Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Everything began a few days ago, when the new pupil of a certain Legendary warrior went on another otherworld expedition.
Starfall Year 839, noontime on third of May. Priest and his party, their chests brimming with a grand sensation, at entered a portal to board the Void vesselGrancypher ahead of another otherworld exploration—something they were getting used to now. However, all of them did not expect that the next assigned destination by the Imperial External Exploration Department was unlike the other worlds they have visited before.
“You’re saying that, this time, we are exploring ‘a world that might be suitable for living’, but ‘a world at the very edge of the galaxy’?”
The party’s spellcaster, a professional mage who enjoyed using his scepter and scrolls even more than women asked in curiosity. “What you mean is that our objective is not finding a colony, but to find the edge of the galaxy—is that right?”
The soft but attractive voice of a female mage wafted from the monitor before the party. She was Djeeta van Tashtyk, the captain of the Grancypher and a Supreme-tier mage. “However, you seem to misunderstand,” she replied patiently, “we are not searching for the ‘edge of the galaxy’. We’ve recently discovered unusual signs around the place, where there is variance between the orbits of worlds than what we’ve calculated, evidence that the planetary region must have been disturbed by external influence.”
“It has been some time since that influence, and the Exploration Department projected that the threat level was not great. That was why we intend to have you youngsters take a look—think of it as a trial.”
As she spoke, Captain Tashtyk appeared to be scanning through the plans, muttering to herself for a while before saying, “after so many expeditions, every member of the Elite Party: Priest the Leader, Clark the Rider, Said the Clergy, Wayne the Spellcaster and Constantine the Alchemist has reached Gold-tier. Even if incomplete, you have indeed progressed past that boundary. Normal expedition missions would be a real waste of your party’s ability, which is why the Exploration Department had especially prepared a new mission for you—you may refuse if you’re reluctant to take it.
While that was how she put it, would any of them really refuse? ‘You may refuse’, when stated officially, actually meant ‘you won’t be getting an easy time if you refused’. Even if the Imperial External Exploration Department would not have stooped to the level of typical bureaucratic retaliation, it would still be normal for them to face inferior treatment. After all, the Empire had exhausted all resources to groom their party, and accelerating their growth in the first place was to explore the many mysteries of the Multiverse.
If they declined the mission over safety, what was the point of their existence? It was even inconsistent with the very reason every member first joined the expedition party.
“Say no more. Please transmit the project outline.”
Priest, as team leader, had the final say and directly accepted the mission. Scanning the mission table in his own Sprit Terminal, he nodded. “Observe the ‘world with erratic orbit’, find the reason its trail deviated while studying how far that world is from other worlds? Nothing too difficult.”
“Still, the main point is on the local environment.”
Clark’s mouth twitched. More a joyrider than a horse-rider, he appeared to remember his quick death after a single swipe by the Black Fog, and began to drivel on impressively. “Heaven knows if some Legendary aberration like a Demon King that destroyed worlds would suddenly leap out, slapping us to death.”
“And you can shut it.”
Clergy retorted in annoyance, having been whacked to death once as well. “Back in that primitive ocean world, he was saying something like ‘Could there be some colossal monster in the sea that gulp us down at once when we’re not paying attention?’—and then a giant squid monster really sprung out from the bottom to the sea, and almost really gulped us down.”
“Isn’t it? Clark’s Crow Mouth is truly absolute.” Alchemist nodded in fervent agreement. “If our fishing boat wasn’t large enough to ram and knock out that giant squid, we might have to tour around its stomach and pit wit and brawns against parasites.”
“And there’s that time when…”
As the conversation hence proceeding to list the troubling records of Rider’s Crow’s Mouth, Priest refrained from joining in the childish debate.
“When are we leaving?” He asked, nodding directly at the screen.
“Soon. This time, apart from the standard equipment, you would also be bringing a new tool designed by Master Nostradamus.”
Captain Tashtyk’s voice remained calm. As she spoke, the dimensions rippled inside the Grancypher , and five light-green spherical runic stones appeared instantly before the five-men party. “It’s a dimensional magical tool called the ‘Return Beacon’, or the ‘Homecoming Jade’ as it was commonly known due to its appearance. As its name suggests, hold it and trigger it when things take a wrong turn with your power—you would hence be teleported back into the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds.”
“It’s a Legendary magical tool and requires Master Nostradamus’s personal crafting. Do not use unless absolutely necessary—the Imperial External Exploration Department will not replenish such a class of insurance tool.”
Even as she said those, Captain Tashtyk words became rather thought-provoking. “After all,” she added, “your value might not be higher than this item.”
Those words were certainly hurtful, but everyone present did not mind such frivolous blow. “This is why I like the Exploration Department,” Caster exclaimed in awe after holding up the Return Beacon and studying it. “Every time there’s a new prototype, we’ll be the first to get our hands on it.”
And such was the truth. Across the World of Mycroft, the expedition teams may be the ones who most frequently obtain new items created by Legendary champions. Be it Joshua’s Soul Pool Sphere and Restoration Beams, Nostradamus’s Return Beacon, the Nature Magister’s ‘Multi-purpose Mobile Ecosphere’, as well as the ‘Single-use Saint’s Protection Scroll’ made personally by Pope Igor, precious equipment which value was beyond cities was being given to them as if by wholesale.
During the expedition before last, the five members of the Elite Party had encountered waves of primitive otherworld magical creatures. If not for Alchemist’s curiosity to redeem a pair of ‘Hypnosis Glasses’ from the Exchange System made by William the Mind Lord, getting the beasts to kill each other after bewitching them, they would have died again in another world.
With new equipment obtained and their preparations complete, the new expedition was at hand.
Priest looked around at his own party—Rider the Crow’s Mouth and joyrider, the scepter-lover Mage who was twisted in both personality and preferences, the Alchemist who had such passion of self-modification that none of his body organs was original, as well as the pathological Clergy who preferred to burn with the Holy Light rather than use it to save others.
They were also Rider who charges ahead into danger, never hesitating to use his body to block attacks thrown upon his companions; Caster who could calmly judge the situation even in the most dire of circumstance and employ various magic and equipment to turn the tables; the masterful, elite Alchemist who could use various potions to strengthen teammates and weaken the enemy, as well as the excellent, absolutely reliable Clergy who could cast the most appropriate divine spell, able to delay even critical injuries.
That was his team.
The portal opened before everyone’s eyes. Without saying anything else, the tidily dressed five persons stepped out, with Priest their leader at the fore while everyone followed right behind them.
Then, amidst the profound power of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, the dimensional quadrant was distorted. ‘Distance’ that most normal humans would not travel past for their entire lives was turned into simple numbers, and millions of data was rapidly converted into standard coordinates, finally turning into an obscure cluster of lights that enshrouded the expedition party.
All of them vanished in the very next instant, teleported to the distant edge of the galaxy.
—Or that was how things should have turned out.
“Dimensional distortion discovered—massive dimensional distortion phenomenon rapidly approaching!”
“Ultra-class dimensional anomaly has appeared! Cancelling teleportation… failure! Emergency teleportation coordinates shift… success! Original coordinates ‘Spiral Arm’s Edge’ switched with ‘Unnamed World 71487854’!
“Rerouting teleportation, rerouting teleportation, rerouting teleportation….Crack-bzzt-bzzt-bzzt …”
In the very third second of teleportation and the Elite Party was being moved dimensionally, the Commanding Will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds which was in charge of the warping began reporting emergency errors. Shrill danger alerts combined with dark red radiance shone upon the pale faces of the personnel being teleported.
“What’s going on?!” Clergy inhaled sharply, having assumed that the process would instantly be over like before. “Seven Gods above, we’ve actually struck the one in thirty-two billion chance that the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds develops an error?!”
“Fuck! It’s all thanks to Clark’s Crow’s Mouth!”
“I’ve said it before, we have to silence him with a spell every time before we leave!”
The entire party started to panic all at once, but Priest quickly stop the squabbling. “Settle down,” he ordered, “it’s just one error. The Commanding Will and the External Exploration Department will quickly realize! We just have to wait patiently!”
While that was the case, Priest was not actually too confident about that. He was simply calming the situation so that everyone would not cause further problems in their confusion, complicating the situation.
In truth, the Commanding Will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds was simply unaware of the error since they were ‘mid-teleportation’… Just like the single-dimension space Joshua’s Warp Engine creates, they were now beyond normal Multiverse—it was only after the teleportation was complete that the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds finally realized the error.
So, Priest’s party would simply waft towards a completely unknown direction amidst the dimensional turbulence that gradually grew violent.
Then, amidst the twisted dimensional turbulences that could have been either long or short…
“Aaaaaaah! Why did the teleportation point change? Where are we actually landing?!”
As Priest’s voice that was about to break echoed, the teleportation rainbow that had been about to dissipate abruptly stabilized—a force that came out of nowhere appeared to be drawing the deviated teleportation ray towards its own coordinates.
If the team’s mage had been still conscious, he would have realized that the pulling force was very similar to the various portals on Mycroft, used for guiding the establishing of dimensional passageways and just a little different in terms of its constitution. However, after the unknown period of torment from the turbulence, even Supreme mages would have been left faint—much less a mage who had just Ascended to Gold and became a true Extraordinary individual?
Thus, in a daze, the entire Elite Party’s teleportation ended, and they landed in an absolutely unknown region.
“…Where… are we?”
After some time, Priest, the one in the team who had received most special training, extraordinary immunity and strongest physique struggled as he regained consciousness from ‘warp faintness’. He raised his head in pain, looking around him dazedly.
However, what he saw was not the barren world of plains they had been set to be sent to, but a towering, incomparably dazzling metallic platform that was inscribed with various complex runes.
“Ke-ke-xin-ger, na-lo-na-da, geng-bu-si-te, ke-mo-la-ke-ke-na-ge-lan.”(Great Khan, it’s them. The dimensional signal that formed from the failed teleportation which we discovered.)
An unusual voice echoed from nearby. Priest quickly turned towards it to find a bunch of alien and warped octopedal creatures. Each had vague outlines and were standing before a metallic platform, staring down at them from on high.
But before Priest could observe the situation clearly, a great power promptly descended from above and viciously pressed down on his head, slamming his brains and helmet on the hard metallic ground as another unusual voice echoed urgently and sharply.
“Xin-do! Ke-li-si-te-na-ge-duo-lo-ke-ke-xin-ge?!” (Impudence! Who granted you permission to level your gaze upon the Great Khan’s face?!)
Priest’s eyes blurred upon the heavy impact. The force was so profound and embodied such solid Extraordinary power that it could send Priest, a Gold-tier warrior who was wearing full-body metal armor sprawling in a single blow.
The young man naturally did not understand the words, but as more and more sharp voices rang before him, Priest could hear nothing else then—he had just been through an erroneous teleportation, his head struck by a blunt force and was now heavily concussed.
Another unknown duration passed. As Priest groggily regained consciousness once more, he sensed an abnormal spirit diving deep inside his mind, as if to spy upon any secrets within. However, it was clear that the spirit did not understand much about the human psyche, leaving each of its probing efforts fruitless.
However, the spirit quickly realized that Priest had regained consciousness, and so approached him roughly and forced a link between them.
Then, Priest heard a deep, sinister and very imposing ‘voice’.
“You metal cans… How did you find the trail of our fleet and follow us to the ‘Lost Galaxy’?