༺ Sun – Claiomh Solais (1) ༻
The shock was so great like a stake stabbing through the heart, and I almost fainted.
Evidence was being shown by both my eyes and my ears. I couldn’t breathe properly and it felt like my heart was traced out of my chest as my eyes closed by themselves to turn away from reality.
“L, like… isn’t this way too much?”
I wanted to refuse the thing in front of me. Despite knowing that it was fake, I still couldn’t look at it.
“Hey, bro. It’s been a while.”
He was an Asian-looking guy with jet-black hair, unlike me who had slightly navy-colored hair. He was the real player of this game, whose name I was afraid of calling out.
“Yes. I am Park Sihu, the one you killed.”
“You are a fake.”
He walked up to me with a grin. That intense appearance of his alone was enough to send my heart beating like crazy.
“Saving the world, huh. What an interesting thing you have created. But bro, are you confident? Do you think you can do better than I did?”
“I failed after monopolizing everything I could. Who do you think you are, bro? What can you do with that half-assed system window? Do you think you can really beat Tates Valtazar?”
Right. That was something I wasn’t sure about either.
The rightful protagonist of this world.
Although his ways were evil, the power in his hands was definitely real.
He had the might to flip the world upside down just by himself. Before the final battle, he was so powerful and out of this world, that it wouldn’t have been strange for others to revere him as a god.
And yet even he failed.
Park Sihu failed to save the world and was defeated by Tates Valtazar.
He probably based it on our experience with the game to tackle his precepts and weaken Tates Valtazar back to the realm of humans and yet…
“You shouldn’t have killed me, bro. What you should have done is persuade me. You should have tried your best to tag along with me and give it another shot.”
“My chastity would have been at risk though.”
“And how is that important? Bro, don’t you like saving people? You easily sacrifice yourself trying to save other people, so how come you can’t even do that?”
With a wave of his hands, the world changed. The changed world… looked extremely peaceful.
It was the scene at the ending credit of ❰Heroic Legends of Arhan❱… which told of the world retrieving its peace after the failed attempt at bringing the Paradise of Shadows.
“You see this? This is the world we could have had, bro, if only you didn’t kill the main player.”
You will fail. Miserably.
“Who cares about the deaths of a few NPCs huh? It’s nothing compared to the grand goal of saving the world.”
“Look at you talk.”
“An illusion based on my memories, huh. It’s quite interesting but…”
I activated the demonic core of Sebancia inside me, and focused the power of darkness on my right arm.
“I don’t know what this is trying to test, but you won’t get a different reply from me.”
Demonic Spear of Darkness.
The aura was supposed to stay within a weapon, but right now, I felt like hurling a fist regardless of the backlash. This time, the opponent didn’t have an Unbreakable Vajra Body like Hua Ran, so I would probably only have some fractures that would heal in a day’s time at worst.
“Oi you fucking son of a bitch. Who the fuck do you think you are to put arbitrary values on people’s lives? What tells you this is a game and not real life? And how can you possibly do things like that?”
Even if I were to go back in time, I would most certainly repeat what I did.
Cracks appeared in the dimension as the tangible world in front of me started to crumble down.
I wasn’t sure if that was because of my reply or because of the fist I hurled with all my power, but what I did know was this.
“I am going the correct way.”
There won’t be any regrets.
Hua and Ran.
They were the people I had saved, and there were still a lot more people that I will save regardless of inefficiency.
〚I will save the world.〛
The world I save must contain everyone.
I used to think of Park Sihu as a good guy.
He was pulled into another world against his will, and had to act as the hero that will save the world. Even though he was a bit rude and was like a snobby brat, I let it be.
What that meant was that most of my memories were good evaluations of Park Sihu. The shocking twist at the end was only 10 minutes long.
“No wonder he had no toxicity in his eyes.”
Hearing that voice calling me ‘Bro’ gave me goosebumps, but that illusion of his was nothing compared to the one before. It fell short compared to the expression he had when talking about his hundred thousand kill log.
That was probably the limit of an illusion that was formed based on my memories.
“You are out.”
When I woke up, I found Yuel and Lunia standing in front of me. Yuel was a druid so that was normal but Lunia…
“How did you come out so quickly?”
“Something in the form of the old man was talking gibberish so I cut it down. He was way too weak compared to the real one.”
By ‘old man’, she was probably referring to her grandfather, the Sword Emperor.
As for me, I was like that because I knew it was an illusion but it seemed that Lunia wasn’t even sure whether it was an illusion or not when deciding to cut her grandfather, which… might be slightly questionable.
“What about Alicia?”
Lunia turned her gaze behind me. Looking back, I saw Alicia standing still with unfocused eyes. That seemed to be how it looked on the outside when under the effect of the illusion.
“Nothing strange considering she is the weakest to illusions like these.”
“…I suppose so.”
Turning back to the front, I walked up to Yuel, who had been fidgety for a while.
“S, sorry. I didn’t know… this existed.”
“It’s not your fault so calm down. Anyway, what happens when you don’t wake up from this?”
“I think… you’ll be expelled to the outside.”
“That’s not good.”
“Anyway, it will take some time for Alicia to wake up so let us carry her and move on.”
Saying that, Lunia helped close the vacant eyes of Alicia while carrying her on her shoulders.
“She should wake up soon, right?” Yuel asked.
“All we can do is trust her. Which might be a little challenging,” I replied.
“Alicia will be mad if she heard that.”
After going a bit further in, we finally arrived at the secret land of druids.
“Hmm. So there was a place like this in this mountain range…”
Laid out before us in a slight distance was a city. The mystical scenery of nothing but nature looked breathtakingly magnificent.
“Are they all residents of the forest… druids?”
“Yes. This is a city of druids after all.”
It was then. After sensing a nearby presence, Lunia and I immediately brought out hands to our weapons. A beast appeared from a place that would most certainly be the entrance of the secret land of Findias.
“To think you would break through the fog this fast. Looks like we have some extraordinary guests.”
A beautiful leopard with a lustrous layer of black fur spoke in human language while gazing down at us.
“Doesn’t look like a demonic beast.”
“A hidden technique of a druid, I suppose.”
It seemed that our assumptions were correct, judging from how Yuel opened her mouth trying to say something, only to close her mouth again after hearing our guesses.
“That should be everyone. Excuse me for my bad manners.”
The leopard soon changed into a humanoid figure. Its appearance changed in the blink of an eye into an old druid who appeared so old that it looked like he would need a walking stick no matter where he went.
“Nice to meet you, young druid and fellow friends. I am the druid protecting this Findias, and my name is Uzkias.”
He was the protector of Findias, the hiding place of one of the four great treasures, Claiomh Solais, the sun.
At last, we finally met him.
Following Uzkias, we entered the mystifying lands of Findias.
There was not a single man-made building, and the entire city was filled with tall trees with deep roots. Every one of the citizens looked elegant and mysterious.
“Yuel. Are they all…”
“Yes. They are all my kindred.”
Their eyes were on us outsiders. However, there was no hostility in their eyes and they simply seemed intrigued by our presence. That was the same look I saw on Yuel’s face when we sometimes went downtown for a meal.
“Interesting. A city made only of trees.”
It wasn’t surprising that Lunia was impressed by it because this place called Findias was literally a naturally made city with nothing but tall and thick trees.
Each of the trees looked as if the branches intertwined with themselves to form a shelter. It would definitely be on the Top 15 list of most interesting houses on SNS.
“Are all the houses like this for druids?”
“Yes. Well, the trees and spirits just make our houses for us.”
“Damn. Can I have one if possible?”
“It’s what people would call as ‘green belt1 Green Belt: A real estate terminology about an area in a city where building is prohibited.’ though. Is that okay? Don’t you like money, Mr. Korin?”
“Real estate… is a long-term investment.”
That was unfortunate. My mind was already off thinking about building a resort here with a bunch of stores and developing it into a tourist attraction but… that seemed impossible.
Following Uzkias’s lead, we went into a small and tidy tree house and sat down for a talk.
“It is my first time actually seeing you. Nice to meet you, Sage of Findias.”
“Right, young druid of Avelorn. I am sorry for the tragedy that took place there.”
Yuel was one of the druids living in the forest of Avelorn, which was now destroyed by hordes of demonic beasts. Even though they were from totally different places, Uzkias welcomed Yuel as if she were his distant relative.
“Right. I have heard from the spirits that a young druid was looking for this place. From the request of a fellow called Korin Lork, if I recall correctly.”
“I am Korin Lork.”
“So you are Korin Lork. The karma you have on your shoulders is truly one worthy of a saga.”
Uzkias commented while looking at me. Despite the wrinkles near his eyes, the vitality in his pupils was no different from that of a young man.
“So, young hero. What brings to a remote area like this?”
“Sword of the Sun.”
“I have come to find one of the 4 great treasures left behind by the Danus, Claiomh Solais, the Sword of the Sun.”
“How do you…”
He looked at me with a piercing gaze, scrutinizing me despite his puzzlement.
“I do have the right, because I am here as the first spear of the Queen of Paradise, Erin Danua.”
It was a lie but at the same time it wasn’t. I was the rightful successor of Erin Danua, my master. This alone was a never-changing fact even after me coming back in time.
It was right when I referred to myself as the first spear of my master.
“Kukh, hahk! Hahk! Kya, ha, he, hi… Ho.”
Along with laughter that was hard to forget after hearing once, a man wearing a duster coat walked in after opening the wooden door.
The thin man was as long as a snake. His body was covered with the long duster coat, which thus emphasized his eyes.
His eyes were slit open and thin like those of a snake. Those purple eyes contained a different notion of venom to those of a vampire, and seemed to contain a lethal dose of poison.
He greeted us like we were friends, but did not conceal the ferocious light in his eyes. I knew who this person was.
“I was expecting someone to come, but wasn’t expecting that to be the craziest person.”
“Do you know who I am, o loyal watchdog of the queen? Kuhihih…!”
“What brings Mr. Dun Scaith, the king of beasts, to this place?”
“The same reason as you, young friend who killed Fermack.”
King of Beasts, Dun Scaith.
The monster of ‘Murias’, and the king of dark shade. He was known worldwide as a famous beastman terrorist but…
“Kill Fermack? What? Do you know our professor?”
Just like Fermack Daman, he was one of the subjects of the King of Paradise, Tates Valtazar, who would have become the master of the mid-bosses, Ren and Ron.
“Don’t play the fool with me, kid. I can smell his blood from you; and the smell of an intense fight to death. How did someone as weak as you kill him?”
“Maybe he was just even weaker than me.”
“Ku, kuhuk! Kuhuhuhk…! Wea… weak! Kukukuk…!”
Scaith giggled while grabbing his belly. After suddenly stopping his smile, he looked at me with the eyes of a serpent.
“There is only one throne in the Shadow Paradise, kid. An era of darkness will devour the world and the chosen gods will descend personally onto the world.
I, Dun Scaith the king of beasts, will lead all the beasts to eat up your goddess, leaving not a single bone behind… When that time comes, I shall cut your head and serve it on the prettiest of platters.
“Look at my eyes, kid, and remember it. These are the eyes of a man telling the truth.”
I could hear people gasping behind me, but I wasn’t inexperienced enough to fall for such tricks.
“Your breath stinks. Get rid of your mouth.”
He started grinning like a madman. He giggled while looking at me, before suddenly turning to the side with a flick.
“Stop calling me!
“I told you not to call me!”
Scaith showed his temper. There was no one at the end of his gaze but his outburst was definitely targeted at someone.
“Oh, sorry friends. There was a noisy buddy you see. Kuhihihik…!”
He took a few steps back with a giggle, sat down on the other side, and joined our conversation as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
“What’s wrong? I’m here for the sun as well.”
“Yeah. I figured.”
This was the land of druids. The druids were in a neutral position, and were a separate force from both me and Tates Valtazar. Causing ruckus here would only lower our chances of getting the Claiomh Solais.
“You have quite the unusual enemies, Korin.”
“Hope this shows how rough my life is.”
After we were done with a short war of nerves, Uzkias continued from where he stopped after an empty cough.
“Although both of you want the Claiomh Solais, I do not have the right to give it to you. All I do is test whether you have the right to lay your hands on the sun or not.
As such, I Uzkias, the protector of Findias, will give you an appropriate test.”
“Hihihi. Test… I love tests.”
A test huh.
That’s probably what they did last time as well. Most of the protectors of the secret lands were alive last iteration, and were all neutral.
They were protectors of nature that followed neither the queen nor the king. That was why Tates Valtazar didn’t bother messing with the druids either.
It still should have been Scaith that came here in the last iteration, and the problem was that Valtazar had possessed all 4 treasures near the end. In other words… that meant that Scaith had passed this test.
“Please wait at your respective accommodations. I will tell you the content of the test after a discussion.”
This was different from the main scenario. It wasn’t included in the original storyline of the game, and was an incident that happened outside the experienceable scope of the player.
“I’m expecting many things from you, killer of Fermack.”
I was expecting to come across the King’s subjects quite soon, but what I wasn’t expecting was that I would be contending against them in this manner.
At night, I visited Alicia’s bedroom to see how she was. My plan was to invite her out for dinner if she had woken up from the illusion.
“Alicia. Did you get up?”
Opening the door, I looked at the bed of druids inside the room that contained no light source at all apart from the moonlight. There, I could see that Alicia was still fast asleep.
Did she still not wake up from her illusion? Hopefully, she won’t stay like that until the end.
“Ehew. Please wake up by tomorrow…”
It was when I turned my back to go have dinner.
A hand suddenly grabbed my sleeve and stopped me from leaving. Did she wake up?
“Alicia? Are you… uahhak?!”
She suddenly pulled me in. It happened so abruptly that I ended up being pushed down onto the bed without having any time to defend myself.
A pair of vague eyes were gazing down at me. Her face under the moonlight was giving off a red flush.
Alicia gently whispered into my ears. She then pretended to take something out from my left ring finger… and continued her whisper.
“Brother-in-law… Sister is not coming home tonight.”
“Huh? Sorry? What?”
It was so dumbfounding that I had trouble breathing properly. What in the hell was going on?
Despite my fluster, Alicia continued looking at me with a sensuous gaze. Her clothes slipped past her skin and… she suddenly fell on my chest with a flop.
She fainted into a deep sleep and did not wake up again.
What just happened?
At dawn, Alicia opened her eyes.
Her back ached and her head was ringing in pain due to sleeping on a bed that didn’t have a mattress. Actually, that was just an excuse, and she knew better than anyone the reason behind her headache.
Her entire body was heavy but without caring about that, Alicia blankly stared at the ceiling. The black ceiling with nothing on it acted as a display screen that replayed the illusion she saw at noon.
What she saw was a happy and harmonious family. The two people of her admiration made a lifetime pledge and shared love. She had twelve nephews running up to her while calling her ‘aunty’.
That was a form of happiness that should never be broken. Her older sister was an extremely diligent person, and Korin wasn’t the type to bring tears to the eyes of his spouse either.
Thus, this was the happiest ending possible that everyone should be happy with.
So… why was it that she didn’t feel very comfortable? Why…
『Brother-in-law… Sister is not coming home tonight.』
Why did I do that? Why did I say that? Like, why? Why? Why? WHY?!
“I, I’m sorryyyy… I’m sorryyyyy Sister. Mr. Korinnn…”
The girl gained another secret that she couldn’t share with anyone else.
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- 1Green Belt: A real estate terminology about an area in a city where building is prohibited.