Stagnant Water of Apocalypse - Chapter 233
After rummaging through the knights’ belongings, I found myself three pieces of Aether Stone. However, all of them were not a normal Aether Stone but had been turned into something else. One had been turned into a Whispering Jewel, which we surely find useful. While the other one had been turned into Shackling Jewel.
The effect that the Shackling Jewel had was almost the same as the effect of the shackles of the battlefield which was present on an active battlefield–shaving people’s stats back to 10 points and making some of their skill disappear. However, unlike the debuff in the battlefield, this stone would only affect someone when they were in contact with it.
“It will be perfect if we attach this to gloves and make people wear them.”
And when I put my thoughts into action,
「Gauntlet of Shackle: Limits all stats of the wearer to 10 and lock their skills. The user will not be able to take the glove out by themselves.」
“It’s a bit small, can I wear this?” As I slide my finger in, to my surprise, the gauntlet slowly begins to grow to fit the size of my hand.
This is really amazing.
The last one was a dimensional jewel. It was the culprit behind the fact that the knight was able to open a dimensional gate and followed me. However, the brilliance of the jewel was darker than the others. I guess, it signified that we couldn’t keep using it however we wanted.
By the way, I was always wondering whether the Ether Blade was an ability or an item effect, but now I know. After all, when I scanned the female knight’s status window, Ether Blade was written under their skill tab.
“She’s this outstanding at such a young age?” At first glance, the knight looked younger than me. However, from the fact that she commanded a large number of troops, she must not have been someone in low position.
I moved my hands and put the gauntlet on the twitching knight. In an instant, her terrifying stats went down to 10 and all of her skills disappeared.
Can this knight also see her own status window like Small Fist?
While I was thinking about a lot of things regarding her, I could see her eyes flutter to open.
“Hey, wake up.”
Trained people were different from ordinary people. Instead of being puzzled, the knight opened her eyes and just looked around. Only after a few seconds passed did her emerald eyes greet me.
“Am I… a prisoner?”
“You are quick-witted. Yes, you’ve been caught.”
“I will pay the ransom.”
“Seems like your world is a world where ransoms were needed to free a prisoner, huh? I’m sorry, but I don’t need the money.”
“Then what do you want?”
“I have nothing to say.” She said before she bit her mouth shut. From the shape of her lips alone I could tell that she had all the determination in the world to never speak.
I put a chair in front of her and sat down.
“Should I tell you something, Vice Commander Pistel? I was the one who spoke to you through the Whispering Jewel.”
Pistel’s eyebrows twitched at that moment.
“I’m sorry I killed your men. But I couldn’t help it.”
She kept staring at me. In her eyes, I could see a mixture of anger and suspicion.
“You have killed the proud transcendental knights and Magician of the Mage Tower. From now on, you will not have a comfortable sleep.”
“Is that so? For your information, I haven’t had bad sleep until now.”
“You will have it every night from today onwards. The Empire is not a pushover.”
“There’s something I’d like to ask you about that…”
“I have nothing to say.” She shut her mouth once again.
At that point, my annoyance slowly rose. If you are aware that you are a prisoner, shouldn’t you act appropriately?
“Are you disappointed that I didn’t come out rough? Shall I treat you like a real prisoner?”
Her eyebrows quivered slightly.
“…I’m prepared for torture.”
“Let’s make it easy for everyone so it doesn’t reach that point okay? Can’t you figure out your own position?”
Just then, Seokhyun opened the door and entered the room. Looking at Pistel’s face when he entered, it seemed like she was very disturbed because of him.
“Are you the torturer?”
I turned to him.
“Have you ever torture someone?”
“Nope. Everyone just starts talking when I pull my pants down.”
I shook my head at his response. Maybe I was also included in that ‘Everyone’ too.
Anyway, when Seokhyun sat down in front of Pistel, her distress became even more visible.
Well, if a man who was naked and wearing only panties appeared with a bunny headband on, it’s more horror than any horror story.
“Wh- what are you trying to do?”
I ignored her and asked.
“What happened in the Great Labyrinth?”
“There were several people coming from the Japanese entrance. They messed around with a gun, so I hit a few of them.”
“A pipe gun?”
“No, it was a proper gun.”
What a headache. After all, the appearance of a proper gun meant that the Japanese who were holing in their shelter for the past year had finally crawled out. They ought to be different from all the Japanese we encountered so far since they were geared with firearms and general information about the situation.
Well, it would take them some time to figure out the current situation and begin their activity in the full swing.
“Let Kenji pass and make sure to block them all. Never let them come here.”
“Why don’t we just go to Japan and beat them all?”
“I feel like that’s something we will do once Kenji comes back with information.”
“Alright. Is there anything else for me to do here?”
“You already completed your task here.”
“I don’t know what it is, but I’m going.”
“Thank you for your hard work.”
Seokhyun left, and Pistel cast a suspicious look at his back.
“Uh, everyone can see his butt, isn’t he embarrassed?”
“You don’t have to worry about that because he always goes around like that.” Even if we stay up all night, it wouldn’t be enough to explain Seokhyun’s weird behaviour.
Anyway, it seemed difficult to pry any information from Pistel. Whenever I said something, she quickly clamped her mouth shut.
I stood up and said, “It’s up to you if you want to keep shutting your mouth, but I will tell you that it’s not a good decision. If you keep doing this, I have no intention to let you go.”
Her expression darkened.
“Wi-will I be a prisoner like this forever?”
“It depends on your choice. Will you continue to be treated as a prisoner, or will you enjoy your moderate freedom.”
“Is there such a thing as freedom for prisoners? Nonsense.”
“Of course it won’t be real freedom, but at least you won’t be tied down like this. You should be able to eat your fill.”
Then I heard a growl as if she had been waiting. Pistel’s porcelain face turned red in an instant.
I remembered that strong people were basically glutton. Even Yeowool, who had the smallest physique among the members, laughed as she ate two bowls of rice. It might be because we lived in an apocalypse, but it was clear that she needed food besides ether to use her abilities.
Taking that into account, the knight in front of me, who boasted tremendous physical abilities, should also be a glutton.
Perhaps digging up information from her might be surprisingly quick. I got out of the interrogation room and prepared for torture. Probably the first kind of this kind of torture.
Margretha was hungry. In fact, she was a glutton who ate five meals a day. The reason behind it was her bloodline. The tremendous physical abilities and high-purity ether blade that she could use required a lot of energy. It was something that could not be covered by ether alone.
But just what is this?
The big man he fought earlier was pouring oil into a barrel and started to heat the brazier. She couldn’t stand it and opened her mouth.
“Will you use that oil to torture me?”
The man only glanced at Margretha, but he didn’t answer. Soon after, a savory smell rose from the barrel and she involuntarily sniffed the air.
‘From the smell, it’s not waste oil…’ It’s obviously edible. If so, it doesn’t seemed like he’s trying to torture her with that oil. However, besides relief, she was also curious about the reason why he used oil so easily. Even in the Ezekium Empire, oil was a precious commodity.
She couldn’t contain her curiosity.
“Why are you boiling that precious oil?”
Margretha then realized the man’s intentions. He’s trying to blackmail her with food.
A sneer crept across her lips.
“You think you can torture me, the heir of the renown Pistel family, with food?”
Seongho didn’t reply. He just continued to cover the prepared fish and Hwajo with a coating powder.
‘I did well to prepare in advance.’ Even in the apocalypse, people’s desire to eat chicken was always there. That was why Seongho fried chicken whenever possible on special days. He could salt it in advance and put it in the dimensional warehouse before taking it out whenever the time came.
Seongho made cuts all over the fish and the Hwajo meat before covering it with more coating powder. Each chunks were so big that if he didn’t do it, the meat would end up half-cooked.
What do you mean?
Margretta gulped her saliva down as she watched the man move. There was an appetizing sound when a piece of meat mixed with something jumped into a well-heated oil drum. It was like the sound of heavy rain on a summer day. At the same time, a savory smell spread around the room.
Margretha was startled as she involuntarily sniffed the air.
‘What a savory smell!’
She at least knew that the man was cooking a fritter. Of course, even in the Ezekium, fritters belonged to a high-class dish that could not be eaten easily. Especially when it was cooked with a lot of oil like that.
But the name of the Pistel family…
“Hey, you are drooling.”
Margretha stared at him stunned. She then jerked her head at the man’s words. But she couldn’t do anything to stop her head from turning.
What the hell would that fried meat taste like?
Before the apocalypse, her maids used to make it for her. However, it’s not made by dipping it in such an amount of oil. Thus, she’s very curious how the fritters in front of her would taste like.
Seongho ignored her gaze and cut the fritter he had fished out from the oil. It seemed that it was well-cooked judging from the white skin underneath the golden coating and the steam coming up from it.
He moved the frying pan out and moved towards the door. As Margretha stretched her neck, a flurry of conversation was heard from the door.
“What is it, chicken? What’s gotten into you?”
“Wow, it looks delicious.”
She could only hear the sound of someone chewing on it before a gulp was heards.
“Oh, it’s a killer!”
Margretha thought the woman was calling someone a killer, and was startled because of it. However, it seemed like she’s wrong. Looked like the woman was just shouting that because the fritter was so delicious.
‘How delicious can it be…’
She closed her eyes and imagined the taste of the fritters. As It was fried in savory oil and eaten right away, the batter would definitely be crispy.
‘The color of the frittes was also quite bright…’ Even in the marquis family, oil was an expensive ingredient. Recycling it was a matter of course, so the fritter they had back home was usually dark brown and had a musty smell. The ladies-in-waiting claimed that it was the unique taste of fritters.
But the fritters she saw today were different.
‘Is tempura that delicious?’
She couldn’t see it, but she could tell just by hearing it. It made a very appetizing sound. The man cooked so many fritters, so two people outside the door could eat until they were satisfied.
Margretha could only hold back her tears.
She said to herself, ‘You have to hold on. A famous transcendental knight can’t lose to fritters like that!’
But when the man brought the food to her, her patience crumbled.
All that was placed on the tray was bread and water, which could easily be said as something tasteless.
She looked up at Seongho blankly.
“Do you guys treat prisoners like this?”
“Since we’ve never had a prisoner before, we will have to go through trial and error using you from now on.”
Margretha knew that it meant that she would suffer through and through.
She finally exploded.
“I have a mouth too! Means I also know how to eat! Shouldn’t you at the very least make sure that you fed your prisoner well even if you don’t treat prisoners well? Me too, I want to eat that too!”
It was an unimaginable, heartbreaking cry that came out of her quiet mouth. It must have been the result of her situation, her shallow patience for not being able to endure hunger, and her sadness for not being able to eat that delicious food.
Seongho looked at her and asked.
“So you want to eat fried chicken?”
Seeing the tears welling up in her eyes, she must have been quite resentful. Now that the fish has bitten the bait, it’s time to catch it.
Seongho brought the fried chicken to her without saying a word.
It was Margretha who was taken aback when this happened.
“Can I really eat that?”
“It will be uncomfortable for both of us at this rate, so let go one of my hands.”
The elderwood rope came loose and she was finally able to pick the chicken.
A smile finally formed on Margretha’s lips.
A low moaning sound came out out of her mouth as soon as she took a bite.
“You should ask where I come from first. It is Pistel. Margretha Pistel.”
“In out culture, names are important. Your position is the vice-captain of the Transcendental Knights… right?”
Margretha, who devoured the fried Hwajo, was surprisingly obedient. Thanks to that, Seongho was able to proceed with the interrogation with ease.
She said, in fact, he wasn’t even interrogating, but just asking a few questions.
“What were you trying to do with me?”
“It was an order from the church, so I don’t know that much.”
“Isn’t the relationship between the Church, the Knights, and the Magic Tower equal under the command of the General Headquarters?”
“Where did you hear that? Although we are nominally equal, the church has the upper hand. They are also the ones who actually exercise administrative power.”
“I was curious because it was a church… which god do you believe in?”
Margretha answered his question with a straight face.
Seong-ho almost punched her in the face as soon as he heard that. But he endured it with a superhuman patience.
“What did you just say?”
“I told you we worship Giudecca. It was our object of faith.”
“You are fucking kidding me, right?”
“Not at all.”
“Ugh…” Seongho stood up from the chair and looked out the window to cool his head. It was clear that something was wrong with her. Otherwise, there’s no reason for her to utter the name of the monster trapped in the Great Labyrinth.
Is there another god named Giudecca?
“That Giudecca, are you talking about the monster trapped in the Great Labyrinth?”
“A monster? if the church hears you, they will immediately send a heretic inquisitor towards you.”
“If they send them, I will destroy them all. So, back to my question, is it that monster, or not?”
“I don’t know exactly, but I heard that he is confined in the Great Labyrinth. So the ultimate goal of the church is to save Giudecca.”
“I really have no words. Aren’t you guys the one who made it?”
Margretha’s big eyes widened.
“I don’t know what the hell you are talking about. We are making Giudecca? You mean the empire?”
Something was strange. Up until now, Seongho had firmly believed that the Ezekium Empire had created Giudecca. But since the Marquis of the Empire and the vice commander of a knight division said it was false, he couldn’t pass it up.
‘I don’t think it’s a lie…’ The Margretha he saw was a chivalrous knight with no talent for lies. Seongho took out the journal the scarab gave them and showed it to her.
“We found it at the Ruat Royal Palace. Doesn’t it say that Giudecca is not a god?”
However, Margretha did not show much interest in the journal.
“You can’t know anything from this.”
“Damn it. Look at what Giudecca did to our world! It destroyed our world!”
Margretha was a little taken aback by my words.
“Is your world ruined too?”
“It literally collapsed like a sand castle. It’s not all Giudecca’s work, but it played a pivotal role. Even now he’s drooling over us.”
“…show me outside for a moment.”
Margretha was supported by Seongho and looked out of the window. Although it was completely covered in jungles, it was clearly a foreign civilization different from the Empire.
“Your civilization isn’t that high either… I was impressed with that black weapon.”
“It’s because of the Corrosive disease. All metal has crumbled.”
“Is that so? To think you guys are in the same situation as us.”
Then, a paper airplane flew in from the hallway. Written inside was information that Ahn Geun-seok had called for Seongho. Thus, he called for Jiman, who had met Margretha before to look after her.
When the two meet, they start to talk as if they know each other.
“We met again.”
“I didn’t expect to meet you here…”
I wondered what was going on, and it turned out that the dimensional prison I opened led to the forest that we had used as a shelter. She met Jiman who was fishing there.
“What a great coincidence. Anyway, Ji-man, don’t release her just because you know her, okay?”
“I don’t have any intention to betray you, hyung. Don’t worry.”
Seong-ho went out of the shelter and met Ahn Geun-seok.
“Did you come here to die?”
He chuckled after getting Seongho’s prickling hello.
“Why are you like that? Isn’t it about time you realized that I will not die even if you kill me? Rather, do you like our present? Thanks to us, you are able to occupy Korea Shelter, and I want to hear your impressions.”
“Damn it. I feel like I want to throw up now. Son of a bitch.”
“Haha… I never thought you hated me that much. To fix our relationship. Let me give you some advice.”
Ahn Geun-seok’s face became serious at that moment.
“Monster from the 13th floor finally crawled up.”
It must have been the guys that Giudecca was talking about before.
“Are they strong?”
“I assure you, you will be no match against them. The same goes even if the other veterans joined you. Can I give you a piece of advice? Dismantle the shelter and run away.”
“…If I die or get dragged away by them, wouldn’t it benefit you?”
“We also have our own circumstances. You’ll know if you fight it yourself, but it’s a complete monster. It’s better to let go of the idea that they are like me or my secretary.”
“You guys’ tentacles look monstrous enough, but they are more monstrous?”
Seongho was being sarcastic, but Ahn Geun-seok replied calmly.
“Those guys will be the first monsters that have a physical advantage over you. I’m saying this beforehand, but even with your transformation, you would be no match against it. I’ll say it again, dismantle the shelter and run away.”
“What if I don’t want to?”
“I never thought you were such an idiot… but there was nothing I could do about it. I guess It would be fun to watch you guys being dragged to the 15th floor.”
Ahn Geun-seok passed through the wall and disappeared after saying so.
“Bring the monsters on the 13th floor or whatever. I will kill them all.” Seongho growled as he glared at the spot where he had disappeared.
* * This translation was hosted by Nocturne Translation * * *
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