Chapter 138 - Era of Regret
Time was like running water.
For ancient kingdoms that had perished, after a long time, a historian would pass through the ruined city and say things like ‘the old fields were overgrown with barley, and they were rich in rice stalks and millets.’
There were things that people hoped wouldn’t change. However, the might of time changed everything. Everything they believed wouldn’t change would actually fade someday. A new era wasn’t a decline, but a resurrection. Nevertheless, there were those who missed the past and lamented that things weren’t the same.
It was the same for Crockta.
He headed towards the ‘Where are my Brothers?’ pub. At the entrance, there was a refreshing smell that he hadn’t expected to exist: a feminine perfume scent mixed with flowers and citrus. The sharpness of the scent’s top notes pierced his nose. Clear laughter surrounded him as he entered the pub.
The waitress approached and welcomed, “Hello, how can I help you?”
Crockta raised his head. A young and fresh girl. The menu had all types of dishes nearly listed. There were sets available for a large group of people. There were also couple sets. In the midst of this confusion, Crockta could only gaze desperately at the menu.
This wasn’t an illusion. He knew this was the place. This was the ‘Where are my Brothers?’ pub.
Crockta forcibly opened his mouth and spoke without checking the menu.
The expression of the employee didn’t change.
There was a bright smile. She replied ‘Yes’ in a cheerful voice and left.
Crockta raised his head. Nobody was laughing at him. Crockta sank wearily into the chair. At the next table, a man and woman burst out laughing. Behind him were some youths that were whispering together.
He didn’t know where to look. It was confusing rather than shameful. He felt a mixed sense of insult and betrayal. This was the ‘Where are my Brothers?’ pub; but it had now turned into a fusion pub with a bright atmosphere that was aimed at young people.
“Here is your cream spaghetti. Please enjoy!”
Crockta accepted the plate of cream spaghetti with chopsticks nearly arranged on the table. There was even a mat to place the chopsticks. But what now? He placed the chopsticks in the cream spaghetti like he was holding a knife. The noodles were like the enemies.
Crockta ate the cream spaghetti. It was delicious, causing him to became sadder.
‘An orc ordering cream spaghetti... This isn’t a comedy!’
Crockta raised his head. He looked around but didn’t see the owner of the voice. It was a hallucination.
‘Isn’t that a dish for girls? Kukukuk...’
He continued using his chopsticks as the suppressed memories rose.
‘Will he also order strawberry juice and a kiwi parfait? Kelkelkel...!’
These voices were only heard in his head. Instead, silly conversations such as ‘Cream spaghetti is delicious,’ ‘Shall we eat?’ and ‘Is there a menu like that?’ entered his ears.
‘The old fields are overgrown with barley, and they were are rich in rice stalks and millets.’
Crockta thought with longing as he chewed on his cream spaghetti. Then he drew an inverted triangle with the last piece of cream spaghetti. He waited.
“Hey, Orc.” It was the voice from his memories. Crockta got up from his spot. It was the owner of the ‘Where are my Brothers?’ and the head of the Information Guild’s branch in Maillard.
The two didn’t greet each other. Crockta wanted to blame him, but couldn’t open his mouth because of the deep look in the owner’s eyes. He could tell that they shared the same feelings.
He guided Crockta to another place.
The interior of the pub was changed, but the secret passage was still there. They walked through a door and entered the basement. There was a table in the room and it gave off the feeling of an interrogation room.
The two sat facing each other. Back here, there were no differences.
"You have become big. It hasn’t been so long since I’ve seen you,” the owner said with a mock bow.
Crockta replied in a profound manner, "It has been a long time, long enough for things to change.”
The man laughed bitterly. Then he changed the topic.
"Yes, well, didn’t you come because of the Thawing Balhae Clan? A group of those who have been cursed by the stars. In the meantime, I’ve gained enough information. Northern Conqueror Crockta who rebuilt the north.”
“How do you know that?”
"A divine message came down to the temples. All the gods whispered your name. Crossing the northern limit line, conquering the north and preventing a terrible war. The hero of the north who killed the crazy chieftain.”
Crockta nodded. There would be more gods on the continent apart from the grey god, the world tree or the ‘Tribulation’ that he killed. The system messages for users were regarded as divine messages for the inhabitants of Elder Lord.
The man pulled out some information.
Crockta read through the contents in turn.
It was as expected. The Thawing Balhae members had joined the Heaven and Earth Clan. The Thawing Balhae’s clan leader and Grom, no Hyunchul. He had the new name ‘Luin’ and was part of the Heaven and Earth Clan. They combined their abilities with the combat capabilities of ‘Rommel’ Choi Hansung, the so-called genius of war. In the land of the south, he was in touch with the nobles and planning more wars.
Indeed, the Information Guild had gathered a lot of information while he was in the north. There weren’t only one or two documents. There were several hypothetical scenarios of what they would do in the future.
The man looked up at Crockta’s words. "Sorry, is it not enough? It isn’t easy to obtain such information."
“I’m not talking about the information. The information is excellent.”
The man was silent. Crockta wasn’t talking about the information. The man knew very well what Crockta was talking about.
"The transaction will continue in the future. Thanks for the information.”
They got up from their seats. The Information Guild’s branch manager touched his chin and called out to Crockta again. "Wait. I have one more thing." He placed his hand back in the small hole in the wall. It was the hole where the guild members handed him the materials. Then he handed new documents to Crockta.
“It is a gift.”
"A gift for the orc warrior who saved the continent.”
Crockta received the papers. It was a single document with the tag ‘Uncertain’ on it.
"Uncertain data shouldn’t be distributed, but I will show you this specifically. It still isn’t clear but I thought you should know.”
Crockta’s eyes widened. The information was shocking. The Heaven and Earth Clan was preparing for a larger war after sweeping through the north. And their goal...
It was all the orcs on the continent, including Orcrox. The current relationship between humans and orcs weren’t good. The reason he chose the greatsword, the greatsword master Leyteno had fought for the orcs in the war, and the remnants of that war still remained.
Now the uncomfortable relationship was like a tradition. They were planning to drive a wedge between the two species to create a bigger war. It wasn’t enough to kill Lenox, they wanted to trample on the rest of the orcs.
It was just a ‘quest’ and ‘game content’ to them.
Crockta gritted his teeth. There were more reasons to crush them.
The owner extended his hand. Crockta shook it. The two of them exchanged a look and came up to the pub.
Once again, it was an unfamiliar landscape. This was the ‘Where are my Brothers?’ pub that was a front for the Information Guild. But now, it had surpassed its purpose of simple camouflage. In times where business was becoming increasingly difficult, the Information Guild had to renovate while thinking of profit. The pub was now a business, not a camouflage.
It was a decision barely made after some suffering. He knew it with his head. Nevertheless, Crockta couldn’t help feeling regret.
“...The pub has changed a lot.”
“It can't be helped. The deficit would’ve continued otherwise.”
Crockta looked at the flirtatious couples and the young men and women whispering together, and admitted that times had changed. It had become too perky. The males full of masculinity would be long gone.
“Hey.” Crockta looked at the owner of the Information Guild with sad eyes. "A roasted pig, is it possible to get that here?”
"I would like to eat a whole roasted pig...”
The owner’s eyes widened. He dropped his head like he couldn’t bear looking at Crockta anymore. He hesitated a moment before barely opening his mouth.
“That menu...” He smiled and continued speaking. "I don't have that dish anymore.”
Times had changed. The stories of the real men who ridiculed cream spaghetti, hated fruit juice, and chewed on big pieces of meat were over.
“I see.” Crockta nodded. "I will have whiskey. A bottle please.”
The owner handed over the whiskey. Crockta paid the price and opened the lid. He took a sip straight from the bottle of whiskey.
"Heol, look at that person...!”
"Oh my, what is this? That orc?”
"He is drinking from the bottle. Aiyah. Isn’t that a strong whiskey?”
These young ones. In the past, there was a time when one would be teased if they didn’t do this. It was the era of real males.
Crockta started moving. He headed towards the exit of the ‘Where are my Brothers?’ pub. Looking at the bright faces of the couples coming in, Crockta thought this wasn’t too bad either. The men and women smiled as they looked at each other. There was obvious affection in their eyes.
This was also good.
Crockta grabbed the door. He pushed at the cold handle. The door closed behind him. He walked away from the ‘Where are my Brothers?’ pub. A gust of wind blew through the streets of Maillard and past him.
He suddenly turned his head. He could see the scenery of Maillard. The lights shining, the drunkards on the streets, people heading home to prepare for a lively day tomorrow. Somewhere out there, the men would still be living their lives.
“There is no need for regrets”
‘Where are my Brothers?’ might’ve turned into a lively fusion bar but their place in Maillard hadn’t completely disappeared. Somewhere in Maillard, the manly men would still be moving.
"I am just a little sad.” Crockta raised the whiskey bottle. He didn’t drink from it. Crockta tilted it. The whiskey poured out onto the ground.
"For the real men who aren’t here anymore.”
He poured out all of the whiskey. A tribute to the past. He recalled the beautiful time and the manly men.
He drank towards a bygone era.
Praise the Orc: Glossary Link.
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