Episode 226. The War Dragon’s Form (3)

The aftereffect of the ever-intense flame of destruction and the God’s Shield colliding at a close distance was devastating.

CLAAAANG.

The flames that escaped the Divine Shield destroyed the surroundings and the grasslands exposed to the extremely high temperature were ruined beyond recognition. 

All the wild grass were burnt down, leaving no ashes behind, and even the rocks were melted by the terribly high temperature. But even after completely burning the grasslands, the flames did not die out.

Flare flare.

The flames continued to burn in the hundreds of pits created in the aftermath of the collision. 

It was as if the fiery hell had arrived on this world.

At the center of all this was the warrior who had been directly hit with the flames.

Thud.

He fell to his knees.  

The sacred God’s armor that had been covering his entire body was completely melted. His red-hot skin wasn't in good condition and looked like it would melt right off him at any moment. He looked hideous without a single strand of hair left on him.

It was a terrible injury that would have killed an ordinary person a hundred times over, but the warrior wasn’t an ordinary person.

“Keo….”

He looked like he might die at any second, but Park Joon-Min was alive.

However, if he was left untended, then even if the warrior had the vitality of a cockroach, his injuries might kill him. 

Thankfully, he wasn’t alone. 

[As God has spoken, I am the resurrection, I am life; he who follows me shall not die even if he dies!]

He had Balmung, the source of his divine power and the holy guide who thought and acted independently. 

[Divine Word-Regeneration!]

The resurrection spell that the Holy Sword chanted became God’s will and injected new life into Joon-Min’s body which had been on the verge of collapsing.

His burnt red skin quickly turned pale and while, and his head that didn’t have a single strand of hair grew thick black hair. 

In a blink of an eye, his body that had been completely destroyed was regenerated.

And so, just before he died, he was completely revived. 

However, Joon-Min wasn’t out of danger yet. The draconian that had staggered back from the energy released by the collision approached him again.

[Divine Shield! Divine Shield! Divine Shield!]

The Holy Sword urgently activated the defense spell. As many as three shields were created and they stood between the warrior and the draconian.

[Wake up!]

The Holy Sword set up defenses, but it wasn’t perfect. The rejuvenation spell it used earlier consumed too much of its energy. Because of that, the Divine Shield looked like it would shatter instantly and things were looking dangerous.

[Wake up! Warrior!]

Balmung called Joon-Min again.

“Ah…”

Joon-Min’s closed eyes quickly opened.

“Huh? Why am I here…”

[Warrior! There’s no time! Quickly, give me…]

Crack.

The first shield broke.

“Where’s grandfather? He was just calling me…”

[Now’s not the time to talk nonsense! Get a hold of yourself and gather your strength!]

But, Joon-Min couldn’t come to his senses and only blinked his eyes.

Boom.

The draconian’s fist broke the second shield.

“Hiik! What the hell is this!”

[Warrior! Give me control of your body! I’ll protect you!]

The frightened warrior stepped back when he saw the draconian aggressive form rushing towards him.

“No, wait! That’s my hyung-nim! Why is he…”

[One word is enough. Give me an answer. Quickly… oh dear, it’s too late.]

Crack.

The draconian ripped apart the final shield and reached out.

[God's thousand-years arrangement was made useless.]

The Holy Sword was despondent.

As if to tear it apart, the draconian’s massive hands were getting closer to the naked warrior’s body, but the warrior still couldn’t understand the situation and continued to be in a daze.

This is what is known as a desperate crisis, but at that moment, a miracle occurred.

The wild dragon that never stops until it bit into its opponent’s neck stopped right in front of them.

Saaaaaa.

The draconian’s aura noticeably subsided. And at some point, he disappeared without leaving a single trace of energy behind.

“Hyung-nim?”

The draconian covered in golden scales no longer existed in the world.

“Are you alright?”

Kim Seon-Hyeok, who was worried about his younger brother’s safety, was in its place. 

***

Even as he revealed the violent war dragon, Kim Seon-Hyeok never thought Park Joon-Min would be unilaterally beaten to this extent.

No matter what anyone said, Park Joon-Min was a warrior who had fully awakened the Holy Sword.

But once the fight started, the warrior had been weaker than he thought.

If he hadn’t desperately calmed down the war dragon’s combative spirit, then he might’ve killed his beloved brother with his own hands.

“I’m okay. I’m feeling a bit weak, but I don’t think there’s anything damaged.

As if it weren’t just empty words, Park Joon-Min sank to the ground, seemingly without any strength. It was obvious that he was completely exhausted and was having a hard time raising even his hand.

“Oh, shut up. Please. Ah, I wasn’t saying that to you, hyung-nim. Balmung was. Oh, come on!”

It was obvious what Balmung was saying without listening. It must be protesting that he almost killed his one and only master.

“Tell him I'm sorry. This was entirely my fault.”

Though, I had a reason. 

He just never thought that the warrior, who had grown steadily while he was in the west, would be this weak. 

Nevertheless, it was inexcusable.

“And I’m very sorry to you as well.’

“No, hyung-min. Anyway, it’s not like I died. And it’s not like you purposely tried to kill me.”

Joon-Min didn’t have an ounce of resentment. No, resentment wasn’t the problem. 

“But truthfully, I don’t actually remember what happened.”

He didn’t remember what had just happened. It was frightening to see that he had lost a couple of screws,

“What?”

“Ah. Hyung-nim, Balmung says he has something to say. Hey, don’t swear at my brother, okay?”

Uncertainly, Kim Seon-Hyuk followed the warrior’s lead and placed his hand on Balmung’s blade.

[Companion of the dragon. Because of you, the warrior had to make a tremendous sacrifice. This is an irreversible and painful loss at a time when the demons’ powers are increasing day by day.]

“I’m sorry. That was my mistake.”

[The warrior’s level has dropped in exchange for the previous regeneration spell.]

Joon-Min freaked out at the Holy Sword’s words.

“What? Wait a minute. What do you…”

He must’ve been checking his status because he stared into the air before suddenly screaming.

“Again?! I dropped 3 levels again! It was so difficult to raise those levels!”

Kim Seon-Hyeok froze. It was ridiculous that Joon-Min’s level dropped, but there was something else that bothered him.

“Again?”

Park Joon-Min talked about it as if it wasn’t his first time.

“Oh! It’s happened a couple of times before. That time, my level dropped as well…”

Kim Seon-Hyeok’s expression turned cold. 

The warrior must’ve fought countless battles, but was much weaker than Seon-Hyeok had thought.

But now that his level dropped Joon-Min was talking about it like it wasn’t the first time.

“Tell me the details. What do you mean?”

“There’s nothing to talk about in detail. There were a couple of difficult fights, and each time, my level dropped. Balmung says it’s the price of using too much energy, but I don’t remember. I figure it was an extremely tough fight.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok’s face grew even colder at those words.

“And how many times did that happen?”
“About four times?”

Seon-Hyeok gritted his teeth at the relaxed answer.

“You son-of-a…”

Joon-Min’s eyes widened at the sudden cursing.

“Hyung-nim, why are you cursing all of a sudden…”

Kim Seon-Hyeok ignored him and grabbed Balmung’s blade tightly. Blood spilled from his hands, but he didn’t care.

He glared at the Holy Sword with red eyes; he was thoroughly enraged. 

“You bastard. What did you do to Joon-Min.”

[......]

The Holy Sword didn’t answer.

“Tell me! What Apostle of God?! What Sacred Guide?!”

“Hyung-nim, what’s wrong with you all of a sudden…”

Kim Seon-Hyeok shouted when he saw Park Joon-Min trying to stop him with a confused face. 

“You idiot! You died four times!”

He wouldn’t have realized it if he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes. If it hadn’t been him who made Park Joon-Min into that state, then he would never have guessed. 

“Ah?”

“You’ve been killed four times, but this crafty Hold Sword pretended not to know!”

The warrior couldn’t understand what Seon-Hyeok was saying.

“I died? Four times?”

Suddenly, he grabbed his head and screwed up his face.

“I died? Me? That’s right….. I, I….”

He shuddered as if he remembered a terrifying memory.

“My head was cut off and my limbs were eaten…”

Park Joon-Min was muttering to himself like a crazy person when his mouth dropped open and his eyes turned white as it rolled up.

Pah.

At that moment, the Holy Sword lit up with white light and the warrior collapsed.

“Joon-Min!”

[He’s merely sleeping.]

Kim Seon-Hyeok let out a sigh of relief only after he checked that the warrior’s chest was rising up and down.

“You son of a…”

But that was only for a brief moment. He grabbed the Holy Sword with a ferocious face; it looked like he wanted to break it apart.

[A human’s mind is too weak. The warrior is not strong enough to endure his own death.]

It wasn’t just impudent. It was shameless.

[I was only trying to protect the warrior.]

Even after concealing the fact that its master had died four times, it continued to make excuses.

“Ha…”

As his anger reached its peak, he felt it turning colder. 

“Stop with your bullshit.”

A proper guide had to lead its warrior so they wouldn’t die. But the Holy Sword didn’t do that.

Instead, it erased the death from its warrior’s head and encouraged him to continue to recklessly fight. As a result, the warrior died several times, and even his level dropped.

It was an incomprehensible process. Even if the Holy Sword had the power to revive the warrior from death, there was no reason to overdo it by dropping the warrior’s level.

[Companion of the dragon. The burden you carry and the burden the warrior carries have different weights. I acknowledge you are right, but the warrior’s future path will be much more dangerous and difficult.]

“So that’s why you did that? Since you can always bring him back to life if he dies? Since the clueless Joon-Min will fight again even if he dies?”

[The demon king had a Fragment of Chaos. And that black hand was reaching out towards this world. But the warrior hadn’t completely awakened me, and he was struggling with the servants of the demon king.]

The Holy Sword spoke.

[The humans’ wishes, beliefs, hopes. Their shadows were too big for it to belong entirely to the warrior alone. That’s why I had to put it back to normal. Only then could the warrior be complete.]

It said that it could only go through a complete awakening if those who fought in the war against the demon king realized and believed in the existence of the warrior.

To that end, the Holy Sword did everything in its means. It pushed the warrior into the most dangerous and desperate battlefields and even turned his death into victory in order to gain the people’s praise.

As a result, the Holy Sword completely awakened, but the warrior weakened.

“That idiot! How could he even think about beating the demon king with that kind of strength?!”

[Since a battle between mortal enemies isn’t determined by superior power, the warrior has now met the necessary minimum requirements.]

Kim Seon-Hyeok’s face turned white at the Holy Sword’s words.

“Don’t tell me, are you saying that as long as you can get rid of the demon king, then no matter what happens to Joon-Min…”

[......]

The Holy Sword did not respond. But Kim Seon-Hyeok found that more frightening.

“You son of a…”

[God has given him only one mission, so…]

“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Whether it’s a mission or destiny, stop with the bullshit. What’s the difference between you and the Fragment of Chaos?”

Just as the Fragment of Chaos incited the demon king to do its work, so did the Holy Sword. The good and holy God’s Guide that Kim Seon-Hyeok envisioned did not exist in this world.

“I’m warning you.”

The dragon’s spirit that had been sleeping exploded once again.

“If you’re planning on sacrificing Joon-Min, then I’ll cut you in half, right here, right now.

[As God’s great will is not at the disposal of men, even if you do so, I will return to myself once again.]

Kim Seon-Hyeok gained the draconian’s appearance again and grabbed the Holy Sword with both hands.

“Then what about this?”

Surrounded by golden force, the draconian viciously crushed the blade.

“What if  I divide your body into dozens of pieces and scatter them all over the continent. What if I spread you out where Joon-Min would never find you.”

[How dare you disobey God’s will…]

“You think I won’t?”

The Holy Sword had been arrogant, but now, it urgently shouted.

[S, stop!]

The Holy Sword was vulnerable to external threats with its master exhausted and unconscious, and the draconian had enough strength to crush it.

The Holy Sword trembled in fear. 

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