955 Undercurrents Move Once Again
The palace hall made up completely of gold-alloy mechanical parts sat atop a mountain peak, and two mechanical islands revolved around it like planets around the sun. A bright red artificial sun hung in the sky, like a bloodshot eye, shining on this barren land.
Around the lone peak, there were countless large mechanical mining platforms, with the palace located in the middle. Coupled with the many Machinery Faith believers clad in mechanical suits and walking around the city, this scene resembled a mechanical city shaped like a ring. Armored transport vehicles whistled down the space roads, making noises as their plates collided with the bumps on the road, and the air was filled with the smell of metal and motor oil.
This was a branch base of the Machinery Faith, located on a famous planet that used to be a battlefield within the Ancient Star Desert. These miners excavated the underground mechanical wreckage day and night, sending them to the priests of the Machinery Faith to uncover the lost technology.
Placed in the center, the palace hall was the temple of god for the Machinery Faith. Each mountain peak that carried the mechanical temple of god would be named as the Holy Mountain. Obsidian-esque floating steps extended from eight directions at the foot of the Holy Mountain, connecting to the mechanical temple's doors. According to their customs, if it was not an emergency, pilgrims had to use their feet to traverse the path and could not ride any form of transportation to enter the temple.
On each side of these eight pilgrimage roads stood mechanical statues or metallic monuments. They were different types of abandoned ancient machinery, which showcased the progression from ancient to advanced technology, and they were all carved with all sorts of teachings.
This fusion of machinery and theology seemed to bring about a unique flavor to this area.
The Machinery Faith was a loose organization, not a unified religious organization. Their common activity was worshipping mechanical technology and powerful mechanics. However, based on their principles, they had also segregated themselves into many factions and different specializations in each field. Examples included the Biochemical Machinery school; the Bloodshed Destruction school, which was fanatical over the destructiveness of the weapons; and the Firepower Advantage school, which adhered to the saying 'big is good, big is beautiful'.
As for this current branch, it belonged to the believers of the Forgotten Faction, which was also known as the Archaeological school. They were keen on finding and restoring the lost ancient mechanic technology and were one of the oldest Machinery Faith schools.
At this moment, in the main hall, the priests of this branch were gathered with a large number of priests from the other branches participating through remote projection. The crowd had formed a circle, and in the center, there was a virtual screen showing the battle between Black Star and the Tyrant.
"As everyone saw, a new Mechanical Deity has come to this world, spreading the gospel to the entire Universe."
Clad in luxurious, heavy-duty power armor, the Grand Priest who only exposed his head spoke as though he was giving a sermon.
"So majestic, so beautiful!"
"What sort of magnificent creation is this…"
"It's been so many years since we've last seen a Mechanical Deity descend. I almost forgot what it looked like."
Many of the priests were whispering among themselves, their eyes shining with excitement and fanaticism.
"Silence." The Grand Priest pressed down with both hands, an expression of solemnity on his face.
Everyone shut their mouths immediately, turning to him.
The Grand Priest then took out a mechanical scepter that resembled a tree branch. He pressed a button, and behind him rose a completely new alloyed shrine pedestal.
He turned to walk over, and with his back to the rest, he spoke in a strong and grand tone.
"Following the ancient teachings, in the name of the original deity Nilfgadi, we shall witness the birth of the new deity together. From now on, I will consecrate the new deity, and everyone, please remember the name of this new deity…"
As he recited, the Grand Priest opened the operation screen for the divine pedestal and entered the battle video as well as the parameters. The next moment, the entire temple shook!
In front of everyone, countless flows of metal alloys and nanoparticles shot out, combining with each other to form a statue that was carved in the likeness of the Black Star Mechanical Deity.
Besides the Black Star idol statue, there were others, and the statue of Manison was also among them. These were the Mechanical Deities of the past, all of which stood under the towering dome of the temple.
The largest and most conspicuous statue was the mechanic named Nilfgadi. This person was the very first mechanic to have his Mechanical Deity enshrined. Even those who possessed a Mechanical Deity worshipped him. In fact, this purpose of the Machinery Faith was developed by him.
As the pioneer of the Divine Throne Mechanic class, Nilfgadi discovered the effect of the [Key of Adeptus Mechanicus], so he interfered with the Machinery Faith, influencing it to its current state of worshipping Mechanics. All the enshrined Divine Throne Mechanic descendants were simply enjoying the benefits that he had wrought for them.
The Machinery Faith did not require a two-way communication between the worshipper and the idol to work, to the point that sometimes… it did not concern them at all.
However, only those Divine Throne Mechanics that were still alive could give blessings to their believers. Thus, the dead Mechanical Deities of the past only had commemorative significance. Nowadays, most of the believers in the Machinery Faith believed in 'Mechanic Emperor' Manison.
And now, the rise of Black Star had torn a small hole in this solid belief. This was something that Manison could not even stop.
Facing the deities from past to present, the Grand Priest and all the priests bowed down to complete the ceremony.
"We respectfully welcome Black Star!"
I keep feeling as if someone is praising me behind my back…
Within the cabin, Han Xiao rubbed his nose as he felt a strange emotion.
"Hey, hey, don't lose focus when you're talking to me!" From within the communicator, Tarrokov had a helpless expression.
Han Xiao came back to his senses and joked, "Sorry, I was just thinking about what to have for dinner later. Where were we?"
"What do you have to think about? You think I don't know you only rely on nutrition fluids?"
"Oh, who tattled on me!"
"That's enough, back to business." Tarrokov shook his head in resignation. "I can reveal that the development plan made by the upper echelons of the dynasty has been arranged up to the fourth phase, and only the first phase will give you plenty of time to build. After that, more foreign direct investments will be introduced to help you develop while exploring further."
"Which means, only when these three Star Clusters are completely constructed will the dynasty proceed with the next period, right? Then the advantage that we've brought for ourselves by pioneering the Flickering World will end." Han Xiao stroked his chin.
Tarrokov neither agreed nor denied it. "In short, the development progress for the three star clusters has exceeded expectations and is very smooth. We expect to complete the construction plans in five to seven years before we begin the second phase."
This timing is still acceptable… Han Xiao secretly nodded.
When Version 4.0 was released, the Flickering World should be in its fourth phase of development, so his own [Flickering World] Main Storyline had to undergo quite a few of the chain missions. Completing the [Exploration Pioneer] milestone would not be a problem. The reason he had called Tarrokov was to find out about this.
After chatting for a while, Han Xiao hung up.
The news of him defeating the Tyrant had already gone on for more than a month, and the results were obvious. The number of new applicants rose by forty-three percent, and the investments from the various financial groups rose by thirty-five percent. As for Bloodshed Land, their influence had taken a hit, and their pace was slowly dying down.
In addition, the Wayne Cards series, which was always sensitive to news, immediately made a change, issuing a statement to announce an epic enhancement to the Black Star deck, as well as a comprehensive weakening of the Bloodshed Land deck. Furthermore, they also changed the status of the strongest within the Star Fields, adding Black Star's name into the list.
Some of the Beyond Grade A people also sent out congratulatory messages. Among them was Sorokin, who gave Han Xiao a whole new impression of the word 'shamelessness'.
As it turned out, if one threw aside their dignity, they could still live quite happily.
Now that the Black Star Army had laid its hands on the title of the strongest within the Star Field, the competition against the Limitless Financial Group had basically turned into a tug-of-war, where it would be unsolvable in a short period of time. Since he had also completed his advancement, and his accumulated experience was not enough to reach the next stage, his focus was on the construction of his territory.
After 'shopping' within the dynasty for such a long time, he had seen most of the potential stocks. Han Xiao intended to return to the Shattered Star Ring and digest the impact of his battle, as well as adjust the details of the construction. He would also use [Mechanical Proliferation Growth] to transform some of his first-generation mechanical life forms to accelerate the development of the mechanical civilization.
The next step would then be to use the logistics capabilities of his base to build a secondary dimension factory, creating a new generation of mechanical army. Although they could be built within the Dimension Factory, the army bases there were mostly branches and were far less efficient than back at his main base.
"Phillip, set a course back to the Shattered Star Ring."
"Roger roger, hum…"
"Strongest in the Star Field? Hehe…"
There were only a few guests within this retro-style tavern, and a tall, thin man sat next to the wooden bar counter as he stared at the appearance of Han Xiao, showing a playful smile.
He was a Spacehuman, but his skin looked unhealthy and pale, seemingly in a state of malnutrition and lack of light. He looked ordinary. Nobody would be able to pick him out of a group of people.
Staring at Han Xiao on the screen, the tall and thin man revealed a reminiscent expression.
"Obtaining a national pillar like Black Star is a blessing for the dynasty," the tavern's owner commented while wiping his glasses.
"That's right. It's really a blessing for the dynasty. If there's a chance, I would really like to meet him again."
"You've seen Black Star before?" The bar owner got interested.
"I could say that. Speaking of which, he even took some things of mine. Hehe… Not sure if he still remembers such a… small fry like me."
The tall and thin man laughed before standing up, picking up his jacket he draped over his seat, and walking out.
"On your tab again?" The bar owner put down the glass in his hand, speaking as though he was familiar with the man.
"Oh, yes, same old. When my salary comes, I'll settle everything along with next month's."
With this sentence, the man walked out of the bar, putting his uniform back on… which was the uniform of a dynasty army officer.
Within a room in the Sea of Star Spirits, a dozen or so different kinds of people were gathered around a long table, discussing something vigorously. There were dozens of printed physical books on the long table, all without titles on their covers.
"Start from the Central Galaxy? Are you crazy? You're only seeking death!"
"If our target is too far, we will not have enough influence. The Super Star Cluster civilizations are the most suitable for development."
"We only use these books to promote our ideologies. The quantum networks are strictly monitored by countless civilizations, and not only will we not enjoy any convenience, we'll also attract attention."
"To me, I feel that we should wait and see. It might not be a good time now…"
Hearing all the discussions, Rossellin, who was leaning on the sofa, softly coughed twice.
Edmond turned his head toward her, and thinking about it, he rapped on the table to make everyone quiet before turning to Rossellin.
"Do you have any ideas?"
Rossellin faintly smiled. "You guys look like a circus act."
Hearing this, many people revealed displeased expressions.
Edmond, however, waved his hand, not the least bit angry. "You're right, we've yet to begin our business. Of course there would be many disagreements. I hope to hear your opinion on this."
Rossellin snorted, sitting up to speak. "The current condition of the universe is stable, with little to no chance for any external friction between the three civilizations. However, there are undercurrents surging, and each civilization is walking on a tightrope. This is because of the Flickering World and the Evolutionary Totems… I've already said it clearly within the program. The root of this problem lies in the internal struggle of the three civilizations and its opposition to many of the Star Cluster level civilizations.
"The Flickering World is a way to reshuffle the deck. While the attention of the whole universe is on the Flickering World, we can quietly develop, promoting this idea in a low-key but gentle manner. By sugar-coating it as a religion, we can lurk first and lie in wait for an opportunity."
"What opportunity?" someone asked.
"The Star Cluster level civilizations hope to obtain a channel to promote themselves to higher tier, but the Universal Civilizations will also firmly hold on to their interests, leaving these Super Star Clusters and Star Clusters only leftovers," Rossellin blandly replied. "The latter two have been suppressed for too long and will one day reach a critical point. They will not wait forever, and when all hope is lost, it will detonate. The Flickering World has the potential to be a fuse, and this is the fertilizer for our development."
Edmond nodded. "I think the same way. It's best for our timing not to be delayed."
Hearing this, everyone finally nodded.
Seeing this, Rossellin could not help but sneer inwardly.
In truth, she did not look up to any of these people at all. They were only blindly following Edmond's twisted ideals and her desire to watch the world burn.
Breaking the restrictions of the three universal civilizations? It sounded good, but she did not care. Her motive was to overthrow the entire three civilizations; only this would make her excited.
Edmond was a firm believer in his own ideals, but in her opinion, this was just a good entry point.
With this age of material abundance, no one would worry about survival, and only the struggle for interests would make the world go around. This was a revolution not initiated because of survival but because of the unresolved contradictions between the three universal civilizations and the other super star cluster civilizations.
The world often stood on the edge of the cliff, struggling to maintain its balance. It just needed someone to push it, like pushing the switch to change the tracks of a railroad to lead history down another path. If there was no such thing, they just had to create one.
"If we are to start our business, we will need a name," Edmond said seriously.
Looking at his silver skin, Rossellin laughed meaningfully.
"How about… we call ourselves the Silver Revolutionary Army?"