Suddenly slaughtering dozens of guards? It was something that a higher order Adapter in《Chaos》could do.
The issue lay in what happened afterwards.
The first problem was with opposing a ‘fort' on one's own.
Opposing a fort held a completely different meaning from opposing a single person or a clan. Forts here in Chaos served an intermediary role between the《Interface System》and the Adapters of the Illusion Tree by gathering and organizing the information of the various Adapters.
One fort was like its own world.
None of the 'High Order Adapters', the leaders of the ten sects included, antagonized any of the forts. There was nothing to gain for doing so.
But at this moment, Mino had begun to think that Jae Hwan didn't care about any of that.
"H-hey hey hey hey hey hey, James, wait a minute! He's actually my party member, alright?"
“……didn't you say he wasn't just a few moments ago?”
"It was just a one time joke.”
Mino said with a wry smile on her face.
"Yeah, look at my face and let it go."
James had a disgruntled look on his face.
He looked at the man with a tired expression on his face. He looked like a young man who had come to Chaos as a joke, but he was a stubborn man who he couldn't take lightly.
"If I say no?"
‘No my ass. You say no and you're all dead.’
But she could only endure and couldn't say that out loud. Even more so in front of a power hungry man like James. If she were to speak the truth like that, the situation would only get worse. What she had intended to be a light joke ended up being blown way out of proportion by the young man who lived diligently according to his own code.
"Just let it go this one time and I'll buy you a drink later. How about it?"
Mino bit her lips.
“Why are you like this today? If you need a bribe I'll give you more. Do you want more horns?”
Seeing Mino's excessively polite actions, James squinted his eyes.
"It's even more suspicious when you put it that way. That guy, I'm going to have to take him to the Chief Inspector."
Mino's face wrinkled when she heard the words 'Chief Inspector'.
Gorgon Fortress had an entrance facing each of the cardinal direction-- north, east, south, west-- and each entrance had a checkpoint and a Chief Inspector.
Normally speaking, a Chief Inspector was someone strong enough to easily handle 1st and 2nd Stage Adapters. In particular, the Chief Inspector stationed at the north gate was the most famous of them all. All of the inhabitants of the Gorgon Fortress called him this:
Mino had run into some troublesome work on multiple occasions because of Carlton. Literally 'troublesome'. Carlton was the Inspector that the Adapters of the《Illusion Tree》hated the most. But it wasn't like he had a garbage personality, resorted to violence, or charged a high toll to pass through.
It was actually the exact opposite.
None of the Chief Inspectors in the《Illusion Tree》were as clean and proper as the man named Carlton. Carlton was the most honest checkpoint inspector because he was a mixed race descendant of the Heavenly Angel race. It wouldn't be entirely wrong to say that he was born to be a checkpoint inspector.
In fact, that was the problem.
Those inspectors who were excessively strict wouldn't receive much love from the people. For example, some inspectors are moderately flexible with their rules, others accept bribes, while some are just plain crooks.
That way, the inspectors would be well received and wouldn't have to deal with too much trouble, while also promoting the fort's underground economy. If the underground economy grows, then the fort's coffers would grow at an increased rate as well.
But Carlton was an unrelenting one.
As a matter of fact, with the Obstinate Carlton at the north gate, the number of wanted persons detained reached three or four times more than the other checkpoints, so much so that those people opted to just go to a different fort altogether. It was a place where decent people would get delayed because of minor infractions, resulting in the maxim 'avoid the north gate by any means necessary' when entering Gorgon Fortress.
Things had slightly improved since James became the vice head inspector, but…….
Mino took a glimpse in Jae Hwan's direction.
'If Carlton and this guy were to meet, it would be all over……'
One was a human who lived in complete disregard for the law, while the other was of the Angel race who could never allow such a human run free. It was too much to even imagine what would happen if they met. She didn't think that making one joke would result in the current outcome. Mino felt a cold sweat run down her back.
Today might be the day where the north checkpoint unintentionally gets destroyed.
"James, there seems to be some sort of misunderstanding, but this guy isn't a bad guy, you see? Well, I mean he could be a bad guy, but he's not!"
Her mind was in a mess, so she spoke out whatever came to her mind in a fluster. Not even Mino could quite understand what she was saying.
“This person, this person saved my life. You know the Red Fox, right? Did you know this guy annihilated the Red Fox by himself?”
“Red Fox? By himself?”
"That's what I'm saying. He's not a suspicious person at all!”
He swept through a clan all by himself?
James took another glance at Jae Hwan.
The sword looked good, but the user in question looked like a beggar.
“Even still, he's quite suspicious?"
“No, because of that…… y-you, say something!"
Hearing that, Jae Hwan's gaze turned a little strange. Although his eyes didn't seem to be laughing, they definitely seemed to be enjoying the situation. Mino used Whisper and sent Jae Hwan a message with an uneasy voice.
[Ah, for real, don't you think you went too far? It was just a little prank……]
Mino's Whisper was met with silence.
“What she said is correct."
Mino's pretty face crumpled.
"Be more sincere and describe it so it's more believable! Talk about when and where you killed them!"
Jae Hwan did not say anything.
Acting like he knew this was what was going to happen, James let out a snort.
An urgent Whisper found its way to Jae Hwan.
[You, do you think it's the time to be joking around? I'm sorry! Since I made a mistake……]
But at that moment, Mino realized that Jae Hwan was staring at a person approaching from afar. A powerful and stubborn man was approaching.
It was someone who would completely undo Mino's desperate efforts.
He was tall and handsome with unblemished skin. He was an alien who was human-like in appearance with the exception of his beautiful, silver wings.
'Gorgon Fortress' most stubborn person.
Mino's expression stiffened while James' face bloomed.
"……Hello everyone, what's going on here?”
Gorgon Fortress's very own.
It was the Chief Inspector of the northern checkpoint, Obstinate Carlton.
After listening to what had happened, Carlton began to rub his chiseled jaw. It was a habit that Carlton had picked up during times of frustration.
Obstinate Carlton was famous not only for his personality, but also for his beauty.
Of course, it was for no other reason than him being of angelic descent.
The appearance of Carlton stroking his chin with his blonde hair tied behind his back was so graceful that casting artists throughout Gorgon Fortress would make busts of his figure and sell them to women.
The most popular piece of art,『Carlton Distressed』 .
But to someone like Mino who didn't care about what Carlton looked like or what he did, he was nothing but an annoying dandy who happened to be the chief inspector of Gorgon Fortress.
"So because of what happened Chief, the Red Fox……"
“Somehow, the Red Fox ended up getting cleaned up.”
Mino shut her mouth.
The situation was going to take a turn for the worse.
Carlton looked towards Jae Hwan and asked a question.
"So that's why you wish to enter the fort?”
“But you don't have a certificate.”
"I cannot allow that."
Carlton closed his mouth for a moment.
Why would he be curious about such a 'natural' thing?
It was something he couldn't understand. It was the first time someone had asked such a thing in the 55 years that Carlton had been working as the northern checkpoint inspector in Gorgon Fortress. It won't be allowed because it's not allowed. There was no need for a reason. But despite that, this guy was asking why.
Carlton's face took on a strange, joyful expression.
Mino grasped her forehead.
She couldn't help but think that 'that' was finally going to come out.
Carlton opened his mouth.
“If you can't prove your identity by use of the certificate, then by the authority of the Checkpoint Chief Inspector, I have the right to deny any travelers entry. It is stated so in Article 27 paragraph 4 of the Gorgon Fortress rules of entry. In addition, once more referring to the Gorgon Fortress rules of entry Article 34 Paragraph 2……"
The surrounding guards began to get excited.
“I-it came out! The Chief Inspector's『Obstinate Law Encyclopedia』!”
"Oooh, it's been awhile?”
“How is it possible for anyone to memorize such a thing, every time I see it, I can't help but think how impressive it is."
“I sometimes want to just say that's it's all a lie. Isn't it different every time?”
In the meantime, the guards at the northern checkpoint were bustling with excitement. They had their reasons. They believed in their Checkpoint Commander. The adapters had a saying.
‘The strongest inspector of the four Gorgon Fortress checkpoints is Carlton.’
Although his position was only that of a checkpoint inspector, there had never been a breach of the northern checkpoint in the 55 years that Carlton had been working there. Nobody was actually aware of how Carlton's skills were.
"……in addition, according to Article 2, Section 7 of the Gorgon Confinement act, which is based on a similar precedent, a person who approaches the fort without a certificate can be forcibly detained……"
At that moment, Jae Hwan spoke up.
“Stop, I get it."
Hearing that, the guards' faces paled.
“So in other words, you're here to arrest me, right?”
Sighs erupted from here and there.
Nobody had ever dared to speak to Carlton like that in ten years. There was no change on Carlton's face, but the guards knew.
Carlton was angry.
"Well, if you don't have a 'certificate', then yes, I have the right to do so right now.”
"Why do I need something like that to prove who I am?”
"You just need it. Everyone else here uses it to verify their own identity.”
"What is even written on the certificate?”
"Your real name, affiliation, your job and related skills, some information on your status, criminal history and spirit contamination values, and……"
"Then there's even more reason for me not to need a certificate.”
Carlton raised his eyebrow as he heard what Jae Hwan said.
Every resident of 《Chaos》 had certificates and used those certificates to prove their identity.
A certificate is one of the few ways with reliability that an Adapter could use to prove their identity in Chaos. However, the man in front of Carlton was denying the need for a certificate.
“I don't quite understand what you mean. Then what are you going to use to prove that you are you?”
"I'm not going to prove my identity.”
Carlton was taken aback by Jae Hwan's self-assured statement. Such a case where an Adapter would speak like that was so rare that Carlton had not ever met someone like this in the 55 years he was working here.
It was because most Adapters had been unable to resist the binding power of Carlton's recitation of the「Law」. Carlton wasn't simply reciting the Law for no reason.
A spoken command skill ,「Law」.
A high level ability that only a very few people in the fort could resist. It was an ability that Carlton had received from Gorgon Fortress after having his abilities as an inspector acknowledged. In fact, he was the only to have received a skill. Not even 3rd Order Adapters could resist Carlton's recitation of the「Law」and would be left kneeling on the ground.
Even moreso, instead of Jae Hwan getting affected by the skill that Carlton had casted, it was Carlton's side that seemed to have taken a hit.
A soul that not even the Law could infiltrate.
From a certain standpoint, Carlton was impressed.
‘This guy feels like he's trying to prove himself without proving himself.’
Could such a thing actually exist?
"If this is how it is, then I, Carlton, will arrest you pursuant to Article 2, Section 7 of the Gorgon Confinement Act."
A silver aura burst forth from Carlton's hands.
The aura wrapped around Jae Hwan's entire body like a net. The surrounding guards started to cheer. It was because it was a rare sight to behold.
If『Carlton Distressed』was a top selling item for female collectors, then the thing that the richest person of Chaos owned was the Carlton Collection. A hidden collection of Carlton covered in a silver aura.
Its name was『Carlton's Prison of Silver』.
That was because the model for that piece was right in front of them.
Another nickname for Carlton was Silver Imprisonment.
The Angel race's inherent skill,「Silver Imprisonment」.
It was one of Carlton's top skills. A silver chain that made it impossible for those who've been bound to escape.
But after a few moments, Carlton was once more startled.
The silver aura that wrapped around Jae Hwan disappeared like smoke as soon as it touched him.
It wasn't that there had never been any Adapters to resist the「Law」. There were sometimes Adapters who were born with a strong spiritual power. But not even Adapters as strong as them could avoid Carlton's inherent ability「Silver Imprisonment」.
It was because every Adapter who had successfully resisted the Gorgon Fortress's Law was 'evil' and therefore, by nature, could not escape from Silver Imprisonment.
However, Carlton's「Silver Imprisonment」was showing that the man who was in front of him was not an evildoer.
Why was this happening?
Mino took advantage of that opening to intervene.
“Chief Inspector-nim! This person has a certificate, but he forgot it and doesn't have it with him right now. If you just let him go this time, I'll make sure that he carries it with him!
How about it? I'll be sure to make sure he never forgets!”
Small, trembling shoulders. Small hands gripped so tight they had become white.
Jae Hwan took a calm look at Mino whose teeth were clenched tight. Seeing such a proud woman acting the way she was, he couldn't help but feel that the reputation and dignity of this fort was incredibly high.
'Law. He said it was the law.’
At that moment, Jae Hwan changed his attitude and extinguished his fighting spirit.
Mino's expression instantly lit up.
‘Ahh, finally, this man is listening to what I'm saying.’
There was no reason for things to have been blown so far out of proportion in the first place. It would have been annoying, but it would have been simple to just follow the inspector's directions, provide information by using the Interface System, listing everything down, and then receiving a new certificate.
"I see. Let's do things according to your 'laws'."
Feeling as though things were proceeding along much too calmly, Mino began to have an ominous feeling. Carlton nodded his head.
"That's good. Then from now on, you'll be restrained……"
Hearing that, Jae Hwan made an odd expression.
"No, there's no need to arrest me.”
"What kind of……"
“I can just do what that woman did earlier, right?"
Mino came to a stop.
Like what I did? What did I……
Mino's face completely blanched.
"W-wait, hold on!"
But it was too late, Jae Hwan had already rummaged through his dimensional bag before throwing 'something' towards Carlton. Teuk, with that sound, Carlton caught that 'something' that Jae Hwan had tossed out.
"Take that and let me go. That'll be enough, right? From what I saw, this is how things work, right?"
Everyone's jaws dropped.
James's face as he made eye contact with Jae Hwan was especially good.
Carlton looked at the 'something' in his hands with an expression that looked like his soul had left his body.
"What's going on? You said to do things according to the「Law」, isn't this how everyone does things? From what I saw earlier, this was how things were done."
Something that everyone knew but rarely acted in accordance with.
Jae Hwan spoke up again.
"Ah, perhaps, it's not enough? Then take this as well."
Another 'something' went flying in Carlton's direction.
Mino couldn't stand it any longer, and her screaming voice appeared in Jae Hwan's mind.
[Y-y-you, are you serious?!]
The surrounding air began to freeze.
In particular, the faces of the guards that had taken bribes, James included, had become especially cold.
‘This guy needs to die right now!’
They knew that if these illegal bribes were to be made known to Carlton, the cleanest inspector in all of Chaos, then he would definitely not let them go.
Thinking that he would no longer have any opportunities after this, James took up his weapon and ventured forward.
“How dare you shamelessly try to bribe the Chief Inspector you fool!"
“Chief! This degenerate should be executed on the spot!”
With other people it may not be so certain, but it was something to avoid doing in front of Obstinate Carlton. So far, there were 154 poor sops trapped in a prison somewhere in Gorgon Fortress for attempting to sway Carlton's mind with bribes.
The 155th person was right about to be born before their very eyes.
James was expectant.
He wanted to see the scene where Gorgon Fortress' cleanest inspector cleans up the filth before his eyes.
Despite that, Carlton's expression was pale.
"……did you say your name was Jae Hwan?”
After looking at the blue gem in his hands for some time, Carlton looked up then back down at the game then up again before changing his attitude to one of respect and sincerity.
And then, something way out of left field happened.
"You really like to joke a lot. I've been waiting for you. Nokmyeong's envoy."