Chapter 145: Three Norns (4)
[You have chosen to head down the path of the temple of the past, Urd.]
Yeon-woo followed Hepburn, passing the right path.
Unlike Skuld’s temple, the way to Urd’s temple was inclined, up a hill.
He couldn’t see the believers heading to the temple.
Unlike the other two temples where players confessed their worries about the present of the future, Urd’s temple managed the past, so it was the least popular.
Also, because of the incident with Skuld’s temple, the number of players who visited the 16th floor had suddenly decreased.
Thanks to that, Yeon-woo was able to comfortably arrive at the temple.
Skuld’s temple had a high marble ceiling, whereas Urd’s temple had a round arch ceiling.
Considering she was the oldest of the three goddesses, it was humble and simple.
“He is a guest that the goddess invited. Open the doors.”
The disciples in front of the temple saw Hepburn and frantically opened the doors.
They saw the shadow scythe under Hepburn’s chin, but no one commented on it. Rather, they didn’t meet her eyes, like it would be disrespectful to her if she did.
An apostle was the god’s avatar. It was clear this was considered to be true seeing how they treated her.
So Yeon-woo followed Hepburn down a hallway and stood in front of a large door.
As if the 4 meter tall door was showing Urd’s personality, it was simple, other than the decoration of the gold wheel on it.
But Yeon-woo knew the moment he saw it.
It was heavy.
No, maybe it was deep. But from one hand, it seemed wide, and it seemed high from another. It even emanated a cozy feeling.
Something unknown was hiding behind the door.
And as if agreeing with Yeon-woo, the Black Bracelet and Vigrid slightly rang. And he could feel Aegis crying in the subspace that it was in.
An immense strength was hiding.
It was different from what he felt with the Martial King or the Summer Queen.
“You feel it. Definitely.”
Hepburn looked at Yeon-woo with mysterious eyes.
Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes.
“What are you saying?”
“Occasionally, we have people like that. People who feel what’s behind the closed door. Most of those people are people who are very sensitive, or have the holy sense. Or.”
Hepburn’s gold eyes calmly shined.
“They have experience with godly power.”
Yeon-woo couldn’t understand what Hepburn was saying.
“What’s behind this?”
There was a god here? And behind the door?
Gods couldn’t escape the 98th floor. The Three Norns always left their consciousness on the 16th floor because they didn’t want to be locked on the 98th floor, but they couldn’t descend with their complete body.
But Hepburn was saying there was a god behind this.
Yeon-woo sent her questioning eyes, but Hepburn politely bowed like he would know if he went in and took a step back.
“From here, this is the holy territory that the god is located in. I didn’t receive the permission to step in, so I cannot come with you.”
Holy territory was the territory of the god.
Like how Yeon-woo had absolute power using his Draconic territory, a god could use their power in the limited section of the holy territory.
Yeon-woo hesitated, not liking the situation, but he stepped in front of the door.
Even if he went in, his communication with the Monster Portent in Hepburn’s shadow wouldn’t be cut off.
No, he thought this was actually better.
Since he was curious about the existence of a god. He thought he would be able to know if he met Urd, so he opened the door.
Darkness surrounded him. It was dark enough that he couldn’t tell where the front or back was, but Yeon-woo headed in without any hesitation.
The door shut and isolated him. And he went deeper inside the dark, he could feel the territory slightly dissipating.
And in its place, something else took over.
In the endless darkness, what Yeon-woo saw was so large that it seemed like there was no end.
A similar strength to what he had felt outside of the door. It felt wide, high, and deep.
Not able to know where its limits were, Yeon-woo felt like he had become a small and helpless existence like a firefly.
When he felt it on the outside, he thought that it would be a strength not able to be understood.
But faced with it now, he couldn’t even recognize it.
‘This is…..a god.’
Yeon-woo unknowingly mused to himself. The god in front of him was really distant.
He thought of Hermes, who he had met in Olympus’s treasury. Then, he hadn’t been able to feel his presence at all. This was the complete opposite.
No, actually, this was correct. Hermes had been considerate of the weak Yeon-woo, and Urd didn’t feel the need to.
To a god, a human was just a simple microbe.
Like how a grain of sand of sand castle wiped away the waves couldn’t be found, or like how the light of a firefly couldn’t be seen in front of the sun. His existence was too poor.
He felt like he would be blown away if his opponent just blew softly with their mouth.
No, before that, wouldn’t his existence be eaten up?
He felt like he was in critical danger, like he would disappear like a candlelight without even realizing what was happening.
Yeon-woo immediately pulled his Magic Circuit to the max. He spun his 360 Cores and sent magic power to each of them, and spread his wings of fire apart to wrap around his body for protection.
So he wouldn’t just disappear, so he could feel something, he forced himself to attention.
And blocking outer influences with his magic power, he lifted his head.
Yeon-woo pulled his consciousness as much as he could and focused on one thing.
He didn’t know exactly where the god was. However, Yeon-woo thought none of it mattered.
This was holy territory. It was where the god’s consciousness was, and where a god themself was. So it was clear where he looked, he would feel a gaze.
And. Like he was correct, and a firm voice pierced Yeon-woo’s head.
[You’re quite a tenacious child. Well, I guess you have to have that much to make a mess of the youngest’s temple.]
A voice that sounded like it was laughing at him. No, there was more of a cold tone to it.
Yeon-woo became more nervous. And he added fire to his defense and took his left hand to his Black Bracelet.
It was to move the shadow on Hepburn if something went wrong.
Yeon-woo’s intent was visible to Urd.
[I don’t know why you’re so wary of me. I promised I wouldn’t hurt you, and I don’t planto. But you don’t try to hide your sword.]
“Because I don’t know what you’re thinking.”
[Considering you’re a successor of the ancient dragon’s power, you’re quite careful. Lizards are usually nothing without their pride. I don’t know how you got such power.]
The ancient dragon’s successor. She was talking about Kalatus’s power that he got from his brother.
Like a god that observed the past, Urd was able to see all the paths he had taken so far.
So he ignored her gaze, and directly asked.
“Why did you call for me?”
The trial of the 16th floor was very simple. Asking a question to a priest, and they would deliver the goddess’s words. That was it.
The difficulty might be easy, but the response from the goddesses could be important to the player’s future. So everyone carefully progressed with the trial.
However, no one had ever met with a goddess themselves. His brother had chosen Verdandi on the 16th floor, and he had immediately passed after hearing a few words.
So Yeon-woo could only be suspicious of what Urd had come herself.
[I guess you want to leave as soon as you can.]
Yeon-woo didn’t reply.
Urd continued in a cynical voice, like it didn’t matter.
It was a completely unexpected answer. Yeon-woo frowned under the mask.
And Urd’s laughs became louder.
[Yeah. Just because. As you can see, there’s almost no visitors here. And the people here consider me worthless almost all the time. I happened to hear that someone had turned over the youngest’s temple when I was bored, so I was interested.
[Even if we can’t move, a god is a god. It’s not common to see a player dare to destroy a temple. Even the fellows who hate us don’t try to have us as their enemies. But you kicked it away.]
Yeon-woo shut his mouth.
[So I wanted to see you once. And I heard that you haven’t finished the trial of the 16th floor, so I was waiting here thinking that you would come back. Then I met you like this. That’s it.]
[The trial has been finished.]
[You have succeeded in meeting the goddess Urd. You have achieved an accomplishment not easily achieved. Additional Karma is being rewarded.]
[You have earned 5,000 Karma.]
[You have earned 3,000 Karma.]
[The earned Karma is being combined with your total Karma.]
[Will you put your name on the hall of fame?]
Yeon-woo’s eyes became bigger at the unexpected messages.
He still didn’t know what Urd was thinking.
[I’ve seen many humans here. They were all regretting something about their past. They were all the same bunch.]
People who couldn’t escape from the past. And people who couldn’t live their present and future because they couldn’t leave their past.
[There was one thing they wanted, not being able to escape the past. To escape it. They asked me how to gain the future. They wanted to somehow find their lives.]
Life was a present that was created by layers of the past, and these presents combined to make the future.
The present and the future justified life.
In other words, life was hope.
[But. You’re different. Very.]
Yeon-woo thought Urd was smiling.
And he thought he knew why Urd had called him.
[You have no regrets. And at the same time, you are swimming towards a deeper past. In that, you endlessly repeat blaming yourself. At the end, there is no ‘you.’ Just your dead brother.]
[So I ask. If you can do this. To yourself. Your brother closed his eyes sadly, but you can’t leave a happy life because of your guilt, so you continue to push yourself into despair. And you make yourself suffer.]
Veins popped out in his clenched fist.
[And you suspect. Your brother was betrayed by his trusted friends. Then. Can I do the same? Can I trust the people around me?]
[These people seem different than them, but your brother also thought he would live forever with them. Betrayal can come anytime. So you continue to be wary of them. Isn’t that right?]
Yeon-woo grit his teeth.
[Suspect and suspect even more.]
Urd’s voice became louder. It kept on making his head ring.
[Don’t trust, and don’t trust even more.]
The darkness around Yeon-woo tided. It all shifted and beat his emotions like they were waves.
It was the craziness of someone caught by their past.
[Those with you can turn their backs anytime. If they want to. If you don’t fit their goals. They can cut your neck anytime. So hurt them before you get hurt. Move before they move. Chew them up, and rip them apart. Then you won’t be hurt. Then you won’t be in pain.]
Yeon-woo brought his fire up as much as he could. So he wouldn’t be swept away by the waves.
Just by being open to them he felt like he would disappear.
[You may want to ask. Why you have to do that. Isn’t that obvious.]
But he also thought. The craziness of Urd was somehow familiar.
[Don’t say you don’t know. Don’t avoid it.]
Urd knew Yeon-woo’s mind inside and out. And she picked out a place from his memory.
[Isn’t that how you lived until now? The life you lived, it’s always been like that. Even if the smell of blood and fire spread, even in that hell-like battlefield. And this palace isn’t too different. However, you’re only forcing it down.]
An event from the past flashed past his eyes. Urd playing a memory that he had hidden away.
He wanted to push it away, but the video in front of his eyes didn’t stop.
In that place, Yeon-woo was moving through a mountain. Hunger and thirst. Tiredness from a long battle. Bullets that pierced his sides. His comrades, who had disappeared while he fainted. He had to survive, and he slowly trudged by.
With the anger of the comrades who left him behind.
He trusted them until the end, but his hate towards those who betrayed his trust moved his body along.
And he moved again. Then, he met them in the process. He killed, and killed again.
That was probably when it was made.
Always moving within Yeon-woo’s mind. The monster that whispered to him like a demon.
[So pull it out.]
Yeon-woo woke up from his reverie. He felt like he woke up from a nightmare.
Urd was trying to tie him to his past.
He felt like he could see Urd herself past the darkness.
She was definitely smiling, revealing her teeth.
[The monster, that’s still inside.]
With the same appearance of the damned bastard that was inside his heart.