<<Nightmare tower>> Carpe Diem.
Constructing this so called [Project Carpe Diem] tower came to Jae Hwan’s mind a week ago, right after the colossal deceased Magrit incident.
-Are you serious? Only Nightmares make towers.
Nightmares are the only beings who can construct and program a tower. Other races like devils and angels knew how to fiddle with the systems a little, but the only ones who could build a tower were Nightmares.
A human attempting to build it was a laughable engagement.
-It’s fine. Meikal can do it. And I’m not making a whole tower. Just the first floor.
-Only the first floor?
-All it has to do is manipulate the time inside. It’s not like I expect much from it in the first place.
Like so, a week after the workers of <<Twilight Shadow>> had briefly disappeared from the fortress, Carpe Diem, the first human-made nightmare tower revealed itself.
“… I never thought a human would be able to build a tower.”
The interior of the tower was nothing more than an endless plain, but the fact that the tower was built was remarkable. To make a tower was to build a world. Being able to create the textures and senses, and having an imagination capable of the high level details of the world was not an easy thing. That was why even between Nightmares, the ability to craft a tower was looked up to. Furthermore, in the history of the <<Great Lands>>, not one creature who was not a Nightmare succeeded in crafting a tower. This human-made tower would forever be the first.
‘It did take a lot of effort.’
Jae Hwan and Meikal had worked on the tower night and day without rest the whole week. Without Jae Hwan’s memories of the time he was in his tower, and Meikal’s crafting ability, constructing this would have been impossible. During the process of constructing the tower, Jae Hwan got to understand the nature of Nightmares better. Like how their [process] skill was similar to Jae Hwan’s power of the awakened.
Jae Hwan actually doubted if Nightmares were not the first people to awaken in this world. That was just how much of the skills needed to build a tower was centered around the power of awakened. Maybe it was something obvious. A man needed to see the essence of the world first in order to create one. Maybe Nightmares knew the world more than any other. They had their own definition of towers, and probably understood what [cultivation] is.
A tower had brought them all here. Today, a tower was built to return to them what they had lost in <<Chaos>>.
“I am deeply moved. Not to be a [product], but to put an end to [production] have I entered the tower again…” Jae Gal Myong said.
“Me too! That's what I wanted to say!”
Yun Yong also seemed excited.
All the Arks were waiting for Jae Hwan to speak.
“All the trainings will be held here from now on.”
Jae Hwan looked at each of the Arks in turn and said,
“You probably have guessed, but time flows about 100 times slower here. Implying that 100 days in here is one day outside. So a week would be 700 days for you guys; around 2 years.”
The Arks had gotten 2 years to train. But their faces froze hearing Jae Hwan’s next words.
“But as time slows, its concentration rises. The fatigue your souls will feel will be on a different level than outside.”
“So we will be polluted faster.”
Jae Gal Myong stated.
“Yes. The pollution will be inversely proportional to the slowed time. It should be especially bad for an old soul like yours; you are not as young as when you first entered tutorial.”
The Arks had already sensed the corruption and the slow passage of time. Despite their general resistance against pollution, their corruption levels were rising rapidly.
“Because of that, I installed a system that will eject you from the tower when you reach 80% pollution. We have prepared a stack of horns for your consumption upon ejection so you don’t have to worry.”
How considerate. The Arks saw Jae Hwan in a new light.
“We will now divide between two groups: those who want to awaken, and those who don’t.”
The Arks realized that it was their turn to make a decision.
“The former, go to my right, and latter, go to my left.”
Kaiman moved first. He unhesitatingly marched to Jae Hwan’s right.
Jae Hwan warned him.
“You could die.”
“I will not regret it,”
Kaiman’s eyes were unfaltering.
“The only possibility left for my growth is awakening anyways.”
Kaiman had felt himself hit the limit as a non over-adapter unlike the rest of the Arks. He at first was shocked by his loss against a 50-year-old soul, but he swallowed his dejection and saw this as a chance to become strong. As he learnt more about awakened from Jae Hwan, his resolve was strengthened further.
‘An awakened does not kneel to the system’s limits.’
That was what Kaiman realized during his acquaintance with Jae Hwan. Jae Hwan’s skills used enormous amounts of spirit energy, but he did not possess more than what the world defined as a non-adapter.
‘That amount of energy is impossible without being at least a 10th order adapter.’
Adapters learnt a transcendent skill called [Endless circuit] when they reached the 10th order. The skill allows them to preserve the amount of spirit power no matter how much the adapter uses.
Awakened already possessed a similar skill in their 3rd stage. [Endless circuit] seemed to work on different principles, but they both were same in the sense that they allowed the user to draw out near infinite spirit energy.
Will he unyieldingly persist at climbing to the 10th order? Or will he give up that path and try a new one called awakening?
On that crossroad of choices, Kaiman unhesitatingly chose the latter. Because the former was an achievement difficult even for the most talented over-adapters.
“I will do anything to get a chance to beat those sovereigns.”
When the first volunteer came up, the rest of the Arks hesitated.
‘Are we missing an opportunity?’
‘But what if we fail after we give up the system…’ they whispered.
Their open frankness was too embarrassing to watch. Chung Heo nearby started to shake his head.
Ja Guk Lyung opened her mouth.
“Lord, may I ask a question?”
“Is the ‘awakening’ you propose guaranteed?”
Her question made the others pause. Why had they not asked this yet?
Jae Hwan replied,
“It is not.”
Except for Kaiman, the Ark’s made a disappointed face.
“Are you telling us to risk our everything so precariously?”
“I’m fifty years old, and I was able to do it. Are you unable to do it?”
Ja Guk Lyung bit her lips. She was pissed off, but the dangers to the proposal were too high for her to give a capricious consent. And more importantly, the memories of awakened that have gone mad from the [mass disappearance] still lingered in her mind.
Jae Hwan continued,
“I’m telling you to decide on your own because it’s dangerous. In the <<Abyss>>, there are going to be things you will have to face worse than the loss of your skills and stats. Isn’t that true, old man?”
Chung Heo answered,
“With you guys’ levels, forget entering into the entrance of <<Chaos>>, you won’t even be able to pass the <<Palace of deceased>> on the way to the entrance.”
Palace of deceased!
The Home of Catastrophe, king of Chaos, and the residence of countless deceased ranging from minor to colossal. The Arks shivered just by imagining the place.
“If we succeed, how strong can we get?”
Jae Gal Myong asked,
“If you succeed you will get as strong as me.”
The Arks wavered again hearing that they could become par with Jae Hwan. The strength to fight a colossal deceased; the strength to match the highest ranks of the 12 territory: Sovereigns and Generals and high ranks and mid ranks...
“But the probability of you succeeding is not high. It’s about…”
“Basically, if you succeed, it’s a miracle.”
Chung Heo finished Jae Hwan’s words.
“That wench talked about [mass disappearance] or whatever, but even that oh-so-great [Fissure] failed at producing awakened. Not even 0.01% adapters in that initial group of tens of thousands awakened. Those who did awaken killed themselves or died because of the shock they received.”
He talked as if he was well informed on the subject. But it was not strange that he knew it; he was over a thousand years old, and this [mass disappearance] occurred 700 years ago.
“The reason why I and the lord want to risk this chance and attempt to turn you into an awakened is because without being one, you cannot survive in the expedition.”
His bleak warning made them consider their choices again.
Ja Guk Lyung was again the first one to open her mouth.
“There must be a way to become stronger without becoming an awakened. As I know it, 9th order adapters are comparable to 3rd degree awakened.”
Chung Heo replied.
“What a bothersome wench. Well, it’s not wrong. The problem is, how you would become a 9th order adapter.”
“I don’t think I’m the one to think up a solution for that.”
She looked at Jae Hwan.
“You resolved the problem of time. It is time for me to ask another question.”
“How do you plan to raise our order?”
The question hit the core in all its frankness. Assuming that Jae Hwan and Chung Heo will take care of matters regarding awakening, how do they plan to strengthen the rest?
“As I know it, the only way for a high order adapter to raise their order is to learn new skills, or reach a certain level of enlightenment.”
“That’s right. Or actually, the skills have to be of the highest grade.”
The limit to developing by raising one’s spirit power came at around the 7th order. The system stopped at one point to elevate their order based on spirit power.
Jae Hwan spoke.
“I have prepared something for that.”
“… What is it? Did you steal a bunch of high level skill book or something?”
High grade skill books were impossible to find outside the treasury of the 5 great families or the 12 legions of the <<Great lands>>. Most of the Arks here did not learn more than 3 of those skills.
“You don’t necessarily need a skill book. You can learn from a teacher.”
Ja Guk Lyung frowned.
Skills could be learnt from others too. But who would be willing to pass on those skills more valuable than their life? And who had high grade skills other than the Arks in <<Chaos>>?
“Who dares claim to teach the ten Arks? Who is it?” Ja Guk Lyung growled.
Ja Guk Lyung looked around hastily. But she did not see anyone except Jae Hwan, Chung Heo, and the six Arks.
“Is it perhaps you?”
Jae Hwan interrupted her.
“You will learn each other’s skills. You are the teachers.”
Ja Guk Lyung opened her mouth blankly, and wondered why they never thought of this before.