Chapter 324. Immediate Battle (3)

The Unicorn reared its forelegs, then slammed them down on the ground.

BOOM!

A thunderous roar exploded, striking Seol Jihu’s ears. The barren land fissured, and an earthquake occurred. The force of the blow was so powerful that even the fully on-guard Seol Jihu teetered.

The same thing happened to the other members of the expedition team. Maria fell on her butt and even the Archers who had an excellent sense of balance staggered.

Before anyone could regain their balance, the Unicorn howled fiercely and kicked off the ground. Sharp haze exploded out from its body as it charged straight at the expedition team.

The terrifying speed of the Unicorn made it difficult to determine whether the things scattering behind it were Nightshades or simple afterimages.

“Spread out!”

Baek Haeju shouted uncharacteristically. She then rushed forward and planted her feet on the ground. At the same time, the Unicorn headbutted the Sacred Empress!

“Kahuk!”

Baek Haeju was continuously pushed back, leaving behind a long track and quickly breaking away from the rest of the expedition team.

Although she seemed to be holding her ground even as she was being pushed back, Seol Jihu couldn’t hide his shock. Baek Haeju lasted a long time even when she was fighting the First Army Commander alone. Yet, this time, she failed to withstand even a single blow!

Prrrrr!

With a snort, the Unicorn changed its course.

‘Should I stop it or dodge it?’

After a split second of hesitation, Seol Jihu made up his mind. It was because Philip Muller chanted a Teleport spell and moved behind Baek Haeju with the two Priests.

He had some peace of mind now that the targets he had to protect were away from the enemy.

However, he soon realized that this line of thinking was wrong. There was a reason Baek Haeju shouted at everyone to spread out.

If clustered together, the Unicorn’s terrifying destructive power could defeat them in one go, so the purpose of spreading out was to scatter its attention as much as possible.

And so, the remaining members backed off in all directions and distanced themselves as much as possible. However, the Unicorn’s speed surpassed their imaginations.

Rather, even with such a frightening charge speed, it was extremely deft in cornering. It instantly caught up to a retreating member and curled its body.

The spectating Seol Jihu’s jaw dropped. It was because the Unicorn’s posture was similar to his own while using Flash Step.

“Watch out!”

“Shit!”

Despite Seol Jihu’s warning, Phi Sora, who became the target of the Unicorn’s attack, spat out a curse and raised her shield. She had given up on running away, realizing she would never be able to escape from its range.

Eventually, the Unicorn bounced up like a spring and rammed Phi Sora with the horn on its forehead.

A white film in front of her collapsed as the horn tore through the barrier like a piece of paper. Continuing onward, it even pierced her shield and simultaneously dug into Phi Sora’s chest.

“Aaaaaak!”

Phi Sora flew into the air, splashing fresh blood, before being knocked down with a great force. She quivered uncontrollably, her eyes turned inside out as though she had lost control of her body.

The Unicorn lifted its head and howled proudly.

“Miss Phi Sora!”

A snort was heard again. The Unicorn adjusted its posture as if to say it would finish off one person right here, right now.

Seol Jihu’s eyes shot open with a flash. A golden current surged up from the bottom of his feet. Rather than running at the convulsing Phi Sora, Seol Jihu used Flash Thunder and rushed towards the Fourth Army Commander.

The Unicorn stopped and glanced at Seol Jihu. Even though he was flying forward like a beam of light, it didn’t look all that impressed.

Although it gave up on Phi Sora and turned its body, it wasn’t because it was forced to. Its attitude was more similar to ‘let’s see what you’ve got’.

While rushing in, Seol Jihu thrust his arms forward with all his might. A sword qi radiating golden light shot out of the spear blade cutting through the air.

The Unicorn stood still until the sword qi was on the brink of piercing through its body. Then, it snorted and moved its four legs.

‘What?’

Seol Jihu’s breath stopped. Just as he thought his attack reached the enemy, the Unicorn moved sideways in a fluid motion.

The Spear of Purity inevitably pierced through an afterimage. Although Seol Jihu immediately struck sideways with his spear, the Unicorn stepped back just as fluidly as before and dodged the attack once again.

Its movement and speed truly defied the laws of physics.

Only then did Seol Jihu realize that his speed was far too inferior when compared to Raging Temperance’s even with Flash Thunder.

"Don’t get cocky."

The Unicorn furrowed its brows.

"It wouldn’t be enough even if you went all out, yet you dare to make a probing attack…."

For some reason, it sounded like its pride had been severely wounded.

The Fourth Army Commander must have judged that Seol Jihu was holding back.

"I heard you exterminated Undying Diligence. I’m very curious how you managed to kill that bastard."

The Unicorn revealed its teeth in a sinister smile.

"So you better hurry up and show your true strength."

It lowered its head, pointing its horn forward.

"Otherwise…!"

It then flew into the air before descending like a bolt of lightning.

As if to skewer Seol Jihu to death.

Seol Jihu gasped inwardly and subconsciously threw his body forward. It would obviously catch up in an instant even if he fell backward, so he had chosen a frontal breakthrough. However—

BOOM!

With the earth behind him heaving…

[Behind!]

Flone’s urgent voice rang out in his head.

Seol Jihu reflexively turned his head back, and upon catching a glimpse, he was shocked speechless.

After beating the earth, the Unicorn circled back in an almost fantastical display of cornering and chased after him.

Seol Jihu instantly turned his body. He planned to strike with the added power of the rotational force, but the horn burrowed in a step earlier.

"Iyaaaa!"

In an instant, along with the sensation of his belly button being pulled to one side, a scorching pain swept through his side.

“Uaaaaah….”

By the time he gathered his senses, his feet were already dozens of centimeters off the ground.

Flone had swiftly picked Seol Jihu up by his shoulder, helping him escape the attack by a narrow margin.

[Whew! That was close—]

"Who are you, bitch!?"

Flone’s eyes widened immediately after she let out a sigh of relief. It was because a furious voice rang out from above her.

The Unicorn had moved above her before she noticed and was now holding its forelegs up.

[E-Eh?]

Along with Flone’s startled yelp, Nightshades shot out of the Unicorn’s body. Next, it strongly kicked the air.

BOOM! Along with a balloon-popping sound, Flone was sent flying without being able to utter a single cry.

Noticing that she was a ghost, the Unicorn had made the most effective attack.

Seol Jihu’s complexion turned dark as he abruptly found himself flying.

Agnes hurriedly shot a wide net of threads in an attempt to restrict the Unicorn, but it shook off the net with only a light jerk.

"Die!"

Then, it fiercely charged toward Seol Jihu.

It was then. Kwang! A heatwave crashed down on the Unicorn. The blaze was large enough to cover the Fourth Army Commander’s bulky physique.

With that, Philip Muller shot one spell after the other.

Only then did Seol Jihu land on the ground. Although he hurriedly picked himself back up, the Unicorn easily broke through the fire net, refusing to give him a moment of rest.

The Fourth Army Commander did not seem to be hurt in the slightest.

On closer inspection, a blue, dome-shaped layer was protecting its body.

"A bunch of insects."

With a snort, the Unicorn released Nightshades once again. It raised its seething forelegs with the haze. Then, just as it was about to chase the desperately fleeing Seol Jihu and strike down—

"Hm?"

It suddenly stopped its pursuit and fell backward.

Immediately afterward, dozens of green sword qi swept through the area it was previously standing on like a tidal wave.

A woman adorning a fluttering white traditional robe — Baek Haeju — landed in front of Seol Jihu.

“What are you doing, stupid!?”

As soon as she came down, she yelled angrily, opening lips that were dripping with blood.

“We have the least amount of information on him! That’s why we planned to probe him out first! Why the heck did you rush in!? You don’t know anything!”

Seol Jihu looked dazed.

He had a reason for rushing in. It was to attract the Unicorn’s attention since it was aiming for Phi Sora, who fell into a groggy state.

However, Seol Jihu wasn’t in any mind to give a proper answer. He had exchanged several attacks in this short period of time. No, it was embarrassing to even call it an exchange of attacks. In reality, he was the only one receiving them.

Although it was only the first time they were clashing, he felt like he got through three or four life-or-death hurdles.

“It’s… even stronger than Undying Diligence…”

“That’s obvious!”

Baek Haeju said angrily while keeping her eye on the grinning Unicorn lifting its head proudly.

“That fight against Undying Diligence started with my sneak attack successfully detonating his heart. Your second sneak attack also succeeded and dealt a considerable amount of damage to him.”

“….”

“But that guy’s different. He was waiting for us fully prepared. Do you think our current situation is in any way comparable to back then?”

In truth, Seol Jihu didn’t remember much of what happened during the valley war. But remembering Baek Haeju’s spear piercing the First Army Commander as he was about to kill him, Seol Jihu nodded in agreement unwittingly.

Looking back, that was indeed the case. He had exchanged a few moves with Undying Diligence before ultimately being knocked down. However, that was only because Undying Diligence was ‘going easy’.

The First Army Commander had toyed with him with one finger, wanting to see the power of an anti-evil energy user.

However, the Fourth Army Commander was different.

Rather than going easy or being relaxed, it was using its full power from the start, wanting to thoroughly squash them early.

“Now that we’re here, don’t think everyone can make it back alive.”

Baek Haeju muttered in a cold voice.

Understanding what she meant, Seol Jihu clenched his teeth. She was telling him not to interfere unnecessarily as he did before. Even if Phi Sora would be killed miserably, the rest of the team would profit if they could gather information on Raging Temperance.

As the Unicorn started to show signs of starting round 2, Baek Haeju wiped the blood on her lips and shouted.

“We have no choice now that it’s come to this!”

It was at that moment.

—Listen to me carefully.

Seol Jihu flinched. Baek Haeju’s voice had suddenly resounded in his head.

—Don’t react to what I’m saying. Don’t show it. Don’t reveal anything that might give it away.

Baek Haeju seemed to have an ability similar to Mental Transmission, which directly transferred one’s thoughts to someone’s head.

This was clearly so that the Fourth Army Commander couldn’t eavesdrop on their conversation.

“You and I need to take the lead, surround that bastard from all sides, and pummel him to death!”

—That monster has a fearsome speed and instantaneous destructive power, but his defense must be subpar, judging by the way he bothers to avoid or block attacks.

“Just like when we killed Undying Diligence!”

—Just one. Just one chance is enough.

The voice being transmitted to his head carried a slightly different tone than what she was saying out loud.

During the valley war, Baek Haeju had witnessed Seol Jihu awakened by the Future Vision overwhelming the three Army Commanders, not just in sheer power alone but also in wits and guile.

She was planning to use a similar deceitful strategy.

But in reality, Seol Jihu had no memories of himself from back then.

"Hah. Do you think I permit any sneak attacks?"

Raging Temperance had a dumbfounded expression.

Baek Haeju did a doubletake, then hurriedly lowered her voice in a whisper.

“Then I’ll go in first and create an opening. Wait for that moment, got it?”

Though she was whispering, anyone would be able to hear her if they strained their ears.

—Other people will create an opening. You and I can’t miss that chance. Do you remember how we pincered Undying Diligence?

Of course, what she transmitted to his head was completely different.

"You lot… No, you were nothing but lowly insects from the first place. Fine. Struggle to your hearts’ content."

The Unicorn shook its head. By the looks of it, it was thinking that winning wasn’t a problem as long as it didn’t let its guard down.

"It seems even the Supreme Queen has unfounded worries from time to time. Calling such imbeciles top-ranking experts… Tsk, tsk. I’d rather get this over with and shake my hips."

Muttering disappointedly, it scratched the ground. The earth turned hollow around its legs as a cloud of dirt scattered in the air.

It put on an intimidating air.

—He’s coming.

Baek Haeju stood in position.

“….”

Seol Jihu nodded silently. Now that he took a look at his surroundings, the Warriors who spread out were slowly inching closer to the Unicorn from all sides. They each had a grave expression on their face as if they were willing to become a meatshield.

—When he charges at one of us, don’t force yourself to make a move. The Star of Avarice will start first.

“?”

Seol Jihu questioned her message. He was expecting the Warriors to charge in, but the Magician was starting the fight?

That was unexpected.

—He used Manifestation immediately after he Teleported. If it wasn’t for you charging in on your own, he would have finished it earlier without having to stop in the middle.

The moment Seol Jihu heard these words, he felt a boundless energy simultaneously rising up from the distance.

The avaricious energy spread far and wide, instantly seizing the land.

"This energy…"

A presence transcending a human being manifested. Not even the powerful Army Commander could look down upon this presence.

The Unicorn turned to the side, where a Magician was standing with an opened book in his hand. Philip Muller looked feeble as if a gust of wind would blow him away.

He was sweating so profusely that not only his hair, but also his thick robe was drenched. Small veins had broken out above his eyes’ sclera, and his facial muscles were visibly convulsing.

And above him, a faint silhouette could be seen of a long-haired person, joining their two hands in prayer.

"Oh?"

The unenthused Raging Temperance suddenly gave a look of interest.

"Hoh, hoh! Is that truly you, Avaritia!?"

At that moment, Philip Muller raised his shaky hand and lifted the book to the sky.

“Avar—!”

Splitting open his already widened eyes even more…

“Ava—!”

He spat out the spell he had been suppressing with a huge breath.

“…Avaritia!”

In the next moment, two hands of a goddess, physically manifesting above Philip Muller, dropped down and spread their palms toward the Unicorn.

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