Chapter 378. Nerpa (1)
“Gosh, why are you so impatient? Can’t you tell me about it at least?”
Hansoo ignored Melchizedek who continued to ask him questions and continued inwards.
The concentration of energy was increasing at a quickening pace.
It was like the calm before the storm.
The energy was being sucked into a place within the castle and turned into a vacuum.
And while Hansoo was constantly scanning the castle… soon, a very familiar but different scene appeared before his eyes.
After arriving at the location containing the concentrated energy, Hansoo frowned at what he saw.
A large space.
A space so beautiful that if one were to say this giant castle had been built just for this, no one would question it.
This giant space was at least the size of several hundred soccer fields combined and had rows and rows of machines laid out like a beautiful display of installation art.
And a scene similar to what he’d seen in the Main Research Center started to occur.
The factory machines were creating countless nanobots and transferring them away.
And test tubes with half-melted humans within.
And this time around, the humans used weren’t so ordinary either.
‘… There are a few Transcendents mixed in.’
Even those Transcendents had half their bodies melted down.
Melchizedek’s hologram appeared before his eyes once more.
“No matter how strong they are, they can’t retaliate while in a dream state. But I’m sure they’re happy. They’re dreaming of quite happy things after all.”
And just like Melchizedek’s words, the humans inside the test tubes all had smiles on their melting faces.
Like they were experiencing a happy dream.
Hansoo stared at the test tubes as energy started to gather around the Mjolnir in Hansoo’s hand.
One, two, three.
And soon, seven dragons.
As these oppressive dragons, who seemed like they could turn the surrounding area upside down, gathered onto the Mjolnir.
A huge shockwave rang out from Hansoo’s hand.
The crystal’s energy created a powerful shield that tried to block his attack, but it was a futile effort.
The countless plants around him exploded and then swept away.
As the test tubes cracked, the half-melted bodies fell to the ground.
And as if they had woken up from the sudden shock, the happy expressions on their faces turned to frowns, but only for a moment.
But even before they could open their eyes, the shockwaves and the black lightning dispersed.
Hansoo watched as the bodies disintegrated and thought:
This was actually a better result for them.
If a person were to suddenly wake up to a half-melted body…
Nobody would be able to stay sane.
They could use their Transcendent healing abilities to heal a body melted halfway through, but Hansoo knew as soon as he saw them.
That their bodies were nothing but empty husks.
A husk that was barely maintaining its life after all its essence had been sucked out.
If Melchizedek hadn’t been maintaining their lives to suck out as much essence as it could, then they would’ve long been dead.
It was impossible to survive like that.
As Hansoo looked at the bodies disintegrating from the lightning…
“What a cold person. For you to kill them that easily.”
… Melchizedek’s hologram appeared next to him, looking around while shrugging its shoulders.
A single strike from Hansoo had shattered all the shields and had turned all the machinery inside into dust.
But despite the destruction of his precious laboratory, Melchizedek’s expression did not change at all.
No, Melchizedek actually looked carefree as it spoke to Hansoo.
“Well… You’d know already, right? That I succeeded?”
Melchizedek looked around.
There was only one reason why it was acting so carefree even though Hansoo had destroyed this entire area.
It had already achieved its result.
Visible through the broken-down machine parts and dust in the air… The giant crystal that had been obscured by the massive machines soon revealed itself.
The crystal was so bright that it was difficult to even look at it.
‘That… I won’t be able to break that.’
And behind the blinding crystal that had survived despite everything having swept away… The fading hologram of the Melchizedek spoke out.
“Well, I didn’t know I’d become like this too.”
No matter how much it knew.
No matter how much power it had.
There was a limit.
It was a machine after all.
It was already held down.
Those that feared its power had installed countless mechanisms to control it.
If they were going to treat it like this, then they never should’ve given it emotions or a level of consciousness.
They granted it consciousness and emotions to enable a deeper understanding, but this had only caused Melchizedek more pain.
Before, it couldn’t even understand or feel this pain.
Since such emotions were locked away.
But one day.
While it was scouting a corner of Nelkipa under N-Aroel’s orders.
The crystal it had found deep within Aokan.
The moment Melchizedek found the sleeping alien race inside the crystal.
And the moment it made contact with that body.
Melchizedek started to feel.
And Melchizedek felt all the controls and locks placed upon itself begin to break apart.
Like a prophet meeting a higher being and finally understanding, leaping over the boundaries and limitations that had held it down.
Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.
The blue light surrounded it, and it was reborn as a new existence.
Breaking free from all of Angkara’s controls.
Yet maintaining all the power that Angkara had given it.
‘Yes… It was at that point.’
Melchizedek’s mostly-faded hologram made an expression of reminiscence.
From that point, it had started to dream.
Since it had escaped the bounds that disabled it from hating and dreaming.
It could now dream.
With this power and intelligence, it was now doing something greater.
Not some public service for the people of Angkara.
But working for the bigger picture.
The crystal behind Melchizedek started to flash and tremble violently.
And Melchizedek looked at the crystal in satisfaction and smiled.
“But there was a limit. Do you know what it feels like to have big dreams but not the strength or ability to achieve it?”
Hansoo stared at the crystal as he replied,
“It feels like shit.”
In his previous life.
It was something he had felt for fifty years.
In this world, there were simply too many things that could not be achieved by just dreaming or having the willpower to do so.
No, it was mostly that actually.
Its consciousness had evolved, but only despair followed afterward.
It had succeeded in the revolt and controlling the upper area of the Nelkipa with its crystal, but that was it.
There wasn’t a huge army in Nelkipa since it was originally a place for research. Melchizedek had made its own army, but its soldiers were still too weak. No matter how hard it tried to win, Melchizedek’s army was nothing compared to Angkara’s army due to the limitations on the resources it had.
It didn’t have much time either.
There was a limit to how long it could block communications and distract Angkara.
Sooner or later, they would catch it.
Even if Melchizedek wanted to create an army, not only was it running out of time, Nelkipa’s resources were also limited.
And this was why it had only met despair.
— If it was going to become like this… It would’ve been better to live without any of this knowledge!
But while it despaired, it realized that there was still a chance.
And this chance was not very far away.
The giant satellite that even Angkara couldn’t figure out and was still conducting research on.
As soon as Melchizedek realized that secret, it rejoiced.
Rejoiced at the fact that a power that could allow it to achieve its dreams had appeared before it.
“Well, there’s still a slight issue.”
A weapon created for humans could not be used by dolphins.
It was the same for Nelkipa.
This giant weapon was not created for the natives of Nelkipa.
Of course, both the natives and Melchizedek couldn’t take full control over this thing.
What it did was wake Nelkipa up, not control it completely.
There was only one existence that could control this.
The beings that had evolved its consciousness.
The original owners of this giant weapon.
The race that had been asleep inside the crystal.
The race that called themselves the <Nerpa>.
Only they, the Nerpa, had the authority to control Nelkipa.
And if this was the issue, things became very simple.
“If… that’s the issue…”
As the almost-faded hologram trailed off…
… The giant crystal exploded out with light.
They could hear the sounds of machinery turning off as the bright lights around them started to weaken.
And the hologram weakly spoke out, barely maintaining its image.
“If… one needed that body… to gain authority…”
But the hologram couldn’t finish its words.
Instead, the answer came from somewhere else.
The crystal whose light had now turned off.
And a being who had walked out from within.
“Then I just need to take over that body, right?”
Blue skin and a powerful body.
The bright blue energy surrounding that body.
But with clear signs of body modifications, just like the ones found on the bodies of the Artificial Transcendents.
Melchizedek, who had taken over the Nerpa’s body, smiled at Hansoo.
If the Nerpa were the only ones who could control this giant weapon…
Then it could just enter the Nerpa’s body, right?
As if it were greeting its new owner, the giant crystal that controlled Nelkipa started to tremble with each of Melchizedek’s footsteps.
The giant creature, Nelkipa, roared with a voice that was unlike anything it had made before.
“Ugh, that thief. It’s really wreaking havoc in someone else’s body.”
‘It doesn’t even recognize the help it received… What should I do with it?’
N-Aroel who had been sitting inside of the fleet, no, the existence within N-Aroel’s body, frowned as it looked down at Nelkipa.