The Return Of Apocalypses Tyrant Chapter 43

Episode 43: “Did you devour it?”

[Amusing. To speak of such tales so nonchalantly. Don’t you absolutely adhere to the stature of the visionary? Serving and revering them. Do you truly believe that a monster like myself has devoured the stature you hold in such high esteem?]

The smoky figure transformed again.

This time, it assumed a form akin to a lizard, casually tapping its large tail as it spoke.

“Well, I may wield the power of the visionary, but that doesn’t mean I revere their stature as gods. To them, a visionary is nothing more than a pawn in their long game.”

[Indeed… It is curious that one with your perspective was chosen as a visionary.]

“I have no interest in your curiosity. What’s important to me is completing the quest and getting out of this cave.”

Nangong spoke in a murmured voice as he looked at the lizard made of black smoke.

“All I care about is proving whether I need to kill you to validate my qualification.”

[Heh… Escaping from here? That’s nothing. If you wish, you can find a way right now.]

As those words were spoken, the smoke dissipated into a mist.

“How?”

[You just need to consume. The flesh of Ran.]

At that moment, the smoke reshaped into something resembling a table, with a piece of red, bloody meat upon it.

[This is the trial of this nest. Simple, isn’t it? But the reward surpasses anything else. If you’re lucky, you might even gain the power of stature. Perhaps you’ll taste heaven in the hell that lies ahead.]

The creature’s voice was enticing.

“The power of stature… To think that just by eating this, I could gain such extraordinary power. More tempting than I thought.”

[Of course.]

“Who is Ran? As far as I know, there are only eight statures.”

[The number of statures is not fixed. Not just in your world, statures have been appearing and disappearing in all worlds.]

Nangong recalled something Yorga had said.

‘The gods of Olympus were also called statures but were of a lower rank than the current ones.’

It seemed the claim about the varying ranks among statures was true.

Other gods created by another god.

If this situation hadn’t occurred, most people would never have believed his words.

But now, everyone knows.

There are countless gods they were unaware of, beyond their known deity.

And…

Those divine beings are not confined to gods.

They are worshipped as gods, but also reviled as demons.

[Ran is the oldest stature. Not one of the fledgelings who started this carnival, but from an era long before Olympus or Muspelheim.]

The creature said.

[The most powerful stature that created everything. But as time passes, the place of stature changes, just as carnivals have been recurring.]

“This cursed cycle, how many times have you repeated it? The mere thought is horrifying.”

[It is no mere play. Beyond your world, there are numerous others. Through the carnival, worlds prosper or decline, and they continue to change. This is what history is.]

“History?”

However, Nangong scoffed coldly at the smoke’s words.

“Since when has history been something made on someone else’s behalf?”

[Yes, you are the ones making it. The carnival is a result of your own efforts. We simply provide the backdrop.]

“We?”

Nangong clenched onto the meat placed on the black table and peered downwards.

“That settles it.”

[Why? This is an opportunity for you. Whether it’s a mistake of stature or a scheme, you are here, and you can surpass other visionaries.]

“That’s because I cannot trust you.”

[What does that mean…?]

Contrary to the bewildered voice, Nangong slowly set the meat back down.

“I’m not sure who this Ran stature is, but how can you, who claims to be strong enough to devour a stature, be bound here?”

[…What?]

“And you said, ‘we’ earlier. You still haven’t revealed your true nature. Trust the words of such a being? Ridiculous.”

Nangong addressed him.

“Make your stance clear. Are you against the statures or on their side?”

WHAM!

He grasped the red meat with all his might, and it exploded into pieces.

[Heh, heh…]

The pieces fell to the ground and began to burn. The black table, in a swirling motion, changed its form once more.

Now, it took the shape of a mummy wrapped in dark bandages. Where there should have been eyes and a nose, there were only black, hollowed-out spaces. Three white glints blinked in the darkness of those pits.

[Impeccable. Although I regret it a bit. Had you been blinded by greed and eaten that, I could have tasted you. Your soul seems like it would be quite entertaining.]

“Crazy. I didn’t survive only to be devoured in a place like this.”

Nangong frowned at the words.

[Ha, the intentions of the statures are predictably obvious. Seems that they are quite fixated on you, aren’t they? Otherwise, you wouldn’t have met me just as the second door opened.]

The mummy extended a hand, revealing a box.

[They would have wished for me to consume you…]

WHOOSH!

And, from the black pits that are its face, blue flames surged wildly.

[I’ve become a bit curious. Surely, this will be unexpected for them.]

Nangong instinctively shuddered at the intense heat he felt.

‘…It’s real.’

The creature’s words were no lie.

More powerful than any of the eight known statures, anyone he knew of.

Certainly not a stature.

[Take it. You received a quest, didn’t you? There has to be a reward for a quest, and you have to receive it before it’s complete.]

THUMP – THUMP –

A surge of absolute power that he had never seen before.

Unbeknownst to himself, Nangong’s heart beat rapidly.

[That is your way out.]

Turning his back, the creature waved lightly at Nangong as if bidding farewell.

[Like any game, the carnival will eventually end. If you survive… you’ll witness the ending.]

“That’s why I usurped the visionary’s position. I started from a vantage point ahead of others.”

[Indeed… being a visionary is commendable, but it won’t suffice. After all, you’ll face many more obstacles ahead.]

CRUNCH!

At that moment,

Nangong walked to the box and smashed it with all his strength.

“Obstacles?”

SWOOSH!!

With the lid shattered and notification of a reward sounding, he declared,

“As many as you like.”

[Ha, you’re quite reckless, aren’t you?]

Before he could see what the reward was, a burst of black smoke from inside the box obscured Nangong’s view.

[My name is Wu (无).]

Then came a whisper.

[It’s not Mu (无). I am not one who has simply failed to exist, but one who never existed from the beginning.]

“What…?”

[And I have also been a spectator of all the festivals. Thus…]

Not a voice, but as if words were etched into the darkness, a sentence appeared before Nangong’s eyes.

In that moment, he knew it was a message from Wu (无), concealed from the vision of even the statures who might have watched from the mist.

[I could tell you of the 25 years of the future you are unaware of.]

* * *

“…!!!”

He opened his eyes.

The words left to him by Wu (无) repeated in Nangong’s head.

But instead of being in a dark cave, he realized he was now back in reality, inside a car.

‘Was it really just a quest?’

Even after an unbelievable experience of regression, he was bewildered for the first time.

Meeting Wu (无) in the cave had been far too unnatural.

‘Someone must be testing me.’

Most likely the culprit, as Wu (无) had hinted, is probably the statures. Funnily enough, Wu (无) within the cave hadn’t mentioned a word about his regression.

However, those last words.

That was clearly something the statures wouldn’t have heard.

It meant that Wu (无) knew of his regression, and that this terrible apocalypse continued 25 years longer than he had experienced was a significant realization.

“Hmm…”

Despite the throbbing in his head, Nangong was more concerned about whether he could discuss this matter with Yorga.

-Screech-

Just then.

A curious metallic noise brushed against the hand resting on his forehead. Looking down, he saw something wrapped around his wrist.

“This is…”

Before he could fully process the unfamiliar object,

“Dad!! Get up quickly!!”

His daughter’s cries came from outside the door.

Realizing his daughter, who should be sitting next to him, was outside the car, Nangong quickly became aware that he was alone in the driver’s seat.

The car was stopped.

THUMP! THUMP!

Simultaneously, dull sounds emanated from multiple directions.

“…Gak!!”

The rough panting coming from outside belonged to Myeonghoon, and upon seeing Somin urgently pounding on the window, Nangong quickly grasped the situation.

-Click-

He opened the car door.

“Dad!!”

“What happened?”

He pulled his shouting daughter into his arms and asked.

“People suddenly swarmed us, stopped the car, and… Myeonghoon uncle is in danger!!”

Somin cried out urgently.

True to her words, Myeonghoon was surrounded by dozens of men.

“That can’t be true.”

However, Nangong smirked as he looked at the captured Myeonghoon.

“The one in danger is them, not him. You just sit tight.”

Nangong opened the car door to let Somin in and turned around.

“Is that you, Nangong?”

The slightly awkward Korean language.

“You need to come with us for a moment.”

Nangong had an idea of who these people might be.

“Myeonghoon. You can come out now.”

“Yes, brother.”

CRACK!! THUD-

Immediately after Nangong’s command, Myeonghoon knocked down the men who were holding him.

“Gak!”

As he twisted the arm of the man he was holding, it contorted grotesquely.

“Why did you let them hold you?”

“Well, I wanted to assess the situation. Considering Somin is here too.”

Myeonghoon stepped over the fallen man and stood up as the momentarily bewildered men all drew knives.

“These bastards…!”

“Everyone, attack!”

“I’ve got a feeling where they’re from… But it’s probably better to catch a few and ask for details.”

“Yes, sir. It’s been so long since monsters started pouring out, yet they still wave those puny knives thinking it’s a threat. Stupid gangsters…”

Myeonghoon nodded as he looked at the charging men.

“Still, they are lucky. If it had been Hojun instead, there would not be a single breathing soul among them.”

“I’m not really a nice guy either.”

“But you don’t kill people.”

SHHHHHH…!!

As Myeonghoon drew the Baekcheon Sword, cold icy spikes erupted around him like a fence.

“I just don’t kill, that’s all.”



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