SoJ Episode 9 Chapter 160

Episode 9: The Shackles of Judgment / Chapter 160: The Fourteenth

TL: emptycube / ED: Oer


 

By the time Choi Hyuk saw Flame-Rain again in the Speckled-Light Tribe’s infirmary, she was uninjured. From her eyes, which shined brighter than the stars, to her round shoulders, she had completely healed from the injuries she incurred when battling the monster.

She was sitting down comfortably and was looking up at the star-filled universe. When Choi Hyuk entered, she became surprised and stiffened blankly. Choi Hyuk saw her eyes tremble.

“You’re fine? You were severely injured.”

Choi Hyuk had been in a similar state as well back when he was injured by Narci, who had been much stronger than him. He was able to recover quickly because Commander Mack had given him one of her horns. If she hadn’t, then it would have normally taken much longer. However, Flame-Rain had completely recovered in two days.

Choi Hyuk found it odd, but Flame-Rain didn’t seem to be in the right state of mind to answer this question.

“That was… you?”

Still looking at him with confused eyes, she was barely able to speak those words.

Choi Hyuk firmly stared into her eyes.

“The one who rescued you? Yeah.”

“How…”

“I slashed it because I could.”

Flame-Rain’s expression, which had stiffened at his simple answer, soon relaxed. Then she frowned before shouting,

“Hey! Is that as easy as you say?! You said you’re only a high-ranked warrior!”

“Now I’m a highest-ranked warrior.”

He said in a manner as though he was saying his pimples cleared up after a night’s rest. However, it really was like that. It was different from when he needed a special enlightenment and Commander Mack’s assistance to advance into the high rank. After rescuing Flame-Rain and sleeping due to exhaustion, he woke up as a highest-ranked warrior.

It wasn’t all that surprising though. Choi Hyuk possessed a great understanding of his fate, enough that he could slash a highest-ranked monster with a single swing previously. What he lacked was retribution, but since he slashed a demise-ranked monster, though it was incomplete, it would be even weirder if he didn’t advance.

“Eiik…! Ha! Huhu…”

Seeing his attitude, Flame-Rain was at a loss for words before giving up and laughing absentmindedly. While she wanted to shout, ‘Even if you’re one, a highest-ranked warrior can’t slash that reddish-brown miasma!’, but she gave up on it. Since Choi Hyuk wasn’t the type to explain thoughtfully, Flame-Rain decided to explain what she had seen and felt.

“Did you know? Its reddish-brown miasma. Slashing through that was actually more difficult than slicing its actual body. Because it wasn’t fully grown, its own endurance was low. That was why it put all its strength into its reddish-brown miasma to avoid a direct confrontation. I wasn’t able to clear away the miasma and was losing… But your sword slashed through it. Even though my memories of that moment had completely disappeared, strangely, I can vividly remember the pitch-black sword that erased everything and pushed its way through. It was such a strong, fundamental power that it surprised me. But people say that it was your sword.”

Flame-Rain calmly met Choi Hyuk’s gaze. ‘Now you know why I was surprised, right?’ Choi Hyuk felt a bit embarrassed for some reason and scratched his nose once before unsheathing his sword.

Cling.

He stuck ‘Choi Hyuk’s Imprint’ in front of her. Its pitch-black blade as well as Choi Hyuk’s swaying black karma. Choi Hyuk attempted to explain.

“Is it that surprising? It’s because you shook the monster up. If not, then I would have never been able to slash through the miasma.”

While it was rare for Choi Hyuk to be bashful, Flame-Rain didn’t notice as she was busy examining ‘Choi Hyuk’s Imprint’ and Choi Hyuk’s karma on it, seemingly entranced.

“Amazing… A fate no one in the alliance has ever created… Even though it’s still weak, it possesses a sharpness that can cut the fate of ‘collapse’. A power to deny all things established.”

Tap. Tap.

The more she examined it, her hair began to stand on its end one after another. Pure white flames dimly blazed in her eyes like refined silver.

That moment, she looked at Choi Hyuk with a bright expression.

“If it’s you… If it’s you! You can end this war!”

“…!”

Not suiting the situation, her smile was so brilliant and her skin, on which her flames faintly blazed, was so lovely, that Choi Hyuk had to close his eyes and avoid looking at her.

 

A peaceful darkness welcomed them.

 

**

That day was also the day Flame-Rain’s triumphant return ceremony was held. Because of the promise Flame-Rain had received beforehand and since the public’s opinion couldn’t be covered up because there were quite a few warriors from the top four tribes who participated in the expedition, their triumphant return ceremony was arranged without any problems.

Flame-Rain’s subordinates planned a triumphant return march from the infirmary on the edge of Alliance City, cutting through the city and the Road of Glory, to the ‘Brain’.

“Let’s go. You’re going on your triumphant return march.”

“Triumphant return march? From where? Ah, will we go back out into space and act as though we’ve just returned? Eh, you’re supposed to march as soon as you return victorious, but because I was injured like a fool…”

Flame-Rain mumbled as she followed behind Choi Hyuk before being surprised in front of the infirmary.

All the warriors who had fought with her had gathered, fully armed, on the not-so-large road. They were so well disciplined that she couldn’t even hear a single breath from all of them.

However, when Flame-Rain stepped out, their gazes turned towards her simultaneously.

Thud, thud!

Flinch!

Flame-Rain was taken aback when the countless number of warriors with rigid expressions turned to look at her.

After seeing their expressions relax, she smiled awkwardly.

Gentle smiles were on the warriors’ faces, then they opened their mouths wide and cheered.

“Woaaah!”

Their cheer was loud enough of to shake Alliance City, the capital of the alliance.

Thump! Thump! Thump! Thump!

Completely contrary to their disciplined postures and unable to contain their emotion, the warriors stomped their feet and banged their weapons as they rushed to Flame-Rain and hoisted her up in the air.

“Woaahh!”

She was thrown up in the air, accompanied by their cheers, and their raised arms received her again. Stepping on each other, some even taking to the air, they tangled together to create a tidal wave as tall as a building. At the top, Flame-Rain rode the tidal wave of warriors as she was propelled forward. Beside her was Choi Hyuk, who had been hoisted up alongside her without realizing it.

Choi Hyuk had a bitter expression.

Seeing him like this, Flame-Rain laughed.

The citizens of Alliance City cheered as well as they watched the enormous wave of warriors marching through the city.

-The warriors who defeated demise!

-The biggest military merit in the history of the alliance!

-We hit first and defeated demise!

Multiple cheers mixed together and echoed out. They had beaten a demise-ranked monster that could have brought despair to the alliance with their skill and without relying on a plan. That wasn’t all. They beat the monster in the monsters’ universe, in the middle of the enemy camp! The alliance, that had always defended and taken losses, was now starting its counterattack!

The excitement of the marching warriors and the observing Alliance City citizens was beyond their expectations. To be this happy because they won!

 

While being propelled forward, Choi Hyuk saw their faces.

Amidst the crowd that had gathered, he saw the commander-in-chief of the Shapley Supercluster, Armor-Phantom, Night Sovereign Ding, who caused a conflict on Dragonic, and even Hashishi and Manta, who he had clashed against during the recruit training of the Kundle Tribe. He looked down on all of them. He saw their bitter, downcast looks.

At first, Choi Hyuk was dazed but suddenly felt a sharp sword-like emotion jumbling in his stomach. It felt chillingly pleasant. It was now time to kill those who he needed to kill, and there was almost no one left who would block his path. With every step he took, their chains and shackles that sloppily wrapped around to restrain him fell off one after another.

Finally, his shackles, his enemies, were only the Exalted Wings.

His enemies that he didn’t even know the faces of were close. If he stretched his hand out a little further… Not one would remain…

‘There really isn’t a lot left now.’

Swallowing the blades that wanted to slice his stomach open and rush out, Choi Hyuk was barely able to smile.

 

**

{We didn’t know that the demise-ranked monster would be awake. To be able to defeat a monster like that… I express my respect for your military merit. Flame-Rain.}

No matter what he thought inwardly, Flame-Hell respectfully greeted Flame-Rain.

“I didn’t accomplish it alone.”

Greeting modestly, Flame-Rain shared her merit with Choi Hyuk. Choi Hyuk lowered his head slightly.

Seeing those two, Flame-Thorn spoke in an unpleasant voice.

{Please don’t misunderstand me… But something is odd. It was a demise-ranked monster. A monster like that had awakened, yet is it possible for a warrior of the proficiency stage of the transcendent level to defeat it? On top of that, a warrior who had just become a highest-ranked warrior was able to provide assistance? If the monster was so weak, then I don’t think there’s a reason to call it a ‘collapse’…}

Flame-Ember immediately cut in at Flame-Thorn’s thorny words.

{Considering the testimonies and records, the demise-ranked monster that appeared this time wasn’t complete. However, I heard that the nature of its power was undoubtedly that of demise and that its strength wasn’t below ours, it might even surpass it.}

{However, since the level of the warriors who participated in the expedition was low… Couldn’t the reports have been exaggerated?}

{No, that why I’m saying!}

Flame-Ember and Flame-Thorn were about to argue once again, but Flame-Rain cut them off.

 

“I would like to request something.”

Unlike before, her attitude exuded composure.

{…}

In this strange mood, the Exalted Wings waited for her request in silence.

“I request for a reordering of the alliance ranks.”

Immediately after those words, Flame-Rain’s skin blazed with chillingly white, transparent flames. It was different from her previous orange flames and even her white flames seen recently.

Her vigor surged out without holding anything back. She was clearly showing off her strength.

{Hmm…}

{Huu…}

There was no meaning in distinguishing who mumbled. Everyone mumbled before swallowing their silence. Flame-Rain had been at the proficiency stage of the transcendent level. She, who was the 28th warrior in the alliance ranks, had grown tremendously after overcoming this trial. Her flames, which displayed her full strength, proved everything.

She had passed the mid-stages and was completely in the late transcendent level. Her power was now comparable to Flame-Hell and Dark-Sound, who were the strongest of the Exalted Wings.

Even Choi Hyuk widened his eyes in shock.

‘I knew her wounds healed too quickly…’

She had obtained much more than she lost. While Choi Hyuk accumulated Retribution from facing the demise-ranked monster, Flame-Rain had accumulated the most. Choi Hyuk shook his head after seeing Flame-Rain, who had already been strong, become even more unbelievably strong. ‘So there was another monster here.’

{Ranks… Ranks… Will giving you the 14th rank be sufficient? As you know, it is the greatest rank for a warrior.}

Flame-Thorn’s attitude, which had been busy ridiculing Flame-Rain, changed. As long as her ability was confirmed, there was no use trying to lower her contribution.

However, Flame-Rain shook her head.

Rank 14. The reason why this was the greatest rank for a warrior was simple. There were 13 Exalted Wings who were tied for first.

Therefore, what she wanted was one thing.

“No, I want to be a member of the Exalted Wings.”

{…}

{… Then won’t there be five Exalted Wings from the Flame Wing Tribe?}

{… But she has the qualifications.}

{…}

Silence and murmurs immediately covered the Brain. It was a dilemma. The Exalted Wing couldn’t simply agree through silence nor could they clearly oppose it either.

{… I op-oppose.}

Flame-Thorn, who had fallen into a state of shock, jumped to oppose a few moments later.

Following this, Flame-Hell stated.

{Flame-Rain. While the Exalted Wings need to possess a power stronger than anyone, one cannot become an Exalted Wing with just that.}

Flame-Rain was still composed. Cheers chanting her name still rang in her ears. She was already the alliance’s hero and was fully justified in her actions. On top of that, she had a measure in dealing with the other Exalted Wings’ wariness. Even Flame-Hell would have no choice but to acknowledge her in the end.

“Yes, of course. Exalted Wings are those who lead the fate of the great universe. Each member has to propose a future their fate would reach… But I have already shown you this.”

{… What is it?}

“The end of the war.”

{…}

“Now is the time to recover what we have lost. I, as the 14th Exalted Wing, will be the commander-in-chief in attacking the monsters’ universe.”

{… That’s dangerous.}

“Staying like this is more dangerous. Like how the monsters avoid getting noticed while capturing our planets and creating Kahur Kabkuns, I too will avoid their notice and establish our base and fortress. I will make preparations so that more warriors can take part in the attack more safely.”

{…}

A heavy silence settled. A petite lady stood in front of 13 stone plates. The entire universe perked its ears at her words.

“We need to continuously mess up their plans. The more we do so, the tougher our defensive line will become. Didn’t Highest-ranked Warrior Choi Hyuk completely colonize two superclusters in the quickest time in the alliance’s history because he swept through the demise-ranked monster’s Kahur Kabkun and the many Kahur Kabkuns affiliated with it in a single action this time? Even though our defensive line expanded rapidly, isn’t it easier to defend than before?”

{…}

The Exalted Wings’ silence continued.

{Eu…!}

Only Flame-Thorn protested. However, sensing that the flow had already been overturned, Flame-Hell stopped her.

{Stop.}

Then, with the following silence, it was decided.

 

Baaang!

With a bang, the ‘Brain’ shook. The 13 stone plates that were spread an equal distance apart were slightly pushed away, and another stone plate arose from the space created. A white stone plate that reached the sky was engraved with a waterdrop flame symbolizing Flame-Rain.

{Congratulations, princess. When you blazed with flames… It felt like His Late Majesty had returned.}

Flame-Fog, who had always been silent, congratulated her with a trembling voice.

Hence, the 14th Exalted Wing was born.

 

**

“Wow…”

Choi Hyuk left the ‘Brain’ slightly dazed. Although Choi Hyuk also received some rewards, after seeing Flame-Rain become an Exalted Wing before him, he wasn’t too interested in what he had obtained.

‘An Exalted Wing… If you become an Exalted Wing, then you can probably see other Exalted Wings face-to-face, right? Then should I also aim for that?’

Choi Hyuk had decided that the Exalted Wings would be his final enemies, yet the only one he had seen in person for a moment until now was Dark-Sound. Besides that, he had met them indirectly at the ‘Brain’. If he wanted to get revenge, he had to at least be able to see them. He needed to get closer to their core.

“Flame-Rain is going to set up in the monsters’ universe…? Then do I have to go there too?”

Attacking instead of defending. It was a completely new opportunity. If he took advantage of that, then he would be able to make great contributions, and if he did that, then he could take a step closer to the Exalted Wings. Choi Hyuk was walking while thinking this when his expression suddenly stiffened as he stopped in place.

 

A shadowy darkness had suddenly enveloped him. He couldn’t see, hear or feel anything.

Choi Hyuk calmly turned his gaze.

“For life and freedom. What is it that you want from me, Exalted Wing Dark-Sound?”

A glint appeared on Dark-Sound’s eyes, who had his arms crossed. It was because he didn’t expect Choi Hyuk to find him so quickly. However, he didn’t show his surprise and said,

“Amazing, isn’t she? Flame-Rain… She acted well. To think that she would declare she would go to the monsters’ universe instead of staying in ours… With that one move, she silenced all the other Exalted Wings from other tribes who were scared of the increase in the Flame Wing Tribe’s influence. On top of that, her flames… charming, aren’t they? To the point Flame-Fog returned to her side… It seems that they are moved to tears when they see amazing flames.”

“…”

Choi Hyuk didn’t know how to reply so he remained silent.

Dark-Sound approached Choi Hyuk without making any sound and said,

“Flame-Rain. She’s a good friend. However, don’t become so close with her.”

“…”

Dark-Sound continued to speak weird things, but his next words were shocking.

“I know it all. You… hate the alliance so much that you want to erase it, right? That’s why I’m saying this. Be careful. To your enemies, you can’t let them know that you hate them. You need to make them misunderstand you. Only then can you snag an opportunity.”

While saying this, Dark-Sound’s eyes boiled with hatred for the alliance.

“So don’t be close with Flame-Rain. If possible, it’s better if it seems like you are hostile towards her. Only then will they not be wary of you.”

Choi Hyuk saw a faint white light (goodwill) from Dark-Sound’s cold eyes.

However, whether he was someone to kill or keep alive… As if his Eyes of the Judge were covered by something, he only saw a faint shadow. He couldn’t distinguish what it was.

 

{TL/N: Whoo~ Episode finale! Hope you guys enjoyed! Flame-Rain became the fourteenth Exalted Wing! What do you guys think Choi Hyuk will do next?}

 

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Comments 9

  1. I want him to bang flame rain and have cool human flame hybrid babies. but thats for the future. for now i want him to become a transcendent warrior and become one of the 14(someone dies?) if not the 15th.

  2. Thanks for the Chapter~~~!

    Hm… I wonder which one he’ll choose? Revenge? or Infatuation? Although the former is more likely, It’d be great if he chose the latter…

  3. The warriors who defeated demise > defeated a demise-ranked monster | We hit first and defeated demise > and defeated a demise-ranked monster | The Exalted Wing couldn’t simply agree > Exalted Wings

    Thanks for the chapter. Feels weird to not have the ‘-ranked monster’ following the rank. Especially since the equivalent for the Alliance would be ‘highest’.

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