Seol Jihu’s eyes slowly turned scarlet.
The atrocious crimson blaze resembled the eyes of a gargoyle.
‘Wait a minute. That skill….’
One of the five defectors, the young man who had previously expressed disappointment to Seol Jihu, furrowed his brow.
Being a Warrior like Seol Jihu, he was thinking of a certain skill.
He was confused because that skill could not be learned at Level 6. It was unlocked at Level 7.
Seol Jihu took a deep breath, his head slowly tilting back.
His hair began to stand on end one by one in response to the explosive energy.
The young man flinched as two crimson rays of light shot out of Seol Jihu’s eyes.
A skill that converts emotion into anger, which doubles the power of all skills involved in combat without the danger of losing one’s sanity….
Level 7 Star Seeker, Awakening Skill — Berserk.
Seol Jihu’s mouth dropped open and an ear-splitting roar echoed throughout the mountain range.
At the appalling cry, the five defectors frowned in unison.
Others also covered their ears or staggered with shock.
Seol Jihu kicked the ground. As he quickly closed the distance between him and his prey, he thrust his spear forward.
Clang! A long sword parried the blow.
The young man was the only one who managed to react in time.
Seol Jihu’s prey, the woman, slowly turned her gaze to the long sword in front of her which was shaking violently as it ground against the spear.
“Get hold of yourself!”
The young man shouted in frustration.
Immediately the woman crossed her hands, each holding a katana, and swung her arms forward.
The young man had managed to block the attack but his strength was clearly inferior to that of their enemy’s and she could see the spear pushing his long sword back.
The giant, too, came to his senses and hurriedly pulled out his battle axe and swung it at the enemy.
He intended to send the enemy flying along with his spear.
The spear didn’t even budge, it only stopped moving.
But the next moment he realized he was mistaken even about that.
With a cry, the white spear began to emit stronger waves of energy.
This greatly surprised the giant.
Not one, not two, but three people were pouring all their strength into stopping the spear, but their efforts were to no avail.
Everyone was generating mana as quickly as possible but the spear kept getting faster every second.
“Keuk! He’s a monster…! Do something…!”
The giant whimpered, his face covered with sweat.
He heard the wind. Seol Jihu’s eyes quickly scanned both sides.
The remaining two people quickly rushed from left and right towards Seol Jihu.
The trio momentarily lost their balance and staggered when Seol Jihu pulled back his spear. He immediately swung his spear to the left.
The opponent quickly backed away as if that had been his intention from the start. The other assassin did not miss this opportunity and rushed to stab Seol Jihu.
It was then.
Suddenly a small, slender hand grabbed his wrist.
“Your playmate is me!”
Hoshino Urara appeared behind the enemy like a ghost.
She jumped and tightened her legs around the enemy’s waist.
She twisted his wrist and then began to stab him in the neck with the other hand. The enemy struggled to escape.
The woman shouted after regaining her balance.
The four of them, except for the one fighting Hoshino Urara, surrounded Seol Jihu in the blink of an eye.
“Don’t be an overachiever. Just keep him in check by tagging in and out.”
The woman quickly grasped the situation and muttered.
She then raised her arm and signaled the soldiers to surround the rest of the Valhalla members, not Seol Jihu.
It was a smart decision on her part.
Her plan was thus: one would keep Hoshino Urara busy while the other four fought Seol Jihu, and in the meantime, the rest would take care of Eun Yuri, Chung Chohong, and the remaining two.
The black smoke that freed Seo Yuhui concerned the woman, but her team was composed of many High Rankers. She felt confident that they could hold out.
It was then that she heard a resonant voice.
A layer of frosty mist spread around Eun Yuri.
The raindrops froze and became sharp thorns that fell on her enemies.
“Ow, that hurts!”
“What the fuck is going on?”
A single thorn did not cause much damage but when dozens of them hit at once, her enemies began to falter and shake their arms wildly.
Eun Yuri shouted yet again, sweat dripping down her face.
Her voice resounded beautifully.
At the exact locations where the enemies had stopped to block the ice thorns, sudden streams of water spewed into the air from the ground soaked with rain.
The water froze as soon as it touched the frosty mist.
It was as if a fountain had just been turned on and then frozen.
Screams of fear erupted from everywhere.
The lucky ones were thrown into the air and the unlucky ones were pierced by the frozen stream of water, their bodies hanging mindlessly in the air.
“Damn it! Take care of the Magician fir—”
The woman began to yell but couldn’t finish her sentence, because Seol Jihu was charging at her at incredible speed.
Chohong took a step toward Seol Jihu and then stopped.
“That crazy magician bitch!”
“Damn it, my feet…! Don’t kill her right away! Don’t let her get away so easily!”
The ones who escaped or recovered from the magic attack were racing towards Eun Yuri.
Seo Yuhui was in no condition to fight currently, and Flone was in charge of protecting her.
This meant that Eun Yuri was wide open to enemy attacks.
Chohong knew well the terrible end that a magician would meet without a keeper. And so, she turned towards Eun Yuri.
It was then.
She heard something sharp flying through the air just past her ear.
Immediately, an enemy collapsed with a pig-like squeal. An arrow had ripped through his skull.
With each successive sound, the enemies fell to the ground one by one.
There was yet another roar.
The Barbarian Champion rushed onto the scene like an angry bull and slashed the neck of an enemy who was staggering after being hit by an arrow.
He then chased after an enemy who was targeting Eun Yuri and smashed him in the head with his weapon.
Each time the Warrior’s shining halberd spun, an enemy fell to the ground, and Chohong’s face brightened.
“Hey! Way to go, Hugo!”
She then heard a voice from behind. When she turned back, a bottle full of transparent liquid flew at her.
“You look like you’ve taken a blow. Use that to heal.”
Snake Eyes, Audrey Basler grinned as she nocked another arrow to the bow.
Chohong removed her hand from her side and clenched her fists.
Now everything was clear.
She had no idea how, but Valhalla’s Team 2 was here.
Chohong opened the cap with her bloodstained hand, emptied the healing potion in one gulp, and began to run.
Meanwhile, the five Level 6s also realized the arrival of enemy reinforcements.
But there was nothing they could do. They were busy dealing with problems of their own.
Tagging in and out was a technique used by a group of people against a smaller group of elites, in which members took turns fighting enemies and exhausting their forces.
As time passed, however, it became clear that this technique was exhausting the four of them faster than Seol Jihu.
With a roar, the giant swung his arms towards the ground.
But his battle-axe continued to smash the ground, not the enemy.
It was a strange phenomenon.
Seol Jihu remained in the same spot, only slightly twisting his body from time to time, yet all the attacks missed him.
It was as if a mysterious force was forcing the axe to slide down whenever it touched Seol Jihu’s skin.
“You little rat!”
This time the giant stretched out his arm in anger.
He was going to grab Seol Jihu and then smash him with the axe, but Seol Jihu blocked the giant’s arm first.
Seol Jihu pushed the arm in the opposite direction and the giant spun in place like a figure skater.
He spun and spun before falling on his butt.
The woman threw a dozen poisoned daggers towards the enemy, but when she saw them all coming back to her, she backed away in horror.
The young man was on his way to save the giant when Seol Jihu suddenly turned the spear towards him. He quickly raised his sword.
The collision almost tore his hand.
But this wasn’t the end.
Strands of golden sword qi shot out from the tip of the spear and rushed at the young man.
The young man twisted his upper body and managed to deflect the sword qi. However….
He felt a sudden pain in his left shoulder.
The young man was thrown into confusion as he let out a sharp cry.
He had blocked the spear and avoided the sword qi. So why?
But there was no time to think as the invisible spear moved once again towards his chest.
The young man shouted upon realization.
Seol Jihu gave a small grin.
“I thought you’d all be like Miss Agnes… Well, at least you’re better than your friends.”
As he prepared to chase the young man, a strange sound rang out in the dark.
A hand pulled on the bow and a pair of eyes gleamed brightly.
When Seol Jihu shot forward, the Archer let go of the string.
His arrow flew silently and quickly towards Seol Jihu.
It was then.
A blue light flashed between the two.
The light bounced off the arrow and quickly traveled towards the Archer.
The Archer jerked back immediately but the light slashed the air in front of him and he felt blood dripping down his face.
The speed was just astounding.
The Archer flinched.
A female swordsman was staring at him, her sword hanging by her side.
“So you know me…. Who are you? Care to take off that mask for me?”
Oh Rahee gave a light chuckle as she played with her hair.
The Archer grabbed his chest and bit his lips.
An Imperial Knight. The enemy had gained yet another Level 6.
Enraged, the giant raised himself.
“Hey! What do you want me to do? This is nothing like you s—”
As he turned towards the woman, the sound of metallic chains rang out and the giant staggered.
A sickle chain wound around his left arm.
“What the hell?”
The giant pulled his arm back towards himself.
But his opponent wasn’t an easy one to deal with.
He saw a man at least a head taller than him pulling the chain from the other side.
It was Vlad Halep.
He could move his arm slightly if he pulled hard. But the giant soon realized it wasn’t the time for a tug of war.
Because in the distance, a Warrior with a mace in her hand was running towards him.
“Alright! Keep him there!”
Chohong leaped into the air, her silver hair swinging out behind her shoulders.
“You bastard. You’re so dead.”
She raised the Thorn of Steel above her head and looked down at the enemy with eyes full of contempt.
The giant clenched his teeth.
Now he had no choice but to swing his axe with only one arm.
The woman and the young man’s complexion waned.
They had just lost two of their comrades.
“Sorry, we’re late.”
A man soaked in rain flew through the air and landed on the ground behind Seol Jihu.
“I meant to come earlier, but we had to cross a lot of mountains.”
Kazuki explained as he wiped the rain from his face.
Seol Jihu smiled.
“No, you’re right on time.”
“I’ll cover you from behind.”
“Don’t kill them. I have a use for those five.”
“Alright. I’ll tell the others.”
Replied Kazuki while nocking another arrow to his bow.
“…That bastard, he’s a Level 7 on the brink of Level 8.”
Meanwhile, the young man and the woman shared a brief conversation as well.
“It’s true. That absurd battle power has to be from using Berserk. My close-combat technique is at the Pinnacle-rank, but it didn’t even stand a chance against him. That must mean he also has Ethereal Shift.”
“As much as I don’t want to admit it, he could have easily killed us if he wanted to. Both when we were holding Seo Yuhui hostage and during the fight just now…. He’s toying with us. He wants to capture us alive.”
The young man’s speculation was correct. After all, he had even witnessed Seol Jihu instructing the black smoke not to kill.
“Buy me some time.”
When he saw Seol Jihu point his spear at him, the young man took a deep breath and tightened the grip around his sword.
“Protect me, just for a moment. Predict where he’ll move and get there before him. Kazuki will probably shoot you once or twice, so be prepared for that.”
The woman nodded without hesitation.
She was the team leader, but the young man was stronger than her.
An Earthling who was once called a sword genius.
The tide had turned against them, but she believed that the young man could find a way out of all this.
The woman answered shortly and the young man jumped back.
He quickly increased the distance between himself and the enemy before lifting his arms towards the sky.
The blade of his sword stretched like the Monkey King’s magical staff and then shrank back again.
The next moment he shook his arm, and the blade split in two.
Seol Jihu furrowed his brow.
4, 8, 16, 32…. Every time the young man shook his sword, its blade doubled in number.
Kazuki muttered shortly.
“Thousand Sword…. So Sinyoung is involved in this too?”
He’d heard of that name before.
He recalled that when Jang Maldong first mentioned the name, he had burst into laughter.
Meanwhile, the number of blades increased to 64, 128, and then 256.
‘That could be a bit….’
Seol Jihu hurriedly used Ethereal Shift.
He emerged behind the young man but the woman guarding his target quickly stepped in between them.
Seol Jihu used Ethereal Shift again.
And then, he saw 512 blades flying towards him.
The young man seemed to have thrown his sword at Seol Jihu the moment he spotted him.
When Seol Jihu used Ethereal Shift for the third time, the woman persistently chased him and tried to keep him away from the young man.
Seol Jihu reached out with his left arm, and Mana Spears in the form of sword qi shot out of his palm in bundles.
The woman tried to avoid the spears but instead fell to one knee with a sharp shriek.
Her ankle burned with pain.
Kazuki had predicted her movement and promptly pierced her ankle with an arrow.
Seol Jihu looked back at his target.
The young man was withdrawing his sword and its blades.
But something was different this time.
Instead of merging into one, the blades surrounded the young man and formed a tight film around him that was shaped like an igloo or an upside-down bowl.
Should he use Ethereal Shift again to penetrate the enemy’s defense? Or should he attempt to avoid the attack?
Seol Jihu agonized over the decision before kicking the ground with all his might.
Seol Jihu’s Unique Spatial Ability — Thousand Thunder.
Pzzzzt! The golden sparks that began at his feet shot up quickly and wrapped Seol Jihu’s entire body.
At the same time, inside the self-made barrier, the young man initiated a technique that he’d compressed 10 times.
François Delon’s Unique Spatial Ability — Thousand Twenty Four Swords.
He jerked his long sword, and the blades surrounding him opened up.
Like a budding flower in the spring, a flower bloomed in an ocean of blood and rain.
The 1024 blades seemed to form the shape of a blooming lotus flower as they stretched in all directions.
The next moment the young man rushed towards Seol Jihu, turning his sword towards his enemy.
At the same time, all the blades turned in the direction in which the young man was moving and flew towards the enemy like a wave.
There was something fearful about the way the blades moved in unison, but Seol Jihu’s eyes remained calm.
He suddenly recalled Jang Maldong’s words.
[Let’s see you laughing when you face a thousand swords flying straight at you.]
[Brat, don’t ridicule them unless you’ve pioneered your own independent realm and can stand toe-to-toe with them.]
He couldn’t laugh. He didn’t want to.
But his heart was pounding.
He couldn’t wait to find out who was better, himself or his opponent. Through rigorous training, both had reached a realm of their own.
The sparks around Seol Jihu’s body flowed into the Spear of Purity and gathered at its tip.
Seol Jihu’s eyes shot open as he pointed his spear in front of him.
Seol Jihu’s Unique Spatial Ability — Hell Severing.
The mana receded from the spear like a wave and was converted into innumerable lightning flashes.
The thousand blades and thousand thunder violently crashed against each other.
As the two forces became intertwined, an enormous explosion shook the ground and the ensuing light brightened the battlefield.
The blades pierced and dug through the crevices in between the lightning and blocked its movement.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned their eyes to the great tug of war.
But this deadlock did not last long.
In the glare of the light, the young man saw a bolt of lightning burst several of his blades as it rushed towards him.
It wasn’t like he was outnumbered.
In fact, his blades were larger in number, but he was still overpowered by the enemy.
He felt as if he had sent out a wave only to witness a tsunami devour it.
Alas, even the mightiest storms eventually come to an end, vanquished by the vastness of the sea. Such was the way of life.
Soon the golden light completely swallowed the white light and reached its destination, the young man.
The lightning burned and twisted inside the young man, and he screamed in agony.
The young man suddenly stopped. His entire body began to shake violently.
It was as if he had become a puppet and a hand was pulling his strings. As the light began to fade away, a low groan of pain escaped his mouth.
He stumbled and fell like a puppet whose strings had been severed.
Black smoke rose from the body still enveloped in sparks.
Seol Jihu let out a long breath.
The consecutive use of advanced skills near the end had consumed a lot of mana.
The woman became speechless.
The strongest among them had turned into a lump of charcoal in the blink of an eye.
“…Look, I have a question for you.”
The woman slowly raised her eyes from the ground.
She saw Seol Jihu approaching her, the shaft of his spear resting against his shoulder.
“That guy just now, I guess he makes sense, but… how did the four of you become Level 6?”
“How disappointing. I had high expectations for you. Or maybe I’m just too strong for—”
Seol Jihu paused in the middle of his sentence.
Suddenly, his eyes shot wide open and he leaped backward.
A gunshot rang out.
It happened almost simultaneously that Seol Jihu jerked away and a fist-sized hole formed on the ground where he had just stood.
Seol Jihu immediately turned towards the sound.
His eyes narrowed.
Thanks to the Golden Wind Phoenix, he could clearly see the uninvited guests despite the distance.
Atop a nearby cliff, hundreds of figures stood, lined up in an orderly fashion as they pointed their guns down below.
If he wasn’t mistaken, it was definitely an army of Evil Phantoms.
The Parasites had entered the scene.
“Finally! They’re here!”
The woman exclaimed in joy.
Seol Jihu glanced at her.
This didn’t seem to be a coincidence, the woman had called the Parasites here.
“You guys… joined hands with the Parasites?”
“I had my doubts.”
Energy returned to the woman’s voice.
“Who would have thought they would actually come? So the bishop was right!”
The situation took Seol Jihu by surprise.
He didn’t think they would have gone that far already.
But then again, a lot of time had passed since the Arden Valley War, and things could have easily changed in the meantime….
Seol Jihu licked his lips nervously.
The woman shouted as she pointed at Seol Jihu.
“Did you receive the bishop’s message? We’re your allies! They’re your targets!”
She said like a child tattling on a classmate, and the Evil Phantoms moved their perforated arms in unison.
They aimed their guns at the humans without masks.
‘This must be why she kept on blabbering. She was trying to buy time.’
Seol Jihu bit his lower lip.
Fortunately, he didn’t detect any Army Commanders among them, but an army of Evil Phantoms wasn’t an easy foe to face either.
After all, they had managed to knock Agnes unconscious with just one blow when she was level 6, and she hadn’t let her guard down at all.
“They’re stronger than they seem. Please hurry!”
The woman urged again, and immediately the sound of gunshots rang out.
Tang, tang, tang!
There were sparks everywhere.
The woman blinked rapidly.
In an instant, hundreds of white discs surrounded Seol Jihu’s body and bounced off all bullets.
A barrier, powerful enough to bounce off an Evil Phantom’s attack and elaborate enough to defend against dozens of enemies at the same time….
There was only one Priest in all of Paradise that could create a barrier of this caliber.
Seo Yuhui slowly got up from the ground, tightening her robe.
The stone statue in her hand had turned to ashes and was being washed away by the pouring rain.
The statue was Moirai’s Souvenir.
Paradise’s legend was back.
The woman screamed in disbelief.
Unaltered by her reaction, Seo Yuhui yanked the cross from around her neck.
Her usual warm and friendly self was gone, and she glared at the enemy like an evil sorceress.
Soon, the Proof of Castitas began glowing.
Level 7 Evangelist.
Wide Area Debuff.
Jade Light Sonata.
Light streamed over the cliff.
Pillars of light rose from the ground like piano keys, forming a cage that imprisoned the Evil Phantoms.
Seo Yuhui closed her eyes and slowly raised her chin.
A halo appeared above her head. As if responding to its light, the inky darkness of the sky began to fade away and the first hint of dawn colored the sky bright.
Seo Yuhui opened her eyes.
Level 8 Atera’s Saintess.
Wide Area Buff / Debuff.
Requiem of Stars.
The sky split in two and stars began to fall from the gap.
They fell like waterfalls towards the Evil Phantoms, drooping long tails behind them like comets.
A mournful roar resounded across the sky.
The light from the stars that fell near the cliff spread around and brightened the area.
Seol Jihu nodded approvingly and turned around.
The woman was standing motionlessly in front of him.
She seemed unaware that she had dropped her katana on the ground.
She was clearly in shock.
“Quite a day, huh?”
Seol Jihu snickered as he began to walk slowly towards the woman.
The tide had turned against her twice already.
He wondered how she felt now.
“G-Get away from me…. Don’t come….”
The woman backed away from Seol Jihu and suddenly fell on her butt.
Her hands fumbled around the ground meaninglessly before abruptly stopping.
They had touched something.
The woman looked down unconsciously and doubted her eyes.
She picked it up from the ground and slowly raised it to eye level, her hands shaking.
Her voice trembled.
Her red lips, only partly visible under her mask, quivered piteously.
“What do you think it is?”
Came the voice above her.
The woman raised her head in a flash.
Her throat throbbed painfully.
“You just noticed?”
Seol Jihu was grinning, his fangs glowing white like pearls in the dark.Previous Chapter Next Chapter