"So..." I asked after hearing Min-kyung's explanation, which she gave upon leaving the stage. "A devotee?"
"That's right. There are already a lot of people who believe in the Three Gods but it's a little more serious. To be exact... Let's see. The term ‘priest’ would be right," Min-kyung said and seemingly clasped her hands in prayer. Woooong! In an instant, her level rose by one. Upon closer look, there was a subtle energy swirling around her.
"Did you dedicate your faith to the Three Gods?"
"It's a little different, because I don't worship any of the Three Gods. I just thought… I was trying to believe in my own justice and do my best to be truthful, but I qualified." As she said so, Min-kyung explained her new power, Oath of the Three Elements. "At the beginning of this stage, I heard the voice of the Three Elements God. It was the same way they first approached humanity." She then clarified that it was unlike before, since it was not a voice passed on to all mankind.
Hearing that a sort of qualification was needed, I asked, "What qualifications?"
"Justice, truth, honor all have to be above the Bronze Rank."
"That's not an easy condition." I clicked my tongue. Living justly did not necessarily mean receiving respect, living truthfully was not necessarily righteous, and… There was more human trash among those with great honor than those among unrighteous liars. I thought perhaps only chairmen of large corporations, presidents, or even a dictator had honor, or not.
But Min-kyung shook her head. "It's not that rare. A righteous person is more likely to speak the truth than someone who is not, and a righteous and true person is also more likely to have honor. Most of all, isn't this a situation where there are people who have served justice as an 'external means'? If this is the case, we can pledge an oath with just integrity and honor."
"That's how it happened again, huh."
"Well, that's just in extreme cases. Most of the high-ranking priests are righteous and truthful people. It's a world where honor can be earned only by being just and truthful."
'There must be very few priests in the Unique World,' I wondered. This was unsurprising, since the selected ones were mainly those who could not enter the Cradle of Justice. It was impossible for them to proceed with the stage. As a result, humans who came to the Unique World were the so-called 'leading people of society'.
'Though most of them are menial beings.' I clicked my tongue inwardly. It was not a joke, but the desire, ambition, and craftiness of these menial beings were really out of the ordinary. They moved on smoothly because Genie had managed it perfectly, but I would have been greatly troubled if they were left alone to live in the Unique World without her help. In actual fact, Genie kept things under control countless times. If not for her, it was no exaggeration that more than half of them would have died at my hands.
'Fortunately, the extremely wicked beings were filtered out.' The current Earth was hell for the wicked beings. Those with bad Karma who crossed a certain line all had difficulty protecting their own lives, even if they were people in great power.
If the opponent was an extremely wicked being, then a Justice Weapon could be obtained by just killing one of them. Even if that wasn’t the case, they could amass good Karma by erasing their own bad Karma from killing these wicked beings.
There was no use in hiding, because a being with a Justice Weapon could sense a being with bad Karma. There was no use in hiring a bodyguard with great capabilities to get rid of the curtain of humanity, because that bodyguard would be the one who would kill the wicked being. It was a world where the rule of law had collapsed. The murderer of the wicked beings would amass Justice Points instead, and would not be punished anywhere or be punished by anyone.
A murderer who killed a person for a purpose. An arsonist who set a fire as a joke. A rapist who wielded his bottom member for pleasure. A swindler who robbed countless people of their wealth. All the wicked beings who did not pay for their sins by means of money, power, and connections ended up dead. Neither the chairman of a large corporation, the CEO of a media company, nor a politician could avoid death. The 'official villains' living on Earth now were really just a handful.
"So what exactly is the Oath of the Three Elements?"
"It's a kind of power-up through restrictions and prohibitions. It's a pledge based on self-imposed terms within the categories of justice, truth, and honor. But the important thing is...you cannot simply pledge an oath for anything else."
"What does that mean?"
"For instance, if you're going to swear that 'I won't lie', it is obvious that you won't do it in the future... But you must make sure to have never done it ever in your life." Min-kyung knelt down on one knee before praying.
- I won't tell lies to harm others.
- I'll do my best in the roles I play a part in.
- I'll do virtuous deeds as and when I have the leisure to do so.
Woooooooong! Once Min-kyung finished her prayers, I could feel the power surrounding her body subtly strengthening. She then stood back up and said, "…This is how it goes."
"What happens if you break it?"
"The power accumulated by the prayer will be reduced and I will be punished."
"There won't be anything that will lead you to break your oath during the stage, so it's basically a non-existent penalty." I nodded. In the end, that was what it meant.
Although Project End created an intuitive play style that made it impossible to raid the stage with the strategy guide, in such a state where the overall combat power of mankind increased, the stage would be easily broken.
"So it's the priests who are above me in ranking?"
"We are not able to know who the final members of the stage are. However, we can guess the identity of the high-ranking priests." Min-kyung handed me a note, which had dozens of names written on it.
"Human rights activists, world-class actors, popes, politicians. Oh, there's a Korean, too." I widened my eyes, since the name was even an acquaintance.
"Yes, it's Monk Myeong-wol. From what I heard, he pledged a 7 Verse Oath. It was extremely difficult to find someone who would make a 1 Verse Oath, so what kind of life has he lived…?"
"It seems that it gets exponentially stronger with the type and number of oaths made." I have cleared the Level 14 High-difficulty stage over 5,000 times. This was definitely not a small number. No, rather, it was a number that could be considered an incredible feat. However, that incredible feat was surpassed by not just one or two, but six more people!
"But even if so, wasn't a Gigas pilot in the first place?"
"Don't tell me, are you trying to offer me some comfort? Well, it's a delightful thing." I snorted.
That's right. In the end, the one who cleared the stage 10,000 times and was ranked 1st place in contribution was So-hyang, the genius pilot. At present, she belonged to the Lee Family, so Min-kyung also knew that for a fact. It was a surprise. How fast was her clear speed that she could fill up 10,000 clears in the Level 14 High-difficulty stage, which ended in just a year?
"Well, I'll find out soon enough."
"It's been a while since I've had a break, but...it seems that will be the case." Once those words left my mouth, the background changed.
- Stage will be open!
- Level 14. Difficulty is set to highest.
-No time limit. Wipe out the Death Knights and Death Knight King unit.
- Stage will begin in 10 seconds.
- 10. 9. 8. 7….
"I knew this would happen. They're taking away the only rest day we have."
So far, the stages were held twice a week and there was a day off. In the case of the early levels, the Level 1 Low-difficulty stage was held on Sunday at 7 p.m., Intermediate-difficulty stage was held on Monday, and the High-difficulty stage was held on Tuesday. Then, the Level 2 Low-difficulty stage was held on Wednesday, Intermediate-difficulty stage was held on Thursday, and the High-difficulty stage was held on Friday. On Saturday, there was no stage. It was a rare day off, but now they squeezed in the Highest-difficulty stage in the end.
"Rather, I should say that it's a relief that there are only Death Knights, and no Level 13 Chimeras or Evil Spirits." I noted, since this was an emergency patch update that was suddenly added.
"W-Where is this?"
"It's the Highest-difficulty stage! Damn it, it's really happening!"
"Oh my God, it's so vast!"
Unlike the stages so far, the surroundings were full of people. Moreover, most of them were familiar faces. "We're here together huh," I commented. For starters, in front of me was Min-kyung, whom I just spoke to.
"Kyung-eun! Phew, that's a relief that we're together... Huh? Dae-ha is here too, isn't it? Ehh? Chief Kim-nim?"
Jae-seok, Kyung-eun, and people who I had in my recent memories were all around me. Of course, I did not know everyone, but just some among the hundreds of thousands of people around.
-The wave will begin in 8 minutes. It will be repeated at hourly intervals. The regen count is until all assigned Death Knights are annihilated.
-Categorization of people is based on the relationship level.
-The number of enemies regenerated is proportional to the number of players gathered.
"Ahhh, oh my God. It looks like there's a million people here. Does that mean there's a million Death Knights coming at once?"
"Gather together for now!!! AS formation! We have to make a formation!!"
"Are there any other players?"
"We see about a million people 10 kilometers to the east, too! I can see it on the west, south, and north sides too!"
"Damn it, is it like a baduk board!?"
"By the way, how do you know when it's that far away? You even know the headcount?"
"I'm a level 17 Chaser, alright? I can tell just by looking! It's exactly one million!"
Soon, the confusion subsided and everyone began to do something. You might ask why everyone was adapting so quickly, but this was only expected. The stage had been in existence for more than a day or two. Everyone still alive were veterans who had survived on stage for at least two months to some decades.
It was also a great merit that people who knew each other were tied up and sent here together, because the process of making a fuss about finding people had disappeared. And most of all…
"Everyone! Please relax and set up a formation! There's nothing to be flustered or afraid of! Look around! There are only Koreans here! I just checked that all the groups in the north, east, west, and south are all Koreans!"
There were objections from all over the place at the shouts resonating to all directions probably due to an ability that was used.
"No, it's good to cheer up, but why does it matter that they are Koreans?"
"Don't say stuff like asking us to relax!!! We only have five minutes of fight time left!"
"Ah, this person really! How tactless! Don't you understand what it means to have only Koreans here? The fact that Koreans are gathered here means that, at the very least, he is around here too!"
"Oh! I see!!"
"Now now, everybody, calm down! Don't be scared and let's stay calm!"
I squinted at the screams and shouts coming from all over the place. Looking around, everyone nearby was staring at me as I had expected.
"Kekeke. That's right. Everyone shouldn't forget that." Jae-seok placed his arms on my shoulders. Before I knew it, there was a black giant standing next to him. "We have the nuclear power, Iron Mask."
Shiiiiingggg! As it was activated, the Beast-rank Gigas, Black Tortoise, had bright, shining eyes. I laughed at the ridiculous situation, but nodded. "Well, you're right."
I received additional migrants to the Unique World even after I cleared the Level 14 High-difficulty stage. Then, I again accepted hundreds of millions of people to get on board Eden and flew them into space.
But unlike ever before, I did not release the Gigas. It was not because the one year spent on this stage was short. The productivity of Gigas of the Unique World was a number that could never be disregarded even by the number of Gigas made in a year, so there was no other reason why I didn't release the Gigas. That reason was to use it at this moment.
"Genie, get ready to go out."
Getting ready to go out. Gentlemen, are you all done preparing?
Preparation has been completed!!!
Preparation has been completed!!!
Preparation has been completed!!!
Preparation has been completed!!!
Numerous pilots in the central square who had been examining their Gigas shouted out loudly. Needless to say, they were all already aboard their Gigas. The me in the Unique World reached out to the guys at the very front and I placed my hand on the armor. "If so." Then, I threw them into the fray of the stage. "Deploy!"