Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 616


Chapter 616 Gazes Of Ten Thousand Worlds

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Ancient Dragons.

After the World was born, primeval beings borne of Steel Strength crystallization became the shared ancestors of all beings, the origins of bloodlines. The very reason for their birth was to spread the seeds of life, so that the empty, barren World that had nothing could be filled with life.

In different worlds, primeval beings had different names—World Trees, Tortoise that Carries the World, Realm Serpents and so forth. The reason why Ancient Dragons were named as Ancient Dragons was because their most numerous species of descendants were known as Old World Dragons. Hence, the Ancient Dragons that had a similar form became known as Ancient Dragons.

The abilities of Ancient Dragons varied, while their numbers, actual form and everything else were unknown. They are born with the ability to freely move in the Void and yet not be restrained by World Barriers. It was precisely the reason why the Ancient Dragon scholars had the hypothesis: Ancient Dragons once observed in the world of Mycroft were not born there, and it was very likely that most of them were wandering Ancient Dragons that arrived here from other worlds.

The hypothesis was, in fact, convincing. Since human bloodlines were related to Old World Dragons from prehistory, they were fundamentally different creatures. It proved that at least one variant amongst Old World Dragons was nurtured from Ancient Dragons—a primeval being of another world. Indeed, according to the circumstances that draconic creatures and humanoid beings were spread across the Multiverse, it was either that the ancestor of both were born natively on Mycroft or the Ancient Dragons of Mycroft had already left the world that nurtured them, wandering all reaches of the Multiverse and spreading the seed of life.

The Multiverse was boundless, but only a rare few worlds bore life. It must be noted that given the different concentration of Steel Strength not all worlds could give birth to their own primeval beings and produce their first ecosphere. Therefore, the reason Ancient Dragons enjoyed wandering the Multiverse was precisely because their reason of being was to fill the world with vigor. They would help worlds that could not give life on their own in creating a suitable ecosphere—as such, to a certain point of view, the Ancient Dragons actually held the role of creators.

There were those who followed the footsteps of Ancient Dragon for great power, just as those who searched for their mysteries to learn the perfect state of being, as well as those who seek their whereabouts, for they wished to learn the origin of life… For power, perfect and beautiful form, there were those who pursued Ancient Dragons in all worlds—it was hence a pity that whenever civilization developed to a certain threshold and its ecosphere become self-sufficient, the Ancient Dragons would disappear, perhaps entering slumber or leaving. Whatever the case might be, they would vanish from human view, leaving just bits of legends recorded in ancient text.

Even so, there would those who never give up for power, perfection, personal curiosity and desire… Certainly and most importantly it was the Primeval Force that created all things and reshaped ecospheres. It was a lifeforce that most civilizations could never grasp no matter how advanced they were.

Countless civilizations and worlds desired it—to restore destruction wrought by war, to repair dilapidated ecosystems or to have greenery over scorched land, reasons numbered up to millions. However, the desires are equally great. They urgently desire to find Ancient Dragons and attain the power they wanted from them.

When the Ancient Dragon bellow trembled the surrounding space that faint ripples arose throughout the Abyss and Void, it was not merely the Ancient Dragon Chasers on Mycroft who felt the throb. Other demons of the Abyss, the Pentashade Dragons and the many civilizations of unnamed worlds sensed that the Dragon of Origins in the distant space was awakening from its ancient slumber and now walked the land once more.

—Thus, the door to ten thousand worlds opened.

Expedition armies sortied and prepared to depart, Void fleets left port all together, while legions composed of Extraordinary individuals swore oaths on the city squares of capitals. There was much anxiety beneath the waves of the Great Mana Tide, but those worlds that had strength to spare would open their long-sealed gate, leaving their homeworld again to head for the distant dimension.

For that ancient, final hope.

***

Rainy Season, year Four-Hundred and Nineteen in the Drakonids’ unnamed calendar.

The Kronos Mountains, the world of Kronos.

In the warm mountain range that suited the Drakonids, snow only existed on certain taller peaks. Frost were the rarest of objects, and drought was perhaps the coldest time there was—when the White Winds from the northern reaches of the Desert of God raged. In the few days the White Winds lasted, massive amounts of dust and sand would shroud the skies and sun, causing temperatures to plummet to near-winter.

The rainy season now was different. Though the temperatures would lower as well, the searing after-rain sun would raise the warmth of the mountains to a near-sauna state. To the Drakonids, however, the hot environment suited their daily behavior best—the dampness from the rain would incidentally allow them to unleash their natural lightning abilities with exponential effect.

Misty Jungle, the Kronos Mountains.

Looking down from the sky, this place was a jungle located beside a rift valley. A river surged at the depths of the rift thunderously, with white steam rising from within and shrouding the surrounding jungle, forming a dense shroud. But it was here in this jungle covered in mist that a sharp wail of a beast emanated. Countless surprised birds leaped away from the thicket, upset by the exceedingly cold and dismal sound, while other beasts in the surroundings turned their heads in panic toward the direction of the wail.

Powerful monsters resided in the Misty Jungle—a fact every Drakonid village and monster knew. All who carelessly entered the fog would vanish under the thunderous rift valley river, turning into white skeletons. That was why it has been a long time since any monster or Drakonid approached that jungle, but with such a dismal wail, could there be some new monster hunting there now?

Such was the opinion of most monsters, while the Drakonids patrolling the surroundings were not too concerned once they noticed that it was no Drakonid cry.

But the truth was the exact opposite of what they believed.

Somewhere in the Misty Jungle, a thick scent of blood wafted from the gaping cavity in a giant tree that had long withered but not decomposed.

The giant tree, a rare dragon-moss tree found in the Kronos Mountains, was over thirty meters tall and more than ten meters wide. Legends claimed that it was born from the blood of the Dragon God, and secrets tree resin that strengthens monsters—even if it withers, its fragrance relaxes monsters which in turn made it the lair of powerful ones. And in the cavity of such a huge tree, pale-blue liquid was bubbling out a concentrated scent of blood, while there was also the unpleasant and concentrated magical energy that was spreading across all directions.

It should have been dark inside the cavity, and yet milky-white fluorescence was flickering within the walls of the hole. Those were fluorescent moss that usually had a symbiotic relationship with dragon-moss trees and fed on mana, and emits fluorescent light in the darkness. As long as the host tree itself is alive, the moss would clearly shin in white fluorescence at night, making it easy to be found—and thanks to it, one could see the huge corpse of a monster in the center of a cavity.

The monster was entirely black and appeared similar to a bat albeit having a spiked tail, well-developed forelimbs and streamlined muscles growing all over its powerful body. From a comprehensive observation, it appeared to be a hybrid between a leopard and a bat, agile in its movements when previously alive—it must have been extraordinarily powerful, given that it could thrive in the environment of the Misty Jungle where nothing more than five meters away could be seen. And yet, the powerful hunter was now a corpse with a huge explosive wound visible where its heart had been, instantly destroying all its vigor just as pale-blue blood shot out from within, dyeing the entire cavity blue.

And not too distant from the monster’s corpse was a blue-haired Drakonid girl, who lay in a puddle of its blood and panting weakly.

It was Lisa the Draoknid girl. At the moment, her blue hair that was flickering with lightning arcs were slowly reverting to black. Although she had not a hint of injury over her body, there were clear severe injuries beneath her skin on her muscles—it was as if she had mustered every ounce of power in an instant for one single burst. The powerful energy had assuredly exceeded the power that Drakonids could unleash at such ages, which in turn dealt severe blowback to her and tore apart eighty percent of her muscles.

The silence between the monster’s corpse and the corpse-like Drakonid girl lasted another dozen second, after of which an immeasurably feeble voice broke the unusual atmosphere.

“Mister Syndicate… *cough cough* , so much blood… *cough*, is hard to come by, don’t you waste it…”

Though she coughed after every few words, Lisa intermittently finished her sentence, thereafter raising her trembling right hand to grope her own chest and draw out a curious green ‘pendant’, placing it within the monster blood beside her.

“The other monsters around us would soon pick up the scent of blood… *cough cough*, we need to get out of here as soon as possible!”

“I know, you don’t have to tell me! Just… let me rest for a moment.”

The pendant abruptly changed form the moment it touched the blood, turning into a rubbery Slime—it was a clearly atypical one too, given that its body was encircled with minuscule lightning arcs. “That ‘transform’ mode just now where I help you convert energy for a one-hit-kill blow actually took a greater toll on me than it did on you…” Syndicate said equally feebly. “But this is a great success! Who knows how long his monster lived and how many of its own species it preyed upon. The energy in its blood is enough to recover point-seven percent of my peak ability!”

“Eh? Just point-seven percent?!”

After her many days of training under the balrog—or lightning demon to be exact, Lisa had learned basic mathematics and biology, which included the knowledge of Actuate Bolt and was thus part of That Person’s legacy. Therefore, she certainly knew what point-seven percent, or seven-over-one-thousand meant.

” *Cough* —this one is actually a Lord of the Mist, and one of the most powerful monsters around the village. And its full-body power could only cover so little of your strength, Mister Syndicate?” Lisa said, her gaping eyes filled with doubt as she spoke. “Don’t flatter yourself, Mister Syndicate—with that soft cotton body of yours, it couldn’t be powerful no matter how much you want it to be, right?”

“You little Drakonid rascal!” Syndicate almost exploded in anger from those words. Since when had it fallen to such a state to be underestimated until such extent, even as a former archdemon of the Abyss? If not for it being heavily injured by pursuers, forced to drop into an unknown world and separated from its core body for self-preservation, could it be to so weakened like it was now! While that may be the case, there was no reason the little Drakonid rascal should look down on it! In rage, Syndicate absorbed the energy in the puddle of blood at full capacity—soon, the spreading magical energy that made others feel abnormal disappeared, while the fluorescent moss dull and withered, for the mana they thrived upon had been plundered by a certain powerful being.

Lisa also sensed abnormality. Now, the girl could move slightly thanks to rapid metabolism and strong self-regeneration prowess. She looked up in curiosity only to find the pale-blue Slime that seemed to have added a few layers to itself was wriggling toward the hole where the monster’s heart was, and slipped like water into the monster’s body.

After a few moments, the monster’s corpse abruptly shrunk as if all water and essence had been drained. Then, after another few seconds, Syndicate appeared before Lisa, now pendant-sized again albeit entirely blue and hovering in the air. Its entire body was wrapped in green-purple thunderbolts, and like a ball of lightning, vaporized any blood that had no energies left in the tree cavity, controlling the lightning with supreme precision and drying even the damp clothes over the girl’s body.

“That’s awesome, Mister Syndicate!” The Drakonid girl gave a genuine praise as now she felt much bothered, and blinked, making a silly smile at the ball of lightning that floated mid-air. “I was wrong—Mister Syndicate must have been very powerful before, since it is a creature which body could turn into meteor steel even after falling from the sky!”

“At least you know!”

Not a creature with complex thoughts, the balrog quickly forgot its rage before after being praised by Lisa, and returned to the Drakonid girl’s palm and turned into a pendant on her neck. “I coordinated with you to gather our powers simultaneously and let it burst, so that the monster could be killed as it slept with a single blow…” Syndicate said calmly. “For that, we had stayed hidden for a dozen hours and used my powers to fool its senses. However, there won’t be any problems in the future. I’ll increase your energy as per the pact—that way, you just have to find the right timing to ‘transform’ in the next hunt to quickly secure the kill with a single strike.”

The so-called transform was the name of the coordinated move between Lisa and Syndicate. Having nothing that could be really called a body at the moment and merely a true form that acted as a core to store energy, Syndicate had to work together with Lisa if it wanted to unleash its full power. The balrog would hence temporarily transfer its own power to the Drakonid girl so that she fought with it, while it just had to aid her in energy conversion. The coordination turned Lisa’s black hair into a lightning green-blue, which was why the move was named so mundanely as transformation.

“Hmmm. But what should I do when it comes to the trial hunt?” Lisa, being a single-minded girl, quickly raised another question even as she spoke to Syndicate. “The assessment is about to end, but we had used almost all of our time to hunt the Lord of the Mist—dad would be disappointed if I failed the assessment!”

The reason Syndicate and Lisa could leave the village and hunt outside the village was because they were on an outing with the village’s own trainee hunters who awakened successfully for their first trial hunt. The adult hunters would set aside a part of the jungle, chase off the powerful monsters within and get the recently awakened youth to enter and hunt for their first prey.

Would Lisa and Syndicate let the first reasonable excuse for an outing slip by? After all, the balrog was former Supreme, and with its correspondingly considerable spiritual strength, the two easily escape the monster hunters’ monitoring and arrive at the Misty Jungle, the habitat of the strongest monster Syndicate could sense. They thus found the lair of the Lord of the Mist, hiding their own presence through Syndicate’s power, and struck, killing the monster with their most powerful blow when it slept—when it was at its most vulnerable.

“Just find and kill any weakling monster. With the powers you and I have now, even most adult monster hunters are not your equals, much less weak monsters.”

Although Syndicate spoke confidently, it was not merely rambling. In the end, Lisa was a pure-blood Drakonid that was rarely found even across centuries, and was merely flawed that her awakening was incomplete and therefore unable use her full power, but her talent was definitely astonishing. Through the rapid regeneration and considerable training prepared for her by the balrog, Lisa’s constitution had now approached—perhaps even surpassing—some adult Drakonids, although the price would be her inability to grow tall in the future.

Still, Lisa still had the power of lightning—a bloodline power that far surpassed typical Drakonids. In itself a considerable ability, when added with the Actuate Bolt that was a Monarch-class Legacy for demons, along with Syndicate own power unleashed in synchrony, their combined might could instantaneously kill the Lord of the Mist that an entire monster hunter party would have trouble with. Now, Syndicate had recovered just a little bit of its ability after absorbing monster blood and energy essence, and the coordinated power which fuses the Archdemon’s knowledge and combat experience was certainly without peer in this jungle.

“Urgh, it hurts… But I definitely can walk normally.” Lisa stood up after flexing herself for a bit, with the crisp sound of the girl’s inner bones shaking distinctly audible. Through intricate instruction from the balrog for many days, she had learned most of the lower-specification usage for Actuate Bolt, such as controlling lightning flow to stun foes across thin air, stimulating muscles for power that eclipsed her usual power output, utilize electromagnetic acceleration or just decelerate attacks with metallic weapons, or even use electromagnetic fields to discover hiding monsters in the surrounding jungle.

It could even excite nerves and muscles, quickening the regenerative prowess of the body.

Ability, strength, speed, defense, regeneration and observation ability were all increased comprehensively. It was a legacy from a superior Extraordinary civilization, and with the skills contained within that far surpassed the primitive experience accumulation of Drakonids. The young girl did not know that she was using an experimental superior legacy that most ordinary knights and mages of the Mycroft Continent could not even experience, a conclusion that a Legendary champion named Joshua van Radcliffe reached through the profound magnetic fields of his own body. Having such level of technique in the Kronos Mountains was equivalent to a primitive tribe owning a spaceship—it was a matter of time for Lisa to become the best monster hunter.

“Stop dallying, our time is short… to be frank, I really don’t want you to return with those monster hunters. We should use this time to hunt more monsters and recover more of my power, or when the time comes…”

Unlike the relaxed girl, Syndicate was very anxious for he knew what was coming to this world. The power of Ancient Dragon was certainly formidable and it would not be too bizarre for them to hold back an entire Abyssal Liege’s army, since the Battle of the Apocalypse was very likely to be another way of describing the Ancient Dragon pushing back the assault of a certain Abyssal Liege. Even so, the destruction left by the invasion of the demon army had turned the entire world into a barren desert.

And at his hour, Syndicate did not have a real body, and could only use its powerful energies by working together with Lisa by ‘transforming’. So that it would not die, and to not let the girl who entered a pact with itself, it must empower itself as soon as possible.

Protecting Lisa was just a secondary objective. It was a mere matter of protecting the subject of a pact.

“It’s not that I can’t… though I would worry dad, it is still the first time I went so far from home, I certainly don’t want to leave so early either.”

Lisa appeared to have no thoughts of protesting. Even if she did not understand Syndicate’s worries, she subconsciously knew not to trouble it, and so said pleasantly, “Well, shall we keep hunting powerful monsters? But before that I have to eat something, my stomach feels empty…”

The cost of rapid regeneration definitely would make people hunger quickly, which was why Syndicate the did not object. “Then just find a place and hunt a little weakling for food. We’ll head north afterward—there is still a powerful monster that could recover point-five of my power.”

“Alright!” Lisa answered in delight, briskly leaving the cavity of the dragon-moss tree and soon the entire Misty Jungle, and headed north.

But just as she caught and killed a weak monster, while raising a fire to have a feast of roast meat, Syndicate suddenly communicated with her spiritually. “Quick! Lisa!” It commanded with an immeasurably serious yet panicking voice. “Douse the Flames! Hide! I’ll cover you, slip into the bushes!”

“Okay!”

Having just filled half her stomach and still intending to continue, Lisa followed Syndicate’s orders despite her blank expression. She extinguished her fire at her quickest speed and cleaned herself with lightning, before hiding herself in a nearby bush. Syndicate had also quickly buff her with a spiritual barrier that obscured senses, utterly concealing them both.

In the very next moment, before Lisa could understand what was happening, the sound of heavy footsteps wafted from the distance.

It was a huge object, over five to six meters tall that came into the views of the curious Lisa and the solemn Syndicate. The creature had bat-like wings, two huge horns akin to mountain goats and a huge mouth filled with serrated teeth. Its robust limbs were filled with developed muscles and sturdy shell, its eyes glimmering with unusual dark-purple radiance, while its body spread the scent of sulfur.

Where it treaded, the ground would be scorched, plants would shrivel and fallen leaves would burn. The damp air swiftly became dry once the behemoth appeared, while searing winds billowed as its huge wings flapped, surging toward all directions.

“Gargoyle.”

Syndicate spoke with an immeasurably solemn voice with spiritual communication. “An Abyssal demon that is just one step away from archdemon!”

“The advance team of the demons had actually arrived in this world already?!”

As for Lisa, once she saw the fearsome face of the demon, the bloodline hidden within her quickly let her understood that she had no way of standing up to that enemy at this very moment. It was a being she must distance herself from, avoid, and the further she could run, the better!

—Such a huge body, such incredible power… My teacher could never stand against it, nor could my father! Not even an entire party of monster hunters!

Her mind instantly realized the fact, and the Drakonid’s girl tentative curiosity quickly turned ice cold. “Father and the others must be notified—such a powerful monster is so close to our village!”

“Ah! The trial party is still nearby!”

However, in the very second Lisa remembered the fact, the gargoyle sniffed the air. “Fire and the smell of roasted meat…” it mumbled in the Abyssal tongue. “A Drakonid is nearby?”

Its lips thus parted in a cruel smile. “I actually liked the taste of those little beings. Their blood is filled with vigor—much tastier than humans, sauroks or the like.”

However, before the gargoyle could flap its wings and take to the air to find the whereabouts of those ‘tasty fellows’ nearby, a sheet crimson suddenly appeared over the skies of the Kronos mountains.

‘Wroooom—’

As a faint hum that somehow echoed over the ears of all beings, the sky changed color without warning. The azure sky hence turned pitch-black in no time at all as countless silver stars hung over the curtains of the sky, releasing specks of radiance. It gave one the feeling as if the barrier of the world that covered the skies had suddenly vanished, revealing the truth behind the illusionary sky, and from those silvers stars, countless scarlet lights were unfurling, drawing streaks of red trail over the dark sky as they fell all over the world.

Those were meteors—millions of them falling from beyond the boundaries of this world, carrying a blaze that incinerated all things as they fell upon this world.

In that instant, the world changed color and the mountains shuddered as a drawn-out draconic bellow wafted from the center of the distant desert. One could discern the rage and feebleness in that bellow, while the Kronos Mountains were instantly ablaze as countless meteors descended upon the land. Endless demons, twin-winged dragons, and creatures without a name soared the skies visibly, fighting against each other while trying their best not to destroy everything on their surface. They were even deliberately extinguishing the flames ignited by their arrival to not destroy the mountain range.

The bizarre battle and strife hence commenced throughout all reaches o the Kronos Mountains, leaving the native monsters and Drakonids bewildered.

“The army is finally here!”

That gargoyle exclaimed in delight—although it still appeared ugly and intimidating to Lisa, it quickly gave up on searching for any nearby Drakonids and shook its wings, rising into the air and entered a scrap against a twin-legged winged dragon.

Meanwhile, in the center of the Desert of God.

The silver Ancient Dragon hid itself in the windstorm of steel sand, scrutinizing dispassionately as several powerful beings who were looking down upon that little world stood off against each other. Amongst them were dragons, demons, and champions of many unique races.

After hundreds of years, the apocalyptic war that belongs to it had begun anew.

*****

At the other end of the dimension, the Great Ajax Mountains in Northern Moldavia, the World of Mycroft.

“The coordinates have reappeared. Verifying once again—the Fifth Hundred and Eighty-Seventh Layer of the Abyss!”

“It’s not too distant from the perspective of worlds, although it remains a rather extended distance.”

Amidst the clouds, the ride of two Legendary mages—the research vessel called the ‘Observer’ slowly rose, accelerating even as the runes on its external armor whirled rapidly. Pale blue dimensional ripples visible to the naked eye thus appeared around the airship, and soon a doorway directed to the Void slowly opened above it.

“Weird, there many powerful energy signatures detected closing in on the surrounding of the target world…”

William’s expression was not relaxed just before departure. He frowned, staring solemnly at the screen of the control panel before him. “Perhaps Joshua is right—there are many factions spying on the Ancient Dragons apart from ourselves.”

“To be frank, I’m not there to struggle for the Ancient Dragon with those fellows. I just want to protect the treasure of the Multiverse.” Barnil replied, and turned his head for a glance at Joshua.

“And not throw a punch out once I see it like the being back here.”

Behind them, Joshua shrugged. He did not have the strength for banter with the two old-timers.

“Either way, engine warm-up completed… Void portal opened.”

Neither Barnil nor William added anything once they saw that Joshua did not reply, smiling excitedly together as they sat in the cockpit, calibrating the research vessel they altered for who-knows-how-many-times.

“Let’s go!”

In the very next instant, as the dimensions surged with incomparable power, the little white research vessel hence abruptly vanished from the skies over the Great Ajax Mountains.