There are no funerals in <<Chaos>>.
Funerals are meant for those who are alive. The living ruminate upon their own lives and imagine the distant thing called ‘death’ using their bereavement. It is nothing more than a ceremony for the living to give their own life more value.
That is what a funeral is. But everyone in <<Chaos>> is already dead.
Some did receive funerals, but most rotted in unknown battlefields. There really was no difference between the two; the dead do not attend their own funeral anyways. Of course, there was a service for the ones who had their souls parted, also in <<Chaos>>.
On the fourth day after Jae Hwan had become a Castle Lord, the ceremony performed for the dead soul was in progression. On a platform, before a tall podium, Chancellor Yulewen was giving a speech using the [enhance sound] skill.
“We all know who Aimelle Groshek is. But the sad truth is that we cannot bury him. Why? Because he no longer exists in this word. Without body, without soul, the only legacy left behind is the memory of him we all share. Everything else was swallowed up by the Illusion tree.”
Ritual of Expression. This is the name of the memorial service held in <<Chaos>>.
“We will now forget Amille Groshok. We will speak of him for the last time. We will talk and talk, so we have nothing else to say.”
If funerals instigated recollection from those attending, Ritual of Expression compelled them to forget. Throughout the service, the soul in question was the object of all discussions, and after that, they were never mentioned again. This was the last gift those of <<Chaos>> could give to the dead souls.
Only after participating in this Ritual of Expression that had not a single portrait of the deceased anywhere, Jae Hwan finally learnt the Lord’s name. Amille Groshek.The one known as the Lord of Gorgon, and the one who forced the his title upon him.
‘Shitty old man.’
Jae Hwan did not like the seat he was given. And to fuel the fire further, he had gotten it from some old gramps he didn't know the name of until just now. This gathering was something he would never have come to on a normal circumstance.
Yulewen had said to Jae Hwan with a desperate expression the day before.
-Please take part! Just once! You are the Lord now!”
Yulewen looked satisfied now that Jae Hwan was here. He was probably thinking Jae Hwan showed up in this gathering thanks to his own persuasive abilities. Jae Hwan would be damned if it was true. The only reason he was in this dump of a memorial service was because he had something to do. Jae Hwan carefully studied everyone present in the hall.
Envoys from various fortresses and forts were mingling about, and the Arks of the ten sect leaders sent things like gaksus’ horns as consolation gift. Even some elders of the ten sects had come personally to greet and give their condolences. Those who were hoping to enter into the Ritual of Expression were overflowing outside of the fortress, and the normal residents who could not participate held their own moments of silence.
No one cried nor wailed. They talked of the lord only.
Chung Heo laughed at the scene. For someone who just lost a friend of 900 years, his face was free of grief. Drinking a two horned gaksu wine, he let the memories pass across his eyes.
“As I see it, this is no different from a funeral. These dead things are trying to copy the living.”
“That's not something a drunk man should say.”
“They are trying their best to imitate. Why shouldn't I also join the fray?”
Chung Heo gulped the wine down.
“If you live for a thousand years, losing someone is nothing really sad. He is free from the life he hated, after all.”
The dead cannot miss life. They who have forgotten what they had longed for are the ones that find peace at the end. It was contradicting.
The people who live in a world where contradiction is the only salvation drinks and sings and dances. Chung Heo also wedged in between the crowd and started to sing and dance. The crowd laughed and sang together.
Jae Hwan silently watched that before turning his head towards Yulewen. Yulewen had said,
-The Ritual of Expression will last a full 7 days.
Jae Hwan already felt the stares of others in the Banquet hall. Some were sending gazes that said ‘who the hell is that’, and some sent gazes full of interest.
-Its a first time an outsider like yourself became the lord. Please be carefull.
The ones staring were probably the envoys sent by the ten Arks of Chaos. There was a one that gave off a powerful feel among them. [Doubt] picked up their dialogues without rest. Seeing how they were using whisper to converse with lots of people at once, they were using the highest whisper skill, [mass whisper].
[I don't even know which way the world spinning anymore. A young soul like that the Lord?]
[I heard he has not even reached his 100th year.]
[A child who has not yet reached 100 the Lord!?]
[Is Yulewen scheming something again?]
There were even some talking without discretion.
“....I feel the strange urge to fight that kid.”
It was a woman in a purple dress wearing a veil in the corner of the banquet hall. From inside the veil she was glancing at Jae Hwan. But her attention was distracted by something coming into contact with her posterior.
“Huhu. My, if it isn’t the vice-Ark of the Holy Maid sect.”
“Saint. Do you want to die?”
“They're still firm at 500 years.”
While the vice-Ark of the Holy Maid sect and the Saint were squabbling, the rest of the ambassadors from other sects were busy talking by themselves.
Where their visions reached, an affluent looking middle aged man was walking towards Jae Hwan.
[Wait. look at that. The old fox from the sect of eggheads.]
“You must be the new Lord.”
The rich man with a pot belly spoke in a disagreeable tone.
“That is so.”
“Hoho, you look quite young. If I may ask how old you are?”
[He's at it again! That codger.]
[Old ones are all like that.]
[Shush. The saint is beside us.]
By the conversation he heard using [doubt], Jae Hwan figured out that this man in front of him was as old as Chung Heo.
The fat man raised an incredulous voice.
And pandemonium arose.
“Fifty? That's an infant. Old man, just who is he?”
At the vice-Ark of the Holy maid sect’s question, Chung Heo shrugged and shaked his head.
“It might be good to avoid him. Don't try to get to know him either. For now focus on me.”
“......Old man, do you want a stump for your hand?”
Chung Heo’s had was slapped away.
The obese man continued.
“Might you be the son of the previous Lord?”
“Ahh, I was wondering if Gorgon changed to a hereditary system.”
The ones eavesdropping went roaring again.
[How rude. Even if he is young….]
[That scholar sect eats shit and blathers shit.]
[It’s better than throwing out an insult directly, at least.]
Being unaccustomed to the common senses of <<Chaos>>, Jae Hwan realized a bit late that he was being insulted. The past Lord and he was 900 years apart in age. He couldn't have been his son, and even if he was, that would have been a problem of its own. Because in all of Chaos, there was no such thing as hereditary titles.
The man’s words were polite but the meaning was uncouth.
‘It’s impossible for a child like you to have become a lord without it being handed down.’ it meant.
Chung Heo snickered.
“That old racoon just might have his own Ritual of Expression today.”
“What do you mean, Saint?”
The overweight racoon extended his arm.
“Anyways, It was good meeting you. I am called Jang Il Han of the Scholar seminary.”
Jae Hwan gathered information on the sect using [doubt]. It seems like the Scholar sect was one of the higher-middle powers among the sects.
“Im Jae Hwan.”
Jae Hwan shook his hand. But the moment their hands touched, something started to brew. The fat man, Jang Il Han chuckled in a low voice. He had confirmed Jae Hwan’s spirit power by shaking his hand.
‘He is a non-adapter like the rumors said.’
Jang Il Han had been shaking nervously at the start of this Ritual of Expression. It was because of the mission given to him by the Ark of the Scholar seminary.
-Do anything you can and obtain that sect office license. How can we possible not have a single branch of the seminary in one of the Four Fortresses of Chaoss?
The fault of there not being a branch of the seminary in Gorgon was blamed on Jang Il Han. He had not yet forgotten the humiliation he received ten years ago when he tried to enter Gorgon. He was ‘tipping’ the guards of the North Gate when he was confronted with Carlton - or whatever his name was. Jang Il Han had thought the man wanted more, so he offered an adequate amount, but the situation had gone out of hand. In the end the Lord himself had to come down.
-How can we allow the office of a sect like this to be established in our Fortress?
They say that the dog resembles the owner, and just like his subordinate, the Lord was a stuck up, hard headed, stubborn mule. That was why he had to wait 10 years to be allowed entry. And at that 10th year, he finally stepped his foot into Gorgon again, of course without bribes this time. And Jang Il Han found himself pleasantly surprised. The Castle Lord was dead, the head inspector was half-dead, and some whipper-snapper was sitting on the Lord’s seat.
‘Gorgone is done for.’
Jung Il Han made a slight smile. Even if he wanted the license, he didn't want to beg for it from this bantling. If there was one thing he learnt in his 800 years of life, it is that servility was not always the answer in a negotiation. He had faced countless battles, and saw numerous political corruption from the shadows. Those things taught him that the weaker the opponent, rather than negotiation, intimidation was much more efficient.
Jang Il Han grasped Jae Hwan’s hand tightly and activated a skill.
The highest offensive restriction skill.
[Eight Gates of Hell.]
That skill was known only to the very top echelons of the seminary. It was a high level-direct contact skill that could be activated with a touch, and sent the astral body of the victim to a horrid prison swarming with monsters collected from all over the <<Great Lands>>. They could not escape until the skill was cancelled.
Jang Il Han quickly opened the Third gate of the [Eight Gates of Hell]. The third gate was a volcanic domain where the flame dragon Tiamat resided. The young lord was probably already being chased by him in the land of the fiery fires.
‘Lets see you struggle, O'Castle Lord.’