Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Starfall Year 837. Afternoon, third of November in Mycroft Standard Time, the center of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds.
The Winter Fort Academy party had calmly left the huge and unusual steel buildings under the guidance of a brand-new Giant God Warrior.
“This is the ‘Fourth Attached Computing Array’.”
The square-shaped Giant God Warrior resembled a huge bipedal steel block on first glance. Due to magical resonance, a calm voice that had a hint of echoing wafted from its body—an audio module that had been added recently. Now, the ancient weapon that had been given the role of tour guide strolled past two rows of buildings on its flanks, before slowly explaining its uses: “It was designed at first to process the weather shift in the Sacrificial Grounds, combining with the ‘Weather Priming Circle’ beside it. Through calibration and adjustment, it would maintain an optimum environment inside.
The Giant God Warrior’s explanation timing was just right: when it started, the party was adjacent to the Computing Array. Then, when it finished, the party was leaving the two ancient buildings that appeared rather flat, resembling a rectangular steel box.
The entire Winter Fort Academy party was almost silent, with none indicating shock or expectation about the ancient civilization’s technology to control weather, nor were there anyone curious about the principle behind the so-called Computing Array. It appeared that everyone from the Winter Fort Academy was shocked and speechless, completely losing the ability for expression.
—That was naturally impossible.
Crack-crack. The sound of something opening and closing rang, and in correspondence, a magical flash emanated from the ‘Information Terminal’. One of the students whose eyes flashed raised his right hand, allowing the Information Terminal on his wrist to browse through all the sights, while magical projection was hence naturally captured within.
[Thirteenth Record of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds— Fourth Attached Computing Array and Weather Priming Circle]
Proficiently editing the name of the post and then uploading the magical projection he captured, the student had finished writing both the Giant God Warrior’s simple introduction and his own opinion about the ancient buildings in less than half a minute, and quickly uploaded it to the ‘Academy Forum’ and the ‘Integrated Blog’. In a few minutes, the post was pinned while comments appeared without end.
There was a huge Mana Net server in the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds as well. With the Empire’s Void warship Apocalypse acting as a relay and connecting it to the bulk of the Mana Net on Mycroft, everything worked optimally apart from a longer delay.
Most of the other students were doing the same thing as well: taking photographs of the scenery, with friends or just selfies, showing off in posts… Some were completely uninterested in those ancient buildings as well, instead focusing on capturing images of the Giant God Warrior which they uploaded to the ‘Magical Construct Page’. Before that, there were already dozens of posts about the Giant God Warrior which had been pinned, while each of them had dozens of users showering praise.
[Look at the build, the pattern, the armor design and runes… Heavens, I’m about to faint!]
[Wait. If my eyes are not fooling me, isn’t that heavenly alloy? Such a colossal combat construct is actually crafted from materials for building magical weaponry ranking Gold-tier and above?]
[The ancient civilization was truly luxurious…]
The Integrated version was clearly being flooded by the students who were visiting the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, with assortments of post filling the forums.
[Pinned Post: Thirteenth Record of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds— Fourth Attached Computing Array and Weather Priming Circle] by Ice Sea Observer
[Shocking! Ancient Civilization was so extravagant? The must-know truth of Giant God Warriors!] by Anonymous
[There’s really nothing alive in the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, only varieties of Steel Puppets. Feels Barren.] by Safari Bear
[Don’t you know? Secrets of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds. See it to believe it, and faint!] by Anonymous
[Pinned Post: Five elite students of magical constructs, analyzing actual constitution of Giant God Warrior. Live! (Multiple Images)]—Fourth Party
Beneath the post were replies of various styles, such as what Anonymous posted, including ‘Shock department mobilizing again’, ‘When will the new format come’, or ‘seen similar format in other magazines, shock is whether the party will be catching some infection’. Naturally, there were also other comments such as ‘envious jealous hate’, ‘it’ll be nice if I could go’ or ‘praise the top students’ posted beneath the pinned post.
With so many things to do, who would have the time to exclaim in awe in reality.
Winter Fort Academy had sent twenty-five individuals in the trip to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds. Apart from the instructors who had already left for the research centers, the others remaining were all students who excel and accumulated substantial semester points. Apart from them, there were also several people from the Moldavian Liege’s residence, although they were not in the list.
Naturally, the First Party and a certain Draknoid girl whose cumulative points was ranked first were amongst them, and they did nothing different from the others. Amelia and Karin were standing on Black’s head and posing for pictures by the dragon horns, after of which Black shock its head and sent them sliding down, laughing. Afterward, Black turned and posed as well, letting the two girls capture an image of her.
Ivan, Nick and Arlwa were not with the black dragon, instead journeying together with the Giant God Warrior. They were the ones taking detailed photographs of the giant alchemical weaponry’s construct, with the five mages of the Fourth Party doing the same beside them.
As for the Drakonid girl Lisa, she was seated on Zero-One’s shoulder, whispering discreetly to her large friend. In front of her chest hung a decorated gem necklace, flickering in crystalline magical glitter.
“Hey, Zero-One. Do you think you can defeat that Giant God Warrior over there?”
“That’s rude.” The balrog Syndicate who was living in symbiosis with the Drakonid girl rebuked. While none was sure why a demon would become a model of good behavior, it was clear that demons’ cruel nature was perhaps only cultivated as a racial instinct and their extremely hostile environments.
Meanwhile, Syndicate was continuing, “Come to think of it, are the Giant God Warriors intelligent from the start, or did the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds give them certain clearance for thought processes now?”
Compared to those normal students, the balrog—a former Supreme-champion—was thinking a step further.
At the same time, Zero-One, whose stature did not lose out to the Giant God Warrior—perhaps even a class above considered Lisa’s question, before shaking its head in uncertainty. “Bzzt-bzzt, bzzt-bzzt-bzzt-bzzt.”
“Oh, so you aren’t equipped with weapon systems. That is certainly a disadvantage, but your energy systems is stronger than theirs.”
Lisa blinked thoughtfully. Having stayed alongside Zero-One for so long, she was aware that the Steel Elemental which her master created was highly intelligent, albeit lacking in combat specialization. In fact, the only offensive ability it carried was perhaps its innate talent to control earth and metals.
However, according to her master—the Moldavian Liege who must not be named—while Zero-One’s innate talent was considerable and allowed it to grow to a level that did not dull in comparison to Supreme-pinnacle, he never mentioned how to use that talent to grow. Furthermore, Zero-One’s intelligence and cumulative experience was far from that level, to the point that the living metal construct has, to a certain extent, had no reliable offensive moves.
As for Ying and Ling, the divine armament siblings were sitting on the other side and patrolling the forums, deleting spam posts such as ‘Shocking!’, ‘Not to be missed!’ or ‘Share if you’re Moldavian’, while whispering to each other.
“Master’s energy signature is growing distinct,” Ying said as pale-green data stream flowed in her eyes, the natural phenomenon of the exclusive Information Terminal she fused with undergoing high-speed processing. “We’re almost there, right?”
Ying had been observing various information and about energy signatures as well, sensitively picking up that the surrounding gravity was distorting faintly, a phenomenon often happening around the warrior in his daily life.
“Although Master Nostradamus and the others told us that Master is metamorphizing now, that it doesn’t feel right and things could get dangerous, I think it’s just fine.”
Ling nodded beside her while speaking just as softly. “Master himself mentioned before that his power had arrived at a threshold, and would undergo morphing after exceeding it… Metamorphosis is certainly dangerous, but he prepared accordingly.
—Even if said preparations are not enough, Master, you must have other countermeasures as well.
At that though, Ying could not help remembering Zero-Three, who had been staying in Moldavia, as well as the metallic chest that the warrior and the others had sealed at the bottom level of the dungeon.
Or more precisely, a uniquely designed, irregular octagonal metallic piece.
“If there’s a day I die or is lost in the Void of the Multiverse and couldn’t return, take the chest out, Ying, and activate it through our pact.”
The silver-haired girl was frightened then, shaking her head and denying any possibility of the warrior dying. Even so, her master smiled lightly and took no mind of her chief maidservant’s worries, before repeating the same thing to both Ling and Zero-Three personally, and getting them to agree with him.
“Are you sure… Although it’s now ‘you’, when it’s activated later, it would be a ‘past’ you, not the real ‘you’!”
Zero-Three, who appeared to know certain things scowled. Although she agreed to the warrior’s request, she still warned him with a worried and solemn voice. “Although it’s fine for you as long as ‘you’ exists, but to us, the ‘present you’ is irreplaceable!”
“Still better than being completely destroyed.”
The black-haired man shook his head nonchalantly, speaking mildly as if to himself. “By the way, isn’t your lifeform almost the same, Zero-Three? Your true form, the runic crystal is kept safely in the sealed room, while your external mana projection execute tasks and move leisurely… Ah, liches also have similar backup preparations. Everyone has the same idea, and I’m no exception.
“What’s more, I’m not fearing death, but I do worry that Moldavia will be troubled after losing me, just as you all would be in a bind… If that’s so, I would give you a little insurance.”
Ying did not remember much else since Zero-Three had been sulking for a long time afterwards before recovering, just as she herself was… The silver-haired girl did not dwell on it too much.
She naturally understood her master’s meaning and the purpose behind a backup plan. Still, that did not concern her because weapons have only one master—she would accomplish what her master entrusted her to do, and awaken the silver metallic body when the conditions were right… and then certainly follow her master once more.
Still, Ying did not tell anyone else about her intentions. Simply sitting on Zero-One’s shoulder, she raised her binoculars and looked at the center region of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, before exclaiming rather excitedly, “Aha! I could see Master’s Steel Strength radiance?”
“Where? Where?” Ling raised his binoculars beside him too, and the siblings started to make a fuss, the only voices amongst the Winter Fort Academy tour as the others delved into the forums.
At the same time, Joshua’s conversation with the Commanding Will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds continued.
“Joshua, while your training is unique, there are similar records in the data vault of the Glorious Era.”
The serene and profound spiritual ripple wafted from the Silver Sky Radiance as it spoke to the warrior, who was trying to adjust himself with his clone. “There are many Void Behemoths that incessantly augment their own mass like you, in turn improving their abilities. They are mostly massive monsters larger than certain small worlds, the strongest amongst them being capable of derailing several worlds around them from their orbits through movement alone, causing various Void disasters.
“However, according to my data estimates, the path is without end—in other words, it’s difficult to reach the end.”
The Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds spoke composedly with neither exaggeration or modesty. “The most powerful of Void Behemoths have no natural enemies and could not be killed even by Evil Gods. However, their numbers decrease without stopping because they had exceeded that boundary before crumbling, forming the shape of a new world.”
“Yes, I know.”
Joshua nodded, indicating that he understood. “The danger I encounter in metamorphosis this time is exactly the cause for that limit.”
What the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds referred to was the destiny of massive astronomical bodies. The size of those most powerful of Void Behemoths had certainly exceeded worlds, reaching even the scale where they could destroy huge planets. By wandering the Multiverse alone, they would cause terrible Void calamities, leading to dimensional storms or phenomenon similar to Void Vortex.
However, when their size and density arrived at such a threshold, those Void Behemoths would face the issue of their very own gravity.
Bodies of mass exist due to electromagnetism, allowing planet-class compounds to maintain their form albeit not at the level of self-destruction. The reason Joshua could complete the metamorphosis was exactly because his absolute mass had not exceeded a planet, and white his density was approached the threshold of a neutron star, it ultimately had some spare space enough for him to use electromagnetism and construct a Soul Network.
But unlike those ancient Void Behemoths which mass exceeded the limits of stability, with the electromagnetism between protons no longer able to withstand the gravity. The reason they could exist in stability was because the Void Behemoth embodied excessive energy. Indeed, their energy or even living core was almost a planet, and as long as they kept running, their excess energies would withstand gravity and maintain their own form.
However, energies were not created out of thin air. As Void Behemoths aged and their power became greater, they would need more energies to maintain their form while their fuel consumption rises. That was why Void Behemoth assaulted worlds, devouring the world’s substances and plundered mass. They may not be empowered in the process, but it was all to solely maintain their own form.
Be that as it may, there would always be the day where the speed at which the Void Behemoth plundered fell behind the velocity it burnt itself. Losing the support of energy would cause the massive gravity to instantly crumble the Behemoth, turning into pure crystallizations of Steel Strength—the core of a new world.
That was why Void Behemoths rampaged across the Multiverse, with no civilizations desiring to cull them: they were actually a natural phenomenon, slowly growing by collecting mass and Steel Strength fragments adrift in the Multiverse, becoming even larger by stealing mass from some worlds and finally become a new world… Who could tell if the world they themselves dwelled upon was a powerful ancient Behemoth? Leaving aside the considerable casualties by wasting great resources to defeat them, they might have to watch as their enemy took the shape of a world, watching and unable to do a thing.
“Even the most powerful of Void Behemoths are just that. The cumulated mass of dozens of worlds would make even their energy unable to withstand their own gravity, such is the limit of their control over strength.”
The Commanding Will elaborated, “Toward the end, you might not even have the time to fight since your mass would enlarge, and the energy you need to maintain your form would keep elevating… There would be one day where you would become a new Ancient Behemoth, the shape of a new world.”
Joshua nodded in return. “Certainly. According to the laws of physics, that path would end up in that state with no exceptions.”
Then, the warrior shook his head. “However, that’s just for Void Behemoths—behemoths with no intelligence, spreading its seed through instinct and innateness only. Instead of calling them ordinary creatures, they might be the Multiverse’s physiological reactions given form: huge, wandering cells devouring all sorts of refuse and dangerous substances, finally reverting to normal cells when life finally ended… Although the metaphor isn’t accurate, that’s mostly the case.
“Commanding Will. It might be difficult to fathom, but there are definitely many different things in this world.”
Magic, aura, Holy Light. Strength of Steel and Flame, as well as Steel Python.
Joshua closed his eyes, aware that it was meaningless to discuss the contrasting physical rules of the rule with the rigid Commanding Will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds. The path of Extraordinary existed in the world, which was why simple rules of physics were not ironclad, but a ditch that could be bypassed.
The No-Hair Theorem may not be absolute, but there were no absolutes in the world. Even truths must obey the will of Extraordinary individuals: if the elderly pontiff could control the speed of light, and Fattrovi could twist facts about a world, who would assert that dense astronomical bodies could not be controlled by human ability? What was more, who could say that dense compounds were fated to be nothing other than black holes?
When it came to the mass of true forms, could the Void Behemoths and singularities of the Multiverse ever compare to the Steel Python ‘Stellaris’? It was a world that contained countless galaxies and so large that was almost a universe! In Stellaris, planets notwithstanding, even black holes, quasars and black holes at the center of the galaxy were quite numerous. So massive it was that the Steel Python could hardly focus its will, and it must go through a medium.
Even so, it still possessed self-consciousness, even though it would take fifteen hundred years for that Will to blink once.
“Dense matter may be my combat weapons and armor, but that does not mean I need to maintain this form forever.
The human clone with black-hair and crimson eyes looked up at his true form that levitated in the air. The giant silver cocoon was still expanding and contracting, but compared to that, golden-red patterns were extending over the cocoon. Those were innumerable parallel lines spreading from the center, which was marked by a φ symbol. Gravity powerful enough to distort worlds was not completely isolated even with endless runic formations, causing significant skewing even in the light rays around it.
—As you’ve said, that is not my first step toward ‘infinity’.
The hint of a smile slowly appeared on the man’s face. “Holding on to stones to cross rivers is unavoidable for any pioneers.”
“I am not sure about my own path to the future either, and it’s not something, you, Commanding Will, could ‘estimate’.”
It was then that the rhythmic footsteps of a behemoth echoed from a nearby road. Joshua turned, looking toward the direction of the sounds.
Thus, he saw the Giant God Warrior in the lead, along with the colossal Steel Elemental and black dragon in tow. In turn, the people seated upon the colossal Steel Elemental naturally saw the black-haired man that stood directly beneath the radiant silver sky at the center of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds as well.
“Heavens, the Dean is actually here too!”
There was no need for words.
Soon, the silver-haired girl who dived into the warrior’s embrace looked up at the much-lighter Joshua, as well as the silver sphere that was unusually familiar and appeared to be the true form. Blinking, Ying asked gingerly, “Is that… Master’s egg?”
‘ What could that little rascal be driveling about?’
Joshua’s expression darkened at once, and said with a deep voice, “It’s a cocoon.”