Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
It was only in the next morning that Joshua left for the Squirming Forest to help Barnil and William prepare.
Why would Joshua who usually swiftly and decisively handle daily undertakings be so slow in this particular operation? There were many reasons, the most important being that the miscellaneous matters he had to handle being too many.
As one of the mysterious deans of Winter Fort Academy, Joshua’s presence was a factor that attracted students from other regions and other nations to enroll there. Many students longed to meet the warrior, especially the recently established combat-classes such as warrior and knights. For that, Joshua gave them some lecture and displayed little ability as a Legendary warrior, while motivating them to stay diligent as the future would one day belong to them.
He also visited those few apprentices of his, and observe the progress of the First Party’s training, as well as Seventh Prince Arlwa. It must be said—being individuals whom Joshua simultaneously took a liking during their trial in the Divine Dungeon Shroud, their abilities certainly developed quickly. In just over half a year, all of them broke through the barrier of Silver and rose to Silver-beginner, and it would not be difficult for them to touch the boundary of Gold when they mature, if luck would have it. It was also a progress that was only possible with the Great Man Time since prodigies of the pre-Mana Tide Era would still be thinking about how to breakthrough to Silver at their age. Joshua was an exception given that he was special.
The skills he had passed on to Ivan and the others were also simplified Extraordinary powers from Joshua’s own body. Ivan possessed his Steel Body, Amelia attained his Steel Strength vision and senses, the dwarf Nick acquire his lifeforce circulatory system while the girl knight Karin received the shape of his Nuclear Heart Furnace. Given that there had been considerable effort placed in their own training, Joshua was prepared to give them a little surprise when they ascended into Silver-advanced.
On the other hand, Arlwa learned to fly by using electromagnetic fields and the power to assemble electric currents, thanks to Joshua’s thoughts regarding anti-gravity ability and electromagnetism. He would reach the threshold of manipulating gravity when he ascends to Gold, and materialize the most basic ‘Mass Weapon Steel Sword.’
Nonetheless, the speech for the college and review of his students took some time. At night, Joshua had a brief meeting with Nostradamus and Israel once again to exchange information about the ancient era and the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds.
The conversation did not last long and was fleeting, since Israel was under serious pressure following the sudden disappearance of both the warrior and the mage. While spying from external forces was not an issue, it was hard to placate inner dark tides. With individual ability rapidly rising due to the Great Mana Tide, the gap between normal nobles and peasants had started to become negligible. May common folk who now had considerable power would seek revenge against all manner of nobles and affluent merchants who had oppressed them before, while the nobles who sat upon capital and power would certainly not wait for them to reach their mansions, and thereby executing pre-emptive subjugations.
Before, the peasant had no power to resist, but now, they were no longer docile after they acquired it, whereas the nobles too could not abide by their ‘property’ turning around and threatening their own lives. Without the war against the orcs as a target to divert the hatred, the conflict between the peasants and the nobles was virtually unappeasable in the impoverished southern reaches of the Empire.
Israel believed that there were two options to solve such an issue regarding class and special rights that was deeply rooted in the system. One was to have a civil war and let heads fly, after of which the class system would be shuffled, while the other was to find new land where the poor could relocate, allowing them to plow their own land. Still, the two were but cure for the symptoms but not the disease—it was only through a complete reformation that the real issue could be solved.
However, Nostradamus believed that forcing reformations would only cause widespread rebellion amongst the conservative nobles. Even if the three of them could snuff out any dissenting voices throughout the Empire within a day, a national system that was far and lasting could not be established. They need time to experiment and ponder, and before that, the Empire could attempt using the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds in search of a path of development.
As for Joshua, he knew that due to Israel critical sickness in the preexistence, Nostradamus had presided over the Empire’s path of development. Right after the Glorious Expedition against the orcs, it was the Great Development Era launched towards all mountain ranges and dark forest, with the Northern Empire dispatching troops who ventured deep into the Central Dark Forest. Innumerable adventurers had followed the Empire’s Five Great Armies to explore that mysterious and dangerous place, finding countless prehistoric treasures and ruins.
It was a brief exchange, and yet the three had determined the development policy for the next dozen years. Igor could have been looking for Joshua over similar matters just a while ago, but it was forgotten after Joshua challenged the old pontiff… or perhaps not—Igor just might have felt that such things did not matter anymore.
With personal and private affairs mostly solved, it was the next morning when Joshua finally had the time to rendezvous with the two Legendary mages and head for the Squirming Forest.
“You’re saying that the dragon lady wishes to awaken her Ancient Dragon Bloodline as well?”
Joshua had handily informed the two Ancient Dragon specialist about Hill and Funa’s story on the journey to the Squirming Forest. “I can see that her bloodline is pure, a rare intelligent Old World Dragon hybrid,” he said interestedly. “For her, awakening Ancient Dragon bloodline should be more convenient than with your little female dragon—in the very least, Black does not really compare in terms of bloodline concentration.”
On the other hand, William provided professional analysis. “Yes. The main issue is ingredients, and how to tap into the power in her body. When you used the Ancient Dragon Blood to awaken Black, it can only be considered a blind move and your having considerable luck. The aura energy at the time that led Black to awaken carried the aspect of elevated heat and therefore did not clash against her Smelting Black Dragon bloodline, while that portion of Ancient Dragon Blood was also not of an opposing attribute. If it were a person with frost aura and tried to awaken Black with Ancient Frost Dragon Blood, only an explosion ending awaits.”
William was not joking either, something similar had happened before in history: A dragon rider, who wanted to awaken the ancestral bloodline of his dragon companion, had purchased massive resources to help his friend tap into his power. However, it was when the Induction Bloodline materialized and reversed to replace its present bloodline that the dragon rider and his dragon companion was vaporized into dust by a tremendous explosion—due to conflicting attributes.
“Is that so.”
Joshua nodded thoughtfully. If that was to case, it would require Ancient Dragon Blood of lightning, along with a power of corresponding attributes to awaken the bloodline in Funa. It was easy to fine individuals with the corresponding powers what with there being seven to eight of them amongst Winter Fort Academy’s instructors, and it was an easy trick for the three Legendary champions present to manipulate magnetic fields and play with lightning. The only difficulty was perhaps the Ancient Dragon Blood with lightning aspects.
With that thought, the trio arrived at the skies above the Squirming Forest—an extraordinary half-creature half-thicket within the Great Ajax Mountains. There were four to five temporary white greenhouses set up around it, with a dozen youths and instructors who were either wearing uniforms of Skypiercing White Tower or the Imperial Royal Mage Guild entering and exiting busily, entering the thicket from time to time for research sample extraction in groups.
At first, the tentacles and branches of the Squirming Forest had been spread open lazily, languid and unvigilant like a cat basking in the sun. But in the moment Joshua, Barnil and William approached it, the thicket that perhaps possessed a little sentiency bristled in its feline manner, withdrawing its branches and tentacles at once, closing itself like a touched mimosa planet amidst waves of spreading electromagnetic fields.
“Generally speaking, our presence would cause great fright for this creature that relied only upon instinct. So, other than researching its special physical traits and complex blood circulatory system, William and I would not come without cause since it interferes with the students’ topical research.”
Barnil shrugged. He had already gotten used to it, but Joshua merely stroked his chin and grinned.
“Magnetic field… Electric current… and I was thinking where I could find Ancient Dragon blood with lightning attribute.”
“Isn’t there some readily available now?”
As if sensing a profound ill-intent pressing down from the skies, the Squirming Forest that had shrunk itself into a cluster tightened itself.
Its simple instincts had a premonition: a calamity and conspiracy aimed at it, or the master of the bloodline it bore was coming.