The World after the Fall - Chapter 16

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 07:15:39]
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Chapter 16: Witch of Massacre (6)



“Wait! You don’t even have a sword!”


“I have one more.”


Jaehwan pulled out a sword from his dimensional backpack. It was the Dragon Sword that he got from the 88th floor of the Tower of Nightmares.


Mino shouted, “That’s not going to be enough…!”


The fight erupted before she could finish. Adapters quickly lunged at once all together. There were attacks from various weapons in a continuous strike. Some even had special skills that Mino recognized.


‘Fire King’s Fourteen Strike…!’


It was the main attack skill of the Fire King Clan of the Ten-Clan of Chaos. If trained to the extreme, it allowed the weapon to wield fire and burn the area.


‘So, the Fire King clan really was selling skills to lower clans..!’


The forest was burning. The fire of the Fire King burned everything in its path and the mad fox ran rampant from within. Jaehwan readied himself.


Mino knew what he was trying to do. She needed to stop Jaehwan.


A mere [Stab] was not enough to defeat the Fire King’s Fourteen Strike.


But Mino could not believe what she saw. She could not believe her five senses. The law of time was being distorted in front of her eyes.


[Void]


Mino, who was right next to Jaehwan, was able to see it for just a slight moment. The swords rushing to Jaehwan were slowing down, and Jaehwan moved through them effortlessly.


‘…Am I dreaming?’


None of the attacks could land on Jaehwan’s seemingly frail body. It seemed as if Jaehwan did not exist.


[Suspicion]


Among the weapons, there was a way that was only shown to Jaehwan. The one line that was only visible to the one who is suspicious of the world. Jaehwan’s sword moved.


It was a stab, a mere stab.


It wasn’t anything grand, but with accurate, rhythmic movement, the blade slashed the enemy’s bodies. Lightning flashed and brightened the darkness. Six of the Red Fox members disappeared to dust.


“DAMMIT! KILL HIM!”


The rest of them became frantic and began pairing up to attack. Fire King’s Fourteen Strike attacked from all four sides, a prison cell made from the fire. It was an attack that none would stand a chance against.


Yet, Jaehwan came out from it unharmed.


“…How?”


There was much more to it than him remaining unharmed from the fire.


[Understanding]


The fire was now gathering at the end of his blade, as if it actually originated from his blade. Something bad was going to happen. Klant, the Black Fox, shouted as he felt an attack incoming.


“Everyone! Get to cover!”


Then Jaehwan thrusted. But it wasn’t just a simple stab.


The air was extracted and grew silent. In that short silence, Klant and the other Adapters felt their breath stop and their lungs getting struck. Klant had felt this feeling a few times during his lifetime.


It was when he stood upon a Leader of the Ten-Clan, the strongest of the Chaos.


As the air exploded, the flame shot out. The forest and humans alike burned as they were swept away by the storm of fire. Screams were covered by the explosions and broken trees and were scattered away.


What was left after the fire was burnt ash.


Mino had watched everything from start to finish.


That was when she knew. Jaehwan had given the bihorn corpse not because he was a fool. He had lent his Spirit Weapon not because he was a fool. The reason he didn’t run even when he was cornered by all these Adapters wasn’t because he was a fool.


He was just plainly too strong.


Klant, who barely managed to hide behind the trees, mumbled,


“…Where did such man appear from?”


He did get a report that a fool came with a ‘Spirit Weapon’ while he was on the way to the [Witch Hunt]. But it wasn’t a fool; it was a monster. After blocking the Fire King’s Fourteen Strike, he dismantled the skill and returned it with a more powerful attack. One simple attack eradicated half his team.


Defending the middle-level skill was possible for 3rd stage Adapter, but dismantling it and sending it back was unheard of. Klant couldn’t even guess how strong the man was.


Kanghun stuttered as he saw Klant looking at him.


“Th-this can’t be true!”


“Retreat!”


Kanghun gritted his teeth.


“I have the Spirit Weapon! I probably can defeat him with this weapon!”


Klant glanced at the black sword that Kanghun claimed to be a Spirit Weapon and shook his head.


“No. He’s too powerful.”


“That’s not true!”


Kanghun then charged toward Jaehwan. Jaehwan was approaching through the fire and Kanghun used his best skill to attack. The weapon was powerful enough to kill a bihorn with a stab. With this weapon, he would surely-


His attack was dodged easily. There was only the sound of his weapon swishing through the empty space. Kanghun felt his energy fading until Jaewhan effortlessly grabbed the blade.


How?!


Kanghun could not understand. After all, he had done during the past, after graduating from the Tower, walked through the <Great Lands> and came to <Chaos>, trained on his skills and gained status… he had endured so much.


Kanghun remembered Jaehwan’s Spirit Power.


[Spirit Power: 154]


Most 1st stage Adapters had an average of 1000 so it was nothing.


“How did you manage with such stats…”


Jaehwan’s eyes narrowed.


It had been a while since he heard of it. There was a time when he worked hard to increase his stats and level up. Those were in his Tower days. He had worked so hard to gain stats and gather better items. Jaehwan understood Kanghun, and that’s why he could speak to him.


“That’s why you’re weak.”


“…What?”


Jaehwan walked up to him. As he got closer, Kanghun stepped back out of fear. He could not understand the depth within Jaehwan’s eyes. It was not something to be understood by numbers or stats. When Kanghun came back to his senses, he was kneeling down. Jaehwan reached out and took the sword from Kanghun and pointed the sword at the fleeing members of Red Fox.


Stab. But it was much more serious. It was if he were demonstrating what was it like to use the skill.


Kanghun shivered as he knew what about what was going to happen.


“…Wh…what are you?”


As his eyes filled with despair, a light was fired out from the blade, a powerful and vicious energy that seemed to be aimed at the world itself. Klant, who was running away in distance, looked back in shock but it was too late.


“I can’t believe…”


Klant fell to the ground with a hole in his chest. Similar sounds came from throughout the forest.


That was the last thing Kanghun was able to see.


During the dark night, a bonfire was started. Mino looked up to the dark skies and reminisced about the old days.


‘Mino, you’re not fit to be an assassin.’


That was what she heard from the leader after her first failure. No, it was what she always heard each time she failed. The leader always spoke to her that her soft spot would be her doom.


She wanted to deny it.


Thus, she took the personal request even when it was forbidden. She intentionally took the hard jobs such as wiping out bandits and criminals, hoping to learn about being cold-hearted from them. After half year of hunting down various criminals, she even acquired the title, ‘Witch of Massacre.’ However, she wanted to ask today,


‘Hey Leader, do you know that I’m alive because I’m not acting like an assassin?’


She then turned to Jaehwan who was feeding the equipment he picked up to his weapon. He was mysterious.


‘Who is he?’


The fight was still lingering in her eyes. She had never seen such a fight before. It was shame that she offered to let him run.


“Hey.”


Mino hesitated but soon decided to call Jaehwan.


“What are you really?”


Jaehwan glanced at her and looked back down on his sword.


“Can you tell me? Please?”


“About me? Hmph.”


Jaehwan then looked at Mino and grinned. He then began to speak.


“You know about me already.”


“…What?”


“Did you forget?”


He looked as if he was disappointed and Mino became confused. She could not remember him talking about himself or anything. As she was thinking, Jaehwan shook his head.


“Sadly, you seem to have lost your memory also.”


“Huh?”


“At least I’m not the only one who lost the memory.”


Mino then realized something and answered in dumbfounded voice.


“Whoa… you… you really…”


She didn’t imagine he would return what she did today at this moment. Mino laughed.


“Shame on you.”


Jaehwan didn’t answer.


“Give me back my stone.”


“I don’t have it.”


“Huh? Why?”


“Because I lost it.”


“What? It’s expensive! How did you lose it?”


Jaehwan did not answer as Mino began speaking to him. The sounds of his sword eating away the equipment and Mino talking from his side were somehow very peaceful. It seemed Jaehwan had traveled back to the time that he had lost. A cool breeze brushed his hair and Jaewan looked up to the sky.


It was interesting. There were skies and stars. Jaehwan thought what he had been looking for was maybe like the night sky. Something that might prove that he was human in this unrealistic world.


“Do you really want to know about me?”


Mino stopped speaking all of a sudden.


“Then listen carefully.”


Mino nodded eagerly and Jaehwan spoke.


“I’m human.”


“…Are you kidding me?”


Mino tried to shout but Jaehwan asked.


“Are YOU human?”


“Of course, I’m human! I mean-”


Jaehwan grinned.


“Then that’s enough.”


“What?”


“It’s enough.”


“What do you mean…”


Mino tried to ask more but forgot what she was going to ask as she looked at Jaehwan. She had never seen a man that looked this lonely. As she looked at him for a while, she understood. Maybe he was right. Maybe it was enough.


Jaehwan reached to his pocket. There was a small stone at the end of his fingers. It was small, but well-crafted. Cold, but dense realism. The stone that only takes you to the present, the stone that tells you that the place you should return to is only the present.


Jaehwan then dreamed of the old days, before the Tower of Nightmares appeared. Before nobody tried to return to the past. It was harsh and sometimes full of despair, but nobody returned to the past.


One month after escaping from the Tower.


Jaehwan had met a human for the first time.


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