The World after the Fall - Chapter 64

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 07:15:58]
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Chapter 64: Last Hope (13)


“Sure.”


“…You mean you will accept the ‘Question of Righteousness’?” Ryung asked, to which Jaehwan nodded.


“What do I need to do?”


“It’s simple. You just need to answer my questions.”


She smiled as she continued, “Everyone, please close your eyes.”


Everyone, including Jaehwan, closed their eyes. They felt the darkness then turn into something else.


A chill began to overcome them. It was the beginning of the question. When Jaehwan opened his eyes again, and he found himself standing on top of a vast ocean.


‘Hallucination?’


The crowd buzzed with astonishment as they found themselves above a vast ocean. Ryung’s voice could be heard.


“The stage of this question is the ocean region where I live. As you know, the region outside of Dryad Fortress is comprised of this rough ocean. And as you can see, it makes a lot of ships sink.”


It was as she said. The sea began to rage and at the center of it was a sinking ship. The people who were on the ship were fighting desperately to keep themselves alive.


-H-help!


They were at the brink of death in the chilly water. It was too real to be considered a hallucination. A short while later, a rescue boat appeared to save the people from drowning. The boat that had an occupancy of 10 began to save those who were in the water. But there was a problem.


-We need one more spot!


The total occupancy was 10, but there was still one more in the sea.


-We can’t take him in, or else we will sink!


-Let him die!


When Jaehwan came to his senses, he found himself as the captain of the rescue boat. One of the people in the boat shouted to him.


-Captain! Make a choice!


Jaehwan thought, ‘I see. So this is the question.’


He saw Ryung smiling in the distance. There were choices in front of him.


[1. Give up on him! We will save the ten!]


[2. No one is left behind. We will all die together!]


There was no correct answer to either of those choices. It was a trap from the beginning to disparage Jaehwan for his ability to lead the expedition team.


“Now, Master. What will you do?”


Jaehwan looked at the two choices and stated firmly, “I will choose the third option.”


“…What? There is no third option.”


Jaehwan shook his head.


“Third option. I will save everyone and not sink the ship.”


She then turned grim.


‘Wait- did he?’


Unlike most other ‘Question of Righteousness,’ this one had a correct answer in hiding. This was shown only when the one being questioned found the answer himself.


[3. “We will not give up on anyone! Save him and we will take turns to jump in the water to survive until the next rescue boat comes to help!]


It was the correct answer that did not force one to lose their humanity and allowed them to save everyone. Ryung was going to disparage Jaehwan’s ability if he had chosen 1 or 2, but her plan had failed.


‘He found the 3rd answer?’


Ryung asked in a shaky voice, “Let me hear it. What is your 3rd option?”


Jaehwan asked, “They will die because this ‘ocean’ exists, right?”


“…Of course.”


“Then I will destroy this ‘ocean’.”


Ryung became dumbfounded.


‘W-what is he talking about?’


It was a foolish answer. But Jaehwan pulled out his sword.


“WAIT! What are you-!”


A powerful force of energy gathered at the end of Jaehwan’s sword and was thrust outward in a stab. Then, something shocking happened. The image of the ocean created for the ‘Question of Righteousness’ was divided into two.


-The ocean has opened up!


-It’s a miracle!


-We are saved! Thank you, Captain!


The people on the boat began to cry in joy as they crowded around Jaehwan.


[System Error]


[Question of Righteousness is now aborting]


The hallucination was aborted and the tournament ring returned to normal. The crowd was dumbfounded by what they had just witnessed. Ryung shouted furiously with her hair in a mess from the wind created by Jaehwan’s stab.


“W-what is the meaning of this?!”


Ryung and her clan members all drew their swords at Jaehwan in rage. But something was strange.


“We will stop here.”


Ryung flinched as she also sensed something. Just then, an announcement sounded from Gorgon Keep.


[EMERGENCY! We are canceling all events! All gates will be closed!]


[WE ARE DECLARING GORGON 1!]


[CITIZENS! PLEASE EVACUATE TO THE NORTHERN STREETS IMMEDIATELY!]


‘Gorgon 1’ was the highest emergency evacuation order. The crowd began to mumble among themselves.


“What’s happening?”


“I heard Dead Man appeared.”


“Dead Man?”


People began to grow concerned as they moved out of the tournament area. Jaehwan received a whisper. It was from Euren.


[Master, you must come to the Southern Gate at once!]


Jaehwan quickly rushed toward the Southern Gate, and many strong warriors, including the Leaders of the Ten-Clan, followed Jaehwan to the south.


Soon, all the strong warriors of <Chaos> had gathered on the wall right next to the Southern Gate.


They all witnessed and felt the same thing.


The entire southern forest was dark. Everything in their path was destroyed, as countless Dead Men passed. It was as if a black tidal wave was crashing in. As they hit the outer wall of the fortress, they screamed. Ryung thought she was lucky that she was on top of a high wall. Then, she realized what these tall walls were made for. The walls weren’t made to defend against horned monsters.


“Mukeuk, are you here?”


“Yes.” Mukeuk answered.


“It reminds you of 900 years ago, doesn’t it?”


“When we arrived at the Dead Man Palace?”


“Yeah.”


Mukeuk remembered the old days. They had seen this 900 years ago.


“…How did ‘Upright Magrit’ end up here?”


It was because of one of three famous Dead Men, Upright Magrit that the fortresses had walls of that height. That was the name of the disaster that left all of <Chaos> terrified.


Chunghuh suddenly remembered Sole King Catastrophe being brought upon the fortress. Dead Men had the habit of calling other Dead Men. Medium Dead Men called upon Small Dead Men, and Large Dead Men called upon Medium Dead Men. And the King was called upon in Gorgon Keep.


“We might die out here,” Yong said in a shaking voice.


“You thought of joining the expedition team if you cannot even face such a thing?”


“Your legs are shaking too, Kanghwang.”


“Shut up.”


Chunghuh laughed. Both Yong and Kanghwang were not even born when he was on the expedition team, but now they were leaders in <Chaos>. Chunghuh looked at all of the faces staring at the disaster.


‘I never thought I would see such a sight before I died.’


A total of six clan Leaders of the Ten-Clan of <Chaos> were here, facing at least thousands of Dead Men. There were at least 10 Large Dead Men which were as powerful as 7th stage Adapters, with an Extra Large Dead Man, Upright Magrit, commanding them.


Some who were too terrified of Magrit began to run towards the north. The one called ‘Sword General’ was one of them. They knew. They had no chance of winning and Gorgon would perish.


Chunghuh could not blame them for choosing to live.


Upright Magrit was closing in.


At that moment, a black ray of light shot out from the ground into the sky. It distorted gravity, dragging some men up into the air. It was Magrit’s power, ‘Augmented Reality’.


Everyone, including the leaders of the Ten-Clan, cowered. They could not even imagine fighting against such power. As the ray dissipated, a few warriors perished into dust. The Sword General was one of them.


They were powerless.


There was no hope against such a monster.


Then, they saw the sword.


The sword passed all the cowering people and moved toward the army of Dead Men. Ryung barely raised her head to look. She tried to speak, but couldn’t. She wanted to stop him, but couldn’t. Then, the black ray of light again erupted toward the man.


Ryung closed her eyes to avoid watching the impending doom. When she opened her eyes, she faced a sight that she would never forget her entire life.


The black ray had been split.


A ray of light was dividing it, it was destroying that overwhelming power. Distorted senses and gravity returned to normal. Upright Magrit was screaming in agony.


-Then I will destroy this ‘ocean.’


She remembered what Jaehwan had said. Everyone felt the same as Ryung at that moment. This was the answer against the world full of despair.


“It’s impossible.”


It was Mukeuk who had been barely withstanding the power of Magrit. Then someone answered, “It is.”


“And reckless.”


“It is.”


Chunghuh laughed. “But it is a simple and direct answer.”


Chunghuh then walked toward the black ray of light with his sword drawn.


‘I see. That is what you chose.’


Mukeuk knew. That way was ‘impossible’. If they were lured into it because of this moment’s miracle, there was no coming back. But Mukeuk stated firmly, “Then, I will join.”


His sword roared with a wave of energy as Mukeuk fired it off.


Jaehwan jumped into the wave of black disaster, closely followed by Chunghuh and Mukeuk. They made a narrow path, one that would soon be covered up by other Dead Men. However, it was kept open.


“I will not stay back and face the shame.”


“I know what you mean.”


Cayman and Jagel Meng stood up, as did the other Leaders of the Ten-Clan.


Now, they were creating a story. The beginning of a story that <Chaos> had waited for millions of years. Even if it was despair that awaited them at the end, it was something that had to be done. At the back was Yong who barely managed to join in.


“Hey… uh, Kanghwang.”


“I’m busy. Don’t talk to me.”


“I know it’s embarrassing, but I want to talk to someone about it.”


“What?”


“Do I look cool now?”


Kanghwang did not answer but concentrated on fighting, and so did Yong. All of them kept on fighting to protect. They had to. But they were getting tired. Kanghwang grew concerned if they would really make it to the end. That was when they heard the voices of people from behind. Kanghwang turned back.


After that, he did not worry about what might happen next. He knew that they would succeed in protecting Gorgon.


The entire Gorgon was now at their back, fighting together as one.


A week later, the news of Magrit being killed had spread quickly throughout <Chaos>.


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