Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“Joshua, are you alright?”
Joshua could vaguely hear the urgent call in the silence. It was the voice of a female elf, embodying the unique, velvety accent of elves living around the Lake of Eternity. At the same time, a special energy was being unleashed as if intending to separate his connecting point to the remains of the Evil God of Fertility.
Due to that movement, Joshua was jolted from the cold, dark mirage and exhaled once. Then, deliberately severing his link to the remains, he allowed his consciousness to return to the real world.
As he opened his eyes, Joshua turned to find that Galanoud had pressed a hand behind his shoulder. Pure Nature Power was surging as if to awaken him from the immersion—while unnecessary, Joshua still made a smile and nodded.
“Thanks for your aid, Nature’s Magister. I’m alright.”
It was now late night, and more than four hours after Joshua had been linked to the remains of the Evil God. Even the West Mountain’s Sword Saint, La Motte, whose progress of purging the Dark Forest had been the slowest had completed his work two hours ago, arriving at the Spring of Chaos in the center of the Dark Forest two hours ago.
The sacred swordsman said nothing when he saw Joshua linked himself to the remains of the Evil God, simply shaking his head and then going to stand in corner while lighting a cigarette—a habit he had developed years ago before ascending as Legend.
Originally, the plan was to have the quartet of Galanoud, Vahina, La Motte, and Joshua combine their might and directly employ the majestic power of Legends to remove the remains of Fertility from the physical ream. Linking was of no importance since none could guarantee whether they could obtain valuable information from the whispers of the Evil God and Chaos itself, but they were willing to let Joshua to try since he wanted to—even so, the ‘try’ had taken so long that even the Nature Magister, who held the firmest confidence in the warrior amongst them, began to felt that something was not right.
Which was why she had acted quickly, prepared to sever the link between Joshua and the Evil God.
“What did you actually see in the mirage?”
Galanoud and Vahina jointly examined the warrior once—with the elf ascertaining that Joshua had not been infected by Chaos, and that his spiritual state remained normal. Then, patting the warrior on his chest, she asked curiously, “Why would you linger for so long? It was almost five hours.”
Beside them, Vahina, who was reading a grimoire shrugged. “And you’ve even subconsciously taken one step back… that’s not like you. Could a mere illusion really scare you enough to retreat?”
The tease prompted a guffawing around them, for everyone present knew that it was impossible. Others notwithstanding, Joshua had actually not been intimidated in the battle to seal the World Will, despite facing off against the Black Dragon King and two Demon Generals in a Legendary-class melees.
Would an illusion be able to do that, then?
Nevertheless, Joshua did not laugh with them. His expression remained somber, and the atmosphere around him began to dull and the laughter slowly vanished—meanwhile, with a sharp scraping sound, the twisted halo which was what remained of an Evil God suddenly shattered behind the warrior! The circle which had a dozen-meter long radius and was the source of all presence of Chaos around them was beginning to disintegrate into nothingness like broken glass, just as the presence of Chaos disappeared amidst the sharp, breaking sounds!
The bizarre shadow of the leaf of a plant appeared faintly at the center of the halo, appearing for an instant before disappearing, as if it had never existed. With it, all mana of Chaos around completely faded, with not a single trace of it felt!
The cigarette between La Motte’s fingers dropped as the Sword Saint looked on, just as Vahina unwittingly closed his Grimoire, while the Nature’s Magister, who was standing beside Joshua, took one subconscious step back, assuming a combat stance.
Be that as it may, that was all the anomaly had been. Apart from the Evil God remains which had completely vanished, there was nothing else unexpected happening.
Standing upright but furthest away, La Motte stamped the cigarette stub beneath his foot while staring where the twisted halo once was, before turning to Joshua and asking with a puzzled tone, “Do you know…what actually happened?”
“I’ve extracted all information from that piece of Evil God remains,” Joshua answered simply, “and it destroyed itself. Apologies for having all of you wait for so long while I lingered in the mirage.”
However, none paid attention to Joshua’s apology, with a single question existing in everyone’s mind.
What had Joshua actually seen in the illusion that could cause the Evil God remains to self-destruct, after it had stood unchanging for a thousand years?
Vahina posed the question first. She had often corresponded with Joshua to discuss theories on such aspects, maintaining a fine relationship with the warrior as well as being one of the few Legendary champions who were the first to head to other civilized worlds and interacted with the Midgardian civilization, which was why she showed no hesitation in asking the question.
Despite that, Joshua did not directly answer the Eastern Sea Sage’s question. Taking a deep breath and looking up at the skies, he spoke calmly, “To be frank, if not for the memories of the Evil God of Fertility, I simply can’t imagine it… it’s too young.”
“The Multiverse we exist in is truly too young.”
Joshua’s heart was filled with wonder and bewilderment when he uttered those words—for if there was neither error nor deception in Fertility’s memories, according to the research of those highly-advanced civilizations that existed a hundred and sixty million years ago, the Multiverse which also gave birth to the world of Mycroft only formed some three point two billion years ago.
What was with that? The age of Earth itself was four point six billion years old, meaning that the time in which Earth existed was longer than the Multiverse!
Although time flowed differently for each world, and history had only existed for the Multiverse for as long as 3.2 billion years when counted according to standard time. Still, the interior of some of those worlds may already have gone through hundreds of billions of years, although Joshua never came across such a circumstance. Time flowed almost the same for the two worlds Karlis and Simboa, the latter of which he had recently visited—and things would only be different if there were champions of Fattrovi’s making, who was able to control time itself.
Nonetheless, the other three Legendary champions were smiling courteously in spite of Joshua’s wonder to disguise their uncomprehending. While they might understand the concept of 3.2 billion years, they do not understand how that was considered young. Ultimately, it was a matter of a few thousand years for a world to assume form after its birth, and several million when intelligent civilizations were born. It is thanks to the existence of supernatural powers and Ancient Dragons that the rise of civilizations would accelerate and had a better chance of stabilizing, with the entire Starfall Era being established in less than a millennium.
Would they hence understand or empathize with Joshua’s feelings if he were to discuss the concept of three point two billion years? For them, an ancient civilization that stood sixteen hundred million years ago was already astonishing.
Joshua could not repress a sigh when he understood that.
One hundred and sixteen million years ago, the original form of the Evil God of Fertility—the early but advanced civilizations that formed a galaxy of worlds was the first cluster of intelligent beings as the environment around the Multiverse stabilized. They lived around the Initial Flame, spawning incomparable, glorious civilizations while moving world coordinates, whimsically crossing the Void, even determining the age of the Multiverse by a certain procedure as well as artificially creating planes and small worlds.
And yet, there was no trace of Evil Gods in the records of such a majestic and aged civilization.
Unless the records were deliberately removed or Evil Gods were undiscovered, those beings never existed. That ancient civilization had exhausted all efforts in their pursuit of the zenith—did they even show a hint of being vulnerable to external threats or invasions of Chaos? All worlds had been directly created from nothing by the Initial Flame.
It was after a long, dark vision at the other side of the illusion, when all of those ancient civilizations turned into dust amidst the Void Vortex, that the familiar presence of Chaos filled the Void, while the Initial Flame even began to shrink.
Then, the Void Behemoths and the most ancient Evil God, Fertility, was born silently.
Beside him, every Legendary champion listened seriously to Joshua’s description. He was not gifted with words, revealing everything simply and straightforwardly, and yet everyone—including the Platinum Pine Mother which extended a creeper sneakily—was immersed with the truth.
“All philosophical questions would eventually become issues with reality. Why did the apple fall? Why did everything exist? With detailed inference comes many facts such as gravity and electromagnetism… but the Evil Gods are different.”
Joshua’s expression was now solemn as he repeated all that he saw in Fertility’s illusion, while elaborating on what he knew about it. “They reverted issues that existed in reality into early philosophical and conceptual questions. We once believed that Evil Gods were actually some of the most powerful demons and the largest of Void Behemoths, and were actual, physical threats. But we were wrong, they simply did not exist—they could forcefully alter the pattern in which certain matter and constructs were formed, a special concept in themselves. As long as those patterns and concepts could be dominated, even the most normal of worlds would become Evil God.”
“Evil Gods don’t exist?”
Vahina, who had been silent at first, held a solemn expression as a sage who pursued the Truth of worlds. “Joshua, what does that mean?”
“That means Evil Gods are actually a natural phenomenon. Like how Holy Light was created by the Sage, the Evil God was created by other beings as well, a rule of nature which once never existed in this Multiverse.” Joshua replied calmly. “Evil Gods do not bring apocalypse—they are the agent of a certain form of calamity; they are an incarnation of the apocalypse itself.”
“The destruction of worlds is the catalyst for their birth. Like earthquakes, the real endpoint is not the destruction caused by earthquake, but the pressure stored in the tectonic plates.”
The bottom of the entire Spring of Chaos silenced at once. None continued asking anything.
Did Evil Gods not exist in the Multiverse from the start? But a rule and natural phenomenon created by a certain being?
That fact truly broke what everyone commonly believed since—according to their previous knowledge—it was fact that Evil Gods were remains of destroyed worlds, with no other explanation existing. But now, it was as if someone informed them that one plus one equals to three, shattering all that they knew.
And Joshua, who had absorbed most of the memories from Fertility’s remains, watched as the Legendary champions around him delved into their own thoughts while his eyes flashed with silver radiance. They were even intending to bring out their communications equipment to contact friends and companions, when he said quietly, “It’s just a theory, not a hundred-percent truth. None would know if the memories from the Evil God of Fertility, there’s no need to notify the other Legends.”
“No, Joshua. That’s very important,” The Nature’s Magister looked up and explained as she brought out a mirror-shaped communications tool, seemingly getting in touch with the Elven Queen of the Lake of Eternity. “The Evil God’s memories are a piece of information you’ve studied, and we trust you—what’s more, the fact that ‘Evil Gods did not exist at the start’ is most important.”
“Yes, Galanoud is right.”
The Sword Saint La Motte nodded somberly beside them; the casually dressed Legendary champion had a firm expression. “To be truthful, most leaders of various factions, such as the West Mountains’ royalty were filled with irrepressible fear when they learned about,” he said seriously. “They believed the Evil Gods to be unbalanced, that they would never stop coming if we destroyed one, or two, or three. But if the truth is as you’ve said, that Evil Gods were not a natural phenomenon that existed during the Multiverse’s birth, it meant that something created them—like my sword, a tool crafted by humans.”
“If they can be created, they can be destroyed. If they have an origin, there would be a possibility that they could be utterly destroyed.”
Vahina, meanwhile, had finished delivering the information—she was the most influential leader of the Eastern Sea faction after all. Still, her expression was no longer somber, and had the hint of a smile too. “Listen. I once believed that Evil Gods are a phenomenon that existed since creation, just like how there is attraction between matter, heat moving from heated objects to cool objects, preventing people from mustering the courage to stand against them. But knowing the fact, I find Evil Gods ‘just that’ as well.”
Vahina had deliberately mimicked Joshua’s usual ‘just that’ perfectly, even using magic to adjust it and causing the warrior himself to stare blankly. Then, the Eastern Sea Sage took a moment to savor it, before turning to leave elegantly, rising into the skies. “It’s late. The cleansing of the Dark Forest is complete while you have awaken too—I’ll be returning to the Eastern Sea, the rest will be up to the Vine Mother and the Skybinding Dragon.”
With those words, as spatial magic stirred, Vahina quickly vanished into thin air.
La Motte quickly bade farewell soon as well, shaking hands with Joshua before he left and showing his ring-shaped Information Terminal.
“This thing is very good.” La Motte grinned. “It’s a rare gift from my wife—she’s now a resolute loyalist to your Moldavian industry association, and everywhere around the house are magical tools invented in your domain… With this little thing, I could talk to her even as I wander the world, instead of preparing a huge communications circle and mana source.”
“That’s the future trend of development for magical tools.” Joshua shrugged.
The two hence did not spoke further, and with a turn, the Sword Saint turned into a shadow and vanished from the real world as if a puff of a smoke.
“As for me, I don’t have anything to say.” The last person remaining other than Joshua, the beautiful elven lady who was the Nature’s Magister smiled, before speaking softly. “Still, when the elves formally participate in the Empire’s External Exploration Project, I would be coming to the Empire to visit you and witness firsthand the commencement of the first operation.”
“We welcome you with open arms. You would definitely not be disappointed.”
Soon, the body of the Nature’s Magister turned into sheets of dancing leaves and vanished from the world. The bottom of the Spring of Chaos at the heart of the Dark Forest was empty at once, the Evil God remains which was to be utterly quarantined with an ‘Otherworld Seal’ having been destroyed by Joshua. In a dozen years, the Central Dark Forest would slowly return to normal: an ordinary, fertile forest.
Joshua stayed silent for a long time. His body slowly rose and left the bottom of the Spring of Chaos, and landed on the soil of the Dark Forest that was now white sand.
“Is it actually the fearlessness of the ignorant, or do they really not fear the truth?”
The warrior breathed a sighed and said quietly, “While it’s just a theory, but if the Evil Gods are a natural phenomenon created by a certain immeasurably powerful being, just like Holy Light… then who could that being be? And how powerful are they?”
And what was their intention in creating the Evil Gods?
That line of pondering was soon cut short by noises wafting from the distance. Joshua looked up, his eyes piercing layers of forests and hills to afar.
Those were the sounds of Zero-One and Black traversing the land and trampling the Dark Forest, the latter of whom had transformed into Ancient Dragon form. Through it all, the magical creatures around them left fuming but unable to vent, having been restrained by the Legendary Beasts.
“Well, we could just leave that question aside.”
Joshua simply gave up on thinking.
Who cares about who created Evil Gods or their motives—was there meaning in considering such matters? Would thinking about it stop the invasion of Evil Gods? Would pondering such things strengthen Joshua himself? If it could not, then those were meaningless actions.
What was more, just like how Vahina the Eastern Sea Sage had said…
Repeating the daily-used term which Vahina mimicked him with, Joshua swept the tinge of melancholy away in his heart that had arisen from the memories of the Evil God of Fertility. Grinning and shaking his head, he started slowly towards Black and Zero One’s direction.
“Now that you’ve mentioned it, why do other Legends have such dashing entrance and exits? Why am I only able to walk?”