Cold, dismal tempest screamed upon the shattered land of magma, with air vortices that moved beyond 100 meters per second tearing apart ground and stone, forming a massive hurricane of dust that shaped a constantly-moving distinct dark spot on the surface of the world.
The battle between Legendary champions and an ultimate entity had completely destroyed the ecosphere of the planet. The power of the Murloc High Priest could have blown the world's air out of its atmospheric layer, which would have at least destroyed less of the planet's surface. However, the orbicular sky and rectangular earth world structure of the First Agricultural Realm had kept all the shockwaves inside the world, leading to a rather unusual inward detonation that prevented the aftershocks from ceasing even until now.
It was one of the disadvantages faced by small worlds after the appearance of ether: it would have been fortunate if the world was directly torn apart should exceedingly powerful champions have fought within, but the remaining shockwaves would have been kept reverberating inside the World Barrier for over a million years. Without any unexpected circumstances, the First Agricultural Realm would become a broken world of windstorms, and perhaps in time, elementals of wind, earth, or fire would have been born in the hot dust vortex beyond 10,000 kilometers in diameter, growing new species and civilizations.
And in one corner of the windstorm was a huge tunnel directed deep beneath the land and into earth's core. Godard, whose body was gradually reverting to its usual elderly murloc form, stood beside Galanoud the Nature Magister's elven form. They were on top of one of the milk-white roots that was kept sealed in a bounded field of profound Nature Power, and were communicating with Pope Igor from afar. "It's a recovery operation of great success. That fellow isn't weak, and it's only after I had pressed it down to the planet's core at full force that I could finally manage to stop its struggling—but without its roots to stabilize it, the continent that had mostly been eaten away cannot maintain its original form. It's a wasteland now."
"Of course, it's alive. Galanoud is healing it beside me. Its vitality is simply robust, you don't have to worry about that."
"Yes, the core activity of the Ultimate Forage is still present. It was the both of us combined against a Legendary beast of instincts, we certainly wouldn't have missed it. Right, it's time for the next move."
"Igor, do we wait for the rest of you to come over, or do we start now?"
A jade hued spell formation of Nature Power that resembled vines and appeared unusually uniform was wrapped around the composite of milk-white roots. It was absorbing the roots' energy while also using its own to maintain the life within the roots. Above the spell of Nature Power, Galanoud frowned as she spoke to Igor as well, appearing to have heard some bad news.
"We don't have to wait? Trouble at your end?"
"…The epidemic has already spread, I see… have the Void civilizations nearby been alerted? Preventing viral infection is not difficult in itself—but it is vital to pay most attention to any Ultimate Entity that may be present.
The conversation did not actually last too long. When both Godard and Galanoud turned off communications at the same time, the two of them reflexively shared a glanced, their expressions equally somber.
"Seven Ultimate Entities in the sector that Igor, Barbarossa, and the others got too, with two being reborn from intelligent life and extremely hard to handle…"
The Nature's Magister brandished her scepter, causing the spell that bound the core of the Ultimate Forage to tighten and the creature to convulse in agony, ejecting massive white viral shrouds. "How long has that only been?" Galanoud's tone was grave. "That epidemic which has mysterious caused the death of trillions, infecting so many civilizations and creating almost ten Legendary monsters in just the planetary sector around here! Even the Evil Gods leading their legion of spawns in a full-blown assault would never have compared!"
"Evil Gods would at least have a true form which can be attacked."
The Murloc Hight Priest shook his head, staring at the Ultimate Forage before him and said in a rather muffled voice, "As for the plague itself—truth be told, we know nothing about its true origins. There is no angle from which we could counter it directly, and all we can do is guard against it."
"That's why we're here," the Nature Magister spoke as if she was seething. In fact, Galanoud's hands was so clenched tightly that distinct plant roots were appearing over the hand grasping her scepter, making her rage very evident. She could not help but to imagine what would have happened to all intelligent life and elves living back home if the world of Mycroft had not been warned by Joshua or protected by the Seven Gods, and had instead been infected by the Ultimate Virus like those ignorant civilizations laid waste by the epidemic.
Simply thinking about the possibility left the Nature Magister shuddering despite the absence of chill in the air. The plague was a horror which could destroy the struggles and effort of generations within a split second, a calamity which would instantly reduce all accomplishments into nothing. The elven race had only returned to the Void and the stage that was the cosmos with much difficulty, but it simply took some artificial supernatural plague appearing from some unknown place and of obscure purpose to destroy everything.
"Such is the dark Multiverse. Effort, courage, belief… without great power, even the most profound and firmest of wills—even the strongest and most passionate emotions are meaningless."
Hovering above the Ultimate Forage, the Nature Magister gently landed, her feet stamping on the Ultimate Forage's core. Seemingly sensing a threat, the creature began to struggle with all its might, even crying in the manner of a begging child—having consumed billions of humans and trillions of livestock, even the once-mundane man-eating grass had developed considerable intelligence. Even so, Galanoud showed no hint of sympathy, for her gaze was cold and her expression rigid. "It's a blessing from those who came before the Mycroft civilization… that I still have some strength."
"That's why I'm here, and trying to fix that problem."
With those words, bright light abruptly emanated where Galanoud was, causing the surrounding air to be dyed with the thickest and most profound of green.
Amidst the dark greenery, the sounds of trees moving in waves resounded. The rustling echo became a sacred harmonized tune that spread across all directions, with all vigor it brushed over revitalized—even the Ultimate Forage that was hanging on by a thread and bound where it was had regained considerable strength.
Even so, the first thing that the Ultimate Forage did after regaining some strength was to continued its struggle. Even if its struggle was without avail beneath the suppression of the Nature Power and appeared simply bizarre, Godard could see from a corner that dark green veins were spreading like tree roots from beneath the Nature Magister's skirt, which was sewn from flower and leaves. It dug deep inside the core of the Ultimate Forage, a sight that was at once curious, sacred, yet natural left the Murloc High Priest clicking his tongue and showing an awed expression.
"Most of the Ultimate Virus spreading everywhere isn't actually complete at all. It's even mutating a considerable number of times, and there won't be a real solution or vaccine even if we decrypted and studied it."
Godard watched as Galanoud eroded the Ultimate Forage without averting his eyes. "Only Ultimate Entities, and only the cores of those specimens which have fully changed, contain the earliest and most complete information about the Ultimate Virus. Only with the first prototype can we at least attempt to study and create a vaccine."
It was the more dangerous amongst the two plans that the champions of Mycroft had drawn up. In other words, it was to infiltrate infected zones of the Ultimate Virus and capture an Ultimate Entity to study its fundamental information while keeping it alive—and from there, developing a vaccine!
As the rarer biological specialists in the Mycroft civilization, both Galanoud and Godard naturally became the core of the plan, with everyone else including Pope Igor and Barbarossa the Legendary Mage acting as their escort and protection, purging any dangerous Ultimate Entities that might have been present in other surrounding worlds. Even so, they had definitely never imagined that so many of those Ultimate Entities could have actually leapt out of a single fringe planetary sector.
Certainly, if they had known that over 700 Ultimate Entities had appeared immediately in the Galaxy of Bloodbath once the epidemic exploded in the Amos Court, they would have thanked their lucky stars that there were very few creatures in the surrounding sectors that met the conditions for the Ultimate Virus.
According to the plan, Galanoud was to be in charge of extracting raw Ultimate Virus. Then, by using her own body as a petri dish, she was to apply her Legendary powers to analyze the processes of mutation and infection displayed by the Ultimate Virus in real time and attempt to weaken or sterilize it. By the end of the process, she would have grown a weakened form the Ultimate Virus, completely dismantling it into the most basic of blueprints. But with that being said, Godard the Murloc High Priest was to be there in case Galanoud failed and would help her recover, while also using another series of rapid evolving processes to force the Ultimate Virus into coincidentally spawning weaker progenies. He would then redo the entire experiment from scratch to hence decipher it by each layer.
That was only the way that the Ultimate Virus and its variants could have been completely sequenced, ensuring that the people of Mycroft would never be infected.
"So, Galanoud, are you alright?"
Noticing that the dark green veins of Nature Power had dug deeply into the core of the Ultimate Forage, and despite knowing that Galanoud was in familiar territory and boasted mastery since the entity was a plant existence, Godard could not hold back from asking, "If there's trouble, we can return to the lab back at base. There is more complete equipment there!"
"No. We can't go back!"
The Nature Magister's determined voice echoed. "I am not bringing such a dangerous virus to any location that has to do with Mycroft. Any mishaps, and both you and I would become villains to our own civilization!"
"As for whether it would work… I can only say that it would be very difficult."
"Very, very difficult."
As she spoke, Galanoud slowly closed her eyes. Most of the functions of her humongous body had completely paused while every bit of her strength converged inside the Ultimate Forage—at the raw form of the Ultimate Virus. Then, a manifested spiritual message emanated, "But it isn't impossible."
By now, the Ultimate Forage had stopped every form of struggle: when the spell of Nature Power had slowly traded places with the energy that sustained it, its body was now under complete control. Indeed, one could say that its core had been completely assimilated by the Nature Magister, leaving a final portion of its spirit that was kept inside the Ultimate Virus composite within its own body, slowly studied by Galanoud.
In fact, the Nature Magister was not holding back. As mentioned before, she was using Legendary class power to break the barrier of supernatural forces that covered the outer layer of the Ultimate Virus on a microscopic view, piece by piece… the seemingly tiny virus boasted an extremely complex structure as its essence, a tiny hybrid spell composed of various Extraordinary powers. To a certain extent, it was not quite a virus, but resembled computer programming built with supernatural forces instead, infecting other elements as if it were a computer virus and rapidly spreading its curse through a variety of methods.
Or indeed… Legacies!
"The mystery is solved!"
It had probably been a dozen hours without a single change in the subterranean scene. A long period of time later, Galanoud finally opened her eyes—the gaze of the Nature Magister was bright as she delightedly held her scepter aloft. "I now understand its intention in spreading the plague!"
"Even though the Ultimate Virus resembles a virus and an epidemic, that only scratches the surface. Its true function simply brings about those insignificant side effects as well, and that is why it is so lethal and infectious!"
"Its creator basically wants to leave a legacy by increasing its brethren through the virus—in other words, reproduce!"
One could see that the Nature Power spell which was binding the core of the Ultimate Forage had shattered with a bang, reduced to sporadic fogs of energy beneath the surface. Even so, the milk-white root bundle that was covered in green roots remained motionless under the full control of the Nature Magister's full control. Now, having generally deciphered the legacy of the Ultimate Virus from its core and the information left by the raw Ultimate Virus, Galanoud turned to tell Godard excitedly, "My initial decrypting of the external information about the Ultimate Virus basically confirms that the creator and disseminator of the Ultimate Virus must be attempting something very dangerous…perhaps, it believes that it has absolutely no chance of surviving that particular undertaking, that it would be something that left the creator with no future!"
"Still, it must do it regardless and thus, before assuming that path of no return, it would procreate or indeed spread its seed! To a certain extent, it was spreading its own legacy by force!"
"In turn, the alleged infection was actually the Ultimate Virus altering its hosts, adapting them to maintain its own legacy—most dead bodies are failures eliminated since they would be lacking in essence, energy storage, innate talents, or indeed adaptability. Failures certainly would not befit the power of the disseminator, and it certainly won't do as its children!"
"However, if adaptation was successful and substantial energy was available to complete basic Ultimate growth, the host would ascend directly as a special younger form of the disseminator, along with the legacy it had deliberately inscribed into the microscopic structure of the Ultimate Virus! That way, those who had gone through the Death of the New would be freed from race and identity to become a progeny of that superior being!"
"It's no wonder that some of the Ultimate Entities with intelligence appear so bizarre… it must be some legacy restraint. Firstly, Supreme individuals would not be infected, but cases in those below supreme and lacking in physique result in complete self-ruin—that is how the virus has appeared so lethal."
At that, the Nature Magister made a sour face and frowned. "I haven't decrypted what the legacy actually is since its encryption is simply too advance, and neither the environment nor tools here are ideal…if I could borrow the Mana Net and our civilization's strength like Radcliffe to decipher it, progress would be so much faster…"
"Hold on, Aydril. You mean to say that the virus is actually some sort of legacy?!"
Godard was very much left gaping at the Nature Magister's analysis. He looked up beyond the tunnel beyond the world plagued in hurricanes, seemingly seeing the other colonies which had been reduced to dead cities in surrounding sectors by the Ultimate Virus, and was left bewildered. "It has killed trillions—and perhaps a hundred times more across this cosmos! But now you're telling me that it is neither curse nor plague, but the reproduction process of some superior being?!"
"That is certainly the case."
The Elven Archdruid narrowed her eyes while her pointed ears twitched slightly—she looked around her at the magma fracture filled with craters and caverns due to the Ultimate Forage's erosion, and solemnly said, "The truth is always so simple. That superior being simply does not concern itself with whether normal lifeforms survive, just like how we don't care about the insects or bacteria killed when we burn forests to develop lands for farming… Even so, I have seen through its essence and would completely decipher its fundamental attributes in half a month. Then, I could start attempting vaccination to completely stop any effect that the Ultimate Virus would have on intelligent lifeforms."
Galanoud sounded pleased and even a little happy. After all, their plan was a great success: they had captured an Ultimate Entity and obtained information of its essence, even uncovering the disseminator's true purpose, which was to create legacies and progenies.
Soon, however, Galanoud's pleased expression changed at once. "That's not right!"
Her scepter dropped from her grasp, and the Nature Magister's calm expression became panicked. "No! If all of this is true…if the information that I have received is not wrong…"
"If there really is a certain superior being, a powerful intelligence that is leaving a measure to create progeny and sustain its legacy, there is no reason that it only spreads in the form of a virus!"
Those words jolted Godard, who appeared relaxed with a perfectly accomplished mission as well. The Murloc High Priest pondered for a moment, before his face turned as well. "That's not good! You're right!"
"The epidemic is simply the fastest way. That superior lifeform would not care if the other creatures survived, but that does not mean infection is the only crude measure it could apply… there are simply too many embodiments of legacies!"
It could have been a ritual, a crystal, a recoding, a paragraph of text in a book—or even a song or voice conducted through the air!
Perhaps, it could even have been some reckless prophesizing in which someone was inspired to randomly open a dimensional passageway to distant realms, causing otherworldly information to swarm at them…and cause an irreversible epidemic!
As long as sufficient information was contained to form a vivid image towards the world, an undetectable subspace vibration would have been enough, much less some virus—like how the Seven Gods and Radcliffe had concealed those presences, with sufficiently complex information produced, a legacy could be created out of nowhere to infect other lifeforms!
"We have to take precautions against all unknown information that has to with foreign worlds, and not just epidemics or viruses!"
Sharing a glance, both Galanoud and Godard reached the same conclusion at the same time. Their expressions were somber, and the Nature Magister soon said quietly, "The Mycroft headquarters must be notified."
"Even if the dangerous plan is a success, the steady plan must continue as well! Before the epidemic is completely stopped, we must never let our guard down!"
Although their theory was correct, it had come too late.
It had been dozens of days ago, even before the Ultimate Virus showed signs that it was close to Mycroft's otherworld colonies. A Void recon ship had been recalled under emergency summons by the Imperial External Exploration Department to avoid venturing too far and the possibility of getting caught by the plague and hence being lost.
The recon ship had certainly not encountered the epidemic or any form of virus, with every record indicating that everything was normal.
However, the External Exploration Department had still disinfected it completely from the inside out over a dozen times before retrieving the vessel, with the explorers assigned to the ship essentially changing bodies to ensure there was absolutely nothing lurking within.
After the disinfecting procedure that was virtually murder, the recon vessel was finally cleared as safe. In the Void base which had been taken back to the Void installation in a certain otherworld, the External Exploration Department began extracting the in-built data vault inside the ship to complete the Multiverse charts of Mycroft.
Even so, what lay within those data vault had not merely been the topography of the Multiverse and the distribution of worlds… within them were also the many exchanges with Void civilizations they had encountered, along with records of any special information, wavelengths, and dimensional turbulences within the Void.
And in that seemingly ordinary data vault of sound frequencies, venom known as a legacy that had never been discovered lurked.
"Analyst no. 531 now recording and commencing dissection task."
In the Zeta Ram system, the Void base headquarters of the Mycroft civilization which was set up in the Multiverse in the Zeta Ram system, an elven analyzer was primly turning on his Information Terminal used for work, adjusting the screen to begin his daily tasks. He would analyze the substantial information that appeared trivial inside data vaults and extract valuable details, such as communications transmitted faraway from special worlds or Void phenomena, or simply exchanged wavelengths which had been lingering around in dimensional turbulences over countless worlds.
Today was no different than any other: there was nothing special, the temperature of the Void base was optimal, breakfast was scrumptious, the night life of the day before rich—the analyst smiled as he recalled the rounds of passion, but that did not affect his work. He steadily entered the passcode and entered the data vault, adjusting information and began his browsing analysis tasks.
"Time: 29th of March, Starfall year 848. Commencing study of the data vault from inside the Void recon vessel, Dawn."
"Subject codename: Ultimate Forage recovered—regrettably, the destruction of the First Agricultural Realm is also confirmed."