Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Like humans, civilizations grow from infancy, maturing and finally attaining complete form.
That was a topic once discussed by the many researches of the Mycroft Continent. They would excitedly partition classes of civilization, defining the civilization of Mycroft as being in its ‘Childhood’.
To those scholars, the Mycroft civilization would be a mere gestating embryo before they become capable of leaving their motherworld through ability or technology. Having not been to the Void nor seeing the Multiverse, they were akin to unborn dragons in their eggs—even if they held great talent, who knows if they would grow and enter the real stage of the world?
It was fortunate that Mycroft had champions that could break through and enter the Void by individual ability, witnessing the true majesty of the world. That was also precisely why the four largest human settlements could live harmoniously for centuries instead of waging wars over resources, for they know that there were infinite worlds in the Void beyond the world, limitless resources waiting for their finding and development.
Mycroft civilization had therefore progressed into civilization early on, but they never grew. Still, that was a norm for Extraordinary civilization, with individual ability far surpassing technology. Their leaders had the vision, but was unable to lead the civilization forward.
What is there that could actually let such Extraordinary civilization to mature early, shaking off extensive duration of childhood?
Various factions had actually worked diligently: Israel and Nostradamus’s policy to make education common, the Eastern Plains’ blooming colleges in recent years, just as it was for the development and popularization of magical technology. Even the Seven Gods Church contributed greatly to making Extraordinary powers widespread, with many poor common folks with no resources would rely on the Church’s education and training, thereby rising to the next level.
Each of those were methods, but appeared not enough—the Mycroft civilization had many Legendary champions and gods, their sheer combat force even surpassing the matured civilizations that some researchers imagined. However, their basis was weak and their civilians not even able to survive a strike. If there were no champions who could go beyond the Void to intercept in the case of Evil Gods’ invasion, the intrusion of their kin alone would deal severe casualties to some undeveloped parts of Mycroft.
How should they have their civilization mature and conclude their childhood?
Flying amidst the Void, Joshua thoughtfully pondered even as Karlis the Steel Python softly detailed the information it gained from the sprouting worlds in the Void Vortex.
Neither Steel Pythons Karlis or Simboa, even Fattrovi—whom he killed—was aware that Joshua was neither triumphant nor delighted after all that he had experienced in Simboa. He was not even thinking about the benefits from the nebulas of the Void Vortex… he was simply considering the future of civilizations.
The Great Mana Tide enshrouded worlds. A tidal wave of energy that sweeps across the Multiverse, it carried endless turbulences of Steel Particles, and while Simboa was the one worse off, all it experienced would happen to another world one day. Although there was an initial form for Mycroft, who could guarantee what would happen next?
Then was the awakening of Authority due to the spread of Steel Particles a natural chance for intelligent civilization to quickly shake off ‘infancy’, or a ‘limiter’ that selects candidates for grand civilizations?
Was it actually a natural phenomenon that made Extraordinary powers widespread, or a mechanism for selection that forced failures of civilizations to self-destruct, and those that adapt to the new environment to evolve?
It may or may not be, or just a little bit of both.
Some civilization would cheer, others lamenting. There would almost be people dying or people transcending: The Multiverse was boundless, none knew where the future led toward.
But Joshua faced it with optimism.
Like humans, civilizations learn, change and finally grow. The self-destructive turn for Simboa was due to the exceedingly swift rise of supernatural powers from nothing, civilization and its systems could not adapt their attitude in time, world and civilization unprepared and hence an upheaval… Instead of growth, it was more appropriate to call it deterioration, just like those who developed psyche illness due to excessive stimulation.
It was not the norm. For Extraordinary civilization like Mycroft and technological civilizations like Earth, if they had the right time and sufficient preparation to meet the Awakenings of Simboa, their civilizations might not crumble, merely face a single upheaval before exponential growth.
The growth would simultaneously manifest physically, spiritually and in society. Whatever the case might be, there would be a single great shift in societal constitution similar to butterflies emerging from cocoons or cicadas molting—if they could cross that step, civilization would utterly shake off their infant form and grow into maturity. When all civilization essence and bodies would greatly improve, and when everyone attained Extraordinary powers, all of civilization would have the power to swiftly move and colonize other worlds, advancing to the Multiverse.
It was the true purpose Joshua imagined that the Great Mana Tide would embody after traversing the Multiverse, the ‘End of Childhood’ for countless civilizations.
“Joshua, what are you thinking?”
Karlis the Steel Python asked in the warrior’s spiritual space. “Why do you keep blanking out? Could you be recalling the constitution of new nebulas?”
“No… I’m just thinking why would the Great Mana Tide exist amidst the Multiverse.”
Joshua calmly and softly answered the Steel Python, paying slight attention once again. “Is it natural or artificial? Countless civilizations would benefit from it, and there would be just as many that crumble from the excessive growth… And why Evil Gods wander worlds alongside the Mana Tide? Do they have intentions, or do they do it by instinct?”
Karlis was abruptly silent after Joshua’s question—it could not answer any of the warrior’s questions, not even understanding some of the inquiries.
Was the Great Mana Tide not just a single wave of energy? Like the ocean waves in worlds, what is there to be puzzled about?
However, Karlis never considered that the tide of oceans in worlds were affected or attracted by the mass from the energies of the sun and the moon. But was there a sun or a moon for the Multiverse? And what being’s movement was so great to animate such a tremendous tide?
Neither it nor Joshua knew.
However, it was only in this moment that the warrior finally and truly understood how the Sage felt.
“Right. If I stay ignorant like this, nothing would change.”
Not knowing why Abyss appeared, how Evil Gods were born or the reason the Great Mana Tide began, and unsure of the secrets in the heart of the Multiverse. As long as the link between Evil God and devastation of worlds was not ascertained, or the cycle of sorrow between Order and Chaos was not understood, the tragedies of Karlis and Illgner would happen again, and Grandia’s sacrifice would not be an exception. If the basis and causality of the Great Mana Tide was never determined, there would countless Simboas appearing in every corner of the Multiverse.
The Initial Flame illuminated the worlds so brightly that none could look upon it directly. Every secret was hidden at the center of that brightest light, and it was perhaps exactly why the Sage would go there and determine the truth of everything.
There would be no purpose in rescuing numberless races and civilizations if such truth was not investigated. There would always be the day when they would be destroyed in the cycle of Order and Chaos, amidst the Void of the Multiverse… In fact, Mycroft had died once with the destruction of the Glorious Era. And now, with the newborn Starfall Era just growing, the Great Mana Tide descended upon them once more.
“But that’s also precisely why we must advance.”
Joshua told the befuddled Karlis in a rather relaxed tone.
During early civilization, the pioneers would sow the Tinder in which civilization would bloom and grow. Following countless slaughter and chaotic wars, civilization would finally be unified—every civilization would have come across countless accidents and calamity since their birth, just as they weathered endless obstacles and challenges. They were all genuine miracles, the assemblage of countless human effort.
Now, they just have to face another troubling challenge.
“Karlis, I’ve decided. When I return this time, I’ll activate the ‘Multiverse Exploration Project’.”
Joshua muttered to himself, ignoring whether the puzzled Karlis understood even if it was his only conversation partner. “The Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds had been calibrated for many times, and the Commanding Will’s self-recovery progress was almost at a hundred percent—it would completely reactivate at any moment long as long as it was willing.
“We have to explore other worlds as soon as possible, rapidly obtaining resources for civilization development. The gentle childhood that the Multiverse left civilization had ended, now is the time to give our all.”
“You are reactivating the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds? To be frank, it would be fine if you explore a world without life. If that world has intelligent beings, even hosting a matured civilization—what would come of it then?”
Karlis paused for a moment, but soon grasped Joshua’s meaning. However, its tone appeared hesitant compared to Joshua’s determined one. “If there’s even something wrong, there would be war between civilizations.
“It’s peace if we could communicate and live harmoniously. If that’s not possible, and they would make a move…”
Flying amidst the Void, countless flickering worlds flashed past Joshua’s eyes even as the warrior spoke calmly. “Then, it’s war.”
Exchanges between civilization were never peaceful. There may be one day that the Mycroft civilization would ascend as the most powerful civilizations, and when that happens, they would not have the capital to sympathize or pity other civilizations… but before that, everyone else was a competitor, a potential enemy—what awaited them was either subservience or death.
After all, every civilization touched by the Great Mana Tide would develop swiftly. A little sympathy might go a long way when the enemy develops and mature in days to come.
Right now, after a long flight, Joshua and Karlis finally returned to a dimensional region where they could sense the presence of Mycroft. The sensors of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds detected his arrival, and would soon return to their respective destinations.
Joshua was preparing to part ways with the Steel Python, intending to stop by and speak to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds for a while before returning to Mycroft. Karlis was in a hurry to return to its body as well, to guide the refugees from Grandia.
However, just when Joshua was about to say goodbye, he abruptly sensed the core in his body shifting incredibly!
[Steel Strength Assimilation Progress: 100%]
The warrior’s long energy slot he designed for himself had finally been accomplished after another difficult battle, and the outpour of new nebula energies from the Void Vortex!
Joshua’s body would always unwittingly absorb some energies despite Joshua’s own resisting of that Steel Strength Outpour. Those energies, amidst the long flight across the Void, was finally converted b the warrior’s body, becoming his power… Now, the tremendous energies from the Void Vortex were compressed and distilled by Joshua’s Furnace Core, refined thousands of times and finally becoming the purest of Steel Strength, filling the last bit of lacking for its owner!
At once, there was an incomparably bizarre sight in the Void of the Multiverse. A huge ‘hollow’ appeared amidst the erratic dimensional turbulences, and all energies, radiation and even starlight began to spill into that ‘hollow. The once chaotic but tidy Void now became like a funnel, pierced and twisted by a certain formidable power in its center.
And at the center of the twisted hollow, beneath the funnel, a colossal silver cocoon whirled slowly. Silver shroud welled out of its surface, terrible bolts of energy flowing within.
The cocoon’s surface was absolutely smooth even when observed with the most advanced microscope. It was formed completely from chunks of electrons degenerate matter, and was very much the toughest armor in the world.
But now, that substance which was considered most indestructible was now slowly crumbling into even tougher neutrons degenerate matter, for the core at its very center was emanating terrible gravity, gaining mass at an unimaginable speed.
Bewildered, Karlis he Steel Python wrapped itself around the silver cocoon. The frightening gravity was frivolous to the Steel Python that was all spirit, but the World Will remained at a loss of what to do.
Seconds ago, the original form of the cocoon—that powerful warrior had frowned and exclaimed, “Oh, no. The timing isn’t right!” Then, he transformed without delay into the incessantly crumbling cocoon, emanating energies that distort even the dimensional turbulences around it. Karlis could see that the surface of the cocoon was flowing with concentrated Steel Strength, and that Steel Strength was still being refined and purified, as if an invisible steel factory was cultivating it without stopping.
“Well… What should I do?”
Karlis was left troubled. It was assuredly aware that Joshua had arrived upon a vital step of his metamorphosis, but why would that occur in the Void? It was now just a spiritual phantom, unable to help the cocooned Joshua return to Mycroft, nor could it guarantee his safety.
Soon, however, the Steel Python saw an asteroid—the remains of a world—piercing the dimensional turbulence. Drawn by the gravity vortex formed by the cocoon, it crashed into its surface.
It was a mere instant, and yet the indestructible asteroid that was not destroyed even when its world was had actually shattered into numberless silver dust, absorbed by the giant cocoon.
‘…Did it really have to protect him?’ Karlis thought doubtfully, blinking. Finally, it sighed and stayed.
This place was very close to Mycroft. They should be able to detect the massive dimensional shift that occurred here, and would soon dispatch send the right personnel here to investigate. When that time comes, it would have to explain things for a bit.
At the thought, the Steel Python hence simply paused, waiting for observers from Mycroft to come.
The gigantic cocoon whirled like a planet, a perfect sphere surface of absolute smoothness embodying a ‘beauty of Order’. Outpouring Steel shrouds compressed and condensed, shifting between different geometrical shapes amidst the dimensional turbulence. Through it all, Karlis silently waited beside the cocoon.
Some time later, it did not find professional observers as it expected.
The Void was brightened by a vein of light, a massive energy presence that even dimensional turbulences could not hide.
Karlis looked up.
It saw a sacred vessel, glorious and dazzling like a ‘mountain’.