[There are times when distant romances are more appealing than the power in front of your eyes. But nobody wants to admit that kind of naivety…. Because we are afraid, that the moment we admit it, we will fall into the pit of despair.]
-18th Ark of North Sea, Kaiman.
Propaganda was spreading in Chaos expeditiously, by the second day of the [Lord’s declaration of retirement] incident.
-You who wish to be the Lord, join in on the fray! Losers will be sent to Abyss!
The new Lord’s announcement brightened the eyes of those in Chaos. To say that anyone with the strength could become the Lord, it had to be a great temptation to powerful warriors all over Chaos. And furthermore, the rumour that the Lord was a non-adapter roamed the streets.
‘How could the Lord possibly be a non-adapter?’
‘It’s true! The elders and the vice-Arks of the ten sects personally confirmed it!’
The rumors spread everywhere.
‘How did a non-adapter become the Lord?’
‘Maybe he is someone from the <<Palace of resurrection>>?’
‘No way, the sovereigns and the clan leaders from the <<Palace of Resurrection>> wouldn't involve themselves in Chaos.’
Some doubted Jae Hwan’s intentions.
‘What kind of scheme is this?’
The lord promised his title upon his defeat, and made the price of his victory beforehand. Normal people would be afraid of dying, especially the young souls. For a young one to bet his life like that, it meant he was certain of his triumph.
That was why some thought,
‘Is he going to use the Guardian
If the Guardian Gaksu moved, even the ten Arks had no sure victory. But then again, the Lord had stated for a fair duel, so the Guardian Gaksu couldn't be used. It was not a weapon made for use against a single person anyways.
In the end, people came down to one conclusion.
‘.....This Lord has something wrong with his head.’
And as always, people are bound to be infatuated with the extraordinary. They are bound to look up to them. That was why there blew a fresh wind in the hearts of those who had lost all hope after the <<Palace of Resurrection>> episode. They all decided,
‘Go to Gorgon first, and think about it later!’
It was not the reward of the victory that lit the flames inside them, as they had presumed, but it was the price of defeat that encouraged them.
Upon finishing his inspection of the palace, Yulewen threw a question at the gate.
‘What in the world is happening...’
When Jae Hwan had announced his ambitions to get rid of the ‘lord’, he doubted. When he said he would unite Chaos, Yulewen impugned it. When he walked up to the stage with his unhesitating footsteps, he was concerned, but he was willing to watch.
It was because he had faith - not in Jae Hwan, but in the man before him. He was the one who his Lord had chosen. No matter what kind of dubious thing this man does, he was now the Lord. He would never do something that woul-
“Opened this door!”
“We have the right to fight the Lord!”
“He must keep his promise-!”
-d put Gorgon at risk…..
Seeing the turmoil at the gate, Yulewen grasped his head.
‘What are you thinking,’
The line of people split the whole Fortress in half, starting at the palace gates. In just two days, the number of people who came to challenge Jae Hwan exceeded 20,000. This was a great boon to the inns in Gorgon. Normal residents who had promptly changed their homes to a private room rental service also had faces full of smiles.
“Half a horn for a day’s stay! It’s cheap!”
Normally, half the horn of a one horned gaksu is worth about 30 Horjen, which was enough to last someone in a half decent inn for almost a week. But now they were pigging out half a horn for a single nights stay.
“Well, half a horn is cheap. Il arrange for 2 weeks.”
“Haha, thank you for your patronage.”
And the problem was, that for the ones who came here to challenge the lord, 30 Horjen was worth dirt. Every one of them were the strongest people in Chaos. A one horned gaksu was something they could catch anytime using a skill of two. The Chancellor, who watched over this scene, held a disturbed expression.
‘Should I be happy or sad….’
Since the visitor numbers were going off the charts, it was natural that Gorgon accepts entry fee. The longer these humans stayed, the more money Gorgon would rake in.
The history of Gorgon shows the disaster the finance department had to face every time there was a new lord. It took great funds to call together the officials of public service, military, and politics, and etc, to elect new officials and rearrange the affiliated organizations, as well as adjusting the administration system.
‘Did he predict this?’
Yulewen couldn't figure out if Jae Hwan was trying to get rid of the Lord, or act the part of a lord. Who could figure out what he was thinking?
At that moment, he saw a group of guards in front of gate, giggling with their heads buried in a booklet.
“What are you doing!”
The guards froze at the shout of their Chancellor. Workers in the palace were all relaxed due to the festive atmosphere recently. It might also be because four of the five head officials were killed by the lord a few days ago. The lack of authority in the palace was bringing this place down.
‘Strict enforcements are necessary especially at these times.’
Yulewen started reading the [Law]; he was going to set an example out of this group. The one who had taught Carlton his [Law] skill was none other than Yulewen. The skill every official in Gorgon feared!
With the power of Law pouring down upon them, the guards spasmed, and banged their heads on the floor repeatedly. [Law] was something terrifying.
“Uwaaaa! F, forgive us!”
“We're sorry Chancellor!”
Yulewen snorted and snatched the booklet the guards had. For these guys to be snickering about, it had to be a porn magazine. With that state of mind, Yulewen opened the pages. But what it turned out to be was a normal magazine, with some outrageous contents.
[This month in Chaos]
Featured article 1. Lord of Gorgon, a shocking retirement speech cum inauguration speech!
Featured article 2. Bold Castle Lord, “Something like the ten Arks of Chaos, I can kill them with my finger.” what could his real intentions be?
Special interview. “I have fought with that bastard before!” the master of slash, exposes the Lord’s secrets!
Yulewen’s hands trembled.
‘Kill them with a single finger? When did he spout this kind of shit!’
[This month in Chaos] was the most selling magazine in Chaos. Whether the contents were true or not, the wrath of the Arks were guaranteed. But that was not the only thing. Yulewen quickly turned to the special interview part.
‘Fought with the Lord? Impossible!’
He had been trying to restrict entry to prevent disorder. As far as he knew, Jae Hwan had not fought with anyone yet. When he turned the page, a hologram made of a skill materialized. Inside it which a masked man was being interviewed by the host.
-Hello, this is the special corner in [This month in Chaos]. I am Maischak your host! We have a special guest today for our interview. He claims to have faced off against ‘Gorgon’s Lord’ in our recent topic. As you all know, there are no information regarding the new Lord! There are rumors saying that he is as powerful as the Arks, and at the same time, rumors saying that he is a non-adapter. But first, please introduce yourse-
-Oi, wait a sec. You are really going to introduce me to the Holy maid sect’s Ark if I do this, right?
-Er…. Gramps, this is not the tim-
The video paused.
-Haha, we apologize for that brief technical difficulty. Now, please tell us about yourself.
-I am the ‘master of slash’.
Yulewen’s eyes contracted.
Why was the Saint in this kind of interview! The program continued.
-How surprising! So you're saying that the Lord can only use thrust?
-A battle between thrust and slash! Amazing!
-But according to our research team, the ‘master of slash’ lost, is that true?
-No way in hell that's true!
The ‘master of slash’ started to throw a tantrum. The interviewer looked amused and leaned forward.
-So it's not true?
-We tied! I didn't loose!
-If you tied, then how…
-To be specific, it wouldn't be strictly wrong to call it my victory! Because I was hiding my trump card! If we continued, I would have won!
He continued blabbering excuses. The interviewer concluded that topic soon, and switched to a new one.
-Then as you see it, how strong is the lord?
The ‘master of slash’ answered in a irrefutable tone, as if he had been waiting for this question.
-Ho~ Even the whole party of ten Arks can't beat him.
-T, then, do you mean that you are also stronger than all the ten Arks combined?!
-W, well, no… I could be, or not….
Yulewen’s whole body shook.
‘What are you doing, Saint!!’
Yulewen also knew that Jae Hwan was strong. But stronger than the ten Arks combined? This was not a matter of whether it was true or not.
Yulewen stomped off to the Lord’s room. The cause of this disaster would be there.
When he kicked the door apart and entered the room, an outline of a body was seen behind piles of paper. He approached with a heaving breath, but found the man behind the table to be someone else.
“....Why are you here?”
A head adorned with breathtaking golden locks sat on a pair of tired looking shoulders. His whole body surrounded by a silver aura, this was man was not the Lord. Sitting behind piles of papers that reached the ceiling, he was someone who should not be here. When Yulewen saw that face, he remembered the short conversation he had with Jae Hwan, who had been flicking through the constitution a few days ago.
-What is with these useless laws? How am I supposed to authorize every single one of them? Can’t you do it?
-The only person who can sign the papers regarding constitutions are the Lord and the squad leader dealing with law.
Jae Hwan’s face brightened.
-Which squad deals with law?
-The third squad, law enforcement squad.
-And who is the leader?
-The lord stabbed him to death a few days ago.
After thinking about it deeply, Jae Hwan asked.
-Who’s the guy who knows laws the best in this fortress?
The one who knew the law best? It was not an easy question. Yulewen had to take his time. But Jae Hwan shouted with an enlightened expression.
-Wait, I can use that guy!
And now Yulewen knew who ‘that guy’ the lord was talking about was.
With his head and shoulders wrapped in mile long gauzes, Carlton greeted Yulewen with a pained expression.
‘I wonder if he’s doing well.’
Jae Hwan brought up the image of Carlton, who by now was probably busy stamping all the paperworks. He had not thought of making Carlton the law enforcement squad leader at the start, because Carlton had been convalescing from the injury he got a few days ago. But…
-Oh my~ Sir Carlton! How about this?
-Kyaaa! So handsome!
-Good, the next one is called, [Carlton the tentacled deceased]!
….If only Jae Hwan had not had that sudden urge to go visit Carlton that day, and found him surrounded by female artists fawning over him, Carlton would be resting in a relaxed manner right now. Jae Hwan thought as such as he plunged his sword into the sculptures of [deceased Carlton] the artists had made - which he appropriated with the authority of the Lord - , breaking them.
‘I think I got it.’
Jae Hwan was currently in the training hall, practicing his thrusts. The floor was littered with broken debris of [Carlton the tentacled deceased], [The fallen angel Carlton], [Carlton against the deceased], and numerous other sculptures like these. Chung Heo said with a frown.
“Hey, do you even know how much these are worth?”
“What do I care.”
“Tsk. For someone like the Lord to be so ignorant of valuables….”
Chung Heo clicked his tongue and pocketed a few of the sculptures.
‘Idiot! These things are what the young ’uns go crazy over! To throw them away like this…’
Jae Hwan spoke, looking at the scene.
“I think I made it.”
Jae Hwan and Chung Heo had been in the hall, trying to create a new technique for Jae Hwan. After meeting the King of Chaos, Jae Hwan felt the need to develope a stronger skill. His ‘world thrust’ was strong, but it inflicted to much damage to the surroundings, and it was absurd to use against a single person. This was the fifth day that they had been practicing here together.
“Do you not need to spar today?”
“I'm fine now.”
Chung Heo looked disappointed. The last five days were not only beneficial to Jae Hwan, but Chung Heo as well. From the exchange between thrusts and slashes, Chung Heo managed to improve his ‘slash’ in the five days.
“I saw enough of your slashes.” Jae Hwan said.
“Hoo, is that so? Then you are also that good at slash now?”
Chung Heo spoke sardonically, as if his pride had been hurt. Jae Hwan nodded.
Chung Heo laughed.
‘Haa! For someone who had only been thrusting for his whole life! You think slashes are so easy!’
“That ‘world slash’ or whatever is hard-”
“It’s ‘special slash’!”
“Whatever. But I can use the weak slash.”
“It’s normal slash, not weak sl…. What?!”
“This one. Your slash.”
Jae Hwan promptly extended his left leg backwards, and drew a line in the air. With a powerful shockwave and the sound of something ripping, the air was divided in two.
“It’s not at your level though.”
Chung Heo wordlessly gazed at the spot where the line had crossed, with his mouth open. The slash Jae Hwan just performed was lacking in comparison to Chung Heo’s, but the difference was minimal. That slash was something Chung Heo had mastered through 10 billion repetition of slashes. But the man in front of him accomplished the same thing in just mere 5 days.
“....How did you do it.”
Jae Hwan did not answer, but Chung Heo could guess it.
Chung Heo had noticed the change in Jae Hwan recently. The aura that Jae Hwan possessed, which was like a dome of needles before, was now a blade of unfathomable fineness. That intangible aura could afflict real wounds. Maybe even now, Jae Hwan was slashing at the world like a madman.
“Anyways. I used this slash to create my new technique.”
“So it’s a slash?”
“No, it’s a thrust.”
Chung Heo narrowed his eyes.
“You were learning how to slash and yet you made a thrust?”
“Well, it’s like this.”
Jae Hwan relaxed his body. The form was clearly a thrust, but it had the elements of a slash as well. Chung Heo could deduce the kind of energy hidden in that attack. Chung Heo quickly thought of something.
“Wait! That, does it have a name?”
“No. I didn't pick one yet.”
“Since you stole my slash, it gives me the right to name that.”
“[Chung Heo’s thrust].”
Jae Hwan glared.
“Old man, do you want to turn into what the name says?”
Chung Heo’s eyebrows jerked. He was someone whose pride was as high as Jae Hwan’s. He knew that Jae Hwan was strong, but his thousand years worth of experience did not allow him to just bow down and say, ‘I'm sorry’.
“You conceited bastard… Fine! I shall break you and become the new lord!”
As he shouted that, he tried to draw his sword, but Jae Hwan unsheathed self will faster, and executed the thrust that held elements of slash. His wrist moved in an ark as the condensed shockwaves poured outwards. Slashes flew like a storm around a single wedge shaped thrust. Chung Heo, who thought that Jae Hwan would, without a doubt, let him initiate the first attack, ran away from the hurricane of slashes.
“Kwaaaa! Where's your respect towards elders!”
The attack roared through the hall like a tornado. Chung Heo barely dodged it by jumping aside. The warriors who had been training far away in the hall were swept away by the after blast.
But that was not all. The whirlwind of blades derailed from its course and flew up, breaking through the ceiling.
‘How is that an attack meant for one person!’
And soon, from above, the sound of someone screaming reverberated in the palace.
Inside the palace, hidden by shadows, a group of adapters in a yellow suit with the words [Thunder god] written on the shoulder part, creeped towards the training hall.
[You are sure the Lords in the training hall?]
They were the members of the [Thunder God’s sect] which held ninth rank amongst the ten sects. And in the midst of them was Yun Yong, the Ark of said sect.
‘Today, I will become the Castle Lord.’
Four days had passed since they received the report from elder members of their sect and entered Gorgon. All the other sect Arks should have arrived by now. But as there was no news regarding any challenges, it seems that they all had been inactive.
According to the report, the Lord was definitely a non-adapter. Yun Yong decreed this as a trap straight away.
‘They have some kind of dirty trick up their sleeves.’
He could tell by the way they blocked the gates even after announcing everyone’s liberty to challenge the lord. But Yun Yong still entered the palace despite it being a trap. To him, it did not matter what kind of scheme they were planning.
‘All I have to do is win before they get the chance to use whatever they prepared.’
The lord had said, ‘anything is okay as long as it’s a 1vs 1’.
‘I will make you regret saying that.’
The Thunder god’s sect and the Black forest sects were superior than all the others at assasination. If the Ark of such a sect made up his mind to assassinate someone, the target’s chances at survival was nigh none. Lord, other Arks; it did not matter who.
‘There’s nothing underhanded about this. Assassination is my fighting style.’
However, the next moment, he was blown away by a sudden tornado that burst from the ground. He did not even get the chance to use his strongest skill, Thunder god’s spirit, as he was embedded into the wall. Other members of the squad were killed instantly.
When two forms jumped out from the hole made on the floor, they saw the pathetic state of the man stuck in the wall. Chung Heo pulled Yun Yong out from the wall and said,
“Hey, isn't this the Ark of the thunder sect?”
Yun Yong’s legs twitched in reply. Jae Hwan nodded.
“Looks like we have our first member of the team.”