Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 917
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Master Nostradamus calmly laid out the path ahead of me.
“Are you hurt? Bewildered, perhaps? You should be, as the truth always hurts more than lies. Though it is by chance, you have at least now seen the truth of how immeasurably weak this country is, filled with conflict and misery. Now, there would certainly be the will to change all this from within the deepest part of your heart.”
“And so, for you, for me, for the country and for all citizens who have served the Diamond family, you have to be strong, or at least be a champion with your own ideals. You should be able to decide on your own future, instead of being some naïve and soft weakling pushed to the frontline with merely a few words. Change yourself, and then the world. Everything is possible if you have the strength to be Emperor.”
My mentor’s spoke calmly, looking not at me, but at the barren, vast and uninhabited northwestern plains. “That way, I can become your advisor in gaining position, authority. and clearance to reform this society. Becoming the Emperor would mean gaining this devastated nation, but our ambition would thus be fulfilled. As long as you become strong enough, I will aid you in becoming an Emperor above all.”
In that moment, I heard cries from the people of the village. I saw tears within the hearts of the apathetic knights, just as I felt the darkness and pain shrouding the country, and even the human civilization itself. All were hurt, separated by hierarchy, just as oppression and exploitation have always been part of civilization.
And the cause for all that misery were the mortals who held no power, despite this world being a miracle.
From then on, ideals extended their roots deep within my heart.
I began to pursue greatness and power, tapping into potential within my body that had yet been discovered. I fought the orcs without resting alongside the legions when I reached the frontlines, bathing in blood day by day, and was injured at every turn. Even the orcs feared my madness, while my might left allies in panic. The day eventually came that I fought thousands alone, breaking through the central orc garrison in the Tartaros Highlands and slayed three of their general. I thus ascended as a Legend, triumphing over all competition to have all those conniving ministers bow their heads, forcing the conspiring nobles to acknowledge my rise to the throne as Emperor.
I vowed then that I would change the world with my own will, just as I gained Legendary power.
At that very moment, the golden cocoon of divine power—an awakening god—unconsciously opened his eyes, revealing golden-orange pupils like the sun.
The massive cocoon of divine power was ablaze, illusory yet undoubtedly existing. Endless divine power was turning into fluctuating fire in the air, beginning to forge the form of the True God about to be born.
And then, I recalled the time after becoming the Emperor.
Those were memories darker and more melancholic than the bloodbath and corpses at the frontlines. It was the root of all darkness that shrouded civilization.
Concealed beneath the appearance of peace and humility were the nobles’ sinister involvement in political struggles and conspiracies, while each major faction discreetly hid their exploitations and oppressions as they lurked beneath the tranquility of the Imperial capital. Even so, that had been only the tip of the iceberg. Regional nobles would whimsically increase taxes and change the laws, demanding prima nocta while conscripting free men as private farmers. They would claim lands, arrogantly plundering, disregarding law, honor, duty, or respect towards their fellow men. Nobles, champions and merchants perched upon loftiness, tormenting the people and toying mortals like livestock because they held wealth and power, and even Imperial Law and Extraordinary abilities granted them the right to do so.
The Empire seemed like a dried corpse then, the war against the orcs having emptied every depth that kept the peace, and its affliction allowing the champions and nobles who now commanded martial forces to gain exceeding ability. The throne’s compromises and delegation of power, time after time, allowed them to become vile dragons that exploited upon the labors of others—but was the throne any better? Being the grandest of nobles and having the strongest military, it transported enough resources to wage a small battle from every corner of the nation into the Imperial Capital every month, with countless treasures and precious supernatural materials raked in just to meet the daily demands of the Imperial Family.
And yet I thought it to be reasonable in those days, for I was a royal sibling and my family protected the entire kingdom—their offerings were justified.
My stomach lurched as I recalled those days, of those individuals who did not hold back in flaunting their riches, mountains of mines, and power, never once sparing a thought for the corpses that had brought all those things to be. For my part, I could not help but to think about the toil and tears of the people a potion needed each time I took one—but I knew it was not the time to act, even if I had been aware of everything. I even had to smile alongside them, listen to their flattery, and hold back my hostility as I allowed those damned demons in human form to kiss my scepter.
There was a simple reason why.
Those nobles at present would have, at most, tormented the ‘property’ within their own domains and oppressed the peasants through ‘right’. It was a rule that had lasted over a thousand years but required them to be subservient, which was why there were limits to their madness—killing them simply would leave the Empire’s authority shaken at its very foundation and in turn displace millions, even dozens of millions, possibly causing a crisis. Other regional nobles could shed crocodile tears in return and resist by waging civil wars, throwing the vast nation into the middle of a storm.
Consequences of whims would reduce my struggles on the battlefield to nothing, while I had barely pushed the orcas back to the Tartaros Highlands despite endless blood and sweat. I even sffered a virtually irrecoverable internal injury, for they would have seized the chance for a counterattack—with us preoccupied in infighting, they would have reclaimed fine farmsteads over the northwestern plains and recovered their strength that was gradually lost in the recent dozen years.
The bigger picture mattered—at least at the time.
Orcs. Nobles. Gangsters. Ruthless Extraordinary individuals and civilians without means to resist—the Empire’s cysts, weaknesses, and tumors.
I once swore that I would change it all, for it was my ideal that pillared my rise as Legend, which also grew into a greater belief. With the last ounce of my strength I had solved one of those problems, but I had nothing left to resolve the other issues with then. The internal injury had taken its toll. When I felt the orc high priest’s most profane and evil curse incessantly grinding away at what remained of my life, dejection washed over me.
There’s not enough time…can’t I change it all?
Not even after ascending to the throne and becoming the Emperor?
Was it impossible for me?
I watched as my children grew up in the fine environment of the Imperial Family as well. And while they gradually reminded me of how my father and brother had been in the olden days, none of them had my resolve. I had sent my eldest son to be amongst the commoners in hopes he would learn of their suffering, and my second son to the military in hopes that he would feel the cruelty and violence of the war, but both of them ended up disappointing me. Abel was reined in by the nobles and became one of the most orthodox noble there was, while Dimore grew to view vengeance and power as his sole purpose, oblivious to the sorrows of the people. Rage and despair burnt within, leaving me at once despondent and enraged, even anguishly imagining how nice it would have been to just die.
But ideals—and only ideals could not be forgotten. The ideal of changing all that was dark kept me alive and hanging by a thread. I may have sat coolly upon my throne and awaited the arrival of death, but I did all I could to avoid losing sight of my initial intentions and becoming the person I once hated the most.
That was until that day when a little uproar started in the Imperial Capital and a familiar black-haired warrior easily solved my problem, then gifted me a pure divine crystal.
In the sealed chamber beneath the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, the golden surface of the divine cocoon began to peel off and a figure emanating boundless light slowly left its fold.
It all began here.
Due to their great power, Extraordinary individuals naturally became rulers and nobles within the Extraordinary civilizations. They were without a doubt set apart from those without supernatural ability—essentially a different species from those ‘weaklings’ who had nothing and contrasted in every way, from perspectives, execution, down to daily lives, even if they had been the same lifeform.
From a certain point of view, the same applied to the emperors as well—they did not feel the pain, troubles and misery of the people. Homestead isolated by mountains with only rugged paths that led to the outside, the secluded, dangerous living spaces between valleys and summits, the inconvenient transportation of the North, and the snow mountain provinces sealed come winter… every trial and tribulation that the common people faced, from climate change, geographical location, or the trouble of leaving and returning to their homeland were something champions would never have felt. They could easily fly, break mountains, and open paths just as they could alter climate, and notwithstanding their considerable ability, they could easily ignore it all—hence never experiencing a single hardship.
As the Champions would never have experienced first hand the inconveniences the weak faced, it was extremely difficult for change within the Extraordinary civilization—without demand, there would be no intent for progress. Unless there had been one such person—one sincere in aiding and protecting the vulnerable, to assist the weak in becoming strong or to at least have the self-esteem and strength to live out their days. A person who embodied justice and possessed might.
“I should thank you, noble Radcliffe,” the human form of light said quietly within the cocoon of divine power. “You gave me the divine crystal so that I could gain greater strength, just as your presence stunned the nobles and attracted their attention so that Master Nostradamus could calmly ascend to Legend. You’ve even supported my ideas of becoming a Legend in a brief few years whilst improving on my finest dreams.”
Two Legends could try to solve things one could not, but three Legends meant definite success—there was nothing in the Mycroft civilization that could stop three Legends, not even policies maintained over a thousand years and the resistance of innumerable nobles.
In the endless root, the thoughts and consciousness of countless people attacked my own will, purging my ideals. Even so, those weak things could no longer affect me. I remembered even more—the Skynet System and the Throne of Surveillance, the sins I personally burnt, and the nobles I ended… the champions whom I oppressed with the very means they had oppressed others.
I remembered an academy for the Extraordinary founded by Nostradamus and the rise of supernatural champions amongst the common folk within my borders. I remembered the berating my Empress gave me as she yelled that I was destroying the very sovereignity and pillars of my throne, as well as how the nobles huddled in fear whilst screaming that the Emperor has gone mad, that I was digging my own grave.
I could not blame them, for they understood nothing. They who believed themselves strong were ‘weaklings’ before me.
In this world ruled by champions and in which stories were written by the triumphant, there was nothing left for the weak. They were miseries left out of books, numbers without name amongst the dead. They were not described in tales of adventure, poor folk whom the knights and adventurers disregarded when they headed out to explored ruins and forests, the crude dishes made behind beautiful farmsteads once or twice a day. They would always be forgotten and neglected, earning no due respect even if they were the pillar that kept the world going.
But I, a god—’Israel’—would never forget and neglect the fact that human strength and ideal had come forty-three years ago from the border villagers, from the despairing tears of the weak.
[The weak have no reason to exist. The history of civilization is the process where the strong ever triumphed over the weak!]
A grand voice echoed from another realm—it was the ideal of a foreign civilization that transcended time and space to reach me. Its origins were different from mankind, a genuine alien race that was different in growth of civilization and societal form. And yet their voice was bold, their will firm.
They were wrong, and a grave mistake at that! The weak certainly had no reason to exist, but the intent of dividing between strong and weak was for the weak to strive and become strong themselves. It would also have reminded the strong that they were once weak, hence starting a new cycle! Civilization was a process where the weak became the strong and where justice gained might! Its history was the incessant development and progress of the the weak, their ideals achieved and goals affirmed, triumphing over all hardship at every turn and become the powerful, shouldering everything!
Inside the shining cocoon and the human figure of divine strength, a rune resembling the sun materialized. Blazing divine light spread, filling the entire chamber with a mild but blooming godly force.
Israel had awakened from his stupor within the Root. He opened his eyes to once again see the world he had left for years.
[Isn’t one born into nobility?]
Those who were blessed to being born within aristocracy in a world of bloodlines and legacies certainly perpetuated that rule, and he was a product of that.
However, though common folk had to exercise due diligence ten-thousandfold to become a champion like him, did he not work hard himself for it? He had taken on the pains and trained from a tender age, striving harder than the people over a hundred times—he had not even care for his lifestyle, with sole focus on becoming stronger! Could it be that champions were like shepherds who sheared wool to empower themselves with their might, or that they would have to oppress everyone in maintaining a gap in power to preserve their rule?
That was a mistake. If there had been no more champions after a single one, and if they should become an oppressive shepherd over the vulnerable—if they were deplorable individuals who should fall and no longer seek to be the best, but only to strengthen their control over their subjects and have the others remain weak so that themselves remained powerful—then the Extraordinary civilization was at its end. They would then no longer be capable of yielding greater beings, and would ever weaken or sink to new lows. They would have quietly vanished in passing time, or die screaming whenever in encounter with powerful beings of another world.
Everyone must improve, and must be given the chance.
That was why if nobility could gain power, anyone should have been able to.
The cocoon of divine power shattered. Endless light welled away from the god’s divine crest—warm, powerful and ever distinct.
Clenching both fists, Israel’s human form of light slowly took the form of a man. The former emperor and present newly ascended God of Might and Justice looked up to the surface, his gaze seemingly piercing the Void towards the stargate as it gradually opened.
Justice…justice is might, justice is power!
My power comes from ideals, and is innate through all life!
[Civilization is the process where the strong triumphed over the weak.]
A starkly different voice emanated from other side of the stargate. It was the voice of a superior being, a divine presence and title. The True God could hear the voice of the enemy that echoed from the Root of the Multiverse.
“To claim that civilization is the process where the weak became the strong… that is my divine foe, an enemy of Order,” the god proclaimed. Israel did not panic in response. Instead, he smiled, for he had also heard the familiar and intimate voice of a friend. “Come, Israel!” a man called out with growling laughter that transcended Void and stars, directed straight to his mind.
Haha, the man of light chuckled, and with that, infinite divine power charged as the face of a former emperor and his dark gold locks appeared at once. He was quickly covered within a golden helm, while sturdy, heavy divine armor inscribed with a simple sun symbol covered his body. A crimson cape flapped loudly behind him amidst surging gales, coated with the blood of innumerable sacrifices and reminding the god of the ideal he swore to execute for all eternity.
Golden divine light concentrated, forming a direct passage to the surface. Israel leapt up, feeling the gaze of countless eyes—divine, powerful, weak, reverent, and shocked—as he headed into the Void. He could even feel that of his own mentor, the old mage whose wish was fulfilled and whose old ideals were nearly accomplished, watching him in bliss and wonder.
At present, all humans and gods made way, allowing him the opportunity, and the god did not hesitate to turn into a golden streak of divine radiance, darting towards the opening and enlarging stargate. Vast and bright, it seemed to shine upon the entire dark galaxy.