Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“Controlling the speed in which light moved—that is my ‘Radiant Domain’.” Igor said serenely halfway up the skies of the Seventh Abyss, and stopped talking as he resumed the battle.
How to go about this?
Having heard Igor admitting the truth himself, Joshua was actually beginning to feel the processing of his mind becoming stagnated. Controlling lightspeed? Did Igor really understand how shameless his own ability was? Was he not just Legendary and not some deity out of nowhere? When others were still playing with mud figuratively as they manipulated energies and influenced matter, that guy who learned things by himself was already building a figurative house by observing the Initial Flame and studying universal constants? Is there not something were wrong with this picture?!
—A god amongst man.
Somehow, Igor’s former title came up in Joshua’s mind. Be it the pre-existence or his current life, he believed that it was merely an honorable title generally acknowledged by the Mycroft Continent, but now it seemed… it was an ordinary description without any exaggeration. He also remembered the three Legendary Dragon Kings that had almost defeated Igor in the pre-existence, raising his evaluation of those three over several notches once again: To almost defeat the old pontiff, it was no longer ‘powerful enough’, but ‘supremely powerful’!
“No… My thinking is affected… my nerve impulses are becoming erratic!”
His imagination having gone wild for quite some time, Joshua suddenly became lucid with a jolt as he discovered that he had been distracted. It was unimaginable for the warrior, but the brain-mind neurotransmitter and nerve impulses had become chaotic due to the shift in the speeds of light, which was why Joshua’s thinking became unsettled—it was unrelated to will for it was a physical blow on the spiritual state that allows Igor to bypass the tightest of defenses and directly affect Joshua’s nervous system.
However, Igor’s assault has yet to end. Joshua noticed that his body was still abnormally enlarging because the molecular particles in his body Were starting to lose their ability to maintain the exceedingly dense composition of his body. Around his body and upon the land of the Seventh Abyss—the Radiant Domain of the old pontiff, the stones above ground were shattered into grains, the magma in the ditch began to boil while a warm breeze that blew through the cliff was enough to turn it into broken pieces. The entire physical realm was beginning to crumble due to the shift of light’s speed, leaving only the myriad colored spectra in the air that maintained its stable radiance.
—This shall not stand. Must come up with something.
Even as his thought and mind began to scatter uncontrollably, Joshua kept struggling and rose from the ground, even if the land has now degenerated into sheets of dust and his body had sunk halfway within it. Clusters of information never stopped flowing past the warrior’s mind—he managed to make several conclusions.
Firstly, the old pontiff’s ability to manipulate the speed of light is bound to zones where the radiance from the Bright Scepter touches, which in other words was the ‘Radiant Domain’. Initially it was over a hundred square kilometers, but had now shrunk to just thirty square kilometers, but all matter in that zone displayed the phenomenon of crumbling. Still, if that was all Igor could do, he would be unable to hold on and end the attack.
The following was a matter of limits: Igor’s ability to control light was limited. If he could directly and instantly decrease the speed at which light moved to zero or accelerate it by several fold, there would be nothing in the physical universe he could not destroy which does include the universe in itself, much less Joshua. Indeed, Igor’s control over the speed of light was approximately by one fifth, and the duration of the peak value was extremely brief.
Finally, Igor must muster his full strength for lightspeed manipulation. He could not use any other attacks when he was doing so, or he could have blasted Joshua halfway to death with a high-energy particle flow given Joshua’s current state, where the warrior could barely control his body.
Even so, Pope Igor’s power remained formidable to the extreme—he was the lord of all things inside the Radiant Domain!
There were also many other sporadic details, such as why Igor would want to fight initially on the Infinite Horizon where there was absolutely nothing? There was an inference in Joshua’s mind but yet to complete, but he did not have the time to complete the thought now—the Nuclear Fusion reaction in his Nuclear Heart Furnace is beginning to show signs of fundamental disturbance and would soon stop. There would be no chance if Joshua did not try now.
Therefore, Joshua made the most decisive of choices in the very next second.
The earth of the Seventh Abyss exploded violently in a split second, but the detonation did not produce flames of energy. The only thing that appeared was a silver mushroom cloud that rose rapidly.
A mushroom cloud composed entirely of Steel Strength dust!
In the air, Igor, who had been staring solemnly at the spot where Joshua was, suddenly clasped his forehead in anguish, while the myriad-colored spectra assemblage began to show snowflake-shaped mojibake. His eyes, and eventually his whole head then began to shoot out veins of pure radiance, as if reaching a limit.
As the mushroom cloud of Steel Strength dust rose, the zone in which Igor could control abruptly dropped from over thirty square kilometers to just five, while the molecular breaking phenomenon also began to pause. In that very moment, the skeleton of a giant formed entirely of skeletal frame and steel nerves walked out of the mushroom cloud and dispersed the dust. Surging waves began to streak across the land with every step he made, before Joshua promptly leaped into the air where the old pontiff was!
Just now, with the last ounce of control over the Steel Strength of his own shell, Joshua had self-destructed proficiently with no hesitation. He had shifted the form of ultra-dense Steel Strength degenerate matter and expanded it into the tiniest micro-class powder that unfurled and burst out with no order to speak of! Instantly, after trillions of incessant collisions, rise, and fusion, the dust cloud appeared within Igor’s Radiant Domain!
There was no substance in the Void and the Infinite Horizon, only relative vacuum of a certain extent. If Igor must treat all matter within his domain indiscriminately, the Void certainly would be the place where he could unleash his full ability, while places where other matter existed would distract him and lower his control!
Grabbing what could possibly be Igor’s only weakness, Joshua quickly gave up on materializing the armor and flesh that made up most of his ability as he intended to interfere with Igor’s power to control the speed of light, launching his attack with his toughest skeleton engraved with divine runes—it appeared now that his inference was right, and Igor did temporarily lose his ability to control lightspeed.
“Truly decisive, but…”
Against the incoming Joshua who came striking across thin air and resembled a gigantic skeleton, Igor forcibly suppressed the excess information flow in his mind. Briefly focusing and extending his right hand that grasped the Bright Scepter, he affected magnetic field by controlling lightspeed once more, pressing the warrior down onto the ground and kicking up huge sheets of dust.
“You’re not quick enough.” The old pontiff laughed loudly.
No, you’re wrong.
Dragged down to earth by his own cumbersome mass after losing control over magnetic field once more, Joshua had no disappointed expression when he rose again. There was absolutely no Steel Strength armor over his body now—or even flesh, merely thick bones of Steel divine patterns. Despite the protection of each ribs, the Nuclear Heart Furnace was about extinguish, but it was now transferring every bit of energy in it into a crystal sphere right beneath it—
Psionic Warp Engine!
Following the energy transference, the crystal began to emit radiances in that very instant. A streak of psionic beam hence violently shot out towards Igor’s direction—even if the psionic beam could not soar at the speed of thought like it did on Stellaris due to the difference in realms, it was precisely what Joshua wanted!
At that moment, the warping process began and ended—a speed faster than light. As the dimensions undulated, the giant Steel skeleton appeared before Igor who could not react in time, searing energy bursting froth to ignite fragile air molecules into shining plasma. Now, mustering all his power and mass, Joshua swung his fist out!
It was as if the world froze there—the giant skeleton burning in plasma flame traverse the deep Void, clenching its fingers like a forceful iron-hammer fist that could break worlds, swinging out with the energy that could shatter everything!
However, the punch disappointingly did not strike Igor, but a thin sheet of light instead. Although Igor had no time to react when Joshua warped, the time that the warrior swung his fist was enough for the most powerful Legendary champion to launch his defense.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
Every layer of the light wall broke, trembling the air thunderously. In the Radiant Domain, all fragile matter shook comprehensively due to the lowered speed of light and turned into dust, and turned into nothing like a feeble sand tower under the ensuing shockwaves. Still, the punch stopped—as the Bright Scepter was helped aloft, faint light flickered, and Joshua’s iron fist was left unrewarded after breaking nine walls of light.
Nevertheless, it was not futile. With a dull thud, Igor and the spherical spectrum assemblage behind him was sent flying directly to the thick clouds of the Seven Abyss some thousands of meters away. Having been freed from the ‘observer’ and the gaze of the aged pope, the Radiant Domain that engulfed Joshua vanished. The dimensions recovered following the distortion, and the world readjusted the manipulated lightspeed back to its original state.
” Phew… ”
Having sent Igor flying and destroying the Radiant Domain, Joshua dropped to the ground from the air once more, spread over the ground. The Nuclear Heart Furnace has now reignited at the center of his chest, while his brain was working normally. While the series of moves and reactions appeared simple, it had actually used all his power—he would never have broken Igor’s Radiant Domain if he made any mistake on any step, and would have been defeated without any ability to counter.
As for now…
“Never thought that you would actually have such a move…”
As warm light shrouded the land, Igor, who had been sent flying along with his barriers of light slowly descended from the cavity in the clouds and landed beside Joshua. He did not unleash any other attacks, and instead watched the warrior and spoke with a rather moved voice, “Be it interfering my vision with dust, changing the difficulty of controlling the domain or the sudden ability to warp, all of it exceeded my expectations. You should know that most dimensional spells would have become ineffective my domain.”
That was natural. Given that physical constants had all been shifted, how would teleportation spells be usable? It was only by using Psionic Space that did not rely on the physical universe which in turn works normally. Even as those thoughts crossed Joshua’s mind silently, the warrior tried to rise but the energy furnace on his chest that had just reactivated could not supply sufficient energy, which was why he did not force himself and kept himself lying on the ground.
He had unquestionably failed in his challenge against Igor—he had exhausted all strength, while the old pontiff clearly had strength to spare. Joshua would certainly admit that his defeat was delightful since he never believed that he could beat Igor, and only intended to learn what was the level his strength had reached. He truly never thought that Igor’s power would far surpass his expectations to the point that he never unleashed much of his abilities before being forced into dire straits by Radiant Domain.
At the same time, Igor withdrew the luminous myriad spectra sphere, while Joshua also removed his Steel giant form. The warrior tiredly rose from the ground as the Steel bones vanished without a chase, looked toward the old pontiff and shrugged. “It was I who never expected that… Your Holiness has truly remarkable depth.”
“Because I’ve never encountered any enemies to use it against.”
A light flickered in Igor’s hand and the Bright Scepter promptly vanished. He then clasped his hands behind his back and looked towards the mountain ranges of the Seventh Abyss—the landscape was so ruined in the few seconds of blow exchanges that it was no longer recognizable. “It had been a fine opportunity in the encirclement by the Dragon Kings, but with Israel and the Nature’s Magister present, there was no need to use it.”
At those words, the old pontiff walked to Joshua’s side and extended the hand, which the warrior grasped and stood with the support after a brief pause.
“Normal offensive measures are useless against you.” Igor smiled contentedly. “That gave me sufficient reason to use my full strength… and yet you swiftly found the weakness of Radiant Domain, which does provide me a direction for research.”
But the sheer difference in ability was still too great. Even so, Joshua did not lose heart despite Igor’s words, delving into deep thought instead. This time, he relied on the psionic warp to surprise Igor and break the Radiant Domain, but there would not be such fine conditions next time since he would definitely be cautious about that move. But halfway through his thoughts, he noticed that the white-haired elder had an expression that was at once in a good mood and humor.
“Joshua, did you really wanted to defeat me so much right now?”
“It was a striving in that direction.” The warrior did not conceal his thoughts, and looked around at the Seventh Abyss as well and noticed the frost demons that were trembling in fear. “Though the battle was delightful,” he spoke with a normal tone, “what meaning is there in a fight where victory isn’t the goal?”
“There is no need to force yourself so much… even when the Evil Gods return in decades.”
Nonetheless, Igor did not elaborate on the topic and looked up instead towards the skies and clouds that he and Joshua stirred, and spoke in a serene tone, “Even with my innate gifts, it is by decades of study, day after day of using the finest resources and aid to research the ‘Initial’ Flame in the center of the Great Shrine that I could reach this domain… Even if you are a rare prodigious talent who is ten times greater than I am, you couldn’t surpass me in less than two years after ascending into Legendary.”
“Don’t look too far, Joshua of the Radcliffe Family. Do not keep your eyes fixed to the starry sky and into the future, do not think of the rise and declines of worlds—notice the ground beneath of your feet and the present before your eyes, at the things that appear mundane.”
Igor closed his eyes. “That is because you are Legend, an eternal existence while those things are not…” he said with a mild voice. “You have enough time to become stronger, to surpass me. I believe that day would come, and much sooner than expected.”
There was a trace of loneliness in Igor’s words, but it soon disappeared.
Joshua kept silent and did not make a reply to Igor. The elderly man also seemed to think that he had spoken too much as well, and so switched topics. “Sparring over… I’m prepared to return to the Sacred Mountain. Joshua, are you ready?”
“…I’m staying here.”
Igor quickly became curious. “Why?”
Joshua turned towards another direction at the Steel Strength dust that was wafting away following his self-destruction.
“Resource recycling,” he said with a rather calm voice.
Igor did not wait for Joshua to retrieve every bit of Steel Strength dust, leaving the Seventh Abyss first to return to the Far Southern Sacred Mountain. Unlike the warrior’s hands-off policy, the old pope was a dutiful leader of a great faction who handles many duties daily.
It was not too difficult for Joshua to retrieve the Steel dust. He only needed to fly a lap around where the dust was, and the amalgamation of Steel Strength in an area over thousands of meters would return to his control. That area would also enlarge as his Steel Strength improved, and in less than ten minutes, he had finished collecting virtually all Steel dust—and only had to use a few more days to condense it once more into ultra-dense degenerate matter to recover his peak form.
Joshua was also considering the old pontiff’s words seriously. He found that Igor was not wrong, that he had certainly been too impatient—against Evil Gods that would descend decades later, there was a little overzealous manner in his pursuit for power… Naturally, it was not wrong since it was how he lived. Joshua was very satisfied about it as well, and did not intend to change.
“Igor is right on one point.”
Joshua, having ascertained that he had left nothing behind and finished collected ninety-nine point nine-nine percent of Steel dust, prepared to enter the void and return to the world of Mycroft. ‘I should rest for a bit ,’ he thought, ‘and enjoy life.’