SoJ Episode 9 Chapter 150

Episode 9: Shackles of Judgment / Chapter 150: Collapse (2)

TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk


 

Armor-Phantom quickly relaxed his stiff face and said.

{Really? Then there’s nothing I can do. Try it. Ah, still, since you said it so firmly, it’s a bit embarrassing.}

His tone expressed his disappointment.

Choi Hyuk lowered his head. Armor-Phantom looked at Choi Hyuk before turning his gaze to the leader of the Keumil Troop, Keusaero.

{He says he’ll still do it. Nothing we can do. Just let him be.}

“Pardon?! Commander-in-chief Armor-Phantom!”

Keusaero openly expressed that this was unfair, but Armor-Phantom shook his head.

{Let him be and back off.}

“… Understood.”

Keusaero lowered his head while growling like a fierce yet obedient dog. Ending the communication, he glared at Choi Hyuk.

“You’re so full of arrogance just because you’re on a roll these days. Do you think you’ll continue to grow quickly like you’ve been so far? Even if one becomes a high-ranked warrior in ten years, there are countless of people who can’t step into the highest rank after a thousand or even ten thousand years. Let’s see if you can still be so arrogant after you stop advancing.”

Yet, Choi Hyuk didn’t even give Keusaero a glance.

Grrrittt.

While grinding his saw-like teeth, Keusaero disappeared.

 

**

“Hmm… ‘I don’t want to’?”

After ending the communication, Armor-Phantom’s lips became crooked. The metallic pieces that made up his body trembled while making a dangerous sound. While he acted like he didn’t care in front of Choi Hyuk, this was simply to avoid giving Choi Hyuk a reason to cause trouble later. Armor-Phantom was currently quite upset.

He looked at the prostrating earthling in front of him. His eyes were black and clear as though they were drawn with a brush on his brown skin. His muscles were lean, making him look skinny but nimble. He was the Night Sovereign Ding.

Before communicating with Choi Hyuk, Armor-Phantom had been rebuking Ding.

It seemed he had quite the ability as he was able to arrange a short meeting with him while only being a middle-ranked warrior. However, to Armor-Phantom, his teary plead for mercy clearly showed he didn’t know his place.

“Hmm… You said you want me to restrict Choi Hyuk because he’s purposely eliminating warriors, right?”

“Yes, that’s right. While his abilities might be outstanding, he’s a dangerous individual.”

While jingling, Armor-Phantom’s metallic pieces formed a smooth hologram. Armor-Phantom’s face on the hologram had a strange smile.

‘He still isn’t dejected, huh?’

Ding couldn’t hear Armor-Phantom and Choi Hyuk’s conversation because Armor-Phantom didn’t allow him to. Still, just before the conversation, Ding didn’t show any signs of being dejected and boldly spoke his thoughts when Armor-Phantom reprimanded him by saying, ‘How absurd. The Berserkers possess B- Rank resource transfer rights. It’s up to them how they dispatch and use their resources. Even if an excessive number of people die, this too is the tactical judgment made by the Berserkers, an independent troop. Isn’t it still a good result if warriors try their best because the lazy die? The Berserkers are successfully completing countless missions. Blaming others when they died because they were too weak? Did you, a middle-ranked warrior, come all the way to the Shapley Supercluster to say that? …Who’s the bastard who set up this meeting with me?’

‘He might be useful. Bold with an attitude.’

Armor-Phantom began to like Ding, who had looked disgraceful just moments ago.

This was because he had completely turned his back against Choi Hyuk, who had rejected his advice without a moment’s hesitation. The fact that he didn’t show even the slightest bit of hesitation was especially disgraceful. It was impossible to control someone like that.

Even though he was a rookie who possessed a Sword of Vow, which was a treasure known throughout the universe, and a frightening talent, he was still a warrior from the border.

‘In the end, those who have protected our universe until now and will continue to protect it in the future are the top four tribes{1}. Us becoming stronger and having more resources is the only way to protect the universe in the end. Yet, he dares question me and act how he wants?’

Strength? That was useless. While Choi Hyuk’s talent was surprising, warriors with his talent weren’t rare in the core of the alliance where the top four tribes gathered. Someone who didn’t know to respect the truly strong, a country boy drunk on his own arrogance, would only harm the unity of the alliance.

Armor-Phantom sincerely thought this way. While he didn’t show it, in his mind, the true alliance was the top four tribes (Flame Wing, Speckled Light, Dark, and Armored Soul) and the top four tribes were the alliance. The rest were, at best, support assisting the top four and the majority were simply getting a free ride. The reason why he didn’t show any traces of his thoughts and acted as a benevolent commander-in-chief was to make the support work harder as the support and to not give those annoying idealists, who believed that all species were equal, room to find any fault with him. It was never to make others equal to them.

‘Even if his ability is worth using, if he doesn’t have any thoughts on supporting, then he’s useless. The alliance is a team, not something run by individuals.’

After concluding his thoughts, Armor-Phantom looked down at the Night Sovereign Ding with renewed eyes. While he wasn’t comparable to Choi Hyuk, his potential was clearly outstanding. It seemed it was true when people said the potential of earthlings was quite outstanding.

‘How do I use this…?’

While Armor-Phantom was constructing his plans, the voice of an unexpected third-party cut in.

 

“I unintentionally heard something interesting.”

 

Ding’s shoulders flinched and trembled while he was still prostrating on the ground. “Huh? My eyes?” Darkness encroached Ding’s vision. Whether he opened, closed or rubbed his eyes or spread his karma out, he couldn’t see or feel anything. An unknown fear invaded his heart. Ding, who had been cold, crouched like a scared cat and lowered his head. His shoulders trembled subtly.

Armor-Phantom’s metallic pieces shook with a ring. As if consumed by fear, he trembled uneasily and precariously.

Armor-Phantom jolted up from his seat.

“For freedom and life! Salute to exalted Dark-Sound!”

“Okay.”

A member of the Exalted Wings, Dark-Sound leisurely walked in and sat down in Armor-Phantom’s seat. Armor-Phantom couldn’t even meet his eyes as he backed away to the side.

Dark-Sound said in a relaxed voice,

“That child called Choi Hyuk has already become a high-ranked warrior. It hasn’t been long since I personally designated him as a middle-ranked warrior… How quick. On top of that, he performed a wonderful feat of completely dissipating a high-ranked monster’s strength and capturing it as a prisoner. Even the Exalted Wings were surprised. Since both the Shapley and Laniakea Superclusters happen to fall under my jurisdiction, I came to see you… But, I ended up hearing something interesting.”

The surface of Armor-Phantom’s hologram trembled nervously. He didn’t know how he should answer.

‘Does Dark-Sound have a favorable impression of Choi Hyuk?’

If that was true, he had to apologize immediately and separate himself from this situation. However, since he wasn’t certain of Dark-Sound’s thoughts, he hesitated and was unable to hastily decide.

Fortunately for him, Dark-Sound was the first to speak.

“So… In your perspective, you think Choi Hyuk, who doesn’t accommodate the ‘top four’ tribes that are the key force of the alliance, will be an obstacle to the alliance’s development… And that earthling over there is saying that Choi Hyuk is causing an excessive number of victims, making the alliance suffer losses… right?”

Armor-Phantom’s hologram became hazy once more. His words were right on the nose. There was no need for an explanation. Dark-Sound could peer into Armor-Phantom and Ding’s hearts.

Armor-Phantom lowered his head, hoping that Dark-Sound wouldn’t be angry.

“That’s correct.”

“Hmm.”

Dark-Sound got up from his seat.

“Then test him. You can’t harass a high-ranked warrior without definitive proof. Whether Choi Hyuk is strong enough to ignore the existing forces and their interests. Also, whether overusing his resource transfer right is a benefit or not.”

Armor-Phantom didn’t even attempt to reply. He was a warrior at the peak of the highest rank, yet there was a gap as large as the universe between him and Dark-Sound, who was known as one of the strongest amongst those at the transcendence level.

“Understood.”

“Yeah. Let’s also raise the stakes. If he fails, then we’ll have to take disciplinary action against him with added interest.”

Dark-Sound revealed his pale teeth as he smiled.

“Temporarily grant the Berserkers with an A- Rank resource transfer right and order them to colonize all the unexplored lands within the Shapley Supercluster.”

Armor-Phantom, who had been prostrating during this time, couldn’t help but be surprised at Dark-Sound’s detailed order.

“Pardon? However, isn’t an A- Rank resource transfer right high enough to dispatch most high-ranked warriors however they please?! If the losses grow because of it…”

It was an absurd right. It was a right that was only given to independent troop leaders who had either reached the transcendence level or were infinitely close to that level. It was an incredible right that equaled his, the commander-in-chief of the Shapley Supercluster.

“If we’re going to grant it to him, then we need to grant it grandly. Won’t we be able to take a harsher disciplinary action then? Also… We can recover from any losses suffered in the border region. What’s important is the core’s strength. Rather than letting him grow to become a rotten apple within the alliance, it’s cheaper to just step on him at the right moment… Aren’t these your thoughts?”

Dark-Sound smiled oddly as he tapped Armor-Phantom’s shoulder.

Armor-Phantom couldn’t help but once again feel fear towards Dark-Sound, who could peer into his heart as though he was reading his palm.

Dark-Sound walked away without making any noise before adding,

“Ah, now that I think about it, aren’t the Berserkers currently on a recruit training mission as well? Due to regulations, they aren’t allowed to take on such a long-term project… But I’ll allow it using my name. Tell them to do both at the same time. We need to check if they have the ability to be so confident, right?”

Swish.

Dark-Sound disappeared after finishing what he had to say. Suddenly, the surroundings brightened.

“Huh? Huh?”

The Night Sovereign Ding, whose crouching body trembled due to fear, was still unable to pull himself together as he looked around, and Armor-Phantom calmed his thumping heart.

“For life and freedom…”

Even though Dark-Sound had already left, he saluted just in case.

‘Either way, it seems he’s not displeased with my thoughts… How fortunate.’

Although he couldn’t be certain what motives Dark-Sound had, it seemed like Dark-Sound didn’t look very favorably upon Choi Hyuk. While ‘granting an A- Rank resource transfer right’ and ‘colonize all unexplored lands within the Shapley Supercluster’ seemed like a prize similar to trying to promote a squadron leader to a brigade commander on the surface, this wasn’t the case in reality. If one received a duty beyond what they could handle, then they would inevitably be crushed from the overload.

‘Although it wasn’t what I planned… It’s not bad.’

Since Dark-Sound set up the playing field, it was now time to actively use it. All that was left was to thoroughly train Choi Hyuk, the warrior who didn’t know his place.

‘How could I know what the Exalted Wings are thinking…? But Dark-Sound is a member of the top four like me. He might be thinking about training a useful yet thoughtless warrior when the moment is right.’

Armor-Phantom accepted his order thinking this.

“Euu…”

Ding’s trembling body was still stricken with fear. His nimble body was crumpled pitifully, and drool dripped from his smooth, handsome lips.

Armor-Phantom laughed for some reason.

‘Yeah. That’s a suitable position for you.’

 

Grinning, he comfortably sat down on his seat once again.

 


{1} The raws include ‘we, the top four tribes’ because Armor-Phantom is from the Armored Soul Tribe, one of the top four.

 

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Comments 11

  1. It should be “raise the stakes”. It’s a reference to poker in which you put more at risk for a chance at a bigger reward.

    1. Post
      Author
      1. Yeah, no, those are two different concepts. “Set up the playing field” is completely separate, as it’s not specifically referring to an actual field , it’s a reference to games in general, whereas you set up where you’re playing. This can apply to poker.

        1. Post
          Author

          I explained that, while I understand it can be translated as ‘raising the stakes’, I decided to keep it more literal to tie it to the other phrase. The actual connection between the two is stronger in Korean, both referring to the same ‘playing field’, so I originally translated it this way and recognized ‘raising the stakes’ in the footnotes as a compromise.
          However, I can see that I caused further confusion and decided to change it to ‘raising the stakes’. Thanks o/
          -emptycube

  2. Hierarchy? Everyone thinks that only the top 4 tribe is worth their salt, now Choi Hyuk is gonna flip that model upside down (to Flare-Rain’s joy)

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