It was only after walking past numerous winding corridors and passageways that Joshua finally arrived at the rear half of the huge floating craft.
The Gale had a crew of sixty-seven individuals, twelve of whom were maintaining and monitoring the core. Joshua also spied quite a few servicemen wandering back and forth to observe and collect data on the warship's performance.
They were either a specialist in spellcasting or engineering; their faces were somber as they inspected every corner of the ship. Naturally, none of them even felt the warrior walking past them.
The two enchanted core units of the Gale was in the middle of the ship slightly towards the bow, where the armor was thicker. It was also an ease of supplying energy that most of its key components were placed up front, while the rear half was the boxy space that acted as the cargo hold to transport armed personnel and supplies.
The cargo hold was huge, and the design was enough to fit two standard regiments of sixty soldiers including their armaments. It could also be modified to accommodate more if need be.
And right now, Joshua suddenly stopped in front of the cargo hold and frowned.
The atmosphere was being twisted by a scorching airflow, and a clearly visible wave of steam was surging towards his direction, dispersing water particles. The warrior could clearly feel the moisture in his skin burning while his clothes become a scorched yellow.
"That's not just heat—the fire elements are raging!"
Clicking his tongue, Joshua glanced sideways at the silver-haired lass behind him. Now he finally understood why Ying had a terrible expression—if Black has been spreading heat of this level, even the bodies of the Divine Armaments would be affected.
"Next time come running if something same happened." Joshua shook his head and patted hers, while walking crisply into the cargo hold. "If the temperature keeps rising, the hull would be damaged and it will be a disaster."
The cargo hold was behind a magical door with identification ability. Joshua, the ship's owner and the highest authority onboard, could curtly open it.
He quickly saw the behemoth that was Black.
Now almost twenty-meters tall, it was curling up and lying on the floor uncomfortably, albeit taking up half the space of the hold. The heat that easily ignited cinders spread from its body, and the warrior could see shreds of embers in the air.
Black, however, was still prone and unconscious. Otherwise, it would have been leaping around happily and licking Joshua violently at least twice, as its routine.
"It's an instinctive defensive mechanism—it's simply too ill." Joshua saw through its symptoms and diagnosed it in one glance. It was almost trivial.
He turned to the girl and said, "Ying, give me the Shapeshifting Pendant."
"Alright!" Ying quickly took out the V-shaped pendant and handed it to him, before asking tentatively, her eyes showing worry, "Master, how's Black?"
"It's fine—that much is obvious from its active flames. Now it is in something like a dream-walking state."
Feeling the pendant's magic, Joshua nodded and grunted. "Ying," he called out to the girl once more. "When I transfigure Black into a more normal size, go to the storage to get some iced mint leaves to feed it. It's remarkable in counteracting dizziness and discomfort of high altitudes—this ship must have some."
He then quickly walked to Black.
The Shapeshifting Pendant did not need to be worn. The user simply had to activate its magic, and where it was placed would not matter. Still, it would need the user themselves to trigger it, but since Black was still out Joshua had to act in its place.
It would have been much easier to treat the half-dragon's airsickness with it being smaller.
When Joshua reached the dragon's flank, the temperature was positively volcanic. A golden vein was streaming amidst its black scales; it contained the intensity to melt metals.
The warrior knew that it was its blood—the Gold-tier heir of primordial dragons was no longer an ordinary existence but a genuinely extraordinary one. Now, even its blood wasn't purely the essence of life but the carrier of tremendous power.
The blood of old dragons usually mentioned was this—one that contained life as well as unimaginable power. Still, it would be difficult for anyone without draconic blood inheritance to utilize it.
Placing his hands on its scales, Joshua adjusted his own breathing rhythm and shifted his own aura willfully to suppress Black's self-defense mechanism.
Supreme power and Gold power was not just a star away but a complete domination over the other, and it was the same even if it was man against dragon. Joshua's red-black aura now flashed, spreading through the suffocating atmosphere.
Immediately, the heat waves that surged through the cargo hold immediately stopped as the pure lifeforce suppressed it. The temperature also swiftly plummeted, and Black became noticeably comfortable. The molten circuits on its body dimmed and its contorted expression also softened.
Satisfied by what he saw, Joshua pulled his hand back. "That's good enough."
Even when dragons slumber, the mana within their body would still be unleashed outside to prevent the approach of other creatures. There were powerful ones who slept for centuries, and the landscape of their habitat would slowly be influenced by years of magical power and form into swamps, lava lakes, ice pools as well as forests.
It also acted as an alarm and protection while blocking weaker spells automatically, the latter of which includes the power of the shapeshifting pendant. Therefore, Joshua had to disperse its instinctual defense mechanism to shrink it.
But as the warrior held the necklace aloft and prepared to activate it at the still-unconscious half-dragon, he suddenly stopped.
Ying who had been watching all along quickly noticed it; she asked a wordless question with her emerald gaze. She soon found that, even if it was just his side profile, Joshua had a bizarre expression.
Man, dragon, and Divine Armament stopped moving at the same time.
The entire cargo hold was quiet. With the whistling hot air gone, the dragon and the warrior's heartbeats could be heard.
Logically, the beast's heartbeat should have been much louder, but at present, it was the warrior's heartbeat that had overlapped the dragons'. It was curiously distinct, and even louder than the whirling of the battleship's engines.
The deep, powerful sound of blood pumping echoed throughout the cargo hold. Joshua pulled his right hand that held the pendant to press on his own chest doubtfully.
"What… What's this?"
He had felt the gushing of an unknown power.
It was not aura or Order. Neither did it came from his body, faith, or soul.
This abnormal power seemed to have been there all along, here to stay as long as Joshua existed.
The warrior quickly comprehended the basis of the power in an instant even as he continued feeling its urgent flow around his body. "The Steel Residue… The gift from Illgner—It's moving now?"
Joshua was an Supreme-tier champion. From a certain point of view, his body was an armed fortress. Every joint, bone, muscle and vein were streaming with an unimaginable lifeforce that created all sorts of unique effects in perfect order as he breathed.
It could hold against unforgiving temperatures, repel projectiles and augment physicality. Anyone who possessed this power could move mountains—the very mystique of lifeforce recycling that made it comparable to magical effects.
But now, another power was surging from the warrior's heart. It bypassed that considerable aura and breathing rhythm to move freely in his body; it was so special it could not be held down.
It was also persistent in wanting to pour out of his body in hope of sweet release.
"Is this caused by the fusion of the Azurite and my body? Nope, not that."
Joshua recalled that moment in Illgner, when he assumed the form the King of Searing Soul again to face the Evil God of Calamity and fused the Azurite into his body. It did allow him to hold against the deity's attacks, but the Azurite did not detach after the battle—and he did not know which part of himself it fused into.
Come to think of it, it should have been near his heart. Still, there was nothing unexpected that happened, and Joshua left the matter aside since he did not know how to solve it either.
Now, a power named Authority surfaced, and Joshua was the one being moved.
"—Ying, stay away."
To stop this uncontrollable power from influencing others, Joshua frowned and retreated to a corner in the cargo hold. "There's something weird going on, be cautious."
"… Yes, Master!"
Since Joshua's words were serious but his breath was calm, the still-anxious Ying left obediently. She stood by the entrance, her hair bobbing in occasionally to take a good look at her master.
The Divine Armament should be unable to feel that unusual power of his, just as others were not able to see the Shards of Steel Residue and the Fragment of Searing Steel.
Either way, the warrior was in a stalemate.
This was an uncontrollable power that he could not even suppress unless he kept himself at full vigilance at all times. It was also atypically active as if desiring to be vented. Since Joshua did not know its effects, he had to hold it back tightly in his own body.
That however, did not seem to be going well. The power appeared to have been created to be spread in the first place and could never be bound. Even the warrior's incredible will could not keep it in for three minutes.
Feeling the inevitability, Joshua wrinkled his forehead and crisply let it out. Guiding it with his left hand, he pressed his hand on a bulkhead of the Gale.
All of this was simply so sudden that the warrior felt weirded out. He now believed that the Azurite in his body must have had some issue that triggered the Authority that Illgner's World Will blessed him with.
But there still no reason for it.
"Maybe it's other Sage Legacy undergoing changes."
The warrior analyzed the situation coldly. When the Azurite had fully awakened it did affect Brandon's dual blades of Order as well as Pope Igor's Bright Scepter, which in turns proves the resonating effect between Sage Legacy items. "Really, can't tell if it's our friend the Sacred Swordsman or the Church."
It was a logical guess, too. Since he returned from Illgner himself the blessings from the World did not show a hint of coming to life—at all.
Joshua had tried to activate them too, but did not quite mind when he could not really find its applications and thus stop caring altogether after a few tests. He never could expect that a change in the Azurite could suddenly bring this force called Authority to life—as if a hidden condition was suddenly met.
Perhaps, it is because of Order power?
Considering all these possibilities in a matter of seconds, Joshua lifted his gaze to the bulkhead.
After he had injected Authority, the silver-gray metal wall changed bizarrely as crystal cracks that resembled broken glass spread quickly over it. It covered around two square meters of wall before stopping.
Joshua surveyed the fractures gravely. He knew that this power was not limited to this.
As he thought, within the crystal lines were streaks of light that slowly glowed. Black-red luminescence flashed, bringing a bizarre atmosphere to the cargo hold.
By the door, Ying noticed the changes too. She lightly covered her mouth as she watched on with wide eyes.
A light noise, and the bulkhead shifted noticeably again. With metal-scraping noises that made people wince, the bulkhead squirmed as if alive, and leaped off the wall.
Now, it was a piece of huge metal that was two meters wide, one meter long and 0.75 meters tall.
Its entire body was still covered with the spider-web of red-black light patterns that seemed to be surging with a mystical power and transfiguring the ordinary piece of metal.
The noise made when fingernails scraped over iron or glass was deafening, and anyone would have had their hands covering their ears. But Joshua was untroubled, and simply walked to the metal, reached out and poured a little Order power into it.
With the Authority that operated it released, the metal shifted again.
As if a pair of invisible hands were molding it, heads and limbs formed on the huge rectangular piece of steel, before it finally took the form of a huge puppet.
Its face was without features, and only had a single red-black stripe of light. The limbs looked firm and strong, however, with the same colored patterns wrapped over it that pulsed in an orderly manner as if breathing.
The steel puppet stood motionlessly. It stared at Joshua with the stripe on its head, before bending its back and bowing in a gesture of submission.
"Yes… Master?" The silver-haired girl was caught for a moment by Joshua's voice, but quickly replied nonetheless. "What is it?"
"Take the Shapeshifting Pendant and try to revive Black." Joshua kept his eyes that sparkled with interested on the living steel as he tossed the necklace at Ying. "I've got something else to do."
As soon as he finished, he walked up and pressed on the subservient object.