Pahlawan Kembali - Chapter 422
“Sorry?” Millie had to wonder if he heard it wrong. He even briefly wondered if there was a religious order called “Atheist,” but that couldn’t be it, either.
Not believing in any gods? Such a thing was simply impossible as far as Millie’s common sense was concerned.
“B—b—big brother! You’ll receive divine punishment if you say that! What do you mean, you don’t believe in any gods! When you die later, no gods will want to save your—”
“You really think that’s salvation?”
“But why? Just because you’ve been told so? Because gods exist?” Su-hyeun stared deep into Millie’s eyes and continued with his questions. “Honestly, though, are they really gods?”
“What do you mean by that question?”
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“Whether they are genuine gods or devils, or even monsters that don’t fall into either category, you can’t really tell now, can you? Because no one has uncovered the truth, after all. Even then, at the very least, they are beings that prey on the lives of all those people, so what separates them from actual monsters?”
“You should think about that on your own. I know that it’ll be impossible to change what you know as common sense with just a handful of words, anyway.”
Su-hyeun left the back alley after that. Millie, on the other hand, remained there in a daze. His face seemed to say that what Su-hyeun told him just now struck the boy’s mind hard.
It was an obvious quandary that no one had questioned yet.
Su-hyeun then emerged from the alley and out into the open, but right at that moment, his gaze went up. “Should I go up there? Or are you coming down, instead?”
He sensed someone up there flinching slightly. He then turned to enter a different alleyway, and that prompted the hidden figure up on the roofs to follow him there.
Once they were in an alleyway with no one else in it, the hidden figure finally revealed himself.
Su-hyeun asked first, “Do you have a business with me?”
“Did you just say that you don’t believe in any gods?”
His question was answered with another question.
It didn’t really matter, though. Su-hyeun alternated his gaze between the man before his eyes and at the top of the building this man had leaped off from.
The structure had to be at least five, maybe even six, floors high. Being able to jump off from there and land safely indicated that this man was quite highly skilled.
“Yes, I did. I only believe in myself.”
For questions coming from someone who had appeared out of nowhere, they seemed rather strange. Since this man didn’t emit any hostility, it seemed safe to assume that he was not a robber out to steal money, but whatever the case might be, he was clearly puzzled by Su-hyeun’s declaration of not believing in any gods.
“It might be simpler if I use Insight, but…”
Su-hyeun decided to use Insight sparingly. This skill was certainly convenient, but it was also a double-edged blade.
Not only did Insight not work against Predators or existences that possessed qualifications of godhood but his ability to read other people’s intentions or inner thoughts would also get duller if he relied on it too much.
Thankfully, the scope of Insight’s powers didn’t just start and end with reading the minds of the others.
Su-hyeun asked back, “It’s the same story for you, too?”
“That’s correct. I’m also an atheist.”
This man actually said he was an atheist in such a grim and determined fashion. That response was hard to understand from the common sense of Su-hyeun’s world, but that only served to indicate how abnormal it was in this world to declare oneself as an atheist that didn’t believe in any of the gods.
“He’s being truthful,” he thought.
Truth or a lie…
This was the restriction Su-hyeun applied to Insight this time. He limited the scope of his ability so that it could only determine whether the opponent was lying or not when looking into their eyes.
That alone was already a substantial hint. That didn’t mean it was now an omnipotent ability, though. No, this was simply the middle ground where his own ability to determine the other party’s intentions wouldn’t get rusty, all the while he still got to exploit the advantages of Insight.
“What do you want from me, then?”
The man hesitated slightly before asking Su-hyeun, “Are you really our god?”
“Eh?” Su-hyeun was taken aback by that and was about to say that was incorrect, only for his words to get stuck in his throat.
When he thought about it, that assertion wasn’t technically wrong at all.
“Well, uh, I am a god, aren’t I?” he inwardly said.
Su-hyeun followed after the man who introduced himself as Shen. He guided Su-hyeun to the city’s underground.
When Shen lit a torch in his hand, a long stairway going down revealed itself under the dim light. The area of this stairway was surprisingly wide; the width alone seemed to be around a dozen or more meters, indicating that the construction work had been ongoing for a long while.
“Being an atheist is illegal, and such atheists have gathered to start an organization, is that it? Yeah, this is just too strange, alright,” he thought.
In Pangaea, you were supposed to choose which god you would serve, along with the religious order tied to each god, but this was not something like a simple choice. No, this was the common sense of this place. More than that, it was set as the law in the continent, too.
However, this man named Shen before his eyes opposed such logic and had chosen no religion, which made him the most “normal” person Su-hyeun had met so far, at least in his view.
“An otherworlder that I met not too long ago told us this.”
Holding a torch while walking down the stairway, Shen suddenly spoke up, “He said that the world I live in, Pangaea, is a strange place. He also said that the gods we serve are not normal, either…”
His voice was trembling softly.
“We were thinking the same thing at the time.”
Su-hyeun nodded when he heard the term, “otherworlder.”
“Is he talking about an Apostle?” he inwardly guessed.
That seemed likely.
An existence capable of freely traveling between dimensions and realms, and one also capable of reaching a world of this size, was most likely an Apostle.
“Back when I had to send my child to the Altar, I began harboring questions regarding the true will of the gods. Did the gods really wish to cause pain and suffering in us, the common folks? Was my child really going to the embrace of the god?”
“I wonder about that.”
“Yes, that’s correct. You have to wonder about that since it’s literally unknown. I will never be able to meet my child who has supposedly gone to the embrace of the god again unless I actually die first.”
“Just what did this otherworlder tell you?”
“He said that our so-called gods are nothing more than devils. He said that he knows of a real god.”
“A real god, you said?”
“Yes, and this god’s name is Kim Su-hyeun…”
Su-hyeun’s eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets. He wondered who this real god could be, but his name was suddenly brought up here. There was no mistaking it being his name, either.
He halted his steps for a bit and asked aloud, “What was the name of this otherworlder?”
“He said he was called Luslec.”
“Excuse me, but can you give me a minute?”
“It’ll only be a minute. Go on ahead without me, I’ll catch up to you,” said Su-hyeun and then he turned around to walk up the stairway. He then blocked the flow of sounds in the surroundings and activated the necklace.
“Hello? What’s going on? You’re also contacting me first and all,” a bright and happy voice that didn’t suit the mood came out of the device.
Su-hyeun asked while holding his head, “What on earth have you been telling people of this place?!”
“This place? Oh. Aaah!” Luslec seemed to recall something and quickly replied, “I did good, right?”
“Just what have you made me into in this place?”
“The people of that side, their lives are hanging in the balance every year simply by believing in some bullsh*t religions. Once every year, which is about four days on that planet, tens of billions of people get killed, you see. And all those people are served up to the fake gods.”
Su-hyeun’s question was replied with a seemingly unrelated topic.
“Most people there think such a thing is the correct logic of that world, but a portion of them do not agree with that view. I’d say, around one to two out of every hundred fear their demise. It’s the instincts of humankind triumphing against even the most stringent brainwashing method, in other words.”
The fear of one’s death—Su-hyeun was intimately familiar with that. Honestly, no one out there would be as familiar with that notion as Su-hyeun was. He had already died once, after all.
“However, they end up accepting their death eventually. Sure, some try to run away, but they are the exception. That’s why I decided to create a new god that they could believe in.”
“Is that…what you did here, Mister Luslec?”
“Yes. Unfortunately, though, that’s as far as my abilities could take me.”
The proxies of the gods, Apostles—their role was to heed the will of the gods and hunt down various Predators or rebuild the worlds wrecked by the Predators’ rampage.
Luslec had stopped by in Pangaea in the past, but he failed to hunt the Predator at large, and so, he decided to revise his goal to establish a new religious order instead.
It turned out to be “Atheism” or simply creating a new religion that worshiped a new deity.
“Since that was the case…I can’t even scold him for it,” Su-hyeun thought.
Su-hyeun had to swallow back the heavy groan wanting to jump out of his mouth.
This was basically the same as helping these people save their lives by discarding their old religions. Never mind getting angry, the situation actually called for Su-hyeun to praise Luslec for a job well done instead.
“Just what on earth is going on in this place, anyway?”
Luslec had already done some “work” in this place, so he should know many secrets of Pangaea, at least much more than the people of this place.
“You know that this is against the rules, right?”
“Really? It is?”
“Yes. One of the rules says that you’re not supposed to get help from other Apostles during the trials of the gods. It’s common knowledge among us Apostles.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, but well, I don’t really worry about stuff like that anyway. I’ll just sit through another round of an earful and that’ll be all!” Luslec laughed.
His laughter seemed to express genuine happiness no matter when one heard it.
Su-hyeun also faintly grinned at Luslec’s explanation. By saying all these things in advance, even though he already made up his mind to tell Su-hyeun the necessary information, Luslec was asking the latter to understand the amount of trouble he was getting into.
“If you’re worried about that rule, then you can breathe easy, I think.”
“Sorry? How come?”
“Well, I’m not an Apostle anyway, and I’m also a real god now, you see.”
A short bout of silence came to visit their little chat.
Su-hyeun, waiting for some kind of a reply, could only make a puzzled face. The reply did come, albeit much later than expected.
“B—but it hasn’t been all that long since you became a demigod, though?”
“Yes, that’s true.”
“If it was someone else telling me this, I would’ve never believed it. Wow. Wooow. Wooooooow….”
His voice sounded rather deeply moved just then.
“So damn incredible…”
It was right then that Su-hyeun was reminded of something, “Wait, he said he was my fan, right?”
Luslec was Su-hyeun’s fan.
It was rather likely that, right now, Luslec was seriously excited by what Su-hyeun said, reveling in the fact that someone he liked and respected shot past being a demigod and ascended to full godhood in such a short time.
“I don’t know all the details, but I’m not an Apostle anyway, so you won’t have to worry about any penalties. That’s why you can tell me everything without any reservation.”
“Alright, then! First things first, I was in that place around eight hundred years ago.”
“Eight hundred? Mister Luslec, just how old are you exactly?”
“That’s a secret. In any case, I was also your fan back then, Mister Su-hyeun. I thought about who to use as the god of the new religion and ended up using your name.”
“Okay, enough about that. More importantly, though, there is a Predator in this world, isn’t there?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
He knew it.
Even if things looked outwardly peaceful, the only reason why Su-hyeun would get sent to this place called Pangaea was because of the Predator’s presence.
The problem was that locating a Predator in this vast world would be no easy feat.
It was a fortunate thing that he was about to get a hint from Luslec without needing to search around blindly for clues on his own.
“What kind of creature are we talking about? There were more than one or two fake gods in this place, after all.”
When Su-hyeun asked that, Luslec didn’t reply for a little while. His reply only came after a bit of pause.
“It’s not just one.”
“All those fake gods you learned about…They are all Predators, Mister Su-hyeun.”
“All of them…?!”
Su-hyeun immediately recalled all the gods he learned about from Millie. They were monsters that made people sacrifice their lives as offerings—monsters who derived entertainment from their lives.
He didn’t believe there would be a single “real” god among their ranks but to think that every single one was a Predator.
“Wait, why did I think that there would be only one Predator per world?” Su-hyeun reflected on his mindset right there and then.
Back then in the world of the false World Tree, several Predators formed a group to act together. The situation was the same in this world.
Since the planet boasted a humongous scale, several Predators had come together to act as a group. In a way, this development seemed quite logical.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the problems.
“I don’t know the nature of the trial you’re in right now, but whatever the case may be, that world you are in is incredibly dangerous, Mister Su-hyeun. That’s because…” Luslec sighed deeply as he continued with the rest of his explanation, “One of the Ten Great Evils, Kali, calls that place home.”