Chapter 229 – Transcendent World (3)

“This is amazing.”

In terms of strictly improvement in stats, Intuition and Magic power had risen far more dramatically recently. But Sungchul was originally a warrior. A Supernal warrior no less. He, who preferred to act over talk, found magic and the like to be convenient but honestly unsatisfying.

For someone like Sungchul, the most important stats were Strength, Dexterity, and Vitality; the fundamental building blocks of a warrior.

But those three stats were already raised to such an extent that the possibility of improvement had long since ceased to exist and Sungchul no longer kept any hope of raising them again.

Sungchul who had been living with this deeply dissatisfying reality managed to unexpectedly stumble across a way to improve greatly.

Sungchul felt his body become noticeably faster and more flexible. And it bore a completely different meaning to Sungchul than his Magic Power and Intuition rising by a few points.

‘With this, the likes of Dragoman have no chance of escape from me.’

His elation was conveyed to Bertelgia through the beating of his heart.

“Mmm… Looks like you’re in a great mood.”

“Of course.”

Sungchul quickly opened his Soul Storage to retrieve a scroll. It was the Letter of God he had obtained from the Catacombs of La Grange.

‘I’ll have to exchange this for another Essence of the Spirit right away.’

This reminded him of something.

‘It feels like those times in my childhood where I exchanged empty bottles to buy myself a new bottle of cola. I can’t believe I found such an excellent way to get stronger so late.’

Sungchul who was enraptured by the peak of his excitement was tunnel-visioned. Bertelgia had complicated feelings seeing Sungchul in that state.

‘It’s great that he’s no longer lethargic, but this feels dangerous for some reason…’

Bertelgia flew out of Sungchul’s pocket to block his view to put an end to his unhinged state.

“What are you doing Bertelgia?”

“You seemed to be going out of control out of excitement!”

“What do you mean out of control?”

Sungchul grabbed Bertelgia and lowered her down as he wore a subtle grin.

‘I guess I did go a bit too far.’

It had been a long time since he had last lost his cool. It was a pleasant disbalance.

But now that he saw Bertelgia, he couldn’t help but feel his heart tightening again.

The Unit 55 living in the Tower of Recluse. He was reminded of the words left by that book.

‘There’s no guarantee that the book was telling the truth.’

Sungchul shook his head to clear his mind of the unpleasant memory and turned his gaze to the Letter of God.

‘It would probably be for the best for me to check the content of this thing before I hand it over.’

Sungchul opened the Letter of God again, the ancient text that had once been inaccessible to him.

Like before, words as countless as stars of the night sky spread out before him when he opened the scroll, threatening to overwhelm him with the sheer spectacle. But this was no longer enough to confound him.

Though a complete comprehension was out of his grasp, he was able to grasp enough of it to get a good understanding of the overall meaning it contained. And that was a staggering improvement.

The parts he could understand were as follows.

[With the maker of all things and giver of all life gone… This world faces an inescapable and complete collapse.]

[The God had left no instructions…There was a fierce debate… The followers of the God that remained were split into two factions.]

[One wished to maintain the world as it was… through harvests… but harvests merely delayed the inevitable end of all things.]

[No effort would be able to prevent the coming doom … all of creation will return to nothingness as God intended… in the aftermath of the death of all false Gods in the world.]

The Letter of God ended there. This scroll lacked a seal placed by the servants of the Snake of Knowledge.

Once the innumerable words that dominated his sight vanished into nothing, Sungchul rolled the scroll back up and fell into deep thought.

‘This is something like a leaflet. Unlike the records left behind by the Lesser God Hildegarm, no author was identified, and the overall document itself was also very brief and to the point.’

But there was something within this document that he could not ignore. It was conveying far more information to Sungchul than even the records of Hildegarm. Sungchul stroked his chins as he continued to think.

‘I do not know who the author was, but this record, too, must have been left behind by a Lesser God. And according to them, God has already died.’

But Sungchul had met God. A tall mountain faraway to the west, at the top of the stairs that led to God’s domain.

Sungchul was unable to recall what he had seen beyond the stairs. But the fact that he had met God was irrefutable. He had no choice but to believe so. No choice but to acknowledge it as so. No thoughts to the contrary ever occurred to him. That was what it meant to meet God.

There was a being by God’s side that conveyed God’s will.

That being, too, was grand beyond measure, possessing such a divine and sacred atmosphere. Although it was not nearly as overwhelming as God, it was a being close enough to mistake it for God.

Sungchul at the time believed that it was a Lesser God, and his belief was further reinforced after having met a few Lesser Gods.

Sungchul and that being shared a few words. But the details of that conversation had long since evaporated like ethanol in room temperature.

One of the few things he remembered was the Vow with God.

“There is only one thing I desire, the end of the Calamities. For that, I am willing to give my life.”

He believed that this was the gist of the conversation they had. And just like that, a cross of Unbreakable Vow was etched into his heart.

The being that spoke the will of God ridiculed or mocked Sungchul as it conveyed Sungchul’s words to God, and then relayed God’s reply back.

The last thing that being had said to him remained very faintly in his mind.

“I shall watch, to see how long you can remain human after obtaining the power of God.”

That was the last thing he was able to remember of the conversation that had taken place on the other side of the stairway to God. And that was the true beginning of the Enemy of the World. Because until that point, Sungchul had no guarantee he could win against any of the Thirteen Champions of the Continent.

Sungchul gazed into the burning wood of the camp fire as he continued to be lost in deep thought.

‘Something is wrong. There seems to be a disconnect between the reality of this world and the things that I believe and understand.’

Even until the resolution of the first Calamity, Sungchul had no real suspicions about the workings of the world. And becoming the Witness of Calamity that empowered him for simply having seen the end of one Calamity further reinforced the idea that the Calamities were carried out under the will and authority of God.

But these strings of events that Sungchul had experienced recently:

The advent of a Lesser God, Desfort’s claims, and the miasma of death headed towards the continent this very moment, Letters of God, World of theTranscendents, Snake of Knowledge, and the like. Countless happenings fed Sungchul’s doubts and shook up his otherwise unquestioning understanding of the way of this world.

‘What could possibly explain the fact that the summoning of a Lesser God by a mere heretical cult is more dangerous than the Calamities that are allegedly sent by God?’

One doubt led to another in a never ending cycle of questions and suspicions. There were too many incomplete and inadequate understanding of everything.

And the most frustrating of all was that there was nothing to chain together all these countless fragments into one.

“…”

Dense concern painted the expression on his face, and his focused eyes seemed to shake.

“What are you thinking so hard about?”

Bertelgia, who had been playing with Baron, noticed a change in Sungchul and came up to him to check. Sungchul felt an intense headache coming as Bertelgia approached him. He placed his hand on her as he replied.

“Just some random thoughts.”

Bertelgia shook herself free from his hands once she heard this and replied in a very displeased voice.

“Why are you so full of random thoughts? Go drink your favorite drink and sleep if you’re going to be frowning like that.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad.”

A faint grin appeared on Sungchul’s previously moody face.

‘These questions I have are not the kinds that can be answered by me alone.’

Sungchul stroked his shining golden broach hidden under his coat as he thought about his next steps.

Adelwight, she was a peculiar immortal who knew everything as well as willing to explain everything. As a more experienced bearer of the Chef class, that is.

Sungchul thought of meeting the entity with a picky but immature preference in flavor.

‘I’ll first redeem this Letter of God with the snake, then make a dish exceeding 90 points.’

A simple and clear cut goals were nice to have.

Sungchul felt the fog obscuring his view begin to clear away as he stood up from where he was.

“Play for a bit here, Bertelgia.”

*

 Mura Sect’s Inquisitors knew not the meaning of negotiation. Bearing the nickname of Steel Heart, Head Inquisitor Tigon Bosborot displayed indomitable will, and was famous all around the continent for his relentless and merciless zeal against heresy.

The Sect Council, an organization that stood at the top of Mura Sect’s judicial system, had granted him a hammer made of silver.

This hammer by the name Maleus served as a type of proof of the bearer’s position, which bestowed upon its owner complete discretion in all military and investigative matters.

The hammer had been sealed away for decades in the deepest vaults of the order before it was entrusted with Inquisitor Tigon, indicating the seriousness of recent events.

He was examining traces left behind by the Order of Extinction, who had annihilated the area around the Tower of Recluse.

“…This is a mark left by the casting of taboo magic.”

The eyes of this middle aged man bore a piercing glare.

“It’s as you can see. The Order of Extinction are freely using forbidden spells as they please.”

Above a few dug up places on the ground were tools that resembled balances and sundials. Tigon walked between each of these tools and read the ominous readings with his own eyes before spitting out a word.

“This land is done for. This land will probably never see another life grow upon it ever again.”

He grasped a bit of the blackened dirt with his gloved hands and scattered them into the wind. Most of the dirt fell back down to the ground, but a portion of them reflected light like pieces of glass as they floated back up.

Head Inquisitor’s sunken eyes did not miss this.

“It appears as though they even learned the secret magic that strips the land of God’s blessings. How terrifying, that I have to share the same era as they.”

In the midst of him letting out a sigh, the sounds of murmur reached his ears. A few of the priests were looking towards the ruined village and making a fuss.

“…It’s the Enemy of the World!”

“He sure shows up at the Tower of Recluse frequently.”

“Do you think he’s planning something?”

“Shh! Don’t even look into his eyes. The Emperor has strictly banned all aggressive action against him. Causing unnecessary trouble will only bring us misery!”

The sound of the title ‘The Enemy of the World’ spurred on Tigon’s curiosity.

“The Enemy of the World you say…”

It was a difficult individual for the head Inquisitor of the Mura Sect to overlook. It was not only because of his assessment by the World Parliament or by the general population. It was also because he had murdered several inquisitors, which were already very few in numbers across the whole world.

The most recent was in the now-destroyed Airfruit Magic Academy, where an Inquisitor under his tutelage was beaten to death by a hammer. It goes without saying that this was a major blow against his reputation.

Tigon watched from afar as the man dressed in cheap looking coat approached the Tower of Recluse. He turned to ask a young Inquisitor that was serving as his assistant.

“Why has the Emperor come to forbid all aggression against that man?”

“Why indeed.”

Tejeba Temea was often given the evaluation that he lacked piety or experience. But as the right hand man of Tigon, he was actually incredibly bright and exceptionally proficient in gathering information.

“With the World Parliament essentially disbanded, he probably wanted to avoid the loss of power from fighting such a strong enemy. As you know, even though they were enemies, they knew each other in the past. And the Enemy of the World wasn’t someone that had a specific animosity against the Empire itself.”

“That may be so, but he’s someone that was excommunicated from our order and reduced one of our brothers into pieces of meat. It does not sit well with me to watch such a man pass so comfortably in front of me.”

Tigon Bosborot glared at Sungchul with a deeply dissatisfied look. But the likes of a head Inquisitor of Mura Sect was not enough to grab Sungchul’s interest, so he walked into the tower without looking their way.

Immediately after Sungchul entered the tower, Tigon stroked his mustache as he muttered.

“There’s something fishy going on. Beneath that man’s confidence, could there be some sort of promise by the Emperor?”

“Perhaps. That much is unknown. It is true that the two of them dined in private recently. According to a trustworthy source, it was said that the Emperor laughed very loudly in the middle of their meal.”

Tigon twisted his mustache and raised his eyes towards the floating Airships of the Empire stationed above the Tower of Recluse with a gaze full of suspicion as he replied ominously.

“That means that there’s a possible connection to the mass heresy that’s taking place in La Grange.”

Tejeba looked around carefully before asking in a whisper.

“Are you speaking of the rumors surrounding the Emperor?”

Tejeba’s voice was trembling slightly. Unlike his subordinate, Tigon replied without showing such fear.

“No one is free from the inquisition.”

Head Inquisitor Tigon Bosborot; he may be standing far away by the Tower of Recluse, but his eyes were locked onto the center of the world to the north, at La Grange.

“Even if that happens to be the Emperor himself.”


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