Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint - Chapter 460
Chapter 460: Episode 87 – The Heart of Steel (2)
[The ship’s hull will now enter the stabilisation process.]
[Please be on standby.]
While listening to the system messages, my companions dazedly looked out of the windows.
The house that got swept away by a tornado, and entering a brand-new world…. Surely, some of them should’ve realised what exactly was going on here.
“….Ahjussi, this, this is ‘that’, right? That ‘Wizard of Oz’?”
Rather unexpectedly, the one to ask me first was Yi Ji-Hye.
“You heard about it?”
“Ng. An old friend of mine used to love a musical related to it.”
Yi Ji-Hye was bragging a bit, but then her expression suddenly became gloomy.
Jeong Hui-Won noticed that and quickly took over from there. “By the way, isn’t the ‘Wizard of Oz’ a relatively modern literary work?”
“If I remember correctly, it was created in the year 1900, I believe,” said Yu Sang-Ah.
“As expected of Sang-Ah eonni. You really do know everything.”
Yi Ji-Hye raised her thumb up.
Jeong Hui-Won carried on. “But, that doesn’t make sense, does it? This world is only around one hundred years old, but… I heard from Hyeon-Seong-ssi that the ‘Master of Steel’ is a far older Constellation than that.”
“You’re correct, Hui-Won-ssi.”
She was asking a valid question. All Fables would go on to construct ‘existences’ sooner or later. Yet the age of the Fable in question that could’ve constructed an existence was too short, so it was only natural that questions would be raised.
“What do you think about the ‘Journey to the West’?”
“Do you believe that the ‘Journey’ came about first, or the Great Sage was around way before that?”
That brought about the moment of realisation to my companions.
“Does that mean the ‘Master of Steel’ existed before that story?”
“It might, or might not.”
“What the heck?”
It was as I said.
The ages of those beings that became Fables would gradually get harder to distinguish as time went on. A Constellation would start from a source Fable, but even such a Fable would minutely change as time elapsed.
[The ship stabilisation process has concluded.]
[Exit will now open.]
“Well, we’ll find out once we get there,” said Han Su-Yeong, as she lightly leaped out first. Yi Ji-Hye and the two kids, looking clearly excited, quickly followed after her.
“Let’s get going, as well,” said I.
The remaining companions nodded their heads and exited from this ‘ship’.
If my memory was correct, the scenario of <Oz> mirrored the original novel’s adventure. The house flown away by the tornado would arrive in another world called <Oz>, and the unfortunate one that gets squashed flat would be the wicked witch….
“What the hell is this?!”
And that’s when I heard Yi Ji-Hye’s yell. Yup, she must’ve discovered the witch below the house, then. However….
“….Hey, it’s a fake?”
Something was indeed crushed under the house. However, it wasn’t an actual witch, but a doll mocked up to look like one. Its state was so filthy and neglected that it would be hard to argue this thing was once a witch.
Han Su-Yeong picked up the broken leg of the mannequin and asked me. “What is this?”
I quietly studied the leg.
⸢The progression has changed from the original.⸥
The planet <Oz> from the ‘Ways of Survival’ was a type of theme park.
The visitors would follow the route of the original ‘Wizard of Oz’ which went along the lines of – encounter the Munchkins first, then after receiving different roles to play, travel towards the Emerald Castle.
However, something was wrong here.
⸢The dwarves, ‘Munchkins’, are nowhere to be found.⸥
Yu Jung-Hyeok muttered quietly. “It’s somewhat different from what my Master told me.”
I agreed with him. What was up with this view? The silver city with bleak winds blowing through it, was showing almost no sign of life.
“Something feels really dreary. Isn’t this world supposed to be a fairy tale….?”
Even I, a man who read the ‘Ways of Survival’ inside out, didn’t possess a whole lot of info related to <Oz>.
It was introduced properly only once during the original novel – during Yu Jung-Hyeok’s 999th regression turn. (In the latter half of the ‘Ways of Survival’, the scene skips happened far more frequently, and stuff related to Oz got relegated to simple lines such as: “They went to Oz to get Fable metal that could strengthen their weapons.”)
⸢It’s a sad place, isn’t it? It’d have been nicer for a happier story to permeate in this place.⸥
Yi Hyeon-Seong from the 999th turn said that. It still remained vividly in my head even now. This was where he awakened his powers and ended up inheriting the Status and the will of the ‘Master of Steel’.
But no matter how hard I looked, our current view was completely different from the original novel. Why? Was it because we changed a lot of the original’s storyline?
This was none other than <Oz>. It was not one of the planets strongly influenced by the changes <Kim Dok-Ja Company> caused.
“Shouldn’t those fairy-like creatures gather around us to sing and dance while taking us somewhere? Forget about fairies, I can’t even see a single fly,” said Han Su-Yeong.
The theme park’s broken notice board was found discarded on the ground. It was as if we were looking at a closed-down amusement park.
Still, the kids seemed to be really excited regardless. They stuck close to my sides and began muttering away. “It’s almost like a haunted house.”
We decided to follow the yellow road marked on the ground for the time being. According to the original, the Emerald Castle should be waiting for us at the end of this road.
And sure enough, we did spot a tall green tower after walking for a bit. And a small city was built around that tower.
⸢An aged castle has been constructed at the place where all journeys come to an end, so⸥
⸢We wish for you to willingly pay us a visit and remember our story.⸥
Somewhat poignant words were written on the entrance to the city.
It was around then that Yu Jung-Hyeok suddenly spoke up. “I shall act on my own from here.”
“There is an excellent blacksmith living among the dwarves in this place.”
I recalled a certain sentence after hearing him.
⸢The Oz’s metal is permeated with the most ancient type of magic, so…⸥
Indeed, <Oz> was the place of origin for the metal permeated with the oldest Fable in the <Star Stream>. Even Yu Jung-Hyeok’s weapon from the original was reinforced with the steel from this place.
The greatest supreme sword reborn as the Star Relic after the <Oz>’s metal and Yu Jung-Hyeok’s Fable were intertwined – that was the Star Relic he used in the latter half of the novel, [Heaven Shaking Sword].
Of course, that was the story from the original, and the one to get reinforced this time around would be the [Dark Heavenly Demon Sword], but still….
“Oz’s steel is the strongest in the <Star Stream>. Securing suitable weapons is an utmost priority.”
After declaring such, Yu Jung-Hyeok didn’t even wait for our permission and simply went on his way. Companions looked at me, silently asking if this was okay, and I replied with a simple shrug of my shoulders.
Since I had multiple reasons for coming to <Oz> anyway, there was a need to split the group here. Also, the whole group wasn’t really necessary to save Yi Hyeon-Seong.
I spoke to Yi Ji-Hye and her brilliantly-sparkling eyes. “You should go after him, too. Don’t you want to upgrade your battleship?”
The clearly-happy Yi Ji-Hye quickly trotted away.
Next up, I looked at Yu Sang-Ah. “Yu Sang-Ah-ssi, can you tail them for the time being? I’m kind of worried about sending those two alone. And also, the kids…. I’m sure there are lots of things to sightsee around here.”
“Let’s go! Please hurry!”
The children held onto both hands of Yu Sang-Ah and they soon disappeared towards the high street. Now that the noisy group had been split up like this, I felt a bit hollow for some reason.
The remaining people were Jeong Hui-Won, Han Su-Yeong and me.
Han Su-Yeong muttered out. “So, only Dorothy, the smart Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion remain.”
There were four members in the Wizard of Oz’s main group. They were the protagonists Dorothy, Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion.
I spoke up. “Since you went ahead and said the ‘smart’ Scarecrow, I’m guessing that’s you.”
“I won’t ask you about the other two.”
“You’re the Cowardly Lion, obviously.”
While chatting and giggling away, we entered the centre of the city. If this place remained as a theme park, such a composition could’ve been rather fun. Jeong Hui-Won shook her head while looking at us and strode forward without hesitation.
A handful of monkeys hidden in the nooks and crannies of the city were glancing at us.
It certainly didn’t feel like a welcoming atmosphere. This world didn’t welcome us or even bother to greet us. Forget about a fairy tale, the overall vibe suited a horror novel far better.
Not too long afterwards, we arrived before the Emerald Tower.
Han Su-Yeong was the first to speak up. “It looks like a magic tower.”
“Well, an actual wizard is living here, so….”
Although, I couldn’t be sure if he was still alive even now.
We approached the entrance and knocked on the door, only to be greeted by a stiff, curt voice of a man.
– State your business.
“We seek an audience with the ‘Master of Steel’.”
No reply came back. The door remained resolutely shut.
It seemed that I made a slip of tongue somewhere. I quickly recalled the ‘Ways of Survival’. What did they say in the 999th turn again?
While I remained engrossed in my thoughts, Jeong Hui-Won suddenly unsheathed her sword and spoke up. “Return Hyeon-Seong-ssi’s soul before I split this damn tower in half.”
The Status of an Archangel exploded out from her entire figure. And just as the intense flames of [Hellfire] started burning on the Steelsword’s blade, the door hesitantly opened up.
[The Emerald Castle is welcoming all of you.]
I wondered if this was fine, but since we didn’t have a lot of time, I figured might as well.
Han Su-Yeong had found an ideal opportunity here so she muttered in an impressed voice. “As expected of our Dorothy.”
“Shut up. I didn’t come here to fool around.”
Han Su-Yeong sneaked closer to my side and whispered through the [Midday Tryst].
– Super scary. Is that the power of love?
Jeong Hui-Won was marching forward while her Steelsword drew arcs in the air. She was originally a spirited person, to begin with, but seeing her like this, I couldn’t help but admit that her current aura was indeed astonishing.
– I guess so.
The interior of the tower was rather plain and boring. There weren’t any eye-catching decorations to speak of, and only the most necessary items were placed here and there. It was like the inside of Yi Hyeon-Seong’s military backpack.
We walked for another five minutes or so before a room resembling an audience chamber made its appearance. We opened its doors and entered immediately. Colourful spotlights came to life and a giant, silver-coloured mask floated up in the middle of the chamber. A pair of hollow eyes were now looking at us.
[The <Kim Dok-Ja Company>, is it.]
The Steel’s true voice reverberated within the audience chamber.
I immediately realised that this guy was the ‘Master of Steel’, the Fable-grade Constellation and Yi Hyeon-Seong’s backer. This mask was probably a symbolic item.
“That’s correct. Pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
[I’m guessing that you’re the ‘Demon King of Salvation’.]
I nodded my head. The silver mask looked at me as if this whole thing was rather annoying. [What is the purpose of your visit here?]
Going straight to the topic, is it? I thought that this was for the better.
“Please return Yi Hyeong-Seong’s soul to us. We know that you have the ownership over it.”
[His soul is required to maintain this planet.]
That was completely unexpected. I glanced to my side, only to discover Jeong Hui-Won glaring daggers in my direction.
I quickly followed up. “I’m well aware that sponsorship contracts are usually like this, but regardless of what, Hyeon-Seong-ssi is our comrade. I was under the impression that you liked our story so far?”
“Besides, doesn’t <Oz> possess more than enough Great Fables? Surely, there isn’t a reason to use Hyeon-Seong-ssi’s soul as the power source?”
The Fable of ⸢Wizard of Oz⸥ was famous enough to be well-known back on Earth, too. Sure, the fame had cooled down a little in recent times, but this story managed to generate a shocking level of popularity throughout the planet once upon a time.Read latest Chapters at WuxiaWorld.Site Only
It was that famous on Earth, so how popular would it have been in the <Star Stream>? So, the lack of a power source simply didn’t make any sense at all.
Even then, the ‘Master of Steel’ remained resolutely stubborn.
[Go back. I can’t return his soul.]
<Episode 87. The Heart of Steel (2)> Fin.