The World after the Fall - Chapter 107[Updated at: 2021-01-11 07:16:14]
Chapter 107: Catastrophe (8)
Sameng Hoon said to Jaehwan, “I do not know why you hate this world. But I know one thing. That you hate going back in time.”
Sameng Hoon had been gathering a lot of information about Jaehwan. After numerous bribes and threats against the [Nightmares] of the Union, he was able to obtain interesting videos from the Tower of Nightmares. It was the sight of Jaehwan refusing to go back in time to start the game again. So that’s why Sameng Hoon knew Jaehwan was going to say this.
“You know that and you still offer me this?”
“Yeah, I thought you would say that.” Sameng Hoon laughed. “I’m not offering for you to go back in time. I’m a Commander of the <Great Lands>, but even I can’t control time.”
“…The Demon once told me that too.”
Sameng Hoon laughed. “Yes, of course. I am not trying to give you your ‘past’. It is different.”
He continued, “Going back in time won’t make all the horrors and nightmares you faced disappear. Isn’t that right?”
Jaehwan did not answer, but he was right.
“You will still have traces. Scars. And all the memories that you had faced even if you go back in time. But you cannot forget it either. All of that shapes who you are. It’s you.”
Jaehwan couldn’t object. He even agreed to his words. This enemy knew more than anyone else in this world.
“So, what I’m offering to give you is not the past. It’s the ‘present’.”
“Yes.” Sameng Hoon nodded, “I looked at what you did, what you had to choose in order to stay in the ‘present’. It was a noble deed, but I had a question. Was this the ‘present’ you really wanted?”
Sameng Hoon asked as he glanced around, “Answer me. Is this place, the ‘present’ you really wanted to protect?”
Jaehwan also looked around. Unfamiliar world, unfamiliar people. These were people who did not know him from his days on Earth. And Sameng Hoon added, “I am sure that this isn’t your ‘present’.”
Sameng Hoon then pointed at the video on the ceiling.
“The time that you deserve or the one that you lost. The ‘present’ you seek is not here.”
Jaehwan looked up. The people of Earth and the ordinary life within it.
“Become the 9th Commander, and you will be able to go there anytime you want.”
Jaehwan understood what he was offering. He was really offering Jaehwan a chance to go back to his world in the present.
“Of course, you will find your family too.”
Then the video showed a woman. She organized the bookshelves and took out the book titled, “The Little Prince”. She smiled as she looked over the cover page silently. Jaehwan knew who she was. For the first time, there was sadness on his face.
Sameng Hoon smiled. He knew humans well. He too was a descendant of humans. All humans had ‘longings’, or the feeling of something that had been lost. Even Sameng Hoon felt a certain emptiness when Sameng Garam had died. He wasn’t too bothered as he had lost human traits a long time ago. But these humans were in a remote region, especially the ones who just got out of [Product] stage, were different.
Sameng Hoon had been preparing for this moment. He knew Jaehwan would not reject the offer.
Jaehwan asked, “…Let me ask you again. What if I reject?”
He still was asking of that. What an amazing [Product].
“Then you will lose your ‘present’ forever.”
It was something that could be interpreted in many ways. Whichever it was, it wasn’t good.
“What do you think? I think you have every reason to join us. And even if you go to the <Depth>, you will not get what you want there. Besides, you do not have proof that you will reach the end.”
Jaehwan fell silent. He then asked, “What will become of them?”
Sameng Hoon looked up. The people of <Chaos> were in the direction that Jaehwan was looking toward.
“Are you talking about those corpses?”
Those who died. Losers who adapted to living in this world called <Chaos>. Sameng Hoon looked at the people shouting at Jaehwan even though no sound was coming through, and then spoke.
“They will die. No matter the choice.”
“…I see. So they will die.”
Jaehwan then glanced at the video of a woman and closed his eyes.
His swords began to unleash the power and wield the flame of the fall. Sameng Hoon narrowed his eyes.
“…What are you doing?”
Jaehwan declared, “I’m not going back. I’m going UP.”
Sameng Hoon couldn’t understand.
“…Why? Do you not want to go back to your home? Do you not wish to see your family?”
“Will you throw your ‘present’ at a trash can?”
Jaehwan smiled. Maybe he was right.
“I was in the trash can already.”
“What are you…”
Sameng Hoon also began to wield himself with the blue energy.
Jaehwan wanted to go back. He wanted to see his family. But…
“Past, future, present, it doesn’t matter in ‘this world’.” Jaehwan added, “I might be happy if I return, but then what?”
He swung his sword at Sameng Hoon’s right arm. It sparked with blue fire, and Jaehwan took several steps back from the impact. But he did not give up.
“You will come back again and start the damn [Cultivation].”
Maybe he could protect it for a while. Maybe the Earth might be saved from [Cultivation] for as long as Jaehwan lives. But that was it. Nothing will change.
Sameng Hoon said, “…You cannot stop [Cultivation]. It is the natural way of the world.”
“Yeah, at least in ‘this world’.”
Jaehwan knew. In this world, [Cultivation] was the law of the world. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It wasn’t Sirwen who was born to make the world, or Angels or Demons who participated in [Cultivation]. It was the ‘world’ that did not specify it as a problem.
“So, I will destroy this world.”
“Fool! Everything you love is a part of the world! Will you destroy all that you love? All that you consider valuable?”
“There is no system! It cannot be destroyed! It is Nature itself!”
Jaehwan did not answer and instead swung his swords. Sameng Hoon then gave up on persuading.
“You will give up.”
The video disappeared. His cold voice filled the space.
“You shall die in your ‘present’.”
The energy was formed into a Blue Lion again.
‘He’s connected with his body anyway. If he dies, his spirit will find its way back to his body.’
Sameng Hoon knew Jaehwan had escaped to the Tree of Imagery without finishing his tutorial, so he was still living. It meant Sameng Hoon could drive him out to the <Great Lands> and think about it later.
‘His spirit will take some damage, but I have no choice.’
The Blue lion roared and Jaehwan’s ear began to bleed, which then turned to silvery powder. He felt pain throughout his whole body.
Jaehwan then saw the lion’s fangs drawing closer and closed his eyes.
‘I have no choice.’
‘N-no! Kid no!’
Chunghuh became pale as he saw Jaehwan putting his hand into his cloth with his eyes closed. What came out was a dark stone, the one called the [Stone of the Forgotten Spirit]. Jaehwan then ate it. The blue fire then overwhelmed Jaehwan and he disappeared into the flame.
Chunghuh did guess Jaehwan was up to something.
‘So, was that why you didn’t consume horns?’
Jaehwan had no other way. There were enemies at bay that were too powerful. And Jaehwan had no time to prepare. There was only one thing he could do: borrow power from stronger being.
However, it was the price that had to be paid that was the problem.
Chunghuh charged at the barrier and began swinging his sword.
“KID! Stop! Listen to me! Please! Stop!!”
The barrier was not even damaged but Chunghuh did not stop. Then, the Commanders came forward.
“Get off, insect.”
Commander Serim kicked Chunghuh away, but Chunghuh did not take his eyes off. The Spirit Power was growing into something that was unimaginable.
Serim stopped cackling and Migata frowned. Chundo also asked seriously, “What is that?”
It was Yuha who spoke first.
“Hoon! Open the barrier! We cannot let him continue! He is…!”
But she couldn’t continue as the barrier began to crack and-
With an explosion, the space was destroyed. There was something terrifying inside. Some fainted even by ‘sensing’ the presence and some peed on themselves out of fear.
Everyone shook. A man walked through the explosion. It looked like Jaehwan, but it was no longer Jaehwan.
It was the one King who was above all in this world.
[Long time no see.]
It was Sole-King Catastrophe.