It was about a week into Sungchul’s intense brainstorming that Sungchul felt an idea strike him like a bolt of lightning. He stood up with a shout.
But he unintentionally broke many things because of his strength. The rosewood chair that had loyally served him for the past few days was destroyed and collapsed to the ground. This could arguably be considered one of the drawbacks of possessing god-like strength.
“Ten million and twenty one… ten million and twenty two…!”
Marakia who had been possessed by strenuous exercise after obtaining the Essence of the Fire Spirit didn’t so much as respond to Sungchul’s shout. Baron the domesticated animal glanced at Sungchul briefly before turning its head and yawning.
The only one paying attention to this lonely man was, of course, just Bertelgia.
“What is it?”
She had been doodling, but she stopped what she was doing and flapped her way towards Sungchul.
Sungchul looked down at the horribly drawn map he had made. It was edited by Bertelgia to the point it was now somewhat acceptable. He replied back to Bertelgia as he continued to look.
“It’s time to return to the beginning.”
Sungchul gave an energetic nod and said the next words dramatically.
“The World Parliament.”
World Parliament. This institution was established under the direction of Sungchul in order to bring the prophesized third calamity to a swift end. And for the last few years, it had served as a pillar of order for the continent.
But once the third calamity took an unexpected turn, the World Parliament fizzled out without so much as a declaration or negotiations.
At the moment where it had become the Human Empire versus all, no one believed that the World Parliament would function ever again.
“Hmm. Wasn’t that torn to pieces?”
Bertelgia thought the same way. But the power of the World Parliament was still intact. At least legally.
Sungchul may be ignorant about the laws of the world, but he was such a central figure in making the World Parliament that he could rightfully claim himself as its creator. Endless hours were spent and wasted on editing the policies and governing laws by borrowing the help of legal experts from many different nations for deciphering and understanding the complexities of international law that he did not understand. Many sleepless nights were spent in this endeavour. The result of which was that Sungchul could still remember the exact wording of all its laws despite how many years had passed.
“…Officially, the dissolution of the World Parliament requires the vote of two third majority of its constituent nations.”
Sungchul replied with the help of his vivid memories.
“Hmm. Is that so?”
“No other method for dissolution exists. The institution of the World Parliament itself was created with the assumption that it will never be dissolved.”
Beginning with the Human Empire, many powerful nations gathered together for mutual benefits. And until the third Calamity began, the Human Empire and other key major powers have thoroughly entertained themselves with its authority.
“But even if such a rule does exist… why does it matter if everyone has effectively abandoned it?”
Bertelgia asked in a confused voice.
“We have to summon them. Each of the member nations.”
“Hmm. Would they come even if you were to call for them?”
Sungchul made a wide smile at her question and answered.
“I’ll have to use force.”
The use of force. It was one thing Sungchul was best at. And he felt that it was important that all the kings gather at least once to have a discussion first instead of forcefully taking all the crowns from the start.
Though all the kings were holding out and refusing to relinquish their crowns, all of them knew that only one crown could remain in the end. In the status quo, the Human Empire was in the best position to become the possessor of the final crown. The idea that a Summoned was going to be the last remaining king was what caused all other nations to put up resistance.
But the Emperor was not such a stubborn individual. Sungchul was able to see the potential within the Emperor during their unexpected meeting, even though he had given up on him in the past.
‘Of course if the guy wants to be difficult, I’ll be forced to use my strength.’
It was a challenging problem to solve.
Sungchul wanted to check all possibilities and check the current state of the board before he makes his move. The return of the World Parliament was a great opportunity for that to take place.
Sungchul had a thought.
‘So it comes down to this in the end.’
The World Parliament.
It had once been the very symbol of authority. But now it was but a shell of its former self, discarded and left bereft of any power or purpose.
‘Even if it is just the skin remaining, we should use it if it still can be used. Puffer Fish’s skin is tasty all by itself after all.’
Sungchul felt himself salivating as he stood in front of the table to look at the map.
The many pebbles he had placed on the lap came into view. Sungchul took up a pen to start drawing lines on the map.
“Hmm? What do you think you’re doing?”
Bertelgia, who had worked hard to fix the map was horrified and asked him.
“I am drawing the shortest route. To meet all the kings.”
“Hmm. I really wish you’d do that with a pencil instead.”
Sungchul switched to a pencil before resuming drawing lines again.
Shortest route it may be, it was still an enormous distance to cover. Sungchul enjoyed walking but he did not enjoy running all that much. It was because he had run aplenty in the military. Anyone who had the misfortune of having a drill sergeant who loved marathons would be able to understand how Sungchul felt.
And if it were just him, he would somehow make his way across. But he was no longer alone. He had companions to think about. Especially someone like Marakia couldn’t be left alone because there was no telling what he would do, considering he saw humans as just another snack. Sungchul had come to learn about Marakia’s cruel personality thanks to Bertelgia’s daily tattling.
“What? You plan on covering this enormous distance in just a fortnight? Not even the Nahak are permitted the gift of covering such distances with our wings of conquest.”
Marakia immediately resisted upon finding out about Sungchul’s travel plans. The bravado of shouting ten million and twenty one as he lifted stones could no longer be seen anywhere.
‘We definitely need something to ride.’
Sungchul looked over at Baron the Gryphon.
This was not a good idea. Gryphons were first and foremost monsters that had been tamed for combat use. Powerful body and constitution were the basis of the Gryphons being given the important duty of penetrating deep into enemy lines and collapsing their formations. In terms of the ability to fly, it was categorically inferior to Wyverns in both short and long distance travels.
‘Mmm. Are there no good options?’
The most efficient and commonly available method of transportation was, of course, wagons. But that was only true in regions where the roads were well maintained. There was no way roads connecting different countries were being maintained well during the current crisis. The wheel loses its worth without a minimum threshold of quality in roads.
“You can just ride an airship.”
Bertelgia suddenly suggested.
Bertelgia shook as if to nod to Sungchul’s question.
“Why an Airship all of a sudden?”
The Airships were indisputably the best method of transportation available on the continent. But because of that, they were that much more difficult to obtain and had exorbitant costs compared to any other alternatives.
Furthermore, an Airship was not something that could be bought by an individual. Not only was it inherently expensive, it was also considered an important military asset. So purchase of an Airship could not be done by money alone.
This is why it hadn’t occurred to Sungchul to consider an Airship. And despite that, Bertelgia was making this suggestion.
“The Airship is too far-fetched, Bertelgia. That’s not something that can be obtained at a whim.”
Sungchul replied. But Bertelgia answered with a matter-of-fact voice.
“Last time we came here we stole a ship from that Aquiroa or something lady.”
Sungchul’s eyes opened wide.
“Ah, so you mean that.”
It had completely slipped his mind.
Aquiroa’s flagship Procrustes. During their last visit to the Tower of Recluse, Sungchul had eliminated Aquiroa and all of her followers before hiding the Airship deep in the vast mountain range that surrounded the tower.
At the time, he was forced to act in secrecy so he had thought there would never come an opportunity to use it. But the World Parliament had become nearly powerless since then, and the focus of the conflict shifted away from Sungchul to tensions between the nations. Under these circumstances, an Airship would perform as an excellent mode of transportation.
The Airship could comfortably and rapidly traverse over any terrain without obstruction, and in special cases, carry equipment that allowed the entire ship to teleport via dimensional travel. For Sungchul who was planning on visiting all corners of the continent in a short amount of time, there was no better option than this.
“… I guess the problem lies with the crew.”
To begin with the conclusion, it was possible for Sungchul to run the Airship alone. But the problem arose with maintenance and long term operation. An Airship absolutely required a minimum number of crewmen on board. This was the most difficult problem for Sungchul to solve.
“For now, let’s take a look at it first. It’s been stuck on that mountain for quite a while, yeah?”
Sungchul immediately placed Bertelgia and Marakia into their respective pockets after listening to her suggestions and mounted Baron. They flew towards the distant peak where Aquiroa’s flagship had been hidden.
But it was difficult to find due to changes in the terrain.
Sungchul first hopped off and took out Fal Garaz.
“What are you trying to do?”
Sungchul put god-like strength into his arms to give a massive blow against the surface.
The earth was heavily shaken and the snow that had accumulated on pine trees were knocked free. And even on the peak of mountains, the snow responded slightly to Sunghul’s powerful quake before it grew into a massive avalanche.
Sungchul returned on Baron’s back and climbed up into the air to look down at the land that had much less snow than before. He was able to gauge where he was by checking the terrain.
Aquiroa’s Flagship, Procrustes was covered in snow in the corner.
Sungchul picked Marakia out of his pocket with two hands and placed him down on the ground before giving an order.
“Marakia. Remove the snow.”
Marakia had his eyes opened wide and tried to refuse, but the only reason why Sungchul had brought Marakia here in the first place was for snow-removal.
After a round of fruitless resistance, Marakia reluctantly used the power of magic to clear the snow from the area.
Marakia created powerful twisters of fire and had them dance around each other as they went around melting the snow. Meanwhile, Sungchul was next to Baron making a campfire and boiling water in a kettle.
“Hmm. That guy, he’s pretty amazing.”
Bertelgia muttered while watching Marakia remove the snow.
“Can’t believe he still has that much power within him after passing his power onto you.”
“That’s just how blessed he is.”
Sungchul poured hot water into a cup and mixed black tea leaves into it. It was a very impromptu tea, but it was serviceable. Sungchul fell into thought as he sipped his tea.
‘He might have become a Lesser God if the world was the way it originally was.’
The path of ascension to become a Lesser God had been blocked in this world. The methods available to grow stronger were limited to an extreme, and even those few remaining ways had a clear upper limit.
A method as inefficient as Soul Inheritance was probably born out of desperate need and a lack of a better option.
‘Now that I think of it, Androa had said the Lesser Gods only hid the path to immortality. His words carried the assumption that the path itself couldn’t be destroyed.’
Sungchul’s eyes grew wide. That meant that there was a possibility that a quest made personally by this world’s God could still be found somewhere in the world.
It goes without saying that no one other than Lesser Gods knew where they were hidden. But there was a potential solution to this problem.
Letter of God.
‘With the help of the Letter of God, Ryze Hymerr was able to find the locations of where powerful Soul Contracts were hidden. But from what could be surmised from the other Letter of Gods so far, it’s possible that one of them contains a record of a Lesser God on the locations of the divine quests made by God himself.’
This was purely a speculation on Sungchul’s part, but it wasn’t groundless.
The Lesser Gods would have done something to make it difficult to reach even if one were to have knowledge of where it was. But it wouldn’t be impossible to reach once the location was known.
There are not many things left in the world that was impossible for Sungchul to accomplish.
While Sungchul was lost in his thoughts, Marakia discovered the Airship buried deep under the snow.
“Yo, Destroyer! I’ve found what you wanted.”
“Good work, Marakia.”
“If you were to give me just five more Essence of the Fire Spirit, then I might be able to go get it out myself.”
Sungchul utterly ignored Marakia’s sly suggestions and retrieved his beloved shovel.
‘Time to use my strength for once.’
Sungchul’s shovel moved faster than eyes could see.
After an indeterminate amount of time had passed, Aquiroa’s beautiful flagship Procrustes emerged from its long slumber under the snow and revealed its pure white hulls to the world once more.
Sungchul threw open the doors to the control room of the ship to check on the Airship’s functionality.
Sungchul was surprised to find that the Airship Procrustes was still working perfectly.
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