Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The Multiverse is dark.
For civilizations that develop Void-class technology to traverse the darkness, following their first step beyond the skies and World Barrier, they would fall into a loss and a sense of detachment. All they would see was not their ideal image of paradise, but a hell of gloom.
All was silence and darkness as far as the eye could see. A deathliness cascaded across the dimensional turbulences, containing absolute coldness, despair, and isolation, stirring fear within all intelligent life.
How should those within the Void who held blessings and expectations describe the ‘skies beyond’ to their own curious compatriots? It was not a lively world outside the world, neither were there paradise nor majestic palaces where the gods toasted each other with fine wine. All there was were lifeless, dangerous and deadly nothingness—there, even planets were obscured, and all was dull and lightness.
If, in the distant future, their own race would occupy all space on the ground, what path was open to them? And where was their future? Perhaps there was only the step into the darkness, to enjoy curiosity, fear, and loneliness, exploring the path hidden in shadows and danger, even if the journey was welling with indeterminable horror.
But there were things that made humans felt even more powerless, helpless and fearful than the darkness and unknown, and yet it would still draw people within.
And that was the hints of light within the darkness.
In the far, unfathomable past, there was a race that had been tormented utterly. They were born in the flames of forests, flourishing on vast plains, giving birth to intelligences, civilization, and nations as everything developed, until one violent earthquake that struck the entire world.
That had been a calamity hidden in the depths of the earth’s crust, a concealed flaw of fate formed during the world’s creation. Their world was laden with scars under the torment of seismic activity that increased by the day, with incessant volcanic eruptions and tremors tearing most of the continent apart. Ejected magma and clouds of metal grilled citizens of major settlements, leaving the medieval civilization helpless apart from praying to the gods in despair, that the calamity would end quickly—or arrive as soon as possible so that they would be freed from the endless scorch.
However, a powerful civilization descended from beyond the skies. They possessed profound, supernatural powers, calming the earth and reshaped life cycles. They ventured deep below ground, soothing the tectonic plates and helped the race return to their homeland, all without asking anything in return.
The race which had suffered worshiped that civilization, willing to offer them all they had. However, that race was told by that civilization that they needed neither recompense or gratitude, that the race themselves just have to survive, slowly develop until they would become a civilization that travels the Void as well—that would be the greatest aid for them.
“As long as you could be that little light for the Multiverse,” the civilization calling themselves the Forerunners had said, “then all our labors would have meaning.”
The Forerunners themselves had been a world that had left their motherworld and wandered the Multiverse, their objective being to aid sprouting races and civilization to enter the Void, and become the ‘light’ they spoke of… Even so, that tormented race could not comprehend those noble intentions, asking in disbelief why the Forerunners, such a powerful race would wander away from their motherworld.
They were answered with a silent, helpless and bitter smile.
“It is a destruction you could not comprehend at the moment. But there would be one day when you face the endless darkness directly… When the time comes, you may be able to understand our intentions.”
The tormented race certainly could not, at the time. Nevertheless, centuries later, as they navigated flying vessels to break through the World Barrier and entered the Void to witness the darkness of the Multiverse, they felt that they understood what the Forerunners wanted.
—The Multiverse was simply too dark and too boundless, and a single civilization was extremely small. That is why they need companions: the more companions they had, the more light there would be to illuminate the dark Multiverse!
Thus, the once suffering race assumed that path boldly, naming their own civilization the ‘Shelter of the Weak.’ Like the Forerunners, they did all they could to help the race and civilization around them develop, so that they could join their ranks. They had sworn that, like the Forerunners, they would help all civilizations in the Multiverse grow, all while preparing to establish a great Federation, assembling all those faint radiances to shine for the world like the sun.
They swore to break all darkness and unknown.
But they failed.
In the final moment, endless darkness spread from the heart of the Multiverse. Those were the shadows that many civilizations had fearfully named ‘Evil Gods’, ‘End’, ‘Devastation’ and, ‘Apocalypse’—in the very moment they encountered the Evil Gods, the once suffering race, now known as the Shelter civilization, finally truly understood what was the ‘darkness’ that the Forerunners had spoken of in the distant past. They also realized why they were wandering, why they were advancing despite their helplessness and loss, aiding any race they came across.
It was out of the despair in their hearts, the belief that the darkness was irresistible. That was why they would ignite any little bit of flame, to soothe their hearts unsettled from their loss.
And such was the truth.
The finality descended, overturning the world, setting all crop farms and peasants’ hopes ablaze. The majestic floating cities fell amidst boiling clouds of gloom, glorious and sacred temples were pulled by blasphemous shades and finally consumed within subspace. And in the center of the world, tens of thousands powerful spellcasters were combining their might to attempt teleporting the citizens away before apocalypse arrives, and yet their passion which saw them exhaust all efforts cooled at once as the Evil Gods tore apart the world’s shell to show their true, indescribable forms.
They retreated on every turn, fallen and beaten, abandoning world after world as the Evil Gods feasted heartily on the remains of civilizations. They watched as more cities turned into dust, more races disintegrated into bone-powder, and as all their hard work went to waste, greater despair and dismay corrupted their hearts. In the very end, dimensional storms that could pulverize cities engulfed the entire dimensional region, extinguishing the stars and sunk into a Dark Domain.
It was another civilization falling to the assault of darkness, abandoned like a torch that had burnt out. The Shelter civilization hence vanished from the Multiverse, and thought they briefly shone, they descended into lightlessness at the very end.
That was why the Multiverse was actually gloomy. It was not utter darkness, for some radiance flickered within.
It birthed worlds and civilizations, granting hope to all things so that they would become fires that illuminated the Void, and yet ended them with the Evil Gods. In the eternal dark, there were limitless radiances stirring as one flame of civilization were ignited after another, allowing twinkling specks to appear in the world. However, the presence of that light was not to display their beauty, but for civilization to illuminate the true face hidden beneath darkness that was known as Despair and Finality.
Civilization after civilization had strived to resist the advent of Chaos and nothingness, burning their own light to illuminate the path ahead. Despite all that, they never reached the end of triumph, only to wither and tire beneath the infinite erosion of Chaos, falling down regardless of how strongly they had held on.
Compared to the light in the gloom, the darkness was kind. In the very least, it concealed the face of Finality, allowing everything to end painlessly in silence.
The light that dulled forever had hinted to the civilization about the terrible end of nothingness ahead: There was no hope and no future—all was frivolous gray-white. No matter how brightly the Flame had blazed it would end in ash, falling to eternal slumber… or to awaken in raging despair, becoming a part of the Darkness.
Fifty-nine hundred and twenty years after their salvation, after the Forerunners had descended and aided the Shelter world, a cluster of ‘dark’ gloom that shrouded worlds in the infinite Void awakened after long self-examination.
The Black Fog churned like an oceanic tide, meticulously reviewing the Archives inside its body with strictness, studying information about its maker, including all their history, technology, cultures, arts and beliefs. The Black Fog self-inspected again and again, ensuring that there were no errors and nothing amiss.
That information was the final legacy of their maker. Protecting it was one of two of its core missions.
And after a long time had passed and ensuring that the Archives information was complete, the Black Fog abruptly unfurled, swaying along dimensional turbulences in the Void like fire. Dark-purple lightning was flashing in the Fog as well as it mustered its power to spawn, preparing to complete its most important mission.
The Black Fog remembered the tormented faces of their maker as death approached a thousand years ago. It remembered its final mission that they had kept reiterating again and again.
It was to accumulate power, so that the destruction that engulfed the Multiverse could be resisted.
It was do everything it can to fulfill the wish of its maker.
There was no loss even if it became the darkness that extinguished light.