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Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 967

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Upon hearing the system’s warning and notification, Creed activated Phantom Trail and returned to Elma’s ship as fast as he could.

The Ultimate Virus was simply too abnormal that Creed was reluctant to stay in such a dangerous environment despite having the Phantom Gold Inferno gifted by Commander Radcliff… and there were no clues to be obtained from the Simba family since they were all dead, and he would never have stayed a second longer in that place if it was possible.

Phew!

Then, when Creed returned to the vessel through the shadows, he was greeted by a transparent quarantine cabin and a full set of high-energy radiation. Six elemental beams converged into white light, compounded with magical fire that could have reduced a city to ash. It was used to clean Creed from head to toe, and though he was clearly unhurt, the radioactive exposure was igniting little fires in the gaps between Creed’s armor plates—those were indeed some of the lurking Ultimate Virus cells that were only completely destroyed now.

“Sorry, but it’s necessary.”

Beyond the quarantine cabin, Elma controlled the flames and scrubbed away as carefully as one would when bathing a cat. “Although I’m sure that the virus won’t affect me,” she said softly, “it could move from your body to mine, making me its unwitting host—that was probably how the Simba family was infected by a commander-class Amos who hosted the virus.”

“It’s alright since it is an Extraordinary plague—I would have been quarantined from three months back home.” Creed naturally did not mind. He smiled, before taking out a small test tube carefully and handing it to Elma on the other side of the crystal quarantine cabin. “A sample of the Ultimate Virus you wanted. Be careful not to spill it—I won’t be wearing armor all the time, and the Commander-in-Chief’s system has verified that it has the power to wear down souls, and force extreme mutation!” In other words, not even the soul of an infected individual would be spared if they were unlucky, having their very spirit decimated.

Elma did not respond but her movements were careful. The transparent crystalline quarantine wall began to squirm and extended a translucent tentacle to take the test tube in Creed’s hands, wrapping it and sealing it within tightly. Creed noticed that she had casted at least more than seven Gold and Supreme level sealing spells, proving that she was not lying about being Supreme-pinnacle, and it was an ability that would have made her a master even back in the world of Mycroft.

Meanwhile, Creed’s disinfection consisted of nine completely different procedures, ranging from alternating exposure between extreme temperatures, vacuum dusting, and plasma masking, to a bath of disintegrative spells. When he finally left the quarantine cabin after ascertained to be 100% clean, Elma murmured to herself in shock, having begun examining what the Extreme Virus actually was.

“This composition, this virus… it’s centuries ahead of us in biotechnology—no, perhaps even beyond that!”

The test tube containing some of the Ultimate Virus was placed at the center of piles of biological machinery and arcane apparatus. Elma was carefully studying its form from all aspects, and discovered that the virus was very complex despite its simple constitution—for example, if ordinary viruses passed down substances that solely stored information, the substances that the Ultimate Virus spread were three-dimensional spells on an atomic level! Not only did it store information far beyond ordinary viruses, but it was also able to develop aspects most ordinary viruses would never have.

In other words, the so-called Ultimate Virus was a living spell: self-replicating, self-multiplying, highly infectious, lethal, extremely hard to kill, and highly adaptable. Elma was sure that the Amos Court could not have created such a virus since their technology and supernatural powers were always a shadow of Imperator Amos’s footsteps, leaning towards the enthralling and the colossal.

“Such horror!”

Creed was left astonished by Elma’s description, his expression appearing anxious after unequipping his armor. “No, the Commander has to be informed… home has to be informed!”

The Mycroft civilization was much more densely populated than the Amos Court worlds, where merely millions lived in a single world. Without countermeasures, a problem that the Amos could solve by maintaining a lockdown would have been a disaster! One could only hope that the Nature’s Magister and the Murloc High Priest would be informed as early as possible and tailor a defense against virus… once he remembered the unusual corpses of the Simba family and imagined the violent super virus being spread amongst crowds, Creed shuddered despite it being not cold.

Meanwhile, Elma eyed Creed’s worried face and calmed him down.

“Don’t worry. With his power, your Commander-in-Chief would be aware of the Ultimate Virus once you make contact—hmm?”

Looking up abruptly, Elma turned to a corner of the once silent Void where streaks of rapid dimensional ripples extended. Then, as silvery grey portals opened, eight massive biological warships that were over three kilometers long slowly emerged and hovered in the Void in a ring formation.

The ships were shaped like a unique inverted pyramid and their bulk which had distinct edges slowly rotated like a diamond, with layers of conspicuous energy rings surrounding those sharp points. Most of the ships were identical, with only differences in ring color, size, and number—that was when the craft with most numbers of rings noticed the nearby Elma at once when it left the portal, and headed towards her.

“Classic inverted pyramids—the Imperial Guards.”

Elma’s simulated human form wrinkled her brow as she explained things to the perplexed Creed. “Although the Imperator did not actually require bodyguards, there is a group who would handle miscellaneous matters for him. They are Amoses who fight only under direct orders of the Imperator, just like an emperor’s knights.”

“All of them are of the Commander class (Supreme intermediate to pinnacle), I was one of them back then…”

“Elma, it’s actually you.”

But before Elma could actually finish, the leading ship which slowly approached extended a surprised spiritual call. “It’s been seventy-four years. So, you’ve been hanging around such a desolate place?”

“Cross, what’s going on?”

Elma clearly knew the Imperial Guard and did not try to hide her own suspicion, therefore asking a question while explaining to Creed. “Amongst the Imperial Guards, Cross is of a new generation of individuals who are General-class hopefuls. I’ve worked with him seventy-four years ago in the frontlines. He’s… an acquaintance.”

On the other side, Cross was unaware that the body of his acquaintance had an otherworldly guest, and so merely said seriously without preamble, “Don’t leak whatever you’ve guessed or learnt. The Court will handle everything—don’t get ahead of yourself.”

“Then tell me, at least—what’s going on with the Court?”

In the Void, the two colossal vessels stood off against each other across the Void, formless spiritual ripples surging. “All 137 fringe systems are in full lockdown, isolated, information exchange prohibited, and resources are being rationed—if an enemy attacked, we’d probably only learn about it weeks later!”

“Disaster.”

Creed answered briskly, pausing a moment before continuing, “Don’t worry about the borders… and that’s the only thing you could bet on. Still, the Takurians suffer worse plight—we can barely protect ourselves, but they cannot protect anything at all.”

“Cross, please—for the sake of us being former comrades who guarded the Great Nebula Fort, tell me something worthwhile.”

Having verified her theories about present circumstances revolving around the Ultimate Virus and obtained a general idea, Elma still tried to get more information. “I was an Imperial Guard once, too. I could help in some way.”

In return, Cross was quiet for moments, as if thinking, then quietly said after a few seconds, “It’s all the Ruin Cult’s fault.”

“A year or two ago, after His Majesty sent a clone to clash against the Mycroft civilization, the Takurians had somehow linked up with a massive ancient world when developing more psionic rituals… it contained intricate and mysterious Psi which was considerably different from the forces we are familiar with in our galaxy, which is a major discovery for those mongrels.”

“But they never did notice that a bizarre virus lurked in that ancient world.”

“It is simply abnormal, stubborn, tough, and highly infectious, and no environment could stop its spread—it actually moves in vacuum, absorbing the universe’s radiation to stay alive!”

Cross’s tone was a mixture of schadenfreude and gritted teeth, his spiritual presence muddled. “An entire sanctuary world had fallen immediately, losing one of twelve of their core domains and causing major chaos. The Grand Patriarch tried to keep a lid over it, but the secret was out: our spy had noticed and returned during the Chaos, but was already infected and became a host.”

Cross’s spirit emanated unconcealed hate against the Takurians. If his soul had not been maimed, leaving a nigh unhealable internal injury in the battle seventy-four years ago, he would have been a General long time ago and gained the right to participate in every single one of the Imperator’s operations.

“Alright, there’s not much to say here: things are not that bad to the point of causing unrest in the Court, and at least the Takurians are worse off than we are. Elma, help us moved this Void settlement to a quarantine zone—a think tank is trying to decipher and counter it over there. If we grasp the technology behind the virus, the Takur mongrels won’t be a threat.

Creed gulped, having listened on to the conversation in Elma’s body. He now knew how frightful it was to have a spy amongst the elites of a faction—just look at Elma, who obtained such vital information during lockdown without any major effort, even having someone tell them…the horror!

Even so, Elma did not respond to Cross’s request at once.

She stayed silent, before asking hesitantly, “What is the Imperator… His Majesty’s reaction?”

Creed could see that the halos beneath the inverted pyramid were whirling more rapidly and now completely red, but Cross’s spiritual presence did not appear irked. “His Majesty doesn’t care,” he answered serenely, “we can handle this ourselves. Let’s go.”

***

Bonded to Elma in spirit, Creed could feel the Amos’ mind burn with boundless disappointment and rage. Although she had mentioned rebelling against the Imperator and fleeing the Court, she could not help but to want her own civilization to know the truth and was anticipating the Imperator’s response in the current dire circumstances.

But the Imperator did not care.

Perhaps, he never cared.

“…Haha, of course.”

Creed could hear a rising determination from Elma’s spirit. “The Imperator never cared for such frivolity…He never understood that the vulnerable live beyond the world of champions.”

“That is why I will resist and rise up against it all.”

Then, as Elma calmed down and set off, heading to the Void settlement with Cross to help the Imperial Guards move the infected residence…

Suddenly, an indescribable tremor emanated onto Creed and Elma.

“What!?”

“What’s that sensation?!”

Creed could only feel a fiery heat from his belt that was far beyond flames and devoid of pain. Even as he was left in shock as the heat welled into his mind, Creed suddenly gained resolve.

He understood at once that his greatest ambition and hope was to become a champion able to decide his own fate and overturn all that disgusted him, just like the resolve he gained when he witnessed Joshua van Radcliffe flipped the southern Dark Forest as easily as turning his palm. That fiery sensation pulsated with his heart, permeating Creed’s entire body instantly!

A wave of blue-purple light could be seen brimming from his entire body, the blue tint being more distinct. Elma’s body was shining with the same light too, although the purple clearer for her.

Aside from those two, generally distinct radiance of scarlet, gold, green, and purple began to spread around them. The body of Imperial Guard Cross, the Amos nearest to Creed and Elma, was brimming with a distinct blood red, while scarlet patches appeared over the seven other Guards as well, with an occasional golden hue.

The light began to spread throughout the quadrant, illuminating fourteen worlds and hundreds of Void settlements. Even so, most were not answered: few emerald rights shone, while the others were either too dim…or did not shine at all. One could see that one thirds of the settlements numbering over a hundred had no light at all, with only silence emanating in the vast planetary system.

But none heeded it, because all of them were reveling in the impulse emanating from the depths of their hearts, a most earnest and unquenchable emotion.

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