Sungchul’s overwhelming ability score had been hidden beneath a rare grade soul contract that was the Deceiver’s Veil. The Veil had a relatively lower rarity amongst Sungchul’s soul contracts, but it has exhibited its exceptional effectiveness since the Summoning Palace till now.
From a nameless grunt to a distinguished figure whose name was well-known throughout the entire continent, the Deceiver’s Veil had thoroughly fulfilled its purpose. But not even Sungchul believed that it would continue to work without a problem forever. And it seemed as though that moment had finally arrived.
Porpyrius waved his hand as he ordered the Summoned. The Summoned were momentarily flustered by the sudden situation, but they were also people who survived the hellish trial of the Summoned Palace. They regained their calm and quietly left the room leaving Sungchul and Porpyrius who were now the only ones remaining.
“It has been a while, Head General. Maybe I should be calling you the Enemy of the World now?”
Porpyrius glared at Sungchul with wary eyes. It was at this moment when Sungchul discovered the ever-present magic formation with five vertices residing within Porpyrius’ eyes.
‘Is it the fabled Eye of Omniscience? To think that Porpyrius was hiding such a thing.’
The Eye of Omniscience, and Sugnchul’s soul contract- the Eye of Truth were unparalleled among the observation skills. The Eye of Truth had the ability to see through all magic while the Eye of Omniscience could discern the strength and ability of any single entity. It was a bothersome soul contract to someone who was trying to keep their strength hidden, but the situation was also not that terrible for Sungchul. In contrast, he might have come to meet the possessor of the Eye of Omniscience in the best of circumstances relatively speaking. He hadn’t intended it so, but he had managed to create a completely unexpected encounter with the man. Both men were fully aware of this fact and the first one to speak was the one who held the initiative: Sungchul.
“I did not come here to fight, Holy Hermit Porpyrius.”
Sungchul held out the palms of his hands to elucidate his peaceful intentions, but Porpyrius’ face did not change one bit. Instead, he continued to watch Sungchul as he slowly made his way to the side to sit upon a stone chair beside the rostrum.
“It sure seems that way. If you had intentions to fight, the entirety of this tower would have fallen into chaos.”
Porpyrius pulled out a cigar box from his breast pocket filled with filtered cigarettes that could be commonly found in Sungchul’s world. It appeared to have been made by hand due to its rough and slipshod finishing, but it looked decent enough.
Porpyrius formed a flame at the end of his fingertip and lit the cigarette before asking a question in a blunt tone.
“Ok then. Just for what reason have you come to this place? Did you perhaps have some business with me?”
Sungchul felt the acrid smell of the cigarette pervade his nose as he shook his head.
“I have only come here to view the Scripture of Calamity.”
“If you’re referring to THE Scripture of Calamity, haven’t you already seen it? With your Emperor that is.”
Porpyrius spoke as he let out a puff of smoke. Sungchul nodded.
“I have, but this time I have come to confirm the change expressed within the scripture.”
“And the change is?”
“I have resolved the first Calamity, and have come to verify this.”
The pentagram hidden deep within Porpyrius’ eyes lit up. The Eye of Omniscience began to observe some place much deeper within Sungchul. Sungchul had nothing to hide. He did not avoid or turn his back and accepted Porpyrius’ scrutiny.
Finally, information regarding Sungchul appeared before Porphyrius’ eyes. Among those, a single sentence made him shudder.
[ One Who Stood Against Calamity (All Stats +10, Qualification)]
The Holy Hermit let out a snort unwittingly despite his strong self-discipline.
‘I doubted it, but could the rumors be true that the Enemy of the World… no, the man named Sungchul eliminated the Demon King?’
He couldn’t deny it any longer even if he wanted to. Sungchul now held the ‘Qualifications’. He held the thing that he hadn’t possessed eight years ago when peered through previously.
‘Are there now only two people who are Qualified?’
It was at this moment that Sungchul’s calm voice rang out in the room.
“Is there anything more to verify?”
“That isn’t the case, but… that is one thing and the fact that you’re full of sin is another. To be holding that many curses within a single body.”
“It just happened that way.”
Porpyrius feigned a laughter before turning his gaze elsewhere. This time, his eyes fell on Bertelgia who was hidden within Sungchul’s pocket. Curiosity lit up in his eyes.
“Let’s just leave it at that, but you’re accompanied by quite an interesting child.”
“She’s useful in many ways.”
Bertelgia who heard this let out a powerful tremor from her pocket as if to express her discontent. Sungchul held her tight to calm her while Porpyrius let out more cigarette smoke before rising from his seat.
“In any case, I have understood your intentions and will guide you personally.”
It wasn’t just anyone, but the owner of the Tower of Recluse willing to personally guide him. Sungchul could not have asked for a better result.
Porpyrius stepped out of the room, and Sungchul followed quietly behind. The self-appointed seniors who were trying to show off in front of Sungchul were lingering outside in the hallway. When Poryprius saw them he pointed his finger at them and shouted.
“Hey, slaves. Don’t dawdle and clean the interior. I left a butt behind.”
The men quickly lowered their heads and scurried into the waiting room. Sungchul who saw this suddenly asked a question.
“Who are those people?”
“They are slaves. I pulled them out of the Summoning Palace myself as they called themselves experts within your world. Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to be knowledgeable in anything useful once they were brought here.”
“They seemed to be particularly taken with the ant wiki.”
“That’s because I have become quite taken with it too. Most of the topics were written by me. You might think it strange, but I had my own intentions in compiling the information.”
He let out a sigh as he pulled out another cigarette and brought it to his lips. His sight which possessed the pentagram was now looking over at an empty side further away.
“Although we might be called those directly enslaved by god, but once the Calamity ends, we too will cease to exist. But this tower will probably remain.”
“I wanted to leave behind a record of us for those that might seek out this tower at some point. The vivid image of people living before extinction.”
At that time, a group of hermits appeared beyond the corridor. Sungchul was slightly nervous as Porpyrius could have had a sudden change of heart and decide to attack with other Hermits in tow. It hasn’t happened every time, but events like this did happen quite frequently. Fortunately, this concern did not come to pass. When the hermits approached to greet him, Porpyrius let out a magnanimous laughter and responded in kind before casually letting them pass. A conflict did not occur.
The Scripture of Calamity was fortified with a barrier resembling a steel container at the center of the Tower of Recluse. Sungchul discovered a hidden technique resembling the authority of god surrounding the scripture. He suddenly reflected that it might not have been so easy to look upon the scripture had he taken a more forceful approach.
“Come and see, Head General.”
Sungchul nodded and approached the scripture. Porpyrius pulled the lever once Sungchul approached, and when he did, a complex mechanism activated causing the steel mesh surrounding the scripture to peel away.
“There wasn’t something like this before?”
When Sungchul questioned him, Porphyrius shrugged his shoulders proudly as he answered.
“We utilized the knowledge of the Summoned to make this. It has its uses. It looks nice as well.”
Sungchul turned back to look at the now revealed Scripture of Calamity. His eyes lit up with curiosity.
‘The Demon King is dead as expected.’
The entry he saw previously had clearly been seared away as though it had been burned, and underneath it, the current calamity in progress, the calamity of the Seven Heroes, was clearly recorded. There was no change to the naked eye despite two of the seven Heroes being eliminated.
‘So the rest have to be killed for it to be erased.’
Beneath the Calamity of the Seven Heroes, the Calamity alluding to a great war was recorded with a faint color. The scripture wasn’t largely different from when he had seen it eight years ago except one record was erased and another was emboldened. The 4th calamity was still shrouded in mystery.
‘Is that it? This should be enough for now.’
Sungchul nodded and spoke to Porpyrius in a soft tone.
“I appreciate your cooperation.”
“It was nothing.”
It seemed as though Porpyrius no longer saw Sungchul with much hostility. It was because he was not in complete agreement with the ruling elites, and as a servant of god, he had no reason to be bound by their opinions. In contrast, he had a bit of interest in Sungchul. While everyone simply claimed to stand against the Calamity, Sungchul was the only one to have truly opposed it and resolved one.
“I am grateful that you have so swiftly eliminated the Demon King. If not, the Calamity to have befallen us might have taken a more heinous form than the one we face now.
“It looks like there is truth in saying that there is no delaying the Calamity.”
“It’s the same logic that placing a heavy rock on the lid of a boiling pot will only bring forth a bigger disaster in the end. The only way to cool the pot would be to extinguish the flames is what I mean. Well, there was another slight problem before you arrived as well. The Calamity of the Avian King was recorded onto the Scripture and promptly erased.
Curiosity lit up Sungchul’s eyes when he heard this news.
“The Calamity of the Avian King?”
“It suddenly overtook the Calamity of the Demon King when it appeared, but it suddenly disappeared the next day. It was such a strange occurrence that I sent out the guardian of the Tower to investigate, but she has yet to return. She must be getting her fill in exploring delicious cuisines, no doubt!”
Sungchul laughed internally but did not say anything as the Calamity of the Avian King had long since been resolved. More importantly, it was now time for him to leave. Sungchul expressed his gratitude to Porpyrius as he left. Porpyrius looked at Sungchul and spoke in a gentle tone to him.
“Everyone may stand against you, but I do not believe your actions are evil.”
“I appreciate you saying so.”
It was a rare compliment. Sungchul accepted it calmly. He didn’t feel particularly good hearing it nor did he feel it gave his cause any more credence, but it was a happy occasion for another to understand the intentions behind his actions.
“Are you planning on taking care of the Seven Heroes after you leave this place?”
The owner of the Tower asked as Sungchul prepared to leave. Sungchul nodded.
“I have already taken care of two of them.”
Porpyrius allowed himself a small laugh upon hearing those words. His smiling lips appeared from between his beard.
“Truly, you’re a relentless man. For the mediocre man with the title of Head General that I met eight years ago to rise as the vanguard to stand against the Calamity not even ten years later.”
“I apologize, but I intend to cause a commotion when I leave.”
Porpyrius was taken by surprise when he heard this, so Sungchul explained further.
“I have personal business with Aquiroa, but I don’t intend to cause any harm to the entire tower so don’t fret.”
“Ah, that woman. She arrived here intending to meet with Kha’nes but has yet to be actually seen.”
Sungchul could probably discern the reason why.
‘She might already know of Porpyrius’ ability. No matter how well someone was to be disguised as her, only a clone would be able to fool Porpyrius’ eyes.’
Sungchul gave a nod to Porpyrius before preparing to leave, but as he was about to do so, he could hear a voice he was unable to defy from behind him.
Shock filled Sungchul’s eyes as intense pain was afflicted upon his heart. The Cross of the Covenant that was embedded in his heart was now crushing it. Sungchul turned his back while in pain. The Scripture of Calamity was emitting an ominous black light.
“J-just what is that?!”
Porpyrius’ shocked voice rang out, but the room became swallowed in darkness. At some point, Sungchul found himself in the middle of an unknown world. He saw it from within: the crimson light of early dawn revealed a land burnt in its entirety and a black colossus standing on the horizon.
The black colossus stood on a snowy field and Sungchul could feel a strange emotion that he could not recognize squirming within his chest as he drew closer to the colossus. It was when he arrived at its foot that he realized the truth: what he believed was a snowy field was actually a field of human skeletons. From the feet of the colossus stretching out to the horizon, the skulls of the innumerable skeletons were all facing toward the black colossus. Sungchul felt unprecedented amounts of terror as he felt the urge of wanting to clench his eyes shut, but his body refused to listen.
He now stood before the colossus and the colossus looked toward Sungchul. Sungchul who was now faced directly with the terrifying gaze of the colossus realized its identity without intending to. The name of the colossus with burning eyes whose veins bulged like a dragon’s was Sungchul Kim. The voice deep within his consciousness whose will he couldn’t refuse rang out clearly once again.
[ This will become your future. ]
[ An unstoppable. ]
[ All-exterminating. ]
[ Unceasing. ]
[ Tool of god. ]
Sungchul’s hallucination ended here.
Sungchul’s complexion turned visibly pale.
“Are you ok?”
Porpyrius approached him and asked for his condition.
“… I was just dizzy for a moment.”
Sungchul pressed himself forward as he walked out of the tower. Porpyrius simply watched him leave confused as to what happened. Once out of the tower Sungchul felt an unbearable level of dizziness.
“Are you ok? You look really bad right now.”
Bertelgia noticed Sungchul’s change and worried for him, but he clenched his lips shut and crossed the stepping stones. He walked down the village road with shaky steps. The sounds of the villagers pointing and mocking him for staggering about drunk in the middle of the day could be heard, but Sungchul paid it no mind as he left the village.
‘I have to find an empty place…!’
No matter how horrible the pain or how deep the despair was, he had to overcome all of it alone. For those who trusted and depended on no one, this was their fate.
Sungchul desperately struggled to maintain his fading consciousness as he left the village. Through his hazy vision, he was able to make out a dense forest in the distance. With great effort, he brought himself stumbling toward the forest. But at the entrance of the forest, Sungchul felt overpowering drowsiness wash over him and collapsed on the spot. From his peripheral vision, he was able to make out a cart pulled by gryphon heading his way.
“Hey! Mr. Chef, are you ok?”
At the same time, an unfamiliar traveler showed up at the entrance to Toporo Village. It was a woman with dark, cold, sunken eyes and a willowy physique. When the civil militia that guarded the village entrance stopped her, she pulled out her Human Empire travel pass and showed it to them. She then pulled out a portrait of a man from her possessions and began to question the people around her when the militia stepped away.
“Have you seen a person that looked like this?”
The person whose face appeared in the portrait she held in her hands was none other than Sungchul. Ahmuge listened to the civil militia’s explanation as she sharply turned her gaze toward her surroundings.
Note regarding a prior error: In the last chapter there was a line that Sungchul had met Porpyrius 8 years ago as the 3rd champion. This is actually 13th not 3rd. The last time Sungchul had met Porpyrius was 8 years ago when Sungchul was still the 13th champion of the continent.