SSS-Class Suicide Hunter - Chapter 241 - We Sat in the Living Room of an Old City(2)
[‘The Lady Who Walks Through the Mirage’ is manifesting.]
In an instant, the light that descended from the sky broke into small pieces that floated down.
Countless petals, petals, petals…
The shiny white petals fell into the courtyard. The petals only had color, they didn’t have an outline or scent, so they resembled transparent butterflies dancing beautifully.
Then, in the midst of the fluttering petals, one of the Tower’s pillars stretched with all their might.
“Long time no see! Everyone!”
The pillar. The Lady Who Walks Through the Mirage was a blonde little girl.
The Lady used the petals like a staircase as she descended from the sky with small hops. Those of us in the courtyard looked at the scene which looked like a god dancing as she descended to the ground.
“How have you all been? Were you all satisfied with the vacation I gave you?”
Finally, the Lady’s shoes crushed the last petal and she stepped onto the ground. The crushed petals turned into white dust before disappearing without a trace.
“Iya, Death King. It’s so lovely to see you together with your beloved lover and beloved son.”
The Lady looked around. Surrounding her were those who had once carried the yoke of hundred ghosts, but had now gained living bodies.
“Right. It seems you had a really great holiday, Death King.”
The Lady seemed to realize something.
Then, she turned her head to look right at me.
“It’s been a long time, Lady.”
“Huh. I sent you here to take a break. But what is this, instead of a holiday it seems you did something unimaginable. Death King, why do they have physical forms? Why have they returned to their primes?”
“I did what I always do.”
I spread my palm.
“I got a good skill, and used it for good.”
When the skill opened, a golden skill card appeared. Upon seeing the golden card, the Lady’s eyebrows furrowed.
“[Earth Bone Dragon’s Skull]…? Wait a minute. This,”
“Yes. It’s a skill your mother has.”
“I know you’re the Tower Master’s first daughter. And I also know that the Tower Master’s real name is Ja Soo-jung.”
The Lady’s expression stiffened.
The more words I continued to say, the more the surrounding atmosphere darkened.
With a ‘hng’, the Lady tilted her head and looked at me.
“Right. You really learned a lot, Death King.”
“Awesome. Amazing. Ng, I’m not joking. It really is a sincere compliment. Because if you have a copy of mom’s skill, that means you died to her once— In that case, did you see it?”
The Lady gently grabbed my forearm.
Then, she leaned her body like a snake, and whispered into my ear.
“How much did you see?”
It was only then that I realized that the faces of the Lady and the Tower Master were similar. Both of them had brilliant blond hair that would make platinum blondes envious. They also had the same habit of whispering into other people’s ears.
“I fell right in the center of the Noble Council that the Tower Master was attending.”
“Aha. Um, aha. So?”
“I eventually realized just how rotten the world the Tower Master was living in was. And how Ja Soo-jung saved such a place. And that she went on to become a Duke.”
“Is that all?”
“And I also found out about the Golden Rule.”
The Lady closed her lips.
[‘The Lady Who Walks Through the Mirage’ is shocked.]
It seemed she hadn’t expected me to get so far.
“There I saw the Tower Master’s will. The Tower Master intends to bear all the wounds occurring in the world.”
“Mom isn’t saying that lightly. She really intends to create that kind of world.”
The Lady’s voice was weak.
“A world where everyone blames just one person, so that there are no more [people who were wrong for being born]. A world where mom is the only person who was wrong for being born.”
Her eyes seemed to be looking somewhere else.
“In the past, when the light of reason was extinguished, people were engulfed in fear. They used scapegoats to alleviate that fear and dump sins and pain. Just like the Snail Empire that heretic created.”
All of this happened because of you.
“The world of primitive religion, which was created to try to soothe people’s feelings and logically wraps in the conclusions of human history, overlaps with mom’s world.”
All of this happened because of me.
The Lady, who said those words, didn’t actually look happy at all.
However, soon enough, the Lady’s tone of voice changed as if she was trying to change her mood.
“In any case, Death King, you managed to come back after going there. You’re a lot tougher than I expected. I’m not the type of person to give compliments, but I think I need to. That’s awesome.”
With an ‘O-!’ sound, the Lady clapped her hands together.
[‘The Lady Who Walks Through the Mirage’ praises you.]
“You’re welcome to give me compliments. But you should send us to the next stage first. The holiday was longer than expected. I have to think about my colleagues waiting up there.”
“Huh, well, I already took care of that so you don’t have to worry. But okay.”
The Lady looked around.
“Then let’s tear you apart. I’ll send Raviel to the world with the Somerwin Academy. Should I send the Constellation Killer to the Planetarium Cafe? Hng, the 999 cult members are a problem. For the time being, you can train in the Murim…”
“You don’t have to do that.”
I took the Lady’s hand.
“The people here. Everyone except for Raviel. Will participate in the next stage attack.”
The Lady crossed her arms.
“What are you talking about? Floors 30 to 40 are only accessible to the highest ranked Hunters. I know your warriors are strong, but they haven’t yet been ranked.”
I was still holding the Lady’s wrist.
“They’re going up to the next stage with me.”
“Not just this stage, but the next stage, and the stage after that. They will continue to move with me until we see the end of the Tower.”
Words that didn’t conform to the rules.
Behavior that wasn’t tolerated in the Tower.
I was saying [it’s okay] as if it didn’t matter.
The Lady’s lips curled.
“How will you do that? What authority do you have?”
“I don’t have any authority. All I have is what we talked about when you first arrived, it’s just this skill.”
I showed her the [Earth Bone Dragon’s Skull] card.
“They are all tied to my skill [Earth Bone Dragon’s Skull].”
“And in the books of Apocalypse, which also accepted a limited number of people, I wrote ‘the Hundred Ghosts Reincarnation’.”
I spoke forcefully.
“In other words, the addition of people according to a skill, does not violate the rules of the Tower.”
“Heh. In other words?”
“It is the same this time. I possess the [Earth Bone Dragon’s Skull], and there are about 1,000 people from my family clan bound to it. Therefore, it would be correct to interpret it as the 1,000 troops of my family clan being attached to me.”
“Our Death King doesn’t have a habit of playing by the rules.”
The Lady smiled mischievously.
“However, weren’t the hundred ghosts your summoned beasts? These guys are living humans. Or is Death King trying to say that you treat them as your summoned beasts? Or are you trying to request another pillar council again because there is an interpretation problem.”
The Lady was without a doubt the Tower Master’s daughter. The smile that hung from her lips as she turned around with her hands behind her back was reminiscent of a snake’s glistening scales.
“I’m telling you, the probability of you receiving support in the pillar council again wouldn’t be very high. Especially if it’s made known that you have mom’s skill.”
“You saw the Kingdom’s noble council, didn’t you? There were many people who worshiped mom and just as many that hated her. Naturally, this is the same among the pillars. Death King, the fact that you have mom’s skill alone is enough to offend—”
I interrupted her.
I asked the lady whose head was tilted.
“Lady. What is a [skill] to you?”
Hng, after making a sound, the Lady immediately replied without hesitation.
“A preservation technique. A tool for winning against others. A way to occupy a favorable position. ”
I shook my head.
“I thought that at first too.”
“Hmm, then what?”
“Skills, without exception, contain the [life] of someone who lived in another world.”
Ja Soo-jung had told me.
Skills encompassed the abilities that someone had or someone’s life.
To put it simply, skills were self portraits, and when we used skills, we weren’t just attacking someone, at the same time, we were proving the trace of someone who had been in the world a very long time ago.
“I can tell just by recalling the [Puppeteer’s Parade] card.”
A skill that the Constellation Killer once had.
Although I didn’t have it, I remembered the description of the card vividly.
Using aura, I created an imitation in the air that had the same words written on it.
Effect: In some world, there lived an old puppeteer. The puppeteer was afraid of receiving love, but he wasn’t strong enough to endure eternal solitude.
‘Let’s make another me.’ So, the puppeteer designed it. ‘Let the other me be loved. Let it live with people, among people. And if it gets hurt—I’ll throw it away,’ whispered the puppeteer.
‘Erase it forever.’
Countless puppets lived.
Countless puppets were discarded.
This skill is a black art for the weak. The ability to choose or throw away memories. You can make 13 puppets that have the exact same appearance and abilities as you. When one puppet dies, another one awakens. Broken dolls can be repaired.
It is your imitation of immortality. A fabricated eternity.
※However, memories are not shared between puppets.
“Even [Goblin High Society] carries the same logic.”
[Goblin High Society]
Effects: The king goblin was lost in thought. ‘The level of culture for us goblins is too low. All languages end in kerrk, kerk. I cannot show my dignity with this!’ Then, the king goblin’s genius mind flashed. ‘That’s right! From now on, I will speak gork and not kerk. Gork! It’s a pronunciation that perfectly fits the precious king.’
※However, the fights within the tribe become worse.
※This is a skill copied from the Great King Goblin monster.
“If skills were just tools, and their only meaning was for a function, then why were there so many explanations like that?”
“You just said it, Death King. It’s because people usually like to think there is some depth in the setting when fancy flavor text is included in the card game. In reality, it’s just to overwhelm others-”
Interrupting the Lady again, I lifted a skill card.
“Skills aren’t just meant to overwhelm others.”
The card in my hand was [Sword Constellation].
A card I got as a beginner who didn’t know anything.
“Instead, it is a system for connecting with others.”
And it was a skill that had a deep impact on me.
“Skill card open.”
Letters leaked out from the card in my hand.
Effect: A ghost from another world. He cleared the 99th floor in another world but failed the 100th floor and died. The resentment remained, causing him to become a ghost. He cannot interfere with the physical world, but it is possible to tamper with the owner’s mind.
Seek advice from his rich experience and amazing skills!
※However, no one can see the ghost except for the owner.
※This skill was copied from Hunter Marcus Calenbury.
Bae Hu-ryeong stood behind me, with his hands behind his back, showing the same appearance as the days when he’d dominated the murim.
“This is the real intent behind skills.”
“To connect people with people. Connect worlds with worlds. The fact that the skill I used to stretch my legs today, is the same technique an old master spent his entire life to learn some time, long ago. So through skills, we can feel other humans and connect with them.”
“That is what your mother, the Owner of the Tower, wanted.”
The Lady was silent.
She opened her lips for a moment, before closing them, and then opening them again.
So the Lady’s words flowed out occasionally with long intervals in between.
“I can’t put it into words.”
Silence fell again.
“So, Death King. You want to go up together?”
The Lady sighed heavily.
[‘The Lady Who Walks Through the Mirage’ shakes her head.]
The Lady swung her sleeves and shouted at the surroundings.
“I will send all of you to the 36th Floor! If you have things to pack, do so quickly! I won’t give you much time, so make sure you all gather in two minutes! Quickly! Hurry! I’m busy!”
Clang clang clang.
At that, the warriors, who had been utterly disorganized, began to move. They moved as carefully as they could, but that alone was enough to make the old hanok shake as if it was being swept away by an earthquake.
I was dumbfounded.
“Oi! Be careful! If you break anything…”
The house owner, Ja Soo-jung, spoke plainly.
“These are things I don’t use anyway. If they’re broken, it wouldn’t be that bad because they would be memories of you guys coming and going.”
I took a deep breath.
Then, to the alter of God, who was determined to sacrifice everything and live the most miserable life in the world, the being that was simply the incarnation of maternal instinct, the 3rd Grade Student of Shinseo Middle School, Ja Soo-jung, I said.
“Would you like to come with us?”
The question was long, but the answer was short.
Ja Soo-jung bowed.
“I’m sorry. But if I go, no one will take care of the rabbits at school.”
“There are also people who would be sad if I left. Not many, but there would certainly be some. It’s summer vacation now, but Mr. Baek, Senior, and Ms. Doyun too. They would probably feel lonely if this one disappears. So, I’m sorry, but I can’t accept Mr. Gong-ja’s offer”
If I asked for [help].
Ja Soo-jung would follow me without hesitation.
Because she was God, a fragment of God.
Because she was a part of a God who wished to bear the scars of everyone.
I wasn’t climbing the Tower to prove God’s omnipotence.
“Then it can’t be helped. Stay healthy, Ms. Ja Soo-jung. In the meantime, I’d like to apologize for my discourtesy. Thanks to you, I was able to enjoy a comfortable stay with my lover and son. For everything, really, thank you for your consideration… You have my heartfelt thanks.”
In order to create a world that didn’t need God, I would climb the Tower.
To show that it was possible to live happily without asking God for help.
To prove that she wasn’t wrong for being born.
“Travel safely, Mr. Gong-ja.”
Ja Soo-jung prayed for me.
Then, at that moment, pure white light enveloped the old hanok.
[The 36th stage is being opened.]
[Those climbing the Tower.]
Just before we were completely wrapped in light.
When I looked back, worried about Ja Soo-jung who was near me, I saw a surprising figure.
Ja Soo-jung was smiling brightly. And her hands were clasped together as if she was praying. With the white light shining around her, she looked like a God praying to a human, not a human praying to a God.
Opening her lips slightly, she muttered.
[May luck be with you.]
Then the light embraced our family clan.
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