Chapter 329. Awakening, the Last Stand (3)

“Euaaaaahhhhhhhh!”

Seol Jihu rushed forward while letting out a bellow full of rage.

Twisted Kindness, who had succeeded in grasping her hand around Baek Haeju’s tender neck, glanced back.

“….”

She returned to look at the struggling Baek Haeju in her grasp. Her face remained indifferent as if his actions didn’t warrant her interest.

However, her indifferent attitude only lasted a moment.

Her eyes widened when she felt the energy behind her back increase exponentially. The moment she looked back with a frown, the spear that had been aimed at her suddenly slashed in the shape of the number 8.

Twisted Kindness blinked her eyes and tossed Baek Haeju away. She then stepped on the ground, hard enough to make a small crater, and with a strong gust of wind, she began to display a splendid footwork technique.

She smoothly deflected the spear that cut at her from all directions and narrowed the distance with a zigzag movement.

Shwick!

But as she did so, the spear’s trajectory suddenly changed. The spear that had been slicing down suddenly switched into an upwards diagonal cut.

"Hmm?"

When Twisted Kindness urgently leaned backward, the spear’s blade brushed past her chest.

Her face was full of surprise. The punk couldn’t even see her movements before, so how was he suddenly predicting her movements and launching accurate attacks?

‘What happened?’

Twisted Kindness expressed her confusion while brandishing her tail.

The moment that her swishing tail was about to smack into him like a whip, Seol Jihu kicked off the ground while a tri-circular shield formed on his left hand.

He narrowly deflected the tail by twisting his left arm before flying up like a butterfly and drawing back his right arm.

At that moment, Twisted Kindness, who had been standing in front of him, suddenly vanished before appearing again behind Seol Jihu.

And as she was about to chop at his neck with the blade of her hand…

‘What?’

…She felt an impact strike up her chin, catching her unaware.

Pak!

With her head thrown back from the blow, Twisted Kindness quickly shifted her feet and retreated. After allowing a hit for the first time, she stared in disbelief at Seol Jihu, who lightly landed on the ground.

If she didn’t see wrong, Seol Jihu had instantaneously flicked his arm to twist his spear mid-swing, all the while having his gaze fixed forward. That was how she was struck with the butt of the spear.

"…Hoh?"

With this, she was now certain.

He was seeing her movements. No, she wasn’t sure whether he could read her movements correctly, but she was certain that he was sensing them and chasing after her.

‘This is strange. A bit too strange.’

She wanted to ask what was going on, but Seol Jihu was already on the move. He kicked off the ground and sharply rushed at her as soon as he landed.

‘Should I test him out?’

After blocking his attack with a swing of her arm, Twisted Kindness retreated backward while carefully observing her opponent.

The battle soon resumed.

Seol Jihu immediately chased after her and aimed his spear at her lower body.

Seeing the obvious attack, Twisted Kindness raised her foot. She intended to stomp him to the ground along with his spear, but the spear suddenly shifted from a forward thrust to an upward cut.

As Seol Jihu busied his hands, the spear drew a large circle.

Twisted Kindness instinctively drew her head back, only to find a golden sword qi strengthened with rotational momentum sharply sweeping past the tip of her nose. As she dodged out of the way, the spear immediately made a 180 degrees rotation before the butt of the spear came flying towards her temple.

Consequently, Twisted Kindness could only retreat again.

That wasn’t all. Seol Jihu quickly narrowed the distance as if he didn’t want to relent his chain of attacks.

The moment the spearhead cycled and pointed towards the ground, he gripped the spear in a throwing stance and powerfully jabbed it down.

Twisted Kindness hastily lowered her waist to the lower-left direction to avoid the attack before diagonally twisting it to the right as she swung her arm.

"Hmmp!"

She flung her elbow out with the intention of bursting his head.

Because they were in such close proximity to each other, Seol Jihu had no choice but to avoid it by bending back his waist.

Thanks to that, his stance was momentarily broken. Just when Twisted Kindness noticed this and was about to execute her flashy footwork again….

Kwang!

The ground suddenly shook as if the earth was churning.

Twisted Kindness was stopped in her steps. She had tried to hook his leg to make him lose his balance, but Seol Jihu had powerfully slammed down his spear as if telling her to fuck off.

And when he succeeded in preventing her from hooking his legs, his spear shot toward her neck like a viper.

Twisted Kindness kicked up with her leg. Her kick precisely hit the shaft of the spear, making the spearhead draw a sharp curve as it was flung up.

As she was watching out in case it would strike down again, Twisted Kindness suddenly raised her eyebrows.

Seol Jihu’s arm, which had been raised up towards the sky, suddenly bent. Following the motions of his arm, the spear rotated and landed on his shoulders before it was aimed at her again.

Next, he extended his arm forward and charged at her again, simultaneously placing his tri-circular shield in front of him.

It was truly a relentless series of attacks that didn’t allow his opponent to breathe!

"You…!"

Expressing her slight irritation, Twisted Kindness skillfully used her leg that she had raised up. She squeezed the spear between her calf and her hamstring and forcibly drove it down.

The spear stabbed into the ground as it was forcefully slammed down by her dreadful leg strength.

When Twisted Kindness immediately loosened her leg and hit the spear shaft with her knee, the spearhead was driven deeper into the ground.

At that same time, she gruffly grabbed the diagonally standing shaft with her left hand. Using it as a pivot, she lowered her body and strongly punched out with her right arm.

Seol Jihu’s eyes widened.

The moment she was convinced she got him—

‘!’

A ray of light rushed at her side with a terrifying force.

Clicking her tongue, Twisted Kindness quickly swung the hand that she meant to twist Seol Jihu’s neck with. And borrowing that twisting momentum, she heavily swung her tail as hard as she could.

Puk! When she checked the situation after feeling a solid hit, she saw a man and a woman sliding back from the blow on her front and left.

As expected, the culprit that made her miss her chance was Baek Haeju. Seol Jihu, who had his arms crossed in front of him, was seen slowly lowering his arms while rubbing them.

A spectacular series of attacks and defense had occurred in a short amount of time.

Twisted Kindness smacked her lips while seeing Seol Jihu collect his breath.

It was a great reaction on her part considering the sudden attack, but she unfortunately couldn't accomplish her goal of capturing her opponent. A gap had been created due to the sudden attack, allowing Seol Jihu a chance to react.

Even so, she made some gains.

"Hmm, hmmmmm."

Glancing sideways at the Spear of Purity stuck on the ground, Twisted Kindness asked.

"What happened?"

“….”

"Your movements improved too much. It’s almost incomparable to before."

“….”

"Why didn’t you fight like this sooner? Did you purposely hide your ability? No, that shouldn’t be the case."

Feeling her body slightly warmed up, her words became faster.

"Speak. Did some kind of change happen?"

Hearing Twisted Kindness press him, Seol Jihu, who had been collecting his breath, spoke up.

“If I tell you….”

He paused before licking his lips and continuing again.

“…Will you give us a chance to rest?”

"…What?"

“Thinking about it again, I feel like it’d be a waste not to take you up on your offer from before. I’m asking whether you’ll let us rest if I change my mind now.”

Twisted Kindness blinked.

"Ahahaha! You truly are an unpredictable man!"

She burst into loud laughter before shaking her head.

"It’ll dampen my excitement a little, but fine. If you can satisfy my curiosity, then I am willing to accept it."

“Really?”

"Of course. If I can enjoy another life or death fight as interesting as before, then there is no reason for me not to do so."

Twisted Kindness generously continued.

"Now, hurry up and speak. I wouldn’t have even asked if you had used a simple awakening skill to momentarily increase your energy."

“….”

"But that’s not it. You became too different. It’s a phenomenon that I truly can’t understand."

But Seol Jihu didn’t easily answer her. His quickly darting eyes seemed to be conflicted.

“Can I really trust you?”

"Of course."

“What if you attack me after I tell you?”

"Hah. Have you been fooled your whole life? Haven’t I sworn using my name? If you really doubt me that much, then take your break now. It doesn’t matter if you tell me after you rest."

“The conditions are too good.”

"Only."

After giving the Spear of Purity a slight nudge, Twisted Kindness stepped forward.

"I’ll return your weapon once I hear your reply. You might not tell me once you rest after all."

“I guess.”

Seol Jihu nodded his head.

He didn’t know what she meant by swearing using her name, but he acted convinced.

“Good, then…”

Seol Jihu was still vigilant as he slowly knelt on one knee.

Twisted Kindness shrugged her shoulders before straightening her posture.

Seol Jihu let out a deep sigh before quietly speaking.

“First…”

"Yes. First?"

Just as Twisted Kindness repeated his word with twinkling eyes…

Seol Jihu’s eyes widened. At the same moment, he bolted forward like a professional sprinter.

Twisted Kindness scowled when she felt the wind mixed with thick killing intent. Not mentioning the fact that he attacked when he said he was going to rest, she wondered what he was going to do rushing in barehanded.

At that moment, she could feel a sudden rise of energy behind her. It was a holy power that was so powerful that it stung her back.

When Twisted Kindness reflexively turned around, she became greatly astonished.

The Spear of Purity that was stuck in the ground was now floating in the air. As if that wasn’t enough, it was currently flying in a straight line towards her.

Crescent Blade Spear Technique, Second Ultimate Art — Flying Spear.

The sharp and acute sensation quickly approached her as if it intended to pierce through her.

"What!?"

Greatly surprised, Twisted Kindness hastily assumed her stance. However, at that moment…

“Uryaah!”

Seol Jihu, who had recklessly charged at her, accelerated and slammed his shoulders into her.

The moment Twisted Kindness realized her mistake, her balance had already been broken. But when the Spear of Purity headed straight towards where her face was as she tripped forwards…

"You punk!"

As she shouted in rage, a pair of wings spread wide open, directly propelling her up in her collapsed posture.

Twisted Kindness felt a burning sensation narrowly brushing past her abdomen.

However, when she tried to circle around in the sky and steady herself, she felt her entire body go stiff. She only realized after she was airborne that the entire sky was crisscrossed in white wires like a spiderweb.

And on top of the wires was Baek Haeju, who jumped up one step ahead of her, ready to strike her Tathagata Spear down.

‘No way—’

Before she could finish that thought, Baek Haeju swung both her arms down in full force.

Twisted Kindness’ face turned dazed.

It was because she felt it.

It wasn’t just the spiderweb and Baek Haeju. The Spear of Purity that she thought had missed was pointing upright and flying straight at her as if it was homing in on her.

That wasn’t all.

As Seol Jihu kicked off the ground and jumped up to grab the flying spear, the spear erupted with a golden energy.

Above her was the Tathagata Spear slashing down while wrapped in a green sword qi; and below her was the Spear of Purity with added momentum, piercing towards her as if to pierce even the sky itself.

Twisted Kindness’ mouth gaped open.

And in that split second moment—

"Kwoooooo!"

She roared furiously while releasing a powerful energy.

After confronting them with just her physical strength all this time, she finally decided to use her energy.

*


Meanwhile.

“Straight, go straight ahead just like this! I said to go faster!”

Marcel Ghionea was currently running at full speed.

Given his personality, it was something he would normally never do, but Seol Jihu’s command and the situation forced him to flee.

As a matter of fact, he wouldn’t have been of much help even if he stayed. But if he was successful in this mission, the whole situation would turn around.

Marcel Ghionea believed in those words and used his mana to sprint crazily.

How much time went by?

Just as his forehead was full of sweat and a sweet taste could be felt in his mouth, he began to hear a commotion off in the distance.

“There they are.”

Little Chick, who had been hustling Marcel Ghionea from the top of his head, spoke.

As it said, the source of the noise was a gathering of Spirits.

While they were many in number, they seemed to be huddled together, unable to do anything.

“Stop here. Don’t go too close.”

Marcel Ghionea stopped. When he panted and wiped the sweat flowing down his face, he suddenly heard a small gasp from the top of his head.

“What’s that?”

Marcel Ghionea became perplexed when he lifted his eyes.

“W-What? What are Nests doing here?”

In front of him was a huge lake. Though it may have looked beautiful in the past, the lake was now black, polluted with wastewater.

And lying inside the lake half-submerged were none other than Nests. To be more precise, five enormous Nests, boasting a size bigger than most buildings, were surrounding a withered tree, each having a few tentacles attached to it.

From the bulging of their bumpy surfaces, it was certain that they were alive.

“Nests? Are those what you call Nests?”

“Wait. Wait a moment. They’re different from normal Nests.”

At the questioning of Little Chick, Marcel Ghionea hurriedly inspected the Nests.

He soon figured out the difference. It wasn’t just their stupidly large sizes. Their colors were different as well.

The surface of normal Nests was mostly gray. However, the Nests that were submerged in the lake were dyed in five colors: dark-red, water-blue, jade-green, clay-brown, and sky-blue.

“Speak. What’s different?”

While Marcel Ghionea explained to Little Chick, the Spirits noticed their arrival and rushed toward them.

[How did it go? Why did only the two of you come?]

[Are they still fighting? They’re not dead, right? Right?]

When the Spirits grew loud…

“Quiet!”

…Little Chick snapped.

The surroundings quickly became silent.

Little Chick folded its tiny wings and fell into thought.

“Damn it. I was wondering why there weren’t any troops protecting this place … the Nests themselves are pretty strong…”

[I-I felt it. They all went towards that direction, right? Should we go and attack them?]

“Don’t be ridiculous. None of you will survive even a single sweep of her hand.”

[Then what are we supposed to do!? You said we didn’t have much time! Tell us what to do, quick!]

They weren’t wrong. Although Little Chick gave Seol Jihu its power, even Little Chick could tell that Twisted Kindness wasn’t using her full strength. It was unknown how long the expedition team would hold out.

There wasn’t any time to think. No, even if they did, they would need to first take action before finding a solution. The situation was simply that urgent.

“…I guess there’s no choice.”

Little Chick smacked its mouth before sneaking a glance at the Spirits. Then, it spoke.

“You guys…”

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