Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Suddenly, a sinister yet stable spiritual ripple wafted from the body eight-legged fungus at the fore.
“This is the residence of the Great Khan. Metal Cans of another world, maintain your silence and humility—the kind Great Khan may thus spare your lives and not dump you into the ‘Fused Energy Net’ as living batteries.”
The aberrational otherworld creature appeared aware that everyone in the expedition party was conscious. It had even extended its forelimbs to poke at the ‘capture lens’ of their enchanted armors, appearing to say that it had discovered their ‘eyes’.
With that, it led the other fungi and left without pause, leaving the five of them who were still tied on the crystal pillars where they were, right in front of the colossal six-sided prism ‘palace’.
Starherder Court—that was what the fungi called the palace.
Priest and his teammates looked up toward the huge building that escapes ordinary human imagination.
It was pure white in appearance, a prism with six equal sides and around twelve hundred meters tall, bathing in a pale gold magical radiance that clothed it in a sheet golden silk over its white surface. There were layers of crevices that could be seen over it as well, inside of which translucent mana networks flowed like the arteries of a living creature.
The great white prism was throbbing as if it was the heart of the hive, the ‘building’ larger and more orderly than a mountain hence stood before Priest and the others, an incomparable imposition and boundless pressure crashing toward them as if sealing all air and movement of objects around. The entire expedition team found it hard to breathe, to think or to even move a thumb.
What kind of concept was a building more than a thousand meters tall?
What sensation would a human have, standing before a building that was over a thousand meters tall?
It felt as if everything around them was being rapidly magnified, magnified and magnified while they themselves quickly shrunk until they were virtually ant-sized. The feeling of vulnerability known as smallness reverberated from the depths of their hearts, for what existed before them was a ‘grand scale’ that could seemingly fall anytime and crush everything, even worlds.
Priest could hear his own heavy breathing and the sounds of his teammates’ uncomfortable heartbeats. The octopedal fungi had thrown them here and did nothing else, simply keeping them here in front of the palace, watching it all.
There were no visible borders on the white walls.
The top of hive flickered in soft, golden light.
The sturdy, living floor was quivering—as if a massive heart was beating beneath it.
How small humans were….
Priest felt as if all his spirit, gaze, and will were crumbling and occupied by the huge, unusual building, eventually losing himself—which would have been extremely likely if he was not Joshua’s pupil.
” Hah —”
Exhaling a huge breath, Priest quickly recovered from the mysterious spiritual blast, his pupils dilating before contracting. With a fearful stare at the white building before them, he muttered, “The building can erode spirits! And…”
And it appeared to be done unconsciously!
Priest could not help feeling fortunate at once. A while ago, he had followed Joshua to the multidimensional sealing circle that imprisoned the Black Fog, where he saw a greater building construct larger than the central hive they were now inside. Moreover, he had firsthand experience of the very might originating from the warrior’s Neutron Star Battle Form—if he had not gone through those encounters, he could well have lost himself before the bizarre hexagonal prism.
Meanwhile, having heard Priest’s warning, met a certain Legendary champion directly before and that battle of Legends on World Zero One, the rest of the expedition party stirred from the enigmatic presence.
“It’s a ‘spiritual’ attack!” Spellcaster exclaimed solemnly.
“Seven Gods above…” Clergy unwittingly murmured.
“I’m in a daze. Heavens, what was eating my brain just now… I’ll have a syringe first.” Alchemist, moving his enchanted armor, injected an invigoration tonic he prepared beforehand.
“What happened?” Rider appeared at a loss.
Sensing that all five were freed from the spiritual erosion, a profound and imposing will that emanated out of nowhere gasped softly and doubtfully. Then, with a discreet surge of magical energy, another eight-legged fungus, hence appeared before them.
Its shell was pure-white, but since Priest and the others were not its kind, they could differentiate it from the others if it was imposing or elegant. Even so, its entrance was different from normal humans, and everyone’s attention was at once focused on it.
“Otherworld beings that could resist ‘spiritual infection’… interesting.”
A spirit devoid of either emotional capacity to symbolize meaning or ripples oppressively emanated from the eight-legged fundus, thereby forcefully streaming into their minds. “You have sturdy bodies, stalwart wills, and the technology for dimensional teleportation…” It said in an unusual voice that had a slow rhyme. “You are not typical ‘food’, and hence have the right to speak with the ‘Starherder’.”
Priest did not understand what it was trying to say. Although spiritual links could nullify the language barrier in communicating information, the fungus’s arrogance that kept it from attempting to make itself understandable was the same as throwing them a compressed data package—Priest and the others would need a long time to decrypt it to understand what it was saying.
And the young warrior was not attempting to decipher things at once. He stared at the white fungus, remembering the moment in the beginning when they were mistakenly teleported to the metal altar, and the swarm of octopedal fungi before his eyes for the very first time.
And the swarm had been crowding around an unordinary, white eight-legged fungus.
‘The Great Khan.
‘Was that the Great Khan?
‘The highest leader of that otherworld civilization?
‘No. ‘ Priest sensed that something was amiss—being Joshua’s pupil who previously frequented the Liege’s Residence, he had encountered Ying, Ling and Zero Three on multiple occasions. He was therefore familiar enough to tell that the white fungus before him was not a real body, but a magical projection!
It was a projection from the very start! A simple clone, used for communicating with them, visitors from another world.
And now, the white fungus was still asking questions in its abnormal but slow tone.
“How did you find the Starherders?”
“How did you bypass the layers of dimensional anchors to directly enter the ‘Court Flagship’?”
“Where do you come from? The Starherders had traveled across ten thousand worlds, but had never seen abnormal beings such as you.”
The white fungus interrogated Priest and the others unhurriedly and seemingly nonchalantly in spiritual space, but that was on the surface—everyone could sense an extremely dangerous presence!
—If they did not reply… there was no question that they would all be killed!
It was utter destruction, of body and soul! An utter death that neither Soul Pool Sphere nor Restoration beam could save them from!
However, only silence met the white fungus.
None of them spoke.
Priest closed his eyes.
Thirteenth Code of the External Exploration Department: If captured by otherworld civilizations and forced to reveal information about the world of Mycroft…
…kill yourself if necessary.
A simple yet ordinary code.
Priest and the rest feared that they were about to follow that code. He did not believe in the possibility of lying to the eight-legged fungus, given the bastard’s extreme accomplishment in spirit and magic—they would definitely be dumped into the whatsit-energy net as living batteries.
However, they were not at a juncture where suicide was necessary. After all, what the ‘Great Khan’ was asking had nothing to do with Mycroft, and if push comes to shove, they could escape with the Return Beacon.
Either way, for the first question, they could just answer that it was due to unknown teleportation failure, which was the same answer for the second. As for the third question, what issue would there be in telling them about the world of Mycroft? In the end, these entities were unaware of Mycroft coordinates—a mere name was nothing.
With that thought, Priest and his squad mates looked and signaled each other with their gazes.
The white fungus listened silently as all five of them sent it information that was generally the same. It neither moved nor showed dissatisfaction—after determining that they were not lying, it asked other questions such as where their original teleportation destination had been, what their intentions were and what progress has their society reached.
Priest’s brain worked furiously. He answered what he basically could and deleted any memories to questions he could not—the others did so as well, and it was something not difficult for the expedition members who had special training.
Nevertheless, the white fungus weirdly did not maintain the callousness it showed at first. It did not kill them at once when Priest and the others did not answer its question and removed their own memories, instead pondering in silence for something.
And in the long process of answering questions, Priest and the others also discovered something unusual—the white eight-legged fungus before them, the alleged ‘Great Khan’ as not actually being slow in speech, but its mind was quite simply slow. There were even times when it would ask several identical questions distractedly, which naturally was not an interrogation technique but was more akin to it forgetting that it had asked that question before.
Although it possessed profound spiritual prowess and an unbelievable presence, the fungus appeared to be a crude and temporary body. It was a simple clone used for questioning them, while the Great Khan’s main body saw to other matters.
But the question and answer session soon ended, and the clone suddenly vanished—in the very next instant, a great will that was a hundred times grander than before and so manifested that it was almost solid descended.
In a split second, the sealing circle restraining the five expedition members disintegrated at once. However, before they could feel the sensation of regaining freedom, the manifested will carried their bodies and directly entered the hexagonal prism.
There was no feeling of touching a solid form. With a simple magical hum, Priest sensed that he entered a watery magical force—the true face of the ‘Starherder Court’ was actually a building of supernatural energies, composed entirely out of semi-solid mana!
The excessively bright golden radiance slowly calmed. Priest and the others moved past a mana barrier as he sensed the great manifested will surged beside his body silently, as if it was the greatest of underflow at the bottom of the sea—when everything finally calmed, he and the others were at the center of the white prism.
Inside dark nothingness…
No, not nothing… it was the Void.
As if a three-hundred and sixty-degree observation lens, the inside of the white prism reflected the sight of the Void!
Priest could see faint starlight flickering amidst the erratic dimensional turbulences. They were the light of worlds, weak and thin, and it was obvious at once that the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds’s failed teleportation did not actually deviate much. They were certainly sent to the edge of the galaxy.
But that was not the time to mind such matters.
All five of them, Rider, Mage, Alchemists, Clergy, and Priest inhaled sharply and simultaneously. Now, they finally understood why their teleportation developed an error, and how they suddenly appeared inside the habit of the octopedal fungi.
Everything was because of the sight before them.
There was some anomaly appearing in the spatial construct amidst the vast, dark and silent Void. They could see that starlight was skewed, dimensions twisted while aberrative rainbows of mana replaced the light of stars, filling the Void with unusual but distinct pale gold light.
And it was semi-spherical ‘planets’ emanating those pale-gold radiances.
Nonetheless, those were neither planets nor worlds, and the largest of those semi-spherical was at most an ordinary Imperial province. Although it was unimaginably colossal for normal-sized creatures, it was pocket-sized relative to the infinite Void and real planets.
Even so, the sight was sufficiently majestic. More than twenty of those semi-spherical planets floated in the Void, their immense mass mixed with mana ripples to form a single great region of the dimensional anomaly, slowly advancing like a fleet.
And what moved that fleet was terrible creatures so huge it escaped human imagination.
Those were ultra-colossal Void Behemoths which scale escaped words, having eight legs like the lower half of the fungi’s bodies. Only the term ‘Void Behemoth’ could describe those creatures even if they really were not—but if it were to detach from the mother world and begin living in the Void physical, they would become a new Void Behemoth.
Small, semi-spherical planetary realms were ‘rotted’ like fungi on the flat backs of the Void lifeforms. Like hermit crabs and their shells, they slowly moved forward in the ocean known as the Void, stirring the dimensions and twisting orbits of other worlds, advancing with a profound presence.
Priest could sense that his gaze appeared able to pierce the outer shell of those planets, seeing the billions of eight-legged fungi living within, on the backs of those Behemoths!
The fungi had hosted themselves within those eight-legged creatures just as they rooted their world open the Void Behemoths. Priest was unsure if those fungi had nurtured those massive Void Behemoths, or that they were simply born on those creatures.
But all questions were meaningless, for this was the World Fleet known as the ‘Starherder’.
—This must be reported back to the External Exploration Department… or to be exact, the Mycroft civilization must be told!
Priest instantly resolved himself to bring the information back to his homeworld!
The profound will—the Great Khan which had been leading the expedition party was assembling. It was pulling back its spiritual tendrils had been placed had unknown places while manifesting a solid form, preparing to turn its gaze to the five persons inside its own ‘body’, judging and searching the souls of those little creatures.
However, it only found a series of blue dimensional ripples rapidly flashing, leaving it astonished.
Those were the teleportation circles made by Nostradamus the Legendary-tier dimensional mage by linking to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, of finest quality albeit for single-use.
Solid spiritual tendrils promptly reached out, intent on interrupting the teleportation—but was a dimensional circle made by Nostradamus to be so easily cut short? It was a sturdy composition that no even the hundred and fifty million degrees incineration and dimensional distortion unleashed by the main body of the Black Fog could dent, and under haste, the ‘Great Khan’ could only slow down the speed of the teleportation, but was unable to stop it at all.
After the brief moment, the shocked will of the Great Khan could only stare blankly at the empty interior of the Court.
A long time later, another gray-black fungus entered the Court.
“Great Khan.” It said reverently to the empty clone which was a layer of faint distortion, “We can’t find the teleportation trail of the otherworld creatures…. Their warp magic is far more advanced than ours.”
“…It is fine.”
A serene spiritual ripple wafted from nothingness. “They… are not life from our galaxy.”
“The blame is not on you—it was my mistake from the start. They are not speculators here in pursuit of our hidden navigational course, but natives of this ‘lost galaxy’. The teleportation tools they use may be an objected created by the hands of a being equal to my existence. In my single moment of carelessness, I was unable to hold them.
The gray-black fungus slightly twisted its own body, bending its eight legs in an unusual ‘leaning over’ movement. “Though it goes against what you preach,” it said extremely earnestly in an unusual voice and spiritual ripples, “I must say—the ‘Lost Galaxy’ is too dangerous!”
“A lost place sealed for twelve thousand years that existed only in legends, a forbidden and taboo land in the Multiverse where the ‘Devourer’ and ‘Endless Abyss’ had fallen… We had just entered it and already, we’ve encountered such unusual alien life, and objects equal to your existence… this place is simply too mysterious and filled with too much unknowns. We could still turn back now!”
“Kumocinda… King of the First Akasha. I know why you fear.”
The twisted spirit appeared to be distracted or doing something else. A faint light hence flashed visibly on the twenty-seven Void Behemoths and the planets on their backs, just like flashing currents on nerve nodes.
It was moments later when it replied slowly. “We are all aware that the ‘Lost Galaxy’, sealed beyond the ordinary Multiverse certainly holds endless threats and unknowns. It took us three hundred years to find the passage to those sealed stars from ancient ruins and legends, as well as a hundred and fifty years to accumulate resources for moving through the ‘substance vacuum layer’ between galaxies just to arrive here.”
“There are countless mysteries within the Lost Galaxy… it was once the heart of the Multiverse where the most advanced civilizations and most powerful champions—endless ancient remains and relics of prehistoric civilizations were left within.”
“Legend has it that the secret to repelling the ‘Devourers’ may be here as well,” the warped spiritual vacuum, the ‘Great Khan’ added. “And we now no longer have a path for retreat. We can only go forward…”
“…to return to our original galaxy and receive inferno and destruction—the only thing we have.”