Sovereign of Judgment

 
 

Sovereign of Judgment Chapter 120


I was suffocating.

My insides were drying up, turning black. No matter how much I flailed, I couldn’t breathe. When I was barely able to take another breath, it quickly dried up. Sweat soaked my entire body.

I couldn’t die like this…

But death was extremely near.

“That’s why you should have fled when I told you to. What the… Why are you so unsightly?”

Lankin asked.

Choi Hyuk and Lankin were able to escape from the aftereffects of the fight after fleeing for a long while. It was already a great pressure to run as they had started late, but in the end, the two were exhausted before they met up with other troops. Choi Hyuk’s condition was especially bad. He was crawling on the ground, unable to get up.

“Anyways, for someone who has only now become proficient at the middle-ranked warrior level to try to see the fight…”

Lankin scolded Choi Hyuk. Although his voice sounded normal at a glance, he too wasn’t in a good condition. His lustrous, smooth, red torso was now the color of ash, and the surface of his exterior armor had become rough. The creaking sounds of the gears and mechanical joints, as if in pain, didn’t cease.

However, Choi Hyuk’s pain was beyond that. Not only that, it had become more severe.

(G-gaah)

Choi Hyuk opened his mouth to breathe, however, there was no air. Like a fish out of water, Choi Hyuk kept opening and closing his mouth as his body writhed. A silent cry. No matter how much he squirmed, he couldn’t breathe. Now that he thought about it, this place was Dark City. It was a city in outer space where oxygen was nonexistent. It was normal not to be able to breathe.

However, he had no troubles up until now.

‘Why can’t I breathe now?’

“… Why? (Gasp) Why can’t I breathe? (G-gah)”

Choi Hyuk spat with difficulty. To be honest, this was also unbelievable, how could he talk when there was no atmosphere?

Lankin picked up Choi Hyuk, whose head was on the ground and was unable to stand up, and held him under his arm.

“You’ve been suppressed by karma. It had already been pressing down on you, but when you used all your strength to run, it pressed down even harder. It’ll be strenuous enough to want to die.”

Lankin ran with Choi Hyuk under his arm as he recalled that it had only been 3 years since the earthlings had awakened karma. It also had only been a bit over a year since they joined the alliance. He judged that it was obvious they were ignorant of matters related to karma. He explained in more detail,

“For both you and me, over 70% of the components that make up our bodies have been substituted by karma. We’re in the process of removing the limitations of matter and are instead becoming the fate of the great universe itself. To us, karma is our flesh, food, and air, but because you were exposed to overly powerful karma just now, your own karma has been crushed. If I were to use the human body as an example… Your lungs have been crushed due to a powerful external pressure. The reason why you feel like you’re ‘suffocating’ is because your body, which is experiencing this for the first time, has mistaken ‘being suppressed by karma’ for ‘suffocation’. That’s why, instead of gasping for air, try to control your karma. It’ll be painful as hell until you get treated anyways.”

‘Ah… So I won’t die?’

At the feeling of dying, Choi Hyuk had futilely tried his best to breathe. He became relieved when he heard Lankin’s explanation. Although it felt so painful that he would die, he knew that he wouldn’t die right away.

Slump.

His flailing arms and legs relaxed. Choi Hyuk’s body fell limp under Lankin’s arm.

“What the? Did you die?”

Lankin became surprised. However, he soon realized that Choi Hyuk had given up on trying to breathe and had instead started observing his internal karma.

“Huh… What a tough guy.”

Lankin was dumbfounded. Although he had asked him to do it, he hadn’t thought that Choi Hyuk would have become so calm so quickly.

Could a beginner swimmer immediately stop flailing as soon as they were told not to? What Choi Hyuk was doing was similar to that. He had calmly overcome the fear and nervousness that he might die any moment and was motionlessly observing his state as he waited for treatment.

Lankin had also experienced it in the past, but being suppressed by karma came with extreme pain and fear. Since he had calmly fended this off, Lankin couldn’t help but be surprised.

**

‘I’m suffocating.’

‘Why did I think that I was suffocating of all things?’

Within this pain, Choi Hyuk observed his condition.

He was focusing on his senses. ‘Why did my body mistakenly think that being suppressed by karma was suffocating? Just why?’

As soon as he overcame the fear and pain and started looking inside, he felt the karma that had substituted the cells in his body. This was the retribution Choi Hyuk had accumulated until now. At the same time, it wasn’t all only Choi Hyuk. It was the retribution accumulated by the lifeforms of Earth as they evolved. Choi Hyuk had inherited this retribution. At the same time, a small amount of the fates of alien civilizations that had developed in the massive universe was also mixed in. He had also accumulated a different kind of retribution from punishing the monsters that were trying to destroy this tremendous history. Choi Hyuk could feel each and every one of them.

‘He said I was suppressed by karma, right?’

However, Choi Hyuk couldn’t feel anything odd.

‘Just how and where is it being suppressed? How was it before it was suppressed?’

How did his current karma differ from normal? These thoughts came up one after another. Then he came across the most primitive question.

‘What was karma?’

First, it wasn’t matter since karma completely transcended the laws of physics.

Someone had said that karma was the energy made from the emotions of lifeforms.

But then there was a contradiction.

Weren’t life forms beings of matter? How could energy created by matter transcend matter?

‘Then, the universe wasn’t composed of only matter from the start.’

In the end, the theory that life forms could create karma meant that an immaterial law existed in this universe since the beginning.

Also, Lankin had said that ‘we were in the process of becoming the fate of the great universe’.

‘Then, accepting karma into your body was accepting the fate of the universe into your body…’

So when new retribution (karma) was accumulated through one’s actions, it was also potentially determining the direction of the fate of the universe.

When he got this far, the conclusion became simple.

‘There’s no need to think about things so complicatedly. Karma is power in the end. Power that could sway the fate of the universe.’

Power. Everything was power.

At the same time, Choi Hyuk realized the reason why he felt the pain of suffocating.

‘In the end, even if karma is inside me, it is also connected to the universe. It is endlessly being influenced by the universe and is, in turn, influencing the universe. It has to because fate is <bringing change to the universe>. However, because my karma has been suppressed by an enormous power, it is temporarily unable to connect to the universe. It’s similar to suffocating.’

Choi Hyuk realized that his karma currently couldn’t communicate with the universe. Normally, his karma would be connected to the great universe and be constantly communicating with it. Even though he had seen it before, he wasn’t aware of it.

However, he knew it now.

Choi Hyuk could also feel that Lankin, who was running with him under his arm, was spreading his own ‘color’ out into the universe, while also feeling his karma absorbing the endlessly streaming flow of fate from the universe. This was the ‘respiration’ of the great fate.

‘What the? He acted tough but his condition isn’t all that great either.’

At the same time, he could tell that Lankin’s ‘breathing’ wasn’t normal. Lankin’s ‘breaths’ were short and even stopped momentarily.

Choi Hyuk himself was pretty much not breathing at all.

‘Can I… reconnect it? … It doesn’t work.’

Although he understood the symptom, he couldn’t treat himself. Like being unable to move your foot when it had been cut from circulation for a long while, Choi Hyuk couldn’t make his karma breathe again through his own power.

However, he also knew the solution.

He was currently enduring a pain that felt as though he would die of suffocation at any moment.

However, within this pain, Choi Hyuk’s understanding became clearer.

‘What I saw before is the answer.’

The fight between the high-ranked warriors and the highest-ranked monster. The karma they emitted.

The karma was completely different from the karma Choi Hyuk had seen until now. Could he say that they each had their own symbol? It was similar to the difference between a plain piece of cloth and clothes made with the heart and soul of a top designer.

‘They created their own fate. A fate to put out in the universe. Their own karma. Although it’s weak, it’s a power that can make the universe conform to their will. I have to be at that level to move this suppressed karma.’

While his body was limp and swayed like a corpse, Chio Hyuk felt his own karma.

He felt it. It was a lousy piece of cloth.

‘Aah, so it’s like this.’

From the beginning, karma wasn’t something that could be differentiated as ‘Power, Speed, Endurance, Stamina, and Control’. It wasn’t some lousy tattered complication of energy. Mixing everything together and creating one’s own symbol was karma’s true nature. This was most likely the standard they used to distinguish top ranks and those below.

‘That’s why they can’t express high-ranks with stats.’

Tap.

Choi Hyuk made a dot.

He made a dot in his rag-like karma for the first time.

He didn’t tailor it or dye it, all he did was put a dot and yet his entire body was soaked in sweat.

**

“What the? Why is he sweating so much?”

Lankin, who had sat Choi Hyuk in the healing spring water and sat next to him, became worried.

“Is he okay? He stopped responding when I called him since a while ago.”

{Yes, he’s fine. It seems he’s in deep meditation.}

‘Fragment-Light’, a healer of the Speckled Light Tribe, spread out widely and flew dizzily around Choi Hyuk’s forehead before replying.

“Is that so… Either way, it seems we, team 17, will have to take time to recover for a while. I’m sorry for this when the situation at the front lines isn’t good.”

{No need to worry. We just need to share the situation at the frontlines in the meantime.}

“Is there something new?”

{Yes. There has been a huge discovery about the ecology of the monsters.}

“What is it?”

{Simply put, the existence of code name ‘Lilith’ has been discovered.}

“Lilith?”

{It’s what we hypothesized after researching the poja all this time… But this hypothesis is that all monsters are derived from a single ‘existence’. We decided to arbitrarily call this existence Lilith.}

“…? Then!”

{That’s right. We finally have a goal in this unforeseeable war.}

An unforeseeable war, it really was that. The war had been ongoing for an extremely long period of time, and no one knew when it would end. Sometimes, the alliance would push against the monsters, and there were even times when the number of Kahur Kabkuns would drop drastically. There was even a time when they had been happy, thinking that the war had ended. However, at some point, the Kahur Kabkuns would, once again, reappear, being created at a crazy rate, and the monsters would pour out endlessly. The front lines that had done their best to push forward retreated once more. This repeated again and again. The alliance gradually became tired of the war, but that didn’t mean they could stop it.

“Lilith! If we take down Lilith, the war will end!”

{That’s right. However, at the same time, there is some bad news.}

“What’s that?”

{The monsters are much stronger than we thought. It was a fact discovered recently, but it seems the monsters have already brought multiple dimensions of universes to extinction. It seems that the majority of monsters we fought were created while they were bringing other universes to extinction. However, monsters that spoke our language appeared recently.}

“… Then that means?”

{Yes, we see that as a sign… that they are seriously creating monsters specialized for our universe. Some predict that the large-scale attack this time might perhaps be to exhaust the useless troops that had been sent to other universes while taking this opportunity to beta test new types of monsters. Perhaps, the monsters had been fighting wars against multiple universes up until now and they had only now found a reason to specialize monsters in ours. Either way, it means that they will become more serious in invading our universe.}

“Oh, my god…”

Lankin’s torso made a ringing noise. ‘It’s already difficult, yet they weren’t even serious?’ He was fearful.

{Now, about our problem.}

Fragment-Light gathered its members that had been spread like a haze. They gathered to create a single human figure. It had somewhat of a sad expression.

{It looks like the war in Dark City will go on for longer than we expected. The alliance is planning on sending reconnaissance troops to pierce the monsters’ headquarters. They believe that, since the monsters are invading at full force, their headquarters will instead be disordered.}

“Attack…”

It wasn’t like the alliance had never thought to attack the monsters’ headquarters all this time. However, the opinion that it was reckless to attack the monsters’ headquarters when they hadn’t chased all the monsters out from their universe was predominant.

However, the situation had changed now.

They now knew that they didn’t need to fight against the entirety of the monsters.

“Are you saying that they are going to dispatch a suicide squad and only take out the Lilith?”

{They will do the prerequisite for that, a reconnaissance.}

“… It’ll take longer for the support troops to arrive at Dark City.”

{Yes, since the elites of the alliance will be sent there.}

“Haa… No matter how strong the Steel Battleship is, it won’t be able to restrain a highest-ranked monster forever…”

{Yes… It seems that the front lines might retreat even further.}

“…”

{…}

An awkward silence flowed between Lankin and Fragment-Light. Although it was good news that the alliance had come up with a plan, because of this, those at the very front had to endure heavier losses.

Just then-

“Whooo.”

Choi Hyuk let out a breath. He suddenly opened his eyes and got up from his seat. The karma spring water, which had been healing him, emitted a rainbow of colors as it dripped down.

“Ah, now I can breathe a little. Anyways, it’ll take longer? But that’s troublesome.”

Choi Hyuk said abruptly as soon as he got up. His figure that was previously pale and had been sweating profusely was nowhere to be seen, and instead, he looked fine. Rather his face emitted a faint luster.

“Huh? You?”

Lankin opened his mouth in surprise.

{How did you already?}

Fragment-Light was the same.

Lankin, who was less severely injured, had yet to recover completely, yet Choi Hyuk, who was more severely injured, stood up first. On top of that, he looked more lively than before he was injured.

“Tell me what you were saying just now in more detail. I pretty much started listening at the end.”

However, with his feet still soaking in the spring water, Choi Hyuk sat down and asked as if nothing was wrong.