Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
What is life?
It is an open system. By eating and absorption of negentropy, excreting entropy through metabolism, maintaining its own low entropy body and order of their bodily system.
From that, the definition of life was very wide-ranging. Humans were undoubtedly life, and the same applied for magical beasts, elementals, fairies or constructs. Even Legendary champions were simply complete alterations of their original living systems, thereby becoming a form of existence with greater effectiveness and greater power.
Then, could worlds be considered life?
Joshua always thought about that question whenever he considered the path he would take. If the day comes that the world in his body was truly born, then was the original form of ‘Joshua’ a superior being whose body covered a world, or was he simply that world? Those circumstances could not be ascertained at present and he could only walk it step by step, but Joshua remained certain about the answer of whether or not a world can be seen as life.
At least, Mycroft was a ‘world’ that could draw energies from the Void from the grand system of the Multiverse, maintaining its order and could grow without stopping, shifting and evolving. It was essentially a colossal being that surpassed all imagination, while it could even gain a self that is the Steel Python through the information developed from civilization, races, energy and soul cycle.
But it presents another problem. If the world was life, there would also be the day when the world would die. Such aspects manifested at the end of soul cycle, the destruction of the civilization in its body, the withering of intelligent bodies as well as the pausing of all physical cycles. Complex substances and energy constructs would hence crumble into the simples and most disorderly fundamental molecules and elements, until the very end where the outer worlds of the world fall, and the entire world diminished into infinite Steel Particles and a sea of heat that diminished in the Void.
If that was the case, how were ‘Evil Gods’ born?
Within the binding of ‘Chaos magic’, Joshua believed that he had seen infinite flickering light and shadow, information about events billions of years ago, stored in the corpse of the Evil God. In its days, the Evil God of ‘Fertility’ had destroyed incalculable worlds, drawing an extended empty zone across the galaxy—even the Void Vortex may have only been a sign of its ‘Passover’.
But why was it born? It was simply unreasonable! There were spirits of perished humans because soul itself was a living system that could exist independently from the body, just as he could absorb the wandering elements in the atmosphere, using energy conversion to throw away soul waste constitutions. The lifespan of souls was even much longer than human forms—undead spirits were hence essentially not dead, but a unique, living being!
But what about Evil Gods? If Evil Gods were the undead spirits of worlds, they should have been transformed from Steel Pythons, and yet the existence of Steel Pythons was based on an intelligent civilization. If that civilization was to die, the world would have no information flow or soul cycle which maintains the Steel Python’s existence—unlike human souls, Steel Pythons would die along with the world, the Order would become disorder while everything diminishes. There was no chance they would become something like the Evil God which could wander the Multiverse, destroy other worlds, infect ordinary Order and resembling a ‘virus’ more than an undead spirit.
The Chaos that Joshua researched for a long time was because the Evil God was the true nemesis in his mind, far terrible than any Abyss or demon. However, due to various reasons, Joshua never really came in contact with the so-called ‘Chaos’. He merely dealt with Evil God projections, minions and the outcome of their erosion—but now, he was near the surrounding of an Evil God’s original form.
That was why, in the darkness of what seemed to be ten thousand leagues beneath the depths of an ocean, Joshua reached out to touch that ‘Darkness’ which was at once physical and incorporeal.
If the Universe was an independent, closed system, it was unavoidable that the inner workings of that system would increase in entropy due to exchange and transmittance of energy.
To put it simply, if the Universe was a system with unbalanced energy distribution at the very beginning, the heated-body would always transmit energy to the body with lower heat, finally achieving perfect energy equilibrium. That outcome was the complete stop of the profound world, with no orderly movement as everything turned into quiet constants, an ocean of heat energy colder than death.
If one were to say that the nothingness before the birth of the Multiverse was a ‘balance’ developed by ‘eternal pause’, an ocean of heat energy after the Heat Death, never changing, without order and yet balanced, then the so-called Initial Flame was the information of ‘existence’, forcefully stuffed into that nothingness.
It disturbed the primitive balance, divided heated and unheated, light and darkness, and naturally life and death.
High-energy bodies would transfer energy to low-energy bodies: that was the start of movement, the breaking of ‘eternal pause’ and the origins of all things.
And now, what Joshua was doing was similar to illuminating the Void with the Initial Flame, a feat akin to creating the Multiverse.
He ignited his own ‘Fire’ so that the Chaos around him did not linger in darkness and the disorderly, articulating it all.
At the depths of the Spring of Chaos in the Central Dark Forest, Joshua stood coldly at the bottomless magic of Chaos. Now, his palm held a cluster of silver flame which maintained a physical steam of light, illuminating the surrounding darkness.
Still, instead of ‘illuminating’, it was more to ‘eroding’!
The flame at the center of Joshua’s palm was releasing bright light visibly, which would quickly diffuse Chaos mana into nothing when they came in contact. Upon closer observation, one would discover that the essence of that light was actually veins of microscopic Steel Strength assemblage! Their high-energy form would release radiance visible to naked eye, such was the crux of light.
Those assemblage that could only be seen through microscopes accurate to nanometers was eroding the surrounding mana of Chaos, converting it all to energy they required before rapidly making copies of themselves. The process was a full exponential growth, and soon, most of the profound mana of Chaos was actually completely devoured by the Steel Particles that self-replicated and increased, hence vanishing entirely!
Any other beings that had dealt with the magical energies of Chaos would definitely be left agape by such a sight. After all, the existing principle was that only Chaos corrupts Order—since when could Order devour Chaos instead?
Joshua, however, was aware that there was nothing unusual about that. If Chaos and nothingness could be changed into Order, Order could definitely devour them in return—where would the world itself come from, otherwise? At that time, there were no naturally formed Steel crystallization or Void Behemoth that could nurture the outline of a world. So-called erosion was merely profoundness of Chaos magic, leading to suppression of Order.
As long as one was powerful enough, there was no need to worry about the issue of erosion.
In the giant silver cocoon, Joshua had rebuilt his mental organs, using Steel Strength to construct processing formation in his body, controlling equipment and storage facility. Moreover, his divine soul network and super-lightspeed particles were medium for information transmitting, input and output—it was a supercomputer that utterly surpassed humanity and the mundane, a system of thought which could supply unimaginable power of processing.
And through his mental faculty, Joshua could now easily grasp a sheet of microscopic particles at a nanometer scale, or perhaps the size of neutrons, all while controlling their different movements. Through processing abilities detailed to a microscopic scale, the warrior would design a self-replicating cluster of Steel Particles that exist under his total control, a fantastical version of the ‘von Neumann Machine’.
With a movement template and programming designed by Joshua, it would never cease drawing charged mana and substances surrounding it, and self-replication. In his design, it could even be injected into a world completely infected by Chaos magic, thereby devouring all forces of Chaos amidst the rampant self-replicating, converting it into a typical, lifeless world… If Joshua could add ordinary substances into its self-replicating programming, devouring worlds would simply take just a little more time.
The fire in Joshua’s palm was hence a factory that manufactures ‘Steel clusters’, and the radiance was a trail and passageway in which the ‘Steel clusters’ moved. The radiance shining through the darkness hence meant that all surrounding magic of Chaos was devoured, and everything was within Joshua’s grasped, consumed and eroded! Completely occupied by Order.
That was the weapon Joshua had meditated strenuously upon, tailored against planetary-class of chaos. A ‘Light of Order’ that belonged exclusively to him!
“Chaos magic concentration plummeting, while the information flow spreading from the Evil God of Fertility has also vanished from visible range. Even so, the main body of the Spring of Chaos remains complete, its bottom constitution utterly shrouded.”
Endless information feedback entered Joshua’s mental network from the Steel cluster, and in the very next instant, he commanded forcefully in spirit, “removing first portion limitation, continue releasing ‘Light of Order’!”
Silver radiance blossomed at the depths of the dark Spring of Chaos, while infinite Chaos broiled.
Around the Spring of Chaos at the center of the Dark Forest, endless vague dark shrouds cascaded, eroding surrounding space and living things. There, soil rock and Dark Forest had all completely changed into an extremely unique substance, inert and virtually developing no energy reactions.
Meanwhile, on the skies over Central Dark Forest, a dozen rifts broke out of space itself wherein a single Platinum Tendrils crept out of each rift. Translucent crystal bodies were bursting from the Tendrils—the Legendary Vine Mother’s observation organs. At the moment, she was monitoring every single movement in the Spring of Chaos while awaiting the arrival of other human Legends.
It had informed the other Legendary champions that Joshua van Radcliffe, the human Legend of the Northern Empire had entered the Spring of Chaos alone. Everyone, from the Skybinding Dragon which had been controlling the unrest amongst magical beasts as well as the human Legends who were purging the Dark Forest all stared blankly in return. Still, they did not grumble about the warrior’s rashness as if having gotten used to it or believing it to be normal, even so, two Legendary champions had stopped their cleansing of the Dark Forest and hurried to aid Joshua in subjugating the Chaos forces.
And now, they were here.
The Platinum Tendrils from the south and the east shook, sensing two powerful beings flying towards them at a dozen times the speed of sound. Still, that was not their full power, but remained swift in the consideration of avoiding great harm towards the environment of Mycroft.
Soon, two rays descended from the skies down to the center of the Dark Forest. Both were women, one with long jade hair and elven ears, while the other had unique crystalline hair, although her features were vague.
They were the Nature’s Magister Galanoud and Vahina the Eastern Sea Sage. Both were acquainted as Legendary champions, and after a simple nod towards each other, both looked toward the Tendrils reaching out from the spatial rifts. Sensing their gaze, the Platinum Vine Mother shook her limbs and spoke with an ethereal voice, “The Count of Hell had entered the Spring of Chaos for some time. Though the magic of Chaos is substantial it could do nothing to him, but even so, I fear that he would touch the body of the Evil God, losing himself from the information blow of the Evil God.”
Joshua’s more known battles in Mycroft were his suppression of the beastly tide, shattering the North’s portal, slaying Northern White Dragons, fighting alongside the Seven Gods Church in the Bloodmoon Abyss and the Battle of the Holy Mountain. In those skirmishes, Joshua had displayed incredible blaze and sheer power of devastation, with all of his battlefields left in hellishness, and according to the display of information, Joshua had the strength to create ‘sun’, while his true Legendary form was driven with the energy of a small sun.
What was more, there was the daily jesting title ‘Count of Hell’ that originated from the Liege’s Residence, and that title soon became an actual alternative name for Joshua. It both conveyed the essence and might of Joshua’s power, while also referring to his place as the Liege of Moldavia.
And Joshua himself did not reject it.
“I do trust in the power of the Count of Hell.”
Vahina nodded slightly. She had returned from Stellaris after exchanges with the Midgardian civilization, and naturally knew about the source of the title ‘Count of Hell’, therefore simply using it. The sage looked around, and could not help murmuring quietly, “this place seemed to be worse than it was thirty years ago. Vine Mother, have you not been restraining the forces of Chaos recently?”
The Vine Mother could only indicate helplessness in return. “This place was once sealed by the Platinum Ancient Dragon and myself. In recent years, however, it had split itself into countless clones and relived living cycles—I could not hold the fort alone.”
And that certainly could not be helped, which was why Vahina did not say anything else. But just as she looked down and prepared to examine the present circumstances of the Spring of Chaos, the Nature’s Magister gasped beside her.
“Wait. Something’s not right.”
Galanoud frowned. This was another one of her clones, although this one embodied forty-five percent of the Nature’s Magister power, which was under most circumstances. Just now, however, Galanoud sensed a terrible energy that could even pose a threat to her clone. “The Spring of Chaos is changing. We must be prepared—”
But when the Nature’s Magister was prepared to warn Vahina and the Vine Mother, sporadic silver specks suddenly shone within the profound darkness of the Spring of Chaos, rolling amidst the chaotic dullness. It was as if something even more frightening was expanding within, intending to tear that surface apart.
Beside her, Vahina, who once had a mutual probe of Joshua’s abilities on a close distance sensed the essence of those silver specks. Her pupils contracting while she stood high above, she raised a psionic barrier and exclaimed solemnly, “That’s Radcliffe’s Steel Strength!”
Immediately after Vahina spoke, a sharp ray hence pierced the dark outer layer of the Spring of Chaos, shooting directly high above the Central Dark Forest.
Boom, boom —black clouds rolled and thundered. As if an accompaniment to the thunder, the Spring of Chaos that cascaded suddenly on the ground like a lake suddenly shot out a dark flow of Chaos magic violently, just like a fountain. The Vine Mother, Galanoud and Vahina quickly retreated, but halfway through, the dark Chaos mana quickly ‘transformed’ into shining silver radiance!
Whoosh —the silver radiance spread in the air, turning into a ‘downpour’ of minuscule crystallizations, pouring from the skies unto the earth that had been corrupted for centuries by the mana of Chaos and had thus become who knows what. At once, amidst faint hissing echoes, columns of black smoke arose wildly, and the once hardened dark soil quickly became sheets of white and yellow sand, with silver-white gleam cascading in inside the sands, like a throbbing artery.
In a brief dozen seconds, almost sixty percent of corrupted earth was purified by silver radiance. The two Legendary champions and one Legendary beast widened their eyes at the sight—the once lightless Spring of Chaos was now a beautiful silver amber which somehow emanated danger and terror! Indeed, it was no lake, but a condensed amber wherein endless Steel cluster assembled translucent solids, allowing the three Legends to clearly see Joshua standing at the bottom of the former Fountain of Chaos.
Joshua saw them too. The warrior looked up, and nodded in greeting at the Nature’s Magister and the others across thousands of meters, even if they would have been no more than little dots to normal humans. Soon, as Joshua ascertained that the surrounding Chaotic environment was almost cleansed, he raised the ‘fire’ in his right hand.
And with the warrior’s movement, the throbbing, condensed Steel cluster all became a vague shroud and gathered. Like a silver twister, all were drawn into that rather insignificant silver fire, a brief recalling process which took about a dozen seconds.
From the transformation of the Spring of Chaos at the start, down to the burst of silver radiance that purified the surrounding environment at the end, everything took less than a minute. The Spring of Chaos that once left all of Mycroft troubled and hapless was hence easily swept away by Joshua, the entire process having been witnessed by the Nature’s Magister, Vahina and the Vine Mother.
Vahina, who believed herself calm and rational held her impulse to cry out, instead blinking and muttering. “So that’s specialization? Are Heirs of the Sage that formidable in purifying Chaos?”
“Just like a natural enemy.”
Beside her, the Nature’s Magister patted her own chest, narrowing her best while doing her best to suppress her jolted thoughts. “And that light… is alive!”
Galanoud was certainly right. Joshua’s Light of Order, and the Steel cluster he created was the same as the Black Fog created by the Shelter civilization. It was ‘living’ power which formed his current clone, and not only was it alive, it was also a part of Joshua’s mind and life.
Nevertheless, Joshua, who had remained deep beneath the Spring of Chaos paid no attention to the skies or the thoughts of his friends. He had noticed a twisted, Chaotic halo near him, and completely could not be observed with the naked eye.
Its diameter was about forty meters. It was not large compared to the area the Spring of Chaos once occupied, but the outer layer of the halo was spawning substantial dark, Chaotic presence. The earth and stone around it that had been purified after much difficulty began to erode rapidly at once, while the bottomless abyssal darkness promptly recovered.
There was no doubt. It was the final remains of the Evil God of Fertility.
That is why Joshua strode out with no hesitation, approaching that clump of Chaos magic that spread without stopping to that distorted circle of light, ignoring the dissuading of Galanoud, Vahina and the others from the sky above.
Joshua raised his hands that were flowing with silver radiance, as if intending to touch the halo.
He touched it.