‘The Ten Sects’ is the title given to the ten strongest sects that govern over this vast Chaos. All the sects had their own rank within that group, from rank 1 to 10. These ranks were decided by wars between the sects. And the Thunder God’s sect was 9th in that status.
The 9th and 10th positions seemed nominal compared to those of higher ranks, like the 1st and 2nd seats, but they were still nethertheless one of the ‘Ten Sects’. Furthermore, the 9th sect had gained power with exponential speed over the few decades, and had been the main topic of <<This month in Chaos>> periodically. They were a praiseworthy sect.
‘100 year. It took us 100 years to get here.’
Yun Yong was one of the younger ones of the ten Arks, at the age of two hundred-seven. Once he had been a member of the [Storm cloud clan], one of the five distinguished families of the Great Lands. No. Rather, he was more of a servant. A servant of the lowest class: slave.
Yun Yong still considered it a great fortune. Because while most of his comrades, whom he cleared the tower together, were sold as the cheapest meat shields to die in unnamed battle fields, he who was closer to a non-adapter in spirit power, had been able to survive. And that was how he spent his first hundred years. As a slave, thanking his luck.
Yun Yong lived hard to survive in a life where lots would prefer death instead. He pushed on. By his 99th year, he was one of the few slaves of his generations still alive. And with the recommendation of the house workers, he could promote himself to a proper servant. The promotion at which he revealed his true colors.
-You think I am going to live like this for my whole life?
At the cost of the credibility he had astutely built over the period of 100 years, he stole into the clan vault. What he managed to steal as the siren rang that day was what was considered a skill of medium order within the clan, but still regarded as one of the highest grade skill in the Great lands.
[Thunder’s strike]. from the Storm cloud clan.
While learning the skill, the spirit of the thunder god passes through the body, making the cells rejuvenate. And by the 8th stage of the training, one could control lighting with their will. That was the art of the Storm cloud clan.
Although he was hunted down by the clan for 20 years and got slaughtered, thanks to this skill, he was one of the ten Arks of Chaos today. The great achievement of rising to the 9th spot in 100 years. It was an unprecedented feat in Chaos.
But the man who claims to have lived half his life, yet was a lord, stood before him.
This did not make sense.
As Yun Yong was in a state of confusion, someone beside him spoke.
“A pity, that someone like you became the first.”
“Well, I expected something like this from a sneaky bastard like you.”
“....Why is Saint here?”
“Why? To treat people like you.”
Yun Yong had been able to regain consciousness quickly thanks to Chung Heo. There was a reason why Chung Heo was called the Medical Saint.
“Who in the world is that person.”
The Ark asked, looking at the figure of Jae Hwan, who was practicing his thrust.
“The Lord of Gorgon.”
“Does it make sense that some no-name popped out and became the Castle Lord?”
“No. It doesn't.”
Chung Heo nodded.
“Nothing makes sense with that one.”
Yun Yong was surprised to hear that. There was not one who the Saint referred to as that way. His pride was hurt.
“I can win if we fought fairly.”
His face expressed his reluctance to accept defeat.
“I might not be much compared to Saint, but I am still an Ark. I was done in by that surprise attack, but….”
“How loud kids bark these days…”
Chung Heo’s sarcastic remark made Yun Yong sit up straight and shout,
“This does not count! How can this be fair? I was viciously ambushed!”
“Who’s the one who snuck in to assassinate him? How shameless.”
Yun Yong’s hairs stood on its end.
At that moment, Jae Hwan opened his mouth from the center of the roofless training hall.
His unexpected remark livened the Ark.
“I will let you re-challenge me.”
Jae Hwan swung self will, and Yun Yong bloomed into a satisfied smile.
‘That attack from before has to be from Saint.’
A long time ago, he had the opportunity to see the Saint’s slash. It was as powerful as the strongest skills of the Arks. The attack he received today was similar to that slash. That was why, he had confidence of his victory. If he only unleashes the might of his skill,Thunder’s strike….!
Chung Heo clicked his tongue, seeing the form of Yun Yong vanish into the sky.
‘Those Arks are all bark and no bite.’
The next day, the news that the Lord ‘narrowly’ beat the 9th Ark spread in Gorgon.
“.....I started the rumor as you told me to.”
Chung Heo laughed at Yun Yong, who had a bruised eye and a frowning mouth. For the first opponent to be the 9th Ark; it was something fortunate for Jae Hwan, because the 9th Ark was the weakest of the ten Arks. If he had won against the stronger ones, say the 1st Ark, then everything would not flow smoothly. The rest of the Arks would not risk their chances. But because it was the 9th Ark, they could take in 9 more of them. Chung Heo asked,
“You included the part about ‘narrowly’ winning?”
“Yes, of course.”
The Ark of the Thunder God’s sect was a 6th order adapter. It was only on the level of vice-Arks of greater sects. That kind of man ‘narrowly’ lost. Meaning, that the Lord was somewhere along the lines of a 6th order adapter.
6th order was not at all weak. But it was significantly wanting for one of the ten Arks, or the Lord. Even the Holy maid sect’s Ark was a 7th order adapter at the 7th seat of the sects, while higher seat Arks went up to as high as 8th order. 6th order was nothing amazing. Yun Yong sighed.
‘If things go wrong, I will really have to enter Abyss.’
For him, the rumor he spread was advantageous to himself too. If other Arks defeated the Lord, he would no longer have any obligation to be in the [Abyss Expedition].
The problem was, who would be able to beat Jae Hwan?
‘If it’s the Blue Dragon sect or the Limitless sect….’
The first seat Blue Dragon sect and the second seat Limitless sect Arks were at least 2 orders above Yun Yong. But would that be enough to fight Jae Hwan? He strangely doubted it.
‘No. That cannot be. They would definitely be able to win.’
He knew that the rest of the Arks were also in Gorgon. They would be rushing towards the palace at this moment, upon hearing the rumor.
‘Saint. No matter how strong the Lord is, he cannot fight all of them.’
Yun Yong glanced at Chung Heo’s direction. But Chung Heo’s face took him aback.
Yun Yong was well familiar with Chung Heo, and his history of being in the Abyss Expedition. He was the man that tried to save Chaoss with fruit, and he was the same man that had his hopes broken by an unsurpassable wall. That Saint was the only person who truly knew what despair was in Chaos.
But… what is that expression. Silently staring at Jae Hwan, Chung Heo’s expression held something… far from despair. It was rather something diametrically opposite.
“Punk, Fortuna smiles on you. You met him before you even got the chance to face anguish.”
He wanted to ask. Where did that faith come from.
The door of the training halls were suddenly smashed in.
“I came to challenge, Gorgon’s Lord!”
It was the 5th and the 8th seat, Fire Monarch’s Ark Kang Hwang Gua and North Sea sect’s Kaiman.
“I was wondering why Fire guy wasn't here yet.”
Chung Heo mumbled, looking at them pityingly.
“Looks like I'll have back pains again.”
It took no more than 10 minutes for the battle to end. Kang Hwang Gua, as rash as he was, poured out flames that melted the floor from his body, but was done in by a single thrust. Kaiman on the other hand managed to last the whole battle, exchanging blows numbering in the thousands, before he conceded.
“It’s my loss, Lord.”
Jae Hwan did not use his new technique. He couldn't control the power yet. So what he used were normal thrust and light thrusts.
“That was a great duel.”
Jae Hwan commended Kaiman. Unlike the other two Arks he had faced, Kaiman was a 7th order adapter. Jae Hwan judged his skills to be not lacking compared to Chung Heo.
“But it seems like you didn't go all out.”
“Isn't that the same for the Lord?”
Kaiman laughed affably.
“I didn't need to fight to the end to guess the outcome.”
He nodded as if satisfied, and headed towards where his fellow Arks were at. Kaiman who was being treated by Chung Heo puked up flames in succession.
“Quick tempered as always, Kang Hwang.”
“.....I appreciate it, Saint.”
The Fire Monarch’s Ark grumbled.
“That little shit, Thunder Ark…..What? ‘Narrowly’ lost?”
“Huhu. Who are you blaming? The only one at fault is the loser.”
For a while, from the corner, Yun Yong had been deep in thought, with a sombre expression. When the nursing was over, the three Arks gathered, as Chung Heo and Jae Hwan had a private conversation. Yun Yong spoke first.
“Excuse me, but do you perhaps know who else is coming?”
“The Seminary and the Maid I think.”
The one who answered was the 5th Ark, Kaiman.
“So the 6th seat Seminary and 7th seat Holy Maid….”
There was no way that they would be able to provide a better match for Jae Hwan than the 5th seat, Kaiman did.
“Are there no news from the 1st sect or the 3rd?”
“Wouldn't you know more about them?”
Kaiman asked, because the 9th seat Thunder god’s sect and the 1st seat Blue Dragon held both their bases near Fort [Manticore]. But at that question, Yun Yong’s face became dark.
“What is it?”
“....It’s nothing. But by the by, what do you elders plan to do?”
As they lost, they had to join the Abyss Expedition.
“I came here in the first place to join the expedition.” These unforeseen words were uttered by Kaiman.
“North Sea, truly?”
Kang Hwang asked incredulously.
Kang Hwan Gua tried to recall what kind of person the 5th Ark, Kaiman was. He was the closest friend of Amielle, and the one who wasn't able to join the past expedition, due to his inability at the time. He was also the one who had seen the disbandment of that team from afar.
“I was thinking of going into Abyss recently.”
Kaiman was 954 this year. He was still obsessed with his failure 900 years ago. For this, he had been sharpening his sword alone. Kang Hwang Gua was awed.
‘There are some people who never change.’
He was awed that there still lived people with this much spirit in Chaos.
“What do you plan to do, Fire Monarch?”
“Well, since I lost, it can't be helped.”
Kang Hwang Gua shrugged. He then looked at Yun Yong.
“What about you?”
“I have already made up my mind.”
The Thunder god’s Ark, Yun Yong, bowed at the two Arks before him, and rushed towards Jae Hwan. Kang Hwang Gua was startled.
‘That kid, is he trying to....!’
Kaiman couldn't beat him, but Yun Yong was young enough to be foolish.
Yun Yong ran at him, and unexpectedly, genuflected.
“.....This Ark of the Thunder god’s sect, of the 9th seat of ten, Yun Yong, pledges his allegiance to the Lord of Gorgon, Jae Hwan.”
Kang Hwang Gua’s eyes were saucers.
Jae Hwan responded.
“No, I don't really need that.”
“.....I insist! I shall swear my loyalty!”
Chung Heo frowned, seeing the 9th Ark near prostrating.
“What are you scheming this time.”
There was no way that an Ark would act this way over a singly fight. Even if he was the 9th, he was still the ten Arks.
“I don't have any schemes! I was awed by the Lord’s power….!”
“Shove your bullshit somewhere else.”
Yun Yong held an accused face. He looked to be about to shed tears at any moment. It was such an innocent expression, that it couldn't have come from a 207 year old. But Chung Heo’s glare persisted. And soon,
Yun Yong clicked his mouth. He realized that his act wasn't going through.
Jae Hwan said to him,
“What I need is a team. I don’t need your allegiance.”
“Those two things are the same thing for me.”
“How’s that the same thing?!” Chung Heo intergected.
Yun Yong searched his face, and asked with a pouting tone.
“......Saint, do you not know?”
The 9th ark shook his head, and spoke towards Jae Hwan.
“Anyways, Lord. Buy me into your family. I'm okay with small positions too….”
“What are you talking about.”
“Hey, I won’t steal something like skill books or anything, just take me in. My subordinates too, since things are going this way…..”
Chung Heo was trying to understand the situation.
“You're the Ark. What are you going to do with your sect?”
“...Ha, Thunder God’s sect? Are you talking about that?”
Yun Yong’s face was a mix of self deprecation and rage.
“Thunder god’s sect does not exist anymore in Chaos.”
“.....What are you talking about. Then what the hell is those things there?”
Chung Heo pointed at the sect members Yun Yong had brought with him. Yun Yong said after a moment of hesitation.
“Our sect was destroyed a week ago. The only living are those there, and myself.”