Chapter 6: Divinity (2)
“Hello, it’s been a while since I turned on the broadcast. I’m Park, a farmer from Jeolla-do.”
-Haha. What are you doing at this time?
-When will you upload traditional liquor content?
Park, the farmer, is also a part-time YouTuber. He showcases rural life, including farming content, frog eating, and wild boar hunting.
Recently, he came here to visit the neighboring Kim family’s field, which has been interrupted by the appearance of a gate.
“Did I mention it in the community? The gate appeared in Mr. Kim’s field next door.”
-Yeah, you did.
-The Phoenix Guild won the bid for that.
-So, Mr. Kim asked the Phoenix Guild hunters to help him out and treated them to drinks.
“But I heard there was a dungeon break that caused a commotion. What happened?”
-Oh, that’s just a lie by Mr. Park.
-The S-rank hunter, Lee Yong-wan, and more than 40 A-rank Phoenix members couldn’t clear the Crimson Gate?
-Nonsense. Even without Lee Yong-wan, they could have easily cleared it.
Park felt unjustified by the viewers’ reactions. He had witnessed Mr. Kim, the owner of the field, crying miserably while looking at the field contaminated by the demonic energy.
Park didn’t know much about the hunters, but he knew they were the famous top 10 guild with incredible skills.
Nevertheless, a dungeon break occurred, and Mr. Kim’s field was still contaminated by the demonic energy. It was the greatest tragedy that farmers had feared since the catastrophic change 30 years ago.
“Oh, it’s really true. The association staff are coming here in a frenzy. The rice has all rotted due to the demonic contamination.”
Zooming in the camera footage, Park showed the contaminated land, the confrontation between the Phoenix Guild, and the association staff.
Not only the rotting rice, but also the scattered skeletal remains hinted at the remnants of skeletons.
-…Really? If the demonic energy has spread to Honam region, this year’s harvest is ruined. Why isn’t it on the news?
-Isn’t this fucked up? The self-sufficiency rate of food has been declining, and now the agricultural subsidies have increased.
-What’s the point of subsidies if there’s no land for farming?
-The answer is smart farming. We should invest in Dujeong Future Foods.
Afterwards, Park continued to film the surroundings of the gate.
Though there were control lines, Park stealthily moved through the crops and luckily went unnoticed. The viewers’ reactions became even more serious.
“Oh… There’s a foreigner.”
At that moment, a blond man appeared on his camera. The viewers also raised questions.
-Who’s the foreigner? Is he from the Phoenix Guild?
-For someone like that, he has poor equipment. He’s not even wearing gear.
-Then, is he an association staff member?
-There are no Europeans among the association staff. But he’s really good-looking.
-Hey, why are there so many ajummas there? They each seem to be holding something. Park, zoom in.
Park looked at the altar and straw dolls that Leon had built. It wasn’t very clear due to the early morning, but it had a sculptural feeling like an altar.
‘Do they have a good banner?’
It’s a common scene to unfold a banner in the land contaminated by demonic energy.
Even if it’s just for show, hoping for the purification of the contaminated land.
However, the only way to purify the contaminated land is to inject the Magic Tower’s solution in time.
Is that blond man one of the magic users dispatched from the Magic Tower? No, no matter how you look at it, he doesn’t seem like a magic user.
Park strangely became concerned about that man.
It’s not just his appearance that made the difference.
Even though he was filming from a distance, the radiance emanating from Leon, a living saint, subtly exuded nobility and elegance.
It was a genuine feeling that couldn’t be found in the upper class or actors that one often sees on TV or the internet.
While modern nobility may consist of high-ranking awakened individuals and businessmen, their grace and lineage cannot imitate the authenticity.
And in the next moment.
The farmer Park witnessed a moment that would change his life forever.
* * * *
Leon is the first knight of the Goddess of Light and Justice, Ariana.
The Lionheart Kingdom’s Lionheart Kings, who serve as her champions, were the first to serve her.
However, in the Lionheart Kingdom, where harmony with the gods and devotion are virtues, some gods were deemed essential to their faith, and naturally, the Lionheart Kings also served as their champions.
“Lionheart. My child.”
“Greetings to Mother Earth, Demeras, Goddess of life and abundance.”
Leon kneeled with respect and reverence towards the straw doll, embodying the dignity of a champion.
Even in the temple, Demera’s stature was revered. As the divine being who embraces all life and governs abundance.
While everyone around him couldn’t understand the voices resonating from the straw doll, the divine presence of Demera embedded in the doll spoke.
“This new land is also under the invasion of evil. The land has been contaminated.”
“Yes, there are wicked beings present on this land. However, without the presence of the divine, I fear that the profane and vile creatures will tarnish the eyes of the goddess.”
The first emotion Leon felt upon returning to Earth was ‘disappointment.’
Whether awakened or survivors, it was an incidental matter. The faint memories of the meager 20 years he had lived remained only as reminiscences.
However, upon his return, what he saw was the tyranny of the 10 Guilds and an incompetent government, which made him feel both pitiful and regretful.
“I cannot simply consider ignorance and greed as sins. Such is the nature of mortal lives. What are your thoughts moving forward?”
“While it may not be to my liking, I cannot overthrow a legitimate governance. This land follows the pitiful means of voting to elect leaders, but it is the legitimacy and legality of this land.”
That was the sole reason he acknowledged the authority of the president.
Though he despised the incompetence of those who couldn’t handle a mere sword and were easily swayed, the right to rule was sacred, and he intended to follow the proper procedures.
“I will establish a parallel between rights and responsibilities on this land. I will educate the ignorant and lead them onto the right path.”
His homeland where power and wealth had become synonymous with justice.
Above all, a land devoid of divinity.
Leon would erect a new pantheon on this land.
He would restore the fallen divine beings and resurrect a new Order of the Holy Knights.
For that, faith was needed. True devotion from numerous followers, priests, and the worship of the pantheon.
“Child, don’t you have a request for this mother?”
Demera, reading Leon’s intentions, smiled. The first knight of Ariana was no longer a champion representing only light and justice.
When the divine beings of the pantheon chose Leon as their vessel and decided to infuse all their divinity into his heart, they wagered everything on him.
They believed he would vanquish the forces of evil and survive until the end.
He had successfully accomplished that over 200 years and found an opportunity in this new land.
The divine beings of the pantheon promised to fulfill whatever he desired.
They would ultimately trust the greatest knight in history who safeguarded honor and divinity.
“Yes, Demera. The people of this land suffer under the oppressive force known as demonic energy. Though it may not be easy, I implore you to heal and purify this land.”
The straw doll representing Demera clenched her fist, bestowing a meager blessing compared to when she received the faith of countless followers.
But in this land devoid of faith, it would appear as a monumental miracle.
“You are my divine vessel, our champion. The land of this world is not the physical form of this mother. Spread my divinity, replace this arid land with my vessel. Then everything on this earth will become your allies.”
The land embraced divinity.
Living saints, Demigods, Lionheart kings… and now, the mother of life blessed the land where the goddess of life and abundance resided.
The land is life itself.
The origin of life and the beginning of a bountiful world.
As divinity took root in the boundless energy of the earth, a breathtaking spectacle unfolded.
The land contaminated by demonic energy and the withered crops perished.
The divine, unforgiving of corruption, brought forth new life.
All living beings rooted in the land had an inherent duty, which was nurtured by the hands of the saint. The tainted land and the rotten crops could not halt their growth.
Leon was filled with gratitude toward all those who watched this spectacle from afar.
“Observe and realize! Oh, ignorant and unaware masses! This is the world accompanied by divinity!”
The procession of golden-spired crops. In the face of the miracle of purified and flourishing life, everyone trembled, clasping their hands and mouths in awe.
“Thrive and prosper. This is the duty of those who have life. This fertile land is the evidence of the covenant that will last forever.”
* * * *
Hunter Association employees, including Han Hari and Director Kim Jinsu, were dumbfounded by the miracle unfolding before their eyes. How do demons contaminate the land?
Why couldn’t life thrive in the contaminated soil?
The conclusive answer to all their questions was one.
A vicious will, incomprehensible to human knowledge or technology, was at work to devastate the world.
Crops cannot grow in contaminated land. Although purification efforts are possible, they are akin to offsetting the contamination with the significant expenditure of hunters’ powers.
Crops cannot be grown on soil contaminated with demonic energy.
That was the common knowledge of the modern era, and the reason why modern humanity relied desperately on printed synthetic food and farm agriculture.
As the land contaminated by the dungeon break gradually increases, mankind’s food self-sufficiency rate will hit the bottom.
“Wh-What is this…?”
Han Hari and Kim Jinsu doubted their eyes at the phenomenon before them.
The golden crops that filled the land swayed gently in the wind.
The golden fields of abundance on the earthly land shone brilliantly as if the fact of recent contamination was a lie.
“Director… T-These are real crops.”
“I-I’m witnessing it too.”
Rice that had grown in an instant. The astonishment was not limited to the Hunter Association.
Guild Master Lee Yong-wan of the Phoenix Guild, who had contaminated the land to harass the Hunter Association, was equally shocked.
“Hah! It seems you are unaware that rapidly grown crops through magic are poisonous!”
Lee Yong-wan’s observation was correct.
Since the Great Cataclysm, humanity has been researching ways to use magic to enhance crop growth.
However, crops infused with magic were inedible for ordinary humans and, in fact, acted as toxins.
“Have you witnessed such ignorance? These are crops directly blessed by the divine. How can you consider them poisonous?”
“These mere straw dolls—”
“Forgiving ignorance happens only once. Do not defile the goddess with your shallow tongue.”
Leon’s words carried a force and something that compelled obedience. Above all, the unspoken sense of caution towards survivors prevented him from acting foolishly.
‘Damn it, I shouldn’t be like this.’
The Honam Plain was held hostage. As the Association suspected, the Phoenix Guild deliberately let the Dungeon Break happen.
The top 10 guilds in Korea still enjoyed countless benefits, but they wanted more, and the core of their demands was exemption benefits for dungeon spoils.
Currently, they sought exemption benefits on a scale of 1 trillion won per year, but they would strive to increase it further and eventually demand complete exemption.
In the end, by pressuring the government under the pretext of Dungeon Breaks, the government, which had to protect the nation and its people from damage, had no choice but to accept.
But it was twisted because of one surviving individual. Lee Yong-wan wanted to find something to criticize.
“Let’s be objective. I believe verification is necessary for the safety of the citizens who will consume this rice.”
Regardless of his intentions, his argument was true.
Crops grown through magic were inedible for ordinary humans. Therefore, verification was naturally necessary.
“Let’s borrow our guild’s appraiser. I’m curious to know what kind of item these crops, grown in one second, truly are.”
Lee Yong-wan waited for the results wearing his characteristic wicked smile.
Waiting for the moment to unmask that shameless facade.
The moment even a speck of magical power comes out of the crops, he was going to call him out as a fraudster.
“The appraisal results are in!”
“That was fast!”
“Our guild’s appraiser is excellent, after all.”
Lee Yong-wan eagerly awaited the moment when the appraiser would declare that the rice was inedible. But to his disappointment, beads of cold sweat dripped down the appraiser’s face as the words finally escaped his lips.
“The appraisal results show they are of Rare grade!”
“Each and every one of these rice grains is of Rare grade!”