Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 696


Chapter 696 Lightning Storm

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

On the other side of the land, the army of Soul Puppets advanced silently.

It was an army that escapes the imagination of ordinary people.

Each puppet unit was huge, standing over two meters tall and were fully armed. Their heavy metallic footsteps kicked up a pillar of dust that rose into the skies, and amounted up to more than three thousand, every single one of them were equipped with heavy armor that granted immunity, with towering siege machinery placed at the fore. Moreover, each puppet carried huge scythes, hammers, chainsaws on their right hand that most humans could hardly wield, while their left held heavy shields the size of doors—forged from thick and sturdy alloy with the most advanced craft, it could stop most Ultra-power and physical attacks.

Behind the Assault-type puppets were Suppression-type puppets. They numbered twice more and were equipped with various target-specific armament, although their armor was thinner. Their weapons include various ray dischargers, guns, and long-range javelins, along with countermeasures such as an ‘energy barrier trigger’. If the weapons these puppets were unleashed at once, it would instantly wipe out vast mortal armies, just as their energy barrier formed through resonating triggers at several points and could withstand the brutal blows of multiple elite Ultrahuman.

Such was the ultimate moves the Soul Puppets had tailored against the Simboan Resistance that attacked their Garden Zones—the ‘Hunter Legion’, killing machines armed to the teeth. Most Ultrahuman would flee in panic on sight, having no room to maneuver.

However, unlike what Tank and the others thought, this particular Hunter Legion was not the one the Resistance exhausted all efforts to lure away. In fact, that Legion they were familiar with had been running in circles around the continent as usual on the north side of the continent—it would take them three months for them to return.

This Legion, on the other hand, was a brand new one.

The production capacity of Soul Puppets was far more than what the escaped Ultrahuman would imagine. They have almost all available resources in the world at their disposal, and if one legion was not enough to destroy their enemies, they could simply make two, or even up to five if that was not still enough.

They would not mind.

“Powerful Ultra-power signatures detected. Escaped Ultrahumans found, left side, to the fore. Number: four.”

Amongst the silent ranks of Soul Puppets, complex electromagnetic signals that combined with soul signatures were sent back and forth, revolving around several ‘bizarre’ puppets with special designs hidden in the army. Indiscriminately, a party had split themselves from the Hunter Legion, charging towards the nearby Plantation they judged to have ‘fallen’ just a while ago.

Even if it was several scattered Ultrahuman, the Soul Puppet would never underestimate them or be careless. They came up with the countermeasure of an elite suppression party through the processing programmed in their Soul Core, which did not weaken their main force, while sending an acceptable number that could demolish those targets without too much damage. At the center of the Legion, the Core Puppet that was in charge of transmitting information and commanding the Legion kept advancing with the army towards their original target—dashing toward the escaped Ultrahumans’ ‘main encampment’.

Soon, however, the Core Puppet paused for an instant as its Soul Core received dozens of incessant and urgent notifications.

“Serial number Tbeta-8453, signal lost.”

“Serial number Tbeta-8457, signal lost.”

“Serial number Tbeta-8459…”

“Serial number…”

“Third Party destroyed. Designation canceled. Confirmed rate of demolition: one second. Searching data vault… match found.”

“Enemy: First-class elite Ultrahuman!”

The Core Puppet’s observation lens flowed with near-endless streams of data. As the radiance in its eyes flickered and processed information rapidly, the puppet came to a decision in seconds.

“First-class elite Ultrahuman confirmed. Hunter Legion target redirecting in accordance with purging protocols.”

“All units, prepare.”

Amidst the wilderness, the army of steel that had been darting with a presence as if devouring heaven and earth stopped abruptly, switching from extreme mobility to extreme silence. Their tight, rectangular formation instantly dispersed into a scattered but orderly one akin to fish scales, and in the very next moment, the army turned a hundred and eighty degrees and advanced once more to that target which they determined to be worthy of their carnage.

Meanwhile, Tank blinked in astonishment in front of the walls of Plantation. His bewildered gaze shifted as he tried to ascertain what was actually happening before his eyes, but what he saw were the remains of the Suppression party that was wafting away in the wind… And it was more precise to call it dust than remains. Dense silver shrouds fell upon the land, turning into little grains of steel.

What happened just now? The old man did not distinctly see anything other than the Hunter Legion dispatching a party to wipe out himself and the others. Tank had almost given up on getting Joshua to escape with him then, instead intending to get Formless cast invisibility on himself and Blast to run… And what unfolded next exceeded his imagination.

The ferocious heavy armor puppets had stridden toward them with thunderous footsteps. Each of them was opponent that the old man could hardly handle at the peak of his powers, and there were twenty of them coming at them, just as twice that number of puppets with long-ranged weapons followed. Such numbers meant certain death for normal Ultrahumans—and most of them would never defeat such measured foes even if they exhaust their energy.

Even so, against such troublesome foes… that huge puppet in the sky stayed afloat, simply clenching its fist as the wheel of steel behind its body burst with a wave of silver light, pulverizing every enemy.

What threshold of ability was it? Tank had never seen such a thing before the enemy utterly vanished without leaving any remains. As it looked up fearfully towards the figure wafting in the sky, he soon realized that the puppet and the black-haired youth on its shoulders were rising rapidly up beyond a thousand meters in the sky. The old man stared blankly for a while, before turning back to the surface, a thought seemingly crossing his mind.

Tank inhaled sharply at once, unable to stop himself from taking a few steps back and almost falling to the ground.

In the distance, the ‘thunderclap’ from the puppet’s footsteps which trembled the land was growing louder. Sheets of steel-gray clouds were charging in their direction with a determined and exaggerated speed—the wind howled, and layers of green semi-circular energy barriers could be seen appearing amongst their ranks, fusing and resonating into a seemingly solid translucent energy shield.

Tank could not help remembering that fateful final battle against the puppet army ten years ago… in the basin of the Simboa continent’s western valleys, more than seventy Ultrahumans led their legions in direct confrontation against the Hunter Legion amidst that region of complex topography. It had been the same sight then: steel-grey clouds cascaded over the surface as the green barriers that had never been seen were raised, withstanding the violent Ultra-powers bombardment. Then, the heavy-armored units equipped with armors of immunity and virtually ignored inferior Ultra-powers charged into their formations, brandishing their fearsome weapons and launching a massacre.

The Resistance never engaged the Hunter Legion in direct confrontation since then.

Was he running? It was just as well since such powerful Ultrahuman should not be dying under such circumstances. Tank could now no longer see Joshua’s figure—the turbid air was shrouded in dust that even the most advanced optical instruments could not pierce such dense shrouds, much less the human eye.

Even so, there was an emotion in the old man’s heart that could have been satisfaction or disappointment. As Formless and Blast dragged him away, the turbid skies suddenly thundered incessantly. And it was not just Tank either—the other two Ultrahumans hurrying away to flee and hide could not help looking up towards the skies as well.

***

Nearby, the Core Puppet that was advancing swiftly with its legion looked up, its observation lens focusing at the skies too.

Then, they saw it—layers of profound darkness suddenly cascaded over the skies that should be covered in endless dust and opaque. Cold, damp presence promptly extended, and in an instant, the world around them had seemingly changed, as if being pulled into another world.

“Is this… an illusion?”

Tank kept his eyes in the skies above even as he shrugged off the other two’s grips, who in turn had paused as well. The skies were now filled with tight formations of dark dots that almost covered the heavens.

Thousands upon thousands of water vapors appeared out of thin air in the skies, dispersing as clouds between thunders.

Raging winds stirred as dark clouds so gloomy its suffocated people unfurled, just like a drop of ink which had dripped into clear water. In seconds, it engulfed half the world, the endless vapors churning and accumulating beneath raging winds and spreading rapidly, blanketing every part of the sky within sight and devouring the setting sun!

The world darkened then, as the huge figure standing high above amidst the dark clouds and thunder, while indescribable power emanated from that whirling saucer. In that very moment, the silver gem darkened, the green gem shone, just before his right hand swung down heavily. Thus came thunder and lightning, and torrent rain descended!

Drip.

Turbid water dropped upon the Core Puppet’s glass lens for observation. As rain blew past it, its lens became clear.

But after the first drop was thunder and lightning and endless downpour. The presence of gloom unfurled as rain and dust shrouded the land from out of nowhere—the rain that was essentially mudwater brushed the land, soaking all things and permeating its body. The earth became muddy, and most land that had been walkable turned into swamps, and the imposing puppet legion paused at once, with the excessively heavy Assault Puppets sinking into the soil, immobile.

The next rain should have come thirteen years according to the forecast from Garden Zone.

Amongst the confused puppet legion, clusters of information flowed in the Soul Core of the Core Puppet once more, leaving it puzzled as it had not encountered such a situation.

“The weather changed. Why?”

“Impossible… how could Ultra-power change the weather?”

On the ground, Tank, Formless and Blast were gaping. If pulverizing the enemy instantly was almost within their comprehension, the change of weather absolutely exceeded their imagination!

There was once a powerful Ultrahuman who could control sandstorms, and had been capable of single-handedly holding the assault of Hunter Legions and buy enough time for the others to retreat… But how could that ability to stir a sandstorm that covered an entire Plantation compare to the ability that created dark clouds out of nothing, while causing an endless downpour as far as the eye could see? In the century where the Resistance stood, never had there been Ultrahuman with such power!

Boom!

But reality did not give anyone sufficient time to react. After the rumbling, dozens of streaks of green lightning brewed amidst the friction between clouds and struck the ground, blasting the Hunter Legion. Thunder vaporized steam, turning rain into white shrouds while excessively dense currents, combined with searing heat that could melt all things instantly broke the energy barrier surrounding the puppets, destroying dozens of puppets.

Rain descended as if arrows as billions of waterdrops streaked in long threads in the air, turning into sharp thorns. Up above, the thunder and green lightning never rested, shooting down one vein after another like a lightning storm cracking its whip at the atmosphere and earth.

Heaven and earth appear to sway violently under its power.

Screeeech!

The Core Puppet that was helping other puppets out of the muddy swamp suddenly detected the urgent alarm. In its soul radar, it noticed a bright speck of light that was descending rapidly from the sky thousands of meters above. It was far faster than any puppet, or any bullet that left the barrel.

“Intense energy signature detected!”

“Ultrahuman fast approaching, prepare for attack!”

“Attack!” The Core Puppet commanded decisively.

Several unusually designed puppets stepped out from the ranks of the Legion. They were almost no longer humanoid; their bodies were akin to huge beehives. And now, the streaks of white light were extending out from the honeycombs, and in seconds, thousands of energy clusters burst out, turning into a series of photons that sped towards the bright and gigantic speck in the radar!

Even so, it was futile. When the homing supersonic photons approached the speck, an unusual ripple swept past and blasted away every photon in the air. The massive energies hence dispersed as rainwater, forming a temporary vacuum in the atmosphere.

It was then that the Core Puppet realized that the speck in the Soul Radar was not descending in a straight line…. Its trail in the air skewed slightly, before simply darting down at the entire Soul Puppet legion—

Bang-bang-bang —every ray discharger was temporarily useless due to torrential rain, which was why the Suppression-type puppets drew out backup guns with physical ballistics, and unleashed suppressing fire against that high-speed target. The puppets shot with supreme accuracy that would not lose out to any veteran army personnel, and with thousands of anti-aircraft artillery and other weapons firing, they built layers after layers of flawless net firepower.

But it was meaningless. The bright speck in the Soul Radar ignored all suppressing firepower—it was even accelerating incessantly, piercing the atmosphere and approaching them.

“Distance: twenty-five hundred, seventeen hundred and ninety, four hundred and thirty… Brace for impact!”

The Core Puppet executed countermeasures while controlling ots entire legion through electromagnetic soul ripples, but it was too late.

Boom!

Like a meteor crashing down on earth, a massive explosion detonated upon the vanguard of the Hunter Legion. Violent shockwaves stirred rainwater and atmosphere, boiling air and kicking up raging winds.

And in the heart of the explosion, a colossal machine body that never appeared on this world before left the searing steam clouds and appeared before the puppets.

“Huh, so this Ultra-power… or should I say Steel Authority.”

A floating halo containing six gems of different colors: silver, green, crimson, black, gold and white orbited gently behind his body. Joshua clenched his right fist, just as silver green shards dulled while the white Steel Shard shone dazzlingly.

In front of him were thousands of fully-armed, alert and battle-ready Soul Puppets.

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

On the other side of the land, the army of Soul Puppets advanced silently.

It was an army that escapes the imagination of ordinary people.

Each puppet unit was huge, standing over two meters tall and were fully armed. Their heavy metallic footsteps kicked up a pillar of dust that rose into the skies, and amounted up to more than three thousand, every single one of them were equipped with heavy armor that granted immunity, with towering siege machinery placed at the fore. Moreover, each puppet carried huge scythes, hammers, chainsaws on their right hand that most humans could hardly wield, while their left held heavy shields the size of doors—forged from thick and sturdy alloy with the most advanced craft, it could stop most Ultra-power and physical attacks.

Behind the Assault-type puppets were Suppression-type puppets. They numbered twice more and were equipped with various target-specific armament, although their armor was thinner. Their weapons include various ray dischargers, guns, and long-range javelins, along with countermeasures such as an ‘energy barrier trigger’. If the weapons these puppets were unleashed at once, it would instantly wipe out vast mortal armies, just as their energy barrier formed through resonating triggers at several points and could withstand the brutal blows of multiple elite Ultrahuman.

Such was the ultimate moves the Soul Puppets had tailored against the Simboan Resistance that attacked their Garden Zones—the ‘Hunter Legion’, killing machines armed to the teeth. Most Ultrahuman would flee in panic on sight, having no room to maneuver.

However, unlike what Tank and the others thought, this particular Hunter Legion was not the one the Resistance exhausted all efforts to lure away. In fact, that Legion they were familiar with had been running in circles around the continent as usual on the north side of the continent—it would take them three months for them to return.

This Legion, on the other hand, was a brand new one.

The production capacity of Soul Puppets was far more than what the escaped Ultrahuman would imagine. They have almost all available resources in the world at their disposal, and if one legion was not enough to destroy their enemies, they could simply make two, or even up to five if that was not still enough.

They would not mind.

“Powerful Ultra-power signatures detected. Escaped Ultrahumans found, left side, to the fore. Number: four.”

Amongst the silent ranks of Soul Puppets, complex electromagnetic signals that combined with soul signatures were sent back and forth, revolving around several ‘bizarre’ puppets with special designs hidden in the army. Indiscriminately, a party had split themselves from the Hunter Legion, charging towards the nearby Plantation they judged to have ‘fallen’ just a while ago.

Even if it was several scattered Ultrahuman, the Soul Puppet would never underestimate them or be careless. They came up with the countermeasure of an elite suppression party through the processing programmed in their Soul Core, which did not weaken their main force, while sending an acceptable number that could demolish those targets without too much damage. At the center of the Legion, the Core Puppet that was in charge of transmitting information and commanding the Legion kept advancing with the army towards their original target—dashing toward the escaped Ultrahumans’ ‘main encampment’.

Soon, however, the Core Puppet paused for an instant as its Soul Core received dozens of incessant and urgent notifications.

“Serial number Tbeta-8453, signal lost.”

“Serial number Tbeta-8457, signal lost.”

“Serial number Tbeta-8459…”

“Serial number…”

“Third Party destroyed. Designation canceled. Confirmed rate of demolition: one second. Searching data vault… match found.”

“Enemy: First-class elite Ultrahuman!”

The Core Puppet’s observation lens flowed with near-endless streams of data. As the radiance in its eyes flickered and processed information rapidly, the puppet came to a decision in seconds.

“First-class elite Ultrahuman confirmed. Hunter Legion target redirecting in accordance with purging protocols.”

“All units, prepare.”

Amidst the wilderness, the army of steel that had been darting with a presence as if devouring heaven and earth stopped abruptly, switching from extreme mobility to extreme silence. Their tight, rectangular formation instantly dispersed into a scattered but orderly one akin to fish scales, and in the very next moment, the army turned a hundred and eighty degrees and advanced once more to that target which they determined to be worthy of their carnage.

Meanwhile, Tank blinked in astonishment in front of the walls of Plantation. His bewildered gaze shifted as he tried to ascertain what was actually happening before his eyes, but what he saw were the remains of the Suppression party that was wafting away in the wind… And it was more precise to call it dust than remains. Dense silver shrouds fell upon the land, turning into little grains of steel.

What happened just now? The old man did not distinctly see anything other than the Hunter Legion dispatching a party to wipe out himself and the others. Tank had almost given up on getting Joshua to escape with him then, instead intending to get Formless cast invisibility on himself and Blast to run… And what unfolded next exceeded his imagination.

The ferocious heavy armor puppets had stridden toward them with thunderous footsteps. Each of them was opponent that the old man could hardly handle at the peak of his powers, and there were twenty of them coming at them, just as twice that number of puppets with long-ranged weapons followed. Such numbers meant certain death for normal Ultrahumans—and most of them would never defeat such measured foes even if they exhaust their energy.

Even so, against such troublesome foes… that huge puppet in the sky stayed afloat, simply clenching its fist as the wheel of steel behind its body burst with a wave of silver light, pulverizing every enemy.

What threshold of ability was it? Tank had never seen such a thing before the enemy utterly vanished without leaving any remains. As it looked up fearfully towards the figure wafting in the sky, he soon realized that the puppet and the black-haired youth on its shoulders were rising rapidly up beyond a thousand meters in the sky. The old man stared blankly for a while, before turning back to the surface, a thought seemingly crossing his mind.

Tank inhaled sharply at once, unable to stop himself from taking a few steps back and almost falling to the ground.

In the distance, the ‘thunderclap’ from the puppet’s footsteps which trembled the land was growing louder. Sheets of steel-gray clouds were charging in their direction with a determined and exaggerated speed—the wind howled, and layers of green semi-circular energy barriers could be seen appearing amongst their ranks, fusing and resonating into a seemingly solid translucent energy shield.

Tank could not help remembering that fateful final battle against the puppet army ten years ago… in the basin of the Simboa continent’s western valleys, more than seventy Ultrahumans led their legions in direct confrontation against the Hunter Legion amidst that region of complex topography. It had been the same sight then: steel-grey clouds cascaded over the surface as the green barriers that had never been seen were raised, withstanding the violent Ultra-powers bombardment. Then, the heavy-armored units equipped with armors of immunity and virtually ignored inferior Ultra-powers charged into their formations, brandishing their fearsome weapons and launching a massacre.

The Resistance never engaged the Hunter Legion in direct confrontation since then.

Was he running? It was just as well since such powerful Ultrahuman should not be dying under such circumstances. Tank could now no longer see Joshua’s figure—the turbid air was shrouded in dust that even the most advanced optical instruments could not pierce such dense shrouds, much less the human eye.

Even so, there was an emotion in the old man’s heart that could have been satisfaction or disappointment. As Formless and Blast dragged him away, the turbid skies suddenly thundered incessantly. And it was not just Tank either—the other two Ultrahumans hurrying away to flee and hide could not help looking up towards the skies as well.

***

Nearby, the Core Puppet that was advancing swiftly with its legion looked up, its observation lens focusing at the skies too.

Then, they saw it—layers of profound darkness suddenly cascaded over the skies that should be covered in endless dust and opaque. Cold, damp presence promptly extended, and in an instant, the world around them had seemingly changed, as if being pulled into another world.

“Is this… an illusion?”

Tank kept his eyes in the skies above even as he shrugged off the other two’s grips, who in turn had paused as well. The skies were now filled with tight formations of dark dots that almost covered the heavens.

Thousands upon thousands of water vapors appeared out of thin air in the skies, dispersing as clouds between thunders.

Raging winds stirred as dark clouds so gloomy its suffocated people unfurled, just like a drop of ink which had dripped into clear water. In seconds, it engulfed half the world, the endless vapors churning and accumulating beneath raging winds and spreading rapidly, blanketing every part of the sky within sight and devouring the setting sun!

The world darkened then, as the huge figure standing high above amidst the dark clouds and thunder, while indescribable power emanated from that whirling saucer. In that very moment, the silver gem darkened, the green gem shone, just before his right hand swung down heavily. Thus came thunder and lightning, and torrent rain descended!

Drip.

Turbid water dropped upon the Core Puppet’s glass lens for observation. As rain blew past it, its lens became clear.

But after the first drop was thunder and lightning and endless downpour. The presence of gloom unfurled as rain and dust shrouded the land from out of nowhere—the rain that was essentially mudwater brushed the land, soaking all things and permeating its body. The earth became muddy, and most land that had been walkable turned into swamps, and the imposing puppet legion paused at once, with the excessively heavy Assault Puppets sinking into the soil, immobile.

The next rain should have come thirteen years according to the forecast from Garden Zone.

Amongst the confused puppet legion, clusters of information flowed in the Soul Core of the Core Puppet once more, leaving it puzzled as it had not encountered such a situation.

“The weather changed. Why?”

“Impossible… how could Ultra-power change the weather?”

On the ground, Tank, Formless and Blast were gaping. If pulverizing the enemy instantly was almost within their comprehension, the change of weather absolutely exceeded their imagination!

There was once a powerful Ultrahuman who could control sandstorms, and had been capable of single-handedly holding the assault of Hunter Legions and buy enough time for the others to retreat… But how could that ability to stir a sandstorm that covered an entire Plantation compare to the ability that created dark clouds out of nothing, while causing an endless downpour as far as the eye could see? In the century where the Resistance stood, never had there been Ultrahuman with such power!

Boom!

But reality did not give anyone sufficient time to react. After the rumbling, dozens of streaks of green lightning brewed amidst the friction between clouds and struck the ground, blasting the Hunter Legion. Thunder vaporized steam, turning rain into white shrouds while excessively dense currents, combined with searing heat that could melt all things instantly broke the energy barrier surrounding the puppets, destroying dozens of puppets.

Rain descended as if arrows as billions of waterdrops streaked in long threads in the air, turning into sharp thorns. Up above, the thunder and green lightning never rested, shooting down one vein after another like a lightning storm cracking its whip at the atmosphere and earth.

Heaven and earth appear to sway violently under its power.

Screeeech!

The Core Puppet that was helping other puppets out of the muddy swamp suddenly detected the urgent alarm. In its soul radar, it noticed a bright speck of light that was descending rapidly from the sky thousands of meters above. It was far faster than any puppet, or any bullet that left the barrel.

“Intense energy signature detected!”

“Ultrahuman fast approaching, prepare for attack!”

“Attack!” The Core Puppet commanded decisively.

Several unusually designed puppets stepped out from the ranks of the Legion. They were almost no longer humanoid; their bodies were akin to huge beehives. And now, the streaks of white light were extending out from the honeycombs, and in seconds, thousands of energy clusters burst out, turning into a series of photons that sped towards the bright and gigantic speck in the radar!

Even so, it was futile. When the homing supersonic photons approached the speck, an unusual ripple swept past and blasted away every photon in the air. The massive energies hence dispersed as rainwater, forming a temporary vacuum in the atmosphere.

It was then that the Core Puppet realized that the speck in the Soul Radar was not descending in a straight line…. Its trail in the air skewed slightly, before simply darting down at the entire Soul Puppet legion—

Bang-bang-bang —every ray discharger was temporarily useless due to torrential rain, which was why the Suppression-type puppets drew out backup guns with physical ballistics, and unleashed suppressing fire against that high-speed target. The puppets shot with supreme accuracy that would not lose out to any veteran army personnel, and with thousands of anti-aircraft artillery and other weapons firing, they built layers after layers of flawless net firepower.

But it was meaningless. The bright speck in the Soul Radar ignored all suppressing firepower—it was even accelerating incessantly, piercing the atmosphere and approaching them.

“Distance: twenty-five hundred, seventeen hundred and ninety, four hundred and thirty… Brace for impact!”

The Core Puppet executed countermeasures while controlling ots entire legion through electromagnetic soul ripples, but it was too late.

Boom!

Like a meteor crashing down on earth, a massive explosion detonated upon the vanguard of the Hunter Legion. Violent shockwaves stirred rainwater and atmosphere, boiling air and kicking up raging winds.

And in the heart of the explosion, a colossal machine body that never appeared on this world before left the searing steam clouds and appeared before the puppets.

“Huh, so this Ultra-power… or should I say Steel Authority.”

A floating halo containing six gems of different colors: silver, green, crimson, black, gold and white orbited gently behind his body. Joshua clenched his right fist, just as silver green shards dulled while the white Steel Shard shone dazzlingly.

In front of him were thousands of fully-armed, alert and battle-ready Soul Puppets.

“Not bad.”

“Not bad.”