Chapter 178 :
Episode 35 : Encounter (4)
At the beach, Mirai, Behemoth and Frostina were doing their things, minding their own business until Mya, Noel and Noelle arrived back.
"You're back so fast~" Mirai said as she couldn't believe the children who were too thrilled about the island adventure came back too early.
Mya and Noel nodded to each other before Noel came to talk to Mirai. "We saw my father with a mermaid!"
"A mermaid? Ah!" An idea popped up in Mirai's head. "So what did they talk about~?"
"Eh?" Noel, slightly off guard by Mirai's curiosity, couldn't answer.
Thus, Mya replied in his stand. "The mermaid looks like she was into ahjussi."
The atmosphere became sinister for some unknown reason, even the kids felt it, and so did Frostina and Behemoth.
"Here we go again with the lil spider being oh so jealous. You can't ever change that part, can you?" Behemoth mocked Mirai.
Since the kids could only hear meow meow instead of the full translation of Behemoth's words, Mya continued on speaking.
"Ahjussi even touched the mermaid's chin!"
Noel joined. "Yeah, father was also too close to her! Almost making me think Miss Mermaid was going to be my mother!"
Oh, that is a trigger.
Mirai snapped when she heard the word 'mother', forcing the vicinity to be too suffocating to breathe as she just smiled with the edges of her lips twitching.
"Ara Ara.. Captain is being too much to me." Mirai spoke fakingly calm. ‘Captain didn't even mention it and left right after that~!’
"You fools! Why did you snap something you shouldn't! Even as mighty and brave as I, can't handle an envious woman like itsy bitsy spider!" Behemoth meowed.
At that point, the ambience was pretty unbearable which resulted in Noelle speedily moving Mya and Noel away to a tranquil location to avoid Mirai's harsh aura.
By the way, Crystal was following behind them.
"Captain-sama!!!!!!" Mirai uttered before stomping her way to where JoonChul went.
She was incredibly envious/furious to the point where one might actually wish for JoonChul's survival in encountering the envious Mirai.
Good luck to him..
Within a forest crowded with nature, a trail of an out of this place object laid bare on the ground as if it belonged there.
Unbeknownst to the greenery around it, the royal blue feather acted as a trail for someone to be guided by it.
And the person walking along the trail was none other than HwanGi who hesitated on the idea of following such a dangerous trip, yet he kept on his journey to find out where it leads.
Soon after, HwanGi had a thought. ‘Why? Why did I agree to follow the trail?’
Even as he asked himself that, he just couldn't wrap his head around it to figure out why.
..His intuition was the one that gave him the answer..
A feeling to trust the voice, an unknown sensation to follow the trail, and an inquisitiveness to learn the end of the trail were what persuaded HwanGi wholly.
"Ma'am, may I know your name?" HwanGi spoke to himself.
For anyone who looked at this sight, people would think he's crazy, but he was actually trying to have a conversation with the feminine voice HwanGi heard earlier.
As soon as HwanGi began to straggle along the trail, the voice vanished like it never whispered into his head.
In spite of that, there was a subject that would result in the voice reappearing again.
And that was..
"Why would you go that far for JoonChul-ssi?" HwanGi asked.
[..Someone I betrayed.]
With that said, HwanGi came to a stop as his expression showed how dumbfounded he was by her honesty.
The voice resumed talking. [I failed him..]
Something welled up deep inside HwanGi when he was listening to her voice, her voice which was extremely downhearted to hear, prompted HwanGi to tear up unknowingly.
His eyes were doing things without HwanGi's consent, fazing him in the process as he tried to rub away his tears.
Despite that, HwanGi asked the voice again while he followed the trail. "Then, why do you want to kill him?"
[To end the present.. before the future haunts him..] The downcast feel to the voice suddenly changed to a grave tone.
"You speak of the future, but I don't understand what it means."
[..It remains a heaven's secret..]
[..Don't falter once.. you witness who he is..]
No clue and confused of what the voice's words were, HwanGi asked. "How can I understand you better, miss voice?"
Silence came instead of an answer.
But the silence didn't last that long when HwanGi trampled across a small-scale lake, along with a translucent waterfall.
Most of all, the trail of extraordinary feathers had stopped at the edges of the lake, bringing a halt to HwanGi search.
"Where should I go now, Miss Voice?"
Nothing but the sound of the breeze and fluttering leaves while HwanGi awaits the voice for further instructions.
All of a sudden, when HwanGi witnessed the waterfall cut itself in two halves as it made the way for the middle to reveal something rising up, he could see a rock formation building up from the center, unveiling an object stuck in it.
Not a mere object, but a sword.
Without expecting it, there was another object on the ground next to the lake, causing HwanGi to pick it up to inspect that it was a scabbard possibly for the sword.
"Uh?" HwanGi found.
Eventually, HwanGi asked as he looked at the sword in surprise. "Miss Voice, are you asking me to be King Arthur and pull that sword out of that rock?"
The voice didn't respond.
Even if she did or didn't reply to HwanGi, he already made up his mind to not remove the sword out of the rock since he felt cautious, and mostly a sense of unworthiness in his ability to be like King Arthur.
HwanGi refused that idea. ‘I always bring back misfortune to anyone around me, and for me to take that sword is something I wouldn't ever think of.’
..Or is it?
An unexpected voice which didn't belong to the feminine voice, was resounding behind him.
[Hurry! You must.. take it..!] The feminine voice finally whispered into HwanGi's head in concern.
"Why would I?" HwanGi mumbled to the voice before speaking and turning to the person behind him. "JoonChul-ssi, what brings you here?"
[Listen to me..! Your death is inevitable.. if he knows..!]
Unbeknownst to the voice, JoonChul talked to HwanGi. "I had time, so I went ahead and checked on you. Seems like you're fine alone."
"It's a good thing you're here, JoonChul-ssi. It's because I just discovered this sword over there."
"What swor—" JoonChul's eyes shrunk in awe when he was too speechless to utter a word.
"Is there something wrong, JoonChul-ssi?"
"How did you find that sword?"
"It appeared out of nowhere, JoonChul-ssi."
"..I should have trusted my dream."
Before long, HwanGi didn't understand why JoonChul was acting this way as the former unconsciously stood a step back.
"JoonChul-ssi, are you alright? Is the sword dangerous?"
"I didn't expect the similarities between you and 'her' to be this extreme."
"..'Her'? Who is this 'her' you're referring to? Could it be?"
HwanGi guessed that the 'her' JoonChul mentioned had something to do with the feminine voice he just heard. ‘Does he know about the voice too? Then I might not be the only one to hear her voice.’
In the end, JoonChul murmured with clenched fists. "Oh Michael.."
Step by step toward HwanGi, JoonChul unsheathed his sword while he sent a frenzied glare at HwanGi. "So be it. If I allow you to take him from me, then I might as well kill him."
All of the sudden..!
"JoonChul-ssi?!!! What are you doing?!"
In a bewildered state, HwanGi couldn't believe his eyes when he watched JoonChul close in for a collision between one sword and a scabbard.
If it hadn't been for the scabbard, HwanGi might not have drawn his sword quickly enough to block JoonChul's sword much less survive from the clash.
Outraged and in a hurry, JoonChul shouted. "Michael, I didn't know you're taking it to the next level by using my teammate against me now?"
[..I'm sorry..] Only HwanGi could hear her voice, echoing in misery.
Puzzled by JoonChul's statement and ignoring the voice, HwanGi was left with unanswered questions as his hands were shaking from the collision. "..I don't get what's going on! Why are you doing this, JoonChul-ssi?!"
"If that's how it is, then I can't allow you to ascend him to that pathetic upper place, can I?!"
On the assumption that the feminine voice was the cause of the flare of light, the sword that was trapped onto a rock, was scintillating an illumination in the surroundings.
While the light had nothing to do with HwanGi except the blinding of light, it somehow appeared to have an effect on JoonChul.
"Tch. Michael, so you desire to reveal myself to your precious apostle too?"
[..I'm sorry…] The voice sorrowfully whispered to HwanGi in this situation.
All in one full second, HwanGi laid his eyes onto something unprecedented, a circumstance that HwanGi had never imagined of, was unfolding before his viewpoint.
[..to unveil a devil's secret.. to you.. Seong HwanGi..]
The voice was clouded by HwanGi's eyes witnessing something he shouldn't have..
As JoonChul's left hand focused mainly on wielding his jet-black sword, his right hand was attempting to cover his eyes.
However, the act of blocking the eyes wasn't enough to mask away the rest of JoonChul's true form.
"..JoonChul-ssi..?" HwanGi's voice shook.
Within HwanGi's point of view was a pair of abyssal-like wings, unfolding in its full glory while a duo of horns grew out of JoonChul's head in the midst of this.
JoonChul groaned. "Shit."
At the same time, JoonChul couldn't reply properly as he was trying to control himself, concentrating immensely to reflect and combat the light.
"Tsk." Panting away his groans, JoonChul quickly knocked the fazed HwanGi back before retreating a couple steps away.
Getting pushed back, HwanGi held his ground even as he was stunned by JoonChul. "Tell me this isn't true..?"
Sadly for HwanGi..
[It is..] The voice overlapped with JoonChul's. "This is real."
During this benumbing moment, HwanGi focused on JoonChul's words, and he watched as JoonChul removed his right hand away from his eyes, betraying the usual black irides JoonChul should have.
Blood-red eyes that created a blood-curdling atmosphere in the surroundings, gave rise to HwanGi's goosebumps and chills.
"It can't be, right? JoonChul-ssi?" HwanGi effortly denied what he witnessed.
At that crucial moment, JoonChul seriously stared at HwanGi without an answer to HwanGi's questions, standing there while gazing at HwanGi's trembling hands that seemed like they lost all energy to wield a scabbard.
Almost like HwanGi couldn't wield the weights of the truth to have found out that his friend was a devil in disguise.
"JoonChul-ssi? Aren't you supposed to be an earthling like everyone..? Then why do you look like a demon? How come..?"
With a deep breath, JoonChul glanced at HwanGi, sparking a bit of regret in his crimson irises before erasing the regrets in his eyes immediately as if he fully accepted this fate.
"That's not my name." JoonChul spoke as he pointed his sword at HwanGi.
"What..? Then who are you if not JoonChul-ssi?"
"I'm the devil, Satan. The one who will slay the ‘Creators’ and ‘Helpers’, will bring about an end to everything."
A word couldn't exit HwanGi's shocked mouth while he looked like he could crumble at any minute. ‘..Is JoonChul-ssi the evil being that the ‘Creators’ were trying to kill..?’
‘There's no way he could be Satan.. an evil devil.. Impossible..’
In complete denial, HwanGi was dazed as he couldn't fully accept JoonChul's words anymore. "..Satan? What do you mean? How could you say that?! JoonChul-ssi!?"
"I meant what I said."
"Then all this time.. You were fooling everyone about your identity?!!"
"I'm not foolish enough to trick my comrades."
"Does that mean.. But what about Louis, Mya and Alaine?! How would you explain this to them?!"
"What's this got to do with them? They're just humans that I don't consider my comrades. There's no point in spreading my name across the worlds."
"JOONCHUL-SSI!" HwanGi, confusedly infatuated, shouted at the top of his lungs as though he was too mad to even calm down.
‘Should I be furious over this? What's the point in being enraged by JoonChul being a devil?’ HwanGi inwardly questioned himself.
JoonChul responded. "Ho, what's there to be angry about? You yelled at me, so what? Did you think I would falter? How amusing."
"JoonChul-ssi! You could have been someone else, but why the devil? Why the representative of evil itself?!"
HwanGi thought amidst his shout. ‘Why am I shouting at JoonChul-ssi? .. There's not a need to be.. furious over this right?’
Not knowing the conflict inside HwanGi's head, JoonChul smirked. "I'm a fallen angel, mind you."
"JoonChul-ssi.. Like you said, are you going to really end everything..? That can't be true right?"
After JoonChul stayed quiet for a dozen minutes, standing with a fixed glance at HwanGi who was staring at him as well, JoonChul opened his mouth to change the subject.
"Did you hear a voice, HwanGi-ssi?"
"..Why now that you started to add a -ssi behind my name? Is that an indication to somethin—"
"Answer me! Did you hear a voice or not?!" JoonChul bellowed.
"..! Yes, I did.. She was the one who led me here.."
Lowering his sword, JoonChul looked down to his left as though he was contemplating on something.
During this, HwanGi stared blankly before he also took a glimpse at his left where the sword stuck in a rock was, observing it closely with a complicated look.
By then, HwanGi frowned. ‘If I hadn't found that sword, I wouldn't have found out about JoonChul-ssi like this..’
At long last, the silence disappeared only to be replaced with something unpredictable to HwanGi.
"Even though I want you to remain alive, my hatred for heaven won't allow such an apostle like you to ascend. HwanGi-ssi, it's time for you to die in this spot."
Caught off guard by JoonChul's words, HwanGi's eyes widened in consternation as he undertook a long look at JoonChul.
Meanwhile, JoonChul glared back with a rooted hatred hidden behind his determined glance.
..Things can't go back to the way it was.
That was what JoonChul's words felt like to HwanGi's ears..
Clenching his fists, HwanGi was wrathful of the voice he cluelessly listened to. ‘How could things turn out this way? If I hadn't paid attention to the voice, JoonChul-ssi and I wouldn't be doing this.. If only..!’
‘Sorry isn't enough!’ HwanGi shouted in his head as if he wanted to yell at the voice.
‘..If only..!’ Vexed toward the voice and to JoonChul for thinking about killing him despite the time they spent together, HwanGi thought.
‘How could you think about killing me so easily when I can't even land a punch at you, JoonChul-ssi?’
"JoonChul-ssi, you're too cruel." HwanGi clenched his fists as he stared back at JoonChul.