Chapter 102: SoSeoLan’s Thousand Troops and Horses
A week later.
The reports of the coup d’etat and its suppression reached Asura, and she arrived at Shane with her team of escorts.
In reality, there had been no need for the King to go to such a place. This time, however, suspicious sorcery had been involved, and the Group’s control over the region wasn’t yet stabilized, so Asura needed to take matters into her own hands.
After the coup in Shane, not only the remaining guerilla members, but all of their family members were also arrested and imprisoned in the Central Government Building’s detention room.
“The King is here!” a resident shouted, not one of the Reaver guards. The villagers gathered in the streets like clouds to see the King. Obviously, it was quite the contrasting reaction to the Group’s first appearance.
The villagers watched the King’s procession with a mixture of expectation and goodwill.
The reason was simple: the Group devoted its time and effort to restoring the city and managing the dead, and the massacre of citizens had left the residents completely disgusted with the old ruling forces.
In fact, the existing gangs were arrested because of the possibility of revenge killings. This coup had resulted in residents having a positive reaction to the Group.
The King in her demon mask walked out, surrounded by ten guards. People did not shout the King’s name, but they stepped aside from the main road to look at her.
The mask of the devil reeked with eerie energy. No one knew that it actually was more than a mask, that it was a magical instrument. Still, no one dared to stare at the mask, bowing their heads instead.
“There’s too much evidence of a fight,” Asura mumbled in a husky voice when she saw the collapsed buildings near the Central Government Building.
“We lost forty-one common soldiers and seven were seriously injured,” said the Administrator, who had been accompanying her from the entrance. She nodded.
For the King’s arrival, the criminals had been gathered and tied in the square. The King sat on the steps of the Central Government Complex, and the people gathered around the square like clouds to see the execution of the criminals.
At the head of the prisoners, was Turian, the mastermind who had made many victims, kneeling and with a gag in his mouth.
“Mmm! Mmm! Mmmm!”
As if he had something to say, Turian mumbled with his eyes wide open. Asura looked down at him and said, “Even prisoners should be able to speak up for themselves. Untie the muzzle.”
A Reaver rushed to untie the muzzle from his mouth. They had expected to hear self-justification, but what came out of Turian’s mouth was totally different.
“This is our land! Get out with all of your dirty cannibals!”
“Hmm… Didn’t I ask you to plead? If not, there’s no reason for your tongue to move. Shut up.”
The eyes inside Asura’s mask glowed red suddenly, and when Turian locked eyes with her gaze, his tongue froze.
“You seem to think that what you’re doing is courageous. Ah, you should know that what you’re doing is reckless bravado. Courage must be guaranteed with action, but this act of yours is just recklessness with nothing to show for.”
Turian felt as if he was suffocating. At that moment, it was impossible for him to exhale or inhale unless Asura allowed it.
Asura continued, “I’ve heard about the ‘small commotion’ you guys caused. That armed children were killing many others. I told you that all the rules and regulations that had been in place before we took possession of this place were now gone, as well as all of the past sins. Didn’t I say that? That is why I only lightly punished even those who had sold drugs and deceived the citizens. I did not call this mercy, but an understanding. However, I’m not the one to go lightly on punishments. Now, I’ll let you know your crime. ”
Asura’s words were strangely quiet, but everyone in the large square could hear her. Her voice was being carried by the wind, just like Cho-yul’s.
“You coveted the power you had in the past, so I will call that your first crime.”
Asura slowly announced the crimes committed by the sinners.
“You have harmed the military and the people, so that is your second crime.”
“Which means, you have violated the laws that I had declared, so that is your third and biggest crime.”
Asura looked at the people tied up.
“The crimes of the rebels have been determined to be true. Tie them to the poles until the crows peck their bodies into white bones.”
Asura calmly announced the death penalty for all guerrilla members. Their parents’ eyes were about to flip back into their heads, and the muffled screams of the children could be heard throughout.
“However, it is my policy not to punish those who are guilty-by-association, so punish only the participants.”
What was crime and what was justice? In a world where words like those had been long forgotten, Asura was establishing law again in front of the people.
Asura examined the families, not the guerrilla members, and said, “I have outlawed drugs that cloud the mind, but I see people with hazy eyes here. That is also a violation of my rules and, therefore, a crime.”
Asura, who could judge whether someone was under the influence of drugs or not, looked like a God to people’s eyes. A king had to be fundamentally different from a human being. That was the only way people could justify being under control.
That would be true even in a single castle, but King Asura, who wanted to build a new nation, needed to be beyond imagination.
“Yes, my King,” answered the Administrator with his head bowed down before Asura.
“Find the hidden drugs and dispose of them. There will be ten floggings each to those using, and if anyone makes themselves impure with drugs again, give them the maximum sentence.”
“Your orders are my command.”
They would be punished appropriately for breaking the royal decree.
With that, Asura untied Turian’s muzzle. And red-eyed, he shouted, “I will curse you even in death! You cannibals!”
“To curse me, it wouldn’t be enough even if your soul returned as the Original Spirit. I’d like to see you try.”
Unfortunately, Asura was a high-level sorcerer who could defeat most spirits with just a flick of her finger. The children fought desperately to get out, but could not escape the heavy grip of the Reavers.
The executioners waited with knives in their hands. At the Administrator’s signal, the necks of all the surviving guerilla members were chopped at once.
After a brief pause, one of the villagers shouted, “I’m so happy you’re dead, you devils!”
That was the beginning.
“They should all be killed, too!” Someone pointed to the remaining gang members, and then the residents began to roar and shout.
“The King is the best!”
“I feel satisfied!”
“Rotten tumor-like bastards!”
People were screaming and raving, and soon, the other criminals were undressed and flogged in the square. After the trial, the King went into the Central Office.
“Additional personnel will be provided to you in the near future. Wait a little while.”
“By the way, the whole city is filled with black magic energy. Did something happen?”
When she entered Shane, she noticed some signs of sorcery having been used in the city. It was faint, but what remained was not ordinary.
“Let me read you.” Asura looked at the Administrator, and he knelt before her.
“Yes, go ahead.”
He was such a huge man that, even on his knees, he almost reached Asura’s neck.
Asura put her hand on his head as if there was nothing more to say. The black energy rose from her hand and transferred his memories to her.
Instead of complicated reporting procedures, she was able to get updates by reading the memories of anybody she had control over.
“The Witch Hunter?” When she came upon his memory of meeting Zin, she couldn’t help but be surprised. The devil hunter she had met before had been in Shane for some reason.
‘Was he here to collect information?’
She should be careful, but he was not a scary opponent. Then, she read the memories the war taking place in Shane, of Zin’s help, and of the taboo set in the city.
For some reason, the devil hunter’s team had helped during the fight to protect Shane. The hunter seemed to have left after receiving his payment, and it all seemed like a normal transaction of payment for services rendered.
However, when she read the next memory, her eyes widened. After taking her hand off the Administrator’s head, Asura asked about it again, even though she knew the answer. That’s how much the King was confused.
“Is… my brother here?”
The Administrator nodded, “Yes. He didn’t seem like a liar, so we let him stay here.”
The Administrator had met Cho-yul, who had separated from his team. At first he had doubted Cho-yul when he suddenly said that he knew the King, but once he revealed his knowledge of the Death Command and other sorceries, there was no reason to doubt him anymore.
As the King was arriving soon, the Administrator believed that, as the King, she would be able to see him when she arrived, and arranged for Cho-yul to stay in the Central Office.
“I hope I didn’t make a mistake.” The Administrator’s words were full of loyalty and concern. Asura nodded slowly. She could read those that she controlled, but it didn’t work the opposite way, so the one being controlled couldn’t read the King’s thoughts.
“I`m glad you didn’t act in haste. I’ll see him right away.”
The Administrator led the way, and the King followed him, but her walk seemed uncharacteristically rushed.
When Asura opened the door, the man inside saw her and jumped up from his seat.
“Wait outside for a while.”
The Administrator went out, and only the two were left in the room: Cho-yul and Asura. Asura took off her mask and faced Cho-yul with her bare face. Now that he was facing her, perhaps out of nervousness, his face stiffened and cold sweat appeared on his forehead.
Having read the memory, Asura already knew what Cho-yul was here for.
“Do you want to be with me? What do you mean by that, brother?”
“Has the hunter been talking to you?”
That was true, but in the end, it was Cho-yul’s choice.
“I asked you why the person who’s been avoiding me all this time suddenly wants to be with me.”
Strangely, when she was with Cho-yul, the King was not a king, but SoSeoLan. Even Cho-yul’s lips were trembling, and he could not speak. Her relentless interrogation had brought his old fears to the surface, and he couldn’t open his mouth.
Looking at him like that, her veins started popping up on her forehead.
“You idiot! Why don’t you say anything? How long are you going to stay inside your shell like the wife of a mouse in the corner of the room? Do you think you’re still a ten-year-old child? You’re old enough!” she yelled at Cho-yul, who could only manage to move his eyes in fear.
Trembling at her scolding him, he shouted back without realizing, “Si-sister, it’s because you scream at me all the time!”
Cho-yul was surprised to utter those words, and SoSeoLan’s eyes widened with astonishment at hearing them.
“Di-di-did you… you… just… yell at me?”
Confused, she let out an empty chuckle. Now that he had started to speak, Cho-yul firmly balled his hands into fists, ready to die.
“Yes, I did! You, sister, you bully me around like I’m a baby, so it’s hard for me to say anything. You made me this way, but now you say I should be more assertive. Do you think that’s easy?”
Now that the speech gate had opened, he vented with his eyes filled with tears.
All the beatings he had received as a child had made him act small, but now she wanted him to act assertive, and that was absurd.
“Huh, h-how rude! You’re being so rude.”
“I was trying to be polite by staying quiet, but you screamed at me to speak.”
Neither of them had come to argue, but somehow, the topic had gone in a very strange direction. SoSeoLan growled at Cho-yul, “It almost seems like you would dare to hit me.”
“Why would I? If I do, I know you’ll hit me back ten times over!”
“Still? You bastard!”
Reflexively, SoSeoLan raised her hand, and Cho-yul retreated in the dark. Watching him act as if he had already been hit, she looked at her raised arm and the frightened Cho-yul, one after the other.
Embarrassed, SoSeoLan put her hand down, and he lowered the hand he was using to cover his face. Frowning a little for having overreacted, she asked again, “Well, now that you can talk, let me ask again: Why do you want to be with me? For what reason? As you’ve seen, I’ve learned the Death Command. And since you were with the hunter recently, I can guess that your intentions are not very pure. ”
She thought that since Cho-yul had eyes, he could see that the Administrator was a moving corpse under the Death Command.
‘I like the governance of the Group. I want to devote myself to the great cause. As I’ve thought it over, I like the way the Groups is being managed.’
SoSeoLan was thinking of all the plausible things he could say. No doubt, he was acting foolishly, so he would say some nonsense he didn’t mean. SoSeoLan was upset at the hunter most of all for having filled her brother’s head with poison.
Cho-yul was mumbling once again, and her patience was running out.
“You’re really testing the limits of my patience!”
It seemed like she was about to strike, so he shouted reflexively, “Si-sister, I want to be with you!”
And realizing what he had just said, his face turned extremely pale, almost blue.
“Well, uh, it’s…”
“You’re insane. What the heck are you talking about?”
She had expected to hear some persuasion or a logical argument, but when something totally unexpected came out of his mouth, she was shocked and unable to speak. Her face turned red with anger and for other reasons.
“Uh, huh… well… you crazy fool! You’re speaking… nonsense…”
She chuckled as she trembled from her lips to her fingertips. He knew what white noise he had just said, so he was shaking like leaf as well.
“Si-sister, you misunderstand me. Wh-what I’m t-trying to say is…”
“If not that, what do you mean? Are you kidding me?”
As Cho-yul tried to gloss things over, SoSeoLan retorted with her face in various shades of red.
“Kid you?! No! No! I’m sorry for offending you!”
He even knelt down and lowered his head. When he realized that it could’ve seemed like he had been joking, he naturally knelt down. As she watched him plead his innocence, she sighed with pity.
“Please, sister! It really wasn’t like that!”
“Ha… When are you going to act like a human being?”
She shook her head as if in agony.
“A-Are you going to forgive me?”
“Shut up and get up!” shouted SoSeoLan, and Cho-yul jumped up like a bouncing ball. She approached him slowly, and he retreated, unable to confront her energy. He had his back against the wall, and SoSeoLan came right up to his chin.
He was actually taller than her, so she was looking up at him. He tried to avoid her gaze, but she was staring deep into his eyes. At that point, the two were almost touching.
Just a moment before she was about to touch his chin with her lips, she clicked her tongue and said, “You stupid man.”
She smiled. “How dare you entertain such a thought?!”
Perhaps having read something in his eyes, she moved away from him with an evil-looking, but charming, smile on her eyes. Cho-yul was about to lose his mind after smelling her lingering scent on his body.
SoSeoLan spoke, “Be mindful of what you say and do from now on.”
Cho-yul asked back with a puzzled look. Somehow, her grimace was now gone, and there was a permanent smile on her face.
“Up until now, I considered you my brother and that is why I’ve been lenient with you, but saying such things like you want to be with me could be considered as slight to the King.”
She came back, grabbed Cho-yul by the neck and dragged him toward the door.
“You listen carefully. I don’t know what you’re up to, but if you are up to no good, I’ll turn you into a corpse.”
“Geesh, are you serious?!” After hearing that, he suddenly became anxious, wondering if he was heading down the wrong way.
“Of course, I’m the one who uses people, not the other way around.”
That was an expression of self-confidence, and she was essentially saying that, try as she might, the King understood that not everyone would be loyal to her yet, but she still took the role of King.
In that sense, SoSeoLan had enough qualities to be a king.
“Si-sister! But this… Can we let go of me?” Cho-yul begged as he was being dragged, but SoSeoLan continued, “I’m not your sister, I’m the King. Address me properly.”
The King, with a happy smile, dragged Cho-yul and her thousand horses and troops out of the room.