Apocalypse Saga 37

Chapter 37 Heart

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 ”Welcome to the ‘Garden in the Sky (Empireo)’!”

 Strena, who greeted Charles, folded her four wings on her back and bowed deeply. Her posture resembled that of a goddess from Greek mythology, wearing a pure white tunic and a shimmering rainbow-colored himation.

 ”It’s been a while. Are you well?”

 ”Of course… Although, nobody comes to this ‘Garden in the Sky (Empireo)’, so I don’t catch colds or get injured.”

 Strena spoke in a drawn-out tone and smiled softly. At first, her slightly petite stature gave off a cute vibe, but in reality, she exuded a mature sensuality.

 And to enhance that sensuality, she had a voluptuous and enticing figure. Her forcefully pushed-up breasts were like watermelons, shaking with the slightest movement due to the thin fabric of her clothes. The glimpses of her plump thighs, peeping through the slit in her unconventional tunic, were irresistibly tempting.

 Also, despite being short, she has an enchanting gaze that seems to lift her chin up even while looking up. Her calm tone contrasts with the atmosphere she gives off, similar to that of a queen, like Esmeralda. It’s as if she is an irresistible fruit that gives souls and bodies to men, leading them astray.

 ”Satsuki, you probably doesn’t know about her.”

 ”Then, let me introduce myself. I’m Strena, the administrator of ‘Garden in the Sky (Empireo).’”

 On her back, there are four golden wings that shimmer in seven colors when touched by light. It is said that Charles created them by plucking four of his own feathers when he was still a god in the heavenly realm.


 Charles furrowed his brow. After Strena introduced herself, there was a strange silence that lasted for ten seconds.


 Confused, he turned around and indeed, Satsuki was there… but she stood frozen with wide-open eyes. It was as if her mind was absent, or rather, her soul had been sucked in, completely fixated on something.

 Satsuki wasn’t tangled by Strena’s consciousness. Her gaze was directed at a giant, blue stone floating in the center of the dome-shaped hall in the Celestial Palace, behind Strena.

 ”What is this… What is this exactly?”

 That’s when Satsuki spoke for the first time. With a face as if she had seen something that should not exist in this world.

 ”This is the heart (core) of Babellion.”

 The giant blue stone floating inside the Celestial Palace is the Dungeon Core.

 In other words, the Babellion’s 101st floor, ‘Garden in the Sky (Empireo),’ is a facility built to protect this heart (core). And Strena is the guardian of the heart (core), the true final boss of Babellion.

 Strena is a level 200 [Holy Phoenix]. She is a beautiful golden phoenix that sparkles with seven colors like her wings. Only a few know of her existence, but her power is unquestionable. In terms of individual combat ability, she ranks among the top in Babellion and possesses the power befitting a true boss.

 ”This is… Babellion’s heart (core)…”

 Satsuki is Charles’ vice-captain, and of course, she has attacked the hearts (cores) of other dungeons together. However, she has never seen Babellion’s heart (core).

 If a war were to break out between dungeons, the actions the dungeon master can take are mainly of two types: waiting like a final boss in the deepest part, or attacking with their subordinates. Charles belongs to the latter type, which means Satsuki basically doesn’t engage in defending the dungeon.

 Perhaps Satsuki is feeling an instinctive fear at the connection with the heart (core), Charles thought. Because the heart (core) in front of them is truly the heart of Babellion, it’s not a metaphor, and it’s Babellion’s very life, which will end if it’s destroyed, no matter how many subordinates remain.

 In the past, during APOCALYPSE SAGA, if the dungeon core was destroyed, the dungeon would cease to function for 24 hours. Additionally, all subordinate units in the dungeon were considered dead, and they had to be revived at a significant cost within 24 hours. Because of this severe specification, there was an unspoken rule or gentleman’s agreement to not destroy the dungeon core, and reaching the dungeon core was considered a defeat.

 Now that APOCALYPSE SAGA has become a reality, it’s unknown what would happen if the heart (core) were destroyed, and it’s impossible to experiment───

 ”This is an isolated world, but do you understand what is happening in Babellion?”

 ”Of course! Everything can be seen from this palace. Has Babellion been transported to another world?”

 ”Yes, it has. There’s no need for an explanation.”

 Charles glanced at the heart (core) and then slowly surveyed the dome-shaped hall.

 ”Is everything normal in this ‘Garden in the Sky (Empireo)’?”

 ”Yes, everything is as usual.”

 ”Good. If you feel anything unusual, report it to me immediately.”

 ”Yes, understood~”

 After finishing the conversation, Charles turned back to look at Satsuki. Satsuki had already regained her composure and was standing upright as usual, but she seemed a little distracted.

 Leaving Satsuki behind, Charles walked towards the heart (core). He then shaded his hand over the control panel installed in front of the heart (core) like a monument.

 Immediately after that, he was enveloped in a sensation unlike anything he had ever experienced before. It felt as if his consciousness was being drawn in, while at the same time, the power of the heart (core) was flowing into him… It was a strange and indescribable sensation of two souls blending into one.

 However, it was certainly not an unpleasant sensation. On the contrary, it felt like a surge of excitement, as if the dormant power had been awakened.

 And Charles understood everything. This heart (core) is both Babellion itself and a part of Charles himself. It is not just a mere building, but a part of Charles’s body that is infused with his blood and power. Charles sensed this fact intuitively.

 The control panel emitted a faint light. Then, a wave spread from Charles’s hand, and with a thump, both hands sank into the control panel.

 From the side, it looked like he was being sucked in, creating a very frightening scene. However, there was not a trace of fear in Charles’s heart.

 As Charles became one with the physical and spiritual aspects of the ‘Saint Tower Babellion’, he communicated commands to the heart (core) with the same consciousness as moving his limbs, in order to fulfill his purpose for coming.

* * *

 In Charles’s residence on the 100th floor of Babellion.

 The door to the military council room opened, and a man in his prime appeared, marching with the sound of military boots.

 His silver hair was short and trimmed, and his face was clean-shaven, giving him a neat and tidy appearance. The Imperial Guard armor he wore was perfectly in place, without a single wrinkle. However, his blue skin and ominous four horns revealed that he was a being associated with demons.

 ”Sorry for being late.”

 The man apologized with a dignified voice.

 ”I’m the one who suddenly summoned you, so it doesn’t matter, Berdosh.”

 Felshiol, who was waiting for the man in the room, accepted his apology. The man simply said, “Thank you,” and stood in front of the strategy table where Felshiol had been facing.

 The man’s name was Berdosh. He was the commander of the Imperial Army, the defense force of the 100th floor of Babellion, one of the Twelve Pillars of the Saint Tower.

 In Babellion, there are many organizations, but one of the most disciplined is the Imperial Army. They are responsible for guarding Charles’ residence and are considered elite soldiers. The formation of this organization is influenced by the strict and military-like nature of Berdosh, which can be described as stubborn and not easily amused.

 ”To put it simply, I want to borrow the Imperial Army for Emperor’s audience.”

 As soon as Berdosh took his position, Felshiol returned his gaze to the strategy table and said so. There is no unnecessary small talk, but Felshiol and Berdosh have some similarities in their nature and get along well. If there is any difference, it would be that Felshiol is more cunning.

 ”Naturally, His Majesty has approved it.”

 ”In that case, there is no reason to refuse. What should I do?”

 And so, with a questioning gaze, Berdosh turned his eyes towards the strategy table. Spread out on the table was a map of the 100th floor of Babellion, with multiple lines drawn in red and blue.

 ”The red line here represents the path of the emperor’s entourage.”

 Felshiol pointed to the red line marked on the map. It was not a winding line, but a simple and clear line drawn along the widest main street on the 100th floor.

 The emperor’s group will teleport to the entrance of the 100th floor using the magic circle located at the ‘Reception Hall (Acheron)’, and then they will proceed along the main street in an open ceremonial carriage.

 ”We want the Imperial Army to be in charge of escorting the emperor’s carriage and ensuring the security of the road.”

 ”Escort, huh… There are no ceremonial guards in the Imperial Army. Does it not matter?”

 ”Yes, that’s correct. In fact, it’s preferable not to have ceremonial guards. We’re not welcoming them with cherry blossoms or a marching band, so it’s better to have practical soldiers who can be recognized as elite at a glance.”

 ”If there is an appropriate unit, it would be the Imperial Army.”

 Berdosh nodded as if it were obvious. His face remained as stone, but it seemed to Felshiol that he was proud.

 ”How many people in the group?”

 ”We estimate one carriage, with about five people. The rest will wait in front of the ‘Reception Hall (Acheron).’”

 ”In that case, we don’t need too many soldiers marching together. Let’s place soldiers at equal intervals along the main street. It should appear as an organized nation.”

 Berdosh’s gaze imagines the movements of the day, as it progresses down the main street in his mind.

 ”Please adjust the intervals accordingly, as wide intervals may make it seem like we have fewer soldiers.”

 ”Understood. However, we are short on personnel. We may need to allocate soldiers from defense duty, but I will seek permission from His Majesty.”

 ”While His Majesty has entrusted me with some discretion, I will still inquire with him. Berdosh, please proceed with calculating and adjusting the number of personnel under the assumption that His Majesty will approve.”

 ”I got it”

 As Felshiol watched Berdosh nod, he tried to further develop the plan──

 Suddenly, the ground shook and a loud noise hit the castle.

 ”What’s that sound?!”

 It was as if a landslide had hit the city, but such a natural disaster shouldn’t happen in Babellion.

 Along with the rumbling sound, the walls of the castle creaked. It wasn’t enough to make it impossible to stand, but the shaking was noticeable. To investigate the cause, Felshiol walked briskly to the window. When he forcefully opened the heavily shaded curtain,

 ”This is…”

 The moment he opened the curtain, Felshiol was surprised by the unexpected light shining through the window. The floor, usually in constant darkness, was only lit by the light of the moon and stars… but outside the window, the sky that had definitely been night just a few minutes ago was now brightly colored, with the setting sun dyeing the 100th floor in a twilight hue.

 ”…It feels strange to have a sun on the 100th floor.”

 While basking in the sinking sunlight, Berdosh’s cheeks relaxed for the first time. It was not a joyful expression, but rather a proud one, as if he knew exactly what had happened.

 ”Look, Felshiol.”

 Berdosh noticed another change as he gazed at the strategy table and called out to Felshiol. Felshiol furrowed his brows and returned to the table, slightly widening his eyes as he looked at the map on the table.

 ”I see… So that’s what it means.”

 The main street on the map of the strategy table, which marked the 100th floor, had clearly been expanded.

 ”So, His Majesty added a sun to make the Emperor’s entourage more visible to each other, and widened the main street to accommodate more people, right?”

 In Felshiol’s mind, a memory of the afternoon came to mind. In this military conference room where the two were now, Felshiol had a military discussion with Charles. In the midst of it, Charles mentioned that it would be difficult to see at night.

 The 100th floor is a city that never sleeps. The city lights give some light to the floor, but it’s generally dark. Most of the residents of Babellion have good night vision, so they don’t have trouble with the darkness. But the emperor and his entourage, who are humans, are different.

 Also, it’s true that the road is narrow considering that spectators are lined up on both sides, and Charles mentioned once that they should do something about it.

 Felshiol sighed deeply while looking at the map. It wasn’t a sigh of relief. It was to suppress the excitement that inevitably welled up, wanting to dance with joy at witnessing Charles’ power.

 ”This is His Majesty’s power, isn’t it? The ability to change the world. There’s no doubt about it.”

 ”Yes, it’s truly the work of God…”

 ”Yes, that’s right.”

 Even when the ground shook, Berdosh, who stood upright, turned on his heel.

 ”I’m going to conduct a local inspection and calculate the necessary number of troops immediately. Sorry for interrupting.”

 Berdosh felt the same excitement as Felshiol. With a proud expression, he trembled his strong body, as if moved by that passion.

 ”Don’t you think we can’t sit still?”

 ”I don’t think any of our subordinates can stay still in the face of this task. It’s a feeling that tightens our resolve to be even more loyal. I assume you feel the same?”

 ”Yes, exactly.”

 ”Then, excuse me.”

 And with louder footsteps than when he entered, Berdosh left. In the military conference room, Felshiol was left alone again. He approached the window, gazing at the sky dyed by the evening sunset.

 To Felshiol, Charles was like the sun floating in the sky. He had the power to destroy everything, but also the power to create the world. He illuminated the path that his children should follow, so that they would not lose their way.

 If the sun were a god’s chariot racing across the sky, then Felshiol would be the horse pulling the carriage. It’s his duty to clear the path for the god and ensure that the god continues to shine in the heavens. Being the god’s servant brings him joy.

 Felshiol kneeled towards the setting sun. He bowed his head in prayer, thinking of the great creator.

* * *

 In the Sky Palace of Babellion’s 101st floor, Charles pulled his hand away from the control panel of the heart (core) and let out a satisfied sigh.

 ”Thank you for your hard work~!”

 As he turned away from the heart (core), Strena greeted him with a deep bow.

 ”It seems there are no abnormalities in my abilities, even after the teleportation.”

 Changing the settings of the dungeon floor has always required the use of the dungeon core. Although he had just arrived in this world and manipulated the dungeon itself for the first time, he didn’t feel any significant differences in the various specifications.

 ”My Lord!!”

 Called by that name, Charles directed his gaze from Strena to the source of the voice.

 ”I apologize for the unsightly display I presented earlier.”

 Satsuki, who had been momentarily overcome by consciousness in her heart, seemed to have regained her composure, kneeling at Strena’s side. Certainly, it was a disgraceful mistake to be absent-minded while serving as a retainer to Charles, as he had just mentioned, but Charles had no intention of blaming Satsuki.

 ”I forgive you. This is the only place for such things. Continue to serve faithfully.”


 Passing by the deeply prostrated Satsuki, Charles once again opened the doors of the Celestial Palace.

 As he stepped outside, there was a change in the scenery of the ‘Garden in the Sky (Empireo)’.

 The 100th floor, visible beyond the floor of light, had transformed from a night sky adorned with jewels to a mysterious twilight. This was because Charles had synchronized the time setting of the 100th floor to match the external world, so now the 100th floor would have the same cycle of the sun rising and setting as the outside world.

 ”Satsuki, listen carefully.”


 ”Everything about this ‘Garden in the Sky (Empireo)’ is a secret of Babellion. Its existence must not be known. Do you understand the significance?”

 ”Yes, I will not reveal it under any circumstances.”

 ”That’s good.”

 This 101st floor, the ‘Garden in the Sky (Empireo)’, is the location of the heart (core) and the guardian, Strena. It is the greatest secret. This sanctuary, or rather, sacred space, should not even give the slightest hint of its existence to anyone else.

 ”Now, I will return to the castle. Satsuki, let’s go.”


 Hearing the sound of Satsuki rushing to stand up, Charles took a step towards the location of the magic circle he had teleported from.

 ”I’ll be waiting for your return.”

 Strena bowed once again. The voice that hit his back sounded slightly lonely.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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