Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
A wild tempest billowed, flapping clothing filled with sand and dust noisily. A hooded man in desert robes walked amidst the barren evening desert as wind and sand that cooled in relative to noontime splashed upon his body, gathering microscopic dust at the folds of his clothing that remained as if stagnated water.
It was the Monadra Desert in the world of Karlis.
Legend has it that the desert was once a chain of mountains, but a terrible battle and gigantic world shift saw the collapse of the mountains into the desert of present day.
Still, that was precisely how many minerals and precious resources hidden deep within the mountains were spread everywhere amongst the mountains and could be excavated easily. As long as those willing brought the necessary magical equipment and braved the risk of being lost in the desert, they would certainly be handsomely rewarded.
However, the man who had been strolling in the dust and sand had been searching for a dozen days with no luck. Not only did he not find the precious minerals each important city rewarded generously for, he was also lost in the sands.
The winds cooled as night came, the accumulated dirt forcing the man to pause and dust off two or three kilograms of sand off his clothes. While that naturally freed him considerably, his feet suddenly throbbed and he fell into the sand, gulping several mouthfuls of dry sand.
There was a serpent-shaped crest forged from silver metals hanging visibly by his hip, with several small words inscribed upon it.
[Kar is Ag ent]
That was all that could be seen—the others were simply unintelligible due to excessive wear from the desert weather.
” Bleh … Looks like death is coming for me…”
Even as he spat out the sand forcefully, the man merely felt a dryness in his mouth, just as a murky sensation as if a blunt force struck him surged in his head. He knew that his spirit and stamina were at their limits, which was why he suddenly left off balance as he dusted himself… Still, that ending was not unexpected, being an ‘Agent of Karlis’, his task was to give improve the lives of his own kind across the world.
It was likely that the Monadra Desert had high-grade Thorium deposits which held indescribable value for the mana circulation in cities. The man knew that he was not the only one to enter desert, but he was probably the only one who found the Thorium mine.
Still, what was the point? A sudden storm made him lose all his luggage, and he could only walk alone, lost among the wind and sands until he is mummified by the dryness.
At the very thought, the man found that he no longer had the strength to stand. He could feel endless dirt accumulating on his body as if rapidly burying him, and he did not resist. His brain seemed to have completely stopped working, and he simply closed his eyes, prepared for the moment he could no longer breathe.
But, after a long time has passed.
“I’m… not dead?”
The man did not wait for the sand to cover his cheeks and clog his breathing. Brief rest granted him strength, allowing him to open his eyes bewilderedly.
That was when he saw two or three dots of silver brilliance whirling around his body. The dancing sands in the air appeared to hear the call of those dots, and was blocked beyond a faint, silver semi-spherical shield.
“Another lost traveler. Do we help him?”
“Travelers are bad news. They snatched off Sister Xia last time and never came back even now—Brother Gurney is ready to rescue her.”
“Let’s help him. He is a life after all, and they might prove useful for the Mother of All.”
When he heard the voices, the man suddenly remembered rumors circulating around the desert… Those were lights wandering amidst the dust, beings representing vigor and hope. Whenever one met trouble deep in the Monadra desert, they would be received by those lights if their paths crossed, and be safely returned to the world outside the desert.
The man had actually never believed those rumors. It was not long since their cities had been moved into this world, and it was long ascertained that the world itself was one reviving from destruction, with no indigenous lifeforms spawning. Whatever lights in the deserts must have all been false.
And yet, the conviction in the depths of his heart was shaking. In that very moment, those few dancing dots seemed to have come to a decision, and the man sensed that his body was being lifted by a cool power, and moved quickly in the air alongside the dots!
The flight was simply so swift that the man had not the time to memorize the path at all, and neither were there landmarks to be referenced in the deserts. One way or other, amidst murky thoughts, the man felt as if he had entered an ocean of light, and smelled the familiar scent of plants and felt the vigor of life… Most importantly, he smelled water!
With all his strength, the man opened his eyes by a slit, and looked toward the ocean of light before him.
However, what he saw was simply landscapes of silver flowers that bloomed in the desert, as well as countless small people dancing over a Flower Sea, pairs of wings growing out of their little backs.
“The migrants from Grandia developed quickly. In a brief few years, they had formally established themselves, setting their roots here.”
On the skies of Karlis, a black-haired man stood over the clouds, and flew everywhere along the winds. Beside him, a seemingly formless spiritual body was speaking to him.
“That is normal. Grandia had been in a post-apocalyptic state near the end, and the refugees are all survivors with a complete social structure fit for such a dire age. They certainly would establish themselves here at yours, where things are much better, even redeveloping civilization.”
The black-haired man responded to the spiritual body’s wonder, lowering his head to look at the desert beneath him, his expression interested. “That being said, Karlis, you never told about these…. Hmm, Flower Fairies.”
“Didn’t I?” Karlis the Steel Python exclaimed, feigning surprise. “I’ve probably forgotten… But you never told me that you’ve turned the Steel Shard I’ve given you into a Steel Elemental either.”
Not intending to waste the effort for such meaningless drivel, Joshua looked towards the serene silver sea of flowers at the center of the desert, an unnatural expression on his face. “I feel the presence of my power from the Flower Fairies… don’t tell me you never noticed that!”
Karlis nodded, and simply admitted the case. “Those fairies are definitely life spawning from your residual power. I myself have unlocked their intelligence, granting them basic social structure and culture.”
Then, as Karlis described and Joshua conjectured, the warrior quickly learned the origins of those luminous people who were remarkably similar to fairies.
When Joshua first used the power of the King of Searing Soul to reignite the Flame of Karlis, he had quickly left the world afterward and was unaware of how the world changed later. Moreover, in the few occasions he returned afterward, he basically spent it visiting the settlements of Grandia survivors instead of taking a look around other parts, which kept him unaware of such change.
The Flower Fairies… Or Silver Fairies, were beings born when the warrior first left.
At the time, the world was briefly revived after its Flame had been rekindled, but its cycle of souls gradually extinguished once more, unable to rebuild itself due to lack of life. Karlis had hence simply paused its destruction instead of recovering, although the Steel Python did not mind—its essence remained unharmed, in a few million years, it would naturally cultivate new life from the ashes, recreating an ecosphere.
Naturally, it would not take so long with an Ancient Dragon, which in turn might take just a few millennia.
Still, it was after Joshua left that Karlis discovered something unexpected… and that was a silver flower in the heart of the Monadra desert, formerly the Monadra mountains.
Those little blossoms which had petals resembling petals were extraordinarily tenacious, the only life to awaken and not wither in the revival. At the sight of those flowers, Karlis the Steel Python understood at once that it was probably the key of its rapid recovery: with the flower as a starting point to spawn more plant life, there would
“But a few years later, probably the day when you moved the refugees from Grandia here and the day you ascended to Legend.”
Karlis’s spirit remained alongside Joshua as he stood over the clouds, watching the silver flowers in the desert and shaking its head feebly. “All silver flowers seemed to develop resonance, and a hint of Steel Strength appeared in their bodies, which thus birthed those beings.”
In other words, the fairies.
They were called fairy because they were certainly a lifeform completely identical to the fairies of Mycroft. All of them were beings formed entirely out of condensed Nature Energies, eventually developing self-awareness. However, unlike most fairies which spawned with elemental energies or ether, silver fairies could only reproduce through the protection of World Wills, or the cultivation of Steel Strength wielders such as Joshua himself.
The Silver Fairies were pure beings of Order. They lived in extraordinary harmony, learning to work together at birth and virtually never fighting against each other. They lived in the Flower Sea, instructed by Karlis itself, and if not for the migrants from Grandia, they would have been the only option Karlis had to save its own world.
“Those little fellows are highly adaptable to their environment.”
Joshua nodded solemnly as he looked at the specks of light dancing amongst the silver flowers. “They could survive almost unconditionally, needing only ‘substance’… That makes them stronger than the delicate fairies, who look about to die whenever they traveled to low-mana worlds.
“Surviving is easy. It’s reproduction that is the problem.” Karlis sighed lightly in return. “It takes centuries for a generation of the Silver Fairies to breed, and the carrier of their propagation—the silver flower—is delicate as well, and could easily be destroyed by other beings.”
Joshua could tell that much, and he was aware that those were not the only issues.
Creatures of pure Order, the Silver Fairies are innately passionate in rapport, willing to aid other races or travelers who mistakenly ventured deep into the Monadro desert. They would escort them out of the desert on their own accord or point the lost to the right direction, saving more than seventy travelers in a brief few years and becoming a legend amongst the desert travelers.
That was also precisely why the Silver Fairies were being eyed by other beings.
A point in case was the fairy who mentioned that another of its kind had been spirited away, there were travelers who took an interest on the various unique abilities of the Silver Fairies, including their shield that blocks wind and sand, along with their instincts that finds metallic ores. That was why they would often swindle the fairies, kidnapping them so that they would serve them.
Joshua looked up, his gaze sweeping across the world of Karlis as his Steel Vision energized. He quickly found eleven Silver Fairies living with Grandians across different places, fairies that had left the Flower Sea this year for the world beyond.
The warrior frowned slightly.
Although most fairies were guests of honor amongst Grandia tribes, given all protection and worshipped as a mascot, there were those who relied solely on deceit and trickery, cheating the fairies into serving them without reward apart from the occasional metals as sustenance. It was worse that the naïve Silver Fairies did not find anything bad about that, since they had mostly lived in that manner in the Flower Sea.
“This will not do.” The warrior shook his head.
Though it was not stated clearly, Joshua was aware that the birth of Silver Flowers was clearly left by his lifeforce and Order power, and the birth of the Silver Fairies was unquestionably brought forth by his ascension to Legend, which caused a small-scale Steel Resonance phenomenon. It was like how many worlds were born one after another in the Void Vortex—in Karlis, countless life was hence born following his rise into Legend.
From a certain point of view, if Syndicate (and Lisa), who unexpectedly gained Steel Strength link was considered Joshua’s first Apostle, then those fairies flying everywhere was possibly… the warrior’s first ‘brood’.
While he simply did not want to admit that his first generation of ‘brood’ were actually a bunch of fairies, it remained a fact, and Joshua found nothing untoward about it. Additionally, he was no Evil God and did not require his brood to bypass World Barriers and war in the conquest of worlds. Those cluster of silver lights are much better looking than those hideous mess of blood and flesh—eye candy is a fine attribute as well.
Nevertheless, having ascertained that Silver Fairies were his brood, Joshua would not allow them to develop so carefreely, or more precisely, muddleheadedly. Karlis did not know how it should nurture those beings of Steel Strength, but the warrior incidentally had a recent invention that was suitable for them.
High above the clouds in the skies, Joshua reached out at pointed at the silver Flower Sea, and raging Steel Strength stirred at his fingertips, even drawing the meteorological movement.
In that instant, all moving clouds within thousands of meters no longer moved following winds. They gradually paused before moving in the opposite direction, crowding towards a certain person’s fingertips. As wild winds cascaded, a colossal vortex of dark clouds took shape visibly in the skies over the Monadra desert.
Dust and sand rose into the air, light twisted while lightning weaved within the vortex. As substantial dispersed particles assembled, a silver star flashed at the heart of the clouds of gloom, turning into a beam that descended from the heavens, down to the center of the silver Flower Sea!
Countless fairies flew up in a panic—light unfurled at once, instantly turning the skies over the Flower Sea into an opaque silver nebula. But soon, the nebula realized that not only the beam was not destroyed, it was condensing where it was into a solid cylindrical body, emanating an… unique yet affectionate presence.
“Eh? What are you doing?”
Karlis, rather curious about Joshua’s moves, asked him about it puzzledly. “I understand that you want to help the fairies, but the beam… wasn’t it the Restoration Beam you mentioned to me before? Silver Fairies do not need healing—given their size, they would die at once or gradually be reborn, assimilated by dust if they were every hurt.”
“Of course, to solve the greatest problem the Silver Fairies face.”
Withdrawing his hand, Joshua allowed the dark cloud vortex to slowly disperse, absorbing the water vapors and dust within as materials to create the Restoration Beam while answering the Steel Python matter-of-factly.
“This is a gift that suits them best.”
Restoration Beam was in reality, a series of Steel Strength clusters embodying a self-repair programming. Since Joshua himself was completely composed of Steel Strength and had turned that power into an embodiment of his will, Restoration Beam was hence part of his power and part of his will, and with the Beam itself being pure Steel Strength, the summation of both would emanate a sense of familiarity to the Silver Fairies.
More than that, that particularly colossal Restoration Beam had formidable defensive ability, and was capable of controlling electromagnetism and gravity to produce various protective barriers. It could act as the primary settlement for the Silver Fairies, protecting their homeland the Flower Sea so that it would never be destroyed by beings below Legend… And it was the most suitable place for them to keep their offspring as compared to the silver flowers.
“They would grasp the usage for the Restoration Beam by themselves—I won’t have to say much.”
Joshua did not wish to interfere too much with the Silver Fairies’ progress. The fairies of Mycroft had the four Legendary Fairy Queens which could create worlds, and the warrior hence did not want his interference to influence the race that held great potential. Be that as it may, those fairies remained his brood, and he hence provided a basic shelter for their propagation.
Furthermore, the warrior had no intention to help those Silver Fairies which had been fooled or invited beyond the Flower Sea. Those were their choices, and Joshua would at most deliver some knowledge he gained from the Earth Temple texts about Steel Strength to all fairies, allowing them to learn some fundamental strengthening.
“The weak would be exploited. That is something fundamental that cannot be resolved even under protection of the powerful, but I could empower them through my sheltering.”
Joshua spoke softly as he strolled in the air. “But if they are willing to stay feeble or never yearn strength, I’m out of ideas there.”
“Aren’t you emphasizing too heavily on ‘Freedom of Choice’?”
Karlis the Steel Python, having stayed silent for quite some time asked in disbelief as the warrior approached the edge of the world. “Joshua, they are your brood… It’s because I know that I would aid them albeit without interfering… If you wish, you could promote all Silver Fairies to become a powerful combat force belonging to you, and they would be willing to fight for you—their maker!”
The Evil God of Famine, the Crystal Insect Yurmadais was not actually a powerful warring race. However, when their world was corrupted into an Evil God, the original form the Crystal Insects were promoted as its brood, becoming a dangerous being of Chaos that navigates freely through the Void, dealing severe damage to civilizations even individually.
On the other hand, Joshua’s ability was incapable of promoting his core brood to a threshold comparable to Legend like the Evil Gods, but there would be no issues at all if they were to be promoted to Gold. With the Silver Fairies’ living essence, Joshua could easily grant them the ability to disintegrate matter, learn offensive moves for molecular dispersion, a formidable attack for most races.
“The crux of freedom is to not influence the freedom of others.”
Joshua shook his head seriously in return to Karlis’s opinion. “If I do not wish to become a monster rampaging across the Multiverse, that principle must be maintained.”
“What use is there even promoting the Silver Fairies, for the level I’m at? If I wanted to, I could create attack towers that outnumber their population, each capable of discharging of Legendary-tier energy offensive that disintegrate matter, and move freely by absorbing energies in the Void… Is it necessary to destroy a race’s future for some unnecessary combat force?”
‘Of course not.’ Karlis understood that as well.
At present, time did not matter for either Joshua and the Steel Python. If not for Evil God invasions, they could use millennia to wait as the first primitive peoples developed a civilization that could freely travel the Void, although they would progress faster if either of them was present to instruct those peoples. In that respect, the Silver Fairies had considerable fundamentals and did not dull in comparison to the civilization of Mycroft Fairies, even if the latter had multiple Legends and the opportunity to bring themselves to the next level.
Spoiling things through excessive enthusiasm was unnecessary. Allowing them to freely develop and choose was enough, a fine choice regardless of empowerment or maintaining the status quo.
Furthermore, it was just like how Joshua put it.
At the thought, Karlis the Steel Python could not help sighing in its spirit.
If the fairies were not to get used to the warrior’s forced and frequent interference, finally becoming a race that had no restraint, it was best if there was no interference in the first place… even if it was an insignificant possibility, it was not worth attempting to build on it through brute force.
“Alright. There’s no need to become so forlorn over such frivolity. In the end, I would feel that I’m a disgusting bastard if I were to field those fairies in battle, what with their physical sizes.”
Joshua, not knowing what Karlis was thinking, clapped his hands and simply sat down in the skies over Karlis, having materialized a normal chair. He then out a bright gem and smiled. “Come, the teleportation should almost be over. Let us see what worlds the little fellows of the Exploration Department had arrived in.”
As he spoke, the gem—a Spirit Terminal—released a screen under the influence of Joshua’s power. The screen itself was a sheet of darkness that kept flickering, but it soon calmed and the signal was reconnected. There were hints of light and shadow, where some figures were moving busily around.
It was footage of the External Exploration Party.