Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
What does death feel like?
There would not be many across the entire universe who could describe that idea firsthand, since most self-aware undead spirits had simply changed their living form during physical death instead of truly ‘dying’. As for dead who had truly died but was resurrected, they were essentially not the person who died, which was why their accounts were not firsthand, their kind being even rarer. In the very least, they needed aid from Legends or beyond, and have only a certain percentage for success.
But today, the Unnamed had the fortune to become a rare ‘Resurrected’ of the Multiverse.
There actually was no sensation of death. When the Unnamed Technician had lifted the Furnace Ray Discharger to destroy his own brain amidst the silence of despair, he had simply died. His helpless soul gradually broke down in the atmosphere in the seventy third second following his death, just like how his corpse would have been decomposed by bacteria in days.
He had been taken by Death. In the instant when his soul had completely broken, the Unnamed Technician was completely dead. Even so, Death was not absolute in the Multiverse—everything was possible, and as long as there was sufficient ability, both death and fate would be beneath one’s feet.
Like now, the shattered soul which wandered the pool of souls began to reassemble beneath silver radiance, condensing into one and returning to his body. Dazedly, the Unnamed Technician opened his eyes to find an unfamiliar ceiling.
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Then, he heard a calm, deep and masculine voice.
“You’re awake? Looks like my restoration is alright—you’re completely resurrected.”
The Unnamed Technician had wanted to ask out of instinct, but could not do it smoothly since he rarely interacted with others over the years, as well as the change in his physicality from before. Instead, he coughed heavily a few times.
‘Right, my body!’ The Unnamed Technician promptly realized that his current body contrasted greatly from before, and was much younger in a nutshell… or more correctly, he was a dozen years old, and not yet of age!
“I’ve overdid it accidentally. You are a little too young,” the man’s voice continued calmly, slightly troubled as if describing a little mistake that came up in an experiment. “And Simboan physiology is not too fitting for Mycroft. That’s why I changed a set of respiratory organs for you on my own accord.”
It was then that the bewildered Unnamed Tech who had just been freed from death had the strength to looked up towards the voice while surveying his environment.
He saw that he was lying on a flat, white platform similar to those in garages. A silver beam was descending from above, engulfing both him and the operation platform—in fact, the entire platform was floating in the air, not touching the ground.
His surroundings were clean, tidy, and certainly not the garage where he killed himself. The walls were silver as if completely forged out of metals, and the Unnamed Technician could vaguely see magical radiance flowing on them, with all dust in the air absorbed whenever a blue light flashed, leaving no trace at all.
Naturally, those were not the most important. The Unnamed technician exhaled, shaking his head blankly before focusing his gaze at the being standing directly in front of him.
It was a man dressed in a white gown, but was so huge that even the loose fitting medical uniform could not completely cover him. The white gown would have appeared baggy or loose-fitting on ordinary people and resemble something a vest, but the man’s chiseled facial features had such a physical might that the Unnamed Technician almost laid down just as he sat up.
In fact, he really did lie down again, although he quickly sat up once more, even leaping down from the operation platform that was still floating in the air and holding on it to stand up.
“…I was dead.”
After a moment of silence and barely standing without leaning on the platform, the Unnamed Technician began to speak softly. “I remember incinerating my own brain with a Furnace Ray Discharger vividly… There was no question that I died according to medical knowledge, but you’ve saved me.”
He looked at the other operation platforms around him, as well as the clear, clean space that was free of any junk, before bowing deeply at Joshua.
The man who regained new life and attained a youthful physicality stood upright right after he awakened. Though Unnamed could not ascertain the current circumstances, he could still understand why he could still speak—from what the huge man said, he had saved him, which was why the first thing he would do was offer his sincere thanks.
“Just a normal repayment, you don’t have too be too concerned.” Joshua replied, shaking his head while taking off the white gown. “After all, I did move around using your body in Simboa for a while, and resurrecting you was only to measure my own power. It’s a simple trade and something I promised, even if you were dead at the time.”
The Unnamed Technician was left puzzled and at a loss again at that point. He never understood words like ‘Simboa’ at the start, nor did he realized how he was revived so youthfully. In fact, he was not even sure who Joshua was, only knowing that he was not a Soul Puppet, but one of those with self, and possibly those who had resisted the Soul Puppets all along.
Unnamed simply was not sure what actually happened, having never interacted with humans. What he had said was simply repeating knowledge he gained from books, and using it by instincts.
And Joshua understood that. Which was why he waved and created a chair with a silver flash, sending it beneath him and gesturing for him to sit, before telling him calmly, “Just think carefully. I’ve placed everything in your mind.”
The Unnamed Technician began to recall in return, and thus learned how everything unfolded… everything from the thousand-year history of Simboa, the dirge of civilization, betrayal, despair and war, as well as the end of one who kept gazing upon the past, taking not a single step forward… vast information cascaded like the sea, entering his mind directly.
Thus, the Unnamed Technician fainted once again.
“…Hmmm. Forgot that normal humans have limits in information absorption.”
Joshua, standing in front of the silver beam, could not help clap on his own forehead just as he was about to ask the Unnamed Technician about how resurrection felt like. “Looks like normal humans could not withstand excess information from a burst of Steel Strength stream,” he said feebly, “Still, to forcefully pour information instantly with Steel Strength against an enemy might interfere with their normal thinking processes. It counts as an offensive move as well.”
At the very thought, the warrior could not become raring to try just as he put the Unnamed Technician back to the platform, before frowning. “No. Isn’t that the same as the Evil Gods’ information impact?”
The reason Evil Gods could throw any who face or touch them directly was because of the conduction of information. Even the very mention of Evil Gods’ true name, such as ‘Yurmadais’—the name of Famine and its minions would cause their information to reach them from the other side of the stars, the substantial, erosive and wildly spreading but useless information in turn lowering the rationality of those it came in contact with. Still, Joshua’s ability in this respect might be superior, since not all information sent from the Evil God was of no value, perhaps containing memory fragments from the death of an otherworld. On the other hand, if Joshua were to use that attack, what he spills would definitely be rubbish information.
“…Joshua, is it really fine for you to simply resurrect him?” An ethereal voice rang while Joshua kept thinking about the clever use of his Steel Strength.
Half a second later, as mana assembled, Zero-Three’s worried projection appeared beside Joshua. “He is Simboan after all, he definitely wouldn’t be fine after learning that his motherworld had been reshaped beneath the control of Steel Python?”
“That remains better than being dead, Zero-Three.”
Joshua answered, unconcerned. “That man without a name chose death out of despair and to resist the Soul Puppets’ abuse. But now, Simboa was revitalized, the rule of Soul Puppets vanishing with the wind… even Fattrovi had died by my hands. Now, he has no reason to die.”
“No matter how bad things are, it wouldn’t be worse than before. What’s more, I could hire him if he doesn’t want to return to Simboa, right?”
Zero-Three did not attempt retorting since it was meaningless to say more, what with the person already resurrected. She simply took a long look at the Unnamed Technician’s body, able to see the unfurling soul light inside his body.
“I never imagined that you had reached the level to restore souls…” the Artificial Intelligence said quietly. “And with your ability to create vigored bodies as you wished, that is basically unlimited resurrection.”
“That’s actually… a threshold not even gods could reach.”
As she spoke, a light flickered over Zero-Three’s forehead. It was the emblem depicting a pair of wings, the divine crest of Gale, Lord of the Skies. There was nothing false in Zero-Three’s words, since she could not find any such knowledge from the Sky God’s Legacy at all.
“No matter who dies, as long as their soul remains, you could create a new body for them, stuff their souls back in and replicate their personality… such a simple method for resurrection was unheard of before.”
“It’s not actually simple.”
Joshua shook his head solemnly in response to Zero-Three’s awe, criticizing her optimistic viewpoint. “First, the dead’s soul must be complete, and strong enough to record all of his personality and memories. Many would fall short of that condition alone, and only those with strong souls and resolute wills could be revived this way.”
“As for those who did not attain Soul Mastery, or whose abilities never reached Supreme, their souls would disintegrate in thirty seconds to seven minutes. That means even Gold-tiers would die utterly if I’m not around to collect their soul in seven-minutes post-mortality. I’m not the same like some gods who could resurrect or use divine spells to collect shattered soul fragments and revived after a certain period. When their memory fragments return into the Cycle of Souls, that person’s memories would be incomplete even if I revived the person with what remained of their soul.”
“Being able to ‘bring back the dead’ already meant that you have transcended the boundary of life and death, grasping an authority of origins, perhaps even tread upon the path of eternity… You’re plenty powerful, don’t be so demanding.”
Zero-Three frowned, disliking Joshua’s excessively rational way of thought, speaking unhappily while floating beside the warrior. “And you’ve spent almost a week—you wouldn’t have only revived a single person, right? What have you been doing all this time? It’s rare for you to return to your own domain, but you end up staying in the dustless laboratory of the Winter Fort Academy, not caring even when Black ran off with Light to play cards with the dwarves…”
Zero-Three mentioned a whole bunch of matters long-windedly as if complaining, while Joshua listened quietly… She certainly had to vent—after Joshua had returned to Moldavia on the fifth of January, Year 838, he had spent most of his time in the second-floor basement of the dustless laboratory conducting some bizarre experiment until the eleventh. Resurrecting the Unnamed Technician was merely one of his many work, and clearly not his pursuit after such a long time.
And Joshua definitely did not keep himself in isolation for so long just to revive him.
After Zero-Three’s long-winded complaints were over, the warrior caught her hand and gestured for her to look up at the silver beam that engulfed the Unnamed Technician. For her part, Zero-Three somehow froze for a moment, before looking up after that instant to carefully study that radiance which appeared to have no special Steel Strength.
“Nothing’s impressionable about it?”
Though unable to make out any attributes at once, Zero-Three soon realized that something was not right. “No, the beam is completely made out of your Steel Strength… It isn’t light at all, but an energy pool brimming with Steel Strength! It’s shining, making it appear like a beam!”
Joshua clapped, watching as Zero-Three quickly picked up on the anomaly and turning back to the ‘Steel Strength Energy Pool’ he spent almost a week to make. “I had wanted to resurrect the Unnamed Technician alone at first,” he said rather pridefully, “but I thought later that since creating and restoring a complete body was so simple, why couldn’t I create a system which automatically restores the human body?”
At those words, Joshua raised his hand and drew out a screen in the air, which displayed various images and videos. They mostly showed destroyed limbs and severe injuries adventurers and soldiers faced, along with forced amputations and their companions having been compelled to put them to their misery. The warrior showed Zero-Three those data, and speaking calmly amidst her thoughtful gaze, “To me, restoring a person’s body needs strength less than breathing. Resurrecting is merely a hassle in terms of conditions, and if everything fits the bill, it’s an easy task.”
“But most normal humans don’t have my power. Even if they had some divine spell to regenerate limbs, they probably are unable to pay for the medical costs.”
Zero-Three blinked, puzzlement in her voice. “That is why you created the Steel Strength Energy Pool?”
Glancing at the silver beam before her, she continued uncertainly, “I understand its general use: to heal the subject’s wounds accordingly, severed limbs being one… Wait, you intend to adopt it for common usage?”
Zero-Three was taken aback at the thought, and flew a few laps around Joshua, shaking her head panickily. “Hey, don’t be that nice. Steel Strength is critical for you as well, and creating more of such energy pools would thin your Steel Strength reserves! When you face formidable enemies like that Fattrovi you’ve faced, that thinning would be lethal!”
“I’m nice, but I’m no saint.”
Joshua did not seem unhappy with Zero-Three considering himself being so kind. He smiled, shaking his head, and stared at the silver beam in front of his eyes. “I plant to call this thing the ‘Restoration Beam’, and I’ll put one in different cities—anyone who need it could heal the accumulated injuries in their bodies. Of course, they would have to pay: gold, rare items, collected tomes or even other precious resources would do. My Steel Strength condensation also holds my processing ability. They are actually a part of myself, and could judge what cost they have to pay accordingly.”
“After all, there is no free lunch, and there is no healing without cost. With every Restoration Beam directly connected to me, anyone intent on destruction would face my counterattack by nature.”
“But how does that benefit you?”
‘And that name. So crude.’
Inwardly, Zero-Three was despising of the warrior’s naming, but said nothing since she could not come up with any nice name either. She simply nodded as if she understood, knowing that he had no intentions of using his power to care for the masses.
Still, she could not see how it would benefit Joshua, and Zero-Three cared more than the warrior himself about that. She promptly furrowed her dainty brow at the very thought, turning a little angrily to Joshua. “In the end, it’s only you who has to pay!”
“Not really. I’m the one benefiting greatly.”
Joshua certainly was not irked that Zero-Three minded his benefit that much, and simply stroked her head and grinned.
“Think about it. My healing of their energies is nothing other than spending some energy substances, reshaping or regenerating some limbs and injuries, and those things are ever-present. However, the price the healed have to pay would definitely be far beyond the cost levied upon me—they might even find that I’m too cheap.
“That is equal to having countless people concurrently collecting precious resources for me, strengthening myself much more efficiently than having to travel out to otherworld and consuming a few dead worlds. Most importantly, creating the Restoration Beam is like a lift of a hand that aids the masses as well. With such significant mutual benefits for both sides, why not?”
“That’s not good news for healers and clergies,” Zero-Three pouted, stroking her own head. “They would lose a great source of income.”
“They’d only come to look for me when they come across injuries they can’t handle,” Joshua replied, nonchalant since he had already considered the aspect. “After all, my price is not low—I could even link this thing to the contribution system of Winter Fort Academy and the External Exploration Department, allowing them to exchange academic points or contribution points for healing. To be truthful, I believe the contribution system itself could replace cash comprehensively. It’s a pity Israel and the others did not support the notion, saying that they would only do that only after Information Terminals are popularized.”
“Right, and I might get every External Exploration party to bring along a restoration beam with them, minimizing risks during expeditions.”
“Huh. I’ve nothing to say since you’ve been so thorough…” Zero-Three blinked after listening attentively to everything Joshua said and finding no flaw. Hence, after a brief groan, she wrapped her arms around her knees and floated slowly to the doors of the laboratory, reminding the warrior seriously as she left, “Remember to return for dinner at the manor tonight. If you don’t…”
“You guys will get angry. I know, I’ll be back.”
Joshua watched as Zero-Three left the laboratory, before turning to look at the ‘Restoration Beam’, his eyes reflecting flickering light.
In truth, apart from what he discussed with Zero-Three, he had a far grander plan that he did not inform the A.I girl about.
And it was something he did not intend to advocate solely on Mycroft.
The worlds of Karlis, Illgner, Kronos, Simboa… Apart from those worlds, even realms unconnected as of yet, along with the pièce de résistance, Stellaris.
There would be not much gains regardless of how many Restoration Beams he spread around the Northern Empire or the North itself. On the other hand, the benefits would be sizeable if it were to be spread across Mycroft, not to mention multiple worlds—with more time, the energy Joshua accrued would reach astronomical values, with his Steel Strength output then becoming nothing more than a drop in the ocean.
He was even a true god whose divine name spreads amongst Midgardian civilization on Stellaris, just as the Restoration Beam would definitely be taken as true godly providence: the so-called price for it would be none other than simple offerings that the Midgardians would gladly pay for. The Midgardians may even spread the Restoration Beam when they encounter other civilizations—that way, perhaps his gains from Stellaris alone would be far greater than a few other small otherworlds put together.
Such efficiency was definitely greater than spending massive reserves of energies wandering in the barren Void, seeking collectible materials. After all, not all Void regions had the energy density of the Void Vortex, just as the warrior himself could not keep staying at the edge of the Void Vortex to absorb its energies.
“That way, as long as I recover those stored energies from time to time, I could rapidly accrue sufficient high-energy substance and accelerate the shaping of my world.”
In the dustless laboratory, Joshua clenched his right fist. He stared at it—it was immeasurably sturdy, of absolute smoothness and harder than any substance in the world, before speaking quietly, “Furthermore, Steel Strength is the carrier of my information, a part of my soul. Each repair beam holds a shred of my will… I would exist in different worlds simultaneously if I spread them across different worlds.”
What was the endgame for such a unique way of being?
Joshua did not know.
But he was expectant.