Chapter 969: Followers and Seekers
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
If the behavior by which admirers advanced towards the position of their object of adoration was ‘following’, then the behavior by which champions kept searching within an ocean of unknown would be ‘seeking’.
While no relative superiority divided the two as both were worthy pursuits identical in purpose and destination, the acts themselves embodied completely different meanings—though potentially sounding arrogant, the former was passive, merely dragged forward, while the latter involved initiative, selfishly assuming their journey.
Neither was more superior or nobler than the other, and one could be easily lost in the case of the latter, although there was no doubt of an easier time in understanding their objectives and their path.
Unless the former understood that their object of their adoration was one who stood at the pinnacle of their life’s encounters but not actually an insurmountable aim, perhaps only such arrogance or confidence could allow the admirers to discover their own path.
It was just that Joshua did not have to go through such motions, for he merely seeked out the Sage without following his trail. His objective was to become an existence comparable or even surpassing the Sage, and not to become a new Sage—in return, the power of emotion was the first step through which he caught up to the Sage, and a cornerstone for the future.
In the spiritual realm, the swirls of emotion accumulated over millenia from countless races in Stellaris were ablaze. There was guilt towards family before death, the reluctance of death in the elderly, the faintest of yearning for children despite a happy death, just as there was the unreasonable jealously held by the crazed towards the blissful, the destructive tendencies engraved into the bones of deviants, not to mention the utter despair of the melancholic towards the world.
Beauty, ugliness, distortortion, purity, stubborness and calmness—Psi, possibly the first Extraordinary power invented by a civilization in the Multiverse to change the world, was gathering, resonating with life itself and igniting a near-boundless flame. Then, with the hammering of a Giant God from another world and their world’s most powerful psionic, four divine rings were forged.
Where had the gods come from, and what were they?
Joshua had thought about it long time ago, when both Joshua and the God of Fortune and Despair were looking up upon the stars of Mycroft. He had attempted to unravel the mystery in his own way and replicate divine power.
He created objects, life, the world, his own spawn, and even heroic spirits, crafted from the memories of civilizations in Chaos—aside from not being a god in a narrower definition, he was very much divine in all he did. Moreover, he had already been worshipped as a new god by the Midgardians in Sterllaris.
But in the beginning, Joshua could not fully understand the essence of god even after achieving everything. He simply thought of it as just a description, and that he would be one if he could accomplish the divine—god of creation, war, and destruction were all titles within his reach. It was only later that he realized that the essence of god was a superior lifeform that eclipsed civilization, like what artificial intelligence was to humans.
Nonetheless, that metaphor was not accurate, nor was the connection between god, human, and civilization so simple. They were simply individuals who fashioned themselves as memes and obtainied divine power from the Root of the Multiverse, far beyond artificial intelligence—that idea had reached its peak after Joshua cleared Chaos Memories from his body and subjugated his divinity, having obtained information and data that would have never otherwise been gained. After all, there was no way he would have gotten one of the Seven Gods and have them undergo pre-death rampages.
Now, however, Joshua was executing his ideas practically for the Four Divine Rings. It appeared to be a success and that his path of choice was correct: he could create True Gods, and it was not actually important that he borrowed the power of the Stellaris’ emotional swirls.
More importantly, Joshua had now discovered a way that did not depend on the Root, Initial Flame, and Divine Powers to ascend as a deity and explore mimetic essence! He could simply create several gods and observe their refinement, gradually progressing into the Fourth Threshold of Life, without the constraints of the Initial Flame.
“The Four Divine Rings have been mostly completed, only needing to have them slowly synchronize to Stellaris’ Psyweb.”
Joshua lowered his hammer after the forging and the process of soul-substance transition. In the spiritual realm, his huge soul form shrunk before vanishing, leaving four flames that had been refined to their very limit churning while the runic rings hovered within.
In the real world, the four-armed Giant God opened his eyes, while the psionic crystal sphere—the Beacon of Perpetuity’s clone—shone once more.
“Extreme emotions linked to the Root, drawing corresponding divine powers—although I don’t understand if the essences are actually destruction, conflict, wit, or conspiracy, there is no doubt that the Four Divine Rings are a success, perhaps even genuine sacred objects.”
The sacred objects referred not to the tools or weapons used by deities, but objects that embodied divine positions but were without self—in other words, deities without self-awareness, relying upon the emotions entrusted by countless civilization and aflame in the emotion swirls to maintain their divine title and power.
[Analysis: I understand your idea, Radcliffe. You will create four gods to rule the Seas of Psi by refining the power of emotion.]
[Dissection: By creating four gods, they would carry out the tasks of culling Chaos in your place—or at least, in your absence.]
“Yes indeed.” Joshua nodded, holding nothing back. “I can’t spend hundreds of thousands of years on Stellaris fighting Chaos—not even a decade, actually. My own civilization is facing an oncoming threat as well, so I can’t actually stay here too long, although able to briefly alleviate the direness for the moment.”
“I am aware that months or even years are negligible in a galactic war, and that is why I am applying another measure.”
A common proverb once said teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime—and it was exactly what Joshua had in mind.
Instead of helping Stellaris in slaying Chaos spawns in thousands of different systems, he could instead leave a profound power to strengthen the Midgard civilization along with the Stellar Guard, providing them a clear advantage over Chaos. In that respect, the power of emotion that Joshua discovered and the combination of Psi and lifeforce were perhaps a fine choice.
In fact, there was no lack of hybrid Extraordinary powers: the divine energy which the Grand Patriarch of the Takur Ruin Cult used in battle was a combination of divine powers and Psi. Additionally, most natives of Grandia had used a composite of mana and lifeforce, while psionic warlocks were naturally gifted with a mixture between Psi and mana or ether. Nature Power was a lifeforce with ether and mana attributes, not to mention combat aura, element aura, and Holy Light aura, a traditional hybrid between lifeforce, elements, and Holy Light.
On that note, it was basically expected of every mage to train in mana, elements, and ether, combining the three major supernatural forces and many other advanced spells, which made their class an extremely difficult one.
However, such combined powers did not form a complete solid system. It was simply applied by successors as their predecessors had discovered that application, and they trained or used, at most, two or three individual powers, calibrating on the spot when needed. Then finally, most would simply choose a single path to journey forward, instead of venturing upon two at once at greater cost.
But unlike all that, Joshua’s very first objective of developing Emotional power was so it could stand independent from Psi and lifeforce. As a novel experiment with Extraordinary ability, it would also have a complete system where both Psi and lifeforce would be refined at once, with the Four Divine Rings of Stellaris and any individuals who would choose to walk that path being Joshua’s voluntary observational subjects.
Having billions of intelligent lives as reference and collectible data, Joshua was convinced that he would have progressed far beyond anyone’s information in developing the Emotive system. With over thousands of civilizations combined and a supermassive galaxy as a base, such was the mutualism between champions and civilizations, where champions provided a beautiful possibility, with the latter completing it as a genuine Extraordinary power!
Either way, with the four classes of guidance by the Four Divine Species, any intelligent mind could theoretically awaken Emotional power. Added to their existing Psi fundamentals, the training would be faster and better, and with that, the collective ascension would allow Stellaris to actually subjugate and counter Chaos far more effectively than having Joshua deal with it.
Of course, Joshua’s true intention that solved the problem at its root was to actually kill the Evil Gods. Why go for the winding road? Would the problem not be solved with the troublemakers gotten rid of?
Still, although all the Chaos in Stellaris were spawns and innumerable, they were not impossible to destroy. If not for the Triple Curtains having to protect all intelligent civilizations of the world and suppress the emotional swirls, the three could have already handled the present situation—things would have been ten times worse for the Stellar Guard if a single Evil God had arrived.
However, while Joshua closed his eyes and pondered while controlling the many metal Dyson Spheres and warships that he had crafted to cull the Chaos, the Beacon of Perpetuity asked him a question.
[Praise: A perfect idea, Radcliffe. You truly are the Sage’s successor, and have surpassed most Extraordinary individuals to reach the forefront of boundaries.]
[Awe: There are currently 762 civilizations which have founded composite powers, 27 of which have tapped into its potential and 3 of which have founded a theoretical system. There are none of which have dissected its basis—your arrival is indeed a great reinforcement for Stellaris, and supporting the Midgardian’s summoning project is the best decision the Triple Curtain has ever made.]
[Doubt: However, there is a critical issue with your project.]
“I know what you speak of.”
The Giant God nodded, indicating that he was aware but without a change in his expression. “You’re pointing out that although the Four Divine Rings have been forged and embody godly powers,” he replied with a smile, “but they have no self, which makes them vulnerable to emotion itself. Is that right?”
The Beacon of Perpetuity did not respond—it was too obvious a problem.
Like how the Seas of Psi would be corrupted by the souls of endless dead, the swirls of emotion contained impure forces. It would have been easily infected by the emotions of all creatures, even if extracted by Joshua and Triple Curtain, since they were born from those lives.
To put simply, the Four Divine Rings were objects and not alive. Even though they held great power and were beacons guiding those in Stellaris who trained in emotion to keep ascending and had the admirals pursuing their radiance or the curious seek their path, the rings remained vulnerable as they were equally affected by emotions.
If Stellaris was benevolent, the Ring of Courage and Ring of Wisdom would have behaved like their namesake, with those who persevered remaining steadfast and the passionate filled with resolve. But on the other hand, if Stellaris was malice, courage would have fallen to hate and madness, wisdom to greed and indulgence, perseverance to obstinance and passion to envy.
In short, the Rings would have been good or evil depending on the people of Stellaris. Such was the difficulty in the absence of Self, since emotions existed as a duality—such deities who were not self-aware would have been easily affected by others, with Good or Evil alignments shifting within a mere day.
Therefore, Joshua answered flatly, “There’s a simple solution. I’ve created them as rings precisely because they would find their masters—I know that the day would come when someone would wear them.”
Joshua, being as he was then—the greatest entity who had caught up to the Sage and who believed himself of being able to feel proud of—had already thought about the issues that the Four Divine Rings could have potentially faced and their solutions.
If the Four Divine Rings were truly easily influenced by humans, then would it not have been handled if they were entrusted to staunch wills that would have remained unchanged even in the presence of emotional swirls? And were rings not made to be worn, though it was not unusual to have them hang like pendants either?
One way or another, training Emotion forged the spirit and the body. If there was anyone who could reach the threshold of the Four Divine Rings in the future, his will and ability would certainly have made him a True God even on Mycroft—the standards of champions were universal even across the Multiverse.
“Being imbued with the will of the divine object naturally makes a real divine being.” With those words, Joshua lowered his head and closed his eyes, the eight images of the Seven Gods appearing in his mind. A moment later, he opened his eyes again and said quietly, “That’s the measure to create manmade deities that I know of… Perhaps that’s the origin of the Seven Gods, and why the Sage could revive the remnant souls of his apostles and friends and make gods of them.”
“Perhaps that’s the true measure to create True Gods that transcend the Prime Deities, Animism Deities, or Doctrinal Deities.
I generally get the idea of what the Sage was thinking before.
With that thought, Joshua turned towards the Beacon of Perpetuity and smiled. “I’ve come to Stellaris bearing the Emotive system, but you and your companions should be the ones to find those who would lead and complete the system. It’s your task too… by the way, although I’ve met them, allow me to formally visit them next time around.”
After all, the Triple Curtain of the Life Preservation Sequence was an intelligent programming left by the Wise One of Psi—their heir, from a certain perspective. Unlike the Knowers, who were not actually direct successors of the Wise One of Arcane, they may have known less as they did not wander the Multiverse much in comparison, but the raw information that the Triple Curtain kept would definitely be enough!
They should have met if the opportunity arises. The Wise One of Arcane was the first Wise One to be born after the fall of the civilization of the Wise One of Psi, and the two heirs must have had much to cross check and more truths to unravel.
He would contact the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds later and see if they could send over some of the Knowers’ leaders.
Joshua was pensive. If the Mycroft civilization could represent the Sage’s successors, it was equivalent of having the grand scenario of three Heirs gathering.
There was no telling if there was such precedent in the history of the Multiverse.
[Permission: No problem. The First and Second Curtain await your visit.]
The Beacon of Perpetuity responded at once, but soon appeared puzzled.
[Question: What is it, Radcliffe? You appear distracted.]
Joshua had suddenly paused, blinking and turning towards the side of the dark universe where the stars were bright in the middle of this exchange with the Beacon of Perpetuity. He then spoke, at once curious and with clear pleasure, “I’ve never imagined how long it would have taken.”
“Someone has actually answered the power of Emotion so quickly to become its first Ringbearer?”