Chapter 338. 5th Area, Old Blue Zone (3)
“You’re going to stay?”
Hansoo asked Ekidu before going up on the elevator.
“Somebody needs to stay behind and help. I need to find those Ains who’ve hidden themselves and get their blessings as well. Don’t activate this randomly, okay?”
Hansoo smiled bitterly as he looked at Ekidu, who had filled herself with the Pandemic Blade’s spores. But he soon nodded.
‘Time to go up. It’s really been a long time since I’ve gone up with somebody else next to me.’
Hansoo mumbled to himself as he looked at Kiriel next to him.
Kiriel was smiling with an extremely happy expression.
And Hansoo thought back to the past.
“…Will this really be fine?”
The mission that he had on this shoulders was too heavy and too difficult for him to trust with some random passersby and continue on his way.
The Abyssal Beasts weren’t pushovers and Clementine wouldn’t just stay idle.
No, the environment in each of the seven zones were an issue as well.
Though he had become much stronger, these guys weren’t something that powers like Tiamet, the Satellite Fortresses, or the Gragos could suppress.
They weren’t beasts prepared for the adventurers, but instead were closer to natural disasters.
And it was the same for the zones above.
So it was hard to trust anybody in a situation like this.
‘… But this still feels shitty as hell.’
Inserting the spores of the Pandemic Blade inside his friends and comrades was a really crappy job to do.
Even more so if they’d been with him for a long time.
But for her to willingly receive the spores to follow him…
Kiriel didn’t have a single hint of dissatisfaction on her face either, only glee.
“Whatever. It’s not like you’re going to make me do anything weird, right?”
“You never know.”
“Well, that’s for the future. I’ll be a lot of help to you anyway, right?”
Hansoo shook his head.
She was right.
In a world where anything could pop up from anywhere, the trait of Psychometry that could read the traces of the past was an extremely helpful ability.
Even more so in a situation like this.
Karhal and Ekidu chuckled at the two, and then pushed them into the elevator.
“Goodbye! If you ever meet that Sangjin… Or your other friends. Send them my greetings.”
And as Hansoo nodded, the doors of the elevator closed.
The elevator, now filled up with crystals, started to rise up with Hansoo and Kiriel inside it.
‘It’s impossible to guess what happened to the upper zones.’
Hansoo stretched his body as he prepared to battle.
He knew about the 5th zone, the Blue Zone of the past.
But he didn’t know how the 5th zone might have changed from all the fights between the transcendents.
Kiriel watched Hansoo, copying his movements and stretching her body as well.
“You’re preparing in case of an ambush, right?”
By now, they would know that the Ark-Roa had been killed and a soul fragment had been wasted.
If Clementine had already messed with the Blue Zone.
And if he was Clementine…
‘I would strike the moment we got off the elevator.’
As she continued to stretch and practice her various skills next to Hansoo, Kiriel asked in confusion:
“If the opponent is so strong, then is there a need for us to go up right now? We can just train more, and…”
Though it would take longer to gain strength below, they could still become stronger before coming up.
But Hansoo shook his head.
‘There’s no time.’
There wasn’t much time left until the Abyss fully collapsed.
He’d been asleep for two years.
He’d been active for about a year before he fell asleep.
Which meant that in about six months or so, the barrier between the Abyss and the Otherverse was going to completely break apart.
He needed to get up to the Violet Zone and activate the <Noah>.
He needed to devour the whole ‘Plant’ within it and obtain a firmer footing towards the Abyss.
For him to hide in the lower floors when he barely had time to accomplish his goals?
What difference would there be between him and the cowards who ran the nursery?
The fairies had given him some minor goals.
Everytime he killed a substantial abyssal being, he would get a reward.
The Immortal Soul’s mastery wouldn’t rise by itself, either.
It would only increase as his body shredded apart and his soul felt in danger of destruction.
‘All or nothing.’
Even if he avoided the fight, everything would end once the wall fell apart.
It might be after the abyss collapsed, from fighting the mobs of Clementine’s underlings and the other powerful beings of the abyss.
Or he might die valiantly while fighting against Clementine’s underlings on the way up.
Both outcomes would be failures in his books.
Which meant that there was only one answer left.
‘… I will finish things up within these six months.’
Either he smashed apart all of Clementine’s forces and placed them in the frontlines against the Abyss.
Or Clementine gets the last laugh.
Hansoo chuckled as he thought of Clementine in the past.
He couldn’t imagine Clementine laughing, no matter what.
‘We could never see through his thoughts.’
Other than his hatred for humankind, he was someone whose thoughts were unknown to all.
Hansoo thought to himself as he grasped his hammer tighter.
‘Should I not have broken the limits?’
If he hadn’t done so, then he would’ve been the only one with the right to become a transcendent in the entirety of the seven zones.
He wouldn’t even have to care about Clementine’s underlings then.
Since he could just smash them all apart with a finger.
He would also be able to obtain the legacy artifacts of the three upper zones with much more ease.
But he shook his head.
‘He won’t be letting things go that easy.’
Hansoo couldn’t imagine Clementine saying something like,
— Ahhh! How could you become so strong!
Even if he didn’t break the limits.
Clementine would’ve done something.
Even if it destroyed the entire Otherverse, Clementine would stop him.
And what use would that be?
He would need to face the Abyss alone at that point.
‘We will see. As to how you’ve prepared.’
As he looked towards the elevator’s door with the hammer in his hand.
The giant elevator made huge noises as it slowed down.
Meaning it had arrived at the 5th zone, the Blue zone.
The white inner walls of the elevator opened up.
But at that moment…
… Kiriel was shocked at the sudden loss of air.
‘What the… It’s a vacuum?’
It felt like the windows of an airplane had popped off.
And not only that…
… An intense wave of heat smashed against them.
Kiriel frowned at this horrific environment.
No matter how strong she had become, she was still a human.
Though she wouldn’t die immediately from a vacuum, if this situation continued for a long time then her ability to fight would naturally decrease.
‘I didn’t learn any survival-related skills, damn. What the hell happened to the 5th zone?’
Since she had come after everything had settled, she didn’t know what the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th zones had been like, but she still knew that they hadn’t been this harsh.
But as Kiriel was still reeling from this current situation.
A translucent aura came out from Hansoo’s body and surrounded both of their bodies.
The surrounding air became much more bearable.
The intense heat died down as the oxygen was compressed around their bodies.
And Kiriel looked at Hansoo in shock as she felt the strong amount of life aura within the colorless aura.
‘This is the Spirit, huh?’
An ability she had not received because the people before her had caused a ruckus.
‘He protected me. Heheh.’
Kiriel stared at Hansoo with a smile, but then quickly woke up from her stupor.
This wasn’t the right time for such a thing.
A red light exploded out from Kiriel’s body.
A detection type skill mixed in with her trait.
Though she wouldn’t be able to read too deeply like this, she could still read a large area around her.
It was the best method for finding ambushes or traps.
But Kiriel shook her head as she scanned the area.
There were no ambushes set up.
Hansoo took a glance at Kiriel’s shocked expression, and then turned around.
Towards the distant sky.
And Kiriel freaked out even more as she looked at the sky.
‘… What is this place?’
Kiriel frowned as she walked out from the elevator, looking intently at the sky.
A completely dark sky.
This wasn’t nighttime.
At this moment, Hansoo spoke out.
“… The protective barrier broke.”
A translucent blue barrier was covering the entire sky as if it were trying to defend against the darkness.
The issue was that this blue barrier was not complete.
The blue barrier that had been made from tens of thousands of giant hexagonal shapes had hundreds of its hexagons broken or missing.
And through those holes, the air was continuously being sucked out.
And in the process, also brought in heat.
Kiriel realized the situation as she looked at the giant barrier and the scene below.
‘… What is this place? Is it like a moon? No, it’s not a moon. Is it a space station?’
Kiriel mumbled to herself as she looked around.
The entire floor was made of artificial materials like steel, so it couldn’t be a moon.
But there was only a broken-down city above that ground.
The metal shelters were melting down from the heat, seeping in through the holes in the barrier.
‘… This is a place where humans live? Damn, was this the original difficulty of the Blue Zone?’
As Kiriel mumbled at the extremely artificial-looking world that didn’t have a single trace of a human, Hansoo was also lost in thought.
‘That’s not breakable…?’
That would be too much, even for Clementine.
Even though Clementine was a handful, the original rulers should be in this zone.
The owners of the Yellow Zone were the Sages, followed by the Higher Races. And the owner of the Green Zone was Tiamet.
Then there was also the owner of the 5th zone.
The Machine King.
That was what his friends had called him in the past.
‘I guess I’ll need to figure out why that thing broke.’
Hansoo mumbled as he glanced at the giant space colony that should’ve been under the control of Melchizedek as Kiriel curiously swept through the area.