People began to gather at Gwanghwamun Square. The number began increasing, soon exceeding dozens and thousands. Then, finally, there were tens of thousands of people.
"This is insane. Are we going to go to war…?"
"The power of the Zhu Family is pretty frightening, huh. To be able to bring together ability users on such a large scale…”
"These shameless people. Do they not know the meaning of Captain's War?"
Judgmental comments and many who bad-mouthed the Zhu Family could be heard from all over the place. Of course, those weren’t the only opinions.
"That's a given. The Zhu Family would have to give themselves up just by losing this one measly battle, so the entire Zhu Family definitely would not be able to agree with that. If we were in the same situation, we, the Lee Family, would have reacted in the same way."
"Originally, the international state of affairs was driven by national strength. Does it make sense that the whole country would falter from the outcome of a gamble?"
While causing an uproar as they pleased, they implicitly ignored the fact that even if they felt it unreasonable to lose the Zhu Family, or even China as a whole, they should not have attempted to raise an opposition.
However, hyung showed no interest in all that fuss. Groarrrrr---- He was in the middle of a flood of gazes. Even in the midst of a raging torrent of envy, contempt, reverence, jealousy, desire, and hostility, he did not budge an inch. It was as if he was a chisel embedded in the floor. Funnily enough, it was precisely due to his extreme stillness that he exuded a tremendous presence in the midst of the commotion.
"Small and slender, and most of all…such beauty. Are you saying that's a man?"
"He's too young. Did such a young brat really beat all the strongest swordsmen in China?"
"He's a Blade Demon who devours dragons, huh..."
Time flowed by and the commotion gradually subsided. Then, when Hyung, who was standing upright, finally opened his two eyes, a group of warriors unknowing appeared in front of him.
"The Fist Emperor! And even the Blade Emperor!"
"It's the Three Emperors!"
There was respect and admiration bursting forth from among the Chinese people who have gathered. Of course, the reaction from the Lee Family was different from theirs.
"Three Emperors, my ass. The Sword Emperor is already dead, so it should be Two Emperors."
"Moreover, isn't the Sword Emperor the unparalleled being under the heavens? What good would the two of them be when they're considered a step below the Sword Emperor?"
They ridiculed and belittled the newly arrived men. However, they were still babbling and making a fuss.
"B-But they are the Five Great Masters under the heavens though..."
"Hahhh, this is crazy. I never thought the day would come where I faced the Fist Emperor and the Blade Emperor as enemies."
"Enemies... Is that so? That means they're enemies, huh."
I could feel the spirit of the Lee Family greatly distorting. The apparent enemy did not even do anything yet. All they did was reveal themselves and the Lee Family was already feeling intimidated. I was so dumbfounded that I opened my mouth thoughtlessly, "They're a bunch of fools, huh."
"I agree." I turned my head and looked at Min-kyung, who stood next to me and spoke. As always, she was expressionless, but I could see her eyes glaring coldly. She seemed to be angry at the ugly behavior the members of the Lee Family were showing. "Don't you regret it?"
The senior members of the Lee Family, including us, were standing on the pavilion on the second floor of Gwanghwamun Gate. We were looking down at the crowd. The pavilion on Gwanghwamun Gate was not supposed to be a place where one could go up to, but they were a group that used the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion like a staff cafeteria, so such things were irrelevant to them. Rather, the interior was well-designed to allow people to rest comfortably.
"If I were you, I would erase the Zhu Family from the world.”
It was not a difficult task. No, rather, it was very simple. There was no technology to detect and defend against the Albatross ship on Earth, and the firepower of the Albatross ship was capable of plowing the entire surface of Earth.
"Why?" As Min-kyung questioned me in her cold voice, she turned to look straight into my eyes. "Because I know you have no intention to do that."
"That's true." I was not afraid of killing after coming this far. I had come too far to say such innocent things. However, even so, I was not crazy enough to carry out a meaningless massacre. It was because I didn't have the ambition or goals to do so. "But a massacre isn't always the only answer. You could overwhelm them, or you could also make them yield to you."
I roughly explained the extent of what I could do to hyung and Min-kyung, who stood next to each other. The explanation was not difficult, because the existence of the Albatross ship was testament to that. Then, in that state, I said, "I'll help you." Of course, it was not because I cherished the Lee Family, or Korea even. My brother's involvement in affairs of a disheveled nation was annoying, so it was a proposal to get rid of everything troublesome.
However, Min-kyung rejected my proposal. "I've already told you." She turned her head again and looked at Hyung. "I do not intend to involve foreign powers for our independence."
"I just didn't bring anything ridiculous like a spaceship... If it was a proposal, I have already received it several times. Japan's Yangmyeong Family and United States' Rockefeller Family also made similar suggestions. That they would help, and they would lend their strength."
"No, I am."
"It's the same no matter who you are. Even if it was a pure and voluntary favor for your brother, with no ill intentions or schemes.” She turned her head back and faced me. A storm was raging in her eyes. "Our independence must be achieved by our own strength. If we don't become the main actors, we'll never be able to break the slavery chain that ties us down."
"I'd like it if you don't make me waver for no reason, and just watch over me."
I suddenly felt uncomfortable, because a strange feeling hit me. It was something that was hard to put into words as I saw her throw her whole being at a close to impossible goal with a clear belief and purpose. Was it because I acted while being driven by the situation, like an aimless piece of wood on top of waves, even though I received an enormous power and authority as a legacy from my biological father?
"Still... You will help if Yeong-min is in danger, right? Because you're family, no?"
"Didn't you say that you could not involve foreign powers?"
"You just have to make it so that it is out of sight."
"...Excuse me?" I froze at the absurd remark. Min-kyung was looking straight ahead with an expressionless face. Though it was rare, her face was slightly flushed. Even I, who didn't know her very well, could see that she was terribly embarrassed.
"Pffftttt!" I let out a sudden burst of laughter, but I put on a straight face immediately after. "I never intended to leave Hyung alone from the very beginning."
Upon hearing my laughter, the gazes of the senior members of the Lee Family momentarily gathered on me. Their impressions were grim, and it seemed that they must have been angry at me laughing even though the confrontation—with the fate of the Lee Family on the line—was coming ahead. No, perhaps it was because a nobody like me with an unknown origin was standing next to Min-kyung, who had the highest authority and influence in the Lee Family. However, such things were obviously none of my concern.
'Genie, the screen.'
I could see the enlarged image of my brother with Udjat, my glasses, and the sounds near him were transmitted into my head. Before I knew it, two elderly people who arrived in front of Hyung were talking as they pleased.
"You're walking on a foolish path."
"You should stop it now while you can."
"If you devote yourself to the Zhu Family, you'll be able to possess power and fame, the likes you have never imagined before."
"It's not a matter that can be solved with stubbornness alone."
Well, those were the talks that went on. They coaxed, flattered, threatened, as well as enticed my brother, but it was not even a big deal. 'Wow, it's really...' They were naive old men. Did they really think that words could solve this situation after coming this far?
In any case, it's because the opponent is young.
Youth was something that was pretty darn incredible. No matter how amazing and tremendous the things one were to achieve, they would look down and underestimate those accomplishments as long as one was young. Even though the Sword Emperor died by Hyung's hands, did they really see him in that light? They were both old men, so they had already experienced a long life, but they still had that sort of attitude.
Sure enough, Hyung answered them without lifting an eyebrow, even though he had to deal with their attitude. "Are you both jumping at me? Why are you standing side by side and blabbering?"
"It seems a greenhorn's self-indulgence has pierced the sky! Do you think we're doing this because we're afraid of you?"
The number of enemies gradually increased while they were bickering. The number of people gathered had already exceeded hundreds and thousands, surpassing tens of thousands of people. It was still slowly increasing, and finally...
Temporarily suspended. Time until the Occupation War resumes, 1 minute to go.
When the time of the face-off came about.
"No, this...this is crazy."
The ability users on the Lee Family side that gathered in front of Gwanghwamun Gate turned pale. They were overwhelmed by the large number of enemies.
"Oh, I've seen this scene somewhere."
"…What are you trying to say? Where did you see this scene?" Indeed, Min-kyung's complexion turned pale as if she had not expected this situation. She was the Princess of the Korea Empire. No, going by the title, she had recognized herself as the Imperial Princess. But even so, it wasn't possible for her to remain calm in the face of the enemies of such scale.
However, I was different. Rather, it made me smile. "Why, I think this many people gathered during the candlelight vigil too."
Of course, there was a difference in that it was a rather mature group of citizens then. Now, it was a gathering of dishonorable enemies... Regardless of the moral superiority, no one could deny that the current scene was much more bizarre. It was the essential difference between peaceful demonstrators and enemies exuding enmity and killing intent!
I was standing at the Gwanghwamun Pavilion, so I could see them all at a glance. The Gwanghwamun Square, and also the roads without any cars, were packed to the brim with the crowd of people. The Chinese people, who gathered and scattered all over the central area of the Gwanghwamun Square till the front of Gwanghwamun Gate, were so high-spirited that it was as if they were going to smash Gwanghwamun Gate to pieces and storm into Gyeongbokgung Palace this instant.
"There are so many people that they're really like bugs."
According to the investigation results of the Albatross ship, the Earth's total number of ability users was roughly just over 10 million people. Among them, the number of ability users that came from Korea came up to about 150,000 people, which was a relatively huge number when compared to the total population of Korea.
However, not all of the ability users from Korea were affiliated with the Lee Family. Since there were no places of residence erected in places such as the Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was the Grace of the Great Wizard, it could only exist in the form of a safe house. But nonetheless, forces consisting of at least five to six people, to at most 100 people or over, were scattered throughout the country. That wasn't all. There were also a considerable number of ability users who were active in the surface world without entering the parallel world. In the end, the total number of ability users affiliated with the Lee Family was about 90,000 people.
And…the number of Chinese people who were currently gathered in Gwanghwamun Square was more than that.
"How can this huge number gather in Korea? Such a large scale movement wasn't detected in the surface world and parallel world... Don't tell me… Did they cross the sea to come here? The sea of the parallel world?"
"Crazy, this is crazy! If it has come to this!"
"By any chance, do you plan to destroy the Lee Family and cover up the occupation if you lose the Captain's War, and have to give up the Forbidden City?!"
It literally sounded crazy. The Great Wizard's distribution (such as the Giant Soul Soldier Sejong and Sun-shin, or the Imoogi of the Gyeonghoeru Pond) would not react and go against humans who were the same as them. This was true as long as they were not broken and destroyed directly. However, at the very least, the barrier of Gyeongbokgung Palace was completely controlled by the Lee Family. No matter how much greater the quality and number of the ability users were as compared to the Lee family, if they charged head-on, the Zhu Family would also suffer a blow that definitely couldn't be ignored.
It was then, "It's time to make up your mind, Milady." Along with the sounds of uneven steps, a new group of people appeared at the pavilion in Gwanghwamun Gate. It was a group made up of approximately twenty fully armed ability users. In particular, the face of the person who stood in front of the group was one that I was familiar with.
Necromancy Master, Lee Hyun-seok
It was an opponent that was of an insignificant connection. It was just that his brother died in my hands. 'Hmmm, come to think of it, he's a sworn enemy.' But at least that didn't seem to be the reason why he was here now.
"Oh my oh my~ Was the title the problem even in this situation? Let's see, should I call you Princess? If not~ Imperial. Princess. Nim?" Hyun-seok smiled like a snake. However, he, who was laughing meanly, hardened his face soon after. It was because he saw it.
"You're slow." Min-kyung, who had been called an Ice Flower because she had always maintained the same expression, smiled coldly. "Even that sloppy conspiracy..."
At the same time, my brother standing in front of Gwanghwamun Gate said, "Resume the Captain's War."
The Captain's War has resumed!
Progress: 0/1, 2/3
The Captain's War began.
1. A candlelight vigil or candlelit vigil is an outdoor assembly of people carrying candles, held after sunset in order to show support for a specific cause. Such events are typically held either to protest the suffering of some marginalized group of people, or in memory of the dead.