The King of Chaos had a strange expression. It could have been amusement, interest, or rage.
A being who crumbles mountains and split the earth with his presence.
Pressure that made an awakened like Chung Heo powerless.
Humans envy others a little stronger than them. They despair when they meet someone too strong, and they revere those beyond that. But how would they react towards those who can't be described by the word strong? A being who was out of their understanding, a being whose level was an unfathomable distance away. That is when they feel fear.
It is in front of that endless fear and extremity that humans finally understand. Understand that they are nothing more than a speck of dust in this large and mystifying world.
Chung Heo realized that. And it was why he couldn't understand.
“Return the Lord’s soul.”
He could not understand how this young man stood against it, and,
“Or I will kill you.”
How he could say that.
Catastrophe gazed at Jae Hwan. Chung Heo couldn't bear to look, but also he couldn't do nothing. Mustering up all his strength, Chung Heo whispered; even if they loose the Lord, he didn't want Jae Hwan to die such a pointless death.
[Dumbass, stop! That's not something that can be killed.]
Jae Hwan moved to a thrust stance.
[That thing cant die!]
Chung Heo trembled as he looked at Jae Hwan.
“Stop being a pussy.”
That was not an expression of confidence - it was an assertion of truth.
A disagreeable sound resonated in the white world. It took Chung Heo a while to see it as laughter. The king of Chaos was laughing.
[How interesting. The last time I met someone like you was nine hundred years ago. He was a nightmare.]
Chung Heo could guess who that nightmare was. The legendary nightmare that lead the [Chaos Expedition]. The nightmare who was hailed as a hero for reaching the edge of the <<Illusion Tree>>. However, even that Myullock couldn't do anything against the King of Chaos.
Of course, he had fought the King’s real body, and this was just a copy that used the Castle Lord’s body as a catalyst. But Chung Heo was sure that even the Ten Arks of chaos could not oppose this copy.
[Good. Come at me, foolish awakened.]
From the King’s hand, faint light appeared and condensed into a black but transparent blade.
Chung Heo grabbed his shoulders to calm himself. That sword brought memories he wished to forget. It was the weapon that turned half the expedition team into deceased in a single strike.
The two swords moved, and the world dyed in whiteness threatened to tear.
Chung Heo was thrown back by the force.
As the two locked swords the King of Chaos spoke.
[You plan to enter <<Abyss>>. I see it in your eyes.]
‘That brat is going to Abyss?’
Chung Heo was taken aback. He knew that Jae Hwan had something wrong with his head, but he didn't know he was thinking of going into Abyss.
[What a surprise. There is still a person who strives to reach the end of the world.]
Jae Hwan ignored him and corrected the grip on his sword. He started thrusting.
The King looked overjoyed.
Chung Heo saw that these two were entering into an another world through every clash of their sword; a world he knew nothing about.
[But you are lacking! You are weaker than the nightmare from nine hundred years ago!]
Catastrophe’s speed steadily accelerated. Jae Hwan had not landed a hit on him yet, because Jae Hwan’s light thrusts were slower than the King's swings.
Jae Hwan broke off from the exchange and steadied himself. The next thrust contained his full focus - the focus of an embodiment of 10 billion thrust. It was normal thrust.
But what his sword had pierced was air. The King was not where he should have been. His instincts raised every alarm in his mind, and he automatically twisted his torso, performing an evasion almost miraculous. The floor beside him was divided into two by a dark gash. Sweat condensated on his forehead, and the shoulder the void blade nicked him was rapidly turning dark.
[Pollutions are curses of time.]
Jae Hwan hurriedly inspected his shoulder using [doubt], and it revealed an area around his shoulders where time flowed incredibly faster. Already several hundred years worth of time have elapsed.
‘So this was the principle of pollution.’
A phenomenon where souls aged under the unbearable weight of these accumulated years. Soul pollution’s identity was time.
Jae Hwan released the part of his soul that was aging, and that fragment drifted in the air.
[You should have turned into a deceased from that… you hold a fascinating soul.]
[But that alone will not save you.]
The King of Chaos laughed with mirth before launching 10 void blades. Jae Hwan did not waver from it. He confronted those blades with ten of his normal thrusts. The void blades danced through the air, as a black blur in the white background, and met Jae Hwan’s thrusts head on. Self will roared as it swatted the black blades away.
[Quite impressive for a toy made by the likes of nightmares.]
One of the blades nicked Jae Hwan’s thigh this time, and he had to cut his soul once again.
[You will not last if this continues.]
Jae Hwan stopped. If the fight continues like this, then his defeat was assured.
He could not see the end of the King’s prowess. [Doubt] did not show Jae Hwan his weakness, but only that he was unimaginably old.
Jae Hwan took a step back.
A powerful aura burst out from Jae Hwan and changed the white world Chung Heo had created into a new one. This was the real power of an awakened; to posses their own world which reflects their ideals. Those worlds materialized through the keyword they received when they awakened, and stronger awakened could pull more living beings within their unique world.
Chung Heo’s world was the [White World of Papers]. It reflected his deep desires to remember, to never forget the ones he loved.
And in this new world, the first word that came to Chung Heo’s mind, was ‘Hell’. ‘This man was living in hell all this time’.
This was a world made of wrath and disgust. A world that erased all other worlds.
The earth were blades, pointing towards the heavens, and between the blades flowed lava, as the sky was adorned with the Eyes of Asura that caused shivers to run down one’s back. Crows chased the eyes, and blood poured out to mix with the lavas once again.
[I see. This is your ideal. How amusing!]
Excitement was apparent in his tone. And at this ruined world two swords clashed. It was a duel of swords yet it was also a duel of words. Every time he moved his sword, Jae Hwan felt a strange sensation he had never felt before. No sound permeated this world except for the ringing of metals, but thousand words were passed every time swords met.
[Even after you realized the inanity and worthlessness of living you have not forsaken your contempt….!]
The King of Chaos spared no expression of admiration.
[I have seen few who saved the world in my lifetime. They had climbed the tree with their own curiosities.]
Catastrophe spat out words after words.
[What are you trying to find in that tree, while holding this world? What is your question?]
Jae Hwan did not respond. But the King of Chaos seemed to have understood.
[Ah. This world itself is your question.]
Self will and void blade continued to clash.
[Death? Annihilation? Extinction? No, it doesn't fit.]
Thrust increased in numbers.
[Fallen! That is the only word that suits this world!]
His thrusts were reaching the limit of speed.
[Such an arrogant world. Does a mere human dare to question the worth of the <<Great Lands>>? Are you questioning whether the <<Great Lands>> should exist?]
As Catastrophe continued, Jae Hwan let out a sigh.
“What gibberish are you saying?”
Jae Hwan responded by thrusting with all his power. The world screamed in pain, as his ‘world thrust’ materialized to symbolize his 10 billion thrusts.
The storm of light that pierces worlds devoured them all. And the figure of the Lord was revealed, with countless wounds and his left arm and right leg gone.
[.....So it was not a question. You are not climbing the Illusion tree to pose your question.]
Wrath boiled in the King’s voice.
[Your arrogance reaches the sky!]
The power of the deceased regenerated the Castle Lord’s body. Lost limbs were grown back and wounds all over his body were healed. It was power outside the understanding of humans.
However, when he was healed, Catastrophe only saw air where he was supposed to find Jae Hwan. And he felt the pain of something being severed soon after.
[.....What is this…..?]
Word thrust was made for large armies. It was not effective against strong individuals. So from the start Jae Hwan had no intentions to use it as an attack at the King of Chaos. World thrust was just a distraction.
‘This thing cannot be killed even with something stronger than world thrust….’
The more Jae Hwan attacked him, the one receiving damage would be the soul of the Castle lord. The King of Chaos had used the Lord’s soul as a medium to leech off his body, which meant that his own body was somewhere far away, sheltered, unable to be killed.
The only way to get rid of him was to sever the link between the Castle Lord and the King of Chaos, as he had severed the link between a certain demon’s body and soul at the 100th floor of his knightmare tower. Jae Hwan only had to change the relation from a body to a soul, to a soul to a soul.
While the King was preoccupied with blocking the world thrust, Jae Hwan focused solely on [doubt]. And he saw, from inside the infinitely black mass that was the King of Chaos, a faint, thin strand of line. He had stabbed it.
[This technique….!The technique of a [Fissure].]
The King of Chaos was slowly losing control, and the power of the deceased was retracting to let the soul of the Castle lord nestle in. the appropriation was being undone.
Catastrophe stared at Jae Hwan and spoke in a solemn voice with his last remaining control.
[Hmm. Thou who live the fall. I shall be awaiting thee at the entrance of <<Abyss>>. I hope that you will not disappoint me.]
The body of the Castle Lord who had the soul cut collapsed, and Jae Hwan sighed.
His victory did not feel like a victory. A frontal confrontation would have meant his defeat.
‘I have to become stronger.’
For the first time, Jae Hwan felt his thrusts lacking. To contend with those within the Abyss, like the King of Chaos, he needed something stronger, a technique for fighting against a strong foe, rather than multiple enemies.
Jae Hwan felt the complete disappearance of the deceased before speaking to Chung Heo.
“Hey old man.”
Chung Heo was sprawled across the floor, unconscious. He was not the only one. Yulewen and the others were also in the same state. And it was in that place where no one was awake that Jae Hwan heard a voice.
[Young man…. Come over here.]
Jae Hwan held up self will again.
“Not dead yet?’
[I am not the king of Chaos.]
The one speaking was the Castle lord. At a death’s door his voice was frail.
[I was watching, despite my condition. You fought against the King….. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.]
The voice continued with strain.
[I don’t have much time. Can you call over either Chung Heo or Yulewen if they are nearby….]
“They're both here.”
[Can you call them over…..]
“They’re both knocked out.”
The Lord moaned and called Jae Hwan after a moment of hesitation.
[....Could you come over here for a minute?]
Jae Hwan approached the Castle Lord. He touched Jae Hwan’s wrist with his last remaining strength. Jae Hwan asked in a violated tone.
“What do you think you are doing?”
[.....Maybe it's time for a change to come over Gorgon. Please accept this.]
Jae Hwan felt the spirit power of the Lord enter his body. But that power was not normal. Where the spirit power flowed into Jae Hwan from his left wrist, a tattoo of a black snake appeared.
[I feel something I once had from you. And it makes me remember…]
The Castle lord smiled in satisfaction of a man looking back at the life he lead.
[Don't abandon your humanity.]
And he scattered in the air as dust.
The black snake on Jae Hwan’s left arm wriggled as if it were alive.
Chung Heo who awoke gazed at that tattoo with incredulity. Yulewen, the MES Leader, and others also woke up one at a time. They saw the black snake on Jae Hwan’s arm.
Jae Hwan didn't know what they were on, but Yulewen and the leftover officials all started to kneel in front of him. One became two, two a three, until it was ten, twenty, thirty….
The staffs within the Palace who decided they suddenly wanted to rush over to the commotion at this specific moment also saw his left arm and hastily bowed down.
Hundreds were genuflecting at Jae Hwan. The man at the front opened his mouth.
“I, Yulewen Cheever, humbly greets the new Lord of Gorgon.”