The World after the Fall - Chapter 157 - God of Madness (4)[Updated at: 2021-01-11 07:16:32]
Chapter 157: God of Madness (4)
It had been a month since Jaehwan arrived at the Forest of Madness. He spent most of his time inside the hot springs within the forest.
Through the steam of the springs, Jaehwan saw the shadow of the leader. It had been a month, but he still couldn’t find a way to get closer to him. He was now even suspicious if this leader actually existed.
“…You’re always here these days.”
Like today, Runald often visited Jaehwan However, he wasn’t here to look for Jaehwan as he was only here to run away from the ‘ladies’. Runald was very popular with them.
“They always want to scrub my body.”
Those ‘ladies’ always scrubbed Runald’s body. Jaehwan commented, “I’m sure it’s a good thing for you.”
“You never know. Their scrubbing might have some secret trick.”
“That’s as stupid as the [Setting] that makes you become more powerful as you get naked.”
“Yeah, right?” Runald sighed.
“Karavan says something similar nowadays. What was it? The philosophy of scrubbing or something.”
“Karavan said that?”
He then realized it had been a while since he had seen the man. Karavan used to visit Jaehwan often to rant when they first came to the forest.
‘I must recover my link with Ignis, and kill those sons of b*tches.’
‘I will hang those bastards who I scrubbed the Hell Flame.’
He then returned hopelessly. However, it had been 2 weeks since the last time he visited. Jaehwan just thought Karavan had given up… but sharing the ‘Philosophy of Scrubbing’? It was very interesting.
“What’s he doing these days?”
“Same as always. Scrubbing people. I think he’s come to like it now.”
“…He likes it?”
“He says, ‘Scrubbing is a serious business, kid. You’re too young to understand.\'”
Runald imitated Karavan and shrugged.
“I wasn’t sure where he was going with it. He said scrubbing is ‘good’ and that we always have to scrub… so that we’ll find the true meaning of life. And in the end, you will find the true understanding of the world through scrubbing… Something like that.”
If it was months ago, Jaehwan would have burst into laughter. However, he was different now.
“I see. Clothes or scrubbing… I think it doesn’t matter what you call it.”
“I guess Karavan is on the right path after all.”
“…Are you serious?”
Runald frowned as he took a few steps back. It seemed like he was growing suspicious of Jaehwan.
“I think he’s understanding the Unclothing.”
“These people call it Metamorphosis. I just call it the Unclothing.”
Unclothing. The way of taking off the ‘clothes’ that covered the layers of spirit. It was the daily routine of all the warriors here had and their secret to becoming powerful.
“And what exactly is that?”
“What I’m always doing.”
Runald looked at Jaehwan who was still inside the water and asked in a doubtful voice, “A bath?”
“Yeah, you can say that.”
Jaehwan shrugged and looked around. The heat in the spring was very intense. Throughout the month, Jaehwan had a total of 37 moments where he could’ve died. He kept on walking through the boiling hot water in hopes of meeting the ‘leader’ on the other end of the steam.
But he couldn’t get to the leader yet. The only thing he could do was to keep walking.
For hours, or sometimes for the entire day, he walked towards the ‘leader’ until his world power ran out. In all of those near-death experiences, he met many of his old selves from different times.
-Stop it already!
Sometimes he even heard voices. And as he remembered the old days, he felt his layers being taken off as his power greatly increased.
The steps were always the same. Ra-hamad appeared from somewhere and brought Jaehwan out from the spring, mumbling ‘Ouroboros’. It was then that the day’s ‘Unclothing’ had finished.
Runald asked, “Jaehwan, what are ‘clothes’? I think these people really consider it seriously.”
Jaehwan didn’t know, but he didn’t say it. He was ‘unclothing’ right now so he couldn’t just say he wasn’t sure what it was. Jaehwan even had asked Ra-hamad what ‘clothes’ actually were, but Ra-hamad’s answer was just this:
Jaehwan was annoyed.
“And what is that supposed to mean? You always just say ‘Ouroboros.\'”
‘Ouroboros is Ouroboros.’
“Can’t you simplify it? It doesn’t help if you make it complicated.”
‘It’s not a matter of complicating.’
Ra-hamad then spoke to Jaehwan with a sympathetic look on his face.
‘You are out of the system, but still live in the system.’
That was very striking to Jaehwan. Jaehwan then realized in the future that word was going to lead the way in the fight against Big Brother.
Runald was looking at Jaehwan. He answered, “Oh, what were we talking about?”
Jaehwan thought. Runald wanted an answer to which he did not have.
“Clothes is Ouroboros.”
“…And what’s that supposed to mean? Oh, the warriors did say ‘Ouroboros’ when they pointed at my genitals.”
Ouroboros while pointing at the genitals? That seemed like a very different meaning. Runald quickly covered his genitals as he realized Jaehwan was looking right at it and asked, “A-anyway. So, what is Ouroboros?”
“I don’t know.”
“…Are you making fun of me?”
“I don’t know everything!”
Runald then shouted angrily.
“But you are doing that Unclothing thing! You are unclothing but you don’t what you’re taking off? It doesn’t make sense!”
He was right. Jaehwan then asked, “Runald. Do you know what is life?”
Runald couldn’t answer. The question wasn’t easy. He could say whatever, but he couldn’t just say it out loud. Life couldn’t just be described by words.
Runald shook his head.
“I’m not sure.”
Jaehwan nodded. “Exactly.”
“You don’t know what is life, but you’re living it, right?”
Runald then became astonished. He stared at Jaehwan with an admiring look on his face.
“W-wow! That is brilliant! You are brilliant!”
“I see… Ouroboros… our life…!”
It seemed Runald was going to start talking nonsense, so Jaehwan waved his hand and stopped him from talking.
“Runald, let’s end it here.”
“Because I feel like I’m dying.”
Runald became frantic and Jaehwan spoke in an ‘Ouroboros’ kind of face.
“Take me out after about 10 minutes. Okay?”
And Jaehwan feel unconscious. It was his 38th near death experience.
And after another month, he finally was able to reach the end of the hot spring.