Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 1036
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The simple culling Evil Gods was actually an action of no significance.
That was because the Evil Gods were corpses in the first place: the perished spirits of civilizations and remains of worlds. They were automated weapons serving the Mastermind, tools that were fully autonomous—destroying them or blasting them into pieces simply would not help the Multiverse itself, and could even be considered adding to the piles of refuse.
To provide an analogy, destroying a ‘probability which had already been sealed’ would not have actually changed anything because they were already dead. Hence, whether they would be removed did not matter, because it was similar to how destroying a weapon would not stop a war from continuing—all it could ever achieve was akin to dropping iron slag into the mud, dyeing the land a scarlet red through rust and blood.
Killing an Evil God therefore served nothing.
That was why it had to be put to flames.
To free the ‘sealed probability’ and return it to the Multiverse, burning its lifeless corpse into ashes, allowing the ashes to cool and gather as mud which in turn allowed new seeds to sprout—only that held significance.
It was not important even if the probability which had been burnt and destroyed was no longer a probability which belongs to the civilization from which the Evil God was born. Just like the Cycle of Souls, aside from the champions who stood by and watched the cycle rotate, as well as the beings who witnessed each step of the way from when worlds were birthed, perished, and reborn, who would—or should—be concerned about such things?
That would have been equivalent to melting down a weapon into steel and then using it as a tool to plough the fields or rebuild homes…in other words, a simple death was useless against Evil Gods. It was only by converting and burning them in the flame that there would be true resistance against Evil Gods and all that was the Chaos, to restore brightness unto the Multiverse.
And the power to ‘burn’ and hence achieve that conversion was the path Joshua had chosen!
It was called…
Light that shone upon the Void so brightly as if it was daytime was spreading.
The light unleashed from the dead galaxy had already spread out to every corner. Like a torrent, it let loose surging radiance that had now arrived at the Piroth galaxy. Every person within the Forerunner Fortress Chain hence looked up, watching in bewilderment as the light drowned both fleet and fortress just like the Great Mana Tide, enfolding all that there was.
After that, even the Silent Void itself was illuminated. The still, dark, and ancient gloom had all been swept away, and as the torrential radiance push forward, every existence within sight of the Silent Void realized in shock that the source of darkness which they once feared and were paranoid of was actually very beautiful—the cosmic fragments and Steel Particles from countless worlds and galaxies after they have been shattered were now wafting through the Void. They had no presence at all, but they reflected light when the radiance reached them, unleashing profoundly vibrant colors that combined together like a beautiful, broken dream.
Radiance combined with power left all life across worlds in astonishment. Beneath the gushing flow of that radiance, even worlds were moved, although they were drawn by the fluctuating ripples, causing them to float like wooden balls in the tides.
Then, as the stream of light swirled and wafted, the stars began to oscillate as well.
And that was the might of a Demi Saint.
“… Finally, you have reached that level…”
In the Forerunner Fortress Chain, Nostradamus closed a grimoire that he was holding. Before him was an entire legion of Evil God spawns which had been torn into pieces with shattered dimensions—as the mage who had hurried after Joshua to the frontlines looked up and watched the passing radiance, hot tears welled in his eyes.
This was what he had accompanied him for, witnessed throughout the journey, and hoped for. In the end, the man whom everyone had placed their hopes upon did not disappoint and had arrived to his present level.
“Ah, how envious.”
Beside the corpse of the Evil God of Distortion, the God of Might and Justice looked up at the radiance, the corner of his lips curling upwards as if recalling the many memories when he was human. Since some unknown point in time, he had been slowly overtaken, not merely as a Legend but also as a divine being, even left so far behind.
Even so, neither the god nor the human thought it unusual. Instead, there was the perception that it was only natural.
I can only say congratulations, o friend of mine.
All that you have been through and everything you have fought against has always been so weighted, but it is also precisely the tremendous duty that you have shouldered that has allowed you to progress unto this day and reap a genuine reward.
“I’ve being saved again. Heavens know how many times I’ve owed you by now.”
In the frontlines of the Forerunner Fortresses and the most dangerous sector where a resistance was mounted against multiple Evil Gods, Roland gazed distractedly upon the Void as he hovered, having weathered through the most dangerous moment. Both his armor and his body were in pieces, and he appeared as if he was about to die—but as the radiance reached him, the Holy Knight’s eye twitched, and he could feel his injuries rapidly recovering. It was a familiar sensation that reminded him of when he battled against the Evil God of Calamity and its legions of spawns all those years ago, under the protection of Father Nature.
Upon thinking carefully about it, he had only ever so occasionally involved himself in such recklessness, and yet that man did it as if it was a daily thing.
Having just ended a difficult battle with his comrades, Brandon heaved a sigh of relief and sheathed his dual blades. The blue light in his eyes, which shone as he went all-out, dimmed. In front of him, a physical Evil God with its body filled slash wounds from the Dual Blades of Order was crumbling away, vanishing into the light. But even if he was too tired to say a word, the blond swordsman showed a weary but earnest smile upon seeing the radiance reach him from afar.
Was it a sense of security, the feeling of being protected?
No, certainly not.
It was simply his delight for a friend, with the only point of regret being that their sparring, which had usually meant he would receive a single-sided beatdown, was no longer possible too.
Therefore, he had to work hard and do all he could to grow, even if it was to help his friend alleviate some boredom.
In a certain position between the dead galaxy and the Piroth galaxy, a colossal shining sphere was rapidly expanding.
From the perspective of the cosmos, it was a speck of a light of immeasurable enormity shining upon the edge of the Multiverse. It was so excessively bright and blinding that the light of every other world in the cosmos were seemingly duller, all attention stolen away.
Amidst an unusual swishing, every Evil God still invading the Piroth galaxy and the Silent Void that had yet to be destroyed whimpered and scattered pathetically, darting away in panic to the depths of the Silent Void. It was not out of fear, however, because they were being blown away by the sheer force of the radiance, hence thrown to the other side of all dimensions without stopping.
Moreover, any Evil God spawn or seriously hurt Evil God would have obliterated at once upon the light reached them, every single one of them ignited and reduced to ashes. In the single split second that they were set on fire, they too became a torch, part of the surging stream of the powerful fiery radiance.
Meanwhile, at the center of the flame between the dead galaxy and the Piroth galaxy, boundless radiance and fire were swirling and churning. Millions of Evil Gods and their spawns that were aflame orbited around the body of the Giant God, and following a violent rumble, both the dead galaxy and the Piroth galaxy briefly detached from the rotation of the cosmos and started to move by circling another axis instead.
Infinite worlds and stars were hence torn away from their former realms by a profound power, with certain lifeless or dead worlds shattered under that light and remolded, blessed with reignited Flame. The two galaxies, like two spiraling trails, slowly shifted and fused beneath a certain person’s power—one might even say that they were now his accretion disk in the form of a colossal vortex.
Standing upon the Void and surrounded by countless worlds, Joshua was turning the numerous corpses of Evil Gods into fire. He was still holding on to the core of the Demi Saint Evil God even if it had already been completely ignited, and from the axis between two rotating galaxies, he gazed upon the boundless Void. At the same time, flame so strong beyond measure surrounded him, reflecting the ever plainer and determined eyes of the man.
“I see…so the information hidden in the core of a Demi Saint Evil God is so much clearer than that of an ordinary Evil God.”
“These substantial probabilities, this excessively profound power, this path directed to another pinnacle…no wonder. It’s no wonder the Sage immediately ascended as a Wise One back when he slayed the Evil God of Fertility…so, everything that has happened is not without reason.”
As he burnt the core of the Evil God of Cohesion, Joshua instantly browsed through the entity’s memories. Unlike the time when he had been overburdened by the memories from the Evil God of Death, he was not bothered by such things now.
Soon, memories of the original civilization where the Evil God of Cohesion had originated from was extracted out of the chunks of erratic information. Just like before, Joshua would study their origins from start to finish just like a bystander, growing and developing and eventually falling.
There was nothing much to be said either.
It had merely been a species originating from the oceans, a civilization yearning for pinnacles, the tragic tale born from hope and misery. Still, to a certain extent, the birth of the Evil God of Cohesion could be considered virtuous and nothing to be regretful or guilty of, unlike most other tragic falls. It was just that its resolve to die in case of failure had been manipulated by the Mastermind, with it guiding the civilization unto the path of failure, after of which their corpses would be revived as a Perished Eternity.
But just when Joshua had completely read through all the information that the Evil God of Cohesion embodied, he naturally became aware of its path which was another trail advancing to the level of the Wise Ones.
Converging, fusing, growing, finally leading to evolution and refinement—fusing each present power of the civilization into a single body and bypassing the long period of power accumulation most Extraordinary beings had to go through, numerous beings who were already considered powerful combined and broke through the lofty threshold, at once bounding pass innumerable procedures and trials to directly sublimate and become a Demi Saint existence.
It was very much the most reliable path to ascension: a civilization already connected through a psionic network was basically one colossal Extraordinary being. In turn, that being was also conducting a ritual to truly fuse in a cohesive, singular form that would certainly develop to a Demi Saint—it was a procedure similar to the Takur Ruin Cult’s Infinity Dynamo of Divine Energy, a divine civilization invocation once used by their former Grand Patriarch. However, for the case of the Takur Ruin Cult, they had chosen a single individual as the embodiment of their civilization’s full powerful, only briefly elevating to the threshold close to the Demi Saints, which actually led to divine death of the embodiment and did not allow it fully ascend to Demi Saint. Still, it was a safer move for the entire civilization.
“By using the path of another Demi Saint as a reference, the idea of another civilization or mindset in their pursuit of the infinite, I can become stronger.”
Holding the radiance high above, Joshua gained an epiphany.
In a similar fashion to how the gods combined two opposite divinities to strengthen themselves, Demi Saints could do the same thing to achieve the same end. Though all roads lead to Rome, as the saying goes, how another road was paved, how it was decorated, what unknown or dangerous zones it had to go through, and what the difficulties were in paving it—all those were things worth learning, experiences and lesson which held value.
The greater the accumulation, the closer he would progress to the infinite threshold of the Wise Ones, even doing the same thing in this era what every Wise One of generations before had done. If infinity could be described as a sphere, the Wise Ones would be a single dot upon the spherical surface. With more accumulation, the dot would enlarge or even spread over an entire surface, finally completely enfolding the sphere, with themselves become a condensation of the boundless.
And now, the paths that were available to Joshua at the moment were in fact unusually numerous.
While Emotion Power could not be considered a complete path towards the infinite at the moment, there was no question of its potential. Still, being the founder, Joshua was very much aware that he was perhaps not a being which the Extraordinary ability truly suited, for the warrior’s warning tendency eclipsed any other emotion by a wide margin, and such excessively pure will was instead ill-fitting for such a power which held millionfold diversity.
Meanwhile, although the path of ascension for the Sage and the Wise One of Psi were not actually clear, they shared a common ground in the supermassive singular realm. It was a concept of an ever-growing and ceaselessly expanding ultimate shelter. Indeed, it was a trail that directly reached Demi Saint, the infinite—or as one could say, toward the ‘absolute’.
It was actually a path that was very suitable for Joshua, but the essence of that path was actually isolation—the ultimate shelter would separate itself from the Multiverse and through that, could certainly not be affected by the Mastermind. But it would likewise not have any effect against the Mastermind, and with the power and level of the Wise One, the chance that it could affect the ultimate shelter should not be eliminated and it was simply being passive.
As for Steel Strength that the warrior was very familiar with, if he would rely upon it exclusively until the very end to truly become the Steel coming into existence after the light of the Initial Flame had shone across all of the Void, which was also the same Steel from which the worlds and the Multiverse originated, he could still ascend to Demi Saint or even the threshold of the Wise Ones too. Be that as it may, it was a path that had already been taken—the Wise One of Lifeforce, the unknown being whose existence could not be verified, would be the predecessor for that path and certainly still showed a sign of having lived and died.
Moreover, he had failed just like the Wise One of Psi. At first, there had only been some suspicions in Joshua’s mind, but after encountering the Evil God of Cohesion, he was sure that the path walked by those Wise Ones who had failed and perished would virtually require no additional Wise Ones.
Because darkness would be waiting behind those paths.
“The path of the Ultimate Sublimator Collective is actually quite good. Even so, the same question applies: compared to the Infinite that changes the world or regardless of the greatest trail of the Absolute would change, it is simply too self-centric, and there is simply no solving that final problem.”
To put it unkindly, it was a tortoise shell—and the sort of tortoise shell which one was unsure if the enemy could break through.
With a slight approximation, apart from the path he himself had walked, the various paths including Emotion Power, supermassive realm, Steel Strength, and the Ultimate Sublimator Collective which were all within Joshua’s grasp, along with the Evil God of Cohesion’s…apart from his own accruement, obtaining the legacies of predecessors and claiming the paths of others just might have been a fine measure too.
Joshua pensively considered all such ideas. “If that is the case, I might be able to bypass the thousands of years’ worth of accumulation that not even the Sage could escape by just killing a few more Demi Saint Evil Gods… that’s the quickest shortcut I know, though it’s also the most dangerous.”
Even as he thought it, the man showed a nonchalant smile.
“But I love the danger,” the Giant God muttered to himself and laughed, his fingers which were clenching firmly on the Evil God of Cohesion’s core digging in, causing a tremendous rumble that even the world cracked under.
At that single moment, radiance burst away as an even greater flame was ignited.
Everything was hence consumed by the bright silver.
On the edge of the cosmos, the silver luminous spot which had been just a dot also simultaneously shattered resoundingly—then, it began to spread away endlessly once again, becoming a rising supernova!
In that split second, the spot where the dead galaxy and the Piroth galaxy intersected abruptly became the center of the cosmos. In comparison to the splendor there, the light of every other world and the darkness between them were all eclipsed at once—it felt as if there was only a single source of light across the entire cosmos from that single center.
As the near-endless light kept moving from the center towards the boundless distance and spread forth, it erased all darkness where it passed, reviving all that was dead, restoring all that was destroyed, reasserting possibilities upon all that had passed.
Every other person witnessed it all in delight. When the light reached them, even the most cold and indifferent person felt indescribable exhilaration and joy as if it was only natural—it was like being blessed with something that they never had before.
Meanwhile, the light was still spreading—despite the unreasonable conduction rate of the Void which depends entirely on power levels, even the Lost Galaxy saw the arrival of Joshua’s light. Across the cosmos, the surge of light was actually being washed over by the gush comparable to the Great Mana Tide, even leaving the cosmic reaches to head for the endless depths of the Silent Void, shining distinctly upon the endless world fragments.
If anyone were to ask what hope was, that would be the answer.
Other intelligent creatures notwithstanding, humans were collective creatures who favored the light, and it would perhaps be hope given form when they bathed in the light with their comrades, reveling in the great power of that allied champion. Even if another Evil God invasion would come, even if unending ranks of Chaos spawns would drown the thousands of worlds, they could feel the courage to keep fighting on.
Nevertheless, there still remained certain things that the light could not permeate or illuminate.
After the triumph over the Demi Saint Evil God and within the moment which should have been brimming with hope, the endlessly-spreading divine radiance from the Silent Void was suddenly absorbed—the light which permeated worlds and banished Evil Gods was being absorbed by something too muddy and massive, sinking within shadows.
And it had not been only from a single direction either—the outline of that darkness appeared across every direction of the cosmos, only differing in times of arrival.
The transcendently radiant light had picked out the exceedingly turbid darkness.
Light itself moved around the darkness to keep heading towards the distance, but that was also precisely how the diverse dark shapes were drawn out, revealing the colossal presence before everyone else.
It was a massive horde, a darkness slowly wiggling through the endless Void.
If one had to describe it, it was like tentacles reaching for them in the cosmos from the faraway place that light had yet to shine upon. They were shuffling and advancing, moving with an appearance that seemed slow but was peerlessly rapid and determined.
As a matter of fact, the quickest tentacle had already reached the cosmos—and sharply touched the Piroth galaxy.
But…how should one put it?
What the Piroth Galaxy stopped was only a single tentacle from amongst those thousand others, an insignificant edge, whereas the silhouettes of the many Evil Gods which everyone in the Silent Void saw had now dyed themselves upon the colorful skies. It was merely the tip of the tentacle illuminated, just like a powerful light being shone upon a cut surface of a black diamond, a fragment of a tiny reflection.
In the end, the surging silver gush had finally arrived upon its limit, no longer able to continue spreading and observing the edge of the darkness where the tentacles had come out of.
In that face of such great darkness…
The light had hence gone no further.