[Rain poured down from the sky that whirled,
And with the winds that roar,
Up the skirts of many girls curled.
If only I could see it once more…]
-Poet Euphrates, ‘hard thrust’
The MES Leader looked at Jae Hwan with a determined expression after he felt the threatening power of a deceased filling the palace.
“Your eminence! Aren’t you also able to perform death slash?”
Jae Hwan shook his head.
“No. That was merely an imitation. I can't do it.”
At those words the MES leader turned pale once again.
“Then the castle lord…”
If that was so, then the only one who could deal with this was the Saint. However he was currently knocked out cold.
Jae Hwan felt the movements of countless spirits pressure gathering towards the palace en masses. He noticed the familiar energy.
‘Is it the Forbidden Heavens sect from this morning...’
Something was about to happen. Jae Hwan slung the unconscious Chung Heo on his back and sprinted towards the palace.
As he got closer to the palace, the force of the spirit pressure was descried more distinctly. It was dozens of times stronger than that of Zanya’s. This was the power of the Castle lord.
“What kind of person was the Castle Lord?”
The MES Leader stumbled due to that unexpected question.
“He was….. A good person.”
Jae Hwan had heard a lot that he was a good person; that he was the last hope of Gorgon or the great lord of Gorgon or something.
“He was the living legend of Gorgon. He was also the few that was in [Abyss Expedition] together with Saint.”
“The Abyss ex-”
Even before Jae Hwan could finish, a group dressed purely in dark clothing suddenly blocked their path. Their movements were extremely dexterous, and Jae Hwan knew at first glance that these people were not to be taken lightly.
A man from the group came forward.
“Are you the one who can do the death slash?” the man asked threateningly.
Jae Hwan did not respond and instead eavesdropped on the conversation taking place behind that man.
[Are you sure this is the one?]
[Yes I'm sure. I saw him engage the Chancellor this morning.]
[He looks like a non-adapter… And this guy can do the death slash?]
[....I honestly think it's just a canard.]
[It doesn't matter. We have our orders. We have to kill him.]
The MES Leader’s face turned strange.
“Horn Extrication Squad Leader? And Beast Defence Squad Leader?”
“It’s been a while, MES Leader.”
If the Magic extermination squad and the Shadow squad worked for the Chancellor, then the Horn Extrication squad and the Beast Defense Squad worked for the Ministry of foreign affairs. And although their squads were known to be lacking compared to the other two, their powers were on equal footings. The pair in front of Jae Hwan was the leaders from those squads.
“Would you move? You're blocking the path. You also know it's a dire situation.” MES Leader said with haste.
“I cannot move.”
“We have our orders.”
“Orders? What? Whose orders are you talking about!”
Horn Extrication squad Leader and Beast Defence squad Leader remained silent. The MES Leader understood what that silence meant.
“You mean to go against our sect?”
“Go against our sect will…”
The Horn Extrication squad Leader spoke.
“The Forbidden Heaven is the one true sect.”
What that intimated was so clear that MES Leader could only tremble in anger.
“To think that that cult has spread into the fortress this far…”
The MES Leader pulled out his sword without hesitation. The spirit power of a 5th order adaptor, and also the one who was the strongest among the various squad leaders together with the Shadow Squad Leader, exploded out. Even the Horn Extrication squad Leader and the Beast Defense squad Leader’s combined strength could not defeat him.
“Look at you, all grown up. Do you even realize who you are challenging?”
“If you think we are still the same as before, you are greatly mistaken.”
A considerable amount of spirit power was exuded by the Horn Extrication squad leader and the Beast Defense squad leader. MES leader’s face darkened. As far as he knew, they both should be at the level of a 4th order adapter. But the spirit power coming from them said otherwise; it was strong enough to catch up to his own.
They eyes of Jae Hwan sharpened. The power from those two were identical to that of Zanya’s from this morning. The power of the deceased.
The battle began when the pair rushed at MES Leader. But even he couldn't handle the combined attacks of the two 5th order adaptors and their subordinates. Soon the MES Leader retreated to right in front of Jae Hwan, covered in small injuries and coughing blood.
“S, Saint! Run away with the Saint! I will try to buy some time!”
“Hold this.” Jae Hwan interrupted MES Leader’s galant but unneeded advice.
MES Leader felt something heavy land on his back. It was Chung Heo, who was snoring loudly.
Jae Hwan flexed his wrists and walked ahead.
“As I said I can’t cure people,”
With this unexpected situation the group who were attacking MES Leader hesitated for a second, but soon found their bearings and attacked Jae Hwan, with the two squad leaders at the front.
Jae Hwan quietly unsheathed his sword.
“But if it is killing, I'm super good at it.”
Inner Palace Underground Prison
Gorgon’s Chancellor Yulewen Cheever calmly gazed into the prison cell.
‘The Saint is late’
The door of the prison cell made from gaksu’s horn had been torn down and was rolling about on the floor. Dark aura emanated from inside the cell.
Yulewen knew full well what was in that cell. The man who was once the Castle Lord of Gorgon Fortress. The Man, who exempted from the ‘King of Chaos’, was closest to the title ‘king’. And also, the man who someday could be known as the most calamitous deceased.
He looked around. The people gathered in this underground prison were the pillars of the fortress, the head officials of each division under Chancellor Yulewen and Foreign Minister Maihan. Yulewen looked at those faces in turn.
‘Why did the Castle lord’s condition become critical now’
The Castle Lord’s soul was contaminated to the point where Saint’s ‘death slash’ could not fully treat it. However with a regular extermination of it, he could last a week.
Full recovery was impossible with this level of soul pollution but preventing it from turning the Lord into a deceased had worked. But suddenly the situation had turned for the worse.
‘It has only been a day since Saint was here...’
The Saint had been here this morning. Pollution had been stabilized. Then why? He could not understand. Yulewen bit his lips.
‘If we could detter for a month, full recovery would have been possible.’
Today they had finally figured out how to cure the Lord, thanks to the mysterious man known as Jae Hwan.
The Saint had said,
-We can't do it right now. His death slash is just an imitation. However…. After a month, it could be possible.
Yulewen thanked god for this miracle that descended on Gorgon.
-it might be worth a try…. If it's two people…
The only thing Yulewen had to do was buy time from the pressure given by the officials of Gorgon. But the total amount time he could manage to buy turned out to be no more than a day. He sharply stared at the officials.
‘Is there perhaps someone who knows about Jae Hwan?’
Yulewen already knew about the spy hiding among the officials of Gorgon. He had known it since half a year ago when the Castle Lord, all of a sudden, incurred a dreadful soul corruption from going on an innocuous personal inspection outside the fortress.
“Chancellor, anything you want to say?”
Foreign Minister Maihan, who noticed Yulewen’s gaze, asked. Maihan had worked with the Castle Lord for the longest time, and was closest to being the next Castle lord. His apathetic face could not be read.
“No, its nothing.”
His answer made Maihan purse his lips and say,
“Everyone, don't space out. This is a matter of great importance.”
That wasn't necessary to be said; everyone present were all veterans of high order adapters but the atmosphere was nethertheless tense.
Yulewen stopped Maihan from walking towards the cell.
“It's too dangerous. We must go in together when the Saint arrives.”
“If we detter further it will be the end of our beloved Gorgon.”
Yulewen swore inside his head,
‘Since when did you people care so much about Gorgon.’
There was not one person who didn't know that the general public order of Gorgon faced a distinct crisis ever since the Castle Lord was absent from work. The North side overseen by Head Inspector Carlton was okay, but the south part was facing total anarchy.
“Without the Saint we cannot perform the death slash anyways. Are you saying we should kill the Castle lord?”
“The Castle lord? We all know that we cannot beat him.”
“I have a solution.”
The officials began to murmur. A few had smug faces. As if they knew what was coming.
“We will perform the [deceased seal]”
“No! That's for last resort!”
“We can't afford to delay.”
When a soul of great power is about to be corrupted into a deceased, it was a last resort measure to protect the vicinity of that soul. A technique known to be only possible for the Nokmyonga clan.
“We don't even have a Neglected Soul Stone.”
“Chancellor. We all know. So please don't pretend ignorance.”
The Foreign Minister said with a cold voice.
“We all know that you are in possession a Neglected Soul Stone.”
Yulewen’s face twisted.
Soon, from outside the prison a black box was carried in by someone. Yulewen knew what that box was; it was a box that contained the Neglected Soul Stones he received from Jae Hwan this morning.
It was being carried mid-air by spirit power, probably to avoid the contamination flowing out of the box. And the one carrying in the box was none other than Shadow Squad Leader.
For his direct subordinate to be the traitor. It was something Yulewen could never have imagined.
The Shadow Squad Leader avoided Yulewen’s eyes as he handed to box Maihan.
“The future of Gorgon hangs on this, and you were trying to monopolize it?”
Yulewen wanted to shout that it was because he didn't trust them, but he had nothing he could say at this point. Maihan was right. The Castle Lord’s contamination level was in critical state and the Saint was not here. The only option left was [deceased seal]. That was why Maihan’s judgment was reasonable.
“You know full well what would happen if the Castle lord turned into a deceased.”
Gorgon’s lord was one of the top ten champions of Chaos. If that kind of person became a deceased… it would be catastrophic.
“You weren't trying to make the Lord into a colossal deceased, right?”
Colossal deceased. Often called the ‘Calamity of Chaos’. They command legions of countless deceased, and wipe out everything in their path.
“N, no. We must stop that from happening.” Few of the officials said out loud nervously.
Yulewen tried to speak calmly.
“However the [deceased seal] technique is something only the Nokmyonga Clan can use. Even if we have a Neglected Soul stone, it's not something we could do.”
“Do not worry.”
Maihan reassured everyone.
“I have brought someone who knows that ritual.”
At his words beings wrapped in dark cloth from head to toe appeared from behind the Shadow Squad Leader.
“They are not Nokmyonga.”
“They are fully capable of performing [deceased seal].”
Yulewen bit his lips. If it continued to proceed in this fashion, the Lord’s spirit power would be captured in the Neglected Soul stone. But that was not the problem. The problem was ‘who will come into possession of that stone?’.
In Chaos titles are not handed over hereditarily. There will be those who covet the Neglected Soul stone containing the Lord’s spirit power, because getting possession of it doesn't only mean that they would become one of the strongest in Chaos, nor the Lord’s title.
‘The one who has our Lord’s spirit power becomes the Lord of Gorgon, ‘Gaksu of Protection’.’
One of the man covered in cloth walked forward and grasped the Neglected Soul stone. A wave of murmuring passes through. Being able to touch the Neglected Soul stone despite not being a Nongmyonga. There was only one conclusion.
‘Those who control the contamination!.....’
The last words of the Lord passed through his head.
-Those who can control the soul pollution appeared.
The Lord had been investigation them, when he became contaminated.
Yulewen looked at Maihan.
‘Was it you….?’
Yulewen looked around him a final time. Only two officials present had shocked faces filled with fear. The rest were calmly gazing at the Neglected Soul stone. He then accepted, that there was nothing he could do anymore.
‘Ahh. Gorgon is now…’
Maihan walked into the cell together with the people covered in black cloth and illuminated the space with a skill. A bright ball of light hovered above, near the ceiling. And the appearance of the Lord, emaciated to the bone, was revealed.
His body was already pitch black, and clearly could not be treated. The veins moved like worms, threatening to pop out. This was the pitiful state of the man who once was the living legend of Gorgon. Yulewen held back his tears.
‘I'm sorry, my lord.’
The ceiling of the underground prison exploded. The air current blew away the man dressed in black, and the panicked officials screamed in surprise. Someone jumped down from the freshly made hole, and the only person who recognized him was the Chancellor of Gorgon.
“Mr. Jae Hwan!”
Jae Hwan was there, carrying Chung Heo on his back.