Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Joshua stepped out of the portal, returning to the joint research center within the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds.
It was a huge, pale blue semi-circular five-story building that stood twenty-three meters high, covered in living plants that were grown from the Nature Magister’s Legendary-tier animation spell.
Many elemental puppets were laboring diligently in the joint research center. Living bodies of energy provided by Barnil to play the role of cleaners, logistics, and other miscellaneous tasks which allowed the researchers from various reaches of the continent to work in peace. When they noticed someone stepping out of a portal, a water-elemental puppet which body displayed rippling water patterns approached Joshua, transforming into a map of the research center, seemingly intending to guide the warrior.
“Thanks, but there’s no need.”
Joshua did not need instructions since powerful Steel Strength vision would pierce any stalwart walls, allowing to directly find his own objective—it was not piercing strictly speaking, since Joshua was looking at the world in a unique overlooking view, which allowed him to simultaneously see the wall, what was inside the wall of what was behind the wall. All directions were virtually no different.
Joshua made for Lisa and the others once he saw them. The fainted girl was in a recovery room on the right side of the joint research center, a place where people rarely frequented. But now, many students from Winter Fort Academy were gathering around that room, their expression anxious, debating why Lisa would suddenly fall unconscious.
The warrior could even hear waves of nervous electromagnetic signatures in the air—mumbles from Zero One who waited outside the research center, seemingly worried over its friend.
“Ah! Dean Radcliffe!”
“The Liege is here!”
“Ah, Master. You’re finally here.”
“You’ve done well.” Joshua nodded as Ying and Ling greeted him by the door—it was them who quickly sent news to the warrior when he was still in the Holy Mountain Fortress. From the siblings, Joshua learned that the healers in the research center had given her emergency treatment, but because the Drakonid was no Mycroft native, they were helpless since they were not Extraordinary, while clergies who were adept at curing various maladies would only arrive in at least half a day.
Sending off the many students gathered by the door while giving them free time, Joshua simply entered the room. There were six white sickbeds inside, and Lisa the Drakonid girl was lying down on the one closest to the window. The two girls from the First Party—Karin and Amelia who were considered her acquaintances were caring for her, with one wiping her sweat, and the other using a spell to determine Lisa’s physical condition.
“The heartbeat rate is too high: two-hundred and forty times is far above normal!”
There was a shudder in Amelia’s voice; she had been observing Lisa’s condition. “Heavens, it is still accelerating and almost reaching three hundred. If this continues, her body won’t hold on!”
While the body of Extraordinary individuals could maintain most of their combat ability within hostile external environments, that endurance would be reduced greatly if an issue in the body arose. As a Silver-tier, Lisa’s physique could even withstand being in the depths of a volcano and hundred-degrees heat that could melt some metals at full strength, but she would be greatly hurt if anything happened to the blood circulation in her body.
“Don’t move. Acting recklessly would make yourself hurt too.”
Beside her, Karin was using magic in an attempt to smooth Lisa’s violent blood circulation, only for a hand to press on her shoulder, stopping here. It was only then that Karin and Amelia noticed Joshua’s arrival—they rose panickily, intending to bow to their master, but Joshua gestured for them the spare the formality, and turned towards the fainted, red-faced Lisa.
Silver radiance flowed faintly in the warrior’s eyes, and the two girls appeared to see something fantastical: everything around them seemed to be seen through, revealing their inner constitution. The girls could even see Lisa’s bones, insides, and direction of energy flow clearly.
After the examination, Joshua nodded in understanding. “So that’s what,” he said, focusing beneath Lisa’s ribs where her heart was. In that place, a pale shade was wriggling, pressing on Lisa’s heart, accelerating her blood flow, instinctively drawing nutrients for itself.
“Master… Is Lisa sick?” Karin asked worriedly beside them.
Lisa was a competitor for the First Party, often squabbling and teasing each other on the forums, saying things like ‘you’re weak’ or ‘five against one and still beaten—do you even know the rules’. However, all of them remained Joshua’s apprentices, and therefore shared a better relationship compared to what others thought, the three girls even occasionally going out for shopping.
“There’s no issue.”
Reaching out and touching Lisa’s head, Joshua’s hand began to flow with a mild silver radiance, and simply replied, “She’s been eating too well, having saturated nutrients that got the balrog in her body growing.”
Both Amelia and Karin were left puzzled. Joshua, however, knew that there was no huge issue: Lisa’s fainting was sudden and appeared dire, but the fact was that the balrog Syndicate which had been living symbiotically with her had finished recuperating after a long time, and its physical body also began to grow naturally.
In the final battle on Kronos, Lisa and Syndicate had worked together, incinerating their bloodline and souls to temporarily break the Steel Strength chains binding the Ancient Dragon of Lightning to that world. After that, the two fused into a mysterious state, with Lisa mainly moving around as the host, while the maimed Syndicate survived as a dependent on the girl’s energy.
But recently, probably due to the tremendous benefits from ‘Droplet’, a sacred item from the Midgardian civilization which Joshua had placed at the center of Moldavia, or perhaps due to the heightened regeneration ability of balrogs by nature, Syndicate recovered its injuries while its body grew. Its physicality had instinctively absorbed energy, causing Lisa to faint from lacking energy—along with the balrog.
“Come to think of it, the growth of balrogs were unlimited. I recall records in the Seven Gods Church of a balrog Monarch over hundreds of meters tall… It’s fortunate that Syndicate won’t grow that huge for the time being.”
Joshua remembered some information about the balrog. It appeared that things were not as serious as imagined. In fact, it could be easily solved: they just had to severe the link between the two, drawing Syndicate out of Lisa’s body.
“Still, have to design a new body for it,” the warrior thought nonchalantly. “A white balrog is still a balrog, and would draw panic in the domain… probably.”
Joshua was actually not sure about that. Each main Moldavian city gate was hung with high-level skulls of magical beasts, while Black also often appeared in the heart of the city in its Ancient Dragon form, and yet the citizens never showed shock or fear over it. Would the balrog really scare them? Still, it was better to be careful since anything could happen.
It was then that the warrior almost finished examining Lisa’s body. Lisa and Syndicate’s were in a symbiotic state, and the tangled phenomenon of souls was caused by the demonic pact: due to Syndicate being the weaker one before, Lisa had subjugated it with her power. But now, with the former Supreme-tier balrog recovering its powers, it led to energy feedback at the Drakonid girl through the power of the pact, rendering her unconscious for a long time—although an issue of energy should not have troubled the healers in the research center that much.
“Demonic pact? Aren’t those things a hassle?”
Ying, who had slipped inside the recovery room and stood behind the warrior all along, blinking and frowning when she heard Joshua’s mumble. “I remember Master mentioning that it was actually an Abyssal Oath for that demon’s birth… Ah.”
The silver-haired girl exclaimed in surprise since Joshua had already severed the demonic pact. The process was prompt like hot knife to butter, spilling no Abyssal energy externally, nor was there any of the alleged feedback.
Joshua certainly did not mind the so-called power of the pact at all, since his own power was far beyond both the balrog’s and Lisa’s combined. Even the subject of the pact—the Abyss where the balrog was born—might not supersede the warrior at his present state. And with the pact completely severed, both Drakonid girl and balrog also awakened at the same time.
“Argh… My heat hurts… And my chest is tight!”
Lisa sat up on the bed with a pained expression and a lost expression, using one hand to hold herself up on the bed and the other pressing on her bed. “An unfamiliar ceiling… Huh. Wasn’t I visiting the abandoned energy furnace in the Sacrificial Grounds? Why am I here suddenly?”
“And I was posting on the forums. Why did I faint as well?” Syndicate appeared puzzled as well.
But soon, the two noticed Joshua standing beside them. The warrior did not spare any words, letting the two directly observe the current state of affairs.
“Mister Syndicate has a body now? Fantastic!”
Lisa was certainly happy over it, having felt guilty all along for the balrog that aided her. After all, her former tribe had picked the balrog’s body up and crafted weapons for it, while herself had promised to help it recover, but never achieved that until recently.
Meanwhile, the balrog was quiet for some time. It was until Joshua asked if he should form a body for it that Syndicate appeared to finally regain consciousness, and answered with a rather mixed tone, “My Lord, you have my gratitude. I just never imagined that I would get a new body so quickly, and I’m not prepared.”
Compared to Ying, Ling, Karin, Amelia and Lisa who were unsure what was going on, Joshua could tell Syndicate’s thoughts at once. While he certainly was not sensitive in emotional matters, the warrior was not blind, and hence spoke to the balrog in spirit. “Only by having a body could you accompany her normally and protect her… What is there to hesitate about? Do you still intend to be a locket for life, hiding inside a girls’ body?”
Syndicate’s fidgeting was a mere brief interluded. Soon, Joshua had separated its form from Lisa’s heart.
The actual process was simple. In the tenth of a second, Joshua cut apart Lisa’s clothes, skins, and bone—but even before her nerves could react, the white body of the balrog was drawn out, while Steel Strength sewed her body back together.
It was a major operation that would have taken at least a few hours for normal surgeons, but lasted less than the blink of an eye with the warrior at the helm. After a blur in everyone’s eyes, they soon realized that there was a white, fluffy dumpling that was half-energy and half solid in Joshua’s right hand. In response, Lisa’s eyes widened at her chest that was no longer tightened, staring instead at the dumpling in her master’s hand.
“That, that is…” She exclaimed, her lips slightly parted.
It was precisely the true form of the balrog Syndicate, an advanced class of elemental slime, a higher lifeform that fundamentally far surpassed such formless creatures. Born in the Abyss filled with toxic and radioactive heat, it was a balrog that destroyed all things, born as an incarnation of divine lightning, thunderclouds full of electromagnetism. It could become a Holy Light Liege that could heal all things, emanating radiance, while also being an eligible protector of the mountains and the jungles, a guardian of nature.
Now, that cluster of lights that was fully elastic squirmed like a heart, as Syndicate awaited its sovereign to rebuild its body.
However, Joshua did not move at once… It was not difficult to draw the balrog out, but building a fitting body for it was a problem.
Although Joshua had long since learned Creation, and it was easy to build a living body. He could regenerate as he liked himself, having an indestructible and eternal lifeforce, although that was because his body was an assemblage of Steel Strength, a condensation of his power that could regenerate naturally. Nevertheless, when it came to the body of others—especially unique profound beings like the balrog—he would need help from special trace elements.
Joshua sensed his surroundings. However, after spiritually scanning half of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, the demiplane clearly did not have any of those unique trace elements that existed only in the demon’s homeworld, the Abyss.
“Master, should I contact the researchers?” Ling asked, having slipped into the recovery room with Ying. The black-haired youth could tell what problem his master was considering, since Joshua once mentioned a similar issue about Creation in the past. “This is the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds—it’s convenient to go anywhere from here.”
“There’s no need,” Joshua shook his head in response. “There’s no need for such lengths.”
Although it was not as if the warrior could not fuse unique trace elements out of thin air, since it was a special exclusive substance which was also formed from Steel Strength, materializing it was just a little troubling… But in truth, the warrior would not even have such issue, since he had preparations when he mastered Creation.
Looking up slightly towards Mycroft, Joshua summoned inwardly, “Light, to me!”
Thus, with a ringing jingle, a perfectly round luminous orb appeared in Joshua’s left hand out of nothing.
Light’s appearance appeared to take everyone by surprise, as all of them apart from Joshua stared blankly at the orb and said nothing. In truth, that was normal—Light, being a clone of a World Will that had devoured considerable Steel Strength fragments, embodied Authority that already surpassed most Extraordinary individuals. What was unusual about it being able to teleport?
Joshua’s previous tests had even proven that Light could carry a person along when it teleported, before returning the subject to its original coordinates. Its teleportation completely ignored all seals of space and time, even transcending worlds… Naturally, the prerequisite was for Light to know the corresponding coordinates, such as the position of Joshua, who shared a profound link with it.
“Come. Create seventeen standard quantum of R3 Abyssal elements, and twenty-three standard quantum of G Abyssal elements.”
Joshua did not say much, instead directly ordering Light to create things, which the orb did after a pleased jingle. As Joshua had previously created objects, mysterious, fluorescent and flashing powders appeared out of nothing.
Afterward, the warrior built a cluster of solid energy that was similar to Syndicate’s original form with those elements as core, although the mass was similar to a normal human.
“Syndicate, you can now create any body you like. That probably would not be difficult for you.”
When that was done, Joshua threw Syndicate’s body into the energy before it could react, while it also directly fused inside it. The large cluster also rapidly transformed, and when that was done, the warrior, with Ying, Ling, and Light in tow, turned and left.
What would follow was a private matter for Syndicate and Lisa—he did not have to interfere as an elder. What was more, he was more concerned with Light’s proficiency at Creation.
“Not bad, Light. Looks like it wasn’t a waste feeding you those Steel Fragments—there might be more gains if it continues.”
The luminous orb pranced around with the praise, although Joshua soon made Light pause motionlessly in the air: the warrior had drawn out a shard with a purple-green gleam.
It was the Steel Shard from Simboa that carried ‘unconditional empowerment!
“Here, for you.”
Joshua smiled as he passed the Steel Shard to Light, watching it as it excitedly consumed it.
After many journeys to other worlds and interaction with many Steel Python, Joshua had a considerable understanding of the World Wills as beings.
The true form of Light was a luminous human figure located at the Bloodmoon Abyss, and was unquestionably its Abyssal Will, but was one unlike typical Abyssal Wills. The self-sacrifice ritual of the Xillians before that destroyed their civilization had turned all of their lifeforce and souls into the Blood Moon, becoming an embryo that gestated the human shape of light, providing it a solid form in the physical realm.
And Light was its child—or to put it simply, a platform placed with Joshua to liaise with the warrior, and essentially a physical (newborn) World Will. Compared to matured Steel Pythons, it only lacked fundamental experience since the Bloodmoon Abyss was already destroyed, its continents shattered into countless floating islands, while scarce few was left of its Authority.
Joshua had fed Light Steel Fragments for fun had actually greatly aided and supplemented its growth, empowering the World Will’s authority. That much was apparent from Light’s proficient abilities of Creation and elemental conversion… Joshua knew that his efforts would not be wasted, since the help he would gain from Light’s growth would far eclipse those few pieces of Steel Shards that could create just a few Supreme-tier champions.
In the end, it was a ‘World’ reborn.
“Eat, mature, and grow.”
Stroking Light’s neck as it digested Simboa’s fragment, Joshua narrowed his eyes which flashed in silver radiance. With Ying and Ling flanking him, the warrior smiled and whispered quietly, “it’s only when you’ve really grown and matured that you could really become my aid.”
And Light appeared to hear Joshua. Its core whirled, emitting a unique and inaudible voice. It was not the jingle it was used, and the voice itself was stifled by the luminous orb’s own energy processing.
But if anyone could hear and understood what the voice said, the voice that compounded with Mycroft Basic and appeared similar to clear wind chimes—a voice belonging to Light alone—had a simple meaning.