Sovereign of Judgment

 
 

Sovereign of Judgment Chapter 148


Episode 9: Shackles of Judgment / Chapter 148: Radical Reform (7)

TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk


That day, heavy rain fell on Jessie's city 'New Washington'.

This was an event organized by the Al Pacino Clan. For this 'Rainy Night', a weather device had been flying up in Dragonic's sky, releasing a blue light.

Like the amount of preparations that went into it, the 'Rainy Night' gave an incredible performance. People crowded in the Al Pacino Clan's red-light district.

It was a romantic night of food and drinks where people, together with their lovers, watched the lights reflect from the raindrops in the streets. It was a time where their skin was cold but their excitement heated them up from the inside.

"It's like we've returned to Earth…"

Everything seemed like a dream. Or was this a dream? There were even people who unconsciously began crying.

Like this, everyone enjoyed the night rain in their own way.

Shwwwaaah.

However, the office of the Al Pacino Clan's leader, James, was chilly and dark.

The lights were off, and he sat alone in his large office while nervously rubbing his lips. His eyes trembled as they looked towards the table, outside the window, and the darkness gathered in the air. Nothing could be heard besides the pouring rain.

Just then, someone knocked on his door. It wasn't a slow, polite knock.

Bang, bang, bang!

The knocks rang out like thunder in a single breath.

Soon, a hurried voice was heard.

"Clan leader! Are you inside? There's a big trouble!"

Shwaaaah!

The pouring rain suddenly seemed louder. As if he was soaking in rain, Clan Leader James's body was trembling.

"What is it? Come in!"

The door opened with a thud. The executive who came in hastily was surprised by the dark office. Looking at James, who was sitting in his dark office and staring at him with terrifying eyes, he thought of an animal driven into a corner.

"Say it. What is it?"

Only after hearing James's urging did the executive return to his senses and hurriedly say,

"They say they died on a mission!"

"… What?"

"We requested an investigation from the alliance, and that's what they told us! Even Clan Leader Marina and Clan Leader Xing! They say that everyone who disappeared had died on a mission!"

Died in battle. Death… Did that mean they died?{1} James felt his heart tighten. He had a difficult time opening his mouth.

"Mission? What mission all of sudden? Didn't they say that Clan Leader Marina suddenly disappeared on her way back to her headquarters? But a mission? Were they forced on a mission? It's not like we're Consumables anymore, do they still do that?"

"I am sorry. We received a reply saying that we do not have the right to look at the contents of the mission."

"No… No. This is definitely…"

James bit his lips. There wasn't any proof. Although there wasn't any… He felt uneasy. If it wasn't him, who would do such a thing?

Shwwaaah…

Flash! Rumble!

Lightning flashed amidst the pouring rain. James's body flinched the moment the lightning flashed, and his expression distorted when he heard it rumble.

-Waahhh!

Unconcerned with James's mood, a cheer erupted outside. At the lightning they were seeing after a long time, people cheered as if it was a firework. No, as if it really was a firework, the lightning displayed a beautiful array of colors. The initially normal looking lightning gradually radiated into different colors. A flower bloomed in the night sky and then a tree was drawn and leaves grew out of it…

Rumble!

-Waaah!

However, to James, who was sitting in his dark office, the lightning seemed like an ominous sign warning him of a grim future.

Swearing, he shouted,

"Damn it! That fucking lightning! That rain! Tell them to shut up! Shut off the water! No, tell them to stop the rain!"

"Pardon?"

The executive's eyes widened at James's irritation. They planned an entire week for this event. How hard did those at the bottom work to materialize the lightning effect that exploded just now? On top of that, what should they say to those spectating the event when they stopped the rain?

While various thoughts brushed past the executive's mind, James shouted once again,

"Turn it off! Turn it off! Tell them to turn the rain off right now and you screw off too!"

Looking at James's eyes filled with madness, the executive left in shock, closing the door behind him.

Soon, the rain stopped.

After glancing at the dark sky outside the window, James shouted while smashing his desk,

"Turn the light on! Turn it on!"

Instantly, the night retreated to reveal Dragonic's characteristic sky.

-What the heck? Why is it suddenly morning?

-Are they joking? What are they doing?!

While the angry spectators erupted into protest, James simply sat anxiously and rubbed his lips.

It was as though they were phantoms.

In a short moment, four clan leaders and a sovereign, including their subordinates, had gone missing, only to later appear on the records of those who died in battle.

Those who joined Ding's alliance were first suspicious of Choi Hyuk, but they didn't have any proof and Choi Hyuk didn't say anything.

Since the most likely suspect was silent, all they could do was investigate and speculate on their own. It only took a moment for the alliance to collapse.

"Calm down! We can't be certain that Choi Hyuk did it, right?"

Yamato, the sovereign of Japan, shouted while tapping the desk, but the only reply he received were listless, hollow eyes. In a voice that seemed like he didn't want to put up with him, someone said,

"But what are you going to do if it is him?"

His voice seemed like he had already decided. He was completely overwhelmed by the possibility that he could be next.

Yamato was speechless.

"No, we can just think about that when the time comes, why are you acting like this already? The situation's strange, isn't it? Although it's true that most of those who disappeared were part of our alliance, there were also those unrelated to us that had disappeared as well. How are we to know that this was Choi Hyuk's doing or if the Flame Wing Alliance is up to something again? It's not like this is our first time experiencing incidents like this."

However, Yamato's passionate persuasion didn't have any effect. The Al Pacino Clan Leader James quietly opened his mouth.

"Whether Choi Hyuk did it or not… There's no doubt he knows more about this situation than us. They are a C+ Rank independent troop, while we are at most a D- Rank independent troop or a civil militia under the regional troops. This is the difference between him and us…"

"…"

A heavy silence pressed down on the meeting room. Regrets were whirling in each of their hearts.

'We didn't know enough about the alliance.'

'Fool… Did I become complacent during this time?'

'A great warrior… There might be benefits we don't know about given to powerful troops…'

They deeply reflected on the short period of peace they spent on Dragonic.

Because the recruit training and advancement evaluation had ended and they overcame the tidal wave of monsters… At some point, their hearts had become complacent.

'There probably won't be any more terrifying incidents, right?' This was what they believed and perhaps wanted to believe. This was the price for that.

A death they couldn't resist. Those who had experienced all of that and had survived died without so much as a word. They didn't know whether they would be next.

Recalling the memories of the recruit training and advancement evaluation, which had become a sort of trauma to them, the sovereigns' bodies trembled.

They were scared.

Still, the situation was slightly different from the past.

Unlike when they didn't have any information regarding or method of dealing with the recruit training and advancement evaluation, this time they had a suspect named 'Choi Hyuk'. Like Yamato said, Choi Hyuk might not be the culprit. However, he could be. No, the sovereign hoped Choi Hyuk was the culprit. Only then could they ask him for mercy. If they could, they would be in a better situation than in the recruit training or advancement evaluation.

The sovereigns and clan leaders each read each other's thoughts as they got up. There would no longer be any instances where they gathered together in one place. They all thought about gathering whatever they could to offer the Berserkers and going to them. Even though Choi Hyuk hadn't said a word…

The Night Sovereign Ding watched the sovereigns leave with a dejected heart.

It wasn't that he didn't understand them. Only,

'How pitiful…'

His heart dampened. If they had lost in a fight, no, if Choi Hyuk had come out and said, 'I don't like how you guys do this and that. That's why I am going to kill you,' and that was why they submitted, he felt it wouldn't be as pitiful.

'We don't know what he wants or what he hates. We don't even know why he's acting like this and how we should behave so that he doesn't act like this anymore… To only be able to crawl when facing him…'

It was the most pitiful relationship.

The lowest of the low.

'Why was I being punished? Was it because I didn't make any offering? Because I didn't give him a gift? Because I didn't give him my body?'

'Why was I being punished after giving everything I had? Was it because I lacked sincerity?'

'I didn't get punished this time. As expected, did he like the item I prepared last time?'

'To crawl on their own meant the endless repetition of subordination and humiliation.

"I would rather die…"

The Night Sovereign Ding had no thoughts on living like that.

**

Choi Hyuk was sitting with an unenthusiastic expression. Naro reported.

{The leader of the Sahil Clan came this time. He says he wants to provide us with information regarding a middle-ranked Kahur Kabkun.}

Information that the Night Sovereign Ding had said he would provide as part of a trade was rolling in on its own every day. Yet, Choi Hyuk wasn't really interested.

"Good. We needed to gain some military merit anyways."

"You are going to act like nothing's happened even while receiving all that, right?"

Lee Jinhee cut in from the side.

"I never asked them for it."

"Leader, you're going to accumulate hostility that way. By only receiving and never giving."

Only after listening to Lee Jinhee scold him did a smile sprout on Choi Hyuk's bored face.

"Hostility…"

"… What? Why are you so happy….?"

"Hostility will be better. Since they submitted after being a little scared… I don't know what they are doing. Look at the mood on Dragonic. It doesn't suit the Berserkers as time goes on. The red-light districts are fine. Even remembering Earth. Peace is good too. However, they always need to maintain a chilling tension in the corner. They need to have at least one eye open."

As though this thought made him happy, a slight smile hung on Choi Hyuk's lips.

Lee Jinhee looked at Choi Hyuk with frightened eyes.

"Leader… Still, many people are dying…."

They pushed people into missions with low success rates, and the Berserkers joined in only after enough time for their survival to be difficult had passed. Lee Jinhee passed by horrifying corpses tumbling around and destroyed the Kahur Kabkun every time. This wasn't something she could be happy about.

Yet, Choi Hyuk calmly said,

"You know it too. They die because they are weak. Like how they suppressed those who were weaker than them thinking they were strong."

Lee Jinhee was aware of this. Choi Hyuk wanted to know why those reflected in his 'Eyes of the Judge' were 'people to kill, and Zero mobilized 'der Schatten' and gathered information about those individuals. Lee Jinhee read the information as well. Human trafficking, murder relying on missions, and extorting Mission Points as a protection fee. There were unspeakable atrocities.

However, Lee Jinhee was also aware.

'They are people of status who died because they couldn't fight.'

To be honest, this sort of rationality was trivial to Choi Hyuk.

He simply liked fighting. He simply loved sticking his head up against someone else's and competing for who was stronger. Of course, he had a justification for doing this and he was doing it because it corresponded with his goals… But still, the reason why Choi Hyuk was smiling like that wasn't because of rational judgment but because of a practical 'joy'. While Lee Jinhee understood his joy, at the same time, she was saddened that people were constantly dying.

While Lee Jinhee was shaking her head, partly in understanding and partly in regret, Choi Hyuk's smile suddenly disappeared.

In a slightly sullen voice, he said,

"But… Will it be boring…?"

Choi Hyuk was aware that there was too much of a difference between him and the average power on Dragonic.


{1} In the raws, the author uses '전사' which usually means warrior, but in this case, it means 'died in battle'. The meaning is sort of lost when translating because I used 'died on a mission' rather than the literal 'died in battle on a mission'.

/ /