Chapter 106 – Opening Act (4)

Shanon didn’t let his subordinate finish speaking and darted outside, his mind focused on only one question: Why? ‘Those brutes have never interfered in other people’s business!’ All thoughts about the Hoarder disappeared, and he even forgot about strategizing for the war. The arrival of the One-horned tribe was simply too shocking.

Any war plans they’d made so far had to fly out the window, especially since they didn’t have a single ranker to support them here yet. If Kuram fell into the One-horned tribe’s hands, Red Dragon would lose the war before it even started, and Shanon would have to bear the blame for everything since he was in charge.

He wouldn’t be able to avoid any disciplinary actions because Red Dragon placed a lot of importance on honor, and so Shanon hoped fervently that there wouldn’t be any rankers among the One-horned tribe or else they were completely screwed. If there were a couple of rankers, he prayed at least that the Martial King wasn’t there.

However, as soon as he exited the building, it was as though he had just come face-to-face with the apocalypse.

“Let’s go!”

“Fire! Fire!”

“Let’s blow it up! Boom! Boom!”

Illuminated by the moonlight, their enemies were falling on them like meteorites, laughing maniacally. They landed with literal bangs, making buildings and temples collapse from the impact before they spread out and took over every corner of the castle. They broke everything they came across, and they knocked everything from players to structures down.

It was like a giant tornado whipping by, and the residents of Kuram didn’t know what to do. Neither the physical nor magical defenses set up by the Nau clan were of any use. Several attackers caught Shanon’s eye. 'The Singing Hammer? And the Electrician! Why did they bring those guys to this place!’ Sylon the Singing Hammer and Trivia the Electrician were rankers who had disappeared a long time ago, and now here they were destroying all the traps and defense mechanisms of the city.

He also saw something even more impossible. A lone figure stood on a faraway fortress rooftop. He was so far away that it was difficult to make out his features, but Shanon recognized him right away from the aura that froze him in place. A smile flashed, revealing sharp canines. It was the man who had once been called the “Walking Disaster”: the Martial King.

“Shit!” Shanon couldn’t find any other words to say as the Martial King clenched his fists, the air moving around his fists to create a storm big enough to engulf Kuram.

Boom! As the Martial King punched, the condensed air expanded into an explosion that reduced the fortress and everything around it to rubble. A dust cloud rose to the sky. All the civilian residents had already run away, and even though the explosion occurred in a business district that was already closed for the night, the destruction was terrifying.

The players of Red Dragon who had been mobilized to stop the tribe couldn’t even fight back. They were swept away like ants. Boom! Rumble!

Shanon was rendered speechless as he watched everything unfold in front of his eyes. By the time he recovered from his shock, the dust cloud that seemed big enough to reach the horizon was beginning to settle.

“That fucking king!”

“Watch where you blow things up!”

The members of the One-horned tribe yelled angrily at their king. They had been so thrilled to get a chance to destroy things, but now there wasn’t anything left since the Martial King had beaten them to the punch. However, the Martial King only smirked. “Why are you mad at me? Why don’t you guys do something, too?”

The tribe members wanted to slap the smirk off his face.

“Ugh! That personality! Seriously, I just want to…”

“I thought it was unusually quiet these few days!”

The tribe members worried that they might lose any opportunities for wanton destruction, so they quickly scurried off to other areas. By this point, the members of Red Dragon members had lost all their motivation and courage to fight. No one wanted to fight a losing battle, and they’d never be able to catch up to the tribe members. It was crazy to fight a natural disaster, which was how they viewed the arrival of the Martial King—as unstoppable as a typhoon or earthquake. In the end, the rest of Kuram ended up falling at the hands of the tribe members.

Shanon collapsed; he’d completely lost the strength to stand. His eyelids trembled, and he was so frightened that the world seemed to have gone white.

“Hm. Uh, you shouldn’t be like this.” The Martial King discovered Shanon’s location and rushed to him in the span of a breath. It almost looked as though he were flying.

The person with the most intense aura in all of Kuram looked Shanon up and down. The Martial King thought that he might have a high position in Red Dragon based on his clothing, but he wasn’t happy about Shanon’s condition. He had plans for him, so the Martial King squatted down until they were eye to eye. “Hey,” he said, as though he were talking to a friend.

Shanon suddenly snapped to his senses, as though someone had opened his head up and taken his fear away. “Yes? Ah…aah!” However, when he realized who was talking to him, he almost wet himself. What other reaction could he have to the person who had caused so much mayhem smiling right in his face?

Shanon couldn’t even think of escape, and he swallowed hard. It felt like he was looking at the Summer Queen—no, when it came to fighting spirit, the Martial King’s was greater.

“You want to live, right?”

Shanon’s entire body was shaking from fear, but he understood what the Martial King was saying. “Y-yes, I want to live!” Shanon couldn’t think of anything else. He didn’t even feel despair over the loss of the city, nor did he even think about rescuing his subordinates. He didn’t once think about taking responsibility for anything, and all he wanted to do was run from the monster in front of him.

The Martial King smiled as if he had been expecting that answer. Despite the nonchalance on his face, to Shanon, he seemed like a snake flicking its tongue out at a mouse he was about to eat. “I’m going to give you a chance.” The Martial King bared his teeth in a smile again.

**

“They’re crazy.” This was Yeon-woo’s assessment of the One-horned tribe’s conquest of Kuram. They’d taken the greatest city on the eleventh floor in only twenty minutes. They hadn’t just defeated it, they’d completely annihilated it. In fact, the actual destruction of the city had only taken five minutes, and they spent fifteen minutes gathering their enemies.

The One-horned tribe had a simple tactic: destroy everything in their way with sheer power. They got rid of anything that stood in their path, whether it was a person or an object. They were completely invincible. ‘I understood his power when he split the sun, but that blow isn’t something I can just copy.’

The blow that had blasted half a city into smithereens was stuck in Yeon-woo’s mind like an afterimage. The Martial King had done it as a way to demonstrate his strength to Yeon-woo. It was Break Heaven, one of the Eight Writings of Divination of the Eight Extreme Fists, that had split the sun. Mixed into it was the strength that appeared with the use of the Eight Trigrams. ‘Pagong.’

The Martial King was probably showing off so that Yeon-woo could understand how hard he needed to work and that if he didn’t have the confidence to bridge the immense gap between them, Yeon-woo ought to give up while he still could.

Of course, Yeon-woo had no intention of doing so. Instead, he wanted to train more so he could reach the Martial King’s level and improve the Heaven Wing Mana Control. Impatience and passion burned inside him.

Phante was thinking of something else. “Ha! He did it again, he lied to us!”

“Were you really surprised? It’s not like we were going to have a chance to do anything with Father along.”

Phante put his head in his hands and shook his head. Edora clucked her tongue with a glum expression as she grumbled to herself, ‘What’s he planning to do about Oraboni’s battle experience? If he keeps on dominating the battlefield, Oraboni won’t have a chance to fight.’

Edora knew the Martial King was invested in Yeon-woo. He had even taken Yeon-woo as a disciple to teach him Mugong despite rejecting her, his own daughter. The Martial King had promised to give Yeon-woo a chance to fight as much as he wanted to, but how was he going to pull that off?

At that moment, something flew into the fortress where Yeon-woo, Phante, and Edora waited. Swish! It was the Martial King with a bunch of people in his hands.

“Is that Father?"

“Yeah, looks like it.”

“But why is he coming here again? Who’s he bringing here?”

“It looks like a bunch of players.”

“What is that old man trying to pull off this time?”

Phante and Edora had strange looks on their faces, and Yeon-woo’s eyes widened. The Martial King finally landed, looking as though he’d just taken a stroll around the vicinity, and threw the people in his hands to the ground: five players, including Shanon.

He had collected top players from Red Dragon, although they looked like dogs with their tails between their legs in front of the Martial King. They stared at the Martial King in confusion. They had come with him because he had said he would let them live, but he hadn’t given them any of his conditions.

A corner of the Martial King’s lips turned up as he crossed his arms. He pointed at Yeon-woo with his chin. “Fight him.”

“Excuse me?”

“Wh-what?”

All of the Red Dragon players turned to Yeon-woo, whose expression behind his mask was unreadable. The Martial King laughed, extremely amused. “Fight with that guy. I’ll let you go if you beat him. How’s that?”

At this bombshell, Phante could only shake his head. His father was doing something outrageous again. “Geez, this old man…”

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