Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 563
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
With those words, Joshua studied the being that called itself ‘Midgardian’ and stood before him.
It was a race that resembled humans while bearing the appearance of ‘treants’. If Milhabus was a median specimen of its race, they would have an average height of two meters—its head had two sensory organs and one fully developed psionic core, a mouth but no ears, nose nor any other orifice. It was also slightly horrifying at one glance since their essence was essentially grown from plants.
The Midgardian body was also remarkably identical to humans, but after Joshua observed it, he noticed that their internal organs were extremely special. Their mental faculty is located by their vertebra—a long, flexible translucent strip similar to tree pith. There were many minuscule tentacles over it, while other organs and its entire body grew from those tentacles. Apart from that, the tree pith could vibrate air to produce sound by its psionic ability, probably so that they could interact with any kin of their own race that was not developed enough to communicate with psionic abilities.
In a nutshell, the form of Midgardians was perplexingly unnatural. From what Joshua could see, they definitely had other forms that were more appropriate, but forcibly distorted themselves to their current state due to certain reasons.
It was quite evident. With a faint but visible ripple of energy, the fiber layer of skin over Milhabus’s body was swiftly regenerating under the prompt of psionic energy even as Joshua helped him up, and was completed healed in seconds. The fiber layer was extraordinarily compact and had a rather transparent gray-white hue—covered behind it, Milhabus, barely passable as a human figure formed from countless roots and leaves, quickly turned into another human figure that was mimicked the humans of Mycroft. It was now a robust, somber middle-aged man, although the single obvious difference was that its hair was layers of thick, green leaves, with roots similar to willow branches discernible underneath.
—This race has imitated the Sage’s form until they lost their own.
Joshua could not help sighing inwardly at the sight. He did not feel that the human form was the most perfect form in the Multiverse—due to variation between environments and ecosystems, every race has a shell that fits their civilization the most. The Midgardians that were fundamentally plants in reality do not fit into the human form, but through heightened psionic ability and self-remolding, they had harshly changed their own race into such a state.
However, that was not important.
“I know your people are about to face the assault of a Void Behemoth…” Joshua said a while later after composing his emotions, “but I still don’t understand the specifics. Could you please enlighten me?”
Through his Steel Strength link, he could now converse with no obstacles with the Midgardian leader that called itself Milhabus. It did not mean that Joshua had grasped the Midgard language—in fact, the fleet commander and the scientists who were watching them through surrounding psionic live feed and audio-visual equipment could only hear a cadence that was completely different from anything in their civilization.
“The Grand Consul’s psionic link is enshrouded by a foreign power—he understands the speech of that Void Being!”
“Analyze it at once! A benevolent, communicative Void Being that bears such a striking resemblance with the Void Saint… He may be an existence on the side of the true Saint!”
In line with the analysis of the Void Being Incident Supervision Council—the Council for short, dozens of their most learned linguist in the Midgardian civilization began to study Joshua’s tone, expression, and accent gingerly yet delightedly. The psionic link from Milhabus made things greatly convenient for them, allowing them to be clear that the Void Being was indicating benevolence.
Since the entire Midgardian race had awakened their psionic ability a thousand years ago, more and more of them resonated and linked together, ultimately forming a profound psionic network that engulfed the entire Midgard planet. Through that network, most psionically developed individuals could exchange information with zero delays, and with Milhabus itself being the strongest psionic in the planet, it could naturally connect with the network. Hence, it had especially opened itself so that the linguists could understand the meaning of the warrior’s words.
“Why isn’t Milhabus acting yet?!”
On the other hand, Tarquin was not delighted as it watched the feed inside the fleet flagship the Pioneer high above the air, clenching instead on his staff. Layers of wrinkles folded over the face of the rather elderly commander, and he was clearly extremely nervous. “The energy value of the psionic beam is about to fall! There wouldn’t be a chance to control that fellow anymore if it didn’t use the psionic power now!”
Unlike the other optimistic Midgardian hierarchs, Tarquin was fully vigilant against any Void lifeform after having experienced firsthand the battle against the Crystal Insect. In its point of view, even if Joshua did not unleash destruction at once, was it not the same with the Crystal Insect? In the few years that it had been summoned, not only did the Insect contribute greatly to Midgardian material science, it even dug several asteroid mines that could not be constructed with their technological capabilities at the time which in turn provided the Midgardians substantial resources.
However in the end, its single sudden strike had wiped clean every blessing it brought while greatly shredding the vigor of Midgard, throwing them into civil strife and a dark era of schism to the point that the Midgardians only returned to the stars after more than a thousand years.
The kindness of a moment was hence without meaning. Who knew if the second Void creature would be scared into switching allegiance at first glance of the Void Behemoth? With the whole civilization standing on the brink, Tarquin believed that using the incredible psionic power to control the being was far better than communicating to avoid anything expected.
And there were a considerable number of leaders in the army who shared its opinions. These Midgardians that had more or less experienced that dark era was very vigilant to all alien life, and in their conviction, Joshua was a powerful, uncontrollable, and incredible threat—the double-edged sword that the Midgardian had ever used. If they did not act heavy-handedly, they might be cut when the sword swings backward.
Meanwhile, Milhabus was smiling awkwardly on the Solemn Platform as its eyes cleared after the series of impacts that came with Joshua’s arrival. It did not require spiritual connection to guess the thoughts of those old friends—they must be shouting behind the screen with all their might so that it would host the ritual, control the Void being named [Joshua van Radcliffe] who was standing before it.
But the question of its willingness notwithstanding, it could not do it even if it wanted to!
From the start, its control over the ritual had been stolen by a powerful will behind the curtain of the Void. Though that glorious psionic beam appeared to be under its control, it had in truth utterly became a possession of another. Furthermore, speaking of control, Milhabus could sense through its psionic perception how fearsome a being the lifeform before it was. Around him, there were seemingly endless pure psionic fragments that contained infinite vengeance and despair.
These were the fragments that eroded the psionic beam and unleashed the halo of despair. And yet, those psionic shards that had severely disrupted the formations of the Central Midgardian Fleet was obediently pausing right beside the Void Being without any false moves.
—Controlling a superior being that could subjugate dozens of thousands of resentment fragments nonchalantly? Tarquin, this isn’t the simple mind of a Crystal Insect that virtually had no intelligence… This is a living thing that escapes imagination—both yours and mine.
An existence connected to the Void Saint.
At the very thought, Milhabus, the Grand Consul of the Holy Council, prudently and reverently bowed toward Joshua, using its psionic ability to simultaneously vibrate the atmosphere and communicate with the warrior in his mind. “Your kindness towards the danger my race face is moving… But most of the data related to the Void Behemoth are within the [Hall of the Mother Tree] and tightly guarded by several Omega-tier psionics and inaccessible at the moment. If you wish, I could lead you to it immediately.”
“The faster, the better. Chaotic invasions never wait; they would attack any moment.” Joshua nodded slightly, his forthright attitude clear as ever. He had come to his world to cleanse Chaos and complete the mission assigned by the commanding will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds—any Midgardian politics, conspiracies, disquiet, and delight had nothing to do with him.
“Please tell me about your civilization,” he added after a brief pause.
Milhabus led Joshua down from the Solemn Platform atop the holy mountain. In the journey, Joshua could sense that the uniquely shaped temple platform was imbued with a clear presence of the Sage while hosting unending Midgardian spirits. It was therefore not unusual that the ritual which condensed incredible power had to be performed—otherwise, the psionic energies gathered from millions of people would never be focused enough to tear through the wall between worlds.
And through Milhabus narration, Joshua had a general idea of Midgardian civilization.
Millions of years ago, the Midgardian precursors—a unique tree which propagated by splitting its roots had mutated through phenomenon such as thunderstorms and suddenly acquired psionic ability. Thanks to that new stimuli, the psionic plants gradually attained intelligence and became self-aware, and while the buds and roots splitting away from them lost that psionic ability, they inherited the knowledge of their forebears.
Such was the beginning of the Midgardian civilization—millions of years of unceasing molding and evolution, the Midgardians had hence become a star-faring race that could explore colonize planets following the guidance of the [Void Saint] and their own incessant diligence. However, due to their aspect as a psionic floral species, they favored settling down on their home planet instead of migrating, and though their lifespan could be counted in millennia, their reproduction rate was inconceivably slow.
A Midgardian could exchange pollen with another Midgardian—it was an exchange of genetic information to inseminate and nurture sprouts that split away from the pith of their backbone. The process lasts from seventy-five up to a hundred and twenty-five years, and in that period, the Midgardian in which the sprout gestated would have lowered psionic thresholds that only recovers when the sprout splits from it. And if any found it undesirable to intermingle, single Midgardians could undergo mitosis with the same gestation period.
While the gestation period was long, it was fortunate that the Midgardian progeny would possess the knowledge of their parents. Even if some deeper knowledge would be forgotten by incomplete mental faculties, fundamental knowledge was always kept, greatly saving time required for education. Most Midgardians could probably bear two or three batches of progeny in their lifetime which in turn came in clusters of one to three sprouts. Their slow population growth hence made them averse from strife—once they lost a considerable part of their own race and could not replace them in time, the entire civilization could fall, and it was precisely why the repercussions from the Crystal Insect attack kept on for so long.
The Midgard government body was similar to the republic of humans, jointly administrated by the Grand Consul which was the most powerful psionic and the highest official, alongside the Holy Council, an arbitrating structure formed by many elite psionics. Milhabus smiled bitterly and a little tiredly at the mere mention of it—though it had great authority, the responsibility it held was equally great just as it was with being in charge of the Void Door ritual. If the summoned was not Joshua and some horrific Void aberration instead, it would be the first to die in the line of duty as the summoner.
“In reality, the highest leader of the Midgardians isn’t me.”
After that bitter smile, Milhabus led Joshua down from the platform and into the temple cluster. “While the Grand Consul is a lifetime title, I would be replaced in four years the moment another surpassed me in Psionic ability. It’s the same for the hundred-men Holy Council, which is why both the Grand Consul and the Holy Council serve the true highest leader.”
“Oh? And who would that be?” Joshua asked curiously in return. Though he had a few guesses, he intended to have Milhabus tell him.
“It’s difficult to put to words… You would probably understand once you arrived at the Hall of the Mother Tree.”
Milhabus, appearing unsure of how to put things, could only skip that part. Meanwhile, within the temple, quite a few Midgardian priests with considerable psionic power and will were standing by respectfully in a corner, and did not raise their heads to glimpse the Void Being that was Joshua as he walked past them. But when Milhabus mentioned the Hall of the Mother Tree, a priest that was obviously a leader stepped forward.
“The psionic warp gate is ready,” it said with reverence. “It could be used any moment, Grand Consul.”
“Alright, got it,” Milhabus replied simply, and directed Joshua to the direction of the psionic warp gate, picking that moment to ask a question tentatively as they walked.
“Mister Radclife… You seem to know the Sage? May I ask if he…”
It was clear that it wanted to inquire after some information regarding the Sage, and learn the relationship between the holy one and Joshua.
Nevertheless, the question itself was both frivolous to the Grand Consul and Joshua. Leaving aside Joshua’s reaction to the Droplet before, it was evident from his appearance alone that he had strong links with the Sage, not to mention that the warrior was pulled here by the distress signal issued by the Sage Legacy. But knowing is knowing—it was more important to actually reveal than to silently acknowledge a truth, which was why Milhabus still asked its question albeit in a roundabout manner.
“The Sage is one of the founders of the civilization of our world,” Joshua gave Milhabus the simplest answer he could come up with after some thought. “He isn’t just the Saint of your world, but also of many others, and a being far more majestic than you could imagine. Your being able to summon me was also because hints he left behind.
“And I am his Heir from a few dozen generations later.”
Joshua was earnestly in awe of the Sage’s power and breadth of mind. Leaving other aspects aside, the teleportation that could scale the Multiverse within the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds alone far eclipsed the imagination of many, not to mention the wondrous ability of the commanding will.
Naturally, Joshua could sense that the incredible psionic beam had intended to invade his own spirit at the moment he was summoned to control him. It was a common supplement for summoning rituals that many warlocks use when summoning demons, for how else would those summoned beings follow the orders of the spellcasters? While Joshua would never admit that he himself was weak, he still did not know much about the combined powers of the psionics in an entire plan planet. It was the commanding will that coercively assumed control over the ritual during the final moments of the teleportation, preventing the Midgardians from controlling him with the psionic beam and greatly empowering his abilities.
One should also be aware that Joshua’s full power form in the Sixth Abyss was about a hundred meters, and just over a hundred and forty meters after another half a year of training. Under the empowerment of the psionic beam, however, he easily formed a Steel giant over four hundred meters. At the time, Joshua had yet to completely understand the Steel Strength in this unfamiliar world and should logically be unable to use his full strength—but for this non-full power state to surpass the initial limit, the margin of empowerment could only be described as fearsome.
Moving through plain stone corridors and following Milhabus as it turned into a corner, Joshua could see the psionic warp gate at the heart of the mountaintop temple. It was a unique psionic creation similar to the portals in the Mycroft Continent, and it looked like the two civilization did not differ much in their knowledge of the dimensions.
It’s time to remove combat mode, the warrior thought, and took down the greatsword and greataxe on his back. With an intense mana ripple in the next moment and the nervous but alert gaze of Milhabus as it promptly turned its head, a curious Ying and calm Ling thus materialized before the Midgardian Grand Consul.
“The mana in this place is quite thin, Master.” The silver-haired girl’s psionic body was glimmering.
“To be precise, it isn’t thin,” she added somberly after closing her eyes to sense the particle energies in their environment. “But there’s a huge difference between this place and the world of Mycroft—Ling and myself might not be able to work long hours.”
“That’s right… The mana here feels like it has been mixed with the Nature power of the elves…” Ling said, before turning to the direction of the Solemn Platform and muttering.
“Eh? Master, look. That ripple is a little familiar…”
Not quite needing Ling’s prompt, Joshua had already turned and frowned at the platform—the one where Milhabus hosted the Void Door ritual as he sensed that immeasurably familiar ripple.
“No way?” The warrior could not help exclaiming. “How is that possible?!”
At the moment, Milhabus and the other priests were still gaping in shock at the sudden appearance of Ling and Ying, with the Grand Consul blinking all three of its eyes. “I actually never noticed…” it said in disbelief, “we actually summoned three Void Beings at once?!”
But before its shock could fester, a powerful machine-like will was coming once more to the Solemn Platform outside the temple. As the dimensions surged like the oceans, a soft blue portal suddenly appeared at the center of the Platform. Without waiting for Joshua to interact with the commanding will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds that was appearing once more, a figure scuttled out of the portal and arrived at the platform, staggering and almost falling—it came across as if its teleportation had been a hurried one.
Detecting the acquainted presence, Joshua arrived outside the temple in the blink of an eye and flew up onto the platform, leveling his gaze at the suddenly appearing figure. Even the calm warrior could not help crying out in surprise.
“Nostradamus?! How did you come here?!”
On the other hand, Milhabus, who swiftly followed Joshua outside the temple and saw the massive energy ripples was shocked speechless.
Four… Four for the price of one?!
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