The World after the Fall - Chapter 11[Updated at: 2021-01-11 07:15:37]
Chapter 11: Witch of Massacre (1)
[If you wish to become strong, climb the Tree of Imagery, only if you are confident that you will not go mad.]
-Huhyoo, Lord of Steel
Episode 2. Witch of Massacre
In the forest that seemed to be endless, the sun was high in the sky, with its heat drying up his entire body.
He could not feel how long he had been wandering.
Jaehwan wiped off his sweat as he glanced around.
The footprint he found through the bushes were about the size of Jaehwan’s. Even if it didn’t belong to a human, surely it had been left by some form of bipedal being.
It had been a month since he broke free of the Tower of Nightmares. He had traveled through an endless forest all that time.
He wasn’t sure where he was.
He must be somewhere among the <Great Lands>, but he just couldn’t figure out where it was. The heat of the forest made Jaehwan think it was ‘Fiery Region’, or one of the 12 regions from Beastlain’s information about the <Great Lands>, but it didn’t look like it was true since it did not have the famous ‘Burning Tree’ of the Fiery Region.
Jaehwan then thought he would know once he met with someone. He did encounter monsters similar to what he had seen at the tower, but these monsters had some special features. They all had horns, varying from one to five.
Yet none of them were enough of a threat to Jaehwan.
The strongest one he fought so far was a five-horned wolf. It moaned in pain as Jaehwan stabbed it, but it did not die at once. After a few more stabs, it was dead.
‘So the monsters are mostly weak here.’
He couldn’t figure if he had become strong, or these monsters were weak. But it wasn’t only monsters that he came across.
He did encounter some mysterious intelligent beings.
They were non-humans who wore white robes like ancient monks, but they had green skin and a pair of antennae on their heads.
“Worthless human### HOW DARE###”
He couldn’t understand what they were saying, but he tried hard to speak to them as it was a rare occurrence for him to met an intelligent being. Even with his [Suspicion] at full power, he still couldn’t understand their language.
“#### HORN!! ####”
They pointed and shouted at the horns of wolf that Jaehwan killed and carried on his belt.
“###PUNY HUMAN!### HORN OF PENTAHORN!!”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m a puny human and this here is a horn.”
It seemed like he was able to speak.
“### HORN! ###”
A few of them approached Jaehwan and he felt a bit alarmed.
‘Why are they coming all of a sudden?’
There was no way he could understand. They did mention something about a horn, so Jaehwan flashed it as he spoke.
“Good. I’ll give you this if you tell me where this is…”
Then they attacked with their swords unsheathed. It wasn’t just a threat. Jaehwan then turned to the sky. The sun-like thing was up there. It was hot.
He dodged again.
“If you do that again, I’ll kill you all.”
And he dodged yet again.
Soon, all of them lay dead. They bled blue blood before they died and perished to dust. Jaehwan grabbed the last surviving one by its antennae and asked,
“Let me ask. Where is this place?”
He pulled it harder.
“Tree of Imagery### Chaos….###”
He pulled again.
“Tell me so I can understand. What are you? Demons?”
“### WE ARE FAMOUS### NO##”
He pulled yet again.
“I told you to say it so I can understand.”
“HHA### EJJJ# ARGG#”
It continuously spoke in a weird language while Jaehwan pulled its antennae, and soon its eye turned back, showing the whites. Then Jaehwan could understand what it said.
“HUMAN. KILL. YOU.”
And those were its last words as it bit its tongue and killed itself, turning into white dust.
‘I thought they were weaklings.’
It seemed as if it had a way to come back, since it committed suicide without any hesitation. Jaehwan was astonished, and he buried the parts of antennae on a hill, which also turned into powder and disappeared.
He couldn’t get much information but he acquired something.
It was the items that the group had in their belongings.
Most of the things weren’t useful but one was good. After checking it with [Suspicion], the small white bag he had on his back was as follows:
Name: Small Dimensional Backpack
Description: Use dimensional space to haul various objects. Provides 2 square meters of storage space.
‘It’s like an inventory.’
After he got out of Tower of Nightmares, he was not allowed to use most skills that were provided by the Interface System, such as inventory. It was weird as Beastlain had said that the Interface System worked throughout all the <Great Lands>.
It was maybe because of the weird experience he went through before he got out of the tower.
The feeling of his body dismantling, and reassembling into a new thing.
He could not even use his [Item Identifier] skill so he had to rely on [Suspicion] to determine the details of an item.
Anyway, the backpack was the most important thing. Jaehwan gathered everything left by those he killed.
‘What is this? A jewel?’
They had well-cut crystal-like jewels. Most were blue-colored and some were red. Two of them were black, and one of them came from the last one that had committed suicide.
It might be of value so Jaehwan put it into his bag.
‘I should throw these away.’
The other equipment that they had on was too big to fit in the bag. As Jaehwan was deciding on what to do, the Frost Dragon Sword at his waist began vibrating.
After he got out of the Tower of Nightmares, his Frost Dragon Sword had become weird. Weird black energy began radiating through its blade and kept on vibrating as if it now had a will.
It vibrated harder when it became hungry.
Jaehwan took out the sword and thrust it into a pile of equipment. Then the blade opened up like a mouth and began devouring the equipment. Jaehwan looked at it in awe. As the sword ate up the equipment, the color of the sword turned even darker. It also seemed to be increased its durability.
Jaehwan did have a speculation on what the sword had become, but it was only a guess at this stage so he decided to leave it be. There was something more important at hand. The last good thing he earned from them.
It was the map of this forest region.
It was different and crude from the map of Earth, but he had no problem using it with the help of [Suspicion]. He read the name of the map.
‘How do I read this? Tree… Im… Chaos… Hm…’
The top of the map read <Tree of Imagery – Chaos>. Then he remembered Beastlain mentioning the Tree of Imagery once.
“Tree of Imagery is a huge tree located at the center of <Great Lands>. Its purpose… well, it’s not important. You’ll know later.”
The name also appeared with scribbles left by Mulack, the creator of the tower.
[…My creation is a root to maintain ‘The First Nightmare’ at the top of Tree of Imagery…]
After combining of these clues, it seemed that the Tower of Nightmares was connected to the Tree of Imagery somehow, meaning the place he had arrived at after coming out of the tower was either very close to the tree or a place that was connected to the tree.
What was certain was that this area wasn’t in the information that Beastlain had given to him.
It seemed like the races he killed were moving toward the mark on the map. It was possible that it was a village of some kind. After a long examination of the map, Jaehwan was able to make out where he was on the map.
‘I need information first.’
He had been lucky to meet weaker foes, but there was no telling if it would continue to be the same. He needed to meet someone so he could gather more knowledge. He needed to consider himself as a newbie in this new world so he could survive.
But it didn’t mean he would learn how to cooperate with this world.
Learn about the world, but never cooperate with it.
That was what he decided when he broke out of the Tower of Nightmares. It was also what made him break out of the tower in the first place.
‘There might be someone who broke out of the tower like me.’
Jaehwan wished to see a living human if possible. He thought there might be humans living here who were freed from being a product. Beastlain spoke to him once.
‘There are a lot of humans out in the <Distant Worlds>. World 294 is only one of them.’
If what he said was true, there was a possibility that humans lived in the <Great Lands>.
He was curious. He was curious about how the humans in this lands lived, and what they thought about it. And what was it like to live after they left the tower?
After a long walk, Jaehwan stopped.
In front of the direction of the footprints was the sound of weapons clashing. He was able to see the owner of the footsteps. Through the bushes, there were about five people hunting horned monsters.
They were humans.