Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
After leaving the joint research center, Joshua was prepared to head toward the Void to ask Karlis about the Unified Archives.
“Ying, Ling. Are you two going to follow Black, Zero-One, and the others to continue the tour around the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, or do you want to keep me company?”
Joshua stood over the flattened sands by the gates of the joint research center, holding Light with one hand while asking calmly about what his weapons would be doing next. “Or are you two planning to return to Moldavia? I heard Ling and Amelia discussing about some grand celebration back in the territories which you intend to preside over in my place.”
“So you heard that, Master…”
Ying could not hold back from scratching her head in response. She intended to act silly and poke her tongue as usual, but admitted the case obediently since it was Joshua. “Yes, we’re here only to take a look at your current condition, Master—we didn’t know that you would actually awaken.”
“It’s been a long time since your last appearance after all, Master,” Ling added rather helplessly beside them. “Some of the citizens were getting restless, which was why we intended to hold a celebration to calm the atmosphere, so that no one would use the opportunity to cause a ruckus… But since you’re up, Master, there won’t be a need to calm them. I’d cancel the celebrations later.”
Joshua nodded, unable to refute that. Though he appeared expressionless, he was rather pleased inside. Everyone from Ying, Ling, Zero-Three, along with Black and Zero-One who had built a strong rapport with his apprentices and the Winter Fort Academy students had developed their own resolve. A point in case was the visit to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, which was actually single-handedly organized by Ying and Ling. It was the same for the celebration, which gave Joshua a feeling that the children had grown.
“There’s no need to cancel. I’m heading to the Void later to ask our neighboring World Will about certain matters, and would probably return a little later. Organize the festival as planned—I’ll ask Zero-Three about your performances when you return.”
Joshua then reached out, clapping his hands on the divine armament siblings’ shoulders encouragingly. “I’m happy to see that you could make your own plans.”
With that, he strode forward, intending to head towards the Void. However, it was then that Joshua heard Ying calling for him, and could not help turn to look towards them to find what the matter was.
The silver-haired girl appeared hesitant, but seemed to steeled herself after a glance at Ling. Then, taking a deep breath, she asked, “Master, although this oversteps boundaries a little… But when do you intend to marry?”
Joshua could not help narrowing his eyes at the question that came out of nowhere, and studied Ying carefully. “I don’t have any plans at the moment…” he replied, puzzled. “You two rascals—what are you asking that for?”
“Of course, for the future of the Radcliffe Family!”
While tentative at first, Ying became gradually outspoken as she continued, and the silver-haired girl was even starting to act determined. “Master, you’re almost thirty. At that age, the former master’s son… that is you, master, was already six! Although we can’t help you with anything now, we may be of a little use when it comes to little Masters. Furthermore, Moldavia is so prosperous now, and would flourish even further in days to come when the developments continued. It’s time to strengthen the Radcliffe Family!”
Joshua was smiling as he listened to Ying at first since she was the chief maidservant of the Radcliffe Family, and an important part of his own family as well. She certainly had the right to offer suggestions in that regard, although Joshua’s expression slowly returned to normal later on, even becoming solemn.
He had certainly arrived at that age without noticing himself, just as his domain thrived. It was time to strengthen his family and not live solitarily… Leaving aside the big picture, Joshua himself was aware that he was no man to manage his domain—he had neither the time nor would he spare the effort. However, it was a fine solution to have a progeny could take his place, just like Israel now groomed Dimore as his own successor.
But was there any meaning to that?
Joshua turned silently and looked around at the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds. The terrible battle a thousand years ago had left the plane a toxic wasteland, and only a small part of it cleansed despite having many Extraordinary individuals from Mycroft stationed there… A plane, comparable to continent and watched over by countless gods, itself equipped with divine-class of ability.
And yet, it was now in ruins. One could imagine how violent that battle was.
Once again, Joshua remembered Karlis and Illgner, and the painful price that the two worlds invaded by Evil Gods had paid. One had now reignited its flame partially, while the other remained in self-isolation to avoid drawing Evil Gods toward Mycroft. Joshua did not even have to remember things long ago—the fate of Simboa and the Shelter civilizations flashed before his eyes.
The descent of Evil Gods would reduce a world, or even an entire dimensional quadrant into wastelands, turning it into a distinct visible shape of calamity upon Void Models, like the Void Vortex itself. In decades, or perhaps less, the Evil Gods would come, returning to the land they were once routed in.
Was there meaning?
“To be honest, I never thought about such matters.”
Joshua answered Ying calmly and silently after she somehow mustered her courage. “Finding and marrying someone I like, having children, leaving a bloodline and strengthening my family… There is certainly nothing more normal. However, such things are meaningless for me.”
Ignoring the mixed expressions of the divine armament siblings, Joshua breathed a rare sigh before smiling helplessly. “Both marriage and continuation of bloodline represent responsibility, and I wouldn’t know if I would survive, or if the world would survive in the decades the come. So, how would I consider such things? Should I be bringing a child into the world to face the descent of countless Evil Gods? That’s the most terrible father there is.”
“If the Evil Gods can’t be defeated, there would be neither Radcliffe family or Mycroft. Before they are defeated, I wouldn’t do anything to affect my ‘strengthening’.”
At that, he turned and vanished amidst the Void, while Ying and Ling stayed where they were, staying motionless for some time.
“Sister, I did say that it’s impossible for Master to consider other things before he resolved the threat of Evil Gods.”
The black-haired youth shook his head a little troubledly after the dimension ripples caused by Joshua diminished. “Don’t we understand our master? He might appear leisurely, but he never once rested. The distance he covered and the worlds he traveled every year is not something any normal person could do for their entire lives—you and I should understand the urgency in Master’s mind.”
“I do know.” Ying answered meekly. She sighed, although she did not appear worried over Joshua’s answer. “But we have to ask… so that those who are waiting for a reply get an answer.”
At that, she turned and grinned at her younger brother. “And it’s actually not all bad—if Master defeated the Evil Gods in decades to come, and the world becomes peaceful, wouldn’t he have the time to think such things then?”
“We might not win,” Ling smiled in response to his sister’s optimism. “It’s not as if we haven’t seen the might of Evil Gods—it’s too early to think that.”
“Nothing to it if we lose.” Ying pursed her lips and said softly, her emerald eyes turning toward where Joshua vanished. “Dying in battle over ideals, principles, and glory is the fate of warriors and weapons… What is there to fear over such an ending? Master would have held such resolve already, right?”
“And… I don’t believe that Master would lose.”
There were few words, but confidence was welling from them.
In the Void, Joshua was rapidly approaching Karlis.
The power levels of Joshua’s clone at the moment was mostly the standard when he first ascended as Legend. However, it was far ahead in terms of intricacies and energy manipulation—Joshua was could not use Steel Strength to broadcast himself with Steel Strength and summon a World Will from the Void.
As layers of ripples created by Steel Strength unfurled, the phantasm of a Steel Python’s figured appeared within the Void before Joshua.
“You’ve awakened, Joshua.”
Nodding, Karlis the Steel Python appeared not surprised by the outcome. “It’s rare for you to seek me out deliberately. Could you have something to ask of me?”
Joshua did not offer much in courteous greetings to his acquaintance—or acquainted Python, in this particular case. Since their relationship did not need that, the warrior cut straight to the heart of the matter, “Mycroft is looking for a demiplane that was sent flying in the Abyssal war a thousand years ago. We know the general trajectory, but have trouble actually finding it… Which is why we’re asking the Steel Pythons and check if you have any clues.”
Karlis, however, appeared rather troubled in response. “More than a thousand years ago… Incidentally, I had been invaded by the Evil God of Famine then, and all of my strength had been channeled to resisting it…”
“To be frank, although I did have the strength observe the Void then, I simply could not do it. The minions of the Evil God had come, blanketing the world and my mission—I would not have noticed if a world was destroyed, much less a demiplane sent flying.”
Even so, Joshua was not surprised by the result. Although Karlis was the Steel Python closest to Mycroft, it was precisely why it was drawn into the war against the Evil Gods, and it would be impossible for it to mind a little demiplane being lost from its orbit. Still, the warrior never intended to obtain a direct answer, and merely wanted to ask Karlis to help collect information.
“I’ll send you information about actual data and whereabouts of that demiplane later,” Joshua said. “It’s probably near the empty belt around the Void Vortex… With that, you could ask about it from the other Steel Pythons you know.”
“Since they can send you distress signals, you could take the chance to ask similar information. I do not insist, but if you really come up with nothing, we would at least have spent some time to obtain confirmation.”
“If that is what you ask, I shall do my best.”
Karlis became serious even if Joshua said that he was not insistent, and the phantasm of the Steel Python nodded solemnly. “But I must warn you, Joshua, only worlds with intelligent civilization have Steel Pythons—they would slumber in worlds without. There aren’t many Steel Pythons I know, and they are mostly unwell since the civilization in their bodies are primitive and backwater, meaning that they might not have been conscious a thousand years ago.”
“That is exactly why I said I do not exist.”
Joshua shook his head. He still remembered the findings from the Deep-Space Observation and expected it—his conversation with Karlis merely verified it. “According to my hypothesis,” he added at the thought, “that demiplane might cause a considerable spatial calamity if it crashed into another world. Karlis, you could look into that if you wish to help.”
“A spatial quake? That is certainly normal since it’s a demiplane that was blown away. That way, the search area would be much smaller.”
Karlis nodded, gesturing that it understood. “I will try to look into that. Relax, He who Rekindled the Flame.”
Joshua’s exchange with Karlis was simple, direct and pleasant. However, they had to travel through the Void—when Joshua was finished and returned to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, it was already dawn of the next day.
The dawn of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds was especially unique. The Silver Sky Radiance, its sun, was like a crystalline body that shone gradually, brightening by partitions as if charging. Substantial energies were gathering visibly, finally shining as an artificial silver sun over the skies of the plane.
And Joshua was now not in a hurry to return to Moldavia. He had arrived in the center of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, where his main body was. Having done everything, the warrior finally had the time to tally his gains after his journey into the Void.
At the thought, Joshua could not help look up at his true form.
The bulky giant silver cocoon had now ceased its autonomous contractions. Its surface was now utterly stable degenerate neutron matter, with a layer of protons flowing over it like a winding, silver light. Inside, the dense mass had ceased its simple crumbling, and began to develop various indescribable, mysterious reactions.
And the simplest physical appearance of that reaction was expansion.
At present, the giant cocoon that was Joshua’s true form was more than one hundred and seventy meters, five or six times the size it had been at its smallest. It was still expanding even now, as if something was gestating within.
If anyone familiar with Joshua—such as Nostradamus, the pope, Israel or the Nature’s Magister, they would laugh that there must be a colossal Steel Giant inside the cocoon (egg), and the warrior’s metamorphosis would be over when the giant could tear the cocoon apart.
That guess would be wrong.
Joshua’s clone looked up with a profound gaze, capable of directly transcending the sturdiest substance that all humans could master, looking directly into the insides of the giant cocoon.
There was no Steel Giant inside, but a dazzling, condensed nebula that swirled swiftly, as well as a flashing Steel Strength crystal. The latter emanated pure radiance, while gloomy fog shrouded it.
It was the sight of a world at birth.
There was a small, newborn realm inside the cocoon.