Episode 10: Calculations of Revenge / Chapter 168: Each’s Calculations (1)
TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk
The ‘Dream of the Great Universe’, located in Alliance City, the alliance’s capital, was an enormous hall the size of a palace. All the alliance’s most important events and gatherings were held here.
The inauguration and war ceremony for the fourteenth Exalted Wing, Flame-Rain, was held here not so long ago, and the Berserker’s triumph party for discovering the monsters’ queen’s location was held here as well.
The atmosphere of the party was rowdy. Whether one was envious or jealous of the newly born hero, the mood couldn’t help but be heated and there hadn’t been a single boring moment since the start of the party. Whether one wanted to praise or mock them, no one could wait to talk to the Berserkers. At this moment, the most popular group in the entire universe was the Berserkers.
However, the Berserkers couldn’t enjoy the party and were all making distracted expressions.
Lee Jinhee was sitting, blankly looking up at the ceiling. She didn’t show any reaction when someone tried to talk to her. The ceiling she was staring at was created by stacking cubes of crafted silver metals covered in dark matter together. Because the dark matter, which made up the cubes’ frames, was transparent, the silver metals seemed to be floating in the air.
The ceiling Lee Jinhee was staring at gradually curved into a wall before becoming the floor. Perhaps it was because of the gravitational force of dark matter, but the warriors enjoyed the party while walking on the ceiling, walls, and pillars. The special decorative flames of the Flame Wing Tribe spread out everywhere and bloomed like fireworks. A stream of light from the Speckled Light Tribe flowed in mid-air in the center of the hall and served food from all over the universe to the warriors.
As expected of a hall that represented the alliance, the ‘Dream of the Great Universe’ was built by integrating the unique architectural styles of the top four tribes. Even while she examined each corner of this beautiful place, Lee Jinhee’s eyes didn’t show any interest.
“Director Lee Jinhee.”
The Artillery Captain Handke took out a nuclear bomb candy and a glass of ‘Phoenix Blood’ and handed them over to Lee Jinhee. However, Lee Jinhee simply raised her head with a blank expression, almost as if she didn’t hear him. Handke called out to her again.
“Director Lee Jinhee, let’s talk. I’ve decided to leave the Berserkers.”
Only after hearing that Handke would ‘leave’ did Lee Jinhee’s head move. Yet, her gaze still couldn’t focus as she looked at Handke.
Lee Jinhee absentmindedly swallowed the candy Handke had handed her and was shocked by the extremely small-scale nuclear explosion that went off in her stomach with a bang.
“What… What is this?!”
“Puhaha! Thrilling, isn’t it? That is the nuclear bomb candy that is banned for earthlings below the high rank to consume. Since our bodies aren’t made up of flames or dark matter, even a middle-ranked warrior could take quite the blow from it. Now, drink this.”
With a frown, Lee Jinhee instantly downed the glass of Phoenix Blood.
The moment the Phoenix Blood went down her throat, it turned into flames and was absorbed into her bloodstream, circulating once before exiting through her nose and hair.
It seemed to be quite refreshing as Lee Jinhee’s eyes began to shine like normal.
“Ah, thanks. Because of you, I’m finally coming back to my senses. But what did you say just now? You’re leaving?”
When Lee Jinhee, who had now pulled herself together, asked, Handke intentionally nodded cheerfully.
Hearing this, Lee Jinhee’s expression turned serious. She carefully asked,
“… Can I ask why?”
“Well, there isn’t some sort of grand reason… Just, I want to be happy now.”
Handke’s eyes dimmed slightly.
“At first, I was also a lunatic. At the sudden change, I lost my daughter and my wife… When I heard that this was all because we were weak, I was so angry that I felt like I would die. So I enjoyed going around with Leader Choi Hyuk. I could forget my pain and guilt while fighting a ton, but you know? Looking back, I felt like I was entranced by something. ‘I need to kill more.’ ‘I need to get stronger.’ I pushed myself even harder with those thoughts… But, after thinking about how we completed our revenge this time, I jolted to my senses. I felt like I had just awoken from a dream. Having suddenly thought about it… I felt like I could now live while enjoying myself. The position of earthlings is much better than before, and my own position accumulated from being a Berserker is especially great. As a high-ranked warrior, I can spend my time in the center of the alliance, Alliance City, while being respected as a decent warrior, right?”
Then he smiled.
“Ha, so I want to let go of my past and live in the present. I’m also tired of fighting every day. Now I want to meet a nice woman, have a beautiful child, and live nicely. While I’ll have to continue to fight as a warrior… Raising a family becomes impossible if I stay with the leader. You also never know when you’ll die, in fact, I actually thought I’d die this time.”
Lee Jinhee slowly nodded her head.
Seeing Lee Jinhee like this, Handke asked in a polite voice,
“So, what does Director Lee Jinhee think? Are you planning on staying?”
Lee Jinhee’s shoulders flinched and trembled. Handke patted her shoulder.
“I’ve thought about this for a while. That if there was any person that didn’t fit the Berserkers, it was Director Lee Jinhee.”
Lee Jinhee’s head drooped.
She could hear the crackling of the decorative fireworks set up everywhere and the sounds of people’s conversations reverberating against the silver metal.
Within these sounds, she could even hear a warrior approaching Choi Hyuk while shouting, “Leader Choi Hyuk! Congratulations!” Lee Jinhee’s gaze turned towards that direction. She saw Commander Mack of the Virgo Cluster and other warriors of the Dragon race gathering around him and leading him elsewhere.
‘The warriors of the Dark Tribe led him somewhere before also…’
There was an unwritten rule that Exalted Wings normally didn’t attend these parties. She thought that each camp was trying to win Choi Hyuk over instead of them.
‘What is everyone trying to do? What will happen in the future? And the Exalted Wings? The alliance? The Berserkers? Earthlings? …Me?”
The more she thought about it, the gloomier she became.
In a quiet voice, she asked Handke,
“Did you talk with the others?”
Handke scratched his head.
“I did. Leah and Kim Honghyun are leaving. From the beginning, Kim Honghyun was planning on using the Berserkers as a foothold for his success… Leah decided to interpret Richard’s will more broadly and is going to work towards the revival of the earthlings.”
Lee Jinhee asked with a slightly stifled tone,
“And what… about the others?”
“I don’t know… Unlike Leah, Zero said he’d follow Leader Choi Hyuk as written in Richard’s will… Baek Seoin was stern, saying that he owed Choi Hyuk a life debt. Bae Jinman, that man surprised me. He simply smiled and shook his head. Knowing him, I thought he would leave…”
“And Hyunsung oppa?”
When Lee Jinhee asked about Ryu Hyunsung, Handke frowned.
“Haa… That guy is too headstrong. He said he’ll remain and fight until he dies. He has no thoughts on making new relationships or on living a better life. So I asked him why he was acting this way. Considering how young he is and his seven years of loyalty, hasn’t he done enough? Shouldn’t he forget about those who he has lost and move on with his life? Then he answered, ‘No, I have no thoughts of forgetting them until I die. If I also forget my friends, then their deaths would really have been for nothing. I need to suffer; only then can their resentment remain without disappearing. I can’t forget them until I die. The world won’t continue to go around as though my friends’ deaths were nothing. At least, in front of my eyes, until I die.’ …Really now. His friends definitely hope for that.”
Handke grumbled, but Lee Jinhee looked sad. She listlessly looked out into space and said,
“Is that so…? I… don’t know. Really.”
‘Event Horizon Troop’, also known as the Horizon Troop, was an independent troop where the problem children in Alliance City gathered. It was common for independent troops to be composed around a specific tribe, but this troop was diverse, composed of many of the tribes existing in the alliance. Unlike other troops that took safer actions as they grew stronger, this troop was famous for not refusing dangerous adventures. That didn’t mean they fought every day like the Berserkers. They became renown for taking on dangerous missions and then taking a long break, spending the Mission Points from the missions like water in Alliance City. Also, the troop ranks were decided solely on skill so the arrogant young masters and ladies from the top four tribes had to obediently follow orders from the commanders from minor tribes. Because of this, there had been instances where naïve geeks from the top four tribes called Horizon Troop team leaders ‘bumpkins’ and were beaten half to death by their team members, who were also from the top four tribes.
This Horizon Troop was precisely the one Chu Youngjin settled in after leaving the Berserkers.
Always taking on dangerous missions, this time, the Horizon Troop was dispatched to the monsters’ universe as the first task force in support of Flame-Rain. Their mission was to help Flame-Rain build her fortress by invading the heart of the enemy camp and throwing them into confusion. They weren’t affiliated to Flame-Rain and were simply her temporary support in order to earn a big haul of Mission Points.
“Okay! Collection of the ancient dragon corpse is complete! Now we run until Exalted Wing Flame-Rain can hide us! Break through their encirclement!”
The leader of the first task force shouted.
At the same time, he saw glimpses of a mountainous dragon in a dense red and blue fog that surrounded as its bones melted and disappeared.
In a good mood, the leader of the first task force mumbled,
“We’re lucky, lucky. To think that the dwelling of an ancient dragon that devoured monsters in the past would be here.”
The monsters’ universe, which had already come to the end of its lifespan, changed its fate of collapse into monsters and sent them to other universes, and by absorbing and combining with the living fates of conquered universes, the monsters’ universe maintained its existence.
Fortunately, the first task force came across the dwelling of an ancient dragon that had been integrated into the monsters’ universe.
“The important aspect of fighting against monsters is maintaining a karma surplus. Since we recovered the karma of an ancient dragon that had been snatched away, we gained and they lost. The fruits of our labor this time is great. We just need to get out.”
The leader of the first task force was truly in a good mood. While he didn’t say it, the fruits this time didn’t simply end with the completion of a mission.
‘In the grand scheme of things, I heard that that person works hard to obtain dragon races… The corpse of an ancient dragon should be a great present.’
The leader of the first task force smiled. It felt like things were going well recently.
‘That guy’s the same. The more I see him, the greater he is.’
His gaze was directed at the warrior who had joined recently. Unlike the Horizon Troop’s model of fighting hard when fighting and playing hard when playing, he was a freak who kept switching between task forces and was constantly taking on dangerous missions. While he fought like he would die at any moment, his skills grew just as fast. He had been a middle-ranked warrior when he joined, but currently, he had grown strong enough to be at the peak of high-ranked warriors. When he saw him fight, he felt inexplicably different.
The leader revealed a satisfied smile.
‘Even when considering the fate he awakened when he became a high-ranked warrior, he’ll truly be a useful military power later. Though I am worried he might die early from fighting with no regard… Since I placed ‘Puppet Shiro’ next to him, it won’t be too dangerous.’
After thinking to that point, the leader turned his gaze towards a different direction. The monsters swarmed densely towards them. While they had obtained great results already, this only mattered if they actually came out of this alive. Until Flame-Rain moved the Net of Fate to conceal them, they had to break through the encirclement and run. It would be an intense fight.
Puppet Shiro was a battle doll created by a now extinct species. She possessed the standard appearance of a beautiful woman that resembled earthlings, Flame Wing Tribe members, fairies, and others. However, her skin was created with a special metal that made it strong and cold.
The species that created her were incredible cowards. When they had to fight against the monsters, they would link their karma to battle dolls like her to fight instead of fighting personally. They did this despite the efficiency of karma not being that great.
She fought while receiving her masters’ karma in her ‘gear heart’. However, after losing a war, her masters were all killed. At the time of their demise, she accepted her masters’ karma, which filled her gear heart, and their resentment towards the monsters had succeeded into a new fate. Now, after an immeasurable passage of time, she had become the battle doll ‘Puppet Shiro’, a highest-ranked warrior of the Armored Soul Tribe.
She blocked Chu Youngjin, who was rushing towards the heart of the enemy camp. With a chilling voice, she warned,
“Are you crazy? You’re deep enough already. You’ll die if you go in any further.”
Chu Youngjin, the rookie warrior she was parenting, was an excessively rash person. Even now, he had gone out of the formation and was about to charge into the enemy camp alone. While this wasn’t the first time he had done this, this time, even Shiro couldn’t bear letting him go.
“There. Don’t you see it? It’s a highest-ranked monster. You won’t last 10 seconds against it. Death.”
Shiro calmly explained in order to save him, but Chu Younjin’s eyes simply filled with irritation and fatigue. As if explaining was a pain, he spat while unaware of what he was saying,
“I won’t die.”
Chu Youngjin pushed her away and argued,
“Hey! I won’t die! I already died! I won’t die!”
“…? You’re alive.”
“I’m dead here! Here! Crazy! Move aside!”
Thumping his chest, Chu Youngjin’s eyes rolled like a crazy person’s. Rather than Shiro, who was trying to stop him, he cared more about the monsters behind her.
“I don’t understand.”
Shiro declared with her cold, pretty face.
Tick, tick, tick. She heard her gear heart churning regularly like a mechanical clock. Besides the feeling of danger she felt her life was at risk or satisfaction from killing monsters, born as a battle doll, she wasn’t really emotional about other things.
“Shiro, you’re really tiresome…”
Since Shiro continued to not let him go, Chu Youngjin eventually gave up going any further and began clearing the monsters near him. Rumble! Rumble! Every time his karma rang out explosively, monsters’ bodies exploded and the nearby monsters lost their strength.
Even though he had slaughtered a sufficient number of monsters, Chu Youngjin still felt unsatisfied.
‘More… More… I want to fight more intensely.’
Chu Youngjin had no regrets if he died right now since there was nothing he had to live for.
While he did think he had to help Choi Hyuk, this thought was no more than a habit.
Currently, there was nothing he wanted to do besides futility risking his life fighting and growing stronger to develop ‘Chu Youngjin’s Guardian’, which his lover Lee Hyejin had left behind. His life consisted of fighting like he would die and looking after Choi Hyuk whenever he came to his senses.
If life was a game, Chu Youngjin thought that the real game had ended and that he was simply playing a bonus game.
The Horizon Troop broke through the monsters’ encirclement and advanced. Chu Youngjin stood at the very front. Becoming more agitated as he fought repeatedly, Chu Youngjin forgot Shiro’s dissuasion and charged forward once again. Leaving the formation on his own, he became isolated in the midst of the monsters.
However, for some reason, Shiro didn’t stop him this time.
‘Reckless human. His big weakness is that he cannot calculate capability. If he dies here, that is it. Possible to consider him unnecessary in the grand scheme.’
Not only was she assigned to protect Chu Youngjin, she was also tasked to judge whether he was a suitable person to pull into their grand scheme. This time, Shiro decided to leave him alone. She also thought he would die soon.
Chu Youngjin, he was undoubtedly an amazing warrior.
The fate ‘Futility’ that he awakened when he became a high-ranked warrior even infected the karma of monsters, weakening them. Every time a rumble erupted out, the monsters within 500 meters of him would stagger as though their chests had been pierced by a stake. On the other hand, his sword strikes were destructive enough to exceed his current level. He could easily slaughter high-ranked monsters, which were of the same rank as him.
However, that was the limit of his strength. It was useless when facing a highest-ranked monster.
Seeing the highest-ranked monster, who she had been constantly observing, attack Chu Youngjin, Shiro inwardly sent him an emotionless farewell. As long as his fate of ‘Futility’ wasn’t effective, Chu Youngjin would be ripped to shreds within ten seconds.
That was what would happen, yet…
A thunderous rumble rang out, different from before. A light flashed, and this rumble shook the monsters’ universe. All the monsters within sight faltered at the same time.
Shiro couldn’t comprehend the current situation. She saw the highest-ranked monster falter. It was clearly weakened by Chu Youngjin’s ‘Futility’. Then, with a flash, she witnessed Chu Youngjin’s sword smash through the monster’s body. The monster split in two, never to reattach again. This was something Shiro hadn’t calculated. Faced with this utterly unexpected situation, Shiro’s way of thinking had taken a shock.
Tick, tick, tick, TICK, TICK! TICK! TI-TI-TI-TI-TI!
Her gear heart, which had been operating normally, began to churn crazily.
As if entranced, she approached Chu Youngjin. She brought Chu Youngjin, who had completely passed out in front of the highest-ranked monster’s corpse, into her embrace.
As though he was sleep-talking, Chu Youngjin said,
“See? I still didn’t die… Fuck…”
Chu Youngjin frowned, seemingly distressed. Passed out, a single teardrop hung from the edge of his eye.
Shiro felt her always cold forehead become hot.
Noticing an abnormality within her body, Shiro quickly searched for the problem.
Only then did she realize her gear heart had overheated and was spinning in place. She had never experienced this before.
While agitated and holding Chu Youngjin, Shiro frowned.