SSS-Class Suicide Hunter

Chapter 113: Holy War. (2) >

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Translator: thursdays Editor: Yahiko PR: LightBrin

4.


The Heretic Questioner.

An epithet holder. A so-called first-generation Hunter active since the early days of the Tower. Among every nationality, regions where no nation had established themselves, and regions where nations had collapsed when humans came rushing in, this blond psychopath stabilized the Tower by hunting down radicals.

“I see Constellations as the deities of their worlds!”

The specialist who managed all religions on the planet with the authority ‘Ten Thousand Temple’ smiled widely.


“Simply put, the deities are the laws of their worlds! For example, there is a law that exists on our world, Earth, which is the law of physics! Though, the laws of physics are basically installed everywhere, like Windows operating systems, so they’re nothing special. That’s why there isn’t anything special about our world!”

Um.

“But we have nuclear weapons and guns, you know?”

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“As I said, the laws of physics are the foundation of everything, no matter where you go! That means that those two tools can come from any world where the technology is advanced enough!”


The Heretic Questioner continued that it would, however, be difficult to develop technology based just on physics if magic and miracles were common. That didn’t mean that other worlds couldn’t invent nuclear technology and guns anyway.

‘I guess there was also an Apocalypse destroyed by a nuclear war. The Saga of the Iron Knights in Space, which is now our 23rd floor, was science fiction…’

Could it be…? Was Earth the weakest among the worlds?

I knew that magic and skills didn’t become common until after the Tower rose, but I felt weird hearing that our home Earth, the blue marble, was weak. Was this nationalism? No, should I say it was globalism?

“But, like you said, it is true that guns and nuclear weapons are very powerful! If we were to rain them down, we could defeat quite a few apostles!”

“I see.”


Raviel tapped her mouth with the tip of her fan.

“Since the laws of physics are the underlying bases of most worlds, physical attacks can be used almost anywhere.”

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“That’s right! It is natural that those who aren’t bound by physics cannot attack physically. And if they have physical bodies, then physical attacks will, of course, work on them! But the question of efficacy remains: Will they be affected by the full force of the attacks, or will the attacks be reduced?”

The floating Sword Emperor let out a small exclamation.

-Huh. That guy’s smart.

‘Sword Emperor, does this sound right to you?’

-Yeah. That’s why the Constellation Killer could break Shiny with his aura and why I wasn’t pushed about when I only trained with a blade. That kid who controls the Black Dragon Guild could also make pancakes of Preta with her beam. Physical power is a very powerful ‘law.’

[Shiny sullenly nods.]


-It can be said that a Constellation’s class depends on how much they follow the laws of physics.

I wanted to ask what that meant, but the Heretic Questioner began to explain it right away.

“The part that I just said about reduced physical damage is unexpectedly important! This is because one can follow the laws of physics but not be completely bound! And if that’s possible—”

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“—Because all Constellations have their own laws, their apostles have to oppose the laws of physics with those laws.”

“Ooh! As expected, you have a brilliant understanding of it! You are indeed Death King’s partner!”

“That’s obvious.”

My husband spoke such lovely words. I was certain that Raviel was shining this small tactical meeting with just that.

-Zombie, won’t you focus? You’re deciding this world’s fate right now.

[Shiny jumps up and strikes the back of the warrior’s neck.]

Good grief.

They’re so pitiable, not knowing a love like mine.

-Hey, quit your BS, Zombie.

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[Shiny looks at the warrior with eyes like rotten fish.]


‘Shiny, you don’t even have eyes.’

[Shiny says to look at the jewels on the sheath.]

When I followed her words and looked at the decorated sheath, the colors of the jewels were somewhat hazy.

Hm.

‘I got it. I’ll watch myself.’

-And concentrate.

‘Yep.’

All Constellations have their own laws.

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Their apostles also obey those laws.
“What are some examples of laws?”

“Hmm! For example, there is a constellation named Barbit.”

A ‘god of love,’ the Heretic Questioner added.

“This Constellation [translates everything in the world to romance]. In a world ruled by Barbit, power and wealth are meaningless! A person’s strength is determined by how much romance power they have.”

“Romance power? What’s that?”

“Mm! You have to see it.”

The Heretic Questioner combined his hands to make a sign.

“Sacred Technique, Psyche.”[1]

Poof!

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Light emanated from the Heretic Questioner’s hands. It wasn’t just white but also reddish… and a little pink? Anyway, a thick perfume-like mist shrouded us.

“Aha. This is temporary, but I’ve set up a sanctuary for the God Barbit! Try doing something, Death King!”

“Um…”

I looked around awkwardly. It was late at night. The Heretic Questioner, Raviel, and I were in Raviel’s quarters to strategize for the coming invasion in 10 days.

“…Nothing’s changed except for the pink mist, though?”

“Excuse me for a moment!”

It was then. The Heretic Questioner hooked his foot around my ankle to trip me. “Huh?” I said, my body tilting. “Um,” I said as I grabbed Raviel’s arm. “Aah?” The two of us fell to the floor.

“Hmm.”

Raviel stared down at me. She was on top of me, making it look like I was being attacked by her. It had all happened in an instant.

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“Gongja. Showing this kind of affection in front of someone else is embarrassing.”

“Uh. Uh…”

I was mortified.

“N-no! No! It’s not like that, Raviel! I was just falling…!”

“Ahaha.”

The Heretic Questioner laughed.

“It’s a pose you often see in romance works!”

“Heretic Questioner, this is…?”

“In Barbit’s sanctuary, every action leads to romance! You don’t simply fall; you draw in people around you. Mhm. For example, if Death King wore a dress shirt and drank some water, there is a 95% chance that the water will spill and show off his muscles! Everyone nearby would inevitably be flustered by the sight!”

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Oh, lord. What was that? Wasn’t that cosmic horror, not romance?

“In short, a sanctuary reinterprets the world and brainwashes people. It’s the same for the Great Library we were in earlier! The Librarian interprets the world as [a collection of stories], and we are compelled to be [characters].”

Poof.

When the Heretic Questioner made another sign, the circle of pink on the floor disappeared. Flushed, I got out from under Raviel.

The Heretic Questioner smiled widely and said, “Defeating the Constellations’ apostles with their laws and the laws we can use. This is both a Holy War and a Star War!”

A Holy War and a Star War. In Korean, both would be written as “Sungjun.”[2]

“Hm. So how should we deal with the Holy War that will take place in ten days?”

“We need to know exactly which Constellations are involved! You can infer this from what I’ve said so far, but our tactics will depend on the Constellations’ laws!”

“Certainly, knowing information about the enemy before the war is extremely important,” Raviel said, her fan at her mouth.

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The Heretic Questioner nodded.

“Yes! So I ask you, which Constellations’ apostles are coming in ten days?”

Hm.

“Can you tell the laws from the names of the Constellations?”

“If you know their true names, it is 100% possible! I can look with my skill, [Ten Thousand Temple]!”

At that, I recalled some information about the young man… No, he was possessing the body of the Lady of the Golden Silk, so young woman… in front of me.

‘It was around when I was fighting Preta on the 13th floor.’

When I was fulfilling the prophecy, the Black Dragon Guildmaster said that not only was the Heretic Questioner skillful, but he was also knowledgeable of other worlds’ religions.

Good.

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“A description… Can you infer a Constellation’s true name from their epithet?”

“If the Constellation is famous, yes!”

If that was so…

“They are [The Ox that Harvests Ruins], [The Warhorse of the Eternal Plains], and [The Evangelist of Everlasting Happiness].”

“Hm.”

The Heretic Questioner rubbed his chin.

“[The Ox that Harvests Ruins] is Mutia. That Constellation’s main areas of control are [Destruction] and [Re-creation]. It’s simple but powerful.”

Destruction and re-creation.

“How does it fight?”

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“I guess… Its physical force can be used strongly at will! It can crush an area, dismantle a being’s structure, and maybe recombine the structure afterward to create a golem. It’s very rare, but there are times when it can also use the power of time! Time is also a part of the laws of physics!”

The Second Reincarnation Female Lead characteristic of the Lady of the Golden Silk was definitely because of Mutia’s power, then.

An apostle of a Constellation beyond this world had already been present here.

‘Is that why the Corner Librarian designated this world as an Apocalypse?’

In the Librarian’s perspective, could we intervene because there were outside Constellations already interfering in this story?

Or was it just because there was no Constellation in this world, as Raviel said?

‘The former seems to match the Corner Librarian’s tendencies more so than the latter.’

While I was thinking about that, the Heretic Questioner continued.

“[The Warhorse of the Eternal Plains] is the epithet of Mahos. Its main areas of control are [Dueling] and [War]. This is another simple but powerful force!”

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Dueling and war.

“Does that mean they cannot deny a challenge to a duel or something like that?”

“Yes! Or spread a mania so that they are not afraid of death or dispense wisdom about tactics and strategies! Ah. On the other hand, it can also forcefully make a peace zone by ‘banning war itself’! That is a very rare case, though!”

“The one who controls war also controls peace… That sounds somewhat odd.”

Raviel smiled slightly at my mutter.

“There’s nothing strange about it. Peace is nothing more than a name for [the state in which war has desisted]. Therefore, one who can effect war can, of course, effect peace.”

“Exactly!”

The Heretic Questioner smiled widely.

“I don’t know the true name of [The Evangelist of Everlasting Happiness]! It must be a Constellation who hasn’t become famous yet!”

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It was unknown.

‘If the Constellation isn’t famous, does it mean that it is weak, or is that an advantage?’

As I was locked in anguish, Shiny vibrated.

[Shiny wants to ask if he knows about the ‘Guardian Goddess.’]

‘Shiny… You were the one who told me to focus on the meeting…’

[Shiny is advising on a very important issue! ]

‘Why are you like this…’

[Shiny declares she isn’t being selfish at all and that this is to determine how accurate the Heretic Questioner’s information is!]

Hm.

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“I… It’s a little off-topic, but do you know about the [Guardian Goddess]?”

“Oho.”

The Heretic Questioner grinned.

“The [Guardian Goddess] is Hwiya’s descriptor! As her name suggests, her areas of control are mainly [Protection] and [Immortality]! She is a very powerful deity, but my Ten Thousand Temple skill says she lost her strength because of a certain event.”

[Shiny sparkles, saying that this person is genuine and can be trusted!]

“Gongja. Why is your sword suddenly doing that? It’s hurting my eyes.”

“Just a moment. I’ll wrap it up…”

[Shiny screams for the warrior to stop.]

Anyway, while I received confirmation that the Heretic Questioner’s information was correct, Raviel tapped her chin with her fan.

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“It’ll be difficult… Each enemy is of a different type. Are there a total of three enemies?”

“It’ll be even more difficult since each apostle might borrow different levels of power!”

“Even so, we can see the broad strokes. Thank you for sharing your information.”

“Aha, saving this world will help our Tower! It’s efficient to help you!”

“Is that so?”

“Yes! And my other skill, [Sacred Technique], can borrow the powers of any god I know the true name of! Combined with everyone’s strengths, we will find a way!”

Our strength.

Raviel and I looked at each other. Then, we opened our mouths at the same time.

“It’s love.”

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“That will be love.”

There would be plenty of people who are better at fighting than us, and there would be people who are smarter than we are, but we were confident in one thing. Our love was greater than anyone else’s.

“…Huh?”

The Heretic Questioner tilted his head.

“It’s weird, Death King. When I see the two of you being lovey-dovey, the area around my heart feels tingly and numb. I never felt something like this before, so what could it be?”

“It’s a heart attack.”

“I also heard a message that my immersion rate got higher! How should I interpret this?”

“No… For now, please be careful with the immersion rate.”

If the Lady of the Golden Silk swallowed the Heretic Questioner before the war, we would be hamstrung.

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Regarding what we said earlier, Raviel and I were on the same page. She said,

“The ‘love’ we mentioned has a meaning other than the general definition.”

“What is that?”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t share. Let’s say it’s a secret weapon.”

“Umm, but I can’t take it into account when we’re plotting…”

“That’s all right. Let’s discuss basic tactics and steps instead. As I am powerful in this world, I can arrange for security forces to be anywhere in the wedding hall. For example, I can borrow the emperor’s special operatives…”

“Oho. How skilled are those operatives…”

Like that, Raviel and the Heretic Questioner sat across each other and continued to talk.

‘This will work.’

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The sight of the once-love rivals—though one of their personalities had obviously been swapped—talking determinedly to fight together filled me with optimism.

‘This will definitely work!’

Bae Hu-ryeong entered my vision like a bucket of cold water.

-Gongja. Don’t be an idiot. Being invaded by three apostles is no easy thing.

‘How bad will it be?’

-Think of it as about 1.5 times the strength of Preta on the 12th floor.

What a novel unit of measurement.

‘Preta was a Constellation. The invaders now are apostles. Wouldn’t apostles be weaker than a Constellation?’

-She was the lowest-level Constellation. In terms of your Tower ranks, she was like a D-rank Constellation.

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’12th-floor Preta was?’

-Yes, 12th-floor Preta was.

Bae Hu-ryeong continued to pick his ears.

-Well, I’m not worried since it’s you. No, I should say that I am not worried since it’s ‘you two.’

Bae Hu-ryeong glanced at Raviel.

Since he spent a long time beside me, he must have guessed what the ‘secret weapon’ Raviel mentioned was.

It was the same for me too. Thus, I didn’t think that this invasion couldn’t be overcome.

But.

-But Zombie, don’t you want to clear this stage with zero casualties?

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‘Yes, that’s right.’

-You’ll have to think hard, then. Your hubby and that smartie-pants can take care of tactics, but you should develop your personal fighting ability.

Bae Hu-ryeong looked down at me with his arms crossed.

-Hmm. Thinking about it, you’re also D-rank, right? You don’t intend to be that rank forever, do you?

Of course I didn’t.

5.

Ten days flew by like an arrow.

“It’s finally your wedding day!”

In the empire, weddings were held in the evenings.

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A marriage was the combination of the sun and the moon of the family. The evening, when the two celestial bodies met in the sky, was becoming of a marriage. The clearer and redder the sunset, the better it was for a wedding, and today was such a day.

“You look so splendid today, Duke Consort!”

I felt another strange feeling, surrounded by some servants.

Up to five servants stuck to me like beetles to lead me around. They kept saying, “How can you be so beautiful?” “Her Excellency is so lucky!” and other silly things. My mind was overstimulated.

“Well, thank you all very much. You don’t have to fuss like this…”

“No, it’s no trouble!” the servants replied firmly.

“At least for today, the Duke Consort should be the most amazing groom in the nation! Frugality and humbleness are virtues, but you cannot act like that now! Today, the only virtue is beauty!”

Oh, I’ve felt this once before…

It was the same as when the Black Dragon Guildmaster and the other guild masters went wild about me getting a photoshoot…

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Of course, there were also differences from that time.

“Congratulations on your wedding, Duke Consort.”

An old gentleman with a cool beard greeted me in the dressing room. I was confused because I didn’t know who he was. Seeing my bafflement, the old gentleman smiled wryly.

“I am your foster father. I have a small position in running the imperial household. I heard a lot about you from the new Duchess of Ivansia.”

“Ah…”

Oh, god. I was wondering who he was, and he was my father whom I was meeting for the first time!

“N-nice to meet you. Um. That’s, it’s…”

“You can call me Father. Don’t worry. I know that you won’t be able to see me as your father in your heart. I won’t disturb the duchy by making use of my connection to you.”

The old man bowed his back very politely.

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“I am going to retire after this wedding. Your husband was very considerate of me. Hoho. I won’t need to worry about my days in retirement.”

“……”

A sigh slipped out from my mouth. How hard did Raviel work for today?

I spoke a word that I had never said in my life.

“…Father.”

“Yes, the moon of Ivansia?”

“I don’t know politics, and I have no connections to high society, so I don’t know about the conditions in society. So I want to ask: What do the people of the empire say about this marriage?”

“Simply put, it has been highly unconventional,” the man said gently.

“The marriage of someone from the Ivansia ducal family is equivalent to a royal marriage. Naturally, it is challenging to prepare for such an event on short notice. Moreover, Her Excellency broke the engagement with His Highness the Prince and succeeded as her family head…”

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At that moment, the old gentleman closed his mouth. It was because the outside of the dressing room became very noisy. We could hear the murmurs of the guests.

“…Anyway, it would have been impossible if the Silver Lily Duchess had not persuaded His Majesty the Emperor.”

The old man stroked his beard and beamed brightly.

“Duke Consort. Your husband is truly a capable person. Her loyalty to His Majesty is an irreplaceable boon for the empire. Though I may only act as your father for today… If I may say something.”

That very moment, the gentleman’s eyes narrowed.

Simultaneously, a strong spirit emanated from the body of the old man that was almost comparable to the Sword Saint.

“Considering your husband also requested my presence in my ‘other position’ and the security arrangements of the wedding hall, it seems that today’s marriage will not go very smoothly.”

The grand chamberlain of the imperial family.

The moment the commander of His Majesty’s special operatives said so, the commotion outside the dressing room turned into screams.

-Zombie. Get ready.

I looked out the window.

-They’re here.

Bae Hu-ryeong was right.

[The apostle of ‘The Ox that Harvests Ruins’ has manifested.]

[The apostle of ‘The Warhorse of the Eternal Plains’ has manifested.]

[The apostle of ‘The Evangelist of Everlasting Happiness’ has manifested.]

Two celestial bodies, the sun and the moon, mixed in the red sky.

As the glow of the setting sun gave way, the enemies we had been awaiting appeared.

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