Chapter 55

Dongye introduced San and Biyeon to the other guests, four officers from different clans.

The high-ranking clan officers looked uncomfortable, but, seeing Dongye’s respectful treatment toward San and Biyeon, they decided to greet San and Biyeon as ‘equals.’ Since Dite said that they were strong people, the clan officers were interested to find out who these people were.

In addition, unlike Chief Apostle Dite, Biyeon was a seemingly approachable and ‘accessible’ woman, so they had no reason to not be receptive to her presence.

Drunken hunters singing songs were heard everywhere in the square. Sounds of scuffles, arguments, and fights breaking out could also be heard in the general ruckus. However, these clashes had little force or momentum behind them.

The overall atmosphere was rather jovial and comfortable. Since the goddess’ Chief Apostle was present, there seemed to be a general sense among everyone that no danger would suddenly appear from the forest.

Dite tilted her head. Her neat and fine face was slightly scrunched as if she drank something sour. San and Biyeon's actions so far were outside her expectations, not by a little, but a lot.

Throughout the evening, San and Biyeon occasionally nodded and listened to the officials’ stories, but mostly, they drank silently. It couldn’t be said that they had relaxed expressions, but that didn't mean they were nervous or angry. Regardless, their actions seemed natural.

Dite probably didn’t know that the two had a completely different way of conversing with each other while everyone else was speaking in this open space.

‘They’re not nervous at all. Does this mean that they’re confident?’ Dite thought.

[This bitch. She’s pretty and she drinks well, too. Anyway, when will you start?] San said to Biyeon in their private communications channel.

[One moment. We shouldn’t rush, right? The basis of negotiations is patience. The one whos impatient is supposed to talk first.] Biyeon replied.

The atmosphere gradually rose as the liquor had gone a few rounds around the table.

People who hate feeling uncomfortable exist everywhere in the world. The Jane Clan official, named Narim, who had become drunk and sloppy from alcohol, approached and spoke to Biyeon. He was a special warrior in his early 40’s.

The Jane Clan was large enough to claim the next rung of clans after the three Absolute Clans.

He probably thought that he was in luck for such a beauty to appear before him, so he had been biding his time to take a shot at her.

“Women warriors are rare… which clan are you from? You must be pretty good in martial arts to be assigned to the Count’s support squad, even if it is a smallish position,” Narim commented.

Biyeon glanced to her side and faced Narim. At first glance, Dongye’s face seemed to tense and harden for a moment.

Fortunately, I have the strength to protect myself. I haven’t joined nor am I affiliated with any clan,” she replied in a calm tone. The tail of her mouth slightly raised. She looked to the side again. Dongye was looking for the right time to intervene.

What about San? He was in a staring contest with the ‘Hawk’ image that was next to Dite. He was smacking his lips. He was ready to risk his life on this trivial staring contest, so he wasn’t paying any attention to Biyeon’s situation.

“You didn’t attend a clan? Then what abilities did you learn and how?”

This time, a warrior officer from the Gyung-MClan asked. The Gyeong-MClan was also a giant clan on the same level as the Jane Clan.

“I have mastered the skill of hunting mainly. There were many dangerous beasts where I previously lived, so I had to learn to live through hunting. Nothing about my background will be of great interest to you.”

“Then, do you have any interest in learning martial arts in earnest? If you’re interested, I can arrange for you to study advanced studies at the Jane Clan…”

Narim took a chance. Biyeon looked at Dongye while holding back any answer. Dongye quickly noticed the meaning of Biyeon’s glance.

“Director Narim, that’s difficult. The Dong-Myung Clan has already started a dialogue with both captains.”

The expressions of Narim and the other military clan officials changed subtly. If the Dong-Myung Clan had already started recruiting the two then there was nothing they could do. The Dong-Myung Clan was one of the strongest clans in this world. The other clan officials gave up cleanly. However, surprising things may happen to those who persevere.

“Hmm. Is there anything to teach them? If anything, they would probably be teaching your Dong-Myung clansmen…” Dite said as she smiled brightly and stared at Dongye while joining the conversation.

“What do you mean?” Dongye’s eyes were slightly raised as he asked back. If taken at face value, her words were an insult against the Dong-Myung Clan.

“As far as I know, I heard that there is no other warrior that is capable of teaching an Awakened person, that is, a person who has already risen to an Awakened Warrior level. The same is true inside Absolute Clans, I believe. Am I wrong?” Dite replied in a calm tone, looking at the two men and woman with meaningful eyes.

Dite was a worldly person, and moreover, a person who could not tell lies. Her words were not to be taken lightly.

“That’s…”

Dongye was at a loss for words. Dite was right. An Awakened was Awakened, he or she couldn’t be students within a clan. It would be considered ludicrous for an Awakened to teach another Awakened. An Awakener’s unique abilities were as diverse and different as the Awakened in this world. An Awakener’s specialty was determined by what ability one awakens. There were so many ways to become awakened that it was almost infinite.

So, an Awakener could not evaluate another Awakener. If one can’t evaluate the other, one can’t teach the other. The only problem with attaining Awakening was that nearly 95% of those who tried to go down that path died or became disabled.

In the Awakening process of completely reorganizing one’s body and senses, if one couldn’t find one’s own so-called ‘way of awakening’, one would surely die. The most common causes of death were the heart suddenly stopping or for the brain to stop functioning.

Absolute Clans in this era were a place where the secrets of clans could increase the survival rate of those who went through the Awakening process by more than 10%, especially through their resources and accumulated knowledge. 

Dongye fell into thought, trying to understand where Biyeon and San’s Awakened powers originated from. Among all of the Awakened in the 3 Absolute Clans, there were less than 10 that could use more than two special abilities.

They were specifically called the ‘Enlightened Awakened’ and were treated as the most important people in the clan, regardless of their position within the clan. It was because they were the ones who knew’ the way of the body. There was no limit to the accumulation of abilities. Those who could use 5 or more abilities, were considered to have reached the ‘Legendary’ state.

‘These two are surely Enlightened Awakened Warriors. I saw that they were able to use at least 3 abilities at the same time.

Dongye, who had been immersed in thought suddenly returned to reality due to the rising voices around the table.

“Well… then is the Apostle saying that these two support captains are Awakened Warriors?” Narim hesitatingly asked. Based on his common sense, the Apostle’s words were surely a joke. However, he also knew that Apostles did not lie, as they were those who sought faith.

So, he knew she wasn’t telling a lie. However, she could be joking. If she already knew what response San and Biyeon would have after hearing her joke, then her words wouldn’t be a lie but a continuation of casual conversation. Her actions could have been in consideration of the other party.

“Ho-ho… I think those two can answer directly, no? I am stating my opinion only. The forest is the space of the goddess. How can the Goddess of Hunting not know what happens in the forest? I think that Captain Dongye also agrees with my opinion?”

Dite looked at San and Biyeon with an amused expression before naturally turning her head to Dongye. A light smile was on her face.

[This bastard Apostle! What is she doing?] San screamed internally while grinding his teeth.

[Cunning bitch!] Biyeon fumed. 

They didn’t want to reveal their status like this.

“The Apostle’s words are correct. Both of them have attained the Awakened status. I, Dongye, can guarantee it,” Dongye stated with a nod. 

The military clan officers’ faces became distorted. Still, their eyes were full of disbelief. They probably thought that they were being made fun of.

“I'm not questioning Sir Dongye’s judgment, but I can’t believe it. No matter how old they are, they can’t be past their early 30’s. Besides, the lady is sure to be in her twenties. I know that there’s no one who has attained the Awakened level by that age, even in Absolute Clans,” Narim stammered

The others nodded in agreement. It was every warrior’s dream to reach the Awakened level.

“Honestly, I can’t believe this. In addition, I’m not convinced that such esteemed Awakeners would lower themselves to be employed as support staff for a Count’s Estate. Is there any evidence that they are Awakeners?” the officer from the Kyung-MClan added on. Like a warrior, his way of speaking was straightforward.

Everyone’s eyes turned to Biyeon. That young pretty woman was an Awakened Warrior?’ they all thought.  It was a story that would even make a rat laugh.

Biyeon looked at San with an askance expression. It was difficult for her to judge what to do in this situation. Once again, she had to believe in his superhuman senses and socially suave ability.

San took his eyes off the Hawk. The Hawk tucked its tail and hid behind Dite. San and Biyeon’s eyes met. He tilted his head and looked around the table. He laughed out loud, revealing his pearly white teeth, and looked straight at Dite.

“Surely, it’s not something that can be proven by just your words, right?”

The atmosphere suddenly became cold, leaving everyone speechless as if their mouths had frozen over. Everyone stared at each other with blank faces. Openly questioning the Apostle of a god was something that neither a king nor the head of an Absolute Clan would do.

His actions essentially meant that he would be willing to fight against a god. This time, Dite was visibly embarrassed.

“What is the meaning of this?” she asked. Her words came out very cold. San seemed to be challenging her divine authority.

“Aren’t you in your twenties, too? Besides, aren’t you very strong? Therefore, the game should be fair. If you want to see something from us, what will you show us?”

“The nerve! Do you want to test the goddess?”

“Hey, you sure don’t know how to listen, do you? Why is the goddess popping up when I’m talking about you? Then let me ask you another question, are you the embodiment of the goddess of hunting?”

“That’s… no…” Dite quietly answered, gritting her teeth.

“Then, let’s get the goddess part out of the equation. And let’s limit the conversation to only those who are not goddesses in your body. Let’s talk as humans. That works, right? I hate those who jump around and say irresponsible things under the protection of others.”

This time, the expressions of Dongye and the other military officers hardened. San was alluding to them too. However, they dared not protest. San and Biyeon, who had already accelerated beyond the 3rd Stage, had fluorescent auras emanating from their bodies. It was the sign of an Awakened.

At the same time, three low voices were ringing inside the ears of the clan officers. Because these people were of lower martial level, the message rang in their ears clearly. The voice was very low and sounded creepy.

[Behave naturally and comfortably! Also, I hope that what happens here will not be talked about outside. The anger of the goddess is scary.]

[Please! Act naturally! And forget everything you’ve heard and seen here! We will definitely reward you. Of course, the return of those who forget is much larger and more beneficial than those who don’t.]

[Let’s drink the remaining alcohol. You wouldn’t convey a story from a drinking party like a real truth later on, right? We’re just having fun and shooting the shit.]

The four were sitting blankly. What was certain was that they were in the presence of other-worldly beings. A hazy energy field flowed around them.

At first glance, it was obvious that the energy field was dangerous. It was already overwhelming enough that the officers wanted to vomit from the tingling feeling that covered their entire bodies. It seemed to pierce deeper, beyond their skin…

Dite’s face became completely white.

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