The Sea of Time was a group of people who worshipped and followed the Black King. Other than being mysterious and inclusive, they were similar to how the Devil Army revered the Heavenly Demon.
However, unlike the Devil Army who abandoned their god after the Heavenly Demon’s negligence, the Sea of Time planned on awakening the Black King themselves. Clearly, they intended to bring the “end of things” that was said to come at the end of the revelations.
‘It’s said in the revelations that space is a dream the Black King dreams during his sleep. And when he’s awakened, everything in space will disappear like a phantom of a dream.’
According to this interpretation of the revelations, all creatures that exist in this world are mere illusions. And for illusions to continue existing, they need to have a place by the awakened Black King’s side.
‘So they want to contribute to awakening the Black King for this…? But it’s hard to tell, since I don’t know their exact beliefs.’ Yeon-woo’s gaze darkened. ‘They’re crazed apocalyptics. They’re even worse than the Devil Army, which didn’t say any bullshit about destroying the world.’
Since the gods the Devil Army and Sea of Time worshipped were on opposing ends, their beliefs were completely different. The Sea of Time had nonsecular tendencies, and wholeheartedly believed in carrying out their ideals, atoning for their sins, and clearing their minds in preparation for the “day of judgment” that would come when the world disappeared. On the other hand, the Devil Army was representative of free will and placed emphasis on repelling the darkness that was trying to cover the world… Even though the Devil Army’s beliefs had become more extreme as the generations passed, causing all sorts of disturbances, they were nothing compared to the dangers of the Sea of Time.
Although Yeon-woo had become the Black King’s successor, he had only thought about using his power and not worshipping him. If the Black King ever interfered in his path to become stronger, Yeon-woo would instantly abandon him too. He only kept the Black King’s power because the Black King was on par with the Heavenly Demon and Jeong-woo’s soul had returned to him.
It was the same for Kronos, who had been the Black King’s Apostle. From his perspective, the Sea of Time’s plan to awaken the slumbering Black King at the bottom of the Tower wasn’t favorable.
‘But learning that the Central Bureau and the Sea of Time aren’t in cahoots is enough.’ The fact that they were only working together out of necessity meant their relationship could be broken whenever, so Yeon-woo organized his thoughts.
Then, Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes at Laplace. He now had a general grasp of the situation, but there were still some parts that he didn’t understand. “Then, what are you after?”
Laplace was born as a king of the Demonic Sea, had become a High Guardian solely for amusement, and was now running toward the end of things after becoming a player. Since he was technically an otherworld god, he was also possibly a follower of the Black King and wished to wake him. However, Yeon-woo didn’t think he was the type to do that. Yeon-woo then asked, “You seem to move separately from Yvlke’s ideals, or the greater good that the Sea of Time believes in.”
Laplace raised a corner of his mouth as if the answer was obvious.「I’m…joining the ride for the fun of it. I can sit next to the victor and comfortably observe the changing world.」His smile was so lunatic that he almost seemed innocent.「As long as I can watch from the side, I’m satisfied. I don’t need to be the one making the changes. I just want to see history change.」
Needless to say, Laplace declared that he was fine with his current state because Yeon-woo was also one of the main characters who would change history.
Yeon-woo thought Laplace definitely wasn’t in his right mind, but he became certain of one thing. Laplace didn’t have any loyalty to the Sea of Time or the Central Bureau. And as long as there was something to entertain him, Laplace was a crazy bastard who could be loyal to Yeon-woo himself.
* * *
“…” Leonhardt was shocked speechless. Not only did he see the seemingly invincible High Guardians successively defeated, but Laplace, whom he had once seen in the Sea of Time, was chained and kept in check. He knew that Yeon-woo was equal to other divine beings and had become Olympus’ supreme god, but only after personally seeing his power did it feel real… However, there was something else that surprised him the most.
『Ugh…that damned guy. How much did he shake the pocket watch for me to feel exhausted?』
The one whom Leonhardt had wanted to see for so long was there.
『Wifey, punish him for me. Hm? You can’t? Nah. He’ll listen to you… Mm?』Just then, Cha Jeong-woo’s vestige body that was complaining in front of Ananta turned upon feeling a gaze. He grinned after discovering it was Leonhardt. 『Long time no see, Leon.』
“…A-Are you really Jeong-woo?”
『Can’t you tell by looking at me? Yeon-woo told me that you were living well. What’s up with your condition?』
“A-Ah!” Listening to the cheeky tone and looking at that mischievous smile, Leonhardt moved toward Cha Jeong-woo with trembling steps. Although he had heard from Valdebich, he couldn’t help but doubt it.
The closer he approached Jeong-woo, the clearer Leonhardt could see the face he had missed so much. It was a stark contrast to Jeong-woo’s appearance when he had been poisoned and had successively been left behind by his comrades. This was the Jeong-woo he had seen upon first meeting… He stretched his hand out and stroked Jeong-woo’s face.
『Ahhhh! I just got goosebumps on my arm!』Cha Jeong-woo stepped back, yelling in horror. Even his reactions were the same as before. 『You bastard, you’re not Leon. You must be an incarnation of the perverted bunny over there, or…!』
Cha Jeong-woo’s vestige body wasn’t able to continue, because Leonhardt suddenly fell to the ground with his head hung low. Leonhardt said softly, “Sorry.”
“For everything I did in the past. I’m sorry I left you when you were already having a hard time. If I hadn’t left back then… I left with some ridiculous excuse saying I needed to cool my head, but I honestly didn’t even think about how difficult it must’ve been for you. I won’t ask for forgiveness. I just…wanted to tell you this someday.” Leonhardt still had unresolved feelings. He didn’t expect for things to return back to how they were; he merely wanted to apologize.
If Cha Jeong-woo had left behind a grave, Leonhardt would’ve visited it multiple times. However, there was no grave, and the world had forgotten about Cha Jeong-woo… As the only person who remembered and honored him, Leonhardt had been unbearably lonely. He had also been insufferably regretful, so perhaps guilt was the factor that brought him to where he was today. But still, he was now able to be reunited with Jeong-woo, whom he felt grateful for.
『Hey, don’t cry! There’s nothing more disgusting to watch than a guy crying!』Cha Jeong-woo grumbled with embarrassment, but his eyes were slightly red as well.
Ananta pretended not to see anything and looked away. It seemed the two would have a lot to speak about.
* * *
“Ohyohyo, ohyo! Is that so? Then, are there now three High Guardians including myself? Just until yesterday, we had a majority, but the numbers have dropped like this.” The High Guardian, rat Yvlke, shook his head after listening to a report from the dog Kaleb. He was perplexed. However, contrary to his despondent words, he was smiling. Although three High Guardians had died, he didn’t seem to think much of it.
Kaleb felt chills running down his spine as he watched Yvlke. ‘We must be mere chess pieces for Yvlke.’
Kaleb was loyal to Yvlke because he was influenced by Yvlke’s ideals, and he was ready to sacrifice himself if necessary. Because he had lived a long and boring life, he had no attachments to his survival, and he thought going out with a bang would be reward enough. However, that didn’t mean Kaleb was going to force his values on others.
He was just shocked by Yvlke’s reaction because there had been some among the Guardians who followed Yvlke out of personal greed for power. At the same time, he also understood Yvlke’s response. He looked at the bead spinning in Yvlke’s palm like a top—as long as Yvlke had the system key, which was a combination of eleven keys, Yvlke didn’t need to be concerned with how many High Guardians died. ‘If he really wanted to, he could do everything without us anyway.’
Yvlke was someone who’d use everyone to his advantage if it meant he could accomplish his mission, even at the price of his own life.
‘He reminds me of someone, now that I think about it.’ The guy who was as problematic as the Martial King and had caused the Bureau trouble from a long while ago flashed through Kaleb’s head. That guy was someone who couldn’t even be called a player anymore.
‘What was it again? Abuser?’ Kaleb recalled what the system called that guy. ‘Since two similar beings have begun a game of chicken…it’s a matter of who arrives at their destination first.’
Kaleb swallowed as he thought about the unpredictable battle, then something else occurred to him. ‘No. There are two other people at the starting line, I suppose.’ He knew that one of them was Harmonia, and the other was…
Kaleb slowly turned around, feeling a focused gaze on him. He noticed that Yvlke was already addressing the owner of the gaze.
“Ohyohyohyo. Why are you standing there? Come in.”
“You seemed busy.”
“Ohyohyo! That’s the funniest thing a tactless person like you has ever said. When did you become so thoughtful?” Yvlke spoke cynically, but the man who entered the room ignored it.
The pale man had long, blonde hair resembling a lion’s mane, and impressionable arrogant eyes. Sparks heated the air as he moved, and he exuded a suffocating pressure. He had no inclination of respecting others. It was how one would expect a king who never needed to respect anyone from birth to act. However, the arrogant attitude fit the blonde man well.
“I’ll try to be tactful from now on.”
“Ohyohyo. Of course.”
“More importantly—” The blonde man fixed a covetous look on the bead that was spinning on Yvlke’s palm as if he didn’t wish to continue the small talk any longer. “Is that key the item you said you’d give me?”
“Please speak the facts. This will only be given to you if you prove that you qualify to be the new creator god, correct?”
“You aren’t deceiving me, I hope?”
“Did you already forget we pledged on the system?”
“I want that now.”
“No. We can’t do that. You’re younger than me, but you’re already showing signs of memory loss. How can you prove to be qualified at this rate?”
“If you spoke disrespectfully to me a long time ago, you would’ve died already.”
“There’s nothing more pathetic than people, who are stuck in the past, talking about their prime. Ohyohyohyo!”
Kaleb felt sweat drip down his back. When the two had a war of nerves, he felt like he was being beaten up in the middle. Yvlke aside, he didn’t know why the blonde man was picking a fight…
The man should’ve been trying to get on Yvlke’s good side to obtain the key, and had learned that that probably wasn’t enough. As Yvlke said, he also hadn’t been awakened for that long, and was perhaps stuck in the past… If that was the case, then the possibility that the man was the system key’s master was near zero. Allforone couldn’t be replaced so easily.
Although he was once strong enough to bring down Kronos, who had been the king of gods, he had probably lost most of his powers after suffering from Heavenly Demon Disease. Kaleb didn’t know what he was thinking.
‘No. I guess there’s no need to be concerned about that. Even if someone other than him is the replacement, it doesn’t hurt us at all.’ However, Kaleb guessed that the blonde man would become the replacement in the end. His instincts were telling him so—the senses that were trained over the long time he spent as a High Guardian. He thought, under the arrogant mask, the blonde man would have a completely different side to him. ‘Since he’s a cruel and clever warrior who took the throne even though he was kicked out...’
Spark! Blinding yellow lights flashed as the blonde man smiled viciously. “This will be the symbol that represents the new king. Protect it well. I’ll kill the rebels who dare to claim themselves as ‘kings’ and return soon.”
Under the monocle, Yvlke’s unreadable eyes wrinkled as he smiled. “Then I’ll be waiting here, Zeus.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter