Before the tutorial begins chapter 47 part 1

Chapter 47: The Thundering Beast and the Dreaming Maiden (Part 8)

??? : [Gunner] Jupiter

When the girl opened her eyes, she found herself in a vast, silver world.

Snow was gently falling all around her.

Looking around, she saw nothing but an endless expanse of pure white.

There were no footprints,

no signs of life.

She couldn’t smell or feel the cold.

She realized this was a dream.

But why was she dreaming?

She couldn’t remember falling asleep.

Her last memory was…

(On the tenth floor, We all went there together, and Harka cut me down. It didn’t hurt when she struck, but the shock caused me to…)

Her hazy memories were coming into focus.

Back then, she had been tricked into thinking she was struck down.

The flash from her comrade’s sword technique was likely just a bluff to summon the Black Thunder Beast.

Using an illusion to lure out [Keraunos] was quite a clever tactic.

(… So it was my own spirit that brought me here.)

There was no doubt her spirit had done this.

She had secretly hoped that after two weeks of being sealed, the monster might have mellowed out a bit. But unfortunately, nothing had changed.

This was clearly a ploy – a bit too convincing to be just a bluff – that had triggered her spirit’s “manifestation”.

Now, that wicked spirit was likely baring its fangs at her dear companions, under the guise of punishing those who betrayed its “daughter”.

A sense of emptiness cast a shadow over the girl’s heart.

That spirit had always been like this.

It used violence even when unasked,

and refused to stop no matter how much she pleaded.

It flew into a rage with its own self-serving interpretations, claiming to act for her sake, when in reality the beast simply rampaged as it pleased.

[That’s not true, Jupiter. Every punishment I inflict is for your protection.]

A deep, rumbling voice resonated in the girl’s ears.

“Keraunos…”

How long had it been there?

The sole “black” amidst the silver world gently spoke to the girl.

[Don’t worry. This world is safe. There is nothing here that can harm you.]

“Don’t give me that nonsense. You are always the one who hurts me the most.”

[What an absurd thing to say. As your only ally and true family, how could I ever hurt you?]

The Black Thunder Beast’s words filled the girl with strong indignation.

Ally. True family.

Not a single word rang true.

“Do you have any idea how many people your selfish rage has hurt?”

[My rage? No, it’s your rage.]

The beast spoke in a soothing tone.

[I’m taking on the dirty role to protect you from the negative emotions that torment you. I don’t mean to command you to be grateful, but at least have the awareness that you are the one being protected.]

The words to rebuke the beast were on the tip of her tongue, but she caught herself.

While infuriating, Keraunos’ self-righteous claims did have a certain validity.

“… You’re right. Your appearing is always my fault. I won’t run from that guilt.”

The beast before her was a heinous monster.

Its irrational fury and wanton destruction were utterly abhorrent.

But it was the girl’s own heart that was the source of Keraunos’ power.

Anger, sorrow, grief, anguish, helplessness, frustration, jealousy, despair – the turbulent flow of such stressful emotions was what caused Keraunos to manifest.

Therefore, the only way to stop Keraunos from running amok is to keep the girl’s mind stable.

If she does not feel any stress and always keeps a positive attitude, the beast of black thunder will not appear.

No swords, no spirit magic, no schemes would be needed – as long as Jupiter’s heart remained unharmed, all her troubles could be easily resolved.

That’s why this situation was her own fault, and the girl fought back the tears in her heart as she acknowledged it.

She must not let her heart waver.

Intense stress only fuels the beast’s power.

To lighten the burden on her real-life friends, Jupiter continued to soothe the waves of her own emotions.

Suppressing her feelings and maintaining an unwavering composure – that was the only resistance she could offer now.

“My weakness empowered you. My foolishness has hurt everyone.”

[Poor dear child. You’ve always been the outcast. But I’m the only one on your side. In the past, now, and forever, I will always, always be by your side.]

This was no conversation, no dialogue.

In the face of this beast, lofty ethics and sound logic were utterly meaningless.

No matter what she said, it would simply interpret it to suit its own convenience, and ultimately declare “Then I, the pitiful you, shall protect you.”

“I’m immature. I can’t let go of my anger, my sadness, my painful feelings.”

[Ah, my dear daughter, please cherish yourself. The world that hates you is the enemy. Those others who make you grieve are the foes. I will never, ever forgive any existence that disturbs your heart. Never, ever!]

He is all so self-righteous.

This beast who claimed to be a father lacked the fundamental function of considering others.

What he possessed was a distorted desire to dominate, disguised as parental love, and a violence impulse coated in the facade of good intentions.

It was a parallel lines, nothing matched up.

The girl’s feelings could not reach the spirit, and the spirit’s “love” could no longer touch the girl’s heart.

So this was a soliloquy between the two.

A communication without shared understanding, a dialogue without connection.

“I’ve always hated you”

[I will surely destroy the one who tormented your heart]

“Don’t bother with me anymore”

[My lonely daughter, I will never abandon you]

“You’re not my family”

[You and I are bound by the connection of souls. It is a true bond, deeper and more profound than blood ties. Those ugly blood relatives who abandoned you are not even worth comparing. This is a real family]

“…No. My family is—-“

In an instant, the pitch-black lightning struck the girl.

“Ah, ugh…”

Kneeling on the spot, Jupiter crouched down small.

It hurts.

It hurts.

It hurts.

It hurts.

In a world where neither cold nor heat could be felt, only the pain became real, corroding the girl’s body.

[Now, what were you about to say?]

The tone was gentle.

But the quality of the atmosphere surrounding the beast was clearly different.

[I hope you weren’t about to claim those hypocrites as your family, were you?]

“…And if I did?”

Thunder roared.

The pitch-black lightning assaulted the girl without mercy.

“–Ah, ugh…”

[That’s not good, not good at all, Jupiter. You’re being deceived by those shallow hypocrites. At first, they’ll put on a friendly face to get close to you, and then they’ll use you up after gaining enough of your trust. Poor Jupiter. The people around you are all, every single one of them, full of calculation. The only one in this world who truly cares about you is me.]

“…And this black lightning is how you show your concern?”

The lightning struck Jupiter three times more.

Writhing in pain that was nearly maddening, the girl still maintained a stoic expression.

[It’s the whip of love, Jupiter. I’m being cruel to your heart to keep you from straying down the wrong path.]

With a genuinely sorrowful voice, Keraunos unleashed the fourth black lightning.

“Ugh, ugh, ah, ahhh!”

[Does it hurt? Is it painful? Is it agonizing? Ah, it is for me too. It is for me too, Jupiter. Having to hurt my precious daughter, why must I bear such a sad fate? I wish I could stop it right now, I just want you to keep smiling forever. I’m not lying. I truly wish for your happiness from the bottom of my heart.]

Relentlessly, relentlessly, the self-proclaimed father repeated the torment of gentle words and black lightning.

Unable to escape, defend, or even die, the girl continued to be struck by the black lightning.

She was helpless.

This was a world composed solely of the mind and memories, and Keraunos held the power.

Everything was at the beast’s whim.

As long as the girl’s heart did not break, this hell would go on endlessly.

(…This is the trial.)

In her hazy consciousness, Jupiter realized.

Keraunos, the god of thunder, was the negative symbol for the girl, but also had the aspect of a protector with the black lightning.

Confronting this spirit must be the battle she had to fight.

Subjugating the spirit was a means to renew the contract.

To demonstrate one’s power and make the contractor recognize it – in other words, it was a ritual of re-evaluation, as the party’s leader had said.

Therefore, Jupiter had to make the monster in front of her acknowledge her.

“I’ll say it again. I’m not your daughter. I’m your contractor.”

The lightning that fell from the heavens trampled the girl’s entire body.

Her body in the dream was indestructible.

But the sensation of her physical body collapsing was real, and with each repeated strike, Jupiter’s heart weakened.

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[Unfortunately, 50 points. The correct answer is that you are both my daughter and my contractor. Remember? You made this contract with me in that dreadful facility.]

“Please protect me, because I’ll become your daughter.”

“–Tch.”

That was the girl’s shameful past.

To survive, to avoid being disposed of, she had made a demonic contract.

In exchange for becoming the daughter, she would be protected – from that moment, the girl had abandoned her own dignity.

But now, she had reached her limit.

“I’ve had enough. Being your daughter, and the pitiful state of being protected by you.”

[It is a child’s natural duty to be protected by their parent. You have been, and will continue to be, my fragile, beloved daughter. No, you should be.]

“Then today, here, I’ll void that contract…”

Mustering her aching body, the girl rose from her prostrate position.

From all fours to kneeling, from kneeling to standing.

Gradually separating herself from the pure white ground, until Jupiter was finally fully upright.

[I don’t like that.]

But the black lightning beast did not acknowledge her self-determination.

Such selfish behavior of standing up on her own will was nothing but rebellion against the parent.

So he crushed that budding seed.

Ruthlessly trampled it.

[Do you think I’ll forgive your outrageous act of disobeying me and consorting with those wicked people? You’re too naive. Or are you looking down on me? That’s no good, not good at all!]

Boom, boom, boom, boom.

Lightning strikes with such power that it can easily turn a human body into charcoal.

[You must honor, respect, and obey your parents. If you cannot do that, then you are not human! You are a wretched, inferior being! Ah, Jupiter. I don’t recall raising you to be that way. You are my pure and innocent daughter who obediently listens to her parents. That is your noble true form! Hey, could it be that you’ve even forgotten something as simple as that? Then remember it, remember it right now. That is your duty, your contract, the only role you can fulfill as a worthless and valueless being. Come on, come on, come on! The rebellious phase is over, now slumber in eternal childhood—-!]

Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

Keraunos played its symphony of ebony thunderclaps, leaving not a single petal of the flowers blooming in the field.

A parent is meant to cherish and protect their child with their life.

But what if that beloved child strayed onto the path of wretched evil?

The answer is clear.

Punishment shall be inflicted until repentance is achieved.

Hitting, kicking, withholding food, and casting them out.

This is not abuse. It is education.

The child must be imprinted with the lessons to walk the righteous path.

It is all for the sake of the child.

Knowing they will be resented, bearing the resolve to be hated, yet Keraunos still wields the whip of love.

[AWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!]


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