Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
If there was a long distance in the Void to be covered over units of centuries from the isolated point of Mycroft’s galaxy to the other galaxies, then only a brief period was needed to cross between other galaxies beyond all put together.
The Great Khan answered Joshua’s straightforward question without ambiguity. It knew Joshua’s personality and therefore prepared the appropriate answer beforehand.
“The closer a galaxy is to the interior, energies are more concentrated and the civilizations more powerful. Of course, the environment would be more dangerous as well, just as there are less civilizations and more World Eaters.”
The white eight-legged fungus projected a white screen and simply drew a large circle, before drawing a smaller circle right beneath the large one. “The large circle is the composite of the Multiverse’s galaxies, the endless clusters of worlds forming a massive circular structure. Meanwhile, the Lost Galaxy stands alone beyond the Mutliverse, even becoming a myth—we only came here after centuries of preparation.”
Then, bending its appendages, the Great Khan pointed at a point inside the big circle which was closest to the smaller circle. “This is the position of the galaxy we Starherders once inhabited. As you can see, it is closer to the lower interior of the circle a very active and prosperous galaxy that hosts many civilizations.”
Thanks to the Great Khan’s description, Joshua slowly understood the state of the galaxies beyond.
The closer the galaxy was to the center of the Multiverse, the more advanced civilizations that could freely transcend through the Void there would be. On the other hand, there were more normal living worlds further off the center, although living worlds might not necessarily give birth to intelligent beings. Certain isolated regions, or perhaps several galaxies would not see the presence of any intelligent beings, only primitive lifeforms.
That was not unusual since Joshua thought that the Multiverse might be a mere several billion years old. It was too young on a universal scale, and without the nurture of high-energy environments most worlds would be still at primitive evolutionary stages. It was the case for the few primeval worlds the External Exploration Department discovered—those places were still at the stage of ‘huge-appendage creatures and jellyfishes’ on the evolutionary progress, even amphibians had yet made their appearance.
Now, that world was where large, tasty meat crabs were being harvested.
Galaxies on the outer reaches were basically devoid of civilizations due to lack of high-energy environments. Few advanced civilizations existed, and the home galaxy of the Great Khan was a region beneath the Multiverse, a galaxy with the most number and most prosperous of civilizations.
That place had been very lively, just had it been extremely dangerous. Concentrated energies in the Multiverse would not only nurture countless powerful civilizations, it would also foster innumerable formidable Void Behemoths. Hundreds of civilizations that could move around the Void could exist simultaneously, while infinite warships would wander alongside swarms of Void Behemoths. World Eaters that were once myths increased as well in recent centuries, becoming a genuine threat of the many civilizations.
“But we did not leave our home because of the World Eaters. Or should I say, not entirely because of them.” The Great Khan said quietly. “World Eaters are definitely powerful, but it would not be impossible to repel them through alliances with other civilizations. And once beaten back, the victors would not have to worry about another invasion over the next few hundred years to flourish and develop in comfort.”
“Then… because of other civilizations?”
Joshua easily grasped the Great Khan’s meaning after listening quietly to its description of worlds beyond. “If hundreds of Void civilizations entered a battle to destroy each other, with Evil Gods invading in between just as the Void Behemoths created a mess…” He laughed quietly. “I’m certainly not surprised you would want to flee that galaxy.”
The white eight-legged fungus did not reply; it merely emanated waves of sadness and ‘stared’ at Joshua.
“Champion, that’s exactly it, just as it isn’t.”
The Great Khan spoke self-deprecatingly. “One could just flee to other galaxies if it was merely the World Eaters of the Chaos, and who could keep pursuing us who ride the Void Behemoths? We are Herders who wander the galaxies in the first place, would we be bound by mere homeland and exhaust all efforts to come to these Lost Lands?”
“What we are running from is an unstoppable and irresistible ‘Order’—we are running from the entire Multiverse.”
Joshua was left dumbfounded.
He sensed that, compared to the ‘Evil God swarm’ expected, what the Great Khan was about to describe was the truth that a powerful Void civilization would flee raggedly like a defeated mongrel.
“Compared to calamities such as World Eaters, a civilization’s enemy would always be another civilization.”
The Great Khan said calmly, “Champion, you who may hold kindness in your heart, spread seeds of life over the Multiverse and yearned to aid the weak would never understand. You, who once swore to save even the Abyss would never be able to understand.”
“There would always be some civilizations destined to stand against other civilizations.”
The Great Khan’s fungal form diminished, its soul form turning into a warped spiritual vacuum—boundless information hence surged towards Joshua in spiritual ripples form.
Thus, Joshua saw all that the Great Khan saw in millennia.
He saw black warships gathering and navigating past the Void, their tremendous mass distorting planetary orbits. Like a colony of ants, the fleet of the ‘Knowers’ blocked out the light of the stars.
He saw civilization after civilization that were about to enter the Void and step up onto the stage of the Multiverse being beaten down to the dirt by a greater power, the ‘Dynastists’ oppressing world after world from lofty palaces in the Void.
He saw the most hopeless of sights occurring simultaneously over dozens of galaxies. The ‘Swarm’ consuming everything from the skies, the land and the oceans to worlds and starlight. Innumerable abnormally bloated hives dragged off thousands of suns, food for countless larvae.
Two massive Void civilizations clawed at each other necks for a whole ten thousand years, the boundless blood grudge preventing them from accepting each other, or even other Order or civilizations. The war between ‘Bloody Court’ and ‘Ruin Zealots’ was of such great scale that it exceeded all imagination—when their emperors were enraged, the blaze of their anger would incinerate the Void and involve millions of worlds.
The ‘Custodians’ would gift unthinkable goodness to all civilization, the machine souls intricately caring for every race and nation so that they could enjoy flawless delight from body to soul. However, as a part of the deal, those in custody would have to hand over their principles, intelligence, body and soul, even the entire civilization in return.
The ‘Galactic Protectors’ ended wars with wars and answered ruin with ruin. Where they passed, war and strife did not exist—everything returned to silence, even civilization and species. When the decree of extinction was issued, light would appear in the Void, stars thus dying as world shattered, becoming swirls of energy in the Void. Boundless Steel Particles shuddering as they wafted into the distance like silver gales.
When the Evil Gods wandered worlds and destroyed one civilization after another, the fires of war between civilizations would have already laid waste to millions of worlds. The more destroyed worlds there were, the more Evil Gods there would be—the shade of Chaos spreading beneath the light of the Mana Tide, and none could stop it.
“There is already no sacred ground in the Multiverse. Even the most isolated of galaxies were drawn into the eternal strife… The Starherders are tired. We only wish for a quiet place to survive—my kin live upon the backs of Void Behemoths, never once staying on real worlds since thousands of years ago… it was a tiny wish that was never realized.”
The Great Khan’s bitter smile emanated from the spiritual void. “The crazed civilizations ignited crazed wars, and the seemingly kind helpers were essentially even more terrible butchers… Champion, the age of the Forerunners had passed for a dozen thousands of years, the commandments you once consecrated had already been abandoned or even distorted, just like the ‘Correctors’.”
“The war between Void civilizations are so terrible that countless civilizations were thus destroyed and wiped out, but there was one such race that did their best to aid weak civilizations yet to enter the Void step up on to the stage of the Multiverse.”
Joshua, who had been frowning all along relaxed his expression at those words. However, he shook his head when he remembered that the Great Khan mentioned ‘distorted’, before saying, “The price of the aid is the loss of autonomy and becoming a part of the ‘Correctors’?”
“It would have been fine if that was the case.”
A sneer wafted in the spiritual void which the Great Khan had turned. “Champion, you should know—it is very difficult to change cultures, norms, and traditions of a civilization and race. There was a great chance that some civilizations could never enter the Void because of their norms and traditions which prevented them from advancing.”
“Societies that lived too comfortably would never progress; species that flourished beneath ground could never imagine the skies. Such civilizations basically never develop technology to travel in the Void, but the Correctors would change all of that with the most heavy-handed measure.”
And what was the most heavy-handed measure?
As the Great Khan slowly narrated, the true nature of the seemingly mild and charitable Correctors was revealed: with their own civilization as standard, they would design a template appropriate for local Void civilizations, designing a whole new culture, tradition, and norm for them.
Massacre every being that was ‘foolish’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘stubborn’ in their perspective.
The Correctors would only leave some educatable infants and clones, indoctrinating with the ‘Corrected Civilization Template’, forcing an inferior civilization over decades and centuries, grooming them into Void civilizations compliant to the norms they acknowledged.
In the span of one generation, an entire world would be in their grasp. Issues of incompatible environments were negligible since those were native species, although their own civilization had been utterly destroyed and assimilated. That measure allowed the Correctors to expand far faster than any normal civilization, and though it appeared to be a multiracial alliance, it was essentially a single civilization, a single race, and a singular thought.
Those were the Correctors.
“The Starherders’ borders were incidentally located on an overlapping zone between a normal civilization, the ‘Custodians’ and the ‘Knowers’. Each lived in peace before the Age of Chaos began centuries ago, without any widespread wars despite our differences.”
“The appearance of the Evil Gods, however, left several civilizations maimed. Their enemies certainly would not let the chance slip by and rampantly annexed the range of their influence. Unable to stand idly by as their nemesis developed freely, wars began without any declarations made… The entire Multiverse, dozens of galaxies and thousands of Void civilizations were all hence drawn into a great war of the Multiverse.”
The spiritual void that was the Great Khan began to revert into its eight-legged fungal form, its spiritual presence calm and showing no signs of lying or deception. “Our galaxy had long since descended into the most terrible of blazes—we can’t go back.”
Joshua said nothing.
He was still pondering and digesting the information given to him by the Great Khan.
“Plundering technology like robbers, altering civilization, federations that take custody of knowledge, holding back vassal civilizations from developing, harvesting resources and talents, tyrants that determined dynasties, swarms that devoured all things, radical empires that conduct ethnic cleansing and Void cults… and a bunch of peacekeepers that attacked everything they see indiscriminately, and haywire servant artificial intelligences that assume control over civilizations.”
Joshua mumbled to himself. “The outside is so chaotic?”
Although he himself considered similar to Order—a ‘Peaceful Paradise’ that manipulated all things like a game. When developed to its peak form, the player would control countless puppet bodies and invade other worlds, drawing one world after another into Joshua’s own control.
In fact, the main form of Peaceful Paradise, or in other words the world that Joshua controlled was completed. Furthermore, the players basically exist—once Joshua succeeded in grooming his kin, everything would have a base.
Joshua naturally did not intend to do all that… Regardless, was the Multiverse not a little too lively?
In fact, this was not all that there was. The Starherder themselves were no superior civilization that was great enough to transcend galaxies. They had simply farmed many places, and were slightly more knowledgeable than normal civilizations. When the Great Khan revealed what they knew, Joshua could faintly infer that there were several profound civilizations fighting on the other side of the galaxy, such as ‘Elementalists’ that would alter physical worlds into pure magic elements, and ‘Terminators’ which indiscriminately killed all non-AI beings… such weird civilizations would be few, but most ordinary civilizations would still war against each other, driving war machines and destroying worlds.”
“Insane Order, civilizations akin to calamities and the shade of Chaos that lurked beneath the light of the Mana Tide. That is the reason the Starherder fled.”
The Great Khan said flatly, having seen that Joshua had completely digested the information given to him. “Apart from the Lost Galaxy of the myths, there is no galaxy to live in comfort. The fires of war blazes as the number of World Eaters increased—I could even see an unprecedented terrible calamity lurking, awaiting the day it would burst forth and return everything to the earth by fire.”
It was perhaps only in the ruins of war of the last era, the galaxy that wandered away from all galaxies—the homeworld of the Lost Forerunners that one could be spared from that calamity and destruction.
That was what the Great Khan thought.
But Joshua, who understood the idea, was staring perplexedly at it.
‘Could this mushroom head have never thought that the sacred grounds it kept speaking of is the converging point of every Evil God?’
A while ago, the champions of Mycroft had argued over half a year if they should run and escape the gathering of Evil God swarm, only for the eight-legged fungi to turn to them… What was that? Sending food to the tiger’s mouth? Even that was a little too kind—they had spent hundreds of years and toiled to only run into these barren ruins, to their own death.
Never has there been such an unlucky race.
“Having heard so much from you certainly made me aware of many things. Still, Great Khan, do not pretend to be innocent—you Starherders are no angels either.”
Relaxing his furrowed brow, Joshua narrowed his eyes as he said quietly, “In fact, you, who ride the Void Behemoths, devouring worlds as you wandered the galaxy is a calamity like the other destroyers. We would never forget that you allowed your beasts to consume several living worlds just for a little matter.”
“To you, normal worlds and inferior civilizations are but pastures—you are no different than that which you fear, apart from their superiority over you.”
“We admit to that fact. We are willing to give up on this lifestyle unconditionally.”
The Great Khan said briskly, slightly bending its appendages at Joshua. “We are prepared for everything—there’s no shame in bending the knee to the Forerunners.”
At the same time, every escort behind the white eight-legged fungus also bent their appendages.
Even Joshua himself could not say anything in the face of such quick pledge of allegiance.
He hated civilization such as the Starherders, but in one of their previous discussions, most of Mycroft’s Legendary champions considered the Starherders an important link for their civilization to the new worlds and galaxies beyond. Even if the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds could theoretically connect to every location in the Multiverse, the Starfall Era should not be placing everything they had on a Glorious Era relic.
“No, that’s definitely not all there is,” Joshua said softly, exhaling.
“Great Khan, all you have said is true and you certainly held nothing back—you had definitely given a full answer on why ‘you fled your galaxy’.”
“However, there must also be a reason why you did that. Speak, tell us your true purpose. You who dare to act against the Evil God of Wither would certainly never think about hiding here for life. Your coming here definitely would not only be for survival.”
Joshua was not accomplished in the aspect and soul, therefore unable to discern what thoughts it was hiding from the Great Khan’s spiritual signature. There would be no evidence even if he had any inkling.
Still, he did not need evidence since all he had to do was mention his inkling.
Such was the special right of superior civilizations.
In return, the Great Khan showed no anger or irritation from being doubted. “Yes,” it replied, nodding calmly, “War and World Eaters alone left us in despair, but there is definitely a reason I turned my eyes on the Lost Galaxy.”
“What reason?” Joshua asked, his tone filled with interest.
The Great Khan leveled an unusual ‘gaze’ at Joshua, and looked around at the chain of fortifications in Fort Pioneer, and spoke with complex spiritual ripples, “and the existence of the Forerunner civilization.”
“It is recorded in the ancient texts that endless mysteries exist in the Lost Galaxy… the former center of the Multiverse hosted the greatest of civilizations and the most powerful of champions, along with countless ancient relics and ruins prehistoric civilization… the Forerunners had defeated innumerable World Eaters, the power they inherited being unquestionably what we seek.”
“It is also rumored that the lowest level of the Abyss conceals secrets that could resist the ‘Calamity’.
Joshua stared blankly for a moment.
“The bottom of the Abyss?”
It was definitely a very familiar term.
The Abyss is a concept universal to all galaxies. It was the graveyard of worlds where infinite remains gathered.
And the Abyss of Mycroft’s galaxy was especially unique.
It was the residence of ancient evils, the place of the Azurite’s origins. It was the location where incinerated ruins and unlit Flames lay, the depths of which the Sage had once fallen, the bowels of the Abyss where he slew the most powerful Evil God in the observable universe, ‘Fertility’.
If there were any secrets in the Abyss, there was no question that one could rely on the fact that the former battlefield of Sage and Fertility where there was utter darkness would certainly hold mysteries that could lure all civilizations.