Episode 285. Like a Storm (4)

Unable to withstand the Holy Kingdom’s pressure, the strongest of each kingdom were deployed to the Tennessia Kingdom’s border. They hadn’t thought Drachen would come, so when he really appeared at the previously arranged location, they couldn’t suppress their surprise.

“Forget demonic energy, he has such a pure energy that I can’t feel even a single bit of wickedness in him.”

The superhumans were beings who had already reached their zenith. So, when they saw the pure energy that was completely different from the rumors spreading through the world, the superhumans knew that between the Holy Kingdom and the Indomitable Grand Duke, which one had lied. 

“It’s a pity. If we hadn’t met in a place like this, we could have had a good relationship.”

“I can only resent the Holy Kingdom and my country’s royal family for causing me to meet the hero of our generation in such an uncomfortably tense situation.”

The superhumans were beings who could be considered to be a kingdom’s strength. The Holy Kingdom must be holding something over the royal families’ heads because they couldn’t understand why the royal family had deployed them. But either way, a party of around 50 people now boldly stood in front of Drachen, who was more than ten times their size, and paid tribute to him in their own way.

But not everyone there shared the same thoughts. 

“Seems like the Grand Duke took our country’s words lightly. Otherwise, why else would he have brought men with him here even after being told to come alone? Or maybe he was too afraid to come alone?”

“It’s perfectly natural for an evil heretic to fear God, so don’t be too harsh on him.”

Men in iron masks with pointy beaks protruding like birds giggled as they ridiculed him. It was a group of Heretical Judges, the power that the Holy Kingdom had been hiding. And they were also the offenders who ambushed the Warrior. 

“Stop spouting nonsense, you bird heads. You should be thankful I even came here.”

In the face of such ridicule, any other regular knight wouldn’t have been able to speak properly, but Drachen responded so calmly. His voice was so cool that it was difficult to believe that he had walked into danger with his own feet. 

“With such great reputation, your words truly match up to it.”

The central kingdoms’ superhumans spoke up as they felt their blood boiling at the Heretical Judges’ attitudes of not showing any respect for such a renowned knight. 

“Seems like the Grand Duke still doesn’t understand the situation. Now isn’t the time for the Grand Duke to stand so proudly.”

However, the Heretical Judges were equally calm. They strongly believed that they were the ones holding the sword right now.

“That’s something for me to judge.”

Drachen didn’t lose in this fight of words. Considering how he had taken a risk and willingly walked into a trap because there was something he wanted, he was very relaxed.

“We have seen many people like you, Grand Duke. All heretics shed tears of penance only after they are stabbed with needles and an awl pierces through their bodies.”

The Heretical Judges must’ve been annoyed by Drachen’s proud attitude because their voices hardened. That hard voice was just as difficult to listen to as a grating voice would’ve.

“For someone who has a reputation for worshiping a God, you sure talk no different than a third-rate market thug. Every time you open your mouth, I smell something rotten.”

When their opponent didn’t give in meekly as they had expected, a Heretical Judge spoke in a somewhat enraged voice. 

“I should probably remind you why you are here, Grand Duke.”

Clang.

As soon as the Heretical Judge finished speaking, something was dragged with the sound of chains clanging as it was pulled.

~

Kim Seon-Hyeok’s eyes filled with rage when a disgusting chunk of meat was dragged out by chains. 

Whooooo.

Even after seeing it with his own eyes, he denied it. But his hope was shattered when the iron sword that hung at his waist trembled loudly.

Although it was covered here and there with a cloth covered in dark red stains, it was clear that it was a human body, one that he knew very well. 

It was obvious that it was a man who resonated with the Holy Sword Balmung, the Warrior Park Joon-Min.

“It’d be best if you calmed down. After all, even if he looks like this, he’s still alive. But if the Grand Duke continues to behave like this, he might really die.”

Whenever the Heretical Judge playfully dragged the chain to and fro, the Warrior’s body was dragged unseemingly.

After seeing his miserable condition, Kim Seon-Hyeok’s heart that had been burning hot as if he had breathed in fire, turned cold.

“What was it that you believed in?”

The Heretical Judges tilted their heads at this abrupt question.

“That petty god you guys worship.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok took a step forward as he looked at the Heretical Judges.

“Wait…”

“If it’s not that, then is it the Templar Knights and the central kingdoms’ knights standing behind you?”

The Heretical Judges tugged on the chain threateningly, but Kim Seon-Hyeok didn’t stop walking forward.

“Answer me. What allows you to stand in front of me with your heads held that high?”

“I can’t see…”

Kim Seon-Hyeok’s voice changed at the Heretical Judge’s attitude when they looked like they were a butcher showing off a piece of meat as they dangled the Warrior’s body in front of him.

“So you’re putting your trust in a hostage that can’t die and is barely breathing.”

At this point, the Heretical Judges must’ve sensed that something wasn’t right because they hurriedly stepped backward as they screamed. 

“S, Stop him!”

However, before the Templar Knights could carry out the Heretical Judges’ order, Kim Seon-Hyeok was faster. 

Swish.

The sword in his hand flew through the air with a sharp piercing sound.

“The dagger of an evil heretic shall not cut the hem of a faithful servant!”

The terrified Heretical Judges recited their memorized scriptures and pulled up a pale shield.

“How dare you!”

Relieved to see that the shield remained intact even a time passed, the Heretical Judge exclaimed arrogantly.

“There is no way that such a cowardly ambush would work…”

The Heretical Judge who had been yakking belatedly looked down at his feet. The Warrior’s body, which had been tossed aside in a hurry, was rolling around where he had fallen. An iron sword was embedded in the body of the Warrior who had been thrown to the side.

The Warrior’s chest, which had been going up and down with difficulty, didn’t move anymore.

“Huh…?”

The Heretical Judge made a confused sound at the sudden situation.

“If you’re going to take hostages, then at the very least, you should know exactly who you’re taking as a hostage.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok spoke to the Heretical Judges.

“Joon-Min is a guy who has zero value as a hostage.”

The Heretical Judge must’ve gotten more confused by his words because his eyes clearly showed that he was flustered.

“What do you…”

“What do I mean?”

Just then, a dazzling flash of light erupted from the iron sword stabbed through the Warrior’s chest.

“I’m asking what you’re going to do with a hostage that doesn’t die?”

“That can’t be!”

Having finally realized it, the Heretical Judge let out an odd scream as he ran towards the Warrior. As if reaching for the iron sword, he quickly reached out his hand as he got closer.

But the Holy Light that was covering the iron sword pushed aside the Heretical Judge’s bloody hand too easily.

“Pull out the sword!”

When the Heretical Judge screeched, the other Judges rushed in. However, they were also tossed onto the ground by the Holy Light.

“Ah…”

The Heretical Judges staggered backward as they collapsed when they saw the Warrior’s corpse rising in a halo of light. 

They saw with their own eyes that the ragged corpse was slowly regenerating.

The Warrior’s darkly scabbed skin turned pale as new, white flesh grew into existence under the scabs as they peeled off. The areas where limbs had been cut off grotesquely twitched as new arms and legs grew out of it. 

It was a sight so bizarre that they couldn’t believe it even as they looked at it happening with their own eyes. Soon, the corpse became a body without a single wound.

Squelch.

The sword that was embedded deeply in his chest slowly was slowly pushed out of the body until it finally came out.

Grab.

Just before the iron sword dropped to the ground, a pure white hand grabbed the hilt. The other hand then removed the dark red cloth covering his head.

“Whew.”

With the sound of breath exploding out of his lungs, the Warrior who was thought to have died came back to life. 

“I’m sorry for coming so late, Joon-Min.”

Even after seeing the shocking sight of a body whose heart had stopped coming back to life, Kim Seon-Hyeok spoke as if it was normal.

The Warrior didn’t answer. He just continued to take a deep breath after deep breath with a dazed face.

“Why am I…”

His unfocused eyes finally showed signs of life and through parched lips came a voice equally raspy. 

“Where…”

When the Warrior still wasn’t able to grasp the situation, Kim Seon-Hyeok urgently shouted out to him.

“Joon-Min! Be careful!”

The Heretical Judges who had been thrown aside were rushing towards the Warrior all at once.

Oooooh.

The glowing light that had faded exploded out again.

“Right. On my way back from chasing the Demon King in the West…”

The sword and mace that had been heading to attack the Warrior were pushed back by the flash of light and were unable to move any further.

“In the hands of an ally…”

Meanwhile, a pair of hands managed to pierce through the light and charged in as if planning on snatching Balmung.

Flash.

Light returned to the Warrior’s lifeless eyes. And the Heretical Judge’s hands, who had almost grabbed the Holy Sword, was caught in the pure white Holy Flame and in an instant, burned up without a trace.

“Kaaaaaaah!”

With a terrifying wail, the Warrior Park Joon-Min finally returned from death. 

***

“What are you all doing?! We have to stop him immediately!”

When a Heretical Judged shouted hurriedly, the central kingdoms’ superhumans and Templar Knights began to move. 

“I have no idea what the hell is going on, but…”

“I don’t know who he is, but he’s probably not an ordinary person. However, this is my position so please forgive me.”

Even in this incomprehensible situation, they drew their swords to subdue the Warrior.

“Wait. Your opponent is here.”

However, before they could, fifty men who had followed Drachen stood between them and the Warrior. 

“I am Marek Schail Roachim. I will be more than enough for you.”

“Asha Trail. I may be lacking, but I will do my best to be your opponent.”

“Magic Swordsman, Kim Woo-Young…”

They weren’t just random, average knights. They were all superhumans who would easily rank at the top of any kingdom.

The superhumans who were carefully picked and sent out by the central kingdoms weren't people who could be treated lightly either.

“What a good match!”

As it was, the central region’s superhumans had been embarrassed by the Holy Kingdom’s hostage play, and so, they eagerly searched for their opponents as they drew their swords as if they had been waiting for this moment.

“What are you all doing?! You have to subdue that person immediately and take that evil sword…”

“Oh dear, the opponent is too formidable that I don’t think I’ll be much help. But don’t worry. I will risk my honor and make sure the person in front of me does not interfere with the events of the Holy Kingdom.”

The Heretical Judges continued to screech loudly at them, but the central region’s superhumans had been cross with them for a while and now, didn’t listen to them.

“Templar Knights! Choir!”

Belatedly, the Heretical Judges called out for the Templar Knights. Unlike the superhumans of the other kingdoms, the Holy Kingdom’s superhumans faithfully carried out their orders.

“That’s right. They’re all in it together.”

A bright blue light flashed in the Warrior Park Joon-Min’s eyes when he saw that. 

“Ugh.”

The Warrior gripped the hilt fiercely as if he would swing the sword at any moment when he suddenly staggered.

Attaboy.”

Who knew when he had approached, but Kim Seon-Hyeok ran to support the Warrior.

“Br, Brother…”

Seon-Hyeok quietly spoke to him when he saw his plaintive face. 

“Luckily, you didn’t tell the Holy Kingdom about your abilities. It must’ve been difficult, but you did well and persevered.”

“I wanted to die instead. It wouldn’t have hurt anymore then. But I persevered until the end. Even when my arm and legs were cut off, I still persevered.”

“That’s right. I know, I know.”

Perhaps it was because his body was aching or perhaps it was because his heart was aching from being betrayed by those he trusted, but tears quickly flowed from the Warrior’s eyes. 

“So, leave this fight to me and rest.”

Seeing the Warrior like this, Kim Seon-Hyeok spoke softly.

But his softly spoken words that sounded like a warm breeze were only when he was dealing with his sworn brother. 

“Summon Dragon.”

His voice turned abruptly cold as frost as he summoned his strongest ally. Bluegon appeared with a blue light while Goldrake appeared with a golden flash.

“They have fewer people than we do! If you push them with all your might, they won’t be able to handle…”

The Heretical Judges still hadn’t grasped the situation and were continuously shouting vehemently when they suddenly closed their mouths.

Dudududu.

A sound fundamentally different from a dragon’s footsteps could be heard in the distance.

“A cavalry is approaching!”

“What?! Didn’t you say there was no one in the immediate vicinity?!”

Hysterically, the Heretical Judge whirled around to shout at his subordinate.

“What’s the enemy’s identity? And how many are there? Who the hell are they?1”

“One thousand enemy cavalry, sir. It seems like the Northern Cavalry!”

“What about the border guards?!”

“The border has already been breached, sir!”

Although things had gone wrong, the Holy Kingdom still had an advantage. Somehow, the Warrior had survived, but there must be some aftereffects of the resurrection because he wasn’t able to move properly. And even if Drachen had summoned two dragons at once, they believed that 200 mages from each of the kingdoms would be enough to deal with the dragons. 

On top of that, there were 10,000 Crusaders and 30,000 Central Allied Forces. Nearly half the regular troops that the central region could mobilize were all gathered here.

“Imperial Choir! Sing the Temple’s hymn!”

He believed that with 40,000 berserker zealots whose pain and fear had been removed from them, and close to 1,000 superhumans would be enough to stop the Northern Cavalry, however fierce they were. 

But it didn’t take him long to realize that he was mistaken.

Suddenly, a dark liquidy monster appeared from above the fortress they had their backs to.

It was Torgos, a beast of gluttony, summoned by the Illusion Beast Tamer, Choi Min-Young.

“Ack!”

The choir priests had been singing the hymn aloud when they suddenly wailed. All of them had arrows lodged in their chests. 

The fairy archers had rained a downpour of arrows at the choir’s priests and mages from a distance so far they couldn’t be seen. 

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