‘What should I do?’
All Seo Jun-Ho could do was open and close his hands into fists. He watched the martial arts pour in like a flood and thought to himself, ‘Should I freeze them all in one go with King’s Breath, or should I cut through them with Death Scythe?’
It didn’t matter whether he chose King’s Breath or Death Scythe, he would be able to kill hundreds of them in the blink of an eye.
“Huh?” Wrinkles appeared on the Frost Queen’s smooth forehead as she stared at something. “Contractor, those people… why are they crying?”
Seo Jun-Ho squinted and expanded his vision until the martial artists all the way over there looked like they were right below his nose.
They were crying.
“M-my body is moving on its own.”
“Dammit! Why is this happening?”
“Please, someone, make it stop!”
The martial artists did everything they could to regain control of their bodies as tears streamed down their faces.
Seo Jun-Sik didn’t look surprised as he muttered, “Tsk, tsk. This is obviously Namgung Jincheon’s doing.”
With part of the Neigong Chip and the System Chip in his possession, this was possible.
“Contractor, what will you do?” The Frost Queen asked, worried.
“...” Seo Jun-Ho was lost in thought. Whenever he was faced with enemies who were simply running in to kill him, he always killed them without a second thought.
As Seo Jun-Sik had said, these people had lost control of their bodies to Namgung Jincheon. In other words, they were victims.
‘That dirty bastard…’
These people were respected and admired by the people of Neo City. They were their righteous guardians. They were proud of their job and devoted everything they had to punish evil in the city.
‘They never had a clue that Namgung Jincheon was tricking them.’
Seo Jun-Ho looked down at his hand. Could he kill these innocent people with his own hands?
“Hey, Original. Just think about it objectively,” Seo Jun-Sik advised, his voice flat. “If you create a path by killing them, you’ll definitely be able to get into the city. But if you don’t… You might not be able to.”
“I know.” Unlike the cyborg martial artists, a Pureblood like him would die if he couldn’t reach the city. If the toxic gas entered his lungs, it would be accompanied by unimaginable pain.
‘I’ll be able to hold out somewhat thanks to Cell Regeneration, but it’ll be really painful.’
Seo Jun-Ho closed his eyes. He knew. He knew that it was idiotic to even consider whether to take the easy, comfortable path or the difficult, troublesome one.
The difficult, troublesome path meant saving the lives of tens of thousands of people.
‘His Majesty and Cheon-Gwang wanted to create a world where the people could dream and hope of tomorrow.’
Even if Seo Jun-Ho reached the city and created such a world, what was the point If there was no one left to dream?
‘Man. This is gonna be really hard. And annoying.’
He made up his mind.
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“I’ll only suppress them.”
He thought that Seo Jun-Sik and the Frost Queen would completely oppose his idea, but they grinned, contrary to his expectations.
‘Yeah, I knew Original would say that.’
‘Making people worry about him is his specialty, after all.’
Seo Jun-Ho looked greatly offended.
“S-Sir.” Kwak Won-San was shifting left and right.
Namgung Jincheon had basically ruined his own plans due to anger. And to add insult to injury, thousands of Players had just arrived as reinforcements. Not only that, every one of them seemed to be at least a high-grade martial artist, so Kwak Won-San couldn’t help but be shaken.
“...There is no need to make a fuss,” said Namgung Jincheon as he looked down at the window. “Either way, I had to fight him eventually.”
“No, but the original plan was for this to happen after you absorbed all six thousand gapja of neigong! That’s why I warned you several times to restrain…” He started with fiery vigor.
However, he immediately stopped when he felt the air around him tighten. He trembled in fear after being exposed to Namgung Jincheon’s murderous glare. He looked up and saw that Namgung Jincheon’s eyes were full of bloodlust.
“Sect Leader, I do not understand why you think you can speak to me like so.”
“F-Forgive me.” Overwhelmed by the bloodlust, Kwak Won-San lowered himself.
The Alliance Leader sucked his teeth as he pondered something. “It cannot be helped. It is a little too soon, but we have no other choice but to carry out the plan.”
“We will dispatch the Immortal Army.”
“T-The Immortal Army?!” Kwak Won-San couldn’t stop himself from looking up in shock. “We shouldn’t have enough neigong to dispatch them yet.”
“Their overall power will be less than we originally planned, but there should be no major problems.”
“Hm. But we will still need at least two hours in order to assemble them.”
“It will take six.” He stroked his beard. He would have bought them time by sending out the martial artists, but he sent them away with orders to kill Seo Jun-Ho.“There is no other option. It is my hasty decision that led to this, so I shall buy time myself.”
“You intend to go to the battlefield yourself?” Kwak Won-San’s eyes went wide. Namgung Jincheon had always sent out his subordinates because he didn’t like going to the battlefield himself.
“Until now, there was no need for me to step forward. But that is not the case anymore.” Efficiency was most important right now. He gave another order. “While I hold the Players back, send Danyang and Heosu to Seo Jun-Ho. Seo Jun-Ho has learned the Black Moon Martial Art, so it is best to dispose of him as quickly as possible.”
“Ah. With the two of them, we will most certainly be able to kill Seo Jun-Ho.”
Aside from the Alliance leader, those two were the strongest fighters on this planet.
“Be on your way. Prepare to awaken the Immortal Army.”
“Your wish is my command.”
Kwak Won-San hurried out of the room, and Namgung Jincheon started at the place where the former had been standing with cold eyes.
“Tsk. I left him alive for too long simply because he is useful.” And he had also supplied Kwak Won-San with a great amount of neigong over hundreds of years.
However, he would outlive his usefulness by tonight.
‘I will kill Seo Jun-Ho with the Immortal Army and the Demonic Cult while we’re at it.’
After obtaining the Beta Neigong Chip from the Demonic Cult, his lofty plans would succeed. He would naturally become the ruler of Neo-City, and he would also possess all the neigong on the lower Floors.
That was his ultimate goal…
‘If things turn out as planned, there will no more reason for me to fear the demons and the Transcendents.’
Even if an outsider tried to invade, he would have nothing to fear.
Namgung Jincheon stared out the window, and his figure melted to the ground.
The Conductor of Space, Shin Sung-Hyun, spent a long time with his eyes closed. He seemed to be composing something in the spatial dimension.
“It’s done. Everyone, stay five steps away from me,” he warned.
They shuffled back obediently. He swung his baton with vigor.
A fissure appeared out of thin air, creating a large hole. Beyond the hole were the backs of the martial artists ahead of them.
Skaya’s jaw dropped, and she was surprised as she asked, “W-what? Did you just connect us to another location?”
“It is thanks to the training I received on the 4th Floor.” More precisely, he had created this new technique while challenging the Seo Jun-Ho difficulty of Another World.
“Hey…This isn’t just a projection, right? Can we cross over, too?” Skaya asked.
“Of course. If we couldn’t cross over to the other side, I wouldn’t have made it in the first place.”
“No way! Even I can’t do this!” squawked Skaya.
However, Shin Sung-Hyun wiped the sweat gathering on his brow and shouted, “Hurry and go! I can’t hold it for long.”
“So this is what you meant when you said we’d catch them by their tails.” Rahmadat grinned. He was the first one to cross over through the portal. “Ahahaha! I’m first!”
The process was simple. He crossed over like he was walking through a normal door and arrived at the target location.
He turned around and stroked his chin. “This is pretty cool. Skaya, this is a lot more convenient than your Teleport.”
“Then use that instead from now on!” she said angrily.
But just as she was about to cross over, a ghastly chill ran through her, raising goosebumps on her skin.
‘There’s something dangerous…?’
She sensed danger and summoned her magic as she dodged.
“Ah. You have good reflexes, girl,” an old man muttered dryly from beside her. He was holding an arm behind his back. It was Skaya’s arm, and he tossed it to the ground without a care.
The Players held their breaths. They couldn’t sense the old man before he arrived, and they also didn’t see him move. By the time they registered his presence, he had already pierced through Skaya’s seven-layered Defensive Shield and cut her arm off.
“Skaya!” Gilberto screamed with fury. He quickly equipped his sniper rifle and aimed it at their opponent.
However, he couldn’t see him through the scope anymore, even though the old man was supposed to be there.
“A gun with live ammunition? What an outdated relic.”
Just as the warm, amused voice reached Gilberto’s ears, his rifle shattered.
“Father!” Shocked, Arthur quickly used Telekinesis to pull Gilberto back. The ground he had been standing on shattered into pieces.
“Ah, are you his son? He raised you well.”
If Arthur hadn’t pulled him back, the sniper would have shattered as well with his rifle.
The Players gulped. It hadn’t been long since he appeared, but the old man’s shocking power made the Players freeze up.
‘He’ll kill us if we make the first move.’
‘But… He’ll kill us even if we don’t.'
‘Just what are we supposed to do in a situation like this?’
This was completely different from the time they had faced Erebo on the 4th Floor. Erebo hadn’t even been this strong, and they had insurance with them in the form of regression upon dying.
“It seems that the Players of Earth are quite taciturn. I like that you are quiet.” He laughed warmly and raised his hand. They were frozen with fear at the sight of him. There was no need to prolong this battle. He would kill them all with one blow.
Just then, his hand was blocked by a powerful strike of a sword.
Namgung Jincheon squinted. It seemed that there was someone notable among the Players other than Seo Jun-Ho.
‘He has a great amount of neigong. I can absorb it once I kill him.’
The swordsman who blocked him spoke, “Hurry…”
Just from one strike, he knew that the old man before him was a monster with an astronomical amount of magic energy.
‘I can’t win.’ Kim Woo-Joong knew that he could only buy time. It was a pathetic, painful truth.
However, Kim Woo-Joong grit his teeth. “Hurry. Heal the Archmage and rescue Specter!”
“I-I’ll do it!” Cha Si-Eun broke out of her shock and immediately ran over to Skaya to heal her.
“Hup. I’ll stay here too.” Rahmadat crossed through the portal once more and casually took his place next to Kim Woo-Joong’s side. “You look like you need a sturdy tanker to take his attacks.”
“My skills are menial, but I will assist you,” Ha In-Ho muttered as he stepped up. It was clear from his expression that he was under immense pressure.
“Hah. You children sure know how to make someone laugh.” Namgung Jincheon smiled from ear to ear and lifted his hand. “Now then. Come at me, Players.”
“We’ll split into two groups! The main force will stay here, and the mobile troops will go and rescue Specter!” Shin Sung-Hyun nimbly gave his orders. When he did, the Players started crossing over through the portal.
“Kyaa! M-Master? Why?!” Gong Ju-Ha cried out as she was thrown to the other side.
“I’m counting on you to lead them, Captain Gong.”
The rip in space was growing smaller and smaller. Once it closed completely, Shin Sung-Hyun prayed. He prayed that it wouldn’t be too late by the time they came back here.
1. Heosu can mean scarecrow or puppet. ☜