SoJ Episode 10 Chapter 161

Episode 10: Calculations of Revenge / Chapter 161: Gathering and Scattering (1)

TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk


 

To Choi Hyuk, the time spent with Flame-Rain was…

He would either have tea with her when she suddenly visited or they would talk for a while, and she would only visit for less than thirty minutes every few months, sometimes even only once a year. That was all, yet… it was weird.

It didn’t feel awkward when he met her, and since it felt like they had conversed throughout this entire time, it instead felt like the blood and slaughter that were their daily lives was as faint as a dream.

 

Choi Hyuk opened his eyes at the ‘Tower of Warriors’. The karma that had been sticking next to him dispersed like butterflies. While this place was called the ‘Tower of Warriors’, its true appearance was like that of an enormous whirlwind of karma. Within this place, where everything was floating as if there wasn’t any gravity, Choi Hyuk raised his floating body. Specks of light chaotically flashed by his still fuzzy vision, and when the ‘Light of Eternity’ emitting from the center of Alliance City reflected on them, they would create all sorts of shadow-like symbols. Swords, shields, crystals… Weapons he could identify, and some he couldn’t, flashed before disappearing.

The ‘Tower of Warriors’ was the tomb of karma weapons.

When warriors died, their karma weapons would slumber in this place. The unfulfilled callings, sentiments, vows, and conclusions of dead warriors gathered together to create a huge flow of fate, and the Exalted Wings used this power to handle the Net of Fate. It was the alliance’s symbol along with the ‘Brain’. The right to stay here wasn’t given to anyone.

 

Choi Hyuk stretched his hand out to his waist and looked for ‘Choi Hyuk’s Imprint’. When he placed his hand on its handle, only then did it feel complete. The refreshing sensation of morning overcame him.

When he slowly lowered his body to exit the tower, the silhouettes of the karma weapons that filled the tower would surround his body. When his body lowered to an appropriate level, like elevator doors opening, the silhouettes dispersed on their own.

 

As soon as he landed on the lowest part of the Tower of Warriors, he heard Lee Jinhee’s chatting voice.

“Wow… Then Flame-Rain was on the battlefield in 2002? And that was before they started colonizing the Laniakea Supercluster?”

“Yeah. Since the frequency of discovery in the Laniakea Supercluster was so low, and when I arrived, monsters had already occupied various places… It was really intense that time. I almost died numerous times.”

“Do even transcendent warriors get in danger?”

“Of course! Also, I was a highest-ranked warrior that time.”

“Then you entered the transcendent level in only ten years?”

Hearing Lee Jinhee’s shocked voice, Flame-Rain brushed her hair as she boasted,

“Everyone’s surprised by my growth.”

Lee Jinhee exaggeratingly lowered her head.

“Yes, yes, of course, Exalted Wing. Wow, anyways, hearing your story feel a bit surreal. In 2002, Earth didn’t even have smartphones. I don’t even remember that time well. Ah, can I call you unni{1}?”

Flame-Rain smiled as she waved her hand while Baek Seoin mumbled in shock,

“In 2002, Korea was a pot of craziness because of the World Cup. So the alliance was in the middle of war back then too. Well, if we look at the number of years, then the alliance has probably been fighting since prehistoric times… The alliance wasn’t made for nothing I see.”

Flame-Rain looked up. Shadows of the karma weapons were cast above randomly. Countless warriors had died, and the Tower of Warriors, which grew larger every time they did, was already as wide as multiple stadiums and so tall that one couldn’t see the top.

“Yeah… It wasn’t easy. So the earlier and more key members have a stronger compensation mentality.”

Flame-Rain’s voice lowered.

“2002… The world cup that opened in South Korea and Japan. I saw it too. I studied a lot about Earth. It was a beautiful planet. For Earth to become like that… I’m sorry.”

Baek Seoin and Lee Jinhee were taken aback by Flame-Rain’s words.

“No! There’s no need for you to be sorry.”

“Yeah. In fact, we’re grateful to you, unni.”

Flame-Rain smiled weakly.

Dim flames blazed in her eyes. Her voice became even lower, and it rang even deeper.

“I… am going to change the alliance. Starting from the monsters’ universe that I am assigned to, I will change the alliance into one that doesn’t distinguish between the center and the borders, where all warriors are respected and fight indiscriminately and where no life will be treated as a Consumable! I will create an alliance that is truly for life and freedom. I will endure, no, become stronger in the monsters’ universe and return. Starting the change from there, I will change even our universe.”

Seeing her tightly shut lips and faintly blazing eyes, Lee Jinhee’s mouth became agape. Led by Flame-Rain’s passion, she unknowing said,

“Me too. I want to see that world…”

“You will.”

Flame-Rain nodded firmly.

 

Choi Hyuk, who had been watching them from the back, joined in with a slightly confused voice,

“Just when did you all become so close?”

While they should have seen Flame-Rain with him when she visited, from his knowledge, Baek Seoin, Lee Jinhee, and the others hadn’t talked with her before.

Lee Jinhee and Baek Seoin were startled by Choi Hyuk’s sudden appearance and quickly greeted him. Flame-Rain replied leisurely as though she had already been aware that he was behind her,

“We became close while waiting for you to get up.”

“You were waiting for me?”

Flame-Rain went over and pulled Choi Hyuk’s wrist.

“Let’s go. I’ll show you my homeland this time. While it’s very different from Earth, it probably won’t be bad.”

The cheers and jeers of the Berserkers’ executives, who were out in the plaza, simultaneously rained down on them as Flame-Rain disappeared with Choi Hyuk.

 

**

Flame-Rain brought Choi Hyuk to the fountain of light, no, the lake of light in the center of Alliance City. This place, called the ‘Light of Eternity’, was like the sun as it shined a light on the entire city, which was as large as the moon.

She grabbed his wrist and pulled him step-by-step towards the Light of Eternity.

“If the Brain and the Tower of Warriors are the symbols of the alliance for all members… This place is the symbol of the Flame Wing Tribe, who possess absolute influence within the Flame Wing Alliance. It’s a place of privileged access.”

She said in a slightly bitter tone as she submerged herself completely in the light.

While the ‘Light of Eternity’ was a device that provided energy to Alliance City, it was also a two-way gate that led to the Flame Wing Tribe’s homeland. The moment Choi Hyuk was about to pass through the ‘Light of Eternity’ while being led by Flame-Rain, Choi Hyuk heard a cold message.

{Other species are prohibited from approaching.}

“He’s my guest.”

{Ah, pardon me! I welcome your return to our homeland, princess.}

As soon as Flame-Rain cut in, the voice that had been cold towards Choi Hyuk became like a warm breeze.

Immediately after, Choi Hyuk entered the Flame Wing Tribe’s homeland, ‘End of the Universe’.

 

At a glance, this place seemed to be within a painting by Van Gogh. Everything he saw was a flame. As though a great painter had paid great care to his every brushstroke to create harmony, all sorts of textures, shapes, and colors of flames meshed together, like Pointillism, to create an incredibly noble scene, from violent flames to smooth flames and from white flames to green, pink, and purple flames.

“… This place is?”

Choi Hyuk opened his mouth without realizing it, and Flame-Rain didn’t reply as she took a deep breath.

The flames around her blazed as if blessing her. These flames, which were transparent and white like her own distinct flames, made it feel as though the entire universe was protecting her.

‘Is this what they call a princess?’

Choi Hyuk admired unconsciously.

“It’s a wonderful place, isn’t it?”

Flame-Rain said only after taking deep breaths without a word for a while.

“End of the Universe. Since it hasn’t been long since the big bang when considering the passage of time relative to this place, the Flames of Beginning, which birthed the universe, still remain intact here. The Flame Wing Tribe are the descendants of the Flames of Beginning that conceived the universe. That’s why the diehard nationalist also call us the descendants of the Creator.”

She kept pulling Choi Hyuk’s wrist as she showed him various locations. She collected the most delicious flames and let Choi Hyuk taste them and even introduced him to the artistic flames kindled by the Flame Wing Tribe.

In this place, where everything was made up of flames, there was no need for a city, buildings, or even clothes.

However, each and every flame here had the touch of the Flame Wing Tribe. This was what the Flame Wing Tribe usually did. They consumed and created flames.

The Flame Wing Tribe’s emotions started and ended with flames. The desire they possessed from the beginning was to kindle a more beautiful or a more everlasting flame. There was nothing else besides that.

 

Visiting her homeland for the first time in a long while, Flame-Rain was sentimental the whole time.

“This place is not only my homeland but my mother as well. Not as in a figure of speech, but literally. Like earthlings, the Flame Wing Tribe members can give birth by mixing flames with each other… But in cases like my father, who possess overwhelmingly powerful flames, they can fuse their flames with this universe’s flames. Then… a child is born from those flames. That is why I don’t have a mother in Earth’s traditional sense. This world, these flames are my mother.”

Flame-Rain looked happy while saying this. According to her words, this was like returning to her mother after a long while. However, her expression soon darkened.

“That is why… my tribe members can’t give up on these flames.”

“Give up?”

“Yeah. All things born must die. Our universe isn’t an exception, and neither are the Flames of Beginning. After the big bang, the universe has been cooling, and the flames we enjoyed are gradually dying out. We couldn’t just watch that happen… Still, my father, Flame-Sky, accepted this change and was looking for a new way of life, but Flame-Hell, who came into power after my father passed away, isn’t like that. To maintain these flames for as long as possible, he decided to make the Flame Wing Tribe the greatest existence in the universe. This was why we were able to obtain the special fate as the ruling species of the universe, and using this fate and power, we can allocate the karma necessary to continue maintaining the Flames of Beginning.”

She stopped speaking for a moment before having a hard time opening her mouth again.

“While no one talks about it now, the Dark Tribe, Armored Soul Tribe, and Speckled Light Tribe, who are now known as members of the top four tribes, had all gone through what Earth had gone through in the beginning. This happened after my father had passed away. Flame-Hell said that these were inevitable trials and that it was the monsters’ doing, not ours, but in fact, these were all things we did to obtain a ruling position for the Flame Wing Tribe. I didn’t know this when I was young. Like a fool, I believed that the alliance was free and peaceful by only looking at its outer appearance.”

Hearing this, Choi Hyuk recalled the deep hatred Dark-Sound had revealed to him.

 

Flame-Rain stopped, as if she was fighting back her tears, before changing the mood and hitting Choi Hyuk’s shoulder.

“But I saw it. Another universe. I saw how beautiful the universe, which the Flame Wing Tribe members hate and call the ‘cold universe’, is. The cold air on Earth. The stars in the night sky. The hot coffee I drank while blowing on it. How wonderful all those things were. Wasn’t it? How was it? Growing up in a cold universe without knowing anything about the alliance and the war?”

Choi Hyuk’s expression momentarily became emotional after listening to her words. Soon, he shook his head and said,

“… It was simple. Without knowing anything about this enormous universe, we simply lived by advancing our feeble science. Since we didn’t know anything about karma, we were so weak that we lived solely by wielding the technology we had created. While in fear that the weapons, technology, and artificial intelligences we created could destroy us, we greedily warred against each other. Not everything was good. That was why, when we first saw the alliance, I think we thought that it was illustrious despite being scared and hating it. We thought those of the alliance were different from us since they could manipulate karma since birth. But… looking at it now, I don’t think so.”

Flame-Rain smiled as she agreed with him.

“Huu, yeah. In the end, we’re all foolish. That’s why we’re all the same karmalings, right? There isn’t a truly exalted species. So…”

She stared directly at Choi Hyuk as she continued,

“So I will make one. A new alliance. An alliance that is truly for the prosperity of all karmalings. To do that… I need your help.”

She stretched her hand out.

“Let’s work together. You will, won’t you?”

 

When he saw her outstretched hand, Choi Hyuk felt a prickling sensation.

He recalled how Jung Minji had stretched out her hand, asking him to work together with her back when he was about to leave the high school after completing the Ring of Rebirth and the Throne Game. That time, Choi Hyuk refused. Then she died.

This situation felt similar.

Of course, a lot had changed since then as well.

While he himself had changed a lot, the biggest change was Flame-Rain. She was someone who warmed others’ hearts by being next to them.

It was the same right now.

She stretched her hand out while saying that she would abandon this universe where various colored flames blazed around them like a great masterpiece. She was small yet stronger than him. Despite this, she was easily hurt. However, she had the qualifications of an empress as she could recover from it and establish her own vision.

She was frighteningly beautiful.

 

This was why Choi Hyuk couldn’t smile or hold her hand and wish her the fortune of war.

Instead, he took a step back. He didn’t avoid her gaze. Only, while hiding his emotions as best as he could, he shook his head.

 

“No, I won’t.”

He said in the end.

Then again.

 

Flame-Rain’s hand, which she had stretched out like a flower with a fluttering heart, flinched as though it was met with a cold breeze.

 


{1} Unni – what a younger woman calls an older woman.

 

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Comments 7

  1. Then Flame-Rain was on the battlefield > Then you were on (it’s weird to say someone’s name while talking to them about them) | hearing your story feel a bit surreal > feels a bit surreal

    Thanks for the chapter.

  2. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…………………..The only ship worth sailing in this novel got burned just like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!.Thanks for the chapter by the way great as always.

  3. As much as I’d like to ship them together, I can’t see it happening. Not at this stage anyways. Her goals/intentions doesn’t align with Choi Hyuk’s at all unfortunately. I could be wrong of course but afaik Choi Hyuk wanted revenge. If he accepted her then everything he had done until now was all for nothing. Meaning his resolve was just weak and he’d be most likely lose his strength and his weapon loses effectiveness… unless he changes his vow… maybe. FLAME-RAIN PLEASE UNDERSTAND

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