Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Civilization was built upon it.
Wilderness filled with beasts whereupon the blood of hunters spilt, corpses of warriors sprinkled upon ancient battlefield—when a race is forced to fight other powerful species, it is the voluntary sacrifice of the brave that save many.
From the oldest papyrus, we learned that Chaos already existed dozens of thousands of years ago. At the time, our race had no magic, aura, ether, psionic power, or holy light. We had nothing then, and sacrifice was thus required for the right to survive.
Dozens of millennia ago, the battle of our ancestors sprinkled blood and guts upon the fertile soil of civilization. We kept sacrificing, advancing without stopping as the heroes hoisted the flags, leading countless forward as they trod upon the corpses of predecessors. Our blood allows the birth of new generations, our bloodlines to perpetuate. Though our civilization would find one great power after another as they fought on—magic and aura illuminating our way forward as if lighthouses, the cornerstone of those towers are the corpses of innumerable ancestors.
Zessel was reading an ancient text. The creature which had two rows of eyes, four arms, and a wriggling, serpentine body was surrounded in psionic presence. It was also quietly reading the ancient history written in an ancient tome, completely unconcerned with the noise around it.
“Mycroft’s civilization had utterly revived—it’s not on a small-scale either, their warships had navigated through the Void and arrive on the very edge of the Galaxy!”
“We should have realized that back when we pursued the Ancient Dragon in the Abyss. Capable of dispatching multiple ‘Legends’—is that what they’re called? Only they are a faction that has the power of superior beings, save for the demons.”
“Chaos is rising. We have detected the presence of Evil Gods… Although it would quickly be extinguished by the Mycroftians, their return is certain, just like how Mycroft awakened.”
“Is the return of Chaos causing the revival of Mycroft, or Mycroft’s revival that decided the return of Chaos?”
“Never forget, brothers. It was precisely their arrogance that left us hiding here, hanging by a thread!”
It was a conference to decided the fate of the Sartrean civilization.
Beside a large oval table, Sartrean elites, leaders, and scholars were fiercely debating away to convince each other.
The name of their race might not be remembered by many in the Multiverse, but many would show an expression of realization when the term ‘Stellar Deities’ were used, before becoming alert.
They were giants once, ruling dozens of planetary regions in the center of the galaxy even though they had been fighting chaotically since they were born. Their homeworld was located near the lair of an Evil God’s kin, but they had utterly vanquished that breeding place of Chaos on the day they called themselves gods and stepped into the Void, keeping its ruin as spoils of war placed in their central palace.
The Satreans were a fortunate race just as they were not. They never encountered larger Behemoths apart from that Chaos lair near their homeworld—they were unfortunate to have been an ambitious civilization lusting after the distant stars, but were born in the same galaxy as the Mycroft and Shelter civilizations.
Young civilizations that did not go through that age would never imagine the horrors and despair.
They once observed the stars and planetary regions, imagining that tales, legends and ancient stories of the constellations were merely about little planets within the borders of superior civilizations—even if the truth was that the Void warships of those civilizations had streaked through the skies of their world when their ancestors were still brawling wild beasts, even enjoying those sacrifices and conflict.
They could advance into the Void only because the Void civilizations of the Central Galaxy did not have the habit of destroying seedlings. In fact, the Chaos invasion they saw as a nemesis was a low-level threat that would not have infected even one world.
The prideful Sartreans finally learned to discreetly develop, slowly adopting neutrality over xenophobia since they realized that rejecting other civilizations would get them crushed like ants by superior civilizations. They learned their lesson after several radical civilizations were destroyed, the most notable one being an artificial intelligence civilization—those metal brains that could have culled every Satrean did not hesitate to launch themselves obsessively at the Mycroft civilization, causing their entire fleet to be pinched into ashes by a powerful deity.
They expanded slowly, attempting to catch up to those most advanced of civilizations. The Shelter Federation which did not mind other civilizations imitating them were simply happy to have them, while the Mycroftians reveled in their own world, creating wonders and demiplanes but reluctant to rule faraway enclaves within their vast borders.
“The day would come that distances no longer exist, and we would completely grasp the boundlessness of deep space.”
That was the favorite saying of Mycroftians at the time. Those hairless bipedal lifeforms were so arrogant that they never bothered to lower their eyes at other civilizations—even when the Sartrean borders had expanded to cover dozens of planetary regions, they merely saw them a child that was growing well.
But the truth was that their pride had been nothing less and a reality, and the Sartreans realized that too late.
The darkness had come, and the bright galaxy was shrouded in shadows.
Countless Evil Gods and demons descended upon the stars, unimaginable ranks of Chaos monsters plaguing ten thousand worlds. Thus, the fate of the Satreans’ civilization changed irreversibly.
Their fleet crumbled and their fortresses the dismantled by the assault of multiple Evil Gods. The Stellar Deities that were on a meteoric rise fell all at once and were routed—their distant enclaves first, the colonies nearby their central territories next. Before the tides of Chaos, the light civilization fell one by one, the entire galaxy thus painted dark.
The Sartreans were fortunate, just as they were not.
They were fortunate because of either luck or destiny—none of the Evil Gods attacked them, and their home planet could stand against the assault of their minions alone.
Unfortunately, apart from their native system, billions of Sartrean colonists died of, their souls destroyed and their bodies decaying, becoming food and energy source for the minions of Chaos.
Therefore, they entered lockdown.
The Sartreans sealed their home planet, enclosing their civilization within a single world and trembled like an ostrich—they despaired, intending to weather the winter with an ‘I can’t see you, you can’t see me’ mindset.
In reality, they succeeded.
Thousands of years later, their reputation still lives, unlike other civilizations that were reduced to ashes.
Zessel closed the tome in his hand looked up at the conference table where the table was not ceasing.
“Stop.” It said with a deep voice, and there was silence at once when he spoke.
“If they did not come to us in the past out of disdain, they are not coming to us because they do not have the time.”
“We simply have no choice. The resurgence of the Mycroft civilization makes it a matter of time before they find us… whether they would come to us as equal or to extort resources, do you think we would have a choice?”
Zessel laughed quietly. “The weak cannot choose, which is why it is better to choose the timing.”
Some of the Satreans nodded, just as others shook their heads. Even so, none of them protested—such was a little privilege Zessel enjoyed as the champion of their civilization.
“Would we really not be deliberately exposing ourselves?”
A voice with a hint of reluctance echoed quietly in the conference room. “Why should we not keep hiding as Chaos reappears? We no longer have the power to fight those monsters once more.”
Those words were greeted by Zessel’s icy stare. The Sartrean waved his hand, summoning a large screen at the center of the conference table. It flickered, and then displayed the current shape of their homeworld.
It was a small continental realm that was sixty percent seas and forty percent land, their conference room being at the top of a two thousand-meter tall skyscraper.
Similar towers stood densely adjacent to it, like a gathered strain of fungal or beehive and making up thirty percent of the continent, the other seventy being occupied by other similar grand scale buildings as well.
Pollution, industrial and from overpopulation had dyed the coastal seas ash-black, just as their clouds were gray-brown and terribly acidic. Millions of Sartreans were jammed into one small world, wearing tools similar to protective mask as they wiggled within skybridges and pipelines.
There was no hope in their eyes to speak of, only the most profound of stupors.
The Sartreans had sacrificed a great many things so that their civilization survived.
When the last of their Golden Fleet evacuated the last continents and retreated, everyone thought that it would be the final sacrifice—like the heroes who had stood out to protect their homes in ancient times, choosing to die for the many.
But it was only until the evacuation vessels reached their home planet, when billions were squeezed onto a little continent that they truly understood what sacrifice really meant.
When surviving itself became a torment and to cherish death was but a choice, if everything could not be worse than it was not, why not step out and choose a future with stronger possibilities?
“If we step out on our own accord, Sartreans could perhaps find a chance of survival.”
Zessel spoke helplessly, lifting its gaze at the starry skies that were immeasurably dim compared to thousands of years ago. “If we keep staying in this world that is nearing its doom, we would have no future at all.”
And it was not only the Satreans who made that choice.