The qi covering Seo Jun-Ho’s spear shot out like a bee stinger. He kept his eyes fixed on his target and spun the shaft to change the direction of his weapon, tripping the martial artist.
“A-Ahhh!” The martial artist looked up at Jun-Ho, fearing for his life.
However, the Player only crushed the machine portions of his arms and legs with precision, disabling him.
“Who knows?” he replied coolly. He turned.
A girl dominating the battlefield caught his eye.
“Be grateful for my boundless mercy. You will thank me for the rest of your life.“
When they first met, the Frost Queen had been a fairy about the size of Jun-Ho’s palm, but now, she had grown into the size of a middle schooler. Every time she waved her her hand slightly, cold air would condense and freeze the martial artists.
“You will not die. Though, it may take several hours to melt.”
“You’re enjoying this too much.” He grinned, and his feet moved lightly. “Don’t let yourself be defeated by her. Rip them apart.”
Tens of wolves viciously scattered across the battlefield and started destroying the cyborgs’ machine parts. The wolves seemed like they were alive, but Seo Jun-Ho was actually carefully tailoring each attack for each martial artist.
In the blink of an eye, hundreds of martial artists were toppled, but not a single one lost their life. It was only then that they realized…
“T-Thank you. Truly, thank you for saving me!”
“The Alliance said you were a dirty criminal, but they were mistaken.”
“...I was not in control, but I apologize for attacking you.”
“Don’t apologize. You guys didn’t do anything wrong. And I’m not a criminal...”
If there was anything they did wrong, it was choosing the wrong person to follow. However, it wasn’t like they had a choice.
The martial artists kept running toward him, and Seo Jun-Ho toppled them one by one.
Suddenly, he looked in the direction of the city.
‘What is that? The magic gathering near the city has been getting stronger and stronger for quite a while now.’
It meant there was a battle taking place there, but just who would kick up a fuss in the city?
Seo Jun-Ho thought for a moment. ‘Did Namgung Jincheon suddenly get the urge to attack the Demonic Cult?’
It was possible. If he obtained the Beta Neigong Chip, he wouldn’t have to be afraid of anything.
“Geuk!” All of a sudden, Seo Jun-Ho’s face distorted in pain, and he gripped his chest.
There was a fierce and sharp pain in his chest as if water had filled his lungs.
‘It should be because of the toxic gas...’
He had already obtained low-level Gas Resistance with Cell Regeneration, the pain was still there.
‘It’s bothering me.’
Thankfully, the pain would only hit him every ten minutes or so. However, if he were to spend thirty or so more minutes here, he would feel that pain constantly.
Seo Jun-Sik suddenly called out as if he read his mind. “Hey! Original—hey, let go! Hey, if you’re sorry, let go! You’re pulling down my pants!”
He pulled up his sagging pants and forced the martial artists around him aside before making his way to Seo Jun-Ho.
“Use Night Walking and go to the city. I’m telling you, just throw me away like you always do.”
“Yeah, I guess we’re surrounded. You’ll have to sacrifice yourself,” said Seo Jun-Ho. It was a baiting tactic. They were trying to distract him with one side of the army so he couldn’t defend against the other.
“You’re just throwing me away. Is it really that serious?” Seo Jun-Sik blinked, confused.
Meanwhile, Seo Jun-Ho added up the numbers in his head.
‘I’m sure that there aren’t many people here who can sense me while I’m using Night Walking.’
If Seo Jun-Sik could just distract them well, it wouldn’t be that difficult to escape from here. This would also allow them to block off the tens of thousands of martial artists from the city, so it was a good strategic choice.
Seo Jun-Ho promptly nodded. “Okay, let’s go with that.”
“Hey, you… You should refuse at least once to be polite.”
“I don’t think our relationship calls for that.”
Seo Jun-Sik wrinkled his nose as if he had eaten something sour. Seo Jun-Ho patted his shoulder as darkness enveloped him.
“I’m going. Distract them for me.”
Before Seo Jun-Sik could even finish, Seo Jun-Ho and the Frost Queen had already disappeared from the battlefield
Needless to say, the martial artists started swarming toward him like wasps.
“Dammit. If it’s gonna be like this, I should have asked him for a sushi coupon or something like he does for Frost,” Seo Jun-Sik muttered while pouting.
Gong Ju-Ha sped through the forest, forgetting all about the heat.
‘Faster. Faster. Faster, Ju-Ha.’
From the city they left behind, she sensed that the vibrations of magic were growing stronger and stronger. It meant that the battle was getting vicious as time went on.
‘We have to get back before it’s too late…’
They had to save Specter, return to the city with him, join with the main force, and kill that monster.
That was the only thought running through Gong Ju-Ha’s head.
The Players at the lead suddenly stopped.
“What is it? Why did you stop?”
“Inspect the magic signature in front of us.”
“Magic?” Gong Ju-Ha tilted her head. She closed her eyes and expanded her senses.
There were tens of thousands of martial artists, so it was hard to tell the individual footprints apart.
‘But there’s a big one. It’s not one of those weak candlelight flames, it’s like a burning torch.’
She could feel it.
She could feel the great amount of magic blazing, not like a torch, but like the sun.
“Wait… There are two?”
She could sense two people on her right. They seemed powerful. They had an enormous amount of magic energy, even more than her.
‘Then, is Specter the one on the other side?’
She could feel a magic footprint on her right. It was comparatively weak to the other two. It was likely that he was in such a weakened state because he had spent so much time outside of the city.
“I think the two stronger ones are enemies. Let’s meet up with Specter first.”
“A wise decision. Let’s do that.”
The party started moving to the left, where Seo Jun-Sik was located.
At the very same moment, there was a face-off happening on the other side.
“...” Seo Jun-Ho stared at the two men blocking his way, still using Night Walking.
“We almost missed him.”
“It’s a petty ability befitting of a thief. But we already knew about it.”
They also knew that Seo Jun-Sik was a clone.
“Who are you?” Seo Jun-Ho sighed after revealing himself.
“Forgive me for not introducing myself sooner. I am the Kunlun Sect Leader, Danyang.”
“And I am the Wudang Sect Leader, Heosu.”
Danyang and Heosu.
The Frost Queen stared at them and whispered, “Contractor. Their energies…”
“Yeah, I can feel it.”
They had an enormous amount of magic power. It was so much magic that Seo Jun-Ho found it confusing why Namgung Jincheon even gave them that much despite his greed.
Seo Jun-Ho’s eyes narrowed a little.
‘If it were just one of them, I could win quite easily, but since there are two of them…’
He couldn’t be sure. After all, the victor could be decided in an instant against martial artists of their level.
“There is no need to continue our conversation.”
Danyang and Heosu unsheathed their own sword.
‘Kunlun and Wudang, was it?’
He recalled what Wisoso had told him about their special characteristics.
- They and the Volcanic Wave Sect are known as the two greatest swordsmen clans. Like the Kunlun Mountain that once stood in the central districts, their swordplay is sharp, strong, and fast.
- Their clans are filled with pretentious fools, but their martial arts are greatly formidable. They emphasize the principle of flow over the principle of strength.
In short, one was speedy, and the other was hard to penetrate.
‘What an annoying combination.’
All of a sudden, the pain struck him again, making him feel like his chest was being twisted into a pretzel. Seo Jun-Ho’s eyes fluttered, and he barely managed to hide the pain.
“...Frost, we’ll make this as short as possible,” he said. If he got caught here for too long, Seo Jun-Sik’s sacrifice would be all for naught.
“I will provide support.” The Frost Queen’s voice faded into the wind.
‘There’s no need to drag this out.’
He unleashed the great amount of magic he had accumulated with the Black Moon Heart Method.
‘Minor Moon Eye.’
A garden meant for weaker targets.
Hundreds of petals bloomed in the air, dying the forest black.
“Hm.” Danyang’s eyes narrowed. He hadn’t expected such power.
“Haha. Relax.” Heosu chuckled. He stepped forward and said, “Indeed, your attacks are powerful, as expected of the Black Moon Martial Art user, but I don’t think you know...” Heosu lifted his sword and slowly draw a circle in the air. One, two, three times… It wasn’t intimidating at all.
‘I’ll break through with one go.’
Seo Jun-Ho waved his hand slightly, and the jet-black ice petals shot forward to cover Heosu.
“...That your attacks are very powerful, Young Hero, but they are not enough to injure a master like me.”
The flower petals struck the circles Heosu had drawn in the air, and the petals started to scatter. Some of them futilely surged to the sky, while some fell to the ground.
“Have you heard of the Yin-Yang Blade?”
“...It redirects the trajectory of an attack.”
“And that’s not all.” Heosu grinned and suddenly dashed toward Seo Jun-Ho. “By mastering the principle of flow, one can deflect every attack in the world.”
Seo Jun-Ho quickly lowered himself, and a giant wall of ice shot out from the ground, sending tremors everywhere. It was so thick and tall that it pierced through the clouds.
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‘This bastard. When did he acquire such power…?’
However, Heosu’s surprise was only momentary. The scattered flower petals dissolved, unable to pierce through the ice.
“I would like to see if that so-called Yin-Yang can handle this...” The Frost Queen lightly snapped her fingers, and the wall of ice slowly moved forward.
“D-Dammit…!” Heosu cursed from the other side, flustered.
All of a sudden, a dragon’s roar reverberated, and the wall of ice shattered into thousands of pieces as Danyang surged into the air.
“This is my clan’s ultimate technique, Dragon-Piercing Death Strike.”
It was a sword technique that could slaughter even a dragon flying above the sky. It was that sharp and fast.
‘But he made a mistake...’
Seo Jun-Ho’s eyes flashed. He stirred his magic power and summoned spears made of darkness and filled with scorn. It was a powerful technique that could destroy the target on a cellular level.
‘My attack rains down from the sky. He has no means of dodging it.’ And the troublesome Heosu was still on the ground, unable to change the trajectory of the attack.
Seo Jun-Ho released the spears without a second thought.
They flew out, easily breaking the sound barrier.
However, just as they were about to pierce Danyang, Danyang finally moved.
Danyang gracefully moved in midair—almost as if he had footholds in the air. He gently fluttered to the ground.
“It seems that you are unaware of my sect’s technique, the High Principle of the Sky Dragon.”
Seo Jun-Ho thought that he had seen something like that a few times in the wuxia novels he was reading as a student. ‘I think it’s the ability to move your body in midair.’
He initially thought that it was just some unimpressive technique, but after witnessing it himself, he came to the conclusion that it was pretty annoying to deal with.
“Contractor. These men…They are not fools drunk on magic.”
Seo Jun-Ho bit his lip. Honestly, he thought that they would only be about as strong as Yoo Joo-Wan, considering that they were Sect Leaders under Namgung Jincheon.
‘But they’re on a completely different level…’
Seo Jun-Ho watched the two masters with his sword hanging at his side, and his eyes eventually settled with composure.
“Seems like this will take longer than we thought...”
If Seo Jun-Ho tried to make haste, he could end up being devoured.
Gong Ju-Ha’s party finally approached the place where the fighting was the most intense.
“Over there! He’s over there!”
A familiar backside. A single man was fending off tens of thousands of martial artists all by himself. The majestic sight awed her.
She always—always wanted to tell him, and she resolved herself to do so after clearing the Seo Jun-Ho Difficulty.
She also felt sorry that she was ignorant about how hard he had been working all this time, even though she had been calling herself his fan.
No matter what, she wanted to tell him.
“Everyone! Protect Specter!”
“Let the Healer help him first!”
Gong Ju-Ha ran to Specter faster than anyone else, and her chest grew tight as she teared up when she saw his weary and exhausted face.
“Specter-nim…” Gong Ju-Ha bit her lip. She was about to say something, but she was interrupted.
Specter exhaled lightly and glanced at her. “Woah, it’s Ju-Ha. I think I’m about to die because I’m starting to hallucinate.”
“...Pardon?” Gong Ju-Ha asked, stunned.
He had clearly called her ‘Ju-Ha’.
‘W-W-W-What? What? Why did he drop the honorifics?’
Flustered, Gong Ju-Ha’s face flushed.
Shim Deok-Gu was at the executive office of the Korean Player Association. As he sorted through the plan to take the Sky Soul Guild down, he suddenly looked up.
“Oh, now that I think about it…”
He had forgotten to tell them about Seo Jun-Sik.
He blinked a few times and chuckled.
‘Well, I’m sure it won’t be that much of a problem.’
1. He uses a word that refers to a battle strategy that literally translates to ‘yell from the west and hit from the east’. ☜
2. Martial arts styles follow a certain ‘principle’ that fits their techniques. ☜
3. He usually calls her Captain Gong or Miss Ju-Ha. People drop titles and honorifics for people they have a personal rather than professional relationship with. ☜