Chapter 968: Sweeping Across a Thousand Stars (Part Two)
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
At the other side of all dimensions, a golden light was shining and spreading endlessly across the dark galaxies.
Hollow vacuum was a major part of the dark, cold, deathly, and silent universe. The true anomalies were warmth, heat, and light, and likewise, the existence of life was unusual compared to the near-eternal Void.
Even so, a golden star was unleashing its heat and illumination across every direction as solar winds blew ceaselessly outwards, building a thin outer layer of heliopause.
The edge of the solar winds was the domain of absolute control for a star. In Stellaris, most life were born to that domain, and only because they were bathed in warmth and brightness.
But now, that boundary was being eroded.
Darkness was spreading in the light. As the radiance visibly dulled, a distinct darkness squirmed upon the surface of the sun. It resembled irregular darkened flesh that moved along the star, but was meaningless even if a great gap was torn into it by the gaseous blast on the surface and corona—it may have appeared broken, but it was in fact moving more of itself towards every corner of the star.
In an instant, starry darkness began to spread with over half of the stellar surface, like a warped curtain that blocked all radiance… the planets soon lost all sunlight, leaving all in deadly cold as the entire star was engulfed within a black membrane, becoming a dull orb of flesh.
The solar wind ceased. As the stellar body’s surging gales stopped, light and heat diminished.
Meanwhile, an arching birthing sac was split upon the squirming stellar form. Millions of physical embryos grew at a visible rate, with the arch resembling a smiling face from a universal perspective. There, in the hellish physical star and the formless cloud that had engulfed it, monsters of flesh were rapidly growing: Chaos spawns, freaks of bizarre shape that had no intelligence—not that they needed it, since they instinctively corrupted, assimilated, devoured, and destroyed everything.
Devouring a star to extract its energy, assimilating all life as one of their own and extinguishing all purpose—if one were to describe the Evil Gods of Chaos as unfathomable incarnations of destruction, their minions were then monsters that truly brought about darkness and terror.
As one looked on, it was not merely a single planetary system—a quadrant, a spiral arm and eventually every star in a galaxy had darkened. All things were decimated, consumed ,and converted into Chaos lairs while billions of spawns were born at every moment, flocking into hordes that swarmed towards the other side of Stellaris where there were still bright galaxies.
The galaxy was rumored to be the first where the Chaos descended—a fallen galaxy that was now the enemy’s lair. If any local race of Stellaris were to have seen that, they would have claimed it to be a hopeless cause, an invincible Chaos.
But the giant god from another world disagreed.
In the dark infected galaxy, at the tip of its third spiral arm, as psionic energy stirred ripples in the vacuum and split a gap into the dimensions, 1372 portals appeared at the edge of 1372 planetary systems. Glimmering clusters of light that advanced at 90% of lightspeed darted away from the passage, colliding determinedly onto the star covered in flesh.
At that single instant, raging winds cascaded away from the darkness and a hole of incomparable illumination abruptly appeared over the black stellar form. From the edge of the hole, a cool metallic light began to spread, swiftly layering the irregular black flesh from top to bottom. A massive and sturdy metallic construct that engulfed the sun, a metal cage that seemingly extended like pestilence, thus appeared.
Millions, even billions of Chaos younglings were directly killed and assimilated—the monsters that would have consumed stars had finally met an existence viler, more fearsome, and more bewildering than they could have been.
With the destruction of spawning lair within the consumed star, a metal Dyson Sphere appeared unto the world.
The solar winds, having been held back over long periods of time, sprayed thinly away from the binding hole like a rainbow arch that extended across the galaxy.
1372 stars were therefore freed, some taking more time since they were where Void Mothers dwelled, although no more than half an hour. Moreover, as the assaulter became ever more masterful, his attack against Chaos spawns became increasingly intricate and deft that the timeframe was further reduced.
And then, thousands upon thousands more.
A thousand stars seemingly swept through by a thousand dust particles—they were shimmering in brilliance gold, red, blue, and white that were different yet same, simultaneously bursting with different ripples.
At the tip of the third spiral of the galaxy, part of the darkness briefly retreated, reduced to faint silver. Bits of starlight flickered but had neither romance nor warmth, leaving a steely coolness and menace. A massive silver warship flew out of the engulfed star, massacring every remaining aberration and galactic-class lairs.
Order, colder than steel and more terrifying than Chaos.
In the dark silence of the Void, the four-armed Giant God of Steel held a star which was steel ablaze in his hands, the other three reaching deep inside it, digging into its insides like scooping out watermelon flesh, eventually having ten thousand clusters of light materialize. The Giant God then nonchalantly lifted his hand and tossed the clusters into Void, like a fisherman throwing fish food into a lake.
Beside the Giant God was a massive crystal sphere brimming with profound psionic presence, instantly opening thousands of portals directed to different locations and precisely transporting every cluster to a target system on the other side. Thus, thousands of planetary systems were freed from their vile guests as their new master arrived.
When the substance of a star was exhausted, the psionic crystal sphere led the Giant God towards the next star with an uninhabited system, and then the many following ones.
Warships? Fleet? An alliance of ten thousand civilization to fight a destined battle against Chaos?
Unnecessary—at least for now. The battle of Extraordinary individuals who stood upon pinnacles were far profound than what anyone could have imagined.
Joshua had worked with the Third Curtain to assault the Chaos of an entire galaxy of approximately one to four hundred billion stars.
On that note, Joshua merely had to repeat one, or up to three million times the present progress to easily purify the entire galaxy. In other words, it would have taken less than a thousand years to purge or destroy the entire galaxy with him doing nothing but lifting his hand, culling the Chaos encampment and reducing them into nothingness.
But would it really have taken so long?
The answer was no.
“It’s almost time.” After using up the mass of 413 stars, Joshua suddenly said to the Beacon of Perpetuity beside him, “The swirl of emotions is resonating, now that billions of Chaos minions destroyed.”
[Anything goes: Do as you desire.]
[Admittance: We believe in the possibilities you bring.]
Joshua did not add anything to that. The Giant God of Steel looked up and spread all four arms.
He saw that Psi and life were converging in Stellaris as a profound swirl of emotions, accumulating in the Psyweb. With two unparalleled enthralling consciousness suppressing them and allowing no escape, their presence stabilized the zealous Psi for the moment, keeping every psionic from being affected by the distorted emotions of their brethren and reduced to lunatics.
Such was the inescapable plight of psionic realms: when perished souls screamed in resentment and crazed souls cursed the world, the once-clear Seas of Psi would have been sullied by the dead. The more sensitive the psionics who later lived were, the easier they would be maddened, even completely losing control.
One or perhaps multiple champions willing to enter the Seas of Psi were needed to resolve that problem, cleansing that corruption and shouldering it. They had different names in different worlds: Hades, reapers, with some corrupted and becoming demon kings or being consecrated as saviors.
But Joshua did not intend to interfere with everything in Stellaris. He never once decided the fates of others, and as such, would rather have the dead souls rule over themselves, gather their feelings, and make their own choices.
“Ignite, eternal flame!”
With a quiet declaration, four flames kindled in the warrior’s palm, containing the most extreme, purest, and most volatile emotions. It was benevolent or rational one moment, malevolent or insante the next—as were the emotions of intelligent life and their soul.
Billions of Chaos spawns decimated being its sacrifice, the Giant God ignited four lamps upon the darkened universe, the names of which were courage, intelligence, perseverance, and resolve.
At the same time, they were also hatred, greed, obstinance and arrogance!
But so what? Could humans comprehend love and rational without hate and craziness? Could they understand curiosity and passion with neither greed nor indulgence? Blessings and blights were not absolute, but complementary and ever-changing—all things contradicted, corresponding in conflict.
The toughest battle was the battle against oneself, and precisely why Joshua, who was only obsessed with fighting, could understand and tap into the power of emotion.
Raising his hand, the Giant God allowed the blaze to fly towards the distant blankness and meld into the Psyweb, bypassing boundless minds of intelligent life and darting through the Seas of Psi, brushing through the hearts and minds of all that lived.
In the Midgardians’ homeworld which was still feeling the delight of their god’s advent, great sheets of emerald radiance that was mixed with blue-purple and gold shone, while red and purple reflected each other to reveal noble but radical emotions which revealed the civilization and races, causing the stars to dim in comparison.
The flames sped away, turning into a meteor that streaked across visions towards the depths of the Psyweb where a massive swirl gathered all called. Gone in a flash, it merged into the oceans of emotions from every living creature and ignited into blazing fire.
“Now, Beacon of Perpetuity!”
In the spiritual realm that had been set aflame, soul and substance transited and the silhouette of a Giant God appeared beside it. Three great beings seemingly composed out of endless light particles that appeared to have been watching the entire Psyweb could now be seen, as Joshua’s soul dived into the fire.
“Give form to the Four Divine Rings with me!” he sonorously called out.
[Awe: It is a miracle!]
[Wonder: That is actually possible?]
[Answer: We shall begin.]
Likewise, the three beings dived into the fire as well, becoming hammers and anvils of the Giant God who hammered away in the burning swirl of emotions, alongside acting as ditches and walls which filtered out excess noise, purifying and stabilizing the swirl.
In the long river of burning emotions, distinct runes emerged within the scarlet flames, like marks resembling lightning and scars that split apart as it descended upon the land, representing the courage of life in facing thunder and the unknown, as well as the wrath and hatred of gods and men after being hurt.
[Ring of Courage forged]
Distinct runes appeared in the golden flames of the swirl of emotions. They resembled eyes and were circular like coins, rotating in the air. They represented the curiosity and wisdom of all living beings in the world, as well as innate greed and indulgence.
[Ring of Wisdom forged]
Distinct runes formed in the emerald fire of the blazing tides of emotion. Resembling a creature’s horns or branches and trunks, they remained motionless amidst gales, representing the endurance and perseverance of all creatures in the face of torment, as well as the beastly tendency of humans to be stubborn and obsessed.
[Ring of Perseverance forged]
Distinct runes formed, brushed into shape in the purple-blue fire within blazing emotional surges. They were particles that resembled seeds and ores, their origins humble yet able to grow into trees that held the world aloft. They represented the sincerest love and resolve in all life, as well as their uncompromised possessiveness and control.
[Ring of Resolve forged]
In the burning, surging and overflowing swirl of emotion, the four rings had manifested while the massive swirl of Psi gushed with lifeforce visible to the naked eye, and yet returned to Order. The shape of four profound wills were growing, with gods about to be born into infinite emotion and the vanguard who would lead all life against the Chaos.
Crafting without ceasing and eliminating the excess emotion in the swirl, Joshua watched with a zealous gaze as the Four Divine Rings manifested, laughing wildly. Should anyone who had known him well been there, they would have recognized it to be the first earnest laugh that came from his heart.
After laughing, the Giant God spread his four arms at the lamps of the four rings as if to embrace the ensuing future, his tone rapidly changing from wildness to unwavering determination.
“So is this the feeling of Creation, after the first gods were born?” he said quietly, mouthing every word. “So, this is the process of creating a god? I see! It might have been a different process, but there’s no doubt that this is a truth beyond ordinary gods, even the creation of the Seven Gods!”
“This is the Authority of Worlds; a power even god could create!”
“I’ve found your former path!”
The warrior looked up towards the elevated planes of spirit where nothing existed, clenching his four fists while his gaze pierced the Void at a pure-white silhouette that was somewhere out there at present.
“I’ve caught your tracks and traces!”
“You’re not getting away!”
The three profound consciousness did not understand why the Giant God was roaring, even as the rings became more vivid and brilliant within the flames until genuine runes appeared at the tip of the rings, unparalleled solid emotion gushing into the domain of divinity as primordial divine power welled out from within.
They did not understand Joshua’s mood at all, or his delighted roar after having found someone superior and a goal worth pursuing.