Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
How had Joshua’s ability developed after the warrior’s growth and improved himself in different worlds? It was a question that troubled his friends and those studying him.
On Stellaris some time ago, Joshua had already forced the thousand-kilometer class Void Mother into a gas giant. Later, when he and Fattrovi fought over time and fate, his power no longer had any loophole or defect, having being refined to the next level. For such a being to act in rage from across worlds, what would be the outcome?
The answer was: power to move stars.
With a simple word, the mountainous giant silver hand shone brilliantly, while endless Steel Strength rapidly expanded in the atmosphere of World Zero One. There was one at first, two in ten seconds, four in twenty… If not for the low amount of substance, the self-replicating of Steel Strength would have remained exponential. One could see infinite boulders and earth being drawn by gravity to hang in the air, just as chunks of metal ores levitated above ground as if repelling gravity, encircling the giant silver hand that gradually solidified.
As for the giant silver hand itself, it was aiming at the Black Fog millions of miles away, its fingers bunching as it grasped at it across thin air, drawing gravity ripples visible to the naked eye.
It was a spellcasting hand gesture that mana mages and psionics favored, denoting many different complex magical or ritual signs such as ‘target confirmed’, ‘mustering power’ or ‘directing energy flow’. Commonly speaking, those would represent the final stage of spellcasting and finality, but Joshua’s grasping was different. His movement here was not guided by any flow of magical energy or concept, nor was it the end of casting a spell. Instead, the warrior was actually preparing, and simply clenching his fist.
And yet, such a gentle motion, the early sign of an attack had, amidst a rumble, created a radioactive-shaped rift on the surface of World Zero One’s continent. In comparison, the crevice that Joshua had torn across the earth down to the earth’s mantle was virtually insignificant as if it was child’s play. The endless mountains, rocky layer, and dust broke off the surface of the planet, the unbelievable gravity disturbance distorting light around the gigantic fist, as well as the distant Black Fog, catching enemy lurking in the darkness, and it unwittingly and surprisingly appearing once again in the world where everyone was.
At that moment, all could see the full form of the Black Fog: a dark sphere with a radius more than fifty kilometers. Its surface cascaded with waves of electromagnetic sparks and flashes, and it appeared to be attempting to shake off the gravity cast on it by Joshua at full might.
But there was not enough time. Around the giant silver hand, the mass of substances wafting in the air was drawn by gravity into the distorted dimensions around the giant hand. Massive rock layers and metallic ores shattered by the layer, turning into luminous silver shrouds that burned silently before being converted to pure energy—infinite substances were converted fundamentally into energy, leaving the silver giant hand shrouded in the vague, burning luminous shroud.
The clenched silver hand and the planet’s magnetic field hence resonate. In the realm of electromagnetism that ordinary humans could not see, veins of invisible electromagnetic planetary orbits were rapidly established, calibrating coordinates aimed toward the distant darkness.
In the very next instant, the silver iron fist that had expanded to a diameter of ten kilometers hence turned into a streak of light as heaven and earth thundered, striking straight toward the Black Fog.
The Black Fog stirred, as if bellowing in rage. Hexagonal, translucent barriers began to appear over its body, but were all shattered in the thousandth of a second, breaking down into flashing energy shards. Even so, it was directly struck by the giant silver hand, its true form silently broken apart in vacuum down into a cluster of obscure shrouds. Thus, the terrible momentum sent the shrouds flying almost a hundred kilometers in vacuum before finally decelerating.
As a man’s deep voice spoke on the surface of World Zero One, silver light streamed over the bodies of Priest, Alchemist and the now-fainted-Mage, healing all their wounds. In seconds, they, having been on death’s door realized in shock that they had completely recovered to peak form, and was protected by a stalwart, formless barrier.
“Stay here and don’t move,” the voice said, “or you’ll get hit by the shockwave… and die.”
Was that the power of Legends?
Priest looked up with a complicated expression at the sky where endless silver light crowded, gradually forming a human silhouette… That was a combat form assembled from infinite dense matter—light itself curled in front of it, changing its straight trajectory.
Priest himself once heard rumors that Joshua had destroyed another world, and while he did not believe it then… when he watched Joshua now, and the Black Fog that was squirming violently in the distance, he could tell that it would not be unusual if their battle to destroy a world… they were forces of an apocalypse.
Faraway, the giant silver hand that directly broke the Black Fog’s combat form, sending it flying for hundred thousands of kilometers barely dispersed it. It hummed ‘angrily’ in empty vacuum, and millions of different constructs began to form inside the Black Fog cluster. All of them clustered together to form runic circles, magical formations that in turn built a massive combat spell, uniting the Black Fog swarm. Then, gathering like a stream, the Black Fog charge away like a dark tidal wave, crashing profoundly on World Zero One as if to consume everything.
It was as if shade was thrown upon the entire continent on World Zero One as the Black Fog crashed down upon it. Infinite beams condensed from energy shot out from every part of the Black Fog, shooting toward the luminous silver shroud on the ground. As the Black Fog shone upon the land, vast areas of substances vanished, while its very heat would vaporize the metal and rock nearby. There were thousands of such beams that were discharged simultaneously, and offensive force that instantly turned parts of World Zero One’s surface into gas, forming a colossal crater.
But it was all futile. The beam that would melt ground and carve fonts on the planet could not even cut the thin layers of Steel Strength shroud, much less hurt the human figure that was materializing at the center of the shroud.
More than millions of silver luminous shrouds were rapidly breaking down the crust of World Zero One, absorbing the substance and metals within and processing it into a pure circulation of Steel Strength toward its center. The scattered shroud had already been distorted by the vortex-shaped gravity center in the process, becoming sturdy raw materials for assembly… in seconds, as the last chunk of Steel Strength was added to his body, Joshua’s clone finally arrived from a realm beyond, while unimaginably powerful gravity once again led to violent gravitational disturbance.
And in that very instant, the planet cried in agony.
With the resounding boom, the continent of World Zero One slowly split. Chunks of tectonic plates hence slowly rose into the air, escaping the bind of gravity while the fragile crust of the planet was torn apart by formless power, revealing the crimson magma layer—the very blood and flesh of the planet.
The gravity that was not strong in the first place could no longer restrain the substances around Joshua’s body. As the warrior’s clone took form, a small piece of the continent was freed from the surface and was tore apart in its entirety. The innumerable shards of the planet’s surface dropped away like floating petals and sprinkled snowflakes, breaking without stopping and becoming a raging river flow of substances hanging around him like a suction pad.
Joshua stood on thin air high above the planet; beneath his feet were the crimson magma of the earth’s mantle. He looked up at the dark Void of the universe, his gaze impassive.
A blinding thunderstorm kicked up amidst the planet’s fragments. The terrible rumble extended amidst the atmosphere without ceasing, and the part of World Zero One which was broken spilled fragments of substances and magma, as if yolk was flowing out of a broken chicken egg.
The sight was one of utter terror. The warrior who stood before the broken planet and thunderstorm was just like a demon king of the apocalypse.
That was the reason Joshua would use a clone on Mycroft: the density of his neutron star battle form, along with the massive gravitational disturbance on his body. He just had to exist and use his power, and there would be horrifying, irreversible damage leveled upon the planet’s continental surface.
Through it all, it was not as if the Black Fog did nothing. Its body that materialized hundreds of different armament platforms, and in the instant Joshua’s body completely materialized, millions of terrible offensives poured like a fiery rain, descending upon Joshua from the distance.
There were disintegrator rays which destroyed particles on a microscopic level, sub-lightspeed photon blows, neutron rays that could purge the planetary surface off anything organic, as well as various different destructive weapons and magic, all of which had a single, identical purpose. Elements and ether hence sparkled in the heart of darkness, as forty-nine times seven grand magic combined with a turbulence that could scorch the world’s surface, boiling the sea of vacuum.
Their intention was destruction, to destroy everything before them.
But the entire offensive was frivolous. Due to gravitational influence, a gigantic spatial hollow took form around Joshua’s body, directing attacks unwittingly toward the center of the hollow—Joshua himself, with genuine light and heat flow, not to mention photon discharged at sub-lightspeed all directed without exception.
And all they ended up doing was to sputter upon Joshua’s body as pathetic, insignificant sparks.
Multiple layers of degenerate-form neutron armor had unusually arranged themselves, shaping into what was virtually the sturdiest substance in the observable universe since black holes was considered nonexistent, their presence separate from physical vision. One way or another, any offensive would not hold a candle to the warrior at the moment—even if a white-dwarf missile was to crash upon him, his body would not be the thing that was destroyed.
Seemingly a little annoyed by the infinite oncoming blows, Joshua raised his hand waved it in front of himself. The Black Fog’s welling tide of energy was directly extinguished, while every discharged attack was broken by his single stroke, as if a human was sweeping off smoke. In the very next instant, he raised his hand again, aiming it at the Black Fog and preparing, seemingly intending to continue his offensive on a grander scale, using his brimming energy source.
It was movement ordinary humans did with a single hand to ‘pull’.
Hence, after dissipating, the Black Fog swarm that spanned more than a hundred and twenty kilometers began to drift toward Joshua unwillingly.
The Black Fog was naturally of that motion, and at once unleashed substantial plasma and rays to create absolute momentum so that it could resist the curious drift. However, regardless of how it tried to move by discharging electromagnetism or photons, it simply could not free itself from the gravity that had increased by a hundredfold. It could barely keep itself anchored where it was, and in the very next instant, the Black Fog was left in utter ‘astonishment’—since it would not drift toward Joshua, Joshua had begun to move toward it: the warrior, whose entire body was engulfed in distorted space was closing in at the fifth universal speed.
After a brief two seconds, their distance was dangerously close.
Under the gravitational disturbance Joshua created, the Black Fog which had been a distinct sphere became an irregular oval akin to a chicken egg. Even now, the warrior was approaching its very tip through the Fog itself attempted to escape at all cost, wanting to distance itself from the terrible foe.
The Black Fog was formed entirely out of nanomachines, a being which innate structure was an assembly of unimaginable objects. However, in its perspective, Joshua was a monster that was indescribable, incomprehensible and irresistible—it could neither attack nor defend against him at all, and neither could it flee.
And now, Joshua had caught most of the Black Fog in his ‘palm’, while manipulating gravity to form a cage with him at its core. Apart from light, nothing to escape that cage—endless fog was churning within their prison, seemingly searching for any vulnerable points that may exist.
But anything Joshua created was invulnerable. His battle against Fattrovi did not leave him the luxury of ‘weakness’, and since returning from Simboa, Joshua was invulnerable.
“I could hardly kill you, and I would gain nothing from it even if I do.”
Beneath the distorted light, Joshua’s expression was vague, but the resounding electromagnetic communication signal echoed across all of the Black Fog’s channels.
“But I recently thought of a fine method that could utilize your residual value.”
“I once ignited stars. I don’t mind doing it a second time.”
At those words, he put his hands together. Amidst an electromagnetic static, the Black Fog was compressed incessantly by gravity in its cage until its very limit. In the very next moment, with a sudden burst of heat energy, flames of nuclear fusion arose at the very center of the Black Fog. An artificial star which was just several kilometers in diameter thus appeared in front of Joshua, illuminating World Zero One.
There was a capital punishment in ancient times known as ‘Igniting a Sky Lantern’, wherein humans were soaked in fuel oil and then hung to burn. Joshua was now doing something similar to the Black Fog, although it was more appropriate to call it ‘Igniting a Sun’.
Much of the Black Fog swarm were still alive inside the small sun, roving about at the outer layers of the sun and trying to break through the cage of supreme light and heat. Still, the gravity point Joshua made proved inescapable, and they were all gradually incinerated and lost all vigor, turning into ordinary metal grains that were burnt to ash in the sun.
Having confirmed that part of the Black Fog could not escape, Joshua looked up toward the other part of the Black Fog swarm he did not catch.
However, he realized in shock that the small cluster of Black Fog had vanished without a trace.
Joshua was not actually surprised by its ability to concealed its movement since he was aware of the reason, he could not find the Black Fog: their presence was concealed by another celestial body, just like how no one would be able to single out a special drop of water within the sea.
In reality, Joshua was shocked by that celestial body.
It was utter, lightless darkness. And yet, the outer parts of that circle of darkness was covered in a rainbow… that was the truth of what appeared to be a wonder for ordinary people, but something he could directly analyze through gravity ripples.
“Black… black hole?!”
It was indeed a miniature black hole located at the center of World Zero One system, with the planet itself circling around the black hole. There were distinct gravity points around the black hole as well, which could have been former orbiting planets that used to orbit around it, and now began to approach black hole due to the tremendous gravity it exerted, their mass hence consumed by the black hole. Substantial mass was being dragged into the black hole as light visible on all wavelengths, reflecting and refracting upon the translucent high-energy suction surface of the black hole, forming a dim rainbow in the darkness.
There was little wonder that this world had no sun—it had already collapsed into a black hole, with its suction surface emanating a faint radiance across the planetary system, but one that definitely could not provide for a hospitable environment.
Joshua was at a loss for words over that. Did the Black Fog actually flee to the black hole just to evade him? Though that was not an issue as long as it did not approach the black hole’s even horizon, that was definitely a bold move… And truth be told, Joshua certainly would not have an easy time finding it: nobody is able to search for a swarm of fog near the radioactive environment of a black hole, and heaven knows if the fog had already been sucked into the singularity.
He was not crazy enough to fight the black hole and attempt to steal something from it.
At least most of the problem was solved , Joshua thought, clapping his hands.
When the warrior was still exploring the ruins Nok Research Center on World Zero Three while keeping alert of the Black Fog’s presence, the had suddenly been received an alert from one of the Restoration Beams, with two souls already being stored inside the Soul Pool Sphere.
That meant two expedition members were already dead.
While the survivors’ ability to use the Soul Pool Sphere meant that the situation was not too severe, such loss was unquestionably beyond what the Empire’s first expedition could take. Joshua hence did not hesitate to turn toward World Zero One, realizing in shock and rage that the Black Fog was not at its own manufacturing plant in World Zero Three, where the Unified Archives may be located, and had appeared instead in World Zero One. Thus, without pause, Joshua forced the activation of that Restoration Beam, devouring all substances around himself to assume his combat form.
“Wait. The Archives…”
The question suddenly occurred to Joshua as he returned to World Zero One to take a look at Priest and the others. He looked up toward the rainbow in the dark—since World Zero One was revolving around the Black Hole in extreme speeds, he could see the rainbow appearing and vanishing every few hours. Now, Joshua carefully stared at the few small, inconspicuous points amidst the Black Hole’s gravity ripples, lost in thought.
Just as Joshua was about to come up with something, infinite dense formations of hexagonal specks resembling a beehive in the dark, distant sky out of nowhere. Each speck was spreading dimensional ripples visible to the naked eye, gathering together to create a spatial distortion greater than the gravity ripples Joshua had caused before. At the same time, infinite noise electromagnetic signals that was very much spam messages appeared across all frequencies.
Wroom. Wroom, wroom-wroom, wroom —endless signals piled as if a chaotic band performance, but it was all for a brief moment. When the first normal electromagnetic signal appeared, all signals became uniform, just as an unusually distinct signal was dispatched to the frowning Joshua.
The single term was repeated incessantly in the signal, but soon, whether it was after an archive search or because the processing circuits had smoothed out, the being of unknown origins began to communicate with Joshua.
[Per the pact of the ancient maker, Mycroftians should be our allies. You should be aiding our final defensive force, why would you attack us instead.]
It was the Black Fog.
Joshua promptly understood the true identity of the being behind the signal, and could not help being surprised. After all, it was the first time that the Black Fog communicating with him on its own initiative, after having never once interacted with any other existence while silently wreaking destruction and harvesting all it came across.
Still, Joshua did not even respond to the question at all, not even with his signature cold smile. The Black Fog had not been that friendly before the fight—if he had not destroyed part of it, would it have been willing to talk?
As Joshua did not respond, the signal paused for a moment. Then, after a few seconds, the signals strengthened abruptly as if to saturate the world, and endless clusters of Black Fog hence showed themselves as the specks extinguished!
Boom! Boom! Boom! Like a tidal wave spreading without stopping and engulfing all things, the Black Fog’s mass that appeared out of thin air was comparable to a whole new planet, its infinite presence shrouded even all observable space, leaving everything in darkness… but most frighteningly, the Black Fog was uniformly linking and communicating with each other under a profound will, silently sealing the planetary region.
There was no doubt now. Though the Black Fog did not keep itself in its former manufacturing part, its lair was clearly nearby! Shelter Alpha, where their main body was, might be nearby!
Priest, Alchemist and Mage did not have the ability to hear the electromagnetic signals, which was why the appearance of the Black Fog’s appearance was extremely sudden for them. The trio looked up in astonishment at the starry skies overhead at the small sun, and the Black Fog that surrounded that small sun along with World Zero One.
Before, a single cluster of Black Fog had almost wiped out their party, Joshua’s very own trump card. But now, although the Black Fog that appeared seemed massive and infinite, its number was beyond hundreds!
Hundreds of Legendary-tier otherworld being hence engulfed planet Zero One, silently standing off against Joshua who was standing on the land.
Be that as it may, Priest, who had just lost a pair of arms and was weakened to the point of dying, never hesitated and rose up. He held his shield and went to stand silently beside Joshua, even if tremendous gravity radiating from beyond the shield was about to make him fall again.
It was not him only either—Alchemist and Mage stood up as well. Though they could not approach Joshua much due to physical problems, they still stood as near as they could.”
“…Not bad. You’re good kids, all.”
Joshua could not help being both surprised and glad by that. He smiled, and cast a stronger shield over the trio before looking up and emitting his own signal.
“Listen, Black Fog,” he said. “We are not ‘Glorious Era’ Mycroft, but Starfall Era Mycroft. That being said, our forebears of the Glorious Era had made a pact with the former Shelter Federation, the great civilization known as the ‘Shelter of the Weak’. We are not our forebears, and you are not them.”
“Black Fog, you’re different from all monsters I’ve met. They may have been children of Evil Gods or wild beasts, or champions willing to sacrifice everything for their tragic intentions.”
“But you’re different.”
At that, Joshua began to enunciate every word. He simply waved, pushing the expedition trio who appeared resolved to die behind him, all while smiling curiously.
“And did you think that I fight alone?”
Wroom —a pale blue portal opened beside Joshua.
Wroom-wroom —two more portals of different colors opened near Joshua.
Soon, the hum of the dimensions synchronized into a single high-pitched sound without resting. In a brief few seconds and a single breath, hundreds of different portals appeared all around Joshua. As the profound dimensional passageways opened visibly and audibly, a dozen incomparably powerful presences and their distinct footsteps echoed with the rumble of countless steel
Immeasurably brutal energy rippled. As a dozen faint silhouettes gathered by the passageway, mages with grimoire with hand, sage whose face was veiled, a bald middle-aged man whose head was empty, a sword saint carrying a longsword as well an elven Magister appeared, the latter of whom was riding a mountainous behemoth, with the green seed of a giant tree floating beside her.
An aged man, Bright Scepter in hand and whose body encircled in Holy Light was the first to step out of the portals. He went to stand beside Joshua and looked up at the dense Black Fog in the sky as well, sighing heavily.
Joshua laughed, and cut short the electromagnetic signal to the Black Fog. The warrior slowly rose despite being shrouded in the twisted light, flying halfway above and faced off against the endless Black Fog.
—Black Fog. You are without desire, a pure evil. You are a malevolence that your maker, that kind civilization who once aided all life would never have permitted.
That is why…
Over the warrior’s head, a circle began to unfurl over space as if water ripples. That was a dimensional anomaly far larger than the Black Fog and the portal created by other Legendary champions, and a space violently distorted, a silver cocoon—or more precisely, a small silver planet slowly appeared from the other side of the dimensions.
…I will defeat you.