Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 784


Chapter 784 Prison Of A Captive God

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Priest felt himself falling into a profound but unbelievable dreamland.

As Hub Accrafa converted more than six thousand years of data into unending information flow that typical Gold champions could never withstand and surged rapidly upon Priest, the young warrior was already prepared for despite his panicking appearance.

In the end, it was a mere spiritual blast. As a leader of an Otherworld exploration party, would Priest not have prepared the right countermeasures after encountering a spiritual voice? Still, despite his readiness, he did not imagine that the blast of information would arrive so rapidly, so suddenly, and so profoundly.

Light and shadow depicting time sufficient for the rise and fall of a civilization crisscrossed past his eyes, the illumination where brightness alternated combined with infinite images and recordings flowing like a river. Alone, Priest held on bitterly against the historical surge that could blast humans into dullards.

“Not as strong… as mentor’s presence!”

In reality, countless specks of blood burst within Priest’s brain, just as substantial capillaries broke and the brain constitution was destroyed by near-manifested spiritual blast. However, because the Restoration Beam was there, he would recover completely in the very next second no matter how grave his injuries.

Objects of miracles that could revive the dead were simply so unreasonable.

Vaguely, Priest could see the memories that slowly rewound from the recent past to ancient times.

The sun overhead rose from the west and set in the east, dragging an orange arc trail as time was studied in units of centuries like a raging river. However, Priest’s soul that was sturdier than most Gold could paddle against its flow, charging toward the past.

He saw the rising and setting of the sun and moons, clouds dispersing and winds churning.

He saw a flying car suddenly flying past the sky, triggering the automated sequences of the dormant Hub.

He saw the time of hundreds of years passing in a flash amidst a stagnated environment, and the Hub’s once thick stone layer gradually thinned while the forests outside became sparse and the moons over the skies became smaller.

Priest even discovered in shock that Hub Acrrafa was not mountain-shaped centuries ago like it was now. Its silver outer layer had been covered in stone, but still emanated dazzlingly bright radiance.

That had been how it was… until as if alive, the stones rumbled and risen, shrouding every part of the Hub over the land, adding a mountain to the flat world.

Priest could also see who had sealed the many Hubs and transfigured into grand mountains—he saw, in this unknown world, the ancients who have been its last civilizations.

***

Civilization was not human. As a collective of intelligent beings, civilizations were more enduring than any singular body. Most of the time, it would maintain its youthful and lively form, progressing without stopping, brighter and more glorious than the first glimmers of dawn.

But if civilization could truly be eternal and unchanging, perpetually maintaining that lively, glimmering form?

The answer was certainly no.

Civilizations, too, age and wither, weakening from its peak. Just as suns would extinguish and dawn would become dusk, civilizations of vigor would rot and turned deathly under most circumstances, the individuals who once was filled with desire to explore becoming obsessed in enjoyment and excesses, gnawing at the foundations of civilization like vermins.

Most importantly, civilizations ultimately require humans to keep it standing. If the fundamental population was insufficient, regression and decline were an unavoidable truth regardless of how people tried to embellish it.

Just like what Priest was seeing from the thousand-year illusions.

In front of Hub Accrafa and below the shine of bright magical radiance, a small band of humans who barely had any clothes covering their bodies, as well as a band of elves stood by the foot of the artificial silver mountain chain, staring at the colossal building before them with a complicated gaze.

“We’ve lost eighty percent of our legacy memories… the rotting of texts and the invasion of Chaos into our bloodline essence left no legacy above Supreme.”

The human standing at the fore, who was wearing some rather modern clothes spoke with a hoarse voice. “I am probably the last Supreme in this world—and I’ve already forgotten how I’ve ascended all those years ago.”

“Books could crumble, memories confused. Even carving an entire mountain as a stone mountain would not record one percent of my Legacy. We barely maintained the existence of a collective through the knowledge stored in the Mother Tree, but that’s simply the same as drinking poison to quench our thirsts… If the day comes that the Mother Tree is corrupted as well, us elves would never recover.”

On the other side, the elven leader Priest found resembling Sol and the antler-crowned elf nodded slightly. “However, our survival is unimportant,” he replied somberly, “The Lifeseed and ‘Project Revival’ stored in Hub Accrafa does not permit any inch of mistake!”

“We can’t see Mycroft… Our home may have been long gone, and us the last lucky survivors of Glorious Era in this galaxy.”

“That is precisely why…”

At those words, all surviving humans looked up and stared at Hub Accrafa as their Supreme-tier leader spoke with a deep voice, “we must shelter ourselves in Hub Accrafa or other dimensional hubs no longer.”

The elves were silent, while the human maintained his monologue.

“If it was not for the Hub’s boundary of Order delaying the invasion of Chaos, we might well have been wiped out by the remaining Chaos forces here. This, however, consumes too much energy from the Hub… the conversion of ‘That Being’ takes millennia, and if the Hub’s suppression module runs out of energy and goes down halfway through, ‘That Being’ could resurrect in turn.”

“If it did, it’s all over. The sacrifice of the nine leaders and the reason we’ve held on until now would all become a joke, just as the future of all Mycroft races would fall unto darkness… but if ‘Project Revival’ proved a success, the conversion of ‘That Being’ would give us a flawless world akin to paradise… When that time comes, the stores of living bloodlines in the Hub would be replicated without end and be freed into this world. They are our successors and the Hub will protect them, instruct them and have them inherit our all, becoming a new ‘Glorious civilization!”

“…So?”

The elven leader asked quietly.

“We must destroy ourselves as soon as possible and turn off the Hub’s automated defenses, keeping only the suppression module, observation system and information collection modules working.”

The human spoke with aplomb. “Don’t look at me that way. I am not withering from corruption—this is the most rational idea. Right now, our very existence only wastes the precious resources of the Hub, and we are no longer even a civilization. All that we are is wretched bugs isolated at the edge of the galaxy by dimensional anomaly, that is why our death is trivial… the ‘future’ is most important!”

“If we died, we won’t have a present, much less a future.”

The elf shot back, but after a brief silence, he shook his head feebly. “…Fine. I admit that you’re right, even if I believe that there are choices other than killing ourselves.”

***

Priest did his best to keep the entire course of the discussion in his mind, but he could not. Only one thirds of the surge of six-thousand years’ worth of history had been completed at present, and he could not remember more even if his brain burst with blood.

Time flowed rapidly once again, but there were no other detailed records.

Priest saw a powerful magical force reverberating through heaven and earth. The stone layer over the continent was pulled out amidst the thunderous rumble, covering silver buildings after silver buildings. He saw the dazzlingly bright light vanished one by one—it was not suicide, but a sacrifice made for the lasting future.

Time rewound like a dream. The elves, declining to the point that they only covered themselves in leaves began to revert to their steel armor-wearing selves, even carrying magical equipment. Furthermore, wrecks were restored as if a reversed recording, becoming sturdy towns and houses once more.

Priest found that, millennia ago, this world that was so peaceful to the point that one would vomit over it was still filled with inexhaustible dangers. Human, elven and even dwarven cities repelled Chaos assault descending from the skies, slaughtering each other in primitive forests and launch pursuits in barren grasslands. The races, having retained most of their legacies then did battle against the many aberrations in the sky, on the ground and beneath it, purifying them into harmless, wafting ash.

Everything was so immeasurably bizarre. As history rewound without stopping, eras aged although human, elves and other races became more advanced in equipment and civilization. Aberrations that appeared from above and below were stronger too—there were mountainous worms that dives deep underground to devour the world’s core, Chaos Star Moths that transcend atmosphere and Void while their wings stirred typhoons, just as many other terrible beings that made Priest inhaled sharply appeared as if flashes of light.

And all those monsters died to Void warships and the suppression of various Hubs.

Until the very end—the last part of history, sixty-seven hundred years ago.

Time appeared to froze there.

***

For a split second, Priest felt as if he saw nothing. Everything around him was dark, for there were neither sun, moon, stars or any source of light. All there was were vague darkness rolling amidst the Void, and dense mist that seemed to never disperse… In that very instant, Priest’s mind was suddenly empty—he could not think of anything as if he never remembered anything, and had always been so ignorant.

He also remembered something familiar in that instant.

That sensation of forgetting was the same as how he had dreamt and forgotten what he dreamt at all in the last few days.

“Something… is invading my memory…” As he gathered a little consciousness from the dark mist, Priest’s gaze suddenly became blank before he could catch what he had actually forgotten.

“Wait. Who am I?”

However, just as Priest was about to be utterly devoured by the mist of Hub Accrafa’s historical data, the silver star suddenly shone in the darkness.

In the very next moment, the silver star burst sharply, turning into an incandescent beam that shone through heaven and earth, tearing apart the darkness like a keen blade and clearing the mist.

Priest’s mind quickly recovered too, his scattered and blank gaze at once refocused and his memories clearly returning—but before the young warrior could become fearful about the abnormal mist before him, he quickly realized that he was now in the Void, and behind him was an obscure, indescribable and unnamable silver-black star of Chaos.

Silver and black radiance flashed at the same time, the sacred yet terrifying star ceaselessly emanating warped mist. Priest could see it bursting out with thousands energy arcs, whipping the Void and distorting the dimensions, each comparable to mountains and capable of sinking continents.

However, nine searing silver beams crossed together into a gigantic net, completely subjugating the star. The terrible arcs were completely held back and cut off with ease, turning into dissipating silver specks.

Priest looked on in shock. It was a sight that he, a young Gold-tier had never seen—he was not even as astonished now by this unusual battle than when he witnessed the battle between his mentor and the Black Fog.

Gulping, Priest turned toward the source of the beam, and froze at once.

He saw nine huge Void warships forged entirely of silver metal.

In truth, such a sight would not have shocked Priest. Unlike how he had never seen a star of Chaos, he had already seen much more shocking civilization creations than Void warships, or the forms of champions… What really left him speechless was the figure of one of the warship’s bow.

There were three arches, shapes identical to Hub Accrafa.

“Got you.”

A spiritual voice that was at once familiar and unfamiliar echoed in the Void—her voice was cold and strict, as if an Empress who stood above all. Priest could easily tell that it was the original form of Hub Accrafa’s voice.

And that voice seemingly seethed every word.

“Evil God of Wither!”

***

Back in reality.

Clusters of black air abruptly billowed out of Priest’s head—although that description was rather loose. Compared to simple mist, it was more resembling of misshapen rays of light, an aberrative force that weakened and dulled its spectra.

As soon as that force appeared, it appeared intent on spreading towards every other place from Priest’s brain… but its movement had descended into a rather awkward situation at the very start.

For everywhere around it was pure Steel Strength from Joshua.

The Restoration Beam flickered for a moment as if left unsure what to do by the black air’s sudden appearance, but it soon worked at full capacity to perform the most complete ‘healing’.

Click—bzzt-bzzt-bzzt-bzzt—!!!

With a series of bizarre sounds, the warped force was at once reduced to nothing. However, the violent, gluttonous, uncontrollable, and exceedingly violent Steel Strength began to trace the source of that unusual force, eroding it in return!

Boom!

The ground shook.

***

The four humans and one elf who were still waiting for Priest to come out from Hub Accrafa suddenly felt the earth trembling violently once.

Boulders cracked as the seas of trees undulated. Countless hills and mounds rose at once from the flat earth, and the shaky rocks that were hanging over Hub Accrafa thus fell off.

“What, what’s going on?!”

Rider, who was prepared to climb a tree to study their surroundings was thrown down from the tremors. “Why are there suddenly earthquakes?” He asked bafflingly as he lay on the ground. “Could our leader have stirred some trouble in the Hub?”

Although the others said nothing, they rather agreed on that idea, albeit that would mean they were wrongfully blaming him—if they were in the skies now, they could see that it was not just Hub Accrafa quaking. It was the entire surface of the world instead, a super tremor that stretched across the entire world’s surface. In places unprotected by Hubs or Mother Tree, the earth kept rising and falling, as if something beneath ground was squirming.

At the same time, invisible ripples and unnamable information surges that could usually only be sensed by Supremes or Legends thus unfurled in torment, rage and a gradual sense of awakening beyond the sealed world and toward the other side of the galaxy.

***

In a corner of the galaxy, the wandering World Fleet of the Starherders suddenly stopped moving.

Countless Void Behemoths absorbing materials from different world as they fed ceased their consuming, pausing motionless where they were.

Some of those worlds were lifeless and dead while others hosted primitive life, and there were certainly one or two where civilization was born, along with those inhabited by intelligent creatures but whose minds were yet to be freed… Void Behemoths were neither picky nor selective, and would whimsically pry upon one world after another and consume its mass… at the same time, they would unleash their spawns into the world, leaving their seeds—it was the same as how beetles would pick a small opening over a chicken egg, suck the egg dry and then deposit their eggs on the shells, which they leave uneaten.

As for whether there was life inside the worlds being eaten, whether those beings would be destroyed or their actions or eaten clean by infant Void Behemoths… it was not their concern.

They would not care.

Just as the eight-legged fungus would not.

In the Starherder Palace, the King of Akasha hurried to bow reverently before the warped spiritual void—it did not have to ask a thing since the pause in the Void Behemoths was too profound a matter, and the benevolent Great Khan would explain everything for them, the Herders.

As expected, a clear voice wafted from the spiritual void.

“Kumocinda…”

This time, the Great Khan’s was no longer slow and dreamlike as before, but solemn and grim. “I sense a World Eater’s presence.”

As a king who farmed fungal clusters and behemoths in place of the Great Khan, Kumocinda had witnessed countless terrible Void disasters. He had seen worlds colliding, Void storms engulfing half a galaxy, and while he thought he had long forgotten what being at a loss meant, his mind was at once empty when he heard the word ‘World Eater’.

“There is a World Eater here too?!”

Kumoncinda appeared to have more to say, but the Great Khan interrupted him. “Of course there is—there are no sacred ground in the Multiverse, and moreover, this is the Lost Galaxy.”

“This is the ‘Great Battlefield’ where ancient forebears and civilizations fought decisively against countless World Eaters… it drifts beyond ordinary Multiverse, blocked by countless vacuum zones left after fed upon, with only warped starlight signifying its existence.

The Great Khan’s voice echoed happily as if saying thousands of completely different sentences. Those endless echoes compounded into a spiritual strike that left even Kumocinda in a face full of torment, even as the Great Khan’s slightly cold voice could be heard in the brief echoes.

“Turn, Kumocinda, and relay my command. The fleet shall turn—we will head for the world where the World Eater’s presence emanated.”

As the King of Akasha trembled in shock, the Great Khan spoke as if it was natural. “It’s a weak World Eater that had just been freed from a forebear seal—we must destroy it.”

In that very moment, even as the Great Khan spoke, Kumocinda could feel an icy presence that was staring at its shell.

“If it can’t be destroyed, even if the Starherders fled to the very edge of the Mutliverse and survived as all things ended, it would no longer be possible for us to return home.”

***

“I sense Chaos’ presence.”

Joshua said right after teleporting to the edge of the galaxy.

“I sensed it too.”

Beside him, Galanoud and a rather tired Nostradamus nodded as well—the clear Chaos signature was wafting from nearby.

Naturally, that ‘nearby’ was relative to Legendary champions. It would normally take Void warships years or decades to cover the distances between worlds, and even Mycroft’s Fast Void Battleships would need seven to eight to travel back and forth several worlds around it.

Any further, it would be years.

However, Joshua shook his head over the giant silver planet cocoon. “I’m not talking about that presence. It’s the presence emanating from my Steel Strength… from the Restoration Beam.”

If it was not specified, even Joshua could not at once tell if it was the first Chaos presence that he and the Restoration Beam had picked up.

“Joshua, this level of Chaos presence is several times greater than the Void Mother we’ve killed… even far beyond that!”

Having used his full strength to combine with the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds to teleport Joshua along with a body comparable to a world here, Nostradamus was listless despite being a Legendary champion. Even so, he mustered his spirit to warn the warrior, “if it’s not multiple Legendary Evil God spawn… it might be a real Evil God!”

But are Evil Gods that weak?

Even Nostradamus himself found that suspect. Although the Chaos presence emanating from the distance was formidable, it was less than the main body of the Black Fog.

One way or another, it was not as powerful as they had imagined.

The Nature’s Magister furrowed her brow beside them. She sensed the distant presence, and cautioned with a low voice, “It’s strengthening… don’t waste them, it’s recovering at an observable speed!”

“It’s lucky I bring my true form along this time… Interesting, this still feels unfamiliar.”

Frowning before relaxing, and getting involved in something unexpected for the first time that was not his fault, Joshua did not say much else.

Meanwhile, the other two Legendary champions quickly contacted the other Legends so that they would come to help with the sudden Chaos presence, but both Nostradamus and the Nature’s Magister soon realized that they could not transmit their message.

“It’s a weird signature—the Chaos presence weakens energy ripples, even lowering the energy threshold for warping. Our communications are reduced to useless low-energy ripples the instant we transmit it.”

Nostradamus’s eyes were flashing with pale-blue radiance, analyzing the microscopic dimensional phenomenon and could not help having a pain in his head. “I could establish a stable dimensional bridge and directly relay the message back home—but it will take some time, I haven’t recovered yet…”

“Then I will go take a look with Galanoud.”

Joshua sensed that the Chaos presence was abnormal as well, and it was the first time he encountered such a special, unusual effect.

Was this how… Evil Gods stood out? It had yet to make an appearance, and such anomalies were here already.

Somehow, Joshua felt as if he had forgotten something. Sensing that something was not right, the warrior who was ready to move the planet cocoon to the source of Chaos frowned suspiciously, and then nodded thoughtfully. “So, that’s it.”

“The battle has already begun.”

***

Inside Hub Accrafa within the unknown world.

“Argh—!!!! It hurts! It hurts!!!”

When Priest woke up from the blast of endless information, the first thing he felt was unending pain.

From nerve endings to every composition in the base of his soul, endless information streamed and directly bombarded Priest’s brain and soul into a mess, with his soul almost collapsing—even with the Restoration Beam functioning normally and having been restored perfectly, Priest still felt that he was about to be detonated into pieces, an extreme torment that did not change at all.

It might even be due to the Restoration Beam that the young warrior could not faint, and was incessantly revived to the hundred percent anguish. He could not even evade, and had to endure a terrible agony that was a dozen times greater for normal humans.

Nevertheless, it was thanks to that that Priest did not forget what he should not be forgetting.

“Must… tell them, tell mentor, tell Mycroft headquarters…”

Forcefully retaining his sanity, Priest direct stabbed his left index finger into his left ear. Thick aura swiftly flowed out, destroying the pain sensory portion at the center of his brain with precision and temporarily shut down the torment that left his limbs trembling and immobile.

Then, the young warrior scanned his own body with aura—with his nerve endings all dead, he controlled everything completely through aura.

After all, it was not as if brain and nerves could not be healed with the Restoration beam, and with that thought, Priest rose and strode out of Hub Accrafa’s Central Control.

“This is not a world at all… neither are the moons in the skies moons…”

“This is a Sealed Land—the largest of them and a test ground of the Sage and the gods. It’s the most terrible prison of this world!”

Standing over the energy field of the Automatic-Navigation system, Priest half-knelt and stared at the ground. His gaze that could either be terror or forced composure could seemingly pierce metal to look at the depths beneath ground, at the being below the earth’s crust.

“An evil spirit of Chaos is imprisoned beneath our feet!