Chapter 445 - Shadow King (1)

“Please…think of our past together and forgive us, Bihee.”

“Please.”

The Spring Queen, Waltz, hardened her expression as she looked at the players kneeling in front of her. Delusional Ghost Garavito, Chancellor of Blood and Iron Bismarck, Lionheart Richard, Murderer Twins Jack and Ripper—they had once been the Eyes of Red Dragon’s Eighty-One Oculus and ruled the Tower. They had once been Waltz’s trustworthy comrades, and after she took over Red Dragon, she believed they would become her hands and feet.

They once been so lofty and arrogant, but now, they were pathetically begging for their lives like defeated soldiers. They had left her and gone over to Black Dragon to follow Tom, raising their swords against her.

She wanted to sentence them to death immediately and ignore their pleas. But whether due to the fragility of life or her past relationship with them, her hand didn’t move. However, Waltz’s face didn’t show any signs of softening.

“Hawk Eye.”

Troy’s shoulders trembled at the sound of her quiet voice.  

“As Mother’s Eye, you led the Oculus. Why did you leave me, the legitimate heir, and serve Tom?”

Troy raised his head to look at Waltz. Sadness flashed in his eyes and a hollow smile appeared on his lips. “Nothing will change even if I make excuses now, but it’s because my eyes only followed what was in the distance, and not what was right in front of me. Please take my foolish eyes, but forgive the rest. The only sin they’ve committed is trusting my wrong judgment.” Troy pleaded with a sad gaze indicating at comrades. “As Great Mother did, please embrace your prodigal children with love and mercy.”

Waltz didn’t reply. Troy didn’t raise his bowing head, as if that was truly his only desire. Waltz silently looked at him and turned to the others. The rest of the Eyes all looked away, unable to meet her gaze.

The two who’d supported the Summer Queen for a long time, Old Sword Hanan and Chancellor of Blood and Iron Bismarck, no longer seemed to have any attachment to life. They seemed willing to follow in Troy’s footsteps.

However, even though the rest avoided Waltz’s eyes, they peered at Troy with desperate hope. They seemed to expect that his sacrifice would help them survive. Waltz couldn’t help smirking. What else could she expect from them? In the end, they were nothing more than fools that behaved arrogantly because her mother was behind them.

Garvito, Jack, and the others lifted their head with optimism, mistaking her smirk as a smile. Waltz raised her fist without hesitation and struck them. All the Eyes excluding Troy, Hanan, and Bismarck, fell to the ground without their heads.

“Ahhh…!” Troy sighed with despair as he looked at the corpses. His eyes were shaking.

Waltz scoffed, “Back then and even now, no one’s better than you at knowing how to switch teams, Hawk Eye.”

The sadness in Troy’s face disappeared and his mouth curved. “You could tell?”

“I prize you for your villainous intelligence. The reason you followed Tom was that you considered him to be the most like Mother since he ate two of his brothers, no?”

Troy’s smile disappeared and he placed his forehead on the floor. “As I said, I was blind back then.”

“This can be resolved if your vision has returned. But although I may forgive you once, I won’t allow a second time.”

“Thank you for your mercy.”

“Hanan, Bismarck.”

Hanan and Bismarck, flustered by Troy’s sudden change, collected their wits and bowed again, unable to muster up the courage to look at Waltz. They could sense the Summer Queen’s charisma and spirit that overwhelmed crowds from Waltz. They realized how wrong their choice had been. Although she lacked age and experience, Waltz already had the ability to be a king.

Time would naturally fill out the qualities she lacked. When that time came, White Dragon could call itself the new Red Dragon.

Jnng. Jnng. They realized that an invisible string now connected them to Waltz.

Loop of Subordination

It was the magic that bound the Summer Queen to the Eighty-One Oculus. In return for her power, she could take their lives when she saw fit. Now, as Waltz’s subordinates, they were dogs that barked when commanded.

“As I said, I won’t give second chances. Follow Hawk Eye to get rid of everything Tom left behind.”

“As you wish.”

“As you wish.”

As Bismarck and Hanan moved with Troy to get rid of the remaining forces, Waltz wiped the blood from her hand with a handkerchief and turned to a subordinate standing quietly behind her. “That’s it for now. More importantly, the Elohim and the Devil Army are officially working together?”

“Yes, I heard so.” Incapable Ruler Warshan quickly looked down to avoid Waltz’s eyes. Even though he was her ally, he knew that it was dangerous to look into Waltz’s eye at this moment, especially her left eye.

Copycat

Waltz’s hidden innate talent analyzed objects or people she saw, and even if she only encountered them once, she could imitate their actions and habits. The deeper her understanding of the target, the better she could copy them.

She could assess her enemy’s weaknesses, and she stole the knowledge of her allies to use for her personal growth. It was the reason she had managed to survive in the slums filled with malicious people who preyed on young and vulnerable girls like Waltz had been.

However, Waltz had used her talent to knock down anyone who tried to do something to her and struggled to survive. It was a dirty and ugly world, but the happy memories her parents left behind from her younger days held her up. Her goal to return to One-horned tribe and make them pay continued to push her forward.

The Summer Queen had observed her and saw that Waltz’s talent and potential were limitless. She took Waltz in as her daughter and helped her potential grow to its fullest, adding her blood to the One-horned tribe’s blood.

Thanks to her, Waltz was able to grow as the eldest of the Nine Dragon Sons, possessing a Dragon Body that combined with the body of a One-horned tribe member. After succeeding with the sixth step of the Dragon Body awakening, she attained a new ability that surpassed her talent.

Dragon Saint’s Left-Eye

The single-digit skill was Waltz’s secret unique skill that was created from combining Draconic Eyes and Copycat, and it worked on both the living and the dead. With it, Waltz could order the clan to close their floors off to rest and step away from the battlefield while secretly invading the territories of Green Dragon and Black Dragon.

Unlike White Dragon, who controlled floors, the Elohim, the Devil Army, and Blood Land were based in Outer Spaces. She predicted that if Arthia declared war, they’d fight the other three clans first. No matter how skilled Heaven Wing was, she didn’t think a rookie ranker who just cleared the fiftieth floor would be able to get to the seventy-sixth floor that quickly.

Her prediction had been accurate. Blood Land fell, and the Elohim sustained a lot of damage. On the other hand, White Dragon didn’t receive any additional damage. Now that the angered Elohim decided to work with their enemy, the Devil Army, all Waltz had to do was watch them fight from the seventy-sixth floor. She could take her time and play them against each other.

In the meantime, she gathered her forces as much as she could. She tried to reunite the divided Red Dragon. Since the leaders of the splinter clans were gone, she believed that it would be easy to take them back. She attacked Black Dragon first, and it wasn’t hard to get them under her control since they were already fighting among themselves. She was now dealing with the results.

Also, Waltz didn’t hesitate when it came to purging people. She cut off anyone who seemed unnecessary or a potential source of trouble. She only picked the ones who could be of help to her—which was why she had chosen Troy, Hanan, and Bismarck.

Troy was a villain, but he knew to stand on the winning side, and the other two were strong in martial arts, so it was worth taking them in. The others were people who would stab her in the back the first chance they got, so she eliminated them easily.

The Dragon Saint’s Left Eye closely examined the corpses of the dead to retrieve any powers the Summer Queen had shared with them. Clack, clack. The sound of pieces joining together in heart made her soul shake. Urrrng. ‘Fifteen percent left until the next awakening.’ Waltz clenched her fist and murmured to herself.

The unification of Red Dragon was important, but what she needed most was to complete the seventh step of the awakening. ‘If I complete the seventh step, not only will I gain Draconic language, I can polymorph into a dragon. I need these in order to defeat him.’ Waltz hadn’t forgotten her fight with Yeon-woo back in the Dragon Labyrinth. Although she was in a disadvantageous situation and most of her powers had been sealed, she couldn’t stand the fact that she had needed to run away after using her secret weapon.

“Escape” was a word that only her younger, unluckier self knew. It was frustrating that Yeon-woo was only at the fifth step, but he was already on the same level as she was. He probably had some kind of trick up his sleeve, and if he advanced to the sixth step, she would most definitely lose. There was only one option left to her: she had to collect the scattered pieces of her mother, and used them to awaken into a true dragon. She would have the absolute strength and powers the Summer Queen had.

Her siblings, who had the bigger pieces, had been killed someplace else, so it was hard to collect them, but she gathered the pieces one by one, the puzzle was nearly complete. Even though she might not restore all her mother’s powers, she thought she could reclaim at least seventy percent.

“Is it just Green Dragon that’s left now? Let’s go.” While Heaven Wing and Arthia were busy with the war with the Elohim and the Devil Army, she would take over Green Dragon, who had been defeated by the Fantasy Regiment. Then, she’d be able to fulfill her mother’s wish and finish the seventh step of the awakening. ‘Heaven Wing…no, Hoarder. Create as much havoc as you want just a little longer. I’ll take your head soon.’ Waltz led White Dragon through the portal to Green Dragon’s territory.

* * *

Boom. Boom. Crack! Peals of the Great, the Outer Space where the Elohim sheltered, shook from the relentless dimensional interference to its protective barrier. All the clan members of the Elohim bustled around to defend it when they saw the sky cleaving.

“I-it’s about to fall! Support the barrier!”

“Arthia is attempting to invade!”

“Everyone, rally the defenses!”

Arthia’s official raid had begun.

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