Chapter 507. Can’t Cry (5)
The emperor felt that something was going wrong, and when he saw the cruel smile tugging Chi-Hyun’s lips, he felt cold sweat trickle down his back. He couldn’t even dream of resisting. His opponent was a hero who had single-handedly saved the world from a crisis. And according to the records, the hero had appeared over the past centuries to save the world with overwhelming power every time there was great trouble. As someone who didn’t know the wider universe, the hero before him was essentially a god to him.
Seeing Chi-Hyun’s gradually rising hand, the emperor clenched his eyes shut. He saw a light that shone so brilliantly that even the sunlight paled in comparison. The emperor lowered his head by reflex, and then his eyes widened. The cheers coming from the citizens who didn’t know what was going on gradually died down. They all looked at the air in shock.
“It’s an angel! Angels came to take the hero!”
“Ah! An Angel!” Their faces all filled with awe as they knelt on the ground and bowed. The emperor gulped nervously. As the citizens said, angels had really appeared, specifically a man and woman and five angels. Chi-Hyun glanced in their direction. After confirming that they were Choi Su-Ho, Elrich, Laguel, and the four great angels of the Celestial Realm, Chi-Hyun said in a low voice, “I thought I warned you not to do anything unnecessary, Laguel.”
Laguel flinched, and she was about to respond when Elrich spoke first.
“What…were you planning to do just now?”
“I thought I told you before,” Chi-Hyun continued in an indifferent tone. “I am cleaning trash for the suffering World.”
Elrich inhaled deeply. She thought Chi-Hyun would rethink his decisions after their conversation, but nothing changed. Instead, he seemed to have grown worse.
“This is murder. A slaughter.”
“No, it’s salvation,” Chi-Hyun immediately retorted. “How could you call this slaughter? These people have meddled with things they shouldn’t have just to maintain their authority. If you think about it, they played a key part in almost dooming their world, so getting rid of them would be the same as saving the world.”
Yes. Chi-Hyun had his reasons, and he wasn’t just acting out on a whim. Yet no matter how much Elrich thought about it, this wasn’t the way a hero was supposed to act. It wasn’t like she couldn’t empathize with him at all. Crimes that served to fulfill one’s gains and greed and threatened the salvation of the world needed to be punished accordingly. However, the question was to what lengths should these criminals be punished.
Right before Elrich received contact and arrived at this world, she knew for certain that if she was even a moment late, Chi-Hyun would’ve crushed this entire empire at once. Of course, there was no end to human greed, and humans repeated the same mistakes over and over again. Making examples out of a selected few would only solve the immediate problem, and eventually, the same incidents would repeat again. Thus, Chi-Hyun was looking to uproot the problem from its foundation.
But he couldn’t do that. As she said before, such actions were too excessive for the situation. A hero’s duty was to save the world, but that wasn’t all. If a crisis happened on Earth, and the hero in charge ended up going, ‘The crisis was solved, but all earthlings died’, how could one call that proper salvation? Rather, one would say that the hero had brought ruins and calamity in the name of salvation.
It was clear that starting from some point, Chi-Hyun had changed and was continuing to do so at exponential speed. Even if he stopped at this level now, he would become completely uncontrollable later on. When that happened, they wouldn’t be able to stop him even if they wanted to. Thus, they needed to intervene now.
“Even if that’s the case, it’s not something you should meddle with,” Elrich said in a solemn voice. “There are people who live in this world that can deal with their own crisis. And if they can’t deal with it, there’s the Celestial Realm to help them. You are a hero, and a hero should only do tasks expected of them.”
“What if they can’t?”
“What if they aren’t enough to stop the crisis?”
Elrich became speechless. But in Chi-Hyun’s perspective, he had tried all these things his mother suggested. He talked to the natives and warned them the last time he came to this planet. He also tried talking to the Celestial Realm, but their responses were always passive and lukewarm. He knew the Celestial Realm was occupied with the recent surge of crises, but that was none of his concern.
“All the redtapes,” Chi-Hyun said in a low voice. “That’s why I decided to take action on my own.”
“Chi-Hyun. I said it just now, but do you really have to—” Elrich pressed on.
“I told you it’s bothersome.”
Those words out of Chi-Hyun’s mouth cemented her concern.
“It’s really annoying. According to that logic, then, there’s no reason for me to step back. Why…”
In the end, all of Chi-Hyun’s talk about saving the world and whatnot was nothing more than an excuse. He simply couldn’t take the personal loss he suffered from the actions of this world’s leaders. Of course, this wasn’t an attitude befitting a hero. A hero needed to accept personal setbacks in their work. Su-Ho shared the same sentiments as Elrich.
“…What’s the reason?” Su-Ho asked. Then, he sighed and said in a low voice, “You’ve been doing so well until now. Could you tell us the reason why you are suddenly acting like this?”
“Are you even going to listen to me if I tell you?”
“Yes, why don’t you give it a try? We’ll listen.”
“I don’t want this,” Chi-Hyun immediately replied. “I’m sick of…this life. I want to quit. Can I do that?” Chi-Hyun asked genuinely with all his heartfelt feelings. Both Elrich and Su-Ho were shocked to see a side of their son they had never seen before. But that was all. They couldn’t say anything to their son when he was crying desperately for help, for them to save him. They had never even dreamed or imagined that Chi-Hyun would hold such thoughts of quitting. It was because those two never had that thought a single time in their lives.
Though Su-Ho and Elrich were key figures in their families, they were also parents. They all maintained their roles out of a sense of duty and responsibility, but it wasn’t like they didn’t love Chi-Hyun. How could they not want to listen to their son’s sincere pleas? Yet they couldn’t immediately say, ‘All right. Do as you wish.’ Because they also had their own responsibilities and positions to consider. Thus, they simply opened and closed their mouths, not knowing what to say.
A long silence descended at Chi-Hyun’s sudden declaration, and Chi-Hyun didn’t really need to hear his parents’ answer to know what that silence meant.
“…As I thought.” He made an uncharacteristically bitter smile and returned to his usual expressionless self. Though inwardly, his emotions were more intense than ever, he slowly dropped the arm he had raised over the emperor, like he was telling his parents that he wouldn’t make a fuss there and then. Seeing Chi-Hyun pull back his hand, Laguel let out a sigh of relief, but Elrich couldn’t do the same. She couldn’t be relieved because it didn’t seem like they had solved the fundamental problem. They were just glossing over it. Chi-Hyun didn’t seem to have realized the change he had undergone.
Elrich’s guess was right. Chi-Hyun didn’t let this matter drop for anyone but himself. Chi-Hyun wouldn’t have hesitated if they really decided to come after him, but the only ones here were his parents, Laguel, and the four archangels. If they really planned to fight him, they would’ve brought the Celestial Realm’s main force. As it was, it seemed more accurate to say that they had come to persuade rather than to fight him.
Chi-Hyun thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to be a demon lord, but that was only the case if there were no other methods left. Things weren’t that bad yet. For Chi-Hyun to fulfill his true wishes, he wanted to remain a human in the end rather than a demon lord. In order to do this, he needed to find another method—one different from the solution the Celestial Realm and his parents provided him. Thus, Chi-Hyun turned around and was about to leave when a voice called out.
“Where are you going?” Su-Ho asked.
“Visiting someone,” Chi-Hyun replied and opened up a portal. Elrich stared anxiously as Chi-Hyun disappeared into the light. Though she had managed to stop him now, nothing was resolved. Instead, things seemed to have worsened.
After returning to the Celestial Realm, Chi-Hyun immediately sought out one being—not a person, a hero, or even an angel, but a god.
A dignified yet magnificent voice boomed across the space.
—For you to have personally come to see me.
“I have something to ask you, shaman god.” Chi-Hyun talked like he was visiting a neighbor after a walk.
—…You really are a crazy guy.
The shaman god, Princess Sahee, was baffled by Chi-Hyun’s behavior, but didn’t chase him out. First, it was because Chi-Hyun wasn’t someone gods could treat lightly despite being a mortal. Second, it was because she knew Chi-Hyun visited her for a reason that was as profound as his existence. Still, there was something she was curious about.
—But before I hear you out, let me ask you first: why did you specifically come to me?
“Because at this rate, I think I will cause my parents great sorrow,” Chi-Hyun said in a nonchalant tone. “Thus, I thought there would be no better being to seek out than you, who had fulfilled her filial duties while changing her own fate as a human.”
Ha, Princess Sahee snorted. It seemed she didn’t really care what Chi-Hyun was saying.
“What do I need to do?” Chi-Hyun continued on without backing down. “What must I do to free myself from the chains of my damn fate?”
—If that is really how you feel…you should’ve come to me earlier.
Princess Sahee clicked her tongue.
—You were born with a fate to be greater than anyone, but you altered it with your own hands.
Chi-Hyun’s eyebrow rose. “Does that mean I will become a demon lord or something else in the same vein?”
—A demon lord?
Princess Sahee laughed.
—Don’t make me laugh. You’ll become more than a demon lord. At this rate, you’ll become chaos itself and bring great disarray to the whole universe.
Chi-Hyun tilted his head.
“…Does that even matter?”
—Of course it does, very much so. Originally, it wouldn’t have been such a problem since you could just pass over it. But things have become very complicated ever since you became determined to change your own fate.
Princess Sahee glanced at Chi-Hyun. Chi-Hyun was the same as before. He seemed unconcerned with whatever she said and seemed intent on only freeing himself from his own fate. Thus, Princess Sahee came to the conclusion that words alone wouldn’t solve this matter. A different method was needed to make Chi-Hyun realize what he was doing and have a change of heart. And furthermore, to prepare for the worst…
—It’s not like there’s no way….
Princess Sahee spoke after organizing her thoughts.
—But…do you really have to go so far?
—You shouldn’t be so quick to answer.
Princess Sahee warned.
—With the meddling of your fate, you’ve accumulated quite some karma. Furthermore, for you to cover up this amount of chaos, you will need a bigger fate than that.
Chi-Hyun’s eyes rolled around once. He couldn’t understand what she was saying exactly. From what he understood, it appeared that the problem escalated because of him. Thus, Princess Sahee was asking him if he could bear the responsibility for the problems he caused.
“I can bear it.” As long as he could escape this fate, he could endure anything that came his way. Princess Sahee quietly sighed. This was a flow that started way before Chi-Hyun came to this place. Thus, if it was a flow that he couldn’t block…
After some pause, she opened her mouth again determinedly.
—This could also be considered an opportunity—for both me and you. All right. I’ll listen to your wishes.
Then, she continued.
—But before that, there’s one thing you must know, which is that you really won’t be able to turn things back from now on.
“I already told you that it doesn’t matter.”
—Who knows? You won’t know until the situation arises.
Princess Sahee said ominously, her voice hardening.
—Wait twenty years. Then, you should take responsibility and deal with the fate that was born from your accumulated karma. What you wish for will come true after that.
“What in the world does that all mean?” Chi-Hyun asked, puzzled.
—That’s all I’ll tell you.
Princess Sahee said firmly, clearly showing him that she wouldn’t explain further. Then, she added.
—Don’t be impatient. When the time comes, you’ll know even when you don’t want to.
After his conversation with Princess Sahee, Chi-Hyun felt excited for the first time in a long while. He had been wondering how long he would have to live the life he did, but the deadline was set now. Princess Sahee had told him that he would only have to wait for another twenty years. Of course, this was probably the time by Earth's standards, but it didn’t matter. He had already endured a thousand years. Twenty years was nothing for him. And though Princess Sahee said that he would know the answer to his question when the time came, he traveled all across the universe in search of the answer. Thinking that the more places he traveled to, the quicker he would reach the answer to his question, he moved with excitement.
Of course, no such thing happened. And after feeling slightly worn out, Chi-Hyun decided to quell his expectations and return to Earth to rest. Though it felt like he had wandered around for a long time, not even a year had passed in Earth time. Thus, Chi-Hyun returned home and opened the entrance door, but quickly came to a halt.
He was surprised by Elrich’s appearance. Elrich also looked startled to see him, but more surprisingly, her belly was swollen, indicating that she was pregnant with a new life.
“Choi Chi-Hyun.” Su-Ho sounded a bit astonished. “What…in the world have you been up to?”
Judging by the way they talked and acted, Chi-Hyun could tell that Elrich’s pregnancy wasn’t planned. It was as if it happened without them intending for it to happen—as if it was forced by an act of god. Chi-Hyun heard Su-Ho say something, but he didn’t answer. He couldn’t even process what they were saying with Princess Sahee’s words ringing in his head. She had said he would know when the time came, and he had a feeling what the answer was as soon as he sensed the new life with beating heart inside Elrich’s stomach, who wasn’t even born yet.