Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
It was all merely a guess, but Joshua did not believe that he had no evidence at all—the almost-random theory was the truth.
Be that as it may, it made clear how the Bottom of the Abyss was unusual. As the gathering place of infinite perished worlds, the souls, information and boundless Steel Shards, the Abyssal Paradise must be a forbidden place of the Multiverse that was larger and more terrible than the Void Vortex. The worlds and civilizations that were decimated due to the Final Battle had been especially many in Mycroft’s galaxy compared to others, which undoubtedly made the Bottom even more dangerous.
“Did the Sage really fight the Evil God of Fertility in such a place?”
Joshua felt his body warmth rising by imagining alone as his core reactor accelerated considerably. He closed his eyes, attempting to imagine the grandness of that battle.
A long time ago, Joshua had already tried imagining the sight that made his juices flow after learning that the Sage once fought multiple Evil Gods.
At the time, due to his own ability and tier, he simply could not envision that battle in his mind. Just like individuals unlearned in machine processes would certainly fail to think of the inner structure of engines, he could not even picture the Sage’s skills or the Evil God’s form.
But now, Joshua was slowly catching up.
He slew an Evil God—an Evil God, whether it was weak or in peak form. In the very least, now that Joshua’s ability had greatly improved, he did not think the Evil God of Wither would have been some unstoppable threat even at peak form.
He could picture how the Sage controlled Holy Light and countered Fertility’s corruption, standing alone in the depths of the Abyss as he stopped the most powerful Evil Gods and all its spawns.
But such vivid imagination did not continue—Joshua opened his eyes deliberately.
Thinking about it was meaningless.
The luminous human form had happily extended luminous ribbons to stroke his cheek. In turn Joshua touched its hair, and left the Blood Moon, smiling.
It was better to witness and experience something firsthand once than to imagine it ten thousand times, just as it would be to improve himself rather than fantasizing a billion times.
When the time comes, he would head for the center of the Multiverse, find the Sage, ask him about every mystery and suspicion in the previous era before challenging him.
He had come to the Bloodmoon Abyss not to visit Light’s true form and become emotional.
He was here to prepare for the ‘Abyssal Purge’ that was about to come.
“I’m off. Next time just get Light to give me a shout if you miss me or feel lonely—I’ll bring you some interesting gifts.”
As the luminous form made some rather reluctant noises, Joshua waved and tore through the air, streaking toward another Abyss.
Since the warrior was prepared to act, there would be no hesitation or pause.
Meanwhile, in the Seventh Abyss.
It was a world that was gradually becoming sinister and freezing as its sun slowly died, but regained some degree of warmth following the battle between the Sage of the Oceans and an Ether Dragon.
The Seventh Abyss was not actually huge. It was a typical ocean world where several square continents with spherical skies floated. But as its sun slowly dimmed, the sea was frozen, plants withered, and the civilization that once flourished upon it was almost wiped out, living some Frost Demons that mutated so they could adapt and survive in the low-temperature environment.
However, Vahina and the Ether Dragon’s recent duel had melted the central mountain chains of that world. Magma tides that blanketed heaven and earth increased the world’s temperatures by thirty degrees—in that battle, the energy both sides unleashed was even more than the energy discharged from a sun in a year.
The Sage of the Oceans who wielded the ability to transition between substance and spirit had near limitless power in realms with substance and soul. As for the Ether Dragon, they were fabled to have one of the greatest bloodline powers in the Multiverse, and were born with the ability to control ether and manipulate the near boundless power in the surrounding Void. The pair was thus truly evenly matched, and rampantly bombarded away in that world.
That battle had defrosted the Frozen World by several margins to the point that the dying sun began to shone a little—it would have been good news for ordinary creatures, but for the Frost Demons that had long adapted to low temperature, it was nothing but a disaster. In fact, after that fight, seventy percent of the Frost Demons had migrated away from that Abyss by moving along the Nether River, leaving the other thirty percent that stayed, unwilling to leave.
Now, however, even thirty percent was nowhere to be seen.
As Joshua streaked through thin air and arrived at the Seventh Abyss, the warrior’s Steel Strength vision picked up no flames of life over the entire Abyss, only a vast dead world.
“They’ve all really ran off?”
Even if he was aware of the fact after Igor had informed him, Joshua could not help feeling astonished when he witnessed the sight with his own eyes.
In the end, demons were a species after the existing races of a civilization that underwent widespread mutation following the death of their world. Steel Strength upheaval and hostility of living environments would have devastated all existing native species, but some would adapt to it regardless, simultaneously obtaining great power.
There was naturally not a single species of a demon since it was an umbrella term for all intelligent creatures in the Abyss—just like how the powerful demons in the Sixth Abyss had originated from an Insectoid civilization that was devastated six thousand years ago, the Frost Demons origins were creatures resembling sauroks that lived millennia ago as well. Compared to other demons such as balrogs that tend to move around endlessly, this particular species was much more used to its frozen native land: they simply could not adapt to other Abysses that were either filled with powerful acid, toxic gases, or magma.
However, Joshua could not help be puzzled by how rapidly the demons had migrated away despite their poor adaptability. Could there have been a mole in Mycroft that leaked the news to the demons about their preparation to exterminate their surroundings?
“But isn’t that impossible?”
Joshua was distinctly aware that almost all cultist in the Empire were culled under his supervision, and there was essentially no cultist presence at the far south, where the headquarters of the Seven Gods Church was present.
Even at the West Mountains where the cult once prospered, most cultists could now only have their hanging between their legs, a far cry from their unrestrained savagery before. It was easy to understand as well—ordinary citizens were only fooled by the cult due to poor living conditions. Now, with substantial technological advancement, the living quality for normal people on Mycroft was ten times better than before. Since they had full stomachs and enjoyed warmth in their homes, why would they still join some dangerous cultist ritual and take on the unrewarding task of serving the demons?
Most importantly, the plans against the Abyss only existed in the minds of several Legends and their direct subordinates. Brandon and Roland were candidates sent as forward as scouts by Israel and Igor, and they told no one else apart from them—the excuse of training exercise was even used as they moved their armies.
Joshua scanned the Seventh Abyss for another few times, checking that the world definitely had no life.
More unusually, what remaining vigor in that world was gradually diminishing.
The so-called Abyssal ‘vigor’ was actually what capacity for life cycles left inside the Abyss.
For example, the Lava Inferno, the powerful Sixth Abyss which was closest to Mycroft was a world with considerable vigor. Abyssal Worms had a complete nurturing and breeding process in that place, with newborn demons rapidly gaining intelligence and spirituality through scattered soul fragments, hence birthing more powerful Insectoid Demons. The broken and weak Soul Cycle and Ecosphere hence guaranteed the survival of its Abyssal Will, supporting many powerful demons, even Legendary tier Demon Kings.
In fact, the Seventh Abyss also contained a complete ecosphere. Right beneath the thick, frozen seas, there was a dark and warm lake that never freezes. The last residual warmth stayed there along with many fish species that flourished, the place where the Frost Demons procreated.
But now, Joshua could see that the lake had been polluted by toxic. The fishes had also all died off, and the entire lake was now a deathly body of water.
All remnant vigor of the Seventh Abyss—or perhaps all hope it had to return to normal was hence destroyed.
And from the looks of it, the Frost Demons must have done that themselves.
“Weird… what actually happened here?”
Joshua truly could not imagine what transpired there—landing above the lake, he stamped on it and broke through thousands of meters thick ice, directly tunneling an entrance in it. As the warrior lowered his gaze at the Frost Demon’s birthing place that was now a dead lake, there was incomprehension in his eyes.
Demons were not lunatics so violent and evil that they have to destroy everything in this world, or they would have long since destroyed themselves. In fact, they would not destroy anything with ill-intent if unnecessary, or at least converting the world into an environment that they were comfortable with. They needed souls and the power of Creation to reignite the Flame of their worlds, and even their dreams were to restore vigor to their world. So, before that, they would invade other worlds like nomads, plundering soul and lives to maintain the vigor of their own world.
Joshua believed that Demon General Helm he fought against would never destroy the vigor of its own world. It was equal to vanquishing all hope for the future, reducing the Abyss into a dead world utterly unsuitable for living.
With such misgivings in mind, Joshua kept streaking through the Void, heading off to look at other Abyssal realms.
And reality left him utterly shocked.
In the span of three to four days, the warrior carefully patrolled twelve Abyssal realms once inhabited, including the Toxic Sea which Syndicate the Balrog lived for some time. But like the Seventh Abyss, there were no trace of demons in every Abyssal realm, just as the last vigor in the world was diminishing.
Now, it was Starfall Year 840, the 25th of April—the fifth day since Joshua ventured deep into the Abyss.
At present, the warrior was flying high above the Toxic Sea and pondering.
In the past few days, he had seen many unbelievable sights.
Within the Oceanic Abyss, the wandering giant sea insects and dragons had all vanished, just as the fire lizards and balrogs that lived in the volcanic worlds of magma realms could not be found.
Still, there were substantial traces of civil wars in the demonic habitats, with considerable corpses of powerful demons sprawled over settlements that had wounds left on each other.
Likewise, all signs of life in the Oceanic Abyss had been extinguished by various measures from seismic shift, triggered volcanic eruption, incinerated Abyssal forests, underground fungal caverns caving in… Such cruel actions actually Joshua frown despite his heart of stone, quietly murmuring of the insanity.
Some ancient Abyss still existed since the inhabiting demons were diligently maintaining the vigor within. Even though Joshua believed that he would destroy the Abysses after wiping out the demons, he also found it a fine choice to restore them as normal worlds if possible.
After all, it was much more difficult to start from nothing than to restore a world to a normal one. As in the case of Kronos, worlds with surviving ecosystems have the chance to recover just like any Abyss.
Even so, the most horrible thing here was not the decimation of all life, but that its destroyers were the demons that once lived in that world.
There appeared to have been a great battle before they left, the civil war forcing them into self-destructive measures, laying waste to all Abyssal vigor therein.
Naturally, Joshua did not head to the Sixth Abyss this time.
Even if Joshua did not mind fighting Goliath the Demon King and experiencing the true power of an Abyssal Liege, he held back his desire to prevent alerting them and thus allow the crafty Insectoid Demons to escape. It was also exactly why he would not know if the Sixth Abyss shared the same fate as other Abysses, with widespread civil discord and self-destruction.
But if that was indeed the case for the Sixth Abyss, Joshua would not be pleased.
Demons were certainly the enemies of all Order and civilization, failures that represented Chaos and barbarism, and their mutual slaughter was a good thing for any civilization. However, if the Sixth Abyss that was very near Mycroft proved to be a similar case, it meant Mycroft’s turn would come soon—the abnormal, unreasonable destruction was simply a foe of all that lives.
Joshua slowly descended on the surface of the Toxic Sea. According to Joshua, this was the first place where it answered his summons—beneath the acidic ocean were innumerable creatures that enjoyed acidic environment, a local species that was ‘Acidic Demons’ to a certain point of view.
“Although I sense no Chaos presence…”
Crouching, Joshua reached out to touch the surface of the acidic sea, and narrowed his eyes at the dark green liquid that corroded his fingertips. “I suspect that this is an Evil God attack!”
Just like how Fertility simply had to pass by, all things in the world would ‘flourish’ like never before and ‘decline’ unstoppably.
Just like how Wither’s presence could reduce any courageous army and civilization into lazy races that have no impulse for improvement.
Just like how Famine would descend, leaving barren plains and dust of all things that were once beautiful.
Calamity, Apocalypse, Disparity, Pestilence… there would be omens before each Evil God appeared and wreaked utter ruin. Their presence was specific doomsdays given form, obliterating all life and civilization.
However, Evil God minions and the power they embodied would always get everyone to neglect those aspects. After all, both of them were beings that destroyed worlds—who would be concerned with their means?
But Joshua was different. Being one who had long considered Evil Gods a future enemy and knowing many Evil God origins, he was especially attentive about the different attributes of the Evil Gods from the very start. And this time, the unusual phenomenon in the Abyss was remarkably similar to the omens before Evil Gods appeared! Having witnessed the descent of Calamity’s clone in Illgner, he was almost certain of that after having felled the Ten Calamities.
“Have to tell His Holiness and others about this.”
At the very thought, Joshua no longer hurried to explore other Abysses. Rising slowly above, he tore apart the World Barrier and flew swiftly toward Mycroft’s coordinates.
With his present abilities, he quickly returned to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, and used the communications system in the research center to contact Pope Igor. However, just when he was prepared to describe what he saw in various Abyssal realms for the past few days, Igor’s tone appeared much somber and dejected than when they previously met.
“What is it, Your Holiness?”
He asked, puzzled. “Why do you sound troubled?”
Igor hesitated on the other side for a moment, before quickly explaining the reason for his pause.
“It’s very sudden, but this is all true.”
The pope shook his head as he spoke somberly. “The civil conflict in the Far Southern Kingdom is exacerbating. Many nobles and some citizens are intent on revolutionary policies that would force the king to abdicate, while all existing thirteen autonomous domains are declaring independence, with plans to establish nations.
“Apart from that, there are widespread demonstrations in the Eastern Plains. Many smaller mage academies and spellcaster guilds are organizing joint protests, boycotting the Skypiercing White Tower for invading their inherent boundaries. Some were also protesting about the White Tower’s local enchanting and modification, claiming that they were ruining tradition.”
“Things are still fine in the Northern Empire with the presence of the Skynet system and the eradication of some nobles that had extreme conflict against citizens, meaning that the lower levels are alright. But according to Israel, the new and old nobles of the Empire are now in deep conflict, with both sides executing assassinations—and it is a matter that he could not interfere directly with as Emperor.”
At that point, even Joshua could understand what was transpiring, just as the elderly pope rubbed his temples helplessly and smiled bitterly. “There’s no need to mention the West Mountains—Grand Duke Romain is now Grand Emperor Romain, and has directly launched blitzkriegs against neighboring countries.”
“To be frank, Joshua, I never imagined that the sporadic conflicts that had already been suppressed would suddenly worsen to such states in four to five days!”