Life is a series of choices. But if everything is predetermined, what is the point of a ‘choice’?
‘It’s all in vain.
The world was falling towards its destruction. I endeavored to delay its arrival. Surviving battlefields where I should have died tens, hundreds of times, I slew all enemies that stood in my way. Then at some point, they’d begun calling me hero.
The last hero, Hansung Oh. It was because the only person who stood against the emergence of the Demon Lord was I.
But the Demon Lord was merely the beginning. More powerful monsters had been lurking within the depths of the abyss.
The apocalypse, was inevitable from the start.
Furthermore, monsters of the abyss weren’t the only enemies.
Foes from within.
Aletheia, the religious Order of evil.
“Sir. That place is the sanctuary of Aletheia.”
I saw the great tower, in the midst of many mountains.
I nodded my head. Finally, this drawn out game of tag would come to an end.
“We finally found it after 10 years. Just give us the order.”
The wind blew harshly.
Standing atop the huge boat flying in the sky, the ‘Ark’, I slowly spoke.
Behind me were a thousand or so silver knights, all lined up.
Aletheia. A pack of vermin that reared monsters and attacked mankind. Clearing that place out would extend humanity’s expiration date, at the very least, by a year.
Today, I will exterminate them.
The words left my mouth as I flung myself down from the boat’s railings, towards the ground.
Inside the spear-like tower that reached the skies.
I saw a man that brought Jesus to mind. Standing at the very top of a tower of thousands of corpses, both his hands nailed through.
The nearby priests were chanting prayers as they drew a circle.
“We have the favor of Kronos! Yet you think the mere likes of yourself can stop us!?”
The chief priest raged at me as I walked further inside the tower, having slaughtered countless monsters on the way. They remained brimming with confidence even though I, their worst enemy, had arrived.
It was not long until I realized what was the source of their courage.
Shaking its great wings, a black dragon emerged from underground the sacrificial altar.
A demon dragon!
I clicked my tongue. It appeared these madmen had even tamed a dragon in the end.
A demon dragon was the strongest among its kind, to the extent that my knights and I alone would be hard-pressed to contend against it.
‘I will not die.’
I shook my head. I would have already died back when I fought against the advent of the Demon Lord if my destiny were to lose my life to a mere Demon Dragon. Yet I did not die.
And so, this is not where I die.
I held my sword in my right hand, as I circulated a magic spell of the four elements in my left.
“Wait for me.”
I spoke toward the man tied up in the center of the altar. The last friend that I remember, who also remembers me, Minshik. An executive of Aletheia.
I could more or less figure out the reason for him being there.
He was the human chosen as a live offering!
Minshik’s body reacted as if in response to my voice.
That was all I needed. It was enough that he was alive.
“Demon dragon! Kill that heretic!”
When chief priest finished speaking, at the same time, the energy of lightning gathered in my hand.
Demon dragons were weak to powers related to electricity.
I fused the energy into my sword, and electric currents began flowing wildly along the entire blade.
‘I, will not die.’
I leaped toward the demon dragon.
I was completely soaked in blood, and my mind on the verge of giving out.
By the time the Demon Dragon was slain along with the priest and the rest of the followers, not even half of the Silver-clad knights remained.
Still we won. The ritual was stopped.
But my eyes burned with mixed emotions. I approached the man who’d been tied up in the center of the ritual, Minshik, and held up his upper body.
‘A terrible curse. He won’t live.’
There were a few among my followers who had the ability to heal wounds. But the moment I saw Kronos’ Mark carved on Minshik’s heart, I shook my head.
The curse had completely taken hold. Even I have never seen a curse of this level before. For what reason could the zealots of the Order have offered up Minshik as the sacrifice?
It was Minshik’s voice.
He was fortunately still alive. But only just barely, like a candle about to go out.
“What are you so sorry about?”
“Everything. If our god had turned back time, I would have wanted so much to become a hero like you, an even greater one…”
“What’s passed can’t be reverted.”
Minshik smiled with great difficulty.
I couldn’t do the same.
“You’ve yet to pay for your sins. Dying now is much too unfair.”
He used to be a good guy. But after turning to Aletheia, he changed. Rearing monsters with his own hands, attacking people. There was no longer room for sympathy for him.
Minshik reached out with a hand to caress my cheek. As if about to say his last words.
“If I am reborn… I refuse to live the life of regrets again. All the sins I have committed… I will atone for them all.”
I didn’t respond.
Then Minshik continued speaking.
“Hansung…you were my idol and hero. I was always envious of you. So envious, I’d wished I could hate you to death.”
I understand. I could understand him. Aside from my mind that was rotting away in hopelessness, it was understandable that he could be jealous of his friend who lived a contrasting life from his own.
“Even though it was all foolishness. Really…sorry…”
His hand fell. His breathing stopped. His heart stopped.
ㅡHansung. Kronos will turn back time. I’m going to return. Return and become a hero like you.
ㅡYou think I’d wanted to join that lot? You think I didn’t want to shine like you!? But Hansung. For an unremarkable guy like me to survive in this crazy world, there was no other choice.
The last time I’d seen Minshik 5 years ago, he was a villain. He was, what was commonly called, a mid level boss. An existence forever exposed to uncertain peril.
At that time he’d said something along the lines of, ‘if I serve Kronos and devote everything to him, then I can return to the past and earn unending glory’.
I told him off then, to stop daydreaming and come back to reality, but at least his aspiration to become a hero had seemed unchanged.
“…..Yes. I hope you do.”
I carefully placed down Minshik’s body.
I turned my head around to see a man standing there, wearing a uniform stained with blood. Bits of flesh and fur and the like, decorated the blade of his sword.
“We must quickly get rid of the surrounding monsters and return. The president has summoned us.”
I furrowed my brows.
“It’s the president of the World Government, John Bross-nim. He has requested for you to stop the level 9 calamity occurring in LA. The situation has invoked code name ‘Andanius’.”
How long has it been since we’ve attacked Aletheia’s sanctuary? Yet, another command was given. The world was like a bottomless pit, never giving a moment of rest.
A humorless laugh escaped my lips.
“Level 9? 3 hours and LA would be vaporized.”
“There’s no time to make jokes. The only person who is able to stop a disaster of level 9 severity is the one and only hero, ‘Hansung Oh’.”
“Tell them to wait.”
“Even as we speak, a great many lives are-”
“There are plenty of others besides me! Cry of the mountain Bullem, Sword God Arken, Saintess Syria! Send the request to them.”
“They’ve all died, have they not.”
Ahh. That’s right.
The only one left who could be called hero was just me now. They had all died in the wake of the Demon Lord’s advent. Out of 500 heroes, only I remained.
I suppressed the profanities that threatened to burst out of me, and for an instant my mind went cold.
“…We walked different paths, but he was the only person left to remember me. My parents, passed away. Korea, destroyed. He had been the last one.”
Perhaps this was how it felt to be completely alone in the world.
A world gone insane. I, too, wanted to go insane.
I looked at Minshik’s body, now a corpse.
I had known him from a young age. He was, by nature, benevolent to the core.
I took away the ring Minshik was holding. Even as he died, he had continued clutching onto it.
Now that I think of it, he cared for the ring as if it was a part of himself.
‘Hero. What’s so great about it.’
If I could return to the past, I wouldn’t become the likes of a hero. Did he know that forcing a laugh is harder than killing monsters?
“Let us go.”
I stood up.
I had a duty to fulfill as the last remaining hero.
I exhaled hard-
-and coughed up blood at the same time.
My half-ruined heart beated violently.
I succeeded in eliminating Andanius, a gigantic snake reaching the heavens, but it came with a price.
I was always prepared for it, but still the word felt so unreal.
‘One hill after the next.’
Of all days, I never thought I would end up dying on the day I witnessed Minshik’s death.
The lower half of my body was gone. With half my heart ruined and only my upper body remaining, even I won’t be living through this.
I let out a dry laugh.
The people would most likely fly into a panic upon confirming my death. Perhaps…all the despair that they had been keping at bay would come over them all at once with compound interest.
Even so, I felt carefree. I let go of everything.
In that moment I felt a heavy burden lift from my shoulders.
For a while I laid my body down, on that land of death where no buildings stood intact, and countless lives were lost.
Finally closing my eyes.
The ring kept in my bosom shone with light.
My head pounding, I opened my eyes to intense sunlight-
“What on earth….”
-and couldn’t help but panic.
I found my surroundings familiar. A messy desk. All sorts of rubbish strewn across the floor. Stale air that needed ventilation. A computer, and a pile of cup noodle containers.
If memory serves me right, this was my room.
My very own place, which I had lost a good ten or so years ago!
‘Is this a dream?’
I pinched my cheek. Pain. There was sensation.
But I utterly could not feel any of the potent powers that used to lie dormant in my body, as if they’d vanished into thin air.
This was a first for me. I was distinctly aware of myself dying. Was this a sort of illusion shown after death?
I shook my head.
Death is the end. The conclusion of everything.
Of one thing I was certain though. After the level 10 calamity, the Demon Lord’s advent, and the loss of so many heroes, I had experienced the aftermath of death.
Nothingness. Endless futility!
Therefore, what I was experiencing in this moment was no fantasy.
Not to mention…
The ring I’d taken from Minshik was on my left hand. Engraved on the ring was a hexagram, which wasn’t there originally, and it felt as if a strange energy was infused within it.
‘I can’t take it off.’
The ring wouldn’t budge even when I applied strength. It remained bound to my index finger, like a curse.
A short silence ensued.
It was far from a normal situation, but I soon regained composure.
‘March 2nd, 2015’
I checked the date from the cellphone lying on top of the desk.
March 2nd, 2015.
I cried out.
I returned, but it wasn’t as if the horrible memories of the past had disappeared.
I remember this day. The events that happened 10 days ago from this day to be exact.
It was a car accident. They were hit by a drunk driver as they were making their way back home together after work. An incident big enough to make it on the news. It was a multiple-vehicle collision which left my parents’ car in nearly unrecognizable shape.
It was…my birthday.
Inside of the car a pair of sneakers had been discovered; the ones I’ve been begging them to get for me.
‘You turned back time, but didn’t give me what I truly wanted.’
I looked up towards the ceiling, even though there was no hope of receiving a response.
God was cruel. He giveth, and he taketh.
In that moment, someone barrelled through the gap of the half-open door to my room.
I was slightly surprised. The person who’d come finding me was Minshik.
But in my memories, there was no incident of Minshik visiting me for several months after my parents passed away.
‘Because I cursed and chased him away.’
When Minshik came to me on the day of the accident, I told him to get lost, swinging my fist at him. I had lashed out at him, telling him to never contact me again.
I was too young then.
Later on I transferred school, and the next time I met Minshik was after the world had descended into chaos.
But now…Minshik suddenly burst into tears when he saw me. Then he clutched both of my shoulders, sobbing as he spoke.
“Hansung, I’m sorry. If only my wish were a bit more sincere, I might have been able to come back in time to stop the accident from happening.’
He was really crying uncontrollably. I hesitated for a moment, my hand half raised in the air, before patting him on the back.
Then, at the end of his tears, Minshik barely raised his head to speak.
“Don’t worry. From now on I’ll take care of everything. You…you just watch. I’ll help you. Okay?”
“What are you…”
“And never go to Yang-ahjussi. Those sons of bitches. Him and his lot are just eyeing the insurance money. Okay? You mustn’t ever go to them!”
Minshik hurried out of the room as if being chased by something.
I couldn’t help creasing my brows because of the words he left behind. Because those words could never have been spoken in this situation.
It was like he knew of the future.
For a moment, the place where Minshik had died flashed through my mind.
Kronos. God of Time.
The great ritual that was being carried out in Aletheia’s sanctuary!
‘Does this mean that it was a ritual related to time?’
But the ritual was definitely stopped. The priests were all killed, even the chief priest beheaded.
My mind went cold. I stared at the ring worn on my left hand. It was originally Minshik’s.
The ring had shined with light before I died. My return to the past must have something to do with this ring. What’s more, there had to be a correlation to the owner of this ring, Minshik.
‘Minshik also returned.’
Or to be specific,
‘I must have been pulled along when Minshik returned to the past.’
Posting the announcement post here in case people came straight to the chapter.
Regarding Colossus Hunter
Back when we announced it we had recruited a new translator who was given this novel to translate. Over time we had collected a number of chapters as he kept translating and our plan was to have these chapters checked by another translator and edited after that. BUT, as readers of our work have seen, we kept on having some issue whether medical or professional and couldn’t work on our own novels much less check this. We even talked about this with you readers and many of you suggested to release it as is but we hesitated with this idea.
So we have been mulling recently what to do about it since this work has been with us kept for a while and we just dont have the time even now to check the translation or edit it. And after discussion we thought we will just release it as is. The novel might have a few errors and will have some grammatical issues. It is not upto par with our current releases. But from what I’ve read it is still pretty solid. So here’s the novel:)