Chapter 370. The Buried Natives (7)
After Hansoo left.
She had continued to climb up.
To rescue the others that Melchizedek had dragged away to use as test subjects.
To resist Clementine’s underlings.
She lamented from time to time.
Why did Hansoo leave them with only a ray of hope and disappear?
Why did he leave behind such a heavy load on their shoulders, never to appear?
But after countless battles.
They had succeeded.
They had defeated their enemies, destroyed Clementine and brought peace to the seven zones.
Everyone had a smile on their face; they destroyed all the Abyssal beings that periodically came down through the elevators.
She had even married, given birth to a child, and was living a happy life.
But this peace had only lasted for a moment.
A new enemy had appeared.
The one who appeared to lead them into war again, even after they were done with all that.
These were his words,
— Do you think I saved you all for no purpose? It was to use you in the war. Stop being lazy and fight. Stand up and pick up your weapons.
The world had once again turned into a sea of flames.
All because of him.
Everything they had built up for the past few decades had crumbled.
“Kang Hansoo! How dare you! You gave us up first! What right do you have!? Why do you want us to fight?!”
Enbi Arin roared in rage as she swung her fists.
She could only see ruins around her.
The city they had built, the civilization they had created.
It was all in ruins.
All because of him.
‘He… seems a bit different?’
The strangeness of her surroundings and Hansoo’s looks confused her for a bit, but she soon shook her head.
She was sure that this was because of some mental shock.
The past few decades had been too real and happy to be fake…
It could not be fake.
‘If only you didn’t exist!’
Enbi Arin swung her fist again.
But it was futile.
Two hands grasped both of her arms as they held her down.
“Let me go, you bastard!”
He’d only sealed her hands.
She could still fight.
Enbi Arin lifted her foot and kicked him in the chest.
A loud sound resonated as the surrounding ground shook.
But Hansoo and his blue armor didn’t even budge a single bit.
She had made a few cracks, but it was only for a moment.
The armor quickly mended itself and returned to how it had been before the impact.
As Enbi Arin clenched her teeth at this sight, Hansoo spoke with a heavy tone:
“Look. Look around you.”
“What? You bastard… You destroyed everything, what do you want me to look a—!”
Kiriel shook her head and prepared to jump in to help Hansoo.
It didn’t look like they could solve this with words.
Whether it was knocking her out or suppressing her entirely, they had to calm her down first.
But Hansoo merely shook his head at Kiriel.
As Kiriel stopped…
… Hansoo’s hands moved from Enbi Arin’s arms to her head.
The two hands started to forcibly move her head.
“Look closely. Look where this is.”
Enbi Arin resisted with all her strength, but she couldn’t move her hands from her head, and only continued to turn her head to the side.
And Enbi Arin could do nothing else but look around her.
The surrounding scenery that she hadn’t looked at in detail because of her focus on Hansoo.
At this moment, Enbi Arin realized.
‘… It’s different.’
It was different.
Something was different.
There were ruins, but it was different.
These were not ruins created by their civilization.
They had not made this.
But it was familiar.
‘Where have I seen this…?’
She thought hard to bring back her memories.
… Enbi Arin realized where she’d seen this.
The hardest battle of all.
The place that used captured humans as fodder for the Quirae.
The place that had trapped her.
The bloodiest battle they experienced.
If the melted-down walls were restored and covered in steel again, it would be just like back then.
‘Wait… No way… I smashed this apart over a dozen years ago?’
Yes, she had.
In the battle fifteen years ago, she had broken past countless walls in this place to rescue the humans trapped within.
And they had used this momentum to deal with Melchizedek and Clementine.
This was also where she had met her husband.
The man who was nothing but happiness to her.
He was like her lucky charm, everything past this battle had been easy.
There were no obstacles anymore, and her comrades continued to rise in number.
This was the turning point.
The turning point in her life from all the hard and painful battles to pure bliss.
Why was this before her eyes?
She should be at the peak of the seven zones.
Not this place of the past.
A sharp pain shot through her head.
And soon, she stopped struggling.
Hansoo spoke with a cold tone.
“It was all a dream. Everything you experienced.”
Hansoo looked at the ugly expression on Enbi Arin and shouted,
“Yes! A long dream. I don’t know where your dream started and ended, but… What you’re seeing now is the reality. Wake up, Enbi Arin!”
And as she heard these words, something started to twist in her head.
The sudden reality caused her to doubt her own memories, that there was something not quite right.
And Hansoo continued to speak.
“If your memory was that of happiness and of things being easy then… that was all a lie. This world… this world is not that kind. This is the reality.”
… Enbi Arin realized what the strange feeling in her head was.
‘Right… It was too easy.’
His words were correct.
Things had been way too easy.
Too easy for a world where their enemies were powerful beyond reason, and God disliked their happiness.
And as she realized this…
… Enbi Arin roared out in rage again.
‘Maybe… maybe it was better to stay asleep.’
Enbi Arin, who sat down after regaining her composure, sighed deeply.
Reality really was harsh.
‘This… We’re only here?’
Enbi Arin thought as she looked at the ruins around her.
The Indigo and Violet Zones that she’d triumphed over was only a figment of her imagination.
Places created from her fear and then set at a level which she could endure and beat.
‘So I struggled for fifteen years just for this…’
Enbi Arin, who had a blank look on her face, suddenly clenched her teeth and stood up.
She didn’t want to have these weak thoughts.
She had long lost her anger due to her previous bout with Hansoo as well as the fit of rage when realizing the truth.
At this moment, she heard a voice.
“You really adjusted quickly.”
Staring at Kiriel’s eyes, Enbi Arin spoke bitterly,
“If I’ve woken up already, then it’s better to forget.”
‘Especially if it was a nightmare.’
She had thought it was a good dream.
But realizing that something like that couldn’t happen in reality, it only changed it to a nightmare.
‘Was she called Kiriel?’
Enbi Arin resumed looking around at the ruins and asked,
“You’re going to keep climbing up?”
There was still the final doorstep.
“Will you come with us?”
Enbi Arin spat out bitterly.
“I’ve… I’ve rested for too long. I must go. I need to repay this debt as well.”
She could not let those who had played around with her just roam around freely.
She could part with Hansoo after that if she really felt like it.
‘Thank you for allowing me to rest properly. In return… I’ll allow you to rest for all eternity.’
Enbi Arin spoke to Hansoo.
“If you’re going to go up, then I’ll guide you from here.”
Confused, Kiriel asked,
“Do you know this place well?”
“Of course. I fought with them for a long time.”
Cutting away the fifteen years and focusing on her memories of Aokan, she started to remember everything in detail.
The ones who she’d fought against.
It had been fifteen years in her dreams, but only a moment in reality.
Her information should be helpful.
Hansoo nodded and stood up.
“Let’s confirm one thing before we go up.”
“Yeah. When I was about to open a treasure chest, ‘somebody’ caused a damn scene.”
“… You bastard.”
Kiriel giggled at Enbi Arin and then asked Hansoo,
“You’re talking about that place below, right?”
Hansoo nodded as he looked towards the bright blue hole in the distance.
“The sounds have stopped. It seems that their fight has ended.”
N-Akuon, who had been listening to N-Aroel, mumbled as he looked at the now silent Aoken.
It looked like the matters below had been wrapped up.
But N-Akuon quickly shook his head and focused on N-Aroel.
Aokan was something the fleet would handle.
For a researcher like him, this was much more interesting.
‘… That can was more insane than we imagined.’
N-Akuon thought of Melchizedek and asked N-Aroel,
“So, is that it? Where’s the fun part?”
N-Aroel shook his head.
“Hmm. The second story is… the race I told you about before.”
N-Aroel pointed towards Aokan below and spoke.