Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Starfall Year 837, the eleventh of June.
The liege’s residence in the urban district of Moldavia, the Northern Empire.
In the kitchen of the manor, a silver-haired girl was humming a relaxing tune that was rather disharmonious while she tidied cooking ingredient that had just arrived.
Her eyes were narrowing pleasantly. They resembled a pair of fluorescent green crystals that flickered with a fiery radiance of magical energy—from that alone, one could tell that her ability had transcended the domains of Silver and Gold, being a member of elite Extraordinary individuals. And at present, the Gold-tier girl had tied her long silver-hair into a ponytail, walking happily to wash a bunch of plump grapes.
The tempting fruit fragrance was mixed with distinct lifeforce signatures that emanated from the seemingly ordinary grapes. After the fruit that appeared expensive had been washed, it was placed on a crystal platter which Ying carried up to the study on the second floor of the manor.
Along the way, she could see outside the window that the black dragon girl was floating on the surface of a pool in her human form. Her face appeared lifeless and seemingly dying, while a luminous orb rolled around over her stomach. Black had taken the opportunity of a certain person’s absence and stopped training, running off instead for a dip in the Lost Sea. Therefore, she was now left exhausted as her training was redoubled and was prohibited from leaving Moldavia. Now, it was a rare precious moment for her to even soak herself in the pool of the Liege’s Residence.
As Ying passed the hall, she could hear calm conversing as Ling was instructing the maidservants of the manor on how to change various decorations. Their master’s spoils of war were simply so many that a single small castle would not be able to display it all, which was why collections of dragon heads, horns of magical beasts and stuffed demons were changed by the season. It should have been frightening for ordinary individuals to carry out such work since those horns and bones still embodied the presence of their owners while they were still alive, much less the malevolence of the stuffed demons. Even so, those maidservants acted as if it was perfectly normal, as if they had gotten used to it.
Up on the second floor and past the hidden chamber, Ying could hear Zero-Three muttering to herself, certainly not understanding things that the Artificial Intelligence was mumbling such as ‘server load at 45%’, ‘Eh? Why is there a bug here again?’. Since the Information Terminal had commenced trials for common usage, the AI girl would start to talk to herself from time to time. It was fortunate that Zero-Three had a considerable number of duplicates too—the one here at the liege’s residence was the one used exclusively for work, and according to what Ying knew, there were still two in the city, one in charge of reading books and strolling around, the other for surveillance and eating.
As she strolled along, Ying opened the doors to the study and carried the pallet within, placing it before a man who was closing his eyes and meditating over a couch.
“Master, these are special grapes recently developed by the elves. They claimed that it swiftly regenerates injuries and provide considerable lifeforce—of course, the most important part is that it’s delicious.”
Even as she spoke softly, the silver-haired girl knew that even if the man before her had closed his eyes in deep thought, he could watch the entire North while doing so to see even ruins and aberrations thousands of meters deep below ground.
Joshua nodded slightly, opening his eyes, simply plucking away half a bunch of the grapes from the pallet and throwing it down his mouth. “Not bad. The capacity to heal wounds is almost the same as Holy Water Number 14, the additional lifeforce would slightly augment the body… The elves had cultivated something rather fine.”
Ying, who had settled herself beside the warrior to serve him blinked her large green eyes before grumbling with a tinge of disappoint. “Well—could at least wait until I peeled them…”
‘Who on earth peels grapes?’
Joshua did not mention it though the thought crossed his mind—if anything, he now completely had no need to eat, which in turn was now a mere habit and ritual for him as a human… Life was just so: there is no need to be so serious.
At a corner of the study, the huge LCD screen was replaying the morning news of the Imperial Family channel. One anchorman and anchorwoman were discussing everything from the Empire’s internal purge to the movements of various international factions amidst a melodious tune. There were invited speakers from Magus Weekly as well, who in turn elaborated about the finer details of such events.
To put things in a nutshell, the other nations were in major upheavals, while the Northern Empire was reforming aggressively—the world had become very different in less than two months. Others notwithstanding, the LCD screens, along with the ‘news broadcast’ and ‘current affairs analysis’ that spawned by extension was already revolutionary development.
The joint research and promotion of Winter Fort Academy alongside the Skypiercing White Tower had made the LCD screens see widespread use over half the continent, with virtually every family that was a little well to do having one. It was made by natural magical ingredients from spawns of Ancient Dragon—a unique body of crystal capable of adjusting color and brightness through special electromagnetism and magical energy. It could even be described as a natural magical creation, and following detailed planning and cultivation, the Empire and Skypiercing White Tower could mass-produce liquid crystals, selling it as an appliance.
“There are so many novel things lately.”
Sitting beside Joshua, Ying carefully peeled a grape and put it into Joshua’s mouth. “Feels like the change across seven to eight years does not compare to the recent half-a-year,” she said in wonder, glancing at the LCD screen.
“That’s for sure,” Joshua replied distractedly, chewing the grape and looking toward the LCD screen as well. “After all, this is a new era.”
After the war between Legends across worlds ended, there appeared to be new things happening every day all over Mycroft. Seemingly feeling no more shackle or pressure, every powerful faction across the continent was reforming and improving, drawing things they had long hidden at the bottom of their treasure chests and showing them to the world.
The third cluster of Information Terminals was being manufactured at the industrial base in the East Barnett Highlands, with the setup for more than half of them completed and could be activated at once. The ten thousand Information Terminals would mostly be distributed to the army, while the few left would be sold into the market, allowing civilians to gradually adapt to the novel invention.
Apart from the Information Terminal and the LCD screen, Void warships had also become important propaganda about the Empire for most citizens. However, since most did not understand what Void warships actually were, it was hence simply a faster and stronger aerial warship to them. That, in turn, caused unexpectedly weak reactions, far eclipsed by the teleportation network improved by Nostradamus: previously costly teleportation prices were now one third from before after improvements by the Legendary champion. In fact, it was a monumental event for most people.
Beyond that, all those restless nobles within Imperial borders became much more down to earth in the last two months. Under the leadership of Israel from his throne above the elevated watchtower, the once loose Imperial districts would get in line either on their own initiative or by force. Even the unruliest of nobles shuddered beneath the strikes of Heavenly Flame—it was not as if they did not want to protest, but everyone knew that when a Legendary champion was being unreasonable, he would become reason itself.
As for the West Mountains, apart from the noteworthy point of Grand Duke Romain preparing for war to annex surrounding dukedoms and duchies to crown himself, a certain special spiritual communication formation was spreading amongst local circles of psionics and mages. It was a spell that could meld minds, allowing everyone involved to share thinking speed and inspiration while augmenting soul and will. It would also exponentially increase work-rate of spellcasters, but it was difficult to use due to the loss of privacy due to the bilateral spiritual links, which made it difficult even between intimate individuals.
The special spell caused huge waves amongst the West Mountain spellcasters, with many criticizing it from moral and ethical viewpoints, arguing that it destroys the will and independence in human souls. Part of a small faction of spellcasters who supported it believed that it should be the direction human would strive for in the future, with their debates against the naysayers in turn sparking a huge academic discord, with a battle in real life completely foreseeable.
Compared to the West Mountains, the new magical creations that appeared in the Eastern Plains were simply too many that it made picking a few symbolic examples difficult: there were artificial Earth Elementals mobilized by elements that were used for farming, artificial Water Elementals that would automatically fertilize and water crops, runic machine tools that could produce simple magic items, automated alchemical puppets that turn mud into stone or vice versa… the many years of academic accomplishments exploded overnight. As many magic societies throughout the Eastern Plains more or less revealed their trump cards and competing, the Eastern Plains was on the verge of magical reform.
In the pre-existence, the various factions had been forced to use those same technologies under helpless circumstances. As Joshua watched the anchors in the LCD screen reveal the various new technologies across the world, he could not help but sigh in wonder.
“I never thought that they’d have those right now; I thought they’d come up with those in the future.”
Those technologies were not actually too strange for Joshua. To a certain extent, they were very familiar.
For example, both the teleportation network and the spiritual link spell were technologies that only debuted during the Abyssal invasion in the preexistence. To repel the ever-present demonic armies, the Empire did not spare huge resources to augment the existing teleportation network, greatly lowering the cost of teleportation and preventing various disturbances, guaranteeing stable teleporting.
On the other hand, psionics who were sensitive and easily corrupted spiritually would link themselves trios, a signature spell they employ in battlefields. There was a common saying that developed then due to its very presence: one could laugh at one psionic, be alert against two and just run when there are three—morals and ethics could wait until after the demons were defeated.
The full name of the automated construction puppets of the Eastern Plains in the pre-existence was ‘Fully Intelligent Automated Construction Module’. Having lost a significant population due to cyclones, the Eastern Plain spellcasters were forced to employ those puppets for farming, construction, and battle. Naturally, that was no reformation, but out of desperation.
These trump cards previously used for combat, or in other words replacement technologies out of helplessness were now merely immature drafts and hypotheses. They had been secret technologies used in war in the past life, but they were now being adopted to civilian use, improved little by little and making the world better.
Naturally, it was all thanks to human progress itself.
Nevertheless, there remained something about this world that must be paid special attention to.
The gods who have descended, and the Infinite Horizon.
As Ying protested, Joshua simply plucked another bunch of grapes from the platter and gulped down the elf-enchanted fruit, before nonchalantly lifting his gaze above towards the sky, as if his eyes could pierce walls.
To the west of the world was a distinctly distorted circular space, emanating with sacred radiance as if a mild white moon.
The Infinite Horizon had fused completely into the world of Mycroft. The Legacy Mark of the gods hence descended upon the mortal realm as Divine Dungeon Shrouds sought their heirs and pass down ancient knowledge. Those Glorious Era legacies might appear outdated in some respect, but their exquisiteness would make many a Legendary champion nodding in admiration.
Just as how it had been during the early stage of the Great Mana Tide, many Divine Dungeon Shrouds appeared within Imperial borders as well, although the experience Joshua provided diminish those initial sense of mystery and unknown. Now, following a period of development, the Divine Dungeon Shrouds had become trial grounds across the land, with Winter Fort Academy and many organizations using them to train the next generation. Some lucky ones occasionally even found rare materials and ancient relics thanks to divine powers.
Apart from the Divine Dungeon Shrouds, the Seven Gods and deities of other religions were recovering from their exhaustion. Be that as it may, their revival was silent as if a drop of river falling into a river—in the eastern oceans, countless murlocs were jubilant for the patron god of the depths and their own race had descended upon the mortal realm: the colossal jellyfish wafted into the sea and entering the divine temple the murlocs prepared for it was one of the more high-profile arrivals. The other gods were simply noiseless, with nary a ripple.
A week ago, the gods had jointly made a providence, sweeping their divine powers across the Mycroft Continent, clearing the gloomy and deathly atmosphere accumulated after long years of war. Countless undead spirits were hence saved, those souls that were denied eternal rest in unknown, forbidden lands that died to war, conspiracy, lust or betrayal were hence freed. Within the holy light that forgives all, every soul returned to the Infinite Horizon—that distorted space above the West Mountains.
Apart from that, the gods made no move or gave any blessing.
Was that normal? It would be absolutely incomprehensible for many normal people, but it was actually normal: gods were not monkeys, and had no need to display their power. All they have to do is carry out their duty, and there would be those who glorify their name. The gods had turned to holy ones and descended upon the mortal realm not to call the shots here, but to keep the world from being stirred by the Mana Tide.
It was not to say that the gods did nothing. As with the Far South, one of the Seven Gods—the God of Love and Death—had visited her largest temple in the forest of the elves. It was rumored that the Nature’s Magister and the Elven Queen had met Her, entering an exchange that lasted days.
Still, there was no news from the elves until now—they being very discreet about the contents of their exchange.
Such a phenomenon was actually happening everywhere across Mycroft as well. Though the gods had no intent of making headlines, every move they made were given great attention by the common folk. For example, the West Mountain Dwarves welcomed the God of Law and Freedom, the Skypiercing White Tower met the God of Wisdom and Choice. As for the Holy Mountain Fortress of the Seven Gods Church, it had now been elevated into the Void and combined with the Eye of the Saint, becoming the largest artificial facility beyond the world of Mycroft. Every mortal incarnation of the Seven was said to have conversed with Pope Igor within, but none knew what they discussed as everything moved within the shadows.
This life was becoming ever different from the one before: the once despairing and chaotic world that had been filled with malevolence and strife became so peaceful and optimistic. Systems of technology were appearing though they were without perfect form and were flawed, but the people of Mycroft no longer had to starve. They have all the time they need to alter those flaws, so that they could be adopted for civilian use without side effects.
In the Liege Residence of Moldavia in the North, Joshua extended a finger and turned off the LCD before his eyes.
He stroked Ying’s head, her straight and silky hair slipping past his palm. The girl uttered a few comfortable grunts while Joshua closed his eyes, continuing his meditation.
In seven days, the incarnation of the God of Might and Justice would come to the East Barnett highlands to meet the Empire’s three Legends. No one knew about the matter—only the trio: Joshua, Israel, and Nostradamus did.
What was it that the deity wished to convey to them?
The unknown always interests people, and it was no different for the warrior. He was a little impatient after resting for something time, which was why Joshua closed his eyes, feeling the power that was gradually animating and boiling within his body.
[Level of Steel Strength fusion: 91%.]