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1018 Challenge and Doub

At first, many were unsure what on earth Joshua was on about, with a few exceptions. Even when the Legendary champions listened to the warrior's abrupt explanation about Extraordinary powers, they were left at a loss for a moment.

To most civilizations and their champions, Extraordinary powers were widely used constants just like gravity, electricity, and the speed of light. They were natural and common sense, with the entire Multiverse turning upside down, even ceasing to exist for them if it should change.

An origin of wisdom? To those beings that were born in the Multiverse, it was a great barrier in perspective.

Even so, for a person like Joshua who had come from a world without miracles, the existence of Extraordinary powers was naturally special, or indeed a miracle of unparalleled exceptions. His perspective of such powers was innately different from the natives of this Multiverse, and it was the minor few beings who knew of the existence of Wise Ones who could keep up with his ideas, or champions who could sense that Extraordinary powers were actually 'additional powers' that only came after the Multiverse was born.

Still, the blankness lasted for a short time: when Joshua ignited one star after another in the flames of Extraordinary abilities to form a Lifetree Totem, almost everyone instantly understood the essence and relationship between those powers.

On the first and most fundamental layer was the Initial Flame.

On the second layer was divine power which was derived from the Initial Flame, with a path connecting them.

On the third layer were magic and lifeforce which were derived from the Initial Flame, as well as Psi which originated from divine power. Although magic, lifeforce, and divine power shared the same root, they were not derivatives of the same level.

On the fourth layer were elements and magic derived from magic and lifeforce. These were connected by trails as well, and were interchangeable.

On the fifth layer was Holy Light, derived from the Initial Flame, lifeforce, and elements.

On the sixth layer was Shadow, derived from Initial Flame, magic, and ether.

The next were the seventh and eighth layers, which were various derivatives combined from the preceding Extraordinary derivatives, such as Nature Power, Divine Energy, Emotion Power…and there were also many one-sided fragments symbolizing more derivatives, such as Authority and Superpowers that were born out of Steel Strength. They were singular branches in contrast and were positioned lower, forming endless derivative branches upon the Tree of Extraordinary.

Such complex systems and relationship were revealed by Joshua in the simples and clearest manner. Each sun denoting an Extraordinary power was ablaze in the Void, the trail of their derivation radiant and marked upon the darkness, gazed upon by the champions watching the broadcast fixedly—they were neither astray, nor did they miss anything. It was just that they did not try to connect and compile the various pathways since all Extraordinary powers were equally grand powers in their perspective.

Unaware of the origins and development of the Wise Ones, it was really difficult to explore that aspect save for some outstanding geniuses… but now, Joshua had cleaned up the basis of everything for them so that they paths were firmer and clearer, and allowed them to progress further.

But that was not all—soon, Joshua doused the stars in the Void, while the world in his right hand enlarged, becoming clearer as the outer shell of the newborn world became transparent, allowing everyone to clearly see the upheaval within.

Under Joshua's might, all of them could see that time seemed to be accelerating for the world that had been just created, rapidly condensing and forming, as well as how the Extraordinary powers affected the world as it came to be, and how gentle it was to all things in the Multiverse.

"By the skies…so, without ether circulation, our world's unique construct would not have a such a complete energy cycle and so steadily built a land of Order and life!"

"If the density of mana had been just a little less, our race would have been fated to remain as beast, never developing soul or intelligence…much less magic!"

"I simply could not have imagined that Psi was what cultivated the birth of the Earth Mother. Though it is now in slumber, without its delicate protection then, would fragile beings such as us really have flourished until now?"

While elements divided skies and earth, lifeforce nourished and strengthened—many races and civilizations had spied a snippet of their world's origins as the world on Joshua's palm grew. They quickly understood their good fortune and the blessings from the forerunners, just as they understood how profoundly Extraordinary power influenced all civilizations and intelligent life in the Multiverse. 

It was frivolous as to how much application and deft techniques they could realize from those mysteries.

In turn, the hearts of the powerless were filled with gratitude.

In turn, the hearts of the powerful were filled with yearning.

They were now curious—curious about the origins of those forces, the forerunners who had created them, and what heart they embodied that they could cast such great power upon the Multiverse in such kindness. They began to yearn for the truth, to discover why the name of such great persons would be lost to the darkness, remaining unknown until now.

And that was the purpose of Joshua's preaching, that which he would have them understand—he wanted to show Truth and great love, spreading the seeds of light upon the darkness of the Multiverse.

It would be enough, even if it was just for a little.

Be that as it may, there were slightly diverging voices of dissonance.

***

There was happiness, delight, doubt, and puzzlement.

Like the other civilization, every Mycroft individual watching the broadcast mostly had such emotions, because they were happy to have glimpsed a perspective of Truth, just as they were left doubtful if it was reality. Still, apart from all that, there was a faint sourness in a considerable number of them too.

In fact, there was also jealously and dissatisfaction—even slight outrage.

There was no question that Joshua van Radcliffe was a Mycroftian and a champion of their civilization. How proud they had felt when he had become so powerful that he could speak to all civilizations and beings across the Multiverse, just like how the Sage himself had raised the Bright Scepter to illuminate the path of the stars…but why? It was not as if that knowledge must not be shared with other civilizations of the Multiverse, but why had he not instructed Mycroft first?

Why had he not enlightened them before spreading the word to other civilizations?

It clearly would not have been difficult, and it was not as if the Mycroftians would only let free that knowledge after they had fully understood everything—being heirs of the Glorious Era, they had the arrogance and belief that other civilizations would never surpass them even if they should obtain the same knowledge, but even so, treating all civilizations across the cosmos fairly would be unfair to Mycroft!

After all, was Count Radcliffe, Commander of the Expeditionary, the man called Joshua—not a champion of Mycroft?

However, as the world in Joshua's palm slowly changed, the sourness in the Mycroftians' minds faded.

Because it meant nothing.

As the God of Steel quietly presented the Truth to the world, all mundane emotions became meaningless.

They saw a world enlarging in Joshua's palm, the mountains, continents, skies, and oceans within repetitively destroyed and then rebuilt to demonstrate the intricacies of Extraordinary power. They saw stars condensing from a nebula, forming planetary systems that burnt consecutively in explosions, becoming white dwarves or black holes, cosmic bodies that spread searing radiance.

They saw world itself being squeezed and pinched by the God of Steel into a continental realm, a planet, a mountain realm that was fully solid and a cavity realm that was hollow within. There were millions of common, extreme, outrageous, and profound realms created and destroyed within the briefest of time like the grandest of psalms.

Until the end, as boundless power was quietly rendered and manifesting as the first runes of worlds, Joshua spread his fingers and palm to reveal the attributes of the world—it was a supercontinental world with a land frame larger than stars. The continent itself floated upon a sea of ether, with a sun of Holy Light and a moon of Shadow circling around it. Elements and mana were casted as the storms, creating all life in the company of lifeforce.

At the same time, all the champions saw that a primeval spirit of the world was growing upon the highest mountain at the center of the world. Essentially the first ancestor of all life, it grew along with the cycles of Extraordinary power, finally assuming a form with primitive divine power, becoming what was the first god, the initial deity.

"This is the beginning of everything, the race of the Wise One of Psi. It is because the Creators had discovered the remains of the first god that they founded Extraordinary power, breathing life to psionic energy."

Joshua withdrew his hand, but the supercontinental world—now a midsized world remained, even slowly floating away to the Void. Its World Barrier was also no longer transparent, concealing the world from connection to the beyond while the world itself became a normal realm as intended.

And in that world of gentle climate was a god, who surveyed the world with a faraway gaze after having just been born.

Everything was just birthed or slowly growing, all hope was in anticipation, while all future progressed towards the distance.

Joshua had created a perfect living world and a flawless god.

"The Creator…"

"…the Maker!" 

"Molder of Worlds, the Architect of Deities!"

"Father of Worlds, God of Gods!"

Joshua, however, was not concerned with the praise and those profound names they had made for him. The four-armed God of War simply raised his hand to conjure vague star charts.

"The Ultimate Crisis had wreaked destruction and death, terror and loss. There is no doubt it would lure several Evil Gods here," he said flatly, stating the reality none would really focus upon. "War, Disparity, Pestilence, and Famine…there would be another if one was killed, and whether you would call them World Eaters, the Endbringers, or any other name, they would be coming in the near future."

One could see an exceeding mass of darkness appearing upon the bright star chart. Veins of gloomy rifts were eroding into every corner and splitting apart the grand light.

"Those walking cataclysms that pursue memes and eternity would ignore all differences between life, civilizations, race, or even ideas to equally cast destruction upon all. I don't believe at all that the cosmos could really unite and repel them as a collective force, but I would still warn all of you to plan for the worst…for the war between Order and Chaos has come, its curtains rising."

There was tightening sensation in the hearts of every being. It was a threat to the instinct, and enmity that reached into their center of being: they felt the misery reaching to them from the darkness of ruined civilizations, along with the cold finality and devastation that the Chaos embodied.

"Become powerful. You don't have to fight for Order or the Multiverse—you only need to fight for yourselves, your own world, your own civilization, your own lives, and the lives of your children."

"However, I am sanctioning against all wars between civilizations of Order."

"I don't care about the grudges existing between all of you or dissatisfaction against my decree, but from this day forth to the day the Evil Gods are repelled , I am stopping all senseless fighting—all of you can doubt, curse, even complain reasonably or unreasonably, but I wouldn't care. I would directly suppress every being bent on stirring conflict."

Quietly, the four-armed God of Steel revealed his demand with neither threat nor arrogance in his voice. Joshua watched the Void before him as if simultaneously watching all civilizations and beings watching the broadcast across the cosmos. "I know this demand is unreasonable, but the Evil Gods are even more so. By the way, I did just defeat Imperator Amos, so anyone who believes themselves more powerful can challenge me…or point out my mistakes in discourse"

"These are the only options. You could raise opinions beyond that, and I would listen—but I will not change.

***

Silence extended across every civilization across the cosmos who could see and hear the demand.

They were hesitant, frowning as the ultimate arrogance and belittlement reached them from the other side of space.

And yet, they understood that those were merely a mistaken perception, because Joshua was not ignoring them, but essentially challenging every individual and every civilization's champion in the cosmos.

Even so, it did not mean that not everyone had the right to answer the challenge.

***

Still.

Joshua received no response even as a period passed. The warrior therefore could not help but frown, and his gaze was puzzled.

What is going on—where is everybody?

Doubt me, question me.

I am neither the truth nor really a Wise One. All of this is merely my personal understanding and not the real Truth…could there be none who would doubt it? Could my closing browbeating request have been unable to challenge all of you, to stir your rage and dissatisfaction?

He looked bewilderedly at the Void around him as if towards the civilizations who had listened to his speech, his mouth hanging open as if he would continue.

Were they buying it so easily? Where were the doubters? The lost? Regardless of how funny or futile the questions would be, they should have been asked, if there were any! Even if it did not feel right or the simple provocation felt disgustful, it was good to nitpick for real Truth feared no spying. That was what Joshua needed!

Legacies were not some injection into the head, believing blindly in whatever was said—because that would be brainwash! It asked and answered, questioned and explained, was doubted, denied, or verified.

Never merely listen. Try to doubt!

And Joshua believed that there would be those who understood a single Extraordinary power more profoundly than he did.

He was not convinced that he knew everything. Joshua imagined that his own preaching to every individual in the cosmos, was equal to every one's preaching in return towards himself. He had thought that it would be an exchange of clarifications and doubts, answers and verifications… his highbrow declaration to the cosmos would hence progress to a majestic and intense challenge, a long debate and rhetoric, with Truth eventually made clear through the clarification and verification between different theories, becoming food for everyone.

And not an abrupt silence such as this.

It should not have been so.

The stillness lasted. The faint white dust of the radiant Mana Tide belt wafted like mist in the Void, engulfing worlds.

Until Joshua actually felt disappointment, a voice suddenly spoke from the other side of dimensions.

"I am challenging you."

It was a gruff voice extending from the center of a galaxy, just as a great presence transcended the dimensions and quaked the elements of worlds. One could see a fluctuating shadow materializing from beyond, with bursting surges of power in the company of boldness and elation.

"I am challenging you as well."

"Your description of ether just now was mistaken—"

"Who do you think you are?"

Another voice followed.

Then another, and another, and another.

"Good."

Hearing a million challenges and doubts all at once, as well as provocations or denials, the warrior was not angry at all. He watched the Void as well as the entire cosmos, as if levelling his eyes upon all who challenged him, and smiled most earnestly.

"Alright."

He promised, smiling happily.

Alright.
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