Tearing through space following the leg were two arms.
Emerging in an outward motion as if to trot through a thicket, the goddess of parasitism finally showed herself.
Slowly descending from the sky to the hill, she seemed to be about 4 to 5 meters tall. Her hair was made of tentacles, and her breasts were like two dinosaur eggs, supported by her bone armor. She had a gray exoskeleton that looked sturdy like a carapace, and her iron-like bone wings were connected to her shoulder joints.
…Right, the Parasite Queen descended on the battlefield.
Vulgar Chastity trembled at a loss for words. White, cloud-like steam was continuously rising up from the Parasite Queen’s body making it difficult to be seen.
The Parasite Queen recoiled after stepping on the hilltop. Her shoulders hunched over, her wings folded, and her back slowly curled in.
Parts of her body contracted from moment to moment as if she had entered a compressor of some sort. As if to endure this by force, the Parasite Queen convulsed violently.
—Y… Your Majesty!
Seeing the Parasite Queen in pain, Exploding Patience shouted with lamentation.
However, the Parasite Queen straightened her body at last and opened her burning mouth.
—Y-Yes, Your Majesty!
Exploding Patience burst into tears.
To the Army Commanders, their dearly revered Queen appearing in this place had a special meaning.
Apologetic from failing to perform their mission, they were greatly touched that the Queen forced herself to descend to make up for their pathetic mistakes.
And soon, this emotion turned into a terrifying battle intent.
The Queen had shaved off her life to take action, so how could they not risk their lives?
—Just give the command, Your Majesty! Even if I perish, I will take these lowly creatures with me…!
Exploding Patience burned her fighting spirit with blazing eyes.
She showed a dazed expression at the Queen’s next word.
She wasn’t ordering an all-or-nothing battle, but a retreat?
Exploding Patience doubted her ears as her mouth gaped open from disbelief.
It was then.
The Parasite Queen grunted shortly and hurriedly reached out her arm to where the Nests were gathered farthest back.
Immediately afterward, the Army Commanders were all shocked speechless.
Boom, boom, boom, boom! The Nests began to explode out of the blue. Excluding the pinnacle-ranked Nests which were only a few in number, the lower-ranked, middle-ranked, and upper-ranked Nests all exploded indiscriminately.
Exploding Patience was taken aback.
The Nests contained the Queen’s power, but they were also special in that they were seeds that originated from the planet she came from.
With the Queen’s planet destroyed, the Nests were rare creatures that could not be replaced once lost. That was why the Parasites treated them like treasures, yet the Queen was detonating the Nests herself?
It wasn’t until half of the Nests detonated that Exploding Patience learned of the answer.
The smoke rising from the Queen’s body slowly subsided until it died down completely.
Exploding Patience exclaimed.
The Parasite Queen had retrieved the remnant divinity she bestowed to the Nests and succeeded in temporarily weakening the oath shackling her down.
Of course, this was an extremely inefficient thing to do.
Sacrificing divinity just to step outside the Empire’s territory meant her strength had diminished by that much.
Only, her intent was clear.
Breathing out a hot gust of air through her nose, the Parasite Queen calmly gazed at the battlefield.
Suddenly, a self-deprecating laugh escaped her mouth.
This was the first crushing defeat she suffered since the time she escaped to Paradise after being cut down by the Martial God.
Military forces, divinity, and future. She suffered tremendous losses in all aspects and would continue to suffer more damages.
However, the Parasite Queen did not blame others. Everything was the result of her wrong choices.
Moreover, she was the leader of the Parasites before being the Chief Deity of this planet. As the Queen who commanded all parasites, it was her duty to take responsibility for this defeat.
As everyone’s gazes remained fixed on her, the Parasite Queen straightened her back. She stood tall and spread out her bone wings.
Then, she spread out her arms and released her divinity.
The dignified presence of the Parasite Queen, who once ruled over countless planets of a galaxy in the far mythical era, returned to life in this place.
Along with a sudden ear-splitting, high-pitched scream, terrifying energy that could not be measured struck down on the land.
The hill that the Queen was standing on sunk in and a chunk of land was instantly torn to shreds. Only then did a frightening explosion erupt.
In an instant, everyone’s vision became blurred.
It was because a sun had risen from the spot where the Queen was standing. To be precise, flames had erupted out, but the scale of the explosion was enough to make anyone think that the sun had risen up.
Seol Jihu reflexively crossed his arms in front of his face and furrowed his brows. His shaking field of vision faintly caught sight of a mushroom cloud that had shot up to the sky.
Next, debris mixed with smoke rose from the site of the heaving explosions.
It was at that moment. The sun-like fireball expanded in size by a dozen times. Rumble! Kwang! Kwang! The hill then collapsed, and a fierce heatwave mixed with dirt erupted out.
The chained explosions that started before anyone noticed bombarded the spacious battlefield and reached Tigol Fortress in an instant.
Tang, tang, tang! Seol Jihu drew a deep breath at the ear-punching din.
Debris struck the barriers that Seo Yuhui, Roselle, Philip Muller, and Maria created with all their might.
However, they burned down in the next moment, and the fiery debris quickly closed in.
Beads of sweat formed on Seol Jihu’s forehead. He felt like his flesh was being melted by the intense heatwave. Despite a barrier protecting him, his skin heated up like it was being cooked.
The destructive power of the Parasite Queen’s outburst was simply too terrifying. However, this wasn’t the end. It was only the beginning.
The sky flipped over in a split second.
That was the only way Seol Jihu could describe what just happened as his vision shook crazily. Other members of the expedition team were also screaming and swaying violently.
Having struck his spear into the ground to maintain his balance, Seol Jihu was dumbfounded by what he saw next.
The world was upside down.
The fortress, the World Tree, and even the mountain range were dangling from the sky as if they would fall at any moment.
He even saw people who were actually falling upside down.
He couldn’t tell whether the world had actually inverted or if he was just seeing things this way due to his own positioning.
However, he clearly felt like the law of gravity existing in this world was reversed at this moment.
Inside this burning purgatory where everything had turned topsy-turvy, it didn’t take long for the already chaotic battlefield to turn into a pandemonium.
Still, what drove Seol Jihu to the end of his wits was something else.
The sky flipped over a moment ago, and now the earth had begun to shake.
Almost as if there was an earthquake.
Then, a howl echoed out.
Followed by ear-splitting explosions.
Pillars of lava shot up from the surroundings like dragons ascending to the sky. The nearby volcanoes reacted to the Queen’s rage and began to explode.
The land cracked like farmland bogged down by drought, forming a massive spiderweb that stretched across the entire battlefield.
The cracks eventually came together, forming a deep fissure that cut the hill and the fortress apart.
Boiling lava then gushed out from the fissure and coursed around like a river.
Seol Jihu was completely taken by surprise.
A huge explosion, a sky that turned upside down, and a rumbling ground. With heaven and earth going through such massive changes in the blink of an eye, he wanted to just let go of everything.
While he was holding out with superhuman endurance, he suddenly caught sight of two beings floating in the end.
One was Sung Shihyun, who was still missing an arm and vomiting out fresh blood. The other was Vulgar Chastity, who was helping him up.
Neither of them looked to be particularly well off.
Sung Shihyun was panting heavily with his remaining arm around Vulgar Chastity’s shoulders. Vulgar Chastity must have canceled her Divinity Release as she had returned to her original appearance.
Although their faces were ashen and pale, they seemed unaffected by the hell that was breaking loose.
Just like how Roselle’s area of effect magic only affected the Parasites, the two of them didn’t seem to be affected by the Parasite Queen’s energy.
Seol Jihu’s eyes made contact with those of Vulgar Chastity’s. Soon, Vulgar Chastity turned around without hesitation. Flapping her wings, she brought Sung Shihyun away from the fortress.
Seol Jihu instinctively reached toward the two escaping Army Commanders, but it was in vain.
The high-pitched voice that was ringing out endlessly suddenly stopped.
The Parasite Queen’s eyes shot open.
Her breathing got heavy and she was struck with an intense headache. A stream of black blood spurted out of her nose, but she did not perceive it as an intense pain twisting her insides suddenly came down on her.
She bit down on her trembling lips.
‘Kkuk! Kkuk!’ The Parasite Queen was making considerable efforts to hold it in, but reddish-black blood spurted out from between her lips.
Eventually, she collapsed while vomiting out a black liquid.
—Keeeuu! Cough! Cough, cough!
Exploding Patience, having released her divinity, shot toward the hill that had sunken in like a volcanic crater.
Seeing the vomiting Queen, she was at a loss for what to do. The body that had cooled down also showed signs of heating up.
Seeing the wavering hazes rising up from different parts of the Queen’s body, Exploding Patience tapped her toes nervously.
The Parasite Queen raised her head with great difficulty.
Exploding Patience had arrived, and Abhorrent Charity and Unsightly Humility were controlling the Nests to make them retreat. Vulgar Chastity and Sung Shihyun were also flying across the battlefield toward them.
She let loose a long sigh.
—…That is enough.
Although she had to pay a price that could not be ignored, she achieved her goal.
The Parasite Queen staggered up.
There was only one thing left to do.
The Parasite Queen turned around without hesitation.
She flew up, spreading her creaking wings open.
Just like that, the Parasites’ forces began to retreat amidst the chaos of the battlefield.
At one point, they filled the sky and dyed the world in their colors, but now they followed the Queen who flew toward the setting sun.
The endlessly ringing high-pitched voice stopped abruptly.
The explosions gradually died down, the reversed gravity returned to normal, and the rumbling of the earth disappeared.
After much wobbling, Seol Jihu narrowly grabbed ahold of his balance.
As his blurred vision came into focus, what first entered his line of sight was an empty sky.
Neither Vulgar Chastity nor Sung Shihyun could be seen.
It was as if he had a short nightmare.
Seol Jihu then heard the ruckus outside after standing still like a stone statue for a while.
In the next moment, he ran out like a bolt of lightning. He heard someone calling him from behind but didn’t look back. He focused solely on chasing after the escaping Parasites.
He just had a feeling he should.
Using Flash Thunder to leave the fortress in an instant, Seol Jihu became lost for words immediately.
The battlefield was so chaotic that calling it a mess would be an understatement.
The dense mushroom cloud was still hovering in the air, and a burning heatwave was rising from the barren wasteland that didn’t have a single tuft of grass remaining.
The baked ground cracked further with each step he took, and the scorched dirt gave off an acrid smoke as it smoldered.
With lava flowing all over the place, the area could only be described as a living hell.
It was as if he was seeing the immediate aftermath of a nuclear war.
If it wasn’t for Ophinü Odor and Diffidem Odor along with the five Spirit Kings and other Spirits, risking their lives to lessen the damage, and the World Tree frantically defending everyone, the ones remaining on this battlefield would have turned to ash a long time ago.
‘This is… the true power of a god….’
Seol Jihu finally realized why Sung Shihyun was so confident.
The Army Commanders were simply incomparable.
The true power of the Parasite Queen, who was said to be high-ranked even among the numerous gods, was enough to instill fear and terror in anyone watching.
Seol Jihu swallowed hard but soon shook off the thought.
‘Something was off about her, what with the smoke and all.’
Paradise should have fallen to the Parasite Queen’s hands long ago if she could exert such power every time.
The fact that it still hadn’t meant that there was some sort of restriction shackling her down.
In that case, the story was different. If his conjecture was right, the Queen must have suffered a great loss to make herself descend in this place.
To preserve the Army Commanders and her plans for the future even at the risk of hurting herself.
Seol Jihu rubbed his tingling nose and gazed at the far distance.
He couldn’t see the Parasite Queen or the Army Commanders, but beyond the horizon revealed by the sunken hill, he saw faint movements of the retreating Parasites’ forces.
“Are you the human who revived the World Tree?”
At that moment, a husky voice rang out next to him.
A maned Beastman with a half-burnt face raised his body with a grunt.
Then, he asked.
“Will you let them escape?”
Seol Jihu blinked at the sudden question.
“Or will you chase after them?”
But hearing the next question, strength entered his eyes.
The Beastman grinned, having understood Seol Jihu’s intention just by the glint in his eyes.
“So we’re thinking along the same lines.”
The human-like figure then suddenly transformed into a large beast.
Its silk-like mane fluttering, the black stripes on its white body made it look like a white tiger.
The Beastman stood on its four legs and glanced down.
Seol Jihu jumped on without a moment of hesitation.
“Hold on tight.”
The white tiger then shot forward.
Seol Jihu’s eyes widened. Though he was expecting it to a degree, he almost fell from the blazing speed of the Beastman.
But soon, he lowered his upper body and sharpened his gaze.
He had no intention of letting the Parasites escape so easily.
Rather, he couldn’t let them.
And so, while everyone was in a flurry from the chaos, only Seol Jihu riding the white tiger cut through the battlefield like a ray of light.
The first one to notice was Hao Win.
After arriving at Tigol Fortress, he had jumped into the fray, leading the Triads in following the cavalry.
He was breathing a sigh of relief after narrowly surviving, thanks to the World Tree, when he saw Seol Jihu chasing after the enemy by himself and made a shocked expression.
However, he grinned in the next moment.
“Again, he’s running while only looking straight ahead. Ming Jie!”
“…Will you chase after him?”
“What choice do I have? He says he’s not satisfied with just the appetizer and the main dish.”
“I’m personally full… I mean, they’re escaping, aren’t they? Is there a reason to—”
“Now, now, let’s be polite to the chef preparing the course. We might as well enjoy the dessert since we made it this far.”
Hao Win chuckled before picking up his sword and shield and running after Seol Jihu.
With a sigh, Ming Jie rallied the Triads and followed Hao Win.
“Not enough, huh.”
Gabriel was the same.
Sweeping up her silver hair that was muddled with ash, she spread her wings.
They weren’t the only ones. Those who watched Seol Jihu pursuing the enemy with a frightening spirit got up at once as though they’d been bewitched.
Paradisians, Earthlings, and the foreign races of the Federation all followed Seol Jihu as he charged ahead.
And so, the time that had frozen began to flow again.
[So what I’m saying is…]
Although Seol Jihu was unaware.
[Don’t you have any thoughts about becoming a King?]
[…It sounds nice.]
Where everyone was following him, the one who was spearheading the charge.
[To become King.]
Was just like seeing a King, leading his army, and charging through the battlefield.Previous Chapter Next Chapter