The Novel's Villain - Chapter 66
16.Moving Forward (3)
The Seven Dragons Association was a Knight force covering a huge area of China, formed of numerous smaller factions. It was originally established by the party, but the situation had been reversed in recent years. Most of the party’s leaders were appointed by the Seven Dragons Association, and even the president of China couldn’t do anything recklessly without their approval.
Seventy percent of the Chinese knights were already from the Seven Dragons Association or wished to join the Seven Dragons Association. Meaning, the days when the president wielded unauthorized power long since passed.
The main hall of the Seven Dragons Association, which was always full of laughter, has now turned serious. The leaders of the Seven Dragons Association usually gathered once a year, but these days, they met face to face almost every day to discuss the Gate disaster.
“Why don’t we seek help from the International Federation of Competent People? Like asking them to send relief Knights…”
“What are you talking about! The national dignity will certainly be lost…besides, they must be trying to find fault with anything…”
“But we can’t leave the Gate like this.”
It was full of groans. They were blamed by G&P after admitting that they had stolen the technology. However, they couldn’t even take it back.
“Sir, it will get worse if we neglect it any longer. The Magic Crystals are already running out…the mana generator isn’t working either. It is a national emergency.”
“…Is it difficult to import?”
“We’re paying a lot of money for it, but we can’t stand it any longer. G&P’s goods aren’t even available, and smuggling is difficult. Our credibility is also falling to the bottom…”
When the leader hit the table with his fist, the table turned to dust. The others, however, didn’t respond as if they were familiar with it. They had already gone through dozens of table replacements.
The leader of the Seven Dragons Association looked at the map. The erosion that started at the Gate was rapidly increasing. They were blocking it with Magic Crystals, but they were gradually being pushed back. According to the analysts, half of Tianjin would be eaten within a month if they ran out. The city was the second problem, and China’s prestige would be greatly reduced if it lost the Gate. The difference between countries with Gates and those without Gates was too great.
“Sir, we must take special measures.”
“The information is sufficient.”
The Seven Dragons Association gathered information by putting the lower-ranking competent people inside there. Most of them went missing, but some survived long enough to provide recon.
‘A giant knight…’
They would never believe it if they hadn’t seen it themselves. Beyond the barrier, there was a gigantic Death Knight.
“We must move the elite Knights.”
“As long as we can destroy the artifact, we can try to restore the Gate. A decision must be made before the city is eaten.”
Moving the elite Knights wasn’t an easy choice, even for the Seven Dragons Association. They had to put all their energy into the international competition because it would be a big deal if there were an additional loss of power.
“It can’t be helped.”
The leader of the Seven Dragons Association nodded. He decided to send the elite Knights beyond the barrier.
* * *
The seed of the World Tree was to be planted in the meadow, not where the World Tree was originally, marking the area as a protected territory. The first World Tree had fully crumbled into particles. All the nutrients and mana from it flowed into the cracked ground and land. Although it wasn’t possible to restore all the devastated land, it was enough for the World Tree to grow.
Jin-woo told Ella that the World Tree belonged to him, and surprisingly, she nodded gently in acceptance.
“My Lord Emperor, you have given us a lot of grace. It is thanks to your help that we can continue our lives like this again. The elves’ thoughts will always be with you. Please accept us.”
Ella said so, and all the elves agreed.
The Golden Dimension was the center of all dimensions. Going underneath it would never be viewed as a flaw. Rather, belonging to the central dimension meant receiving energy as natural as water flowing from top to bottom. And the Emperor in front of them chose the path of coexistence rather than rule by oppression. If the Emperor of Gold had made his mind, a poor dimension like Elonti would sooner have been colonized.
The Emperor of Gold even created a new World Tree through a fierce struggle with the Emperor of Vanity.
‘Well, that’ll be fine.’
When Jin-woo nodded and smiled, Ella also smiled. Her eyes were swollen from crying because of the World Tree, but she still had a beautiful smile. Although he suddenly conquered the elves, it was no different from their usual relationship. If there was one other thing, it was that Ella wanted him to put down all formality in front of her. After all, he was the Emperor, and she was just the Queen.
Jin-woo laid the seed on the meadow. When he breathed in his mana, the seed sprouted and dug into the ground. It took root and gradually grew larger until it became a tree. The tree trunk was a mixture of golden and black colors, as were the leaves. It seemed like something from the Emperor of Gold and the Incarnation of Evil had been mixed.
“The World Tree…!”
The elves didn’t care about that; they were only happy about the resurrection of the World Tree. The forest began to revive around the World Tree. The meadow, which had only been filled with dried weeds, was turning green again.
‘It’s growing very fast.’
It wasn’t an ordinary tree, so it was growing quickly. It even surpassed Jin-woo’s height in an instant. The moment the will of the World Tree was connected with Ella, things only continued to speed up. It seemed to be a bit out of control when it felt the interest and love of Earthlings, but there was no major problem.
He thought it would take quite some time to become as large as the old World Tree. However, even now, its influence had already surpassed that of the previous World Tree.
‘It’s a good thing to enhance it.’
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As expected, the enhancement was great. The boundary between the forest and the meadow was already disappearing and further expanding.
[The Forest and Meadow Dimensions have been transferred to the Golden Dimension.]
[Located on the outskirts of the Golden Dimension. Entry is possible with permission from the Emperor of Gold.]
[The dimensional boundary has become unstable for a moment. Portals moving to nearby Gates may spawn sporadically.]
[The surviving orcs have been banished to the nearby Gate.]
[Influence rank has increased.]
It was possible to go back and forth without opening a portal. Of course, Jin-woo’s permission was required. It was convenient to think of it as a checkpoint in a neighboring island connected by a bridge. Plus, the orcs were also said to have been banished. It seemed that not all of them died in the World Tree Crisis.
‘Where did they get banished to?’
The only dimension connected to Elonti was the China Gate and the JW Gate. It seemed unlikely they went to the JW Gate, so instead, they likely went to…
The Gate in China could be called a factory of trolls and annoyances. It was also the first dungeon to appear in the original novel. Before that, the protagonist slowly accumulated experience by bickering with the elves or meeting other monsters. Then, he was defeated horribly by Wang Guo Liang, whom the Emperor of Vanity possessed, and it was a place where he and the Chinese heroine had some close training.
Artifacts became cheaper by that point. There was no description, but it felt like a balance was struck to resist against the Emperor. However, the problem was that it started in China. Who would have thought that the China Gate, which was evaluated as not being productive, would rise like that?
It was also because the Emperor of Vanity possessed the main character’s rival and was left to freely explore the Gate. Jin-woo tried to proceed with the mining project first, but that halted due to the leak incident.
‘It’s a place with a lot of treasure and good experience points…’
It was a place of little value to Jin-woo. Looking back, many people were particularly opposed to the main character being in China. The Seven Dragons Association, as well as Wang Guo Liang, were ‘cancerous’. It all happened from the moment they lost to the Emperor of Vanity.
Jin-woo woke up from his thoughts and looked at the World Tree again. Flowers were now blooming on the branches. The petals fell around, and it was quite beautiful. The elves closed their eyes around the World Tree and enjoyed its energy. It was something they hadn’t felt in quite some time.
A golden glow, reminiscent of Jin-woo’s mana, emanated from the body of Ella, who was communicating with the World Tree. Jin-woo had no choice but to look at her as she radiated light. A branch of the World Tree approached Ella, who was quietly waiting with closed eyes. The branch had large golden petals.
It was the moment when the petals touched her head.
[Elf Queen Ella has evolved into a High Elf.]
[A] High Elf
A noble elf blessed with gold. Blessed by the Emperor of Gold, she can handle the Light Spirit. Her beauty and dignity rise further.
*[B] Spirit of Light
Ella, opening her eyes, looked puzzled.
The elves usually appear in fantasy novels. However, it wasn’t mentioned in the original story because the elves themselves quickly became extinct. Looking at the general setting, High Elves were nobler than most elves and had more power. They were usually depicted as quite arrogant, but there was nothing to worry about since it was Ella.
Dellu, who was standing next to her, also changed.
[B] Dark Elf
An elf that evolved with the approval of the Incarnation of Evil. She can deal with Dark Spirits, and her physical appeal rises greatly. Being dyed in darkness, a slightly more flexible way of thinking becomes possible.
*[B] Spirit of Darkness
Dellu now had healthy-looking brown skin, and the color of her hair also darkened somewhat. And was it because her charm had risen significantly? She had a much better body than a regular elf. There was even one particular part where her physique was a little bigger.
Ella, Dellu, and the other elves all looked at Jin-woo. Dellu was so moved that she teared up. It seemed to them that the Emperor of Gold had again bestowed great favor onto them.
“…Let’s live a good life in the future.”
Jin-woo had nothing else to say. The elves who expressed their gratitude began to cling to the World Tree. The World Tree seemed bothered, so it pushed them away with a branch, but they kept sticking onto it. The guards clung to the dark side, perhaps because they wanted to become Dark Elves themselves.
In the end, the World Tree swung a giant branch and sent the elves away. They were agile, fortunately, so they weren’t hurt. It somehow looked like the World Tree was shaking its head. Anyway, the result was much better than what Jin-woo expected.
“It’s finally over.”
“Yes, it is. Quite a lot has happened. How many more are there like the Emperor of Vanity?”
“Now there are ten left.”
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Yoo-na nodded at Jin-woo’s answer. It looked like he had a long way to go. Yoo-na could see the burden he was carrying.
“It’ll be a little easier if we come up with measures together. The General Manager is a reliable person.”
“Yes. The problem is that he’s too reliable.”
“Is that so?”
He somehow managed to deal with the Emperor of Vanity, and Yoo-na’s help had been invaluable. If he had been alone, he probably would have ended up making a similar frustrating or annoying move to the main character. But as long as the results are good, the process didn’t matter. However, that was an approach that didn’t care about the people around.
A comfortable and cool process with good results, as expected, was the best.
Jin-woo, arriving home from Elonti, rested well for a few days. Since the Emperor of Vanity disappeared, he could stretch his legs and rest well for a while. There was plenty of time to spare because things were proceeding much faster than in the original novel. Jin-woo suspended his scheduled meetings and took a long break.
As expected, resting at home was the best. He felt like he was in heaven sitting on his comfy chair and playing on his computer while sipping Elf Liquor. These were the little joys of everyday life.
A trailer video appeared on MeTube as a popular topic. It was a game video made by one of the companies that Jin-woo took over. The reaction was already hot. A trailer video was released alongside a demo.
‘Legend of J’
Extreme customization! Fantastic graphics! Overwhelming visuals! Guaranteed story by Joan Dolinking, who is called the father of fantasy! A degree of freedom that is jaw-dropping! There’s even fantastic music!
The in-game video was no different from the trailer. It was said that it was made with technical support from G&P, but it was an area that Jin-woo didn’t keep an eye on.
He also looked up the demo video. Even though it was a demo, it was sprawling in size. It was confusing whether it was real or a demo because a day could pass before you finished it. There were even more than fifty branch endings for Chapter 1.
‘They worked hard on it.’
They also opened pre-orders in advance, and the premium season pass package was 39,700 won. The price was so low that gamers asked them to raise the price. There were, of course, no in-game payments.
‘They’re doing great.’
Some even wondered whether it was a charity. That was a correct assumption. It was just a charitable organization created by Jin-woo. To be precise, it was a waste organization. Anyway, an event would be held at the JW Cultural Center on the official release date, so he decided to keep it in mind.
‘Ella is amazing, too.’
It didn’t come down from the top of the popular videos. Second place was the game trailer, and third place was unexpectedly Arina. When he clicked Arina’s video, the comments were amazing…in a different way from Ella’s video.
‘My Queen! Please step on me!’
The comments seemed to have moved into another world. The music, full of demonic sensibility, seemed to fit the Earth people better than he thought.
The reaction was warm, so let’s just move forward.
Jin-woo continued to drink and clicked the video for fourth place. It was a video written in Chinese that meant ‘The Beginning of the End of Humankind.’
Jin-woo almost spat out the Elf Liquor he was drinking. The video quality wasn’t good because someone secretly took it from afar. However, the shape was at a level that could be properly recognized. A gap opened in a gray barrier and something huge appeared.
It was a Knight wrapped in a black air stream, its eyes glittering red. He could see Chinese knights being pushed back by the wind caused every time it swung its sword. With that majesty, it seemed safe to be called the Demon King.
It was pixelated and hard to see, but it looked like Angelica, the Death Knight who cleaned very well.
Angelica appeared beyond the barrier.
* * *
The General Manager nodded.
‘The more I look at this guy, the more I see it.’
He was crazy. He could be seen as kind, but when approached from a different angle, he had a creepy personality. He was living strictly in his dichotomy. Kim Young-hoon, now named No. 21, made the General Manager’s heart very satisfied. He was more self-reliant and fanatic than even himself.
In No. 21’s head, only justice and evil existed, and he was merciless toward those he judged to be evil. He rushed against them with all his might. He was passionate in a good way and a fool full of willpower in a bad way. However, No. 21 had a strange talent for manipulating people. All the people under No.21 were going crazy, but they were all sinners who deserved to suffer anyway.
“No. 21, are you going to take a break?”
The daily routine of No. 21 was simple. He produced results that exceeded 200% of the average production with a passionate attitude. Then he practiced after work with little sleep, and he used his spare time to read the only allowed book.
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“What is your reason?”
“I want to make the world a better place! I am always grateful to Master for giving me one more chance!”
“No, I am just a prisoner! I will try harder!”
No. 21 was the leader of the second generation cadets in training, as the only one who broke through his talent and broke his limits. He had even recently opened his Magic Eye. Due to his strong will, the Magic Eye was transformed into the Magic Eye of Passion, allowing him to overcome the limitations of his body. It was a similar growth to the General Manager.
The General Manager appreciated that point when he appointed him as the leader of the second generation.
“H-how about c-continue this after a break?”
“I-I think I’m going to break my arm.”
No. 21’s expression changed at the words of his cadets.
“Aren’t you passionate? Are you going to bite the hand that feeds one? If you do not have the will, overcome it with effort!”
“N-no, that’s not it. I only slept for 20 minutes last night…”
“Foolish! Hang in there!”
No. 21 clenched his fists. He looked very upset.
“Even at this moment when we are resting, the world is stained with evil.”
“No, that’s…isn’t that too exaggerated?”
“Imitate the passion and will of No. 42.”
The General Manager once again admired him. It was a cheesy line as always, but he could tell the sincerity behind it. That was an ability, too.
There was a person who was quietly practicing next to No. 21. It was No. 42 who joined recently. His original name was Liu Wei, but now he was called No. 42. His mind was a bit cracked thanks to the severe torture he suffered, and he got along well with No.21. No. 42, as usual, laughed alone and shook his head.
“Evil exists. I used to be a part of them. Whew, haaa.”
“Well said, why don’t you tell everyone about evil?”
No. 42 grinned.
“The Seven Dragons Association…is the most…evil of all.”
“I can feel evil just by hearing it.”
No. 21 nodded at No. 42’s words. No. 21 went straight into their mental education. Since the General Manager had modified all of the second generation cadets to comply with No. 21, they couldn’t resist at all. It was a restriction that could never be lifted.
The General Manager was able to draw a satisfied smile.
‘It’s a drawback that they’re too weak, but….’
No. 21 went up from Rank F to Rank D, but it was still the same in the eyes of the General Manager. The other second generation cadets were stronger because he only picked the ones that could splendidly sprout. In particular, No. 42 was still usable because he was at the Knight-level.
‘Time will take care of it.’
It was the moment when the General Manager thought so and was about to turn his head.
The space around No. 21 was strangely distorted, like looking at a Gate. No. 21 and the second generation cadets were wrapped up in it and disappeared without giving the General Manager time to say anything.
No. 21 looked around at the sudden change. He was now in a place full of musty dust. It felt like a heritage site.
“Where is this?”
The second generation cadets had bewildered expressions on their faces. Only No. 21 understood the situation immediately. Something similar was written in the book.
Trials to wash away sins. That was it.
No. 21 stroked the book. Not long ago, a prophecy was added in the book by the General Manager just for him. No. 21 turned his head when the smell of the beast caught his nose. There, pig-headed monsters were looking at them with surprised eyes.
A monster with no arms and no eyes stood up and stared at him. Anyone could tell they were monsters, enemies.
The second generation cadets confronted the monsters nervously. No. 21 looked at them and slowly approached.
“Do you happen to have a religion?”
The cadets were astonished. They couldn’t believe he was talking to a monster! They honestly hoped for him to be hit by that monster.
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“Um, not really…”
The one-armed orc answered so. It was when the second generation and the orcs met for the first time across dimensions.