“It feels like a dream.”
Hanyoung, who had been following the emperor a half a step behind, murmured his thoughts. His face was still white.
“A dream… If it’s a dream, it’s a nightmare.”
“Are you satisfied with the contract, your majesty?”
“If their contract with Rain was so important, the contract that they just signed with me would probably be just as important to them to follow and uphold. Then, that’s that. They might be the only people we can truly trust.”
“What are you going to do now, your majesty?”
“The situation was much more serious than what we initially thought. You take care of the military. In addition, I would like to see research on how we can eradicate the ‘blood demon’ race.”
“We’re already progressing on that front with the help of the Dong-Myung Clan.”
“With the Dong-Myung Clan? The Han-Sung Clan and Dong-Myung Clan are collaborating?”
“It’s not a common occurrence, to be sure. In fact, those two arranged it.”
“Really? Hmm… all I can think to say is that they’re greatly skilled in negotiations…”
“It was more like a threat.”
Hanyoung ground his teeth. The emperor tilted his head in confusion. Painful memories were replaying in Hanyoung’s head.
He recalled the abominable faces of San and Biyeon, who sat down the leadership of the Absolute Clans and lectured them on the comparative analysis of each clan’s strengths and weaknesses… It was as if they were selling information and publicly threatening them…
“They seem similar yet different with the members of the Outsiders.”
“Only their dress and attitude are similar. It was a very shocking experience to see the members of the Outsiders act so kind.”
“What was the level of their Awakening? Their aura was truly terrifying.”
“They’re able to wield five skills. Both of them…” Hanyoung replied briefly.
Hanhyuk, who was trailing a little further behind, nodded. There was a brief sense of resignation as the words were spoken.
The emperor staggered. He stumbled for a moment. A servant hurriedly rushed to the emperor’s side to hold him up.
Hanyoung swallowed a bitter laugh. He had expected that the two’s limit would be about four skills. The assessment of another’s Awakening (acceleration) could be clearly distinguished by its ‘speed’ and ‘force.’
It was only for a moment, but the state of Awakening they exhibited when confronted by him and the Outsiders was clearly felt… thus, in the end, Hanyoung determined that he couldn’t intervene even if he wanted.
If a real battle took place, there would assuredly be no survivors in the Imperial Palace nor the entire capital.
Hanyoung took another deep breath. Hanhyuk, the head of the Han-Sung Clan, was firmly clasping his fingers.
Both of the Han-Sung clansmen were contemplating the emergence of new ‘legends’ and their political implications. They had seen the two’s show of force with their own eyes.
The difference in speed and strength between each successive skill was at a multiple of four.
No one really knew who made this decision, but Hanyoung felt that the Creator arranged the system with a higher purpose in mind.
The difference of four times between levels seemed very large when told, but it was difficult to feel the difference through one’s senses.
If the standard of sound intensity was 10 decibels for something, how would a sound with a decibel intensity of 100 sound? Based on only human senses, the difference wouldn’t be perceived as a tenfold difference, but probably closer to a double or triple difference.
Theoretically, Hanyoung didn’t know why this was, but through his empirical experience, he knew the theory to be true.
In fact, the senses of ordinary people wouldn’t be able to pick up on how strong the power and speed an Awakener possessed. Many normal people would probably surmise that Awakeners were just a little stronger than the normal Dark Warrior.
The reason why a low-level person was not properly able to gauge the strength of a higher-level person was because of the limited visible and sensory range that the lower-level person worked off of.
However, the case was different when a higher-level person looked at a lower-level person. Large differences would be revealed with exact precision.
Those who could wield five skills, that is, the 7th Stage of Acceleration, were people who had crossed another level from the 4th Awakening.
The boundaries between the individual senses of sight, sound, and touch disappeared, and in its place, a new integrated sense appeared. In this state, form, language, and meaning were felt as a unified form.
The essence of space could be grasped, and its three-dimensional structure could be seen and felt.
This meant that one could grasp all the lines and sides that one’s opponent could take and control the opposition’s flow of movement.
If the first skill was a mastery of the realm of points, the second skill was the mastery of the realm of lines, and the third and fourth skill were the mastery over the realm of planes. The level that corresponded to the fifth level was the so-called mastery over the ‘body’ or ‘space.’ It was the ultimate state that allowed the user to wield total ‘power and control’ over a set area.
Beyond five skills, there were rumors that a ‘sword made of space-time’ could be wielded in the next level by integrating time and space and controlling it as if wielding a sword. However, this was just some folklore told by old men with wandering minds. The level that went beyond the fifth skill was a dream no one had ever reached as a human being, according to written history.
The Outsiders had already mastered five skills and were able to control their senses and peer into the ‘body’ and ‘space’ in their specialized fields of artistry and architecture.
The Outsiders were free thinkers, so it was difficult to predict the pattern and flow of their arts. Thus, the craftsmanship and skills exhibited by a member of the Outsiders were both outstanding and difficult to comprehend.
However, even the great members of the Outsiders had largely been kept in check by the Absolute Clans. This was because there were Awakened Warriors who wielded five skills within each of the three Absolute Clans.
“Perhaps the introduction of those two have now completed the Outsiders. The inclusion of a master of strategy and combat… I think those descriptions really suit them. It was a wise decision to start with a conversation from the beginning,” the emperor murmured.
“Yes, your majesty. They would have proven to be very difficult opponents if we were to have a face-off.”
“Our conversation also progressed well with the Outsiders, right?”
“Fortunately, all parties seemed to understand each other’s point of view. At the very least, they will be united in establishing a common front as an ally of the imperial court.”
They were now entering the imperial palace's main hall. The morning sun was shining through the window frames, illuminating the inside of the main hall, seemingly welcoming the emperor.
The emperor sat on his throne. Hanyoung and Hanhyuk prepared to leave the palace. There was a mountain of things for the Han-Sung Clan to do. The emperor rubbed his eyes.
“The four people who comprise the Outsiders were the very people who laid the foundations of this 500-year-old empire,” said the emperor.
“They were also the people who showed the Han-Sung Clan the ‘Way of Awakening,’” Hanyoung responded with a slight tinge of surrender in his voice.
“The four of them designed this imperial hall, and they built the imperial palace…”
“It was they who led the Han-Sung Clan to make an oath with the imperial family.”
“They also demanded the fulfillment of that oath at every step, right up to my reign. And then, as if there was a promised time, the two appeared and made this majesty sign the third pact. What kind of fate is this?”
“It must be providence. The man named San mentioned that the world and humanity are in crisis. If we fail, the pact is broken and humans…”
“Shh- that won’t happen. Alright! Let’s get to work.”
“I shall take your orders, your majesty.”
Then the emperor’s solemn declaration rang out. Only Hanyoung was present in confirming the emperor’s official decree.
“Prepare the way for ‘him,’ the ‘Old One,’ the Creator! I am formally announcing the construction of A-pian…”
Winds of Fortune – Chapter 8
“Now, what you two have to do is…”
Namjoon, the leader of the Outsiders, began to speak. His voice was serious. He possessed the public speaking skill and natural dignity of a leader after spending so many years in this world.
The three remaining members also acknowledged Namjoon as the leader and deferred to his orders without hesitation. However…
“Before we start, what are your ages this year?”
Instead of a serious response from the two, a strange question popped out from the man named San. Namjoon suddenly coughed.
Namjoon possessed the power of ‘design’ and was known as a person who had reached the highest level in the field of spatial design and interpretation in this world. Namjoon looked at the questioning man with a hint of embarrassment.
Biyeon tilted her head and placed her hand on her forehead.
‘Ah, this again? Why do old men have to start arranging seniority by age from the start?’
Most Koreans checked each other’s age when they first met. Just by looking, one could tell that the members of the Outsiders were old. Why did San have to go through the trouble of finding out everyone’s age?
“Five hundred and fifty-three,” Namjoon stated clearly with an air of exactitude. His eyes, filled with a sense of dignity, seemed to be burning bright.
“Five hundred thirty-eight,” Lee-Kang, another Outsiders member answered, holding his head upright in a stiff manner.
“Five hundred and nineteen,” Ogi, the last Outsider man, said while straightening his back.
“Five hundred and five,” Miri, the only woman of the original four, quietly answered. As a woman, she felt that she was being considerate by telling them her age.
San frowned at the four after hearing their responses.
“It’s like you all have one foot already in the grave. However, rather than that age, what I want to know is your official age, your ‘real’ age! What year were you all born? In Earth terms.”
Namjoon’s solemn face suddenly distorted as if he had chewed a sour, unripe pomegranate seed.
“What does that matter? How old one is based on the number of years one has lived is more important,”
Ogi screamed out.
“Yes, I agree. That’s the only reasonable standard by which age should be counted,” Lee-Kang added on. The three members of Outsiders, who didn’t always see eye-to-eye, were in complete agreement.
“Official Earth age? Who knows! How can you expect a person to remember their Earth age after over five hundred years of living in a new world?” Miri stated as she kept blinking her eyes.
She soon took out a handkerchief and started wiping her forehead…
“Hmm, you guys are acting really weird…” San murmured as he glanced at the four.
Biyeon also felt curious after hearing San’s words. Their attire, their fashion sense… Obviously, they were wearing colors and fashion styles of the twenty-first century, not far from the time that San and Biyeon had come from.
She had no memory of the fashion styles that they exhibited, thus, rather than the past, it seemed like these four had been summoned from a future time period. In other words, San and Biyeon had been summoned from a previous period of Earth time compared to the four.
They probably made clothes in the style that they were used to wearing. Also, even though the four seemed to exhibit a large age difference, they treated each other like friends.
“That’s not important right now…” Namjoon said without any confidence. It seemed his confidence level had hit the floor.
“No, actually, it’s very important to me,” San said, cutting Namjoon off.
San continued to stare at the four with suspicious eyes. No one wanted to make eye contact with him.
Perhaps the nightmare of the many battles of rank based on age on Earth was flashing through their minds.
“What are you going to do about it, huh?”
“Then, shall we make the game easier to understand?” San said as he raised his fist.
Soon each other’s positions were clearly arranged. Of course, it was based on Earth age.
“Yeah… this is comfortable. Let’s work well together!” San said with a smile.
“Please take care of me as well!” Biyeon said as she smiled broadly.
“May we be good friends!” the four original members shouted out in unison while applauding. They were once again reminded that people from their Episode weren’t pushovers.
With this, San and Biyeon were appointed (forcibly?) as members with equal status to the original four. San and Biyeon promised to provide combat support if the other four needed it, but they didn’t consider this a large issue.
The two would now be able to access the Outsiders' vast organizational network of information and advanced equipment.Previous Chapter Next Chapter