Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“…And you’re not one day over thirty. Why do you speak as if you were an older codger than I am?”
Soon, however, Nostradamus pondered and quickly reacted when he found that something was not right. “Have you been too idle? Seems a little out of character for you to say all those stuff you just said.”
“What’s wrong with me speaking philosophically?”
And I’m almost forty when the age of my two existences are summed up. Why can’t I act with seniority?
Joshua found Nostradamus absolutely wrong in having some preconception about himself. He was not some war construct and having only preset combat programming in his mind—still, he did not spare the effort to explain since it was frivolous.
“By the way, the server had been stabilizing recently, so I’ll be staying at your manor for a few days… And from what I can tell over the last few days, I find you a little lazy since you became Legend.”
Nostradamus avoided answering Joshua’s question, and simply straightened himself on the couch. “In one week,” the archmage said gravely, “you have either been explaining certain knowledge to Zero-Three, taking Ying and Ling for a stroll in the city, or walk that black dragon and Steel Elemental of yours… Though the life of a liege is indeed like that, I never saw you training.”
“Even Legends must cultivate themselves day by day. Though there is no chance of deteriorating, slacking too much would still cause stagnating.”
Nostradamus spoke entirely out of good intentions; he had seen Israel going through the same phase in Israel long ago. Due to war and government affairs, Israel did not train his own power for a long time after rising to Legend. Additionally, he underestimated the seriousness of his internal injuries and did not seek adapted healing, causing the curse that seeped into soul and life essence to deteriorate until it could kill a Legendary champion—it would be too late to attempt solving it by then.
Although Israel ultimately removed the curse’s effects after attaining divinity, but that was something more than a decade later. It would be too late to solve it by then.
Nonetheless, Joshua shook his head in reply.
“Nostradamus, you seem to have some misunderstanding about my power.” Closing his book, the warrior turned to look at the mage, his voice calm—he certainly did not felt impatience towards the archmage’s kind caution. Still, he believed that it was best to explain himself he was not letting days pass idly by in recent days.
“Since returning for Kronos and witnessing the perfect form of the Ancient Dragon, I have kept pondering how I could become a being like that as well.”
“Incidentally, I ran into the Eastern Sea Sage Vahina on the day I returned. She handed me a Steel Strength classical text that detailed techniques developed by our predecessors which I needed urgently as well. Then, when I learned about the skills it wrote about, I joined the construction process of your large-scale underground base.”
There was a faint smile in Joshua’s expression as he spoke. Extending his right hand, he summoned a rapidly whirling gust of silver fog that soon assembled to form a golden-red gem—it was no ordinary stone either, but a crystallization of the sun, an assemblage of positive energy: a remnant shard after a world was destroyed, Flame and Radiance given form in the human realm, an object spoken of in ancient Mycroft myths. Nostradamus’s pupils tightened the moment he saw it, understanding what Joshua had created.
“A Nuclear Star… Your power had actually reached the point of instantly creating Extraordinary objects!” The elderly man’s voice instantly became serious. “Looks like I’ve been underestimating you. As I thought, you’re just as surprising as you’ve ever been.”
“This is just the basic. It’s far from enough.”
Joshua did not revel in the delight from Nostradamus praise, staring instead at the searing winds emanating around the Nuclear Star. “Thanks to Nostradamus and you, my Creation ability had risen after a long period of high-intensity training to the point that it could assemble any matter in the physical realm… Even the process of stabilizing the server had inspired and developed me considerably.”
While he appeared to be helping, Joshua never stopped meditating about his own powers. His Steel Strength assimilation rate had exceeded the fifty percent threshold even as he kept himself busy, and his own understanding about Perfect Body.
The so-called Perfect Body—as described by pioneers—was a near-undying physicality. For Ancient Dragons who possess such a body, they could almost not be killed and breathed alongside worlds, surviving even when worlds were destroyed, and simply headed to other worlds to rest.
A fallen feather would begin a civilization, while one droplet of blood would multiply a race. A detached scale would greatly improve the sciences of ingredients, while their mere existence incessantly alters the surrounding ecosphere, influencing the evolution of the races.
That description was no exaggeration, but the indisputable truth. And Joshua was about to grasp the essence of Perfect Body.
At present, he had almost reached the point of undying body. As long as the harmony between organs is assured, his constitution would not be affected by age—or, at least when he did not fight. Furthermore, it is incomparably difficult for any being to kill him, given Joshua’s body composition. He would not be harmed, even if he was thrown into the heart of a sun.
What was more, Joshua could definitely begin civilization with a part of his own body. When those civilization studied any fragments of his body, it would truly improve their understanding about material sciences… As for giving life, was Zero-One not evidence? It counted even though it strained to definitions to do so.
However, Joshua still could not understand the facet of altering the surrounding ecosphere by his presence alone. Without the System to determine progress, he could not check how far he had gone on the path for the time being… but not knowing was a joy that he rather enjoyed.
“Now, I could instantly create a substance without flaw. But when it comes to creating a stable, complex construct with multiple constituency, I still have much road to cover.”
Watching the old mage’s astonished expression, Joshua knew naturally that he now understood the warrior had not been idling, and so picked up the Nuclear Star to disintegrate it into particles, absorbed into his own body once more. Then, picking up his book again, Joshua read about the Earth Temple’s interpretation of Steel Strength. “But I’m almost reaching a bottleneck… I have a feeling that Steel Strength isn’t such a simple ability that I could master on a smooth voyage.”
In the aspect of Creation, Joshua believed that he had been slowing down—unable to accelerate the speed of creation, and Joshua found the process of altering his own body extending in its duration as well. To assimilate his own body with his Legendary attribute by a hundred percent would elevate him from the early phase of Legendary to Legendary-intermediate, just like Pope Igor’s light incarnation, the Nature’s Magister changing into an ecosphere and Vahina’s soul shift. All of them were Legendary-intermediate, or perhaps champions of a higher domain.
And if Joshua wished to rise to Legendary intermediate, he has to change his body into Steel Strength condensation similar to White Dwarf matter…. But unlike others, the power Joshua possessed is exceedingly powerful in combat that he surpassed most Legends who were not focused in combat in pure destructive force, and even if he was not Legendary-intermediate yet.
As with Barnil the Rune Master, who has learned all rune magic in the world, the Legendary mage could create hundreds and thousands of elementals through his ability and conjured various terrifying calamities. However, it was rather underwhelming when it came to its destructive force since it was at most earthquakes or cyclones—Barnil’s specialty was to study the world and create a domain that belonged exclusively to himself with runes, making it an ability that lacked depth when it came to destructiveness.
It was the same for William the Mind Lord. He was proficient in prying into the soul and mind, as well as controlling, guiding and creating souls. To a certain meaning, he was a master at programming the aspect of soul, with his signature offensives nothing other than creating various consciousness, processing and viruses through his spiritual ability, destroying the enemy’s logical faculty and soul itself… it was an ability tailored against intelligent beings, even weaker than Barnil’s ability when it came to destruction.
Be that as it may, if William wanted to lay waste to a civilization, he could achieve it faster than Joshua since his runic powers could guarantee that William can safely employ his full power. It was also why all factions on Mycroft held great respect over the two Legends and never looked down on them—and fortunately the two were obsessed with Ancient Dragon, completely uninterested in power.
“In the aspect of creation, you could seek the Fairy Queens if you wish for progress.”
Though rather pleased and surprised by Joshua’s speed of progress, Nostradamus still worried for the warrior: he was still too young and might be lost, unable to find a path after rising to Legend. Now, however, it was clear that the rascal had a clear goal that exceeded even the old mage himself, making him feel a tinge of urgency amidst relief.
“The Four Fairy Queens created the stable demiplane out of nothing in the Void beyond the world. It was an act that was virtually world creation, a feat that left even the gods in wonder… The fairies were rather isolated before, ignoring matters on Mycroft—recently, however, they had become considerably active, even making some ‘Fairy Cards’ and make noises as they returned to their primary world.”
Nostradamus appeared to be aware that the fairies had been active recently, and could tell that the Fairy Cards were developed with inspirations from the Queens. The goal must be to make the world more accepting of fairy presence, so that people would not be so surprised when they really returned to the physical realm. “To be frank,” the archmage sighed in wonder and nodded before adding, “the Fairy Cards are quite something. I’ve played a few rounds with Israel—it’s definitely a fine pastime.”
You two are actually playing it as well? Joshua blinked, and a frightening idea flashed in his mind suddenly as he realized that he could install Fairy Cards into the Information Terminal… As if. That would simply not do—would the students still study if that was the case?
Quickly throwing away the thought, Joshua thought about what Nostradamus said—the Four Fairy Queens. There had indeed been people telling him to meet them all along, and it appeared high time he met them.
Nostradamus was staying in the liege’s residence mainly for a convenient trip to the Great Ajax Mountains to maintain the server, although the information terminal network was much more stable after Barnil and William jointly upgraded recently. Therefore, neither Joshua nor the old mage had much to do, and seeing that most matters here were settled, Nostradamus prepared to bid his farewell.
“It’s a little embarrassing but I myself had not been really researching magic. Well, I guess it is now time to really probe into the Truth and progress to the next level.”
As a vein of pale blue light flickered and the old mage said his goodbyes, he stepped through the portal right in front of Joshua before both opening and person vanished entirely. It was such an exquisite spell that left the warrior in grudging awe: he might not be able to interrupt the teleportation even if he tried.
It was a long time after the old mage had left and when Joshua was prepared to put down the Steel Strength classical text in hand and take Black for a run around the Icy Plains that he suddenly heard a clear bell chiming. As he studied the electromagnetic signal that arrived before the chiming, the warrior paused, and a luminous orb darted into the room from the door at the very next second and into Joshua.
Embracing it and stroking the bright surface of the orb that kept shifting hues, he asked curiously, “What is it, Light? Any reason you’re looking for me so late in the night?”
” Ding-ring-ring — There’s, someone, looking for, you—”
A delighted chime and a rather choppy human speech rang, and in that very second, Joshua’s expression suddenly changed: he could sense the power of a certain profound will from Light’s body.
Slowly, Light’s surface that shifted incessantly between rainbow colors gradually changed into a metallic gray. A fragment of Steel Strength slowly appeared in its core, and the warrior could tell at once that it was the Steel Fragment that belonged to the world of Karlis—the one that Light devoured a long time ago!
—It’s looking for you!
Light’s electromagnetic signal spoke thus to Joshua. In turn, the warrior solemnly extended his hand and pressed it over Light’s surface.
At once, two profound wills—with one luminous orb as medium—began an inconceivable exchange across worlds and Void.
“Long time, no see. Steel Python Karlis.”
“Long time, no see. Joshua of the Searing Soul.”