Episode 10: Calculations of Revenge / Chapter 162: Gathering and Dispersing (2)
TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk
The Light of Eternity, which surged from the center of Alliance City, hit the various gravity fields and different atmospheres in the sky, scattering intricately. It looked like a patchwork stitched from various types of skies, such as a sunset, blue autumn sky, shining light, and darkness. No matter how long one looked at it, they wouldn’t get tired of it.
“It’s finally peaceful…”
In a place not far from the Tower of Warriors, Alexei stood leisurely as he drank a soda. The soda, which was called ‘One Sky’, was connected to Alliance City’s sky and karma. No matter where or when you drank it, its rippling liquid reflected the various skies. When drunken, the sky-blue liquid would wet one’s tongue and throat as it soaked into one’s cells, and the faint scent of an autumn or spring breeze would linger in one’s nose. It felt like one’s mouth and stomach was being soaked by the sky.
Alexei let out a breath in satisfaction.
However, Lee Jinhee didn’t seem to be in a good mood.
“Lyosha, what’s peaceful? Can’t you see everyone’s busy wracking their brains?”
Without a doubt, the Alliance City citizens were huddling together and discussing something with serious faces. Alexei wasn’t aware of this.
“It’s because of the princess, right? Establishing a fortress in the monsters’ universe or something… Well, I guess these announcements that always pop up are shocking in Alliance City?”
Alexei said as though it didn’t concern him and smiled brightly at Lee Jinhee.
“But director, it’s only shocking to those living here. To people like us from the borders, isn’t this news welcoming? Dropping privileges and competing solely on skill… And there’s no ridiculous treatment like making the less skilled Consumables. To be honest, this is like a dream to us!”
Seeing Alexei’s somewhat excited expression, Lee Jinhee’s face became even darker. Lee Jinhee stared at the boy’s face, who always followed her like a puppy while saying that he liked her. He smiled timidly as if saying that he was happy just meeting her eyes.
While he had lost a bit of his baby fat and his face had become more mature, he was still young. Her heart ached a little more.
“You entered the middle rank, right?”
“I entered it! I am ashamed for reaching it so late.”
While completing the mission this time, the majority of warriors at the team leader rank were able to step into the middle rank. Among them, Alexei, who was the top team leader in Lee Jinhee’s troop, had already passed the early stages and was heading for the proficiency stage. While he said he was ashamed for reaching it so late, his expression revealed an uncontainable pride.
Lee Jinhee patted Alexei’s head as she said,
“Good job. You worked hard. However… We really were late. Both you and me.”
Alexei, who had been happy from hearing he did well and that he had worked hard, was surprised at Lee Jinhee’s self-deprecating words.
“We’re late. Too late. Didn’t you realize anything this time? The Berserkers couldn’t follow leader. We’re supposed to support him from behind when he pushes forward… But we couldn’t. The gap between leader and us is gradually increasing.”
She wrapped her hand around her forehead as she said,
“Leader won’t wait for us since he’s someone with clear goals. So us Berserkers need to match his goals on our own. That’s why he picked us. Yet, he reached the highest rank this time… While none of the directors directly below him have even become high-ranked warriors yet. Even the team leaders below the directors have only now reached the middle rank… Late. Too late. If we want to cover the leader, then, at the very least, the directors need to be high-ranked warriors and the team leaders need to have reached the proficiency or peak stage of the middle rank. But even I, a director, am still only a middle-ranked warrior.”
“That’s… because the higher rank you are, the more difficult it is to increase your rank. On top of that, I heard that, starting from the high rank, you need enlightenment regarding your fate, since you’re transcending the system…”
“Yeah. But that’s our problem… At least, during the next mission, we need to reach the high rank. Only then can we follow the leader, even if we’re insufficient.”
“Euu. It’s already hard enough. I heard that once the base is created, it’ll be safe for a while… Can’t we work hard to find enlightenment then? While saying these words may be me overstepping my position… You can’t be too hasty.”
Alexei said everything he had to say even while reading Lee Jinhee’s mood.
Lee Jinhee looked up at the complex sky filled with various colors.
“Yeah… But we probably won’t go to Flame-Rain unni’s base.”
“Pardon? Isn’t it obvious we’ll be going there? She’s close friends with our leader. Their goals are similar.”
Lee Jinhee smiled bitterly.
“You still don’t know the leader? No… He’s not interested in improving the alliance.”
Saying this, Lee Jinhee saw the Berserkers focused on training around the Tower of Warriors.
Sweating heavily, Ryu Hyunsung wielded his sword with his eyes closed. Baek Seoin, on the other hand, had set up automatic weapons around him and was, whilst standing in the middle of them, avoiding the barrage of swords and bullets. Kim Honghyun was sparring with Zero, and Leah was meditating on her own.
While the Berserkers always fought with their lives on the line, Choi Hyuk didn’t promise them a glorious future. Choi Hyuk’s path was simply more destruction and slaughter. He wasn’t interested in a better future.
Then what were the Berserkers fighting for?
Revenge, agony towards the past, and ambition to be stronger than anyone else. While there were multiple reasons, all of them were related to one thing – the intense pleasure experienced from the fights led by Choi Hyuk and the sense of accomplishment gained from defeating a difficult opponent. No drug could provide them with that sharp, abundant sensation. Whether it was to forget their pain or for a better future, they couldn’t help but be led by him.
However, there was a possibility that this case wouldn’t last forever, especially for those warriors who strove for certain goals rather than indulging themselves in battles to forget their pain.
“Whaat? Then what kind of mission are we going on? How scary… Isn’t it time for us to establish our foothold? And I am curious about the new base that’s being established…”
Listening to Alexei’s dispirited voice, Lee Jinhee shook her head.
“Yeah… I don’t know how things will be in the future either. What kind of mission the leader will be assigned to is unknown…”
Choi Hyuk recalled his conversation with Dark-Sound.
“However… I want to quickly grow stronger. Is there another path besides standing next to Flame-Rain and invading the monsters’ universe?”
“There is. She’s going to cautiously begin her activities from the border, trying not to be noticed. However, the alliance needs a more aggressive plan than that.”
“What is it?”
“The whereabouts of the queen of monsters. There are now two possible locations remaining. We need to find out which of the two the queen is at and what the best route to invade that place is. And if we attract the monsters’ attention while doing this, it’ll help hid Flame-Rain’s stronghold, so it’s not all bad. While there are those within the Exalted Wings who hate Flame-Rain, there isn’t a single one who hopes that the stronghold, which we spent a large number of resources on, will collapse. Since everyone will be doomed if we mess up.”
“So you’re saying to invade the center. That’s a dangerous mission.”
It seemed he liked the sound of ‘dangerous mission’ as he rolled the word on his tongue once more while smiling. Dark-Sound nodded his head.
“Yeah. Flame-Hell and I will suggest you for the position so do your best. Also… I’ll give you a present.”
“I’ll accept it gratefully.”
Choi Hyuk didn’t refuse any presents. Smiling faintly, Choi Hyuk bowed and Dark-Sound, seeing this, grinned.
Dark-Sound’s pale lips spat a few words and Choi Hyuk’s face became stiff.
“The ones in charge of Earth’s recruit training.”
A small black flame blazed. It even burned on the tips of Dark-Sound’s fingers.
‘Haa… As expected.’
Of course, he wasn’t injured in the slightest, the fact that Choi Hyuk’s flames could even burn the tips of his fingers was surprising on its own. This flame didn’t use any skill, materializing purely from his burning rage. Choi Hyuk’s eyes were blazing black as he looked at Dark-Sound without a reply.
That was why Choi Hyuk didn’t care about his executives’ reactions.
“Ah… Leader. Are we fighting again? We have a lot to do. We need to reorganize Dragonic and we have to research new technologies… No, no, fighting is good. However, what reason is there for not going to Exalted Wing Flame-Rain’s stronghold? We can fight as much as we want and reorganize there.”
The Artillery Captain Handke made a gloomy expression. Aide Leah continued after,
“There have been rumors that all the El Tribe members and earthlings on Dragonic will be transferred to that stronghold. That place is no different from a new colonized land. The ones who go first will obtain a bigger proportion. Aren’t we at the time where we need to make humanity stronger by going at a slower pace? We can obtain sufficient military merit there as well.”
These were the suggestion of the administrative and education representatives of the Berserkers. Guardian Bae Jinman didn’t say anything and kept his eyes closed.
Choi Hyuk shook his head.
Normally, he would go along with whatever his subordinates wanted, but not this time.
In this moment where he couldn’t back down and his leadership was tested, he settled the situation with a single sentence.
“I found out who were in charge of Earth’s recruit training.”
The ones in charge of Earth’s recruit training. At first, they all tilted their heads, uncertain of what he meant, but the moment they understood, shivers ran down their spines.
Choi Hyuk’s words stabbed at them like daggers.
“Let’s deal with them first.”
Within this chilling silence, someone opened his mouth.
“… Earth’s… Recruit training. You’re talking about the ones who created… The Ring of Rebirth and the Throne Game, right?”
It was Guardian Bae Jinman, who had his eyes closed until now. His eyes were bloodshot.
Flitch of the Speckled Light Tribe was a strategist who recently came to fame.
While he was from one of the top four tribes, as could be inferred by his name, he was of low birth within the Speckled Light Tribe. In his tribe, names like ‘Fragment Light’ and ‘Fingernail Light’ were common, and those who were respected had ‘Light-‘ in front of their names. Yet, he didn’t have ‘Light’ in his name.
In the Speckled Light Tribe, millet-sized lights gathered in a group to form a collective intelligence, which was then given a name, but, the lights that composed Flitch were all weak and indecisive losers.
However, Flitch didn’t give up. Maybe it was because he was a gathering of the weak and cowardly, but he always worked harder than anyone else. Since he didn’t hold any expectations for himself, he didn’t become overconfident, and when people criticized him, he didn’t lash out in anger but rather endured and made efforts to improve. After continuing like this, he had completed a few large missions, and using the ‘hit’ results from a recent mission as a basis, he was even able to advance into the alliance’s capital, Alliance City.
He was a strategist active in Alliance City’s tactic market. His story of making his own fortune through strictly his own efforts was quite famous, and many people respected and admired him.
Flitch was really happy about that.
Whenever he went to the tactic market early to examine the newly proposed tactics and discussed with other strategists about which ones had potential and which ones were trash, the thought ‘I succeeded’ always sunk into his mind.
It was the same today.
“Hey, Flitch! This is a new tactic, what do you think about it?”
“Management of reconnaissance troops to figure out the monster queen’s exact location and invasion route… Are you interested in it? I’m not.”
“Woah, woah, it’s still quite a hot-button issue. And it’s essential information in order to end this war.”
“The war ending…? I don’t know, I can’t believe it. While Exalted Wing Flame-Rain may have had some fun with her victory, do you think we’ll be able to see the war end in her generation? In our generation, the best we can do is maintain the current situation. There’s a higher chance that the war will end with our loss. It’s all just hot air. It’s just a diversion to gain more power. All higher ups are like that.”
“So… The reconnaissance is like a show?”
“Yeah. Since Exalted Wing Flame-Rain is gaining popularity with tribes outside Alliance City with her determination to end the war, to combat this, the original Exalted Wings planned a ‘show’ tactic. However, real investments will be focused on Exalted Wing Flame-Rain’s stronghold construction. It’s better to get on that. When there’s such a great alternative, there’s no need to waste precious points on a show like that.”
“Flitch, I understand what you’re saying… But shouldn’t you of all people be interested in it? I hear the person in charge of this tactic is someone from ‘there’?”
They were both his colleagues and competitors, and facing their banter, Flitch expressionlessly turned his gaze towards the tactic information board.
‘Person in charge. The Leader of the Berserkers, a B rank independent troop, Choi Hyuk.’
Flitch smiled bitterly as he shook his head.
“Hey, take it easy.”
In principle, who was in charge of which tribe’s recruit training was a secret. However, when looking at the circumstances, guessing who did what mission was too easy. While everyone didn’t personally say it out loud, since they knew Flitch had made a great profit from leading Earth’s recruit training, they indirectly teased him.
Just as Flitch shook his head and was about to look for an investment-worthy tactic, someone tapped his shoulder. He also heard an energetic voice say, “Hello, Mr. Flitch. It is an honor to meet a strategist with such high prestige like you.”
When he turned around, a familiar earthling man was standing in front of him. While he was inwardly taken aback, he calmly asked,
“Who are you?”
The man lightly smiled as he gave a reply unrelated to his question.
“While it is sudden, the reconnaissance mission… will be a success. How about investing in it?”
He had a bright smile. Flitch avoided his gaze and said while walking elsewhere,
“Haha, I’ll think about it. I’m busy now so…”
However, the earthling grabbed his shoulder.
“Ah, it doesn’t matter whether you invest or not, but you’ll still be participating. I came here to tell you this.”
The man’s constant disrespectful attitude made Flitch’s expression go stiff as he asked,
“… What are you saying?”
The man smiled brightly as he replied directly,
“The Leader of the Berserkers, Choi Hyuk, is dispatching the strategist, Flitch.”
The surrounding strategists were shocked at his reply as they retreated back. Now that they thought about it, the vigor released by the black sword at his waist wasn’t normal. They murmured, ‘Ah… That must be the famous Sword of Vow.’
Choi Hyuk’s black eyes came in front of Flitch’s eyes, who still couldn’t believe the situation. He was still smiling brightly, but his eyes were cold as ice.
“You are being dispatched by an A+ rank resource transfer right. The meeting time is… Huh? It’s right now?”
Flame-Rain received a S+ rank resource transfer right this time. As an A+ rank, it was no different from the highest rank. Before Flitch, who couldn’t believe his situation, could even finish protesting, the space around him crumpled and swallowed him up.
Choi Hyuk motionlessly stared at the space Flitch had disappeared from. Then he smiled widely as he brushed his hands.
“It’ll be thrilling, huh?”
He leisurely walked past the frozen strategists and left.