Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 661


Chapter 661 The Moving Stars

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Thud, thud.

Joshua strolled to a flank of the throne, saying nothing and staring toward the surface alongside Israel.

Twelve thousand meters in the air, the watchtower was no completely opened, its four leaf-shaped wings designed by a certain elderly mage absorbing the elemental energies around it to stay afloat—a smart application since only elements wafted in this environment of thinned atmosphere. The wings, themselves forged of crystals and metals emanated faint myriad colors as Nostradamus walked to the warrior’s side, and the trio stared upon the surface that stretched to their edge of vision.

From there, they can survey most of the Empire: forests, deserts, swamps, mountains and plains—virtually all species of creature lived in the vast lands of this nation, even the bare magma regions and deserts eroded by winds were signs of them. In every region were starry specks of city lights, where intelligent beings lived for thousands of years or more. Humans flourished on his continent over millions of years, living lives of their own.

“Madness.”

Joshua spoke as he watched over the land. “An old codger who is a dozen years old, monitoring a quarter of humans and declaring that the would purge all oppression and evil… Who does he think he is?”

“As you put it—a mad old codger, dreaming alongside his teacher,” Israel said in a low voice upon his throne. “After the first wave of sinners are culled, Master Nostradamus would enforce compulsory education, and schools will be built upon the lairs and residences of those lieges and darkness. The Imperial Family would not take a single dime from their property, and spend it all on those schools.”

“Then, when I formally hire the two masters Barnil and William as instructors for my nation’s research centers, to further streamline the materials and structure of the Information Terminal, it would become a basic human right for Imperial Citizens, and there would be a new coming-of-age ritual for every youth sixteen years of age registered in every regional Terminal of local governments. The nobles would still exist, but they would only attain special privileges through contribution: they can afford luxury and to squander only with ability and credit.”

“We are not launching a massacre… We will maintain the stability of society,” Nostradamus said softly beside them. “Israel would only execute unsanctioned criminals who incurred capital punishment; he won’t interfere with civic cases since those are for the jobs of the enforcers. In turn, I would do my best to cultivate many youths who hold the correct ethical values and world view… Israel would never sit eternally on that seat, that is when they would become the new pillar for society.”

The Emperor and Mage had conspired for years, but were unable to act since they could not take even the first step, hence imprisoned in the Imperial Capital. Now, the chance had arrived: with the Information Terminal and aerial warships, their influence now shrouds the entire empire. Even so, the pair knew that changing the old regime was difficult—perhaps impossible, which was why the two Legendary champions would use their powers so crudely to subjugate it, destroy it, and build a new one from ground-up.

And that process would only take thirty days

It was lunacy at its peak.

Such progress could never be achieved anywhere else, unless it was within a world of magic and blade.

And within a world where Legendary champions existed: individuals who wielded power that could suppress ten thousand armies alone.

***

Joshua said nothing. Israel turned slightly toward him, glancing at the warrior, and his grave expression promptly changed a little.

“You’re laughing,” the Emperor said with a curious tone. “Noble Radcliffe… You’re actually laughing.”

Even as he spoke, the corner of Israel’s lips lifted. He grunted once, before snickering. “And you’ve just told me that I’m mad… Joshua, you’re madder than I am!”

Beside him, Joshua was definitely laughing rather joyously, and it was certainly neither mocking nor feigned.

“Well, madmen aren’t all bad.”

The warrior replied, narrowing his eyes and folding his arms across his chest. “Everyone dreams, and there are all sorts of bizarre in dreams. You two, however, are the scarce few who attempted to realize your dreams, and the even scarcer few bastards who could achieve what you dreamt about.”

Perhaps out of pride from once belonging to a star faring civilization, Joshua’s initial notion was that though the champions of Mycroft were powerful, they remain people from a magical feudal society. Nevertheless, from the moment that aged pontiff asked ‘Do you comprehend light?’, up to the Eastern Sea Sage’s ‘Soul-Substance Transition’ and Galanoud’s ‘Living Creation’, everything had gone far beyond what Joshua could expect.

And now, Israel and Nostradamus are prepared to work hand in hand and rebuild society itself, elevating a feudalistic empire directly to the state of modern society.

The ideal of each Legendary champion left Joshua in shock and delight—their vision was not restrained by eras, and instead progressed much further… Not only did they have their dream, they even wished that others could have theirs.

Igor spent his life maintaining world order, when he could destroy it with his ability in five minutes.

Galanoud could ignore her own elven race and assume the Way of Nature that fits her best, but she resolved to stride toward an unknown future with them.

There was even less to elaborate for Israel and Nostradamus. Both Legendary champions, one being the Emperor, the other a royal instructor and the leader of the Imperial Royal Mage Guild. They could have been the greatest exploiters at the highest tier, for none could stop them at the peak of hierarchy.

Even so, the two kept meditating how to truly free everyone.

“Listen, Israel, Nostradamus.”

As Joshua widened his gaze and turned to them, all mirth vanished as his expression became solemn but respectful. “I have faith in your resolve, and do not believe that you two would quickly be corrupted… But no one can be right forever, and two would become lost as well. Like eternal justice, philosopher kings do not exist, and just as it had been with the Earth Mother, even deities have selfish desires. The Empire and its millions of citizens are not your plaything for a game of ‘totalitarian society’.”

“That is why, when the time comes when your dreams have deviated from your original trail,” Joshua added, pausing for a moment, “I will beat you two awake.”

“Heh… Hahaha. That’s fantastic!”

Israel laughed heartily genuinely in return. Having no tears and unable to suffocate when his sides were split, he kept laughing for he was acknowledged.

‘With that, I could unchain myself and go crazy.

‘—Even if I made mistakes, even if I deviated, there are friends with the power and willingness stop me. Joshua, you’re a deterrent without equal!’

And Joshua started to laugh again as well—in fact, the trio laughed for a long time before Israel and Nostradamus collected themselves.

“You’re right,” the Emperor nodded lightly toward Joshua, pleased. “Noble Radcliffe, I could not remain as ‘Justice’ forever. If the day comes and I do deviate from my own path, please do come give me a beating.”

“That is precisely why I’ve asked you two to come.”

***

Nostradamus and Joshua strolled amidst the pouring rain that refracted rainbow colors.

“The pollution is serious. High-energy mana radiation would render this soil barren. Desertification—or perhaps even crystallization—is expected to happen at any time.”

Watching as magical machinery spat out powdered dust of magical crystals, Joshua swept his gaze over the polluted water that streamed over the land, before continuing his slow stroll. “I have certainly forgotten industrialization necessitates pollution.”

“Special Research designed a unique Slime that would absorb such specialized mana compounds. It probably would enter official use in half a month.”

Nostradamus stroked his own beard as he strolled alongside the warrior, a distant look in his eyes. “The reason Israel and I picked the East Barnett Highlands is exactly because this place is vast but unpopulated. Even if the population festers, flatlands with dense populations would not be affected for the time being.”

“And you’re leaving him alone up there?”

“He’s not some ticking time bomb. Let Israel calm himself for a while—he has yet to conquer divinity.”

The two men simply chattered about miscellaneous issues, with topics ranging from widely rumored treasures of the Pirate King in the isles of the Far East, to the convoluted familial relations of a certain family in the West Mountains—an elder brother marrying a younger brother’s daughter, or a father wedding his own daughter was nothing unusual there: those warlock families never cared for morality for the purity of bloodlines.

“The Skypiercing White Tower and we have done our research. Cloning by necromantic technology could guarantee hundred percent of bloodline purity—there’s no need for incest.”

Nostradamus gave his criticism, shaking his head.

“Inbred children would definitely be born with genetic defects, and as a matter of fact, the West Mountains’ current chaos was because none of the warlock families could continuously produce a genius who could unite the continent.”

“Now that you mention it, I’m curious. The dragon bloodlines in the Diamond Family notwithstanding, how did they attain fairy bloodlines?”

Joshua could not refrain from clicking his tongue at the topic of bloodlines, although he also remembered that the Diamond Family was also part of the West Mountains clans at the start. The difference was that they led their people here to the North, before becoming the rulers over those parts. “What I’m getting at is… while love knows no race, size on the other hand….”

“You really think they’d make love?”

Nostradamus’s eyes promptly widened. Still, being an aged person, he was not evasive about such discussions—indeed, after a brief while holding back, the elderly mage laughed. “So-called fairy bloodlines are only him hosting fairies. You are aware that fairies are pure-energy bodies, right? Their union is hence in aspects of energy and souls, which in turn greatly strengthens their combat ability, giving them an effect that is one-plus-one-equals-greater-than-two.”

“Those who Hosted before would change in soul and energy to resemble the fairies, hence attaining an outcome that is similar to bloodline inheritance.”

‘So that’s what how it is with the Valkyries!’

Joshua instantly understood the concept of Hosting, although it appeared not too weird in retrospect. With a race as flippant as the fairies, they would be simple and whimsical in personality and propagation. Come to think of it, the Sixth Prince who the fairies took a liking to might have inherited the bloodline altered by Hosting as well.

The two kept walking and left the boundary of the Apocalypse Installation. There, Joshua stopped. “Alright, Master Nostradamus,” he said. “You’ve seen me off far enough, I’ll fly home on my own.”

“That’s quite far.”

“Not for you or me. Taking in the sights occasionally isn’t bad.”

But just as Joshua strode out and rise into the air, Nostradamus, who seemed to have been holding himself back for some time, stopped him.

“Wait.”

Joshua turned to the elderly mage but did not say a thing, his expression calm, his gaze unfettered. None could tell what he was thinking.

“Joshua… What do you think about the choice Israel and I made?” The old mage asked uncomplicatedly after a brief hesitation. “Your acknowledgment of Israel is mere faith; you did not say what you think about our project. Whether it is right or wrong, you are definitely a champion—we wish for your suggestions.”

“What I think?” Joshua blinked, puzzled for a moment, but soon responded. “Whatever.”

“Whatever?!”

“Yeah. Whatever.”

Joshua nodded, but Nostradamus find that response difficult to accept. Frowning, the elderly mage took one step forward, asking solemnly, “That’s your answer? ‘Whatever’? This matter concerns all citizens of the Northern Empire and the future of millions—morals, order, good and evil, everything is involved!”

“No. My ‘whatever’ doesn’t mean I don’t care.”

Joshua shook his head at the agitated mage, pondering for a moment before elaborating. “Listen, Nostradamus. I don’t care about the future of humans. It is their own choices, whether they lived happily in a utopia or apathetically in dystopia.”

“In that respect, humans should judge for themselves, or perhaps save themselves. As for whether they would destroy themselves or attain new life, I don’t care.”

Looking up at the brilliant night sky, where countless stars flickered amidst the light of the mana tide and the twin moon that illuminated the land, throwing a thin silver veil over the East Barnett Highlands. As he watched those stars, Joshua could see five planets shifting their trails within that great energy stream that engulfed the universe—moving slowly, they approached the world of Mycroft.

The wheels were in motion; the rivers were flowing. For the vengeance of this world, the planets had shifted their stance simply because they wanted to.

“Good and evil, justice or injustice? It’s all meaningless to the true enemy, for neither Evil Gods nor Abyssal Lieges care about human totalitarianism or democracy.”

Watching the moving planets, Joshua’s eyes flickered with silver light even as he spoke softly. “For them, there is only destroy or to be destroyed.”

Nostradamus stared at the warrior before him silently, finding him at once familiar and unfamiliar. What could he actually be thinking? The old mage could not tell now.

However, in truth, the warrior’s thought had always been simple.

“You are Emperor and Chancellor who have to think about the future of humans, societal stability and continuation of policies… and I’m just a warrior.”

No longer watching the stars, Joshua lowered his gaze down to Nostradamus.

“I’m all enemy Chaos and evil,” he declared mildly, “their Death and their destruction.”

“Nothing more.”