Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 903
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The Eldars’ surrender was perfectly normal.
The allies amongst the Combined Fleet had been silent as well when they saw Joshua mold a sun out of thin air—every crewmember searched their feelings then, and realized that against such a magnitude of power, surrendering was actually not a matter that affects courage or loyalty. Even Yana Milo, a Glorious Era Legend who had seen much looked on blankly, mumbling unintelligibly to herself.
To not simply faint made evident courage and hope in oneself… In other words, it was very kind for the warrior to grant the Eldars the chance to display their spirit.
Having made a move to handle the Eldars main and two auxiliary fleets, Joshua returned to the Zeta Ram world to help Barnil build the dimensional hub. Although there were many Eldar ships moving towards them, the warrior thought that the scattered fleet would not threaten the Combined Fleet, which was we he left the remaining tasks to other Legendary champions and first officer.
Now, the Starherders and demons were boarding the Eldar ships to disarm the crew, moving their warships to a lifeless world where they could manage them.
The Starherders’ and demons’ abnormal forms and grotesque appearance certainly caused slight conflict, and while there were no casualties, more than four hundred were injured. Even so, the unrest died as soon as it started—be it Eldar, Starherder or demo, all of them would remember the Giant God of Steel and shudder involuntarily before they were overcome with anger, and hence calm.
Most Eldar ensigns had been held on the fungal realms growing on the Void Behemoths backs. While those were not suitable for any species other than Starherders, but being well-versed in biotechnology, it was nothing too difficult for them to simply adjust it so that it was optimized for other species.
On the other hand, the Eldar’s leaders were rounded up and brought to Vahina’s flagship, where the psionic Legend communicated with them.
If they had faced a foe that was an equal, most Eldars would not mind showing their fighting spirit and glory, and would fight to the last drop of blood even if they were some civilization of ruin that could crush their race and nation… but in the presence of a superior lifeform who could destroy their entire main fleet with a slap, even their most stubborn military chief thought that there was no need to persist.
It was truly unnecessary.
“Seems like the Starherders had brought us to their point of departure… this shouldn’t be, or could the Multiverse had stopped swirling?”
When a very cooperative Eldar captain provided a basic star map and local knowledge through psionic communication, Vahina could not help but crease her brow.
According to the native civilization combined with what Joshua had deduced before, the reality is made clear: both the Lost Galaxy and the Multiverse had stopped moving at all, with certain galaxies whirling individually at best.
The large insectoid race who called themselves the Eldars also said that star maps of single galaxies occasionally had to be verified again and updated, but the map of the galaxy basically would not shift. That was precisely why even if there was a gap of several centuries between the Starherders’ departure from the Multiverse and returned from the Lost Galaxy, they were moving through the same galaxy.
They had truly stagnated.
Although the objective for them to come to the Multiverse was to verify Joshua’s deduction and find the truth behind the Multiverse’s stagnation, Vahina still felt a migraine when the deduction was verified.
She had communicated with every captive Eldar commander—even the highest-ranked military chief. There was nothing they held back, proving that for the Eldars, those facts were common knowledge and truth, just as there was no deception… it was indeed ironic since the psionic cries amongst the Eldars were used as a language, and they virtually never lied—only the rulers understood the concept of lying.
“It’s fine, it’s nothing important.”
Vahina sighed and stretched before psionically pouring herself another cup to still her somewhat dejected emotions and began to sum up the information they had.
The Eldars were a lucky race to be born in a fringe galaxy of the Multiverse. There were virtually no high-energy environments here, and almost every world around them essentially had no mana—even amongst those few exceptions, the magical energy was buried deep beneath the ground as crystal ores, staying at an inert form.
Such a world could hardly nurture souls and grow intelligent life.
Races like humans who independently developed physical mental faculties were actually very rare since intelligence was not necessary for survival, and natural evolution hardly creates intelligent life. Most sentient Multiverse species mainly grow souls that in turn use psionic abilities—the oldest supernatural ability in the Multiverse’s history.
The home planet of the Eldars were indeed such a world. There were substantial high-quality mana ores buried deep beneath their world which coincidentally spread above ground due to seismic activity. With themselves possessing considerable depth, the Eldar awakened soul and intelligence and defeated any competition before occupying the world for themselves. Dozen thousand of years and development later, the huge insectoids hence left the shackles of their home planet and headed to the Void.
What welcomed them then was a vast and empty galaxy. Though there was no strategic resource worth mentioning, they had no competitors either—the entire galaxy became the Eldars’ territories, and they happily developed, colonized, awaiting the day they would meet another Void civilization, and idea until the Starherders passed through their galaxy several centuries ago.
That cause a change in mindset amongst every Eldar, and a hateful sentiment against Void Behemoths.
“No wonder they attacked once they saw us. It’s all the Starherders fault… well, it’s not unusual since it’s a fleet of Void Behemoths that fed on worlds.”
At the very thought, Vahina could not help but take a sip of potion while frowning. “During the past, the Starherders were not anonymous in the Multiverse either—those wandering Void nomads might not have many friends, but they would certainly have many rivals and blood enemies… even if they had left several hundred years ago, that grudge might not be forgotten.”
“It could cause trouble for our subsequent exploration.”
Just as Vahina thought how she should record those matters, Joshua and Barnil were testing the dimensional hub on Zeta Ram while the Nature Magister studied the world’s natural environment, before she tried to alter it into an ecosystem suitable for Mycroft’s humans. As for the Sword Saint La Motte and Yana Milo, the pair had led the main force of the combined fleet to intercept fleet detachments that were still unaware of the present state of affairs.
The construction of dimensional hubs had been tried back on Mycroft. Massive zonal runes and a base were required since it was teleportation on a galactic scale—even with Joshua and Barnil’s power, a workforce to adjust half a continent and months were needed to build its mere foundation, meaning that it could not be rushed, a slow process of testing and calibrating.
Nevertheless, even if there was no way to contact the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, with that half-finished dimensional hub alone, the Combined Fleet and other forces—save for Void Behemoths—could perform emergency warp, overclocking their psionic warp engines during dire moments to return to the space around the dimensional hub. Still, the success rate for warping was not a hundred percent, with the magical core and engines all ruined, although the ship and crew would at least survive.
The Nature Magister’s workload was heavy as well. Altering a world was much more difficult than destroying one, and according to Galanoud’s estimations when they first arrived, it would take twenty years for her to mold a large world, a world-scale effort that takes years even with Joshua and the other Legends helping. Heaven knows if they would already have found another world fit for living by then.
Compared to terraforming a world, Galanoud thought that Joshua’s suggestion to create plain human modification tubes so that most crew could gain heightened attributes of environment adaptability was simpler. Still, it was a pity that there were not many crew members volunteering for body modifications, just as the warrior’s human modification experiments had yet to exceed a hundred test subjects. It was an instinctive, subconscious resistance that could not be ground away with time.
At the time, Joshua had been left utterly befuddled that most were reluctant to accept modifications. He could never understand that it was a plain changing of their skin and some other organs so that they could easily adapt to most environments.
Why were they reluctant? He had mused. Those modifications were no different than gaining environmental resistance through cultivation of Extraordinary bodies.
The modification surgery was also a summation of knowledge as much as Extraordinary power were techniques summed out from the same. Technology and supernatural abilities were one in worlds where Extraordinary power existed, and yet there were always individuals who felt conflict despite everything being the same, believing that the modifications were not their own power. In truth, most Extraordinary champions stood upon the shoulders of past giants so that they would improve through the knowledge and training of their predecessors—could it be that knowledge and skill had hierarchy? Or perhaps for humans, surgical tables and modification tubes were tools, but hands, feet, heart, even brain, and souls were not tools?
The truth was such an inconvenient thing.
Soon, as frontline news spread and with Void Behemoths working alongside the Combined Fleet, the Eldars’ other fleets were all taken into custody. There were some that fled quickly had reached frontier harbors, but it also revealed certain base in those planetary systems to La Motte and Yana Milo.
With eight Void Behemoths and an entire fleet watching and surrounding them, the frontier harbor surrendered soon as well without unnecessary resistance.
In less than a week, all border provinces were taken, most of the Eldar fleet taken into custody, although some of the fast-moving ships seize their chance, taking advantage of the Combined Fleet’s still-flawed partnership to escape to their home planet.
Starfall Year 844, the twenty-fourth of December.
The Eldars’ planet of origins, the heart of the Central Hive.
As news of their defeat and more zones fallen reached the Queen and the president—both of whom appeared to have aged several dozen years old over the last few days, an unfamiliar message went to them in the psionic network out of nowhere.
Doubtful because it could neither be deleted, blocked nor viewed incognito, the message that was actually labeled with a countdown timer was hence opened—helplessly and without a choice— by the figurehead and the actual ruler of the nation.
Thus, the information that surged away from within hence transmitted throughout the Eldar empire on the network.
It was neither attack or disturbance, nor some hostile psionic virus: the message within was a rather long but very simple video.
What first showed up in the dark and silent Void was the frontier harbor that the Eldars were very familiar with, having seen it incessantly with recent news… where it was bustling, it was now empty without a single ship anchored. Most Eldars—including the queen and the president could not understand why the video was forced on them.
Soon, they understood.
As the angle zoomed, what soon appeared was a colossal hand that covered half the Void like a wall, dragging the entire harbor along.
Beside that hand, the harbor was little toy around its fingers as it was pulled along swiftly through the Void, streaking through the stars until a dark, lifeless world was finally found.
The hand clenched. Profound power hence crushed the entire harbor between into insignificant sparks between the fingers, and was thrown into the dark world.
The lens had moved along with the giant hand, since everyone mostly knew how massive the hand and that dark world was relative to the Void harbor. Soon, every Eldar saw a realm dying after its sun, a moon orbiting a frost-covered planet—it appears that the satellite would crash into the planet dozen thousands of years layer after having lost the sun’s hold.
The great hand streaked through the two celestial forms, adjusting the orbits of both stars in passing. With resounding rumbling, the falling moon that now had five fingerprints was pulled back into a temporary balance point between the planet and the moon.
In darkness and hints of flickering, the great hand arrived upon a dim nebula—it was the remains of the dead sun, and yet its volumes of self-destructive positive energies were at once emptied, leaving nebula crystals without attributes. If luck holds, there may even be some Nuclear Stars in the nebula.
Be that as it may, the Eldars were unaware what the giant hand intended to do… In fact, they did not mind continue watching— having seen how easily he crushed the Void harbor and pulled the moon back to its orbit, even the most untamable Eldar were silence, not because they yielded but because of heart-wrenching fear.
Soon, they realized that a flame had shone upon the dark Void.
Crimson-gold light illuminated the darkness, allowing all to see what could never be seen before: a small, golden-red flame held by four colossal steel arms was shining ever brighter. Veins of luminous energy circuits extended over the four hands and were imbued upon the flame, its warmth welling out and felt even from the screens, illuminating vacuum at the speed of light.
“There’s no need to resist, I am not a violent person who enjoys bloodlust.”
The Eldars’ language was growled over the video—the first instance of a voice in the footage. With the echoes of solar wind stirring the vacuum, vicious, incandescent flame also expanded and filled the footage!
As the lens zoomed, the Eldars could see the expanding fireball a silver ring encircling it slowly illuminating the dark world along with a corona surge and bursting light.
In three minutes, the frozen, dark realm once again felt warm sunlight, while golden brilliance shone upon half the planet.
Then, the man’s voice spoke for a second time in the footage.
Thus, the footage ended.
Just as the Eldars’ remaining resistance utterly disappeared.
In each distant corners of the Void, the spies who thought that they were not discovered all fell silent.
Unlike the Eldars who were engaged in direct confrontation, those ancient and powerful civilizations knew that the move which appeared to be dull and a waste of time was not a mere threat.
It was declaration toward the Multiverse.
Declaring that they were right here.
Declaring that they had arrived.
Power, Order, birthing stars.
None could stop us!