Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
As the gigantic Steel Puppet whizzed toward the dark night sky, his vision began to elevate from the barren earth. The boundless gray-yellow plains extended as far as the eye could see, just as a cold, sinister wind unlike daylight lingered in the skies.
Joshua looked down upon the land. He could see the lights flickering on the Plantations—the Simboan Ultrahumans party’s battle did not actually destroy it fundamentally: it would recover to its original state if a new batch of Soul Puppets were to be stationed there.
Looking up at the night sky, Joshua saw multitudinous stars twinkling amidst the faint gray clouds. Their radiance was dull and vague, as if having been shrouded by layers of veil, and the light they glinted in emanated unease.
There were varying differences of starlight between every world. Due to the difference in position amidst the Multiverse, starlight visible to every world would contrast, and unlike Mycroft, Simboa had no moon. In the black night sky, there were thousands of specks flickering but without that familiar silver brilliance.
Of course, such frivolity was not the most important.
“Simboa… should not have stars.”
Now eight thousand meters into the sky, Joshua remained rising, having crossed most cloud layers and dust shrouds, arriving high above where not even dust existed. Staring upon the silver stars glinting in the darkness, he muttered to himself puzzledly.
“Why would there be stars shining in a world inside a Void vortex?”
While most inhabitants of this world would not know about the situation of their own world, the warrior knew very well that there were no worlds existing within several dozen thousand datum points beyond Simboa. The vast energy vortex surged in the Void, and this world was the isolated island in the heart of the vortex.
It should not have stars or starlight. The world of Simboa should be entirely dark, and as silent as if dead… And if that was the case, what would those shining specks be?
Joshua had risen so high above precisely to investigate that.
At the moment, the gigantic Steel Puppets had arrived twenty thousand meters in the air, a height where Joshua could see those specks that appeared to be starlight enlarging, proving that the warrior was not too far away.
When he looked at it roughly, it appeared to be clusters of burning fireballs. Silver-blue radiance that were without dust extended in the clear air, and Joshua could feel very distinct ripples emanating from the fireballs. The sensation was rough, dense and seemingly alive, just as he sensed a familiarity: the warrior could not help pausing for a moment when he felt it, and he studied those distant fireballs, his brow tightened.
Those were ripples from Soul Cores.
“…What is actually happening in this world?”
The puppet paused for moments before moving again. The whirling steel halo behind its back accelerate, and formless momentum sent it flying in the skies at the speed of thousands of meters per second. At that speed, Joshua arrived at the fireball closest to him in a brief few instances.
And when he arrived beside it, Joshua realized that it was not as huge as he thought.
It was a perfect sphere with a diameter of twenty-five meters, with an outer layer assembled from a certain half-energy, half-crystal substance. Silver blue flame akin to liquid magma churned within, emitting bright radiance that could blind any creature that stared directly at it within several thousand meters.
Dense and frightening soul ripples that could throw normal intelligent beings into endless illusions cascaded, lingering amidst the silver-blue flames. It rumbled sharply within the thin atmosphere, and had the distinct scorched odor of plasma… It was a star, the true form of a Simboan star.
“This thing… This plaything.”
Having seen the huge ‘star’ that was actually an unfathomably huge ‘Soul Core’, Joshua’s human body could not help breathing out softly, staring at the soul light with the puppet body together and muttering with a deep voice, “How many souls did it take to make it?!”
Joshua turned to the starry skies around him. There were at least more than a thousand ‘stars’ observable in the skies of Simboa, while some remained hidden due to various reasons such as angle, overlapping radiance or being too dim… If every star was like what the warrior had seen, every single one of which was a large Soul Core with a diameter of twenty- five meters, how many souls it took to fake a sky of stars?
Soon, Joshua had an estimation: one such soul star needed at least twelve hundred thousand standard souls.
And a thousand of them meant twelve hundred million.
Joshua was silent when he got his answer; he was left astonished by a number for the first time.
Across the Simboan continent, apart from the colossal building clusters at the center of the world, the Plantations of Soul Puppets would at most be just over a thousand. No matter how one overestimated, the world population would never exceed four hundred million—but it was explainable if it was the accumulation of a thousand years of breeding, although it would be horrific if that was the case. ( B oxnovel.c om )
“There is no more than seven hundred Soul Puppets in a single Plantation too. A thousand Garden Zones, and several Hunter Legions—when counted above the higher average, would have a hundred thousand Soul Puppets. Even if there is a great number of puppets at the center of the world, their number would never be over two hundred thousand either.”
“Puppets used to rule the world and regulate order would be at most be just above two hundred thousand, and yet the souls hanging in the skies are over a billion. It is simply unimaginable however one thought about it.”
Slowly approaching the huge Soul Star, Joshua extended his hand, intending to touch the cluster of cascading soul light. Apart from shock and rage, there was also profound puzzlement in his eyes.
What’s the actual intention of the one who created these Stars?
As he asked himself that question, Joshua extended his hand determinedly. The huge Steel Puppet clenched its iron fist and punched out—directly shattering its half-energy crystal shell of the Soul Star before directly using Steel Strength to connect himself into the dazzling soul light.
The warrior then saw the entire world of Simboa.
Sixteen hundred and eight four stars hung above the skies, linked to each other in the highest point of the world. On the ground, the top of the dark blue spiral tower emitted the same radiance, assembling into a colossal, dimensional and dense network that covered the entire world. That network itself had no wondrous or unusual function, however, and its singular function was to observe.
Indeed, to observe.
As the Soul Stars that numbered over sixteen thousand Soul Stars released soul light and soul ripples that perfectly covered the world, permeating even the earth and deep beneath ground. In the instant Joshua connected to those soul light, he could see every movement across the entire world of Simboa: it was an observation that surpassed any living method. Incalculable amounts of information cascaded from the other side of his Steel Strength connection, causing the warrior to groan and sever the link.
The part of Joshua that descended upon Simboa was merely part of his Soul and Steel Strength. What he needed to do did not require soul strength but an extremely unique path evolved from his main body, and only his main body alone could handle such astronomical volume of information—his soul was far from enough.
So that he was not consumed instead by the light of the Soul Star network, Joshua could only sever the link.
“…Just to observe the entire world?”
Calming his soul that had taken a slight blow, Joshua promptly thought that things had became even more incomprehensible. The hue puppet shook its helm, as if to convey its master’s puzzlement. “Sixteen hundred Soul Stars, more than twenty hundred million standard portions of souls. With such amount of souls weaponized, even gods would be simply blown away—if it’s used for salvation, I could actually reignite the Flame in a dozen worlds of Karlis!”
It was not impossible to use those fuels to expel the World Will directly as well!
Naturally, it was a hyperbole. Twenty billion—much less twenty hundred million—would not have sufficed to save Karlis that was on its last breath since it had no ability to augment cycles of Order. But if the it was Karlis of present with the refugees from Grandia, it would slowly recover its glory all by it itself without Joshua’s rekindling.
Souls were the greatest absorbers of energies wafting freely over the Mutliverse. With soul as a source, withering worlds could regain a little nourishment, but it was far from enough to depend on it to reshape a world—that depended on the quality of the world itself.
Leveling his thoughts of incomprehensibility, Joshua calmed. While he did not know why the one who created the Soul Star network would use all those souls to create a colossal observation system, he knew that it was an important part of their plans.
If that was the case, he shall destroy it.
In truth, Joshua had remained strictly neutral when he first arrived upon this world. While he was not un happy with the actions of Soul Puppets breeding intelligent beings as if livestock, he did not act to correct it since he did not know how the relationship between Soul Puppets and Simboans unfolded—it was not right for him, an outsider, to interfere with the strife of a local civilization.
After all, right and wrong contrasted. If the world was destroyed from war, who was the one who started the war? Who was in the wrong? And what if the Soul Puppets had been oppressed before, resulting in their own rebellion against the Simboans? It was the natural progress and change in civilization. If he interfered suddenly, he would only distort Order, bend civilization—he could not whimsically involve himself with the freedom of other worlds with his power without knowing reasons.
That was simply boring.
But the more he understood about Simboa, Joshua became gradually aware that the Soul Puppets were evil, if not evilest. While the Simboan Resistance had wrong ideas, everything was caused by the master of the Soul Puppets, and the Soul Stars that numbered over sixteen hundred was proof. Such inconceivable class of slaughter exceeded the definition of evil itself, and Joshua might not be able to find any sin comparable to such act.
Perhaps it was no longer a sin… for it had now become a form of order: Soul Puppets breeding Simboans, harvesting souls and Ultra-power units were just like humans fed upon the flesh of livestock and harvested crops. There was nothing more normal than that, just as there was nothing more warped.
If that was the case, he did not have to say or think anything else. Joshua would correct that warp.
Thus, the huge Steel Puppet raised his fist, aiming it at the empty skies above.
In that instant, the star sky trembled as all clouds and shrouds in the southwestern skies of the Simboan continent were parted forcefully by a massive force, and closing itself rapidly. There, a huge vortex appeared distinctly, swirling violently, even consuming a star. In the center of the vortex, silver-blue radiance permeated the world, forming a beam that pillared heaven and earth.
Joshua lifted his right hand high above as Simboa’s Steel Shard shook intensely as if alive, but in the very next instant, that proof of Authority that was indestructible by all means crumbled. It was eroded by a power of the same source, becoming a part of its body: now given physical form, the Steel Shard disintegrated into billions of Steel Particles, assimilated and absorbed by the warrior with relative ease.
In the instant the Steel Shard shattered, the fifteen-meter tall puppet enlarged as if ballooning. The vortex it had turned into consumed the billions of soul portions from the Soul Stars, and it became sixty-meters tall in a brief moment, while various Extraordinary constructs developed in its body.
The entire world of Simboa saw that astonishing sight. Whether it was Plantation, Industrial Zone, Mining Zone or Nursery, the numbed people of Simboa lifted their heads instinctively, just as Soul Puppets did, having sensed the massive energy source. Even the Simboan Resistance who hurriedly collected their resources and prepared to escape the Hunter Legion’s assault paused, gaping and staring at the silver Vortex that was slowly spreading, as well as the endless stars that were moved and twisted by the vortex.
They looked on dumbly, forgetting to even gasp in wonder for none knew what that phenomenon meant.
The entire world fell silent. Dark night was brightened by silver light, while starlight was pulled by the vortex like a moth to a flame. At the heart of the vortex, the huge machine expanded incessantly before shrinking. Around him, countless complex magical formations formed from simple runes took shape, and energies autonomously formed radioactive patterns. Those patterns assembled behind Joshua, finally shaping into a halo of energy, reassembling with the orbiting metallic halo and shaping into a Φ symbol at his back.
The symbol of perfection.
The Steel Strength that Joshua embodied had various unique powers such as substance consumption, self-regeneration, adaptive evolution, extreme augmentation, information link and energy conversion that were refined from this aura and lifeforce before he ascended into Legend. Having such Steel Strength, Joshua would possess great combat prowess whichever world he visited: such was the Authority he developed by transcending worlds.
But now, such Steel Strength was not enough. The mastermind of Simboa is very likely a true deity, and even Joshua would never dare to claim that he could win against a Legend confidently, much less a true god.
Therefore, he energized his power inside Simboa to its very limits, bursting with energy that stirred the dimensions and parting the world.
High above, a vein of fissure tore the horizon apart. ( B oxnovel.c om )
“Heavens, what… what is that?!”
On the ground, Tank’s entire body was shivering, the six-colored gem in his hand.
The old man’s mind had been blank for quite some time after learning the information and function of the gems from the gems themselves, and he naturally knew what they were: it was six complete legacies of formidable Ultra-powers, granting those who used the gem to train in six different abilities without regard to their innate ability. The silver gem granted control over earth and metals, the green meant manipulation of fire, wind, and lightning. The white was rapid vibration, red was radiation and explosion, the golden one allows teleportation while the black forms and energy absorption shield that could withstand all attacks.
If those inherited knowledges were utilized flawlessly, the Simboan Resistance would have the power to defeat the Soul Puppets! What was more, the elderly man knew that it was the most basic form of the legacy—behind those pictorial instructions were more complex and more profound Ultra-power Legacy that required deeper knowledge!
But just as Tank recovered from the shock of the gems’ legacy, he was stunned again as he stared directly into the skies. Beside him, the eyes of the youth called ‘Burst’ widened, and he exclaimed in shock, “Tank, Formless—hurry, look there!”
None of the other two paid him any attention since all of them were already looking at the same direction, at the clear skies where clouds had dispersed from. Then, everyone picked up that harrowing sensation as a powerful silver light flashed.
At the zenith, a silver beam pillared the world, piercing the clouds directly into the night sky, arriving deep into the darkness where no eye could see…
And in that pinnacle beyond the world where the fissure that was breaking gradually, an imposing, majestic and mountainous Steel hand was reaching down from the other side of the fissure. He did not cross the fissure, however, and instead caught the beam outside the world.
The eyes of a giant god lingered over the world, and exhaled.