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Chapter 67: Triad Meeting (3)

 

People of the defined an ‘Awakener’ as the following:

One that is out of the system.

Because they were out of the system, their reputation wasn’t well-perceived. It was also due to the terrorist group [Rupture] that had a significant number of Awakeners as their members. And to add on, the reputation of [Rupture] was as the following:

-Rupture? They are doomsayers who create problems.

However, Awakeners still held tremendous value because of their sheer strength and rarity.

All Lords were eager to hire Awakeners and there were cases where the Lord himself was an Awakener.

Jaehwan was one such Awakener. And he was going to train the Leaders.

“Yes, I am thinking of making you into Awakeners.” Jaehwan then continued, “But I do not intend to make all of you into Awakeners.”

“Why is that?”

“Because some of you might not want that.” Jaehwan answered. He remembered what he talked about with Chunghuh regarding ‘Awakening.’

-Kid, you would know since you went through it, but there are three steps to be ‘Awakened’.

The first step was to destroy the world of ‘Adaptation’. This was usually called [Disassemble]. This was what Jaehwan called [Suspicion]. It would allow one to acquire a way to [Disassemble] the world and see the truth hidden behind it.

Jaehwan then looked at the Leaders.

“Some of you have lived too long to understand the Awakening.”

Too long? Yong became confused.

“I don’t get what you are saying.”

“…It means we are too used to this world’s system.”

It was Ryung who answered. She seemed to quickly understand what Jaehwan had said.

“It means we are too used to all the good things like skills or status.”

“I see!”

“…I’m surprised you became a Clan Leader with your level of understanding.”

Ryung spoke sarcastically, to which Yong laughed off.

“Yes, well I was ‘Over-Adapted.'”

An Over-Adapter. One who had overly adapted to the interface system. It was also called ‘Blessed by the System’, which allowed them to quickly adapt to the system, needing less time required to train. Most of the 12 Lords were also these ‘Over-Adapters’. However, they weren’t as powerful as Awakeners.

“Fool, everyone here is an Over-Adapter.” Kanghwang spoke, scolding Yong. As he said, everyone who had become a Leader was an Over-Adapter. That’s when Cayman spoke out.

“I’m not.”

Cayman did not have such a blessing. He had lived for 900 years just putting in the effort and hard work to arrive at his 7th stage. Cayman then said firmly,

“And I am ready, Master.”

“To become an Awakener?”

Cayman nodded.

“It won’t be easy.”

“Is it because I am too used to the system?”

“That is correct.”

“Don’t worry,” Cayman answered coldly. “If I can become more powerful, I am ready to put this ‘world’ behind.”

“Cayman! Do you know what you are talking about?!” It was Ryung who shouted angrily.

“It means that you will give up everything you have built up! Are you really ready to throw away all of your skills and status?!”

It was the other Leaders who reacted to Ryung’s words. These were Leaders who had lived 200 to 1000 years. They had spent much time and effort to reach where their current level.

“Well, that’s a bit much I guess…”

Kanghwang mumbled, and Yong seemed to agree with him. Jaehwan thought as he watched them.

‘I thought so.’

He had already expected such a reaction. The Way of Awakening was full of uncertainty. There was no need for high-stage Adapters to take that risk. However, Cayman turned to Ryung and calmly replied,

“I am ready to put all of that behind me. I will only bring my hate towards the Lords.”

They were cold words. Ryung hesitated for a second and spoke.

“…It will not end at that. You must know how dangerous the Awakening can be.”

“…”

“Don’t say that you forgot about the [Great Disappearance].”

Some leaders turned grim, while others became confused. Jaehwan was also included in the latter. It was Yong who asked, “What’s the [Great Disappearance]?”

He was the youngest among the leaders so he had the least amount of knowledge about history. Ryung bit on her lip and explained.

“I assume those of you older than me would know. There is a reason why the word ‘Awakener’ would have such a bad reputation.”

“What happened?”

“It all happened with the appearance of [Rupture].”

[Rupture]. There was no one who did not know that organization in the . The infamous militant group that was comprised of Awakeners. That was [Rupture].

“They appeared in the 700 years ago.”

The appearance of [Rupture]. It was considered a terrifying day even until now.

-We will fight against [Cultivation].

The terrorist group [Rupture] appeared, declaring such an agenda. This infuriated many Lords of the . The one who was angered the most, was the then Lord of the 4th region, Mayhart. He was the one who did not believe rumors about Awakeners.

-Awakeners or not, I’ll kill them with my pinky.

And the next day, he was found dead, with his pinky finger cut off and stuck in his heart.

It was then that everyone began to fear [Rupture].

Mayhart was the weakest of the 12 Lords, but he still was a Lord. Yet, this organization had the power to assassinate the Lord in his bedroom. Then [Rupture] made a declaration.

-Everyone can become an Awakener. If you are willing to try, come to the ‘Forgotten Lands’.

People were shocked. Some Adapters even became hopeful that they could become Awakeners.

-Deny the world.

Countless Adapters gathered to the Forgotten Lands where the [Rupture] headquarters was rumored to be located at. However, nothing came back.

All those people who gathered in the Forgotten Lands just disappeared.

Some said they had become Awakeners, while others said they had gone mad. Some even believed they were used as test specimens by [Rupture] and were trashed. But they were all rumors and none of the people who went to the Forgotten Lands returned.

This was later called the [Great Disappearance].

“Some of my friends also went missing.”

The Leaders quietly listened to Ryung. It was rare for even Leaders to hear about [Great Disappearance].

“However, there were some who managed to return as Awakeners. They said they were only at the 1st step of Awakening.”

Jaehwan was also listening carefully. He asked, “What happened to them?”

“…They all killed themselves.”

The Leaders gasped.

“They all had severe mental trauma. Some were literally mad, while some lost all their memories. But they all had one thing in common.”

“And what was that?”

“They all said that they were not sure who they were.”

Kanghwang then asked, “Fools! How can they not know?”

“Are you insulting my friends?”

“No! I’m just saying… how can you not?” Kanghwan continued, “I’m Kanghwang of the Fire King Clan! See, I know myself.”

Ryung refused to answer. She felt stupid to even react to that. It was only Jaehwan who seemed to understand as he seemed to be concerned by the story.

‘Maybe this man knows something about that.’

Then, Jaehwan spoke up.

“Ryung.”

Ryung flinched, surprised at being called out.

“Let me tell you two things. First of all, I’m not from [Rupture].”

Ryung gasped. ‘He knew what I was up to.’

Ryung intentionally mentioned [Rupture] for one reason. She wanted to know where Jaehwan had come from. Anyone in the would be reminded of [Rupture] when they heard the term Awakener. [Rupture] was too dangerous to be associated with. If Jaehwan was from [Rupture], it would put their lives in jeopardy.

“Secondly, Awakening can be dangerous. That’s why I have no intention of making all of you into Awakeners.”

“You mean…”

“I will take volunteers.”

Jaehwan then glanced at Cayman. Ryung asked again,

“What of those who refuse to become Awakeners?”

“I will make them stronger too.”

“But how?”

“Increase their Adaptation stage.”

Ryung became disappointed. She had expected something different, but the plan just seemed too normal. It also had a critical problem.

“In one week?”

“Yes.”

“That’s impossible.”

“Why do you think so?”

“Let me tell you two things.”

Ryung imitated Jaehwan as she spoke, “First is ‘time’.”

The problem of time. All Leaders understood what Ryung said. It took them hundreds of years to reach the 6th or 7th stage. But now, they only had a week.

“I can solve that problem.”

“…How?”

Jaehwan then thought for a moment.

‘Well, I guess it’s about finished by now.’

He turned to the Leaders.

“Follow me.”

It was a large empty space behind the keep. In the center was a giant circular single-story building that looked like a cut-off tree stump. There were architects and workers working on the finishing touches of the building.

“A building made of horns.”

The leaders were astonished at the surface of the building. Only Chunghuh was not surprised as he knew about it being built. One of the workers came up to them. It was a muscular old man with a hammer.

“Master, you’re here.”

Everyone knew who he was.

“Vice-Chief?”

“Why is the Vice-Chief of Twilight’s Fall working here?”

It was Meikal Garnad. Jaehwan asked, “Is it finished?”

“Almost. It’s a bit crude because we only had a week, but it will work. Only…”

“Only?”

“The control of corruption isn’t working out.”

“That’s okay. I have enough horns for that.”

Jaehwan glanced at the building and asked, “Can you start it now?”

“Of course.”

“Then show them.”

Meikal nodded and went to the control panel outside of the building. He seemed like he was very proud of what he had built.

“I couldn’t even dream of making it until now…”

“You could’ve done it a long time ago. You just didn’t think of doing it.”

“Thank you, Master.”

Meikal smiled. He then activated a switch, turning on the lights in the building. A message popped up in front of Jaehwan and the other leaders.

[Will you accept the summon?]

Jaehwan’s expression was cold at the sight of the message.

‘I didn’t think that I would see this message again.’

Jaehwan answered, as did the other Leaders. The next moment, they were in a different place. They quickly realized that they were now inside the building they had seen and that they knew the place very well. It was stored away, deep in their oldest memories, but they had not forgotten. One of them moaned.

“Tower of Nightmares…!”

They were greeted with a message window.

[Welcome to Tower of Nightmare: Carpediem]


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