“I heard we’ve collected a Councilor member?” San asked.
“We were lucky. The Dark Guilds were a great help,” Biyeon replied with a bright smile.
“Great. Were you able to question it? Did it give up any info?”
“We threw it some Nectar and it started pouring out info.”
“So, what were you able to find out?”
“I think I’m able to understand what situation we’re in. I think I have a grasp on the overall picture of what’s going on.”
“Can you give me a summary?”
Biyeon momentarily closed her eyes. It seemed as if she was organizing her thoughts before giving a strategic briefing presentation. Actually, she needed a moment to organize all the new information she had just collected. She considered what would be the best way to convey the newly acquired information.
She decided that it would be best for San to ask questions and for her to answer. It was also the conversational style that they preferred.
“Based on what Senun said, sages are beings that were sent out into the world by the dragons. The sages’ responsibilities were to balance the powers of the world and to collect information. Thus, they do not want humanity’s over-expansion. However, due to the conditions of their termination clause, they’re not able to directly attack and kill humans. They usually carry out their responsibilities by altering the environment or taking other roundabout options.”
“But Siluone isn’t like that, right? How is a Magic Dragon able to get around this?”
“The Magic Dragons are those who have declared independence from the Creator’s world and its rules. The sages under the Magic Dragons can kill humans. However, these sages are more mortal than their counterparts, so they’re constantly in a state of instability. This was why they obtained Nectar and its production methods from the Master. They’re probably at the level already where they can produce the Nectar themselves. Among the dragons, more than half have converted themselves into Magic Dragons. I also heard that they’re expanding their numbers tremendously. They’re the greatest threat to humanity.”
“What about the Fallen?”
“The Fallen started out as the Creator’s messengers to carry out his will. Once they were terminated through the termination deadline clause, they were somehow brought back to life and were able to declare independence from the Creator and his rules. They’re largely referred to as devils, hence their collective name as the ‘Fallen’. Since they were once the arbiters of the Creator’s world, they individually possess a considerable amount of combat power. They seem to possess strong personalities and a sense of independence.”
“What about the Councilors?”
“They’re the Blood Demons who are evolving the humans into fellow Blood Demons. The Councilors are those who have commensurate power to human Awakeners, and they’re the top people within the Blood Demon community. They’re the ones that smelled like chocolate in the imperial courts. It’s said that they’re a combat group created by the Fallen.”
“What’s the relationship between the Magic Dragons and the Fallen?”
“Since they have a common enemy, the Creator, it’s said that they have an alliance relationship. In order to extend their termination deadline clause, the Fallen need to constantly receive the dragon’s medicine from the Magic Dragons. They’re in the same boat that I’m in. They have a working relationship.”
“The combat power of humans is largely centered around the three Absolute Clans and the lesser thirteen clans below them. They’re also the ones who command the bulk of humanity’s forces, whether it be in the clans or for the imperial army. Different from Earth, there’s a lot of Awakeners here, and they’re usually busy dealing with monsters and attacks from other foreign races. The topline Awakeners are able to contend against sages, and they’re also the group that the Councilors are wary of the most.”
“What is humanity’s position?”
“The Magic Dragon race’s main target is the Creator, but I heard that humanity is also the greatest threat for the Magic Dragons and the Fallen.”
“Why is that?”
“Because humans are the raw materials for Nectar.”
“So, humanity has a diametrically opposing enemy?”
“What about us?”
“We’re strangers, travelers, foreigners…”
“We’re beings that are foreign to this world. We act to survive. Even if we were to perish, this world wouldn’t care. However, we need to provide the essential tool to help this world’s humanity to survive against its greatest threat… it’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma… like a virus carrier.”
“That’s why it’s hard for me to come to a conclusion. I’m starting to like this world’s humans. If judgement day is to really come, what would we say we were to this world’s people?”
“What do you think?”
Biyeon didn’t provide an answer. San fell into thought. Biyeon suddenly spoke out to no one in particular as she murmured some words into the air, “The power, senses, and logic that even the gods are envious of…”
San turned his head to look at Biyeon.
“… are we really humans?” Biyeon continued.
San firmly answered, “Let’s eat…!”
Reform – Chapter 6
Biyeon spent the entire day in a hazy state. She seemed to feel that she was on to something. Her body, her mind… her head was spinning trying to understand and process all the information. However, she was unable to come up with any connections.
The main question in her mind was ‘what’s so special about humans’ and the subtopic was ‘so what does it have to do with us?’
This longstanding philosophical question had no answer. No, to be more precise, there were too many answers. She felt as though she’d fallen ill. She turned her head to look at San. A smile formed on her face. Standing in front of the open window with the warm spring sun shining on his body and a warm wind blowing across his body… with his mouth slightly open… San was falling asleep. He had started her off on this never-ending conundrum only to be peacefully slipping into blissful sleep himself. She wondered if she should slap his head…
San had previously answered, “Humans are perfected beings. If you’re able to find something in me that’s not human, then you’ll become my mother. It appears humans are the only beings who possess all that’s needed to become perfect. Isn’t this why gods and dragons are bothering humans… to find something out? If the Creator really did create humans last, he must have put everything he had into it. He probably wanted to truly love his last creation and observe how far it would go.”
Was it when she was thirteen years old? During her teens, she asked herself what ‘life’ meant, what ‘self-identity’ was, and searched for answers. She soon graduated from high school and went to university. For sixteen years, she went to school and learned something. She learned a considerable amount. The effort, money, and time that was devoted to this endeavor gave her ‘knowledge’. She had filled her head with this knowledge. However, she never knew what this knowledge was good for. At least, this was what she thought back then…
The end goal of knowledge was to do well on exams. In her previous world, knowledge was just an expensive product. It was used to go up the education levels and to get a job. Afterward, it was roundly thrown away. Though she obtained a tremendous amount of knowledge, she thought that it would forever be thrown into a corner of her mind without any applicable use. Consuming knowledge was as dry as being in a desert and it tasted as good as chewing on a wooden branch.
Studying was essentially the joy of being with others and ‘pain’ itself. Her only happiness came from the novels that she guiltily read and the games she played on the computer. This was how Biyeon spent her early childhood and young adult years, killing her dreams and aspirations. When she was older, she went out into society and lived a normal, social life… but the conditions changed. She had to now figure out how she would survive in the larger society. This realization meant that she had become an adult. Adults were responsible for their own lives. If one didn’t break the rules, one could live freely and independently without the constraints of others. Thus, others would not tell one what to do. Even her parents, even the scary high school teacher she had back then… she was completely free. The world was what she made of it, what she created in her mind and imbued on the world. She had been wildly excited at that time.
However, what was this? Trying to survive was holding her back. To live and eat, she had to acquire more knowledge and follow a different set of rules. However, this time around, the knowledge that she was expected to know was much harder to comprehend, and the rules that existed within the adult world were unwavering. Well, if she didn’t want to learn anything, no one would have said anything to her back then. However, she’d probably have to leave society. This was why she thought adult society was scarier than the society of young adults, those who pursued learning in schools. Once she became an adult, she was confronted with endless waves of challenges and had to weave through a jungle that wouldn’t drop a tear or care about her personal struggles. The needs of humanity? Freedom? Biyeon recalled that she couldn’t even guarantee her own needs, how the hell was she supposed to take in these loftier ideals and thoughts? Until she could find some stability, she didn’t possess freedom. That was her reality. Fun, no?
Looking back, she did well for herself. She entered the fierce world of the Korean military and carried out her responsibilities well. She braved through the freezing dawn mornings, stayed late in the offices to finish her tasks, and constantly confronted headstrong people. It might sound comical, but when things got busier for her, she felt more alive. She could feel her eyes twinkling, her thoughts expanding, and feel a greater sense of freedom. It was a relatively meaningful and satisfactory life.
However, at some point, Biyeon became thirsty for something more. And that thirst only grew as time passed by.
‘Am I living my life properly? Is this all that life is? Is there something better, more meaningful that I’m not pursuing because I don’t know something? Should I just quit everything?’
She recalled that she suddenly felt an urge one day to study. She wanted to know more about the world. Isn’t this surprising to hear? Maybe she lost it? She wanted to start studying again?
She really did start studying again. It was the first time she studies purely because she desired it. Approaching stuff as an older, more experienced person, she quickly found that many of the things she studied previously were simple. However, once she passed a certain threshold, having gone through the basics, things became hard once more. Her head ached. What she was reading was clearly written in the Korean language, but she couldn’t understand the words or the concepts. She felt empty inside. How come things had to be so difficult? Watching the television programs was easy, but understanding their deeper intent and meaning was difficult. There were watches and clocks everywhere but making them was something beyond her understanding.
She soon came to the realization that everything in the world was like this. Even things that required more physical skills, like dance, music, arts, or even hard labor was the same. Nothing was easy.
In truth… things that required a creative, artistic end were the most challenging. These pursuits required a tremendous amount of knowledge, and to do well in these areas, one had to have a deep understanding of many academic areas. One had to have historical knowledge and the ability to convey one’s understanding in a clear and precise manner. Light, sound, color, pattern, flow, effectiveness, emotional intelligence, practice, trend, history, arts… these were the things that were needed to converse with the world. They became the words and sentences of the world. Then couldn’t she succeed by studying these things? No, it was never that easy.
Why was it so difficult? The ‘words’ would be easy to understand, but it would be immensely difficult to visualize them in her head. The words and sentences were never rooted in the physical world with defined shapes and figures but existed in the metaphysical world, the world of symbolism and meaning. It required extensive creativity and mental devotion. The things she studied in her schools years ago were rearing their head in earnest…
She recalled the existence of geniuses. She was never able to fully understand and comprehend what these people were talking about. Whose fault was this? The abstract geniuses’ fault? She had to face the facts. The geniuses were able to produce meaningful words and ideas that affected the world, affected how people lived. What was she unable to see and comprehend?
There are experts in every field, geniuses within these fields, and trailblazers who set the foundation for all others. Then, there are the consumers who view and use their products. Inevitably, geniuses would affect everyone’s life. Wasn’t this funny? They weren’t conveying just an idea, technique, or process… they were conveying a way of ‘life’. Therefore, life could only be perfected within the realm of creativity.
Biyeon cracked her fingers.
‘Those ideas, those people… they were all around me. If I extended my hand I could touch them, if I turned my eyes, I could see them. However, I didn’t know back then. I didn’t appreciate the importance of those things back then…’
‘The music I always listened to… the things I listened to until I was bored… throwing music away after consuming the content and getting bored with it… the person who created all that were geniuses. At the very least, they had persuaded others that their products were worth spreading to the rest of the world. I wonder how the people who play that music feel? They’d feel like they’re the best musicians. What about the people who made the instruments? The musicians probably used instruments made by other geniuses. The people who recorded the music? The best producers and professionals in the field. The players that I used to listen to the music? Created by geniuses. The people who invented such products? Again, geniuses. The parts of a music player… the stage where music is played…’Previous Chapter Next Chapter