“The power that these humans create is like... to me, it’s like the process of creating something from nothing. Even what existed was constantly changing. Making clones was easy but creating something new was a whole other matter. What was I missing? Nakun, can you answer me?”
Siluone’s voice was getting more and more anxious and trembling. Her murmur seemed as though it could break out at any time into laughter or weeping. Nakun bit his lips. Nervous? Was a dragon feeling nervous?
“You would know, right? If you don’t know, you’ll have to explain why you don't. Why did you lead me and invite me to come to this world of suffering, overflowing with conflict and longing? Tell me your answer. Am I evolving? Or degenerating? Should I trust you? Do I still have to follow your orders?”
Nakun increasingly narrowed his eyes. Signals of danger ran through your mind. The magic dragon was starting to resemble a human. Her emotions were fluctuating uncontrollably.
He needed to strike a balance. His instinct as the Creator’s objective judge was driving Nakun into a state of extreme tension.
“Tell me. What did you not tell me?”
“What do you want to know?”
“When you called Satan, and when you awakened the other Fallen through her… When you brought the fragments of the Creator’s creations into you… What did you see?”
Nakun bit his lip.
“Do you really want to know?”
“Was it the same as what I saw in myself?”
“Perhaps it was. I was nervous, but I was also ecstatic.”
“Did you obtain what I currently want to obtain?”
“Maybe… or maybe not. I learned that the joy for ‘oneself’ only happens with the pain of the ‘other’. I don’t really recommend that kind of attitude or walking down that path. It’s not wise.”
Siluone’s laughter echoed through the space.
“Then, will you stop me? I need them. Satan will not get her hands on them.”
The war was on a path towards rapidly spreading. The first war that took place in the southern coastal city of the empire was now spreading to the entire continent.
As the number of escaped slaves rapidly increased, the monarchs of each principality and territory experienced great difficulties in the production and procurement of war materials.
This situation led to the invasion of neighboring estates to obtain labor, in the form of slaves. Thus, war spread like falling dominoes.
On the southern front, a large-scale front was being formed as the monarchs formed a coalition army to subdue the southern city-state calling for the emancipation of slaves.
There were also good things happening to some people in the land where death and destruction spread.
As the demand for war mercenaries sharply increased, the Ki-Jang Clan, as well as other large-scale organizations that seemed more like migrating countries, were enjoying great benefits.
Talented warriors and tacticians entered the service of large mercenary corps. The Dong-Myung Clan and Dark Guilds were also operating all their workshops at full capacity to supply war weapons.
Generals with large military power were seeking the path of an independent state while conciliating or occupying neighboring lands.
The Poran Kingdom in the northeast, Pibuno Nation-State in the north-central steppe, and the Karim Kingdom in the northwest raised their banners to become independent states and expanded their military power. All the while, in the northern desert territories and the south-western jungles, other races started vying for control over territories, largely pushing out the human race.
Another threat was emerging from across the eastern sea. On a continent similar to the size of India on Earth, the Hundred Year War, an intracontinental civil war, was over and a huge single nation was taking shape.
Another empire, called Han or Khan in the eastern language, was heralding their emergence in this world’s history.
The leader of this empire was Hunmuk, who was aiming to expand his military and economic influence on the west based on his strong naval power.
So far, they were only concerned with establishing trade with the western continent, which was dominated by the Damun Empire. However, if they were to ever see an opening, especially with the chaos and instability that the oncoming war was bringing, they could soon make a more aggressive move.
The area where San and Biyeon moved to was roughly the size of modern Earth’s city of Seoul.
To their south was the Free Cities Union that was leading the movement to emancipate slaves, and to their west was a vast desert. To their southwest, beyond the desert, was a vast jungle where all kinds of races lived.
Although the area titled to them was relatively large, there were many mountains and dangerous elements present that were not conducive for human's inhabitance, so only a few small colonies of armed hunters had been formed.
The land was fertile but had little economic value because arable land was dispersed, making it difficult to conduct large-scale agricultural efforts. Furthermore, the land did not seem to contain any particularly expensive resources.
If San and Biyeon were to absorb the surrounding area, their nation-state would grow almost to the level of modern Earth’s Korean Peninsula.
However, this area had always been a strategic focal point for the royal family.
First, it was the only trade route from the southern city-states to the capital Prigojin. The products that came in from the southern seas contained many special things.
Some products were expensive enough to be looted, and some products were widely popular as delicacies. Since most of these products were exclusively offered only for the imperial families, they were of great help to the imperial family’s finances. In recent years, as the southern cities had been engulfed in war, dependable trade became a complex problem.
Second, the land served as a forward base to defend the capital’s most important interests, since the land was adjacent to the Kai Mountain range in the northeast. The Kai Mountain Ranges was one of the most important and strategic military and economic points for the empire. The empire’s largest gold and iron mines were in the Kai mountains, and if one went a little further, large open-air salt fields spread out, producing much of the salt consumed by the empire and the continent at large. These reasons were why Prigojin, the capital, was situated where it was.
Thus, the most powerful imperial armies were stationed on every approach route to the eastern Kai mountains.
If the Gijan territory were to fall into the wrong hands, the imperial family and court would fall into danger. The emperor would probably strike here without hesitation and with all his force.
However, it was also true that it was too expensive to keep an army stationed in Gijan. However, opening the Gijan area for free colonization would make it even more difficult to prevent slaves from escaping and flowing into the relatively freer southern cities.
The violently rushing tributaries of the Porato River separated Gijan and the southern cities. The heavy flooding in the summer season also made it difficult to establish any permanent city or base in Gijan.
Thus, the royal family’s main headache was what to do about this land. No lord wanted to rule over territory with such a high maintenance cost and so little to gain. However…
“Oh- it isn’t too bad, right?”
“Wow, look at this view! It’s different from what we imagined it would look like just based on our maps.”
San and Biyeon look down on the Gijan estate from the highest vantage point. They were about 3,000 meters high.
“What should we start off with?”
“Casinos, arms dealerships, black markets… This is the perfect place for those types of businesses. No one would ever know what goes on in this place.”
“Why stop there? Why don’t we include an adult amusement park?”
“The initial investment price would be too large.”
“It seems we won’t need a large population to start. That’s good news.”
“It’s also the best terrain for guerrilla warfare. This should do for our purposes.”
“If we do things well, we’ll earn a lot of money.”
“Let’s go with a slightly different concept from what we did on the Essen estate.”
“I heard that there are a lot of blood demons around. It will help our economy.”
“There’s a lot of flat terrains as well, so we can make a lot of bikes.”
“Is that a desert? Why is there a blue light shining? Is it an oasis?”
“It seems to be close to the climate we see in steppe areas back on Earth. Behind the meadows is an expansive desert. On the map, the desert doesn’t look that big. It’s a good place to start producing wood…”
“Did you say that there’s a jungle beyond the desert?”
“It’s said that there’s an intelligent species in the jungles that are related to the Avian People and Insect-derived races in the desert. There are also humans who have adapted to the deserts and jungles, so I think we should check them out.”
The sky above them seemed infinitely clear and refreshing. There were low clouds hovering below the peaks. A cool breeze blew upwards from below.
At the top, dead trees and rocks slanted downward, giving off the impression of a garden floating in the sky.
Biyeon opened a small bottle and handed it to San. White steam rose as if the contents of the bottle had just been boiled, and the sweet and savory scent of the liquid was pleasing to their senses.
Under the bright sunlight, they sat down on rocks and looked down to see the entire landscape below them.
Seeing the gray clouds, in contrast to the white clouds, moving here and there gave them a sense of nature’s elegance and an internal feeling of relaxation. The two looked down without saying a word.
Biyeon pushed her hair, which was ruffled by the wind, back.
It was a break where only the two of them were together. They hadn’t been together alone like this in a long time. They had been freed from their duties, so they now only had their lives to be responsible for.
Even if they left without another word, no one could say anything.
Whatever happens, what does it matter? Whether war breaks out in this world or countless people die, what does that matter? Whether they were there or not, those events would happen anyway.
“Is it tomorrow?”
“I heard it was going to be a very strong guy.”
“The sages Dam and Tuk. I heard that they’re at the 6th Stage of Acceleration and can utilize four skills. Are you nervous?”
“It’s scary. Is there anything else in the combat profile that the gods sent us that I should know about?”
“It must be a timed game,” San said with a smile.
“It’ll be our showtime,” Biyeon said, following San’s play on words.
The expressions of the two, who were essentially sent out again into the wilderness like the time when they escaped from Pian, were relaxed. They even started feeling a sense of freedom.
Was it similar to a child growing up and becoming an adult? Their meeting with Outsiders presented a significant turning point for them. The world looked different after their dialogue with the Outsiders members.
They were suddenly experiencing rapid evolution and development as answers were given to many of the questions they had about this world.
Biyeon tilted the glass bottle. Tea poured into a field cup. Hot steam rose. She warmed her hands on the hot field cup.
‘The principle of the microwave oven. A high frequency is generated and transmitted to the liquid aspects of what’s inside the microwave, and the water molecules must have vibrated and transferred heat.’
Biyeon looked at her hands. It was her ordinary hands. Her long, slender fingers were a little prettier. With these ordinary hands, she felt she could do many more things than she could have done any other time in her life.
‘What if we could go back to the 21st century with this talent? Maybe people will say that I’m using witchcraft and burn me at the stake? Well, now, I’m not even curious. People here called it magic. Maybe I am the real witch here?’
She looked down the mountainside. The mountainside was dyed in red. Biyeon looked at the blooming red mountain flowers with her accelerated eyes. Like increasing the gears of a manual transmission car, she increased the level of acceleration.
The scenery changed. The physical boundaries of objects disappear. The color, smell, and sound that she could sense were different.
Infinite chaos. She was sensing the grander order that existed as the boundaries of that chaos. One would never know of the existence of some hidden codes unless one reached a certain state of Awakening…
Biyeon took another sip of her tea and closed her bottle. She stood up with a light stretch. The warm tea warmed her insides as it ran down her esophagus. She turned her head and looked toward San.
San was sitting casually on another rock and staring out into space. Biyeon thought he looked like a rock.
She slowly walked towards him. She stood behind him and placed her hands on his shoulders. She then wrapped her arms around him and hugged his neck.
Her hair fluttered in the wind and gently brushed against San’s face. Both of their eyes were looking in the same direction.
Far, far, far away… beyond the physical boundaries… to the event horizon.
Their reconnaissance was over. It was time to battle once again. The first preparation for the final war was over.
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