[Africa – Desolate Wilderness]
Northern winds blew across the cold wilderness, where a four-hour-long battle was now coming to an end.
The strength of the enraged Tigris’s [Formless Tiger Fist] subsided over time, but Kim Suho continued to maintain the initial prowess he displayed. The Sword Saint’s movements were clean, and his swordsmanship was splendid. There was nothing Tigris could do to get through Kim Suho’s offense and defense.
“Sword Saint… I’ll admit it’s a fitting title.” Cheok Jungyeong, who was observing their battle from afar, commented. Seeing Kim Suho’s impeccable swordsmanship, a strong urge to join their ‘artistic fight’ struck Cheok Jungyeong’s heart. But he knew the disgust of being interrupted in the middle of a good fight, so he held himself back.
“Huhu, how is it? He’s stronger than you, right?”
Aileen, who was standing by and watching the battle, commented with her arms crossed. Cheok Jungyeong glared at her strongly.
“It’s not a matter of strength but a matter of circumstance. If it were me, I wouldn’t have forced Tigris into such a cowardly situation.”
Tigris strength was also remarkable. But when Horseless died, he had revealed his full strength too easily, which he even used to exterminate his comrades. The battle was far from ‘fair’ to begin with.
“Cowardly? Oh please, think about what he did to the people he abducted. Plus, you shouldn’t be the one to talk about being cowardly. I saw what you guys did 20 years ago.”
“…We didn’t do that, dumbass.”
“Then who did it?”
“…The old us.”
“Are you kidding?” Aileen frowned at Cheok Jungyeong’s vague words.
“Kuhum.” Cheok Jungyeong let out a dry cough and dodged Aileen’s gaze.
“Tsk.” Aileen clicked her tongue and picked up her transceiver. “Jin Seyeon, Kim Suho, it’s time to end the tiger hunt. We can’t wait much longer.”
They could wait until Kim Suho cut down Tigris, but a long time had passed since the battle began. Although the Chameleon Troupe had taken over Lupiton and was preventing information from leaking out, there was a limit on how furtive one could be.
Jin Seyeon replied. Immediately afterward, Aileen formed a spear with her magic power. Jin Seyeon, who was about three kilometers away from Aileen, also nocked an arrow.
“This is a tiger-killing spear~”
Using Spirit Speech, Aileen infused a special attribute into the spear. She stroked the shaft of the magic spear and murmured like a mother caring for her child.
“It displays great power against the tiger-race. A single hit paralyzes the target, making it the most feared object of all tigers….”
Aileen carefully utilized Spirit Speech as Cheok Jungyeong stared at her in disgust of her tone.
“You—! Damn—! Human—!”
In the next moment, Tigris roared and shot towards Kim Suho.
“A mere human—!”
This was the moment Kim Suho was waiting for, when [Formless Tiger Punch] would weaken to the point that Tigris would have no choice but to close in on him.
Kim Suho remembered a certain piece of information Kim Hajin told him. Though it was a long time ago, Kim Hajin had clearly said that a Mountain Tyrant’s vital point was a blue mark on the heel of its hind leg.
So when Tigris charged towards him, Kim Suho made a small smile. Although Tigris had evolved into a humanoid monster, he had not overcome his weak point. In fact, it was unlikely that Mountain Tyrants knew their vital point was a mere mark on their heel.
Kim Suho thrust Misteltein forward. Tigris grabbed Misteltein without being suspicious, and that was when Kim Suho attacked Tigris’ heel with his sword’s scabbard.
Immediately, Tigris’s legs went numb. Aileen and Jin Seyeon made their move using this opening. Tigris had no way of dodging them.
A spear and an arrow pierced Tigris’s heart and stomach, dealing a clearly fatal injury. However, Tigris refused to let go of Misteltein.
“You… coward… my Horseless….”
Tigris glared at Kim Suho and expressed his fury. But Kim Suho wasn’t fazed in the slightest and faced Tigris with an even sturdier mind.
“…If that horse was that important to you, you should know. That the people you killed thoughtlessly were also important to others.”
“Shut your mouth. A mere human dares to… kuhuk!”
Kim Suho infused magic power into Misteltein. A brilliant light rose up from the Sword Saint’s sword, and Tigris clenched his fists.
Next, two roars clashed and resounded.
The Sword Saint’s sword and the Tyrant’s fist collided.
A burst of magic power dyed both heaven and earth. The clash of sword and fist shook the world, and the undulation of magic power spread out in all directions.
The battle thus came to an end.
Kim Suho let out a sigh and looked up at Tigris. He was no longer breathing, and Misteltein was piercing through his heart. However, Tigris’s eyes remained open. He was glaring at Kim Suho with eyes full of madness and barely squeezed out his last breaths.
“…Humans… I will curse you… even in death….”
At that moment, Misteltein activated its effect. By destroying Tigris’s heart, it absorbed a portion of the Gift Tigris possessed.
[Acquired Tigris’s Wish – Formless Tiger Punch]
With that, Tigris’s heavy body fell to the ground.
[When you activate Misteltein’s Formless Tiger Punch, your close-range attacks will also cause long-ranged attacks.]
Kim Suho sheathed Misteltein. A light breeze blew his hair.
The victory had a bitter aftertaste. Was it because it wasn’t a fair fight? But because the fight was a ‘subjugation’, not a ‘duel’, there was nothing he could have done about it.
At the same time, Kim Suho couldn’t help but wonder, did he really have the right to punish humanoid monsters?
It was strange. Until now, he had killed countless monsters without any sense of guilt, and the only difference between a monster and a humanoid monster was that the latter could think and talk like a human.
With complicated thoughts, Kim Suho gazed into Tigris’s eyes.
[Africa, a nameless dungeon]
Jin Sahyuk and I arrived at a nameless dungeon. According to the Book of Truth, it was the [Basilisk Dungeon with Puzzles and Quizzes].
“…This is a dungeon?”
Jin Sahyuk looked around with a scowl.
“…It is a bit odd.”
I probably had a similar face. Rather than a dungeon, this place was more like an arcade.
To describe it in greater detail, all sorts of games were being displayed on a black background.
“Looks like it was a stage-type dungeon. We probably have to clear each game.”
I stared at the different games inside the dungeon while activating [Observation and Reading].
[Quiz Game 1, 2, 3, 4 – Test your intelligence. The numbers represent the level of difficulty.]
[Puzzle Game 1, 2, 3, 4 – Test your creativity. The numbers represent the level of difficulty.]
[Clearing all games lets you enter the final stage – Basilisk and Fight.]
“…How are we supposed to do this?”
I first started the quiz game.
—Ding, ding! The Quiz Game starts!”
“Ah, geez! That surprised me!”
A robotic voice rang out from the ceiling, and Jin Sahyuk jumped slightly.
“Say something before you do anything weird!”
“Shut up and follow me.”
The quiz game started with a riddle.
What fire becomes when it dies, why the ice-cream died… most of them were laughably easy, but the catch was that the riddle was in ‘ancient runic language’.
Of course, I had no problem translating it.
“Sapphire, because it’s cold, scarecrow, almond.”
Jin Sahyuk furrowed her brows and stared at me.
I gave her a simple explanation.
“What? That doesn’t make sense. Even in Akatrina, runic language is—”
Jin Sahyuk stopped talking and glared at me with eyes full of suspicion.
It was about time she realized I wasn’t Kim Chundong.
In any case, I focused on solving the quizzes and puzzles, only taking 30 minutes to plow through all of them.
—You cleared all quizzes and puzzles! You will now be moved to the Basilisk Stage!
A secret passageway opened up along with a rumble. A purple world was spread out beyond the passageway.
The sky was purple, the land was crimson, and the Basilisk and its ‘spider underlings’ were black.
“You be the tank. I’ll support you from the back.”
“…What? Do you know what kind of monster a Basilisk is?”
Basilisks were one of the monsters I created in my original setting.
A half-snake, half-dragon monster with sharp fangs, skin that was tougher than any qi reinforcement, and serpentine eyes that shot petrifying waves.
The Basilisk was a high-rank ~ pinnacle-rank monster and the ‘spider underlings’ around him were all high-intermediate-rank monsters, but I knew the Basilisk’s fatal weak point.
“Trust me and protect me. That’s all you have to do.”
“Listen to me, you bastard, Basilisks were calamity-level monsters even in Akatrina. A single one of them needed hundreds of knights to take down.”
“I’ll do more than what hundreds of knights can do anyways, so just do as I say.”
I first transformed the Desert Eagle into a machine gun. I had thousands of bullets on me, and the gun fired at 2000 RPM.
The Basilisk’s flaw was its defense. In truth, it was more of a flaw in the setting.
[Basilisk’s Skin – reduces 90% of physical damage received and 99% of magical damage received.]
Reducing damage by 90% meant 10% of the damage couldn’t be dodged. As it didn’t reduce a flat value like the defense of other monsters, he was the perfect target for my machine gun. As long as I keep attacking it, it should die eventually.
Of course, just in case that wasn’t enough, I knew about its vital point under its jaw.
“No, if you’re going to do this, do it by yourself.”
“No, you’re coming with me.”
For the record, Jin Sahyuk’s attacks were all magical damage, so she was extremely incompatible against the Basilisk. There was a reason she was reluctant to fight.
I started firing. The Basilisk, who had not yet recognized us, quickly began to charge over. Jin Sahyuk cursed.
“You son of a bitch!”
The secret passageway closed, leaving us trapped inside. Jin Sahyuk now had no choice but to fight.
“Move fast. Think about all the good equipment we can make from that guy’s corpse.”
A Basilisk’s skin and fangs were excellent for making equipment, and its flesh, eyes, and heart could be used to make medicine. This dungeon should also give us a good reward for clearing it.
There was a reason I was excited about clearing this dungeon.
Jin Sahyuk released her magic power with Reality Manipulation, and I continued to fire a barrage of bullets.
Hundreds of bullets first eliminated the spider underlings before slowly making their way towards the Basilisk’s body.
The enraged Basilisk breathed out green, venomous flames. Thankfully, Jin Sahyuk was the one in charge of the defense.
Jin Sahyuk extinguished the breath by isolating the path of the breath from reality.
“I don’t know what you’re up to but finish it quickly!” Jin Sahyuk shouted.
I didn’t reply and continued to fire.
I could feel myself being destressed like I was in a real arcade game.
[Korea, North Pyeongan Province – Silver Essential Hospital]
3 p.m., Korea.
Yoo Yeonha rushed over to Silver Essential Hospital after receiving an emergency call.
“Um, Chairman Yoo, about this….”
As soon as Yoo Yeonha got off the Dwarven Supercar she arrived in, employees of the hospital flocked to her with worried faces.
“I’ll see what happened with my own eyes.”
Yoo Yeonha entered the hospital. Soon, she arrived at the highest floor, where Oh Jaejin was staying in.
For Oh Jaejin and his wife, Essence of the Strait had turned the penthouse into a village from the 1970s. However, the penthouse was now empty. No signs of life remained, and without anyone to turn the floor heating on, the wooden floor was freezing cold.
“How long has it been like this?”
“He was here when we checked last night…”
Yoo Yeonha closed her eyes for a moment and sighed. Something hot began to boil inside her.
“He ran away, without a doubt.”
The Oh Jaejin couple had run away. They must have wanted to live the rest of their life in peace now that Oh Jaejin’s dementia was cured.
“…W-We’re deeply sorry!”
The hospital employees bowed down to their waists.
But Yoo Yeonha didn’t say anything. She was angry at the couple’s betrayal, but she couldn’t bring herself to curse out loud.
In the first place, Oh Jaejin was given the honored title of the ‘Nine Stars’ because he sacrificed himself to save the world. But there was no meaning to saving the world if one wasn’t a part of it. Asking him to sacrifice himself twice was unreasonable as well.
“…It’s fine. If he wanted to run away, there’s nothing any of us could have done.”
Yoo Yeonha turned around with bitterness. It was then that a new alarm popped up on her smartwatch.
[You gained DP! You obtained 12,328 DP!]
The character she was sponsoring, Lailos, had helped her gain more DP. The news livened up Yoo Yeonha, but she maintained a stiff expression and ordered the employees present.
“First, change the floor back to have VIP-rooms. Don’t try to find Oh Jaejin-nim… hm?”
At that moment, the smell of kimchi jjigae flowed into Yoo Yeonha’s nostrils.
“What’s this smell?”
“Ah… the esteemed Oh Jaejin and his wife made kimchi jjigae before they left….”
“…Ha, how kind of them.”
Yoo Yeonha laughed and walked into the elevator.
‘It does smell great. I guess I’ll have kimchi jjigae for dinner.’ Yoo Yeonha thought. ‘…The kimchi jjigae Kim Hajin made me was amazing. I wonder if he’ll cook for me again…’
Yoo Yeonha closed the elevator door as she swallowed the saliva collecting in her mouth.
Four days passed since the assassination of Tigris.
A bloody wind blew inside Lupiton.
The village lord, Pleron, escaped in fear of being punished, and Lupiton’s residents had their curfews hastened to 9 p.m.
More importantly, the enraged Orden made a formal declaration to the rest of the world.
With a storm of war brewing, the underground fortress was undergoing heavy construction to build a tunnel leading to Orden’s palace.
“Orden’s palace is right above this place?”
The Special Task Force paid DP to the demon merchant to arrive at the foot of the palace.
“Yes, we did it carefully. Not even Orden should have detected anything.”
The demon merchant replied to Aileen’s question.
“Great, then what about what we asked for?”
“It’s the same.”
Commander Yi Gongmyung had asked the demon merchant to create 18 different entryways.
The Special Task Force’s 177 members were to split into teams of 10 members and infiltrate the palace to draw attention, while Hyenckes and Chae Joochul would deal with Orden.
“Huh? What’s up?”
Yi Yongha, who followed Aileen, muttered as he trembled
“The Immortal and the Lord of Steel are working together in this operation. Isn’t that amazing? I’m already getting goosebumps.”
“…Shut it, fool. There are only four days left until the D-Day. Ready yourself.”
The dual-pronged operation was planned to begin in four days. Hundreds of thousands of human soldiers would gather in Africa. Orden would naturally focus most of his forces on the large army, so the Special Task Force would use this opportunity to strike.
“You’re right, we only have four days left.”
“…Are you nervous?”
Aileen turned around. Chae Nayun, Kim Suho, and Yun Seung-Ah were also standing there.
“No, I’m okay.”
“…I’m fine too.”
“I’m a bit angry.”
Chae Nayun, Kim Suho, and Yun Seung-Ah responded respectively. Yun Seung-Ah was the only one who was sulking.
Aileen sighed and stared at Yun Seung-Ah.
“Why do you have that I-stepped-on-poop face? Are you a kid?”
“Me? You’re the one who didn’t tell me Jain came here.”
Jain had told Aileen that she disguised herself as Pleron. This was the first time Aileen found out Jain was a part of the Chameleon Troupe.
“U-Unni! You know what she did to me in the past—”
“Think of the bigger picture. If you can’t cooperate, leave the team.”
Yun Seung-Ah bit her lips and glared at Aileen before turning around.
She expressed her anger openly as she stomped away, and Aileen only shook her head.
“She’s sulking. Kim Suho, you deal with it.”
Kim Suho smiled wryly at Aileen’s order.
At that moment, Chae Nayun’s eyes shot open.
When Aileen and Kim Suho tilted their heads, Chae Nayun took out the [Invitation Letter to the Love Room] from her pocket.
“Hm? What’s that~?”
Aileen gave her a curious look.
“This? You see…”
Chae Nayun wanted to use it before the mission. Since she was at the risk of death, she didn’t want to die without finding out who Extra7 was.
“Well, it’s nothing.”
But Chae Nayun knew she was on a top-secret mission. She wasn’t so stupid as to bring an outsider into it.
Plus, since Extra7 told her to call him when she was in critical danger, she decided to use when that time came, rather than to just say hi.
“What, so boring.” Aileen frowned.
Kim Suho, who knew about the item’s effect, placed his hand on Chae Nayun’s head.
“Ah, what are you doing? Don’t get over yourself.”
Chae Nayun struggled to push Kim Suho’s hand off.
“Do that to Seung-Ah Unni, not me.”
“…Kuhum, why do you guys keep mentioning Guild Leader Yun Seung-Ah.”
Kim Suho let out a dry cough with a flushed face.
“Anyways, you guys should leave too. Same for you, Yi Yongha. I have something to do.”
Aileen shooed the others away. Chae Nayun, Kim Suho, and Yi Yongha were all chased out, and the tunnel turned silent.
Only four days remained until the humanoid monster annihilation mission.
“This tunnel will be concealed perfectly so that no one can discover it….”
Aileen added Spirit Speech to the tunnel.Previous Chapter Next Chapter