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Soul of Searing Steel (Web Novel) - Chapter 960: What is His Name

Chapter 960: What is His Name

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Falling stars descended like a raging rain of flames, boiling the seas as the world trembled.

The Tehran planet in their namesake system had been a lively oceanic realm where Tehrans, an intelligent race of jellyfish, inhabited. However, it was now being assaulted with apocalyptic waves of astronomical bodies, with anti-air artillery bellowing between the skies where the asteroids were falling alongside the screeches of monsters.

“Damn it, there’s no end to these Chaos freaks!”

On the dark side of the planet, an air guard was using his agile tentacles to focus a four-barrel cannon that fired consecutively, shooting long, straight beams in the night. The psionic blast surged through the atmosphere as it glimmered in silver blue, reducing one of the grotesque Chaos monsters into dust.

The thick clouds had been visibly torn apart by the corpse of a black behemoth that was still squirming and bending, as if about to grow into another new monster. Nevertheless, dozens of beams engulfed it in an incandescent blue light—not even Chaos aberrations could withstand such force, and the behemoth’s corpse rapidly melted and disintegrated, bursting into a dark fireball in the skies while its fragments fell unto the sea and oceans like tainted water.

Despite neither resting nor pausing, the anti-air artillery having essentially formed a tight net over the skies, and countless warships and forts persistently raining cannon fire and doing everything they could to stop it beyond the skies, there were still some amongst the endless invading Chaos forces that slipped through, dragging their burning bodies and crashing into the seas of Tehran.

Nonetheless, even such an intense battle would have eventually ended—as the planet turned and day replaced night, the Chaos outside the Tehran system could not bypass the perimeter in space, naturally unable to reach the other side of the planet as well. As the light rose upon the horizon, their numbers dwindled before eventually leaving entirely. With a whip of his tentacles, the jellyfish air guard sprawled over the ground. The extended period of strenuous movement and thinking had left the fluid parts of his body overheating like a heat pack, and the story ended for the moment.

The air guard was not worried about damage caused by the Chaos aberrations who infiltrated the planet either, since the presence of an anti-Chaos bounded field meant the disintegration of every aberration by the planet’s environment in the same fashion to dissecting a corpse. The objective of the ground troops was to simply do all they could in decreasing Chaos invasion, with the primary firepower being the Void warships and fortresses in the skies.

“How many times does this make for the nunber of attacks this month… nineteen?”

Nonetheless, unlike the fleet that could attack and wipe out the enemy in their own terms, the ground troops who were only able to repel the assaulting enemy were under great mental strain. After considerable rest during which the Tehran air guard’s body cooled, he arose—squirming and shaking off the condensation over his body, he muttered annoyedly, “And in five days!”

The Tehran system was assuredly the bridgehead in the war against Chaos, but it remained inconceivable to be attacked almost twenty times in less than a week… after all, the forces of Chaos were not actually infinite, and such braindead charges against a well-guarded fortress planet was essentially handing them victory.

But the air guard felt is no joy of triumph—instead, his heart was sinking like a stone rapidly down the depths.

“If this goes on, we wouldn’t have enough artillery or power…”

Like most civilizations in Stellaris, the Tehrans were a supernatural race with awakened psionic abilities. Apart from the universally common psionic lances, their standard weapons were electromagnetic cannons and fission armaments that were ineffective against Chaos monsters. Furthermore, an Omega-class (Supreme) psionic was required to keep firing psionic weaponry non-stop, or the weapon itself would have had to stay connected to truck-sized psionic containers. As for psionic engines… those were things not been produced widely enough for every anti-air node to be equipped with.

The air guard clearly knew that he was given two containers that were supposedly enough to handle months of assault, yet one had already been emptied while the remaining one was mostly used up. If that continued, he may well have had to squeeze every last bit of Psi in his body and shoot his own soul at the Chaos like a bullet the next day.

While the Chaos were certainly the ones disadvantaged since they were being worn down a dozen times more than usual and the commanders believed it to be fine even if they were to destroy the entire Tehran perimeter now, the lower-ranked soldiers who were native to Tehran did not share that notion, just like the air guard who was flailing his tentacles and cursing the Stellar Guard.

“Damn it! What’s going on with logistics?! We’ve been fighting continuously for five days, why haven’t the supplies arrived?!”

Though extremely frustrated, the Tehran language did not have much in way of vulgarities, containing only docile words like ‘damn it’ or ‘disgusting’. Furthermore, the air guard knew perfectly why no reinforcements were coming in, despite the battle commencing five days ago.

It was those Midgardians’ fault!

The Midgardian system was the transit point for logistics to the Tehran system and five other perimeters. But recently, the leaf-brained Midgardians had made a request to the Alliance for a supermassive ritual which the leaders approved after urgent councils. In the process, the Midgardians were granted the highest resource allocation authority, redirecting a major portion of supplies and leaving some of the frontline resupplying delayed.

The Tehran system had indeed been relatively peaceful with things turning wild only recently, since none had expected the Chaos forces to attack so determinedly. Even if the backline would have quickly redirected the supplies, it would never have reached them in less than a week.

“Whatever could a Void Door be? Isn’t it just a modified Void anchor point?”

The air guard became even more frustrated at the thought. “Summoning a god…what century do those Midgardians live in? According to records, their god, at most, commands powers equal to a Void Mother. Why should that summoning be allocated several systems’ worth of resources?”

After all, Void Mothers were not invincible despite their power. Others notwithstanding, the main cannons of the Tehran base had the capacity to maim them—using up the supplies for a few frontline systems for some ineffective, uncontrollable summoning was simple a waste of resources, and a disregard for the life of every officer!

“And there’s no telling if the summon has succeeded…damn it, come and help us already if it works! Well, whatever—it’s better to have a few more psionic containers than rely on some Void creature.”

***

Even then, the Air Guard did not understand what sort of Void creature could have prompted the Midgardians to pay such high costs and take tremendous risks for such a summon without hesitation, persisting even if they were to lose ground at the frontlines.

In that moment, a blinding white light shone upon the skies—it had originated from a distant star, darting through space and reaching the outer edge of the planet in about ten minutes.

The beam with a diameter was over 3,000 kilometers left every planet pure-white. Chaos monsters which lurked in the darkness were illuminated by the light, visible and then disintegrating—aberrations of sizes less than a kilometer were instantly incinerated, while larger five-kilometer colossuses lasted less than a second before being melted and vaporized.

“Star Cannon!”

The guardsman withdrew his senses at once and slipped inside a dark pillbox to avoid being dried out by the powerful light, but he was still delighted—the main cannon of their base which utilized the power of a star could heavily injure a Void Mother and instantly destroy bulk of the Chaos forces, with a single shot enough to significantly slow their advance over the next few days.

Even so, he soon felt anxious. “The Void Mother has yet to appear, but the Star Cannon has already been fired… its power will reduce greatly in ten days even if it could be fired again—we’ve used up our last countermeasure.”

Meanwhile, the photon canon that gathered stellar power paid no heed to a mere soldier’s worry as it mightily swept through space and cleared every Chaos aberration within eight astronomical units. Any remaining monsters were only able to turn and flee against that profound radiance, having no expectations of resistance.

In three minutes, the light diminished and space was dark again.

However, the air guard did not receive the order to ‘recover’ from strategic headquarters—in previous occasions when the Star Cannon had fired and cleared the system of enemies, that order would have been quickly issued to allow for the armada and surface troops to check for loose ends and rest their spirits. Without the concentrated anti-air firepower, there was now an oppressive chill on Tehran despite with sunlight.

For most species, it would certainly have been an illusion due to the distinct states of before and after, but things were not so simple for the psionic Tehrans.

“Alert! Massive psionic warp signature detected—it’s the Void Mother!”

Unsurprised, and indeed cursing his precise premonition, the air guard heard the orders from headquarters. “All personnel, maximum vigilance. The twentieth wave is coming through!”

“Damn it! Anyone would’ve guessed that a Void Mother must be behind such a horde. Why would they have simply used the Star Cannon!” The air guard slapped his own head in despair with a tentacle, feeling dazed and like food served on a platter.

“Well, how are we going to face this now!?”

***

The air guard was not alone, with countless crew amongst the fleet holding their breaths, even screaming. With advanced psionic sensors observing instruments at the frontmost satellite fortress, the watchers could see that an ink-green circular psionic rift was slowly opening near the sun of Tehran. Then, as psionic ripples that stirred planets extended, a starfish-formed Void Mother which was 5,000 kilometers in length from head to tail climbed out like a demon out of hell.

Unlike most Chaos aberrations, which were dark green or pitch black in color, that particular Void Mother had near translucent skin. Layers of fluid psionic streams flowed on between the layers like veins and projected psionic immunity—a layer that would have prevented it from being maimed by a single shot of the Star Canon, a tailored psionic defense in the long conflict between the Stellar Guard and the Chaos.

Even if they were uncivilized, the Chaos adjusted itself.

As the Void Mother climbed out of the psionic rift entirely, the tips of its five starfish arms opened a breeding cavity—countless newborn aberrations flew out, circling it like bees.

“There’s no end to this!”

The air guard could certainly see the sights being broadcasted in real time. With a growl, he quickly checked his cannon barrel and energy converters for errors. After all, what else could he do? Surface troops could not retreat like the armada when needed, and their only options were to either be vaporized by allied star-destroyer weaponry or to be converted along with every other creature on the planet into a new Void Mother… if that happened, he would have appeared as an oversized Chaos jellyfish by other Alliance members.

But unlike the lament and silence of surface troops and Void fleet…

Inside the command post of the star base near the Tehran Sun, an elderly and seemingly withered jellyfish was speaking to a Midgardian.

“As you can see, the Chaos aberrations have evolved strategies, calling upon a Void Mother immediately after we used the Star Cannon.” The Tehran commander silently watched the recording of the Void Mother that had just climbed out of a dimensional rift. “But sometimes, having a strategy makes them easier to handle, like beasts…” he added softly. “It has been baited here. Now’s the time to prove yourself.”

“The headquarters has spared a great amount for your ritual. Don’t disappoint the Alliance and betray the trust showered upon you.”

“As you wish.” The courteous Midgardian envoy nodded and drew a small, simple and unmarked box from his robes and opened it without fancy, revealing a palm-sized silver droplet-shaped bundle of light. Then, with a tiny prod from the envoy, it vanished without a trace.

“…That’s it?” The Tehran Commander tuned his senses, not quite reacting. “What did you do?”

“That’s it.” The envoy bowed slightly and replied with zeal, “God’s will be upon us.”

“Now, for the end of Chaos.”

The little silver droplet caught the attention of absolutely nobody at first, and was only caught on the radar of the Tehran Void fleet’s flagship. Its tiny form advanced rapidly in a straight line, at eighty percent of the speed of light—the object itself was soon ignored as a radar error, since the Star Cannon had just been fired barely moments ago. With substantial psionic energy reverberating throughout the planets and stars in the vicinity, it would have been perfectly natural to have some form of error.

But soon, as the tiny object slowly decelerated, its mass began to increase, and even before the fleet could react, the abnormal sub-lightspeed object had expanded to the size of a soccer ball for some reason, while its weight was more than a capital ship.

“What is that thing?!”

In the seconds that eyes were gaping and questions were asked, the silver droplet had darted almost a million miles away, directly passing the entire armada. When the technicians finally extracted snippets of images from the recording that simply flashed past, the luminous sphere had bloated once more, now having a diameter of almost fifty centimeters. Dense minute runes and all sorts of engine spare-parts appeared around it, allowing it to warp.

By then the Tehran fleet could no longer keep track of the luminous sphere, only detecting that the psionic ripples from its warping were incessantly approaching the Void Mother.

It was no more than a few minutes—a dozen hours later for the Tehran fleet that did not warp along seventeen—a silver sphere that was one full meter in diameter hence appeared in front of the Void Mother, seventeen light hours away from the heliopause of Tehran’s star.

“M-Massive signature detected!”

At the command stable of the star base, an observer was staring in shock at their display. “The Void Mother’s swarm is retreating!” he exclaimed perplexedly.

“They’re running?!”

Indeed, the countless dots of light in the screen that signified Chaos aberrations and the massive sphere that was the Void Mother were moving backwards. It was as if they were a flock of sheep that had encountered a tiger, fleeing in panic over all directions—the first time the Tehrans had seen the unintelligent beasts moving so intelligently.

“How could this be?!”

The fluid within the jellyfish commander was about to boil, with his head already steaming. “That Void Mother didn’t run even with the Star Cannon here, instead taking the brunt of the blow with its body… so why are they collapsing?

“Wait…”

A possibility occurred in his mind, and the aged Tehran turned towards the Midgardian envoy. The Midgardian seemed to be smiling and saying nothing. In reality and inwardly, he was at a loss too.

But God didn’t tell me about that, he thought blankly. Could it be that he wasn’t absorbing the star’s mass, but shifting into a giant combat form to fight the Void Mother instead? That doesn’t make sense!

***

Nevertheless, there were times when it was normal that champions did not make sense.

On the screen was a silver dot that could never have been visible if not magnified and observed with focus. Like a speck of dust, it touched the skin of the starfish-formed Void Mother.

Distortion ensued.

In the second the tiny dot touched the Void Mother, the translucent anti-Psi substance was eroded and assimilated immediately. A bright silver light squirmed and spread, absorbing the essence of the entity—infinite gears that appeared alive came to view, rotating and spawning more structures such as valves, pistons, and some angular constructs. Those were the muscles and nerves of a machine, and in seconds, one of the Void Mother’s five starfish legs became something else entirely.

“Skree—onk!!”

A cry that echoed in spirit resounded. The Void Mother, which lived to corrupt, was now being counter ‘purged’ or indeed hunted by a superior—the tentacle which had been converted no longer resembled one, having the appearance of a firm machine limb instead. Gears, pistons, and heaven-knows-what-mechanisms rumbled and moved, emanating a forceful presence.

There was no question that it had its own will now, which was why it turned and lashed out onto the Void Mother’s face, drawing out volumes of flesh and blood.

Crack—

In the silent hall of the command center back in headquarters, one of the watchers half-screamed as if choked, while everyone else watched everything unfolding on the screens in astonishment. They saw the Void Mother’s tentacles turning and striking itself to an inch of its life, their minds almost blank.

It was a sight they could never have dreamt.

Or could it have actually been a dream?

“…O God of the highest.”

The Midgardian envoy was the first to react: forcing himself to calm and gulping (coolant), he then raised his hand to draw a Φ sign over his chest. “Praise his might that shelters us.” The Tehran commander, meanwhile, stood in front of the screen and stared stonily at the screen, his sensory organs motionless as he watched what happened.

By then, the monstrous starfish form of the Void Mother had shrunk as if beaten into a coma, but the silver machine did not stop spreading, breaking the behemoth down into a vague silver mist. Countless gears, levels, conductors, and all manners of minute constructs moved within the mist, while outside, countless Chaos monsters darted into the mist as well, seemingly having been brainwashed.

“No, it’s not mind control… it’s gravity!”

One of the watchers sharply noticed the unusual. “Gravity shift detected!” She exclaimed. “All the Chaos aberrations are being pulled in!”

At that exact instant, the Void Mother had completely disintegrated into a cloud resembling a nebula, the center of which a small but blinding luminous particle appeared. After flashing for the briefest of moments, it rapidly shrunk, darkened, and the massive silver clouds was hence absorbed entirely.

Light was bent.

Exceedingly profound gravity crushed every surveillance lens, with the last image captured being a single black particle where no light escaped from. It was the Dark Star that glimmered beyond the systems, gloomy yet glaring.

After long, stunned silence, the Tehran commander exhaled and closed the display in front of him, throwing the crew into a raucous debate. He turned towards the Midgardian envoy, who maintained the same calm face even though he was equally as stunned inside.

“Mister Milaner,” the Tehran commander said gingerly, “this might be sudden, but, well…” At that, the fluids in his body began to boil and his shriveled skin bloated, just like humans did when they blushed.

“What is your god’s name?”

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