Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 743


Chapter 743 Belly Of The Beast

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Joshua’s fights were inevitably solitary.

While describing it as such was incomprehensible and appear pretentious, such was the truth—Joshua could hardly work together with others in combat, or more precisely, it was when he was alone that he and his allies could unleash their full power.

There was a simple reason for that: powerful gravity affects both allies and enemies indiscriminately, or it could be said that the closer they were, the easier would Joshua’s allies be affected by his gravity.

As long as Joshua was present amongst a crowd, every single offensive would be absorbed unto his body—even light would deviate in trajectory and be unable strike any of its targets. He simply could not fight alongside others, and the more allies were around him, the more he would affect them.

On the other hand, the more enemies there were, the easier it was for Joshua to fight, just like a fish returned to water.

The elderly pontiff was perhaps the only one who truly understood that, which was why Igor did not stop Joshua from leaving World Zero One, allowing him to head to the other side of the dimensions alone.

Crack.

The clear sounds of glass breaking echoed. As the dimensional passageway was stirred, pierced. and crushed by a monumental gravitational force, the giant silver cocoon which had been charging wildly at fifteenth percent lightspeed blasted past all resistance ahead of itself, breaking through the dimensional walls successfully to arrive on the side.

The gigantic silver planet hence abruptly arrived at a dark and silent part of the universal Void.

The infinite Black Fog and the pure Holy Light which had been flickering in the distance had vanished, with multitudinous stars and the dark Void replacing everything in sight. When Joshua had pierced the portal and forcefully arrive at the unknown region of the Multiverse, he had sensed that he had left the Dark Domain far behind. Here, endless stars were glinting lively radiance in the dark scape, while the light of the Great Mana Tide drove the movement of all things like a nebula.

A vortex-shaped galaxy of energy was whirling visibly within the darkness, with countless small worlds wafting within. Faint halation presented themselves around those miniature worlds like a cloud layer that had yet to dispersed—those worlds were newly born, and their inner substance had yet to stabilize. And in the center of that galactic construct was a dull darkness that consumed all light, with numberless worlds revolving around it.

Without hesitation, Joshua flew toward that darkness, able to tell without thinking that the so-called ‘darkness’ was but a formation of boundless Black Fog gathering together.

His very target.

The silver neutron star cocoon moving at fifteen percent lightspeed collided directly at the Black Fog swarm, the space around him distorting tremendously as he moved, even causing ‘relativity phenomenon’. That distortion led to the dimensions expanding and mass to shift—for Joshua, it was his monumental mass being increased at the high-speed movement, and for him, 0.97 seconds was one second in other places.

Due to his speed and mass, time had slowed for Joshua.

***

Meanwhile, the shining galaxy had one of its arms shattered callously by the silver comet, with worlds thus being deviated from their trail. Pure energy nebula simply could not stop the warrior at his present state, and in one brief second, Joshua had transcended the distance of several worlds, and was about to crash upon the center of the galaxy—that composite form of Black Fog.

At present, Joshua could see a colossal but dim world wrapped within the endless Black Fog. Still, he had no intention to turn away, even if his collision this time would vaporize that entire world.

[Mycroftian—human.]

Nevertheless, the cluster of Black Fog did not pause where it was. The Black Fog sensed its foe the moment Joshua appeared in this part of the Multiverse, and when Joshua shattered the spiral arm of the energy galaxy to close in on the center, the Black Fog was already prepared. The great darkness squirmed and surged, and suddenly extended a huge palm that could cover a planet’s surface, held at a parrying stance before itself.

As if intending to catch a stone thrown at it from faraway.

But was Joshua’s true form comparable to a stone? If a meteor that was several hundred meters large would crash upon a planet at one-tenth the speed of light, that planet would never escape the fate of devastation. As for Joshua, a neutron star which density and mass were much closer to an entire planet and moving at fifteen percent lightspeed, the force would be more than sufficient to crush the Mycroft continent seven or eight times.

Be that as it may, just when Joshua was about to crash into that giant black hand, everything abruptly stopped.

There was neither explosion nor shockwave, nor was there a tide that could break the very fundamental composition of substances. The elemental particles wafting amidst the surrounding Void did even feel any change, for Joshua’s speed was instantly decreased to ‘zero’. In the very next moment, the giant black hand clenched, and the warrior frowned in return while hurriedly detonating his outer shield, cutting a quick retreat through the force in the opposite direction.

—Momentum! All momentum had been absorbed!

In the brief moment of contact, Joshua had understood what the Black Fog did: all momentum and energy had been absorbed, the collision force that could destroy a planet hence disappearing with no hope of returning as all things dissipated. If he did not detonate his own outer shell to create momentum and used an opposing force to resist instead, he would perhaps be caught by the Black Fog by now.

Meanwhile, the black giant hand slowly shrunk into the darkness encircling the world, before the squirming darkness at the center of the galaxy appeared again, forming half a human figure which was still connected to the dark world waist down. Only the two arms and its upper body formed.

It was as if the essence of shadow gained human form, the most profound darkness that all light could not reflect. And the moment it formed, the dark human figure sighed lengthily.

[A waste, to not use that power in the resistance against the Endbringers.]

[Become us.]

As the dark human silhouette emanated a spiritual ripple that engulfed all nearby planetary regions, swarms of Black Fog began to charge out from the world beneath it, encircling it. There was no question that this side of the dimensional passageway was the Black Fog’s lair, that the dark human form was the main body of the Black Fog, and the world it encircled was Shelter Alpha!

Like Joshua, the main body of the Black Fog did not have the habit for idle chat or nonsensical time wasting. Without sparing time to explain, it attacked, entering the final stage of attack.

Extending its massive hand, the dark human grasped toward Joshua, and where that hand passed, all energy, illumination or magical energy would vanish without a trace, drawing a huge rift into the galaxy as it moved across the Void, with nothing escaping it. Its sweeping motion should have stirred a tide of energy greater than the one Joshua had stirred before, but in fact, all was silent with nary a ripple.

Ordinary people would never have understood how the Black Fog achieved all that, but Joshua was vividly aware that it was the Black Fog having converted all energies to its own use, absorbing and devouring the opposing forces, just like a black hole. It might perhaps be even more terrifying than naturally forming blackhole, for the surface of that darkness was a structure that consumed energy toward the point of destruction—regardless of how it was touched, everything would fall into hell without hope of redemption.

And at this very moment, Joshua could not come up with how to counter it, which was why he could only hurriedly retreat, evading grasp after grasp from the dark human form.

Thus, in the spiral center of the galaxy, the giant dark human form suddenly flung its arms across small stars, and the planetary bodies would collapse into pure energies as if being swallowed and returned to the galaxy. Others would explode tremendously, a nova shining amongst the stars.

Still, neither supernovas or explosions could affect the movements of the human figure. All shockwaves would be easily absorbed when reaching it, all energies thus dissipating. Meanwhile, the dark shadow would keep flinging its arms, intending to catch a certain star dancing amidst the darkness and the galaxy, but unlike others, that particular star would prance around, agilely evading it.

Joshua was not using gravity. Although unlike the case of light, black holes could never nullify the influence of gravity, the differences between his mass and the main body of the Black Fog was simply too great. His opponent was a superior being that could engulf an entire planet and was larger than worlds—if gravity was used to influence it, the one pulled would be him and not it, and so he could on rapidly dart across the Void, escaping the dark human’s clutches.

Nevertheless, he caught a few clues. Firstly, the Black Fog’s absorption ability was different from his gravity: that Black Fog could not draw the movement of any object. Its absorption was simple absorption of all momentum, stagnating all things, meaning that its body surface was absolute zero. If the energy emanating from his fifteen percent lightspeed collision had not been excessive, preventing the Black Fog to instantly absorb it all, he would have been caught then.

That also made it evident that the Black Fog’s main body had an upper limit to its energy absorption. Furthermore, it was clearly trying to protect something, which was it used such an unusual form to fight the warrior—why else would it assume such a state that great limit itself? Energy absorption was an infallible ability as long as there was no upper limit, which in turn would prevent any offensive including lightspeed, absorption, shockwave or searing to hurt it. Inversely, it would be unable to unleash any beam or heatwave, making it a sheer defensive ability.

And the objective it was defending was clear as well. Mid-flight, Joshua turned sideways, glancing at the huge world engulfed by the Black Fog beneath the human figure.

That might be the sole weakness of the Black Fog’s main body, a world that might have been Shelter Alpha.

Although mentioning that was rather evil and inhuman, but coming up with a way to attack Shelter Alpha, something the opponent was guarding would divert the Black Fog’s attention. As long as its objective could be threatened, the Black Fog that had neither blood nor tears and destroyed worlds as if breathing would panickily attempt defense or rescue it.

At that very thought, Joshua extended a finger from afar. Astonishing energy condensed on the fingertip within a single breath as an ultra-dense matter, shooting out like a bullet at ten percent lightspeed.

In that instant, a boundless inferno appeared amidst the void—billions of bursting electromagnetic vortices formed behind the bullet, like the luminous shroud comets emanated. Furthermore, the distance between Joshua and the main body of the Black Fog was insignificant for the bullet to cover at ten percent lightspeed: The neutron star bullet hence struck true upon its target with the weight of a mountain range.

Its tremendous shockwave should have parted the planet’s crust, sinking directly down to the mantle, but it suddenly froze and caused no damage—a single tentacle had intercepted it, absorbing all momentum before shrinking back into the main body.

That, however, was not futile. The massive human silhouette had clearly passed for a moment, allowing the silver star to escape away. It was until it finally determined that nothing else was threatening the world beneath its body that it moved once again.

However, having confirmed that his attack was effective, Joshua was now on the attack.

“Mass core, full activation. Linking circulatory systems, commencing materialization, commencing acceleration.”

Joshua’s human form stood amidst the dark Void, while his true form, the planet, floated behind. The space between the two began to distort as they connected, with endless rays accelerating to the very limit being restrained in that spatial pit, acting as a cable that transfer boundless amount of information—Joshua’s clone and his main body was combining, sharing everything, with a profound will manipulating it all, and slowly opening his ‘eye’.

Wroom. The Void ripples as terrible energies and mass assembled. The surface of the spherical silver cocoon that was hundreds of meters in length began to shift significantly, just like a tightly-shut eye that was now opening. In a flash, an impassive ‘red pupil’ opened behind Joshua’s clone, formed by countless bizarre crimson words—words unique to the world in Joshua’s body.

For most civilizations to perform particle acceleration, they would have to design a giant ring that was dozens of kilometers long just to have enough space to accelerate. But if that civilization progressed further, they would have the ability to place the accelerator ring in the vacuum of the universe, because normal earthen surfaces barely accommodated that massive construct… that was the case for the Demon General Helm, which had to turn into a lengthy serpentine form to fulfill the conditions of particle acceleration.

On the other hand, if someone made an entire world a part of himself, turning an entire world yet to assume form into a gigantic particle accelerator… what would happen then?

Just like what Joshua was doing now.

“Commending sub-lightspeed particle blast.”

Crimson runes gathered energies at the center of the massive pupil, and as a silver-white beam tore apart all darkness, it shot out with Joshua as a center point, a pure nothingness that destroys all.

Some of the scattered Black Fog swarms which had been wafting around the main body were completely unable to withstand that. They had just intended to launch a counter when they had been incinerated by the shockwaves of the rays, with a dozen swarms turning into flames and dissipating as ash in the darkness of the Void—even the stronger clusters could only hold on for a few moments longer.

Sub-lightspeed referred to ninety lightspeed, which stopped just short of lightspeed. Particle beam such as magical rays composed of various elemental particles could easily reach such velocity, and was the speed for most ray magic such as disintegrator rays of frost beams, embodying tremendous heat as well as various elemental aspects as a force of destruction.

But sub-lightspeed particle flow was different. Those were objects driven to sub-lightspeed by Joshua’s absolute power, numberless microscopic ultra-dense particles with frightening mass. Its devastation capacity did not fall upon the attributes of its elements, but pure momentum that could destroy anything.

The silver beam swept across the Void, leaving all darkness in flash and twisting the very composition of dimensions beneath its impact, forming multiple vortices of distorted space. Without pausing, the beam shot toward Shelter Alpha beneath the Black Fog, the callous warrior not refraining from destroying the ancient capital just to have the Black Fog make itself vulnerable.

[Foolish… human.]

The main body of the Black Fog could not ignore such class of assault. Silent, mysterious, and having attacked Joshua from start to finish, the advanced artificial intelligence which had spoken just a few unintelligible words bellowed in rage, its human form swiftly breaking down and reverting into a thick black vortex, keeping itself in front of Joshua’s beam. Hence, the sub-lightspeed particle flow that could shatter a star’s construct lost momentum, changing back into silver bullets before eventually breaking down into basic particles.

However, the Black Fog had to pay a price in blocking that attack. Massive amounts of black particles dispersed out of the main body, shining like sparks from a bonfire to flash in the dark Void, remains of overloaded Black Fog particles in their utter destruction.

Even so, that was not a rare occasion. The main body of the Black Fog was no stranger to such attacks after having battled many civilizations and Void behemoths in the distant past. Amongst them, one or two civilizations had eventually learned attacks that it could barely block, despite the Black Fog having observed black holes and learned their aspects.

Still, that did not matter. Whoever attacks would have to use a corresponding amount of power and resources—and when it came to stores of both, none would surpass it after it had obtained and plundered endless worlds.

Its wall was unbreakable.

The Black Fog blocked the silver beam in its entirety, with the galaxy of energy blasted apart by the collision, turning into radioactive-shape nebulas and dispersing across all directions.

It was then that the Black Fog, which had been patiently waiting until Joshua’s offensive would stop when his reserves were exhausted so that it could counter-attack, heard a whisper.

“Sorry.”

The human who had been unleashing sub-lightspeed blasts and covered in distorted light, was speaking through spiritual ripples. “My apologies.”

‘Apologizing? To whom?’ The Black Fog did not know, not that it had to. It simply materialized another giant hand inside its body once again, and grasped toward Joshua, who could not move as he attacked, even as the warrior continued speaking, seemingly to no one in particular.

“I’m sorry, all worlds that had yet to die.” He whispered with resolve, and the weakening silver-white beam resurged, perhaps even more profound and irresistible than before.

Beneath such an impact that could extinguish all malevolence and rampage across all things and all stars, the giant black hand striking from the flanks dissipated, crushed utterly instantaneously by the pure energy.

Just like how humans who had drunk too much water could not consume anything else.

***

Meanwhile, in the otherworlds of the Dark Domain.

On World Zero Two as well as Zero Four to Eight, silver cylinders carried by expedition teams who had yet to retreat were summoned by a profound will, rising into the air. As the teams looked on in sheer shock, each cylinder quickly opened, turning silver beams, hungrily and fiercely sinking into the depths of land or sea.

“Unlimited substance devouring permitted—activating hyperspace energy transfer!”

The land of barren worlds thus began to collapse. With the region where silver beams as an origin point, the region within a radius of several hundred kilometers crumbled like an abyssal crevice, and its area was still expanding as infinite substances vanished without a trace.

Meanwhile, a colossal vortex was forming at the center of the vast oceanic worlds, while endless massive cyclones appeared in the skies, dragging infinite air into the heart of the vortex as the skies thundered. All things, even gases could not the fate of being taken—and a world’s balance was hence broken. A billion tons of seawater was thus broken down into fuel for nuclear fusion, transferred to the other side of the dimensions, into the ‘belly’ of the beast called Joshua, the planet-eating creature.

—With the world inside Joshua’s body as a hub, a turbulent flow of materials from seven worlds surged into the giant silver cocoon through portals, turning into the warrior’s fuel and briefly providing Joshua near limitless power.

“I will hold you until everyone else arrives.”

The darkness cascaded under that illumination. Sub-lightspeed could not break the defenses of the Black Fog’s main body, for that was ultimate shell even Evil Gods could not penetrate, an event horizon that could devour even light. The dark expression of the human figure was appearing in the cascading Black Fog and roaring in rage—it had excess power, and if not for protecting Shelter Alpha, it did not have to engage Joshua in such a game, attacking without restrain instead, swallowing the damned human into its stomach, assimilating him after sucking him dry of energy.

In response, Joshua raised his right fist just as two other arms materialized behind him. Those were formless hands that symbolized the power to control electromagnetism and gravity—the four armed-human stood imposingly in the Void, with a giant silver eye shining with limitless heat and light behind him. As he lifted his arms, he imbued them with power that could tear the earth’s crust and shatter planets…

…and simply flung them out without fear.

Boom —a rumble echoed even the silent Void. It was dimensional vibration being collected by an organ sensing gravity, converted into a bellow of shattered space.