In the instant the shade had surged out of the cracks amidst the Void and enveloped every champion present, the Legendary champions noticed in astonishment that their battleground was now utterly shrouded in dense mist, turning into a dark space that bore a strong and oppressive presence. It was immeasurably serene, completely out of place with the dimensional ripples that torrented around them.
Mist? Shade? Darkness?
How was that possible!
Almost all Legendary champions who had a slight understanding of the Void could not help drawing blanks. All of them was aware that the nothingness of the Void beyond worlds had virtually nothing, apart from the dimensional turbulences shaped by the ripples emanating from worlds—whatever dimensional windstorms or Void calamities were nothing other than violent dimensional ripples.
Mist… In the Void were even steel warships without runic protection would be torn apart, how could such serene mist exist?
And yet, now was not the time to consider such things. The shade that had streamed out from the reaches of the Void, having enveloped every Legendary champion present was urgently becoming thicker, its darkness more and more solid. Around the entire world of Kronos, the Void that had been stirred by the Legendary champions into chaos were swallowed into an infinitely large spherical gloom. It rapidly took shape, as if about to turn into a huge egg, a huge cocoon.
Even if they were not sure what was happening, none of them would allow the schemes of the Darkness to continue smoothly.
None of the Legendary-class beings had been dealt lethal blows over the battle that spanned the few previous days, with the extensively injured Void Behemoth Leviathan's merely having the equivalent of a bloody nose and a swollen face if it were in human form. However, the battle ultimately required strength, and the long days of continuous fighting had definitively diminished their spirit, in addition to the fact that whenever they would be suddenly ambushed as they became engrossed in battle. With the power of the dark shroud maximizing itself, it hence bound every champion within!
But when everyone reacted, they would never allow the shade to imprison them!
"What the hell is that?"
Within the lightless mist, Joshua looked around as the Darkness closed in on him incessantly. The warrior could not help but frown as if he had seen something filthy.
He folded his arms across his chest and did not attack, but the shadow of the Four-armed Giant God appeared. The hundreds meter tall Steel Strength silently raised a Steel Fist, and struck out with ten thousand jabs that broke out violent winds. The Darkness that had been serene like dead waters and enveloping the world and Void thus shook tremendously, as if bombarded by waves of unstoppable torrents.
With Joshua's ability at present, not many things could hold him. Any class of substance that was not ultra-dense degenerate matter were but illusions before him, and he could directly smash Legendary-tier sealing circles if there no special aspects to them… If the dimensions could not restrain world, could anything else?
However, extraordinarily, even if the sea of mist had been shaken by Joshua's bombardment as if it would disperse in the very next moment, it did not really diminish, and even acted in the opposite manner. Having taken Joshua's single-sided attacks, the dark mist promptly began to expand as if stimulated—there were no two or three times of mist in the surrounding Void, closing in on the warrior once more!
Were physical attacks ineffective? Or did it have the ability to self-replicate by absorbing energies?
To Legendary champions, there were no actual battles where they had zero inklings. They could utterly see through any single attack with their power and observation abilities, and in their world 'unknown attacks' effectively did not exist. No matter how meticulous or atypical the technique, they would comprehend it utterly even if they could not do it.
Now being precisely the time for battle, Joshua's mind was working furiously at unprecedented speed, collecting information from his surroundings for analysis. His pupils turned into silver luster that swept across the Void around him, and he promptly became aware of every aspect about the black mist—including microscopic composition, energy concentration, speed of replication and the influence of the Void around him.
A large-scale fusion of black particles on a molecular level… While it resembled a mist, it was actually combined into a single body through electromagnetism.
In that instant, Joshua grasped everything about his enemy—instead of calling it a mist, it was more appropriate to call it a net that filters worlds and the Void, with such fine texture that it escaped human imagination! And what it catches was not some physical prey, but the ever present 'energy' of this world!
It was a huge net that caught energies, a Darkness that consumed light!
Heat and kinetic energy were also a form of energy, which was why Joshua's punches were effective in the beginning. But after the initial devastation force had passed, that energy would be captured by the mist and converted into food for them to grow… Across the Void, the energies that became condensed from the Great Mana Tide rapidly dispersed, while the world of Kronos that had been engulfed by it as well rapidly become cold due to the gradual diminishing of energies. Any longer, the entire world might therefore freeze, and finally become a cold and silent world like the Seventh Abyss!
Though the black mist had been seen through by Joshua, its movement did not slow as a result. As the tides of mist cascaded, the light within the Void dimmed once again—the celestial light that shone again due to the Great Mana Tide was fundamentally formed through the excess energies that brimmed from the Void, and the black mist was now plundering those energies. Joshua could sense the shocked spiritual ripples from Kanor the Black Dragon King some distance away, as if its negative energies had been consumed by the soundless Darkness without exception.
The many Legendary champions present—including demons, dragon king, Void Behemoth, and Golden Fleet had simultaneously launched their own offensive, as if to break the Darkness. Their actions, however, did not bear much fruit, and as with Joshua's jab, it caused the enemy to multiply instead. On the other hand, having been attacked so extensively, the mist began to squirm rapidly in the Void, as it to begin its counter-attack and digest the preys in its body.
Shrouds began to condense in the Darkness at once, as endless black particles cascaded beneath lightning-class magic—or great magnetism and worked furiously. They instantly condensed into millions of raindrops sized black needles, utterly dark as if capable of devouring light, and shot toward the Legendary champions in its body!
There was no stopping force in the Void, and the needles instantly reached their highest speed, pouring like torrential rain from every direction to pierce through all targets. The black mist had once encountered many formidable adversaries, but any single one of them would not be unscathed under its offensive.
But this occasion might prove to be an exception.
Joshua did not know how the others countered it, since the black mist's own counteroffensive was rather disappointing from him. As the endless black needles that streaked toward him at one over twenty of one lightspeed, the shadow of the Steel Giant God appeared behind the warrior once more—but unlike before, the Giant God shrunk as soon as it appeared into a size that was not much larger than Joshua himself. It even fused with the warrior's body, leaving just four arms.
The sound of extreme contraction for great mass could be heard. Dimensional patterns around Joshua were bending visibly, and on the warrior's shoulders, two more sturdy metallic arms were completely materialized. Sixth fists—Joshua's own body included—were slowly clenched, causing the surrounding Void to unfurl like a typhoon.
And next came the swing.
As the black needles streaked toward him, Joshua pressed his foot on the Void without any expression. The six arms around his body had suddenly stroked dimensional patterns, blocking every attack directed at him!
The forceful rain showering tens of thousands of black needles struck at the velocity of ten million meters per second, while Joshua's chose method shattered each drop of rain.
Around Joshua, time seemed to stop. Even as the ink-dark mist swiftly spread, the warrior had closed his eyes and used pure energy sensory to feel everything around him. Those black needles that stabbed at him actually came with order, and he did nothing too fanciful, crushing every needle with equal order through a single pointing finger, breaking every single one into black mist.
There should have been no sound in the Void, but the black mist formed when the black needles were broken clearly conduct vibration. Joshua's body composition and reflexes had reached an unbelievable threshold that such mundane assault was completely unmeaningful against him.
—Is that so.
Sensing that the dense black mist around him was left astonished by his countermeasure and therefore temporarily halted from materializing for needles, Joshua opened his eyes again and looked around. In that very moment, as if the warrior had made some blunder in his countermeasures, a black needle bypassed Joshua's interception and struck viciously on his body!
Even so, nothing unexpected happened, and the black needle swiftly crumpled into black mist as well… Joshua's body strength was no different with his arms and were all extremely dense degenerate matter—striking his body was no different from being blocked by his hands.
But exactly because of that, Joshua nodded in prompt understanding. "So that's it. Never thought that such attacks existed."
Having deliberately allowed the black needle to stab into his own body, Joshua finally experienced the true force of the black needle personally—the seemingly minuscule needle was actually materialized electromagnetism and was denser than most substances. The faint electric currents that encircled its entire form could even cause the phenomenon of disintegration on a molecular level! Combined with the energy absorption effect of the black mist itself, typical matter and energy shield would have no effect against the needles.
More importantly, if the black needle was allowed to stab into a physical body out of a moment of carelessness, actual energy circulation in the physicality of Legendary champion would be cut off, causing injuries through a chain reaction… it was a plain but formidable assault, albeit a shame it was ineffective against Joshua himself.
Joshua shook his head. The surface of his entire body was now all degenerate matter after he had reached twenty-seven percent of Steel Strength assimilation in his body—a single hair drawn out could now be used as a divine edge that pierces everything. Nothing apart from the ruthless ability of the elderly Pope that manipulated the speed of light could hurt him, with the disintegration of matter and energy absorption all frivolous to the warrior.
"Come to think of it… the condensation of that magnetism. Why does it have a similar sense to that Ancient Dragon's power?"
"How is that mist related to the Ancient Dragon that controls the power of lightning?"
The sea of mist was surging violently, with the other Legendary champions appearing to be besieged by that downpour of needles as well. On the other hand, the Darkness around Joshua seemed to have stopped all movements, supposedly stunned by the warrior's inconceivable countermeasures and composition. Not caring that much, Joshua was instead concerned about the essence of the black mist's ability.
"Still, it's not unusual for the Ancient Dragon's power to be learned and used against itself. It's very reasonable."
Under certain circumstances, the power of Ancient Dragons could be viewed as a natural phenomenon. Intelligent beings would hence gather knowledge from it, arm themselves and in turn use it to counter the natural phenomenon itself. It was perfectly logical.
As if now aware that such attacks were ineffective against Joshua, the black dog started to surge aggressively once again after pausing for a few seconds, applying a different measure compared to how it faced the other Legendary champions. The Darkness that fought countless great foes had never encountered any nigh indestructible enemy like the warrior, for they always knew what attack they should use.
At the heart of the dark mist, deep-purple lightning spread inside the shade, gathering endless black particles through flickering lightning. It shaped into a supremely dense core, assembling a mass and energy that trembled the Void itself!
Nonetheless, it was not just it that could attack, or that the others would passively take its blows.
When the dark mist began to gather its core, Joshua trod upon the Void on the other end, his body emitting searing light, causing cracks of orderly crimson patterns to appear over his body. As the warrior took a deep breath, the energies of the Void around him that had been gathering toward the dark core were drawn instead by a great absorption into his mouth. Assuming a complete combat mode, Joshua clenched his sixth fists, his pupils flickering with silver Steel Strength radiance as he forcefully struggled against the shade for portions of energy, greatly delaying the speed at which the dark core was materialized.
Joshua could distinctly sense a disbelieving shift was taking shape at the heart of the Darkness that devours all energy. Vacuum itself was forming, and it was a genuine, absolute vacuum, instead of vacuum in space and Voids where matter invisible to the naked eye existed! The reason energy condensation would appear so simultaneously and so contradicting alongside with that vacuum was because every ounce of energy in that space was drawn away by the Darkness, compressed into that dark core!
Extreme condensation and absolute vacuum! Such radical circumstances hence appeared before Joshua, and under shocking electromagnetic boundary restraint, the dark core was turning itself into a black amalgamation that exceeded the ultra-dense matter on Joshua's body surface, with the vacuum region expanding another notch due to the density of the black core!
Joshua immediately saw through the black fog's intention—it would use black needles to break the balance at the moment the black core took form, unleashing a terrible tide of mass that would devastate all things. A first explosion, the rapidly expanding Void would absorb everything around it, while the second explosion would disintegrate the material core, creating a grand scale of mass and energy fragmenting! The force would destroy all things, tearing everything it engulfed into a pure soup of hot ions!
"Microscopic artificial mass point…. Unable to plunder energy, hence executing material devastation, huh?"
Facing the enemy's swiftly condensing mass energy, Joshua who was still maintaining human form extended his arms. His expression was calm while silver radiance focused in his palm, and with streaming Steel Strength, silver-white Steel flowed over his hand and solidified, before ultimately turning into an ice-cold metallic spear. Space itself vibrated as the spear's keen edge moved, causing waves of ripples. As Joshua weighed it in his hand, he found it not too satisfactory, and so crimson flame was fused into the spear tip, so that it released incandescent radiance to its surroundings that bent and distort space itself.
The spear was no ordinary polearm, but a projection of Steel Strength, the condensation of degenerate matter with a mass of up to a hundred thousand tons. The weight of a hill was contracted into a spear as tall as a man, and heated by Joshua up to millions of degrees… it was the simplest, most direct and most brutal power in the physical world.
"To be frank, I really can't understand an existence that would ambush eight Legendary-tier beings at once and bind them within their own body… You, darkness—who are you actually underestimating? Even the gods are not so prideful!"
Grasping the spear, Joshua narrowed his eyes slightly, his gaze piercing through the trivial vision interference of the black fog and seeing the true form of the dark core that was quickly gaining shape. Its velocity of assembly was fast, but the warrior was faster—the Steel Spear in his hand now heated to a golden-red like the sun through nuclear fusion, the bursting energies streamed as lightning plasma toward the surrounding Void, and the attack that could demolish all things was hence given form in the warrior's palm.
Thus, he raised the spear and aimed true at the heart of the shade of dense mist.
—Feel the light of the sun, Darkness with No Name.
As immeasurably sturdy mass projected and distorted space itself, a vein of golden arc of light broke through the shadow. The Steel Spear that had been accelerated by Joshua's strength to an unimaginable threshold cut into the dense mist of gloom, striking the core of the Darkness.
The world of vacuum had no sound.
And yet, in the very next instant.
Violently surging radiance pierced the Darkness, illuminating the world of Kronos below.