Kalui approached Hyeonu and asked eagerly, “Is that Wisdom of the Sky? How did you... How do you know Larenix? Is Larenix still alive?”
He even had an eager look on his face. Kalui didn’t give Hyeonu time to answer while asking a string of questions.
“We met through a coincidence. He maintained his form with the power of the holy relic... He handed this over to me and disappeared,” Hyeonu explained.
Hyeonu had discovered Lepil—the capital of the ancient Luos Empire in the glacier zone—in the past, and that was where he met Larenix, the last emperor of the Luos Empire. Larenix gave Hyeonu the bracelet on Tang-E’s arm, Wisdom of the Sky, and Hyeonu learned the skill, Giant’s Pride.
Kalui heard Hyeonu’s response and burst into tears. “Uhh...! Larenix... You couldn’t hold on in the end...”
Larenix was gone. This meant death. Kalui wept over it. For him, Larenix was his faith. He endured the endless hours because Larenix had ordered it. That order was the only reason why Kalui had been maintaining his life all this time.
After sobbing for a long time, Kalui shook his head and wiped his face a few times. Then he explained, “This is a space that’s isolated from the outside. If you have the willpower to do it, you can deviate from the passage of time. It is a space that was created using a special artifact, but there were only a few left in the Luos Empire.”
“This means...” Hyeonu was able to confirm one fact from Kalui’s explanation. It was that Kalui himself was a person of the Luos Empire.
“That’s right. I am the only person of the Luos Empire left here. Everyone else is a descendant.”
“What happened to the others?”
“They all choose to commit suicide in the eternal time. To be exact, they merged with time. They faced the limits of their mental power. Those who remain now are their descendants.”
The truth was amazing. Kalui wasn’t a descendant of the empire but a person of the empire.
‘What did Larenix say to him?’
What made it possible to endure such a painful time when his family and friends disappeared one by one?
“So the reason you remained here is because of Larenix’s order?” Hyeonu asked.
Kalui nodded. He wouldn’t have hidden in a place like this unless it was Larenix’s command. He would’ve spent his whole life by Larenix’s side instead.
“Yes, it was Larenix’s order. He told me to hide in the demon world with the artifact. He said that in time, the guardian will come. After a long time, you finally came here,” Kalui said and started moving again. “I will answer the rest of your questions at the town. The others need to know that the guardian has arrived. They will be pleased. This way, they can get out of here.”
Hyeonu quickly followed after Kalui. He didn’t know why, but he felt uncomfortable about this.
‘Turns out it isn’t that far away?’
The town was closer than expected. It was only around 30 minutes from where Hyeonu met Kalui. The town was exactly like a city in the middle world, with the only difference being the dark blue sky. The moment Kalui and Hyeonu entered the town, gazes gathered on them from all over. It was natural for them to be concerned about the outsider. Having been born and grown up here, this was the first stranger they had ever seen.
“My face is stinging.” Hyeonu smiled at the eyes that seemed to be tearing at the sight of his face.
“Please understand. You are the first new face they’ve ever seen,” Kalui said to Hyeonu with an expression of apology.
Hyeonu shook his hand at Kalui and nodded. “I understand. They’re just curious about the outsider.”
He understood what they were feeling, so he got over it easily. Honestly, it was neither unpleasant nor new. This was a piece of cake compared to the usual amount of interest he got. There had never been a lack of attention focused on Hyeonu ever since he started his career as a streamer and pro gamer.
“By the way, where are we going now? Is there a separate place to gather?” Hyeonu questioned Kalui, who didn’t seem to stop after entering the town.
“Yes, there is a vacant area where we meet regularly. It is where everyone in the town can gather.” Kalui pointed to a huge structure in the distance.
‘A Colosseum?’ Hyeonu wondered inwardly. It was like a football stadium or baseball stadium. Based on its size, it seemed able to accommodate thousands of people.
“Did you say anything in advance? There are people are following me,” Hyeonu said.
“It is out of curiosity. I think they will probably gather even if I don’t say anything,” Kalui replied.
The number of people following Hyeonu grew as people filled the sidewalks like it was a march.
“Guardian, this is the place,” Kalui stated.
Hyeonu followed him into the building reminiscent of the Colosseum. The inside of the building was the same as what Hyeonu expected. It was a stadium-like structure. There was a stage in the center, and chairs were placed at set heights so they could look down on the stage.
“By the way, is it necessary to meet here? Why should I meet all of them?” Hyeonu wondered why he should stand in front of them.
He hadn’t even gotten to hear a proper reason as to why he should come here. Hyeonu had only managed to judge if Kalui was trying to trap him or if he was really sincere. The behind-the-scenes story wasn’t mentioned at all.
“Yes, you must meet them. That is the guardian’s role. In addition, this encounter will not be harmful to you,” Kalui answered with a firm expression. This meeting was essential for the descendants of the Luos Empire and for Hyeonu.
“If you say so... I’ll wait.” Hyeonu sat on a chair on the stage.
Then he looked at the seats that were filling up quickly. All sorts of people were coming in; they varied from children to the elderly.
‘The appearance doesn’t mean their age...’
It was mentioned that if they had the willpower, they could deviate from the passage of time. That was how Kalui maintained his life.
‘It is going to fill up soon.’
More than half of the spacious place was occupied in an instant. Even at this moment, people were still pouring in like the tide. Moments later when empty chairs were almost invisible, Kalui climbed onto the stage.
“Is everyone gathered?” Kalui asked in a quiet voice. However, the small bead on the stage vibrated and amplified his voice, making it resonate through the space.
“All but a few are gathered!” the majority of people shouted to answer Kalui’s question.
“Everybody must be curious about who I am with,” Kalui said.
They nodded. They were curious about why they were gathered here.
“He is the one we have been waiting for,” Kalui announced.
There was a commotion among the people. The person Kalui was speaking about was the Imperial Guardian. The coming of the imperial guardian meant they could soon escape this damn place.
“Are we finally going out?”
“My parents’ wishes are finally realized...”
Hyeonu felt the agitation of the descendants and looked at Kalui.
Kalui felt Hyeonu’s gaze and turned to make eye contact with Hyeonu for a moment. Then he turned back toward the descendants and said, “Please be quiet. He is definitely the guardian. There is a lot of evidence of this. He owns a ring that signifies he is a guardian, and only a small number of guardians have succeeded in establishing a connection to a Marionette Bear.”
Kalui told the descendants of the Luos Empire one thing that he hadn’t mentioned to Hyeonu. Hyeonu realized, ‘He recognized Tang-E?’
It was that Kalui had recognized Tang-E was a Marionette Bear. The Marionette Bears had a history of acting with the guardians and the imperial family of the Luos Empire.
‘It would be weird for him to not have recognized it, so Kalui said he was a person of the empire.’
Kalui’s actions played a greater role in earning Hyeonu’s trust.
“At that time, I knew that he’s the guardian His Majesty mentioned. Thus, I will ask you. Will you follow me?”
The moment Kalui opened his mouth, the noise subsided, and when he finished speaking, their voices became many times louder like they were being rewarded for their silence.
“Are you sure he is the guardian?” they asked.
“It is certain. I guarantee it,” Kalui answered.
“Then shouldn’t we go outside right away?”
“We are gathered here to decide on that. Will you follow or will you stay?”
The crowd became quiet after Kalui’s last question. It was a choice given to them, but they had no freedom.
Be obedient or fall behind—only these two options were given to them. Would they obey the guardian and go outside or disobey and stay here?
Just then, one of the descendants stood up and shouted, “I can’t acknowledge it.”
“What do you mean? You can’t acknowledge it?” Kalui asked the man who stood up.
“The name ‘guardian’ doesn’t mean we have to follow him blindly. The name ‘guardian’ doesn’t mean he is qualified,” the man shouted with a face full of resentment.
His parents and grandparents had been trapped in this closed-off world, and they eventually gave up their lives. The man himself had already been here for over a hundred years now and endured such a difficult time. Telling him to follow a man who appeared one day just because he was the guardian… Wasn’t it just a waste of their time and the lives that had been abandoned?
“I need to test to see if that person deserves to lead us.” The man seemed to be venting his resentment.
“We have to verify it.”
A few people appeared to agree with the man’s opinion. Kalui stared at these people with a stiff expression.
“Verification...” He turned to glance at Hyeonu, wanting to check if the latter was offended.
“I’m fine. Isn’t this natural? I think I would’ve said the same thing,” Hyeonu told Kalui with a smile.
He didn’t feel bad at all as he thought it was natural for the man to show such behavior.
‘It is natural that he doesn’t approve.’
Right now, Hyeonu was what was commonly referred to as a parachute. It was unfair to expect them to give him their loyalty just because he was a guardian.
“Then what should I do?” Hyeonu’s words resounded through the whole space even though he didn’t use a tool like Kalui.
“If you are stronger than me... I will follow you without saying anything,” the man declared with a firm expression.
“Kalui, can you please remove the things on the stage?” Hyeonu requested.
Kalui nodded, and the people closest to the stage came out to put away the things one by one. The chairs, desks, podium, and so on—everything was removed. Hyeonu stood on the stage, which was reminiscent of a performance stage, and stared at the man.
“Let’s fight.” A deep smile appeared on Hyeonu’s face.Previous Chapter Next Chapter