Chapter 352. Pieces (4)


“…”

Shin Jonghak stared at Jin Sahyuk in silence. Her words suggesting that he could meet Shin Myungchul captivated him more than anything.
But of course, it was hard to believe such a thing was possible.

“We’re inside my mind, you said?”

Shin Jonghak asked the most basic question first. Currently, he was surrounded by darkness. Though Jin Sahyuk had claimed this space to be his mind, Shin Jonghak simply couldn’t accept her answer.
Despite his doubt, Jin Sahyuk nodded without hesitation.

“Yeah. I’ve recreated your mind to my liking.”

It was one of the many applications of Reality Manipulation. Jin Sahyuk observed Shin Jonghak’s mind and recreated it so that she could uncover Shin Myungchul’s legacy buried inside Shin Jonghak’s consciousness.
Shin Jonghak seemed quite dissatisfied with the whole setup, however. He wasn’t too happy with the voidness of the surrounding view.

Jin Sahyuk said with a smirk, “I for one think this space suits you. It’s pitch black.”

“…What did you say?”

A strand of vein popped out of Shin Jonghak’s temple. He stumbled back almost at the same time. Several objects were rising from the darkness beneath his feet.

“W-what are these?”

This took Shin Jonghak by surprise. Rising out of the swampy darkness were objects deeply related to Shin Jonghak’s ego. Kim Hajin’s sculpture of Shin Jonghak, the youngest high-rank Hero certificate, Xiang Yu’s Conqueror’s Spear, and even a statue of Chae Nayun…. But the most important of them all was the door at the rear.
[Shin Myungchul]
The iron gate was inscribed with Shin Myungchul’s name.

“Follow me.”

While Shin Jonghak stood in awe, Jin Sahyuk began to walk towards the gate. Doubtful of her intentions, Shin Jonghak followed closely behind. He didn’t forget to cover Chae Nayun’s statue with his coat so that Jin Sahyuk wouldn’t misunderstand(?).

“Hmm…. Myungchul. It’s a pretty corny name, don’t you think?”

Jin Sahyuk banged on the iron gate a couple of times and looked back at Shin Jonghak.
Shin Jonghak said nothing; instead, he began pondering upon his own existence.
He knew very well the public opinion of himself as a Hero.
They called him the youngest high-rank Hero, the vice leader of the giant guild ‘Desolate Moon’, the heir of Jinsung Corp, and a handsome man who could beat even the most famous celebrities in looks alone. Though all these descriptions were remarkable in their own way, Shin Jonghak never forgot his roots.
There was no way he could ever forget.
In this vast world only he was allowed to take such pride in himself.
That is— pride as the grandson of Shin Myungchul.

“…Are you saying my grandfather’s behind that door?”

Shin Jonghak asked. He had so many questions left.
Jin Sahyuk gave a candid nod.

“Yes, probably. My guess is that Shin Myungchul sealed a part of his soul in the deepest corner of your consciousness. Just like I did.”

Until recently, Jin Sahyuk’s memories of Akatrina had been sealed inside her. She did that because she didn’t think she could face her current life properly with the burdens of her past life in her heart. Thankfully, this experience served as a clue to her.
Jin Sahyuk suspected Shin Myungchul had used a similar method. Bell said that Shin Myungchul left Shin Jonghak a legacy. ‘Perhaps,’ she thought, ‘Shin Myungchul used the same method as I did, just in a completely different way.’

“…It’s not that I trust you completely, but-”

Shin Jonghak gulped. He gave Jin Sahyuk a doubtful look and brought his hands to the gate. And then, he tried to push open the gate. But it wouldn’t budge.
A groan escaped Shin Jonghak’s lips. Still, his efforts seemed futile.

“Try using your magic power.” Jin Sahyuk interrupted.

Shing Jonghak leered at her, then poured his magic power into the gate. The gate responded to the magic power and finally began to move.
Oooong…
The iron gate vibrated as it answered to Shin Jonghak’s magic power. Soon it opened smoothly like a clam opening its mouth.

Kiik— Koong!

The heavy sound of iron rang out. Shin Jonghak looked at the other side of the gate with his feet planted on the ground. He gulped in anticipation. He could feel his heart sink as if something big and heavy had just dropped on top of it.
There was a man standing at the other side of the gate. Shin Jonghak could see him clearly.
His shoulders were as wide as a mountain and his posture was as straight as a river. His long hair covered both parts of his body. Shin Jonghak felt a shiver down his spine. The mere sight of the man had completely stunned him.
Shin Jonghak gulped yet again and slowly turned his gaze to Jin Sahyuk.

“If this is some kind of trick….”

“I told you, it’s not.”

Jin Sahyuk answered in a seemingly annoyed voice. Shin Jonghak glared at her one last time and crossed the threshold of the gate.
At that moment, something strange happened. The man began moving awkwardly, like a broken clockwork puppet. Then, he slowly raised his head.
Shin Jonghak could see his eyes now. Their gazes met. A small, barely visible smile spread across the man’s face. At the same time, Shin Jonghak felt as if his body had been set on fire.

Shin Myungchul, the Hero who had left Shin Jonghak an everlasting impression, was there.

**

[Private bunker of the Chancellor of Germany]

Meanwhile, Valac’s army devastated Eastern Europe and reached Germany. Europe was now besieged by two devils: Astaroth in the west and Valac in the east. Astaroth destroyed Paris, and Germany didn’t stand a chance against Valac. The devils took complete control of Europe as the two great calamities….

“We’re at our limit. Berlin can’t hold out any longer.”

Jenes, the Chancellor of Germany, announced pitifully. His hands trembled in fear as he sent over the footage of Berlin’s defense barrier to Yi Gongmyung.

—….

Yi Gongmyung studied the footage carefully. As Supreme Commander, it was his duty to map out a strategy that would lead the team to victory.

—…It’s coming down.

Still, there wasn’t much that he could say. It was clear that Berlin’s defenses were being toppled by the demons’ attack.
The army of demons swiftly ravaged Poland and arrived at Berlin. It was only a matter of time before Berlin’s defense barrier, the product of cutting-edge magic engineering, crumbled down.

“Can we at least evacuate the people?” Jenes asked.

Yi Gongmyung shook his head. Both east and west had been seized by the enemies. This meant the citizens could not travel by land. But it was also impossible to evacuate billions of people through portals.
They had run into a dead end.

“What do you expect me to do, then?!” Jenes yelled. He was beginning to tear up. The guilt of not being able to save his people weighed heavily on the heart of the Chancellor.
Yi Gongmyung said with a sigh.

—Please try to hold out a little longer. There’s not much we can do at this point in time. Baal, Morax, and a third devil have invaded Korea. I’m afraid the situation here is not so good either. But I’m sure we’ll be able to come up with something….

The Chancellor clenched his teeth. Despair and disappointment replaced the rage in his heart. He ruminated on the current situation again.
He was currently inside an underground bunker in Korea. Germany’s commander-in-chief, along with the members of his cabinet, had abandoned their people and evacuated to a bunker in a foreign country. It was hypocritical of him to worry about the people he had left behind by choice.

“…I understand.”

Just as the Chancellor spat out words of resignation, the screen that showed Berlin suddenly turned white.
Jenes widened his eyes.

“W-what’s going on?!”

Jenes exclaimed in German. It didn’t take long for him to understand what had just happened.
The end had come.
Demons had succeeded in destroying Germany.

“…”

Jenes closed his eyes and clenched his fists. The cabinet ministers inside the bunker reacted similarly.
Slowly, the whiteness of the screen began to fade away. The blinding light disappeared and Berlin revealed itself again. But the revealed scenery was markedly different from the previous one.
Suddenly, they heard a strange voice coming out of the speaker.

—The time has come for us to strike.

Jenes’s jaw dropped in awe.

—The time has come to recover our homeland from the darkness and reveal our bravery.

The voice resounded gravely. At the same time, a group of soldiers in uniform appeared in fields beyond the barrier. To the people in the bunker, the appearance of these soldiers seemed even more unrealistic than the demons occupying Germany.

—We shall therefore advance and slay evil without hesitation.

The scene unfolding before their eyes was far beyond their understanding.

“…Commander?”

Jenes called Yi Gongmyung with his gaze locked onto the screen. But no reply came from the supreme commander. He was in no state to answer the Chancellor.
Yi Gongmyung was looking at a different screen. Germany was not the only country he had been observing. The soldiers who arrived in Germany were only a fraction of the total.
Throughout the world, rays of light descended from the sky. Through the passage of light came reinforcements from another dimension. Bearing unimaginable strength, these soldiers came from Crevon to fulfill their promise to Earth.
Jenes recognized the man at the front.

“C-Commander! Ki Parang, Ki Parang is here!”

Jenes pointed at the man at the front of the army. The man was indeed Ki Parang. Even Jenes had heard of him before. A celebrity inside the Tower was also a celebrity outside.
Yi Gongmyung finally responded to Jenes’s call. He widened his eyes slightly and looked at the soldiers on the screen.

—…Yes, I see him.

“What does this mean?”

Jenes asked urgently. But Yi Gongmyung remained silent, and the soldiers started to advance. Ki Parang’s sword spewed out a wave of magic power. The crowd cheered when they saw that the wave devoured the demons as a whole.

—Ki Parang, Kim Yusin, Gwanchang…. Most of them are Hwarangs [1] from Crevon. I’m having trouble grasping the situation myself, but it seems that luck is on our side. Chancellor, please assist them as much as you can.

Yi Gongmyung announced gravely. Jenes turned his gaze to the battlefield. The commander of the army made up of Hwarangs, who he guessed to be Kim Yusin, swung his sword. The Qi from the sword formed thousands of human figures.
The soldiers, made up of magic power, formed an army of their own. They moved at the command of their master, Kim Yusin. The soldiers protected the German Heroes and began attacking the demons.

“…”

Looking at the screen, the Chancellor clenched his fists. The arrival of reinforcements had turned the tables as Crevon’s Hwarangs overpowered the demons in all aspects.
The Chancellor ordered his men to assist the Hwarangs as much as possible.
A glimmer of hope was beginning to bloom in the hearts of people all over the world.

**

[Genkelope’s Vessel]

I postponed my meeting with Tomer because the situation was bad. She and I headed to the ship's control room. A huge holographic screen which occupied one side of the wall showed the Heroes of Crevon, who had returned to Earth.

Tomer snapped her fingers and announced proudly. "In China, we have Lü Bu and Zhang Liao. In Japan, we have Musashi. Kim Yusin and Ki Parang are in Germany, and Lancelot is in the U.S…. Add in my soldiers and the Imperial Army, and the total is about 200,000 soldiers."

“…That many?”

This took me by surprise. I only did a rough job of portraying these historical figures in the original novel, and never thought they would actually appear.

"Yeah, a lot of them were living in hiding in Crevon, and when I explained the situation to them, they said they'd help."

“Ohh….”

I turned my gaze to the screen. As she said, Musashi Miyamoto, Lü Bu, Lancelot and Silla’s Hwarangs were hard at work on the battlefield. In the past, all of these men lived on Earth, and after they died, their souls were revived in the Tower. And now, they were slaughtering the devils and demons to rescue their home.

“What do you think? Should we sit back and relax?”

Tomer shrugged with a relaxed look.

“…No.”

But I shook my head. This was still not enough. We still needed more strength to prepare for our final battle against Baal. I finally decided it was time to use the secret weapons I’d kept hidden.

“You should go help Suho for now.”

“Suho? Kim Suho?”

“Yeah.”

“And what do you plan to do in the meantime?”

I took a card out of my pocket and smiled. Even with my superhuman luck, I could only secure one copy.

“What’s that?”

Tomer tilted her head.

I answered calmly. “It’s a 9-star card. You know, from the Card Kingdom.”

“…9-star?”

Tomer frowned as if doubting my words.
Apparently, cards from the Card Kingdom were famous even in Crevon. A direct trade route had been established after they gained control of the 9th floor.

“How is that even possible? The most our Empress could get were two 8-star cards.”

To resolve Tomer’s doubts, I showed her the 9-star card. Her eyes widened immediately.

===
[Story of a Legend on the Mural] [Individual] [9-star] Effective Good
●Part of a legend manifests to assist you.
===

“…Woah. Is that for real? Hey, come on, hand it over. Let me take a look.”

“No way.”

Tomer reached out to the card but I had no intention of handing it over to her. I hid the card away from her.

“Oh come on! Just let me take a peek at it….”

“Enough.”

I held the card with my fingers and injected Stigma into it.

“Let’s see what we’ll get.”

The card, now infused with my magic power, began to tremble. I let go of it, and the card that escaped my hand slowly rose into the air. Then suddenly— Paat! It flashed and disappeared into thin air.
1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds passed, and….

“…?”

“…What the hell?”

Bewildered, Tomer and I looked at each other. I blinked in confusion, but Tomer soon began wiggling her eyebrows as if she was proud of herself to have figured out my trick.

“Aha~ I see what’s going on. That card was fake, right?”

“…No, It wasn’t.”


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