Chapter 130 – Truth’s Oracle (3)
‘Is it because of the level of «Pray»… or is it my Empathy?!’
He soon realized why the Priest had been surprised and why he was bothering him so much.
The reason why the light was so bright was probably because of his ridiculously high Empathy stat.
But from the point of view of an NPC, it was bright enough to confuse him for a Priestess or Saintess.
Yes, they were probably thinking that he was some sort of holy being!
If not, there was no reason they would lead him to that place, which was usually forbidden for users to access.
Hyun began to understand the situation.
Maybe it was an event that opened the path to obtaining a hidden job that was of the holy type.
‘Wait, aren’t they going to discover that I belong to the Abyss…?’
As he walked through a passage decorated with luxurious candlesticks on both sides, Hyun began dripping cold sweat.
It was already too late to escape.
Holy knights surrounded him.
‘Wait, this old man is…!’
An NPC Hyun knew ended up appearing.
One of the 12 Bishops of the Holy Kingdom. He silently looked at Hyun, then frowned as if he’d sensed something strange.
“I’m sorry, but excuse me for a moment.”
The Bishop turned Hyun’s hands around.
While that was happening, Hyun couldn’t summon the courage to do anything.
The Bishop’s eyes shone and then looked at Hyun.
At that moment, Hyun realized something.
Hyun’s heart began beating faster.
While his surroundings were silent, he just bit his lips.
If he kept meeting high-ranking NPCs, wouldn’t they end up discovering he belonged to the Abyss?
What he feared became a reality.
‘What kind of horrible luck is this…?!’
No, it was his mistake for following them while hoping for a hidden event. He’d put himself in that situation.
He would end up facing a horrible death.
While numerous thoughts crossed Hyun’s mind, the high-ranking Priest nodded and backed off.
He was expecting him to order the soldiers to kill him immediately, but the Priest just frowned and didn’t show any other reaction.
“Now I understand the meaning of the oracle.”
While Hyun was confused, the Bishop turned around and gave an order to the Priests around them.
“Lead this user to the main temple.”
The Priests bowed and followed the Bishop’s order.
The NPCs were clearly treating him differently, but Hyun went from feeling like a VIP to a prisoner.
Although the Bishop had clearly discovered he was part of the Abyss, he’d just remained silent while nodding.
He couldn’t understand what was going on.
‘I should be able to escape… right?’
Hyun was looking around when his eyes met the Bishop’s. He turned around to avoid his gaze.
Hyun followed the Priests and reached the deepest place of the temple.
The place where the Pope prayed…
There had been three sculptures until recently, but that had changed to two.
One had broken after Truth descended.
‘This… is the sanctuary.’
As they passed through a silent corridor, a place Hyun knew very well appeared.
There were a few places where the chances of a Transcendent descending were higher.
The strongest sanctuary was the main magic circle of Iluna, and the second place was where they had led him, the main temple of the Holy Kingdom.
In every sanctuary, people from the Heavens left three sculptures to make it easy for Angels to descend. Hyun found it suspicious that only the sculpture of ‘Truth’ was missing.
While his thoughts were getting deeper, a Priest carefully approached him.
“We ask you to «Pray».”
Judging by how he said “please”… It seemed they weren’t trying to blame him for being part of the Abyss, or maybe the Bishop hadn’t told them anything.
‘Oof… To be asked to pray so suddenly.’
He was still confused but had no choice but to follow what they said.
Nervously, Hyun closed his eyes and put his hands together.
Because he’d done it numerous times, he could concentrate and «Pray» in any situation.
Hyun felt a benevolent and altruistic emotion rising from within.
Was it because he was using «Pray» at a sanctuary? Unlike when he used «Pray» at the chapel, those emotions were amplified almost instantly.
It didn’t take long before the whole body was covered with joy.
Lightning struck a few moments after he began praying.
Just like that day…
Lightning connected the sanctuary with the sky.
At that moment, the Priests, looking from behind him, and even the Pope, who was looking from a distance, kneeled down.
They felt that the oracle had been fulfilled.
Hyun was the only one who could see what was going on.
Hyun raised his head and looked at Truth, who had descended onto the podium.
More than surprised, he was stunned.
He never thought that he would meet the Archangel so suddenly out of nowhere.
Was it because she’d descended consecutively in a short period? Truth seemed weaker than when he’d seen her at the tournament arena.
He suddenly remembered something about her.
Truth could see through human emotions.
If you stood beside her, it was better if there was nothing you were ashamed of.
Asrian’s technology had improved a lot compared to the previous game. How much of that technology had they applied?
Was it possible that she knew what he was thinking about?
“Yes, I know.”
Truth’s words struck Hyun’s head.
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
“Fufu, you don’t need to be nervous.”
She talked kindly as if she were trying to calm down a kid, but Hyun couldn’t easily relax.
Transcendents, like Archangels or Great Demons, were created using second-generation AI.
—That meant the Archangel in front of him wasn’t that different from a real human being!
More than making him feel unpleasant, having his thoughts read made him nervous.
“You’re surprisingly normal.”
Hyun was confused at the words Truth spoke.
No, he hadn’t been able to understand them because he was thinking about other things.
She probably knew about his tendency.
What would happen if she saw that his tendency was at minus 93?
To be honest, he hadn’t intended for his tendency to incline toward the Abyss, so he thought it was unfair.
“You need not worry.”
“I know that your heart isn’t directed toward the Abyss.”
Truth once again read Hyun’s thoughts.
Every time he got his thoughts read, he shrugged his shoulders.
“Even on Iluna, you did your best for the sake of the Heavens, although the results weren’t good. The reason why your tendency became inclined toward the Abyss so much… Is probably because you were unlucky.”
The moment Hyun heard the word “Iluna”, he almost thought of Louise.
He tried his best to suppress those memories.
He still didn’t know Louise’s true identity.
What if he thought of her in front of Truth?
Hyun wasn’t sure… but he felt that something bad would happen.
Thankfully, Truth couldn’t read one’s thoughts that were in the subconscious.
She remained silent for a while but suddenly mumbled while frowning.
“How weird… Why did your tendency get inclined toward the Abyss?”
“You have no evil feelings, and you don’t worship the Abyss.”
Truth thought about it for a little more but quickly gave up.
She’d used her ego consecutively, so she couldn’t stay for a long period of time.
She looked at Hyun. It seemed like she’d decided on something and opened her mouth.
“Okay, I’ll erase your past.”
Truth walked down from the podium and placed her hands on top of Hyun’s head.
He shrugged his shoulders but didn’t show any big reaction.
—It was to avoid thinking of anything useless.
“I forgive your sins.”
A strong light shone from Truth’s hands and covered the temple.
Hyun and all those who kneeled down closed their eyes.
The Priests were trembling with their heads bowed.
They knew what was going on.
The Archangel had used her authority just for the sake of one person, and a user on top of that.
The light disappeared after ten seconds, and Hyun received a system message.
[A strength that exceeds humans has reset your tendency!]
Hyun was surprised.
His tendency, which was at minus 93, had become neutral.
Instead of minus 93, it appeared as 0. Not only that, but the rune on his hand had disappeared.
The Archangel could do lots of different things, so even he didn’t remember everything.
But had a Transcendent really used her authority for one user? Using her authority required her to burn her ego, which was like cutting her own flesh.
Not only that, but it seemed like a power that was one step higher than descending.
Hyun knew better than any other user what kind of recoil that could have.
As expected, Truth’s figure started to become blurry.
It meant that she would soon return to the Heavens… She probably wouldn’t be able to use her ego to descend for a while.
“Any evil can be forgiven once… but if you follow the path of evil twice, that means that’s probably your nature.”
Truth smiled and looked into Hyun’s eyes.
Hyun smiled awkwardly while looking at her.
“I’m fond of you,” Truth said in a higher tone of voice.
The second thing was something directed toward the people that were kneeling down—it was to make sure people from the surface knew the will of a god.
Even if she’d forgiven his sins, there would probably be people who would try to persecute him just because he was part of the Abyss.
People from that side probably weren’t aware of the true value that his oracle had.
She didn’t have enough time to explain, and even if she did, they probably wouldn’t understand.
For her effort not to be in vain, she had to eliminate even the smallest possibility of doubt.
Thanks to her having read his thoughts, she became sure of something…
If time flowed without anything special happening, he would probably become Heaven’s biggest sword in the future.
That’s why she reaffirmed once more…
“Don’t be swayed by the goodwill or hostility of others. Don’t be swayed by the standards that distinguish good from evil. You just need to do as you’ve been doing until now—that’s the best path for you.”
After Truth said it once more, the Priests became aware of what she wanted to say.
She didn’t want them to try to put any pressure on him. After all, he was a human with an Empathy so high that it made it hard to believe that he was a user.
Could they leave him alone? After all, he had fallen to the Abyss once.
Shouldn’t they at least put a Stigma of Light on him?
Most Priests naturally thought that, but after hearing Truth’s words, they did their best to erase those kinds of thoughts.
They realized that just thinking that about him in front of Truth was an act of profanity.
Lightning rose to the sky.
Truth disappeared without being able to say her goodbye… He knew how much strength she’d used to say those last words.
Hyun and the rest of the people there didn’t stand up for a while after Truth disappeared.
The ego the Archangel had burned was gently embracing the sanctuary.
* * *
No one blocked Hyun’s path, but they didn’t also didn’t try to favor him.
‘You just need to do as you’ve been doing until now. That’s the best path for you.’
Everyone remembered Truth’s words, and there wasn’t anyone there willing to go against the will of their god.
“Could I ask your name…?”
Someone asked Hyun’s name, but he just remained silent.
“If it’s too much, please forget I said that…”
Hyun didn’t answer because he felt dumbfounded.
After he returned to the Shade Guild’s private room…
Hyun remembered everything that had happened.
‘She gave an oracle just to meet me…’
Truth hadn’t thought much about users in the previous game.
She was only slightly interested in him in the latter half of the game since he had managed to obtain an overwhelming strength. She didn’t even take a glimpse at Ain and the other users.
At the point in the game they were at, every single user should’ve been as irrelevant as dust for her.
Despite that, not only had she given an oracle to meet him, but she’d said she was fond of him in front of all the Priests.
Was that also one of the differences between Asra and Asrian?
The Truth of the previous game probably wasn’t created by using a second-generation AI, so it was understandable that there would be some differences in her personality.
‘It’s not like I can ask Radiette.’
After the incident on Iluna, Hyun had returned to the Giant’s Forest to ask for forgiveness for having deceived him with «Assimilation».
He barely managed to find the house on top of a tree branch, but there was no one inside.
Hyun had felt relieved after seeing that all of the important things had disappeared.
—That meant he hadn’t died on Iluna.
Radiette had probably gone to a place similar to the Giant’s Forest where there were no people nearby after returning.