When I made eye contact, his black pupils that seemed bottomless swallowed me up like an abyss.
"Who are you?"
It wasn't just some simple words. I could feel every word and every letter he uttered weighing down on my soul. I didn't sense any killing intent, and since the difference in strength was so overwhelming anyways, any killing intent would be meaningless. Just like how we kill an ant without any intention to kill.
"This is displeasing."
"Like I said... What is?"
Major General Chun Hyun-il wanted to question me more, but he paused.
Bo-ram, who was on edge, also looked at me with a puzzled look on her face. She had an expression that seemed to say "How is this possible, I didn't expect this to happen", but actually this was natural.
In the first place, there was no reason for me to be desperate in front of him. Instead, I should be more confident. Rather, if I hesitated here, I would be falsely accused of something I didn't do.
"Why are you interrogating me? What grounds are you basing it on?"
"No wait, what grounds? That's of course..."
Baffled, he tried to say something more but hesitated. Because there was no such basis for his accusations.
"I came from what you people call Earth-34, and I was scouted one-sidedly. I've never lied about my personal life and neither have I committed a crime. Why should I be treated like this?"
My argument was sound. Because what I said was the truth. And Major General Chun Hyun-il was perplexed by the list of reasonable facts. I guess he didn't expect me to act this way.
"Hmm, but your identity..."
"You've never asked me to tell you every single ability I have. You're the one who approached me as you pleased in the first place; you're just making it difficult for me if you come now and demand that I reveal my identity. And more than anything..."
I stared straight at Major General Chun Hyun-il. I got a job on Albatross, but that was just an employee's contract and I was not his underling.
"I hid it because it's troublesome, but it's even more strange if you already knew it beforehand. No matter how much I think about it, I think I've performed a lot better than the salary I receive, so what's the deal with this treatment?"
I recalled what the God-rank Gigas who carried the name God of War said. If this ship was subjugated by the enemy, the majority of the passengers would be dead, and those that remained alive would be trampled upon by the enemy. There was not even a 1% chance of victory, so any form of hope couldn't have existed.
Major General Chun Hyun-il had his hands tied dealing with Morne, a demi-human transcendent, but the rest of the situation was simply the worst. He was able to keep Morne at bay, but at the same time he had his hands tied, and if he showed a gap, he would have received a fatal injury, so he couldn't help his allies.
And in that meantime, the ship was taken over by the enemy and all the crew members were trampled on. In fact, it was not an exaggeration to say that I was the savior of Albatross.
But Major General Chun Hyun-il suddenly laughed, "Hoho... as I expected, those Gigas were controlled by you."
I froze at his unexpected words. In that instant, I thought, 'I was had!'.
Come to think of it, all he saw was the way I flew into the battleship's interior. He wasn't sure that I was the one who controlled a Gigas, and it was just a conjecture he had, but I went ahead and said it first.
'Let's calm down.'
But I maintained a poker face. I wasn't flustered. Anyways, even if he didn't know, Celestia did. It would be easier to just think that this information was something that would eventually be known because she had no reason or loyalty to keep it a secret.
I nodded nonchalantly and continued speaking as if it wasn't a big deal, "I couldn't help it. I just wanted to do maintenance, but everything turned into a hot mess."
"Keke. But then again, I kind of figured it out when I saw you being inside the Eye of Ares. I figured that it was the skill King of All Armaments that remotely controlled the Gigas. Even if he was a God-rank, I didn't know it would be great enough to control the Gigas with just an Ability."
It seemed that Chun Hyun-il somewhat knew about Ares and also about the Ability Ares had.
'But then again, he's the one who stands at the very top on this ship, so it would be even more strange if he doesn't know about Ares. Above all, the Albatross ship said it would cooperate to find Ares' body.'
However, Chun Hyun-il let the fact that Ares could control Gigas pass, which suggested that he didn't know its exact function, and Celestia was smirking at Major General Chun Hyun-il.
Major General Chun Hyun-il nodded at the sight of her smiling.
"I apologize for the disrespect. I'll make up to you next time for hastily doubting you, let's sit down for now alright?"
We entered the house following the guidance of Major General Chun Hyun-il.
Basically, it was a completely oriental-style tile-roofed house with a floor, but once I entered the room inside, there were Western-style tables, chairs and even sofas. It was a bit out of place, so when I looked at Major General Chun Hyun-il, he giggled.
"I couldn't help it. When we sit together, the difference in our eye level is so huge that it seems impolite."
While saying so, he sat down on the floor.
Even though we sat in chairs and he sat on the floor, the difference in our size was so big that we had to gaze up at him. He seemed to have thought of this arrangement because he often met those that were human-sized.
"Anyways, it's nice to meet you. I'm Kwan Dae-ha."
"I'm Major General Chun Hyun-il, captain of Albatross. It's an honor to meet you, Mr. Specter."
Major General Chun Hyun-il laughed when I questioned about the unexpected term.
"It's a nickname given by the crewmates who realized the fact that no one was riding on the Gigas that defeated the enemies who suddenly appeared. It's quiet because we're in a chaotic situation, but there's a lot of people who are curious about who you really are."
It's obvious, but it wasn't a ghost story. This was the Great Universe where superhumans existed, which had also proved the existence of Gods and souls. Of course, rather than thinking it was a ghost story, they would think that there was a very powerful person who could remotely move the Gigas.
"Hmm. Does anyone know more when it comes to Ares?"
"Not really. At most, it would be me and the Tech Division Chief, as well as the Deputy Captain or Brigade Commanders who have the authority to access first-class secrets."
'That means there's quite a lot, isn't it?'
I laughed in vain, but I didn't quibble over it.
Well, it was not like I was a criminal, so if I desperately tried to hide my identity, it'd seem more strange.
I brought tea.
"Thank you, Genie. Let's talk while we drink. It's a Thousand Spirit Tea that was infused with precious sacred herbs."
"Ack, Hyun-il! Are you going to be like this? You didn't take this out when you met me!"
"That's why I'm giving it to you like this right now. Besides, it takes a few weeks to boil the Thousand Spirit Tea. How do I give it to someone who comes all of a sudden?"
While listening to their conversation, I took a sip of the Thousand Spirit Tea. There was a cup of tea for me and Celestia, and of course, there was tea for Bo-ram as well, but she shook her head slightly and refused, so I drank her share too.
It seems it wasn't empty talk, and the tea was really precious. I drank two cups in a row, and after a while, my stomach warmed up and I gradually felt energy spread throughout my body. I didn't know why but I felt energized. But everyone did not mention it at all, as if it was something natural, so I just swiftly emptied the cup and nodded.
"It's good tea."
"It's made by refining the Thousand Year Spirits. It's not hard to procure it now, but in the past, wars were waged for this herb."
I drank the tea while listening to him. Though it was a warm whirling energy that enveloped my body, the smell of the tea itself was very mellow and soothing.
Of course, if I relaxed too much I would be in an awkward position, so I emptied my glass and continued speaking, "Captain-nim, come to think of it, do you know how I was scouted to join the Albatross ship?"
"I heard it was because of your supernatural ability to identify the condition of a machine."
I nodded at his answer that I anticipated, and continued.
"Of course, that is true. But what was the first thing you thought of? Why did the Leonhardt Empire approach me when I was living a normal life on Earth-34? The Albatross ship didn't know anything about my superpowers then."
"That's because in The Great War..."
Chun Hyun-il spoke up to that point and paused. He was someone who spent hundreds of years in training and reached the realm of a transcendent. He quickly found the answer because he obviously wasn't stupid.
"1.28 billion points..."
Chun Hyun-il looked at me with a puzzled look on his face.
Frankly speaking, even till now, I still didn't understand it, but this 1.2 billion score was apparently an enormous score that no one else could hold a candle to. Wasn't that why Alaina, the HR Division Chief, judged me to be a supernatural without questioning whether this was a real score or not?
That's why when I saw Major General Chun Hyun-il who was surprised, I thought for a moment, 'Does this guy not believe it too?', but he soon nodded. Perhaps due to his intuition as a transcendent or because of his experience that accumulated over 500 years of living, he quickly accepted the situation.
"Alright then... Come to think of it, there are all sorts of people in the world. Is that power passed down from lineage?"
To be honest, even I didn't know the exact identity of my power. After all, I still didn't know who my father was. Of course, being skilled at playing games was my own competency, but there was also a possibility that I inherited this talent of being able to see titles from my predecessors.
'That's right, maybe I'm a genius.'
That might be true, as it was the only area that I could beat my all-rounded genius father at. Then wouldn't it be safe to say that I was a great genius when it came to this?
Celestia nodded her head in agreement, "Certainly, the performance that this guy showed while on the Thunder Dragon was ridiculous. He went beyond space, and fired off attacks that pierced the enemy's defence... No, in fact, this is probably just a secondary ability."
After saying all that, Hyun-il stared at me momentarily with an amused expression, then continued to talk.
"This guy's real ability is piloting skills - piloting that is extremely outstanding. I've never seen a Gigas dominating the battlefield with such class before."
In fact, even though it was the words of the Imperial Princess, who lived a normal life that had nothing to do with war, Major General Chun Hyun-il spoke in a serious manner, as if he was listening to the opinions of a warfare expert.
"Certainly, if it's coming from the Imperial Princess who's been on all sorts of battlefields, it's worth listening to. So, what level do you think he is?"
"That's... amazing. It's not just his ability, but for his Piloting ability itself to reach the point of a Gigant Master."
It was an incredible appraisal, but Celestia shook her head.
"Ahhh, he's not at that level?"
"That's not it, it's useless to compare him to a Gigant Master. This guy's ability... The Leonhardt Empire is a given, but even all the Gigant Masters I've ever seen up till now would be child's play in comparison. If he used the same Ability on the same model, perhaps even against two or three opponents, they wouldn't be able to hold a candle to him."
Major General Chun Hyun-il's face slightly hardened at her conclusive remarks. For a moment, he looked confused, then he asked again.
"Are you saying his Piloting skill itself is that remarkable, not considering his ability? More so than the Gigant Masters? That's impossible. Capabilities such as the precious Abilities, Transcendence skills, or Authority may be innate, but technique doesn't appear by itself."
"You're not wrong, but it's useless even if you try to refute it. If you've seen the outcome with your own eyes."
Major General Chun Hyun-il was lost in thought. And I frowned as I looked at his figure, and turned to glare at Celestia.
"You're not overestimating it intentionally, are you?"
"Huh? Overestimate? You fool, no one could've turned the tide with one Beast-rank in that situation. Moreover, although it's true that you used all kinds of Abilities that Thunder Dragon didn't have, none of them were defensive Abilities. Do you not know how ridiculous it was to come out unscathed after going against such a huge number of enemies that had high attacking power?"
On the contrary, I couldn't dispute her incredible reaction.
'I just felt like they were actually controlling with their feet. It also felt like a battle with bots.'
However, it was obvious I would be treated as trash if I said such a thing when it was a war they staked their life at, so I stopped. In reality, it didn't really matter either.
"Well, let's face it and move on, if I had to state a reason, I kept quiet because I didn't want to enlist in the Leonhardt Imperial Army. Even now, that thought hasn't changed. But I couldn't just die, so I participated in the battle to survive."
"That's... I don't understand. If your war merits are known, the rewards will be enormous. You may even be able to enjoy wealth and power that the president of Earth 34 couldn't possibly measure up to. If you really possess Piloting skills that surpasses the Gigant Masters... Maybe you'll even be able to climb to the rank of General. Because it's a time of war now, and you're a human being. But then, you're gonna give that up?"
Bo-ram, who was standing guard behind me, voiced a question at Major General Chun Hyun-il's response that was incomprehensible.
"Erm, how great is that General position?"
"You wouldn't understand much about the power even if I explained, so let me explain about the wealth... To the point where you can have five or six beautiful planets named after you and build them into private resorts, about that much?"
"Ohhhh! Not a private island, but a private planet?"
"What's with the 'Ohhhh', you idiot."
I nagged at Bo-ram who was spouting nonsense. I wanted to give her a finger flick, but she was wearing a helmet, so I held it in.
"Anyways, that's just a small reward, so I'm sure I'll be able to receive that, but I don't want to turn matters into a big deal. I'd like you to scale it down on your report as much as possible, but if that's impossible, please refrain from making any large-scale announcements. Ahh, since it's become like this, I'd appreciate it if you could leave my current assigned position as it is. I actually don't have much background knowledge to get into the Tech Division."
Originally, I was going to enter the Tech Division after staying in my current position for some time.
Though the circumstances were a little different, if I was enlisted, it would be similar to entering a training camp to learn about the duties, and being assigned to a squadron after.
'But if possible, it'd be better to keep this sweet job. It's true that I don't have technical knowledge, and I can't even assemble a radio. So why would I enter the Tech Division?'
Anyway, though Major General Chun Hyun-il was lost in thought for a moment, as I boldly requested for this and that, he soon resigned to it and nodded to my requests. It was not a bad condition in the first place. I was not asking for more rewards, I just wanted to give up the meritorious services I achieved.
If this was a rigid type of army, that would be a problem, but since each of these Terra-class battleships were no different than an independent organization, no one could stop the decision of the Captain.
"It's an absurd condition, but there's nothing to lose for us. Alright then. But what should I tell the crewmates about who you are? The battle is not over yet, so some connection is needed. You'll need a title."
He was right. It would obviously be more efficient for me to plan and move rather than interfere in the middle of it like today. But I didn't think there was much to worry about.
"Let's use that thing you said earlier."
"Yes. Let's use Specter."
He chuckled and laughed. But I didn't know today was the day.
The day Albatross' Specter was born.Previous Chapter Next Chapter