Chapter 68 - Rescue Operation Part Two (7)

'He died.'

Yes. That was what happened.

'Morne killed the control persona of Great Sky.'

Actually, it was not something that was unexpected.

The Universe boasted a harsher environment than any other barren planet. As such, the spaceship was the cradle and home, protecting the life of its crew members; it was the homebase for life in space. Therefore, there was no need to say more about how dangerous it was when the control persona, which could be said to be equivalent to the spaceship itself, suddenly turned into an enemy. In fact, it was extremely easy for Athen, the control persona of Great Sky, to throw the crew members into space -- which was exactly what was done, driving an enormous number of demi-humans to their deaths.

In the end, in order to survive, the demi-humans couldn't afford to leave Athen, who had turned insane (from their point of view), as he was without doing anything. Needless to say, it would be normal for them to try to do something. I didn't know what they did, but the situation was settled with the death of Athen.

Seeing that with the death of Athen, the system was restored instead of it posing a huge problem, it was safe to assume that there was a backup system or a backup control persona. If not, then they must've used some sort of method.

"We're running out of time! Please get on the transport ship immediately!"

"We're taking off!"

The rescue team was taken aback by the unexpected situation, but they quickly found composure and carried out their mission again. They originally assumed the situation to be much worse. The fact that Dong-min opened the space rift and met with the rescue team instantly, and that I used my commanding authority on Athen to attack the demi-humans were bonus factors that they hadn't expected.

In the first place, there was no reason for them to be thrown into confusion just because the enemy stopped panicking since they had fortified their surroundings in anticipation of a long-term operation.

"Ahhh, we could have gone out without any trouble if we put in a little more effort!"

...of course, I was a little disappointed.

Kaboom! Bang!

Then, artillery fire began to blast towards the direction of the transport ship from the Artillery Corps in a distance. It seemed that the Artillery Corps had originally hid inside the ship, but was busy attacking the Hell's Hand, before attacking the demi-humans again, and this time, attacking the humans.

Thuckkk! Thuckkk!

As soon as the doors closed after we entered the transport ship, the deafening blasts subsided a little. However, the attack seemed to be still ongoing, and I could feel the continuous vibrations in the transport ship.

"Are you feeling a little better?"

"Not really."

"Hoho, I like it that you're honest. The torturous methods of the demi-humans are notorious for being dreadful. So no matter how much you get treated, there's no way it would be completely healed." said Celestia as she released her Golden Lion Aura again and healed my body. I could see the soldiers around us flinching in astonishment. They were all soldiers so they didn't open their mouths rashly, but the mood was strangely unsettling.

Celestia asked as if she didn't give a damn about the current mood, "Lieutenant Shin Mi-young, what should I do if I want to cure him of the torture?"

"...If you're referring to the torture chambers, then I guess it's the inhumane restraining method of the demi-humans. Don't tell me, he's been poisoned with the torturous substance?" [1]

"Yes." Celestia nodded her head and Mi-young stared at me with a surprised expression.

"The pain you're feeling wouldn't be the average pain though."

"That's right. It's not average at all."

I couldn't properly muster strength in my body. It was so painful that it felt like a knife was being stabbed into my stomach constantly. Well, I wouldn't be human if I was fine after being injected with some metal into my body. Luckily, I was healed to my current state because of Celestia healing me with her Golden Lion Aura and using her powers (it's funny thinking about it again) to summon a whole roasted pig and feed me with it. If it wasn't for those, I would've lost consciousness long ago.

Bang!

Just then, the inside of the transport ship shook violently and Mi-young hurriedly placed her hands on her ears. She had a stiff expression on, seemingly having received a report from outside.

"What's going on?"

"Hmm. Well, that's..."

Bang!

Before Mi-young could say anything more, the transport ship violently shook once more. She urged urgently, "Please get on board the escape port!"

She shouted and lifted me up lightly.

"Eh?"

I was embarrassed. No, why was this woman taking care of me and not Celestia, the Imperial Princess? However, it was like Mi-young didn't care whether I was embarrassed or not and manipulated the wall on one side of the transport ship. The machines inside the walls could be seen, but there was no way we could enter as a sudden sense of weightlessness overwhelmed us.

Kabooom---!!

Crossing the divider, it felt like we were in a speeding car that crashed into another; we crashed into the wall with full impact. With a 'Boom!', we flew up and crashed down on the ground again.

'Kuuughh!' a choking and suffocating sensation overpowered us.

"Are you all right?"

At some point, Dong-min, who had crossed into the escape pod, grabbed me. Celestia and Bo-ram followed and stood in front of me. Before I knew it, I could see Mi-young standing upright and screaming, "Crazy! This is totally crazy! He gave up Great Sky and came to catch us...!"

Kwakkkkk!

One side of the wall was torn off with the sound of the scream. As I looked out in surprise, I could see something fluttering in the distance. Of course, the Gigas that was guarding the transport ship stood forward to block it.

Fuck off!

They were swept away by the heat wave that blasted off with the roar. Despite the considerable distance between Morne, the monster flying in the sky, and us, it was so hot that my face turned red.

"No, what kind of dinosaur spits fire? Besides, what's with the wings?"

"He can turn into a human being, so being able to sprout wings is nothing to be surprised about! Stay right here!"

"Don't stick your head out for nothing!"

"No, just stay inside that escape pod."

Celestia, Bo-ram and Dong-min spoke in turn and stormed out of the transport ship. They were currently flying over Great Sky, so they could feel the intense dizziness from the perilous battle going on down below if they ever looked downwards, but none of them hesitated.

"...Aghh, I'm so weak that I can't do anything. Do I need to always be riding on a Gigas?"

Even a country's Imperial Princess stood forward to fight, and yet, I was being protected; it felt weird. However, it was too dire of a situation for me to go out and fight.

Krieeekkk! Bang!

The transport ship shook violently as another sound of explosion went off. Come to think of it, this transport ship was pretty amazing since it was still soaring up into the sky without any problems despite one side of its wall being torn off.

"Stop him! Shake that monster off!"

"Don't even think about inflicting any damage on him, do your best to push him away!"

Morne and the transport ship were flying horizontally on the same level. Morne was still trying to catch the transport ship's tail, and the transport ship shot all kinds of artillery and bullets at him in an attempt to shake him off. It was game over if Morne's purpose was to annihilate us, but he couldn't use any ultimate flashy skills because of Celestia. So, we must somehow get rid of him with such methods and get away.

Bang!

Just then, Morne's tail flung his tail towards the outer side of the transport ship and struck Dong-min who was attacking Morne with all his might. The attack was so swift that it went beyond the speed of sound. Frankly speaking, everything happened so fast that I only realized it was an attack after witnessing it. Dong-min couldn't even scream before he was flicked off the transport ship. The transport ship was flying pretty fast and Dong-min was out of sight in a matter of seconds.

"Dong-min Sunbae! Arghh, damn it! Sunbae, open this stupid thing immediately!"

"Eeekk, uhhh, okay."

Click!

In a hurry, I hurriedly inserted the key into her body. She was already in full-body armor so it was the same wherever I inserted the key.

Whoooosh---!

As I turned the key, Bo-ram's body emitted a brighter and more impressive golden light which was a little different from Celestia's Golden Lion Aura. However, unlike the previous incident with Dong-min, she did not seem to lose her mind.

"I'll be right back, so don't move an inch and hide as deep as you can!"

Bo-ram then flew towards the direction which Dong-min was flicked away to. Reflexively, I tried to look at their figures that were moving further away.

Bang!

With a loud sound, Celestia crashed and rolled into the transport ship. A huge shadow followed after her.

Found-----you!!

With a roar, Morne's blazing eyes scanned the inside of the transport ship. It was like a scene from a horror movie.

To release her anxiety, Celestia parted her lips to speak, "I dislike excessive stalking."

Kekeke! You're yapping as you please, huh!

Under normal circumstances, Morne wouldn't be able to enter the transport ship made for the size of humans as he had a large build. As such, he ploughed through the walls of the ship as if smashing a paper box, and thrust his head towards the cabin where I was at.

"Dae-ha, watch out!"

Kwakkkkk!

As Celestia warned me, a great force pulled my body back. The metal wall I was leaning on was torn apart like a broken cookie. It was clear that my fragile body would have been crushed like jelly if Celestia hadn't pulled me away.

"What are you doing! Didn't you say you didn't intend to kill Dae-ha?"

Morne moved his hideous facial muscles to smile at the sight of Celestia grinding her teeth.

Kekeke... I clearly said so. But I'm just saying.

Kabooom! Bang!

While Morne was talking with his head stuck into the transport ship, there were still loud bangs coming from the outside. Ridiculous as it might sound, he was fighting back and blocking all the attacks from the Gigas and the soldiers around with just his wings and tail!

"Then why did you change your mind? You wouldn't want to gamble on the existence of the whole federation, right!"

Even in this situation, all we could count on was the existence of Cheong Won, who was no different from an enemy. He was the reason why we were in this crisis, but he was also why we were able to survive despite being held captive in the Great Sky filled with demi-humans. The fear they had towards Cheong Won kept us safe from the demi-humans who were renowned for not leaving prisoners of war alive. But now, perhaps because Morne had changed his mind, I could feel an intense amount of bloodlust from him and his piercing eyes locked on me.

But... I'll put up with it! Because only by killing you, will my powers come back!

Morne's huge mouth hit my body. There was a wall behind me, so there was nowhere else to retreat to.

Thud!

Celestia activated her Golden Lion Aura and grabbed Morne's upper and lower jaws which were inches from biting down on me. Of course, her opponent was still a transcendent. If Morne was determined, Celestia would just be a lump of meat no matter how long she endured. But no matter how much Morne wanted to go all out, he couldn't kill her.

Fuck off, bitch! I will put a baby in you without humiliating you as much as possible! 

"Go fuck yourself! Is that what you call persuasion?"

This had always been on my mind: despite being an Imperial Princess, she was pretty foul-mouthed. But then again, she was a soldier, so it might've been somewhat a given.

"Cel, turn your head slightly."

"Stay still! There's a limit to how long I can hold out..."

"Hurry up!"

Celestia was startled when she heard me shout since I had stayed still till now. She turned her head to one side. And with that, a small opening was formed and I managed to pull out one arm and took off my glasses. I threw it into Morne's wide open mouth.

"What are you doing? Why the glasses?"

Celestia was confused by my incomprehensible action, but of course I knew clearly that the glasses weren't some normal eyeglasses for vision correction. My eyesight was only slightly less than perfect so I didn't need glasses in the first place. Those weren't glasses, but the Magic Armament Udjat created by Kwon Hye-ran, a technician of Albatross.

After making sure the glasses slid down into the throat of Morne, which was as dark and deep as a cave, I shouted immediately, "I command you, Udjat! Use all your power to destroy the enemy!"

Whooooosh---

Ha! What are you doing... Kuwaackk!? 

Morne tried to sneer at me but suddenly groaned and twisted his body.

"Cel! Push him out!"

"...Got it!" Celestia answered. At the same time, her Golden Lion Aura began to burn radiantly. With both hands, Celestia pushed Morne's head with an enormous power.

Kriekkkdeuk!

The huge head was blasted off like magic. Come to think of it, Morne forced his way in and grabbed onto the transport ship that was flying at high speed. Once he lost his strength, he would have no choice but to fall off.

"Imperial Princess-nim! Morne is...!"

"I know alright! Don't think about anything else and speed up!"

"Yes! Imperial Princess-nim!" The two Gigas answered and attached themselves to the side of the half-wrecked transport ship to aid its flight. The increased speed was so fast that Morne's falling figure quickly disappeared out of sight.

You bastar----! You fucking bastar------!!!!! Kuuackkkkkkkk-----!

After a while, a maddening roar rang in my head. I detonated Udjat in Morne's stomach but to think that he had already recovered so much.

'Well, even if he recovers, it'll be too late anyways.'

Even if Morne had regained his full physical condition, he wouldn't be able to resume his pursuit since our transport ship was already attached to Albatross. If he pretended to be crazy and came in pursuit… He would be killed by Major General Chun Hyun-il, the pilot of Albatross.

"At any rate, what a monster..." I sighed deeply at the fact that I had crossed the line of life and death so many times in such a short moment.

But then I realized and voiced out, "What about Bo-ram and Dong-min?"

"It's a pity but I'm afraid..."

The soldiers around me shook their heads upon hearing my question. They had already checked the headcount.

"Everyone on board is here."

"..."

I was at a loss for words.


1. Some kind of restraining device or mechanism that the demi-humans inject in their prisoners.

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