SoJ Episode 11 Chapter 181

Episode 11: The Grand Scheme / Chapter 181: Frontlines (4)

TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk


 

The Flame Wing Tribe’s recent rise to prominence became an opportunity for the neutral members of the Armored Soul, Speckled Light, and Dark Tribes to unite.

Their position was simple. Although they could acknowledge the Flame Wing Tribe’s dominance, it was difficult for them to accept Flame-Hell’s recent indiscrete expansion of power.

Even those who were originally close to the Flame Wing Tribe or maintained neutrality began to turn away.

Still, it wasn’t enough. With no less than four members of the Exalted Wings from their tribe, the Flame Wing Tribe was creating a ‘Pro-Flame Wing Faction’ among all species. In fact, if they included Flame-Rain, a newly ascended Exalted Wing, they would have five Exalted Wings. More than half the alliance’s forces were under the Flame Wing Tribe’s authority. The ‘Pro-Flame Wing Faction’ was made up of 45% of the alliance, and if they included Flame-Rain, the enormous organization reached 60% of the alliance. On the other hand, the ‘Anti-Flame Wing Faction’, which expanded this time, barely managed to hold 25%. The remaining 15% were minor, neutral forces that didn’t belong to either side. They didn’t have a lot of power.

Even now, the Flame Wing Tribe’s influence was gradually expanding thanks to Flame-Hell’s ambitious actions. If things continued as is, there was no doubt that all the tribes would be under the Flame Wing Tribe’s command in the end as a nice-sounding ‘One Alliance’.

 

The ones who were most opposed to this were, as expected, the Armored Soul Tribe.

They reacted strongly to Naro’s refusal to accept their education and Flame-Hell’s ‘One Alliance’ chant, which had Choi Hyuk’s cooperation.

{Flame-Hell is trying to erase our identity!}

{We can no longer sit watching idly. We need to stop him.}

There were two Exalted Wings of the Armored Soul Tribe. Between the two, Armor-Song was categorized as someone well disposed towards the Flame Wing Tribe and Armor-Desert was considered neutral. However, the two had become extremely opposed to them now.

{To do that… As expected, we need to stop Choi Hyuk.}

Light-Walk, who was also in the ‘Anti-Flame Wing Faction’ within the Speckled Light Tribe, responded.

However, Dark-Resentment, who had been silent, cautiously proposed an opposing opinion.

{I think… Dark-Sound has some sort of plan.}

Immediately, Armor-Desert opposed.

{Isn’t Dark-Sound Flame-Hell’s yes man?! Last time, you even stirred trouble by proposing inviting Dark-Sound into this meeting… Seriously, why are you like this? Dark-Sound’s the one who fostered Choi Hyuk, and Choi Hyuk’s currently Flame-Hell’s most loyal informant. It’s no different even if he has a plan. Though we don’t know when his plan will bear fruit or whether he has one or not, it’s already too late. We need to get rid of Choi Hyuk as quickly as we can. You should know what educating new tribe members means to our Armored Soul Tribe, correct? We call this education process ‘Birth’!}

The Armored Soul Tribe’s birth process was very unique. Intelligent lifeforms who had the opportunity to advance over long periods of time would eventually create robots and artificial intelligence, and an extreme minority would be granted a fate and awaken as an Armored Soul Tribe member. They weren’t born possessing blood relations or an environmental affinity like the other tribes. Instead, they were an assembly of independently arising individuals. That was the Armored Soul Tribe.

That was why their education was important to them. They obtained bonds with each other through their special education system. That was why it was called ‘birth’. Plainly speaking, those who didn’t undergo their education, like Naro, couldn’t identify as a member of the Armored Soul Tribe.

That was why the ‘One Alliance’ Flame-Hell was pushing through Choi Hyuk and Naro was, in fact, a policy eradicating the Armored Soul Tribe’s identity. This was an urgent issue that couldn’t be delayed for the Armored Soul Tribe.

Because he knew this, Dark-Resentment couldn’t say anything opposed to it.

{However, Dark-Sound… Haaa, never mind.}

Dark-Resentment clearly knew how Dark-Sound grew up and how deeply he resented the Flame Wing Alliance, but it was difficult to prove this to others. While they were close when they were young, he hadn’t had a private conversation with Dark-Sound since they became Exalted Wings.

In the end, Dark-Resentment gave up and asked.

{And your plan is?}

Only then did Armor-Desert calmly explain.

{If we want to take the flow from Flame-Hell… We also need to propose a solution to this endless war.}

Dark-Resentment’s voice became serious.

{Have you had any results?}

Armor-Song replied.

{We have. Exchanging technology with the dragon race was of especially big help.}

{… And the achievement rate?}

{It’s still far off. We haven’t fully understood the monster queen’s strength. We can only assume that it is stronger than a demise-ranked monster. Since it will probably be stronger than Flame-Sky, who was the strongest warriors in the history of the alliance, the question is still whether it’ll work or not. Another problem is deploying the equipment to the monsters’ universe. So…}

Armor-Song paused for a moment. His quiet and calm tone possessed an odd liveliness. As if singing, he said.

{Isn’t that why we need to test it?}

 

This was the secret conversation held between Exalted Wings on a relay base located in the dark universe that was created by the Armored Soul Tribe.

 

**

“For life and freedom!”

Commander Mack of the Virgo Cluster and the Great Warrior Lantz saluted in booming voices in front of the El Tribe’s sanctum.

Soon, young dragons rushed out.

“It’s Hyuk oppa!”

“It’s Hyuk hyung!”

He hadn’t seen them often, yet the dragons excessively welcomed him. When Choi Hyuk looked awkward because of the dragons who were tugging at his pant legs, Commander Mack smiled calmly.

“It seems Overseer Richard’s aura is completely imprinted in the children’s minds. They recognized Army Leader Choi Hyuk at a glance. They were such a handful, wanting to see you…”

This time, Choi Hyuk, who didn’t know what to do because of the young dragons, calmly looked at Mack, who used polite, respectful speech naturally. She had recovered her level that had dropped after giving him her horn and had even improved as it seemed she was on the brink of reaching the highest rank.

Nonetheless, her polite speech still sounded awkward to him. Wasn’t she the first commander he served after joining the alliance?

As if she noticed Choi Hyuk’s thoughts, Mack smiled subtly as she said,

“Leader of the Flame Army, an S-rank division troop. Leader Choi Hyuk is my superior by a large margin.”

Choi Hyuk simply smiled once.

Smiling as well, Mack led Choi Hyuk and his group into the sanctum.

“Then I will guide you to the Flame Army’s headquarters.”

 

**

“Wow…”

“Huh…”

As soon as they entered the headquarters, Lee Jinhee and Baek Seoin exclaimed. Choi Hyuk wasn’t much different.

Rather than a room, this place was more like outer space.

Within an endless darkness, there were two branches of light made up of an endless number of shining galaxies, the Shapley and Laniakea Superclusters.

The headquarters was a place where they downscaled the nearby universe.

Blue and red dots were distributed throughout the vast space. Blue dots were allies, and red dots were enemies. When their gaze rested on one, detailed information regarding it would appear in their vision.

Mack boastfully explained,

“You can check the current war situation in real-time here. Not only that, but simply by looking at one and thinking about it, you can communicate with that commander on the battlefield.”

{Amazing! To downscale the entire supercluster region into this system…}

Naro, who followed behind them, couldn’t contain his amazement as he looked here and there.

Mack watched Naro while saying,

“That’s not all.”

Mach twirled her hand. Then the surrounding, shining galaxies disappeared to be replaced by thin lines that spread everywhere like a spider web. It was a net that shined in a white light with rotten, black light in some places.

Choi Hyuk gasped,

“This is… the Net of Fate.”

“Yes. This is the Net of Fate the Exalted Wings are managing. In this place, while limited, you are able to access the Net of Fate and increase its effects. As an army leader at the transcendent level, you should be able to grant your allies with fortune and your enemies with misfortune. If you stay here, you will feel like you’ve become a god.”

The one who reacted to her explanation filled with confidence was Naro, rather than Choi Hyuk.

{Amazing! I didn’t see this system in the alliance records thought?!}

As if she had been waiting for this, Mack boastfully answered,

“Of course. This is a system created using the dragon race’s own technology.”

{All of this?}

“Yes. To be honest, this is also one of the reasons why Dragonic was chosen as the Flame Army’s base. This is the holy land of cutting-edge dragon technology recently.”

Mack’s voice was filled with pride. Still, she glanced at Choi Hyuk.

“This is all because of you and Overseer Richard. We were able to protect the ancient dragons’ sanctum and obtain their knowledge thanks to you two. While the knowledge is old, it has been of great assistance in recovering real combat technologies. With this knowledge and technology traded with the Armored Soul Tribe, the dragon race was able to a major step forward.”

{Hee….}

Naro admired while twirling in place.

Mack’s gaze was fixed on him before turning away. With a slightly cautious expression, she said to Choi Hyuk,

“And speaking of which, Army Leader Choi Hyuk, from what we learned while trading with them, the Armored Soul Tribe’s mood seemed quite serious. I think it’s best if you are careful. While I want to help you if possible, as the dragon race has decided to maintain its neutral stance, there’s no way for me to help.”

Mack’s curved eyes were filled with concern.

Choi Hyuk simply smiled.

 

After the introduction of the headquarters, next was the welcome party.

“Wow! Our leader is 17th in the alliance ranking?”

“If we exclude the Exalted Wings, he’s third on the warrior ranking. This much is obvious considering he’s proved his skill by eradicating the Blue Manes and leading countless battles to victory.”

Lee Jinhee and Mack hit it off.

“Third in reality… He’s really high up there!”

“This much is nothing… There are rumors he’s going to be the 15th Exalted Wing and even rumors that he’s the warrior who will bring the ‘Spring of the Universe’.”

“The Spring of the Universe?”

“It’s like a legend in the alliance. The first and last warrior who brought the ‘Spring of the Universe’ was Exalted Wing Flame-Sky. That he might bring the ‘Spring of the Universe’ means he might become the strongest warrior in the alliance.”

“Could he really?”

“I don’t know… It’s about time for his growth to halt, but we don’t know for sure.”

The two chatted endlessly as they ate. The welcome party food was comprised of dishes from Earth for the Berserkers.

Sausages were grilling on the table, and the cheesy scent of pizza in the stone oven spread as it cooked. A blue-skinned alien put amazingly fried chicken into a large vat filled with Korean-style sauce. Holding the vat with both hands, the alien mixed the chicken and sauce with a sifting action. Crispy chicken and spicy sauce were tossed in the air, spreading a spicy fragrance.

Craving beer while watching this, Lee Jinhee downed a beer. It was refreshing, yet slightly disappointing.

Mack quietly asked,

“You can’t get drunk, right?”

“Yes. Well, since awakening, the fun of drinking has disappeared.”

Smiling, Mack poured her a blue drink. It emitted a cold chill. Lee Jinhee chuckled when she saw it.

“Glacier Tears? Heh. I used to drink this instead of alcohol since it makes you feel drunk as your karma freezes. But since I’m at the highest rank, it doesn’t work anymore.”

With a strange smile on her face, Mack pushed the wine glass with Glacier Tears towards Lee Jinhee.

“Try it.”

Lee Jinhee downed the glass in one go.

“Huh…?”

She staggered before widening her eyes.

“It’s effective? Even though it was only for a moment, my karma froze!”

The triumphant smile Mack had on the entire day returned.

“This is also a drink improved by the dragon race’s new technology. To be honest, we developed it to use as a poison, but that turned out to be too difficult.”

“Yes. If I come to my senses and resist it, I can resist its effect at any time.”

Mack shrugged.

“That’s what I mean.”

 

Choi Hyuk drank a glass of Glacier Tears while listening to their conversation.

When he released as much resistance as he could and calmed his karma before drinking, the cold drink that poured down his throat permeated every corner of his body.

While it was subtle, he felt an intoxicating sensation.

It felt good.

 

That was how their leisurely and enjoyable day, which they hadn’t had in a while, came to an end.

The next morning, the Laniakea and Shapley Superclusters that materialized in the headquarters was densely surrounded by red dots.

 

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