to weaken, unable to hold his own mass!

While others might not be able to understand the concept of supporting their own mass, Joshua knew that it simply meant a collapse. The ultra-dense degenerate matter that formed his body would thus become unstable, and yet before that, his body could directly block blows save for gravity beams, but even that was to avoid anything too surprising.

Joshua looked up at Igor who was still hanging in the skies above with uncertainty. It was the first time he appeared so distressed, but it was also the very moment he sensed another greater danger—the Nuclear Heart Furnace within his body was beginning to enter an abnormal state, the furnace was working rapidly but uncontrollably and almost exceeding its capacity. In other words, the stable artificial star that was burning within his heard was beginning to shift into a supernova, releasing several times and more the volume of nuclear fusion energy than before. If the warrior had not taken emergency control and reduced the furnace output, it would have detonated within his body!

When the time comes, Joshua might not really die, but would really be spread across every corner of the world. That was no laughing matter at all.

“My body is crumbling… Wait, it’s enlarging!”

Clearly, Igor’s unnamed attack was yet to end. The Steel giant’s height that was originally a hundred meters began to balloon. It was not him becoming stronger, but his mass was simply unable to restrain his highly dense form and thus expanding. Joshua tried to suppress the various unusual change in his body as he stood where he was, while racking his brains to think what was happening.

‘Could it be that Igor is able to destroy my body’s composition with particle flow? A molecular fission class of offense?

‘No.’

Joshua had already noticed that it was not some special molecular splitting since he would have been devoured by the Void Mother with the same method. It was a much more fundamental yet frightening power, capable of destroying himself whose mass was similar to a White Dwarf, and could even cause errors in Nuclear Fusion.

Related to light?

An inspiration suddenly flashed in the warrior’s mind. He looked up towards Igor who was staring at himself expressionlessly, and at that luminous fusion sphere of myriad colors that floated behind the elderly pope. It was the spectrum of light given form, which was over hundreds of meters wide and flickered in a cycle in its spectra, but now it shrunk, its wavelength one fifth shorter than before. Joshua inhaled sharply—he had found the answer, but the very answer astonished him even more.

“You can control lightspeed!”

“Ah, Joshua—Joshua van Radcliffe. You never disappoint.”

Staring at the immeasurably shocked warrior, Igor could not help grinning in the air. He closed his eyes and opened them again, his gaze filled with the joy of finally finding a kindred spirit who understood his own power.

“You do understand light.”