Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
After many battles, Joshua’s Steel Strength assimilation rate was about to reach a hundred percent.
Aura is the power of combat, an extension of lifeforce, while the peak of lifeforce itself was ‘Steel’. For Joshua who had derived Aura up to Steel Strength, his way of ascension was to go through toiling battles that destroyed and reshaped his body on every turn, with every victory rebuilding and sublimation of his body and spirit greatly elevate his Steel Strength assimilation rate. At hundred percent, Joshua would ascend to Legendary-intermediate, developing into an invincible Steel body, rising as an ultimate form that surpassed every natural species.
Though it was merely Legendary-intermediate, it was merely a divide between thresholds. As a being excelling in the way of combat, Joshua’s sheer combat prowess would not lose out against many before him, even if he had yet to completely perfect himself. For example, the Demon Generals Helm and Saluka were archdemons that had risen to Legend for centuries, and most certainly had completed their respective Legendary forms. But against the warrior who was a pure machine of slaughter, the two Demon Generals were caught off-balance and were routed on every turn.
It was not to say that they were weak, but merely that Joshua’s wide-reaching view in seeking a path at the very beginning opened an insurmountable gap between them.
At present, Joshua had his eyes closed in meditation, with specks of silver radiances circling around him like stars. Watching as the warrior entered a familiar state, Ying laughed shortly and quietly left the study, closing the door as he left.
Nine silver stars of various sizes floated around the warrior, revolving around Joshua over thin air—or the Nuclear Heart around his chest as if planetary trails. Silver Steel Strength slowly gathered, gradually giving the illusory stars a solid form as golden radiance emanated from the core of his chest, shining upon the little stars like a real sun. The planet closest to his chest that was locked upon by gravity tides hence no longer orbited, while the second was burnt entirely red. Only the third planet, receiving an optimum amount of light, reflected crystalline golden light.
Joshua’s creation was getting more proficient on every turn, now capable of shaping a small planetary body. At this moment, he was strengthening his control of Steel Strength, which would not only adjust energy output and calibration but also make it precise down to a microscopic scale, even manipulating it in the absence of gravity. After all, Joshua’s opponents would become ever stronger at the class of Legendary, meaning that his physical attacks or energy strikes would become lacking, just as mass ripples and dimension-tearing slashes would not be so useful. Joshua believed that he needed a trump card apart from conventional blows, and gravity should not be a bad choice.
Silver star whirled, drawing an obscure silver light that fused with the golden nuclear radiances into pure, blinding illumination. As Joshua gradually entered a deeper meditation, a circle that transcended the doors of the study and the thick walls of the manor itself unfurled from the warrior. While the light was already indiscernible when it spread to the nearby streets, invisible ripples spread in light speed, shrouding Moldavia in its entirety within breaths.
Every maidservant in the liege’s residence was used to the light that abruptly shone. As long as the liege was in, that sort of light would shine a few times each day. After all, they were prepared mentally for such unique situations. The residents around the manor were used to it as well, and would even brag about their opportunity to witness the radiance from the liege himself.
No one would realize what the light meant except those beings who were not ‘human’.
In the Moldavia reception center—a huge building at the center of town where many rich and important outstation guests would come on their business or pleasure trips, while the others were mostly Extraordinary individuals from across the world.
At the moment, ‘Dust’, the Earth-element Fairy Princess directly descended of the Earth-element Fairy Queen awakened from her frightening and destructive nightmare in one of the suites on the seventh floor. The other fairies, along with the Sixth Prince who had been resting or playing cards turned in surprise towards their usually lazy friend.
“Dust, are you alright?”
Sixth Prince Adrian was seated before a desk and going through various contracts and agreements—documents related to the worldwide distribution rights and factory production agreement for Fairy Cards. Those papers unquestionably held the value of cities and eclipsing gold, but with their friend’s well-being in the balance, they were worth nothing. Hurriedly, Adrian put down every document he was holding and rushed beside the dainty Earth-element fairy, asking after her urgently. “You’ve been having a lot of nightmares recently… What is going on?”
The other three fairies too hovered beside Dust, each holding her hands and her small head, worry clear in their voices.
“That’s right, that won’t do.”
“We can’t explain ourselves to the queen if we return like this.”
“Did you eat something bad?”
“It’s… It’s nothing.”
Dust, jolted awake, forgot even her usual ‘Tuturu’ expression as she looked fearfully towards the direction of the liege’s residence. As an Earth-element Fairy that was only next to the divine descendants of the Mother Goddess in the aspect of earth, she naturally noticed the ‘formless ripple’ that engulfed Moldavia in its entirety, spreading even beyond the city.
She naturally knew the true form of the light—it was materialized particle flow, a suppressed gravity ripple. The incomparably brute force was pulsating in the liege’s residence as more than thirty million tons of mass churned within a small room no more than thirty square meters… The light shone beautifully and profoundly, but an utterly frightening destructive force was hidden beneath its wondrous appearance.
In a way, if the power that controls the ripple just slightly lose control, the turbulent energy flow would instantly flatten most of Moldavia, with land across ten miles shrunk into a small, dense sphere. The entire North would hence be ravaged by the violent gravity into a barren land unsuitable for human living.
How dare he… How dare he unleash such—such—such threshold of power in the heart of the city!
Dust had almost uttered those thoughts in an instant, only to soon breathe a deep sigh. Why would he not? Could Legendary champions perhaps be unable to control their power? Indeed, what right would they have to be called Legend if they could not do that?
If the Nature’s Magister lost control, tempestuous Forces of Nature would turn the surroundings of the Lake of Eternity into an extreme aberrative realm, a place where even Supreme-champions could not resist the change and propagation of every cell within their bodies.
If Pope Igor lost control, half of the Far South and Distant Oceans may be brushed by broiling light, becoming boiling seas of magma, with one of fourth of Southern settlements burnt white.
If Barbarossa lost control, hundreds of kilometers around the Skypiercing White Tower would become a turbulent zone where elements went amok. The Seven Elements would turn into a windstorm that destroys everything, turning all that it touches into dust.
It was the same for the Fairy Queens. Each Queen of the Fairyland were certain elements given form, but the realm itself would vanish instantly through a single hint of error in their work, dispersing as energy fragments into the Void along with the millions of fairies. However, it had been six hundred years, and Fairyland remained as stable as it had been in the start, steadily orbiting beyond the world. It was the same for other Legendary champions—they may lose or die at the hands of their enemy, but they would never lose to themselves.
However, such was life alongside a Legendary champion. Being ascendants, their existence alone would bring boundless terror and threat to mortals, and resting beside them was akin to sleeping beside an angry tiger. Even if she knew that the tiger would not tear her apart, her living instincts instills great unease in her.
Mustering a smile, the Earth-element Fairy soothed her worried companions, knowing that herself was being paranoid and hence did not intend to tell them the truth. Adrian nodded noncommittally, but when he walked to the windows of the guest house and pulled apart the thick curtains, the golden light of noon abruptly shone into the room.
The sun had risen directly overhead, unleashing golden brilliance all over the city of Moldavia, a warm light that permeated the window and shone upon Dust’s body—enough to dispel her unease and fear. Dust felt her cold body warming, and looked toward the young human thankfully.
Compared to Israel who was always working, this son of his was gentle and considerate. If not for that, they would not even sneak out and run around the world with that little fellow.
“I planned to visit Count Radcliffe in the afternoon to discuss something about Fairy Cards,” Adrian quickly added, watching as the Earth-element Fairy’s visage swiftly turning white again. “But Dust, if you’re unwell, just wait here at the guest house—uh, Stream, Fluorescence, stay here and take care of here. I’ll be going with Tempest.”
The plan to visit Joshua had already been long noted in the Sixth Prince’s schedule. Having grown ever more popular and received image rights of Legendary champions for Legendary-class cards, Fairy Cards certainly became a pursuit of the masses. However, though the rich were willing to throw considerable gold to acquire those cards with supreme collection value, even cards so exquisite would lose freshness after such a long time. That was why Adrian planned to visit a few Legendary champions, to obtain their authorization as he came up with new Legendary cards.
Most Legendary champions would not decline Adrian’s interesting suggestions thanks to his father, the Northern Empire as well as Barnil and William’s passionate testimonials. After all, it was a fine thing to see one’s own name being promoted, while some Legendary champions also took a liking to the unique card game. Now, the second batch of Legendary cards was mostly completed, leaving the elusive Count Radcliffe—who no one knows for sure when he would be in his own residence.
As the other fairies bade them goodbye disjointedly but earnestly, Adrian led Tempest, the Wind-element Fairy which mortals could not see onto the streets of Moldavia. The noon sun of early summer dragged a trail out of the center of the sky, while he strolled over the tidy grey stone path, admiring the sights of the streets of that northern city that seemed to change by the day.
With the widespread development of magically powered industry, the entire North changed radically, the swiftest and most significant being in Moldavia. Walking upon the new, lofty overhead bridge, Adrian overlooked the entire cityscape. Below him were widespread tiled roofs that extended to the suburban districts, with the huge dome of Saint Laurent’s Cathedral towering over the tidily arranged residences, a sacred light flickering around the black halo that was its holy crest.
Further off were whirling ‘towers’ of extraordinary designs, the top of which where huge cubic prisms turned, accumulating thick magical light. These buildings—named ‘Prism Towers’ by the liege—could transport the mana produced by the colossal Star Vein Elemental Core below ground everywhere around the city through moving light, providing for countless alchemical machinery.
At present, Moldavia’s old and plain appearance could no longer be seen. As one of the metropolises in the world that was completely industrialized in magical energy production, it developed rapidly and was different on every other day. One could find construction teams wearing simple enchanted armor were breaking the gray, stony path and replacing it with special concrete. It was rumored that the raw materials of those concrete came from Abyssal forests, embodying a unique magnetism that could allow transports mobilized with such energy to move freely on its surface.
Adrian then turned southwest, to another corner of the city where airships of varied sizes were landing or taking off. Enchanted factories were spraying purified gray smoke that obscured half the sky where a blue dragon was flying, leading a squad of juvenile white dragons and their riders—the Sixth Prince could not help be amazed by their fine training.
Even as he took in the scenery that was at once fantastical and supremely modern, the Sixth Prince quickly arrived at the Liege’s Residence at the center of town—only to receive a surprising reply after he announced his identity.
“You’re saying that the Count has left again?”
“That huge Legendary champion was just here… How could he be gone so suddenly!”
The guards stationed by the main gates could not hear the grumblings of the fairy, only the Imperial Prince’s surprised question. In return, the armored knight smiled bitterly and scratched his helmet a little helplessly. “Your Highness, I’m not deceiving you here, but I’ve only just received Miss Zero-Three’s notice just now as well… The liege had received an emergency communication and simply left—we have no way of contacting him or knowing when he would return.”
Still, being a personal guard of the Radcliffe family, the knight appeared used to his liege’s disappearing antics, and had procedures ready for such circumstances. Appearing to have heard some inaudible order, he simply opened the main gates. “Please proceed, your highness. Miss Zero-Three has said earlier that the liege has prepared the documents you need for your presence today. Please wait for a moment in the guest room—Miss Ying would hand them to you.”
Though the meeting ended up being canceled, it was fine since their objective was completed. Adrian shrugged slightly in regret, while Tempest frowned as she sat on his shoulder—even if Joshua van Radcliffe was Legend, his feats were most not accomplished on Mycroft, and nobody witnessed first hand his most recent battle against Otherworld invaders… so how could she craft his Legendary card if he did not tell them what he had gone through?
Holding in that doubt, the pair walked past the manor’s courtyard under guidance by maidservants, certainly seeing the black dragon girl who was floating on the surface of the artificial lake, her face pale as salted fish, along with the luminous orb that was bouncing happily over her stomach. Adrian was no longer weirded out by such imagery thanks to his time with the fairies, but Tempest the Fairy could not hold back an expression of surprise. She blinked as she stared at the orb, just as the orb stared back, as if noticing something.
While the luminous orb and fairy made an exchange with bizarre languages, a special airship hovering above the Great Ajax Mountains.
Joshua entered the familiar ship, his brow slightly furrowed as he ignored the instructions of the elemental puppet beside him, simply striding toward where the laboratory cabin was. The reason the warrior cut short his daily training and left Moldavia—the two Legendary spellcasters Barnil and William were huddled there, chattering discreetly.
Even as he reached out and pushed the door, Joshua was already throwing questions in a forthright manner at the duo. “What is it?” he asked, “Why would you use the emergency channel of the Terminal? What is of such great importance?”
Joshua himself naturally own an Information Terminal as well, even fusing it into his own body as one of his many supernatural organs. The emergency channel was in turn one of the ways that the few acquainted Legendary champions could reach out to each other, which Joshua suddenly received a message from when he began his training in his study. He hence briskly left his residence and arrived at the skies over the Great Ajax Mountains—as expected, the two Legendary spellcasters’ airships had just traveled across the dimensions and arrived there.
“Ah, you’re here.”
While they sensed Joshua’s arrival early on, Barnil and William only greeted him now as they had been arguing at a huge crystal cabinet at the center of the lab. Their expressions were grave, which gave Joshua pause—when the many foreign Legends invaded Mycroft previously, the two composed Legends were never so serious. Still, the warrior quickly pressed them, “Greetings can wait. What’s so urgent?”
“It has to do with magic… Or perhaps the world’s essence.”
Before either William or Barnil could speak, the dimensions trembled as a rich and deep voice wafted across a portal and into the airship. Joshua looked up to find a robed, hairless mage—Barbarossa the Element Maven held a gloomy expression that was more solemn than the other two Legendary mages.
Leaving the portal, Barbarossa looked toward the warrior and nodded lightly. “It’s a long story, but the matter is truly unbelievable—Count Radcliffe, we need your help.”
“We need your Steel Strength to verify something.”