[I am already awake. Put your sword away, human.]
The Great Mother’s voice is echoing inside my head.
However, I didn’t put the sword away. I didn’t stop the expansion of my mana either.
The Great Mother’s gigantic body…
It is hard to believe that she was asleep until now. Unbelievable amounts of power are twitching inside her.
I can feel it so clearly.
Moreover, the mana that this Great Mother held was…
The amount, the purity…
Her high-density mana in the atmosphere around her and the mana sleeping inside her body are resonating with each other in real time.
I feel like I am being mesmerized just from observing this phenomenon quietly.
There is a limit to how much mana that one can pile up inside.
However, what if one can spread mana around the surrounding like her?
In doing so, she can manipulate even more mana than what would be possible through internal containment. She can have both the mana gathered inside her to the limit of her body and also the mana that is spread around her.
Normally, mana that’s spread around the body dissipates quickly.
However, the Great Mother is holding the external mana in its place.
She is doing this through the mana resonance.
I wonder, what will I need to do to recreate this myself?
What kind of methods are hidden behind this?
This isn’t about simply operating a larger amount of mana. There may also be a different method of utilizing it.
I am curious.
I want to clash with the Great Mother and learn about it.
[Human, put away your sword.]
The Great Mother’s words are being absorbed into my head.
The voice is not through a physical voice.
It is a will conveyed through her mana.
[Is this how?]
When it comes to mana and conveying a will through the mana, I have already mastered it from the Master Monk.
I heard how to do it, and I had seen him do it several times as well, so I was able to mimic it right away.
In addition to that experience, I am now seeing the Great Mother using the method in a slightly different way. Now, I was able to get a clear feel for it.
It seems the diligent practice I had been doing all along was not wasted. I am able to perform the telecommunication right away.
[… I recognized it when you appeared in my dream of premonition. As I thought, you are no ordinary human.]
[I appeared in your dream?]
The Great Mother did not respond.
[I thought you can be awakened only through the ceremony?]
[Usually, that is the case, if it wasn’t for the shock that was conveyed to me when the giant ghost was destroyed. It must be you who is responsible for it, yes?]
I wonder how she woke up without the ceremony. It seems she woke up because of the shock when the giant ghost was destroyed.
[Why didn’t you undo the curse on Myong Myong although you are awake?]
[What are you talking about, human? I have undone all spells cast on my child as soon as I have woken up.]
Now that I think about it, ghosts did not appear around Myong Myong ever since the giant ghost was destroyed.
I thought it was just a respawn timer for new ghosts. It seems that it was actually because the curse was undone.
[It seems there is a misunderstanding. Put away your sword now, human.]
I didn’t put my sword away.
[… Just why are you doing this to me?]
Instead, I took a step forward, sword in my hand.
[You fool! What are you expecting! No matter how strong you are for a human, do you think you can win against me! You will die without being able to hold out for even a moment!]
I think so too.
There definitely is that much of a difference in our caliber.
Still, I take a step forward.
[Such ridiculousness… Human, you are overflowing with pride and confidence. Please stop this!]
The tone of her words is rapidly changing.
[Treasures, I’ll give you treasures! If not, I’ll give you an elixir that will allow you to obtain even greater power!]
I stop stepping forward.
“I don’t really need treasures.”
I use my voice to say it instead in order to conserve mana, even if it is a small amount.
[In that case, I’ll give you the elixir! It’s a great one!]
I have one thing that I was curious about.
“Why are you trying to give me the elixir? As you said, you are probably far stronger than me. You just need to defeat me. Isn’t that right?”
The Great Mother is shriveling; to the point that I thought it is really weird.
She seems to want to avoid clashing with me so much that she was willing to offer me treasures and even the elixir.
Could it be related to the premonition that she mentioned earlier?
The Great Mother didn’t respond.
I took another step forward.
If we fight, I’ll definitely get broken to pieces.
In just one strike, I’ll be flattened like a pancake.
The Great Mother has the power to make it happen.
However, I cannot back down.
Since the difference in our physical sizes is overwhelming, I need to charge in as deeply as possible and fight.
I should dash in and aim for under the chin of the Great Mother.
The Great Mother, who is currently curled up in a ball, will get up and try to create distance.
What will come next would be probably her front leg or tail.
If not, she might respond and fight me using her magic.
In my head, I visualize each of the possible responses by the Great Mother and think about the next moves to match them.
There isn’t even a need to use battle focus. My mental focus is sharpening to the extreme automatically.
My heartbeat is running wild.
My blood is boiling. My body is heating up.
My arms and legs are twitching because I wanted to charge in right away. Trying to calm them is hard enough as it was.
It has been so long.
I have not met a good opponent in a very long time.
I faced difficult and dangerous situations since I entered the 12th Floor’s stage where I had to play alone. However, they never posed a real danger to me, except the Great Mother who was in front of me.
The differences in combat potentials are clear.
However, I cannot picture myself being defeated at the end of this battle.
Still, it is not like I have gone through battles where I was at a disadvantage only a few times.
Before the 12th Floor, I had fought such battles as if they were everyday thing.
Moreover, now, I am at the peak.
I have more than enough confidence to turn the tide of being in an overwhelming disadvantage.
[H… Human! I am proving the qualification for becoming the apostle of the God of Goodwill! Aren’t you the same as well!? I can feel the trace of god from you!]
God of Goodwill.
That god is slightly related to me.
It is the god who is always feeling sorry for me.
[I’m being good and kind to become the apostle. Can’t you understand me? We both wish to be apostles. Shouldn’t we help each other?]
It seems that the Great Mother was going through the trial to become the God of Goodwill’s apostle.
However, I am not sure. I am only interested in the power that I’ll have after I become an apostle. I don’t have a dream about becoming anyone’s apostle.
I am not interested in being kind to someone who is trying to become an apostle either.
[God of Adventure is disappointed.]
I ignore the message from the god of fools and took another step forward.
I am within striking range.
I will dash in at the next step.
[I… If you truly think of my children as friends! Stop immediately! If I am hurt, then the children would be sad!]
Is that how you are going to go now…
The tense atmosphere was quenched cold as if a bucket load of cold water was thrown on it. It seems the Great Mother noticed this too. She only moved her eyes around and quietly confirmed my mood.
“Don’t you think you are going too far with that?”
[However, it is still true. My children most definitely will be very sad if I get hurt.]
“… In that case, how about we have a very light duel? Light enough so that none of us would get hurt.”
[I don’t want to. I’ll definitely get hurt.]
Unexpectedly, the Great Mother has a shameless side.
Let alone a battle, she is refusing my request to use magic on me one-sidedly.
In the end, it is better to walk away after just getting the elixir.
I have everything I want, and no longer have anything else to do, so I will go back.
[I’ll tell my children that the curse is now gone. You won’t have to go find them to tell them about it in person.]
I am thankful for that.
The problem was resolved easily.
I thought the curse issue might take long, but it was already resolved. Not only that, as a bonus, I also got the elixir that will improve my abilities.
With lightened heart, I walk away from the cave. However, the Great Mother said,
[Have a safe trip back, human with funny name. Never come back.]
I was not going to have any business to come back for. Still, for some odd reason, it is spoiling my mood.
When she is saying such things, I thought it would be odd for me to go back and ask what my name meant. So, I just walked out of the cave.
The outside is still dark.
In the night sky, there are still stars shining, along with a faint crescent moon hanging there.
However, there is something that was different.
After the sun fell, the village’s fence, which was firmly shut, was now open wide.
Also, a small distance away from the opened fence, there are beastmen gathered there.
I focus my eyes and watch them in detail.
There are over twenty beastmen there. They are hugging each other and pouring out tears.
Surrounding them are souls. Surrounding them in full, they were lighting the area like fireflies.
In middle of them, I could see a few familiar faces in the mix.
Myong Myong and Lalalila.
The Great Mother said that she will tell them that the curse was gone.
As soon as they heard from the Great Mother, it seems that Myong Myong ran toward the village while the beastmen from the village ran out of the village, eventually running into each other.
It is such a long distance from here, and it was dark as well. So, I cannot see them very well.
I cannot hear their voices either.
However, I could feel the warmth blooming from the distance.
I was about to move my legs again and walk toward them.
However, it looks like there is no need for me to butt in there.
The picture there, and the story there, was already complete.
Also, I am an outsider to the story.
Since I had to part ways with them, I thought it would be good for me to do so.
Instead of walking down the mound, I plummeted down at my seat.
After that, I looked up the night sky again.
It was a magnificent view. I can never get bored of watching it.
The moon of the night sky in Seoul was only faintly visible. The night sky here is beyond comparison.
Looking at incredibly amazing night sky, I was reminded of an old question again.
Is this world really a manufactured world?
The trial of the 19th Floor was not simply guiding Myong Myong to the outside of the forest.
Within it all, there were Myong Myong’s past and his circumstance.
There are also the culture and tradition of the tribe members. The guardian goddess called the Great Mother even predicted my appearance through her dream.
Is this really a world manufactured to test me?
My theory on my question was as following.
This world does exist.
It is from a time that existed in a world.
This trial is a fabrication based on the real events, and the real people involved in them are appearing in the trial.
There are other opinions in the community. However, that’s what I have been thinking.
In that case, when this really happened in the real world for the first time, how did it end?
Did Myong Myong survive in the forest by himself until the curse ended?
If someone met Myong Myong in the forest, what would that person have chosen to do?
Would that person have been able to defeat the ghosts and bring Myong Myong to the village?
Also, would that person have led the story to a conclusion with Myong Myong and Lalalila smiling and talking?
Would there be a new story after this ending?
What kind of tragedy would have followed in the AoAeo island that was addicted to the narcotic called Paramal…
I changed the subject from the stories in the beginning to the stories about me at the end.
How am I supposed to face the story’s end?
It is a fabrication of what has already existed.
To put it simply, it is just an illusion.
An illusion of Myong Myong, an illusion of the beastmen village, and an illusion of the Great Mother and the illusion of the night sky…
Am I supposed to treat them as just fabrications?
Lately, I have been sighing frequently.
It is a bad habit.
Below the mound, there is a vast green field. It is extending to the beyond the horizon. Above it, I can see a magnificent night sky.
However, I feel confined, frustrated.
What’s going to happen to Myong Myong now?
Once I leave this place through the portal and go to the waiting room, is this story going to end like this?
Also, is Myong Myong going back to being the frightened child in the forest and repeat this story forever with next challengers, while the memories of the time we shared forever lost?
All to be just a trial for the Tutorial’s challengers?
At the moment, it is a question that I have no way of knowing the answer to. It is a problem that cannot be solved.
I dust myself and get up.
I took a moment to look at Myong Myong and then raised my hand.
On my finger is a ring made of flowers. It was the one that Myong Myong made for me.
I placed the flower ring on top of a stone tower.
After that, like how beastmen did, I prayed.
I prayed for Myong Myong’s health and happiness.
Since today’s daylight time, the portal had been following around my feet. I activated the portal.
From the dark field, I was teleported to a bright field.
A bright voice that was as bright as the sunlight welcomed me.
“Hello! Human with a funny name! Ahhahathat.”
Kiri Kiri is hiding her mouth with her hands and snickering.
When Myong Myong laughed like that, he was absolutely adorable. However, when Kiri Kiri did it, she could not look more mischievous.
* * *
On top of an empty plate, I dropped a fork while making a clanking noise.
While I was eating the cake, Kiri Kiri was tagging onto me the whole time. Now that I finished the cake, she is finally getting off of me.
My mouth tastes sweet. To wash it off, I brought out a bottle of water from the inventory.
The taste of the cake is very satisfying.
How I felt became very satisfying as well.
In front of me was Kiri Kiri. She plummets onto the ground in a tantrum. She is kicking and struggling around in disappointment as if all is lost.
She is crying out a river. She is crying loudly like a child who just lost track of her mother.
I had no idea why she was so sad. With her face aimed toward the sky, there were tears flowing out endlessly from her face.
There was one more difference between Kiri Kiri and Myong Myong.
When I saw Myong Myong cry, I felt incredibly sad. However, when I saw Kiri Kiri cry, I could not feel more happier. I would not have missed it for the world.