Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The airship Grancypher , commissioned by the liege’s residence of Moldavia was designed by the First Military Industrial Complex and assembled by the magical engineering department of the Nissia Winter Fort Academy. It was one of less than ten ‘Emperor-class’ aerial warship that was made across the entire Mycroft Continent—it was rumored that multiple Legendary champions had augmented the vessel itself, granting it energy source to almost never land.
In truth, that was not wrong. The core of the warship was certainly designed and calibrated by several Legends, since miniaturizing and simplifying the ‘Nuclear Heart’ for use as an ordinary warship engine was not something anyone could do—and the Grancypher , which spans thirteen hundred feet from bow to stern, carried two ‘Nuclear Heart’-class of motivation core.
Still, though the Grancypher had a near inexhaustible source of kinetic energy, it was not equipped with any weapons. The reason it was designated an airship instead of an aerial warship was that it was quite simply, a transport. TheGrancypher was a colossal research vessel used solely for Void exploration, containing a dimensional portal set in place by Legendary mage Nostradamus himself, armor and energy furnaces augmented by Legendary warrior Joshua as well as an energy circulation system designed by Barnil, another Legendary mage. That was how, apart from a theoretical routine maintenance every three years, it could keep navigating the Void permanently.
And now, the fully crewed Grancypher was piercing through veins of dimensional turbulences towards its objective, the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds.
Both the Fairyland and the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds were realms that orbited around the world of Mycroft. Though there was no significant gap in their movement speed, Fairyland began to drift further away from the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds as time went on, and the former finally became no longer suitable as a forward base for departing. However, each faction had been prepared for that—the Grancypher itself being one of the measures. It could find the coordinates of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds with precision, and arrive there from a range of two to five hours.
At present, all of the core members from Imperial External Exploration Department were aboard the Grancypher. Priest, the leader of the elite party was naturally no exception.
Priest was not a stranger on the Grancypher , having ridden it on several two-way trips to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, testing his ability to adapt in the environment with varying pull inside the ‘Gravity Cabin’. As a vessel for research and exploration, the Grancypher was also equipped with ‘Elemental Cabin’ for simulating environments of different elemental concentration, as well as ‘Critical Point Cabin’, for simulating environments of different Steel Particle concentration. Indeed, there was even an ‘Ether Cabin’ which simulated worlds of pure energies.
And after the many simulations, Priest and the others were finally informed that their first official exploration mission was at hand.
“Finally. I’m about to lose my mind if we keep training!” Rider had exclaimed. He was a young man with a robust frame, who, instead of being ‘nervous’ at once when he learned about his first official mission from the Information Terminal, instead felt a new breath of life after being finally freed from extended training. “Hahaha, goodbye, daily twenty-kilometer full-speed dashes before meals… goodbye, tragic diet of nutritious meals only! I’m finally an official explorer! I can now gulp down chunks of meat!”
“Uh… Finally, haha, finally!”
Alchemist reacted slightly more deplorably. He was both laughing and crying, as if having a psychosis episode, clenching his Information Terminal and bellowing, “I won’t drink potion I brew experimentally every day anymore! At least eighty bottles each day… even Slimes can’t drink that much!”
On the other hand, Mage and Clergy were much more composed and did not show any euphoric reaction. Nevertheless, a glance at the Mage’s shaking fingers and Clergy’s lightless gaze was revealing of how demanding their trails in training had been, and how roused they were inside with the official mission.
Priest could hardly understand the party members’ delight, nor did he paid them too much attention since he was seated and studying a book titled [Advanced Runic Solutions]. Seeing that their leader remained impassive after receiving the news and remained absorbed in a book thicker than a brick, the other four members all watched him in disbelief, fear, and admiration.
Those who could join the exploration party were mostly prodigies, with some of them appearing superior despite such company. As such talent piled, they naturally became arrogant, which was the case when all four of the elite party first met. Each believed that they were the one suitable to be leader or first place, while others were useless who deserved no attention.
Still, they became sincerely willing to acknowledge Priest as their leader, and that was assuredly not without reason.
“Seven Gods above. He could complete two workbooks for advanced mathematics!” Clergy had gasped quietly in awe.
“That’s not all,” Mage summed up. “He could even draft three examination sheets for rune studies!”
One way or the other, Priest’s place as leader was unquestionable. That was why after receiving news of the official mission, everyone turned to him, waiting for his opinion.
“My opinion is to stay vigilant.”
Priest put down the book in hand amidst his teammates’ expectant gaze, and looked up at them with a serious expression. “Our mission this time is not to explore civilized foreign worlds rich with life signatures, but a lifeless world that might not have anything at all. Our target is to search for special dimensional signatures, for a ‘demiplane’ known as the Unified Archives.”
And then came the leader’s speech, something that was occurring amongst every party awaiting deployment on the Grancypher.
Priest encouraged the team members, telling them that they would get all exchange points and clearances possible if they accomplished the mission as ordered, and might even get some souvenirs from the otherworld as spoils. Everyone present was fearless, having resolved themselves when they chose to join the otherworld exploration teams. In fact, some of them may have joined precisely because of the delight of adventuring which forces them into life-and-death situations.
“Ah, it’s time to sortie.”
As the speeches concluded, a crew of the vessel guided a truck into the elite party’s breakroom. The crewmember gave the party a silent nod before turning to leave, just as Rider went to the car delightedly and took the truck to his teammates and opened it.
The truck’s container opened from behind, and strong scents of steel cascaded along with intense mana ripples. Priest stared intently inside, where equipment and supplies for all five of them were prepared: there were various weapons, five sets of repairable survival regalia and armor, three sets of buff potions (each standard set having Dragon Strength Elixir, Burn Potion, Lightning Potion, armor elixir and divine healing potion), simple transportation (a simple four-wheeled foldable mana-powered off-road vehicle), energy detectors and various unusual gadgets.
Those were all standard equipment for External Exploration Parties, and Priest had become very accustomed to them after extended training. Beside him, the Alchemist appeared wanting to retch when he saw the three sets of potions, but Priest did not pay him too much mind since he saw a brand-new object that had never appeared in their equipment list before.
Curious, Clergy held up the cylinder which was thirty centimeters in length and eight centimeters in diameter. However, his expression promptly shifted once the cylinder began to activate. “Oh no, this thing is heavy! Rider, you’re up!”
“Been telling you to rain more, and not slack during physical training… Watch me!”
Rider strode forward with a jibe in passing. Ready to pick up the silver cylinder at one breath, his expression changed the instant he was prepared to touch the cylinder. “Wait, this thing is actually three tons?”
While three tons was nothing much for Rider, who had been about to reach Gold-tier, it remained a scary mass. There was hence no wonder why Clergy, who had gone through equally substantial physical training, could not pick it up. Not even Rider himself would be able to carry it everywhere.
“That heavy? Could you be using it wrong? Let me take a look at the manual.”
Mage, who had been stroking the [Quad-cored Rapid Charging Explosion Scepter] he ordered passionately, frowned at his teammates’ exchange and picked up the instruction manual for the Restoration Beam. He studied it carefully, before emphasizing loudly, “this product, being a trial product from the Moldavian Liege’s Residence has yet been lightened due to various reasons and is unsuitable for widespread use. It is currently distributed to each exploration party to collect data in actual scenarios.”
“Actual usage: place vertically on a flat surface, inject three standard units of energy to activate and enter the spiritual password ‘Wisdom Unquenchable, Order Eternal’. Wait for three minutes as the Restoration Beam activates automatically, turning into a silver beam with a two-meter radius and seven-point-five meters in height. Place the injured inside, put in corresponding energy and materials as the beam instructs, and the wounds upon the injured would be automatically be restored.”
“The beam cannot be destroyed or repositioned. After its location is locked, it would only revert to its mobile metallic cylinder form after three hours unless the password was entered. The beam could provide Gold-tier energy shield protection for all personnel within its reach—hence, do not place the beam randomly, but keep it at a secure base. If any personnel were to perish in the process of exploration, please use the ‘Soul Pool Sphere’ attached to the beam for collecting the deceased’s soul or soul fragments, before placing it inside the beam itself.”
Mage’s lifted as he read that, and exclaimed in slight surprise at his four teammates beside him. “It’s actually something the liege made? Looks like it might be useful!”
Every person on Mycroft knew essentially that whenever the phrase ‘product from the Moldavian Liege’s Residence appeared with neither prefix nor suffix, it meant the product had the fingerprints of Count Radcliffe in its research and development. Furthermore, those with that label, such as ‘Enchanted Armor’, ‘Liquid Crystal Display’, ‘Intercontinental Communications Circle’ and the recently bestselling ‘Spirit Terminal’ were all genuine exquisite items.
The Enchanted Armors had now seen widespread applications. Fine sets of such armors afforded tremendous effectiveness from engineering to combat during adventures, the artificial limbs and exosuit armor helping the disabled to regain mobility or even greater power. Liquid Crystal Displays meanwhile were must-haves for various nobles and affluent families. Different media such as Magus Weekly had now joined the trend, establishing news and other programs to be broadcasted onscreen.
There was even less to elaborate on the spiritual terminal. The magical product jointly invented by several Legendary champions was now the most popular magical tool on Mycroft throughout history. It had various wondrous functions that could not be described clearly in a few words, but there was no doubt that the Terminal had eternally changed the living habits and way of thinking for all Mycroft peoples. Diverse information exchange and swift distribution had broken much ignorance and misunderstandings the continent held towards magical beasts and the Dark Forest, and with the corresponding cost, anyone could acquire information they desire from the Terminal.
In short, the phrase ‘Product of Moldavian Liege’s Residence’ had basically become a quality assurance—not merely simple quality goods either, but civilian-friendly products that could be distributed globally without limit. Knowing that, the Rider no longer complained about the heaviness of the silver cylinder, instead quietly hung it on his ‘anti-gravity belt’, although the cylinder took up ninety percent of its load at once.
“Looks like it’s some healing method similar to Holy Light but is completely automated… It’s definitely useful for otherworld exploration,” Priest said, stepping forward to the red-black fist-sized sphere beside the cylinder and unable to repress some interest. “As for the Soul Pool Sphere, does it really preserve soul around it? Isn’t that stepping into the domain of necromancy? And if we really died from some accident, things would certainly be in dire straits and where would we find the time to preserve it? Even if we did, what good would that do?”
“That’s right. What good would there be? Won’t the person still be dead?”
Alchemist nodded, believing that the certain noble had missed something and thus overdid things, although he had a different opinion as well.
“Maybe it quickly preserves our perished souls if we brought it along, and that way, even if all of us died at once, those nobles would be able to learn from our souls how we died, and then avenge us?”
“That’s possible.” Clergy found the idea creative, and turned to Rider. “Want to die a bit, and test this thing?”
“No thanks. I’ll leave that honor to you.”
Having ensured that they had their respective equipment, everyone headed for the changing room and sortied, and was quickly finished, having familiarized themselves utterly with that procedure.
At the moment, the entire Elite External Exploration Party resembled a squad of combat machines packaged in silver tin cans. On their outermost layer was a fully-sealed Enchanted Armor used for otherworlds, a design inspired from a certain Steel Elemental and crafted with ‘Living Metals’ forged from various methods. Those armors were self-regenerating, even capable of strengthening itself as time passed.
Furthermore, beneath the silver layer of Living Metal armor plates were inner shielding developed by studying the self-healing materials found on the body of Saluka, the Insectoid Demon General. It was highly malleable and could alleviate impact force by great margins, the two combined layers of armor allowing normal humans without supernatural powers the ability to actually withstand several full-powered-blows from Gold-class. At the hands of Extraordinary individuals with considerable ability in the first place, it could take even violent offensives from Gold-pinnacle.
The five armored figures also held various other equipment. A war hammer hung by Priest’s hip, while he carried a ‘Gravity Shield’ on his back. The latter was translucent, appearing to be made from crystals, with pale-white ripples spreading visibly from the center of the shield towards all directions. It was a high-grade extraordinary item that could be redeemed with 4000 exchange points and a C-class exchange clearance, a new equipment Priest himself had swapped for some time ago.
Alchemist, meanwhile, was holding a narrow and long dwarven hand cannon. Called the ‘Number Four Arcane Missile Automatic Discharger’ by the Moldavian Liege himself, the mouthful name was simply too difficult to even be memorized, and so everyone simply shortened it to ‘Large-sized Dwarven Handcannon’.
As for Mage, he was naturally holding his ‘Quad-cored Rapid Charging Explosion Scepter’. Named by that Liege as well, it was shortened to ‘Explosion Scepter’ due to being a mouthful as well.
Clergy held nothing, although he was surrounded by seven crystal balls that orbited around him like satellites. Those were the latest creation of the Seven Gods Church that had no link to Moldavia, flickering with sacred white radiances of different intensity and bobbing around agilely.
Rider’s equipment was the ‘Foldable Four-Wheeled Off-road Vehicle’—indeed, why else was he called Rider? Although horseriding was difficult in another world, driving remained a form of ‘riding’. Indeed, his weapon was put together with the vehicle, having no need to carrying along.
The five-man exploration team was armed to the teeth, with their equipment sufficient to start an uprising in one of the small West Mountain nations a dozen years ago. If the five tin cans charge forward in the magically-powered Off-Road Vehicle, they could crash through some of the weaker city walls, and should their ability ascend to Gold, they could fight Supreme if they worked together.”
“Ready, everyone?” Priest asked quietly, standing at the center of the breakroom as he looked at the others equipped themselves fully. “Our first official exploration is beginning soon. The Empire was definitely not stingy when it came to our grooming, and so we must give it our all, even repaying that faith with our lives!”
“Of course!” The other four answered, a chorus that echoed throughout theGrancypher . Those were voices from the other seven exploration parties who had finished training, and would be transported to eight different worlds for quick exploration and precluding as they searched for a special ‘dimensional ripple’, or even the location of the lost demiplane, the ‘Unified Archives’. Everyone present was aware that their objective was intricately linked to the future of the Mycroft civilization, and everyone felt great honor over that.
Soon, a clear, delicate and feminine voice was broadcasted ship-wide.
“The Grancypher is connecting to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds… Magical link success, executing energy resonance: 1%, 2%, 3%… All exploration personnel, please be prepared for teleportation.”
Having heard the voice, all exploration party members stood on a row of light-blue circular platforms. The platforms were charging along with the progress rate reported by the voice, all while a massive and profound ripple began to stream out from the circle bit by bit, calming all those excited explorers.
It was the power of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, a majestic force that could connect two points in the Multiverse in an instant.
The gentle feminine voice ended its count. “Energy resonance completed.”
Wroom —a dull hum echoed, and a black domain wherein a certain deep but clear voice could be heard appeared at once on every platform, engulfing every explorer.
“Multi-quadrant teleportation commencing.”
Starfall Year 838, at 1721 hours on the eleventh of March, the airship Grancypherwas linked to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, launching the first official otherworld expedition in history.
And amidst the Void, the huge frame of a man stood nearby the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, watching the arrival of the Grancypher as well as the countless stirring of countless dimensional ripples that soon clamed within. The silhouette of a silver serpent wrapped itself around its right arm, seemingly conversing with that man.
“Never imagined that you humans would find your target faster than we could.” The Steel Python told the man in slight wonder. “It took me quite some time just to confirm that your lost demiplane was generally located at the center of the ‘Dark Domain’, and yet your side just relied on a vague signal to grasp the Dark Domain.”
The man—Joshua—nodded heavily and thanked Karlis sincerely. “Sorry for troubling you, to do so much for Mycroft.”
“Is there a need for thanks between us? That dozen of Restoration Beams you have given me had been given to the survivors of Grandia. Most who had lost parts of their bodies, even their internal organs in their battles against the Death Shades had thus fully recovered. All of them are now strongly motivated, and for those Children alone, I would aid you as much as I could.”
There was a hint of surprise and awe in Karlis’s voice at the mention of the Restoration Beam as well. “I actually never imagined that Steel Strength could be so useful and so intricate… That may be the difference between World Will and individual lifeforms, I could never have utilized Authority to such a micro extent… Your application of Steel Strength had already surpassed most Steel Pythons.”
Joshua naturally happily accepted Karli’s sincere praise, but switched to another matter instead of speaking further on that. “By the way, Karlis, why do you call those parts near the Void Vortex ‘Dark Domain’? How do they differ?”
“Dark Domains are dimensional regions where there are worlds with ruined Initial Flame, although the Flame was not completely extinguished.”
Karlis could not help laughing bitterly at that. “Actually, Mycroft, myself and the destroyed worlds around us formed one Dark Domain before. There may be life left in those worlds, but most were on their last legs, and just a step away from falling into the Abyss… Such environments are simply hostile. If those little fellows of yours were not so well-equipped, I would have stopped you from sending them to those worlds.
“Is that so.”
Joshua had expected that earlier, which was why he said nothing and simply kept silent, before shaking his head and sighing after some time. “Well, so what if it’s dangerous? I’ve made all the precautions for them—the rest is up to their endurance.”
“That’s right, you shouldn’t have to worry over them. Each life has their destiny, some which you can change, and that alone is enough. There is no need to confirm that every life would succeed to the last for it’s impossible: they all have their paths to walk.”
Joshua shrugged helplessly in response, aware that his attitude was not right… After all, a person like him who often traveled otherworlds alone simply had no right to point fingers at others who were taking risk, but even so, he could not help being concerned.
Nonetheless, he definitely had no need to be excessively worried, since he had backup plans ready.
“Don’t underestimate the Restoration Beams, little fellows.” He murmured to himself in the Void. “That’s not just a useful healing tool…”
At that, he closed his eyes.
In a certain corner of Joshua’s spirit, all there had been was a blanket of Chaos and dark nothingness.
But now, all Chaos and nothingness had retreated, leaving a black, obscure shroud… And within, silver specks were lit one after another, finally becoming dazzling stars.
Another eight stars were hence visibly seen darting towards the distance, sinking within the dark, obscure shroud once more.
Joshua opened his eyes, and told Karlis beside him quietly, “Let us return.”
“Take me to Karlis for a trip… it’s been a long time since I’ve seen your place.”
“You are most welcome, He Who Reignited the Flame. The doors to all worlds are opened wide to you.”