Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
At first, Joshua held great expectations toward the Simboan Resistance—or the organization of Extraordinary individuals, because of the unnamed technician.
His blood-dyed diary had recorded twenty years of thoughts and conclusions the unnamed technician made, allowing Joshua to learn about the Simboans: they were a great civilization that conducted profound research into technology and were able to create the Soul Puppets, and hence capable deftly altering the soul. They would not lose out to the world of Mycroft in the study of soul, and had reached a level where it could be called art—even if that art was used on themselves, could it be helped?
There were uncountable works that imagined the world being destroyed by artificial intelligence back on Earth, just as alchemists on Mycroft would often call upon spellcasters to be aware against abusing highly intelligent artificial souls. When he descended here, Joshua thought that Simboa was precisely one such world: The Soul Puppets defeated the Simboans, their creators, thereby using them as tools or ingredients to multiply themselves—a classic example civilization brought to ruin by their own creations.
On the other hand, Joshua guessed that the beings that fought against the Soul Puppets as recorded by the unnamed technician were remnants of the former Simboan civilization. They must have the same technology and culture, or they would not have fought with the Puppets throughout the years. To his imagination—or what was the unnamed technician’s, the Simboans’ Resistance should have been a ‘civilization’.
But that preconception was gradually changing as Joshua learned more about the world.
In the beginning, it was his probe into the soul of the children in Garden: Joshua believed that the bred Simboans must have maintained fundamental organization when he saw that the young could still play instruments and sing nursery rhymes. Later, however, he discovered that the minds of the children were virtually empty and without coherent memories. Their singing and playing were completely similar to a controlled puppet, just as the warrior was now controlling the younger body of the unnamed technician.
The second time his preconception changed was when he left Garden. When he entered Nursery, he promptly realized that the world’s air was incredibly poor and might not even be suitable for any living things. Joshua had seen how such environments formed, having seen similar causes in the memories of the Sixth Abyss: It must have been an extremely terrible war that reduced the world to such a state, which is in line with the theory that the Soul Puppets once fought the Simboans.
But could such a hostile environment really maintain the consumption of a large civilization? Having seen the world at its zenith, Joshua knew very well that there were only sporadic dots of green across the world—environments suitable for living did not exist.
The third was the instant ‘Magic Arrow’ made a move against the countless civilians—just as the battle almost ended.
From that very moment, Joshua became vividly aware that the remnant of the Simboan civilization he had in mind was completely wrong.
To a civilization, populations may occasionally be a burden, but it would never be a bad thing: to support a complete system of knowledge, a culture, and a society, there must be enough people.
If there had been such a civilization adept at the soul standing behind the party of Simboans, they would naturally be aware that those civilians that were in a blank state could be saved, just as the unnamed technician was. Not only were they proficient in repairing, they could even hone souls following long-term training—should they had considered that on a long-term basis, they definitely would not have chosen to wipe out their enemy’s resource, instead attempting to attain that resource.
That was also why Joshua would say that he could come up with many reasons they would slaughter the innocents, but never imagined that the reason was due to race: in the end, perhaps the Simboan civilizations did not need the populations? But even if that was the case, they should hide behind excuses such as war and overburden, never race.
But it was evident that everything was unlike what Joshua thought: the ‘civilization’ supporting the party of Extraordinary individuals was completely different from what the unnamed technician and Joshua imagined.
Joshua had grown too hopeful over the Simboan Resistance because of the unnamed technician until a moment ago. It was then that he slowly saw that the Resistance who appeared righteous were only pockets of survivors that escaped the grasp of Soul Puppets, instead of an army or special task force. It was until ‘Tank’ revealed his own knowledge about the Resistance that Joshua fully understood the fact, and cleared away his misconception.
Enraged? Resentful? He no longer felt that way. Joshua was now just a little disappointed and sorry that most of the Simboan civilization was utterly destroyed, leaving a bunch of survivors with no society, history or legacy.
They could not even understand the word ‘history’ despite Joshua’s use of spiritual resonance, since their language and concepts had neither past nor history. Moreover, the conditions for their survival was simply too demanding, meaning that they lived in a terrible environment, were besieged by robots without even understanding themselves—they must really not know that the civilians could be saved, that they were their own kind. Indeed, they had to survive by plundering Garden Zones in order to survive, and would not have the resource to help the civilians even if they saved them.
The Simboan resistance could not even be considered nomads. They were nothing but escapees without a home, denied any ability or opportunity to produce new things. Their future was dark, and yet they could do nothing other than carrying on with their current lives.
It was now that Joshua really understood the current state of the Simboan world that he said what he said.
“You’re not human.”
“You aren’t human.”
“All of you aren’t human.”
Be it Soul Puppets, Simboan peasants or Simboan resistance, each of them was incomplete bodies by themselves.
The Soul Puppets owned Plantations in the barren world, producing food while restoring the world. However, they were inflexible puppets with neither humanity nor intelligence, solely capable of executing tasks according to commands and regulations. Most of their technology must have been inherited from the former Simboan civilization, and they had no future to speak of.
In contrast, the Simboan were communicative and intelligent. Their actions had logic and they had learned working in collaboration, but as a newly formed group of survivors who became misshapen from oppression, they did not have production capacity and was not even aware of their links to the civilians. In reality, even nomadic races could produce: they remained civilization albeit with lower efficiency, whereas the Resistance were mere beings that lived to live. They were now in dire straits, facing the danger of being wiped out at any given moment, much less form a civilization.
It was even worst when it came to the Simboan civilians. They were bred like livestock, having no intelligence as their thoughts and associative ability had been sealed. Denied the freedom of choosing death, were they even human?
In other words, all three were torn, broken and incomplete bodies of an intelligent civilization. Even so, Joshua’s opinion of them was a mere description of fact on a subjective view: he was not insulting anyone nor venting his rage—in fact, he had even shaken off his outrage of ‘Magic Arrow’s massacring of the Simboans… They truly had no other option, and it was the only choice for a people who were escaping into a dead end.
If the soil where the spirit of civilization no longer existed, could there even be a demand for morality?
Naturally, that was a brief opinion.
Joshua would not exclude the possibility that he would find more information that could change every impression he now held. After all, there were still many questions such as those rectangular buildings in Garden—where did they link to? Those were simple information transit hubs after all. In the absence of processing core assemblages, who was assigning tasks to the Soul Puppets?
The party of the Simboan resistance was also very complete. They had attackers and defenders, and could unleash long-range blows or attacks that span a wide area. They even had demolition experts, mobility, hidden buffs, and spiritual unchainer. Such a party was simply too mature, and Joshua believed that there were several presences that inherited knowledge and civilization of the former Simboan civilization amongst the Resistance, just like the unnamed technician.
Sighing, Joshua, looked up towards the direction where wind and cloud were flowing. By comparing it to his surroundings from where he landed, he determined where he was: the southeastern edges of the Simboan world. Hence, he lowered his gaze to the northwestern reaches, which was where the spiral tower and countless steel buildings were located.
The middle of the world where the spiraling tower was is the only place in Simboa where there were huge buildings. If there were any real and complete society in this world, they would be there, just as it was the only place that could have any history records of the Simboa Steel Python being banished out of its own body.
Reasonably, he should be leaving at once, but now was not the time. As he looked around him, he found the party of Simboans still standing nervously and uneasily in front of him… They actually did not understand what Joshua said before since their language was very much lacking, only knowing that the powerful youth before them was unhappy with them, having bought into the fact that Joshua’s carbon-based puppet was his true form.
But Joshua was no longer discontent. If he had been angered by his own lofty expectations, he certainly expected nothing else after learning about the pathetic truth that was the Resistance… There naturally would not be emotion when there was no expectation, and Joshua, now simply feeling a little misfortune sighed.
“You want to save those children, right?” He said. “Go. They’re that way.”
The huge metallic puppet turned aside and cleared a path, just as Joshua simply waved his hand to part the clumps of Soul Puppet remains. Tank and his party of seven, still constrained beneath Joshua’s might did not even dare to recruit him, gulping instead before making a dash to the Garden, accelerating considerably as the eyes of the scrawny boy called ‘Flying Horse’ emanated green light once more.
Watching the backs of the Extraordinary individuals as they left, Joshua turned and slowly headed to the huge black wall at the edge of Nursery. He walked slowly, just as the remains of the Soul Puppets on the ground would shudder as he moved: in his first step the remains jerked forward as if being dragged along, and with his second infinite metals inside the remains that could not be reused separated. With his every step, various metallic materials would be pulled along.
When Joshua finally reached the gap on the wall, the high-grade alloys and rare metals pulled selectively from the remains of countless Soul Puppets combined into a single piece and was now less than half a ton. Half green and silver, the single piece turned into a halo beneath the alteration of a certain formidable power, whirling slowly behind Joshua’s puppet body. Inscriptions then began to appear over the metallic halo and produce bizarre power, creating tremendous buoyancy that allowed the cumbersome puppet body to float.
Joshua rose high above and kept walking ahead as if walking upon a staircase made of thin air. He rose into the skies some seven-hundred meters high and looked towards the distance.
Soon, he saw what he had sensed on the ground.
It was the edge of horizon, a pillar of smoke that rose seemingly to hold the skies aloft… and the cold metallic radiance flickering amidst the dust.