SoJ Episode 9 Chapter 142

Episode 9: Shackles of Judgment / Chapter 142: Radical Reform (1)

TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk


 

After the destruction of all the Kahur Kabkuns connected to the Kundle Planet, the Recruit Training Evaluation Agency summoned Choi Hyuk. Although the first evaluation period had yet to end, this was an exception.

 

The recruit training evaluation team leader, who he had met in Dark City, was the same species as the one he saw in the supply store in the past. His head was white, his nose was long enough to almost touch his chin, and his wide mouth ran along his jawline.

“The Sur and Jangkok Troops don’t look like they will be able to continue with the mission for the time being. A third of the Kundle Tribe has died in battle. Furthermore, a million out of the ten million troop members, who participated in the mining, died in battle. The Berserkers, Valkyries, and Extremers also suffered heavy casualties…”

The evaluation team leader curled his long lips. His eyes gleamed.

“Don’t you think these losses are severe considering they occurred during recruit training?”

It was an unpleasant question. Choi Hyuk answered indifferently,

“We captured a high-ranked monster that wielded a new weapon and destroyed four Kahur Kabkuns. Weren’t such losses expected when executing a plan like that?”

The evaluation team leader nodded his head.

“Of course, that’s true. But what I’m saying is, wasn’t your mission recruit training not destroying Kahur Kabkuns?”

The lights flickered like old fluorescent lights. There were creaky chairs and musty smells that reminded one of a basement. This sight, which seemed as desolate as an interrogation room, was an environment the Keunib species, which the evaluation team leader was a member of, liked. Apparently, when they were in dreary place such as this, they felt like they were back in their homeland or something.

Drip, drip.

While listening to the sound of water dripping somewhere, Choi Hyuk wondered how he should take the evaluation team leader’s absurd remarks. It didn’t take long.

“Nonsense… Is a third of the Kundle Tribe population dying in battle such a big deal? When the Sur and Jangkok Troops schemed to kill the entire Kundle Tribe as well as the planet?”

Choi Hyuk’s voice was chilly.

He wasn’t intimidated even though he was in front of the leader in charge of evaluating his contributions. Choi Hyuk knew his value very well. He was a high-ranked warrior in possession of a Sword of Vow. Even when considering the entire alliance, he could be considered an elite, and in the country-side-like Laniakea Supercluster, he stood confidently at the top. He was no longer just a ‘number’ who had to bow down even when hearing unpleasant words.

The evaluation team leader spread his seven-fingered hands open and backed away.

“Don’t act so sensitive. Interrogating is my job. I have no thoughts on denying your contribution, you know? Only, the loss of warriors is quite significant. Also, the casualties of a third of the Kundle Tribe is different from mining. If we mined them, then we would obtain some karma, but if they are killed by the monsters, as in this case, nothing remains, you understand?”

Every time the evaluation team leader talked, it rubbed Choi Hyuk the wrong way. However, like he said, he didn’t have any malice towards Choi Hyuk. When looking at him through his Eyes of Distinction, the evaluation team leader clearly wasn’t emitting any color. Like he said, he was simply doing his ‘job’.

‘Though I don’t know why he’s handling it this way.’

Once again, Choi Hyuk regained his indifferent attitude and said,

“Then let’s talk about results. The Kundle Tribe’s growth.”

A thin, sharp tongue, resembling a knife, slid out of the evaluation team leader’s mouth. The oddly shining red tongue licked his wide lips.

“It wasn’t bad… No, it was overwhelming. It’s especially surprising that they advanced this much considering the other two troops judged they had no potential as warriors. Only, is this result enough to redeem the losses? That’s the problem.”

The evaluation team leader continued tenaciously. Choi Hyuk simply shut his mouth. Instead, his eyes contained curiosity. ‘So what is it that you want to say?’ Choi Hyuk didn’t show even a sliver of unease because he was confident in the contributions he made and the abilities he displayed.

In the end, the first to say his inner thoughts was the evaluation team leader. He waved his hand as he said,

“Meaning, this isn’t something someone of my level can judge. Someone of higher rank than me will come.”

As soon as he finished talking, the door opened with a thud.

“What? Why is the hero of the alliance in such a shabby place?!”

A small robot raised his voice as soon as he entered. Around a hundred metallic pieces were tethered together in chains of exquisite, gentle lights to form a human figure. At a glance, he looked more like a member of the Speckled Light Tribe than the Armored Soul Tribe.

The evaluation team leader jolted up from his seat, got into position, and shouted,

“For life and freedom! Greetings to Commander-in-chief Armor-Phantom of the Shapley Supercluster!”

The Shapley Supercluster was a higher ranked region than the Laniakea Supercluster, which Choi Hyuk was a part of. The Laniakea Supercluster and the Horologium Supercluster following it were both small superclusters influenced by the gravity of the Shapley Supercluster. It could be said that if the Shapley Supercluster was Seoul, then the Laniakea Supercluster would be Hanam or Gwangmyeong{1}.

If he was the commander-in-chief of the Shapley Supercluster, then he was Choi Hyuk’s superior by a great margin. Choi Hyuk stood up awkwardly and saluted him.

“For life and freedom.”

Armor-Phantom was clearly a highest-ranked warrior.

‘But he seems a bit weak?’

Choi Hyuk’s question was quickly answered.

Armor-Phantom’s body floated up, wrapping his arm around Choi Hyuk’s shoulders and saying friendlily,

“Haha, it’s alright. Anyways, sorry for meeting you, the hero of the alliance, in my secondary body. It was difficult to come personally due to all my work.”

It seemed his real body remained in the Shapley Supercluster and he was moving this mechanical body in Dark City with his mind. It was surprising that he could give off the spirit of a highest-ranked warrior despite this. He wasn’t the commander-in-chief of the Shapley Supercluster for nothing.

Such a powerful warrior was showing goodwill towards Chio Hyuk.

“Anyways, those who call themselves the evaluation team are so inflexible… Hey, I’ll personally reward Leader Choi Hyuk so you just write a report matching it.”

“Ye-yes! Understood! I’ll write up a report in 30 minutes!”

The evaluation team leader, who had been pressuring Choi Hyuk just now, was currently pale as he repeated after Armor-Phantom. His behavior seemed to indicate that, while he knew that someone from above would come, he didn’t think that it would the commander-in-chief of the Shapley Supercluster.

“Tsk, tsk. Now! Let’s go! A hero needs a suitable victory party!”

Armor-Phantom clicked his tongue once before leaving the evaluation team office with Choi Hyuk.

 

**

A party commenced.

It was a party beyond one’s imagination.

There was a place called the ‘Hall of Glory’ in Dark City. This place simulated a black hole.

From the border of a black hole, known as the event horizon, there was an extreme force of gravity that distorted space and time, making time stop. Because of this, from the moment a black hole was created, all matter sucked into it accumulated on its border. In the end, it created a shining band of light.

The floor of the Hall of Glory embodied the shape of a black hole. There was a small hole in the middle where someone could fall through and a shining band of light spiraled around it.

Also, almost all types of food found throughout the universe existed in this light. As if fishing for salmon, one just needed to place their hand in the stream of light and snatch out one of the foods that came up in their mind.

The troop members from the countryside known as Earth and Dragonic couldn’t pull themselves together after seeing the banquet of food in front of them.

“Wahaha. Now, now, drink this through your nose!”

Commander-in-chief Armor-Phantom mingled amongst the Berserkers without caring about ranks. He stuck out a heavy liquid, similar to mercury. Even though the Berserker was suspicious of it, he snorted it up his nose.

“Kuaaack!”

Screaming, the Berserker’s limbs became paralyzed and he collapsed. Everyone’s eyes widened, but the collapsed Berserker quickly got back up and brushed himself off. While shaking his head, he said,

“What was that? As soon as I drank it, the karma in my body froze up… I thought I would die.”

“Kuhaha! This is, in fact, a deadly poison from a swamp planet. It’s called ‘Icebound Tears’. It’s so poisonous that lowest-ranked warriors can lose the ability to use their limbs if they aren’t careful. However, low-ranked warriors can endure the poison. Once you endure it… How is it?”

“Huh? My karma grew!”

“That’s right! Hardships make karmalings stronger! Also, once you start getting a liking to its electrifying taste, you can’t go back.”

“Commander-in-chief, you should try it.”

Even though his karma did grow, the Berserker suggested it to him after the bitter experience. However, Armor-Phantom smiled cheekily.

“Hey now. As you can see, my body doesn’t have a nose. Even if I want to, it’s impossible. Instead, I can do this.”

Armor-Phantom took out what looked to be a black pepper tin and sprinkled it over his body.

Blaaze.

Flames surged from his entire body and his mood changed. He gave off the atmosphere of having fallen in love for the first time. In a loving voice, he said,

“This sweet powder is called ‘Memories of Nebula’. If you sprinkle it on your body, you can smell the scent of the moment you long for. In the past, because I was early, I remember my heart fluttering as I waited for my girlfriend while watching the nebula in the distance. I remember the warm scent of the solar wind, which swept past my body, or something like that.”

Although the scale of his story was oddly big, its meaning was clearly expressed. The Berserkers sprinkled the powder on their bodies with flustered expressions.

Flames erupted one after another.

All around, the Berserkers were momentarily silent. A smile hung on each of their lips.

It was sad when they suddenly recalled beautiful memories they had forgotten because they knew they couldn’t return to those times. Memories where they were either tossed away or tossed someone else away. However, ‘Memories of Nebula’ was a bit different from that. The scents, temperatures, and tastes of the moments when they had been happy covered their bodies like magic. When was it, when was it? When had they been so happy…? This sensation faded at some point while they were fumbling through their memories.

It was at this time when the Berserkers’ eyes reddened.

As they lived in the middle of a battlefield, there were times when their past memories felt like a previous life. ‘Did I fight against monsters since I was born?’ The hearts of the Berserkers who thought this softened slightly. It was the moment they realized there was warm, soft skin under their calluses.

However, they could no longer fully immerse in this sensation. The Berserkers, worried that the mood would become awkward, hurriedly changed the subject.

“Ah, commander-in-chief, you had a girlfriend?”

“You think I didn’t?!”

‘How do robots get it on?’ ‘Want me to show you? I’ll show you if you guys show me first. Wahaha!’

The awkwardness was quickly replaced with these terrible jokes.

It was a noisy drinking party. Even the stoic Camilla Clan comfortably enjoyed this event.

The Berserkers, who had lived tensely as if they might die at any moment, especially enjoyed this party.

 

Armor-Phantom, who had been mingling and fooling around with the Berserkers, who had worked hard, suddenly raised his body and met Choi Hyuk’s gaze. He said,

“I just got the report.”

The metallic pieces, which were emitting a light from his body, floated up like a butterfly. He smiled.

Waang!

Armor-Phantom’s declaration rang out like thunder.

It rang out beyond the Hall of Glory, beyond the Laniakea Supercluster and even reached the Shapley Supercluster.

{The Berserkers destroyed four high-ranked Kahur Kabkuns. They revealed the monsters’ new weapon and were the first in the alliance to capture a prisoner. They awakened warrior talent in the Kundle Tribe, who seemed to have no hope. This is a new precedent in the alliance’s recruit training methods. Although they used extreme measures, the Berserkers proved that they had the ability to handle this risk on their own. This has been determined by Commander-in-chief Armor-Phantom of the Shapley Supercluster.}

 

Armor-Phantom officially rejected the problems the evaluation team leader had brought up. Unless they were challenging his authority, no one could persecute Choi Hyuk with this matter.

 

{The rewards for this heroic merit are as follows. One! For destroying four high-ranked Kahur Kabkuns and obtaining a prisoner, the Berserkers (C- Rank) will be specially promoted two ranks higher to the C+ Rank and are allowed the resource transfer right of a B- Rank troop. Also, I will provide the opportunity for all the middle-ranked warriors within the Berserkers to create Sentiment-ranked karma weapons. Two! For successfully training the Kundle Tribe, the Berserkers will be in complete control of training the Kundle Tribe members from henceforth. All contributions will be given to them and they will be rewarded with twice the Mission Points they spent during the first evaluation period. That is all!}

“Ho…”

Choi Hyuk’s mouth opened a little. The reward was better than he thought. Specially promoted two ranks and a monopoly on the recruit training. These two would create a foothold for the Berserkers to advance and assume important positions within the alliance. To be granted the opportunity to create Sentiment-ranked karma weapons for all their middle-ranked warriors on top of that was a huge profit.

However, Armor-Phantom’s rewards didn’t end here.

“However, I think the rewards are still lacking with just this. It makes no sense to keep personnel with such potential like the earthlings at the border. This is a personal gift. We will establish a military gate between Dragonic and Dark City. From now on, you will be able to go back and forth from Dark City without much burden. The current cost it takes to get to Dark City will be more than enough to reach the Shapley Supercluster. The civilization on Dragonic will develop explosively.”

Armor-Phantom spread his arms as he said,

“You have worked hard until now! The earthlings now need to try living grandly, right?!”

“Waaaah!”

The warriors gathered here shouted in excitement. They had constantly suffered in the past. Now he said to try living grandly… These words couldn’t be any more pleasant.

 

Looking at this, the tips of Choi Hyuk’s lips curled upwards. He whispered in Baek Seoin’s ear,

“Why is he being so good to us?”

Baek Seoin shrugged.

“You said the evaluation team leader came off quite sternly before, right? When he didn’t possess any good or ill will… The Commander-in-chief is the same… This could all be a show. Shrugging off the working staff and reversing their decisions to show his ability and generosity. He’s trying to buy your heart since you now possess such value.”

Choi Hyuk looked at Armor-Phantom as if he found this entertaining. The commander-in-chief showed generous goodwill towards the Berserkers. However, no light surrounded his body. No color was seen with his Eyes of Distinction. If the Eyes of Distinction weren’t malfunctioning, then this was the same as with the evaluation leader before. The commander-in-chief’s actions didn’t contain any emotions. He was simply doing his ‘job’.

“What a funny place this alliance is.”

Choi Hyuk snorted.

 


{1} Smaller cities in Korea. 2017, Seoul had a population of 9.9 mil, whereas Hanam had a population of 150 thousand in 2011. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

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Comments 5

  1. wasn’t your mission recruit training not destroying Kahur Kabkuns? > wasn’t your mission recruit training, not destroying Kahur Kabkuns?

    Thanks for the chapter.

  2. Thanks for the chapter, so this new guy is trying to manipulate his feelings. Richard would be so proud of the achivements of the training. I am sure that a lot of clans would be begging the berserkers to be part of the group. And obviously the pair of hyung should be celebrating now if they didn’t diesd in the training. I hope there is a chapter for those 2 soon.

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