"Please explain it in detail." For starters, I had to hear the story of what was going on.
Guardian was the transcendental magic ability of the Great Wizard. Moreover, it was an infrastructure long put in place and was based on that magic ability. It was one of the two Commandment Bodies created with the addition of the Primordial God's blessing. Their objective of creating it was simple; the protection of mankind, as well as the separation of the surface world and the parallel world.
"What kind of separation is necessary when the surface world is out of the forces of the parallel world’s league?" I thought this fact was obvious, especially upon seeing just one of Lee Family's forces ignore the Third-Generation Chaebol and refer to them as merchants when ordering their henchmen around.
However, Aegis, the oldest guardian born in the nineties (Year 1890, not the Year 1990), shook his head. "But even so, little is known about the parallel world."
"Isn't it best to keep it a secret?"
"That's right. As long as we adhere to that line, the surface world would be peaceful and mankind would be able to prosper."
Aegis explained that the Great Wizard, the only transcendent of Earth and the world's greatest prophet, decided to separate the two worlds after foreboding what would happen if both worlds integrated. "According to him, he said that the war would repeatedly occur. Although it definitely wouldn’t result in the destruction of mankind, and we could go through all kinds of hardships and assume a new public order... The Great Wizard, who foretold the end of the world, created a number of devices that strictly separated the surface world from the parallel world for the purpose of reducing the consumption of mankind. He made us, the Guardian clan, the last component."
As a result of this fact, mankind prospered. I thought, 'I see. Is the Guardians clan’s purpose supposed to cover the entire planet Earth?'
The identity of the Guardian clan was simple. They were a psychic clan with extremely skewed talents. In return for not being able to personally possess such great power, they had the power to access the Grand Soul, which spread throughout the Earth through the mission system. They could see anything that humans could. A thousand Level 15 Guardian Spirits could go anywhere as long as there were people there!
Heavenly Sword, the strongest swordsman in the Republic of Korea, was Level 11. Considering that Sword Emperor Xu Jiayin, referred to as the Greatest Sword in the World, was only Level 13, it was apparent how terrifying the full power of the 1,000 Level 15 Guardians who possessed all kinds of authority was. Moreover, just one Guardian Spirit could already sign a duplicate contract with up to 10 people...
"Then, what's the problem?"
"The fact that the components, which are the Guardians supporting this world, are beginning to rust after being greeted by the end of the world." Needless to say, the laws that the Guardians had to adhere to were proportional to the power they received. Aegis then added, "We must devote ourselves to humanity’s protection as much as possible."
"Is that a bad thing?"
"It is bad. It means that if we had strength to spare, we have to unconditionally choose to rechallenge the stage. We can't do anything like a trick, because there’s a powerful restraining force that we can’t avoid. Even self-hypnotism doesn’t work."
In other words, it was impossible for the Guardians to give up halfway. They had to unconditionally, repeatedly challenge the stage until it was 'no longer possible to continue'. Aside from that fact, there was another problem.
'Come to think of it, a Necromancy practitioner would be in an entirely opposite situation when compared to a Life Energy practitioner.' If there was an abundance of supply to support them, Life Energy practitioners could exert enormous power. If they did not have any supplies, however, they would face a crisis. In short, just looking at me, I was most likely going to starve to death on the stage.
Necromancy practitioners were the exact opposite of that. They were beings where supplies were almost unnecessary. They would transform into half-spiritual beings upon invoking the Spirit Summoning Ritual. In other words, they could infinitely rechallenge the stage with the minimal amount of water and food they farmed at the stage. That's right. In theory, it was possible to rechallenge the stage 'infinitely'. However, their lifespans certainly were not infinite...
"Over a long period of time, the number of Guardians increased rather than diminished. Since the Guardian clan, protected by the Commandments, did not face any sort of incidents or disease, those born with talent from the outside continued to be supplied. Thanks to that, they have the greatest scale of all time, with more than 30,000 members in recent years. But...of all the Guardians, 20,000 of them died in just a little over a month's time."
Listening to Aegis’ answer, I entered Geunjeongjeon Hall. This was not the Gyeongbokgung Palace of the surface world, but it wasn’t the Gyeongbokgung Palace of the parallel world either.
That's surprising. I can't believe you're using the Bubble World in such a way...
Geunjeongjeon Hall was full of hundreds of people. Amongst all those people, a few elderly people were seen breathing their last breath. These were natural deaths caused by aging. Wooooom! Upon death, the fragment of ultimate spell invoked on the elderly people's body triggered and returned to the mission system.
Shiiiiiingg! One old man’s body was teleported to the parallel world. I got out of the temporary channel and followed the process happening in front of my eyes. Pssssshhhh! The old man's body, appearing in Geunjeongjeon Hall, instantly turned into dust and scattered in the air. I then went back into the temporary channel.
Aegis, observing me as I returned from the parallel world, continued to explain, "The majority of the Guardians clan were born in the temporary channel and live here till their deaths. And the physical bodies of the Guardians clan filled with the factor of the temporary channel disappear upon leaving the temporary channel."
I recalled the conversation I previously had with Seon-ae.
/"The things of this world disappear when they go to reality?"
"Yes. The same problem applies whether you go back to the parallel world or the surface world. In particular..."
"That's right, food. Never touch food on the temporary channel. Even though they have the same aroma and appearance as the real thing in reality, as well as the same taste as the real thing, they are all only temporary. When you go back to the surface world."
"...Likewise, they will disappear as well, huh."/(Flashback)/
"Then...what about the Guardians in the surface world?"
"They're Supporters, limited to 1,000 members. One has to die for them to be reinforced with new personnel."
As our conversation reached this particular point, some of the Guardians gathering together discovered the presence of Aegis and me. Their eyes widened and, soon, their whispers grew louder.
"Huh? Iron Mask! It's Iron Mask!"
"Oh my God, it's really Iron Mask! I never thought I would see Iron Mask in person."
Another voice came amidst those who were surprised, "Erm… By the way, if he’s here as a guest, shouldn't he be treated to a meal?"
"Please don't spout such preposterous things! No! Do you know what kind of an existence Iron Mask is to humanity right now? Why would we keep him here?"
"But it's customary..." Similar to a small village, there were approximately a few hundred people looking at me. Unlike the 1,000 Guardians who came to find me, these people were composed of only Koreans.
"To sum it all up." I momentarily stared at the people who just hesitated and dared not come near me, and asked Aegis, "Your kind have been protecting humanity in the bubble world, and you want to give up your task at this point of time?"
"That's...! No, that's right. Perhaps that's the best way to sum up this situation. Because at this rate, the future of the Guardians clan is set in stone."
"How is it set in stone?"
"It means our clan will end up being exterminated in a place that no one knows about… The elders of the last generation and the generation before that became Guardians with a burning sense of duty, but that's not the case for us. We were just born as Guardians."
I nodded, empathizing with Aegis’ comments to a certain extent.
"That's not all. We're dying of old age now, but... Things will be different again because our capabilities do not increase. If this carries on and the Stage Level becomes Level 15, then..."
"…There will be enemies of the same level as the Guardian Spirits appearing."
"And even enemies of higher levels too." They waved their hands as they answered.
Poooof! A member of the Guardian clan appeared out of thin air. A woman appearing to be in her thirties appeared to be as excited as a child. "It's bright!"
"W-What are you saying, Soo-ryun? No, more than that, are you alright?"
"It's bright! I said it's bright! It's bright, fancy, and warm! That place, that place is... Euurghhhh!"
'N-No, Soo-ryun. The temporary channel is also bright enough..."
"It's different! There's not a hint of liveliness here!"
I stared at the sight of the two of them bickering for a moment, and asked, 'Genie, what's the status of the Guardians?'
All 999 members who crossed over are normal. They're all beings of the bubble world, but it's been confirmed that the nature of the bubble world is not distorted in the Unique World. However, we cannot guarantee what will happen if they return to the surface world from here.
As I listened to Genie's words, I looked at the hundreds of Guardians staring at me. Then, I raised my left arm to check the time. It was 9.am., so we still had quite some time left. "Aegis-nim, please pick out the people who can no longer proceed with the stage and gather them here by 3 p.m.."
"...Are you going to help? For real?"
"Yes. However, we can't bring them on board the Albatross ship. If you go out of the parallel world, you're going to die, and if you get on board the Albatross ship, then it won't be able to leave the Earth."
Aegis' face stiffened upon hearing my words. "T-That can't be true! We've already finished our experiment to the moon..."
Upon seeing Aegis’ denial, I recited the knowledge that Genie had taught me, "How many people have you tested? I'm sorry to say, but moving the bubble world away from the infrastructure on Earth will put a strain on the Grand Soul. If hundreds and thousands of people do that, the bubble would burst."
"T-That's..." Aegis was shocked, but he wasn’t the only one.
"Wait a minute! Aegis-nim, are you really thinking of leaving Earth?! This is an act of abandoning your duty!"
"That duty. I've done my part already."
"No, even if so..."
"I…!" Aegis screamed out loud, "I...! I've been here for 150 years! 150 years!!!! Goddammit! It wouldn't be strange if I just died of old age anytime now, so what duty do I still have left?!"
Groarrrrr---!! His spiritual energy was burning up. The Aura was not outrageously strong, but the fact that there was this much change in spiritual power just from his surging emotion showed how desperate he was right now.
"I've spent my whole life killing revolting monsters! It would be more awkward to release the Spirit Summoning Ritual now!! Exactly where, where in the hell did my life go?"
"..." With a cry that seemed like he was coughing up blood, the man that questioned Aegis couldn't speak any more. All the Guardians were at a loss for words and drowned in silence.
Regardless of the deathly atmosphere, I announced, "Anyway, please gather them by 3 p.m.. Whether it is a fortunate thing or not, the Guardian Spirits can't be brought to the place I'm going to send you to. If anyone has a duty they have to execute, they can stay back and do so." That was all I said as I left the bubble world.
While I was at it, I looked for Min-kyung. I had looked for her out of the blue, but I gave a clear explanation before she calmly asked, "...Do you mean the personnels who can no longer clear the stage?"
"That's right. Whether it is children who are too young, or people who amassed too much bad karma and can't enter the Cradle of Justice no matter what they do, I'll take them to my own personal dimension. At the very least, there isn't a need to proceed with the stage there. Oh, for your information, the only thing that can come is a physical body. Even the clothes they are wearing can't be brought over, so keep that in mind."
Upon hearing my words, Min-kyung calmly stared at me in the eyes. A moment later, she asked, "Is it alright... Is it alright to give me such enormous authority?"
"I don't care who they are anyway, so it's better for someone I am familiar with to do it on my behalf. Do you not want to do it?"
"No. There's no way that's the case."
"Alright. Then gather people at Gyeongbokgung Palace by 3 p.m.. Within 10,000 people, okay?"
"I'll get on with it immediately." Min-kyung bowed and left.
I went out towards Gwanghwamun Gate with tools that distorted cognitive abilities. I then looked at the people. Then, at 3 p.m., I sent thousands of Guardians and exactly 10,000 additional people into the Unique World.
Special Planet Unique World(Legend++++) ranked up!
Rank A → Rank S
Krooooom------ I felt the scale of the Unique World becoming one level bigger. The small planet composed of magnetic sand expanded like crazy. The huge amount of magnetic sand pouring out from the core led the small planet to swell up like a balloon. As buildings classified by sections rolled around like a small boat greeted by the storm, the people assigned to Aegis screamed and became anxious.
However, the cities of steel, originally designed to expand in such a manner, could sail on the waves of magnetic sands. They were like ships, settling in a pre-designated location by the time they stopped expanding.
Genie immediately ejected the drones and identified the height of the ceiling. Then, she sent me a message, We have acquired enough altitude. Artificial Sun, RA, will be launched.
"Oh, is that finally possible?" I waited for a while, watching the people at Gwanghwamun Gate. I then received the information delivered by the Artificial Sun, RA, who circled the Unique World once. As a result, I realized that my Unique World had become wide enough to fit in one and a half of the Oceania region. That's right. Finally, the Unique World had...reached a continent-level scale.Previous Chapter Next Chapter