Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 1037
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
There was light.
Endless light was spreading out through the Void like a great torrent.
The torrent surged and churned. As vast as a celestial stream, it cascaded as it spread away, causing the stars to tremble and worlds to waft, soaking the realms within its reach.
There was also darkness.
The most turbid of darkness stood aloft in the Void like the hardest of reefs.
The reef was so immeasurably sturdy that even the impact of the surging torrent could only kick up insignificant splashes and broken shards. It did not move an inch even the gush that could leave worlds shaken crashed upon it, as if it was eternally unbreakable.
The darkness had never been so distinct before. Under the illumination of the light, they were approaching neither too quickly nor too slowly, their movements neither too hasty nor too sluggish. Either way, the dark tentacles that approached in uncountable hordes squirmed in the Void, their motion as rigid as a puppet shadow play, prompting suspicion if it was actually an illusion.
But it was not—it was real.
The ripples of Chaos were lunging forward in the face, a suffocating despair that now extended within the hearts of every person.
Their presence was identical to the presence of the Evil God legions encountered in the Piroth Galaxy, an attribute of utmost silence that blocked almost every manner of observation—if not for Joshua having ignited a flame to illuminate the Void, every person would never have expected them before they had arrived. It would have been similar to how there had been almost no precedent before the Piroth Galaxy was invaded.
Was there even a need for guessing? The reality was ever so clear.
That was a darkness beyond the cosmos, a darkness so vast no light could reflect its end. They were swarms of tentacles as numerous the stars, perhaps even outnumbering the stars themselves.
And every single one of them were made out of Evil Gods.
In other words, all of them were Evil Gods.
The dark tentacles that reached as far as eyes could see were slowly approaching from across every direction, very much like a fist that would slowly clench over the entire cosmos. As they looked on, the people who had been astonished, rejoicing, and feeling hopeful thanks to the flame Joshua had ignited were now all silent. Their lips trembled in sheer shock as if they would say something, and despite their best efforts to clench their shaking hands, it would only ever fail and their hands simply hung lethargically beside them.
A champion from another world hovered in the Void. His appearance resembled a huge wingless dragon and he had just slayed an Evil God, and was reveling in the delight of his own great strength that could stand against a World Eater. But now, he simply stood blankly where he was and did not actually notice that he had collided with a world fragment which floated towards him—it was as if his huge arms and body had shrunken and lost all their previous strength, hence wafting away along with the world fragment that ran into him.
Meanwhile, another champion who was a creature with joints and resembled a standing spider had focused each of his eight eyes at the ever-present radiance, along with the thick, approaching darkness that light could not permeate. He simply stared straight ahead silently, all four of his hands freeing his clutch over his weapons…beside him was a fortress which had almost been destroyed, along with a sector of the Void filled with the wrecks of a fleet. In fact, anyone could see just how huge a cost they had given to hold the line in the previous battle.
There were still plenty more similar beings and similar champions.
The exceedingly bright light shone throughout the world, allowing every existence in the the cosmos able to observe the Void and look out over to the distance to see it with their own eyes: the excessively profound darkness which was approaching from beyond galaxies and cosmos.
Still, that was also the precise reason for something else…
And it was creeping despair.
“What…that thing, those things…”
A champion from the Rund civilization was mumbling as its body shuddered. The metallic minerals which his body was composed of were crumbling away, its spherical form now riddled with holds that held proof of the difficult battle he had fought, and that he definitely had the courage to stand against the legions of Evil Gods—but now, even the electromagnetic humming sounding from the large metal ball had a gulp in its tone. “Don’t tell me…don’t tell me that all of those are Evil Gods…”
No one had answered its almost imploring question, not that there were any brave enough to answer. The dark Chaos that outnumbered the total population of the Cosmos, as a matter of fact, was a tide of Evil Gods that could consume everything.
For intelligent life, the load of despair which they could take was limited.
They could endure battle against endless enemies until the end of their lives or the fall of civilizations, all in the name of claiming the faintest traces of insignificant hope. They could accept the reality that light was actually rare in the dark Multiverse, even quietly acknowledging that it was a given that all of them were going to die, optimistically believing that it would allow their own descendants the chance to live in the light before simply gaining the courage to meet death.
Be that as it may, having such courage did not mean being able to stand up or be composed against a foe which would absolutely overwhelm and against such overwhelming odds where failure was absolute and allows no space for hope.
[Data Search: A legion of Evil Gods which drowns an entire cosmos…the Ultimate Sublimator Collective had certainly described it before, a horde which could consumed an entire cosmos.]
In a rare turn of events, there was actually a sense of somberness in the information transmission of the Tripe Curtain.
[Data Search: Actually, according to its description, the entire cosmos itself had been completely wiped out—perhaps the cosmos of its origin had been assaulted by such a legion.]
Being a psionic machine collective, it did not have the standard definition of being terrified. Even so, there were not actually many beings like it.
Because even Joshua himself was taken aback.
His hand with which he had crushed the core of the Evil God of Cohesion was slowly lowered and his light gradually faded. The warrior looked up at the boundless darkness, his expression eventually becoming solemn and finally grave.
“One, two, three…”
He was taking count softly. “Ten thousand, a hundred thousand, a million…”
Unlike the other beings who could not discern any further details, the warrior could distinctly observe the number of Evil Gods and Chaos spawns amongst the dark tentacles, as well as how many of the Evil Gods were Demi Saint or normal.
But he eventually stopped counting.
He was not one who would waste time doing something so meaningless like counting the dark tentacles that were endless or how many Evil Gods there were within.
Because from a single glance at present, he could see that the small cluster of Chaos tentacle closest to the Cosmos held forty-five Demi Saint Evil Gods.
All of them were silently darting through the Void and striking the cosmos from across every direction without leaving a single gap. Every tentacle was converging in a throttling attack without any blind spots, a momentum of such numbers that was even more horrific and even more unstoppable than the Ultimate Sublimator Collective itself.
Furthermore, there was not even the chance to escape—like a cosmic web that stretched on infinitely, the tentacles composed of Evil Gods would definitely take notice of all existence above a certain scale before forcing them to reveal themselves and kill them without fail.
Joshua mumbled to himself somberly, “And the Ether Ring World which we have forged…could all of these really fool those Evil Gods and escape safely?”
That being said, whether escape was possible against the legion of Evil Gods striking from every single angle was not even a question. Not even Joshua would be able to stop them if he could kill the Demi Saint Evil Gods—there were already forty-five Evil Gods in the nearest tentacle, and only heaven knew how many hundreds or thousands more were behind them.
“No, not actually stop…”
Against so many Demi Saint Evil Gods, he simply did not know if he would actually would win.
Joshua sighed once. Though he had sufficient confidence, he was not delusional enough to fool himself—he was definitely powerful, but were any Demi Saint entities actually weak? Were there civilizations or champions that had ascended up to such level that still held weaknesses which others could exploit?
Nonetheless, Joshua could now understand how things had turned out to be so dangerous as he continued observing the situation.
“Right, it is the Shadow Subspace which the Wise One of Shadow had created. That is the only explanation.”
The Shadow Subspace which the Wise One of Shadow had created touched the entire Multiverse, connecting all independent cosmos so that future civilizations would be able to cross boundless dimensions to fight against the unending hordes of Evil Gods. However, that path which connected worlds likewise allowed the infinite Evil Gods in the Void to gather even more easily, launching continuous invasions and devastation at the top of their speed.
In fact, even the Holy Light was a guide for the Evil Gods—the dazzling radiance was essentially a beacon in the Void, a lighthouse that called out to and guided the Evil Gods forward. Naturally, most civilizations could do the same, since it was one of the original attributes of the Holy Light.
From a perspective of the future, the coming war against the Evil Gods would have been a resistance with every civilization in the cosmos joining together, pooling greater strength and more resources to directly repel the tides of Chaos that a singular cosmos would never have been able to stop. It was assuredly much better than fighting as a lonely cosmos, not to mention that the Truth would be within reach with diverse civilizations with different knowledge interacting, with more champions, Demi Saints, or even new Wise Ones overflowing.
That was probably the mentioned hope of the Wise Ones.
And it was a genuine hope too. Joshua had long since understood that, which was why he had always been confident about the future.
Be that as it may, it would also mean another thing: the first galactic civilization to experience the change that the Sage and the Wise One of Shadow had brought about and face an epoch-ending calamity would probably not have the time to combine with other cosmoses, and hence had to fight with only the resource and power of a single cosmos against the apocalyptic force which should never be fought by one cosmos alone.
Just like what every person were seeing now, the dark tentacles which filled skies, day, and even the Void were closing in. Those were hordes of Chaos that could destroy the cosmos unknown times over that could only be defeated by civilizations from multiple cosmoses in the future, or at least bitter trench warfare.
And now, it was only the civilizations of a single galaxy standing against them.
Light faded. Joshua looked up at the dark Void, the four hands of the Giant God falling beside himself as he leveled his gaze afar.
The first person to eat crabs would always be left at a loss about what to do.
The first person to reach a new continent would always encounter new plagues and new threats.
The first person to open a new path would never be sure of what lies ahead, what they would gain, or what foe there would be.
The first, the first, the first—being the first was an unparalleled honor and symbolized a position before all else, obtaining the most precious first-hand data.
Still, being the first would still mean being the most at risk since there was no experience at all to speak of, which was why the person in question would make mistakes that could be considered foolish. As such, they could only reach down and feel for the rocks in the riverbeds to cross a river, since there was no telling what boulder might lay underneath the stream ahead, or whether there would be a surging vortex.
They were already here, far faster than what anyone would imagine.
At present, that was what the cosmos Joshua was present at had to face: the first cosmos encountering a Multiverse-level of calamity, with everything they saw and witnessed now all being precious information for other civilizations to be born in the future. It would stir such fear in other cosmic civilizations that they would band together, ceasing any excess conflict and strife.
However, to learn about such details, the civilizations that would arise in the future would probably haveto unravel it by digging through ruins.
The warrior said to himself. “I already…don’t have the time.”
Time was running out.
He had only just ascended as a Demi Saint. Even if he had a firm foundation as well as the aid of path from many other Wise Ones and Demi Saints, he still had a long way to go from becoming a Wise One—there was still much accumulation, training, consideration, and verification before steadily making a breakthrough after progressing step-by-step, hence ascending as a greater existence.
Now, however, he no longer had the luxury to comfortably develop himself.
In the Piroth Galaxy, the Lost Galaxy and the many other galaxies across the cosmos, there was silence amongst every champion who had come to the frontlines, were about to reach it, or had remained behind to protect their home world. They simply did not know where to start defending, because every corner would soon be assaulted by the impending waves of Evil Gods.
And while their silence may not have been out of terror, there was no question that there was despair.
Despair and terror were different. Those who were terrified would be hesitant and cowering in battle, but it cannot be said that there was no hope for victory in their hearts, as there would be a hint of hidden blaze. On the other hand, those in despair would generously meet their own demise, with their hearts already fallen to a coldness with the knowledge that the single outcome was only death and failure.
The Seven Gods were standing alongside the champions of Mycroft, with Ezerg stroking his own beard.
The dwarven deity was unsure of what to say and simply sighed, while Yolanda appeared surprisingly unbothered, having already held the resolve to die, and appeared unconcerned at all by the future as well.
That being said, the other deities and champions were simply not at all composed like the two. Some of them had closed their eyes, seemingly no longer able to keep looking at the sight of despair, while others drew out their communications spells as if to get in touch with acquaintances or kin, yet they were unsure what to say upon accessing their contact lists.
Voicing last words? It was too early and too much of a joke. The fight had not even started—such a thing should wait until the swarms of Evil God tentacles had really reached them.
But was there any meaning to say ‘I love you’, or ‘I love you all’?
Was there any meaning to the stronghold of courage, as well as the determined resolve to resist?
Firm belief, struggling even as one bathed in blood, resisting until the very end and never once falling back—the slogans and battle cries before had all been to unleash everyone’s full power through the single ray of light that would bring victory and hope. But now, those words all felt hollow and illusory.
Could anyone still say them in a sonorous voice?
It was so childish and so adorable. Unyielding will, passion, rousing spirit, or what not, everything was very much a child’s crazy talk in the distance of comparison against the darkness.
“What could we do?” Merlin said, seemingly muttering to themselves and asking it at once. “What is there that we can still do?”
It was a really good question—because there was no person who could answer that at once, and hence another silence arrived.
But had they really reached the end of the line, and could only close their eyes and wait for their death?
Joshua took a deep breath.
He was not a smoker, and would refuse it even if someone would invite him.
He was not a drinker either, although he would only join in if a good friend invited him in elevated spirits.
He thought nothing of fine dining, just as he was not interested in the impulses or enjoyment of the flesh. He did not pass the time idly, having his own purpose even when it came to playing games or taking a stroll. He would not wear down his own ambition laterally and had always accomplished whatever he wanted, being himself in the purest manner possible, under the assurance that he was not affecting others.
He did not have to turn to smoking or drinking to drown in his own sorrows, nor did he need good food and the desire for meat to make himself jaded. The warrior needed nothing, and would do anything he should or wanted to do.
Even if he would leave others finding it a pity or feeling a reluctance of parting, that was his choice too.
And this time was naturally the same.
“Ah, what a joy.”
Breathing out quietly, the man looked up and reached out with a hand to grasp at the darkness over the skies, similar to how he used to claw at the stars when he was still a young child in immeasurable anticipation.
“It is fortunate that I have never been normal all along. I had always been a madman, and enough so to imagine that such a day would come.”
In a world without miracles, I had fantasized about fighting profound Extraordinary foes. Then, in a world of miracles, I fantasized fighting one foe after another, each of them stronger than the last. The world loved me so much that my fantasies became reality, and now, I still feel that joy.
Be that as it may, I still understand that reality would always be far worse than my fantasies—even things that I could not fantasize about might genuinely exist in reality.
Though the man was clenching his fist as if to catch hold of the darkness extending as far as the eye could see, it was like when he reached for the stars as a child, only able to clench his fist over thin air and gesture at the Void.
“I have always thought that I would succeed in becoming a Wise One and triumph over the Mastermind, hence fulfilling my purpose, ending the cycle of misery, and restoring calmness to the Multiverse, reshaping it according to my Order. That way, I might be able to change myself so I would not be so wild and excited about battle, at least occasionally enjoying the moment and a happy time with friends and family.”
“I had really thought about that. I had really loved them, and I could hear every hope and ambition they would tell me about and respond to it all.”
But now, I have awakened from the dream.
“I understand that this is the battle that awaits me: eternal and unending, an enemy that lies waste to everything—it is the battle that belongs to me. I had already imagined such a day, but it is still a little hard to accept it when it becomes reality.”
The light which Joshua had ignited before had faded, leaving everything within the Silent Void in darkness once more to allow the normal radiance of the cosmos to glimmer. That way, even if the approaching enemy from afar could not be seen, everything was enveloped in peace, as if everything seen before was an illusory dream.
That way, the champions and all life could fool and tell themselves that it was all unreal and non-existent. They could briefly be freed from despair, restoring their minds to the normal state.
But Joshua had awakened from true despair!
The warrior clenched his four fists once again and did not hesitate to raise his right hand high above.
He ignited a light once more, a light far brighter, clearer, and even more powerful than before!
Everyone was at once jolted as the light shone once again. It transcended the cosmos once again, streaking across the Silent Void and completely revealing each foe with utmost precision, triggering a great uproar to the point that the other beings, who calmed themselves after much difficulty holding their hands over their eyes, even almost collapsed.
Though they knew that it was not right to think so, they could not help but blame and hate the warrior who had forced them to see the truth, complaining that they had already witnessed the cruel truth. Why were they not afforded a brief jaded moment before slowly accepting the truth? Must they despair and live in utter dejection?
But a voice echoed like a bleak horn, a rousing war song.
“Though the future is utterly cruel, never fear or avoid it.”
His voice echoed through the cosmos, with every lifeform able to hear it. Raising his right fist high above, the four-armed Giant God looked up upon the Void and stared fixedly at the infinite enemy, his voice grave but not losing in boldness. “Victory never comes to those who do not rise and fight.”
Thus, the man laughed in justice, courage, hope, and resolve, overflowing with madness, rage, killing intent, and devastation.
The light which brightened all things shone across worlds.
The dark swarm squirmed as they approached.
The burning flame was about to reach the finish line.
The gale of light roared.
Now, he was filled with resolve.