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Volume 9 / Chapter 277
Cha Jun Sung killed Evil Queen and disappeared just as suddenly as he had appeared. He wanted to help Park Jin Hyuk's group, but he isn't qualified to do so.
Evil Queen is dead, but the majority of Rankers died as well because of her. Even those remaining were half corpses except for three.
Jigneon worked the Lifers a bit before ending the mission.
It is because it became meaningless since Evil Queen and Bon Load died. They weren't able to complete the mission, but they were given ample points.
They just didn't get the dream box.
Cha Jun Sung was the only one to get it.
He got it informally. No one knows that he got the dream box. 100,000 entered, and 40,000 were sacrificed in the end.
Even this is because the level 8 split skeletons died when Evil Queen died in battle.
If that hadn't happened, there would have been more loss.
When the command center collapsed, Park Jin Hyuk, Koharu, and Basil stepped up. There had been nothing special. They had just lent their force.
Strategist's group had fortunately survived, but they were in critical condition. They were treated with top medical equipment, but it is impossible for them to recover inside the mission. So all they were able to do was to hang on to their lives. They need to be sent back to Mechanic City to heal completely, but returning is only possible through the subject's will.
So the only thing they could do was to wait with them until they regained consciousness.
With Jigneon's mission ending, Lifers left only the dead and went back to reality. Regardless of whether they won or lost, they had a glory full of wounds.
Cha Jun Sung is facing Jigneon.
He is quiet.
They have seen each other a few times until now, but this meeting is a little special.
Bang bang bang!
Jigneon turned on a hologram.
Cha Jun Sung's expression is bitter. b.l.o.o.d.y Kingdom is colliding with Parasite King in the hologram. The situation is better than that of the World Federation because they are fighting against a normal level 9, but they are doing poorly because they only have 2 level S Lifers.
Over time, Parasite King made Africa completely his. A tremendous number of them die. It is a field of corpses.
The point is changing in various ways and the situation is progressing quickly. He isn't watching in real time. It is a video that has been edited with the important parts.
The video quickly came to an end.
The result is failure.
Blood King and Dark Side survived, but the damage beyond that was as disastrous as that of World Federation.
Neither of the two groups will be able to dream of attempting level S missions.
Unless they form an alliance.
There's no guarantee for completion even if they form an alliance. They might be able to do something about Parasite King, but Black Lord and White Queen are too much.
"The two powers failed at level S missions. But we were able to get the information we needed because you killed Evil Queen. It's just a pity that…"
"That we didn't get to fully see Evil Queen's abilities. If you had fought without self-destruction, we would have been able to gain more useful information."
Cha Jun Sung did not agree with Jigneon.
Even if he redid what happened, he would not let Evil Queen show her full capabilities. Cha Jun Sung is level 9 and though he had support from 2 Miracles, there are invariant laws. One is that he only has one life.
"What happens to Life Mission now? Will it go away?"
Cha Jun Sung changed the direction of their conversation because he didn't want to keep talking about what was already the past. For the first time, he had the chance to find out everything he wanted to know.
"A tremendous amount of energy goes into Life Mission's maintenance. We'll use it if we need to, but we'll have to give up if we don't need to. We're thinking of stopping it."
There are 4 level S missions left, but 1 or 2 is plenty. They didn't expect all clears. They don't have to hang on to level S missions since they already saw a level 10 killed.
"How will you take care of the two worlds?"
"I don't know how you'll take this, but we've never even thought about that. We wouldn't have created this if we were going to take care of it."
Only Life Mission would disappear.
Mutants and Lifers would just live in their respective environments.
Jigneon didn't feel anything like guilt regarding what they had done. They think of humans like animals to test on.
"If it stops, does that mean we can never go into the mission world again?"
"We can leave a few permanent gates. Of course we would no longer be involved, so Lifers would have to support it on their own."
Cha Jun Sung thought about missions without interference from Life Mission. That is when all elements of the game would be gone and it would become total reality.
"If you open permanent gates, can mutants come to reality as well?"
"Yes. You all will have to block it or something. It isn't a decided matter. We need to hold a meeting about it. Anyway, a notice will come up soon. The time has come to get away from the experiment and to face reality. Ah! It's our problem. It has nothing to do with you all."
"The real reality…"
"I guess we need to tell you? You do have the right to know. Follow me."
They are currently talking in a small s.p.a.ce in Jigneon's laboratory.
Cha Jun Sung followed him without saying anything.
It is boisterous.
People dressed smartly look at Jigneon and Cha Jun Sung. More accurately, they are looking at Cha Jun Sung.
Cha Jun Sung felt them looking at him, and looked over the place that Jigneon had brought him to. Thousands of holograms filling up the s.p.a.ce.
Lifers battling mutants inside the holograms, those watching all of this, and Life Mission officials. It is a new world.
"This is the Situation Room. There are a few dozen other places as well. This is how we have an idea of Lifers' every move."
He gained information on time through the battle videos here.
Cha Jun Sung remained silent.
A few officials recognized him, but they did not acknowledge it and focused solely on understanding what Jigneon was saying.
"We're short on level B battlesuits! Hurry up and make them!"
"It's the same for level A, too!"
"Speed up the weapon supply!"
"Speed it up!"
Shouts bursting from here and there.
The next place that Jigneon took him to was a workshop larger than dozens of ordinary stadiums combined.
It was a system that not even 21st century contemporary human, Cha Jun Sung, could understand with its all too complicated configuration and mechanical equipment.
"This is where tens of thousands of people labor to create Lifer gear. I'm sure you knew that we didn't just make those things with the flick of a hand?"
He had thought that they made them easily.
It is a science that opens dimensions and tweaks time.
Cha Jun Sung went blank for a moment. This is more surprising than the Situation Room.
Things that Jigneon showed him like the holograms were different only in scale, but he had guessed how they were being surveilled.
Jigneon opened the gate.
In outer s.p.a.ce, they are inside a giant s.h.i.+p that is as big as 20% of Korea. It was too large to move on foot.
"The third is a place where you'll frown as much as it is where the full-scale studies are done. You might not want to see it, but you'll have to see an unwelcome face too."
"An unwelcome face?"
"Each of the supervisors are in charge of the Situation Room, Workshop, and Genetic Inst.i.tute. We have the authority to engage anywhere, but there's a difference in size. Once you see the Genetic Inst.i.tute, you've basically seen all of Life Mission. When that happens, I'll tell you why this was made."
Cha Jun Sung could guess who was in charge of the Genetic Inst.i.tute.
If it isn't Gabenu, it's Borteth.
All he had with Gabenu had been a clash of pride. Their relations.h.i.+p isn't so bad that he would rage.
Jigneon goes through the gate.
Cha Jun Sung followed him in. When his vision changed, an unwelcome face and a scene that really did make him frown, were waiting for him.
Volume 9 / Chapter 278
Borteth doesn't look kindly at Cha Jun Sung. This wasn't much different on Cha Jun Sung's end either.
But the two of them ended it there. It is in the past. There's no need to fight. In Borteth's case, he was so busy he could barely take his hands off his work as they were in the last leg of Life Mission.
To Cha Jun Sung's left, there are tens of thousands of dead mutants trapped inside translucent cylinders.
On the right are Lifers.
There are so many of them that he can't see where they end.
"As you can see, this is where all of the types of mutants that were hunted in Life Mission are being preserved."
Even the same species get divided into maximum and minimum. So there are about 5 or 6 males and females for each species. Lifers are preserved by body modifications and level. This is just for research.
What kinds of studies have they been doing?
"If you go in deeper, you'll be able to see level 8 and 9 mutants and Lifers beyond level A. There aren't many in the case of Lifers."
Of course not. Mutant corpses remain inside the mission, but Lifers are taken back to reality if possible as their levels are higher.
The 100,000 Lifers who entered Lord of Bones cleaned up the mission for about half a month.
They hadn't been able to get Chamma Sword's body back.
Life Mission officials didn't move until Lifers were done.
They start moving after Lifers return to reality.
That is why it had been harder to gather Lifer bodies than to get mutants.
"Two sets of genes were found in Evil Queen's body. It was interesting. They are level 9 when separate, and higher when fused. That's how we figured out who would be more dominant between mutants and Lifers."
"Which is it?"
Jigneon didn't hesitate in his response.
He looks happy as though he has won.
"Do you know why there are two Miracles?"
"Borteth injected an advanced type A virus into his body and became a level 9 mutant. Gabenu and I pursue different sectors."
With mutant superiority, Borteth himself becomes superior. His test results came up ahead of Jigneon and Gabenu's, so of course he is happy.
"I killed Evil Queen. Aren't Lifers superior?"
This is overreach.
Ordinary Lifers wouldn't have been able to get the results that Cha Jun Sung got even if they had used the Miracles. On top of that, their bodies would not have been able to withstand wearing double.
"It was only possible for you. But we can get level 10 genes by investigating Evil Queen fusing level 9 genes."
If they combine them well, the result will be powerful biomarkers.
Cha Jun Sung is one person, but they can replicate Evil Queen's genes.
Of course it won't be easy. But there will be progress if they study it.
"We needed a powerful army. We created Lifers because we needed a powerful army, and that's how the A virus was derived, creating mutants. But there wasn't a place good enough to test it. If we want to do proper tests, we not only need the location, but we need specimens. This s.h.i.+p's population is just about a million, so these weren't conditions in which we could do it here.
Cha Jun Sung felt like Jigneon was going to tell him why they created Life Mission. Why did they make something like this?
"So the dimensions…?"
"Right then, we were getting success in tests opening dimensions. To put it into practice, we opened two dimensions and created an environment where we could hold the experiment.
"If you needed a powerful army, aren't there already a lot? No matter how many Lifers and mutants there are, a few nuclear bombs would do the trick."
It isn't a matter that can be resolved with a few nuclear bombs, but they don't need to have a leash around Lifers and mutants with their science. They have plenty of weapons to replace them.
"That's what we would have done if destruction was our goal, but what we wanted was to find a place to breathe, a place to settle in."
Cha Jun Sung c.o.c.ks his head. He can't understand what this means.
Jigneon knew this would be Cha Jun Sung's reaction, and turned a hologram on.
Then the Gene Inst.i.tute researchers including Borteth turned their attention to it. Cha Jun Sung felt yearning in their eyes.
The center of a vast universe.
The hologram is recording a clear and blue star.
It is beautiful.
It was subtly different from Earth.
"Where is that?"
"Blue Paradise. That's the name we gave it. Its environment is the same as Earth's and it's 10 times as big. You can tell by looking at the nature, but there are various fauna and flora living there."
The time is coming near. They look like different creatures from the animals on Earth. It looks like they installed a satellite near Blue Paradise.
"Is there no intelligence there?"
"Intelligence? If you're talking about beings similar to humans, no. But those animals aren't as simple as they look."
Each is different, but the outstanding beings boast intelligence similar to that of humans. It is obvious that they are smart even if they cannot communicate.
"Hundreds of years later, Earth's natural environment gets completely destroyed. We escaped that pollution and are looking for a new home."
"Blue Paradise? Then can't you just land there? If they're just animals even if they're smart, then can't you just easily start?"
"Watch closely."[Send a special cyborg to Blue Paradise, red zone.]
Cha Jun Sung doesn't know the concept of the red zone, and just watched the hologram.
The gate opened and the special cyborg appeared in Blue Paradise. The heavily armed cyborg began to wander around the red zone. It didn't take any special actions. It just wandered around.
"What! A unicorn?"
Cha Jun Sung took a breath.
In a lush forest, a unicorn that looks like something out of the Pegasus legend is caught in the cyborg's radar.
The white maned unicorn is more than three times the size of a normal horse. There's a horn bigger than a human arm on its head. Intimidating power. It looked more like a G.o.d than an animal.
The cyborg and unicorn are at least 500 meters away from each other, but the unicorn sees the cyborg and looks in its direction.
"What kind of eye…"
Red flames burned in its eyes.
It's big but its general form is beautiful, but that thought changed as soon as he saw its eyes.
Thunderbolts fly out of the horn on the unicorn's head. It closed that 500 meter distance within moments, and the thunderbolts swallowed the cyborg whole.
The cyborg evaporated with just one hit.
The thunderbolts coming from the unicorn were reminiscent of natural lightning.
"Do you still think it's an animal?"
"Blue Paradise is full of animals like that unicorn. They're spread out everywhere. Red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo, violet. There are various species living in each of the 7 zones named after the colors of the rainbow. There are differences in strength but in mutant terms, they are levels 7 and 8 on average and even some level 9s. That unicorn is about level 8."
Honestly, Cha Jun Sung thought that one of the big reasons was that the cyborg didn't take the first hit. He thought that it might have been able to kill the unicorn if it had attacked first.
It is a delusion.
A level 8 would have avoided or blocked it somehow. To think that animals like that are everywhere. What kind of planet is this?
"We might be able to kill the animals if we use weapons of ma.s.s destruction, but it'll also become that much more desolate. There are so many of them that it would become an all-out war, too."
They had discovered a planet similar to Earth after a very long search. They cannot ruin it. They need to preserve it in its natural form if they can.
"We tried landing a few times, but what do you think happened?"
"Though they are superior beings, they are animals and have a clear standard of territory. They did not tolerate invasion. This s.h.i.+p was also destroyed. We ran away and got out of there."
"The reason you created Life Mission?"
"We don't want to fight with these animals. We just want to live among them. All we have is a population of 1 million. Blue Paradise is 10 times the size of Earth, so it won't reach Earth's population of billions even after hundreds of years."
It can be small.
They could settle down and live there if they were guaranteed territory, but the animals found them wherever they landed and attacked.
It seems they don't have a concept of coexistence. They just banish outsiders.
"So what could we do? I feel sorry to them, but we need to get land by force if we need to. If we continue like this, we'll never be able to get off this s.h.i.+p."
An army is needed for war. An army that can fight the animals.
That's why they created Life Mission. Lifers and mutants with power like the animals, who don't have to depend on weapons.
"We're going to create a mutant army with Life Mission's information and genes. There is risk of infection or evolution, so we'll have to adjust the numbers."
They aren't going to inject a lot at once, but add it little by little. Even this might take several or even dozens of years, but they it's okay. It had been more difficult getting here. They just have to get over this last obstacle.
"What do you think? We've been saying it's a secret, but it isn't much, right?"
Ultimately, Jigneon's group had planned Life MIssion because they lacked the strength to go up against Blue Paradise's animals without destroying the planet.
It is impressive in some ways, but it really isn't much like Jigneon said.
Cha Jun Sung found comfort in the fact that his questions had been answered.
"But your wish. Will you really be satisfied with that?"
"Life Mission will be repeated in the same way even if I go back to the past, and there's no guarantee that situation will be better. I'm satisfied with that."
Jigneon nodded and said that he would take measures immediately.
Cha Jun Sung thought hard about something and asked with a dubious expression,
"Could you… put my body back to normal?"
"Your body? Does that mean you want to become human?"
"That's not exactly it, but I want to know if it's possible."
The response came from someone unexpected.
"Yeah. Your genetic composition has been completely changed. A solution might come out if we do years of research, but if we have to say whether it is possible or impossible right now, it is impossible."
Jigneon took a step back to Borteth in the mutant aspects.
What he says goes. Cha Jun Sung cannot become human.
Cha Jun Sung did not have lingering desire. It is bothersome to cling to something that is impossible.
"I'll go back."
"You can stay here until Life Mission is over."
"I have a lot to do. I need to see my friends, and I have to see my other self. It would be a waste of precious time to stay here."
Park Jin Hyuk's group thinks that Cha Jun Sung is dead.
Violet saw him being ripped apart. He needs to explain it to them.
"Do you mean Black Lord?"
"I might never be able to see him again, but I'd like to at least see his face one more time."
Jigneon said that he would open the gate for him. There are no longer restrictions on his entry. He can go in and out as he pleases.
Life Mission, which he had thought would go on forever, was ending.
What will he do now?
Will he be able to live a normal life with the body of a mutant?
Volume 9 / Chapter 279
Cha Jun Sung met Black Lord with just his PDA.
He doesn't need his battlesuit.
He already has the same power Black Lord has.
It wasn't hard to find Black Lord. When he went through the gate, a familiar area appeared. Looking around, he could guess where he was.
"How boring. You were waiting."
Black Lord heard everything from Cha Jun Sung.
He limited information on Life Mission, and told him everything about what happened in South America.
"So the only level 9s left are you, White Queen, Sea G.o.d, and Parasite King."
"Then it'll become three. In a few months, White Queen will go to Africa. The situation down there is strange, and it seems to be bothering her.
White Queen is after Parasite King.
Black Lord kept his hands off of it. It won't be hard to kill him even if he doesn't help. There's no comparison in their abilities and in the quality of their underlings.
"When did you become like that? You were just half when I first saw you."
"There was a big battle in North America 5 or 6 years ago. My body was broken down, and I completely awakened then."
Cha Jun Sung gave Black Lord a good piece of information.
That rebirth is possible from just the nucleus.
Black Lord hadn't known this.
"Is there something you want from me? I'll give you something in return for this valuable information."
"I just came to see you, since we might not get to meet again."
"Forget it. We live in different worlds. We just have to live well separately."
Black Lord responded bluntly.
"Your red son?"
"He isn't here."
"I wanted to give my last greetings. Just tell him I said bye."
Cha Jun Sung got up.
He had said all he had to say.
When he turned around, Black Lord spoke hesitantly.
"What happened… to him?"
"He'll live a new life."
"I took a big leap and took measures."
Cha Jun Sung didn't finish what he was saying and disappeared. He had gone back to his world.
"Is it… an opportunity? I hope he lives well. The third."
It really is an interesting world.
Cha Jun Sung rubs his eyes.
He opened his eyes and did not move. He sees a modern ceiling. A familiar place – the ceiling in his home.
"But I died?"
Evil Queen fused with Bon Load, had cut off his limbs, and he had bled out. He remembers up to when he was with the Cha Jun Sung of another world.
But he's home?
Was it a dream? What happened?
Cha Jun Sung had been blank for a while when a small s.p.a.ce opened up next to him and a note fell out.
He picked it up.[This is in return for what you did for me. I wanted to send you back to before our parents died, but it was hard to save you and to go back in time through dimensions with Life Mission's technology. This is your third life. Don't fail this time. Since you're me.]
Cha Jun Sung instinctively looked for a calendar.
He sat down as soon as he saw the year and date on the digital calendar on his desk.
Then he looked to the side.
A large capsule – Life Mission's capsule.
He had been sent back to when the virtual version was in progress.
It was a laughter full of mixed feelings.
"So it's the third time."
How did he turn it back?
Did he make a deal with the supervisors?
He can only guess because there's no way of contacting him.
They'll probably lose connection like this.
"I won't fail this time."
He isn't wearing any equipment, but he can feel the strength of 10 stages of body modification. He'll become a fraudulent existence as soon as the reality version starts.
It was short, but it was the best word to express how Cha Jun Sung was feeling.
Life Mission's end.
The world was in shock. The permanent gate was annulled. The world without missions was reduced to chaos for some time.
But all Lifers could do was to quit. It was one-sided from the beginning, so there was no use in going against it.
The chaos only lasted for the first few months.
Life Mission was forgotten as time went on. The overflowing Lifers and weapons that had been released into the world were used for other purposes. Lifers are superhumans who have transcended the abilities of ordinary people.
They were beneficial to various countries, and became enthusiastic recruits.
Cha Jun Sung's group did not become affiliated with anything, and enjoyed their own time.
The fierce battles were gone.
It was difficult to adjust to the usual, peaceful world, but they were fine for the most part, looking for other interesting things to do.
Lifers didn't age because they still had their body modifications. There's nothing they can do if they are at a low stage, but aging was extremely slow for those above stage 5.
20 years had pa.s.sed, but Cha Jun Sung's group still looked like they were in their twenties.
Cha Jun Sung was the only mutant among humans, so he aged even more slowly than top Lifers like Park Jin Hyuk did.
He knows that he won't die even after hundreds of years. He won't even get old. He will live even if everyone else dies.
He'll be alone at some point, but he can withstand it with a strong spirit.
Cha Jun Sung checks the time.
It is now a useless PDA. He still wore it on his wrist. Lifers forgot the glory of the past and used their PDAs as watches or left them somewhere in their homes.
20 years had pa.s.sed.
They might have cherished it in the beginning, but they are bound to neglect it over time.
Why is Cha Jun Sung wearing it around?
It makes him feel comfortable. He is currently staying in a villa built on an American island that he bought.
Park Jin Hyuk and Kyoko, Koharu, Violet, and Basil live here too.
Their affection grew for each other after being together for so long, so Violet and Basil married.
It was an unexpected combination. They have completely opposing personalities, but they are a pretty well-fitting pair.
Koharu is still alone. Cha Jun Sung knows that Kohru likes him, but he doesn't accept her feelings. He is a mutant. Koharu has gone through body modifications, but it is impossible for her to get together with a mutant.
But they occasionally go on dates and have fun together.
Like normal humans.
"Jun Sung! Come here!"
Cha Jun Sung waved Park Jin Hyuk away and turned him down.
It is funny to be 60 years old and running around, playing.
It is comfortable watching the ocean.
Cha Jun Sung is taken aback and looks down at his PDA.
He thought he had heard a notice, but had he heard wrong?
He must have mistaken the sound of the waves.
"Is there something wrong with my ears? Haha!"
Cha Jun Sung grabbed his stomach.
He'll be the same as he is now even at 600, but for something to be wrong with his ears? He thought what he himself said was ridiculous.[Your senses have dulled. You mistook the notification sound.]
Cha Jun Sung's eyes open wide. He hadn't heard wrong. It was real.
"What is it?"[The conquest of Blue Paradise isn't going smoothly. What we saw was just the tip of the iceberg. We're disadvantaged even with the strength we gained from Life Mission.] [Right about now, PDAs all over the world will be ringing. I'll ask. Lifer Cha Jun Sung, will you travel with me again? This time, a war with superior animals is waiting instead of mutants.]
Cha Jun Sung's eyes grow black. Black smoke comes out of his mouth. He called this state demonization, not awakening.
Cha Jun Sung's body trembles.
It is bliss.
The world that had been boring until now, grows bright.
He knows now. He can't live without fighitng.
"Summon me now."[That's a good resolve.]
Cha Jun Sung's body is wrapped in light.
Life Mission reappears. This adventure will be different from the last.