Side Story Chapter 25 - One-horn (10)

“Something similar…to what I did?” The Martial King did not say anything for a long time after hearing Yeon-woo’s explanation. Later, he came to understand what Yeon-woo meant. The Psychic Medium, never thinking of such a solution, had remained silent as well.

When he finally opened his mouth to speak, the Martial King could tell that his voice was trembling.

He had pretended to be okay until now. He, too, had inevitably been shaken by Yeon-woo’s explanation. However, he was not agitated by his existence.

It was because of Nocturne. It was because of the wounds Nocturne had suffered. Nocturne’s origin was something that the Martial King wanted to hide no matter what. Or perhaps, it was the greatest mistake that the Martial King regretted. The fact that his disciple found out about his mistakes, which he had made while he was half crazy due to resentment against Allforone, made his heart throb. He felt shame towards Yeon-woo, and he felt sorry for Nocturne.

Nocturne eventually found out about his true identity, and his intense resentment had driven him to annihilate the Martial King, who could not fathom a guess on the extent of Nocturne’s resentment.

“Yes. I brought the shadow that master left in the ‘Shadow Dojo’ on the twenty-first floor. And…I backed up the records and data that were engraved on Idea and overlaid it into this world’s data.”

Yeon-woo could be called the ruler of the entire world. Since all the foundations of this universe were derived from the Black King’s ‘dream’, it was not difficult for Yeon-woo to deal with Idea. Thus, he succeeded in finding all the records and data left behind by the Martial King. The records and data had been deleted from the Changgong Library once he was annihilated, but the traces left in the Idea did not completely disappear.

Of course, that data was corrupted and fragmented all over the place due to his annihilation. Still, Yeon-woo was able to activate his power of omniscience, gather all the information, convert it into data, and plant it all in the Martial King’s illusion. It was the closest version of the Martial King that existed in this time period, as it was created during this time period from the original source.

This was a being who thinks ‘the same’ and acts ‘the same’. Even he recognized himself as the original ‘Martial King.

It could be understood as the rebirth of thoughts onto a relatively blank canvas. Yeon-woo had come up with the idea after learning how the Martial King pulled out the records of Allforone/Vivasvat, which Vivasvat had left on the twenty-first floor, which was the same mechanism as how Cha Jeong-woo left his Consciousness on the pocket watch.

If there was a slight difference, it would be that Cha Jeong-woo’s vestige thought-form existed only in the pocket watch, limiting his movements, while the Martial King was relatively freer.

Of course, these new external factors may ultimately cause the Martial King’s demise, so he would have to consider exuviation and transcendence to stop any issues from arising. Once he reached that level, his existence would be more established and firmer.

The Martial King never thought that he would become a transcendent in a completely different form, something called a <Star>.

“A vestige form… But if I dig into it, it’s probably not a stable form. It’s not the vestige thoughts that were left from my original existence, but data that was compiled from various sources.”

The Martial King predicted that, even if he achieved transcendence, his existence would be very insecure. In the end, the root of his ‘existence’ lay in the soul. Without a soul, would he not be just an empty doll? To put it simply, he was essentially a mechanical device created by Yeon-woo.

No matter how much effort Yeon-woo had expended in creating his existence, it was bound to be unstable. This was the Martial King’s current state. 

Regarding this, Yeon-woo had said, 

“So, I’m planning on recreating master’s soul.”

“My soul? How do you recreate something that has been annihilated? You’re planning on creating one?”

“I’m sure I can. I’ll try and make a soul as close to the one you possessed originally… It should essentially be the same.”

“But that wouldn’t be the true me.”

“Yeah. It would be remarkably similar, but essentially different.”

“Then?”

“The good news is, or at least fortunately… Master’s soul wasn’t completely annihilated.”

“Hmm…?”

As the Martial King made a puzzled look, Yeon-woo explained in a serious tone of voice.

“Your soul wasn’t completely annihilated. It became fragmented into pieces.”

“But that wouldn’t…!”

“No. Your case is different. Your soul obtained the level of emperor, so your soul still exists, albeit in fragments.”

Unable to understand Yeon-woo’s explanation, the Martial King tilted his head. He lacked knowledge related to metaphysics, as he had concentrated on martial arts all his life. He was able to follow Yeon-woo’s explanation this far thanks to his deep awareness of the world, but beyond that, it was very unfamiliar territory.

However, the Psychic Medium was different. She dealt with metaphysics all her life, and she was a wise philosopher who had peered into the deepest secrets of the world.

“You’re alluding to the division of the worlds through the world line…!”

“Yes, I’m sure when Jeong-woo created it, he wasn’t thinking of this use. Regardless, the divisions are happening even as we speak. Parallel and multiple universes… there are so many that I can’t even count them.”

“…?”

“In the parallel and multiple universes, there are probably many different versions of the Martial King.”

“…!”

The Martial King tilted his head with his arms crossed. He was belatedly starting to understand the meaning of ‘division’. The fragments of his soul, which had attained an emperor level, had been copied within the various other parallel and multiple universes after the implementation of the world line. Hence, pieces of his soul existed in every single iteration of these parallel and multiple universes.

“I need to gather all those pieces and unify them together.”

“Hmm…!”

“If I can do that, though I may not be able to give you the emperor level soul that you attained in the past, I’ll at least be able to give you a soul that is appropriate for your current level.”

The Martial King could not help but laugh. His disciple, Yeon-woo, truly knew how to game the system.

Though Yeon-woo was explaining everything as if it could be so simple, how long had he spent trying to find this solution? And how much effort did he expend to check the possibility? The Martial King was grateful toward Yeon-woo, and he also felt a bit sorry. Why was he causing his disciple so much suffering? 

Fragments… The Martial King relaxed and muttered softly as he had fallen half-asleep in his chair when Yeon-woo was giving his explanation. The Psychic Medium had taken that opportunity to urgently ask Yeon-woo a question…

“But wouldn’t the essence of those fragments change as the world line divided the universes? Is it really possible to create a whole from all those fragments? Furthermore, do you think they’ll be compatible?”

Of course, Yeon-woo was not sure whether his plan would work perfectly.

Fragments of a soul left by emperor level being… Though they were being referred to as fragments, they were probably far larger than any mortal’s soul.

Furthermore, it was unclear in what form they would exist. Some may have undergone reincarnation. The fragments possessed such outstanding talents and potential that they would be deemed geniuses from heavens, so they could be active existences. Perhaps one or some of them had already attained exuviation and transcendence, reigning as the singular supreme god in another universe. Some fragments may have turned into disasters, devouring the entire civilization. If the fragments kept evolving, they may even turn into a beast that brings the end of days, terminating whatever universe they were originally located in.

They may transform into a weapon and become a divine item, or they may not have an existence at all, scattering throughout the world and becoming a non-living material, like a spirit vein. The fragments may try to become a new emperor level being by mixing with some other transcendent beings, or they may be buried very deep and do nothing.

What form would the fragments take? What kind of tendencies would they have? What characteristics would they possess? There was no way to know. The fragments of the soul were, after all, close to a gigantic mass of energy without an ego.

The Psychic Medium was alluding to this point.

The fragments that undergo such mutations may have completely different appearances and identities from the current Martial King.

Would it be possible to have them forfeit their existence to become a part of another Martial King?

Was that really possible?

Yeon-woo was adamant that he would make it possible. Yeon-woo had already obtained omnipotence.

However, the crux of the issue was whether he could properly amalgamate the fragments. Even if they were reinserted into the Martial King, Yeon-woo thought that the fragments, which had already been filled with other thoughts, may actually cause harm to the Martial King’s existence.

“That…!”

When Yeon-woo was about to say something to reply to the Psychic Medium’s line of questioning, the Martial King suddenly stretched out his hand and interrupted Yeon-woo from speaking.

“Wife, stop.”

“But…!”

“We’ve heard all that we need to hear. If we ask any further, we’re questioning the process and the intention of the person bringing us the process.”

“…!”

“My disciple said he’ll handle it, right? For his beloved master. Shouldn’t I just hang back and see how things go?”

“…”

“He’s already attained such great things without our help. I’m sure he’ll do what’s necessary and figure things out for himself.”

Yeon-woo looked at the Martial King quietly and bowed his head. Whether the existence sitting in front of him was real or not, for Yeon-woo, the Martial King felt real. The way the Martial King spoke to how he carried himself…this Martial King was still the Martial King.

『Husband.』

While the Martial King was reminiscing about the conversation he had with Yeon-woo at that time, the Psychic Medium called out to him in the present.

“Yes wife?”

『If you cry again, you know I’ll kill you, right?』

Flinch! The Martial King unconsciously trembled.

The Psychic Medium’s tone was very cold.『You are my husband, full stop. No one else. You’re the man I chose. No matter what you look like, no matter what form you are, if you can laugh and talk with me like this, you are my husband. Okay?』

“Uh-huh…”

『Ugh, you’re acting like Phante, who always needs someone to compliment or comfort him. Are you a kid? Tsk.』

“Still…”

To compare him with Phante…

『Shush.』

“…Okay.”

『It’s the same as last time. I kept telling you not to do it, but you wouldn’t hear me out. Eventually…』

The Martial King became a deaf mute in front of the nagging words pouring out from the Psychic Medium. He wondered if he had to get up from his bed and get down on his knees as punishment.

The Martial King. He was considered one of the strongest in the world of the Tower, and he also served as Yeon-woo’s spiritual supporter. He was the quintessential husband of this age, a person bound to his wife and made infinitely small.

***

“Then let me ask you another question. What fragments of mine will be in this world line?”

When Yeon-woo’s explanation was over, the Martial King had asked this question.

Yeon-woo replied: “Aren’t you here now?”

That answer was enough. Fortunately, he was not just an illusion in this world. That’s what the Martial King thought.  He… Nayu… was breathing and alive in this world.

***

One chapter in the book ended like this.

“…so that’s how it happened.”

“Recently, I had a feeling that the world lines were dividing at a faster pace… I didn’t even consider such an explanation.”

Cha Jeong-woo nodded as the Heavenly Demon stated his thoughts.

The division of the world line, and countless fragments of emperors... This was something neither the Heavenly Demon nor Cha Jeong-woo, who led the division of the world line, had considered at all.

No matter how omniscient they may be, unless they focused on these narrow areas and explored them further, it was bound to slip under their radar until they belatedly ‘noticed’ them.

Perhaps Yeon-woo had come up with the idea as he dealt with soul matters throughout the time he spent swimming through the swamp of the abyss/void.

『Then, our Emperor Temper, went to seek the fragments of his temper master and must find the temperamental pieces in all these different worlds? All this to recreate his temper master?』

What the hell was the world going to be like…! Shanon muttered in a quavering voice. Shanon could easily imagine the mass-producing of existences as long as Yeon-woo set his mind to it.

The problem was that, in this world, was there anyone who could stop Yeon-woo? Shanon trembled in fear as if the god of disaster had descended.

Cha Jeong-woo laughed at Shanon’s exaggerated gestures and said: “The chapter mentioned that Yeon-woo went to visit our parents first, so let’s start there. I don’t know what happened because I haven’t been on Earth very much these days.”

Cha Jeong-woo nodded before turning to the next chapter. And then he saw…a blank white page with nothing written on it.

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