Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 906
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Inside the planet devastating crater of World 39958, the heat within the planet burned and warped the air, creating a huge vacuum funnel as hot and cold air shifted.
The ship of the ancient civilization called the Knowers was built from black living metals. Runic steel animated by enchantments, it absorbs the heat from the magma around it to maintain balanced temperatures within its hull and its functions, and while the crafting was not very advanced, its special endurance and magical technology kept the ship complete even after dozen thousands of years had passed.
Unlike the Mycroft civilization, the Knowers’ vessel appeared small—it was obvious that the alien race had smaller bodies, with each part of the ship having many deep palm-sized holes that essentially made the ship’s interior appear to be a huge honeycomb. It appeared that a creature smaller than a human’s palm had lived on the ship as well, and moved through the honeycomb passageways.
Incidentally pulled into the magma created by the massive convective storms inside the planet devastator crater, the Elite Party somehow hit the jackpot through misfortune, finding that alien ship that had advanced technology. By combining the processing power of their Spirit Terminals and breaking the craft’s passcodes to enter, while also obtaining genetic clearance through Alchemist’s biotechnology to activate the ancient ship, they transmitted much precious data back to the headquarters of the Combined Fleet.
Now, the Elite Party was preparing to start the ship and return to the Void, and use their own scout ship to tow the half-working vessel back to headquarters—their own flying car had been wrecked, and without long-range warp beacons, they would need months to crawl from the planet’s mantle to the surface without the ship.
“It’s thanks to me this time, alright!”
Alchemist’s smug voice wafted from one of the holds in the Knower vessel.
It was an oval hall which walls were full of circular holes, with magical runes inscribed around them that were also embedded with crystal shards. Over a hundred translucent spherical cannisters floated around the runes, each containing the corpses of antlike creatures. Protected by enchantment, the last moments of those remains were preserved.
At the fore of the hall was an oddly shaped crystal surface that flickered in unusual symbols that stated various information. Five Spirit Terminals were plugged into it, translating the symbols into Mycroft runes.
Presently, Alchemist was controlling all five terminals as a medium to slowly control and start the ship, rising and escaping the crater to return in the Void. A faint rumbled resounded from the hull to make it evident that the engine had activated and that the ship had taken into the air. Nonetheless, Alchemist was also using the five Spirit Terminals in a curious manner: his right hand had turned into a large squid tentacle, with five smaller ones on the tip that were filled with suction cups wrapping around the terminals to maintain a stable data bridge between them and Alchemist.
“…Well, we really do owe you one this time. I never imagined that your soul-eating kraken modification could directly conduct arcane programming and exchange through physical means, which coincidentally is identical with how the Knowers steer their ship back then.”
Priest first glanced at his teammate’s smug and rather elegant elven face, before turning solemnly to the squirming, very real tentacles. “But, uh, don’t get angry, Constantine,” the young warrior then mumbled with a mixed expression, “don’t you think your physical modifications is a bit excessive?”
The other three members of the Elite Party who were standing beside Priest all nodded, slightly fearful despite their revered gazes at Alchemist. After all, Alchemist appeared even more grotesque than he was now when he first used the Spirit Terminals to decrypt the alien ship—he had bloated up to twice his size, with tentacles flailing all around his body that pervaded into each corner of the ship’s control core.
In return, Constantine the Alchemist made a face filled with a sense of accomplished as his clearly revering teammates looked on. “This is ‘Star Warrior: Third Form’, a physical modification Count Radcliffe tailored exclusively for me!” He laughed confidently and gestured at himself with his thumb. “It contains bloodlines of the soul-eating kraken, ouroboros python, titan dragonfly and the skybinding dragon—I know have three hearts and six lungs, and when I activate my shapeshift tool by my hip, I would assume Star Warrior form that could fight Supreme!”
In the three-year voyage through the Void, there was naturally technological progress apart from incessant training. Thanks to physical modifications, Alchemist stayed ahead of his companions, having taken a quicker step onto the path of Supreme. While the exponential increase of power would not bring him Strength Mastery, it was much easier for him to reach that level after personally experiencing the power that goes beyond his own limits.
Still, Priest and the others were not actually jealous… what was there to feel envious about? Most people could not alter their forms like that! Furthermore, it was the daily lives Priest and the others shared with him that they know how much effort Alchemist had to give in order to obtain such power.
After strenuous training with the Count every day, Alchemist must diligently study various biological knowledge and corresponding engineering and alchemy. Thanks to modifications, his body was stronger than most humans and even typical draconic beasts, but it was also precisely why it had to be maintained by substantial care and potions—each transformation was so difficult that it was no easier than their own training of aura, magic, and Holy Light.
Be that as it may, a laborious price is an exchange for great power. Though a little lost about his path forward at first, Alchemist had now determined his way—as one of the rare individuals inside the physical modification faction, he began to feel a little troubled like Joshua himself about his companions’ reluctance for making adjustments to their bodies.
As the quintet chattered and bantered away, a translucent ring of magic encircled the Knower ship from the outside, repelling gravity as it shot out of the magma and rose above ground.
While the craft gradually lifted off and escaped from the burning pool of magma, its almost-spindle hull could be seen. However, its edges were changeable, and the ship itself highly malleable so that it splices into the Void excellently, granting its hull of living metals a keen edge most of the time, in turn granting Mycroft civilization meaningful know-hows.
With the continuous ascent of the ship, the Elite Party hence escaped the planet devastator crater. Planet 39958 became ever smaller as its arched orange-red continent stretched on from both horizons in the darkness of outer space. Then, as they left the World Barrier, the five-person party who held clearances saw the scout ship that floated on the world’s outer layer ever so clearly, and began to reminisce about the automated coffee machines and hot showers on their own craft.
However, be it a stroke of luck or a moment of misfortune…
Unlike his teammates who were chattering excitedly away about how many exchange points they would earn this time, Clergy, the calmest and most level-headed of them promptly frowned—for he could see a rather abnormal flash in the distant stars.
“Hey, cut the chatter. Look at the Vo—”
But before he could warn his teammates about the anomaly as the others were making jovial, a streak of rainbow light flashed past the Void, quietly reducing the entire scout ship into nothing but specks of metal shroud wafting in the Void—the final remains of the craft.
Even as the words escaped his mouth, Clergy’s face was as ashen-white as his teammates, who had quieted beside him. Still, as expected of a team who had gone through much tribulations and unexpected incidents, it took just a moment for everyone to react: Alchemist quickly steered the ship to descend, Mage began chanting the words of a barrier spell, Priest used gravitational aura to accelerate the dive while Rider hurriedly shut his mouth.
Just when they hurriedly descended to hide in the planet devastating crater, Clergy could see that the distant flash beyond the World Barrier was expanding… and rapidly approaching.
With a powerful shockwave of energies, ripples that distorted dimensions along with tail exhaust flames that blocked out the sun, advanced spacecrafts forged entirely out of black living metals similar to the one they discovered streaked through the world’s surface. They gathered like a boundless colony of ants, their vast mass causing light to bend—their size unfathomable, there appeared to be no end to them as they stretched on like a stream of metallic stars without end.
They paid no heed to the scout ship they had just destroyed or Priest and his party who was inside world 39958. Although the truth was that they had noticed their presence, they did not actually care—the attack just now was more or less mere contact, and it was their principle that civilizations or individuals whose ships could not deal with their attack had no right to communicate with them.
For the Knowers never cared for meaningless or time-wasting matters. Having a long history of being displaced and almost falling on several occasions, the toughness they gain as they were reborn anew left their hearts as hard as stone.
The vast armada warped the very orbit of stars, causing planets to cease their whirling, stopped by the great swarm. They quietly advanced, communicating orders within their own network channels.
Meanwhile, another side of the galaxy.
A dazzling blue dot was rapidly approaching the Galaxy of Beginnings far faster than the black fleet moved. It appeared to be warping throughout, showing up at points with thousands of planetary systems between, vanishing to the other side of the stars in the single blink of an eye.
Although multiple Legendary champions had been contributing to the construction of the Combined Fleet’s base on Zeta Ram, little over two months was not enough to dock the life-support vessels together to create a complete ecosystem. That was why most crew were still living on their assigned ships, taking turns to procure supplies from the base.
Joshua was one of the people who was remaining onboard. He had no interest in plants, nor did he comprehend why most crew would be emotionally stirred at the sight of green growth or even a large cabbage. Still, it did not stop him from watering the potted plants beside his seat since the goodwill of his students were different from ordinary shrubs.
Usually, Joshua was idle after handling most daily tasks since the addition of the Eldars as well as various construction efforts being on the right track meant there was not much work he was needed for. Just like how the others from Mycroft had predicted, the warrior was now doing nothing but sitting in his own ship, a stone statue watching over the house, only moving when an enemy invades.
When he greeted a crewmember who were exchanging shifts beside him offhandedly only to receive a very respectful bow in return, Joshua could not help but shake his head and return to his seat and connect to the expedition’s network to scan for any noteworthy information
Then, Joshua sharply picked up a notification.
‘Scout Ship 001: signal lost.’
“Priest’s scout ship… completely vanished?”
Narrowing his eyes but unaffected emotionally, the warrior said nothing else as he kept scanning other details, including how another scout ship nearby world 39958—where scout ship 001 had been was transmitted a message to quickly go into hiding or enter emergency warp to return to base.
Joshua paused for a moment, his brow wrinkling before he relayed to all crewmembers on the Dreadnaught , telling them to retreat into the base at once and leave the ship while other vessels prepared for better and assumed formations.
With that done, the warrior sighed heavily and spoke to the crew around him, “Clear the bridge, seek refuge in the Void base.”
Though unsure why Joshua would issue such an order, the warrior’s command was absolute as commander-in-chief of the fleet and Legendary champion. Even the helmsman who was at work quickly stood up and teleported to the Void installation through a portal, emptying the ship in seconds.
Unmanned, the Dreadnaught bobbed on autopilot as it adjusted for imbalance in the absence of her crew, while Joshua simply remained in his seat, his hands holding the chair’s grip as he stared at the distant Void.
In the very next instant.
With the powerful flash from a psionic warp and psionic presence strong enough to stir the dimensions, a huge humanoid shrouded in silver-blue energy waves stepped from the warp portal to stand before the Void battleship.
Dozen thousands of complex rings, arches, and geometrical shapes floated and whirled around the humanoid. Alien runes and near-proton form shroud encircled its form, and the world seem to pause when it appeared—everything turned pale, while color, body frame, and whether shapes or worlds were three-dimensional becoming meaningless. Every supernatural power was being repelled as the Void turned into a two-dimensional silhouette, the only solid form being ‘psionic energies’ and that ‘individual which controlled psionic energies.’
Accommodating and shouldering everything, to create a future even if it had to immolate itself—it was such a distinctly profound will that somehow leaks a radically stubborn scent, a smell of steel that leaves the mind cold.
Joshua rose in response, and all the illusions shattered when he did. Silver right quaked space itself, breaking the psionic boundary like glass while forcefully closing the warp portal. The world hence regained color and sound, even as a searing terror extends, leaving dried mouths.
Galgur Takur, the Grand Patriarch of the Takur Ruin Cult looked around him curiously. He was wearing war robes inscribed with countless runes, while his gaze swept through the entire headquarters of the Combined Fleet and their Void base, piercing Void and World Barrier to study the huge dimensional hub inside Zeta Ram, as well as the ten-thousand meters wide dimensional rift—he had been intrigued by how powerful the alien fleet that had come the Lost Galaxy was.
It appeared that, as he expected, they did not surpass his expectation.
Though they possess advanced technology, there was nothing incomprehensible yet… or anything they could not fight.
“Champion of another civilization.”
Turning, Galgur looked at Joshua, psionically checking the most powerful person of the fleet—the very being who almost crossed a dimensional rift to reverse-trace their home system. The Grand Patriarch’s psionic presence filled the Void, manifesting as information that completely replaced language.
“Us, we. We wish to ask you, all of you, a question.”
Though feared by all in the galaxy and labeled the Emissary of Ruin, the Grand Patriarch now spoke with a friendly tone as if to an equal for the very first time. “Have you seen through the truth behind the Multiverse where all would fall into ruin?”
“Are you willing to join us—work with us, and face that terrible, dark future together?”
Joshua, however, was neither returning his gaze nor responding to him. The warrior was frowning at his two flanks. The psionic blast before had caused a small explosion on the entire ship’s navigational system, with the control panel bursting in scattered sparks.
And beside his seat, some of the flowers had withered from the fearsome psionic light.
He had just watered them… it was fortunate that they were not utterly withered.
Therefore, having used a bit of his power to protect the roots of the plants, the warrior slowly looked up into Galgur’s single eye and said calmly, “Fine, but before that you have to apologize—to me and the crew you’ve just troubled.”
Galgur could not understand the meaning of those words at once, but soon there was no need to think.
Because he saw a massive fist, and Joshua’s punch had reached him.
The people in the warships around the Dreadnaught had turned to watch the bridge of the flagship although still unsure what was going on. Then, they all saw the ship abruptly taking a nosedive towards the Void base amidst an incredible rumbling of energies, as if a violent force was pressing it down to crash brutally into the sturdy outer armor of the base.
However, more distinct than that was a straight line of silver-blue light that fired away from the bridge into the distance!
A solid steel fist pasted onto the cyclops’ left cheek. The great magnitude that could crush a planet and dent a sun broke through ten thousand layers of microscopic psionic shielding, pulverizing it all as streaks of savage tears appeared where the steel fist struck. There was the sound of bone crunching, blood, and flesh vaporizing and elements fusing.
Everything happened in such a brief instant that Galgur could only feel his head being sent whirling a few cycles and having a sun detonate on his face. Half his skull crumbled, and his entire body shot away backward.
But would Joshua give his enemy time to think? After sending Galgur flying with a punch, he strode out and accelerated, stamping on the floor to send the entire Void battleship plummeting. As substantial mass distortion appeared, he moved onto a World Barrier he conjured out of thin air, his figure vanishing like a phantom and catching up to the blown-away Galgur!
At the same time, a silver star suddenly appeared halfway on the trail where Galgur had been darting, the Grand Patriarch hence crashing onto the sturdy neutron star.
There was neither greeting, gesture, nor holding back as the warrior threw away all intent of withholding his presence. If such an ambush was amicable and cooperative behavior, Joshua was probably so senile he could not differentiate ‘hostility’.
The warrior was certain that if he were not present, the alien champion would not hesitate to destroy the entire Combined Fleet, and his spying before was nothing other than to observe how many Legendary champions were in the reconnaissance fleet.
Which was why there was no need for words.
“Welcome to the Mycroftian civilization’s star base.”
Just when Galgur wanted to rise and face the humanoid that was coming at him with its fist, a thick voice that left him startled echoed from within the silver planet. His feet were hence caught by rising silver chains, ensnared by a dimensional anchor.
In the very next second, with a heaven moving seismic shift, a massive hand was raised from the stellar body, dragging a large dark shadow before slamming down on every oncoming automaton without hesitation, just like slapping on some flies.
“Thanks for coming.”