After Roland the Holy Knight vanished from the portal, Pope Igor stood alone amidst the Void.
He raised his hand and studied the lines on his palm, before clenching it and looked up at the cleansed world.
“That’s for sure.” He smiled gently. “He has been hoisted, as befits his identity.”
There was pleasure in the elderly pontiff’s eyes. “At least, the future he chose is a better one compared to the one I foresee.”
A day later.
The recruitment of Supreme and Gold-tier champions quickly spread over the entire world of Mycroft.
Their galaxy had been sealed in the Final Battle of the last Era, by the Vortex of Creation and the destruction wrought by Evil God invasion, and much dimmer than normal galaxies. Be that as it may, in the hidden dimensional bubble found at an unknown corner, there were still many worlds where life existed.
The champions on Mycroft were not few—there were already a dozen Legendary champions that diverted some of their power, animating it so that it could independently carry out missions, allowing them to pacify hundreds of weaker worlds alone.
That being said, it remained too much for that dozen Legends to suppress over a thousand worlds within a few days. Compared to the number of living worlds in a galaxy, they are unimaginably lacking.
Therefore, the Extraordinary individual dubbed the Peace Envoy issued an order to enlist on the world of Mycroft.
Unlike the existing national policies, guild recruitment or group missions, the enlisting was endorsed by every powerful faction across the world. Every Legendary champion and national masterminds jointly supported, and as reward, the doors to old royal treasury and shrine riches would be opened, just as the point exchange system of the External Exploration Department made its world debut.
Excited by the prospect of martial arts tomes and riches, even secluded hermits stepped out of the mountains and forests. Supreme champions could simply ignore monarchs and scorch their recruitment parchments into ashes, but they had no choice this time—when even the most stubborn say the signatures of Legendary champions, their knees would cave, not to mention that there was insurance for that mission despite the huge rewards, and they were not being told to die.
The number of Supreme and Gold-tier champions had increased significantly after the Great Mana Tide. A nation’s Supreme champions that would have amounted to five at most now leaped up to twenty. That was even more the case for Gold champions since graduates from the Winter Fort Academy tend to be Gold. For example, the top batch of students including the First Party, the Elite Party and Lisa the Drakonid’s gang were all Gold, and could ascend into Supreme with a little diligence.
In the first day the enlistment was issued, more than eighty Supreme champions answered—most of them new Supreme. They would be taken by the portals through the prearranged warp point of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds and await their assignment. Over a thousand Gold joined, having become interested in the famed otherworld exploration and wanting to know new worlds as well.
As for combat.
To these Extraordinary individuals who lived on Mycroft, Extraordinary power existed for the fight. They would have been shocked by the rich rewards, but would never be surprised that their mission included fighting.
The conflict in the world was temporarily pacified before a calamity that embroiled all civilizations in the galaxy. If there were any who were intent on stirring infighting, the Legendary champions who had already decided to act would wipe them out.
The world has been changed.
In the north, in a small city upstream of the Magel’s unfrozen river belonging to the Scarlet Family, a seemingly plain enchanted carriage was trotting along the riverbanks. There was no horse pulling it, and it moved powered by mana crystal engines, exerting such output that it would not be an issue for it to fly.
The white stone path that was rather wide passes through the riverside woods and grasslands, winding towards the main city in the distance. The window of the carriage was opened, where the silhouettes of a man and a woman could be seen.
“Brandon… do you intend to answer the Peace Envoy enlistment?” The lady in the carriage asked sadly. She had violet hair and wore many shiny gem jewelry, although the powerful magical presence each precious stone emanated was a greater indicator of their value—there was no doubt that she was a Gold-pinnacle mage armed to the teeth. The mana contained in those pieces of jewelry alone had the power to destroy a street.
“Of course, Dani. This matters to Mycroft, and it’s impossible for me to not go as a Supreme champion.”
Beside her, a large blond man was smiling gently. “What’s more, after training for so long and having visited the Abyss, I also want to know what level my power has reached.”
As he spoke, he subconsciously reached out to touch his hip—his Twin Blades of Order, however, was not with him.
“This time, they have an urgent need for manpower, and even Supreme champions might be asked to handle a primitive world alone… it would be fine if they were weak, but even you would find it difficult with stronger species. On the other hand, Gold-tiers like us are mostly assigned to parties for pacification missions and weaker worlds, so there should be no issue.”
At that, Vale Dani sighed softly. “Still, after such extended peacetime, it was about time for war or calamity to bare its ugly head… I would’ve felt that something is wrong instead if nothing happens. However, the children would grumble again—it’s rare for them to have school holidays, so why aren’t mum and dad at home?”
Brandon could not help laughing and shrugging at that. “They are grown up now. Their classmates at Winter Fort Academy would pass the time with them, and don’t you think that they would especially enjoy not being pushed around by their parents and enjoy their holidays freely? We have two more… ouch!”
Brandon brushed his outer thigh painfully after it was jolted viciously by Vale Dani’s thunder spell, although the bull-killing beam was a flirting for the Extraordinary couple—the swordsman instead pulled Vale Dani into his embrace and kissed her.
Then, after some indescribable intimacy, Vale Dani’s expression darkened again after she freed herself from Brandon, sighing. “… Brandon, I’m always feeling panic. That Radcliffe’s otherworld exploration plan has taken form, and this enlisting is actually a large-scale development experiment… I always feel that, whatever happens, our little bliss could completely vanish.”
“Occupying other worlds, expanding territories, fighting foreign foes and repelling the Chaos… Yes, those are good, but could we still leisurely stroll in carriages beside the river forest like now? Could we still play Fairy Cards with our children and push them to do their homework?
Brandon said nothing. He simply held the troubled mage’s hand since he knew that what his wife feared was not battle, death or Chaos enemies, but not being able to be by her daughters’ side.
Could they still maintain that little bliss in the future?
Of course not.
And that answer would never change.
In the next dozen years, the world would not be that leisurely save for normal beings. Those without supernatural powers could enjoy the time to relax after work, but every Extraordinary person would have to fulfill their duty to civilization and world.
With great power comes great responsibility. Sometimes, it was not an issue of whether they wanted the duty, but the power they embody symbolized authority and duty of the tribes, allowing no refusal or delegation.
Unless one would live as a solitary beast that completely ignored civilization and wandered the Void… but what bliss was there to speak of in such a life?
Brandon understood his wife’s melancholy. Their two daughters were blossoming and at the golden age where their ability would grow, and would later live alone instead of staying with them. As parents, who would not stay with their children a little longer to enjoy those last days of intimacy?
“Vale Dani, look. We are reaching the city.”
The blonde swordsman nodded, gesturing for his bothered wife to look ahead. “It’s your former gardeners—the Boris family. Don’t they live downtown?”
The conversation shifted, Vale Dani mustered her spirit and said nostalgically, “Old Boris was the captain of my personal guard who died in the Mana Tide seventeen years ago… Little Boris would become my gardener since his combat aura was lacking, and now even his son works for me. I think he owns a flower shop now.”
It was a question put as a statement. Being a fitting liege, Vale Dani naturally knew what her former servants were now doing.
Brandon nodded slightly, speaking quietly as they approached the main city. “I remembered the time when Old Boris chased me out of the castle when I was pursuing you all those years ago too, thanks to orders from your father… I can’t fight back at the time, and simply jumped out of a second-floor window and crashed headlong on the street slab.”
“The Borises all lived on that street. They were born city guards and lived along that fountain street—in fact, at least five to six generations of childhoods were spent there for the families of surrounding streets.
Vale Dani turned curiously to Brandon, who smiled as he continued. “It’s a grocery shop at the end of the street which was more than three hundred and fifty years old… you’ve even introduced the place to me, saying that it was the oldest shop in the main city. When I visited the place with Flan a few days ago, it had brought in a vending machine, but even so, the owner who’s now over seventy-years old still loved to speak to his customers over the counter.”
“Brandon?” Vale Dani was puzzled, unsure why her husband knew her town so well…
It was not actually unusual, but why would he say all that now?
But just when she tried to interrupt him, he put a finger to her lips. “That street holds three hundred and fifty years of memories for hundreds of families. In fact, it’s the same for every family in every street in every city—each holds recollection for countless people, the composite of their life and happiness.”
“However, Vale Dani, your power and mind could easily destroy this land of memories into nothing with one serious thought.”
Brandon sighed. “We are champions. The happiness of our family is not limited to a single street, and our home is not a city in the north, or a domain… it’s the world of Mycroft. Our happiness is bound to civilization’s stability.”
“You and I would not have happiness without world peace and stability. You certainly could believe that we can create a safe harbor amidst the chaos, but doesn’t it pale in comparison to a life of true serenity? What’s more, are such peaceful but dull days interesting, happy and perpetual for a Supreme swordsman and a Gold-pinnacle war mage?”
Not a fool, Vale Dani naturally knew what Brandon meant and did not retort, nodding her head gently instead.
It was certainly so… if she thought nothing of it, why would she have chosen to ascend as a war mage who was not useful apart from battle? It was only her daughters who tug had her free heart, keeping her reluctant to leave.
The carriage slowly reached the main city and the portal directed to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds in the main city. His brow lowered and his gaze calmly, Brandon then spoke mildly, “I have delved in this bliss for too long… our girls have grown, matured and become independent. Hah! Ten years had passed and Joshua van Radcliffe is now one of the greatest Legends on Mycroft, he is saving the world and fighting for our civilization.”
With those words, Brandon looked up with a sharp gaze. “You often said that he is slowly growing inhuman, assuming that he once had a temper and was quick to anger, and that he would only bathe himself in the blood of monsters.
“But Joshua never changed.”
He could still be angered and clenched his fist, beating up those who need a good beating… like now, clearing a bloody path amidst despair and darkness.
Brandon then raised a hand to caress Vale Dani’s face and smiled confidently. “I have not changed either. A man’s intent to become powerful and protect that which he loves would not change with age or a stable life. I can’t watch Radcliffe fight alone.”
“I dream to swing my sword, to bring happiness for you, me, our daughters and all whom I love. And now, it’s challenged—I could not sit and watch as the Chaos stirred unrest over the galaxy.”
With that, Brandon stepped out of the carriage that had entered the city and entered the range of the portal to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds. “I’m going ahead then, my dear.”
With that, with a flash of light from the portal, the Supreme-tier swordsman Brandon Kaos disappeared from the street.
Meanwhile, in the carriage, Vale Dani narrowed her eyes and gritted her teeth—Gold had lower priority than Supreme, and she would only be sent to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds after a few more minutes.
“Why are you saying like I’m not going? I won’t be left behind!”
The pair hence bade each other farewell in smiles, just as the swordsman who was in great bliss trod the path to greatness once again.
Earlier, in the Void around the Sixth Abyss.
“Goliath, Demon King. Do not close your world and come out to face me.”
A profound information transmission stirred dimensional turbulences. Boundless silver light unfurled, flashing like a star at the center of the Void.
The silver Steel God stood over a dead world as brutal energy resonated, almost boiling the dimensional turbulences. Small worlds orbited around him as streaming energies cascaded, while a huge Φ halo whirled behind him.
“Us Mycroft Legends had intended to combine and wipe out the Sixth Abyss, but now, the unknown Evil God is affecting the galaxy to destroy all realms of Order… even the Abyss of Chaos is no exception.”
The world before the Giant God was the Sixth Abyss, a world shrouded in darkness. The former home of six-legged insectoids in ancient times, it had long since perished, but maintained a little vigor because of the demons’ plundering. It was only centuries ago that the most powerful Demon King, Goliath the Glutton arose, and the Sixth Abyss hence clawed at other worlds, even Mycroft.
And now, the dark world had no energy waves or information. If not for the lingering Chaos, Joshua would have assumed that the demons were wiped out from the unknown Evil God’s presence.
“Now, however, we have changed our mind. Demons could be a part of our fighting force, as long as you are willing to fight the Chaos and stop the other demons in the Abyss from slaughtering each other, we could give you a chance of salvation.”
Joshua pronunciation was clear, the information relayed by Steel Strength precise.
The demons of the Abyss were indeed a great foe, but they were nothing compared to the unknown Evil God. In the end, they could at most build a few cults, and had yet to invade Mycroft en masse. On the other hand, Joshua himself had conducted massacres the Sixth Abyss on several occasions, razing several Demonic Liege domains into the ground.
If the demons of the Sixth Abyss were a little clever, they should be suppressing demons of other Abysses on their own accord. After all, not even the Unified Archives or the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds of Mycroft had maps of the Abyss since the landscape that place changed too quickly—only demons that moved through the Nether River had the clearest information, which makes it ironic that only demons could ‘save’ other demons in the Abyss instead of letting them die, turning into fertilizer for the unknown Evil God.
But the prerequisite was that the horde be willing to work together.
“Goliath, come out. I know you can hear me—I come in kindness and goodwill, all for peace… I’m not attacking even now is proof.”
“Tch. It seems that you don’t understand language.”
Becoming ever impatient, Joshua raised his voice and clenched his four fists. Lights shone upon his chest and shoulders at once, boundless energy photons seized from the surrounding dimensional turbulence and worlds to fill his unlimited furnace core. In the eyes of the Giant God, dazzling silver light brightened, immeasurably blinding even across the darkness and dimensional turbulence.
Massive thunders flashed in the silver nebula. Energy capable of destroying worlds gathered over the warrior’s four fists, and the benevolent Peace Envoy, Joshua van Radcliffe clenched his hand, speaking with a low tone, “I shall attack if you don’t reply, and beat you up until you open your mouth.”
Just as the warrior warningly but kindly counted down, dark mist that enshrouded the Sixth Abyss hence vanished entirely as if an illusion.