SoJ Episode 9 Chapter 149

Episode 9: Shackles of Judgment / Chapter 149: Collapse (1)

TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk


 

It was the day Choi Hyuk went to the dark ocean for the second time. The day his eight executives, who were all middle-ranked warriors, went to create karma weapons for free as a part of the rewards Armor-Phantom gave them.

“Heah… Haa… Hihih.”

The eight executives of the Berserkers were exhausted as they floated in the dark ocean. They were panting and laughter weakly escaped from their lips.

“How surprising. Very impressive.”

Armor-Phantom nodded his head multiple times with a smile on his face.

“For four out of eight to create a Weapon of Sentiment… To be honest, this is an unbelievable ratio. On top of that, no one failed to create a karma weapon on their first try… Is the potential of earthlings outstanding? Or is it your troop members that are outstanding?”

Armor-Phantom said with a satisfied smile. Choi Hyuk simply lowered his head.

“Warriors that I have high hopes for need to be given the appropriate treatment. If another middle-ranked warrior appears in your troop, I will personally back them in creating a karma weapon. At no cost.”

Armor-Phantom smiled friendlily as he patted Choi Hyuk’s back.

Choi Hyuk once again simply lowered his head.

 

**

“Did you know? That bastard died…”

“Who died?”

“That guy, you know. The one I went to school with.”

“Ah… That ‘bling bling’ guy? He seemed like he was doing well… Why did he die?”

“There are a lot of similar cases these days. People disappear and are later said to have died on a mission.”

“Ah, that. Tsk, tsk. How unlucky.”

“Haa… Hyungnim, this time, your words were right. You said that Overseer Choi Hyuk was going to do something, and it really turned out like this.”

“Huh? What does that have to do with Overseer Choi?”

“What? Ah, really, Hyungnim. Why is that sometimes you look sharp while other times you’re slow? Who do you think is behind all those disappearances? Of course, it’s Choi Hyuk.”

“How do you know that?”

“It’s obvious. Look. These incidents came up as soon as Choi Hyuk returned to Dragonic, right? Also, look at those who are disappearing. They are all people who put honest warriors, those who do all sorts of work and fight to save Mission Points, in pitiful states.”

“That’s not always true though? One or two people disappeared from the Berserker School too.”

“Those are exceptions. Exceptions. Look at the ratio. The Berserker School pretty much didn’t suffer any losses.”

“No, something’s not right. If your words are right, then only those people need to disappear, why are students from the Berserker School disappearing too?”

“I mean, is Choi Hyuk a sane person? Who can know what he’s thinking? They probably got on his wrong side. Still, if you see how clear the ratios are, Choi Hyuk is the one behind this.”

“I don’t know.”

“Yes, yes, okay. Either way! The opportunity we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived!”

“An opportunity?”

“Yes! All those who went around with straightened backs are now extremely nervous. Ah, as expected, fighting ability is still the most important thing in the alliance! There’s no doubt that you get the right to forcefully send people on missions if you’re capable enough! Even if that’s not true, you will not die powerlessly if you’re dragged over there! You die if you fall behind! Like this, people will start to hurriedly gather skilled warriors. Not as private bodyguards that do other’s dirty work, but real warriors! Now we can go wherever we please. Let’s graduate from the Berserker School, receive great equipment and live grandly!”

“That’s good news!”

“Then where should we go?”

“I don’t know… Let’s think about that slowly. I think we still have things to learn from the Berserker School.”

“Huuh?”

 

 

**

Dragonic was boiling. Choi Hyuk’s actions were changing people’s structure of thought. The earthlings, who were adjusting to reality, once again began to tense up and become desperate like during the advancement evaluation. This also indicated just how many warriors were disappearing.

The more warriors that disappeared, the busier the Berserkers became. This was because, after those who were forcefully dispatched on a mission died, they would have to go in and complete the mission. They couldn’t let things be as it would count as the Berserkers failing a mission if it simply ended with the forcefully dispatched dying.

The battles were so intense it even made experienced warriors sweat from the constant difficulty.

“Even if we’re Berserkers, I’ve never fought this much before…”

“Still, our karma is increasing smoothly. If we get stronger like this, we’ll be middle-ranked warriors in no time!”

“Ah… Was your karma fate ‘Combat Addict’? Damn it… It’s so unfair for people like me with the ‘Raging One’ fate.”

“Keke… Why? I heard those with the ‘Raging One’ fate are also getting stronger at a good pace?”

“Because they are raging from working too hard? Damn it… Don’t forget me if you become a middle-ranked warrior first.”

“It’s not like anyone can become a middle-ranked warrior… I heard that you can’t raise the last bit of your Retribution with free karma points… And that everyone needs to accumulate Retribution that suits themselves on their own.”

“Who said that?”

“Everyone says so. It’s also written in the alliance information record library. You should study a bit.”

“This is the first time I’m hearing about it.”

“That’s because the people on our side are overflowing with talent so they keep going up without noticing those things.”

 

Destruction of Kahur Kabkuns, the recapturing of planets occupied by monsters, and defending against monster invasions. An endless banquet of missions.

There were even difficult missions where Choi Hyuk had to personally step in among them.

Such was the case for destroying a newly discovered high-ranked Kahur Kabkun.

Due to the monsters pouring out from the Kahur Kabkun, the ‘Blue Ocean Planet’ nearby was already occupied by monsters.

 

The Blue Ocean Planet was on the outermost border of the alliance. On a map, it would appear on an abruptly extended boundary shaped like an awl since it was in the middle of an unexplored area. The Blue Ocean Planet looked like a planet containing a blue ocean from afar. However, it was actually a world composed of sand made from blue glass. The karma species living here were called the ‘Glass Crabs’. The thumbnail-sized glass crabs would melt the blue glass to create shells and live under them like hermit crabs. While their individual intelligence was low, as they lived in colonies like ants, each colony could share its thoughts and collectively display high intelligence and emotional expression with its queen as the core. When examined closely, the Blue Ocean Planet was filled with beautiful buildings created from melted glass.

Although the Glass Crabs weren’t powerful, since they could cause various phenomena like healing, confusion, and change in topography using karma, they weren’t mined and remained in the alliance as Consumables.

The Berserkers had come to the Blue Ocean Planet to first eliminate the monsters invading this place before destroying the newly emerged Kahur Kabkun.

However, they were faced with difficulty before they could begin.

Not because of the monsters, but because of alliance members.

 

“Return.”

The Berserkers, who came to enter the Blue Ocean Planet, were blocked by the alliance’s independent troop ‘Keumil’.

Each Keumil troop member wore a hood, giving off a gloomy appearance.

The Keumil troop was created with the Keunib{1} species at the helm. Their leader, Keusaero, was also a Keunib, possessing a long nose and a mouth that stretched along his jaw.

When Choi Hyuk wordlessly stared at him, Keusaero frowned and said it again. Between his wide mouth, he could see teeth as sharp as saws.

“We must give up on the Blue Ocean Planet. This planet is too far out into the unexplored area. If we go out any further, the frontlines will become too long and it’ll become burdensome.”

His reason sounded logical. However, Choi Hyuk coldly replied,

“What are you talking about? Then you’re just going to let the natives of the Blue Ocean Planet, the Glass Crabs, all die?”

“They are Consumables anyways. Nothing we can do.”

Choi Hyuk snorted at Keusaero’s answer.

“The number of Kahur Kabkuns in this area has suddenly increased. Don’t you know that the more the karma species are slaughtered by the monsters, the stronger the monsters that can cross over will be? Also, if this place is taken, then the Minae Planet behind it will face danger.”

“That’s not something of your concern.”

Even if Choi Hyuk tried to refute rationally, what awaited him was Keasaero’s stiff reply. His reply seemed to say that he should just go along with it since his decision was final. A slight amount of saliva gathered in Choi Hyuk’s mouth. He found this situation interesting. He stretched his hand grasping ‘Choi Hyuk’s Imprint’.

“The independent troop, Keumil. I don’t know what right you have to obstruct us. We ‘Berserkers’ are following rightful procedures to conduct our mission. Are you going to stop us?”

While asking this, Choi Hyuk was secretly expecting a fight.

Including Keusaero in front him, the Keunib species were all shameless in his eyes. The administrator of the lowest-ranked supply store who disregarded him, the evaluation team leader he had met not too long ago, and Keusaero were all Keunibs. They were always arrogant and stiff. ‘Do you even have the ability to?’ Choi Hyuk’s fingers tapped his sword handle rhythmically.

When Choi Hyuk prepared for a fight, Keusaero frowned.

“Although I know you’re strong… You are excessively cocky. You aren’t in a position to be angry. You immoral child.”

“Immoral?”

As soon as he heard the word ‘immoral’, Choi Hyuk suddenly recalled a piece of information. A large-scale clan reported this to him after learning about it recently. The report definitely contained something about a ‘business’.

Choi Hyuk’s lips became crooked.

“Aren’t you doing this to pressure the Minae Planet in the back? Leaving them alone to put pressure on them before ripping Mission Points off them as defense costs?”

Only independent troops could freely establish their own tactics and go on exclusive missions. Some obtained private benefits by using this right. They would go to celestial bodies in danger of monsters and demand Mission Points separate from the amount provided by the alliance.

It was one of the irrationalities born from this long war and discrimination between the central region and the outer regions. Since the alliance had a tendency to carelessly defend the outer regions while firmly defending the central region, there were troops that approached and conducted ‘business’ with celestial bodies in need of immediate support.

‘I thought it was only making excessive profits off of distressed planets… Now I see they even aggravate danger?’

The more he learned about it, the more rotten places he found in the alliance.

“Yeah. The one who’s cutting in is you not me… Now if you understand, go back.”

Listening to Keusaero’s reply, Choi Hyuk asked with expectant eyes,

“If I don’t want to?”

The mood tensed with those words. As if angered, Keusaero’s wide mouth split up to his ears. The Keumil troop members behind him raised their weapons. Even the Berserkers behind Choi Hyuk aimed their weapons at the Keumil troop members.

It was a volatile situation that seemed like they would clash at any moment. However, the one who took a step back was Keusaero.

“Hooo… Since you are a rookie noticed by Armor-Phantom, we’ll gloss over that for now.”

Then he flapped his mouth as if communicating with someone before sharing the communications with Choi Hyuk. The one connected was an unexpected individual.

Keusaero introduced him.

“It’s Commander-in-chief Armor-Phantom.”

‘Commander-in-chief of the Shapley Supercluster, Armor-Phantom? Why? Was… he bribed by Keusaero?’

Choi Hyuk frowned. Just then, he heard Armor-Phantom’s voice. Choi Hyuk first saluted.

“For life and freedom.”

{Yeah. For life and freedom. Nice meeting you. I heard that you’ve been busy these days. How’s your condition?}

“Yes, it’s good. Thank you for looking out for me.”

{Since you’re busy, I’ll make it quick. You probably heard it from Keusaero, but it’s better to give up on that place than protect it. I’ll look for and give you a good mission, so retreat.}

‘Better to give it up than protect it.’

Choi Hyuk mulled over those words. However, there was no way that was the case. The monsters killed karma species and used the fates obtained from killing them to increase their power to interfere with the universe and the scale of their invasion. If they had the power, it was best to annihilate the monsters. Wasn’t that the reason why they created independent troops?

Choi Hyuk cautiously asked,

“Is that… an order?”

{An order? No. How could I, the commander-in-chief of the Shapley Supercluster, order you to not fight monsters? It’s just advice.}

While listening to Armor-Phantom’s friendly voice, Choi Hyuk suddenly recalled the ‘creating karma weapons at no cost’ he had promised.

‘So he said that to do this.’

Thinking about Armor-Phantom, who praised him with words and made such a big promise without showing a trace of white light (goodwill), Choi Hyuk nodded his head. He was trying to tame him.

 

‘Creating karma weapons at no cost?’

Of course, that was good.

‘A good relationship with an influential person like Armor-Phantom?’

That was good too.

However, they were not good enough for him to lower his head and submit.

As a high-ranked warrior who had to walk the path of the fates ‘never losing’ and ‘slashing without fail’, Choi Hyuk couldn’t submit. He couldn’t accumulate such karma.

Also, their attitude was very unpleasant.

‘After cleaning up the clans on Dragonic with great effort, is the universe the problem this time?’

Choi Hyuk faced Armor-Phantom and laughed. At the end, he replied,

 

“I don’t want to.”

 

Armor-Phantom’s face stiffened.

 

 


{1} Long-nosed, wide-mouthed aliens seen previously (most recently in Ch 142 – the recruit training evaluation team leader). They have been popping up throughout the series I believe, earliest being when Choi Hyuk went to the lowest-ranked supply store.

 

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