It seemed like Yoonhwan wasn’t excited to hear it. Imai was annoyed and he tried to speak, but Mirel stopped him. She seemed to be intrigued.
“Yes, you might have questions if you are new to Rupture. I guess you know the basics of Awakening from the way you are asking questions?”
Yoonhwan answered while blushing, “Y-yes. I heard that it was the power that was created to fight the system.”
“Right. Then do you know what the ‘unique world’ actually is?”
Yoonhwan then cited what he learned when he joined.
“It is the world that an Awakener creates to keep his sanity to withstand the flood of information. It is what you get eventually once you become a 3rd or higher step Awakener…”
“You’ve been well educated.”
Mirel glanced over at Kashim, to which Kashim shrugged. Mirel then spoke.
“I guess your question can be summarized into this. If all Awakeners can create their own ‘unique worlds’, why does ‘Rupture’ force the use of the ‘unique world’? Why is that necessary?”
“And, you might be thinking that it’s like this. You barely escaped from the System, but why is it necessary to get the ‘unique world’? Isn’t it same as being locked up in another System?”
“I- I didn’t think to that extent.”
Yoonhwan quickly responded and Mirel laughed softly.
“Don’t worry. It’s a natural question. All the Captains here also had the same question before.”
“Count me out.”
“Of course, Imai. You’re an idiot.”
Mirel ignored him and continued, “Your name was Yoonhwan?”
“Yes, ma’am. Kim Yoonhwan from World 294.”
“World 294… That’s good. I’ve recently been interested in books from World 294.”
Mirel continued, “Okay, think about this. Let’s say you are a 15-year-old right now.”
Yoonhwan wasn’t sure why age mattered, but he nodded anyway.
“You lost your parents and all of your family by accident. You cannot play the computer game that you love so much, or the books that you like to read. You cannot even go to school. Your entire life is shut off from the world.”
Yoonhwan imagined himself as a 15-year-old who lost everything, including his family. It wasn’t hard to imagine.
“The ‘world’ suddenly became very dangerous for you. The world now forces you to become an ‘adult’. You now have to think and act like one.”
Yoonhwan felt his heart sink.
“And, there are people who are after the will of your parents. There are people who are trying to undermine you while you are lost in your loneliness.”
The Captains were now concentrating on Mirel’s story.
“And you, at the age of 15, you have to fight the world with your limited wisdom. But there is a problem. You don’t have much information. The only information you have is about a computer game and a book.”
“What will you then? Do you think you could keep yourself together? With just a computer game and a book?”
Yoonhwan shook his head, “I probably can’t.”
“Right. That would be the outcome in most cases.”
Mirel then became silent. Yoonhwan realized what she meant by the silence.
“You’re saying that it will make me 15-year-old with more information.”
Mirel smiled, “You are quick to understand. Right, that is what Rupture is doing. We are giving you ‘ways’ to fight against adults.”
“And that is the ‘unique world’ from the Rupture?”
“We call it ‘Sea of Blood, Mountain of Corpses’.”
“That is a terrifying name.”
“But it is fitting enough to fight against bad adults, right?”
She was right.
“Awakeners who receive a new unique world are mentally very weak. If you earn the ‘Sea of Blood, Mountain of Corpses’, however, it becomes a different story. You are still a 15-year-old, but a strong one at that. No adult will look down on you.”
Yoonhwan became excited. He was going to receive the power to fight against Lords and Vicegerents. He’d receive the power to change the world. That’s when Imai interrupted.
“Boring. So, what is the new method anyway?”
“I will show you now, so please don’t interrupt.”
Soon, Mirel guided Yoonhwan and Seoyul to the small dome inside the lab. The dome’s entrance closed and Seoyul looked at Yoonhwan with a concerned look. Mirel’s voice came to them.
-Don’t be afraid. Everyone within [Rupture] has gone through this.
The space around them then distorted immediately. There were now millions of people on a large, swampy land. Yoonhwan had a sword in his hand. Was this an illusion? Or was it real?
With her voice as a signal, a fight broke out. Yoonhwan frantically dodged the sword that was swung at him. There were familiar faces around him. He remembered their names. Sakamoto, the Science Teacher, Hwang Inchan the Swordpanic, Jay the Blacksmith… those were the members who fought through Tower of Nightmare with him before.
-Fight, until you kill them all.
Yoonhwan then realized where he was now. Kashim once told him that most of the members of Rupture were from what happened 700 years ago, when millions of people killed each other.
Screaming came from all sides as people killed each other. It was the repeat of what happened 700 years ago. This was worse than the Tower of Nightmares.
-If you become the last one standing, you will earn the [Sea of Blood, Mountain of Corpses] and become the strongest 15-year-old.
Yoonhwan remembered Mirel’s smile as she pushed him into the dome. He felt a chill from the smile as he thought about it. He felt like crying.
He wanted to say that he didn’t want this. He wanted to become strong, but did not want something like this. Yet in next moment, he felt a sharp pain in his back. Thick, warm liquid was flowing down his back. He turned and there was a face that he wanted to see.
The sword penetrated deeper and Yoonhwan moaned.
Yoonhwan realized this was an illusion. There was no way that his only friend would try to kill him. But he wasn’t so sure at the same time. Was this an illusion?
-Don’t worry. You will feel pain, but you won’t die. If you die, everything will start again.
Even if it was an illusion, could he forget everything he did because it was just an illusion?
-Remember. You will leave this place until you are the last one standing.
Yoonhwan fell to his knee. He thought it wasn’t important if this was an illusion. There was something more important. No matter what it was, if he killed Jaehwan right now, he’d be an entirely different being from before.
He would only earn the power to get revenge by killing a friend he cared about. That was the only truth he had.
Jaehwan went on to kill others as he thought he had finished off Yoonhwan. Yoonhwan looked over to Jaehwan’s back. He stood and saw Jaehwan’s back clearly.
It was the back he trusted. It was the back he followed for a long, long time. Many thoughts passed by him. There were the memories of terror within the tower, and the fear of the future for being weak. Hatred toward his weak self. Despair and mourn… and the anger.
He clenched his sword as he walked forward.