Chapter 341. Counterattack (1)

A large pillar of light descended from the sky.

The moment the light enveloped the World Tree, the frozen battlefield turned even more silent.

The Federation, the humans, and the Parasites all turned their attention to the top of Tigol Fortress.

It couldn’t be helped. The imposing, magnificent scenery unfolding before them was not something anyone could ignore. Not to mention, there wasn’t a single being present who didn’t know the meaning of this phenomenon.

Guoooooo….

The pillar of light slowly subsided. At the same time, the shining tree began to grow at an exponential rate.

The weak, straw-like branches shot out like spiderwebs, the withered trunk thickened rapidly, and green leaves grew from the once emaciated branches.

Paat!

The diminishing light scattered in the sky and on the ground.

Now revived, the avatar of the World Tree revealed itself to the world once again.

It was no longer the pitiful wilted tree it was before. The giant World Tree stood proudly as it propped up the sky and overlooked the battlefield.

Rumbleeeee!

As the World Tree finally stretched out its limbs, a terrifying tremor erupted.

[Here comes the hero~]

Sensing the change that would soon come, Roselle smiled brightly.

Chak!

She clapped. The frost on the ground completely melted away into a liquid, seeping into the black land.

The dead earth underwent a change.

The reddish-black dirt softened to a pale brown color, seeds germinated and saplings sprouted up.

Plants and vegetation grew distinctively, dyeing the earth with a refreshing viridescent light.

Flowers bloomed on the battlefield filled with despair.

Wooooooooo!

The screams of Nests suddenly rang out on the silent battlefield.

The World Tree had revived at a time when the infestation was nearly finished. With it purifying the land as soon as it revived and applying pressure in return, the Nests were writhing in pain.

A stark contrast existed between the spectators of this sight.

The Army Commanders became lost for words.

“Impossible…”

Vulgar Chastity.

“The Seventh Army Commander…”

Exploding Patience.

“Lost…?”

And Abhorrent Charity, all reacted in the same way.

The World Tree blooming once more signified that the Fourth and Seventh Army Commanders had retreated from the Spirit Realm.

Setting Raging Temperance aside, Twisted Kindness, who was the strongest existence second only to the Parasite Queen, lost?

It was too difficult to believe.

And that made it all the more shocking.

However, they had no choice but to believe it, especially seeing the glowing lights gradually gather in front of the World Tree and form into twenty or so figures.

It was because the figures were all shaped like humans.

“Ah… Aaaaaah!”

A Sky Fairy screamed.

It was not a scream of despair, but an impassioned cry from an overflowing joy.

“So he did it in the end.”

Cinzia showed a rare, full smile.

“Huuuuuu!”

Gabriel breathed out a deep sigh and plopped down while the Dwarves cheered in excitement. But no matter how happy they were, could they be happier than this race?

“….”

Yuirel was kneeling on the ground, staring at the fluttering, glowing lights with a dazed face.

The banquet of lights illuminating the sky did not just invite the Sky Fairies, but also the Cave Fairies.

The lights falling down on the hands of the Cave Fairies, including herself, was clear, undeniable proof.

“Ah….”

She doubted her eyes at first, but soon she felt her strength leave her body and something new enter the empty body.

Yuirel grabbed the cloth covering her eyes with trembling hands. A grotesque pair of pitch-black eyes was revealed.

But even that only lasted a moment. Soon, the black color quickly faded away and was replaced by the eyes’ original, lovely amber color.

Only then did a streak of tears run down her face.

It wasn’t just Yuirel. Every Cave Fairy was crying with their head down and their eye-cover off.

“The Spirit Kings… have… forgiven us…!”

While everyone was crying silently, Yuirel raised her voice and shouted.

“Lord Ophinü Odor has withdrawn her sword! Our god… Lord Diffidem Odor is coming back!”

A deafening shout overflowing with emotion burst out.

Despite the resonance phenomenon affecting her greatly, she felt like she wouldn’t be able to tolerate not saying this out loud.

“…Hic.

Teresa didn’t say anything. She simply stared at the figures forming in front of the World Tree with tearful eyes. Then, she sniffled once again.

“He really kept his promise…”

Seol Jihu had told her to buy just a little bit of time. That he would save the Spirit Realm and return after reviving the World Tree.

He had kept his promise wonderfully. While everyone tried to stop him, saying it was impossible, he had pulled through in the end.

However, Teresa soon snapped out of her daze. If it were up to her, she would have run up to him and poured him a thousand kisses. Unfortunately, the war was still going on.

The World Tree reviving meant that the Sky Fairies would regain their powers. As her lineage shared the bloodline of the Sky Fairies, she had some knowledge regarding the resonance phenomenon.

‘Spirit Resonance.’

Temporary exhaustion experienced by Fairies when they first connected to their Spirits.

It didn’t last long. Perhaps five, or ten minutes, at best.

But in a fierce battle, five minutes was not a short time.

Teresa gripped her longsword.

‘I have to buy time.’

With this, the stage for a counterattack was set. All she had to do was buy time for them to be able to step onto it.

No matter what.

*


“….”

Seol Jihu quietly studied his body as he felt his consciousness return. The body that had scattered away in the Spirit Realm was slowly being reconstructed in the Middle World.

Eventually, his eyes lit up as he looked forward. Due to standing at the summit of the fortress, the entire battlefield entered his view.

“Heeeh. It doesn’t look like we’re too late.”

Chohong simpered with the Thorn of Steel placed on her shoulder.

It was just as she said. Tigol Fortress had not fallen yet.

Seeing as how traces of the enemy could be seen in the central area, the fortress must have been pushed to the brink of collapse. However, they had managed to revive the World Tree before then.

—Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

A loud, thunderous cheer erupted.

As the heroes who revived the World Tree appeared, the pent-up emotions inside everyone had burst out.

The war wasn’t over yet. In fact, it was only starting now.

But everything they had achieved up to this point was not meaningless.

Soon, the results would show for themselves.

Seol Jihu closed his eyes within the deafening cheer.

Now there was only one thing left to do…

**


KWANG!

The Corrupted Throne broke.

The Parasite Queen shot up after slamming down on the armrest.

Despite having expected as much, her eyes were filled with fury as she stared at the battlefield.

[This…!]

The Parasite Queen barely managed to swallow her breath just as she was about to blurt something out.

[I expected as much…!]

Right, she had expected this. The appearance of humanity, the revival of the World Tree, and the Sky Fairies regaining their powers as a result.

Although she hoped it would not happen, she had predicted this situation as the worst-case scenario.

The only thing outside of her expectation was the appearance of the damned witch.

But she couldn’t back off now.

Retreating because she was afraid of a single witch was not something that could happen.

The Parasites also had hidden cards. Two— no, three!

[Abhorrent Charity! Release your divinity!]

[Don’t just stand there and do something!!]

As the Parasite Queen’s message echoed out, the Nests throbbed simultaneously and poured out countless parasites. They had given up on infesting the fortress and were choosing to focus on giving birth.

Abhorrent Charity flinched.

But seeing the Nests, he quickly understood the Queen’s intent and scanned the battlefield.

The Sky Fairies were debilitated from the resonance phenomenon. The best-case scenario would be to single out Sky Fairies and kill them, but that wasn’t realistically possible due to the revival of the World Tree.

Not only were the Sky Fairies inside the fortress, but there was also a powerful witch protecting it.

And so, Abhorrent Charity’s gaze fell outside Tigol Fortress at humanity’s cavalry unit.

“….”

Looking back, the appearance of these insects seemed to be the start of the complications.

The important thing was to not let this trend continue. Even if they had to retreat, they had to at least do as much damage as possible.

“…I’ll wipe all of you out completely.”

Kkdk! Gritting his teeth, Abhorrent Charity burst out with a brilliant light. His fluttering robe billowed out, and dozens of tentacles shot out from his sleeves along with a fierce evil energy.

Then, the biggest tentacle pointed toward a giant mountain of corpses in front of the fortress wall.

—Arise!

When that single word echoed out, the mountain of corpses shook.

The lifeless corpses began to crack open, and the skeletons inside them began to rise one by one. Eventually, over half of the corpses gave birth to moving undead that staggered up to their feet and awaited their master’s command.

—…Tsk.

Despite such an incredible display of necromancy, Abhorrent Charity clicked his tongue.

Normally, the mountain of corpses should have all risen from the dead. But because of the damned World Tree, a portion of the land had turned into a holy area, which cut down his evil energy greatly.

If he didn’t release his divinity, even the current result would not have been possible.

But that didn’t matter. There were more mountains of corpses to go through, and this was more than enough to wipe out a bunch of insects.

—Arise!

Another group of skeletons tore through a mountain of corpses.

—Go!

As Abhorrent Charity gave the command, the undying army of skeletons that were strengthened by his evil energy marched forward.

“They’re coming!”

Having regrouped in the meanwhile, Teresa wet her dry lips with her saliva.

Countless parasites were flooding from the front and the army of skeletons was rushing in from the back. The only solace in this situation was that the Parasites weren’t attacking the Sky Fairies that were inside Tigol Fortress, but that was hardly anything to celebrate, seeing as how humanity was about to be wiped out.

But looking at this turn of events from a different perspective, it meant that this was the only option the Parasites had.

With the World Tree present, capturing Tigol Fortress within a short period of time was impossible. So they must be planning to do as much damage as possible, before deciding to choose between the safer option of retreating or the riskier option of entering a prolonged war.

“General Sanctus!”

Steeling her resolve, Teresa called Jan Sanctus.

As they didn’t have much time, she quickly gave her command.

“I’ll leave the rear side to you. I will handle the parasites with the Equites. You only have to buy time. Got that?”

“Understood. Please be careful, Princess.”

“Of course. My hubby’s finally come back. If I die without talking to him again, I’ll become a ghost from resentment.”

Teresa pushed her helm down while murmuring jokingly.

Jan Sanctus chuckled.

Next, with the cavalry heading forward and the infantry heading backward, the two troops left to fight the enemies storming in.

Just like that, the battle that had fallen into a momentary lull continued.

“All men! Assume the shield formation!”

The infantry instantly stopped marching at Jan Sanctus’ command. Ramming their shields to the ground and stacking another layer of shields on top, they formed a double-layered defensive formation.

On the other hand.

“It doesn’t look like the Parasite Queen is planning on giving up.”

Gabriel, who was watching this turn of events, spread her wings and glanced to the side.

“What are you going to do?”

Next to her was a Beastman whose mane was flowing down with dried up blood. Standing on the wall, he was looking down at the battlefield with a complicated expression.

“We are going to back up the cavalry. But we don’t have enough reserve forces to aid the infantry as well. So, Beastman King, tell me your answer.”

“….”

A deep conflict surfaced on the Beastman’s face. But with the situation being what it was, his hesitation did not last long.

“…Damn it. If they had acted like this several years ago, I would have been out there with them long ago.”

After finally spitting out a few sentences.

—Kuhuhuuung!

He opened his mouth and let out a roar.

Gabriel grinned before grabbing the Beastman King and flapping her wings. As she flew up and led the way, Fallen Angels carrying a Beastman in their hands flew up from every corner of the fortress.

Meanwhile, the distance between the infantry assuming a wall of shields and the skeleton army marching forward with earth-shaking tremors closed to about a hundred meters.

“Hold your ground! Bet your lives on it! Ten minutes! No, five minutes is enough! If you can hold out for that much, victory will be ours!!”

Jan Sanctus shouted passionately and encouraged the soldiers. Standing in the front line with his shield, he kept his eyes fixed in front of him.

Koong, koong, koong, koong.

“Fifty meters!”

The distance shortened rapidly even as he spoke.

Forty meters, thirty meters, twenty meters, ten meters…!

“Everyone…!”

Eventually, as Jan Sanctus was about to shout again—

Koong, koong, koong, koong!

He was stopped short.

It was because he felt the presence of something raining down behind him.

‘No way!’

All sorts of thoughts crossed his mind.

Did the enemy break through the cavalry? Did the Parasites’ flying creatures come down? Did a new army appear from the back? Or…

Subconsciously looking back, Jan Sanctus became dazed in an instant. All his guesses were proven to be false.

The troops that landed behind them weren’t the parasites, the flying creatures, nor the army of an Army Commander.

The footsoldiers lightly pressing down on his comrades’ shoulders and jumping up were none other than that of the Beastman race.

Looking up in a daze, Jan Sanctus saw the Beastman King glancing down at him. Their eyes met for a split second.

Then, the Beastmen leaped past the line of defense, flashing their eyes as they glared at the skeleton army.

“Kuhuhuuuung!”

Starting with the Beastman King, the Beastmen growled ferociously and clashed with the skeleton army.

Jan Sanctus blinked dazedly. He shut his eyes, then opened them once again.

He wasn’t seeing things.

The Beastmen were scuffling with the skeleton army.

The Beastmen race that detested humanity as much as the Parasites after the fall of the Beastmen Alliance was fighting for their sake!?

Jan Sanctus’ lips trembled with emotions.

A hot fire spread out inside his heart.

Would he have ever expected this scene during the days when slave hunting was rampant in Eva?

“General!”

Jan Sanctus snapped out of his daze at a soldier’s shout.

“…All men!”

Finally grabbing ahold of the voice stuck in his throat…

“Chaaaaaaarge!”

He shouted at the top of his lungs.

In the next moment, the infantry simultaneously shot up and charged forward as if they had been waiting for these words.

Joining hands with the Beastmen, they pushed forward, breaking the indiscriminately marching skeleton army with their spears and shields.

At last, after regrettably brushing past each other’s fingertips for so long, the Federation and humanity firmly grasped each other’s hands.

**


[Keuk…!]

The Parasite Queen groaned. She did not expect the Beastmen and Fallen Angels to come out of the fortress.

[What are Vulgar Chastity and Exploding Patience doing…!?]

She went ‘Ah’ after blurting out.

Vulgar Chastity’s succubi were blown back by the witch. There was no need to even mention Exploding Patience’s Banshees as they had sacrificed them to the Thunders to let Vulgar Chastity break through.

The one who gave this command was none other than the Parasite Queen herself.

Things would not have turned out this badly if she had followed the Army Commanders’ plan and carried out the attack by the book.

[Don’t tell me…]

The Parasite Queen fell down on the broken throne.

At the time, she thought it was the only option.

[That was a wrong move as well…?]

And here, yet another thing outside of the Parasite Queen’s expectation occurred.

Her eyebrows twitched as she blankly stared at the moving image in front of her.

Just like a belated realization.

The blessing of the World Tree wasn’t affecting only the Sky Fairies, but also the Cave Fairies.

[…What?]

In this stifling silence, the Parasite Queen’s eyes widened abruptly.

It was because she could feel the trembling energy rising from the fortress.

Two energies that could not be felt before were not only casting over Tigol Fortress but also flooding out to the rest of the battlefield.

In that instant, the heads of the Fairies sitting on their knees from exhaustion shot up.

Whish!

An untimely, fierce gale swept through the battlefield.

Crackle!

Distinctive fire blazed up here and there.

The current of the air changed, the earth rumbled, and water sprouted up, sparkling under the sunlight.

Inside the banquet of five elements, the Fairies slowly stood up. Both Sky Fairies and Cave Fairies stared straight ahead.

Although tears were streaming down their faces, they no longer seemed to be in sorrow.

If anything, they seemed to be enraged.

They glared at the enemy with killing intent as if to burst out with resentment and hatred that they had suppressed within themselves.

That wasn’t all.

Two pairs of pupils appeared from the sky and the ground.

From the sky, eyes of light scattering a brilliant light—

From the ground, eyes of darkness scattering reddish-black darkness—

One looked down and one looked up at the battlefield.

—Wooooooooooh!

The howl of Ophinü Odor, the Lord of Light revered by all Spirits.

—Woooooooooo!

And the howl of Diffidem Odor, the Lord of Darkness feared by all Spirits, echoed out one after the other as if to descend from the sky and rise up from the ground.

The Spirits had kept their promise.

The Spirit Lords that started a war with the Seven Virtues in the unrecorded mythical era, thousands of years ago reappeared in Tigol Fortress.

The allied force of the Federation and humanity had come together fully to combat the Parasites!

[…]

At the same time, witnessing the appearance of the light and the darkness, the Parasite Queen’s lips were trembling more strongly than ever before.

The revival of the World Tree and the appearance of a powerful witch was already threatening to overthrow the tide of battle.

But now, even the two sealed Spirit Lords popped out.

The gears of fate that were once in perfect harmony had twisted out of place once or twice, and now they were crumbling down in total chaos.

[Ah… Aaaaaaaah!]

The Parasite Queen clutched her head.

And around this time.

“Whew…”

The expedition team was fully summoned to the Middle World.

Seol Jihu let out a deep breath, opened his eyes silently, and looked straight ahead.

He gazed at the Parasite Queen within the distant image in the sky.

[You…!]

Their eyes met.

[You, all because of you, all because of yooooooou!!]

The enraged voice of the Parasite Queen erupted out.

Seol Jihu’s eyes turned sharp.

He took a deep breath and fixed his grip on the Spear of Purity.

Finally.

They had finally come this far.

Taking another breath, Seol Jihu raised his spear and took a step forward.

Staring at the Spirits spread out on the battlefield and pointing his spear at the Parasite Queen, he said firmly.

“…Everyone, get ready for battle.”

And thus.

“Don’t let a single one of them escape.”

The flare signaling the start of a counterattack shot up.

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