SoJ Episode 8 Chapter 141

Episode 8: Recruit Training / Chapter 141: The Future Starts Now

TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk


 

{TL/N: Choi Hyuk’s fates have been changed to ‘never losing’ and ‘slashing without fail’.}

 

**

The once leisurely Punisher gradually became more and more irritated.

“Not smashing? Not smashing even now?”

It had punched out so many times that even a planet would have been destroyed. Yet, despite this, Choi Hyuk’s Sword of Vow was fine.

The Punisher’s annoyance grew more severe as time went on, and the ones who were trembling due to this were the warriors of Dragonic and the Kundle Tribe members.

The more the Punisher threw a fit, the dizzier the warriors became. They felt as though everything in front of them was shaking. Although they wanted to focus on their fight, it was difficult. They saw the Punisher even when they looked away and heard it when they tried not to.

It was an existence on another level.

In their eyes, Choi Hyuk looked like a resolute second-year middle schooler acting up against a large-bodied teacher in charge of his grade. Not a modern school, but a school from the past. It reminded them of the times when teachers didn’t hesitate to slap their students’ cheeks or grab them by the hair and smash them on the blackboard.

Like a middle schooler who didn’t say he was sorry and kept glaring at the teacher, Choi Hyuk endured, and the Punisher’s violent attacks became stronger as though it was saying it would break him no matter what.

The Punisher no longer cared about his Sword of Vow.

“Those eyes! Those eyes!”

The Punisher didn’t like the way Choi Hyuk looked at him. The more it saw it, the more its anger surged. Someone who wasn’t even as powerful as its toes dared appraise it. His eyes seemed to say, ‘Someone like you?’ when he was the one who would be squashed like a bug if it attacked seriously!

The Punisher’s killing intent exploded. It resolved itself to destroy all of Choi Hyuk, who was as slippery as an eel.

Its simple attacks became more complicated. When it seemed like it was targeting his sword, it aimed for his finger, and when it seemed like it was aiming for his head, it kicked at his leg. When it stretched out its arm out to break his arm, the impact of the blow would actually explode inside him.

Bang! Punch!

Choi Hyuk’s flesh exploded, his blood gushed out, and his bones broke. Choi Hyuk was gradually becoming a wreck. However, the light in his eyes didn’t dim at all.

Gulp.

Choi Hyuk gulped something down again.

 

‘Please… Please stop…’

One of the Valkyries thought. Choi Hyuk fiercely held the Punisher back. Although he did admire Choi Hyuk’s fierce fighting spirit, he began feeling fear and terror. Seeing Choi Hyuk, who was the strongest on Dragonic, becoming a wreck was saddening.

‘This operation is a failure… Shouldn’t we retreat?’

Someone from the Extremers thought. His belief in their victory became hazier as time went by. He looked at Overseer Jessie. He saw a nervous light in Jessie’s eyes as well. He was glancing at Choi Hyuk. However, he saw Jessie grit his teeth and charge into the enemy lines in the end.

“Don’t be scared! If you can’t even endure this much thrill, how can you call yourselves Extremers?!”

Shouted Overseer Jessie.

Many Extremers sighed inwardly. However, they didn’t make any unnecessary remarks and instead followed Jessie. As their leader charged forward, they naturally charged in as well. Even if this was akin to skydiving without a parachute, they were Extremers.

“We don’t back down. Believe in yourselves.”

Instead, it was the Sovereign of Paradise Camilla who was rather calm. She didn’t waver at all. As this was a fight they promised to fight until the end, she wouldn’t back down. That was all.

A decision that didn’t consider the end result. This was the trait of those with beliefs.

Valkyries followed her, swallowing their fear. Dying or living wasn’t important. Even winning or losing wasn’t important. Only one thing remained – their determination to fight.

The Berserkers rushed past them.

“Kill! Kill! Ack! Wahaha! Is that all?”

“Come at me! Come at me! Keuak!”

“That’s it! I dodged it! Now die!”

They simply resembled Choi Hyuk’s resolve. They didn’t even look at Choi Hyuk, who was being beaten up. They didn’t gaze at his wounds. Even if their enemies were stronger than them, they wouldn’t acknowledge this fact.

Each of them fought on with their own method.

 

Looking at them, the Kundle Tribe members were comprehending what kind of existences ‘warriors’ were and what ‘war’ was.

Every time they regained their senses, their hearts became more resolute.

‘Even if the enemy is stronger than me…’

‘Why does that matter? When we have people fighting alongside us.’

It was similar to the time earthlings first learned of friendship. Whether they were up against scary older men, teachers, schools, or even the entire world, the feeling they felt when they were teens, of not being afraid as long as they were with their friends, was an feeling that the Kundle Tribe members were currently experiencing.

Comradery was budding.

They looked at Choi Hyuk, who looked like he would fall at any moment.

‘Sorry we aren’t of much help in this fight.’

‘We’ll die with you.’

 

The fight between Choi Hyuk and the Punisher was reaching its end.

The Punisher couldn’t contain its irritation any longer. It despised Choi Hyuk, who had endured while avoiding fatal attacks no matter how it attacked him, so much that it could die. In the end, the Punisher prepared a powerful attack. ‘Yeah, try avoiding this,’ it thought while resolving itself.

The Punisher gathered more power than it could control into its fist.

‘Aah.’

The warriors groaned. Their vision went dark. This wasn’t a figure of speech. Like how one’s surroundings would fade when they saw a bright light at night, everything besides Choi Hyuk and the Punisher disappeared from their senses. This was the same for the monsters. The fight going on throughout the planet suddenly came to a halt. They couldn’t do anything. All they could do was watch the Punisher’s fist slowly smash down towards Choi Hyuk.

‘Can’t avoid.’

This wasn’t only true for Choi Hyuk.

Including the monsters, everyone on the Kundle Planet felt this. They felt like they were in front of its fist. Their bodies stiffened like the main character of a drama blankly staring at the light of an oncoming truck.

Within this period of time, where things seemed to move at an endlessly slow pace, the Punisher’s fist swung out and Choi Hyuk pulled his sword back with a swish.

‘He’s smiling?’

Choi Hyuk was smiling.

 

Slice.

 

A sudden strike from Choi Hyuk’s sword.

This strike cut the memories of everyone on the planet.

Only middle-ranked warriors, who reached the 5-star level, remembered a fragment of this moment.

Lee Jinhee said she saw a light emitting from Choi Hyuk’s sword.

Jessie said he saw a shooting galaxy.

Camilla said she saw the creation of the world through what seemed to be a kaleidoscope. Then they tilted their heads.

Those below the middle-ranked warriors didn’t remember anything.

When they opened their eyes, they were in the middle of the battlefield once again. For some reason, the monsters were scared, circling in place like ants that had their antennae cut off, and the Punisher, who had been overflowing with confidence, was screaming in the sky.

“Euaaaah! Ahhh! What! What!!”

The armor and fists it had on had been cleanly cut off. The horn on its head had been smashed, leaving only a pitiful remnant. Having lost all the armaments that covered its body, it was left bare, trembling as it attempted to stop the blood gushing out from its wound, which ran diagonally from its shoulder to its side.

As if exhausted, Choi Hyuk’s shoulders slumped. He grabbed the Punisher’s shoulder and-

Pscht!

He stabbed his sword into it multiple times.

“Aaack!”

Pscht!

“Aah…”

Every time his sword stabbed its body, the Punisher’s screams gradually died down. The remnant of the horn remaining on its head turned into powder and scattered, and the terrifying vigor it had displayed was gone without a trace. Excluding its black eyes, it undoubtedly resembled a weak human.

It even rubbed its hands together as it pled,

“Please…”

“I’m sorry…”

“Stop, stop… I’m sorry… Keuu… Heuk… I’m sorry…”

It cried while drooling.

Choi Hyuk was taken aback. A monster that begged for its life? It was rare for monsters to be stricken with fear, but he had never heard of a monster begging for its life.

Choi Hyuk wrapped his hand around its neck and raised it up.

“Kaah… Kaheuk.’

The Punisher squirmed as its body trembled in pain and fear. It was so scared that its teeth were chattering. It seemed to have lost its strength to stay in the air as it desperately hung onto Choi Hyuk’s hand, which was wrapped around its neck. It looked like it was scared of falling.

Choi Hyuk threw it as if he was tossing it away.

“Guardian. Don’t let it die. We can obtain a lot from it.”

“Euaaah!”

It screamed as it fell. Powerless. If it smashed against the ground, it would turn to sludge without a doubt.

Thud.

Fortunately for it, Guardian Bae Jinman jumped up and lightly grabbed its neck.

“Eeerrwaak!”

It seemed that the Punisher still felt the aftereffects of the fall as its limbs distorted and its bones broke. If it wasn’t for Bae Jinman’s apt treatment, it wouldn’t have been able to endure the pressure when it was grabbed and might have died from shock.

After catching it, Bae Jinman examined it before mumbling,

“For it to not even be at the no-star level…”

How could this be? The terrifying high-ranked monster was now all too pitiful.

“Hrrk… Hrrkk… So that’s what happened… The one who killed Narci was…”

As if it had realized something, the Punisher wept as it writhed in Bae Jinman’s grasp.

“Am I… a fail… ure…? Am… I…”

Suddenly, the Punisher lost consciousness while crying.

 

It became quiet.

The monsters were like drugged rats, still unable to come to their senses, and the warriors weren’t able to come to their senses due to the sudden reversal.

Looking at them, Choi Hyuk, while staggering, said,

“What are you doing? Kill them all.”

Although his voice was quiet, it clearly rang in everyone’s ear.

Tremble.

It felt like a ton of carbonation rushed up from their bellies and escaped through their noses and ears. The warriors expressed this electrifying feeling coming from their bellies with a shout.

“Woaaaaaahhh!!!”

They became a crushing force.

A massacre began.

Just then, a message appeared.

{The warrior training system has been opened for the Kundle Tribe. From now on, they will receive a portion of the karma obtained from mining the planet every time they kill a monster.}

‘Who?’

‘How?’

They had already used up all their mission points. The 3 independent troops from Dragonic, with the Berserkers at their core, didn’t have the mission points or the contributions to open the warrior training system. It wasn’t like they had an investor either.

The warrior training system, which they had pushed back because of these reasons, had suddenly been opened.

Although they weren’t without their questions… It was something they had to think about later.

This was the best opportunity.

“Berserkers! Give all the trivial monsters to the Kundle Tribe members!”

Baek Seoin commanded. Even the Valkyries and Extremers, who were currently under the guise as Berserkers, slowly retreated from the battlefield.

They didn’t know what Choi Hyuk did, but the monsters couldn’t pull themselves together. The warriors dealt with the stronger ones amongst them and left the rest to the Kundle Tribe members.

As they killed off an entire planet’s worth of monsters, the Kundle Tribe members grew at an incredible pace.

 

**

The corpses of monsters were lined up. The Kahur Kabkuns, which were connected to the planet through the gate, were being destroyed one after another.

In the middle of the battlefield, which was settling down, Choi Hyuk clenched and opened his fist.

He recalled the strike he had dealt to the Punisher at the last moment.

‘It was different.’

At first, he had planned on activating as much of the Sword of Vow’s power as he could before dealing a blow like he did when facing Narci. However, the strike he dealt exceeded his expectations.

It wasn’t an ‘Instant Void Annihilation’ that cut air nor was it a ‘Flaming Wing Dance’ that burned everything.

The flames Choi Hyuk had swallowed and compressed deep in his Karma Heart during the fight had exploded out all at once. He couldn’t simply call it cutting air. Like the Big Bang, something completely new began from his hand.

‘… Was it… the creation of a world?’

However, Choi Hyuk shook his head. No, his power wasn’t so stable or abundant. It was rather-

“Reset.”

His sword clearly possessed enough energy to push the universe back and open a new, small one. However, considering Choi Hyuk’s nature, this power wouldn’t flow in such a constructive direction. It wasn’t a new beginning, like creating a new world, but contained traces of a ‘reset’, wanting to completely erase the order and laws that the existing universe had created.

The Punisher had lost all its power as a result of this. Choi Hyuk couldn’t kill it, but he did something which exceeded that. It had lost all its power and even lost its traits as a monster. Because of this, he was able to make an unprecedented contribution of capturing a high-ranked monster as a prisoner. ‘Monsters don’t submit.’ This theory was widely accepted. This was why they could only use them as test subjects or training tools when captured. However, it was completely different this time. The captured monster had already thoroughly submitted. It was a prisoner that could cough up all it knew after scaring it a little. This was unprecedented in the history of the alliance.

Although there were many existences stronger than Choi Hyuk, the only one who could do this was Choi Hyuk.

Choi Hyuk backtracked to figure out what the power, which had extended from his hand, was. Since the sensation of his strike was still vivid, it didn’t take long for him to find an answer.

‘The fate I established when I became a high-ranked warrior – to never lose and slash without fail.’

This splendid feat was the result of his fate, which declared he would never lose and would slash anything. Following his fate, if the universe itself was his enemy, he would obtain the power to push it back and cleanly erase it.

Of course, it was still weak. Right now, all he could do was barely finish off a monster that was between the high and highest rank.

However, if Choi Hyuk accumulated enough retribution that suited his fate, then even if the entire universe was his enemy, he would have the power to ‘never lose’ and ‘slash without fail’ one day.

 

Thump!

 

Choi Hyuk felt like a steel pillar was erected deep in his soul. This was his newly accumulated retribution, his karma.

Retribution was something that was accumulated. One could only exercise their fate relative to the amount of ‘suitable retribution’ one accumulated.

Just now, Choi Hyuk established retribution that suited his fate, which was ‘never losing’ and ‘slashing without fail’. He had slashed and beaten the Punisher, who was objectively much stronger than him. Choi Hyuk detected his growth even without any notice. He probably overcame the proficiency stage of a high-ranked warrior in one go. He now knew everything without needing the system’s help.

Choi Hyuk now knew what karma, which was the foundation of a warrior’s strength, truly was.

‘Retribution and karma… Baek hyung originally said that they meant the same thing and that he didn’t know why the system classified them as two separate things…’

Yeah, he was right. They were, in fact, the same thing.

Only, the warrior training system’s function was providing additional karma that was separate to the retribution a warrior established. It had no choice but to classify them as two different things. Normally, one would only have as much karma as the retribution they established, but due to the system’s intervention, there was a gap between the two. Even still, since retribution was the true level of one’s soul, when advancing to a higher ranked warrior it was required that one had to elevate their Retribution rank.

Choi Hyuk also realized why a high-ranked warrior could no longer receive the system’s assistance.

‘Since you can only become a high-ranked warrior after establishing your own fate.’

Before this, the fates of lifeforms were vague, simply ‘survival or death’. Because of this, they could accept the retribution that they hadn’t personally establish. Up until the 5-star level, they would be acknowledged for building a house, it didn’t matter whether it was built with wood or mud. However, starting from the 6-star level, they could only establish retribution that suited their fates. A retribution like the steel pillar erected in Choi Hyuk’s soul. A retribution of never losing and slashing without fail that he had personally established.

Because of this, there was no room for the system to intervene. High-ranked warriors were warriors who stood solely on their own.

 

“Hoo.”

Choi Hyuk exhaled. It was difficult to tell if it was a sigh or a laugh.

He looked very refreshed.

Highest-ranked warriors and transcendental beings… although there were still many stages and obstacles ahead of him, they no longer felt stifling.

It was because he knew there was only one path for him.

‘I will not lose. I will slash without fail.’

If he could push forward with the fate he established until the end, whether it was becoming a highest-ranked warrior or a transcendental being, he would inevitably achieve it.

“I see… it now.”

The survival game that began in school one day.

Choi Hyuk’s world had collapsed that day.

‘Kill. Kill. Only then can you kill.’

The single proposition that had been contained in his heart.

While only holding onto this proposition, he had wandered like a blind man. His enemy was so enormous that he couldn’t even see its edge.

However… He now saw the end to this journey. He saw the path towards it.

 

“Hu, hu.”

The breaths Choi Hyuk exhaled were definitely closer to a laugh this time.

The future he had been waiting for while lying flat on the ground and holding his breath.

His determination that he would find the core of the alliance, stand confidently in front of them, and take revenge on everything that brought him pain.

Choi Hyuk realized that the start of such a sweet yet once imperceptible future was ‘now’.

“Haha, hahahahaha!”

The war was concluding on the Kundle Planet.

Choi Hyuk laughed like a child who couldn’t contain his happiness.

 

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Comments 6

  1. Choi Hyuk detected his growth even without any notice > (how do you notice something without noticing it)

    Thanks for the chapter.

    1. Probably without any notice from the system? That’s how I read it anyway.
      The system no longer provides help for his growth but it may give him notifications…

      And thanks for the chapter!

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