「……at any rate, it was because of that old man that that sort of thing was trendy for a long time. If you practice the same slash a billion times, you'll be enlightened and gain incredible power.」
—「Fissure」3rd Chief, Imai Kazuki
Episode 6. Medical Saint
Four men were sitting together in a neat office. In particular, there was a middle-aged man sitting in the prime seat whose name anyone in Gorgon Fortress would know.
Gorgon Fortress' Chancellor, Yulewen Cheever.
It was because in the absence of the castellan, he was the one currently in charge of Gorgon Fortress' operations. Of course, those who have gathered around him today also held lofty positions as well.
"Saint, can that person named Jae Hwan really use 'Death Slash'?”
“……I already said he can.”
The medical saint spoke with pursed lips, Daeju was doing the same.
"I saw it as well chancellor. It was without a doubt 'Death Slash'."
“Well if I were to be specific, it wasn't a 'slash'.”
Chung Heo spoke with a disappointed voice. He looked at the man who sat across from him. He was the only one sitting here in this office who was uninterested in the affairs of Gorgon Fortress.
'......how did this happen to me?’
Looking at Jae Hwan, Chung Heo's gaze deepened.
Neglected Cut Medical Saint Chung Heo.
It was hard to find anyone in 《Chaos》who hadn't even heard the rumors about him.
A being who could use 'Death Slash' in Chaos. There was probably nobody else more befitting of the title Neglected Cut in all of Chaos.
Of course, he wasn't just a simple member of the medical facility.
—Rumors say that the saint's power was comparable to that of the leaders of the ten sect leaders.
A member of the medical center whose power rivaled that of the sect leaders.
His history became a hot topic amongst gossipers and busybodies.
一I heard that he was an 'Abyss Champion'.
一I heard that he was a member of「Fissure」.
一I think there's a rumor that he had cleared the Master Level Tower?
Of course, no one knew the truth. It was because Chung Heo had never talked about his story before.
As time went on, the rumors around Chung Heo gradually were dismissed as trivial things.
An eccentric old man who only knew how to slash.
A perverted old man who only treated pretty young ladies.
n fact, the reason why they called him Neglected Cut is because he was eagerly anticipating the world......
"S-saint is eagerly anticipating the world......!"
Seeing the saint sitting on his knees, the medical officer couldn't help but think that the rumors were right.
While helping up Chung Heo, Daeju asked a question.
“Saint! How is the castellan?”
“……a beautiful young lady is about to die, who cares about the castellan?”
“W-what kind of nonsense……!”
Chung Heo looked past the wide-eyed Daeju and stared at Jae Hwan.
“Hey! What are you going to do now? It's because of your meddling that the Death Slash didn't work! And my sword, it's broken because of you......"
Chung Heo's shattered blade. The Death Slash could only be used by a blade that was made from the durable horn of a Four-Horned gaksu or higher. Chung Heo's expression changed.
"Oooh! Damn looks like you've got some good stuff on you!”
Chung Heo did a 180 as the gaze in his eyes changed.
“It's a garnak's horn!”
A sword exuding Garnak's Majesty.
It wasn't that he had never seen a sword made from the horn of a Five-Horned gaksu, but it was definitely the first time he had seen a mere sheath made from a garnak's horn. The garnak was just that powerful and aggressive of a garnak. Chung Heo reached towards his sword without asking for permission. However, Chung Heo felt that this wrist was tightly gripped in someone's hand.
"......hey young'un you're pretty good.”
Ever since he managed to block the 'Common Slash', Chung Heo knew that he wasn't an ordinary guy, but the young man skills were still much better than he had expected. Jae Hwan made an unexpected remark.
"If I were to lend you this sword……"
"If I lend you this sword, can you save her?"
Chung Heo's eyes widened.
"......Of course! With this body!”
Jae Hwan drew Self Will from its sheath and handed it to Chung Heo without hesitation.
Chung Heo was a bit surprised.
It was the first time he had met this man.
But he was still willing to lend his sword so easily?
He must be very confident in his ability.
Well, he could see that Jae Hwan didn't place on importance on that.
"......it's a great sword, but it's similar to its master."
While carefully inspecting the blade, Chung Heo began to chuckle crazily. As though it was uncomfortable with the old man holding onto the sword, Self Will began to cry out with its 'oong oong'.
After a few moments, Chung Heo's eyes began to turn white. It was like he was drawing a sketch in the air as the old man slowly moved the blade through the air. Everything in the room was sinking into a calm.
'It's that technique from before.’
Jae Hwan looked around in the world that had become nothing but a blank piece of paper.
Every swing of the old man's sword was followed by a white light that illuminated the world. Quietly watching the old man's form, Jae Hwan soon realized what was going on.
No, that was wrong.
This wasn't some sort of technique or magic art.
This was the world that the old man saw.
In this white world was Mino surrounded by blurred lines.
The old man looked at Mino as though he were a famous painter.
There was neither doubts nor understanding in his gaze.
He simply stared silently.
He looked both here and there.
The old man held up Self Will like he was holding onto a brush.
He then began to redraw Mino's lines.
His movements were elegant. His hands moved in a natural manner as though he had been drawing the same drawing for a hundred years.
Watching the old man's movements, Jae Hwan was swamped with a strange feeling.
His hands were both soft, yet unstoppable.
Sometimes furious, sometimes calm.
But it was never dull.
Mino's body was once again being engraved into the world.
The scene amazed Jae Hwan, and it gave him a sense of comfort.
The old man's hands began to move again. He was drawing both Mino's lips and nose. His movements became even more careful when drawing the curves of her chest. The world of white followed the dancing of his brush. It was like a soft song.
It didn't invoke any sort of great emotions, but it was comforting to just see and hear. The old man's dancing was running until its end. But in the next moment, the old man let go of Self Will and fell over.
“Aigoo, I'm too tired to be able to do this.”
The old man who had been dancing like he was possessed was now lying sprawled on the floor.
“Damn...... my spirit power is low."
The outer surface of Mino was still unstable. Even Jae Hwan could tell that the painting would finish with just a little bit more time. However, the old man seemed to have no power.
"Damn it, if it weren't for the castellan......"
The world began to shake.
Jae Hwan could tell by pure instincts. If the drawing was not to be finished, then the thing called 'Death Slash' would not be properly realized. Jae Hwan saw the helpless look in the old man's eyes. Jae Hwan hesitated for a moment.
I can't do cuts.
Even if it's just an imitation.
Jae Hwan lifted up Self Will on the old man's behalf.
He heard a cry from his surroundings. An astonished cry. It was a discouraging sound...... it was loud.
Jae Hwan closed his eyes. Jae Hwan held his breath, his「Doubt」which gave his spirit skepticism to doubt the world, and with「Comprehension」his soul yearned to seek the secrets of the world. Jae Hwan's stubborn mind slowly unraveled.
That was it. So this is what it feels like.
When he opened his eyes again, the white world like a drawing paper was spread before him. He saw Chung Heo who was looking back at him with wide eyes and Mino who was sleeping on the floor.
He was comfortable.
He looked down at his sword. This was the first he would be wielding his sword to save a life.
The white world embraced him.
Jae Hwan felt like he had the ability to draw anything in this space.
Like he was drawing a sketch, Self Will flew through the air.
He recalled Mino. A mischievous and stubborn woman . A gentle woman, even though she was an assassin. A public nuisance. But someone who doesn't betray. A woman who hated him. And......
A person who had faith in humans.
Without taking a breath, Jae Hwan moved his hand. Like a person afraid that the Mino he knew would disappear, Jae Hwan moved his hands again and again.
Some time passed.
Jae Hwan looked at the drawing, and although it seemed like it was finished, there was clearly something that was insufficient. Then Jae Hwan suddenly recalled something. It wasn't something that he had ever seen, but something he came to know by chance. Jae Hwan put a dot on Mino's right chest. It was the finishing stroke. The view became clear. Jae Hwan's breathing calmed down, and his slowly blinked.
"......did you forget about those things?”
The figure of Mino smiling and laughing stood in front of Jae Hwan's eyes.
When Jae Hwan opened his eyes, he realized that he had left the blank world.
It was why everyone in the surroundings was so quiet.
James was rubbing his eyes while the medical staff were staring at their measurement tools with trembling hands. Claire was staring at Mino with an expression as though her soul had fled her body. The black blood vessels on the surface of her skin were slowly thinning and sinking back into her skin. Someone shouted.
"The Transformation of the Neglected stopped!”
"S-soul pollution levels are dropping!”
The Neglected Cut Medical Saint was staring blankly with a shocked expression on his face.
“This, how exactly......"
He used Death Slash?
Death Slash wasn't something that could be imitated just by seeing it a couple times. It was because it wasn't a 'skill'. A technique that had been taught to a wide variety of adapters, but had yet to be mastered by any of them. That was what Death Slash was.
"......some of that narrow-minded nature of yours has disappeared."
Chung Heo mumbled as he stared at the man in front of him. The spiky momentum of the man had slowly receded. Something inside him had changed.
'......but even still, it's a small upgrade from a 5-year-old kid to a 10-year-old kid. ’
Chung Heo's lips were still pursed as though he didn't like it.
"Just who are you? Just how did you learn Death Slash......"
Having spoken that far, Chung Heo changed what he was saying. Because the stance that the man used wasn't exactly one that would be used when going for a 'slash'.
"No, I suppose it would be more appropriate to call it Death Slash. Anyways, just where did you learn that”
Daeju was surprised after hearing that, and couldn't help but ask a question.
“Was it really the same 'Death Slash' that you used?”
“.......I hate to admit it, but yeah."
“That kind of thing……"
Looking at the Daeju's expression, Chung Heo has a complicated gaze. Daeju was one of the most loyal person to the castellan of Gorgon Fortress. Chung Heo had lived here for a whopping thousand years. It wasn't hard for Chung Heo to read the mind of this greenhorn daeju that hadn't even lived for a hundred years.
“Wait, Daeju. Calm down. We still don't even know that person's identity.”
“But didn't the Saint say before? If there is one more person who can use Death Slash, then the castellan can be saved.”
Chung Heo had a difficult expression on his face.
It was because it was something that he had definitely said before. To think that he would remember the words he spoke in passing......
‘Who would have thought that there would be someone who could actually use Death Slash’
Daeju's expression had stiffened.
“Saint, there is nothing more important than the life of the castellan."
Chung Heo briefly paused hearing the word 'castellan', and then sighed.
Chung Heo opened, then closed his mouth. He was using Whisper.
[......Daeju, you should know by now that I'm an Awakened, right? Although not a perfect form......]
[TN: Awakened is 각성자(覺醒子), which could be broken down into 'Awakened to the truth']
Hearing that, the Daeju's body stiffened.
Were there any leaders or powerful people in the《Great Lands》who didn't know what the word Awakened meant? A very small number of people who deviated from the rules of the system, obtaining miraculous strength by refusing to Adapt.
In total, there weren't many people throughout the whole of the《Great Lands》that knew what an Awakened was. Some of the ruling sovereigns and subordinates in the 12th zone, and the leader of 「Fissure」who had been designated by「Big Brother」as a danger......
However the Daeju knew that there were more Awakened aside from them.
For example, the old man in front of him right now.
Although if he were compared to the sovereigns of the 12th Zone or the leader of 「Fissure」he would fall behind, an Awakened was afterall, still an Awakened. With the Neglected Cut Medical Saint Chung Heo in Gorgon Fortress, the other fortresses wouldn't dare target Gorgon Fortress.
[What if he is also an Awakened?]
The Daeju's eyes widened while listening to what Chung Heo said.
[Could that be a possibility?]
[That's what I'm saying. Besides, he would be an Awakened with an ambiguous affiliation.]
He felt a tingle in his spine. The appearance of an Awakened in Gorgon Fortress was just that serious. An Awakened would have the power to completely overturn the structure of《Chaos》.
[Could it possibly be「Fissure」?]
Daeju asked with a wary voice.
[......I can't say anything for sure since I don't know anything at the moment.]
At that time, the entrance to the tent flapped open and men wearing a dark blue uniform came in. The Magic Extermination Squad Daeju recognized them at a glance. It was a guardian group known as the Shadow Squad. And the person standing in front was the Shadow Squad Daeju.
‘Why did they come here......'
It was a battalion that had nothing to do with battles. It was an independent unit that directly received commands from the castellan.
The Shadow Squad Daeju approached Jae Hwan and stood in front of him.
"Shadow Squad Daeju humbly seeks an audience with Nokmyeong's Lion.”
Both Chung Heo and the Magic Extermination Squad Daeju exchanged looks.
"Please, come with us. The castellan's life......"
Before he could finish what he was saying, the Shadow Squad Daeju's words trailed off. He realized that something about the atmosphere was off.
“Huh? Why is the Magic Extermination Squad Daeju...... Huk! S-saint?!"
The Shadow Squad Daeju looked at Chung Heo with a terrified look on his face.
However, both Chung Heo and the MES Daeju had already stopped paying attention to the Shadow Squad Daeju. The two of them looked at Jae Hwan and thought the same thing.
They couldn't help but recall what they were thinking of just moments before.
‘Just who is this guy?’
Seeing that Chung Heo was silent after seeing Jae Hwan play around with a Neglected Soul Stone like it was a toy, Chancellor Yulewen Cheever opened his mouth.
"Jae Hwan-ssi. We have a request we would like to ask of you.”