Chapter 483. Finis Belli (7)

Light engulfed the battlefield.

Explosions rang out, and screams erupted everywhere.

Once the light faded, a deafening roar filled the air again.

Many died each time the Parasite Queen moved, but the allied force remained spirited.

The Parasite Queen’s eyes narrowed when she saw yet another wave of soldiers surging forward.

After she killed 100, 1000 more appeared. After she killed 1000, 10,000 more appeared.

She could finally understand how Seol Jihu must have felt back then, in the Empire.

To face an entire army alone meant that the Parasite Queen had to divide her attention accordingly.

In contrast, Seol Jihu wasn’t very concerned about protecting his comrades.

His sole target was the Parasite Queen, and that hadn’t changed from the start.

KWANG!

The force of the Reinforced Sword Qi flung the Parasite Queen across the battlefield again.

She hit a wall, and when she raised her head….

[?]

Her vision was wavering.

The Parasite Queen furrowed her brows.

She wasn’t mistaken.

Though small in size, a heat haze was definitely rising from parts of her body.

This was a sign that her body was nearing its physical limit.

It was only natural.

She had used too much of her divinity at once, and the World Tree still had a profound effect on her. The damage from Seol Jihu’s attacks could not be overlooked either.

The Parasite Queen lifted her head and looked up at the sky.

Then her gaze fell again to the enemies rushing toward her.

[…]

She suddenly felt empty.

A not-too-distant future unfolded before her eyes.

In it, she fought and fought until finally collapsing, just like Twisted Kindness did.

Was there a meaning to all this?

Because, as she saw it, no matter how long this war lasted, the result would be the same.

The Parasite Queen sighed as she stared at the enemy, who was now only a short distance away.

She had always resorted to the most logical decisions whenever a crisis befell her.

Although the outcomes of the said decisions hadn’t always been great… Under stress and pressed for time, she returned to her habit again and reached a bold decision once more.

She decided to knock over the glass of water.

Not much was going to change in terms of tactics.

Her plan was to crush the enemy with absolute force, as always.

But this time, she couldn’t afford to be as lenient as the last time.

According to her calculations, the last attack should have wiped out at least half of the allied force. But it didn’t.

So this time, she’d have to be a bit more attentive.

Thinking so, the Parasite Queen took a step forward.

The vanguard faltered at the sight.

There was something threatening about the way the Parasite Queen stood completely still.

But what was more frightening was the unsettling energy brewing in the air.

Energy that could not be measured by the perception of such trivial creatures like themselves.

Koong!

Suddenly, the earth sank, forming a deep hole.

The Parasite Queen straightened her posture at the center of the crater.

She raised her chin with her arms wide open.

With her eyes fixed on the sky, she craned her neck and shouted at the top of her lungs.

—KIAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Her voice, full of unsettling energy, spread far and wide and resonated across the battlefield until it pierced the sky and reached outer space.

The ear-splitting shriek seemed to inform the whole world of her position as the Goddess of Parasitism, who once conquered the entire galaxy.

It was then.

KWAAANG!

Suddenly, a sphere the size of a skyscraper, burst the ground open as it soared into the air.

The sphere, made of flames that melted even space itself, emitted a blazing heat as if it were the sun.

Mushroom-shaped smoke clouds shot up a beat later.

‘That’s…!’

Seol Jihu, who was preparing for the next attack, widened his eyes.

Of course, he recognized the shape. This was the technique that destroyed more than half of the allied forces during the Tigol Fortress War.

He had no time to think. He only knew he had to stop this attack at all costs.

Seeing that even the Capital was shaking, Seol Jihu immediately used Thousand Thunder and activated Hell Severing and Supernova Explosion.

At the same time, flames swept across the battlefield like hurricanes, devouring the allied force.

The Goddess of Parasitism — Third Impact.

Kwaaaaarrrr!

The world turned crimson.

The raging firestorm engulfed the entire battlefield and caused a massive explosion.

It was like watching a titan spread a red carpet over the entire imperial territory or seeing thousands of fighter jets bombarding the battlefield with fierce intensity.

Everything that the fire touched exploded and then melted until nothing remained.

Seol Jihu’s lightning wasn’t even visible amid the blazing fire.

—Wooooooooooo!

Even the World Tree lamented in sorrow at the sight of total annihilation.

The explosion quickly swept the battlefield and swallowed even the Allies’ headquarters.

But this was only the first impact.

—AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

The sky and the earth flipped.

Everyone’s vision was reversed.

Just a moment ago, they were all standing on the ground, but now they were falling.

Even before they could make sense of anything, the flames soared into the air and swallowed them whole.

Only a few had managed to regain control of their bodies and escape the effects of the second impact.

Seol Jihu was one of them.

As soon as the force of the second impact reached him, Seol Jihu activated Grand Cosmic Shift to recover his balance.

But that was all there was.

Seol Jihu recalled that this technique caused a total of three explosions.

There was still one left.

It was then. As soon as Seol Jihu looked down, he doubted his eyes.

The fire scorching the battlefield was rising.

This wasn’t an illusion.

The fire was really soaring up as if someone was pushing it manually, up where he was.

A hot wind brushed past Seol Jihu.

‘Could it be…?’

…His suspicion proved to be true.

The first impact, the second impact, and….

—Seooooll Jiiiiiiihuuuuuu!

The third impact and its terrifying aftershock were all heading to one place.

‘Ah.’

Seol Jihu finally realized who the Parasite Queen was aiming for with this attack.

Flames blocked his way before he could do anything.

The three forces merged into one and began to condense as they circled around Seol Jihu.

The circle quickly closed in on its target.

Seol Jihu was moving even before a coherent thought fully formed in his head.

His entire body was emitting golden light.

He had been saving it for later, but his body sensed danger and automatically activated Spear God.

Everywhere he turned, he saw a sea of fire.

Pillars of fire rose into the air like a dozen volcanoes erupting in unison.

Raging winds swirled around him from all directions.

All the fire in the world surrounded Seol Jihu.

He felt as if he were trapped in the sun.

‘Please…!’

Seol Jihu tried everything he could.

He tried to find a way out by changing his course a dozen times and even went as far as to activate Ethereal Shift consecutively.

But in the end, nothing worked.

The range of flames was so wide that there simply was no way out.

Both Seo Yuhui’s barrier and Eun Yuri’s magic melted as soon as they were activated.

The size of the fire was more infinite than Seol Jihu’s Limitlessness.

Thousand Stream Convergence wasn’t helpful either, as the concept of flow lost all its meaning in the face of absolute power.

‘Damn it, damn it!’

Panicking, Seol Jihu tried to force himself through the fire. However….

Chiiiiiiik!

“Aaaaaaak!”

A scream of pain escaped Seol Jihu’s throat as he quickly jerked away.

All the flames rushed toward Seol Jihu as if they had been waiting for this moment.

“Huuuuk!”

As he barely managed to swallow his breath, he felt his throat getting roasted.

What drove Seol Jihu even crazier was that the flames of heaven and earth were still steadily approaching.

He knew he had to escape before they got too close.

But all Seol Jihu could do now was fly higher.

He couldn’t go down. That would just drag everyone else into the fire.

At last, the fire arrived before his eyes.

He had run out of room to move.

He knew the flames would soon catch up even if he ran now.

“Keuk!”

Seol Jihu’s entire body, glowing gold, emitted large sparks.

Crackle!

His anti-evil energy, enhanced with the Authorities of Godslaying and Gluttony, soared high into the air.

But even that wasn’t enough to overturn the situation.

The fire destroyed the anti-evil energy at a much faster rate than the lightning essence swallowed the fire.

The Parasite Queen’s divinity was overpowering even the Authority of Gluttony.

Seol Jihu was soaked in sweat from head to toe.

A scorching smell filled the air.

His flesh was being baked.

As the fire demon slowly devoured his body….

‘This is….’

Seol Jihu sensed for the first time that death was near.

He clenched his teeth and swung the Spear of Purity, but even the spear was burning with heat. It had come to the point where merely holding the spear was too painful for him.

‘No, no. I can’t, not anymore….’

At that moment, the golden light surrounding Seol Jihu’s body shrunk in an instant.

The heat on his skin grew stronger.

Seol Jihu’s grip around the Spear of Purity quickly loosened.

It was truly an absolute power that he was witnessing.

“…”

His mouth opened, but no sound came out.

There was nothing more Seol Jihu could do at this point.

Kwaaaaarrrrr!

He merely watched the fire advance.

‘Ah….’

Strangely enough, this didn’t feel like the end.

His body would probably turn to ashes before he felt any pain.

As the fire devoured both his body and soul, Seol Jihu shut his eyes tight.

And then….

‘…What happened?’

After a moment of silence, Seol Jihu’s eyes flinched.

‘Am I dead?’

It didn’t feel that way. He could still feel the heat surrounding him.

But something was definitely different.

The intensity of the fire had decreased noticeably.

He could also hear the whooshing sound of a blade around him.

And then a strange phenomenon occurred in which his body moved on its own, against his will.

Perhaps the heat had already melted away all his senses, and this was his body struggling for life?

As he thought to himself….

—You fuckhead.

A familiar voice resounded inside his head.

—Cut the bullshit and open your damn eyes.

Seol Jihu’s eyes opened in a flash.

He froze in astonishment.

“Wha-What the?”

His right hand, holding the Spear of Purity, was moving at lightning speed.

The tip of the spear slashed left, right, up, down, and diagonally.

It was so fast that the thin layer formed by the spearhead was visible to the naked eye.

Seol Jihu had never mastered such a technique and didn’t think he could, even if he wanted to.

—What the hell do you think you’re doing?

The familiar voice spoke again.

—First you throw yourself into the fire….

If Seol Jihu wasn’t mistaken….

—And now you’re just standing there?

The voice echoing in his head belonged to Black Seol Jihu.

“W-What’s going on?”

—What do you think? Look ahead.

Seol Jihu turned his head forward.

There, he saw a message floating in the air.

[Innate Ability — Future-Gauging Nine Eyes has been activated.]

Seol Jihu blinked.

He knew that whenever Future Vision was activated, Black Seol Jihu’s consciousness replaced his own. And during that time, he remembered nothing.

‘…Wait a minute.’

In the past, however, there had been one instance in which he remained conscious even while Future Vision was active.

It was when he was escaping from the Empire.

At that time, even after the effect of the Future Vision wore off, he was able to roughly remember what Black Seol Jihu had done.

—The reason is simple. Back then, you were weak….

Black Seol Jihu’s voice explained.

—But now you’re strong.

“What do you mean?”

—Simply put, it’s a matter of difference in realms. In the past, your consciousness couldn’t handle me, but now it can.

“Ah.”

He recalled it was during the Parasites’ Wheel Tactic that he almost achieved Trinity Harmony for the first time.

—Anyway.

Said Black Seol Jihu, a hint of annoyance in his voice.

—Look, I’ll explain later, so can we focus on the battle for now? ‘Cause it looks like my Spear Barrier is going to break soon.

That was a wake-up call for Seol Jihu.

He turned his gaze and saw the fire trying to wriggle its way through the barrier.

“But.”

—Oh, please, just shut up. I know what you want to say. This was what killed me.

Black Seol Jihu licked his lips.

—So we need to work together, combine our powers. Judging from your current state, I’d say there’s a good chance we’ll make it out alive. You even activated Spear God.

Finally, confusion disappeared from Seol Jihu’s eyes, who then began to focus.

The realm of absolute perfection that he himself failed to reach….

If only he could attain that technique…!

“You should’ve come sooner….”

Seol Jihu grumbled quietly, then tightened his grip around the Spear of Purity.

—Were you sad because I came too late? Stop being a baby and grab it already.

Slowly, Seol Jihu felt the control of his body return to him.

—You’re gonna be the one moving. And I’ll be the one to support you.

He felt as if Black Seol Jihu had put his hand on his arm.

And it was comfortable. This was what they did every day in the Path of the Soul.

—You ready?

Seol Jihu smiled at Black Seol Jihu’s question.

“…Yes!”

Just a moment ago, he thought everything was over, but now he felt secure.

All his fears were gone, and his heart began to fill with confidence, all because Black Seol Jihu was with him.

—Alright, then. On the count of three. One, two….

Seol Jihu’s eyes, reflecting the fire, began to shine.

—…Three.

His left eye radiated a golden light, and his right eye glowed crimson.

—Let’s go!

And at that moment….

Level 9 Divine Spear, Class Ability — Trinity Harmony.

Level 8 Spear Demon, Class Ability — Seamless Sublimity.

Seol Jihu’s feet kicked the air with all their might.

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