[Translator – woni]
[Proofreader – sharlottle]
Chapter 32: Monster, Player, Human.
It wasn’t condemnation, mockery, or humiliation.
Limon’s words were more like lamentation.
Lee Chun-gi wasn’t one to know of such an emotion.
But right now, he could feel the feeling called ‘shame’.
The Absolute Rulers of this Iron Age were the Monarchs.
No matter what he did, Lee Chun-gi was deserving of his confidence.
But not this time.
‘This is deserving of pride. Your swordsmanship has the worth of a thousand skills.’
‘Oh really? When did I ask you to judge my swordsmanship?’
‘It’s not judgment, but acceptance.’
‘Ah, you’re assembling all of your skills because you can’t beat me with swordsmanship alone?’
‘You are worthy of it.’
He had judged Limon.
He had accepted his sword.
He had argued if Limon had the right to battle with him.
Everything he spewed at Limon as if it were a matter of fact came back at him like a boomerang, piercing his heart.
He knew, only now.
How undeserving of his arrogance he was.
To judge others, one must first be aware if they have the right to do so.
To accept others, one must first be accepted by them first.
Lee chun-gi failed to do so.
He had cluelessly judged Limon.
He believed he had the right to.
And with a single swing of his blade, Limon had shattered that arrogance of his.
He’d proved his right to judge, but he’d also proved Lee Chun-gi’s unworthiness.
Above all, his sword, crumbling in Limon’s hands, made it evident.
Arondight, the Sword of Immortality.
A reward given to him when he reached level 100.
A Monarch-rank item, one of just ten in the world.
Bearing the [Indomitable] element, Arondight was the only weapon that was capable of withstanding Lee Chun-gi’s thousand— no, ten thousand —skills being used simultaneously.
There was only one reason that the very same weapon had shattered like it was glass.
It was Limon’s last blow, no doubt.
Though, he couldn’t believe that a single sword movement was able to break [Indomitable] gear.
That alone made it clear to Lee Chun-gi that Limon was on a threshold he didn’t have the right to dare judge.
And so, he had to ask.
“Why… Why were you hiding this power all this time?”
“Me? Hiding power?”
Limon looked like he was just told something outrageous.
“Oi, nutjob! The Seven Dragons Association and I have been battling it out for centuries! I knocked down the fucking Demon God with my own two hands! What more of my power do I have to prove?!”
For a moment, Lee Chun-gi was at a loss for words.
Come to think of it, Limon Asphelder was right.
He was the Guardian of Humanity.
He’d stopped multiple disasters that could have turned the world over, and he was a hero to countless nations.
Furthermore, he’d held the throne of the Absolute Ruler up until the coming of the Iron Age.
In other words, he was a man of greatness who had lived centuries showing off his power as much as he possibly could.
And Lee Chun-gi had just asked him why he hid his power!
It was ridiculous even to himself.
But there was a reason he had to ask such a ridiculous question.
“But that all happened a long time ago.”
Whether it was the ordeal with the Seven Dragons Association, or the Demon God’s descent.
They were all events from dozens of years to centuries ago.
There wasn’t possibly a way for there to be a record of just what kind of great feats Limon accomplished when recording mediums were rare — written documents or tales passed on by word of mouth at most.
Plus, it was more than likely those would have been untrustworthy. It made sense people in the modern age believed it all to be the hyperboles often seen in records of the past.
“I’m asking, why haven’t you shown your powers in this era?”
Once, no more and no less.
If Limon had shown his strength just once, the Swordmaster wouldn’t have met his downfall like this.
Despite the fact the Iron Age revolved around players, no one would be idiotic enough to turn their nose up at a monster that could take down a Monarch.
Why had he wordlessly accepted his downfall?
Limon’s response was crystal clear.
“Because it’s useless.”
Translator - woni
Proofreader - sharlottle
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“Because there hasn’t been a single case throughout all these years where I had to actually fight properly, you little shit. I hunted down the Demon God ages ago, and the war with the Seven Dragons is over. Where else would I use this strength?”
Maybe his answer was that baffling to Lee Chun-gi.
He once again let out a series of bloody coughs that had just barely stopped and asked— interrogated —Limon.
“Does that even make sense to you?”
“So what if it doesn’t?”
But Limon came out confident as always, even jeering, as he looked down on Lee Chun-gi.
“Are you saying I should have hunted you Monarchs down to prove I’m strong?”
Once again, Lee Chun-gi was at a loss for words.
Unable to go into dungeons and not able to have a level, the only way Limon could prove himself was to create actual fights.
Like he was doing right now.
No, it was possible even that wouldn’t be enough.
Even if Limon won a fight against a Monarch, the masses were bound to believe that he’d won through sheer coincidence, luck, or by cheating in some way.
Just like how Lee Chun-gi himself didn’t think Limon would be his match, even after annihilating two Grand Dukes and 150 high level players.
No matter what proof there was,
Or what the records state,
People only believe what they want to believe.
What could Limon do to overcome that distrust?
He might have to take down all ten Monarchs entirely.
“Do you know what it’s called when I beat up easy marks and boast about how strong I am?”
Lee Chun-gi couldn’t speak.
“It’s called bullying, you loser.”
“Did you just compare the Monarchs to ‘easy marks’?”
“It’s a fact.”
‘How does calling an easy mark as what it is make it a comparison?’ Limon blatantly mocked.
Lee Chungi couldn’t bring himself to object.
Here he was, utterly defeated after getting tantalized in a one-sided battle. He was living proof that Limon was right.
But that didn’t seem to give Limon too much joy.
He let out a sharp exhale seeing Lee Chun-gi’s deeply furrowed brows.
“It looks like my direct words don’t work well on you. Let me give you some comparisons like you want.”
“…How kind of you,” Lee Chun-gi stated flatly, emotionless.
Limon didn’t care.
He simply continued in a calming voice, “let’s say a huge bomb… Yeah, let’s say there’s a bomb with the force of about ten million tons of TNT.”
“Do you even know how much that is?”
“Shut the fuck up and listen, shithead.”
‘How can a bomb that has enough destructive power to level an entire city exist?’
Limon crushed Lee Chun-gi’s cynical question as he went on.
“You’ve got the bomb switch in your hands. But the neighborhood kids, with snot running down their noses, don’t believe such a bomb exists. Rather, they look down on you, trying to attack you.”
Limon crouched down in front of Lee Chun-gi. Now eye-to-eye, he asked the Monarch in a low voice.
“Would you set that bomb off to prove it to those kids?”
Lee Chun-gi’s face stiffened.
He’d finally understood.
Limon was asking what difference it would be to blowing a bomb up if he’d displayed his full power just to prove a point.
“…Who would do such a crazy thing?”
“You think they wouldn’t? Really?”
“One thing I learned as a PAB agent is that none of you guys take your powers seriously.”
Swordsmanship, Psionics, magic, elementalism, whatever.
There were plenty of powers that ruled the world in the past as well, but none of them were as easy to acquire as skills.
It’s not that that was a bad thing.
The problem was the side effects that came with that.
“You got it easily, so you use it easily. Instead of considering whether or not you should even use it, you think about how to use it to be more advantageous to yourselves.”
There were no masters to teach them the meaning behind having power.
They weren’t even given time to build pride and principle in their work.
They were just desperate to show off their gifted powers.
Just like how anyone would want to show off when they suddenly get a good item or a high score in a game.
“Well, I guess that’s only natural.”
Limon didn’t chastise that fact.
He stoically accepted it.
“After all, you’re still just players.”
The emblem of success in this age that everybody aspired to be.
For the first time, Lee Chun-gi realized that it could also be a name mocking those living life as if it were a game.
“Well, not that I care if you do, anyways. It’s not like people use their powers properly just because it was hard earned.
‘Then why did you make that comparison?’ Lee Chun-gi asked in his head.
“Speaking of which, have you ever heard of this saying? ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’”
“I’ve heard something similar,” he replied, barely staying calm.
High level players played a big role in society in this age.
And there were plenty of catchphrases encouraging responsibility to promote their activities.
So Lee Chun-gi figured Limon was just trying to tell him that self-control was a part of responsibility.
But Limon assured him,
“That’s total bullshit, you know.”
Believing that kind of stuff would ruin you.
“There’s no such thing as responsibility in power. There’s no such thing as getting reprimanded for not being good at using your powers. In fact, you get more benefits the more irresponsible you are with it.”
‘Noblesse oblige’ or whatever it is, the rules of responsibilities have been around for ages.
But it was rare to see instances where such rules were properly kept, and most of the few who tried to follow the rules met their downfall.
With his long life giving more weight to his experiences, Limon spoke plainly.
“See, the world is unfair.”
“What, are you trying to spread pessimism?”
“No, I’m telling you how easy it is to mishandle power.”
It is entirely up to the powerful on how and when to use their powers because there is no responsibility.
And as far as Limon knew, those who achieved wealth and honor— no matter the era —were those who abused their powers after realizing that truth.
“You’re right, there is no reason for me not to show off. I can be on top of the world and make everyone crawl at my feet if I become a bully just once.”
Maybe this wouldn’t be the case for others, but for Limon, it would be a piece of cake.
If the people wouldn’t get it after he threw down one Monarch, all he had to do was repeat that over and over again until they did.
But Limon laughed at such an easy task and added on more suppositions.
“But what will happen after 30 years?”
“When the next generation forgets my power and turns their noses up at me?”
“I’ll end up being a bully again in just the span of 30 years. A lot more tyrannical and substantial than I did before, on top of that.”
It was a point Lee Chun-gi had not thought of as a Monarch.
From the beginning, players had a stage called the Dungeon to show their power. There wasn’t any need to consider any impact or consequences their skills might bring.
“Do you know what happens when you use your powers like that?”
On the other hand, here was this man who knows nothing but sword-wielding.
The man who has no choice but to prove himself through battle.
The man who lived long enough to add a ‘just’ in front of ‘30 years’, who would continue to live even longer.
A cold smile formed on Limon’s face.
“You become a monster.”
“Commiting murder for no good reason other than to show off how strong you are.
Biologically immortal without knowing when to yield. Forever holding power in your hands. Abusing it until one day, that monster destroys the world for entertainment.”
Lee Chun-gi fell into a deep silence.
Limon’s unwavering voice sounded like he’d seen such a monster first-hand before.
His golden eyes were dark and settled down, colder than anything he could imagine.
It made it impossible to let a word out.
“That’s why I didn’t,” Limon spoke calmly.
It was the one reason why he accepted his downfall even after losing everything, until he was falsely charged of treachery.
“I didn’t, because I’m a human.”
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