Chapter 246: Ouroboros (2)
When the New World first appeared, the most popular name was of course, ‘Jaehwan’.
He was the one who destroyed the Tree of Imagery and the System.
People were curious about who he was. What kind of man was he, and why did he destroy the world to bring about a new world? Everyone looked around for him, but no one seemed to know where Jaehwan had disappeared off to.
There were some who claimed that they were ‘Jaehwan’.
“I am the God of the New World!”
Most of them said such things, but their corpses were soon found a few months later. The reason for the deaths varied. They were sometimes killed by stabs and slashes, and sometimes they were burned to death. The worst one of all was when they were killed by a golden club.
-Anyone who imposters Jaehwan will die.
As the imposters all died out, Jaehwan became a more mysterious being. Some even considered Jaehwan to be a true God of the New World, but a lot of people condemned him.
-No skill, no status! How can we live in this world!
-Bring back our world! Bring it back!
People were shocked. There was no interface, no guide, and no status. They had to endure the world by themselves. And that wasn’t the only thing.
-I… I don’t want to die…
The ‘immortal’ life was taken away as the System had fallen. Every being in the world now faced ‘death’. The ‘aging’ that was removed had returned. Now, every being could not escape time. That’s how they became ‘beings’.
There was the coming of certain death even when nothing was done.
Some were afraid and felt that it was painful, but not everyone felt the same way. There were some who accepted ‘death’ gladly.
-It’s okay. Don’t be so sad.
-Hey, stop crying girl.
-I-I’m not crying!
Chunghuh’s weakened old voice brought tears to some people. Sirwen was one of them. Tears? Did she still have such emotions left in her? Sirwen smiled bitterly but she couldn’t stop herself from crying.
-I’ve lived long enough… this isn’t the first time but it still makes me nervous. Hehe…
Some smiled at Chunghuh still making jokes on the last day. They all grabbed Chunghuh’s hand. It was the hand of an old warrior, the hand of an old man who fought for what was right throughout his entire life. Sirwen held his hand.
-Just once… I wanted to see Jaehwan for the last time… I hope he’s well.
The old man who lived his entire life looking up at the sky, died while looking up at the sky.
And with Chunghuh to start, people began to die.
Cayman, Euren, and the clan Leaders of <Chaos>…
Those who had outlived the normal human lifespan were the first to go. Yoo Surha was one of them.
-I feel jealous of you for the first time. I am what you see, but you still look the same as the day I met you.
-Nightmares live for a long time.
Surha smiled bitterly.
-You’re going to wait for him, aren’t you?
-Please, tell him when he comes back. That he’s not wrong. Even if everything was pointless, that he wasn’t wrong…
Surha did not lose her strong will even when she became old.
The people who remembered the Tree of Imagery, people who remembered Jaehwan, disappeared one by one, just like that. And then came the people after Jaehwan’s time.
40 years. 50 years.
Time passed quickly.
Now, there weren’t many left who remembered the Tree of Imagery or the System. They did not know that there were times when people could use the status window, inventory, and show their strength through the level, status, and stages of Adaptation. Moreover, they also did not know that there was a man who fought against the world.
Karlton once said this:
-It’s strange, isn’t it? Kids these days don’t know about the Master.
-We remember him. That’s all that matters.
-Yes. It’s okay, yet.
-You… your wings look weaker.
Sirwen’s raised her eyebrow.
-Aren’t you half Angel? You shouldn’t be weak already.
-I am half, yes. I’m old if you consider the fact that I’m half-human.
The two became silent for a while.
-Aren’t you lonely?
-Shut up. Why would I?
-But you will be.
-I really hope you will not become lonely.
Karlton looked up to the sky as he spoke.
-I am afraid this isn’t the last.
And it was a month later that Sirwen heard about Karlton’s death.
70 years passed.
Sirwen was still waiting for someone. There was no need to explain who she was waiting for. She looked everywhere for any trace of Jaehwan.
‘There is no way he would disappear like this. He has to be out there somewhere.’
‘Even if he’s not in this world, he has to be alive.’
And the number of people on her ‘expedition’ team kept on decreasing. Mino, Claire… people who volunteered to search for Jaehwan disappeared from the member list one by one, from accidents or of old age.
‘I wish they were here at least.’
Sirwen thought about the people who disappeared during the ‘Silvery 7 days’ that came after the destruction of the Tree of Imagery.
Yoonhwan and Seoyul.
They were the only people who disappeared after the Fall of the old world. It was strange to consider it a coincidence and Sirwen thought maybe there was a connection to their disappearance and Jaehwan.
“Captain! There’s something here!”
When they were searching through the northern lands where the Tree of Imagery’s trunk was rumored to be, they found dark and long objects there.
Sirwen, who was a Nightmare, realized what they were the moment she laid her eyes upon them.
“These are the Roots.”
“…Roots? You mean the Roots of the Tree of Imagery?”
“But how… don’t the Roots grow in the direction of the [Remote Region]?”
Sirwen narrowed her eyes at the man.
“Hey, where do you think the [Remote Region] is located?”
“Isn’t it under us? I mean, that’s where Roots grow right?”
“Under? No. The universe isn’t that simple.”
“Huh? What do you mean? What is…”
But he couldn’t hear Sirwen’s answer. Sirwen froze in place as the man looked back.
Sirwen’s hands were shaking. Step by step, she walked over to the corner of the giant root and found something stuck in there.
‘I searched for so long.’
She held back the tears and caressed the object that was stuck there. It was a sword that had been destroyed. It was the sword that the loneliest man in the world, the most stubborn man in the world, once used.
It was Jaehwan’s broken sword.