Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
[The Great Mana Tide is a wave of energy formed from the destruction of countless worlds in the heart of the Multiverse.]
That was the truth that Joshua had in mind, but did not say out loud.
It was a theory that could explain the origins of energy from the Great Mana Tide, why it could engulf the Multiverse as well as the various Authority phenomenon that arose as a result, such as turning a stone into a pigeon, slipping into sub-space and so forth. From the aspect possibility or impossibility alone, it was naturally possible, a more complete theory compared to the other more outlandish theories.
Of course, that was merely a theory of Joshua’s. None knew if it held true, and if it did not, they would have to keep pursuing the truth.
But if it was, the issue would become serious.
Until now, nobody knows about the rise of the Great Mana Tide. Though scholars had made a different hypothesis, all of them were not supported by reliable evidence, just like Joshua’s own theory. The problem, however, was that his theory was simply harrowing—so much so that the others were thinking about ‘disproving’ instead of ‘proving’ at the first thought.
What could have destroyed millions of worlds in the heart of the Multiverse? Just thinking about that made one close their eyes, shaking their head.
“Information about the incidents ‘remarkably similar to Authority’ must be shared with other Legends.”
Barbarossa broke the speechless silence as the others delved in their thoughts; the hairless mage coughed once and clapped his hands together.
“Whatever the case may be, as the Great Mana Tide continues, there would be more individuals who would attain such extraordinary power. When their numbers arrive at a certain threshold, it may well destroy the stability of society… this must be kept in control as much as possible.”
The others present nodded—Barbarossa had stated their thoughts with precision. Unlike mages, fighters and clergies where systematic legacies were involved and made inspection easy in finding the person, individuals who were now awakening various unique Authority abilities were more akin to the popular ‘Esper’ in Joshua’s former homeworld. They did not have any structured training problem, while those awakened abilities were distinct between persons. More than that, the area of awakening is arbitrary and broad, and no one could tell who would be chosen by Authority.
Spellcasters, fighters, and clergies all held controllable abilities, being considered wielders of extraordinary powers with official licensing. That was not the case for those with Awakened Authority—the power they grasp is unrelated to the individual themselves, and they might not even be aware of the destruction they were capable of. That was why every faction must stay vigilant and monitor things strictly to avoid any chaos.
“It’s not a problem to share the issue and any related information with them since they would eventually notice it… But Joshua’s theory…”
To disseminate information amongst other factions about ‘Authority-Awakened individuals’—which refers to those who attained power from Steel Strength fragments of other worlds would not be difficult. With a few pointing gestures of his fingers over thin air, Barnil had inscribed a series of runes and compressed countless information into a magical crystal that he put inside a certain metallic communicator, which was in turn delivered to receivers of various factions. Having done all that, the old mage hesitated for a moment before saying softly, “I think we shouldn’t spread that information too broadly.
“Of course. It is unimaginable, and a mere theory.”
Neither Joshua nor William reacted, as if they were fine with it, while Barbarossa muttered to himself for a while before nodding lightly.
“Yeah. Breaking the news suddenly would cause unnecessary panic amongst the factions. We should only consider telling them if we find something or acquire some persuasive evidence.”
“I would definitely tell Israel or Nostradamus—if they asked. If they didn’t, I’ll say nothing for the time being.”
Joshua nodded, feeling the same. Given the importance of the matter, simply spreading false news would definitely bring repercussions. While the warrior believed that it would be better to investigate the matter for some time instead of readying urgent precautions without any examination… What was more, he was acquainted with quite a few World Wills—Joshua thought that it was better to ask a few of them about it rather than to blindly guess around in an airship cabin.
Coincidentally, he recently accepted a mission from Karlis to aid another World Will.
Due to the sheer somberness of the topic, after the initial theorizing and inferring had concluded, the various Legends departed. Barbarossa dispersed into elements with a simple farewell, Joshua turned into a shadow in the skies that flew toward Moldavia, leaving Barnil and William who arranged their research materials before navigating their Void Airship back to their base in the Eastern Plains. Apart from Joshua, they were busy people who had things to do.
Joshua flew rather slowly amidst the wilderness between the Great Ajax Mountains and Moldavia, a stroll relative to his full speed that was one-tenth the speed of light. He looked over the land, watching the specks of lights on the ground below, and was able to see the distant dazzling flashes.
It was Moldavia, a city that now no longer sleeps.
The lights would illuminate Moldavia every night as tourists from faraway lands made merry on the streets of the Trade District. Adventurers could be seen gathering and making a ruckus in taverns, while the low-cost lights brought by magically-powered machinery covered the streets and alleys, dispelling every shade. Squires that were about to graduate from the Victor Academy were training with the city guards, the youths who were intent on proving themselves had donned armor bearing the crest of the sword-bearing hand, patrolling every street vigilantly, expectant of a chance to prove themselves.
The North had become a land filled with dreams, legends hopes. There were no bandits, magical beasts, natural calamity or cultists here, only multiple schools for adepts and magical factories, with living cost being at its lowest possible rates. A certain person amongst the most powerful circle in this world was said to be residing in the Liege’s manor at the center of the city, watching over his citizens.
Mages, Gold-tier warriors, high-ranking druids from the distant south, holy knights came, attracted by the reputation of the place. Countless had come in search of opportunities and possibilities. While some succeeded just as others failed, they witnessed it all regardless: how a small city of few thousands became the largest metropolis of the world, and how the finest adept colleges in the world developed. On this land, some found their answer and returned to their homeland in satisfaction, while others who did not remain here, awaiting the day they obtain their answer.
The radiance faintly flickered as the huge magical formation that enveloped the entire city flashed for an instant. It was something Joshua commission, and jointly set up by Winter Fort Academy and Zero-Three: it purifies the air within the formation and possessed great surveillance and defensive measures. Most importantly, the formation itself was the first large-scale collective formations developed, produced and set up by Winter Fort Academy, evidence that the institution had the ability for grand scale magical construction—and one could count with their fingers the factions in this world that held such influence.
Sometimes, the strong may not have to deliberately make things happen. His existence alone could make the world better… or worse.
Arriving at the edge of the formation above the city, Joshua did not hurry back to his manor, landing slowly instead on the head of the huge statue by the city gates—the colossal statue he created recently through Steel Strength. The warrior hence stood over it, observing the lives of everyone in the city.
In the southern residential district was Priest, who would leave in a few days for the Empire’s External Exploration Department for his first exploration trial mission. He was patiently teaching his younger sister mathematics, persevering even as she turned everywhere else, throw her pen around and went into a huff. Even so, he simply taught her how to write the numbers, how to count and get their answer.
However, the young girl was not throwing a fit over that. Turning and grabbing her brother’s arm, she began to sob quietly, her tears wetting his sleeve.
“Don’t leave Britney… okay?”
“I must give you a better life… That’s the goal I strive for, and my everything.”
The young girl yearned to live a normal life with her kin, but the young man knew that to live normally in this world, Extraordinary ability was needed. He was convinced that they would only be briefly apart, and they would share a longer bliss in the future.
In the western trade district, Lisa was strolling around spryly at an alchemy shop in search of materials she needed. She greeted the shop owner who she was acquainted with in a lively manner, while a little model-like Steel human on her shoulder buzzed. It was a clone that split out of Zero One’s body, chatting with the Drakonid girl who was humming a small tune. Spiritual ripple was wafting to her as well, carrying Syndicate’s voice—even if she appeared alone, Lisa was always walking around with company.
“Mister Syndicate. What about this enchanted locket?”
“It’s alright. But you’re already Silver—why would you need an inferior equipment for mortals?”
“But it’s pretty… look.” Taking the enchanted elven locket that was cheap but finely crafted and holding it before her collarbone, Lisa animated the magic within the locket, and a gentle fluorescent hence began to shine.
“…Hmmm. Ah… certainly, very pretty.”
As Syndicate, who was at a loss of how to reply looked on alongside Zero-One as the Steel Elemental made a series of weird sounds, Lisa happily bought the jewelry that was completely useless for her. But, so what? What was more important than being happy? Syndicate, who was gradually becoming un-demon-like was too lazy to consider such philosophical matters—after all, Lisa was definitely pretty a while ago.
And in a tavern less than a street away from Lisa, the five members of the First Party were having a game over the Fairy Card table, using entertainment to ease the mysterious franticness and frustration resulting from consecutive defeats to a certain junior Drakonid girl. Ivan and Arlwa were the ones now playing, while the dwarf Nick was being forced to chug a few beers by Amelia and Karin. The dwarf had been boasting that he was ‘never drunk after a thousand beers’, but had already gone to the washroom a dozen times after a hundred and twenty goblets, while a bartender had been called to officiate, preventing him from using magic to mitigate his intoxication. It was fortunate that Nick could actually remain a little lucid thanks to the extraordinary elemental training he got from Joshua, even as he now lay on the floor of the tavern, rolling around while shouting “No more, no more’.
Leaving aside the embarrassing dwarf, Ivan was now engaged in a fierce card duel against the Seventh Prince. However, there is one little difference in their duel as compared to others—instead of fighting conventionally, they were drawing cards as if in a frenzy.
“Hah! You’ve already hit the bottomline forty-two times without getting a single Legendary card. Admit defeat!”
“Tut! How are you any better? It’s just two Epic cards… Ah! I got it!”
The pair bantered good-naturedly as they drew, when Ivan suddenly exclaimed ‘I got it!’, the Card Table also made a sound.
Half of the tavern turned their head at once towards Ivan and Arlwa, and the team leader started to study his new Legendary card as the Seventh Prince quickly surrendered while grumbling.
[Barbarossa, Element Maven]
[10 Cost, 5 Attack, 9 Health]
[Chain: Every spell card has double effect]
[Battlecry: Put an ‘Elemental Destruction’ into your hand]
[Deathrattle: Put an ‘Elemental Destruction’ into your hand]
[5 Mana Cost, Legendary spell card]
[Deal five damage that ignores armor to the enemy hero and all enemy minions, discard a hand at random.]
[—Grand, lofty mountains or little caterpillars between leaves, all are composed of elements… Everything is equal and unified, being unable to understand that is being unable to advance towards the Truth.]
A mage who stood upon a tower at dusk was shrouded in shadow, his visage indiscernible. The light of seven elements were gathered behind him, forming a dull cycle of elements.
As to why they would keep drawing cards instead of dueling, it was, to quote the two, ‘I’m already loaded, and you still want me to waste time playing?’.
There were also various unique and interesting things going on, such as the troubles Adrian now had to face, even as he took the fairies for supper at the top floor of the guest house. Before his eyes, four adorable little humans were struggling for the straw of a mixed fruit juice from melons and strawberries. The sixth prince looked on, unable to stifle a bitter smile even as three other identical goblets with similar fruit juices were right beside his hand.
The daily lives of his other friends were interesting as well—whether it was Ying who was holding Zero-Three’s hand and accompanying her and browsing through a shop, or Ling who was studying a book with Light as Black’s substitute, their lives were all filled with vigor and dazzling colors. Joshua liked such an atmosphere.
As for Black… the warrior shifted his gaze and clicked his tongue when he saw that the black dragon girl was still lying in the pool, instead of training as planned. She was undoubtedly goofing off again! Still, even as the thought crossed his mind, Joshua was aware that the fast-paced life of humans is difficult for a True Dragon that was slowly turning into Ancient Dragon to adapt to. Occasionally, Black was not being lazy, but simply weary in bloodline and mind… Even so, Joshua would not let her sleep so soundly, because that one slumber might last centuries.
Without Draconic Plague or cultists, the civil strife after Israel’s death or the clergies’ unrest after Igor’s passing… Everything was beautiful, and very peaceful.
“This world… would never become like that.”
Taking in the sights, Joshua could not help remembering his recent theory, unable to stop mumbling to himself once he thought of the countless worlds that were possibly destroyed. He then promptly frowned and became silent, shocked by what he just said.
Hence, he grinned, shaking his head.
People change, just as they do not—the once simple warrior being left emotional at the ordinary nightscape of the city was proof that the edges of Steel had been ground off, that his tough heart had begun to soften. However, it would not change for the man was like that from start to finish: he would never sit and watch as calamity occurred or as the weak begged. He could not help refusing the dreams or others, or abide by himself gradually becoming inhumane.
He was a savior, not a god of destruction.
Due to the endless ruination that may exist at the heart of the Multiverse, the light of divinity that had run amok in the depths of Joshua’s body flashed. Dull black-red radiance illuminated in a tree-shape rune along the Body of Steel, beautiful yet fearsome. Even so, the warrior was no longer affected by the rage and lust for destruction it brought—his eyes were flickering with silver light resembling clouds of stars, representing his unified heart from start to finish.
What needed to be destroyed and demolished were only enemies, powerful enemies. Going berserk against the weak and allies were proof of a coward who could not control their own desires. Joshua van Radcliffe was one who manipulated divinity, and not one to be manipulated by divinity.
He controlled power, not be controlled by it.
Hence, as he closed his eyes, breathed, held his breath and opened his eyes again, the dull dark-red radiance vanished from Joshua’s body. The warrior who conquered his own divinity once again stood upon his own statue and looked out over the land, his serene gaze flashing in silver radiance light a cloudless night sky, still and peaceful.
Joshua looked up toward the skies of the distant southwestern reaches at an obscure and distorted space. The gods were slowly recovering, either returning to their temples to enjoy the adulation of their devotees or pretending to be mortals, walking amongst humankind. Those profound beings had never revealed any of their intentions until now, their advent was merely to fuse the Infinite Horizon into this world.
But Joshua was convinced that it was not as simple as that. He rose into the air and returned to the liege’s residence, waking Black who was about to fall asleep in the artificial lake and reminding her to keep training, so as to dispel the tiredness in her veins. To overcome improper instincts was development, after all.
Time passed amidst such daily life. Day and night cycled, and then came fifteenth of June, Starfall year 837.
The day for an appointment with a god had arrived.