Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Starfall Year 838, the ninth of November. Twenty-nine past seven in the evening, Mycroft Northern Standard Time.
Inside the multidimensional seal formation on the other side of a spatial fissure.
When the ethereal voice of the God of Life who was stationed there echoed, Priest, who had been running around with Joshua and Igor for no particular reason could not stop himself from inhaling deeply.
After passing through layers after layers of layers distorted dimensions and innumerable checkpoints that left him wondering if it was an ‘Endless Maze’ spell, Priest finally arrived at the main core of the colossal multidimensional seal, the fully quarantined artificial otherworld space, the ‘Garden of Death’.
The main body of the Black Fog was sealed in the core of that artificial space.
Still, the Garden of Death was not the final line of defense—apart from thirty-six layers of distorted spatial barriers that were paired with a hundred and eighty energy nodal checkpoints on the outside, there were many more unusual measures applied in that place, such as a pure two-dimensional shield, psionic subspace warp formations, hundreds of sealed doorways, a neutron star collider that could blast a planet into smithereens and ultra-gravity shifter. Priest knew the latter few well because those cannons were essentially part of his mentor’s body.
The Black Fog’s main body was a threat, both in battle and after being sealed. None could be sure if the intelligent entity that roamed the galaxy since ancient times had any hidden trump cards, which was why all Legends and gods had exhaustively reinforced the seal, finally augmented the multidimensional formation into an ultimate stockade, a prison that could hold stars and worlds. Even if the Black Fog’s main body would be completely obliterated in days to come, this prison would never be destroyed for it already had the power to self-repair and independently absorb energies.
Priest watched as his mentor and the elderly pontiff both extended their right hand at the same time. Bright silver and gold radiances flickered, and most defensive measures opened their doors wide for them. Meanwhile, a small part of the core system—the ‘divine domain subjugation field’ raised by the nine gods turned transparent, allowing the trio to freely enter and look inside.
Priest gulped. He simply did not know why he, who had intended to train in Planet Zero One had come here, to the most hidden and most vital seal of all Mycroft civilization. Even now, the youth did not dare ask a thing in the fear that his voice would break something, which was why he could only hurry after Joshua and Igor to the transparent sector.
At its center, shrouded in endless energy radiance and sealed at the transparent sector was a massive grey-white world. It resembled an eyeball that would not close, dwelling in endless darkness.
It was Shelter Alpha, held inside the main body of the Black Fog until this day, where two Legends had come with the intention to separate it from the Black Fog.
The seal was rather humane, keeping what was inside quarantined instead of destroyed everything within. That was why Priest could walk safely upon the network-shaped floorboards formed from pure energy, although his journey was at an end—both his mentor and the elderly pontiff had stridden into that transparent inner reaches of the seal.
And in that very instant, from the transparent sector of the seal, the dormant main body of the Black Fog suddenly burst out, extending countless huge tentacles that whipped toward the two men!
The fact that the Black Fog’s main body had been suppressed by the multi-layered seal notwithstanding, such a blow would not have scratched the two Legends even when the entity was at its peak. Joshua and Igor simply combined, easily shattering countless tentacles—the vast black tide hence crumpled, reduced to dead steel-grey particles.
Soon, they arrived before the outer reaches of the grey-white world, Shelter Alpha.
Joshua did not feel much pressure inside the seal since it was not designed with him in mind. Furthermore, since body had formed a world, he was highly resistant to various shackles and domains. “I’m more experienced.”
“I’m counting on you.” Igor nodded. He was not pressured either given that he was light itself, and in fact the same existence as gods and divine suppressive domains.
Joshua reached out and pressed a hand on the manifested world barrier. He exerted a little strength, controlling massive energy and momentum with delicate technique, turning it into multifarious dimensional quaking, opening a vague gray cavity upon the barrier on the world’s surface in an instant.
The warrior stepped inside first, before turning and gestured for the pontiff to follow. Then, as the two entered Shelter Alpha, the inconspicuous dimensional tear closed itself with a wave of dimensional distortion, as if it was a human’s wound healing itself.
“Why would you request permission from the gods to separate Shelter Alpha from the main body?”
Igor asked Joshua in curiosity as both walked side by side within the inner reaches of the world barrier, an environment of absolute concealment. “Let the main body be buried by the world it protected—it’s already dead. The Black Fog protected it for so many years, reluctant to leave it even in death until the very end… both should be allowed to end together.”
Though that was pretentious, that was the final kindness Igor thought that they could afford the Black Fog.
Joshua did not reply at once. It was a rather long time later, when both was about to arrive at the edge of the world barrier and finally enter Shelter Alpha that he said quietly: “Because it’s not dead.”
With that, radiance burst forth, and the two transcended the solid world barrier to finally arrive inside Shelter Alpha.
It was an oceanic world, with a crimson continent.
A dim sun of energy hung in the skies while steaming vapors filled every corner of the atmosphere. Smoke, compounded with dirt formed a thick grey barrier that engulfed the skies, binding all heat energy within like thick blankets.
Heat above hundreds of degrees and steam scorching every inch of soil upon the land—everything was scorched soil and sand with nothing particular standing up. It alternated between dryness and dampness, perhaps shrouded in steam clouds across centuries, or might not have been a drop of water in centuries.
There was no possibility for life to exist upon his land. Even fungi that favored extreme heat and acid would never survive in such a world that changed so radically.
And now, Joshua and Igor landed on a nearby black beach, stepping on the burning sand and watching as boiling steam formed streaks of hot cyclones, raging upon the edge of the oceans and its depths. Like great pillars holding the sky aloft, they incessantly exchanged substances within the clouds and the ocean.
“…You mean to say that there’s life in such a world?”
Igor said slowly after watching the realm for a long time. “It’s alive?”
But even as the pontiff smoke, a sudden black tide had arisen from crimson oceans, surging out from the depths of the rusty red depths. Massive material fragments and microscopic minerals were spread away from the deeper reaches of the ocean and the seabed, while underwater geysers and volcanoes ignited corpses of creatures and piled mud that accumulated for countless years, ejecting them to the shallows
Infinite shattered minerals dyed the sea red. A sharp steel-smell, flowing along the sensory in the nasal cavity, stimulated the artificial imitative nerve nodes of Igor, the being of light.
Speechless, he pontiff looked afar, where he could see innumerable bubbles and tides churning on the crimson sea, the turbid air sacs following inestimable vapors as they unfurled toward the highest point the sky. From the distance, it was as if a large gaseous giant which body surface exceeded two hundred and seventy degrees was rising slowly.
“This is hell,” Igor said.
“But a hell with life,” Joshua answered, “counting the life you and I created, all life must live through this hell.”
The warrior then reached down, half-kneeling upon the shoreline as he caught a handful of seawater. He studied its complex composition before putting it back to the ocean, before rising again and speaking solemnly to the pontiff, “Not here, but beneath the sea.”
With those words, He strode into the sea, his figure quickly vanishing beneath the turbid seawater. Igor stared blankly for a moment, before shaking his head and followed.
It was another journey without exchange. There was no telling how much time had passed when the two arrived at a dark, filthy, at the depths of the half-stagnated ocean.
Hot oceanic geysers of various sizes were rapidly ejecting heat on the depths of the earth’s core. Substantial inorganic minerals were shot out with seawater, forming a coherent hot undersea layer. The geysers’ heat ranged from three hundred to sixteen hundred, with elements and ether revolving actively around them—there was even faint static phenomenon occurring around the geysers as elements and ether came in contact.
Joshua swept past the heat geysers, the dark seawater simply unable to block his gaze, and the warrior found his quarry in seconds. “Look,” he told Igor, pointing simply.
Puzzled, Igor turned toward the circles of mundane undersea heat zone where Joshua pointed. Those were pockets of simple water layers surrounded by stones wherein hot primordial soup were boiling. Igor could see that there were some base, organic grime—or mud—distilling within the soup.
The simplest of organic micromolecules were stirring within the heat flow, beaten by elemental bolts, stimulated and finally fusing with other mircromolecules into larger molecules. Hence, linear macromolecules of ribonucleic acid that was clearly capable of mitosis and strengthening itself appeared.
“You’re calling that life?”
Igor had wanted to laugh, considering that it was another of Joshua’s incomprehensible humor—but he could not laugh. Turning toward the warrior, he asked, “That?”
“Instead of calling those things life, it’s better to call them the simples of machines—even a closet is more complex than they are!”
Joshua did not quickly respond at once, and only spoke after a while.
“Life is machines.”
“You, me.” Straightening his finger, Joshua pointed at Igor and then himself, and continued calmly, “When both of us were still bodies of flesh, countless machines existed inside us.”
“Each of them provided each other, drawing energies stored within microscopic chemical bonds. With RNA and DNA as raw materials—data vaults that recorded information, they split and multiply, undergoing metabolism. They would feed, process and maintain its own existence, and through various reactions in themselves, producing molecules constructs they needed.”
“Its name is cell, a most primitive ‘machine’. And here, that clump of primordial soup before your eyes is undergoing a transition from inorganic to organic, the miracle of combining micromolecules into macromolecules.”
“The miracle of life.”
Joshua turned, no longer watching Igor but that primordial soup. “I never imagined that the main body of the Black Fog had progressed to such a level,” he added quietly.”
“You’re saying, these life…”
Acutely noticing Joshua’s musings, though Igor did not quite understand some of those special nouns, his intelligence and intricate observation allowed him some degree of comprehension.
“What did the main body do?” He quickly asked.
Once again, Joshua did not directly answer the pontiff’s pressing question, muttering irresolutely for a while before finally saying, “I could see Steel Strength’s rewinding of time, to see the memories of this world.”
“The truth as you’ve imagined. Shelter Alpha had long since been annihilated, along with the very last survivors of the Shelter civilization. However, the Black Fog never gave up—again and again it tried to rebuild the world, to create the bodies of Shelter’s people.”
“However, it could not create souls, and that was a given. A simple body could move, but being an advanced civilization, the people of Shelter were born with souls, which even came to be part of their inherited organs. Their bodies would never be animated without a soul, and without the distilling of time and intelligence, souls could not be formed through simple substance processing, which left the Black Fog incapable to revive the peoples of Shelter.”
Igor, who did not have a heart since a long time ago, felt his heart throbbing wildly.
“That’s why,” Joshua answered solemnly, “the main body of the Black Fog would have everything revert to how it was at the very start. It would build a whole-new Shelter Alpha, reanimating everything from its very origins, patiently waiting as life birthed in this primitive ocean.”
“It would need millions of years to nurture life bit by bit from macromolecules, molding the Shelter population it had in mind. It would need millions of years to grow a complete ecosphere, a food chain out of nothing!”
“So, to cut things short, the Black Fog hunted the Ancient Dragon, scheming to plunder its power to create life. Its intention was to control the evolutionary process across the world, creating a new Shelter civilization!”