Blood trickled down the corners of my lips, but I paid no heed. The taste was so-so; appropriately bloody and disgusting. The texture was like chewing on rubber and each time I swallowed it stuck to the walls of my throat, as if it was coated in glue, but as long as it was something beneficial to my body I would readily chow down on even steel.
But it was…strange. Normally miracle elixirs like these, or no, perhaps this should be called a god elixir? At any rate, there was no particular change to my body even though I was consuming the heart of the first ever dragon in existence. Normally, the first mouthful should have sent a zap through my entire body, and a boiling sense of magic power should have welled up from within; the countless miracle elixirs I had consumed in the past was like this.
‘No way it could be a fake could it?’
I swallowed the rest of the heart and stared at Al Araxar with a frown fixed on my forehead. Al Araxar was remaining still, posturing as ever, and looking at me. There was no sign of breathing from him, although he didn’t need to breathe in the first place, but he was much too unusually still.
I immediately turned around. The gnolls were stuck in the middle of various movements. Even the waters of the lake didn’t show a ripple of movement.
‘…Time has stopped.’
Indeed, there was a change. It wasn’t a change inside my body, but the world itself had stopped. I had never experienced something like this before. Even during the times when I drunk water mixed with the powdered horn of a unicorn or eaten the heart of a phoenix, the changes I had experienced was limited to my body only, and yet…to think time would stop.
No. Perhaps it was that I was merely standing in a separate timeline. If that was so, then perhaps it was correct to say that it was indeed a change that occured to myself only.
Moving in this state was dangerous. If my body was still in the midst of going through change then there was the risk of the magic power in me going out of control. Thus I decided to wait for now.
1 hour, 2 hours, a day, 2 days…
‘How long do I have to wait?’
There was no change even after having waited a week. The world was as unmoving as ever. Even with my super human patience, I couldn’t help feeling that something wasn’t right.
Something was…wrong. Very wrong.
I tried poking Al Araxar but he didn’t budge an inch. The gnolls as well stayed fixed in their spots. Everything in the world couldn’t be influenced by me.
‘This is a space that’s left the laws of physics. Or else it’s that I’ve shedded my physical body.’
I thought up two hypothesis’. However, time itself had stopped; I couldn’t always keep my thoughts constrained within the ordinary laws of nature. That being the case, I considered the second hypothesis. I had broken away from my body, my spirit alone separating!
I originally didn’t believe in the existence of souls, but after having returned to the past, I did consider the notion of it. Although, I had never expected I would be in such a state.
‘I see. So this is the world of spirits.’
It was a small realisation. The moment I realised I had left behind my physical body, I started separating from it. My body remained in frozen time while my consciousness rose up and floated away. And then six doors appeared in the vicinity of my soul.
The Ancient One was showing me these worlds. The six doors were entrances that each lead to different ‘worlds’.
That’s right…those six worlds were the Six Realms, worlds reigned by chaos, inhabited by the dead and monsters. This was the Ancient One’s power. It seemed that it was the ‘guardian’ as well as the ‘Keeper’ that managed the gates. It was preventing the beings of those six worlds from intruding in this world. But it had died, and so a connection formed between the abyss and human realm. The death of ‘great beings’ like the Ancient One must have been the beginning of why all kinds of monsters and Demon Lords had invaded us.
‘The great beings that used to overseer the human realm. They all died. All of them killed by…someone.’
Fragments of the Ancient One’s memory poured into my mind. Thanks to that I could naturally ‘understand’. The history of the world, and the beginning of everything that had happened. There was no way of knowing the perpetrator behind it, however, I had a hunch. The Colossus. Great Star. It was either that, or some other related to it.
I observed the six worlds. Five of the six worlds already had owners. I picked one world, where sinners go after death; hell realm!
It was a world where black lightning fell endlessly. A dark as pitch world of monsters, different from the abyss. I discovered an unusual being in the center of the world. It raised its gigantic wings and stared at me, and at the same time, I was hit by an impact that made me feel as if my soul would shatter. I knew that being. No, the Ancient One knew that great being.
“Scram. This is no place for a cub like you.”
Evil God, Randalf Bruxelles!
A true god that managed and supervised the Hell realm. The Demon Lord Andalton Bruxelles’ patron…
He slightly twitched his finger and at the same time, I was blasted out through the dimension gate.
I dry heaved the moment I was blasted back into my world. Gripping my head, I rolled around on the ground, screaming bloody murder, and for about 30 days I couldn’t do a thing. The slightest mistake and my soul would have just broken to pieces.
‘I should…be careful.’
Barely recovered after 30 or so days, I shook my head. Just a twitch of a finger amounted to this much damage. But I was still lucky. Evil God though he may be, his intent didn’t go beyond ‘chasing’ me out. He was a Keeper, so all he did was to send me back to where I belonged. But if he had harbored even the slightest of ill-will, I would have been disintegrated on the spot. Eliminated just like that.
I couldn’t even muster the thought of directly going into other worlds now. Instead I looked from the entrances and observed.
The worlds of gods. Some worlds were ruled by an absolute being, like the Hell realm, while there were even cases of numerous gods ruling over a world as one. But the Keepers of the human realm were all dead. That was why the abyss had surfaced; the human realm became connected to all kinds of worlds, bringing catastrophe upon itself.
‘Then what is the Colossus?
Was it a god that was born in place of the Keepers like the Ancient One?
I quietly clicked my tongue. There was nothing more dangerous than jumping to a hasty conclusion in my current state. I had to put together all the information and make an objective conclusion. That’s how grave the situation was.
I then stared toward the empty gate. The human realm, where I was standing now.
‘I’ll take a look around.’
I was born and raised here, but there wasn’t much I knew of this beautiful planet, because monsters roamed freely and everything was destroyed in the world I remembered. But before the invasion of all that, the world must surely shine brightly.
I decided to take a look at this beautiful world for myself with my own two eyes.
A floating spirit.
I became an aimlessly wandering ghost. Starting from Korea I traversed the world, taking in the world through my eyes. All things were frozen in my perspective so it was like I was looking at a picture. But it wasn’t just nature that I took in.
When I stared at a person stopped in time, I could see that person’s past. It showed a panoramic view of the person’s most important of moments in life, albeit in fragments. It didn’t happen for all people though; I could only take a peek at those who had compelling memories.
Their memories made me feel so vitalized. My determination grew stronger as I watched their lives. Was this ability gained by becoming an Keeper?
Occasionally I would meet those whom I knew of; like this man in a strip bar, holding a beer mug full of cash, shaking it about, as he sauntered about with women.
‘Wizard of Integrity Alex. Always did pretend to be so upright by himself, but turns out he was hiding his nature.’
At the same time his memories rose into view.
Born in wealthy household, he was unable to comply by their standards and so ran away from home to live as a host. ‘Integrity’ could be defined as such: Mad for women.
How interesting this was. When would I ever get a second chance like this?
After going round the world once and coming back to Korea again, this time I went towards Mt Halla.
‘This guy Minshik is already hunting orcs.’
Minshik was on the other side of Mt Halla’s ‘gate’. He was single-handedly hunting an orc and polishing the foundations of a magic swordsman. He was growing fast indeed. The bloody wounds all over his body seemed to show his resolve in this lifetime. At the same time I could even read Minshik’s past.
I saw through his eyes the calamity that befell the world, and the days he spent as a powerless person. I saw him being kidnapped and experimented on, and saw his life after joining Aletheia. He became addicted to drugs, spending his waking moments longing for the light, day after day, but heaven forced Minshik to taint his hand with blood. And in the background of his life…was always me.
‘Of all people to envy. Why me, you fool.’
I had been sick and tired of it all. If I could have given up my role I would have tossed it far. I may have appeared so glorious on the outside but my insides had further rotted with each passing day, for I no longer had any hope. The envy and faith of the people was so heavy that when I defeated Andanius and died, I couldn’t help laughing.
Whether or not he would be able to walk that road, I didn’t know. But in my heart I was rooting for him.
Afterwards I turned back to return.
To the altar once again.
“Ancient One. Were you curious as to what I wanted to do?”
I spoke toward the dragon’s corpse across the lake. I had the feeling that it had stopped time and observed in order to see through my purpose. Moreover, I had stolen a peek at a fraction of its memory. The Ancient One wasn’t a fair Keeper.
I approached the Ancient One.
“Now I can understand. Why you would have the one you shared power with make their own class. You merely wanted to see their desire. And you would cast them away if their desires did not correspond to your own.”
What Ancient One’s truly wanted to find was a Keeper for the world. In other words, its successor. But the dreams of men were colorful; they each had their own desires. Back then, the Ancient One simply wasn’t satisfied with the person who dreamed of being an ‘emperor’, that was all; because that dream was a desire in the end. The Keeper who managed the world needed to be a person of purity. But even the Ancient One actually failed to be pure.
“I, however, have no intention of managing the world according to your wish. My only desire and objective is the Colossus! Killing it is my sole purpose. And yet…”
The Demon Lords were trying to become the Colossus. They hoped to obtain its soul and become a true god.
I will shatter their hopes. At the very moment they believe themselves at the cusp of attaining their desires, I will let them know that it was all a dream.
I held out my index finger in pointed accusation.
“Damned bastard. Why didn’t you search yourself even with this kind of ability in your hand? Why did you think someone who would satisfy you would come knocking on your doorstep?”
The Ancient One’s corpse began shaking in this frozen world. Was it angry at the insult? But I had no thoughts of taking back my words. Everything I experienced just then was due to the Ancient One’s power. I couldn’t comprehend why it would do nothing but wait for a successor to come finding it. It would have been fine if it had Al Araxar take a look around the world, then it would have definitely found one or two successors.
Simply put, this was all nothing more than its ‘pastime’. If I had followed Al Araxar’s suggestion to go back and receive a share of the power then created a class, my body would have exploded like a balloon regardless of what I did, unless my choice suited the tastes of this whimsical Ancient One. I couldn’t hold back my fury now that I knew.
I stretched out my leg and began fiercely kicking its bones.
“We are not your toys. And so…I will use the power in your heart for no one’s but only my own intents and purposes. You should just stay there and watch, desperating hoping, praying, that I would succeed your place.”
I had no intention of having my life swayed by others. In this lifetime, at least, I would live freely.
Only after giving plenty vent to my rage did I return to stand before my frozen body. Then I spoke as if to declare,
“I will become a human. A human that moves like wildfire according to desire and emotions! I will warn you, my desire can’t be stopped with the likes of your whimsy. The flames of desire only grow stronger when wind blows!”
I was the embodiment of desire. It had been piling up and up, and finally it began to explode like a volcano. There was no way the whims of a mere dragon could stop it. Moreover as I travelled the world and saw its people, my soul had expanded. I was able to hold much more now, and see more things from a much higher place. My ‘prestige’ had risen, should I say. That small realization had intended up instigating my desires.
I returned to my body, and the frozen time started moving again.
[‘Six Realms’ has been attained.]
[User awakened to the basics of ‘Human Realm’.]
[Creation of authority! You have created a new power using the Ancient One’s power!]
[The power that can become anything, beome vessel to everything, the authority of ‘Universal Man’ now resides in the user’s soul.]
[User has achieved what should been impossible with the current user’s ability, user has stepped into the domain of incomprehensibility.]
[User has been given one chance to enter ‘Odin’s Treasury(Lv3)’.]
[Magic Power has risen by 20.]
[7,000pt has been obtained.]