Sajators’ face was smashed into the tree up to the halfway point. Sungchul pulled him out from the large tree. His face was ruined beyond the point of recognition.
But he was still breathing. Sungchul repeatedly smashed him against the ground surface as though he was hammering a stake. Every one of his bones was broken and his vitality was slowly being drained away. Sajators was dying without being able to say a single thing about it.
Finally, the sound of something snapping could be heard. Sajators had died.
Sungchul put down Sajators and lifted Fal Garaz. It was in order to not even let his corpse remain.
At that time, a strange light rose from Sajators body. Sungchul quickly realized that it was from an external source and not from the Mage.
‘It’s a Soul Contract of Resurrection.’
It was the Soul Contract that was frequently held by Cultists. He had heard the cultists of Airfruit also possessed the same. The benefit was that one could hold several lives, but as far as Sungchul could see, it didn’t matter. Getting killed once means you’re capable of being killed twice.
Sungchul waited for the light filled with authority to finish its task. However, the tree roots that had been enveloping the surrounding area was drawing close. Sungchul had been ignoring them earlier but the timing could not be worse for them to come this way. However, it was a godsend for Sajators.
Sungchul considered a single possibility.
‘Is it because of his Luck?’
Sajators was one of the Seven Heroes known to possess high amounts of Luck. Compared to Sungchul whose Luck is fixed at 28, it might even be several hundred folds higher. Luck is relative, therefore, there is a higher possibility of it coming to those with a higher Luck stat. Although it typically is not a major determinant in most battles, it occasionally brings about a dramatic change.
Sungchul lifted his hammer and swung it toward the light that had now surrounded Sajators. His hammer held godlike strength, but it couldn’t break something such as a Soul Contract that held the authority of the God of Neutrality.
At the moment Sungchul’s attack was negated, the tree roots encroached over to Sungchul and Sajators. Sungchul jumped into the air to dodge the encroaching roots and landed on a tree before he mercilessly beat up the roots. He powderized the unending waves of roots, but he wasn’t able to overcome nature itself that has persistently survived since the beginning of time.
As his body was being entwined, Sajators woke from the aggressive rumbling and made a faint smile toward Sungchul. He must have believed that he could escape now. And the circumstance certainly was ideal as the roots were growing thicker, blocking the way between the two.
If Sungchul had used Starlight, it would have been possible to incinerate Sajators, but he hesitated over casting it as his sight was obstructed. This was all the consequence of Sajators’ powerful Luck. The Goddess of Fortune had a habit of smiling down on the possessor of Luck during the direst of moments.
Sungchul who was miles away from being lucky had experienced this exact situation countless times. How many times had some absurd situation, that was either inexplicable or nonsensical,
come about to spoil his plans that had been ready and prepared at the final moments? However, he knew well on how to deal with people with high Luck as well.
‘I don’t like it, but I’ll have to use it.’
Sungchul let out a deep sigh and pulled something from his Soul Storage. A short spear… no, it was more closer to a short sword. The most important aspect of this weapon wasn’t its shape, but the endless abyss that wrapped around the entire object. The exploding sun was pouring down its rays of light upon the whole world, but the strange weapon wielded by Sungchul was being surrounded by chilling darkness. Bertelgia inside of his pocket shivered instinctively.
‘Could this be… perhaps…’
Bertelgia was not the only one in shock. Sajators who had been beaten to a pulp was unable to breathe from the terrible shock. His entire face that was covered in blood was now contorted in despair while he continued to mutter with all of his breath.
“How… how could you… hold that? That cursed weapon…?!”
Sungchul threw the short spear that more likely resembled a short sword toward Sajators. The weapon dyed in dark green light flew toward the enemy with its own will. Sajators desperately tried to resist, but ultimately, was unable to prevent the horrific weapon from getting stuck in his abdomen.
“You can run from me, but you can’t hide.”
Sungchul glared at Sajators with coldest of glares as he spoke until the thrashing roots swallowed up Sajators and his screams along with him. Sajators disappeared into the depths of the writhing roots.
A small bell, glowing with an almost black dark green light, appeared in Sungchul’s hand. When the bell was lightly rung, it rang out with a strangely clear noise. A self propelled short spear, and the ominous bell that appeared after the short spear disappeared; Bertelgia who was watching the whole scene was now certain.
‘That… is not a normal weapon. If what I heard is correct, then the weapon he is holding… is the divine weapon Oom Bruuk! Wielded by the Second Calamity, the Ruler of the Deep Seas, during my father and my era. It’s the weapon of Calamity!’
Bertelgia still remembered the chilling story of the Priest of the Ancient God that lived eternally within the depths of the sea, lurking within the abyss where not even a single ray of light managed to penetrate.
It had been said that the Priest of the deep seas would come on shore riding a palanquin, moving very slowly. But, no one targeted by the priest was able to escape him. It was because the accursed being wielded the weapon of Calamity composed of a short spear and a bell, Oom Bruuk the one that judges.
‘But how did he get a hold of this weapon of Calamity…?’
According to legend, a weapon of Calamity was gifted directly from the god that initiated the Calamity and it was a part of the Calamity itself. It meant that the weapon of Calamity would also disappear once the Calamity ends, and no one can collect it. This also applied to those that felled the Calamity.
Sungchul climbed on top of the overgrown roots and stared expressionlessly at where Sajators would approximately be. When the bell was rung, the sound of the bell ringing was so unbelievably clear that it could be mistaken as coming directly from inside the head.
Sajators was near, but it would be a fruitless task to try and find him in this current situation. However, it was true that his life was still within Sungchul’s grasp. Womb Brook. Those with the short spear of Calamity embedded into their body would never be able to escape the sound of the bell. Regardless of how much Luck one possessed, it was impossible to escape from conditions set forth by the authority of a god. Sungchul who knew better than anyone checked the flood damage and then thought to himself.
‘This might be an unexpected boon. It might save me the effort of hunting them down if Sajators manages to call down reinforcements.’
The numbers didn’t matter. It didn’t matter if the other six joined him. Sungchul left the spot with no regrets.
Bertelgia hesitantly opened her mouth to speak.
Bertelgia trembly lightly when Sungchul replied.
“No, it’s nothing…”
It was not the time for questions. For whatever reason it had been, Bertelgia seemed reassured and let out a sigh of relief.
Sungchul returned to the ruins. Clarise and Kruut were safe, but Kruut had mobility difficulties. His entire right arm had become severely damaged by the forced movements of the magic sword. Fortunately, it didn’t look completely useless when Sungchul examined it. It would make an adequate recovery with enough rest and recuperation despite his advanced age.
“T-that person… what happened to him?’
Clarise spoke shakily while gripping the axe tightly.
“He fled with critical injuries.”
“He’s not dead?”
Sungchul did not affirm nor deny her question. Clarise looked at him to ask another question but gave up in the end. She had not seen Fal Garaz with her own eyes, but she had caught on that Sungchul was the problematic man in the rumors. Not only was such a powerful individual rare, but the book flying next to him served as the final proof she needed. However, the two adamantly ignored this fact. All the damage had been done, and they didn’t want to ruffle any more feathers.
Sungchul decided to compensate the two of them. He made a hand gesture toward the pair to lead them into the ruins. It had become completely destroyed by Sajators, but there were some remnants of the picturesque ruins still remaining.
Kruut’s jaws dropped as he caught sight of the wonder he had been chasing his whole life.
“I was right! Clarise! They all called me crazy and pointed fingers at me, but in the end, I was right! There was a kingdom of humans in the jungle!”
He forgot the pain in his arm as he hopped about roaring in delight, he was so happy he didn’t care who had guided him, even if that person were to be the Enemy of the World. But as he overexerted himself, he fell over backwards while holding his arm.
Tears were streaming down his eyes. They were tears filled with a complicated mix of emotions, but he was still joyful. He had managed to accomplish his life’s goal.
Sungchul had come across a few of such people, but he had seen many more that had failed. And even though each person had their own circumstances, Sungchul better preferred to witness the joys of people who found success than the resignation and despair of those wallowing in failure.
When some time had passed and the old man’s celebration died down, Sungchul spoke to Kruut and his granddaughter.
“Please return ahead of me.”
“What? By ourselves?”
Clarise asked in surprise. Kruut didn’t say much, but his eyes revealed a similar sentiment.
“I still have business to take care of here. I apologize, but the two of you will have to return.”
“How should we return?”
“It’s a difficult task to find something in the jungle, but leaving isn’t a difficult task in itself.”
“But, leaving by ourselves…”
Seeing Clarise’s hesitation, Sungchul held out an Alchemic Bomb (Dark) and various other alchemic items from his Soul Storage. They were various items that could be used in all situations from combat to recovery.
“These will help. Use them in case of emergencies. If you insist on waiting by the riverside, I won’t stop you. I wouldn’t recommend it though.”
Sungchul was still waiting for Sajators. From the moment he was stabbed by Oom Bruuk, Sajators was destined to appear before Sungchul due to the sound of the bell. If not, the sound of the bell ringing from the abyss will eventually destroy his mind and the limbs of the Ancient God will drag him away into the abyss itself. But there was no guarantee that Sajators will arrive alone. He could come alone, but as far as Sungchul could guess, Sajators was more likely to bring reinforcements.
Everything was as Sungchul wanted. Sungchul wanted to take care of the Seven Heroes as quickly as possible even if it meant that the clothes he treasured so much would turn to rags. Kruut and others were hindrances in that regard as it was not a matter of when, but if Sajators did show up, an inevitable battle would take place. Kruut and his granddaughter would only get caught up in the fight and end up dead, or in the worst case scenario, be used as fodder by the enemies of Sungchul. It was Sungchul’s intention to avoid unnecessary sacrifice.
“As long as you follow the river, the Lizardmen will not ambush you.”
Kruut fidgeted with the brace holding his arm and opened his mouth to whisper to Clarise.
“That man… he’s probably that man.”
Clarise’s eyes turned wide. She had finally internalized that a dangerous existence that the likes of the Lizardmen couldn’t compare to was standing beside her*. They both bowed their heads and showed their respect before hopping onto their boat.
“Hey, wait a minute!”
Bertelgia stopped them, leaving Kruut and his granddaughter utterly shocked. There was a large statue occupying the space behind Bertelgia. It was a golem. One of its arms had been blown off and the stone and metal surrounding the core had been destroyed by the hands of Sungchul, but there was enough of its functions remaining that Bertelgia was able to modify it.
“This guy will protect you, singing older sis.”
The golem made a strange oong sound as though replying to her words before its eyes lit up. Clarise held a strange smile before giving a reluctant nod.
Kruut and his granddaughter got on the boat and headed back toward Panchuria. The golem walked on the floor of the riverbed and followed behind them.
“You’ve finally managed to earn your keep after so long.”
Sungchul gave a rare compliment to Bertelgia. It bothered him that he was sending them away so suddenly, but Bertelgia acted tactfully.
“I told you I don’t cost anything!”
Sungchul surveyed the area around the ruins. There was no trace of Multicasting that he had sought out for so long. He looked at the destroyed golems and the corpses of Carbuncles lying around them.
There was a single Carbuncle with white fur and a blue gemstone lying dead among the rest. It was the corpse of the King Carbuncle indicated within the ruins. The key to resolving the secret of Multicasting had disappeared. Even if he had an empty Soul Stone in hand, it was meaningless without the Spirit Technique to extract the soul. The Carbuncle must have died quite a while ago as it had already begun to rot. There was a mass of flies flying busily about it.
“That bastard. He did this so that he wouldn’t have to give up the secret to Multicasting! That’s really an evil man. I don’t think there was such a bad person in the past as far as I remember…”
The experience of having something he had worked so hard for to turn to dust was not something he experienced for the first time. Sungchul found solace by the fact that he had managed to meet Sajators and seriously wound him before he took his eyes off of the Carbuncle corpses.
The sound of a golem could be heard from not so far off. It was the small golem that had been cleaning the vicinity of the ruins that he had seen not so long ago.
“Poor thing. There’s so much to clean…”
Bertelgia clicked her tongue with pity as she spoke. There was trash everywhere. Even the wreckage from the fallen ruins itself would take several hundreds of years to clean up.
The small golem was heading directly over to them. Did he have something to say? As they watched him, the golem was dumbly looking at the corpses of the Carbuncles.
Sungchul silently observed the golem’s actions.
‘Is he perceiving them as trash?’
Suddenly, something amazing occurred. The small golem dug the ground and carefully placed the dead Carbuncles with its two hands and began to make graves for them. It didn’t speak, but the golem’s actions clearly spoke of care and formality that could be observed in humans.
“Huh? That golem.”
Bertelgia said as she suddenly flew towards it. She used the corner of her book to point out a hidden compartment concealed by stones located somewhere on the back of the golem.
“Is something there?”
Sungchul let out a sigh and looked over to where she was pointing. Curiosity rose in his eyes. The reason was that embedded in the hidden location on the back of the golem was a soul gem emitting a milky light just like the ones Sajators carried around.
‘Could this be…?’
It was at this moment that the trail of crumbs leading to Multicasting that was believed to be lost was found again in an unsuspecting place.
*You might have noticed at this point that just a while back you read how Clarise realized the identity of Sungchul earlier in this chap and here again shows a scene of her realizing it. This is a mistake by the author and we guess that he probably forgot he wrote something similar earlier in the chapter. It will be corrected later on after we correspond with him.
The Paperback edition of the book is out. It is a 482 page Trade Paperback size (6×9) and due to its thickness and due to it being Print on Demand the cost of production was very high hence the book is priced as such. It is NOT a mass market paperback, it is of a higher quality than that. The book is available for purchase in US and Europe. You can check out the book here http://geni.us/ZJmAoPd
The Kindle edition is also now in Kindle Unlimited so subscribers can enjoy it there as well.