Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Joshua believed that heading to the Abyssal Paradise for a look and find any signs of an Evil God in passing was much more important than culling the demons that were massacring themselves en masse.
The twelve Abysses he had studied before were essentially not even a search but a mere stroll around the edge of Mycroft. To dive deep inside the Abyss and patrolling its frontier were entirely different concepts.
Since that was the case, to search deep inside the Abyss makes having a guide necessary.
If this was Joshua a few years ago, he would simply summon a demon with the Book of Eibon and persuade him gently so that it would be willing to guide him in exploring the Abyss. Now, even though the grimoire could not summon any demons, he could catch—summon one if he searched carefully.
But now, things were not so troublesome.
Taking a look at the time, Joshua manifested his clone at his own domain: Moldavia in the North, his power charging as he directly created a body south of the city.
Soon, dressed in typical wilderness wanderer fashion and a black cowboy hat, the warrior strolled along the residential area of southern streets, heading slowly towards a detached house.
The South City was where most factory workers and public servants working in the Liege’s Residence stayed. Unlike the Eastern Plains, since the magical factories were right under Joshua’s control, none would dare to skimp on the job and stint on materials in cleaning circles. Along with Joshua’s Steel Strength that emanates daily and spreads purification forces, Moldavia was very much unpolluted.
One could hear the sounds of toddlers or children crying and playing from the houses on both sides of the South City streets. They were children born to parents who had moved and married locally, and Joshua could not help nodding at the sound of the young. They were the future of civilization, and the first baby boom to come… soon, it would not only be Moldavia—all of Mycroft would see the first exponential growth in human population following the Draconic Plague.
A tremendous burst in population… could it brew another underlying conflict as well? Whatever the case may be, it would be a matter for a decade later, and it was certainly a rather deserved misfortune if Joshua could not get rid of an Evil God within ten years.
With that thought, Joshua soon arrived in front of a detached house. He could hear the clear, jovial voices even before he reached the door, blinking when he picked the sweet scent of sugar frosting and cakes.
Then, he knocked on the door.
The jovialness inside at once stopped as a girl hurried to the door, asking ‘coming, who is it?’. Someone also could be heard puzzling over who it could have been, but one way or another the door was quickly opened, and Lisa the Drakonid girl appeared by the door, lively and chipper.
It was only then that she saw Joshua. Her face froze at once.
Joshua seriously surveyed Lisa’s then: her clothing passed off as normal, but the smears on her face did not. There were words and little sketches on her face drawn with black paintbrush, leaving the Draknoid’s girl usually adorable face rather laughable.
It appears that those little fellows had more than a few daily entertainments and quite enjoyed themselves, living an exuberant life.
“Greetings, Lisa. Sorry for the sudden visit,” Joshua said, before assuming a praiseful tone when he clapped his hand on her shoulder to feel her ability. “Very good, you’ve developed well and been working hard.”
“Well, thanks, Master…” Lisa’s brow lifted excitedly at the praise and satisfaction showed on her face, before quickly shifting aside and ask tentatively, “What’s the matter, Master? why have you grace us with your presence?”
Usually, Joshua would have them go to the Liege’s Residence or the grounds of the Winter Fort Academy when he wanted to assess her and her peers’ ability. Rarely would he arrive on their doorstep, and his presence here naturally caught Lisa off guard.
Could her Master intend to carry out a sudden mission and assess her adaptability to sudden situations? It was his style and a reasonable one, and thanks to her not slacking from daily training that her combat ability remained on peak form.
‘Still, looks like the plan to get Mister Syndicate drunk today is off’, the Drakonid girl thought a little troubledly, ‘ and to think that it took some effort to prepare…’
Nonetheless, just as the girl was prepared for a mission to fight some Gold-pinnacle monster or puppet, she heard Joshua say, “I’m borrowing your Syndicate for a bit.”
Then, with a wave of the warrior’s hand, the Balrog which face was equally blank, smeared and appeared rather drank appeared in his grasp, held by his nape.
Joshua then nodded lightly at Lisa. “We’ll back soon, no rush.”
Then, both warrior and demon disappeared.
Lisa was left unable to react, but soon caught on to something important.
Standing by her own door and even forgetting to close it, a silly smile showed on the Drakonid girl’s face.
Meanwhile, Joshua was at the basement of the Liege’s Residence and asking Syndicate—which was now mostly sober— about the depths of the Abyss.
Ever since Syndicate had changed his own life essence into something to a Drakonid, it became a he and obtained the perception of most flesh beings. As long as the Balrog’s physical being was not severely hurt, he could maintain his pseudo-Drakonid form, even developing abilities.
Naturally, the ability to get drunk was included.
Joshua naturally was unconcerned with what Lisa and Syndicate could be playing at in broad daylight, but being a tactful one, he let him leave after asking the questions he wanted to know.
Nonetheless, Syndicate did not actually learn much or went to many worlds when it was still a Balrog. He had simply eaten and beat up imps, or led its minions to clash with other Supreme lieges… It was not privy to much as an individual, the terrible radiation even preventing it from thinking smoothly.
However, Joshua did not need what Balrog himself remembered, but the information hidden in his bloodline. The warrior had just ascended to Legend when they first met, and it remained difficult for him to analyze its fundamental bloodline information then. Now, however, Joshua could both study it and rewrite bloodline legacies for other beings, even branding it with the merchant label of the Radcliffe family, confirming expiry date and production serial number.
In other words, through widespread creation of bloodline legacies, Joshua could produce as many noble and powerful clans as he wished. Be that as it may, such a thing requires great effort but was also hardly rewarding, and would instead affect a race’s talent, which was why Joshua did not intend to do such a thing.
Soon, as Syndicate looked on bewilderedly, itself began to recite the legacy and information surfacing in his bloodline—in no time at all, Joshua learned many valuable information about the demons and the Abyss.
Eighty percent of known demonic races lived in the first hundred Abyss, with more than sixty commonly encountered species gathering in that region, fighting each other to secure resources. Otherwise they would be joining forces to plunder souls.
On the other hand, the other twenty percent of species were spread over the hundredth to the three hundredth Abyss… there were basically no intelligent demons beneath the three hundredth level, and those that wandered and resided there were mostly unintelligent demonic behemoths.
Why? The reason was simple: worlds at the top were those recently destroyed and descended into the Abyss, and lower ones were either ruined early on or suffered tremendous devastation.
Whatever the case may be those worlds simply did not accommodate life, and worse than dead worlds—even demons could not stand them.
At least dead worlds allow the existence of matter, whereas it would disintegrate in those ruins of worlds. All that one could find was within those worlds was a calm, inert sea of plasma. Like Head Death, existent but meaningless.
There were homes of ancient demons in Abysses beneath the three hundred level, with Balrogs being rumored to be one of them. Not even remains were left of their homeworlds, which was why the powerful Balrog tribe would break up and spread all over the Abyss.
On that note, the world of Kronos was beneath the Fifth Hundred Abyss. If the Ancient Dragon was not present, all life would have long since been gone, even breaking down into pure Steel Particles, returning to the Multiverse’s cycle of life. Even with the Ancient Dragon and Joshua helping to rekindle its Flame, the world of Kronos was still a long way from recovering.
The inside of most worlds around Kronos, had already been reduced into a sheet of chaotic Void, leaving the most stalwart of World Barriers as they collapsed ever so slowly, maintaining the darkened form of the world corpses worlds inside.
And according to Yolanda, the Abyssal Paradise was in the dark domain some nine hundred levels beneath.
It was not a precise number either—with infinite worlds collapsing and breaking apart, utterly removed even from the Abyss itself, while other worlds fall into the Abyss following recent calamity, the rate at which that Abyss rise or fall was very close too.
Perhaps, in decades, the Abyssal Paradise could either sink drop beneath the thousandth level or rise above the seventh or eight hundred. What it represents, however, would never change: it was the Depth of the Abyss, the place where countless remains piled.
“Legend has it that the unknown ‘Source’ of the Nether River flows from the bottom of the Abyss, spreading over the many Abyssal realms.”
At the basement of the Liege’s Residence, Syndicate was still instinctively repeating the knowledge in its bloodline. However, it was at that point that event the storied Balrog Monarch’s legacy developed uncertainty…
“The Netherworld’s presence is ever mysterious,” he said hesitantly and uncertainly, “‘I’ once attempted to follow its flow to explore its Source, but never reached the upstream even after crossing hundreds of worlds… Though my power had been the greatest amongst the Monarchs and could dominate multiple Abysses, it still holds unfathomable distance away from the Source of the Nether River.
“Heir of my race, I shall keep these memories in blood. Revere the Nether River and distance yourself, the darkness embodied within are mysteries far beyond our capacity to explore.”
After praising Syndicate’s recent diligence and finally recovering his Supreme-tier abilities through Skill Mastery, Joshua also urged him not to be surpassed by Lisa before simply dismissing him.
He was wrong in the first place for disturbing his juniors’ entertainment, and Joshua naturally would not keep intruding.
Still, there was interesting information from Syndicate’s Balrog Bloodline Legacy.
The Nether River was a presence that was easily overlooked because of how mundane it was, and this was the first time a connection was made between it and the Bottom of the Abyss.
Furthermore, Syndicate indicated that while demons would often be alert of each other, they rarely entered conflict: all of them were aware that they did not have anything of value. Only demons that needed to expand their influence such as Goliath, Demon King of the Sixth Abyss, that would conquer other demonic tribes.
That being said, demons would wage great, bloody wars from time to time—between periods that were not considered long for demons, at least.
Whether it was the Balrog Monarch which the recorded the Legacy or Syndicate himself did not find that too important. It was not unusual for demons to struggle for territory in the first place, and wars were merely a typical consequence of the demons’ violent nature imploding. In fact, one side had to be wiped out once the demons fought, while several, even dozens of Abyssal realms would be destroyed.
Through it all, the cause and outcome of those battles would be lost in the chaos.
“Could the revolts here had been fated, or I had ignored the feelings of the peasants after I crossed over, changed everything too rapidly and caused what was happening now?”
Joshua could not help muttering to himself.
The only thing he had thought about other than fighting since coming to Mycroft was ‘saving the world’.
All he had done was to save worlds. Since the goal of both fighting and destruction embodied immeasurably noble intent, none could accuse him.
Even so, since his transcending, all he had done was keep crossing over to other worlds incessantly as a noble, adding races and civilizations but never sparing the time to understand the thinking peasants, or to live like one.
He was more a god than human, but while the Seven Gods stood by a side and watched, he descended upon realms to uproot Chaos. Never had he considered if his influence was good or bad, and while it presently appears that the good outweighed the bad, Joshua was not sure if his actions could lead to lurking calamities.
But it was all relative.
Aside from Lisa and Syndicate, Ivan, Priest and the others lived colorful daily lives, just as Legendary champions such as Israel, Nostradamus and Igor having their own private lives. Even the Elven Queen had scandalous links with the Nature’s Magister.
But that was precisely why they are connected to the world itself. They are here in this age, caught in this age.
In Joshua’s pure eyes, all was clear.
The world of Mycroft is presently at a post-feudal system age directed towards industrial revolution, even an instant of rapid modernization, with the policy reformation from a majorly agriculture society to industry carrying great upheavals.
Back then, how many had died in England, the first nation back on Earth to undergo industrialization? Soot filled the skies of London, its air polluted with grey smog. As countless civilizations fueled development under such environments, their average lifespan was reduced to less than thirty-three—was that any different from Mycroft’s magic-powered development? Such unavoidable sacrifice was looming upon the continent as well.
It was also precisely why as civilization improved and industrialized, the sacrifice brought by the change of eras, the pressure, rebelling, despair and outburst hence grew more violent. Various countries back on Earth had also revolted several times, the outcome of which molded the form of present modern society.
But was that success guaranteed?
It was a ‘retribution’ against civilization—it was nirvana if they could weather it, collapse if they could not.
Now, with what might be the presence of an unknown Evil God, the Starfall Era of the Mycroft civilization could be seeing their retribution ahead of schedule.
As for Joshua, having learned of the location of the Abyssal Paradise and the present state of the Abyss itself meant that he had essentially gathered all information about the bottom of the Abyss. If he wanted to find any trace of the unknown Evil God and study the great mystery of defeating its kind that the Starherders spoke of, he could depart right now.
At present, the only thing that left him hesitant was whether he should interfere with Mycroft’s self-development.
Although he did not really intend to intervene nor had the ability to do so, Joshua was a person from the era of Great Unity after the Third World War: His very existence and memories were a ‘standard solution’, and with the tutelage of his experiences, he did not have to defeat the Evil God to weather this particular civilization calamity.
Still, could experience in a world without supernatural powers be applied to one that has it?
A Legendary champion’s unbridled influence and alteration of civilization, to determine a world’s future with individual experience—was that any different from Fattrovi?
Supernatural power was the power of miracles, and Legendary champions were crystallizations of miracles. Their existence was to seek possibility from the impossible, and civilization could evolve with that power… was it too much of a waste to use it on solving problems?
Those were all matters of pride—it could also be said that supernatural powers are the power of pride, and having it meant being fated to make such choices.
In the dark basement of the Liege’s Residence, the lights were out and Joshua was alone in his chair. While his posture was simple, his presence and imposing air made him appear a god upon his throne.
Amidst the lightlessness, the man had closed his eyes in meditation, while dots of silver starlight shone around him, swirling around the warrior like planets. Silver rows of complex, mysterious patterns utterly different from Mycroft runes unfurled towards his surroundings. As the particles wafted, everything in the basement from armors, weapons, walls, and pillars throbbed, as if becoming alive.
Without him deliberately controlling it, Joshua’s power was automatically affecting the world around him: pure Steel Strength animated everything, gifting primeval vigor.
His power had arrived upon a state that could change the world by just flowing away, birthing life, races as well as boundless possibilities and futures.
The warrior slowly opened his eyes. There was a faint, dim red glint in his gaze that flickered in silver radiance as Joshua muttered quietly, “Such a complicated thing.”
Unknown Evil God.
What is your name?
Meanwhile, at the edge of the galaxy.
A broken Sartrean fleet was panickily fleeing through space toward Fort Pioneer.