Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
What is memory?
It is the process in which humans classified and stored experience and information, with remembrance being the method such information were drawn. Memories are a fundamental mechanism of human thought, to lose the ability to memory meant humans would lose everything they need to survive, including self, interpersonal relationships, skills, information and the like.
In ancient times, humans believed that their soul, memories thinking and will exist independently from their body. After the Flesh was ruined, human souls and memories would remain, their thoughts and will unharmed—the origins of the world beyond death, as well as legends of ghosts and spirits.
In fact, in Mycroft, memories, thinking and will have hosts—specifically the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, striatum, amygdala, temporal lobe, parietal lobe and other parts of the brain. With Extraordinary powers, the soul would also embody part of memories and thoughts.
The destruction of the Flesh was hence equivalent to the destruction of the soul—memories were assuredly no exception.
Unless Soul Mastery was achieved.
It was only through Soul Mastery that the soul could exist independently from the Flesh, eternal and indestructible. Memory would also hence be freed from the sudden stimulus of fragile brain constitution, nervous system or brain cells and reaching a threshold of near-immortality, keeping all memories fresh even after millions of years.
Nevertheless, such immortality was not genuine invincibility, and Joshua was now facing a perilous situation that could well destroy his ‘immortal memories’.
At present, the giant silver cocoon that the warrior hard turned into never once stopped thinking. Even so, it had not the strength left to care about all things external, for he was now seemingly beneath a bottomless abyss and holding the torch called will. Still, the endless darkness around him consumed all light, stagnating his thought and slowly devouring his memories, and the spark was about to extinguish amidst the shadows.
The very power form Joshua’s own body was irrepressibly destroying his very essence: the warrior’s very memories of being Joshua.
“No-Hair Theorem of black holes…”
As the warrior’s will was pushed to its limits inside the giant silver cocoon, there was a flash of knowledge from the preexistence about massive astronomical bodies.
The so-called No-Hair Theorem stated that after any blackhole formed could only be observed by the three physical parameters of mass, electric charge, and angular momentum, while other information is known as ‘hair’ and would be lost as substances were crushed beneath extreme compression inside blackholes. Therefore, regardless of the planet, its glorious history or stirring past, those three physical parameters would be all that was left of them in the very moment that planet turned into a blackhole.
That was quite easily understood since blackholes were essentially objects compressed to an extreme. It had no complex construct that could store information, and hence naturally unable to obtain information as well, thereby losing ‘Self’.
And what Joshua faced now was a conundrum akin to the ‘No-Hair Theorem’.
When the warrior rose as a Legend, he chose astronomical bodies as his future path: stars were his energy core and his armor was forged from white dwarf matter. From the start, he crafted his body into ultimate weapons from the physical realm, setting triumph against countless classical Legends as his very initial goal. With his outer shell of indestructible degenerate matter withstanding countless powerful offensives, Joshua defeated many that had become superior lifeforms before him.
At the time, Joshua’s body was not completely composed of degenerate matter. His mental hub, various unique organs, and modules were all built from various supernatural alloys, and as Joshua’s Steel Strength gradually progressed to a hundred percent, his constitution also slowly became pure degenerate matter. When he finally encountered the Void Vortex and was injected with massive amounts of energy by the new nebulas, the process was radicalized.
To choose the path of the stars meant to possess celestial power, and a destiny like them.
Hence, before he was completely prepared, Joshua was forced to face his most important metamorphosis—shaking away lower concentration matter and to utterly become a superior body of degenerate matter.
And the price to pay for that process was Self.
Joshua’s power was too powerful, his mass too tremendous and material compression too pure. Therefore, in his metamorphosis, his embodiment of memories up to his soul would be swept away by the incessantly purified Steel Strength. Like a black hole that destroyed every bit of its own information, becoming a distilled assemblage of Steel Strength. Pure proton and neutron compounds would not form nervous constructs similar to synapses and hippocampus, not to mention processing hub of supercomputers: there were no space to spare for Joshua inside the incessantly compressed and collapsing degenerate matter, to think or keep a memory.
Hum, hum. An incessant rumble echoed the microscopic view. It was the ‘sound’ electrons were drawn powerfully into protons and converted into neutrons. When Joshua turned into the giant silver cocoon, it echoed as mass collapsed and shrunk: the simple and direct process of metamorphosis has destroyed all existing constitution inside the mass. Be it Nuclear Heart Reactor or Psionic Warp Engine, all constructs were now the purest of degenerate matter that compressed without stopping, and any information stored within was long destroyed, nonexistent.
Still, the process was not one-dimensional. The silver metallic sphere would shrink or expand during different times, while the transition of degenerate matter would begin or revert during the expansions or contractions. Since mass was not enough to completely change itself into pure neutron degenerate matter, there was a difficulty for the morphing of the silver giant cocoon to fire on all cylinders.
But to Joshua, it was something fortunate. If he could smoothly metamorphize, the day it was completed was the day his self-consciousness and soul would completely vanish. Only by fighting incessantly against his own power amidst such a darkness could that path be successfully transcended.
Ultimately, he had yet to completely become a black hole, merely remaining in the gap between white-dwarf and neutron matter. That was the only way Joshua could record his mark of Self in his purifying Steel Strength, gaining the chance to reform his own mental faculties.
Within the darkness of the giant silver cocoon, the warrior’s self-will was still battling silently.
“By controlling electromagnetism, interfering with microscopic constructs, building stable modules that could store information.”
“Using soul as a bridge to permeate various information storage points, forming a negligible link network for ultra-dense substance.”
“Spreading divinity, tearing it apart and distributing it to the Soul Network, achieving instant information transmitting regardless of distance.”
Building something out of nothing, forging ‘information storage modules’ that were insignificant even in the microscopic view, from trace amounts of electrons and protons into a cohesive compounded neutron flow. Then, linking dot to dot so that it permeated the giant silver cocoon, thus the ‘Soul Network’ took shape, visible even in a holistic view.
The more he did, the quicker Joshua rebuilt his mental faculty. On the very last period, he had maintained enough memories through the Soul Network, even briskly shattering the divinity he could now control and use it as a material to forge an ultimate, supernatural mental construct that could ignore distance and connect with no delay.
Those infinite information storage modules were like ganglions in the human brain, while the divine Soul Network was a network of nerves. Joshua had now utterly become an ultimate lifeform that ordinary humans could hardly imagine, because the essence of his mind was no longer the nervous system with micro-electric flow of ordinary beings.
Joshua’s soul existed alongside his body, no longer needing the mental hub thing that was the brain since every part of his body were all host of his thoughts. To a certain perspective, Joshua had arrived upon his hypothesis about ‘eternal strength’ in the past. From now one, as long as every bit of him was not completely destroyed and the records in his information storage modules were not wiped away, the Joshua would always resurrect and descend upon the world.
At the center of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds where the Silver Sky Radiance illuminated the entire plane, the Commanding Will took no mind of the Winter Fort Academy procession who was slowly approaching from the distance, as well as the teams from various factions who were cleaning the plane itself. Instead, it carefully watched over the giant silver cocoon that was shrouded in its own light.
The Commanding Will would record indiscriminately every change: be it expansion or contraction, any substance shift from other parts or how fundamental molecules were moving in various spots. Through that information, it would infer whether or not Joshua’s will remained, and was prepared to act at any moment to rescue the warrior’s self in every moment.
Though it believed Joshua could control his own power and could reach that most important step through metamorphosis, that did not mean it would not help when Joshua was in peril. At most, it would greatly lower his expectations over the warrior, demoting Joshua from the ‘First Heir to the Sage’ and removing his present position highest clearance in the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds.
However, it was worth rejoicing that, from the present reactions, Joshua had finally and completely controlled his own power in the extended battle of self, maintaining his Self.
At that moment, it conveyed earnest well-wishing at the giant silver cocoon. “You have stepped fully into the limitless, and that feat alone is worthy of being recorded down in the Multiverse.”
“My thanks, Commanding Will.”
It was after a long time that a deep voice that carried electromagnetic noise wafted from the giant silver cocoon. “While it had been reckless, it is thanks to Igor, Nostradamus and you for isolating the gravity from my true form. Otherwise, it would not be so easy for my reconstruction of mental systems.”
Those were earnest words from Joshua. It was fortunate that the old pontiff had quickly discovered Joshua’s cocoon and sealed the warrior, isolating him utterly away from the physical realm with a parallel spatial seal. It was also with luck that everyone avoided any calamity, preserving the warrior cocoon, or Joshua would have been further burdened in his reconstruction of a mind network due to attaining substantial material resupply.
Just imagine—infinite scattered sturdy matter, colliding under influence of tremendous gravity on the surface of the giant silver cocoon, thus releasing nuclear energy that surpasses most Supreme-tier spells. It would have been disastrous for the warrior as he kept rebuilding his mental core inside the giant cocoon, and a few more times would see the reconstruction interrupted, forcing him to restart the process.
“All in the name of Order.”
The simple-minded Commanding Will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds did not reply much, merely searching its information vault and reply accordingly. “Joshua, your present form’s energy is exceeding—your existing alone would cause apocalyptic disaster for the physical realm.”
“According to data from the Glorious Era, you should create a clone that replaces your original form to walk in the mortal realm, continuing your human activities.”
Joshua could not help remembering his recent journey in Simboa at the word.
At the time, Simboa remained a world with low-to-average mana levels, which was why he especially descended with his soul, and possessed a clone… he never imagined that he would have to use a clone again when he returned to Mycroft.
But that could not be helped. Joshua himself was aware that his ability had advanced exponentially, and could no longer be leisurely and nonchalant like before. The crude isolation barrier alone would not nullify the terrible gravity from the tremendous mass his body carried, and if he made for Moldavia with his true form, perhaps… no, he would definitely leave his entire domain a cratered, barren land, just as the crust of the entire North would change violently.
At present, Joshua remained in his silver cocoon form, having used most of his mental power to construct brand new thought modules. For the time being, to adapt to the completely different mental organs, he would not be able to rapidly transform into the Steel Giant form he usually employed, and would maintain his current state for months, even for most of the year. At the thought, Joshua did not hesitate, quickly moving and adjusting his true form to produce a sufficiently powerful clone.
It was then that Joshua’s will suddenly paused.
“Wait, I forgot to return the ‘Unnamed Technician’s’ body to Simboa!”
When Joshua fought Fattrovi in the World Inner back in Simboa, the Steel Puppet which he descended as tore apart space, allowing his true form to directly attack the Celestial Giant which the Time Turner transformed into, intending to pull it into the Void for the decisive battle. At the time, to ensure the safety of the Steel Puppet, Joshua’s true form had assimilated the puppet and the Unnamed Technician’s body that was inside the puppet, preserving them securely.
But when Fattrovi reverted time again and again, he had beaten Joshua together with ‘Destiny’ into vagueness with his ability to observe even the variants of future. As they collided again and again, Fattrovi’s will was pummeled to a blur, just as Joshua himself forgotten that there was a puppet and the body of a Simboan inside himself.
What was more, Joshua’s premonition that he was about to ascend had hence made him hurry back to Mycroft to better prepare. He should have remembered that then, but encountered the transformation in the Void Vortex halfway through… Everything happened with great coincidence, with substantial energies surging into his body and accelerating Joshua’s level, forcing him to further overlook the matter.
And now, regardless of whether it was a Steel Puppet or the physical form of the Unnamed Technicians, everything had been compressed into degenerate matter in the process of Joshua’s ascension, becoming raw materials for Joshua’s present body.
“Fortunately, I’m familiar with Creation—things would be awkward otherwise.”
At the center of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, the surface of the giant silver cocoon throbbed before emitting pencil-tip sized molecules. They split into half in the air, half of which occupied most while the other an insignificant trace amount. Under Joshua’s control, the molecules of contrasting scales rapidly enlarged, turning into a black-haired man with a huge frame, while the other an ordinary Simboan youth.
Both distinctly carbon-based lifeforms.
With Joshua’s present control of his power, he could use related information to produce various clones as long as he had the raw materials. Be it combat forms like the Steel Puppet or normal carbon-based human forms, with sufficient information, he could recompense the Unnamed Technician with an identical body even after absorbing it.
Naturally, the Unnamed Technician’s soul was still recuperating in Joshua’s Soul Pool, and would need some time before it could control his body. When he was completely revived, Joshua would certainly ask if he wished to return to his homeworld, but if he was not, he would hire him and maintain his research on Soul Puppets in Winter Fort Academy. Otherwise, he would simply return him to Simboa, so that he could interact with his own kind.
“Simply matter of convenience.”
Joshua never forgot about the Black Fog that was wandering by the edge of the Void Vortex, as well as the Alpha Shelter that might exist. To completely destroy that ‘Darkness amidst the Stars’, he might need to verify things back at those dimensional regions.
Assuredly, that would have to wait. Following the Commanding Will’s reminder, the clone Joshua just made—the huge black-haired man flexed his limbs and turned to the east where there appeared to be human voices. It was the tour party from the Winter Fort College, and amongst them were many living presences Joshua was familiar with.
At the thought of the one the presence belonged to, Joshua, who had not walked upon the world in human form for some time curled up the corner of his lips, making a rather rigid but sincere grin.
After all, he had just returned home.