The World after the Fall - Chapter 180 - Rupture (15)[Updated at: 2021-01-11 07:16:41]
Chapter 180: Rupture (15)
As the dust settled, the scene was revealed around Jaehwan. Fighters of Rupture were on the ground, coughing blood from their mouths. Jaehwan looked down at Yoonhwan who had lost consciousness. It was easy to guess what he had gone through. Jaehwan felt someone landing behind him — a familiar world power. He put Yoonhwan on the ground and spoke without turning back.
“Old man. Take care of him.”
“Bah. We’ve got another man in our group?”
Chunghuh came over, picked up Yoonhwan’s body carefully, and checked his vitals.
Jaehwan answered, “I’m counting on you.”
“Yeah. Don’t worry.”
Although Chunghuh spoke as if it was okay, Jaehwan knew that Yoonhwan was on verge of dying. But he also trusted Chunghuh as well.
He was, after all, the best doctor in <Chaos>. He was the Doctor of Despair, who could turn a Dead Man back into a human.
And with the sound of another landing, his other friends appeared as well.
“Jaehwan! You already…”
Sirwen tried to run up to Jaehwan but Runald held her back.
“What! You brat, let me…”
Runald scolded Sirwen who tried to fight back in anger and Sirwen became surprised. Runald shook his head and turned toward Jaehwan.
Runald knew he was just a boy. He didn’t have the full life experience to put complicated emotions into words. Also, he didn’t know about his God, Jaehwan either.
Even then, there was something he could feel. Jaehwan was really different right now. Maybe it was a feeling only Jaehwan’s Followers could sense.
Jaehwan walked over to a woman who was slumped on the ground.
“Impossible… but how…”
Seoyul looked back at Jaehwan as she crouched. It doesn’t seem like she understood what was going on.
“You… are you really…?”
“Yes. It’s me.”
Hearing the clear voice, Seoyul realized it was real. But that wasn’t the end of her string of questions.
How could this be real? How could Jaehwan stand here in front of her?
The world power surrounding Jaehwan was getting in her way of thinking as it was too powerful.
She had only felt this type of power from the Captains, and that power was now coming from Jaehwan. It was impossible. If Jaehwan was pulled up through the Fishing Spot like her and Yoonhwan, there was no way Jaehwan could be that strong already. Transitioning from a Vicegerent to a strong God didn’t grant that kind of power.
Then something popped up in her head. Yoonhwan told her that Jaehwan had gone up to the 99th floor. If then…
“Did you… really clear…”
Seoyul’s heart began to race. Many theories began rushing through her head. Did Jaehwan really clear the tower after everyone left him? It was impossible, but what if Jaehwan succeeded in doing the impossible? What if he went into the <Great Lands>, and gained the power to move up to <Depth>?
Seoyul felt like she was going crazy. Everything Yoonhwan said to her came back. There was always something that was impossible in the world, but the man who denied it was here. He was the man who protected hopes and dreams. The man who she once loved…
“No. I did not clear the tower.”
Seoyul understood the words a bit after.
And with the answer, her heart began to calm down.
‘I knew it! It’s not possible!’
Clearing the tower alone? It was unimaginable. She was relieved. She wasn’t wrong. There were things that were impossible in this world. Seoyul replied, “I see. So you failed too. That’s how you came to <Depth>!”
She continued, “I knew it wasn’t possible. Clearing the tower…”
“No. I did not fail.”
Seoyul couldn’t understand what Jaehwan said next.
“I destroyed the tower and got out.”
She gasped. It felt like everything had become quiet. Then, she recalled the few rumors she had heard.
There was the irregular who came out of the tower by destroying it. She did come across such information a while ago. There wasn’t enough detail, but she knew that man was shaking up <Depth> right now. He was the most wanted fugitive in Rupture and the <Great Lands>. She remembered the man’s nickname.
And with that, she began realizing everything.
Jaehwan was the Generalslayer. The man who protected her world to the end. The man who only strived on climbing up. He was the Generalslayer. Jaehwan nodded.
“Yes. That’s what everyone calls me.”
Seoyul couldn’t believe it. She felt her breathing becoming shallow and looked up to the sky. It almost made her scream, however, as there was no sky. There was the pitch dark ceiling above. She knew it was an illusion, but it made her think of this:
What if she was still inside the Tower of Nightmares? What if Yoonhwan was right, and there was still a next floor to climb up to?
Seoyul mumbled, “You… after all you’ve been through… you still haven’t given up…”
“Yes. Because of all that I’ve been through.”
And Jaehwan walked closer as Seoyul crawled backwards.
“Because of all that I’ve been through, I can’t give up.”
His voice and his eyes… Seoyul realized for a short moment what kind of world Jaehwan had lived in.
How lonely he must have been. And even then, he was here. He was now trying to move onto the next floor. His world was not done yet. He still needed to see the end of the Tower.
Seoyul shouted, “I-I didn’t do anything wrong!”
Jaehwan did not say anything. The silence made it more painful for her.
“It’s… it’s all because of you! If you hadn’t shown up…”
“Why… why did you show up now? Why now! WHY! Why now…”
Jaehwan stopped. He looked down at Seoyul’s eyes who couldn’t look up to meet Jaehwan’s eyes.
The face of a woman he once loved — Jaehwan looked closely. She now had lost everything. It was full of despair and self-hatred. There was no confident woman that Jaehwan once loved.
After a while, Jaehwan moved his sword. And with the sound of something being cut out, Seoyul’s world disappeared into dust. It was the power of Jaehwan’s [Fall] Setting. The unique world [Sea of Blood, Mountain of Corpses] was destroyed into dust.
Jaehwan said, “You can cry now.”
Seoyul then broke down. The world that suppressed her emotions were gone and the emotions rushed to her. She mumbled continuously, not knowing who she was speaking to.
“I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I’m sorry…”
Jaehwan did not answer, but he walked past her. As if his destination wasn’t her from the beginning, he kept walking. And after at some point, he stopped.
“Come out now.”
From the red mist that the [Sea of Blood, Mountain of Corpses] left, three figures appeared. They each had unmatchable power. There was a man with a long katana on his waist, a man wearing a dragon embroidered robe, and a man with a dark cape.
The one who spoke first was the katana man, Imai Kazuki. The Lord of Dragons, Varkant, also added.
“Well well, that was boring. Humans are so dramatic.”
The world power they unleashed was as if they were competing against each other. But Jaehwan did not look at them. The only one he looked at from the beginning was one man. The man in the dark cape. Jaehwan did not avert his eyes away him as if the man was his only enemy.
The man opened his mouth.
“So, you’re the Generalslayer.”
Jaehwan did not answer. If the voice had a color, the man’s voice was probably ‘black’.
“Do you know who I am?”
He had never seen the man, but Jaehwan felt like he knew. His senses told him.
He finally met him.
The man represented one of the starting points of his tragedy — the trigger that brought his world to destruction. Surha, who had walked up to Jaehwan, mumbled, “Lord of Darkness. Gerome.”
The strongest Lord of all Lords. The being who had achieved the last stage Adaptation was here.
Chapter 181: Rupture (16)
Who pulled the sword, or who attacked first — Surha couldn’t remember. Maybe she was the first, or maybe it was one of the Lords. But it didn’t matter. What mattered was that the fight had begun and there was no going back.
“Surha, you cannot defeat us.”
The situation wasn’t going well for them.
“You’ll never know until the end,” Surha replied as she deflected Imai’s sword. Imai’s Katana, ‘Blade Fury’, wasn’t an easy weapon to deal with, especially with Surha’s ‘Thunder Demon’.
Surha’s weapon left many afterimages in the air, confusing the enemy while Imai’s sword changed its shape flexibly to attack or defend at will. Therefore, no matter how many images Surha’s weapon left, Imai’s sword would easily adapt to deal with every situation.
“This is disappointing. I thought you might have found a great ally when you left Rupture.”
Imai charged, utilizing his ever-changing sword to make room for his attack. Surha was pushed back. They didn’t use their unique worlds yet, so the traits of their weapons hadn’t played a vital role yet.
“So, the ‘hope’ you spoke of was that fool?”
Imai felt anguished.
“Surha! I can’t understand. Why…!”
Surha did not answer. There was no way she could explain. Imai Kazuki, the 3rd Captain of Rupture, was the man who was devoted to Myad’s will.
“I trusted you…”
Imai’s disappointment wasn’t just from she leaving the Rupture. Surha knew about Imai’s feelings toward her. After all, she had been in Rupture long enough. Yet, she had to act if she did not know — that was the last bit of respect she held for her old friend.
Thunder struck her chained scythe and Imai quickly jumped back from the raining world power. Surha quickly glanced around.
There were three enemies. Captain Imai was fighting her, so two were left.
‘Varkant is there.’
The Lord of Dragons was fighting against Karlton, Sirwen, and Runald. Chunghuh, who was the 3rd most powerful after Jaehwan and Surha, was busy healing a certain Awakener.
Varkant dodged the attack from two enemies and spat, “Nightmare girl, you are quite fast. I’ll look forward to how far you can run.”
“This way, Miss!”
But the attack was too fast. Varkant’s long claw ripped Sirwen’s sleeveless top from her breasts to her stomach. The wound was merely a scratch, but the clothes were ripped open. Sirwen bit her lips as she covered her chest. She knew Varkant didn’t kill her on purpose.
They had no chance. Karlton was a 4th step Awakener with no unique world, Sirwen wasn’t’ used to fighting, and Runald was only a boy had no chance against Varkant. He was the stronger enemy even if Surha joined them.
‘The bigger problem is that I’m not sure if I can defeat Imai.’
Surha frowned as she saw Imai charging in. His world power had increased greatly since the last time she had seen him.
‘Ugh, we’ve got no choice.’
Surha then unleashed her unique world and glanced at the center of the fight.
‘It’s all up to you now.’
Gerome became intrigued as he stood against Jaehwan’s [Fall]. The [Fall] constantly tried to strike down Gerome’s unique world <<System>>.
It was a Setting that destroyed worlds. It was obvious that his Generals had lost.
If the master of the System wasn’t the ruler of <Depth>, Big Brother, or Gerome’s world power which was a bit weaker, Jaehwan’s [Fall] would have decimated his spirit and destroyed the unique world.
It was amazing — a human who could fight against a Lord on the same level. There was no one else who had such power except the Master of Rupture until now.
Even after countless exchanges with world power attacks, the destruction around them wasn’t too severe as both powers canceled each other out. It was the sort of a fight where they were checking each other’s capabilities before going into a real fight. After they exchanged a few more blows, Jaehwan made a comment.
“You’re weaker than you look.”
Gerome smiled at the unexpected claim. Jaehwan continued, “I thought you were the Vicegerent of Big Brother.”
“Yes. I am his Vicegerent. What’s the problem?”
“Your world power isn’t that great considering that fact.”
Vicegerents shared world power with their Gods. Big Brother’s unique world was the System. If all ‘Adapters’ who used the System within the <Great Lands> were considered his Followers, Big Brother was the god with the most Followers in this world. It was apparent that the world power should have been far greater.
“I see. That’s what you meant,” Gerome commented as he understood. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but Big Brother’s world power isn’t something that a mere Vicegerent can hold. Your spirit will explode if you try that.”
“Really? That is disappointing,” Jaehwan spoke disappointingly and it seemed like Gerome became a bit uncomfortable.
“I don’t need the world power from that thing to crush you down.”
“That thing? Can you talk to your God like that?”
“A God whose face and voice that I don’t know of. I don’t need to be careful about such a thing.”
Those words seemed to be wrong. Big Brother’s Vicergent didn’t know what Big Brother looked like? Jaehwan couldn’t continue his thoughts however as his sword began to cry loudly when Gerome pulled something out from his cape. It was a sword, a sword that looked very cold. Yet, it looked very similar to Jaehwan’s sword as if they were a pair from the beginning.
“So, the swords recognize each other. Yes. This is the real ‘Frost Dragon Sword’.”
Frost Dragon Sword. Jaehwan then remembered his sword’s name again. His sword started off as a replica of the sword. He then remembered that the real sword didn’t exist since no one had hunted down Forst Dragon Velkisus yet.
“I went down to the Forgotten Region and got my hands on this. My sword has the spirit of Frost Dragon King Velkisus in it. Your fake sword seems to hold some weird thing too.”
Jaehwan looked down at his sword. Both swords roared at each other. It looked like the real Frost Dragon Sword was saying this:
“You are fake. Your ‘reality’ is fake.”
Jaehwan’s sword shook and he clenched it. Gerome said, “I heard your goal is to destroy the System. It’s an interesting thought.”
Jaehwan realized Gerome was going to charge in soon. The real fight was about to begin.
World power exploded. Jaehwan was certain that this being was stronger than any other opponent Jaehwan had fought until now. He felt it throughout his body.
“When I heard it at first, I thought it was foolish. To have everything turn out this way because of such a foolish thought…”
Gerome recalled the memories as he looked at Jaehwan.
He’d seen the video that Cultivator Beastlain had sent him. He heard Jaehwan had escaped the tower. He learned that his <Chaos> Invasion plan had failed. He heard the rumor that the Palace of Reincarnation had been destroyed. He learned that many of his Generals, including Sameng Hoon, had been killed.
Who would have thought that this man was going to do all that?
“You became Awakened by just repeating your stabs, right?”
Jaehwan did not answer. Gerome continued, “You must be proud of yourself. You must think that you have achieved something, that you have overcome the System.”
Gerome’s voice had rage in it. Jaehwan saw dark energy surrounding Gerome’s sword. Jaehwan activated his [Suspicion] to its limit and realized that the energy was not a world power. It was a certain [Setting] — a Setting that Jaehwan was very used to.
“You think you have overcome the System, but you must know this. You don’t even know what the system ‘really is’.”
The energy from Gerome’s sword, was the [Skill].
Skill was what countless Adapters who shared the System Interface used. Gerome’s skill wasn’t a ‘top-grade skill’ that Generals liked to use. Jaehwan knew this skill well as it was the first skill that every newcomer to the Tower of Nightmares had to learn.
A skill to forcefully strike one down. The energy was focused onto Gerome’s sword.
‘But that’s a bash?’
World power that was being gathered in shook the air around. How long one must have trained to achieve… how far… That’s when Jaehwan realized-
What if there was a being, unlike Jaehwan who trained ‘stab’ that was outside of the System, trained bash, a [Skill] inside the system? And what if that being trained only that for thousands of years?
“Awakening? There is no such thing in this world. No being, not one, can move out of this System.”
The skill that had been trained for thousands of years — the dark, red world power that could destroy the site with one blow charged toward Jaehwan.