Chapter 343. Comeback (1)

Sung Shihyun was observing the battlefield with nonchalant eyes.

He seemed a little angry.

No, not angry. Rather— the lines between his eyebrows indicated frustration.

Finally, he closed his eyes and shook his head as if he couldn’t stand to watch any longer.

He couldn’t be blamed.

Spectators in the stands hoped for the game they were watching to be so intense that they would have to sit on the edge of their seats the entire time.

But the players on the field had different opinions. They would rather win by a mile than stay on their toes all through the game.

Of course, if they were on the losing side…

“Fucking shit…”

They would curse like so.

That was exactly how Sung Shihyun felt right now, especially as a human who defected to the Parasites’ side.

It was like playing a game of chance. He had been betting on ‘odd’ when the result had been ‘even’ for hundreds of times in a row, and now that he’d finally bet everything he had left on ‘even’, he got stuck with an ‘odd’.

“Seriously, I don’t understand. Why did the World Tree suddenly revive? What’s with that light and darkness? What moron let things get this messed up?”

[Sung Shihyun.]

The moron… or rather, the one in charge of this situation called him.

[You will need to help out.]

Sung Shihyun bit his tongue and glanced up at the sky.

“Should we keep going? Or….”

[We will retreat.]

“…A wise judgment.”

Sung Shihyun gave a deep sigh and nodded.

“Well, how exactly can I help?”

[Vulgar Chastity is in danger. Can you buy her some time?]

Confused, Sung Shihyun tilted his head.

He had expected orders to rescue the Army Commanders or create an escape route for them, and so was preparing to tell the queen that he couldn’t do both.

But to stall for time— that wasn’t something he expected to hear.

The Parasite Queen seemed to have made an important decision.

‘At this point, I guess it would be hard to come out unscathed without trying something risky.’

Sung Shihyun muttered to himself and nodded.

“Of course, but I can’t stall for long. You know about my current condition, right?”

[I do. I apologize for pushing you too hard.]

“Please, don’t apologize. You did nothing wrong. It’s their fault for not living up to your expectations.”

Sung Shihyun said sarcastically before getting up and dusting off his clothes. He grabbed the sword at his waist and asked abruptly.

“Your Majesty, would you allow me to kill one or two people on the way? It’ll help Blackie too.”

[Blackie?]

“I mean Unsightly Humility. I think I can deal the enemy a blow before we retreat.”

[Will it affect your ability to carry out my orders?]

“Of course not. Right now, no one knows I’ve turned to the Parasites. And they’re all too busy fighting….”

The Parasite Queen gave a renewed look.

Now that she decided to play her trump card, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make the most of it.

Their chances were good, especially for the first blow.

[Alright, go ahead. I will be looking forward to it.]

“Please do.”

Looking at the battlefield, Sung Shihyun said with a sly smile.

“I’ll come back with good news that can appease your anger.”

Pop! With the sound of the air exploding, Sung Shihyun vanished without a trace.

He was next seen running down the hill, then he disappeared again and reappeared at the bottom of the hill.

Though he did not seem to have made any effort to run, such as bending his knees or even taking his feet off the ground, he had already arrived at the battlefield.

This was the effect of the skill representative of a Level 7 Unique Ranker Warrior, Ethereal Shift.

Sung Shihyun had just used it several times in a row.

**


The Star of Pride, the Executor of Superbia, was full of excitement for the first time in a long time.

He wasn’t excited by the war itself per se, but he took pleasure in turning the game around.

The Death Knights had already been exterminated, and Unsightly Humility was barely holding out even after unsealing his divinity.

—Keuk!

Unsightly Humility quickly pulled the reins and the spectral horse lifted its legs.

A huge hand made of light smashed the place where the horse’s legs had just been.

Before Unsightly Humility could even relax, however, the spectral horse suddenly stopped.

The earth was boiling and white steam filled the view. A crimson hand had clasped the horse’s legs.

The heat was beginning to melt the horse’s hooves. Astonished, Unsightly Humility planted his sword down on the ground.

The crimson hand quickly released the horse’s legs, but when he turned his eyes, the hand of light slapped his entire body.

The horse cried pitifully as Unsightly Humility flew off and fell to the ground.

Shivering, the Commander quickly opened his eyes.

His horse was surrounded by Valkyries.

The moment he saw dozens of lances piercing his horse, he knew what had just happened.

—Keuaaaaa!

Enraged, Unsightly Humility rushed at the enemy. He first slashed the Valkyries, then immediately raised his sword and slammed it down on the ground.

CRACK! The ground cracked and shattered all around him.

Shockwaves from the sword flew past the spot where Cinzia had just stood and exploded when it reached the cliff.

He truly had a herculean strength. However, even before he could catch his breath, Unsightly Humility had to raise his shield.

Dealing with the Spirit Lords of Light and Darkness and the Star of Sloth was difficult enough, but they weren’t the only ones surrounding him.

Tang, tang, tang, tang, tang, tang! Chained arrows flew at Unsightly Humility’s shield in unison, blocking his movement.

The Star of Wrath did not pass up this opportunity and rushed in from the side with the greatsword.

Unsightly Humility parried the attack with a skillful movement of his longsword and strongly struck the greatsword down.

However, the Star of Wrath let go of his sword and rolled himself up.
With unbelievable agility unbefitting of his large stature, he quickly shot towards the enemy, tackling him.

“Dowaryaaaa!”

Unsightly Humility stumbled as the Star of Wrath rammed into him.

At the same time, chained arrows flew at him like a net and coiled around his entire body.

Rendered immobile in an instant, Unsightly Humility felt a chill run down his spine. Once again, energies that could not be ignored descended and soared from the sky and the ground. They came at him with clear intentions of crushing him flat.

Suddenly, his hollow eyes flashed blue.

KWAAAAAAA!

Divinity Release.

The burst of energy disassembled all chains and covered the light and darkness.

Even though he was out of danger, Unsightly Humility didn’t look happy.

He’d been repeating these same procedures for quite some time now.

Of course, in some regards, holding his ground against two demigods and three Executors under the restrictive influence of the World Tree was amazing.

But however amazing it may be, it didn’t change the fact that he was at a disadvantage.

The duration of his divinity was getting shorter every second, and releasing it on top of that put a lot of pressure on his body. Unsightly Humility knew he could do this only a few more times.

The Star of Pride, on the other hand, was having a blast. His face filled with excitement when he realized he was on the verge of capturing the Army Commander.

Whether it be fame or contribution points, he would not be lacking if he was successful. Even reaching Level 8 would no longer be a dream.

Dreaming of a rosy future, the Star of Pride suddenly came back to reality. Nocking another arrow against his bow, he gazed at Unsightly Humility, who was standing motionlessly.

‘Why isn’t he moving?’ He wondered.

It was then that he realized the quickly approaching presence. An Earthling wearing an iron helmet, cape flying, was running towards them at considerable speed.

“I’ll help you!”

“…What?”

Before he could say anything, the man rushed in like the wind towards Unsightly Humility and attempted to attack him from the side.

Of course, Unsightly Humility wasn’t just going to watch.

Keeping an eye out for the hands, the Army Commander swung his sword, and the man was immediately thrown to the ground.

“Arrgh!”

“Ah, hey, you moron!”

The Star of Pride yelled at the man flying towards him while scattering his blood in the air.

“Even if you’re thirsty for contribution points, don't stick your nose where it doesn't belo…!”

He paused all of a sudden.

A vague feeling of suspicion overtook him.

Perhaps the man’s greed had numbed his fears, but to yell ‘I’ll help you!’ right before a surprise attack? That was definitely strange.

Above all, the movement of the man’s sword caught his eye. He couldn’t quite tell whether it was intentional or not, but he noticed that the man’s blade was coming towards his neck as he flew.

He was in doubt for long but was quick to take action.

The Star of Pride unwittingly backed away from the man and fired an arrow. Just before the chain on the arrow wrapped around the man…

“…Damn.”

Pop! An explosive sound rang out.

The chains hit against each other instead of binding the man.

“I see that your perception is just as fast as ever.”

Dazed, the Star of Pride looked back over his shoulders. There, he saw a perfectly white row of teeth visible through a grin.

“You know what?”

Sensing danger, the Archer’s body moved automatically.

At the same time, the thoughts, ‘he’s not on our side’ and ‘can it be…?’ crossed his mind.

However, the enemy’s sword was much faster than him. It was his mistake to allow the man to come near without suspecting that he might be an enemy.

“Of all the Executors, I’ve always hated you the most!”

Swish!

That was the end.

The Star of Pride’s head separated from his body and flew into the air.

The man landed in a heap amid everyone’s astonishment.

“Hoh!”

Planting his feet firmly on the ground, he brandished his sword towards the sky.

It was a simple act, but massive shockwaves and crescent-shaped sword qi rushed forward.

The light and darkness quickly moved away in a startle.

“…Man, they’re perceptive too.”

The young man muttered as he threw off his helmet.

The face that was revealed, grinned at Unsightly Humility.

“Aren’t you grateful?”

—…I am. I heard your voice in my head and prepared in advance.

“Yeah, yeah, nice shot. I got a light cut too. That guy’s quick-witted, so I wasn’t sure if I could get near him within six steps… hmm?”

Sung Shihyun quickly stepped to the side. A loud bang rang out beside the Archer’s headless body.

“Sung Shihyuuuun!”

The Star of Wrath was fuming with anger with his sword stuck in the ground.

“You bastard… I was wondering why I haven’t seen you in such a long time…. But why…?”

“Why do you think? Can’t you see?”

Sung Shihyun snorted and pointed at his body.

The Star of Wrath became speechless.

There, a long wound was in the process of healing. Such regenerative ability meant only one thing — Sung Shihyun had accepted the Parasite Queen’s Authority into his body.

“You….”

“Ah, whatever. I’ve got nothing to say to you.”

Sung Shihyun said flatly and turned his gaze to Cinzia.

“It’s been a while, hmm? Fifth.”

“….”

“So Sixth isn’t with you? Where’s my prim, bespectacled kitten?”

Sung Shihyun asked playfully, looking around.

A look of bewilderment and confusion crossed Cinzia’s face. She sighed and rubbed her temples.

“You were gone for so long, so I suspected this might be the case, but… you’ve really done it this time, you little horseshit.”

“Hahahaha. I warned you, remember? Keep messing with me and I’ll turn to the Parasites.”

“Did they promise you something good? Something worthy of giving up life on Earth?”

“Yep, they did. And life on Earth is overrated anyway. A bunch of jackasses are always trying to kidnap me every time I go back. Would you want to go back if you were in my shoes?”

“What?”

“Ah~ Nevermind. None of that matters now. I’m like, su~per busy right now. I gotta go fulfill the Queen’s orders.”

“Queen? You mean the Parasite Queen?”

“Yeah. Ah, we’re gonna retreat soon. So let’s say goodbye here.”

“As if!”

The Star of Wrath shouted.

As Sung Shihyun snickered, Cinzia’s complexion waned. The Sung Shihyun she knew was a scumbag and a lecher, but his skills were real.

He always did what he said he would do. Just like this time, when he really turned to the Parasites.

“I told you, we’re retreating. But it’s really us doing you a favor. I admit you guys have an advantage, but do you think the Parasites will go down that easily? Really?”

Sung Shihyun looked back at Unsightly Humility with a smirk.

“Hey, Blackie. The Queen wants you to hang in there a little longer. I removed one of them for you, so can you do it?”

—Of course. You’ve been a great help.

Unsightly Humility answered, and at the same time, Death Knights began to rise from the ground. The spectral horse had been summoned again as well.

“Then I’m leaving. There’s an even more dangerous place for me to go to.”

—I assume you’re talking about Vulgar Chastity. Go on. I’ll take care of these guys.

“Of course, you will.”

Sung Shihyun jumped up without hesitation. He began to climb as if there were stairs in the air before looking back at Cinzia and waving his hand.

“Goodbye, Fifth. I’ll see you in bed next time. With Sixth, of course.”

Unable to contain his anger, the burly man threw his greatsword. But Sung Shihyun had already disappeared without a trace, and the sword pierced nothing but the empty air.

Cinzia bit her lips, wary of Unsightly Humility who regained his composure.

Sung Shihyun had already climbed the cliff and was crossing the fortress wall.

*


Meanwhile.

—AHHHHHHHHHH!

Flames and screams were violently swirling inside the fortress.

Flaming clothes and hair swirled around Vulgar Chastity, who had unsealed her divinity.

The barrier was dense enough not to fit a single drop of water, but that was all there was. The expedition team had no reason to enter the burning barrier.

Things were quite different from when they fought the Army Commanders in the Spirit Realm.

This time, the Parasites were backed into a corner, and the Federation and humanity had the upper hand. The longer they held out, the more advantageous their situation would become.

Moments later, the raging flames died down. Vulgar Chastity knew she was at a disadvantage and was smart enough not to waste all her energy at once.

She had formed the barrier to prevent joint attacks by her enemies — the Star of Lust, the Star of Avarice, Roselle, and the Arcus Spirit — but she could not keep it longer than necessary.

But the fact that the flames were gone meant that she was approachable again.

Seol Jihu’s eyes lit up. Immediately, he dashed towards Vulgar Chastity using Flash Thunder.

And it wasn’t just Seol Jihu. Baek Haeju, Agnes, and Hoshino Urara also took part in the attack from different angles.

—Kyaah!

Vulgar Chastity flashed her eyes as she revealed her fangs. Her eyes met Hoshino Urara’s as she jumped in from the front.

“Ueh?”

With a dazed look, Hoshino Urara fell to the ground. But there were still three remaining, so Vulgar Chastity quickly prepared the next move.

Glistening smoke gushed out of her body. From the surface, the smoke looked like white clouds, but it was actually poisonous gas that melted everything that it touched.

However, Seol Jihu did not stop Flash Thunder. He believed in his comrades.

“Luxu · Lu · Luxuria!”

“Avar · Ava · Avaritia!”

A semi-spherical membrane enveloped Seol Jihu, and a strong wind blew away the smoke. Seol Jihu took this opportunity to thrust his spear, brimming with golden sword qi, into Vulgar Chastity.

Pzzzzzt! Vulgar Chastity’s hair wrapped around the spear just in time to stop it. It also swallowed Baek Haeju’s spear and Agnes’ threads.

—Uaaaargh!

Seeing the tip of the spear swaying right in front of her eyes, Vulgar Chastity moaned in panic. She once again released her divinity.

—?

She expected the release to send her enemies flying. But somehow, the trio was still standing. She even felt they had become stronger.

‘How…!?’

Vulgar Chastity could not hide her shock.

Whiiiiiiish!

It was only then that she realized that the space surrounding her was distorted. Her energy was being cut off by a powerful force.

When she saw Roselle with her forehead drenched in sweat and her hands stretched forward, she realized that the witch had somehow trapped her and her energy inside a barrier.

Vulgar Chastity clenched her teeth and tried to break open the barrier.
At that moment, the phoenix suddenly soared to the sky, spreading its wings and opening its beak wide.

Vulgar Chastity trembled with fear when she saw a crimson ball of flame forming in his beak.

She was just beginning to realize the reason that Raging Temperance and Twisted Kindness lost might not be just because of bad luck.

It was then.

—Hmm?

Roselle, who was devoting all her energy to maintain the barrier, suddenly turned her head.

Seol Jihu also threw a glance in the same direction.

A white line was drawn vertically in the middle of the huge ice barrier Roselle erected.

Crack!

Before they knew it, the barrier shattered into pieces and a hole was formed in the middle.

Seol Jihu flinched.

He might have been mistaken, but something seemed to have entered through that hole.

But he couldn’t see anything unusual.

As Seol Jihu tried to make sense of the situation, color drained from Baek Haeju’s face.

She suddenly withdrew her spear and turned away. Wide-eyed, she threw the spear straight at the hole.

However…

“Ah!”

Boom. With a small explosion, her spear pierced through the empty air.

—What!?

The phoenix must have seen the same thing Baek Haeju did as it also spewed out flames toward the ice barrier.

However, the flames, which were flying with tremendous momentum, were divided into pieces as if they had been cut by a sword.

Seeing this, Seol Jihu’s doubt turned into certainty. He immediately ran without hesitation.

He was planning to aim for the point where the flames split, but then— Boom! He heard another explosion.

The flames merged into one again.

‘It disappeared?’

Seol Jihu flinched with a frown on his face.

Philip Muller, absent-mindedly blinking his eyes instead of chanting spells, came into his sight.

Suddenly, for some unknown reason, an alarm bell rang inside Seol Jihu’s head.

There was no time to hesitate. Although he still couldn’t see anything with his eyes—

Whoosh!

Seol Jihu followed his ‘intuition’ and darted towards Philip Muller. As soon as he raised the Spear of Purity, a white sword appeared, cutting through the air.

Clang!

A metallic clanging rang out.

Seol Jihu held his breath at the unbelievable weight felt through his hands.

As he barely raised his head, he saw his spear blocking a white sword and the face of a young man holding the sword.

He could have sworn that this man wasn’t here a second ago. Everything felt surreal.

“…Huh?”

But the young man seemed just as surprised as Seol Jihu.

“You read Ethereal Shift? And you blocked my White Fang?”

Dazed, Sung Shihyun looked down.

Seol Jihu clenched his teeth and looked up.

The former’s sharp, arrogant eyes met the latter’s burning, dignified eyes.

And so….

“You’re…?”

“…!”

The two young men’s gazes clashed violently in the air.

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