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Soul of Searing Steel (Web Novel) - Chapter 961: Third Curtain

Chapter 961: Third Curtain

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Days passed after the battle on the Tehran system.

With his full name being too long and therefore simply shortened to ‘Joshua’, the special human learned about the accomplishments the of Light of Order, a weapon he created to fight Chaos corruption.

After all, his true form was in a faraway vacuum zone near Midgard, gathering information about the present Stellaris, a place not actually unfamiliar to Joshua—or to the world of Mycroft, for that matter. The warrior himself had teleported there a dozen years ago to answer the Midgardians’ call and repel the Void Mother serving the Evil God of Pestilence, while Vahina, another Legendary champion, had also arrived alone to obtain knowledge about Psi.

Joshua, being only an ordinary Legendary novice at the time, returned after what felt like a simple purge of Chaos even if he had accomplished plenty in Stellaris then. To him then, he had merely obtained another Sage’s Legacy and a blessing from Star the Steel Python, but upon current recollection, there had been considerable outcomes at Stellaris and details that made things clear at once.

First was the location of Stellaris.

The Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds’ teleportation had been a simple transfer, a response to a mechanical call with the Stellaris natives’ summoning being the triggered—it was clear that without the Midgardians’ deliberate call, the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds would never have noticed their threat. That single aspect had it appear as if Stellaris was extremely far from the Lost Galaxy.

Joshua had initially assumed Stellaris to be in some corner of the Multiverse. However, it was proven false after Mycroft’s current survey of their Multiverse. Stellaris could well be located at the True Multiverse on the other side—something that fit the new Multiverse model mapped by Joshua and the others.

Secondly, the shape of Stellaris was remarkably similar to the supermassive singular realm planned for by Project Rebirth.

The Sage had once visited Stellaris, even speaking to many civilizations, meaning he was very familiar with this place. A native from an orbicular sky and rectangular earth world like himself would otherwise not have know about such a galaxy, and Project Rebirth could have been designed based on Stellaris—the two were certainly connected.

Furthermore, Joshua did not believe that the Sage had come only to cultivate Midgardian civilization—he definitely had other intentions, and helping Midgard was a matter of convenience despite genuine sincerity.

Thirdly, it was Star the Steel Python.

According to Vahina, Star had never noticed her arrival, having returned to slumber after igniting the Holy War against Chaos. Given its excessive monstrous form and difficulty in focusing its thoughts, that was a confirmed fact.

Even so, the locals had alleged that the Life Preservation Sequence, the chief of the Stellar Guard Alliance, could communicate with a profound will… It would have made sense if that will had been Star, since it was granting them a channel, but if it was not… who could that profound will be?

Such were the few facts he could confirm after comparing the past and present. Almost a decade had passed since, with Joshua’s ability increasing exponentially, using a mass engine which applied the Kerr Blackhole effect instead of the copied stellar nuclear reactor back then. He had been only several hundred meters in size back then as well, hence clearly unable to go all out against the Void Mother that was hundreds of kilometers huge, even needing to push it into a star to kill it.

Even so, Joshua was no violent bully, despite his true form now exceeding an indeterminate size. He would have made his cause with the tonnage.

Aside from all that, there were many other random questions—such as the Evil God of Pestilence.

According to the information obtained upon killing the other Void Mother, that Evil God was not an orthodox Chaos malevolence born after the demise of world and civilization. Its true nature was that of the Sublimator Virus—the ultimate synthetic lifeform, extremely powerful, intelligent and inhuman, but not an Evil God.

It wielded the power of Chaos but remained alive, not spectral. That point alone had set the Evil God of Pestilence apart from other Evil Gods, or at least from the Evil God of Wither, which Joshua himself slayed, and the Evil God of Death that the entire Mycroft civilization had to join forces against.

“That’s not all… I remember when the Azurite first manifested divine power—it was to help me dispel a Pestilence curse.”

The massive silver form of the J world rotated in the Void, with only emptiness around, devoid of planet or substances able to withstand the present force of his mass. Meanwhile, Joshua refreshed his memory, emanating gravity that distorted space and light without restraint.

“At the time, the Evil God of Pestilence I saw was different—it was a corrupted spirit born after a great plague wreak havoc, which made it the same as Wither and Death… Oh, right. There’s also Air.”

Almost forgot about that one.

The Evil God of Air was another archetypal evil entity born after destruction, and Joshua was absolutely sure that it was completely different from the unique Chaos lifeform that was the Evil God of Pestilence.

Both shared the title of ‘Evil God’ and ‘Pestilence’, and yet had different backstories and powers—in fact, Joshua hardly understood the difference and could only speculate. “Could two Evil Gods of Pestilence exist? Has the name simply been repeated, or could there be another reason…”

Since there was no answer even if he were to keep thinking and upon realization that he could not proceed without other clues, Joshua turned to study the other information—such as the present state of Stellaris.

The Midgardians had filled Joshua in with substantial details about that when he was first called upon them, having himself transmitted a footage of his present power level through the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds from across Multiverses. After verifying the videos that showed him conjuring a black hole by his chest and crushing a white dwarf with bare hands, the Midgardians swore an oath that they would create a path to the other side of space and time, even at the cost of their civilization’s credibility and depth.

“Actually, that’s unnecessary…”

Joshua had wanted to stop them as the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds could slowly calibrate in search of the best frequency for him to teleport at a lower cost. However, upon learning of the many troops and civilians that had perished after the Midgardians joined the Stellar Guard to fight against the Chaos, the warrior could only sigh. “Looks like it can’t wait… I certainly wouldn’t refuse if that’s your choice.”

“Just remember, Milhabus (most powerful Midgardian psionic and former leader of Midgard) had blindly gambled with your nation’s fate, and one day such blindness would lead to consequences that no one can shoulder.”

“But it’s not gambling. Only darkness lies ahead,” replied the middle-aged male Midgardian, who was the only one who could maintain the ritual and speak to Joshua across endless distance, quietly and bitterly, as if enduring an inferno. “It is considered an equivalent exchange, since we are using everything we have now to trade for possibility and hope.”

***

The ritual went smoothly and successfully, with Joshua swiftly helping them pacify the anomalies of their stars upon arrival on Midgard: their gamble had paid off and there was nothing noteworthy, with only Joshua’s business left.

Though he had yet to master the power of Emotion, Joshua could quickly judge the divide between Order and Chaos on Stellaris with the residual emotions left after destroyal of the civilizations.

There were naturally few civilizations destroyed on the side of Order. On the other hand, with consumption of every life and soul on the side of Chaos, there was certainly no emotion either, and most of civilizations destroyed were in the frontline reaches that neither side had firm control over.

In that moment, Joshua also noticed that Stellaris was in dire straits, and it was definitely no laughing matter when more than five Evil Gods appeared in one place. It was a recent discovery too, since no one had realized the descend of Evil God minions from the distant depths of their universe.

“Old friends, mostly: Pestilence, Famine, Limbo… as well as Avoidance and Divide? Have they been named by local civilizations? How fitting.”

Joshua’s expression remained unchanged even after sensing Evil God presence from different locations, but he was definitely serious. Although Joshua was certain that he could crush weaker Evil Gods such as Wither and Air with a single clench of his fist, or even capture them as research samples, he would have to personally face Evil Gods such as Fertility… or even a class below Fertility.

A nemesis of old, the Evil God of Famine that forced the Radcliffe family into the life of guardians was not a powerful foe to Joshua, while by the looks of their spawn, Limbo, Avoidance, and Divide did not appear formidable either despite Joshua’s unfamiliarity with them.

On the other hand, the Evil God of Pestilence could easily create thousands of Legendary Void Mothers that could actually beat novice Legends, simultaneously assaulting hundreds of starfaring civilizations and holding them down firmly…while Joshua could achieve that as well, he could never have surpassed that.

For example, Joshua himself had previously sensed that the Midgardian envoy had unleashed the Light of Order to destroy a Void Mother. It was a specialized weapon he crafted meticulously to fight the Chaos. While appearing insignificant, it was one of Joshua’s greatest attacks, being able to destroy any forms physical or incorporeal in the Multiverse, including souls and supernatural powers. In other words, he too could subjugate hundreds of starfaring civilization.

Nevertheless, the peak performance of such Steel Strength could simply be nullified by ordinary repelling energies—in other words, if the Void Mother had greater control over its own power, it could easily dispel Joshua’s attack… a fact that Joshua himself had determined. Likewise, if the Light of Order had not shrunken its own mass to self-destruct, the remaining cells of the Void Mother could have possibly resurrected.

With that being said, Joshua could at best create clones to fight, although it was essentially similar to having an Evil God’s clone oppressing them with their sheer power. With the aged monster that was the Pestilence that had lived for who-knows-how-many-years, its sheer accumulation of power would not have lacked as compared to Joshua, even if he did stay in the Vortex of Creation and assemble the profound power of dozens of worlds.

There was no doubt that the Evil God of Pestilence was a formidable foe. However, there was time to prepare since it had not arrived yet.

“Still, it’s weird… How did the Sage manage to find this world that isn’t within the local Multiverse?” Joshua though quietly; he was rather puzzled. “Infinite dimensions separate here and home, and the Sage hadn’t ascended as a Wise One then… something had definitely led him here.”

“But what could it be?”

None could answer that question.

Meanwhile, Joshua’s true form was still rotating silently amidst emptiness, waiting.

Naturally, something that could keep him waiting as an equal was not some unimportant part: it was them who had spoken to the Midgardians and approved their request for a summoning ritual, even helping on their own accord by redirecting substantial supplies so that Joshua could reach them, transcending worlds.

They were clearly the leader of the Stellar Guard. Specifically, the Triple Curtain—core of the machine intelligence collective known as the Life Preservation Sequence.

***

Presently, in a silent, faraway system, a massive black hole rotated rapidly. It was the darkest and most callous celestial form of the observable universe, and its accretion disk was creating the most resounding echoes as well, along with the brightest light.

Even so, a massive metal star ring that was twenty-five astronomical units, or 3.7 billion kilometers and 30,000 kilometers wide, encircled the accretion disk, glimmering in silver blue like the rings of Saturn.

It was the Third Curtain, the core known as the Beacon of Perpetuity.

Inexhaustive psionic pulse could be seen flickering like faint electrical streams in the brain of that profound artificial wonder, fluctuating and filling the entire system with beautiful, dreamlike radiance.

It would have appeared, on first impression, to be a monstrous ring-shape brain that was thinking, hesitating before deciding.

[Note: The Mother of All has slumbered. Authority has been transferred, the Triple Curtain assumes highest policy-making authority for the world.]

The formless psionic pulse contained boundless information, but the thoughts conveyed by that profound will were actually very simple.

[Note: Foreign Reinforcements do not exist in the Full Preservation Protocol left by the Creator.]

[Affirmation: Life Preservation Sequence has exceeded original programming. Full Preservation Protocol is moot. Presently executing Final Defense Protocol.]

[Recheck: Final Defense Protocol does not deny possibility of Foreign Reinforcemens.]

[Suggestion: The appearance of Foreign Reinforcement is now a subjective condition. Decision-making unit No. 20910995 suggests adding it to Variables.]

[Reconsideration: approved]

[Reconsideration: approved]

[Reconsideration: approved]

[Decision: 99.793756% of decision-making units have determined: Third Curtain shall take over Physical Agents and collaborate with Foreign Reinforcement for further partnership tasks.]

***

In the single instant that was decided, endless silver-blue light shone upon the star ring.

One could see a rather uniquely shaped shadow in that silver-blue psionic light—in the distant past, many civilizations with connections to the Life Preservation Sequence had seen it, although only vaguely since they lacked Psi. Most of them imagined it to be perhaps a symbol or simple logo made for them by the Creator of the Life Preservation Sequence.

It was actually the right idea, but if there had been Perpetuators amongst Stellaris natives whose psionic powers reach the Endless Light level beyond Omega class, they would have clearly seen the true face of the shadow hidden behind the infinite psionic light.

In fact, there actually was not much to see, since that shadow was essentially something simple, being nothing more than a tiny, unusual insectoid shadow.

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