The Federation was made from a union of five races. This meant there was no singular king that governed the entire nation. But that did not mean it had no leaders. Each race had a designated representative, and one race undoubtedly had the greatest say in the council.
Once Seol Jihu thought this far, he had an idea who was included in the delegation. It wasn’t too difficult given which race took the lead to form the Federation.
“The Fallen Angels.”
—Yes. And among the Fallen Angels are special beings who are especially revered by the others. They’re called the Four Fallen Archangels.
Mikael suddenly crossed Seol Jihu’s mind.
—And among these four…
But before Seol Jihu could ask whether it really was her, Sorg Kühne continued.
—The highest-ranked Fallen Archangel is currently staying in Eva.
Seol Jihu’s eyes rapidly widened. The Federation, the second most powerful force in Paradise, had its chief leader visiting Eva?
This was not something he could take lightly, and given that they were at war, it could be considered a matter of great consequence.
Looking back, there was a precedent of one of the Four Fallen Archangels visiting Haramark. But at the time, they had a grand mission of saving Seol Jihu— humanity’s vital battle strength.
But the ‘surface’ reason for their visit this time was insignificant. It was apparently to thank the Eva Royal Family for the rescue and safe return of the Federation members that were hunted as slaves.
However, this matter wasn’t something the Federation should thank the humans for, nor was it a matter that required the visit of its chief leader.
‘He said they arrived four days ago?’
More than enough time had passed for them to finish saying their thanks and leave, yet the delegation was still staying in Eva. Although they need not say this publicly, they apparently had business with Seol Jihu.
Just what happened for such high-ranking figures to personally visit?
Seol Jihu’s heart grew heavier the more he thought about it. He didn’t think it would be for a good thing. He would have to hear them out to be sure, but they most certainly had a reason for staying in Eva.
Seol Jihu tossed and turned in his bed before drifting into a light sleep. When he woke up, he could feel the cold air of the morning. After getting out of his bed and washing up, he hurriedly finished breakfast and packed his bag.
After putting the still-drowsy Little Chick into his pocket, he left the building. Because he called Sorg Kühne on his way over, the royal administrator was waiting for him. He guided Seol Jihu to a secluded room in the palace. As the door opened, Seol Jihu took a deep breath to soothe his pounding heart.
Three people were sitting in the room. On the left was Yuirel who he was acquainted with. Once Seol Jihu entered, she raised her hand and greeted him.
Seol Jihu had never seen the woman on the right, but judging by her white skin and pointy ears, she was sure to be a Sky Fairy.
Finally, sitting in the middle of the two was a woman whose eyes were closed and black wings folded. Her silver-white hair flowed down like a waterfall, and she carried a lofty look. Although she wasn’t Mikael, she gave off an inviolable majesty.
Seol Jihu halted his steps. Soon, the angel’s eyes opened slightly. As soon as her beautiful silver eyes, seemingly filled with moonlight, caught sight of Seol Jihu, she gave a languid smile.
Seol Jihu was momentarily taken aback. How should he put this… She had greeted him in a much friendlier manner than he expected. He wasn’t expecting her to say in a grand manner, ‘Come, human—’, but the image of angels within him shattered like glass.
But not caring about Seol Jihu’s idle thoughts, the Fallen Angel was already busy studying Seol Jihu right and left. She spoke once again only after staring at him with a profound gaze for quite some time.
“I see. So you are the fate that the Parasite Queen fears…”
Then, she tilted her head.
“How very interesting. A fate that dies once does not reopen easily. It isn’t as if there is no precedent… but even the Martial God needed forced intervention to twist it open, yet to do it with one’s own strength… Hmm, this doesn’t make much sense.”
“Ah, don’t mind it. I was just talking to myself.”
The Fallen Angel chuckled while waving her hand dismissively. She then crossed her arms and shrugged.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Valhalla’s representative, Seol Jihu.”
“I know. Anyone from the Federation would unless they were living under a rock.”
“Well, please excuse me for only revealing my name. After I’ve fallen, things like ranks and positions have long since become meaningless.”
Seol Jihu didn’t say anything. Not only was this the first time he was meeting her, but he also didn’t understand a thing she was saying.
It didn’t look like Gabriel really minded either. She simply gestured at him to take a seat.
“I’m sorry to say this right after meeting you, but can we ask you to do us a favor?”
Gabriel cut to the chase as soon as Seol Jihu sat down.
“We thought we’d be able to meet you the day we got here, but things have gotten delayed more than we’d like. We need to hurry back. The situation isn’t all that good.”
“Yes, it’s fine. Go ahead.”
“Thank you. First, we’d like to see the Arcus Spirit. This is a very important matter for us.”
Gabriel said in a haste. Seol Jihu had already heard the reason for their visit yesterday from Sorg Kühne. The first was for Gabriel to see Seol Jihu, the second was to see Little Chick, and the third was to tell him something.
Seol Jihu took out Little Chick from his pocket.
After seeing the Arcus Spirit, the Sky Fairy exclaimed softly.
Gabriel asked, “Is he the real thing?”
“Yes! He’s still in infancy, but I’m certain this is the Arcus Spirit!”
The Sky Fairies had previously held a ritual at the location of the Pagoda of Dreams. The purpose of this ritual was to sense the energy of the Arcus Spirit and communicate with it.
But one day, this energy had vanished. The Federation’s higher-ups confirmed that an expedition team had entered the Pagoda of Dreams and guessed that Seol Jihu must have taken the Arcus Spirit.
They had come to Eva to achieve the goal of that ritual.
“Good. Then hurry up and ask.”
Hearing Gabriel’s command, the Sky Fairy looked at Seol Jihu. Once she nudged the sleeping Little Chick, it woke up with its eyes flashing.
Just as it was about to throw a fit, as usual, the sound of wind leaked out of the Sky Fairy’s mouth. It was almost as if she was whistling.
Seol Jihu immediately thought, ‘What is she doing?’ But in the next moment, Little Chick turned its head and gazed at the whistling Sky Fairy.
Seol Jihu’s eyes widened as the two seemed to be exchanging a conversation.
“It’s Spirit Language.”
Yuirel whispered after seeing Seol Jihu’s expression.
“It’s the language Spirits use when they communicate. Sky Fairies don’t really need to learn it because they’re born with the ability to communicate their feelings with the Spirits, but some Fairies choose to learn it anyways. We brought a Fairy who knew how to speak Spirit Language to better communicate with the Arcus Spirit.”
Seol Jihu wanted to ask more about the language but closed his mouth after seeing the grave look on the Sky Fairy’s face. For a while, only the sound of whistling and chirps rang out in the room.
After ten minutes went by…
Little Chick dropped its head while crossing its tiny wings. The way it closed its eyes, it seemed to have fallen into deep thought.
Seeing this, the Sky Fairy’s expression darkened.
“How is it?”
The Sky Fairy quietly shook her head at Gabriel’s question.
“He said he doesn’t know. Apparently, it’s been too long since he’s left the Spirit Realm….”
Gabriel clicked her tongue.
“Maybe we were expecting too much.”
“Did something happen?”
After seeing an opening, Seol Jihu finally asked what he had been curious about the most. Gabriel glanced at him, then sighed.
“If it’s you… I guess it’s fine to tell you. I’ll be blunt. The Spirit Realm’s energy vanished.”
“Of course, our communication had been cut off even before that. But even though the unstable connection made it impossible for us to summon Spirits, the Fairies could still feel that the Spirit Realm existed.”
“What does not being able to feel the Spirit Realm’s energy mean…?”
Gabriel said meekly.
“It means that the foundation of the Spirit Realm— the World Tree— has withered.”
Seol Jihu’s heart sank.
[The moment the Spirit Realm falls, Tigol Fortress is done for. And if Tigol Fortress falls, it’s the end for the Federation. And if the Federation falls…]
What Eun Yuri from his vision tried so hard to stop had happened.
“Isn’t there a way to revive the World Tree?”
“If it was that easy, we wouldn’t be here right now.”
When Seol Jihu asked in a hurry, Gabriel smacked her lips and raised three fingers.
“Reviving the World Tree is extremely difficult. To do it, you need to solve three problems. Unfortunately, they’re all very difficult to do.”
“What are they?”
“As I said before, the Spirit Realm’s energy vanishing means that the World Tree has died completely. So we would need to give birth to a new World Tree, and we would need the seed of the World Tree for this.”
“But this seed was held by the mother World Tree in the Spirit realm. I doubt the Army Commander that destroyed the World Tree left this seed untouched.”
“By the seed of the World Tree—”
Seol Jihu immediately opened his bag. He wanted to ask the Federation about it anyway, and this was the perfect opportunity.
“Are you talking about this?”
As Seol Jihu pulled his hand out, a fingernail-sized seed was sitting on his palm. It looked like a persimmon seed but glowed green while giving off a mystical energy.
The three visitors’ attention fell on the seed immediately. And about five seconds later, the Sky Fairy screamed her lungs out.
She even slammed the table while shooting up and fumbled to the ground.
“The…! The seed of the World Tree!?”
She shouted while flailing on the floor. Even Yuirel stuck out her tongue and gasped.
“This is… surprising.”
Only Gabriel maintained a relative calm.
“How do you have this object?”
“I brought it from the Neutral Zone.”
“It’s an area created by the Seven Gods. Special items are sold there, and the contribution points offered by Earthlings are used to materialize…”
Once Seol Jihu finished his brief explanation, Gabriel frowned while Yuirel simultaneously clutched her head.
“Aaaaaah! Damn it! If only you brought it earlier!”
“Just a little! If we had it just a little earlier! Aaaaargh!”
She then banged her head on the table in intense regret. As Seol Jihu stared at her in a daze, Gabriel smiled bitterly.
“I told you, the World Tree should have died already.”
“Then we just have to plant the seed and grow another one.”
“You’re right. We can. But do you think the World Tree can grow to adulthood in a single day?”
Seol Jihu went “Ah”. Even an ordinary tree needed a long time to grow. He couldn’t fathom how long it would take the World Tree to reach adulthood.
“That’s why I said there wasn’t just one problem. Well, it would be a different story if the Parasite Queen waited until the World Tree grew.”
“Is there no way we can speed up the World Tree’s growth?”
“It’s not entirely impossible. The World Tree isn’t a fool. It has several methods prepared in case it perishes.”
“Well, it would be more correct to say it stores a special nutrient to facilitate the growth of the next World Tree.”
Gabriel tapped on the table anxiously.
“That nutrient is officially called Aphriso’s Sedge. Given the current situation, we’ll need about five of them. That’s the only way to see the rate of growth we want.”
“Yes. To be honest, wanting five would be being too greedy. If we had just three… no, just one or two, then we’d be able to have some hope….”
“Anyway, there’s a huge chance that the Army Commander would have snatched them from the dead World Tree as w—”
In the next moment, Gabriel couldn’t finish her sentence and dropped her jaw. It was because Seol Jihu had put his hand into his bag and took something else out.
It wasn’t only Gabriel who was surprised. Yuirel raised her head helplessly and instantly became frozen. The Sky Fairy, who was getting up in an awkward standing position, tripped on her foot and fell back down.
“This is it, right? Aphriso’s Sedge.”
In Seol Jihu’s hand were tuberous roots that looked like nuts. Five of them, no less.
A heavy silence descended in the room.Previous Chapter Next Chapter