Second World - Chapter 1540
"You have been playing with that artifact every night for a few days already," Peniel remarked. "I thought you didn't plan to use that thing?"
"I don't," Jack answered. "Well, at least not for its intended use."
"Then what are you doing with that artifact?" Peniel asked.
"I'm curious," Jack answered. "Do you notice that natives can interact with things in a way that we players can't? Like what Euphosine did with the divine heritage and what Marcus did with this Chalice of Blood?"
"Duh," Peniel stated. "We natives should be the ones who ask that. Having you outworlder get instantaneous effects from items and artifacts is seriously unfair."
"I don't mean it like that," Jack said. "What I'm trying to say is, maybe it is all about how we interact with the mana within the item."
"Huh?" Peniel didn't quite catch what Jack was saying.
"We outworlders are used to instant effects," Jack explained. "Maybe that's why we never think about using an item outside of its intended use. Natives are different. You are part of this world from the start. You interact with things more naturally. If you can sense and manipulate mana, maybe you can see an item's other usage as long as you are willing to think outside the box. Maybe this was how Marcus was able to use this thing in a way that was not expected."
"Hm…," Peniel didn't fully understand Jack's words. "Is that what you have been trying to do? To try to interact with the artifact naturally?"
"I'm trying to understand its mana," Jack said. "After these few nights of probing, I can understand that this artifact has a very strong binding power."
"Duh…," Peniel said again.
"I can't explain to you in words," Jack said. "You said you can sense my feeling, right? Try to sense what I'm feeling right now."
Peniel closed her eyes and focused her attention on the link between her and Jack. She could sense Jack's mind on the artifact. There was a strange sensation as she felt what Jack was doing. Jack was trying to fuse his mana with the artifact. The artifact itself resisted the attempt. Any foreign mana that came into its territory was repelled.
As Peniel dwelt into the sensation, she found that not every attempt from Jack was unsuccessful. One part of the mana intruded further in than the other parts. When she turned to that part, she found that at that part, Jack's mana was more in sync with the artifact. It was as if Jack's mana was in disguise to infiltrate the chalice's mana.
From this, Peniel understood Jack's degree of mana control had again improved. Jack might be doing this to satisfy his curiosity, but he also trained his mana manipulation with this activity.
Jack himself was aware of this. He had never skipped the daily training of his martial arts and mana manipulation, but he found that doing this was more effective than his usual meditation training. Maybe it's because he was simply bored with the dull meditation training. In any case, he was absorbed in this new form of training.
He had known for some time that mana manipulation was a form of communication with some sort of sentient energy. He also knew that there were different types of mana. His mana affinity talent further improved his sensitivity to identify this different mana. This was how he understood the difference between his mana and the mana possessed by the Chalice of Blood. He was now trying to persuade his mana to masquerade among the mana of the chalice so that he could get a better understanding of this artifact.
It was easier said than done, though. He had been doing this for days and he had only managed to trick a small part of the chalice's mana into letting him in. He didn't let this discourage him. The same as martial arts, he understood training mana manipulation needed long effort and patience. Hence, he persevered.
The next morning, Jack, John, and Jeanny had a quick talk before beginning the meeting. Jeanny suggested that they should come clean about the truth of the world. It was still fine if the natives were oblivious about it. But after Master's announcement, they would be denying the truth if they didn't confess to it.
John, of course, opposed the notion. After some argument, Jack decided that they should at least tell the native leaders. He believed all four leaders of their allied countries weren't people who were easily rattled by the revelation.
John reminded how the Gods had reacted after hearing this truth. They didn't even know what those Gods were doing right now. Jack responded by saying that the truth had turned Greed into one of the good ones, to which John countered, "Pride turned into a bad one."
John said that confirming the truth would just create a distraction when they should be focusing on their offensive plans, but he followed Jack's decision.
The meeting was supposed to be carried out in the war room. Jack invited Thelgrun, Kabaka, Aldryth, and Horatio to another small meeting room while their entourages waited at the war room. There, Jack and Jeanny told the four about the truth of the world. John just watched from the side.
The four leaders listened in silence. They were still silent after Jack and Jeanny finished the story.
"What proof do you have of this?" Horatio finally broke the silence.
"I have none," Jack answered. "It's okay if you choose to not believe this. In my opinion, it doesn't matter how this world came to be. What's important is that this is the real world. You don't owe the outworlders anything. This is both yours and our world now. We all live in this world and as leaders, we have to help shape it into something that brings well-being to the people we lead."
"Well said!" Thelgrun slammed his table. "I don't give a shit if outworlders create this world. I am not entertainment for someone else."
John came to the center of the room then. "So, what are you four going to do about this truth? Are you going to expose this to the people of your country?"