Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The powerful Steel Strength ripple resonated just as marvelously as two attracting magnetic poles. Joshua could distinctly sense Zero-One’s every move even when it was hundreds of kilometers away and beneath ground, as well as its excited mood.
“Really… It’s been a long time.” He muttered softly.
Zero-One had rarely joined the others since the journey to the Anos Abyss, having stayed at the city of the Runic Dwarves since then. Even so, its contribution was no less than others: it was in charge of everything from living metals, super alloy, underground tunnel excavation to clearing a path for the subterranean railway. The technical development it inspired could even be considered the original motive force for Moldavia’s burst in magical technology—most machinery would have been unusable without the unique living metals and extraordinary alloy.
Still, Joshua did not rush to meet Zero-One, waiting silently instead as he stood beside the colossal steel statue by the outskirts, all while training how he should materialize objects in his mind through Steel Strength. Hours later, after metallic figures of various sizes piled up beside Joshua, Zero-One’s silhouette exited a nearby construction site.
The huge body of steel strode out from a cavern that was equally huge. Beside the construction side labeled with the sign ‘Station One of Moldavia Underground Rail’, many dwarf engineers were dispersing human employees to clear a path for the Steel Elemental.
And in the moment the Steel Giant reached the surface, it turned toward where the warrior was and leveled it gaze at Joshua.
In the very next second, it stalked out and soon arrived before the warrior.
Amidst metallic scraping noise, the huge metallic giant slowly half-knelt before Joshua, the flat soil beneath it crumbling under its weight. Joshua smiled as he looked at the imposing steel giant that was wrapped entirely in armor, and reached out to pat its huge head.
“There’s no need to be so formal. You are my creation after all, and also perhaps my… child.”
“Bzzt-bzzt!” The Steel Giant’s entire body shuddered as it exclaimed, moved and surprised.
Though awkward, Joshua still admitted the fact. Whatever the case may be, Zero-One was assuredly his creation and his child to a certain extent… Other facets notwithstanding, its very form did not differ much with his true Legendary form, the only contrast of which was only in size and density.
And behind Zero-One, the dwarven engineering team panted as they did their best to sped on their little feet behind Zero-One. Some of the smarter ones joined them on magically powered forklifts, and when they finally reached them, Joshua had already finished connecting with Zero-One, and got the steel giant to rise.
“Do tell. Is something the matter that you brought Zero-One along to meet me?”
Joshua turned to the dwarf engineer in the lead, who had a white beard so large that it could wrap a circle around his waist. That was evident of his higher ranking—he was only next to the Grand Forge of the Runic Dwarves, one of the elders of their tribe.
The dwarf clearly understood Joshua’s personality as well, and so did not waste any time for nonsense. “My liege,” he said respectfully after a slight bow. “The underground railway connecting Moldavia, Winter Fort Academy and our settlement is mostly finished—the subterranean path dug and augmented, the rails being put in place. We estimate that the laying of the rails would be done before this winter, and we could conduct tests once the locomotives are completed.
“Not bad. Your progress is swift: that’s three months faster than initial estimations.” Joshua was quite delighted in return. “Just apply for funds if you find yourselves short—and use my name, tell them that I have approved it.”
The underground rail project of Moldavia was a joint effort between the Moldavian Liege’s Residence and the dwarves to build a subterranean rapid transit system. Compared to the considerable number of monsters and the upheaval caused by Extraordinary individuals, an underground rail was instead safer. It also cut down the initial maintenance fee dwarven presence to insignificant proportions—they were maintaining most caverns in the first place, it did not matter much if they split a little effort for them.
In Joshua’s plans, the huge underground network would cover the entire Northern Empire, connecting the entire Empire thanks to the dwarves. Not only would it consolidate the dwarves’ influence that had been scattered throughout the Empire, most factions that were spread loose over the Empire would be united as well, since transport was vital for most influential factions.
“It surprised me even more that all of you took such good care of Zero-One.”
Joshua looked up toward the Steel Elemental that was standing upright after discussing certain issues regarding the underground rail with the dwarven engineers. It was almost a hundred meters now, and so large that it was one-third as tall as the statue Joshua created once it stood, and its thirty-stories frame could be clearly discerned even from the depths of the city.
“Never thought that you would become so huge after so short a time.”
With a nostalgic gaze, Joshua gladly tapped the tip of Zero-One’s feet—it was so tall that it was difficult for humans to do that now. “Back then, you were so little—”
Zero-One’s single eye flickered with red light, the Steel Elemental making happy sounds as it reveled in its ‘father’s affection.
Beside them, in the eyes of the dwarf engineer, though Zero-One’s appearance was much larger, it appeared smaller even though it was standing before the warrior who was as small as an ant. The severe contrast between the sensation emanating from Joshua and what he saw was unusually unbearable, but he found it reasonable.
However, unlike what the engineer believed, although Joshua appeared to be tapping Zero-One, he was in fact observing the state of the Steel Elemental’s body.
He soon realized an astonishing fact: Zero-One’s inner body composition was extremely similar to his Legendary true from!
Joshua found in surprise that Zero-One’s was precisely like an inferior copy of this Legendary form. Whatever organs, parts or plugins his body had, the Steel Elemental also had it! Apart from similarities in function that was debatable, the fundamental composition was completely identical!
In other words, if one were to say that Joshua’s ability was Steel Strength, Zero-One’s was to replicate Joshua’s own to such degree of similarity.
“The shape of Nuclear Heart, the organ that controls electromagnetism, Psionic Warp Engine… No, it’s just a crystal, the inner constructs are yet to be emulated. Ah, there’s actually a Mass Wave crystallization, although it’s not functioning yet… but most Extraordinary organs are complete!”
And Zero-One’s body was living metal that could transform by will as well, it would be a simple matter to attach any equipment in it.
After a single glance, Joshua was almost speechless when he noticed countless abilities that belonged to him inside Zero-One’s body. “Good fellow, is that Steel Strength Resonance? And it actually copied my abilities out of thin air even when we clearly had not met for so long!”
Although putting it that way was not too correct, but now Zero-One appeared impervious even to ordinary Supreme. From the view of Titans, Zero-One was but a child since it was just a few years old, and yet it was so powerful with such little abilities—there were no limits to its future!
But Joshua was not surprised, given that Zero-One was actually a creation combined with a world’s Steel Strength crystallization as well as his own Steel Strength. To a certain point of view, it was considered a Child of the World, surpassing the bloodlines of typical Titans that transcended era, and was nothing out of the ordinary.
And it was then that the dwarven engineer’s rather troubled voice spoke. “My Lord, although Mister Zero-One had aided us considerably, it is really a little too big… We have almost finished researching living metals and alloys, and after we had let Zero-One consume all kinds of rare metals, there is no longer any need for Mister Zero-One to keep staying underground—it could no longer enlarge! Any more and it will be stuck, unable to move in our city.”
The dwarf grumbled to the warrior with a troubled face, and Joshua nodded after some thought. When he thought about it, it was a genuine miracle that Zero-One could live in a city built according to dwarven size.
“Bzzt-bzzt, bzzt-bzzt-bzzt-bzzt.” Zero-One made sounds in agreement.
And Joshua concurred as well. “That’s right, it’s time for you to see the outside world. Of course, you could look for a place in the mountains around Winter Fort Academy with Black, I would have the engineering team build one for you… You don’t want that? You want to dig one yourself?”
Joshua then shrugged when he heard Zero-One’s reply. “Of course, as you wish.”
The warrior was quite open-minded: he would not refuse what the kid wanted—as long as it did not overstep boundaries.
Then, bustling voices wafted from the city gates: many Moldavian citizens had already gathered by the gates and city walls to take a look at Zero-One.
“What’s that, a colossal armored golem? Looks really powerful!”
If it were any other time, they would certainly not dare to talk so openly in front of such a colossal supernatural creature, but with Joshua standing there, they would not fear an army of wyverns, much less a steel giant.
“Look, Zero-One. They are welcoming you.”
Joshua smiled as he watched those curious, suspicious, worshipful and envious gazes leveled at Zero-One. In a flash, he appeared over Zero-One’s shoulder and said softly, “Welcome home.”
After helping many of the onlookers up onto Zero-One’s body and let it carry them as it walked around the outskirts of Moldavia, Joshua had very much helped Zero-One assimilate into the human world. He was also naturally aware that were scouts from other factions amongst them, but it would not matter even if they learned of the fact.
Joshua did not return to his mansion, and instead led Zero-One to the vicinity of Winter Fort Academy when evening came. As the luminous shrouds of the night shone with crystal clarity, the warrior rose above the world and overlooked the entire Mycroft Continent. The distant horizons slowly arched in his eyes the higher his rose, the shape of the world becoming more distinct, the radiance that engulfed the world turning clearer.
Now, there was peace around the world, just as there were some shift.
The Far Southern Kingdom was in a period of civil strife. Their royal family had spent too much power to resist the army of berserker dragons and fight the Lord of Falling Sleet in direct confrontation, which in turn prompted those with ambition to make false moves to replace them—even after the Royal Family had released its territories around the southern mountains of the kingdom for free development, there was no satiating their appetite.
Even so, Joshua knew that those movements would fail. A while ago, the old pope had spoken about the matter: the pontiff had already sent Roland and Saya to pacify matters—with the urgent need for the world to preserve their power and develop outwardly, any losses over internal troubles were unacceptable. This may be the moment that the holy knight slowly debuted after the fate of the world had been altered, nurturing his renown and reputation as the successor to the pope.
Meanwhile, the West Mountains were still in chaos just like the past hundreds of years. However, the strife unexpectedly maintained partial stability—as the cultists were slowly wiped out, along with the trade and interaction with subterranean civilizations, a circle of Extraordinary forces that held adventuring as their main staple slowly took shape.
Thanks to the high returns, most former war mercenaries and adventurers were more willing to accept missions to explore underground reaches compared to their previous life of combat. At present, with huge underground caverns as their starting point, countless mercenaries carried dreams and hopes as they dove deep into dark and deep abysses, searching for ancient ruins as they passed through cracks and passageways.
In the process, they may come across battles between dwarves and subterranean elves, or get lost in the deep abysses, unable to return to the surface… But there would always miracles that blessed certain others, and they would return, grandly rewarded.
It was certainly the truth: there had been a lucky party that discovered ruins from the Glorious Era, with the now-useless magical items and rather well-preserved classical texts purchased by various influential factions with sky-high prices. The party even became the important guest of a certain kingdom, allowing them to rise to the pinnacle of their lives—it hence prompted even more adventurers and mercenaries to explore.
For a faction, compared to sparing greater cost and capital so that they could venture down below, it was instead much better to post seemingly huge rewards—that actually was not much for a nation’s treasury—to attract mercenaries and adventurers. Both sides found it worthwhile, and none would refuse that little capital.
While there was the occasional conflict between the Eastern Plains and the Northern Empire, there was nothing significant apart from the competition between different mage guilds and squabbles amongst nobility.
The Skypiercing White Tower had now poured all effort upon the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds. The Legendary champion Barbarossa had allegedly attained a portion of information regarding Giant God Warriors after communicating with the Will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds that had long slumbered. As for the Northern Empire, thanks to Joshua’s link with the will, they simply retrieved a damaged Giant God Warrior for research, with the technology contained within shocking even present-day gazes.
Furthermore, the popularity of Fairy Cards was nothing unexpected.
Thanks to the current environment, the Fairy Cards became widespread a little earlier than in the pre-existence. One could register a private account in the unique game with just one crystal card, and groom a sense of accomplishment in the trading card battle… there was no question that the bursting popularity of Fairy Cards was not random. It had now become a standard item for all taverns, and any taverns without a Fairy Card Table would undoubtedly be left behind.
In fact, Tempest the fairy had asked Joshua about a certain matter some time ago. She appeared intent on creating a card of the warrior, and had patted her little chest to assure him that it would be an absolutely powerful legendary card. However, Tempest did not know about the warrior’s accomplishments, and was therefore unable to design it.
Still, Joshua was willing to tell her everything since there was nothing too shady. All that he did was justified, honorable and praiseworthy feats, although saying it all out was no different than boasting. After all, things such as saving worlds, standing against ten thousand foes by himself sounded fake even to Joshua himself, and it could only be said that he was now so powerful that he himself could not quite make sense of it.
“It’s been a peaceful year, huh.”
Standing on the atmosphere within a line’s breadth from the Void, Joshua overlooked the whole world and sighed genuinely.
But even as Joshua was left whelmed with emotion, he would never have imagined how huge the upheaval would come as all the difference he made to this world combined.
The Skypiercing White Tower: an entirely white skyscraper, as if built entirely of white jade marble that reaches to the skies, standing aloft in the heart of the Eastern Plains.
“Barbarossa—look, that huge magical network!”
“Heavens, we actually never noticed it for so long… The network is simply hidden so deeply, and we would never have discovered it if not for the codebreaker from the Giant God Warrior!”
The two Legendary mages Barnil and William were speaking to a solemn-faced bald mage in secret laboratory over a hundred floors above the tower, amidst bright white rays.
“Alright. Shut up, Barnil, I’m looking…” the bald mage muttered, “By the truth, it’s beautiful.”
He sighed a long breath after mostly noting the network’s construct.
“Dazzling magical arts. Is that unparallelly perfect network natural or an inheritance, blessed upon us by the Glorious Era? If it is natural, the world certainly treats us well. But if it’s an inheritance…”
At that, Barbarossa sighed softly, unable to stop himself from clenching his own fist. “…When would we actually surpass our predecessors?”
“You’re overthinking it, my dear Mister Hairless,” Barnil replied with a shake of his head, seemingly merciless after being told to shut up—although they were not really so calculating given their familiarity. “How many years did our predecessor developed before the Glorious Era was accomplished? The Sage took hundreds of years to unify the powers of a continent, while our Starfall Era history isn’t over a thousand and a hundred years old even after counting the dark ages now, is it?”
“But you’re right. It’s time to do some fine research on that massive magical network that connects the entire world, and adapt it for our use!”