The World after the Fall - Chapter 94[Updated at: 2021-01-11 07:16:09]
Chapter 94: Path of the Depth (3)
War for the peace of <Chaos>? What was that even supposed to mean? Sirwen suddenly realized, if there was a war that would bring peace to <Chaos> in the end, it could only mean one thing.
“Are you… are you trying to take on the Lord of Darkness in <Chaos>?”
Laika had returned, so the message should have been delivered to the Lord of Darkness by now. But, even then…
“No… no way. The Lord of Darkness won’t come all the way here by himself…”
Sirwen began to mumble to herself in panic, while Jaehwan silently looked at her.
“Y-yes! A Lord cannot be absent from his seat or it will pose a great danger to him! A War of the <Great Lands> isn’t that easy!”
Jaehwan nodded. “I suppose so.”
“…Wait, did you already expect that?”
“Of course, but they might send a Commander or two.”
A Commander or two? Sirwen was dumbfounded.
“Are you out of your mind? They won’t just send one Commander. At least three… or four might come! And if we have members from the Renowned families, then it will pose an even greater danger!”
“Good. If we defeat them, then it will be the start.”
Sirwen silently stared at Jaehwan. He was right in some sense as having Commanders perish in <Chaos> would mean a great change in the balance of power in the <Great Lands>. The Lord of Darkness would become too busy keeping the peace in his own region because of missing Commanders and would not bother <Chaos> for a long time.
However, this was a scenario only if Jaehwan could defeat those Commanders.
“For your information, in case you don’t know, Commanders are much more powerful than Sameng Garam.”
“And in your current spiritual state, you have no chance at beating even one of them.”
“I guess I can’t deny that.”
Jaehwan’s spirit had been damaged because of the previous fight, yet he did not seem to be concerned.
“Are you here to ask that thought? I thought you weren’t interested in <Chaos>.”
Sirwen then glared at Jaehwan.
“…I’m here to get what I was promised.”
“Promised?” Jaehwan asked in reply, and Sirwen slowly breathed out and asked, “What did you get in the 8th gate of the Eight Gates of Hell?”
Record of the Depths.
That was the book Jaehwan had found. A memory of the being that created the skill. The story from after Mulack created the expedition team, and until the team returned.
Sirwen trembled. It was unbeknownst to Jaehwan, but Sirwen had traveled to all parts of <Chaos> in search for any traces of her Godfather. Mulack, who was said to have reached the end of the <Depths>, disappeared after.
Yet there had been no traces. The members who went with Mulack on the expedition had long perished, and she couldn’t just climb up to the <Depths> and ask. The being at the entrance of the <Depths> didn’t allow her to pass through either.
‘I finally found it…!’
She was overjoyed. For over 900 years, she had been searching for any hint or trace. And now she had found it.
‘And to think it was stored within the skill…’
Sirwen then asked Jaehwan again.
“Are you sure? Is it really from Mulack Armelt?”
“Yeah. Mulack Armelt, your Godfather.”
“…And why should I trust you?”
Jaehwan closed his eyes, began searching his memory, and then started reciting.
“…It was in the tree trunk portion of the 6th region, when I found that [Egg]. In the region of harsh winters, the [Egg] was waiting for me with its precious glow.”
“I was confused. It was the first time I had found an [Egg]. My Godmother once told me about the experience, but it did not help at all as I was just too scared; being a parent wasn’t something that could be followed just by listening to someone.”
Sirwen felt tears flowing from her eyes. She knew what the story was about.
“How could I forget? Through the egg came a tiny life from within. The one who was born from the dream, and the one that will live on with the dream.”
Sirwen silently listened to Jaehwan’s story.
“Yes… the fingers that held the dream, the hands that can create the world, and the eyes that can see it… I realized my Godmother was correct….”
Jaehwan slowly opened his eyes and was faced with Sirwen’s tearful eyes. Then, he finished the last sentence.
“I had fallen in love.”
It was such a sweet voice as if it was from coming from a lover; Sirwen suddenly blushed and backed away.
She slipped and fell on her hips. Jaehwan then casually asked, “Do you trust me now?”
Sirwen immediately shouted.
“D-don’t read out other people’s memories as if it’s yours!”
Sirwen stood back up. The memory that Jaehwan had read out loud was when Mulack first found Sirwen in the 6th region.
“Hmm… so are all [Nightmares] born from [Eggs]? Besides, where is this winter tree trunk?”
“…It’s in the north region of the Tree of Imagery in the <Great Lands>. All [Nightmares] are born from the dream within the Tree of Imagery and are found in [Eggs]…. No, wait. This isn’t what I wanted to know.”
She asked Jaehwan, “What else?! Was there anything else?”
“Uh… like a word for me! Or something! Isn’t there something?”
Jaehwan gave some thought to it and replied. “I’m not sure. Maybe, maybe not.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“It’s not just a simple book. It’s like a complicated mixture of memories.”
Jaehwan had blacked out for days because of the number of memories that rushed into his head the first time. When Jaehwan woke up, he realized it wasn’t the number of memories, but the shape of it that was the problem.
“Shape of the memory?”
He wasn’t sure why, but the memories that Mulack left weren’t in chronological order. They were short particles of scatttered memories, and it was up to Jaehwan to rearrange them so that he could read and understand it fully.
“…So, I can’t tell you even if I wanted to. The part of the memory I just told you was one of the very few clear ones.”
“What… this is unfair!” she shouted. She had fulfilled her end of the bargain, but what she got wasn’t complete in form. Jaehwan shrugged.
“So, why are you looking for Mulack? Because he’s family?”
“…Why do you care?”
“Because, if you need his memories, it would be better for you to travel with me.”
“Besides, it was in the <Depths> that he disappeared, so it makes sense.”
Sirwen looked at Jaehwan and realized that this was his intention from the beginning. However, the <Depths> was a place where all [Nightmares] needed to visit someday, so it wasn’t a bad offer. It was just that Sirwen didn’t like the feeling of following whatever Jaehwan wanted to do.
Sirwen suddenly was struck by an idea. She was sure it would give Jaehwan some trouble at least.
“Wait. The memory… you said it was the ‘shape of the memory’ right?”
“Then I have an idea.”
Jaehwan was in a familiar dimensional space. A space with tiled flooring and pink-colored walls. Jaehwan asked, “Didn’t you say you would never allow me to come here again?”
“…Well, I changed my mind.”
“You said your privacy matters…”
“I said I changed my mind!”
It was Sirwen’s [Personal Lab]. She fiddled with the hologram control panel for a while and then spoke brightly.
“Come! I’m done preparing.”
Jaehwan walked to the center of the room where Sirwen was standing. Then, from the ceiling, some kind of metal device was lowered.
“…What is that?”
Jaehwan eyed the device suspiciously. The metal device was in the shape of a cross, and with straps that were surely meant to tie down someone, reminding him of old torture devices.
“It’s a device that will help us connect.”
“Ugh, didn’t I explain already? It’s the [Squeeze]!”
[Squeeze]. The definition of the word described what would happen, but in a very different way from normal. The term was used by [Nightmares] to link another spirit by force to ‘squeeze’ the memory out from the target.
-You can say you’re a [Nightmare] only if you have done a [Squeeze].
That was a famous phrase between Nightmares. [Squeeze] was often done by [Nightmares] who had no motivation or inspiration. It was an act that gave not only the memory, but the feeling and learnings of someone experienced. Because of that, [Nightmares] who did a [Squeeze] didn’t have to worry about needing inspiration. Of course, the outcome of the [Squeeze] depended on the quality of the target spirit.
‘…But I didn’t know he would be my first experience.’
Sirwen looked at Jaehwan. She had lived for 2000 years, but she had never done it as she objected to the idea of squeezing out another’s experience. She said that it wasn’t a true ‘art’. However, most [Nightmares] did not care. They were too focused on making towers.
“So, I can just lie down here?”
“…Yeah.” Sirwen spoke, blushing slightly. She also did not do the [Squeeze] because of the erotic nature of the behavior itself. [Nightmares] valued the spirit, and the act of [Squeeze] made a [Nightmare] connect to another spirit completely.
Sirwen shook her head to drive out those thoughts, as Jaehwan asked, “Why are your hands shaking?”
“S-shut up! I’m going to start!”
Sirwen bit her lip.
‘Let’s see if you can be so relaxed after we start this.’
The [Squeeze] involved a very painful process for the target.
In the next moment, tens of spiritual tentacles came out from Sirwen’s spirit and charged at Jaehwan.
Jaehwan’s spirit was bitten by the tentacles, and a loud gasp was heard. But it was Sirwen who let out the gasp, not Jaehwan.
Then the [Squeeze] started.