<Chapter 52. War's Scenario - 4>
God carefully took a sip of the tea with her thin, pale pink lips and sighed in satisfaction, as if enjoying the tea's scent. She then said...
[I'll get straight to the point. This is all your fault.]
"That sounds like a load of bullshit, but let's hear what you have to say."
Lee Shin Woo gently opened his eyes and glared at her. She pushed her red hair to one side and shrugged her shoulders.
[It's true. At first, I could only influence the world , or as you understand it, the surface and the underground together, so much. And I've been dividing that limited influence to summon the heroes, give them power, and develop them. Do you understand me thus far?]
"So why is your influence on the world limited in the first place? Gods are absolute beings, aren't they?"
He'd asked something similar before, and he was ignored back then. But he believed that now God would acknowledge him.
God seemingly thought to herself regarding that, and then nodded her head and spoke.
[Yeah, I guess it's time for you to know... If someone possessing a high 'level', presence, or magic moves, then that's enough to shake the world. One person's karma changing affects other people's karma as well.]
"Of course. That's how this world works after all."
This was especially true for this world, such that he could see it with his own two eyes. Moreover, Lee Shin Woo had experienced it with his own body, hadn't he? By switching between his form with limited immortality and his human form, he'd learned that when obtaining a terribly great karma, there was an equally heavy cost associated with it.
At the time, he'd thought that God was just toying with him, but that wasn't the case. While it was a great risk, her bestowing immortality upon him was meant to reduce the side effects of bearing this kind of karma to its minimum. ...Of course, her not telling him in advance was just to mess with him.
However, he understood her true intentions and nodded his head. God looked a bit moved.
[You're beginning to transcend humanity too. You see, most humans would be confused around now.]
"But that's the essence of karma, isn't it?"
[Understanding it shows the difference between a transcendent and a mortal. By forming connections with others, your karma became distorted and developed in a completely different direction, so that may be why you were able to pick up on the essence of karma so quickly.]
God then lowered her empty cup. She tapped on the cup and it refilled with tea. She had restored Lee Shin Woo's special mixture of tea and brandy.
She gulped it down in one go and sighed. She then asked Lee Shin Woo.
[Do you understand what I just did?]
[Right. It's time. To be exact, it's creation using Time Magic. Recreating something that is gone. It's quite simple for me, but if used in the world, then it would be too much for it to bear and a city may vanish right then and there. That's what karma is. And that's the main reason why I haven't been able to intervene so much.]
Lee Shin Woo tilted his head. While Lee Shin Woo had understood the result, he couldn't understand the process. But the result did tell him something.
For example, if Lee Shin Woo were to use the very same Time Magic for creation, then he was confident that he wouldn't cause the same adverse effects. Why, you ask...?
"Can't you just trick it? It seems pretty simple to me."
[Ah, the world. You've already been doing that. I've seen you twist order around, such that it's unclear who the true owner of your karma is. I was really shocked. But that's impossible for me to do. Since I can't use that innate element.]
If God were both omnipotent and omniscient, then she'd be able to do everything Lee Shin Woo could do. However, she thought innate elements were special and claimed that even she could not fool the world. But if that's the case, then why...
"...Are innate elements powers of the gods?"
Yeah, he naturally came to that conclusion. Had he become a god at some point? But he soon rejected that notion, as he felt he was still lacking in several areas to be called a god.
"Moreover, there are way too many people in the world who wield innate elements. Aside from me, there's the Dark Flame Ghosts, the Garuda, Seagald, the Magic Emperor... the Undead Emperor, Jissehanu, should be able to too. And based on the energy tampering with the chatting channel, the Archmage must be able to too."
[Mm. They don't become gods per se, but you could say that they've met the conditions to transcend karma itself. That's actually why I'm concerned. Like you said, there have been way too many individuals with innate elements. You're an exceptional irregular, but the events hundreds of years ago had too much of an effect... I should've stopped it myself, but why didn't I? There was definitely a way to minimize the chaos and stop it. But by allowing the humans to take matters into their own hands, I ended up having to intervene more than before. I was so foolish...]
"...Let's get back on topic now, shall we?"
As one ages, they gain a specialty. It was talking about one thing, and then suddenly going on a tangent. Before it was too late, Lee Shin Woo slapped his cheek and spoke. Then, God went 'oh my' and nodded her head.
[Anyway, that's why my influence is limited. If you were in my place, then you wouldn't even have to worry about this and could just kill Jissehanu or Jirold yourself. Dark Shadow. That thing's really overpowered. Remember. You may think that Annihilation Flame or what not is overpowered, but it's not. It's Dark Shadow. Got it?]
God was being jealous! While sweating buckets, Lee Shin Woo tried to steer the conversation back on track.
"So the surface's Emperor is called Jirold, huh? It really suits him."
[I don't know what his public name is, but his name is definitely Jirold. But what were we talking about again? ...Ah, that's right. First, give me another cup of tea.]
"You could just restore it like last time."
[But it feels different. That's karma for you.]
Perhaps there was something he still didn't know about karma. He poured her another cup of tea while pouting. She took it satisfyingly and returned to their original conversation.
[I should tell you how I bestow power upon the heroes. First, the summon. I summon those fated to die in another world and send out someone dying from this world. This is the basics of summoning. It's done to reduce the summoning's adverse effects on the world as much as possible. And the power I bestow. I told you this at the beginning, so I don't need to go over it again, do I? This is my 'influence'. It was all going according to plan up to here, but... the problem started afterwards.]
"The secret shop?"
[The secret shop maintains balance by accepting Perium for its goods. Of course, there were some issues with it as well, but there are some issues that can be dealt with because most of you heroes are otherworlders and not from this world. It seems like bestowing power upon otherworlders, rather than the original inhabitants of this world, has a much less adverse effect on the world. Well, what do you think? It's quite a delicate balance, isn't it? You get how much I love this world, right?]
"Then what's the problem?"
Was Ms. Goddess over here always such a chatterbox? If not, then was it because of Lee Shin Woo's actions thus far? Either way, he wouldn't be happy, so he just urged her to continue. God continued her explanation whilst grumbling.
[The quest rewards.]
"Ah, I see... Especially the 12 General quests, right?"
God scratched her head as if she felt like this was a pain in the ass.
[The reason the 12 General quests were set up that way was because I thought beating them was just that difficult and that they wouldn't be defeated so frequently. At the time, I didn't think a hero would show up that would kill seven of the 12 Generals by himself.]
"Ah, as I thought. I kind of get it. It all happened because I was too good, right?"
[Yeah, you bugged player.]
If Lee Shin Woo were to liken the situation to a game, then it would be something like 'when all the goods are pushed onto one side, then the game's balance breaks'. With the emergence of an irregular like Lee Shin Woo, God's delicately balanced influence broke.
[It's quite ironic, but the situation's less severe than it could've been; all because of your Joker karma. If you didn't have it, then the hero system would've failed a long time ago. You don't seem to be aware of it, but you've already halfway transcended the world. Meaning you're not recognized as one of the inhabitants of this world. Of course, that probably doesn't matter to you.]
"Since I just need to trick it."
Lee Shin Woo replied plainly. To be honest, he already knew that. As his Joker karma grew stronger, he felt more and more isolated from this world's rules. Even God acknowledged that as well.
But who cared? If he stayed on this world, then it would become his home. Lee Shin Woo was already prepared to kick back and live peacefully on this world.
[Anyway, most of my power went to you, which made the problem even worse. Not only am I less and less able to interfere with what happens in this world, but the power I've already used is also starting to weaken as well. And he just happened to take advantage of this opportunity...]
[That's right. It would've been impossible with normal mana, but that bastard has learned an innate element.]
At first, Lee Shin Woo wasn't 100% sure it was the Archmage that had invaded the chatting channel. Since the mana pattern he'd remembered differed from the one within the chatting channel.
So then why wasn't Lee Shin Woo able to confirm that it was the Archmage, even though he was familiar with his mana? It was simple. As Lee Shin Woo had suspected, the Archmage was using some sort of mana he wasn't familiar with... In other words, he was using an innate element!
He didn't even want to think about it, but... there was a high chance that he'd awakened an innate element from his battle with Lee Shin Woo and Seagald. 'You're just an undead, yet you're growing!?', thought Lee Shin Woo; though he wasn't one to talk!
[In any case! You can't use the chatting channel anymore. That's not all. The other heroes probably won't be able to go to the secret shop anymore. He seems aware of how dangerous it would be to invade the secret shop though, as he hasn't dared to enter, so I don't have to worry about Pleine.]
[Do you get it? I can't summon new heroes or provide you with supplies anymore. ...Everything's on you now. You have to do it. If you fail, then it really is the end. ...If that happens, then I'll have to intervene and start everything anew.]
Of course, he'd roughly expected this, but he felt somewhat odd hearing it from her. Lee Shin Woo contemplated on what she'd said and then asked.
"Does that mean the world will end?"
[...If you're playing a game with your character, Hero AAAA, but you find you can't beat it, then what do you do? You erase that character and try again with Hero DDDD.]
"Be more creative with your names."
[...So I ask of you, Hero AAAA. It's really tiring to make a new game from scratch... and it's really sad too.]
She genuinely bowed before him. He couldn't even imagine her doing this, considering how their first meeting went.
Hero AAAA... Err, Lee Shin Woo shrugged his shoulders and stood up. If he failed, he would die too. There was no need to answer her.
"Ah, one more question."
[What is it? Oh, Pleine's a virgin. Isn't that hilarious?]
"Thanks, I really wanted to know that. No, not that."
[Seira's a virgin too.]
"I knew that already. So what exactly is Invisible Heart?"
God's eyes widened slightly. But she didn't seem surprised. Perhaps she was waiting for him to ask her that. She soon narrowed her eyes and smiled.
[Even if I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand. But if it's you, you may be able to figure it out by yourself soon enough.]
"You're really no help at all, you old bag."
[Then, take care, Lee Shin Woo. It's been such a long time since I've played around with someone who could understand my 'level'. Come back and play with me again.]
The next moment, Lee Shin Woo had returned to the secret shop. Pleine and Seira were watching him with eyes wide open, as he'd disappeared and suddenly reappeared. He remembered what God had said and in embarrassment, turned his head around.
"What's the matter, Mr. Shin Woo?"
"Never mind. It's nothing. Nothing at all."
Lee Shin Woo couldn't handle the awkwardness any longer, so he was thankful that the Erems had suddenly sent him the report that he'd been waiting for.
 T/N: The word she uses can mean either the world or above ground/surface in Korean. That's why she clarifies it.Previous Chapter Next Chapter