Clang! Vigrid stopped right before Benteke’s neck. Benteke’s translucent right arm blocked the sword, and a hard expression appeared on Benteke’s face. “Are you trying to kill me with this pitiful amount of power?”
Yeon-woo grinned. “Of course not.” At that moment, the Fire Wings grew from his back. A fire soared up into the sky made heat waves swirl around him. The Philosopher’s Stone began to work furiously.
Boom! Boom! Yeon-woo pushed against Benteke with Vigrid over and over. Each time, black Aura exploded and surrounded him with unbearable heat. The murals burned, and fissures began to appear on the walls.
Yeon-woo and Benteke jumped over the roof when it collapsed. Benteke chuckled. Even in his exhausted state, his laughter was loud. “Kehalhalhal! This is it! Yeah!” He was overjoyed. He already knew his fate. After he’d fought so hard for control over his body, there was no way he could defeat Yeon-woo.
He could already tell that Yeon-woo was stronger than before. It had only been a few days, and not only had Yeon-woo recovered, but he had also found a new path for himself. He was a dragon! Only a dragon could have this damned potential and crazy talent.
Benteke grew more certain as he clashed with Yeon-woo. Even if he had his former strength, he would still find it hard to defeat Yeon-woo. And even if he won, there was nothing he could do since he was bound to the temple. He was a warrior who considered dying in battle more honorable than being a watchdog of a temple.
‘But that doesn’t mean I’ll die easily.’ Benteke bared his teeth. Even though he knew he would lose, he wanted to play as much as he could. He wanted to let the beast inside of him run freely for the last time. “That’s what the Ruler deserves!” Battle was the reason for his existence, after all.
Benteke also released the holy power he had been just holding back. Thanks to that, the synchronization with Poseidon’s power took over more of his body, but he didn’t care. Right now, he was planning on giving everything he had.
That was also what Yeon-woo wanted. He had come all this way to finish their fight, after all. Boom! Boom!
Yeon-woo clashed with Benteke again. Heat and water collided, and steam fogged their surroundings. The impact made the rest of the castle crumble. Yeon-woo and Benteke stood above the ruins, facing each other. Benteke looked at the sky as if he felt relieved. It almost looked like he was laughing at Poseidon. “Kehalhalhal! People have to fight like this to feel like they’re alive. Moments like these make me feel so happy. Being stuck in a room? Where’s the fun in that?!”
Triton’s players, who were fighting Creutz and the Illusion Knightage, brightened.
“Captain! Are you finally out...?”
The voices of the players trailed off as their eyes widened. Benteke was about to greet them heartily, then he laughed at his appearance. His spiritual body synchronization had overtaken his lower body. Since his clothes had been ripped from the explosion, there was no way to hide it.
He would now die if he left the temple. However, for the short while that he released his holy power, he could live as himself. During that time, he couldn’t show any weakness to his subordinates. “Why are you surprised, amateurs?!” Triton’s players stood in attention when Benteke shouted. “Is this the first time that we’ve been done over by those damned gods? But every time it happened, I stood up, fought, won, and took everything. Isn’t that right?”
“Yes, sir!” Triton’s players shouted out in unison. The fighting spirit that had died with Jinrang and the others was revived. The faces of Creutz and the Ilusion Knightage hardened.
“Who am I?!”
“Who am I?!”
“Who am I?!”
Benteke thumped his chest with his fist. It didn’t make a loud noise because of the synchronization, but he was still burning with passion. “Then I’ll ask again. Do kings lose or win?”
“That’s correct. I am your king. I won’t lose, so don’t worry about that. You will all be victorious after I am!”
Triton’s players roared again. The Illusion Knightage gripped their swords more tightly. The atmosphere had changed, and they expected Triton to begin fighting with all they had.
“If so.” Benteke’s eyes blazed. “Run away. Hide and grow stronger until I find you.” At his words, the players of Triton all turned around and began to run away. It was a sudden turn of events that left the Illusion Knightage incredulous.
Triton was known among the Four Emerging Clans for having the most discipline and for warriors who always fought to the death. That was why the Illusion Knightage had been tense during Benteke’s speech. Now that Triton was running away, did they have to chase after them? Or was it a trap?
The Illusion Knightage hesitated and looked at Creutz. Creutz turned to look at Benteke with wide eyes, as if asking him what he was thinking. However, Benteke’s eyes focused on his fleeing subordinates with a burning intensity. He stood as still as a statue, as if wanting to see all of his subordinates safely escaping.
“Chase after them.”
The Illusion Knightage all whistled, putting their thumb and middle fingers inside their mouths to call for the Flying Dragons. Soon, wyverns descended from the sky. The knightage mounted and pursued the escaping Triton.
Yeon-woo clucked his tongue. “Are you trying to save your subordinates?”
Benteke scoffed. “Of course not. Do you think I would have those kinds of honorable thoughts? If I cherished my subordinates, I would’ve stepped up when they were being defeated by you on the River of Souls.”
“I don’t want to show them I’m losing.”
Benteke grinned. “I don’t lose. No, I can’t lose. In the minds of my subordinates, I’m always the Ruler, and I must always be the victor. Only then can Triton and I remain in their hearts and heads as a mighty group.”
Yeon-woo was speechless.
“Lana died because she couldn’t do that. I only did this so I would be immortal in their hearts. That’s all I want. I don’t want to leave any regrets behind.” Benteke was speaking about the difference between him and Lana. He was saying that it was better to die by Yeon-woo’s hand than to live pathetically as a loser.
‘So he knows.’ Yeon-woo’s eyes narrowed. It seemed that Benteke had seen his face when he’d crushed half of his mask on the River of Souls. Did he think that he was Jeong-woo? Or did he suspect that they were twins? Whatever he was thinking, Yeon-woo was grateful that he hadn’t told anyone.
Perhaps, as Jeong-woo assumed, Benteke thought of him as a friend, too. Perhaps he was making his atonement. ‘It doesn’t matter.’ Yeon-woo spread his Fire Wings open again. There wasn’t much time left for Benteke. He was going to see to the end of this.
* * *
Boom! Creutz paused as he chased after Triton on the Flying Dragons and looked back. ‘What is that?’ His eyes widened. Columns of fire and water clashed against each other as they soared into the sky. He could feel the heat all the way here.
* * *
Boom! Boom! The column of water that soared began to fizz and evaporate into steam. The castle and cliffs of Triton had already collapsed into the ocean. Only the blue energy from above showed that it was Poseidon’s holy territory.
Yeon-woo and Benteke’s fight was brutal, and no less fierce than the one at the River of Souls. Injuries appeared and disappeared on their bodies over and over, leaving faint scars.
Just as before, neither of them cared about being injured. The longer the fight went on, the faster Benteke’s spiritual body synchronization progressed. As he released the holy power he had been holding in, it expanded faster.
Benteke didn’t look human anymore. He had a new arm, and even when he was injured critically, he recovered quickly enough to attack once more. Benteke actually had the upper hand in terms of firepower, and Yeon-woo was actually falling behind.
However, Vigrid slid across Benteke’s throat again. “Thirteen.” It was a critical injury but the synchronized body quickly healed. Still, it was enough to shock Benteke, and he was forced back. Yeon-woo closed the distance between them and attacked once more. Black Aura shot out.
“Fourteen, fifteen…” Every time he counted, deep injuries appeared on Benteke’s vital points and healed again. Under ordinary circumstances, Benteke would have been dead many times over by now.
Benteke was definitely strong and powerful. The Vortex that he shot out with his spear was so destructive that it would shred anything that came close. Yeon-woo looked like he would be swept away, but he continued to avoid the Vortexes and tore a huge hole in Benteke’s body.
He was beginning to see and understand more things after absorbing Poseidon’s Divine Factors. However, Benteke’s condition wasn’t good. ‘It’s not…the same as before.’ What did it matter if his body was outstanding? His mind was exhausted. Benteke swung around his spear like he was releasing a beast, but it fell short of what he had done before. The fighting spirit and tenacity that once overwhelmed the battlefield had grown faint.
Yeon-woo thought it was a shame. Boom! Benteke’s speed had increased, but it seemed slow to Yeon-woo. He could see through it with Draconic Eyes. The spear separated again to create six Vortexes. The spinning water came at him from all directions.
It was a skill earned by martial artists who had reached the pinnacle of spearmanship.
Swoosh! Yeon-woo wrapped his Fire Wings around his body and swung Vigrid. Black Aura slid along the imperfections and cut the hurricane. As fire and water collided, explosions erupted. Vigrid pierced through the heavy fog into Benteke’s chest. Puk!
Benteke laughed in disbelief as he watched Vigrid stab through his heart. He was stunned at the sight of seeing his body try to heal. His body was no longer his, but even the healing was becoming more labored. Something from the black Aura was slowing his regeneration speed.
〈Disabling Poison Blood〉
A heavy, toxic air was spreading in the atmosphere.
“Kehaha!” At first, when Poseidon said he would never win, Benteke wanted to prove him wrong. Now, he understood why Poseidon had said those words. He had practically died nineteen times. If he were in his real body, he would never have survived the fight.
However, he didn’t feel wronged. It was natural for the weak to be swallowed by the strong. Just as he had swallowed Lana, he was going to be swallowed by a new opponent. Still, he had one thing that the others didn’t. ‘I didn’t lose.’
Somewhere, his subordinates would be waiting for him, not realizing that he’d lost. There was only one thing he regretted. ‘I couldn’t fight properly because of this damned…god…’ Benteke’s mind was beginning to fade. His spiritual body instantly turned black. It was a sign that the Disabling Poison Blood was taking effect.
Yeon-woo gripped Vigrid again. Just as he was about to take Benteke’s head, the air filled with fighting spirit and heat suddenly cooled down. A freezing wind spread around Yeon-woo, making it hard to breathe, as though he were underwater.
Benteke’s eyes turned into a clear blue. The owner of the body disappeared, and Poseidon swallowed Benteke’s soul through the Channel as he began his descent. They had now completely synchronized. There was one more thing that powered the descent: Martyrdom. The blood of Jinrang and the others who died for Poseidon were like a sacrificial offering. As long as Poseidon could achieve his goal, he didn’t care about using the deaths of his followers. The life of a mere mortal could be sacrificed anytime for a god’s will.
『We…finally…meet.』 Although Poseidon hadn’t completed his descent yet, the environment was already shaking with the heaviness of the holy power. It was like when Agares tried to manifest.
“Yeah. Nice to meet you. And thanks for the present.” Yeon-woo laughed with a relaxed attitude even in the face of such a fierce holy power.
『What…are…you…!』 Poseidon was about to complete his descent when Yeon-woo suddenly opened his left palm and moved it to where Vigrid was embedded in Benteke’s heart.
“Devour.” Clack, clack! Bathory’s Vampiric Sword sank its teeth into the spiritual body.
[‘Bathory’s Vampiric Sword’ has been activated. You are taking in more Divine Factors.]
[A new awakening is being attempted.]
[‘Demonic Divine Draconic Body’ is being awakened. 1%, 3%, 5%…7%…]Previous Chapter Next Chapter