A white light permeated the space that was filled with total darkness. From that light, two men appeared.
“Home is good, home is good.”
“It is dirty and cold. Turn on the boiler first.”
Yeongchan and Hyeonu threw their suitcases down the moment they entered the house. Neither one of them thought about unpacking. They would organize their luggage later when their minds were fully rested. Hyeonu lay on the couch and asked Yeongchan, “Would you like something to eat first? I’m hungry after sleeping.”
“Yes, I’ve been sleeping since I boarded the plane, and I’m dying of hunger.” Yeongchan sat next to Hyeonu and looked at his smartphone. He was selecting food to be delivered.
‘Drinking a lot of wine helped,’ Hyeonu thought. He had boarded a flight that night right after his meal alone with Reina. Hyeonu had been in a deep sleep since he got on the plane. Even after the plane arrived at Incheon and he changed to a car, the car was left to the driver prepared by Nike Management, and Hyeonu continued to sleep in the passenger seat. Far from being unable to adapt to the jet lag, he was in a very good condition after sleeping for more than half a day. The only thing was that he was hungry.
Yeongchan, who had been looking at his smartphone for a long time, turned his head and asked Hyeonu, “A Chinese restaurant, cool?”
“I want sweet and sour pork,” Hyeonu replied.
“Half and half.”
Yeongchan ordered the food according to Hyeonu’s request.
“By the way, where did you go alone yesterday?” Yeongchan asked about Hyeonu’s whereabouts as he hadn’t seen Hyeonu all day yesterday.
It wasn’t until Yeongchan got on the plane that he could see Hyeonu’s face.
“Just sightseeing in New York? I was in the United States, so I couldn’t just work like I did last time.”
“Really? Then we should’ve gone together. Why go alone?” Yeongchan passed over it without many doubts. In fact, it would be weirder for him to say something after hearing that Hyeonu had gone sightseeing around the city.
Meanwhile, the Chinese food they ordered had arrived.
Hyeonu quickly raised his body from the sofa and ran to the front door like lightning.
“Can I put it on the ground?”
“Yes, yes. Please put it here.”
Hyeonu watched as the Chinese restaurant’s delivery man put down the food. Then Hyeonu’s gaze shifted past the delivery man.
“Is something happening in the front house? It is really noisy.”
The delivery man shook his head and answered, “Don’t even mention it. They are completely filling up the elevator because they are moving in... I think it happened five times when I was coming up.”
‘Moving? Was the house originally empty?’
Thinking about it, he couldn’t remember ever seeing a person on the same floor since moving into Yeongchan’s place. One reason was that Hyeonu refrained from going out, but it was a bit too much to never see the neighbor once.
“Then please enjoy your meal.” The Chinese restaurant’s delivery man put down the food and made his exit. Hyeonu carried the food put down by the delivery man in both hands and moved it to the table in the living room.
“Hey, go and get the rest. Are you going to just lie down? You don’t want to eat?” Hyeonu said. The moment he put down the food, he kicked Yeongchan’s ass just as the latter was lying down.
“I paid for it, so can’t you bring it in?”
“Then get up and unpack it. Aren’t you going to eat? If you just lie down, who will open the packaging for you? Do you want me to feed you?”
Yeongchan finally got down from the sofa and took the packaging off the food that Hyeonu had put down.
Then Hyeonu said, “Ah, that’s right. Someone is moving into the opposite house. The delivery man uncle just now said it.”
“Moving in?” Yeongchan quickly became interested in Hyeonu’s words.
“By the way, was that house originally empty? I didn’t know.”
“Only that front house was empty. This high-rise is around half inhabited. This was a pretty empty building to begin with.”
“Really?” Hyeonu cocked his head slightly before moving to the front door to bring in the leftovers.
Hyeonu accessed Arena after nearly two days in real time and recalled his memories of the scenery in front of him.
‘Um... Where is... this place...?’
It had only been two days since he logged in, but too many things had happened in reality. He needed time to think about what happened before he logged out.
‘That’s right. I ran away after the spar.’
To be exact, it wasn’t running away but finding a place to log out. He didn’t have time then. He needed to log out right away to participate in Arena Week.
‘What should I do?’
Hyeonu went back while thinking about what to say. Two days in reality weren’t two days in Arena; the time that had passed by was much longer than that. He needed reasons to explain why he had been gone for so long.
‘I walked out at that time... Should I maintain that attitude?’
Hyeonu found it annoying. It was hard for him to act like he was angry when he wasn’t actually angry. This wasn’t a natural situation, so he had to put on a facade.
‘I just have to roughly embellish that something happened.’
He had something to do in his territory—that’s why he was gone.
Hyeonu was going to say something like this.
‘What can they say in response?’
He stepped forward with his mind feeling more at ease and wandered around the town leisurely. The moment Hyeonu appeared, all of the people passing by stopped walking and looked at him. Then somebody ran quickly and disappeared somewhere.
‘Is he going to find Kalui?’
Hyeonu walked in an even more relaxed manner until Kalui came to find him. Sure enough, Kalui appeared in front of Hyeonu in a very urgent manner.
“Guardian!” he called out to the latter pitifully.
Kalui had been searching for Hyeonu ever since he disappeared. Thinking maybe Hyeonu had gone outside, Kalui released dozens, even hundreds, of people to find Hyeonu. However, there was no Hyeonu; they couldn't find any traces of him. It was like he had soared into the sky or fallen through the ground.
Naturally, the people were in despair. Their only hope of leaving this limited space had disappeared. All their criticisms were turned toward the man who questioned Hyeonu. Some scolded him from an unseen place while others swore openly in front of him.
Naturally, Kalui sanctioned such people. He blocked and blocked them again. However, he couldn’t stop them. They needed a target to relieve the despair they felt. Still, Hyeonu couldn’t have known this. He had been busy for the past two days and hadn’t cared about them at all.
“Yes, Kalui. Have you been well?” Hyeonu treated Kalui more comfortably than when they first met. It was to the point where Kalui was flustered.
“Huh? N…No. How could I be well? Guardian, you just disappeared.”
Kalui’s words made Hyeonu smile. It was because he judged Kalui’s response to be too artificial.
‘To think he's acting like this...’ This was an idea Hyeonu had because he didn’t know the situation they were in.
”Is that so? I left temporarily because something urgent came up. By the way... everyone looks kinda bad?” Hyeonu said while looking around. Unknowingly, countless people had gathered around Hyeonu. Their expressions weren’t as bright as in the past.
“This is the impact of your absence. I think the momentary feeling of hope they experienced was too sweet.”
At Kalui’s words, Hyeonu realized that their expressions were genuine.
‘I gave them a gift and then took it away.’
Still, Hyeonu acted like nothing had happened. Apart from not having had the time to think about them, he did feel bad for a very short time about what he’d done.
“Then should I apologize?”
“No, Guardian, you don’t need to say such words at all.”
Then Hyeonu turned his head and looked around. He could see that the faces of the people were filled with distrust and despair.
‘It is too gloomy...’
“There are many reasons for my absence... One of them is related to you. It was in order to accept everyone to my territory.”
Everyone’s expression brightened when they heard Hyeonu’s words. Hope of being able to escape this cursed space where time had stopped once again emerged.
“Go to the city with me. From there, you will be able to go to the middle world. That is my territory,” Hyeonu stated.
He hadn’t done anything to prepare for their arrival, but he still said this. In any case, no one would argue with Hyeonu about accepting them into Phinis. The administrators of Phinis followed Hyeonu’s orders without any doubts.
‘Who would say anything about accepting a few people?’
Well, it wasn’t just a few but a few hundred. Nevertheless, that didn’t matter. There was still plenty of empty land in Phinis.
“Really?” Kalui asked with a disbelieving expression.
“Why would I lie to you? I will also bring over all the people in the middle world and the divine world. Even if you can’t rebuild the Luos Empire, you will have your own lives back,” Hyeonu answered.
Kalui knelt down at Hyeonu’s words. He lost all strength in his legs.
“Thank you, thank you,” Kalui just repeated his words of thanks.
“It isn’t a big deal, Kalui. You don’t have to thank me so much. I didn’t really do anything,” Hyeonu said while helping Kalui up. Then he asked another question, “What should I do to bring you out?”
Kalui’s eyes widened at Hyeonu’s question and replied, “Please follow me. If you unlock this barrier there... time will flow properly, and this space will naturally disappear.”
“Then let’s go unless you want to stay here longer.” Hyeonu gestured for Kalui to take the lead.
Kalui took off with Hyeonu following behind him while the others lined up behind Hyeonu. The place where Kalui stopped was the center of the town, where a small building stood. This building was less than half the size of the other buildings. However, a great deal of magic power was winding around the building.
“What is inside this building?” Hyeonu asked.
Kalui understood Hyeonu’s question and explained it, “It is the artifact that created this space. The magic power you feel right now is probably the magic power flowing out of that artifact.”
Hyeonu knew it wasn’t dangerous, so he boldly entered the building.
‘Is this it?’
The inside of the building was empty. There was only a cylinder that was just over one meter tall. He felt a crazy magic power come from it. Hyeonu approached the cylinder and found there was a small groove at the top of it.
‘I have to put it here.’
He naturally placed the Red Guardian on the groove.
[You have been confirmed to be a guardian of the empire.]
[The ‘Eternal Hell’ will be released.]
The moment these two short lines appeared, light erupted from the cylinder. The released light quickly pierced the building.
Hyeonu realized that the light had disappeared and opened his eyes.
‘It’s the demon world.’
The sky wasn’t as gloomy and gray as usual. It was just a dark color. Hyeonu quickly turned his head and looked around. There wasn’t a single building in the surrounding area; it was just full of grass and trees. In the midst of the grass and trees, he could see people who had collapsed everywhere. They were the descendants of the Luos Empire. Kalui was also present amongst them.
A split second before Hyeonu was going to walk over to Kalui, Hyeonu’s foot stepped on something. It was something small and hard. Hyeonu lowered his head and looked down at the ground and found a ring that emitted a pale glow.
‘Isn’t this a profit?’
A smile spread on Hyeonu’s face.Previous Chapter Next Chapter