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The World After the Fall 51

by Sing-Shong


Translated by mushroom | Edited by someone

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The Final Romance (9)


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They are going to join the expedition team voluntarily? 

“What are you planning.”

“....Planning?”

It was the Ark who tilted her head.

“I'm trying to help the people of Chaos?”

Help the people. The audience exclaimed softly. Her words touched a nerve in them. 

Although not everybody reacted positively.

“What do you want to say!”

“Hurry up and pull out your sword!”

They were more interested in the match right now rather than some idyllic future. Jae Hwan shrugged his shoulders after glancing at those groups.

But Ja Guk Lyung shrugged back leisurely.

“I think the lord has forgotten the real purpose of this tournament.”

“Purpose?”

“Yes.”

Ja Guk Lyung was not only speaking to Jae Hwan.

“I will throw this out since we’ve got this far, but the lord had no inclination to give up his seat in the first place. Isn't that right?”

Jae Hwan maintained his silence. 

Ja Guk Lyung continued for him.

“Because, this tournament was never a ‘lord election tournament’, but an ‘expedition team recruitment tournament’.”

A faint commotion passed through the audiences. Ja Guk Lyung did not lose her chance and continued.

 

“Truthfully, this lady admires you. No one has dared to plan out something this grandiose since the previous Abyss expedition failed. And to propel this project risking your own life. I cannot praise the lord’s actions enough.”

She had her back to Jae Hwan , she was definitely speaking to the audience.

“That is why I am extremely happy to be here right now. That must be the same for the spectators here.” 

Her speech was made with a sound amplifying skill. She had the attentions of ten thousands of the strongest in Chaos. 

“This lady knows, that so many would not have gathered if this affair was solely to elect a new lord. Because despite being strong enough to contend in this tournament, lots of the people opted not to.”

And at this moment, she threw off her veil as if this was planned.

The ones seated above gulped audibly. The Ark’s eyes scanned the crowd from left to right, and the audiences made a wave as they hurriedly tried to dodge her eyes and look down.

The sight that made them look at the most honorable aspects of themselves. Ja Guk Lyung’s highest skill, [Eye of truth].

Soon, Ja Guk Lyung spoke again with a fainter voice. 

“Everyone. This lady wishes to hear all of your true feelings. Did you come here to try your chances at being the lord? Or…. was it the Abyss expedition that compelled you?”

A calm but unbearably heavy question wrapped with the Ark’s penetrating sight passed through their hearts. And the first one opened his package.

“Ahh….”

As they all started to unwrap that gift, the people changed. Was it that they finally realized? Realized that they had the answer to this question all along?

There were ones who came solely to see this tournament, and ones who came here solely for entertainment. But as her inquiry fell on them, they felt their goals of coming here change to something more ideal and hopeful.

It was being born, the thing Chaos desired for centuries, but could not acquire. Something they all wished, but could not achieve.

Ja Guk Lyung opened her mouth.

“This lady wants to believe that Chaos has not yet lost it’s romance.”

That was the wedge that opened the gates. The gates to their final romance.

Abyss expedition.

They stirred. The audience that had been trying to escape her gaze looked up and spoke with a coherent voice.

“She is right.”

“Yeah. What we really wanted to see here was….!”

Her supporters started to pop up. 

An old man said,

“I agree with her. I did not march all the way here to see some street fight.”

It was a voice filled with spirit that reverberated throughout the whole arena.

“Its ‘virtuous sword’!”

The Virtuous sword of the supercontinent, Han Myong Gwan. As an unaffiliated swordsman, he is known to be equal to the ten Arks in terms of power. He was also respected for his benevolent nature. 

But it was Jae Hwan who noticed the brief exchange of eyes between Han Myong Gwan and the Ark of the Holy maid sect.

‘They are in on it together.’

Ja Guk Lyung nodded her head and accepted Han Myong Kwan’s praise.

“He is correct. What we must have is not an internal conflict, but a unification of our power.”

Voices of concurrence rose from the crowd.

“In that sense, this lady is thinking about asking the lord to immediately cease this tournament. It has already fulfilled its purpose. Because right now, in this place, there are those souls who are willing to join the expedition on their own account.”

The crown exploded. The power over these people has been snatched by this woman in front of Jae Hwan. She was praising Jae Hwan’s motivation for holding this tournament, yet by displaying piece by piece the awkwardness of the process, she was trying to take the credit of recreating the Abyss expedition.

“But everyone, it is too early to celebrate yet. We have an important matter to discuss first.”

When someone asked ‘what is it?’ she answered readily.

“Its this. Who would be the leader of the expedition?”

Chung Heo, from the arena front row seat, frowned.

“That wrench.”

Shin also nodded from beside.

“She's using the skills [insidious deceit] and [illusion upon worlds and people]....”

The two skills are often used in debates when the speaker lacks proof, or persuasiveness. And from a while back, Ja Guk Lyung had been using those two high level skills. The only ones who did not fall to this alluring skill were any adapters over the 7th order.

Han Myong Gwan spoke again from amidst the sea of spectators.

“Then who does the Ark think is fit to be the leader of this Abyss Expedition?”

“This lady wishes the lord could lead this expedition, as this was his idea.”

“Huu, as expected of the Holy maid’s Ark!”

She held the crowd's confidence. They would not have objected if she took the position of the team leader herself. In the crowd’s eyes, her actions were considerate and sympathetic. What they did not know was that she was holding everything into consideration.

“I disagree.”

It was Han Myong.

“The Lord of Gorgon is not trustworthy.”

The nearby people objected. Lyung calmed them down and asked him.

“Why do you say that? The Lord has more than enough qualification to become the team’s leader.”

“You might be correct on some points. I acknowledge that the lord poses great intellect and strength. In fact, it would be difficult to find a greater man than him in that aspect.”

It was an excessive amount of compliment.

“Then why do you disagree?”

“Because the expedition is not something that can be lead with strength and intelligence alone.”

Han Myong silenced those around him with his speech. Although he was not in the expedition 900 years ago, he was one of those who were known to have witnessed the creation of the team with his own eyes.

Ja Guk Lyung smiled and asked.

“Then what does the elder think is required for the leader to have?”

“Character.”

It was an immediate answer.

“Power and strategy can be substituted with strong warriors and large armies. But character is different. What the team needs is a able character that can hold all the members together.”

“Then you mean, that the Lord does not have that personality you think is important for the team?”

Her direct question made the audience to send their gazes towards Han Myong. 

But instead of confronting that inquiry, he shrewdly evaded it.

“I have heard many rumors of the lord in coming here.”

“Rumors? Which one are you referring to?”

“That the Lord of Gorgon has yet to live a century, and has appeared in Chaos only a month ago for the first time.”

The audiences were facing a dilemma; all of them have at one point also heard that rumor.

Ja Guk Lyung turned her head and asked Jae Hwan.

“Lord, is that true?”

“It is.”

His answer spread unexpected animosity from the audience.

‘Another matter of numbers.’ Jae Hwan frowned lightly.

His age was holding his ankle again.

“Virtuous sword. Your opinion is sensible. Wisdom only comes with age. But-”

Han Myong nodded in understanding.

“It is an ineffable discourtesy to belittle the Lord’s character just because he is young. We do not know how the lord has lived his 50 years of life.”

This fraud was huge.

“I agree with the Ark. But I still think that we need to check the lord’s character.”

“Check? Maybe. But how do you propose that we check someone’s personality?”

“I think that the Ark should be the judge.”

“Me? How do you mean?”

“How about a test of morality?”

A morality test. There were few adapters who didn't know of Lyung’s morality test. Some even requests for the test to fill up their ‘enlightenment levels’. The test puts them to a temporary unconscious state, but after that, they are able to acquire great amounts of enlightenment level.

“If it’s that test, then the results would be accurate!” someone shouted.

“Hurry up and do it!”

When others started to shout out in its favor, the crowd tilted that way.

Ja Guk Lyung also said in a helpless voice.

“Well… if it's what the people want….”

She smiled and turned towards Jae Hwan.

“But now that I think about it, we have been deciding things on our own without the lord. I apologize, lord. Do you consent to this?”

Jae Hwan did not answer. He looked up at the sky silently. The dark clouds of omen was approaching, and he felt the faint traces of a calamity. He knew this feeling.

Chung Heo let out a groan.

‘That wrench totally beat you. What are you going to do?’

With unbelievable abruptness, things have worsened. If Jae Hwan pulled out his sword as he would normally have done, then the prospect of the expedition team would disappear. There would not be a single person who would want to join an expedition led by him. But then otherwise, he had to accept the test of morality offered by Ja Guk Lyung.


A while later, Jae Hwan finally spoke

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