Chapter 281 - Triton (6)

Benteke felt like he had been possessed by a ghost. He distinctly remembered that they’d both stabbed each other in the heart with their weapons, and they were struggling to see which one of them would succumb first, but then—why was he the only one whose heart had been pierced? “You’ve…done something.”

Benteke’s spear was embedded in Yeon-woo’s chest, but not in the location he’d targeted. Yeon-woo had managed to avoid the danger.

Yeon-woo felt like his body was losing strength. He’d only been able to hang on with Demonic Magic and Regeneration thanks to the magic power in the Philosopher’s Stone. However, Precognition used all that magic power at once, so he could only deploy it in an emergency to gain five seconds to see into the future.

Although it didn’t seem like a long time, it was enough to give him an edge in a life-or-death struggle. Yeon-woo had seen Benteke’s spear headed towards him, and instead  of trying to avoid it entirely, all he’d done was turn his body slightly. At the same time, his sword managed to accurately stab through Benteke’s heart.

The heart was the source of life: it provided blood to the body and created magic power. A broken heart was fatal to ordinary players, but someone as skilled as Benteke could endure even with his heart damaged. The holy power kept him going even though it was almost depleted.

“Kahalhalhal! Sure. Everyone has their secret weapon.” Even in this desperate situation, he beamed, not looking upset at all. Every player had an ace up their sleeve and the ability to deploy it at the right moment was amazing. The saying to hide thirty percent of one’s power wasn’t for nothing.

Besides, Benteke thought that Yeon-woo was clever. Even though he was a beast, he didn’t give in to his instincts and calculated things first before acting. He was unlike Benteke, who relied solely on his instincts. Still, fighting with someone like Yeon-woo was nice, and Benteke felt refreshed. He liked the joy of fighting and the knowledge that came after. It was like stepping into a new world and the experience was so overwhelming that he couldn’t describe it in words. He couldn’t stop fighting.  

“Don’t feel wronged.” Benteke wasn’t going to die here. “I won’t, either.” He grabbed onto Vigrid’s blade, his fingers sinking into the metal that they were almost severed. Blood dripped down the blade, and Yeon-woo tried to push Vigrid in even deeper. 

However, Vigrid didn’t move at all, like it was stuck. Benteke’s grip was unbelievably firm. It was a strength impossible for someone leaking away the dregs of his life force to muster. Yeon-woo had never seen anything like it before, and he frowned. ‘What is going on?’

Precognition was a skill that depended on the pocket watch and used the analytical ability of the Draconic species to make a prediction about the future. Even though it gobbled up magic power and was risky, it never failed. 

Yeon-woo hadn’t been able to think of a back-up plan in case his attack wasn’t fatal. With his magic power and health at their lowest, Yeon-woo was in extreme danger. 

Yeon-woo squeezed out more magic power from the Philosopher’s Stone. His Cores overheated again. The source sealed inside him might escape, and he risked being infected by the demonic energy, but he didn’t have time to worry about that now. 

Benteke’s grip was as immovable as ever. Then, he suddenly threw his spear away and grabbed Yeon-woo’s mask. “You amused me with this fight, so I think it’s fine for me to die like this. But I’m sorry, you’re going to be the one to die, not me.”

A new energy with a navy-blue glow began to expand within Benteke. It was neither magic power nor holy power; it was the source of the power that allowed him to endure a pierced heart. At first, it seemed like the power that he’d possessed before he’d been melted by the column of fire. Had he been hiding something besides Triaina’s Factors?

“I’m the Ruler. I can’t lose. Cha Jeong-woo and Lana lost, and I don’t plan on following in their footsteps.” The hand around Yeon-woo’s mask and head tightened with more strength.

Yeon-woo gritted his teeth as the hand began to crush his skull. However, at that moment, Vigrid slid forward and cut Benteke’s left hand off. Would Yeon-woo’s mask break first or would Vigrid finish the job first?

The mask couldn’t take the strain and began to crack. Small pieces fell to the ground. 

“Die.” Benteke smiled cruelly and squeezed even more tightly. Half of Yeon-woo’s mask crumbled off, revealing half of his face. At that moment, Yeon-woo suddenly let go of Vigrid and pulled out the Magic Bayonet, aiming it at Benteke’s chin. He was just about to push it when something descended from the sky and landed between him and Benteke. Clang! 

Something cut Benteke’s right arm off and sent the Magic Bayonet flying away. Yeon-woo and Benteke’s struggle ended abruptly, and the wind that had interrupted their fight wrapped about both of them.

The wind around Yeon-woo turned into a tall, middle-aged, and one-armed man holding a giant bastard sword. His aura was more powerful than Benteke’s when he held Triaina.

“Things would have turned out very bad if I were just a little late.” The middle-aged man looked at Yeon-woo, who was cradled in his arms. Yeon-woo was extremely weak, his health and magic power at their lowest. It was a miracle that he hadn’t passed out or died  

Yeon-woo’s eyes widened when he saw who had saved him—a person he’d never met before and had no business appearing now. The middle-aged man’s aura made him shiver, and he was even more dangerous than Benteke. He was Duke Ardbad, the man who represented “Ruk” or “power” of the Blood Land’s four dukes who protected the Gluttony Emperor.

Why was the man who had led the Blood Land against Walpurgisnacht here? Luckily, Yeon-woo’s mask had already repaired itself and was covering his face. The duke clearly hadn’t seen his face; otherwise, Yeon-woo would already be dead since Arthia and the Blood Land had been enemies.

“Why did you save me?”

“His Majesty ordered me to bring you to the Blood Land. You haven’t met him yet, and the Emperor wants to see you.”

Yeon-woo laughed in a hollow manner. So that was the Gluttony Emperor’s excuse for wanting to taste dragon meat. At least his reputation among the Blood Land was still secure. However, Duke Ardbad mistook his laughter for gratitude, and he nodded with a faint smile.

“Rest for now. I understand your situation, so I don’t plan on forcing you to leave right away. You’re His Majesty’s friend. How could I be rude to you?”

Of course, Yeon-woo wasn’t going to let his guard down even at those words. He observed Duke Ardbad even more closely, but he was relieved because he was physically exhausted. It was a shame he couldn’t end Benteke’s life, then Benteke couldn’t continue the fight either.

“Jinrang, you know I don’t like this kind of stuff.” Benteke frowned as he looked at Jinrang, Triton’s third captain, who had saved him. He wanted to strangle his subordinate for ruining the moment, but he didn’t have any strength left. 

Jinrang didn’t care, only wanting to save his king even if he would be punished for it later. He poured holy water into Benteke’s stump so that it could heal. Ordinary players didn’t have access to holy power, but Jinrang was also an Apostle serving Orion, the god of constellations, who was Poseidon’s son.

The other Triton captains observed Duke Ardbad from afar, ready to attack at any provocation. 

“You said that we can’t lose, so I saved you, my lord.”

Benteke frowned at Jinrang’s words. “Are you saying I would’ve lost?”

“You might have won the battle but not the war. You cannot defeat Duke Ardbad in your current state.”

“You…!”

“I know you’ll punish me later, but please rest for now.” Before Benteke could say anything further, Jinrang chopped the back of his neck with his palm. Benteke passed out. 

After confirming that Benteke was still alive, Jinrang sighed in relief and looked suspiciously at Duke Ardbad again. The situation was still dangerous. Duke Ardbad raised the heavy sword in his left hand like it weighed nothing and laughed coldly. “I heard that some scum bothered our subordinates here, so we were planning on fighting you eventually. I didn’t imagine that we would get a chance like this.”

The Eight Large Clans thought the stories about the strength of the emerging clans were ridiculous. They considered these clans as pests, so they were planning on getting rid of them. The only reason they hadn’t stepped up so far was the power of Triton’s Factors from Poseidon. Triton was a tricky clan to deal with, and even Duke Ardbad acknowledged Benteke as an equal.

But now that Benteke was in a weakened condition, it was the perfect time to attack Triton. It would be impossible to ruin them completely, but they would still gain a lot from reducing their numbers. And getting rid of Jinrang, who was famed for his intelligence and martial arts, would be the icing on the cake.

However, Jinrang glared at Duke Ardbad as if telling him it wouldn’t be easy. He might be less skilled than Benteke, but the gap between them wasn’t wide at all. In some aspects, he was even Benteke’s equal.

Also, two other Apostles as skilled as he was were getting ready to attack Duke Ardbad right now. Jinrang believed that the three of them could take Duke Ardbad’s life.

“I see many familiar faces here.” A loud voice rang out in the sky, and the air around them changed. An oppressive power forced down the mighty presence of Duke Ardbad and the holy power of Jinrang and the others. 

Strong winds blew, and the waves tossed. As the River of Souls churned, everyone looked up at the sky in shock. The sky split and someone slowly descended with a savage, combative energy that left them breathless. It was a woman with cold eyes who had the horn of the One-horned tribe, and the scales of a dragon. 

Duke Ardbad stiffened when he saw her face. “The Spring Queen.”

It was the leader of White Dragon, Waltz, who was making an unexpected appearance.

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