It was a name I had not seen in a very long time – a name of someone I couldn’t find even a trace of no matter how hard I searched after arriving on Earth.
“Why is dad’s name appearing here!? And what the hell is this? A gift?”
It was truly a ridiculous situation, but the bead was already in my hand. I grumbled while observing the bead.
Magic Imperial Princess Jenica
“What? Why is an object considered level 38…? Is it similar to a Chintamani or something? Even if it was a wish-fulfilling, magic stone, isn’t level 38 a bit too absurd?”
I was taken aback by the absurd level, but no matter how hard I looked, it appeared to be a normal bead. It was a regular, white marble without even a trace of mana, let alone any spiritual power or hidden power.
“What the hell is this…? I can’t feel anything at all.”
Even though my eyes were able to ignore all hallucinations and illusions, I didn’t find anything special with the bead. If it weren’t for the title, I would have mistaken it as a regular jade bead from a necklace in an accessory store. But the title was telling me that this nail-sized marble was… level 38?
“How does this make any sense at all? Isn’t level 38 almost at the level of an Untouchable?”
Level 20 was considered the benchmark for a lower-rank transcendent – a rare powerhouse, numbering maybe one or two in a planet. Considering that anything over level 30 was considered Emperor-class and very rare throughout the Great Universe, it was no exaggeration to say that level 38 could be considered a peak existence in the entire universe.
It would not be strange to consider the object in my hand the remains of a perished Untouchable. An object at this level might be the soul remains of an Untouchable who was over level 40.
“No. Considering the title and the name, it doesn’t make sense.”
Magic Imperial Princess Jenica.
It wasn’t a title befitting an object. It was even stranger to think that the object had no affiliation, especially when it was handed to me by the system of the End Project.
“Now that I think about it, I feel like I might have seen a similar name on the mission system in the past as well…”
I explore the bead’s surface with my fingers while muttering to myself. A certain sensation caused me to pause the action.
A strange groove was etched into the side of the marble. After carefully feeling the grooves, I could tell that the groove spelled out a word.
I looked down and saw a key hanging around my neck. It was roughly formed, as if a few scrap metals had been welded together. I was no fool. I immediately understood what my dad’s intentions were.
‘But the key is.’
Hawa’s face suddenly came to mind.
/”From now on, if you use that key even once.”
“I will fold Solar System-34 just like this~”
“And I’m going to compress it to the size of your head.”/
Hawa had said such terrifying things with a smile on her face. Come to think of it, I had avoided using the key as much as possible since then.
‘It’s been a long time since I saw you.’
She had never made empty threats. Moreover, as an Untouchable and as First Legion, she possessed the power to carry out her threats.
But… I realized.
“It wasn’t because I was scared.’
I had refrained from using the key because of her, but it wasn’t because I was fearful. Rather, I just wanted to do as she wanted.
‘Is it because of my origins?’
I rolled the bead between my fingers while grumbling.
‘Opening this bead with a key… It means it’s currently sealed.’
I pondered. Honestly, I didn’t feel like unlocking the seal. It was difficult to know what was going on with my dad, what he was up to, and what he was aiming for.
Why was dad being marked as the planner of the End Project, and why had he sent me this object as a gift? Why had he not shown himself nor explained the situation…?
Eventually, I transferred the bead into the Unique World. Thankfully, it worked without displaying any resistance or trouble.
‘Yeah. If I don’t feel like it, then I shouldn’t do it. In terms of spiritual nature, I’m second to no one. There’s merit to trusting my gut feelings.’
I would place my judgment on hold for now. I freed myself from any needless thoughts and manipulated the vending machine.
“Later! I will think about it later!”
For now, I would go on a shopping spree.
As always, Seon-ae was waiting for me in her court ladies’ uniform as soon as I opened the door.
I looked at her for a moment.
Won-il High School
Fist-style Martial Expert Lee Seon-ae
Her level had only gone up by one.
Of course, her player level had risen to 13, most likely after utilizing the guides. But what good was having a few more points in stats when her skills weren’t there to back it up?
‘Isn’t this a little strange?’
Naturally, the process of becoming level 10, a Compléter, was difficult. There were numerous people who weren’t able to cross the distance after training for their entire lives, even after devoting their very existence and shedding blood and tears.
But we were living in a different world now.
You could buy as many spiritual medicines by fighting hard, and there were many different abilities you could immerse in. The average level of the humankind would be hovering around level 6. So why was it that she was only level 9, even though she was level 8 a while ago.
‘Most importantly… Her talent was the real deal.’
I didn’t have to observe her closely to recognize it. Her talent was in a different realm compared to someone like Jae-seok. It wasn’t just because she was a Synthetic Magical Beast, but her natural physical and spiritual qualities were beyond regular human standards. The only problem might have been that her talent wasn’t because she was a superhuman or a god, but a monster. Even so… she never seemed uncontrolled or unstable.
“How come you’re so weak?”
Seon-ae looked dumbfounded at my question.
“What do you mean? Are you trying to scold me?”
“No way. It’s just… you have the talent. Not just regular talent either. It could almost be considered genius-level talent.”
I thought it was a compliment, but Seon-ae’s eyes narrowed and her gaze sharpened at my words.
“I have the talent, so I have to become stronger?”
“…Hmm. I guess there’s temperament to take into consideration as well.”
It was similar to how many mothers would say ‘you’re so smart, so why are you grades like this?’. I didn’t want to make a fuss when it wasn’t even my life. I didn’t want to argue with her because I was in such a good mood right now.
‘Genie. What do you think? It’ll work, right?’
I need some time.
‘Of course you need some time. But all we have is time in the stage anyways. Do you think it’ll work?’
Genie replied to my urging.
Yes. Mass production of Beast-rank gigas… appears to be possible.
Mithril and Adamantium, Flame Wood and Fantasy Wood, Force Stone and Spirit Stone. With the addition of intermediate and high-rank mana stones as well, it was possible to create Beast-rank gigas without the permanent consumption of aura and spirit.
‘Ah, I can’t wait to make it. Is it still going to take a long time to create the Soul Furnace?’
Once again, I need more time. It’s a huge process that will take at least a few years.
‘Well, it takes years to clear the stage now, right?’
It made sense, considering that it took more than a year to complete the hard difficulty of level 13, which was rendered essentially effortless with the guide. I wouldn’t have to stay for hundreds of thousands of years like before, since the number of clears was now limited to 10,000 per player, but even so, there was plenty of time.
‘Ah, before I forget, I’ll have to make a new Napoleon now that I have plenty of materials.’
I guess so. It’s a shame, considering that we worked so hard on the last one over a year.
‘But we can’t forego the usage of good materials. We had to scrape together and fill in a lot of parts because we didn’t have enough ingredients. Most importantly, the artillery system was just plain horrible.’
I suddenly came to a stop while talking to Genie.
“Hmm. Come to think of it.”
I looked around. I could see people busily traveling to and from Gyeongbokgung Palace.
“…I don’t see any young people.”
Seon-ae replied nonchalantly.
“Even though many elderly people died during the stage, the average age in Korea is over 50.”
In fact, even Seon-ae appeared much more mature compared to before, even though she had not raised her level by much. I realized that I looked to be the youngest in the surroundings and asked in bewilderment.
“What about the children?”
“Unless you’re talking about infants, all of them have grown up into adults. The news says that we have the lowest number of middle and high school students in human history.”
I was talking to Seon-ae when I was suddenly interrupted.
I turned my head after hearing a sudden sound. A warrior was looking at me with an incredulous expression, as if he had seen a ghost.
‘Do I know him?’
I searched my memory for a while, but nothing came to mind. But after stuttering for a moment, he suddenly bowed down to me. It was such a polite greeting that his head almost touched the floor.
“What the heck.”
I ignored the weirdo and stepped into Gyeonghoeru.
As soon as I entered the complex, the noisy environment silenced at once. I could feel everyone’s attention shifting to me, their expressions filled with astonishment and shock.
But after a while,
“…It’s true. It’s really true.”
“I told you. I told you I saw him. Why would I lie about such a thing?”
“Wow… I’m so touched.”
“Now, now. Show some respect.”
The gazes scattered as the whispers filled the place. I went and stood in the line to receive food.
But suddenly, everyone in front of me suddenly scattered away.
I laughed at the ridiculous situation, but I walked up to receive food. The restaurant lady had been dishing out food to the people of the Lee Family, and she looked bewildered to see people making way for me.
“What kind of atmosphere is this? Have you been going around hitting people? I always found you a little scary.”
“Why the heck would I go around hitting people? Give me some food please.”
Today’s menu was Japanese.
The lady’s hands moved at a speed invisible to the naked eye. Then, 365 pieces of sushi were served on a three-story plate in the blink of an eye. There were a total of 12 different kinds of sushi, perhaps symbolizing the twelve months in a year. Another bowl contained all sorts of tempura.
“Oh wow~ Today’s menu is quite nice. Thank you.”
“Heuheu. I wonder how much longer you’ll be able to thank me like that.”
The lady smiled wickedly. I could see jagged, sharp teeth protruding from her open mouth.
“What do you mean? Is there something going on?”
“Well, let’s just say that the moment is coming. The moment when everything will go down. Keukeukeu.”
“Why are you trying to foreshadow the future? The planet has too much destruction already.”
I grumbled before finding a seat.
I could feel people’s glancing gazes as I ate the sushi.
Everyone recognizes you.
I answered while chewing.
‘Well, I can’t help it. 2 billion people were watching. I’m rather relieved that they aren’t being cumbersome about it. To be honest, I thought I would be placed in situations that would make me blush, but unexpectedly, everyone has manners. Right?
Crunch! Chomp Chomp.
I quickly proceeded with the meal. In fact, they would deliver as much food as I wanted, even if I didn’t come down to eat. Even without my identity as Iron Mask, I was still a guest of honor for the Lee Family.
But I was always alone during the stage. Even if something troublesome happened… I would always come down to see people. It was an important, necessary process for my mental health rather than anything else.
The people in Gyeonghoeru disappeared at once, accompanied by a strange sensation. To be exact, they had not disappeared. From their point of view, I would have gone missing.
The empty spaces began filling with new people.
Every time I blinked, more empty spots were filled. In an instant, all of the seats were occupied. The remainder of the new arrivals headed over to the wall and remained standing.
There were exactly 1,000 of them.
“Nice to meet you. I am a Guard, and my name is… What are you doing?”
An old man started talking with a somber expression, then stopped with a stupefied expression. The others nearby began chattering as well.
“It’s a gun.”
“What? It doesn’t seem like a Justice Weapon.”
“What’s with the gun all of a sudden…?”
I found that all of the rowdy people were above level 15. There were people of all races, gender, and age.
‘All of them must be Guards.’
I ignored their whispers and grabbed Shadow Stalker.
“I don’t know what weapon that is, but please calm down. I am Guard Aegis. The Guards and I…”
The old man was trying to explain something. I calmly observed him and pulled the trigger.Previous Chapter Next Chapter