Twisted Kindness turned her hands, but the longsword stuck in Seol Jihu’s waist did not budge. She could not even pull it out, no matter how much strength she put in.
Seol Jihu had used his left hand to clench onto the sword blade that pierced his stomach.
Blood dripped down from his hand. Pzzt! Sparks of electricity crackled from the sword blade. Just as Twisted Kindness shot her eyes open, a bright-yellow flash of lightning flowed into the blade and electrocuted her.
Twisted Kindness shrieked and collapsed, her body giving off intense sparks. Having succeeded in breaking free, Seol Jihu took a step forward. Though, he dropped his head immediately afterward.
“Is that your final move?”
Sung Shihyun, who recovered from his injury in the meanwhile, swung his sword while murmuring like he was sick and tired of the battle. Killing Seol Jihu was not allowed. From now on, he had to be driven to death as slowly as possible.
At that moment, Seol Jihu’s head shot up. He thrust his spear while looking at the incoming sword head-on.
Sung Shihyun snorted. Though mixed with a hint of mana, the spear no longer had the same sharpness and strength it had before. The attack was only a futile struggle resulting from a desire to continue fighting. His sword would chop off his arm long before the spear could reach him.
At the moment Sung Shihyun’s sword reached Seol Jihu’s arm, Sung Shihyun clearly felt the path of his white sword being enveloped by a mysterious energy.
Puk! Then, he felt something stab deep into his solar plexus.
Sung Shihyun’s eyes widened as he was pushed back. When he looked down, he saw that his body was fine. The spear had come nowhere near him.
However, the feeling of being stabbed was real, and his body was losing balance. He didn’t understand what just happened.
“Just now, what…?”
His flustered blinks only lasted a moment. Sung Shihyun immediately furrowed his brows.
At first, it felt like he was lightly hit with a fist. However, this sensation increased in size exponentially, and as it spread through his body like a wildfire, Sung Shihyun’s expression stiffened.
Level 5 Lance of Nemesis, Class Ability — Punishing Vengeance Spear.
Punishing Vengeance Spear. It was a type of counterattacking skill that returned a ‘result’ that was equivalent to a ‘cause’ when Seol Jihu received damage surpassing a certain limit.
Because it worked using the law of causality, it had the attribute of being ‘absolute’. Jang Maldong had once commented that this could be a cheat-like ability depending on how it was used.
Seol Jihu had just used this trump card, taking all the causes that had accumulated thus far in a single attack.
And soon, the result came out.
A waterfall of blood exploded out from Sung Shihyun’s seven orifices— his eyes, ears, nostrils, and mouth.
A piercing shriek burst out from his wide-open mouth. An explosive shock shook his body and mind, a sharp sensation prickled his organs, his mana circuit distorted and melted down, and his body burned up like an active volcano….
“Kuhuk! Kuuuuhuk! Uuuuuuuuueeeek!”
Never mind an intense pain that could not be described with words, but from a sense of loss to a sense of despair, all sorts of negative sensations that a human could possibly feel surged through his body.
With everything blowing up at once, not even Sung Shihyun could do anything about it.
He screamed like a raging bull and rolled on the ground. Eventually, his body stiffened and he flopped around like a live fish. It was a sorry sight to behold.
Despite this, Sung Shihyun did not let go of the last thread of consciousness he was hanging onto. It was because he had experienced a greater pain than this once before.
“Kahak! Kuhuk, kahahak!”
Remembering the time when he first absorbed Diligence’s divinity, Sung Shihyun opened his eyes and raised his head. He saw Seol Jihu trudging toward him under the dark sky.
Sparks flew up from Sung Shihyun’s eyes.
“You… cough! Son of a bitch…!”
Vomiting from the splitting pain, he hung on with nothing but an unyielding pride and forced himself up. However, he swayed in the process and ultimately fell on his knees.
His body was hot like it was burning in a raging fire. With a single attack, his body became ragged. Panting with his tongue out like a dog, Sung Shihyun suddenly realized his unsightliness and clenched his lips.
However, he frowned in the next instant as he felt a terrifying pain akin to a lump of burning charcoal being placed under his tongue.
In the end, Sung Shihyun barely managed to get on one knee and rummaged through the ground while roaring like a beast. As soon as he grabbed his sword, he clenched his teeth and raised it high. Seol Jihu also swung the Spear of Purity down.
The sound that rang out was unimpressive compared to when they first clashed. The spear blade and the sword blade trembled as they ground against each other.
Sung Shihyun’s blood-soaked hands also quivered like a leaf. Blocking the spear now was a thousand times harder than at first.
In fact, the spear was slowly inching closer to the left side of his neck. He was being pushed back.
Sung Shihyun gave a sidelong glance while screaming internally.
All sorts of thoughts crossed his mind. Should I detonate my energy and push him back? Should I use Ethereal Shift and move away?
But for some reason, he had a strong hunch that he must not do either. He felt like his head would get chopped off before he could even try. The moment he diverted even the tiniest amount of strength from his sword, he felt like the spear would push the sword back whole and dig in.
Tilting his head up slightly, he met Seol Jihu’s gaze.
An inexplicable chill ran down his spine when he saw Seol Jihu’s blood-soaked face flashing with a golden, blood-colored light. A look of fluster spread across Sung Shihyun’s face as he experienced an emotion he had never felt before in his life.
Drenched in blood, Seol Jihu’s appearance was no different than a demon’s. The way he looked down with a hollow, calm gaze, he was emitting vicious malice that clearly foretold his desire to kill.
Moreover, this desire of his was about to be realized.
While Sung Shihyun was distracted for a moment, Seol Jihu’s spear had pushed his sword even further, the blade now touching his neck. It gradually dug in, and a stream of blood flowed down his neck. Sung Shihyun’s eyes shot open in shock.
I’m gonna die.
The moment Sung Shihyun thought so, he let go of his mind’s shackles. He realized this wasn’t the time to care about his pride or face.
Sung Shihyun shouted at the top of his lungs.
The First Army Commander held the same level of authority in this operation as the Parasite Queen. The moment he gave his command, the Army Commanders who were waiting on stand by set out simultaneously.
Exploding Patience’s soundwave bellowed out and struck Seol Jihu’s face. His head bobbled forward and backward as it scattered blood everywhere.
Vulgar Chastity flew forward with her bat wings spread open. As her hair pierced several parts of Seol Jihu’s body, he stiffened in place.
Unsightly Humility charged at a frightening speed and swung his longsword.
Blood spurted out from Seol Jihu’s shoulder. His right arm that was holding onto the Spear of Purity, flew up into the air.
When the heavy pressure pressing down on his left side disappeared, Sung Shihyun was thrown down. He spat out a gasp as soon as he fell to the ground on his butt.
Their exchange shouldn’t have lasted that long, but he felt like he had been locked in that situation for hours.
Sung Shihyun rubbed his neck while panting before doing a sudden double-take.
He wasn’t supposed to kill him, but he had shouted subconsciously due to being in a life-or-death situation.
Sung Shihyun looked up, hoping for the best. He then saw Twisted Kindness stopping herself short of stabbing her sword into Seol Jihu. Knowing the ultimate goal, the other Army Commanders had also stopped their attacks at an appropriate place.
As a result, Seol Jihu was still alive. He was breathing, albeit faintly, with both of his legs on the ground.
However, he was no longer moving. He couldn’t.
Soon, his head dropped. His remaining left arm also dropped down.
Sung Shihyun’s agitated gaze gradually sunk down.
When Seol Jihu fell to his knees, the corner of Sung Shihyun’s mouth curled up.
“Heh… hehe… hehehehe….!”
At last, Seol Jihu fell.
“Huhahahaha! Yes! Finally! You undying cockroach son of a bitch!”
Sung Shihyun burst into laughter as soon as he saw Seol Jihu falling down. However, it was too soon to celebrate. It looked like he was about to take his last breath. They had to proceed with their plan as quickly as possible.
“Your Majesty! Now’s the time…!”
Sung Shihyun turned around with a look of relief, but then, his face immediately turned ashen.
The Parasite Queen should know that there wasn’t much time left. Yet, she was just standing there, unmoving. Her back was bent, her surprised eyes staring intently at one person as if it wasn’t over.
That wasn’t all. Sung Shihyun also felt the other Army Commanders flinch. He turned back again as his face paled.
Seol Jihu had not fallen. He had taken a step forward just before hitting the ground and was now pushing himself up like he was climbing a hill. Then, he eventually raised his head back up.
When Sung Shihyun met Seol Jihu’s bloodshot eyes, he felt the same fear that paralyzed him before slowly creep over him.
Seeing Seol Jihu’s enraged face, his body reacted automatically. It began to shake from an unknown fear.
It was so bad…
[Innate Ability, Future-Gauging Nine Eyes, has activated.]
That he thought the monster standing in front of him was not Seol Jihu, but someone else.
Before Sung Shihyun snapped out of his daze, Seol Jihu’s body suddenly exploded with a terrifying pressure. The Army Commanders’ body rose up from the sudden attack, and they were thrown back.
A golden light blazing like the sun surged above Seol Jihu’s body. When he waved his left hand, a fierce gale raged out.
The Army Commanders shot up onto their feet and rushed in, but the terrifying power emanating from him prevented them from closing the distance. Even when they made long-ranged attacks, they were shattered by Seol Jihu’s storm of golden aura.
‘I can’t believe it…!’
Sung Shihyun doubted his eyes.
‘How can he still have so much power…!?’
This couldn’t be helped given the series of events, but the truth was a little different.
Future Vision had activated. As Seol Jihu was collapsing after the five Army Commander’s joint attack, what picked him back up was actually the consciousness of his first life.
The realm that Black Seol Jihu reached in his final days had combined with Seol Jihu’s physical level to display a terrifying might.
Sung Shihyun muttered in disbelief, then winced in the next moment. He thought Seol Jihu could no longer move, but he slowly raised his foot. Glaring fiercely, Seol Jihu took another step toward him.
As Sung Shihyun tried to grab the sword he inadvertently dropped, a foot flew out like a bolt of lightning and kicked his hand.
Another kick struck his stomach immediately after the first, and Sung Shihyun was sent tumbling back.
When Seol Jihu reached out with his left hand, the Spear of Purity flew into it. His downward-looking face was bright red. White steam was rising from the left hand that was still holding onto the spear shaft, and his body also looked blurry from the hot haze rising from his body.
Sung Shihyun’s voice trembled out. His legs were pushing against the ground before he noticed as if he was trying to put in as much distance as possible.
He couldn’t understand why, no matter how much he thought about it. But he had a strong feeling that he would never be able to defeat Seol Jihu no matter how many times they fought.
Seol Jihu’s foot stomped down on Sung Shihyun’s chest. He raised his left arm and slammed it down without hesitation.
Seeing the spear blade falling rapidly on his face, Sung Shihyun felt the coming of death and shut his eyes. It was then.
A loud explosion struck his ears. Droplets of blood splattered from above onto his face.
When Sung Shihyun opened his eyes, Seol Jihu was no longer in front of him. Only a huge, palm-shaped pit remained in the spot Seol Jihu was standing.
The pit was deep, easily surpassing two meters in depth. Sung Shihyun blinked his eyes a couple of times in confusion before looking back.
The Parasite Queen, who had been sitting in midair until now, was standing with her arm stretching down. The Goddess of Parasitism had finally made a move.
The Parasite Queen gave a short reply.
The lifeform stuck inside the pit had yet to die, but she knew he didn’t have much time left. The reason she hesitated despite this was simple. She felt it was too regrettable.
His strong desire to live, undying willpower, exhaustingly endless vitality, and monstrous, inhuman presence— everything composing the Brightest Star would be a shame to lose.
If this human entered her arms, what incredible achievements would they be able to make? Even exacting revenge was a possibility.
I want him, thought the Parasite Queen. But, she shook her head in the next moment. She simply couldn’t think of a method to do so.
A supernova that decided its fate refused to allow an alternate fate. The Parasite Queen had confirmed Seol Jihu’s will twice, once through the Wheel Tactic and once again just now.
In the first place, she was doubtful that a parasite could take over the brain of a human with such a fighting spirit. Turning his corpse into a parasite would be meaningless, and if he was parasitized while alive, she was positive he would resist until he died of backlash.
Even if the parasitism somehow succeeded, with his level of willpower, there was a good chance that he would refuse to be controlled and commit suicide after much torment.
There was no way to capture him either. Even if she cut off his limbs, he would detonate his mana to kill himself. Even if she somehow restrained his mana, he would come up with a way to kill himself no matter what.
No, it was a question whether they would even be able to capture him. After all, he would choose death long before it was accomplished, just like how the flickering light burned its lifeforce and picked itself back up before extinguishing.
She could not allow that to happen. It was too uncertain and too dangerous. Perhaps it might be worth a try, but the Parasites would not be able to prepare for Seol Jihu’s revival.
It was too late anyway. She had to choose the least dangerous method to take care of the Brightest Star, once and for all, so that he would not be able to take another step into Paradise and be unable to do anything even if he came back.
Once the Parasite Queen decided, a cluster of light formed on her palm. Though it was small, the power contained inside the cluster was a portion of the divinity that formed her foundation.
There was no need to hesitate any longer.
The Parasite Queen’s essence, her origin energy, quickly flew through the air and disappeared into the pit.
Seol Jihu had not died yet. To be more precise, Black Seol Jihu’s consciousness was still alive.
The body stuck inside the pit twitched. Black Seol Jihu opened his eyes with great difficulty and grimaced.
‘What kind of state… is this body in…?’
After a quick examination, Black Seol Jihu couldn’t find the words to describe his body’s state. Even in his life, there was only one time that he ended up in such a state.
His left hand fumbled around. The ground felt mushy and muddy. A pool of blood was forming around him.
Next, when his hand touched the spear shaft, Black Seol Jihu stopped breathing. He held the spear up and leaned his body against it with a grunt. Using the spear shaft as support, he slowly raised his upper body.
When he spat out the breath he had been holding in, a scorching pain flooded into his heart. Black Seol Jihu gritted his teeth, regretting not being able to finish off his target.
“Just you wait… Sung Shihyun… I’ll at least take you with me….”
It was then.
A bright light flashed upon his crimson vision. Black Seol Jihu squinted one eye and tilted his head up. A small cluster of light quickly fell and touched his face, instantly disappearing as if to seep into him.
‘What was that?’ he thought. But a second later…
A violent mass of energy suddenly began to rage inside him, causing Black Seol Jihu to scream.
Perhaps this feeling was akin to having a dozen grenades blow up inside you.
Seol Jihu fell forward when he only just raised his upper body with incredible difficulty. He managed to put his hand down to break his fall.
His face, which was only an inch above the ground, shook violently.
His eyes became bloodshot, and saliva mixed with blood streamed down from his mouth. The veins all over his body bulged up, and his skin repeatedly alternated between red and blue.
It wasn’t as if he was taking his time and slowly absorbing the energy. The energy had been forced into him as if it didn’t matter if he blew up in the process.
Black Seol Jihu wanted to give up and relax, but he knew he couldn’t. And just as he barely grabbed hold of his consciousness, another explosion erupted.
Black Seol Jihu vomited out a mouthful of blood, his eyes rolling back. He almost collapsed and lost consciousness, but he endured with a superhuman mental fortitude. Beads of sweat dripped from his soaked forehead.
Black Seol Jihu bit his lip and hung onto his blurring consciousness. When he focused on the pain, he felt his mind becoming clearer.
Black Seol Jihu tried his best to gather his senses and control the energy that was melting into his mana.
But that wasn’t something that was possible in the first place. Perhaps it might be possible if he could die and come back to life thousands of times, but the energy wasn’t something that the weak human body could handle.
‘Sons of bitches…!’
It was only then that Black Seol Jihu realized what the energy raging inside him was. This was also the moment he realized the Parasite Queen’s true intention.
To think she would shave away at her own power to try to expel Seol Jihu from Paradise.
The situation was truly spiraling toward the worst-case scenario.
Black Seol Jihu felt his skin crack and fall down like rain. More importantly, he felt the vessel forming his body crack up.
There wasn’t much time left. There was no time to hesitate. He had to choose between two options.
One was to entrust his body to this raging energy and try to take at least one more enemy with him. The other was to somehow plan for the future.
The former was suicidal destruction that left no hope for the future, while the latter was a gamble with a low chance of success.
Black Seol Jihu suddenly remembered the conversation he had with Seol Jihu at the Path of the Soul.
Black Seol Jihu creaked his head up and looked up at the pit’s opening with his bloodshot eyes.
“Let’s try it…!”
Soon, Black Seol Jihu’s body collapsed as he reached out with his left hand.
The battlefield, which had once been the stage of a heaven-shaking battle, was now only filled with silence.
Only a painful scream echoed out from the pit, along with the swirling of an extraordinary current of energy.
The Army Commanders were all maintaining their silence, their faces ashen. They were speechless, or perhaps a little exhausted. They thought that taking care of a single human, no matter how strong, would be a piece of cake. Never in their wildest imaginations did they think they would be pushed back this much.
Still, now that the Queen had made a move….
At that moment, the scream stopped. The swirling current of energy subsided as well. The pit became quiet and tranquil.
The Parasite Queen put away the energy she was continuously injecting.
With this, their plan had succeeded. Seol Jihu’s death was confirmed through the battle with the Army Commanders, and she had mercilessly forced her energy into him before his death so that his vessel was on the verge of breaking.
All that was left now….
It was when the Parasite Queen lowered her hand with a light breath.
An explosive sound erupted from the pit, and mud shot up like a fountain.
A shadow emitting a frightening power plowed through the dirt and soared up.Previous Chapter Next Chapter