The World after the Fall - Chapter 80[Updated at: 2021-01-11 07:16:03]
Chapter 80: War of Revival (7)
The 7th gate of the Eight Gates of Hell.
Within the great white room were thousands of Jaehwan.
He expected to face something of this sort, but guessing and facing reality was very different. It was weird to look at himself, as Jaehwan had no chance to see himself in a mirror these days.
Did he look like that?
As he took a closer look, they all seemed to have different clothing or different features. Some seemed to be the same age while others looked younger or older.
Out of the thousands of Jaehwan, one of them asked, “Who are you?”
…Who am I?
Jaehwan felt it was weird to even answer that.
“And so am I.”
With that, voices echoed from all around.
Who are you?
I see. And so am I. And so am I, and so…
All of them stared at Jaehwan. And as they kept on talking for a while, one of them turned and asked, “Who are you?”
Jaehwan pulled out his sword.
Jaehwan felt like he was getting tired. There were tens of Jaehwan on the ground behind him. He frowned as he jumped back to keep a distance.
‘This is crazy.’
Nothing was working. If he used [Suspicion], they used [Suspicion]. And if he used [Understanding], they used [Understanding]. He even tried using [Strong Stab], but had to stop when he was faced with hundreds of Jaehwans posing to launch a [Strong Stab] at him.
‘That would kill me.’
These enemies weren’t like any he had faced so far.
Luckily, there was no Jaehwan stronger than himself, but it wasn’t easy to fight against hundreds of ‘Awakened’ Jaehwans.
After dodging a few stabs, Jaehwan deflected dozens of other stabs from behind and used [Strong Slash] against the Jaehwan charging at him. It worked wonderfully as they all were Jaehwan who only knew how to stab. But after doing it for a few times, the Jaehwans in front seemed to have learned the pattern and immediately dodged as Jaehwan slashed.
It was another ‘Jaehwan’ that got struck, the one in a green military uniform. Jaehwan frowned as he saw the uniform. Out of all those Jaehwans, there was a Jaehwan from his days on Earth. A Jaehwan who did not know anything about the Tower of Nightmares.
As he slashed his old self, he felt his conscious blurring into white.
It was when he was just 20 years old. Jaehwan realized it was his memory right before he was summoned into the Tower of Nightmares.
“I’m sorry, Sergeant Jaehwan… I’m sorry… I’m sorry…”
There was a man with the rank of Private First Class. He was crying. Jaehwan realized he knew this man. He then glanced around. There were soldiers and officers lying around, bleeding from gunshot wounds.
He felt his hair rising. He knew what this memory was.
“Sarge… I tried… I really did… You know this…
There was a rifle in his hand, with empty shells scattered around him.
Jaehwan walked toward the man. He didn’t know what to do, but he still walked forward anyway.
“D-DON’T COME CLOSER!! I don’t want to kill you too!”
The man aimed at Jaehwan.
“If you were me…”
The man did not continue. It seemed that he knew the question meant nothing anymore. He then put the nozzle in his mouth.
“Thank you for everyth…”
A gun was fired, and the man fell. Blood and liquids oozed out from his skull. Jaehwan then realized that he wasn’t killed by his own gun. There were soldiers approaching in the distance, with helicopter floodlights on Jaehwan. He silently raised his hands, and the memory stopped there.
Jaehwan came back to his senses. That event happened right before he entered the Tower. Jaehwan was the only one who survived the incident. All of the high-ranking officers within the battalion were terminated and Jaehwan was put on trial. It had been proven that he wasn’t involved in the bullying of the soldier so he was locked up in military detention for 15 days and then was summoned into the tower right after. It was a memory he did not want to think about.
The soldier. What was his name?
Among his thoughts, Jaehwan realized that maybe it was since then that he had come to hate the ‘System.’ He could have saved him. Even before coming into the tower, his world was full of ‘systems’. The world oppressed each individual with a giant system.
As Jaehwan defeated each ‘Jaehwan’, a memory was recovered. They were all forgotten, but there were painful memories. It was the memories that he had forgotten after becoming a 3rd step Awakener.
-Thank you, Jae.
-We were lucky to have you, Jaehwan.
The friends who accompanied him until the end of the tower.
All the memories and times that he had abandoned them.
Jaehwan mumbled as he looked at the thousands of remaining ‘Jaehwans’. This was, after all, a real hell. He had to kill himself in order to move forward. All the memories that he recalled made him suffer. All those memories asked the same question.
“Who are you?”
Jaehwan stopped his sword for the first time.
Who am I?
He suddenly felt lonely.
“Who are you?”
He did ask the question once, but it was never this extreme that he had to face the question.
“Who are you?”
He thought it was violent.
“Who are you?”
And he thought it was sad at the same time.
It was the question to which he could not answer.
He felt like he was being sucked into the depths of himself. His conscious was slowly being pulled into a place where he would never escape anymore.
It was in front of him.
There was a reason why [Nightmares] were collectively called as one race, even when they were comprised of various races. It was because of their double edge. Even when they hated being called just a ‘nightmare’, they were proud to be considered as a [Nightmare] when there its races could be praised.
Sirwen was one such [Nightmare].
-All skills are created and owned by [Nightmares].
Most of the skills were, in fact, created by [Nightmares]. That was why skills used by a [Nightmare] had much more powerful results.
Sirwen knew she had won as soon as Jaehwan walked into the 7th gate.
The Eight Gates of Hell was an infamous skill even amongst [Nightmares]. This was a legendary skill created by one of the 13 [Master Nightmares], her godfather. This skill had a better result if the caster’s mental state was more durable.
‘It’s a terrible skill.’
Sirwen shook as she knew the true power of this skill.
-What is the worst hell in the world?
This skill was the perfect answer to that. She once again realized how great her godfather was, and how much he knew about ‘life.’
-The worst hell is ‘oneself’.
[Nightmares] knew this better than anyone. They were the ones that lived the longest, if not forever, and fought against their consciousness that even made them kill themselves in many cases.
Sirwen hugged Jaehwan who had a hollow look on his face.
‘Don’t worry, I won’t let you die.’
Awakeners were especially weak against this skill. It was because they were reminded of those memories that they had forgotten after becoming Awakened. Sirwen had experience subduing Awakeners with this skill.
But it was then that something fell from her nose.
The liquid dripped from her nose down onto Jaehwan’s shoulder. The blood then turned into powder and disappeared.
It was impossible. Having a nosebleed meant the caster’s power while using the hallucination skill was at its limit.
‘Impossible! Am I at the limit?’
The power equaled to how long the caster had lived. The longer the caster lived, the more powerful the skill would be, but these skills also had weaknesses.
If the target had greater power, the mental damage that was directed at the target would be directed back at the caster.
‘No way! I have lived for 2000 years!’
She began to bleed profusely now, and she felt dizzy. Sirwen focused. What was happening?
When she looked inside, she couldn’t help but be terrified. Thousands of consciousnesses were fighting against one.
It wasn’t right. The number of consciousnesses equaled to how long the target lived. One who had lived 50 years would fight 100, and 100 years would fight 200. But thousands?
‘How long did he live…?’
Sirwen realized it was her who would faint if this went on for any longer. But then, the skill changed. Something was happening to the 7th gate. It wasn’t related to her power.
‘Wait, how did he…?!’
The sound of destruction was heard.
The 7th gate was being destroyed.