Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Starfall Year 837, twentieth of June. The grumble of complaints that the maidservants were accustomed to echoed in the Moldavian liege’s residence.
“Master, it’s almost two to three years since you’ve brought us along for a serious battle…”
Around the portal at the top floor of the liege’s residence, Ying stretched herself, making a dull face as she spoke softly to Joshua, who was ready to enter the portal. “Fine, I know you’re powerful enough to not need weapons…”
“This time, Master is going to a faraway otherworld to aid a Steel Python… He didn’t invite Nostradamus and the others, much less us.”
Beside them, Ling was explaining rather helplessly for the silver-haired girl. He was not as obsessed compared to Ying over their identities as ‘weapons’—to him, fighting was nothing too different from handling administrative duties, miscellaneous matters within and without the manor or formulating for the Radcliffe Family’s property. Everything helps the master.
“But you keep leaving us at home. I feel like I’m useless.”
Ying mumbled grudgingly, aware that the journey to another world was extraordinarily perilous. After all, it was something even a World Will can’t solve and had to entrust themselves upon external support with considerable ability. Even so, she feared no danger, fearing instead that Joshua would say that she was useless or even having no value in her existence.
Zero-Three and Light, the latter of whom was perched on Black’s head were whispering to each other in a corner. The Artificial Intelligence girl who had spoken to Joshua earlier appeared to have said something that left the black dragon immeasurably frightened—such as being forcibly awakened every day with frost magic or fly five hundred kilometers for training before breakfast… It was Joshua who had assigned Zero-Three to ensure that Black would still train as usual before he left for the otherworld. After all, it was not a simple matter of waking her up if Black really slumbered.
Meanwhile, Joshua turned right in front of the portal, his expression turning from serene to mysterious as he looked towards the Ying and Ling, who were obediently remaining where they were.
“If you guys really want to explore worlds with me,” the warrior said softly, “then you must become stronger.”
“Ying, Ling, Zero-Three, Black. Every one of you have great talents, being either natural psionic bodies, artificial fairy-class alchemical creation, artificial soul from Karlis or black dragon with Ancient Dragon blood… With the Soul-Substance Transition formula and the legacy I leave, your development progress should be a dozen times that of ordinary people. In fact, aren’t you already Gold, Ling? If your human form reaches Supreme-intermediate one day, you should be able to keep up with my pace then.”
Joshua never liked walking alone at the frontier of the world, always hoping that someone could keep up with him… although he would definitely never slow himself down over that. He would be pleased if someone could match him, but if they could not, he would let it be. He was willing to protect them.
Thanks to divine legacy and the Soul-Substance Transition formula, Zero-Three’s ability had rapidly advanced and was not worrying. On the other hand, if Ying, Ling and Black wished to shake off their current, awkward position, they could either give up or grit their teeth, pouring ten times the effort compared to others and keep abreast with his shadow.
“Don’t worry about me. I don’t think this journey would be difficult.” Joshua turned and strode through the portal, speaking calmly with his back to the others. “It’s a small world according to Karlis. It should not take much time.”
“Do your best, weapons of mine. I hope you make rapid progress when I return.”
With those words and a wave of tidal blue radiance, the warrior stepped into the portal entirely and vanished.
The others who bade him farewell also left, everyone much quieter than before. Joshua’s words were not elaborate and truly genuine, and they were all now thinking about how they should approach their own master.
Whatever the case may be, any who lived in the household of a champion definitely lead a hard life.
At the same time, an iota of sacred radiance flowed in the study, at the second floor of the liege’s residence—a neat, white letter hence slowly appeared in a small magical formation.
The materials used for the paper was exquisite; one could tell that originated from somewhere with ascended craftmanship. It had no envelope, but a layer of Holy Light shrouded it, and as the light slowly faded, the text on the paper hence gradually appeared.
[To Count Radcliffe, my friend]
The first page of the letter was also the only page.
“Friend, I am rather astonished by your view on the soul and Soul Mastery.”
The handwriting on the letter—a calligraphic style of the previous era, was elegant and archaic. While the writer appeared to be using standard composition, it would be more appropriate to say that standard composition referred to his writing. At the moment, the writer who was standard itself appeared rather surprised that his writing was floating a little. “To deny the innateness of the soul and emphasize the relation when soul and body is a new thought in the study of the soul. Your contribution is immense, and if possible, I hope to arrange your letter and publish it on the official scholarly journal of the Holy Mountain.
“At the same time, I believe I must explain to you the results the Seven Gods Holy Mountain had obtained after long years of researching the soul, as well as what kind of relationship existed between what the masses call ‘soul cycle’ and the world we live in.”
Then, the agitated handwriting appeared to tone down as if the writer had calmed, and the letter took a solemn turn. “First, I must tell you that the world absorbs energies from the Void in every moment.
“Void rays, dimensional ripples, external energy tides… Before the Great Mana Tide, every world actually absorbs substantial energies from the Void. Such energies, however, are short-lived—they passed through our world swiftly, something which holds true even for the Mana Tide. If it was not bursting incessantly, it would have been fleeting as well.
“Nothing appeared capable of holding such energy waves that appear to spread after worlds were destroyed (Forgive Barbarossa. I caught him and learned about what you and the other Legends had discussed a few days ago), but our souls can. The soul can entrap those otherworld energies and augment itself… The greater a population, the more souls there would be, leaving even more energies. And when life perished, the soul would be recycled in metempsychosis, returning every energy it absorbed to the world… do you understand that?
“The cycle of soul would never stop empowering the energy concentration in the inner reaches of a world! In turn, the energy is absolutely viable for honing supernatural powers—with a little Extraordinary power and a world that could birth souls, its concentration of Extraordinary powers would be heightened and strengthened. And the smaller the world, the concentration of Extraordinary ability would increase much faster!”
The handwriting the final part of the letter was slightly different from before. It appeared to have been written at a different time, and the penmanship appeared slovenly.
“According to the gods, the world of Mycroft should be the ending of the last Era, with a part of it blasted off in the war between the Sage and Evil Gods. Mycroft is now much smaller than it was in the Glorious Era—almost half of its previous scale, and that is why our world recovered the peak of energy concentration extremely quickly and back to the Glorious Era’s standard, perhaps even greater.”
“The Infinite Horizon was precisely a relic of war. Once a part of the skies of Mycroft, the gods had established a dimensional barrier over it, converting it into their throne. It was once an important part of soul cycle, but now became the burial grounds of the god. For us, guiding it back to Mycroft repairs part of the metempsychosis… The innocent souls that once wafted around the world are finally laid to rest.”
The writer appeared exhausted then; he kept writing solemnly, however. “To be frank, my late reply to your previous letter was due to a certain tremendous incident happening recently that had consumed much of my strength. If possible, Joshua, contact me as soon as possible—you may be the only one with the ability to solve it.
“—Igor of the Seven Gods Holy Mountain.”
The letter had reached, but the receiver had left to the unknown distance.
Meanwhile, in the Holy Mountain warship, Fort Glory, the control hub of the ‘Saint’s Eye’ observation center.
A dozen elite clergies were working seriously in front of monitors within the spherical chamber. They controlled hundreds of observation circles and folded them, turning them into observation points of varying sizes that could pierce dimensional turbulences. Those points would be operated day and night by the clergies in the three-shift system, monitoring for any anomalies around Mycroft.
Be it dimensional turbulence, energy oscillation or indentation of substantial mass, the observers would compile any detail of anomalies made out by the Saint’s Eye regardless of importance. Everything would be reported to main control at the hub of the holy mountain, and while most information was about unmeaningful dimensional ripple or the noise from energy tremor, none of them were remiss.
“Sector 58-92 normal.”
“Sector 93-121 normal.”
“Anomaly detected in Sector 131: a small Void asteroid is heading for Mycroft. Outcome: No otherworld virus remaining. Countermeasure: passive observation.”
“No unusual signals detected.”
In the hub, the clergies summarized their reports spiritually as if seeking something. Everyone present would flinch whenever they hear ‘abnormal signal detected’, but when they ascertained that it was the irregular signals most typical of the Void, they would return to normal.
An elderly white-haired person stood at the center of the control. Amidst reverent gazes, Igor was observing every signal platform simultaneously—his expression was calm, and he appeared to be waiting for something.
“Sector 157, anomalous signature detected.”
A clergy controlling an observation point proficiently sent a notification of anomaly detection. Although it was a faint hissing sound and could simply be an insignificant short-wave caused by Void ray disturbance on the observation point, he dutifully reported the change.
“Anomaly detected once again.”
The clergy issued a second notification, which was something very normal as well: energy disturbance on observation points are expected to continue a dozen times, and the clergies were prepared to issue notifications pm ever turn. Still, the clergy was thinking at the same time if he should go for barbecued meat later that night—the cultivation center of the Holy Mountain Fortress had a harvest a few days ago, and the fortress had become self-sufficient in the process, no longer needing food transported from the surface.
” Hiss… Us…”
“Anomaly detected once again… Wait!”
The clergy who was thinking about a lavish dinner of barbecued meat, canteen bread and mashed potato handily issued the notification, before blanking out. He seemed to have heard Mycroft’s common tongue… was it his imagination? Or was it really a voice? Either way, he was ready to issue another notification about the bizarre signal.
But before he could anything else, more, distinct signals echoed.
” Hiss-hiss… Bzzt… la… This is… the… Information Vault… Guardian… Reporting… Hiss-hiss…”
“Distinct otherworld signal detected!”
The middle-aged clergy did not hesitate to throw away thoughts of barbecued meat, canteen bread, and mashed potato, and issued the highest-level signal of ‘otherworld observer’—it meant otherworld life was detected, and was of the highest-class given their ability to communicate or move in the Void. The clergy followed procedure, first saving the portion of signal that just appeared by using the intelligent observation core, before sending it to higher-ups consecutively according to rank. Meanwhile, thanks to his issuing of the highest-level signal, every observation point from Sector 1 to 200 were diverted for a full-capacity search.
Standing in the control room, Igor’s eyes widened: having simultaneously observed every point, he heard that voice as well. It was no illusion; it was Mycroft’s common tongue. The voice was rather unusual too, its accent greatly differed from present day’s accent, but everyone could indeed hear that dialect-like words.
‘Finally’, the old man thought.
They did not have to wait for long. When the highest-level alert was issued, every clergy on shift verified the signal even as it wafted into everyone’s ears ever so clearly when they focused the observation point to Sector 157.
“…The interior cycle had crumbled. Though the material conversion formation still works, we could no longer survive since we no longer have recyclable substance.”
It was a tired, feminine voice that spoke with an unusual tone as if she rarely conversed with others. There were also many issues with her grammar, but none seemed to notice the fact as they listened to the voice attentively.
“The stars had died; the world is dark. Without light, we can’t find the path to return home… Those who hear this voice, any who come across this signal—if you could hear this, please tell the people of Mycroft that we would hold fast at this place as promised.”
“A thousand years had passed. The guardian of the Integrated Information Vault and their descendants had stayed upon their posts, and shall slumber here.”