SoJ Episode 7 Chapter 121

Episode 7: Tidal Wave of Monsters / Chapter 121: Alien Troops from Earth (6)

TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk


 

The great elder of the El Tribe decided to ask the other El Tribes whether they would join the war or not. As they were short on time, he rigorously decided on a message to write on the communication ‘leaf’.

 

——————–

Earthlings hope to ally with all trees of the El race. They propose that we fight against the monsters together and make Dragonic a territory firmly and jointly ruled by both parties. As we, the Rikiniri Tree, the first senders of this message, share their opinion, we hope that you, our brothers and sisters, will answers the questions below.

Also, as we are sending as many leaves as we can, please write your answers below each other. Please help so that this matter and everyone’s replies can be shared to all our brothers and sisters.

 

  1. Please write your coordinates in Dragonic.

– The Rikiniri Tree is the fourth tree in the direction of the third branch of the sanctum.

 

  1. Please write your estimates on the likelihood of victory if we were to ally with the earthlings.

– The Rikiniri Tree thinks that the likelihood would be that of one branch out of ten not blooming flowers.

 

  1. If you believe that sufficient information regarding the likelihood of victory has been gathered, please decide whether you will participate. For trees that are participating, please sign below.

– Rikiniri Tree.

——————–

 

Enormous leaves were shaking beneath the ground. Although their outer appearances were clearly that of leaves, when touched, they were like soft metal. They could see underground caverns created by the shaking of the leaves. They could also clearly see ground water flowing and hitting against the leaves, splashing everywhere and creating waterfalls that disappeared into the ground.

It was the enormous underground world the inverted tree had created. As if alive, the branches occasionally writhed, emitting groaning sounds, and every time they did, their leaves would make a clinking noise. When looking at it for a long time, the leaves looked more like the scales of a gigantic living being.

 

Richard stood in the ‘nest’ of the inverted tree and saw the leaves scattering and flying to other regions. Each and every one of those leaves was a ‘letter’.

Tap, tap.

The leaves, which had been hanging abundantly from the branches, kept falling and fluttering down deep underground. Endlessly… A green stream lit the underground.

“The El Tribe’ magicians sent the leaves throughout the world. Since it’s our first time attempting such a large-scale communication… It’ll probably take a few days to receive replies.”

The great elder’s checkered muscles, a trait of the El Tribe, squirmed. As he himself wasn’t certain, he couldn’t give him an exact date.

“A few days…”

Richard nodded his head. Although he was inwardly a nervous wreck, there was nothing he could do.

“Then I’ll be on the battlefield. I’ll come back in a few days.”

“Do as you wish.”

One hour. This was how long he had been away from the battlefield to negotiate with the El Tribe. When considering the urgency of the battlefield, it was a long time. His karma, which had been exhausted due to the war, had recovered somewhat as well. It was fine if he recovered the rest on his way back. It was now time for him to return.

Just as he was about to turn around and leave, a leaf suddenly caught his attention.

It was an especially large leaf. A normal leaf was about the size of a townhouse, yet this particular leaf was the size of multiple soccer fields. A bunch of young El Tribe members were crowded on top of this leaf. They stood in a circle, and the mood, which was already beyond tense, started to feel more ferocious.

Richard forgot about returning and asked,

“What are they doing?”

Then the great elder replied with a bitter expression,

“It’s a harmony ritual.”

“A harmony ritual?”

Why was a harmony ritual so ferocious? Richard’s question was soon answered.

 

<Ooaaaahh!>

A loud roar rang throughout the whole tree. Then the young El Tribe members ran towards the center of the leaf. The circle they had been standing on shrunk as the distance between them shortened.  Suddenly, they each took out their own weapons and wielded them at each other. Red, transparent blood gushed everywhere.

“Euaack!”

The first casualty appeared. “Keuk!” “Euack!” Then, like tomatoes being squashed in a mortar, casualties appeared everywhere. The green leaf was gradually dyed red. The leaf drank the El Tribe members’ blood and devoured their flesh.

This brutal scene wasn’t much different from the nightmarish experience of the first generation awakenees, ‘The Ring of Rebirth’.

“How is this…?”

Richard was at a loss for words. They weren’t fighting but killing each other?

“They will fight until there are ten remaining. This is our harmony ritual.”

The great elder was, on one hand, clearly bitter, but on the other hand, he was also indifferent. This was a ritual he had seen countless times.

Richard looked at the dying El Tribe members. They were young. If considered as humans, they were below their mid-thirties. Among them, there were even some that looked to be boys and girls.

“This is a harmony ritual?”

The divide between the name and what he was seeing in reality made him even more confused.

Soon, he saw a strange scene. A few El Tribe members either drank the blood of those they killed, or cut parts of their bodies, such as their arms, ears, or noses and combined them with their own. Although it sounded unbelievable, when two arms were stuck together, they would mix together like clay to form an arm of a slightly different color and shape. It was the same for ears and noses.

Richard thought,

‘Ah… Don’t tell me that’s harmony?’

 

The great elder said,

“We obtain two things from the harmony ritual. The first is strong, skilled warriors, and the second is the continued life of the inverted tree. Although it’s tragic, you do not need to be sad. Either way, we become stronger because of it.”

While observing the blood overflowing and dripping from the leaf, the great elder explained slowly,

“The inverted trees that protected the El race from extinction had appeared suddenly. At least from the information that was passed down, these trees did not exist previously.”

When he whirled his finger, a replica of Dragonic appeared in midair. It was a replica made purely of karma. It was a refined karma technique that humans had yet to obtain.

When looking at the replica, with the place they called ‘the sanctum’ as the center, the tree replicas were spread out as if following longitudinal lines.

“The trees you see here are the inverted trees that had appeared throughout this world… Although we don’t know when this map was sent… Either way, this is a map possessed by all El Tribes. Among these trees, it has been transmitted that a few of them have already collapsed and no longer exist. Although these trees, which had suddenly appeared, were strong enough to allow us to overcome extinction… They collapsed as they too needed a similar amount of devotion.”

“They need the sacrifice of the El Tribe.”

The great elder smiled at Richard’s words.

“We call this harmony.”

Richard looked back at the scene of slaughter. According to the great elder’s words, the majority of the karma of those who died was absorbed by the tree. Those who killed them only received a portion of their karma. However, they said that if they killed someone who possessed a special ability, which only a small minority of the El race possessed, they could also inherit their ability.

‘Was it an innate skill…? Well, Kim Honghyun said that he inherited Kim Saehyun’s innate skill by drinking his blood.’

So harmony had two meanings.

The dead El Tribe members and the tree would become one.

The dead El Tribe members’ abilities would be passed down to other El Tribe members through a part of their body.

 

Richard looked at those countless deaths with bitter eyes.

The inverted tree was essential to survival on this planet occupied by the monsters. To maintain this tree, the El Tribe members had to kill each other periodically. A cold-hearted reasoning stating that, if they had to die anyways, the weak should die and the strong remain.

To survive in this cruel world, the El Tribe was, as expected, desperate.

Richard saw the El Tribe members desperately clamoring to be one of the living.

‘Did I consider things too lightly…?’

He suddenly lost confidence.

The El Tribes also wanted to live. Just like how the earthlings did.

Since the El Tribe living in this tree had responded so well to his proposal, he had let his heart rest too early.

How would the El Tribes living in other trees react? They weren’t very familiar with earthlings. There was no guarantee they would easily accept. Also, if it was a problem of preserving their tribes, it was obvious that hiding in their trees was better than going out to war.

‘Nonetheless, there is nothing I can do.’

Although it felt like a boulder had been placed on his chest, there currently was no other way. He had no choice but to wait for the other El Tribes’ responses. If he, an outsider, hastily acted, then it was clear he would only garner hostility.

“Is that so… I will now return to the battlefield. I hope for a good result.”

As he left the inverted tree and teleported to the battlefield with Naro’s help, Richard felt powerless. It was a feeling he hadn’t felt for a long time.

 

**

“We can’t drag this on for long.”

Choi Hyuk said firmly.

He recalled Dragonic. The Dark City expedition was comprised of the earthling’s key military force. The longer they were tied down in Dark City, the greater the pressure on those who remained on Dragonic.

“But we have no choice. In our formation, we only have two highest-ranked warriors. On the other hand, there are three highest-ranked monsters. We are missing one. We are only able to block them because we have the Steel Battleship and the high-ranked warriors dispatched from each region. If support is late… Then we have no choice but to wait until they arrive.”

He seemed to be aware of the earthlings’ situation as Lankin twirled his karma-gun and avoided his gaze when he said this.

The attitude he displayed was ‘it hurts my heart, but we have no choice’.

Yet, Choi Hyuk didn’t care.

“So, what you’re saying is, we just need to get rid of that highest-ranked monster?”

“That’s right. Since we have the Steel Battleship, we can overwhelm their forces below that level.”

“Is that so…”

Choi Hyuk fiddled with his sword that hung at his waist. Looking at him, Lankin jumped in shock.

“Huh? You? You? You’re not, right?”

A mere middle-ranked warrior thought of fighting against a highest-ranked monster? If it was the past, he wouldn’t have even been worried. However, didn’t he act recklessly, saying how he wanted to have a feel of their power, just today? Lankin was worried about Choi Hyuk.

‘Crazy. Why is this talented guy so hasty? It’ll be such a waste if he was to die like this!’

To Lankin, a member of one of the top 4 tribes, the Armored Soul Tribe, Choi Hyuk was a warrior from the countryside whom he had never heard of before. However, after having a deep impression of the talent he possessed, he kept worrying about him as if he was a child near water. Lankin wanted to see Choi Hyuk fully realize his potential. He didn’t want to see him break like other warriors who died before they could.

Fragment-Light scattered and flew around Choi Hyuk.

{I sense belligerence. Don’t tell me you’re planning on rushing towards a highest-ranked monster? Stop it. It’s not a matter of mutiny, you will die a dog’s death.}

Choi Hyuk hadn’t said anything, yet the two aliens were making a fuss.

Lankin calmly tried to soothe Choi Hyuk.

“Although I understand how you feel, stay calm. Even if Dragonic is captured, as long as your key military force is okay, you will be able to make a comeback. Instead, the worst situation for earthlings is you dying!”

Even when Lankin said this in such an earnest manner, Choi Hyuk just wordlessly fiddled with his sword. Frustrated, Lankin asked,

“You’re not going to do it, right? I’m just making a fuss, right?”

Looking at Lankin, who suddenly shoved his face towards him, Choi Hyuk replied with one word.

“What?”

He was uncommunicative. Like this, he passed the two of them and left.

 

From the beginning, he hadn’t listened to a word they had said. There was only one thought on his mind.

‘I know the secret behind the power of high-ranked warriors. Since the Steel Battleship’s power can restrain a highest-ranked monster, if I can use a skill at the level of a high-ranked warrior, then I can deal a blow to the monster. The key factor is the magnitude of my power. Even skilled high-ranked warriors couldn’t deal a proper blow… I need a powerful strike that exceeds theirs.’

While walking out, Choi Hyuk tightly clutched his sword, which he had been fiddling with.

Clack.

As Choi Hyuk’s Imprint was grasped, it made an interlocking sound.

‘Also, it definitely said that the power of a Sword of Vow was… <Unlimited>, right?’

Although ‘theoretically’ was written in front of it, either way, a Sword of Vow’s power was <Unlimited>. That was why Swords of Vow were so precious in this massive universe.

Choi Hyuk considered it objectively.

‘Although I discovered the secret of high-ranked warriors, my power isn’t beyond that of middle-ranked warriors. However, my opponent is a highest-ranked monster. Will I be able to wield a power that can overcome 2 levels with the Sword of Vow alone?’

Then he conducted a critical analysis.

‘Before that, did I really discover the secret of high-ranked warriors in its entirety? Could this be just one of the multiple obstacles one must overcome to become a high-ranked warrior?’

He considered his judgment and doubts objectively in order to make a sensible decision… Choi Hyuk began to think furiously. Choi Hyuk did his best to worry.

‘What do I do if I can’t bring out sufficient power with the Sword of Vow?’

‘What do I do if I didn’t discover the secret to high-ranked warriors in its entirety?’

 

However, an answer came forth from deep within his heart.

 

‘No way.’

 

No matter how pessimistically he thought about it…

He didn’t think he couldn’t do it.

 

**

“The results are in.”

A few days later, after fighting against the monsters as much as he could, Richard, who was visiting the ‘nest’ while recovering his karma, heard the ‘El race’s decision’ from the great elder.

“After discussing with all the trees, if we become allies, the likelihood of victory is the leftmost branch not blooming flowers out of ten.”

Richard was slightly shocked at the passage.

“… What does that mean?”

“It means there is a high chance we’ll lose.”

Richard’s expression became dark.

Although he wasn’t completely sure, it seemed like it meant their chances of victory were less than 10%. No, considering that it wasn’t only one branch not blooming but the leftmost one, it might mean a 1% or even 0.1% chance of victory. The El Tribes were guessing that their chances of victory were extremely low.

‘As expected… Will they not participate in the war?’

However, Richard couldn’t give up now. The progression of the battle had become worse over the past few days. They absolutely needed the El Tribes’ help.

‘I have to somehow persuade them… We don’t have a lot of time…’

Richard quickly darted his eyes. Even in this moment, Richard’s ‘Eyes of the Judge’ distinguished the executives of the El Tribe into two groups. Those to keep alive and those to kill. Under normal circumstances, he might have devised a scheme.

However, the problem was that he was an outsider in this current situation. He couldn’t act rashly and didn’t have enough time to set up a plot. On top of that, what could he do about the El Tribes who lived in other trees?

‘I’m powerless…’

He felt a powerlessness that was multiple times of that which he felt a few days ago.

Richard desperately hid his look of despair and asked,

“So?”

Then the great elder declared with a very rigid face,

“The entire El race living in trees-“

His voice possessed an unmatched decisiveness.

“-decided to ally with the earthlings and go to war.”

“As expected… However, could you think about it one more tim- Ah, wait a second? What did you say?”

Richard, who had tried to say whatever he could with an urgent heart, became lossed for words.

The great elder smiled and stretched out his hand.

“There has never been a time in our history when we had even the slightest chance of victory in the war against monsters. However, isn’t there a very small chance of victory now? If we don’t choose to fight with what might be our last chance at victory, then we can’t be called the El race. Please take care of us.”

It looked like the great elder felt great happiness at the fact that all the El Tribes chose to fight. He realized that these people of the same race, whom they had never met before, were similar to them, and he felt elated and thrilled about this.

Although the type of happiness he felt was different, Richard’s happiness didn’t lose out to him at all.

“Haha… Hahaha! Please take care of us!”

Richard held the great elder’s hand.

 

The El race’s courage and belligerence were much greater than Richard had expected.

Richard remembered this.

‘The El Tribes are much more resolute than I expected.’

 

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