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The Multiverse of the present was completely different from how it had been during Joshua’s time.
After being revived from death, experiencing a resurgence following his fall, losing his power as a Wise One once but reclaiming it once more…it was only until the very present moment that Joshua finally had the time to really take a serious look at his friends and family before him, all of whom had fought with all their power just to bring him back.
For the Wise One of the Gods to claw his way out from within the Initial Flame was not actually a simple matter.
How would he have described it? The way Joshua felt then was very much akin to hating the realm for having no handle which he could grab hold of and move—despite having inexhaustive power, he simply could not make a run for it to escape from the Root that was without a horizon, no target, and nothing else apart from being ‘existent’, not to mention that it was hollower than the Void itself.
In the past, Joshua had always expected that the day would come when he would be killed in death or injured grievously, his spirit or his core processor left in pieces or simply irreparable. That was why he had always made a record of this mental processes, keeping it along with a major portion of memories in an independent secret chest and entrusting it to Zero Three’s protection. If the time would come when he died or was harmed without hope of recovery, Zero Three would hence use that secret chest as a restoration point, breathing him new life or simply resurrecting him.
He was not all concerned with potential problems such as the Ship of Theseus. In regards to a connection that basically surpassed the speed of light, for superior beings who were constantly connected to the Multiverse and transmitting information into it, all of them were a part of themselves, be it the main body which everyone was aware of or a body split out like the secret chest. He was essentially a profound existence who stood above and beyond worlds, and it was simply unnecessary for him to ponder with typical human logic or philosophy. But in spite of all that, the impact that Divine Death caused was likewise beyond the capacity of logic, instantly striking into every single clone that Joshua had spread throughout all of the Multiverse and sparing none, delaying even the secret chest which Zero Three was holding from connecting to himself for a very long time.
Until that one day when Zero Three had arrived upon a distant, foreign cosmos and found a divine being who claimed that he had returned from the state of Divine Death.
“Everything that I am telling you is the truth.”
Upon meeting Zero Three who had reached him from afar and possessed an outstanding level of ability, the divine being had invited her to his own godly nation. They engaged in a friendly conversation, and it was in that exchange that the god revealed his own experiences in wonder.
“At the time, I had ventured into the state of Divine Death to protect the world I had lived in, to take that Evil God which had attacked us out myself—to be really frank, I had nothing on my mind at the time at all, because I was simply driving myself to unleash my full power and beat the Evil God along with myself into oblivion.”
“Soon, the Evil God was destroyed just as I was dragged into the root…to be precise, half of me was being pulled in. Because of my sacrifice, the many citizens within my own world who had once doubted me also hence called upon my name and prayed for my return. Though the prayers were actually meaningless, they had awakened my blurred consciousness just when I had been almost pulled within the Root. Having come to, I resisted the assimilation of the Root, delaying it as long as I could, and was hence stuck between the Root and the normal Multiverse.”
The divine power which that god had embodied was ‘Connection and Rejection’.
The human heart being a natural barrier that rejected the thoughts of any other person, but through connections, they were also able to influence others or in turn be influenced. It was the same between humans, between human and worlds, civilizations and civilizations, as well as between civilizations and Order.
The divine power of connection was therefore the greatest power and offensive measure in existence, with ability to link oneself to worlds and all living beings to be used as weapons, or even the Void itself to cause dimensional storms. On the other hand, the divine power of rejection was the most powerful defensive measure which could create a sealed space of absolute isolation, separating self from all dimensions or causality to stopping all external measures that could bring harm.
That was how the divine being had rejected the reality where he had been pulled into the Root, and by connecting himself to all beings that believed in him, he had managed to maintain his own consciousness—but it was not really that useful since he still could not stop the pull into the Root, although he had mostly delayed it in comparison to most gods.
“Then how did you manage to get out?” Zero Three asked curiously at the time.
Then, after half a beat of silence, the god then sighed.
“I was kicked out.”
After a long moment of silence and seeing Zero Three’s stunned face, he rather helplessly added, “I could feel an abundant and unstoppable power reverberating within the Root as if something was waging a war at everything else—by coincidence, I had collided into that power which, by sheer coincidence, firmly knocked me away from the Root.”
“Even so, that was also the precise reason why I had lost a part of my divine strength, and can now only be considered one of the stronger Legends…in fact, as I gradually lost the use of the divine strength, this divine nation is the very last of my heritage.”
Meanwhile, when Zero Three had heard the word ‘War’, she had immediately substituted it with ‘Joshua’. She also remembered by association that it had probably been a few thousand years ago when Joshua had been pulled into the Root, and with his usual attitude… what she meant was that when it came to Joshua, it would not have actually been unusual for him to start a war inside the Root.
“So, you’re saying that as long as one is sufficiently powerful and possesses a sufficiently strong call from the outside world, a divine existence could be revived from Divine Death?”
The god who had returned halfway through Divine Death nodded seriously in response to Zero Three’s summary, before shaking his head as well. “That is true, just as it isn’t—my example is one of extreme luck, but if anyone else is falling to Divine Death and desires to return, there are many conditions that must be met.”
“Firstly, the consciousness of the god entering the Root after Divine Death must be lucid and intent on returning to the world.”
“Secondly, the god must be connected to something outside which shares a sufficiently strong aspect with himself, such as what remains of his divine body, his sacred symbol, or the first generation of descendants that share his bloodline.”
“Lastly, he must be called upon on a remarkable scale, or at least over dozens of times beyond my own civilization. That is the only way that the belief could be manifested into something that is almost no different from collective divinity and pierce into the Root in order to be delivered into the heart of said divine being—hence, with both resonating, only then would the divine existence be revived.”
After bidding the friendly god farewell, Zero Three made a return trip to the temporal trap at the Forbidden Zone for All Life. She then told Black who was still standing watch outside about that theory, while also entrusting the secret chest which she had been caring for to the dragon.
“I will keep looking everywhere else for as many ways to revive Joshua as I could,” she said, before setting out once again.
Before the AI left, Black nodded in return. “I will keep guarding this place myself and accumulate my strength—when the day comes that every condition is met, I will ensure that our Master would be able to obtain every single thing that would be able to bring him back.”
Later, it was the period when the Multiverse gradually entered a godless era: each divine being after another was falling into a slumber, with the Seven Gods themselves being no exception. That being said, compared to the other gods who were falling into unusual slumber and even stunned when that had happened, the Seven Gods’ own slumber appeared rather surprising and delightful, but because it had happened to quickly, they were unable to leave any information and left everyone else in utter perplexity.
Eventually, after one hundred and twenty thousand years had passed, the prolonged passage of time allowed all the conditions to be fulfilled, and all the calling converged upon this place to allow for the warrior’s return.
Raising his right hand to allow Black, Zero Three, and a group of other acquaintances to get up on his palm, Joshua was grinning widely as he spoke to every acquaintance, reaching out with his senses to feel their circumstances.
First, it was Black—the little girl who had been ever playful, always sleeping, and just a little lazy had now become a champion with copious might. Joshua’s world form, which had been keeping a memory of every circumstances within his own world and its vicinity, allowed him to stay aware that she had stood watch over his lifefless body without change for a hundred and twenty thousand years.
She had now reached the Ultimate Legend tier and was also a step away from becoming Demi Saint—which, in turn, was a great challenge even for Ancient Dragons. While it would usually take an ordinary Ancient Dragon over hundreds or thousands of years to grow from infant to Legend, it would also take another few thousand years for one to reach full maturity, which in other words was High Legend, a stage where they would then be able to awaken an entire world. From that point onwards, the talent within the bloodline of the Ancient Dragon would be used up, and amongst endless individuals, there would probably only be one that could develop into Ancient Dragons of Creation that surpassed worlds, becoming capable of restoring or molding one.
The more powerful they were, the harder it would be for them to struggle and free themselves from that limit—even if they could rise instantly to reach the pinnacle of their existence, the lack of experience meant that they would not understand what breaking through the limit actually meant. On the other hand, weaker species such as humans had to surpass their own limits when they were in the Supreme phase, and had therefore developed various procedures tailored to humankind. That, coupled to the with their massive base population, meant that there would always be the few exceptions that would be born as natural champions.
Moreover, for the Ancient Dragons whose bloodline limit was at High Legend, it made a breakthrough far too complicated as compared to humans in the first place. In addition, without any measures that they could surpass themselves, they would not at all understand what a ‘bottleneck’ was before approaching the threshold of ascension.
Nonetheless, an unnamed Creator God had once been mentioned in the heirloom from the Wise One of Arcane which the Knowers had inherited, an individual who embodied the legacies of Wise Ones from the past—but according to the description, it had probably been an Ancient Dragon of Creation as well, meaning that Black, being able to surpass the limits of her own bloodline and becoming a remarkably powerful being even amongst Ultimate Legends, had done very well. In fact, she would have surpassed ninety-nine percent of Ancient Dragons across the Multiverse.
When it came to the natural barrier between Ultimate Legend and Demi Saints, unless one was exceptionally gifted or simply possessed outstanding fortune and was hence able to find a fully compatible path, it simply did not matter how much time had passed otherwise. Being Ultimate Legend would already allow a limitless strengthening, but given that Demi Saint was a step towards the infinite and a dangerous leap which limitedly exceeded the unlimited, there were cases of individuals who simply hovered in the air, unable to decide where they should be landing.
Apart from Black, who had lift her head and puffed her chest to show Joshua the results of her prolong period of efforts, Ying and Ling, who were held tightly in her hands, were also stirring—having been cultivated by Joshua’s divine power into two worlds, the divine armament siblings had already become the rulers of the Blade and Axe realms after countless years of Lightchaser prayers and worship. Within them, there was substantial souls of the brave who had died in battle against the Chaos while wielding divine items.
Those souls had been drawn into Ying and Ling’s realms by instinct despite them being in slumber still, even forming a curious living ecosystem within—a realm of living weapons. In that place, every being was born in the form of psionic weapons, nurtured and grown. If one had to describe it, they were brethren derived from Joshua and Ying and Ling, and could perhaps be called armament angels or armament fairies, or indeed a brand-new race of divine armaments born instead of being forged.
Given that most divine items were cold weapons, most of those weapon fairies had the same appearance. Still, as Joshua listened to the divine armament siblings express their unrestrained imagination about creating some cannon fairy, ship fairy, castle fairy, or even planet fairy… then, as the warrior slid a glance towards the elemental fairies who were using their elemental powers to write things like [Fairy Queen has been here!] or [Fairy XX has been here with the Queen!], the warrior sighed and quietly permitted the siblings’ ideas for the future.
At the very least, they were not elemental fairies…after all, were the Silver Fairies not considerably better?
Turning slightly, Joshua leveled his gaze with Nostradamus. The elderly man, who had borne witness to the path of his growth, had likewise reached the level of Ultimate Legend—since the former Starfall civilization of Mycroft had long since scattered, the old mage worked alone as an individual in the Multiverse Union, as a Legendary champion. After all, regardless of how enlightened the Union would be, there must be certain differences, squabbles, and faction struggles within a massive union, along with various bizarre scheming and personal agendas.
After having served Order with heart and body for over thousands of years, Nostradamus ended up too unbothered with such things before he simply handed in his resignation to build another colossal academy for Extraordinary individuals in one of the quieter, peaceful, and secluded locations in their old cosmos. Moreover, this college was unlike the Winter Fort Academy, as his new students were neither limited to a single nation nor a race—it was open to everyone across the Multiverse.
Laughing, Joshua and the mage spoke of the major events that had occurred over the last hundred thousand years. Given that everyone was an Extraordinary individual, though their many thoughts and emotions were not expressed with words, Joshua could still see that his old friend had not been falling behind or corrupted, but had actually maintained his initial mindset to keep on moving forward. In response, the warrior was sincerely happy for him and offered him his blessings.
Meanwhile, there certainly was less need to talk about Zero Three. She had been on the search for ways to revive himself all along, and if not for her having planned everything out and managing to contact Karlis’s reincarnated form when she had incidentally explored the Port Fortress on the edge of the world inside his body through Black, it would have taken him dozens of thousands of years more before he could have awakened, as well as the complete destruction of the Lightchasers at their own Radiant Domain—not to mention that the success rate would have been extremely low.
As they conducted an information exchange, Zero Three was presently closer to the threshold of Demi Saint than Black in terms of sheer ability. Being one of the core hubs of the present Mana Net System distributed across all of the Multiverse, the resources and knowledge that Zero Three could draw from were far greater than most Extraordinary individuals. She had also long since reached Ultimate Legend tier, and the reason she had not surpassed that level was merely because she did not spare the effort to search for her own path before Joshua was revived.
“There is no need to slow down over myself.”
“But that is my choice—and now, could I not ascend as well?”
The exchange was simple and the more familiar Joshua was with the other, the less necessary words were. The Giant God watched as the girl smiled at him, before smiling as well.
The reason that the Mycroft civilization had split up in the past was primarily due to internal differences in opinion. Some believe that the union, which was slowly becoming seclusive, too stable, and was beginning to lose its capacity for development and assuming a more active role, was no longer an eligible faction for command—the faction who conveyed that opinion consisted of Mycroftians who were living in their various major shelter realms, including the heirs of the former explorers, pirates, and bounty hunters. Because all of them were born with an affinity for the Void, they were more willing to explore faraway reaches, and not the stable living for a major union.
Therefore, they got up and left, and those who had split away included several of Joshua’s students: when the quartet of the former First Party Ivan Makarov, Amelia Makarov, Nick, and the Dwarf had developed a new age of mass production for Void merchandise through their Pioneer Labs organization, they had also vaguely established an empire of commerce. From that point onwards, they would often wander and move their merchant Void base around, roaming the many stars and conducting trade with one civilization after another, taking risks or adventuring to accomplish certain entrusted tasks or missions.
They would occasionally make a stop, but it would definitely not be for too long. Aside from that, they would occasionally take a lazy moment to enjoy things, but they would always be able to rally their spirits: the wandering empire of Void merchants and a journeying group of tradesfolk who explored worlds was thus their legacy.
Meanwhile, the Nature Magister, Barnil, Barbarossa, Brandon, and other Legendary champions of Mycroft would take the Ether Ring World with them, altering it into stellar forms of ether as they left. Even if they did not think that the issues plaguing the Union were actually so serious, there certainly was no need for the Mycroft civilization to get mixed up in the turbid and stagnated quagmire. Hence, they had moved the Ether Ring World into the Silent Void as they assumed anonymity, while the many champions would often head into the depths of darkness where they slayed Chaos to train their own ability.
In short, they were alive when they face tribulations, and dead in stable bliss.
Either way, the people of Mycroft had managed to spread themselves across the cosmoses, and should one group of them fall, there were still others who would carry on their banner. After having ascertained that their civilization would always survive, they did not have to hesitate to place themselves in danger, which was as much exhilarating as it was harmful. Save for the few Legends who had gone missing in the course of their exploration such as Barbarossa, the Murloc High Priest, and several other new Legends, most of them had long since reached High Legend. Furthermore, several famous figures such as Brandon, Barnil, and Galanoud had reached Ultimate Legend, and were actually able to display Demi Saint levels of ability under certain conditions.
It was not as if they did not have what it took to become a Demi Saint, but they were simply demanding perfection—before the vital moment, there was no need to pick out their final path so early.
As for Roland…his circumstances were rather special. Being the former and first leader of the Union, the Holy Knight had founded an organization affiliated to the Holy Light after serving his term. The organization, known as the Helping Hand, was a body that had nothing to do with the Seven Gods or religion, but was a major humanitarian organization whose influence reached across the cosmoses. Most amongst their ranks were those who had trained in the Holy Light, and their daily tasks usually ranged from accepting rescue missions to culling various aberrations, Chaos, or Evil Gods.
From a certain perspective, the Helping Hand would have counted as mercenaries: they likewise accepted missions to aid the Union in locations where the Chaos had attacked, stationing a garrison to defend or even building fortresses. By now, their organization had become a truly diverse organization and it had also been a long time since Roland was their leader. Instead, it was now led by one of the founding elders: a new Ultimate Legendary who had inherited the ideals of his seniors, perpetually holding the torch and willing to fight wherever the beings in the Multiverse would call upon them.
Apart from those split major factions of Mycroft, there were still many other adventurers who had left alone, heading of to various other places where they would multiply or enjoy new escapades. By now, most of the former would have developed into another unique form such as half-machines, with children birthed naturally possessing mechanical genes: pure-blood cyborgs who could easily connect themselves into data lines. Needless to say, there were also others who modified themselves into plants or with bloodlines of magical creatures, or simply convert themselves into a brand-new race of human.
Of the former, one of their members of the Elite Party which Joshua had especially looked after had also established a great empire of aberrations—Emperor Constantine, once known as Alchemist, had worked with Creed and Elma to lead various Void realms in claiming semi-independence for a cluster of stars. That place eventually became a playground for those who liked to modify their own bodies and a paradise for the free-spirited, while also becoming the new home of the freed Amos citizens following the departure of Imperator Amos, an independent faction which existed separately from the Multiverse Union, even possessing considerable ability. Certainly, there were also criminal elements who had left their previous groups and had become anonymous, people whom Constantine—a person who had considerable alignment to Chaos—was willing to grant sanctuary for, although they would be denounced once they left his borders.
Nonetheless, most of Joshua’s former students were still adventurers. Whether it was Priest and his teammates who had once again assumed a journey of exploration, or Lisa and Syndicate who were aiding various civilizations in the nearby sectors of the Multiverse in weathering through various obstacles and proving their own paths, all of them now were Ultimate Legends who could ensure their own safety in the hostile Multiverse.
Meanwhile, the Sage and the Wise One of Psi’s legacies and ruins had finally been claimed. On the other hand, it had not been long since the Wise One of Shadow had ascended, not to mention that the relics which the Wise Ones of Arcane, Lifeforce, Ether, and Elements had left were still remaining in various corners of the Multiverse. That was why Priest, Lisa, Syndicate, and the others kept roaming all worlds in search for various clues, for any traces that would lead to those ancient ruins. It had taken some time even with help from the Knowers, but they had finally found a ruin belonging to the Wise One of Elements, in which they had also found older clues about the Wise One of Arcane.
Setting aside the thrill of the journey and the upheaval that they would cause upon the cosmic factions with their finding of the Wise Ones’ legacies, the fairy race had in turn gained plenty. With those inheritances, their kind was no longer bound to element rich realms, and could instead spread across all corners of the Multiverse.
There was no telling if that was a point of calamity or joy for the Multiverse.
Naturally, there were many other tales to be told: be it Zero One who was remaining amongst a massive artificial intelligence collective existing independently on a dormant galaxy, which in turn provided for his personal evolution, or Arlwa’s group which had grown from its one great ark to a space fleet of steel which continued the journey that lasted one hundred and twenty thousand years, every story and feat were equally exciting, just as their abilities had grown formidable. In short, the heirs of the Flame had all ignited their own radiance in the dark Multiverse, advancing without hesitation as they illuminated the path before them.
And that was what Joshua had really wanted to see.
“Everyone has been well.”
After a moment of silence, the Giant God smiled. “I had always thought about the worst possible outcomes and in turn, considered how I could change them…but I had also forgotten that others would also be able to think of it, and would likewise alter such things as well. Moreover, it would never be only me who could gain success.”
Now, the Multiverse Union had seen the rise of four Demi Saints—Imperator Amos had long since left for the Initial Flame, although the clone he left had asked Joshua a few questions about the chances of making a breakthrough as a Wise One before leaving thoughtfully. Likewise, the other Demi Saints were also waiting in the distance, and they would also be sharing a few words with Joshua and explain the general situation of the present Multiverse.
If life is a script fated to head towards death, then in this new script, I have nurtured that fate so that it prolongs towards the infinite!
Listening as the others described the formidable force that was the Multiverse Union, along with the considerably united hearts and opinion of factions within, Joshua could not help but smile. Not only was that because what he wanted had came to be in this future, the many cosmoses of the present were also no longer defenseless against the Wise One of the Future, weak meat with scattered strength, but a body united that could swing out heavy steel punches.
Even if the Demi Saints still cannot join the battle, an Order of such solidarity and unity of hearts would be able to ensure that the backup measures he has left in place would no longer activate.
With that thought, after speaking to all friends and family present, Joshua looked up towards the endless stars of the Void, as well as the light he could now clearly see behind the stars.
Still, the warrior lowered his head again soon enough, and he began forthrightly, “And next, I shall tell all of you about how you would be able break through to rise from Ultimate Legend up to Demi Saint. I will tell you about the method therein, but it is so difficult and so strictly demanding that even ninety-nine percent of all who are aware would probably not be able to ascend even with that awareness. I trust that all of you would be fine with that, just as I would still inform you regarding that reality.”
“But before that, it is my belief—it is my conviction—that all life in the Multiverse needs to know about all of these truths.”
“Order and the Chaos, the Evil Gods who assault all living beings, the fading stars, the Multiverse which is gradually falling into the darkness…and indeed why the Multiverse is actually overflowing with misery, sacrifices, and death, and who was it that has driven it to such a state.”
To all living beings, hear me.
At that very moment, as he spread all four of his arms at the Void, Joshua’s voice resounded across the entire Multiverse—the power of the Wise One shook the fabric of worlds and permeated all that there was, delivering personal will and information towards all beings of intelligence.
The truth which I shall tell you is the real identity of our actual enemy, the Mastermind—I shall be enlightening you about his plan, the fallout measures he has set in place, his weakness, and what you or I should be doing in order to defeat him.
Those words were actually heard so far away as to reach the other side, extending to the vicinity of the Initial Flame.
The profound wills that had been locked in strife—all of them were able to hear it.
They were taken aback, perplexed, but each of them would finally glance sideways slightly to look upon the other end of distant dimensions.
Listen to my words.
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