The World after the Fall Chapter 8
Beastrain looked at Jae Hwan with an incredulous look on his face.
“Haaa… I expected something to happen considering the way things were going. This is the first time I've ever met someone like you.”
“I've listened to a lot of similar chatter up until this point."
With the Frost Dragon Sword and the Suppression Dragon Sword in either hand, Jae Hwan exuded a dark aura. Jae Hwan's mental aura congregated at the tips of his swords.
“However, this is my answer.”
As though he were giving up, Beastrain threw up both of his hands into the air.
“Aigoo, fine we'll just do things your way.”
Jae Hwan's swords rushed towards Beastrain.
The next moment.
A strange circle suddenly appeared under Jae Hwan before something growing bigger came out of the circle with a dazzling light, restraining Jae Hwan's movements. It was a plant bred on the 91st floor of the Tower: Black Ironwood.
“If we had just done this earlier, we would be on friendlier terms. Don't you think so?”
“……what are you saying? Regardless, without my consent, you can't end the game, right?”
“What, don't you think there might be another way?”
“So you plan to torture me.”
Jae Hwan had a resolute expression on his face.
“Climbing this far, I've witnessed a hell within a hell. Do you think you have what it takes to torture me?”
“Huuu, is that so. Well, you could say I do.”
Beastrain laughed with a smirk on his face.
“That's right, I've already long since given up on receiving your consent.”
“I'll ask you one thing this time. Do you perhaps think that this tutorial game will go on indefinitely?”
“Surely you don't mean ……"
“Huhu, that's exactly what I mean. As things currently stand, the《Nightmare Tower》is programmed to automatically end the Tutorial 100 days after it is cleared."
‘Of course this damn human delayed the time of delivery by a large margin.’
Beastrain thought to himself.
“The reason why I gave you ten days was because I wanted the game to end in the safest and most natural way possible. What I'm trying to say is that I was trying to prevent you from doing anything stupid. So all Jae Hwan-ssi needs to do is just sit tight and wait for the Main Game to begin.”
Beastrain didn't seem to by lying.
In fact, from the beginning the tower's actions weren't very strange. It was because you could feel small tremors coming from many parts of the tower. It was an obvious sign that the game was going to end.
Seeing Jae Hwan lowered his head, Beastrain couldn't help but feel a strange sense of victory. Though his plans had been stonewalled over and over again, the man in front of him no longer had any choice but to quietly accept his fate.
“They call you the 'Crafty Gentleman' in the 《Great Lands》. Am I correct?”
“……You are, but how do you know this?”
“Having lived for 784 years, you've gone to exactly 128 worlds to carry out your dirty「Cultivation」with a yawn on your face. I couldn't help but be a little puzzled at the bullshit you spouted about helping me enter the faction of a great sovereign."
“J-just how did you know that?”
Beastrain looked at Jae Hwan with a look of disbelief.
“What, you look rather startled that I've heard about you growing various「Products」and whatnot, no?"
“You, just how……”
“You're planning to just hand me over to the Sovereign of Darkness「Harvester」, right? Of course, in return, you'd receive some enormous reward necessary for your fourth metamorphosis or something like that.”
Jae Hwan said while staring up at the Tower's ceiling.
The「Doubt」that he had been sharpening and polishing for the past 100 days was, for the first time, was shining bright. His suspicion and doubt that finally enable to just barely scratch the true essence of the world.
Jae Hwan had wandered around the tower, listening to the voices of the frenzied essence particles.
Doubt opened up his eyes to a new world, and this new world had told him a story.
[ ……Sovereign of Darkness, the cultivation of the Product's 1st stage is nearly complete. The down payment……]
[……the Product is of an extremely high grade. Of my 784 years of work, I have never seen anything like this……]
[……when this transaction is over, I'll finally break through the 4th metamorphosis and become a greater demon. If you just let me complete the cultivation process……]
“......You, just who the hell are you?”
“Who am I. I'm just a Product that you've kept here in this tower for decades.”
Jae Hwan began to feel that the binding force of the materials restraining him were weakening. It was another power belonging to「Doubt」. With suspicion and doubt, by denying the existence of the physical, the structure and integrity is weakened.
“It won't be the same starting from now, but...”
Cutting through the air, two swords flew out at the same time.
Beastrain barely escaped, a long cut appearing on his left forearm. The impossible had become possible. His opponent was a newbie Walker who had only just cleared the Tutorial.
Beastrain was a demon that had gone through his 3rd metamorphosis.
If his opponent wanted to leave a scratch, they must at least be an absolutely elite 1st class Player.
‘Perhaps, an Overadapter?!’
A term used to refer to Products that display growth beyond the bounds of common sense.
‘Why would an Overadapter, in my Tower……’
Maybe in the Main Game, but no Overadapter has ever appeared in the Tutorial Game.
It was a talent belonging to the highest grade even in the《Great Lands》.
The Sovereign of Darkness' delighted gaze appeared in his mind.
‘Even still, it's only a stage 1 Adapter. If I can just restrain him for a little longer, the Tutorial will come to an end.’
Beastrain bit his lips.
“Anything you do is useless! In the end, playing the Main Game is inevitable! Even if you rebel against me, it's you who'll ultimately incur the biggest loss!”
“I guess I'll just have to see what happens then.”
Stemming from the tip of the Frost Dragon's Sword was Jae Hwan's specialty, the Thrust!
Was it even proper to still call it a simple 'Thrust'?
From start to finish, the complete movement of the blade…
It was the ‘Thrust’ that he had come to believe after cutting away the chaff with「Doubt」and distilling the essence of the move with 「Doubt」once more.
And like that he came to a realization.
If there is nothing more to Doubt, then what state would a human reach?
It was no longer just a Thrust.
It was like a beam of light, a sudden flash of brilliance.
Blood spilled from Beastrain's body.
His eyes grew wide as though they were about to rip out of his sockets.
“No way, a stage 2 Adapter?!’’
This speed, this destructive power...
It would have been impossible if he hadn't already reached the level of stage 2 Adapter.
Throughout the entire history of the world, there had never been a stage 2 Adapter in the Tutorial Game.
Beastrain could no longer afford to be careless. If Jae Hwan had really reached the level of Stage 2 Adapter, then Beastrain absolutely needed to utilize the power from his body in the material world.
Beastrain hastily increased the synchronization ratio to 80% in order to borrow more power from his true body.
An incredible amount of spiritual power flooded through Beastrain's body.
A black light began to shine from Beastrain's body.
It was the aura of a demon that had already completed its 3rd metamorphosis.
A demon's 3rd metamorphosis was oftentimes said to be comparable to the 3rd Stage Adaptation, but the truth is that the two have some differences. Most Adapters would never win against a demon of similar metamorphosis.
It was because there was almost always a significant time gap between a man and a demon.
From Beastrain's hand shot out a Claw that made a mess of Jae Hwan's body. Whether it be battle sense or raw power, Jae Hwan was outclassed in both.
It was not easy to deal with the power of a demon who had lived for hundreds of years.
A fountain of blood gushed out from Jae Hwan's body, his strength quickly falling to less than half of his full power.
“Just obediently surrender!”
Under the pressure of Beastrain's aura, Jae Hwan's legs went stiff.
Truly demons were a powerful race.
The chances of Jae Hwan winning were highly uncertain.
The particles making up the tower seemed to be on the verge of collapse.
‘So it ends like this.’
Even until the very end, Jae Hwan tried to Thrust.
The aura kept pressing down on Jae Hwan, not allowing him to stand up.
Keep thrusting, shoot out one's sword and thrust.
Just how many time has he Thrust his sword. A billion times, twenty billion times?
Only Jae Hwan's body knew the answer.
At that moment, a vivid and clear line appeared before Jae Hwan.
There had been times where this had happened in the past.
It was when he had fought the Frost Dragon on the 99th floor. Other times when he was on the verge of life or death, Thrusting his sword during a time of crisis.
At those times he would find a faint line.
Every time he saw the line he would swing his sword in the trajectory of the line. It was something that would only appear whenever he forgot about it.
‘Is that it.’
Jae Hwan's body trembled in excitement.
In front of the Claw flying towards his body, Jae Hwan resigned himself.
With that, he cut himself off from everything.
He had learned. He had mastered it. He had believed.
All of those myths and misconceptions.
He let go of all the things that he had learned to be 'true' or 'definite'. A power with endless numbers. Numbers and coefficients. Even souls were nothing but slaves to them.
But Jae Hwan's body was thinning away.
All of the data attached to Jae Hwan was disintegrating. Everything pertaining to Jae Hwan's Status. Force, Health, Focus, Agility, Luck…… all of the skills and the stats he had accumulated were disappearing.
Everything that had quantified his existence as a human was sloughing off Jae Hwan's body.
An existence of literal「Selflessness」.
As the extraneous particles glowed and faded away, all that was left was the pure, unadulterated essence soul of Jae Hwan. It was the feeling of being born anew. He was no longer just a data or a result of an unknown coefficient of existence. He was a living, breathing, human being.
‘So this is it.’
Jae Hwan thought to himself.
'This is what it means to be a true, pure human.'
A glowing light burst forth from Jae Hwan's body.
Beastrain stared at the scene with his mouth wide open. Even for someone who had lived for 784 years, this was the first time he had ever seen this.
“Oh my God. Just what the hell is that?!”
Beastrain realized that he had been mistaken about something.
He wasn't just an「Adapter」.
There was something even more terrifying than an「Adapter」.
It was a topic with such a high strength of taboo that everyone avoided it.
It wasn't something that would shake the Great Land, but rather, something that would just utterly destroy it.
Those from the Great Lands had coined them this term: