Raon’s entire life had been lived as a dog on a leash.
Through a twist of fate, he obtained a new life.
Wrath remained in the wreckage of his destroyed leash.
Finally capable of standing on his own feet, he decided to live life by his own will.
He would slay anyone standing in his way…
Even if they were a god.
Raon watched Merlin who was ahead, and smirked.
‘He seems to be enjoying.’
Seeing his light footsteps, it seemed he couldn’t wait for after he wore the dragon helmet.
‘He must be waiting for the soul inside.’
What Merlin wants is probably for the soul inside the helmet to take over his body, but such a thing cannot happen. No matter who the opponent is, he won’t lose in terms of willpower.
“How does it feel? Nervous?”
Sensing the gaze, Merlin stopped and looked back. The eyes behind the mask shone with desire.
He honestly nodded, admitting he was a little nervous.
“You don’t need to be. All you have to do is trust the helmet.”
Merlin smiled, saying he just needs to wear the helmet and comfortably fall asleep.
Raon pointed at the Jeolhongeom following from behind. It was rare for him, who didn’t come into Daejeon, to come this far.
“Once you wear the helmet, you’ll be defenseless. I asked him to come to protect you.”
Merlin didn’t look at Jeolhongeom but licked his lips under the mask, looking at Raon.
“There shouldn’t be any issues with your soul ceremony.”
She explained that wearing the helmet was called a soul ceremony.
Raon narrowed his eyes, looking at the golden glowing eyes of the Jeolhongeom.
‘There’s something different about him.’
Unlike the warriors of Eden he had met so far, he didn’t just feel the fighting spirit from Jeolhongeom, but also an indescribable scent of death.
It felt like they had brought a real lion and made him wear a helmet.
‘All of them are strange in their own ways.’
Raon shook his head side to side and stopped in front of Merlin’s log cabin, but Merlin seemed to be heading further.
“Your soul ceremony will be held in a different room. You’re special, after all.”
Merlin snapped her long fingers as if beckoning him to follow. She went much further and reached the wall at the end of Daejeon.
When Merlin knocked on the gray wall, a passage opened in the center of the wall emitting a bright white light. Dark mists began rising from within the passage.
“Let’s go in.”
Merlin entered the passage first with a mischievous smile.
Lasse frowned, looking at the giun flowing from the wall.
Despite saying it was nothing, he looked annoyed while staring at the opened passage.
‘Actually, he’s the most mysterious one.’
Raon softly smiled and entered the protruding passage. A vast square room appeared after passing through the intense light.
Inside the grand room, not only the floor but also the four walls and ceiling had magic circles of various forms drawn on them.
Black giun was rising from the magic circles, but instead of a malevolent giun, it felt like pure mana.
-Is it him after all?
Lasse clicked his tongue, looking at the giun flowing from the magic circle.
-Nevermind. He’s just a foolish guy.
He seemed not to want to talk more and closed his mouth.
Before he could ask more, Merlin pointed to a gray chair placed in the center of the floor’s magic circle.
Raon stared into the emotionless eyes of the Jeolhongeom and took a seat in the place Merlin had designated.
“It’s convenient having such a smart child.”
Merlin approached and reached out her hand. Above it, the dragon helmet Raon had seen the day before floated up.
The sharp scales and vibrant blue mane made the dragon of the helmet seem as if it was truly alive.
Raon let out a short breath and grabbed the helmet with both hands. Despite its appearance, the helmet felt as light as paper and had a rubbery elasticity. It seemed like it would fit anyone regardless of the size of their face.
“Wait a moment.”
Merlin gave a crescent-moon smile and brought her hands together. Six magical circles appeared above her palms, identical in form to the ones engraved in the room.
The magical circles on the walls and ceiling resonated with her mana, emitting a dark glow.
Merlin nodded, indicating for Raon to wear the helmet.
Raon closed his eyes momentarily and then put on the dragon helmet. The slightly oversized helmet adjusted to fit his head perfectly, and he began to feel a strange energy flow through him.
Merlin slightly lifted her mask, aligning her red lips with the helmet’s mouth and curving them into a slender smile.
“When you open your eyes, it will all be over.”
With that final phrase, Raon’s vision went dark.
* * *
Zieghardt Main Hall.
Despite the assembly of the family’s senior members and the vassal lords, the hall felt as cold as if it was covered in ice.
Their faces were also notably grim, and it was all due to one individual.
Glen Zieghardt. Everyone gulped dryly in the face of his overwhelming presence as he sat on the North Destroyer’s throne.
“My lord, everyone is gathered.”
Loen approached Glen’s side and bowed his head.
Glen glanced at the senior members and lords, lightly tapping the armrest of his throne.
“Zieghardt has been stagnant for quite some time.”
The chill in his voice made everyone tremble.
“Zieghardt showed its ability to consume half of the continent, so I thought there was no need for further bloodshed.”
Glen’s icy gaze shifted to the right.
“We chose to pause on our own. Zieghardt needed a soul and rest, and I have no regrets about that decision.”
Sheryl, who was standing behind the pillar on the right, slowly nodded.
“However, it seems others didn’t see it that way.”
Glen’s eyes flashed crimson.
“Everyone knows that Raon Zieghardt and Dorian Sephia have been kidnapped.”
The senior members and lords nodded heavily.
“If the White Blood Sect and Eden had killed the members of the Wind Faction on the spot, I wouldn’t have summoned you all. I would have entrusted a single unit to Limer and ordered revenge.”
That was true. Zieghardt wouldn’t summon everyone even if a unit or a major group was wiped out.
“But they kidnapped the examiners under the name of Zieghardt. What do you think that means?”
Glen’s eyes scanned the room. The examiners, who had been terrified moments ago, now had a fire in their eyes.
“It means they are belittling Zieghardt.”
Sheryl spoke on behalf of everyone, clenching his fist.
“Exactly. Kidnapping the examiners under the name of Zieghardt means they see us as trivial. It signifies they are not afraid of our swords and do not respect us.”
As Glen spoke more, his bravado waned. It signified his genuine anger.
The officials from Zieghardt and the lords of the Bongshin family, in contrast to Glen, gradually stirred a formidable force. The whole mansion began to tremble from the energy everyone generated.
“There may be those who despise Raon or the Wind Faction. Whatever their reasons, I respect them. However, this isn’t an internal matter, but an external one. It’s time to think of Zieghardt’s name, not Raon’s.”
Glen stood up. His modest presence felt as if it overshadowed a mountain.
“The search has already begun. Along with the black market, find Raon Zieghardt and Dorian Sephia. Whether the end leads to Oma or even Yukwang, it doesn’t matter. Erase everywhere related to the kidnappings of those children.”
The mansion vibrated as if it had become one heart.
“No matter who the enemy is, do not fear.”
Glen stood at the edge of the platform. A burning red gaze, like the sun, enveloped the entire world.
“I will stand in front of all of you.”
* * *
Upon opening his eyes, a dark sky was visible. It was a ceiling whose end couldn’t be seen.
Raon raised his body and turned his head to the right.
Not far behind the dark space, a frozen ground could be seen. A palace, vaster than Zieghardt’s domain, was entirely encased in silver frost.
‘That chill is…’
A familiar energy. It was the cold of Glacia.
‘Crafted by Roengreen.’
Seeing the castle frozen by Glacia’s chill, it was clear this was Merlin’s castle from the tales. The palace seemed untouched by human hands for a long time, and its loneliness was eerily haunting.
As Raon observed the castle, his expression soured.
Something was off from his usual self. His body, which he had grown perfectly accustomed to, felt different in height.
He inspected his hands and clothes. The ice flower bracelet, which never disappeared, was gone, and instead of the Wind Gang’s uniform, he wore a black nocturnal outfit.
‘Could it be…’
Raon reflected his face on the white ground. The face with golden hair and red eyes that he had for nearly 20 years was gone, and a young man with black hair and eyes, as if shrouded in darkness, was staring back wide-eyed.
Not the current me, but the past life’s me. The figure of the assassin Raon, who had lived his entire life leashed by Derus Robert.
Stepping backward, he tripped over something. Looking down, a short dagger and a long sword lay side by side.
Undeniably, these were the weapons he used in his past life. The weapons he held until his death by Derus Robert.
“So this is what meeting one’s soul means?”
Considering that the figure of not Raon Zieghardt but the past life’s Raon appeared, the notion of confronting one’s soul wasn’t a lie.
‘So that’s why Lasse was absent.’
He wondered why the talkative Lasse was silent, and it seemed they were in a separated space.
Raon, holding the weapons from his past for the first time in a while, gave a faint smile.
When will my recovery meal arrive?
No sooner had he thought this than the space began to vibrate.
The palace crumbled, and a massive dragon’s neck covered in sharp blue scales surged upwards. At its tip, a furious blue eye gleamed.
The ice covering the entire palace shattered like glass, and a majestic dragon’s cry echoed through the world.
Huge wings that seemed to touch the horizon spread, causing the palace to collapse entirely.
Among the pouring stones and piles of ice, a little log cabin, which seemed out of place, appeared but was soon buried in the debris.
The blue dragon kicked off the frozen ground and soared into the sky. As it cruised through the endless expanse, it spotted Raon and descended like a bolt of lightning.
The blue dragon crashed onto the pristine ground, its eyes slit like a snake’s tongue, emanating an intimidating aura.
Raon met the fierce gaze of the blue dragon with clenched teeth.
A bright white light emanated from the dragon’s body, and its massive form began to shrink to the size of a human.
Out of the intense light, a young man emerged. He wore a knight’s armor and had deep blue eyes; his appearance was so handsome that Encia would have instantly exclaimed in admiration.
“I can’t understand.”
The man with blue hair slightly furrowed his brow.
“If what the princess said is correct, the barrier in your mind shouldn’t have allowed this world to open at all. Why are you in front of me?”
He tilted his head as if puzzled.
‘It wasn’t for nothing that I gave him the Soul Breaker.’
From what the man was saying, if you broke the mental barrier with the Soul Breaker, this space wouldn’t have existed, and that creature’s soul would have destroyed itself.
‘But a princess?’
This dragon couldn’t be looking for anyone else. It was evident he referred to Merlin as the princess.
“Is Merlin a princess?”
“Don’t you know?”
The dragon lowered its eyebrows as if to say, “Don’t you even know that?”
“Well, you probably were just captured by the princess too.”
He clicked his tongue in disdain.
“You’re not a dragon.”
Raon sneered at the blue-haired man.
‘He can’t possibly be a dragon.’
Dragons, being the mightiest of races, have a strong pride. Unless it’s a jest, a dragon in its true form wouldn’t refer to a human as ‘princess’.
‘So, this guy is…’
A gleam flashed in Raon’s eyes. There’s only one creature that can transform into a human and yet is not a dragon.
Dragonian refers to the offspring resulting from the union of a dragon and another race.
Most have powers or mana affinities superior to their original race, but occasionally there are Dragonians born with the ability to transform into dragons, and it seemed like the man before them was one of those.
“Are you a Dragonian?”
The blue-haired man nodded confidently.
“My name is Lokta Deport. I am the son of the Blue Dragon Kronos Deport and the captain of the guard for Siruken.”
As he wore armor and wielded a sword, he referred to himself as a knight.
“I hold no ill will towards you. As a knight, I failed to protect the princess. I will atone for my sins in death. If you surrender, I promise no harm…”
“Spare me the nonsense.”
Raon coldly laughed. Perhaps because it was his past body, a curse he hadn’t used much as Raon Zieghardt instantly came out.
“You kidnap at will and then talk about atoning in death? Stop with the ridiculous chatter.”
“Resistance is futile.”
Lokta’s gaze became disdainful.
“Look beneath your feet.”
Following his words, Raon looked down. The white ground that Lokta stood upon starkly contrasted with the dark terrain.
“That dark land is all your life has been.”
“The world contained within your soul consists only of that land and two blades. On the other hand…”
Lokta pointed behind himself.
“My world might have stopped within this frozen castle, but it’s vast and solid, incomparable to yours.”
A chilling despair emanated from his eyes.
“If I wanted, I could obliterate your narrow world instantly. I’m giving you a last chance. Stand down. I don’t want to use my power against the weak.”
Lokta still seemed to consider himself a knight, spouting nonsense. It was laughable.
“Typically, the weaker bark the loudest.”
Raon smirked and snapped his fingers.
“Stop blabbering and come at me, half-baked lizard.”
“Choosing to drink vinegar over wine, I see.”
Lokta’s eyes flashed icy blue, and from the frozen ground he stood upon, waves of frost emerged.
A deafening roar!
The white tidal wave expanded its territory, swallowing the dark land. A sensation as if the mana circuits were freezing. The pain was similar to the attacks Raon experienced daily from Lasse.
‘So, this is it.’
That’s why it’s called a soul battle.
Now he understood. This place visualized the body he fought daily with against Lasse. Lokta’s soul, possessing greater power, had consumed most of this space.
The despair and chill that Lokta emitted grew, and the black space rapidly shrunk.
Before long, all that was left was a tiny patch of land beneath my feet.
“Didn’t I tell you?”
Lokta sneered condescendingly. Talking about being a knight, but you’re no different from Merlin.
“It’s futile. It’s impossible for you to defeat me in this world.”
“Why is that?”
“Our experiences differ. This might be your first time here, but I’ve been fighting in this world since I was alive. Probably fought over a hundred times.”
“A hundred times?”
Raon curled the corners of his mouth.
He invoked a ring of fire and stepped forward. Flames emanating from under his feet began to sweep over the frozen ground.
The blazing flames melted the endless chill and despair in an instant, even consuming the frozen ground. It was on a different dimension compared to the cold Lokta unleashed.
“What, what is this flame?!”
Raon looked at Lokta’s wide-eyed expression and smiled.
“Let me tell you. I had a troublesome candyfloss bugging me for half my life. I’ve been through these battles not a hundred times, but over a thousand times.”
With flames contrasting his cold laughter, he walked on the burning ground.
The sound of wet old shoes changed to distinct leather shoes. The dark trousers and shirt transformed into the shining uniform of the elite group, and the black hair ignited, turning into dazzling golden locks.
The once empty black pupils turned into sun-engulfed red, piercing Lokta’s soul.
Endless flames spread, revealing a star observatory, five towers, and the landscape of Zieghardt behind Raon.
The once desolate dark ground was now filled with the connections he had built.
My world was no longer empty.
“Who, who are you?! How can such a drastic change occur in a human’s psyche…”
Lokta looked at the transformed Raon, trembling. He seemed beyond startled, now terrified by the incomprehensible situation.
Regardless of his astonishment, the heat of the flames melted the frozen ground, even reaching the collapsed castle Lokta had destroyed.
“I’m just an ordinary human.”
Raon gripped the Jecheon Sword tightly, narrowing his eyes.
“I’ve broken free, and now I live a human-worthy life.”
“What nonsense are you talking about?”
“Sorry to break it to you, but neither you nor your precious princess will ever get what you want… Hm?”
Raon stopped talking and looked to the right. Lokta turned his head at the same time.
Strings of dark threads intertwined above the blazing floor of the comic’s flame, creating a bizarre realm.
“What, what is that! How can there be intruders in this space!”
Lokta bulged his eyes in disbelief.
“You! What will you summon!”
“I didn’t summon it, it came on its own.”
Raon frowned at the ice flower bracelet that appeared on his wrist.
“An illegal occupant.”
With a sound like a book being torn apart, a blue dimension split in the shape of a rhombus opened up to the end of the sky. From the dimension, which rippled like the ocean, Lasse revealed himself.
Living up to his name as the Lord of Anger, Lasse, cloaked in a unique and absolute giun, looked at this world with cold eyes.
Raon squinted slowly, observing Lasse crossing through the dimension.
‘Why is he still like that? No, the real question is…’
Why has he grown so big?
Lasse, who usually looked like blue cotton candy, had grown. No, he had grown significantly. He looked about 100 times bigger than when he came out of the ice flower bracelet.
As soon as he emerged from the dimension, he couldn’t hold himself up and fell to the ground with a horrible scream.
The whole space shook, possibly due to Lasse’s increased size and weight from his fall.
Lasse slightly lifted his head with squinted eyes.
“You worm! You still haven’t finished, what are you doing?!”
It was the first time since their meeting that Lasse’s words were heard clearly. The voice was heard through ears, not just in the head.
“Where’s the lizard? I want to devour it whole after such a long time.”
Did he mean he actually ate it?
It was so absurd that a chuckle escaped. I thought he had defeated the dragon, but it seemed he actually devoured it. I really couldn’t understand why he wasn’t overeating.
“Look closely and open your mouth. Where’s the lizard? I feel the need to rejuvenate.”
Raon shook his head slowly and pointed to the floor.
“It’s squashed under you.”
Lokta, not expecting to be fallen upon, was flattened under Lasse’s belly.
Judging by the faint giun emanating, it seemed he was alive. It would’ve been a terribly pitiful end to be crushed under cotton candy. It was a relief he wasn’t dead.
Lasse licked his lips and looked down.
No matter how one looks at it, Lasse is insane.
Raon looked up at Lasse and sighed.
“Why are you in that form?”
“What do you mean?”
“This is a place where souls find their true form. Why are you still cotton candy?”
“Cotton candy? What’s cotton candy?”
Lasse didn’t answer but asked about cotton candy first.
“It’s candy made by melting thick sugar and making it fluffy like cotton. It looks exactly like you right now.”
“Is it delicious?”
I was less surprised as I expected that reply.
“It just tastes like sugar.”
“I definitely want to try it later.”
Lasse licked his lips again.
“Forget that, where’s that handsome and beautiful appearance you always talk about? Why are you just cotton candy now?”
This place revealed even the form of one’s past life as an assassin. I wondered why only Lasse remained in that form.
“Isn’t it obvious?”
Lasse looked as if he expected a follow-up question.
“This world opened because the mental barriers of you and the lizard collided. If my original form appeared, that would be even stranger.”
“Your anger is rooted in my soul.”
“Thanks to that anger, hasn’t my demeanor improved?”
Seemingly pleased with his larger form, he smiled, observing his enlarged arms.
Raon looked at Lasse and sighed in exasperation. No matter how much he thought, he couldn’t understand what went on in the mind of that cotton candy fellow.
Just as he was about to address Lasse again,
The ground vibrated and Lasse was suddenly propelled into the sky.
Beneath him, Lokta let out a ghastly scream, producing a massive chill and an aura of despair.
“How dare you ambush me like that!”
Lokta, flying through the air, glared at Lasse with gritted teeth.
“I’ll tear all of your flesh apart!”
Whether it was the shock of being pinned by Lasse, Lokta radiated a mad look.
“You’re not even a proper lizard. Acting all high and mighty for a half-baked creature.”
Lasse, floating in the air, glared back at Lokta.
“What are you doing? Shouldn’t you, a servant of mine, handle this more swiftly?”
“How about a bet for old times’ sake?”
Raon pointed at Lokta with a smile.
“A bet? What kind of bet are you suggesting?”
“Let’s see who can subdue him first.”
“How arrogant! You think you can defeat me?”
“Haven’t I been doing that all my life?”
Lasse was left speechless by the piercing words, his lips quivering.
“Fine! I accept the challenge!”
“But remember, don’t kill him. Whoever makes him surrender first wins.”
As he finished speaking, a familiar message appeared before his eyes.
[<Fury> proposes a bet.]
Condition: Subdue the Dragonian first.
Success: All stats +10, two traits upgraded.
Failure: Create 25 points of <Fury> emotion.
After reading the message, Raon nodded.
As soon as he agreed, the message disappeared.
“A bet? Are you disregarding me!”
Lokta gritted his teeth to the point of breaking, glaring at both Raon and Lasse.
“I won’t lose to anyone here!”
The sword he held emitted an incredibly blinding light.
“You stay out of it!”
“You stay out.”
However, Raon and Lasse, both ignoring Lokta, exchanged glances.
“Despite appearances, he’s stronger than you. Can you really do it?”
Lasse let out a mocking laugh. Being as big as a cotton candy, he wasn’t that annoyed.
“You told me.”
“Told you what?”
“That mental strength and imagination are the most important in these battles.”
In this world, Lasse and his physical strength competed. If one solidifies their spirit and soul, they won’t lose to anyone.
“I won’t lose to anyone here.”
Raon raised his Jecheon Sword and Jinhon Sword with a fiery smile.
“Hmph. You won’t stand a chance!”
With a simple wave of his hand, Lasse caused the ground under Lokta to start freezing.
The chilling aura that could freeze even a Dragonian with utmost resistance. It was an unbelievable force.
“This, this cold!”
Lokta, recognizing the frost from Lasse, gaped in shock. Recognizing the frost from Roengreen, he trembled in fear.
Just as Lasse’s glacial chill was about to freeze Lokta completely, a fierce blaze erupted, melting the frost.
“Not gonna happen.”
Raon, pointing his Jecheon Sword forward, smiled.
“You didn’t say I couldn’t.”
“Even if you do, it’s useless!”
Lasse’s eyes flashed blue, and thousands, no, tens of thousands of ice blades materialized in the air.
The blade dropped in an instant, targeting both Raon and Lokta at the same time.
Raon extended the Jecheon Sword forward. Thousands of red buds that bloomed along the blade began to open.
The clusters of fire flowers filling the air melted all the ice blades Lasse had created.
‘It really works.’
In reality, if they fought Lasse, it would end in one blow, but here, they could stop Lasse.
‘Nothing has changed.’
The battles in this place are like fighting Lasse by clashing souls. If they raise the ring of fire and elevate the spirit, crushing that Demon King is no big deal.
Raon smirked thinly as he saw Lasse, whose expression was sour.
‘A Dragonian and the Demon King.’
It would be a proper nourishment.
* * *
The reality of the White Blood Sect.
In a vast room where white and red harmonized, a moaning sound seemed to flow.
The source of the sound was in the air. A ring and a glass bottle containing a continental fragrance were floating, wrapped in a pure white giun.
Dorian blankly watched the slowly rotating glass bottle and ring while standing next to the right pillar.
The endlessly rotating ring and bottle suddenly stopped, and the white giun covering them drew a strange pattern in the air.
The red feet on the platform wobbled as the leader of the White Blood Sect took a deep breath.
“It took quite a while.”
Her seductive gaze slid past the ring and the bottle, then onto the glowing pattern.
The leader of the White Blood Sect raised one of her long legs, rested her chin on her knee, and grinned.
“It seems you’ve been dragged to an interesting place.”
With a snap of her fingers, the ring and bottle slowly fell into Dorian’s hands.
From outside the reality, low footsteps echoed, and the 10th 사도(apostle) entered the room.
“Is it over?”
“I found the approximate location.”
The leader of the White Blood Sect slowly nodded to the 10th 사도(apostle).
“So, even with the Maya White Divination, you couldn’t pinpoint the exact location?”
“Seems they’ve set up a thick 결계(boundary).”
She twirled her finger, and a continental map appeared in the air. One part of the map flashed white, indicating the commercial city of Cameloon.
The 10th 사도(apostle) widened his eyes as he saw the shining light at Cameloon.
“Could it be that Eden is in Cameloon?”
“Near Cameloon, most likely.”
The leader of the White Blood Sect stroked her throat and lowered her head.
“But Cameloon is a city associated with three of the Six Emperors…”
“That’s why it’s easier to hide there.”
Realizing the reason, the 10th 사도(apostle) slightly nodded.
“They keep each other in check.”
“Right. Despite being bound by the title of the Six Emperors, they’re constantly watching and checking each other.”
The leader of the White Blood Sect gave a faint smile.
“Still, that informant doesn’t come out easily. He’s clever and gutsy. It’s ‘his’ handiwork.”
She lazily got up from her position.
“Are you going there personally?”
“You guys might not be enough.”
Despite the leader’s disregard, the 10th 사도(apostle) showed no reaction. To him, the leader was a deity. If the deity said so, there was a reason.
“I will prepare.”
The 10th 사도(apostle) bowed and left the room.
“If he was more refined…”
Looking at Dorian, who was holding the ring and bottle, the leader of the White Blood Sect gave a suggestive smile.
“You should come along too.”
* * *
Lokta raised his head, trembling with fear.
A young human and a cloud-like monster were engaged in a fierce battle, spewing fire and ice.
‘Yes, I’m sure. It’s that cold!’
The giun released by that cloud-like monster was unmistakably the cold of Roengrin, which had once stopped time itself.
The cold, more potent than when Roengrin had used it, was completely melted by the young human’s flames.
“That young lad was more monstrous.”
Lokta swallowed hard looking at Raon. He couldn’t understand how such a young-looking lad could possess such formidable mental strength and a lofty soul.
‘No. That’s not what’s important right now.’
This is an opportunity. A chance to kill both at once.
If he attacked while the human and the monster were fighting, he could end both his revenge against Roengrin and the battle to take back his body in one go.
Since waking up, he had honed his mental strength endlessly to take revenge on Roengrin and protect the princess. Now was the time to show the results.
‘I’ll make you regret underestimating me. No, there won’t even be a chance for regrets!’
You’ll just disappear!
Lokta revealed his true soul. His body shone a bluish hue, returning to the form of a blue dragon.
From a great height, where humans seemed smaller than bugs, he drew up feelings of intensity and despair.
The breath of cold. He unleashed the strongest attack he received from his father, making all the mental strength he had built up explode.
The extreme cold that burst from Lokta’s wide-open mouth poured down on Raon and Lasse.
The two, who had been shooting fire and frost at each other, stopped in their tracks, turned to look, and frowned.
“What a nuisance.”
“How dare this pest!”
Anger surged in the eyes of Raon and Lasse, disturbed in their fight.
“I said no third parties!”
From each of their fists, giuns of different lights reached out, tearing apart the breath of cold that Lokta had spewed.
A massive heat and cold twisted diagonally and hit Lokta’s chest violently.
Lokta, despite his massive size, was thrown like a twig and crashed onto the ground.
In his fading consciousness, he glanced at Raon and Lasse, who weren’t even looking his way.
It was my fight…
* * *
Raon pointed to the passed out Lokta with his tongue out and smiled.
“You saw that fall, right? The bet is mine.”
“What nonsense are you talking about! My cold energy shattered his senses first!”
“My flames were first.”
“Nonsense! My cold was slightly faster! Your flames trailed behind!”
“It was me.”
“No it wasn’t!”
Lasse shook his head vehemently, as if in denial. Seeing him in his cotton candy form made it comical.
“Heh, it’s for the best. I’ll break you as well, and instill rage into your soul.”
“You sure about that?”
Raon smirked, tilting his head slightly.
“This place favors me, you know?”
“Hmph! Doesn’t matter!”
Lasse sneered, emitting a dark glint in his eyes.
“Once I unleash my true power, defeating you will be simple!”
“True power, you say?”
Raon squinted, observing Lasse’s confident demeanor.
“Indeed. In this form, I can’t use my full power. Now, let everyone in the 마계(Demon Realm) witness the true form of their king.”
Lasse spread out his hand. The frost, previously diffused like cotton candy, started concentrating and reducing in size, as if he was reverting to his original form.
As he shrank and the frost concentrated, Lasse’s aura exponentially grew. The chilling cold and rage seemed endless.
“But you know.”
Raon approached Lasse with a smirk.
“There’s no need for me to wait for your transformation, right?”
With that, he powerfully kicked the coiled up, transforming Lasse.
A massive boom!
It sounded like a rubber ball bursting as Lasse soared to the sky’s end.
“Wha-what is this trickery!”
Lasse shouted with bulging eyes.
“You said you were reverting, but where did this kick come from!”
Raon kicked the plummeting Lasse right into Lokta’s face.
Lasse and Lokta, having collided, both groaned in pain.
“This is fun.”
Raon, dancing around, threw a punch at Lasse. With a loud thud, Lasse, like a deflated balloon, was slammed against a crumbled wall.
A huge crash!
From the debris, Lasse wildly waved his arms.
“Hey! Are you out of your mind!”
Lasse blinked rapidly in anger.
“Demons don’t strike mid-transformation! They give time to power up!”
“I’m not a demon.”
Walking over, Raon punched the still-transforming Lasse once more.
Lasse, struck by the fists, swayed side to side, unable to regain consciousness.
“Devilish, no, worse than a devil…”
Lasse, with his frosty rage now quelled, slowly faded into unconsciousness.
Lokta, playfully pounding on Lasse, shivered as he looked at the grinning Raon.
‘That human is the real deal.’
A real madman indeed!
Having lived for a long time with Merlin and seeing countless humans, he had never seen anyone like this.
Unwavering mental fortitude combined with cruelty. He was a monster, sending shivers down the spine.
“Why did you send such a monster to me?!”
Lokta didn’t even think of rebelling against Raon, but instead resented Merlin. He felt that no matter what he did, he couldn’t defeat that monster.
The moment he mentally gave in and touched the ground with his hands, a message appeared before Raon’s eyes.
[<Anger> You have won the bet.]
Raon stopped his hand after seeing the message.
Lasse, who was on the verge of fainting, vomited blood upon seeing the message.
“This, this is a scam! I won’t acknowledge it! You hit me while I was transforming!”
Lasse exploded the cold energy he had gathered in his body the moment Raon stopped his fist.
The blue cold energy soared up to the sky, creating a magnificent light.
His voice filled with intense anger and coldness made one’s soul shiver.
In the midst of the dark storm of coldness, a tall figure emerges.
The chilling gaze it emitted gave everyone goosebumps on their backs.
As the silvery frost storm subsided, the figure of Lasse was revealed.
Raon swallowed dryly and narrowed his eyes.
‘…Is that Lasse’s true form?’
The first thing that catches the eye is Lasse’s eyes. Within his slender yet deep gaze, sky-blue pupils shimmered like glass beads.
Next to the eyes, what stood out was his long hair, reaching down to his waist. Its color shone deep blue like the North Sea and also bore the hue of emerald, akin to the southern seas.
His facial features were sharp, and every detail was so distinct that it drew people’s gaze as if a black hole.
‘What he said back then wasn’t a lie.’
Not sure about being the best in the 마계(Demon Realm), but on this continent, such appearance was rare.
Even for someone like him who had no interest in beauty, words like ‘mystical’ or ‘beautiful’ sprang to mind more than ‘pretty’ or ‘handsome.’
‘To think that’s the true form of that gluttonous cotton candy.’
It was the first time he had seen someone whose personality didn’t match their appearance. It made him rethink stereotypes about looks.
‘I wonder what Encia would say when she sees him.’
Above all, he was curious about how Encia would react upon seeing Lasse.
However, there were a couple of letdowns.
Firstly, his attire was a bit odd. Lasse wore deep blue garments that looked as if they were worn by angels from myths, with wrinkles making them look billowy.
Secondly, he lacked horns and wings. When you think of a Demon King, you expect black horns and wings, their absence was a bit disappointing.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this form.”
Lasse extended his long, pale fingers and smiled faintly. He slowly lifted his gaze to look in this direction.
“Thanks to you, I had to go through all this nonsense.”
“Is that your true form?”
“Indeed. As I said, isn’t this the best face in the 마계(Demon Realm)?”
“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been to the 마계(Demon Realm).”
Raon tilted his head slightly.
“Hmph. I thought so. You, unlike your appearance, have such poor discerning eyes.”
As Lasse scowled, a sensation swept through as if hit by a hammer.
It wasn’t even an attack. Just the rising fury made his heart feel heavy.
‘What is this…’
The overwhelming aura made him momentarily forget to breathe. He exhaled a rough breath and grimaced.
“You can feel it, right? My giun now is different from before.”
“What did you do?”
This was a mental world created when his and Lokta’s souls clashed. It was impossible for Lasse to exert more power than his current anger.
He couldn’t comprehend how Lasse managed to manifest such mental strength.
“Mortals think of the soul and body separately, but in the end, the soul can only be with the vessel of the body.”
Lasse lifted his chin, casting a disdainful look.
“I’ve embodied the soul in its original form, allowing me to exercise a portion of my power.”
He took another step forward. The overwhelming cold and fury emanating from him made Raon shiver.
“Although it came at a great sacrifice, it turned out for the better. If I take over your body now, I can compensate for all the losses.”
Lasse smiled coldly and stomped his foot. At that moment, an incomprehensible surge of anger and cold erupted.
Before he could sense anything, massive ice mountains sprouted on both sides and behind him.
Raon’s lips trembled as his eyes darted around. The massive icy mountain touched his shoulder. Even if it had moved just a finger’s breadth closer, his arm would’ve been blown away.
‘Did it surge? Is that right?’
To be honest, he couldn’t properly see the process of the ice mountain surging.
In other words, if Lasse had wished, he himself would’ve already disappeared, dead.
“There’s no need to worry.”
Lasse twirled his finger and curled his lips up in a smirk. It was his usual sly grin, but with that look, he appeared graceful.
“I am merciful. I won’t finish things until I’ve repaid the past grievances.”
“That’s not mercy, that’s cruelty, isn’t it?”
Before the laughter-filled voice had ended, a massive icy wave surged from beneath the guy.
Raon clenched his teeth, causing a spark.
‘I can’t think of this as the same as before.’
The wave was the same size as when Lasse was cotton candy, but the energy (giun) inside it was different. He couldn’t block it with the power he had used up to this point.
He ignited seven rings of fire simultaneously, creating a spark. Even a slight lapse in focus could be deadly. He had to use all his strength.
Raon gritted his teeth. Pouring all the giun he possessed into the blade of the Jecheon Sword, he caused a Dragon Flame Bind.
The fiery breath emerging from the silver blade clashed with the icy tidal wave created by Lasse.
The icy tidal wave didn’t melt as easily as before. Instead, the flames of the spark, which were at their maximum, were being pushed back.
He couldn’t hold on like this.
At this point, he couldn’t use another sword technique or step into a different martial stance. He had to find a way out while using the Dragon Flame Bind.
That’s right. Focus.
Raon nodded. If he operated the Dragon Flame Bind as usual, he wouldn’t be able to withstand it. He had to concentrate his power in one spot.
He compressed the firepower of the Dragon Flame Bind to the width of his shoulders. Concentrating the firepower in one spot, he began to slowly push back Lasse’s chill.
From the directions the Dragon Flame Bind couldn’t block, the waves of cold created a blue mound.
Raon took a deep breath, furrowing his brows. If he hadn’t blocked the cold wave, he would’ve become part of that mound. The mere thought was terrifying.
“I don’t understand. This place is a spiritual world. By creating a physical body, such power emerges?”
Seeing Lasse smiling, Raon’s face contorted.
“As I’ve said, the body is a vessel for the soul, an anchor. Without a proper body, even if one is the Lord of Fury, it’s hard to draw out true power. Even the soul of the Demon King needs a fitting body to unleash its capabilities.”
Lasse snapped his fingers. The usual action, but with his changed appearance and aura, the tension only intensified.
“Don’t worry. I don’t intend to kill you.”
“Given the affection built up to this point, I’ll shove you in a corner and repay the past humiliations.”
The guy spread out his hand again. The ground vibrated as spikes of cold surged.
Raon unleashed a spiraling flame attack. Even though it clashed with the rapidly rotating fiery blade, only a few of the spikes that Lasse created were cut off.
‘I can’t cut them all.’
Better to dodge.
Raon stepped back using the Taihua Step. However, cold spikes shot out everywhere he stepped, aiming for his soul.
He quickly bit his tongue and, stepping on the TaeHwaYeBo, swiftly moved out of the area where spikes were shooting out.
As Lasse twirled his hand, this time, icy spikes fell from thin air.
Raon stamped the Jecheon Sword into the void. Gathering the power of ManhwaGong’s giun, he triggered a ZhongCheonPo.
The powerful force from the ZhongCheonPo gathered all the icy fragments that were targeting Raon.
The moment all the spikes gathered at one point, the ZhongCheonPo burst, shattering hundreds of them.
Raon clutched his throbbing chest and slightly bent his knees. Perhaps because he used too much mental power at once, his head felt dizzy.
“I’ve got a good idea.”
“Once I take over your body, I’ll eat mint chocolate ice cream for every meal. Just thinking about it brings joy!”
The guy seemed delighted just by the thought.
“Quite modest for a Demon King.”
“If I can only cause you pain, modesty doesn’t matter!”
Lasse chuckled and flicked his finger. Blue clouds formed in the sky, pouring down an uncountable amount of rain.
Raon’s hand trembled. Each raindrop possessed a powerful force of frost giun that could pierce the soul.
‘I can’t block it.’
Dodging them all was also implausible. Those clouds covered the entire space.
‘But I can’t just stand still.’
He couldn’t just become an ice popsicle. He gritted his teeth and stepped on the TaeHwaYeBo.
The flurry of frost that Lasse released seemed to anticipate this and fell towards the direction Raon moved.
“Like a drenched rat, you’re quite the spectacle running!”
Lasse laughed out loud, holding his stomach. His laughter was frivolous, contrasting with his good looks, yet oddly fitting.
“Want to hear something interesting?”
“This world could provide a hint to the GeomgyeHyunshin you’ve been seeking.”
“What do you mean…”
Hearing the word “GeomgyeHyunshin” broke his concentration.
“The martial art you call GeomgyeHyunshin is about manifesting one’s world through a sword. This mental world, where anything is possible through imagination, is the foundation of GeomgyeHyunshin. Of course…”
Lasse chuckled and waved his hand.
“For someone like you under my command, it might be impossible.”
That guy laughed, generating even more cold air. Rain, much more than before, poured from the sky.
‘He said that just to mock me.’
Raon bit his lip hard. That damn Demon King mentioned the GeomgyeHyunshin just to break his focus and mock him.
When the falling rain grazed his left arm, it wasn’t just the shoulder but the entire body that felt a sharp pain. Since his body was made of spirit, an injury felt like it affected his whole body.
‘At this rate, escaping is…huh?’
As Raon turned to perform a martial technique, his eyes widened. Beneath the frosty mountains and hills that Lasse had first created, flames were spreading.
They were the flames of the soul he had summoned when he first fought with Lokta to engulf this space. The residual flames, unaffected by Lasse’s frost, continued to expand their range.
‘Why aren’t they disappearing?’
Compared to the anger and coldness that Lasse produced, Raon’s mental power was far inferior. He couldn’t understand why the flames didn’t disappear beneath the frost.
‘Could it be…’
While looking at Lasse’s snickering face and Lokta kneeling in front of the ruined castle, Raon’s eyes narrowed.
‘Because he’s not the true master of this place?’
A hypothesis came to mind.
This world was created when oneself clashed with Lokta’s spirit, and Lokta had already admitted defeat. Thus, regardless of the intruder Lasse, this world is changing to be only one’s own.
‘That’s right. He said something similar.’
When Lasse first came here, he said this space had nothing to do with him.
‘So if I just hold out until that flame covers the castle…’
I can break free from Lasse.
“If you let your guard down like that, you won’t last long.”
With Lasse’s mocking voice, a cold wave surged from the floor. From above, there was a shower of frost, and from below, a wave of coldness—it was a deadly trap from all sides.
‘I can’t dodge this.’
Raon stopped. With the martial arts he had accumulated so far, it was an unavoidable attack.
There is a way.
If, as Lasse said, this place really is where one can do anything with mental strength and imagination, then instead of using martial arts, one should employ something else.
Raon took a deep breath and stepped forward with his left foot. He recalled the day Glen Zieghardt, the greatest martial artist, passed down his technique to him.
A step that can take you anywhere.
Recalling the step that couldn’t be used in the original world, he stomped on the ground.
By folding space and transcending it, Raon’s body moved behind Lasse in an instant.
One step. He dodged all the coldness Lasse had caused with just one step.
Lasse seemed surprised and turned around with widened eyes.
“You really are Lasse.”
Raon gave a tired smile and nodded.
“Given the challenges and hints at the same time, it’s generous Lasse indeed.”
Wrapping the entire space with coldness and mentioning imagination as a way out, even though his appearance had changed, Lasse was still the generous tree he knew.
“Enough! This is just a game for me!”
Lasse stretched out both hands. Blue light shimmered from his palms, and countless cold winds burst from the floor and ceiling.
The storms collided and grew in strength and size.
“You can never stop it!”
“Right. But I can dodge it.”
Lasse began to control the storm with his fingers.
Raon wiped the sweat from his forehead and extended his right foot. The martial art, Taehwaibo, emanated like light, pushing aside the engulfing storm.
Lasse changed the form of the frost targeting the soul, but each time, Raon used Glen’s Taehwaibo to escape the affected area.
The Taehwaibo, which Glen had shown directly, was an advanced martial art that even made Lasse want to learn. It demonstrated the miracle of evading the enveloping coldness.
Lasse let out a cold breath and frowned.
“I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have given you time.”
“It’s already too late.”
Even if it’s limited to the mental world, now that I can use Glen’s Taehwaibo, I’m confident I can escape no matter what Lasse does.
“No, it’s not too late.”
Lasse pointed to the sky with his right hand and the ground with his left.
As both hands slowly moved towards the center, waves of coldness arose from the sky and the ground. It was a massive attack, leaving no space to dodge, from both the sky and the earth.
“At this level, even you can’t dodge.”
Lasse, thinking it was all over, smirked.
“Don’t worry. As I said, I won’t kill you. You will live inside me!”
Raon sighed as he felt the cold ceiling closing in on his head.
“Hahahaha! That expression is priceless! Now I’m finally getting my revenge… huh?”
Lasse’s boisterous laughter came to a sudden halt. When he looked down, Raon wasn’t despairing but smiling.
“No, you’re too late.”
Raon sheathed his sword with a relaxed smile.
“It’s useless to show off! If I press you down now, even someone like you… huh?”
Lasse, about to strike Raon, suddenly stopped in shock.
‘Why is it short?’
His once long and beautiful arms and fingers had shrunk considerably, and his legs had disappeared altogether. His short blue hand returned to its usual state, the way it looked when Raon used to scold him.
“Ugh… What is this! What’s happening!”
Just when Lasse was close to overpowering Raon, he couldn’t understand why he suddenly reverted to his original form.
“What the hell did you do!”
Raon chuckled and pointed to the ground. The frozen land and vibrant aura that Lokta’s soul had brought were gone, leaving only the Zieghardt family’s mansion behind.
“It means the owner of this territory has been decided.”
After Lokta previously acknowledged his defeat, the flames that consumed this world vanished, as did the force that revealed Lasse’s true form.
“You were only a foreigner here.”
Lasse, seemingly understanding the situation, awkwardly scratched the back of his head and laughed.
“Uh, how was it? Was my joke funny? Hehehe!”
“You’re just the right size to hit.”
Raon clenched his fists and approached Lasse.
“Well, I just wanted to eat mint chocolate…”
“Let’s start with a punch.”
After putting on the helmet, a faint moan escaped from Raon’s previously frozen lips.
Merlin glanced at Raon, whose chin was trembling, with a smirk.
“It seems to be almost over.”
Judging by the physical reactions, it seemed the mental battle between Lokta and Raon had come to an end.
“I never expected his mental strength to be this strong…”
Originally, it was expected that Lokta would awaken as soon as he adjusted to the body. However, seeing that it took over 3 hours to take control of the body, Raon’s mental strength seemed much stronger than anticipated.
“But the winner was Lokta.”
Raon’s eyes were red. The blue gleam within the mask’s eyes indicated that Lokta had been declared the victor.
“Good thing I fed him the Spirit Elixir.”
If he hadn’t been given the Spirit Elixir beforehand, the battle in the spiritual realm could have taken much longer, and there was a chance that Lokta might have lost. Although most of the elixirs were used, he was satisfied that things had gone as planned.
Merlin, using his psychic power, lifted Raon, who was sitting on the chair, into the air and then laid him down on the floor.
Now that the spirit had taken over the body, it was much better for him to lie down on the floor without any external stimulation than sitting on a chair.
“Am I finally going to see him…”
Lokta was not only a knight who protected him but also a family member who had been with him his whole life. Thinking of meeting Lokta after hundreds of years made his heart flutter.
Even though he hadn’t slept or rested for over a week, he didn’t feel tired at all. He just wanted to see him.
After checking on Raon’s safety, Merlin turned to look behind him. Jeolhongeom was looking at Raon in the same position as before.
“How do you feel?”
Jeolhongeom, without responding to Merlin’s question, kept his gaze fixed on Raon.
“Don’t you feel restless?”
At that comment, Jeolhongeom’s shoulder twitched ever so slightly.
With a knowing look, Merlin narrowed his eyes at Jeolhongeom.
“I’m sorry, but…”
She turned her head again, gazing at the helmet glowing in a faint blue light and bit her lip.
“I’m desperate too. I can’t give in.”
* * *
Lasse, with eyes turned into dark circles, snorted as he gently touched them with his round hand.
“You’re the fifth one to throw a punch at me.”
“Five times? You’ve been hit quite a lot.”
Looking at Lasse, who had turned blue like a tropical fruit-flavored cotton candy, Raon chuckled.
“Are you really the Demon King?”
“Listen carefully! They didn’t land a punch; they just threw it! And among those five, you’re the first to beat me up this bad!”
Lasse shouted angrily.
“Ugh, I can’t even count how many punches I took!”
“Ah, I’ve been counting. Exactly 294 punches.”
Lasse’s mouth dropped open, seemingly unaware he had taken that many punches.
“294 punches? 294? I couldn’t even take that many if I tried!”
“You might not realize it, but the sensation of hitting you is no joke.”
Raon smirked at the growling Lasse.
Lasse was round, full, and of a decent size, making him enjoyable to punch. It felt like hitting a premium floating sandbag. The sensation was a bit addictive.
“Me… the ruler of the 마계(Demon Realm), getting punched 294 times by a mere human. This must be a dream. It has to be a dream…”
Lasse buried his face in his plump arms, trembling with sorrow. The being, which had just shown overwhelming strength and beauty, was now in despair over the reality of turning into tropical fruit-flavored cotton candy.
“I’m sorry, but my revenge hasn’t even started yet.”
Raon looked at the whining Lasse and coldly smirked.
“Ah, it hasn’t even started? Are you going to hit me again? After hitting me 294 times, you want to do it again? Do you even have a shred of conscience?”
Lasse’s mumbling became twice as fast, probably not wanting to be hit again.
“I do have a conscience. I won’t hit you anymore.”
“Didn’t I say I’d feed you three meals of mint chocolate earlier?”
Lasse’s eyes swayed like a pendulum. He seemed to be more scared than when he was told he’d be hit.
“From today, your meals will be just one Nadine bread. You won’t eat anything else.”
“You crazy! I at least like mint chocolate! Doesn’t that bread taste just like rubber to you too?”
“I’m fine with it.”
Raon replied calmly. Perhaps because he never cared about taste in his past lives, as long as he was full, the flavor didn’t matter.
Looking at Raon’s eyes, Lasse realized he was serious.
“No! Anything but that!”
He shouted, raising both anger and cold air.
But perhaps because he had expended so much energy materializing his body, his strength was pitifully weak.
“Nadine bread is torture! Even raw rubber is better than that!”
Despite his feeble strength, Lasse seemed to resist, launching a fist of cold air.
“There’s a saying in the human world.”
Raon tilted his head and raised his right fist.
“A good incoming punch requires a good outgoing punch.”
With those words, he struck Lasse, who flew and slammed into a corner like a rubber ball.
“Ugh, while you hit so painfully…”
Lasse sprawled out with his mouth wide open.
“That was a light hit.”
Raon chuckled. If he hadn’t held back, Lasse would be completely crumpled by now.
“No, no Nadine bread. Just hit me instead…”
Lasse murmured and closed his eyes. His obsession with food was surprisingly strong.
“I hadn’t finished speaking.”
He was about to say he wouldn’t even eat mint chocolate from now on, but fearing the shock might kill Lasse, he swallowed his words.
Raon turned his head to the right. A lizard-like creature lay flattened on the ground. It was Lokta, who had acknowledged his defeat and lost his territory.
“Now it’s your turn. Do you want a beating first or…”
“I’ve already accepted my defeat. If you have questions before I disappear, ask.”
Lokta sighed briefly and closed his eyes.
“The soul that loses in a soul battle is absorbed into the victor’s soul and disappears. In other words, I’m not even worth hitting now.”
He nodded slowly, as if he wanted to go with dignity. It was a far cry from when he first appeared.
Raon narrowed his eyes as he looked at Lokta.
‘He’s definitely faded.’
Unlike Lasse, who maintained his form even after being hit nearly 300 times, Lokta’s form had become translucent.
As Lokta had initially said, the rule of this world seemed to be that the loser’s soul is absorbed by the winner’s.
“I’m running out of time, so ask quickly. Is the Merlin outside the real Merlin?”
“How is someone from hundreds of years ago still alive?”
“He’s not alive.”
“So, did you say you died and came back to life?”
“At that time, a wizard who allied with us retrieved the soul from the frozen corpse after Merlin passed away.”
“So, was that wizard an ancestor of Eden, and his descendants embedded Merlin’s soul in the mask in this era?”
From the moment I saw Merlin, I felt something was off. Those pure white hands and lips couldn’t possibly belong to an old woman.
“That’s what I understand.”
Lokta nodded, indicating he heard it through Merlin’s voice.
“To be honest, I don’t know the exact situation. All I did was stay trapped here, occasionally hearing stories through the voice of the princess.”
That’s correct. The information Lokta should have shared wasn’t about Eden, but about this world.
“What changes when my soul is absorbed by you?”
“The quality of the soul will greatly improve. You’ll be able to use the abilities I had.”
“To put it simply, your aura will increase, and you will learn the swordsmanship and frost manipulation techniques I used, allowing you to achieve even greater mastery without any formal training.”
With a neutral expression, as if sensing impending doom, Lokta provided a plethora of information. It was surprising, as it was expected he would resist or try to buy time.
“To grow even more here…”
Raon clenched his fist tightly. He had won the bet with Lasse, and now, absorbing Lokta’s soul would enhance his abilities and power – it was not just killing two birds with one stone, but three.
“One more thing. How do you develop this mental world?”
Having heard from Lasse that this place was a clue to realizing the world of the sword, he wanted to know more.
“Different people feel and realize different things from the same experience. This world is like a building built on countless experiences you’ve had. If you look up, you’ll aim higher, and if you look down, it’ll become more solid.”
Lokta said that depending on one’s thoughts and experiences, this world would change.
‘Lasse was right.’
Just as the crumpled cotton candy had said, if he accumulated many experiences and developed this place, he felt he could someday create his own world through the world of the sword.
“Now, about you.”
Afterwards, Raon asked Lokta about his personality and preferences to impersonate Lokta to Merlin once this world ended.
“As I told you, my name is Lokta Deport. Blue Dragon…”
Surprisingly, Lokta explained everything thoroughly.
“Lastly, what’s Merlin’s goal?”
After hearing about Lokta’s personal details, Raon inquired about Merlin.
“To revive me and live together like before.”
“Live together? Like in the previous life where you massacred?”
Roengreen mentioned that Merlin summoned monsters and slaughtered countless people. It seemed they wanted to recreate that scenario in this life.
“Not like that. Just to live together with me. I am the only family left for her.”
Lokta lowered his eyes.
“Live as a family?”
Come to think of it…
Raon turned his head to where the now-vanished frozen castle had been. When the castle collapsed, there was a log house inside, similar to Merlin’s room.
“Merlin was a princess of the Shirken Kingdom. She lost a lot, and the only remaining family was me.”
“Shirken? The kingdom you said you toppled and established.”
“Yes. However, it was also a kingdom that had fallen before we established ours. Hmm, there’s not enough time for a detailed explanation.”
Lokta looked at his almost faded body with a calm smile.
“The princess is a pitiable person. She has her reasons too…”
“Did you answer kindly just to say that?”
Raon looked at Lokta with a cold gaze. He wondered why he was answering so well, it seemed like he was asking to take care of Merlin after leaving this world.
“Everyone has their circumstances.”
Every person living in this world has their circumstances. Merlin had gone too far to understand this.
“I suppose. Both I and the princess know we’ve committed a grave sin. But she’s just…”
Lokta couldn’t finish his sentence and disappeared into a frosty foam. Surprisingly, his eyes didn’t seem too regretful.
As Lokta completely vanished, the spiritual world began to shake.
“What do you think it is? The chaos of this world is over now that the other half is completely absorbed into your soul.”
Lasse crawled over, sighing deeply.
“So we’re going back to reality?”
Raon smiled, looking at his world shaking as if an earthquake occurred.
‘I’ve gained more than I thought.’
The reward from winning the bet against Lasse, and the abilities he would gain from absorbing Lokta. It was a harvest beyond expectations.
He turned around to behold his still small and fragile world.
Hoping that through more experiences, this small and frail space could evolve to reach the realm of the black 결계(boundary), he closed his eyes.
“Come back again someday.”
As his thoughts began to cut off in the shaking world, he heard Lasse’s whisper.
“You’re not really only eating that bread, right? Huh?”
Thinking about food even in this moment, his earlier words about wanting to eat as much mint chocolate as he wanted seemed truthful.
Such a remarkable guy. So he decided to reply honestly.
Yep. That’s right.
* * *
Raon opened his eyes. Before he could fully examine the magic circle engraved on the ceiling, Merlin, wearing an old man’s mask, came close to his face.
“Do you recognize me?”
For the first time, there was urgency in her voice. It was filled with expectation and madness.
Raon slowly sat up and locked eyes with Merlin’s trembling pupils.
“Are you… the princess?”
Mimicking Lokta’s tone, he slightly trembled in his voice.
Merlin seemed to lose strength in her legs and collapsed backward. Her eyes behind the mask vibrated intensely.
“Lokta. Lokta. Lokta!”
She hugged Raon, endlessly calling out Lokta’s name.
“Finally, we’ve met! Finally, once again…”
“I’m sorry, but my memories are still mixed. The memories of Raon Zieghardt and mine are intertwined…”
Still imitating Lokta’s tone, Raon lowered his head.
“I still don’t understand fully.”
“It’s okay. As time passes, you’ll be just like you used to be.”
Hugging him tightly by the neck, Merlin wept. Surprisingly, a fresh spring flower scent wafted from her.
‘She’s truly sincere.’
Raon narrowed his eyes, looking at Merlin’s trembling arms. Saying she’s the last remaining family, Merlin was seeing this situation as a miracle beyond happiness.
“Are you alright, princess?”
“Don’t worry about me.”
Merlin bowed her head, smiling.
“Hungry? I’ve prepared your favorite foods.”
Even at this time, Lasse was concerned about the food. He’s just unbearable.
“Come on… ah.”
Merlin gestured to Raon, but suddenly collapsed.
Raon grabbed Merlin and checked his condition. There wasn’t a hint of energy left in his body. He seemed to have been completely exhausted from severe fatigue.
‘A faint due to fatigue.’
Upon reflection, Raon had never seen Merlin rest. He always prepared meals himself, constantly brought preparations, and never stopped moving.
Seeing the vast amount of mana imbued in these six magic circles, he probably wasn’t working on it alone.
‘He overdid it.’
It was clear that Merlin had been preparing magic without sleeping and had fainted from relief when the tension dissipated.
Raon lifted Merlin into his arms and stood up.
The Jeolhongeom stood still, just like when using the dragon’s helmet.
“You should let the princess rest. Stand aside.”
Raon held Merlin as gently as possible and motioned with his chin.
The Jeolhongeom did not immediately move but stared with the eyes from inside its helmet. A strange light, inexpressible in words, permeated his emotionless golden eyes.
“Didn’t you hear me tell you to move aside?”
Only after saying it twice did the Jeolhongeom step back. As he moved, an exit appeared just as it had when they entered.
Raon nodded at the Jeolhongeom and exited the corridor.
The Jeolhongeom stood still like a statue until Raon left the room with Merlin. When the rotating corridor closed again, his hand trembled slightly.
* * *
Raon returned to the log cabin, laid Merlin on the bed, and carefully looked at the mask of the elder.
-Aren’t you going to open it?
Lasse, who had turned into a small cotton candy, pointed at Merlin’s mask.
‘If he wakes up, it’ll be troublesome.’
If by chance he touched the mask and Merlin woke up, he’d cling and not let go, making it hard to move freely.
Now, he had to review Lokta’s memories and set a sure script.
-You’re such a tough guy. I would have removed it out of curiosity.
Lasse muttered, “That’s why you hit people 294 times.”
‘It’s because you did something deserving of it.’
Raon chuckled and sat down on the floor.
‘I need to focus. Be quiet.’
Currently, Lokta’s memories were as faint as clouds floating in the air. He had to concentrate to grasp those memories and deceive Merlin effectively.
-Hmph. I have nothing to say.
Lasse turned his head as if pouting. Just as Raon was about to focus, a message appeared before his eyes.
[You have won the bet with <Anger>.]
[All attributes increase by 10 points.]
[The rank of the trait <Poison Resistance> has increased.]
[The rank of the trait <Spiral Force> has increased.]
It was a message notifying him of the rewards for winning the bet with Lasse. There was a lot, but there were still more messages left.
[You have achieved your eighth victory against Anger.]
[Due to the effect of 8 consecutive wins, additional attributes increase.]
[Strength increases by 3 points.]
[Agility increases by 3 points.]
[Senses increase by 4 points.]
A message about consecutive victories. The message indicated that he had won eight consecutive times against Lasse, leading to a rise in attributes. A thrill, similar to ecstasy, shot up his spine.
Seeing the message, Lasse’s mouth gaped open. It wasn’t just about the attributes, but the shock of losing eight times in a row.
But the messages weren’t done.
[You have absorbed the soul of Dragonian Lokta Deport.]
The rewards obtained from absorbing Lokta’s soul were spread out like a carpet below.
Lasse gritted his teeth at the message.
-How do you expect me to keep my mouth shut with this crap going on!
His eyes darted up and down tumultuously.
-Why does the king have to get hit 294 times and even lose his stats! You demon-like bastard!
-“I can’t live like this! Not being able to eat, constantly losing my abilities! It doesn’t feel like I’m living at all!”
“Could you quiet down?”
Raon pushed away the howling Lasse with the back of his hand and checked the rewards he obtained by absorbing Lokta’s soul.
[All abilities increase by 10 points.]
[Achievement of <Glacia> significantly increases.]
[Affinity for hydro attribute increases.]
[Resistance to hydro attribute increases.]
[<Windcut Sword Technique> is engraved in your mind.]
Seeing the message, his mouth dropped open. The reward was of a much higher level than what he got from winning the bet with Lasse.
“My abilities have increased by another 10.”
Every ability increased by another 10 points, and the thrill was so great it made his hair stand on end.
“I’ll need some time to adapt again.”
All abilities increased by 20 points, and both strength and agility rose by 3 points each. Training and time would be needed to adapt to the current physical state.
Seeing the message of Glacia’s achievement increase, Raon summoned a cold aura. A deeper blue chill created a small storm from his palm.
“It seems stronger.”
He could feel on his skin that the power of the chill was much stronger than before he wore the armor.
Seeing Lasse furrow his brows, it was clear that the intensity of the chill had increased.
Raon extinguished the chill emanating from his palm and wore a faint smile.
“The balance seems a bit off.”
Until now, he had deliberately balanced the comic power and Glacia, but with Lokta’s soul seeping in, the achievement and quantity of the chill surpassed the heat.
With the increase in hydro affinity and hydro resistance, that gap likely widened even more.
He felt he needed to check his newly enhanced physical abilities and also test the handling of the chill.
Raon closed his eyes and recalled the sword technique that came to his mind a moment ago. It was a unique sword technique, as cold and decisive as if containing the wind of the northern sea.
“Windcut Sword Technique.”
He might not know the essence of the sword technique, but its form and structure were clearly imprinted in his mind.
No, it’s a rather exceptional sword technique.
The essence of the Windcut Sword Technique is to sever the opponent’s sword technique. It was different from the sword techniques he learned so far, so he wanted to unfold it soon.
He received many rewards, including ability enhancements, hydro strengthening, and a sword technique, but the most important one was something else.
“Realm of Mastery.”
Perhaps because he fought with the mighty Lokta or because he absorbed his soul, the barrier that had been blocking him perfectly collapsed, allowing him to reach the mid-master level.
“Now, I should be able to properly fight him.”
Now, he could stand up against or even defeat 금면사(The Golden Mask) with master-level strength.
“He gave me quite a lot.”
Raon smiled as he pulled down the blue dragon helmet. Contrary to the anxiety Lokta showed at the end, he had passed on many abilities.
“It might be a bit lacking as compensation, but I’ll make sure your master departs without any pain.”
Even if Merlin had circumstances, he couldn’t let her off. She must pay for her sins. He had decided to make sure she departs without pain when it’s time to deal with her.
“Now, to recall…”
Just as he was about to go over the memories left by Lokta and the Windcut Sword Technique, he heard Lasse’s groan.
-This pesky guy!
-You’re like a summer mosquito, sucking away my power and abilities, aren’t you?
“There you go again.”
Raon chuckled lightly.
-Even if you live to an average human lifespan, my main body would be reduced to bones by then!
The guy trembled in fear, perhaps dreading that day.
“You reap what you sow.”
If he hadn’t rushed to take over my body, he wouldn’t have lost the bet. It was all his fault.
Perhaps realizing this, Lasse buried his face in his chubby arm and began to sob.
Raon seemed tempted as he stroked Lasse’s round back of the head.
‘It’s a bit pitiful to see someone called the Demon King like this.’
Maybe it was because he remembered the majestic and noble appearance of the main body. The fluffy cotton candy-like figure looked somewhat pitiful.
‘Alright, I’ll cancel the Nadine bread.’
The moment he said that, Lasse’s sobbing stopped instantly. He slowly raised his head, narrowing his eyes and rolling his round pupils.
-Is that for real?
-Phew! I’m saved! Losing 100 ability points is worse than missing out on Nadine bread.
Relieved, Lasse took a deep sigh.
-Even a demon like you has a conscience.
While laughing, Raon flicked a grinning Lasse on the forehead.
‘No more mint chocolate from now on.’
-What do you mean by that?
‘I mean, no eating mint chocolate.’
‘Because it’s not tasty.’
-Don’t you know the joy of the coolness and sweetness filling your mouth simultaneously?
Mint chocolate tastes like that? I’ve never known that flavor.
-It’s pitiful that you don’t know the taste of mint chocolate!
‘I don’t care if I don’t know. Choose. Either have a meal without Nadine bread or eat Nadine bread and have mint chocolate.’
Raon shrugged, implying he should pick any.
-Even a devil wouldn’t give such a choice!
Lasse’s eyes swayed like a sailboat hit by waves.
-It’s like asking someone to choose between their mother and father! You ungrateful creature!
‘Calling a demon ungrateful…’
Raon shook his head in disbelief.
No matter how you look at it, the real lunatic here is Lasse.
* * *
Raon woke up, noticing the moonlight seeping through the window. It was night here, but in reality, it would be day.
He placed a hand on the shoulder of Merlin, who was lying in bed, to check her condition.
‘She won’t wake up for a while.’
She had strained her body by overusing mana without proper rest. It seemed she wouldn’t wake for at least two days.
‘It’s time to go out.’
Since he had spent more than half the day in the room, reflecting on Lokta’s memories and the Windcut Sword Technique, no one would find it strange for him to leave Merlin behind.
Raon glanced at the softly breathing Merlin before stepping outside.
The spirits of Eden passing through the corridor bowed respectfully, as if they had seen Merlin. They had fully accepted him as a member of Eden.
‘Lokta would have ignored them.’
Being a knight with a strong sense of pride, Lokta would have even disregarded the greetings of the spirits.
Ignoring their greetings, Raon left for outside Daejeon. He headed to the 결계(boundary) where he had been with 금면사(The Golden Mask) and 대련, stretching his body lightly.
‘I’ve indeed improved.’
Many of his abilities had increased, making his physical movements faster and more powerful than before.
‘Being strong isn’t always good.’
It doesn’t matter if one’s physical strength and speed increase when facing a weak opponent, but when fighting an expert, it’s more important to have complete control over one’s body than mere strength.
To ensure he wasn’t at a disadvantage in any fight, he needed to understand his current physical limits.
Raon drew the Jecheon Sword. Instead of the usual swordsmanship he practiced, he displayed the newly learned Windcut Sword Technique.
Employing the power of the Glacier, as he unleashed the first move, a cold wind emanated from the sword, drawing a silver line in the air.
The sword strike, firm yet chilling with its energy, exuded a force strong enough to fend off any attack from an opponent.
The second move was an upward thrust. This technique was fast with a tight aura, having the resilience of a shield that won’t break.
Raon displayed all the moves of the Windcut Sword Technique and then sheathed his sword.
‘Is this the cutting sword?’
A cutting sword severs. It interrupts the flow of an opponent’s martial arts and delivers a lethal counter, possessing a chilling feature.
For him, who could analyze opponents using a ring of fire, it was an incredibly efficient technique, akin to the light sword.
‘Combining the Windcut Sword Technique with the light sword would be interesting.’
The light sword creates an opening in the opponent, and the Windcut Sword Technique interrupts the opponent’s rhythm. Harmonizing these two techniques might result in an astonishing swordsmanship.
After extensively practicing the Windcut Sword Technique to understand the changes in his body and engraving the technique into his muscle memory, Raon turned around.
“How long do you plan to watch?”
He narrowed his eyes, looking up at the empty rooftop.
“One shouldn’t casually watch a knight’s training.”
“I’m not interested in swordsmanship. I just observed whether you’d leave or not.”
One part of the rooftop blurred, revealing 금면사(The Golden Mask). He waved his hand, his voice slightly weaker than usual.
“You have no plans to leave this place, abandoning the princess.”
금면사(The Golden Mask) chuckled, peering into Raon’s eyes through the dragon helmet.
“Indeed, she was a princess. A princess not called as such for hundreds of years.”
“Are you mocking me?”
Raon furrowed his brows as he looked at 금면사(The Golden Mask). Pretending to be emotional, he glared at him.
“No, I just told the truth.”
금면사(The Golden Mask) shrugged with a calm look in his eyes.
“How about a bout in 대련 if you have nothing to do?”
“Yes. I’m not adjusting well. If I get into a real fight, I’ll adapt quicker.”
With a slightly raised voice, Raon provocatively tapped his sword.
‘How will this turn out?’
Excluding Merlin, 금면사(The Golden Mask) was the only one in Eden with whom he had conversed. If this guy was fooled, he could act without hesitation.
Without responding, 금면사(The Golden Mask) took a slight glance at Raon.
“You’re not very tempting. Look for someone else.”
After a pause, he lowered his head. A hint of annoyance was evident in his voice.
‘He took the bait.’
Raon bit the inside of his cheek. 금면사(The Golden Mask)’s demeanor was noticeably different from the day before. He was treating him not as Raon but as Lokta.
“Then, I have another question.”
“What is it?”
“Where is the armory where I can get weapons and armor? I don’t get along with this sword.”
Raon pointed to the Jecheon Sword.
“It’s inside Daejeon. Right next to the room where the Soul Fusion takes place.”
As if urging him to leave quickly, 금면사(The Golden Mask) waved his hand and lay on the roof.
Slowly turning his back, Raon headed towards Daejeon, clenching his fist.
‘Now I can move openly.’
Having deceived 금면사(The Golden Mask), all he had to be careful of was the unpredictable Jeolhongeom.
-What are you really up to?
Lasse scanned Raon with a frown.
-Above all, why are you so good at acting!
‘It’s basic training.’
-You’re neither a theater troupe nor a circus member, so why is acting a basic skill!
Of course, acting was not the basic training of a swordsmanship family, but of an assassin. For assassinations, one must be able to act perfectly regardless of age or gender.
-But why do you want a sword? If you’re a knight, you can use any sword. You don’t need to act like you use other weapons.
‘I’m not after the sword.’
He told 금면사(The Golden Mask) he wanted to know the armory to get a sword and armor, but in reality, he already knew its location and didn’t desire the sword or armor.
What he really wanted was another item inside that armory.
-What, what is it?
‘You’ll see when you look.’
Raon shook his head at the anxious Lasse and entered Daejeon, heading towards the room next to where the Soul Fusion took place.
As Raon was about to enter the room, two warriors wearing black goblin helmets emerged from a dimensional portal in the floor.
“Only 8-star Lefts or those with permission from an 8-star Left can enter the Jinmu Armory.”
“Was I a 7-star?”
Merlin had previously bragged that he had been a 7-star from the start.
The warriors in goblin helmets replied without any inflection in their voices.
‘These guys are strong.’
Contrary to wearing goblin helmets, a significant aura emanated from them. The souls within those helmets seemed to be more than just ordinary goblins.
“The princess is currently unconscious. We need a sword and armor to protect her.”
“Only those of 8th rank or those who have permission from the 8th rank can enter the report.”
The guards with goblin helmets said the same thing as before and lowered their heads.
Raon clicked his tongue briefly. He thought that being at the 7th rank was enough to enter, but the defense here was stronger than he expected.
‘I need to gather everything before Merlin wakes up and starts chasing… Hmm?’
As he lamented, he felt a massive presence behind him. Turning quickly, he saw Jeolhongeom standing silently.
‘This guy is truly…’
Piercing through his senses and approaching, it was beyond words to describe how impressive it was. He seemed to have a skill that scattered sensations.
Jeolhongeom stared at Raon for a moment and then directly touched the door.
The door split open like a scene from a comic, revealing a glowing passage.
Jeolhongeom did not enter but stepped aside.
“Are you telling me to enter?”
He did not reply and remained standing. Based on his previous experiences, it seemed to be the right thing to do.
‘What on earth is he thinking?’
Although he was somewhat confident in reading others’ emotions, this man was an exception. With no words or reactions, it was impossible to grasp his thoughts.
Deciding to accept the offered help for now, he said,
Raon nodded and headed inside. Perhaps because Jeolhongeom had allowed it, the guards in goblin helmets did not block his way and stood still.
The interior of the report was so vast that it did not seem like the outer room. Top-grade weapons, armor, and shields were neatly organized.
Raon looked around the armaments and turned his back. Jeolhongeom did not seem to want to come in, as the passage closed again.
‘Even if he suspects I’m taking weapons, it’s useless.’
Because I have no intention of taking anything.
Raon headed to where the armor was. He passed by top-grade armors radiating colorful mana and headed to a place where two helmets shaped like monsters were placed.
Picking up a helmet in the form of a crocodile, he smirked.
‘I’ve been looking for this.’
After absorbing Lokta’s soul, he could sense the existence of other helmets. Knowing that a helmet with the soul of a monster was here, he asked 금면사(The Golden Mask) about the location of the report.
-You, you wouldn’t dare!
‘I’ll devour the souls in the other helmets too.’
Not just Lokta, but he intended to suck up the souls of all the helmets here.
You’ll regret having kidnapped me.
* * *
Near a small hill close to the commercial city of Cameloon.
Where Raon had his first battle with the White Blood Sect, a 가마(kiln) emitting a blood-red hue was placed.
Strangely, the 가마(kiln) was carried by people of all ages – a beautiful woman, a robust man, a child looking about 10 years old, and an elderly man who seemed on the brink of collapsing.
There were red feet inside the 가마(kiln)’s seat, and the leader of the White Blood Sect, inside it, gazed down at the brown ground while half lying down.
“My children disappeared from this land.”
She gazed sorrowfully at the bloodless land and closed her eyes.
“Don’t worry. The Blood God will embrace you all.”
After she finished her brief prayer and opened her eyes, the 가마(kiln) workers of the sign moved toward the end of the hill. Since it was daylight, not only Camelun but also other distant cities were faintly visible.
The leader of the White Blood Sect looked down the hill with dark eyes like a bottomless pit. A faint exclamation flowed from her red lips that were surveying the vicinity of Camelun.
She curled her lips as she looked at the plain next to Camelun.
“To think they were hiding there.”
“Did you find what you were looking for?”
The 10사도(apostle), who had been standing like a statue, approached the 가마(kiln).
“Yes. Don’t you see?”
The leader of the White Blood Sect raised her almost transparent finger and pointed to the empty plain.
Even with heightened senses, the 10사도(apostle) seemed to see nothing, narrowing his eyes.
“It might be a bit difficult for you.”
The leader of the White Blood Sect snapped her fingers with a faint smile. A white aura emanated and seeped into the 10사도(apostle)’s sight.
The 10사도(apostle) exclaimed. As the leader of the White Blood Sect’s giun moistened his eyes, a massive formation erected on the once-ordinary plain came into view.
The formation, decorated with the sun, moon, and stars, was of such an enormous scale that it covered the entire plain.
“The sun and the moon. It must be his handiwork.”
The leader of the White Blood Sect nodded, looking at the sun and moon symbols engraved on the formation.
At her gesture, the 가마(kiln) moved forward. Even as the 가마(kiln) workers’ feet touched the air, the movement of the 가마(kiln) remained as smooth as at first.
“If I’ve marked it as mine…”
The leader of the White Blood Sect leaned on the armrest of the 가마(kiln), wearing a pleased smile.
“I must find it no matter where it is.”
A basement training room without sunlight.
A sound resembling a fierce battle cry resonated over the fine sand.
The source of that outcry was the Wind Faction. All the members of the Wind Faction, excluding Raon and Dorian, were gathered in one place practicing with their swords.
Despite not much time having passed, and many of them bearing injuries both minor and severe, the momentum exhibited by the Wind Faction was of a different caliber than before.
It wasn’t merely about having become stronger; they radiated an endless and ferocious sword aura, as if their very natures had become sharper.
“Rest for 20 minutes.”
After concluding the whirlwind training, Buren instructed the swordsmen to rest.
“Rest for 20 minutes!”
Yet, even upon hearing the command, the members of the Wind Faction didn’t sit down. Instead, they distanced themselves slightly from others and began their personal training.
Despite it being a resting period, the only sounds heard in the training room were those of swords swinging and footsteps. The expressions on the faces of the swordsmen were fierce, as if they were not training but facing a real enemy.
After executing his storm sword technique five consecutive times, Buren stretched his back.
He hesitated. For a brief moment, when his concentration shifted from his sword, terrible thoughts entered his mind: Had Raon ended up wearing Eden’s mask? Was Dorian transformed into a blood demon, drinking blood? Or even worse, could something have gone terribly wrong, resulting in both of them being dead?
‘Just be alive, both of you.’
Buren owed Raon immeasurably, not just for saving his life but for also saving his soul. Even if it cost him his life, he wished for Raon to live.
As Buren silently prayed for their safety, Martha approached him.
He nodded, looking at Martha’s pale face. It was evident that she should be receiving treatment for her injuries rather than training. Her condition was not good.
However, he couldn’t advise her to rest. Not when he couldn’t even begin to comprehend the emotions of someone who had seen her comrade taken by the enemy.
“Instead of worrying about me, take care of that.”
Martha, as if reading Buren’s thoughts, frowned and pointed behind her. There, Lunan was swinging his sword with a chilling aura.
“That crazy guy. He hasn’t rested and keeps swinging that sword. He’ll truly collapse at this rate.”
Buren bit his lip, looking at Lunan, who was practicing intensely despite suffering injuries comparable to Martha’s. The girl who once loved to daydream under the open sky was gone, replaced by a swordswoman filled with determination.
“I can’t stop her.”
Buren sighed deeply and lowered his head. Not just Lunan and Martha, everyone else was also swinging their swords relentlessly, thinking of Raon and Dorian.
Knowing their feelings, dissuading them would have been futile.
“Gather up! We will resume the whirlwind training now…”
Just as he was about to gather everyone for formation training, the training room door opened softly, and Limer entered. His eyes, different from usual, were calm and eerily cold.
“We have located Raon.”
At Limer’s subdued voice, the movements of the Wind Faction swordsmen came to an abrupt halt. Their exhausted eyes suddenly sparkled with hope.
“Is that true?”
“Where is he?”
“Is Raon alive?”
“And, what about Dorian…?”
Members of the Wind Faction flocked around Limer, pouring out the questions they had been longing to ask.
“The location is near Cameloon, but I still don’t know the exact details.”
“The black market is preparing for a large-scale dimensional shift. They’ll cross over to Cameloon through the dimensional gate. We still have time, so if anyone wants out, speak now.”
No one responded to that question. It meant they were all in it together.
“Despite your determination, I see tension in your eyes.”
Riemer gave his usual light smile.
“Whether you’ll be of any help in battle. Whether Raon will be alright. How many enemies there are and how strong they might be. These thoughts must be crossing your mind. But if you don’t go today, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”
The knights, emboldened by his words, clenched their fists audibly.
“I may not be able to ease all of your concerns, but there’s one thing I’m certain of. It doesn’t matter who the enemy is or how many there are.”
Riemer met the heated gaze of the Wind Faction with a chilling smile.
“Because the continent’s best has once again taken up his sword.”
* * *
Raon examined the red crocodile mask in his hand, licking his lips.
‘It looks like a crocodile type.’
Seeing the large, sharp teeth and rough, serrated skin, it seemed to be a large monster resembling a crocodile.
‘I wonder which one it is.’
Crocodiles appear all over the continent, and given the mask’s red color, it likely belonged to a crocodile from a desert or a hot region.
‘It must be a king.’
Eden doesn’t just use any monster; they use stones left by leaders or kings to make helmets like this. The soul inside this helmet must surely be that of a crocodile king.
“Won’t wearing that give us away if someone else comes in?”
Lasse pointed at the door with a frown.
If they came here looking for armor and weapons and he wore this helmet, anyone would be suspicious.
‘That’s why I won’t wear it.’
“What? I thought you’d definitely wear it…”
‘I won’t wear it, but I have a way to connect with its spirit world.’
Raon slid his hand inside the helmet, a faint smile on his lips.
“You can’t be serious! You’re human. Controlling a soul at will is impossible!”
‘You’re right. Alone, it’s impossible.’
He nodded, casting a sidelong glance at Lasse, who was tilting his head.
‘But you have your rage, right?’
Lasse’s rage was currently clinging to his own soul. By invoking that rage, he could clash with the monster’s soul inside the helmet without wearing it.
‘After all, you’re the best… not a hostage, but a helper.’
Lasse might have given him that rage to eventually take over his body, but that anger had proven quite useful.
By using the power he was given with the intention to harm him, he was benefiting from it. Even the generous tree from tales wouldn’t be this giving.
Lasse seemed taken aback, his mouth agape.
“It doesn’t make sense! Why is the rage, which should be a disadvantage to you, helping you? Why are you using it like it’s yours!”
He charged at Raon, flailing his fists. Of course, without any strength, it was like being hit by a cotton ball.
“Thank you for your continued support.”
Raon chuckled, pushing Lasse away.
Looking at the dispirited candy floss, he invoked the rage clinging to his soul. Sparks flew from the right hand he had inserted into the helmet, and his vision flashed white.
When he opened his eyes again, the world had changed.
The once quiet room disappeared, replaced by a volcano erupting with molten lava. The dry air, filled with heat, scorched his lungs.
‘I’ve got it right.’
Raon looked at the bubbling lava with a smile. He thought it was a desert, but it was a lava region. It seemed the owner of the mask was the Lava Crocodile King.
While observing the volcanic area with a satisfied smile, an enormous explosion of lava erupted from the center of the volcano.
Behind the soaring lava, reaching the sky, a huge shadow appeared. Lava Crocodile King. It was a crocodile of unprecedented size, its red eyes flashing.
Though Giun was far behind in terms of strength, its size was comparable to Lokta’s main body.
[Are you the human to be my flesh?]
The Lava Crocodile King raised its jaw, scrutinizing Raon.
Raon chuckled and shook his head.
“Did you come to boil and eat me?”
[You seem fearless.]
Lava Crocodile King chuckled.
[Every human who comes to hunt me has that expression. Of course, each one of them ended up in my stomach.]
The king arrogantly wagged its snout.
[Humans are nothing but prey. It was like that in the past and is the same now.]
Lava Crocodile King strutted confidently.
‘It makes sense.’
Just walking in the lava region makes one short of breath, and one’s energy drains rapidly; it’s the worst terrain.
Even the best knights and magicians would have had a hard time capturing the Lava Crocodile King reigning over the lava region.
‘But this place is different.’
This isn’t a real lava region, but a mental world. He could easily block this lava with his mental strength.
[Seeing you makes me crave the tender flesh of humans. I’ll devour your soul and feed as I please. Just give up quickly…]
“Alright. Let’s end this quickly.”
Raon nodded and drew his Jecheon Sword.
“Before someone more troublesome comes.”
Lava Crocodile King opened its mouth wide. From its throat, red lava spewed out.
Raon swung the Jecheon Sword from the ground upwards. The blue frost rising from the silver blade formed a tall wall, clashing with the lava.
The huge ice wall didn’t melt against the Lava Crocodile King’s spewed lava. It stood as it initially did. It wasn’t a battle of heat and cold, but of mental strength.
[What, what is this! Why is there ice!]
Lava Cragerdale King opened his eyes in astonishment.
[Such ice fragments should not be able to withstand in front of lava!]
“It’s not just ordinary ice.”
Raon chuckled and approached a step closer. A shimmering frost shot up from the blade of the Jecheon Sword.
“It seems you don’t really know much about this place.”
Perhaps because he hadn’t received a proper explanation after the helmet was made, it seemed like he didn’t know anything about the battle of mental strength.
Raon softly stamped the ground.
[You’re digging your own grave, fool!]
As Lava Crocodile King started to move, lava burst from the cracked ground, aiming for Raon’s entire body.
“You think this kind of attack will be my doom?”
Raon resonated with the ring of fire, raising his soul’s vigor and unleashed the Windcut Sword Technique.
The storm of frost emanating from the blade froze all five streams of lava the Lava Crocodile King had spewed.
[What is this!?]
Lava Crocodile King stepped back. Perhaps overwhelmed by the resonance of the ring of fire, it trembled.
“Where are you going?”
Raon kicked the frozen lava and consecutively unleashed the Windcut Sword Technique. A sharp, frosty wind sliced through the hide of the Lava Crocodile King, tearing his flesh.
The Lava Crocodile King screamed in agony.
‘Thankfully, he’s not like Lokta.’
If that crocodile creature had been as noble as Lokta, I would have hesitated to kill him. But he was merely a beast that saw humans as prey. I had no qualms about killing him.
The Lava Crocodile wrapped itself in molten lava.
[I won’t leave a single bone of yours intact!]
The creature, transformed into a molten mass, charged. It was an all-out offensive tactic.
“Wishful thinking on your part.”
Raon planted his feet firmly. He crushed the rising lava beneath and extended the Jecheon Sword he held to his left.
A sharp silver streak split the thick lava, followed by a frosty blade which pierced through the Lava Crocodile King’s head.
The Lava Crocodile King collapsed, groaning.
[How… How could I, once defeated by the volcano…]
He fell without even knowing what hit him, the fiery glow in his eyes slowly dimming.
“Was he weak? Or…”
Have I become stronger?
After absorbing Lokta’s spirit, my mental strength seemed to have grown beyond expectation. Unless faced with a being like Lasse, I felt unstoppable.
The lava terrain crumbled, and the body of the Lava Crocodile King disappeared. It signified the end of this world.
As Raon waited to return to reality, a blue portal opened in mid-air.
“The king has arrived… Why is it already over?”
The cotton candy creature, just about to cross dimensions, gaped at the collapsing lava terrain.
“Hey! You’re too fast…”
Lasse’s words were cut off abruptly, and the view disappeared.
Why did he come here anyway?
* * *
Raon opened his eyes to see the helmet of the Lava Crocodile King.
‘Its color has faded.’
Perhaps due to the spirit of the Lava Crocodile King disappearing, the helmet’s red glow seemed to have dimmed.
Raon tapped the ice-flower bracelet where Lasse resided.
‘How much time has passed?’
-Ugh, even the king doesn’t know.
Lasse turned away, sounding a bit choked.
‘Why don’t you know?’
-I was, well, focusing on breaking through your mental world…
He’s truly useless.
‘Why did you even come? Are you bored?’
-I was curious…
‘Don’t you have better things to do?’
Shaking his head at Lasse, Raon carefully set down the Lava Crocodile King’s helmet.
-Nonsense! The king is busy! Planning meals and studying food ingredients…
Seeing a message pop up in front of him, he silenced the rambling Lasse.
[You have absorbed the spirit of the <Lava Crocodile King>.]
[All stats have increased by 6 points.]
[Achievement of <Ring of Fire> has increased.]
[Achievement of <Manhwa Mastery> has increased.]
[Trait <Fire Affinity> has been added.]
These were the rewards from absorbing the spirit of the Lava Crocodile King. The absorption was faster than before, perhaps because this spirit was smaller than Lokta’s.
‘This is good, isn’t it?’
The content was that all the stats increased, and there was also an improvement in the ring of fire and the achievement of cartoon energy. Although it didn’t increase the base stats because it wasn’t a humanoid monster, a better characteristic appeared.
‘Affinity for fire.’
Just as the water affinity strengthened the cold, the fire affinity strengthened the heat, which was satisfying above all.
“Hey, this doesn’t make sense!”
Upon seeing the message, Lasse trembled with disbelief.
“How does everything go so smoothly for you? Why does the world favor you alone?”
He clenched his teeth, arguing that even when he used the system, it wasn’t this good.
“Every time, I can’t even eat properly, yet you get everything!”
‘Maybe because I lived a good life?’
“Rubbish! Such nonsense!”
Lasse barked angrily, glaring like an annoyed puppy.
“Of all the characters I know, yours is the worst! There’s nothing like you even in the 마계(Demon Realm)!”
‘You mean the 마계(Demon Realm)?’
Having heard about the 마계(Demon Realm) frequently, it felt quite familiar. Considering this, it seemed like it might not be bad to visit the 마계(Demon Realm) sometime.
Raon glanced at the exit of the report, deep in thought.
‘It doesn’t seem like much time has passed.’
By feeling, it felt less than an hour, but the perception of time might differ in the mental world.
‘Let’s retreat for now.’
After glancing at the other helmets, he lowered his head.
‘If I take any longer, it might raise suspicions.’
He decided it was better to take just the sword now and come back later to consume the souls of the other helmets.
From a table lined with swords, Raon took a long sword similar to what Lokta had used.
Just as he was about to leave with the sword, not just this room but the entire ground started shaking.
It wasn’t just a simple vibration; the whole reporting area seemed agitated.
As Raon frowned and turned around, the floor of the report room opened, and a faceless being wearing a goblin mask came up.
“There’s a problem. We need to seal the report room. Please come out.”
“An intruder appeared in the Taeeum 결계(boundary).”
“An intruder? Who?”
“I’m not sure.”
‘Could it be…’
Hearing about the intruder, Raon’s heart raced.
As Raon exited the report room, he expanded his senses to their fullest. His once youthful eyes darkened even before leaving Daejeon.
He halted due to the overwhelming presence emanating from outside Daejeon.
‘What is this?’
He had thought that either Sheryl from Zieghardt or some grand-class inspectors might have come, but this wasn’t the case.
The mysterious presence now emanating was on par with Glen.
Swallowing hard, Raon headed towards the exit of Daejeon.
What kind of monster has come to seek him?
금면사(The Golden Mask) lay on the rooftop, clicking his tongue briefly.
‘I don’t like this.’
Normally, he wouldn’t care who wore a helmet or who died, but the idea of Raon Zieghardt becoming half a dragon irritated him unusually.
‘Is it because it’s the first time I’ve seen such a lunatic?’
Raon Zieghardt was crazy enough to request a duel while being a prisoner in enemy territory.
He somewhat liked that madman attitude, but his mood sank when he disappeared in an instant. The reason for refusing the duel with the man wearing the blue dragon helmet was because he felt drained.
‘I had some expectations.’
He had high hopes because Raon confidently said, “See you next time,” but as expected, there wasn’t a human who could beat the spirit of the helmet and mask.
‘It’s going to be boring for a while.’
The duel with Raon was a fleeting entertainment amid the tedious task of guarding this boundary, and its absence made him feel a little regretful.
“What am I thinking right now?”
금면사(The Golden Mask) coolly laughed and tapped his cheek.
‘He was going to disappear anyway.’
He had known from the start that Raon’s spirit would vanish. Having such thoughts was strange in itself.
He sighed lightly and closed his eyes. There was no one who could even recognize the boundary, let alone enter the Taeeum boundary, so it was a time to rest his body for a moment.
He felt a sensation of someone making contact with the Taeeum boundary.
금면사(The Golden Mask) quickly rose and ran towards the direction where the boundary was disturbed.
Men and women, young and old. Four ordinary-looking people were holding a blood-red 가마(kiln), and from the base of the 가마(kiln), white hands reached out, caressing the boundary.
‘Didn’t I sense their presence?’
Sure, those four were powerful, but it wasn’t to the extent that he wouldn’t sense them. His body was specialized in detecting presences.
‘Then that woman…’
금면사(The Golden Mask) swallowed dryly as he looked at the center of the 가마(kiln). There was no aura, but her presence reached the skies. It seemed like a monstrous entity wearing a human disguise.
White Blood Sect’s leader. She looked very different from when he last saw her, but it was unmistakably her.
‘It’s going to break.’
Even if it’s the Taeeum boundary, stopping that monster is impossible. It’s only a matter of time before the boundary breaks.
금면사(The Golden Mask) gritted his teeth and activated the boundary. The inside of the boundary thickened, and an alarm bell rang inside Daejeon.
A sweet voice that tingled the ears flowed from the red 가마(kiln). Before her voice faded, the boundary opened like a wave, creating a gap for the 가마(kiln) to pass through.
‘She… opened it?’
He never imagined this could happen without breaking the boundary.
“I have a connection with him.”
Following White Blood Sect’s gesture, 10사도(apostle) led the way into the boundary. After them, the 가마(kiln) advanced, and the 5사도(apostle) followed at the back.
The archbishop, the bishop, and the believers lined up and entered the boundary.
“Are you planning to break the truce and wage war?”
“There’s nothing to worry about.”
White Blood Sect’s leader looked at The Golden Mask and slightly curled her red lips.
“I just came to find what’s mine.”
* * *
Raon frowned upon seeing Merlin’s room.
‘I have to make a choice.’
Given Lokta’s nature, he would focus on protecting Merlin in here, not caring about the events outside. To him, Merlin was more important than Eden.
But if he does that, he might be late in assessing the situation and responding to external events.
‘I don’t know who has come.’
The presence of one powerful being overshadowed everyone else, so it was impossible to know who had intruded.
‘Don’t you sense anything?’
Instead of answering, Lasse let out a faint moan and slumped his shoulders.
-I used up too much energy. I can’t sense anything.
He rambled about having manifested his true form and tearing through dimensions twice, exhausting all his stored energy.
‘How can you be of no help…’
Considering he didn’t even reply to the taunt, he must be genuinely exhausted.
‘Then I have to go myself.’
With the situation as it is, there’s no other choice. Since Merlin was unconscious, he had to personally assess the situation.
Raon, suppressing his presence, merged with the other spirits of Eden and headed outside Daejeon.
The first thing he saw was a red kiln.
A formidable presence emanated from the shadow of a woman, reflected by the pink flames covering the kiln. Her gaze was so intense, it felt as if it was locking eyes in place.
Not just Raon, but all of Eden’s spirits couldn’t take their eyes off her.
Raon forcefully turned his gaze and saw men, women, and children holding the kiln’s legs.
It felt like the kiln wasn’t just for show, radiating immense power. It was hard to discern due to the overpowering presence of the kiln’s owner, but among the four, none seemed weaker than Raon.
Raon’s eyes widened as he shifted his gaze to the side of the kiln.
‘10apostle? And 5apostle?’
On one side stood the 10apostle, with 10 beads drawn on his coat, and on the other, the 5apostle with 5 beads.
‘Then that woman is…’
He looked again at the kiln. Observing the woman making languid gestures inside the red kiln, he bit his lip.
‘White Blood Sect’s leader!’
Only one individual could command such respect from the apostles of the White Blood Sect.
Well, leaving everything aside, just the overwhelming presence of the woman inside the kiln was a giveaway from the start.
That woman was the leader of White Blood Sect, White Blood Sect’s leader.
Lasse narrowed his eyes at her feet.
-She’s quite capable.
Lasse, who recognized no one but Glen, commented on the White Blood Sect’s leader’s power, indicating she was as formidable as Glen.
Why had the White Blood Sect’s leader come here?
She hadn’t broken the boundary to enter, and judging by Eden’s reaction, this wasn’t a prearranged visit. It was puzzling why such a monstrous being, capable of shaking the entire continent, had come here.
“You’re trying to catch me?”
It might sound like an overconfidence, but the White Blood Sect once sent 10 apostles to kidnap him. It might sound crazy, but it wasn’t entirely impossible.
Lasse chuckled and waved his hand dismissively.
-There aren’t many beings with that kind of power even in the Demon Realm. Why would it come for someone like you? This is why I can’t stand those with the protagonist syndrome…
“Where is Raon Zieghardt?”
As he chuckled, a soft voice that seemed to melt one’s ears flowed from the red flames.
Raon pushed Lasse, who was blocking his view, and opened his mouth wide in surprise. That monster seemed to have really come to capture him.
“There’s no one like that here.”
The Golden Mask responded in a parched, cracked voice.
“Who do you think you’re lying to right now?”
The 5th apostle stared at The Golden Mask with heightened intent, clenching his fist as if ready to strike at any moment.
“Bow down. The esteemed person in front of you is…”
The leader of the White Blood Sect casually waved his hand.
“Raon Zieghardt isn’t here? Why?”
“That, that guy is dead…”
The Golden Mask hesitated till the last moment and then blurted out without any formality. Seeing that he didn’t raise his voice even in this situation, it was clear he was a prideful fellow.
The leader of the White Blood Sect let out a faint laugh.
“You mean he wore your helmet.”
“Yes. He might have impersonated Raon Zieghardt, but the real Raon Zieghardt is no longer in this world.”
The Golden Mask nodded, trembling slightly.
Raon subtly bowed his head, keeping a low profile.
‘Why do they want to make me an apostle?’
The leader of the White Blood Sect is a monster recognized by Lasse. Even if he’s hailed as a genius, I don’t understand why he personally came to take me, who’s now at the intermediate master level.
The leader of the White Blood Sect leaned back in his kiln seat and snapped his fingers.
“I guess I have to take that child at least.”
She spoke as if naturally deciding to take Raon with her.
“That, that’s not possible.”
The Golden Mask frowned and shook his head.
“Eden doesn’t let anyone leave just like that. If he’s already worn the helmet…”
“You’re out of your depth.”
The 5th apostle stood menacingly in front of The Golden Mask.
“Bring Raon Zieghardt here before I break that mouth of yours.”
“I’m not talking to you.”
The Golden Mask gritted his teeth at the 5th apostle and then turned his gaze back to the leader of the White Blood Sect.
“What’s your plan, trying to take a member of Eden without a fight?”
“That depends on you. If you stand in my way, I’ll have no choice but to deal with you.”
The leader of the White Blood Sect tilted his head slightly. He sounded so relaxed, it was as if they were at the main branch of the White Blood Sect, not a subsidiary of Eden.
“Hmph, you’re thinking of breaking our truce?”
The Golden Mask staggered as he spoke. The leader of the White Blood Sect displayed an overwhelming presence. Even The Golden Mask, a master-level expert, was struggling to speak properly.
“If you hand over that child, there’s no reason for the promise to be broken.”
“Shut your mouth.”
The 10th apostle, who had been standing back, stepped forward. With calm eyes revealing a fierce intent, he glared at The Golden Mask.
“You’re not one to speak so freely.”
As the 10th apostle unleashed a powerful force at The Golden Mask, Jeolhongeom stepped in front to block it.
The 10th apostle and Jeolhongeom. The Golden Mask and the 5th apostle stood in opposition, and the ground began to tremble.
“I’m not the patient type.”
The leader of White Blood Sect smirked and snapped his fingers. The clashing forces settled in an instant, and The Golden Mask knelt down.
Although Jeolhongeom did not kneel, he seemed to have taken a considerable blow, staring at the leader of White Blood Sect with wide eyes.
“I’ll take Raon Zieghardt with me.”
As the leader of White Blood Sect nodded, the kiln moved forward. As the unstoppable advance continued, Jeolhongeom forcibly regained his balance and stood.
Jeolhongeom, without speaking, gathered his energy. A dark aura of death enveloped him.
The leader of White Blood Sect let out a sound of admiration.
“Interesting. Thinking of challenging me when you’re so off balance.”
“There’s no need for the leader to step in.”
The 10th apostle stood in front of Jeolhongeom, giving him a cold glare.
“I’ll handle this one.”
The 10th apostle and Jeolhongeom, unlike before, radiated an aura of intent to kill each other, gripping their weapons tightly.
‘Can’t escape this.’
Raon bit her lip. If the power balance between Eden and White Blood Sect was equal, she might be able to use the situation to escape, but currently, the balance tipped towards the White Blood Sect. Escaping seemed impossible.
“You were right in front of me.”
The leader of White Blood Sect pointed to the spirits of Eden with a finger that had been swirling in the air. One by one, the spirits fell as if put to sleep, revealing Raon.
She pointed at Raon with a faint smile.
“I’ve missed you.”
A warm heat rose up, yet it felt as comforting as the embrace from a mother’s womb. Just hearing her voice made Raon want to rush and hug her.
Raon forcefully stopped her moving feet. She blocked out the voice of the leader of White Blood Sect that was intruding into her mind with a ring of fire.
“Who are you?”
She feigned ignorance about this world and trembled slightly in her voice.
The leader of White Blood Sect looked at her while stroking his chin. A burning gaze could be felt from his feet.
“The aura of the helmet spirits seems weak. Did you overcome them?”
Despite the redness in her vision, her piercing eyes seemed to cut through Raon’s soul.
“I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”
To hide her panic, Raon bit the inside of her cheek hard.
How did she see through?
Even the spirits of Eden were deceived by her perfect aura manipulation and acting, but it didn’t work on that monster. Even though she said it’s unclear, her voice held certainty.
“Whether it happened or not, it doesn’t matter.”
White Blood Sect’s leader elegantly snapped his fingers.
“Come with me. I will show you a new world.”
As he looked at the shadow of the fingers reflected in his shoes, he momentarily felt dizzy, but he quickly regained his senses by resonating the ring of fire.
“Such mental strength is rare. I like it even more.”
The leader of White Blood Sect smiled, seemingly pleased that his spell didn’t work.
“As long as my family is here, I will not leave.”
Raon said, gripping the blade of the sword he had just acquired, words he would have said if it was Lokta.
“Then I just need to kill your family.”
“What nonsense is that!”
“Make a choice. Follow me after your family dies, or follow me now.”
The voice of the White Blood Sect’s leader had neither highs nor lows, only determination.
‘She’s not sane either.’
Whether it’s the White Blood Sect or Eden, it seemed only madmen gathered. There was no one sane.
Raon briefly glanced down at Lasse, embedded in the ice flower bracelet.
‘If you enter my body, can we fight him?’
Under normal circumstances, Lasse would confidently say they’d win, but now Lasse was depleted from exerting too much power on trivial matters. He needed to hear Lasse’s answer given the uncertainty of the situation.
-You ask useless things.
Lasse seemed irritated by the question.
-Of course, I can crush him.
‘Then get ready.’
Though Raon’s voice trembled slightly, the only trust now was in letting Lasse take over his body. Everyone here was an enemy. It didn’t matter if Lasse went berserk and killed them all.
“Enough of this.”
As Raon took a deep, calming breath, The Golden Mask stepped forward.
“This place is Eden’s territory. Even if you’re the leader of the White Blood Sect, there are things you shouldn’t do.”
“You’re as bold as the number of hairs on your head. I like that.”
The Golden Mask’s eyes widened at the leader of White Blood Sect’s words.
“But you’re mistaken.”
“Wherever I am, is the White Blood Sect.”
She reached out, and with that gesture, the eyes of those in the White Blood Sect around her flashed with a red hue.
“Bring Raon Zieghardt. It’s alright to kill anyone who interferes.”
Even as the members of the White Blood Sect approached with killing intent, the ghosts of Eden couldn’t move due to the mysterious and pure giun emitted by the White Blood Sect’s leader.
The first to clash were the 10 apostles and Jeolhongeom. Their swords and spears radiated a fierce giun towards each other.
Just as the two grand masters’ weapons were about to collide, the sky opened up.
The sun, which had set behind the mountains, rose again, and a brilliant light spread across the world.
A man appeared from within the radiant beam.
He was dazzlingly handsome, wearing a mask that resembled a human face, with the corners of his mouth curling softly upwards.
His gray outfit was adorned with angel wings and devil horns. Above his head hovered a halo, half-sun and half-moon.
He was both holy and unholy.
The sky sang hymns for him, and the earth missed him, raising an aura of malice.
Raon bit his lip tightly as he heard the strange sounds, reminiscent of both angelic and demonic screams.
A monster that embodies both the divine and the demonic. He was one of the two pillars of Eden, known as Tacheon from the outside.
With a majestic aura that in no way is inferior to the White Blood Sect, Tacheon slowly descends.
Raon clenched his fist tightly.
‘This is a boon.’
With the appearance of Tacheon, the balance between Eden and the White Blood Sect was restored. If done well, there might be a possibility to escape without summoning Lasse.
As they planned their escape, Lasse furrowed his brows intensely upon seeing Tacheon.
Tacheon descended slowly, as if stepping down a staircase built in the sky. An eerie aura, a mix of the divine and the demonic, chaos and order, emanated from him.
Upon seeing Tacheon, who seemed beyond human, Raon narrowed his eyes.
‘So, Tacheon has come.’
In Eden, only two individuals are capable of opposing the White Blood Sect. Yet, only one is active, so it was predetermined that Tacheon would come here.
‘His presence is hardly felt.’
Tacheon’s mana was so immense that, paradoxically, his aura was barely perceptible. It felt like facing an endless sea.
‘So, what does that mean?’
Raon forcefully lowered his gaze and nudged Lasse.
‘What do you mean by “mixed”?’
-Exactly what I said.
Without looking away from Tacheon, Lasse answered.
-He carries the aura of one of the Demon Kings.
‘…A Demon King?’
The mention of Demon King instantly reminded Raon of Sloth, whom he encountered in Harbun Castle. Even now, having reached an intermediate master level, he felt he couldn’t stand firm before him.
-The intriguing thing is, half of him is purely divine. Tacheon, was it? What an apt name.
Lasse glanced up at Tacheon with a mocking smile.
-Only one lunatic would do such a thing.
‘Who’s that lunatic?’
Lasse glared at Tacheon, his face crinkling in a never-before-seen annoyance.
-The lord of “Arrogance.”
Just hearing that name sent shivers down Raon’s spine.
‘Now that I think about it, he mentioned it often.’
Lasse had brought up Pride a few times, and each time his reaction wasn’t great. Considering Lasse’s character, Pride seemed as powerful as him.
‘So, like you and me, is Pride bound to him?’
-No, I don’t sense Pride’s presence in him.
Lasse shook his head as if displeased.
Raon’s hand, holding his sword, trembled.
‘To think the leader of Eden had ties with a Demon King…’
It was more shocking than the appearance of the White Blood Sect’s leader.
‘What about that woman?’
He pointed at the White Blood Sect’s leader, who was calmly watching Tacheon from inside the kiln.
-I don’t know.
-She’s completely concealing her power. I usually wouldn’t know, but I can’t see through her aura.
With a defeated expression, Lasse drooped his head. He’s not helpful when it’s crucial.
Tacheon landed gracefully on the ground, his entire being shining brilliantly.
If one were an ordinary person with no knowledge of the situation, they might’ve mistaken him for a god.
Raon exhaled the tension from his lungs.
‘I need to seize this opportunity.’
Instead of showing weakness to his enemies, he needed to assess the situation and find a way out.
“It’s been a while, White Blood Sect leader.”
Tacheon approached the kiln where the White Blood Sect leader sat. Her mask, engraved with the face of a young woman, wore a gentle smile.
“You’ve changed in the meantime,”
He slightly tilted his head, looking at the leader of the White Blood Sect inside the red circle.
“It’s about time.”
Despite facing Tacheon, the White Blood Sect leader remained unfazed, letting out a laugh tinged with languor.
“Is this the first time seeing me in person since the Oma agreement?”
“No. We met once after that.”
The atmosphere between the two was soft, as if they were old acquaintances meeting after a long time. However, underneath their voices, a cold chill, enough to freeze one’s blood, lingered.
“Had you called, I would’ve come. What brings you here?”
Tacheon stepped toward the kiln, brushing his sleeve. Whether it was due to the mask or the ambiance, every move he made was brimming with dignity.
“There’s something I want.”
“What you want is…”
The White Blood Sect leader pointed out to Raon beyond the red circle.
“Shall I take him?”
Tacheon turned to look at Raon. The corner of his mask’s mouth twisted eerily upwards.
“Unfortunately, I cannot grant that request.”
The White Blood Sect leader asked confidently, as if she had already entrusted Raon to her care.
“All members of Eden have gathered for a single purpose. I may not know other matters, but I don’t hand over a comrade.”
Tacheon echoed the words once spoken to the White Blood Sect leader by The Golden Mask.
“And that helmet is special.”
“The blue dragon helmet wasn’t made by me. Merlin crafted it from start to finish. Neither the helmet nor its wearer are mine to give.”
He said with utmost courtesy and bowed his head.
Raon bit his lip.
‘This is nerve-wracking.’
Surprisingly, the two monsters were too composed, leaving no room for him to intervene. Using the ring of fire, he cleared his mind and waited for an opportunity.
The White Blood Sect leader touched her lips with her slender finger and smiled.
“Then I can’t leave empty-handed, can I? After all, it was she who unexpectedly stepped in and took Raon from our plans.”
“Ah, so that happened.”
Tacheon feigned ignorance with a slight cluck of his tongue. Yet, his expression remained impassive, giving off an ‘so what?’ vibe.
“It’s unfortunate, but the child has already worn the helmet. Let me reiterate: Eden doesn’t hand over its members.”
Hearing the term ‘comrade’, a glint of hope appeared in Raon’s eyes. Whether to call the situation madness or feel grateful in front of the White Blood Sect leader, he wasn’t sure.
“How about we make a bet then?”
The White Blood Sect leader raised a finger.
“A bet, you say?”
“Since you mentioned the child is a member of Eden, the bet will naturally be related to him.”
She said it would be simple yet fun.
Tacheon looked at Raon again, seemingly contemplating as he slightly brushed his mask.
Raon narrowed his eyes, observing both the White Blood Sect leader and Tacheon.
‘Now’s the chance.’
To intervene between Tacheon and the White Blood Sect leader, it would be advantageous to accept the bet. He had to make them accept it no matter what.
“I am not an object owned by either of you. The only one who can command me is the princess.”
He declared defiantly, his voice filled with provocation.
“It has to be eaten.”
Given that he claimed to have the power of Pride, even if he appears courteous, he must have an arrogant nature. Seeing that he doesn’t fall behind White Blood Sect’s leader by even a bit, he isn’t the type to stay silent upon hearing such things.
“I have a duty to protect my compatriots. However, that is…”
Tacheon’s eyes slightly narrowed.
“Only when he aims for restoration as a member.”
He turned his head to look at the leader of White Blood Sect.
“Tell me. What kind of bet are you suggesting?”
“Simple. If that kid is really consumed by the soul of the helmet, I’ll back off. But if that kid overpowers the soul of the helmet, I’ll take him with me.”
The leader of White Blood Sect leisurely waved her hand.
“Then, since he won’t be one of yours, it doesn’t matter, right?”
“How will you determine whether he’s consumed by the helmet’s soul or not?”
“I have a way.”
She smiled, implying she had an accurate method to determine it.
“Very well. I accept. However, I have a condition too.”
“Yes. If the method you’re thinking of is followed by Merlin’s acknowledgment, then I will allow it.”
The leader of White Blood Sect nodded with confidence.
“Then show us. How will you determine whether the kid is consumed by the helmet or not?”
Tacheon spread his hands, signaling her to do as she wished.
Raon swallowed nervously, watching White Blood Sect’s leader and Tacheon.
‘Both believe they will win.’
Neither of them thought of losing, no matter how the bet turned out. They were filled with confidence that they wouldn’t be taken away, regardless of the outcome of the bet.
‘This makes it easy.’
Lokta had already planned every move in his mind. There was no risk of revealing his identity through words or actions since he had absorbed the soul.
The best outcome would be a war between Eden and White Blood Sect. He calmed himself, thinking of that goal.
White Blood Sect’s leader nodded as if she was satisfied. When she looked to the side, one of the 5 apostles stepped forward.
As the 5th apostle used his blood energy, a man, wrapped in gray giun, sprang from a gray pit beneath him.
As the blood energy dispersed, his appearance was revealed. Floating green hair and innocent, puppy-like eyes. He was unmistakably recognized.
‘Why? Why is he here…’
Dorian. The moment he saw the surprised-looking guy, his heart sank. He never imagined he’d be here.
Raon bit the tip of his tongue to hide his surprise.
-What’s going on! Why is your pocket there!
‘Could it be that time…’
He remembered Dorian throwing something when Merlin opened the box and they got sucked in. It seemed he was captured by the 10th apostle afterward.
“Thanks to this kid sprinkling the continental attraction scent on Raon, we could come all the way here.”
White Blood Sect’s leader patted Dorian’s head. The hair that stood up like antennas settled down.
‘Continental attraction scent. So that was it.’
It was discovered by the 10th apostle when he sprayed it on me.
It was clear that White Blood Sect had found this place using the continental attraction scent in Dorian’s possession.
‘Things have gotten twisted.’
Dorian must have spread the scent to save himself, but the situation had gone terribly wrong. It was an unforeseen event, and his head felt heavy.
“You’ve caused a big problem.”
Even though Tacheon was aware of the situation, he casually nodded. Arrogant. His character made it clear that he had received the power of pride.
“You know what I’m betting now, right?”
When the leader of the White Blood Sect pointed a finger, the 5 apostles brought Dorian in front of Raon.
“If Raon kills this boy, I admit my defeat. But if he doesn’t, I will take him.”
She smiled, confident in her victory.
He could feel cold sweat running down his back. Thankfully he wore a helmet. If his expression was visible, it would have been noticed instantly.
‘There’s no way.’
With Dorian around, entrusting himself to Lasse wouldn’t be easy. If the kid goes wild, he’d kill the closest Dorian first.
“It’s not bad, but it’s a bit ambiguous.”
Tacheon tilted his head looking at Dorian.
“Just because you consumed a human’s soul doesn’t mean you become that person immediately. That boy used the helmet just yesterday. The soul and body aren’t perfectly aligned yet.”
‘Now’s the time to act.’
Raon bit his lip, seemingly displeased with the bet, as he looked at Tacheon.
“Why should I kill that boy?”
He glared at Dorian with an incomprehensible expression.
“I am a knight. I don’t wield my sword at someone without reason.”
He murmured, words that Lokta might have said, and lowered his head.
Although his expression was confident, his heart was not. He clenched his fist, hoping Tacheon would oppose the bet.
“Doesn’t it seem like an act?”
The pupils of the White Blood Sect leader gleamed from inside the red robes.
“It seems like I won the bet.”
Tacheon shook his head.
“The soul within that helmet belonged to Lokta Deport, a Draconian and the leader of the knights. It’s not strange for him to speak as a knight.”
“So, let’s be clear.”
He approached Dorian and pointed at the inverted sword emblem on his uniform.
“You see this? This inverted sword represents our greatest enemy. In other words, the enemy of Merlin you serve.”
Tacheon brushed Zieghardt’s emblem and smiled wickedly.
“Not too long ago, Merlin suffered a severe injury. They were responsible.”
Raon feigned anger and exhaled.
‘That’s not a lie.’
He recalled the time Sheryl chased away Merlin, slashing with her twin blades. Tacheon was speaking of that event.
“That knight is our enemy and one of the culprits who harmed Merlin. Isn’t that reason enough?”
If he were the world-centered Lokta, he would have slain Dorian on the spot.
But he was not Lokta but Raon Zieghardt. He could never hurt Dorian.
“Shall I make it easier?”
The leader of the White Blood Sect snapped her fingers. As a crisp sound echoed, light returned to Dorian’s large eyes.
“Wha? Wh-where is this… ah!”
Dorian saw the strange kiln, the surrounding White Blood Sect members, and the ghosts with helmets, letting out a groan. When he finally saw the 10 apostles, he trembled, recalling his kidnapping.
‘Such a cruel man.’
“This isn’t help, it’s no different than stabbing with a knife.” White Blood Sect was clearly aware that he hadn’t been caught by the helmet.
Dorian, whose eyes had been darting around in anxiety, stopped when he saw Raon. He gaped at the blue dragon’s helmet and the uniform and sword beneath it.
Hearing the naive tone of his voice sent shivers down the spine. The sense of danger set off alarms in the mind. One wrong move and everyone could die here.
“Let me clarify. This man belongs to one of our main enemies, Zieghardt. Slaying him is for Merlin’s sake.”
Raon looked at Dorian while tightly gripping his sword.
Dorian closed his mouth tightly upon seeing his reflection in the helmet. His terrified eyes trembled.
‘He recognized it.’
Having spent a long time together, Dorian seemed to realize he wasn’t fooled by the helmet.
“So, you accept the bet?”
White Blood Sect grinned, gesturing towards Tacheon.
“Yes. As I mentioned at the end, once Merlin confirms, I’ll let you go. However, you seem to have no intention of moving easily. We never mentioned a timeline, did we?”
Tacheon smiled faintly, nodding.
“Ah, I’d prefer a quick decision.”
As White Blood Sect turned his head to the right, an elderly man who was holding a kiln stepped forward. Even with three people supporting him, the kiln remained stable.
As the elderly man stamped his foot, a tall passage of qi, like a wall, opened from the ground. From the dense qi, ten men and women emerged. All had dilated eyes like Dorian.
“They say knights can’t stand injustice, right? From now on, one every minute.”
As her words filled with laughter ended, the elderly man sank his teeth into the neck of the young man in front, tearing his flesh.
Blood gushed from the beheaded corpse, landing on Raon’s shoulder.
“The Sect Leader remains the same. Well, if things are handled quickly, it’s not bad for me either.”
Tacheon, looking at the blood soaking the ground, smiled innocently.
Dorian’s lips quivered as he watched the neck of a nearby person disappear in an instant. His pupils shook endlessly.
Raon gripped the Jecheon Sword so hard it could break.
‘That bastard knows.’
Tacheon also knew he hadn’t been deceived by the helmet. He was mocking while knowing. Enjoying the situation while knowing.
Neither of the two monsters’ laughter sounded human. It was as if witnessing the smile of a devil thinking of humans as food, causing one’s heart to constrict.
With each inhale, the sensation of impending doom grew stronger.
If a fight broke out, escaping would be an option, but only if there was hope for survival.
Both White Blood Sect and Tacheon were the type to kill before handing over to the opponent if they couldn’t have something for themselves. It was an unexpectedly worst-case scenario.
Raon exhaled heavily, glancing from the terrified Dorian to the nine clueless individuals.
“What are you doing? A minute’s almost up?”
“Act like a knight and slay Merlin’s enemy.”
White Blood Sect and Tacheon lowered their voices, sounding bored.
Before a minute passed, the old man crushed the heart of the second woman. She collapsed, unaware of her own demise.
“The two of them.”
“How much longer will it take?”
They’re insane. Never in my past or current life have I seen such madness.
They want to take me with them without even considering what will happen next. It was extreme arrogance.
However, I couldn’t resist. The atmosphere told me. Doing anything reckless here would mean death.
Every hair on my body stood on end due to the intangible giun caused by the absolutists. Only thoughts of self-comfort came to my mind.
Those people were destined to die anyway.
Even if it wasn’t me, they would have been prey for the blood pact.
I have things to do. I can’t die here because of them.
And Dorian, Dorian….
Raon swallowed dryly as he looked at Dorian.
Dorian is someone I’ve spent the most time with, outside of my family, and the one I’ve been most open with. He never even hinted at betrayal, even falsely.
A way out. A way to escape….
If I don’t kill Dorian here, Tacheon will kill me, and if I don’t kill Dorian, the head of the White Blood Sect will target me.
Even if I surrender to Lasse, Dorian will die. I felt like I was standing at a crossroads of inevitable death.
Dorian glared at Raon.
“You stupid kid!”
He bit his lip in anger, blood dripping to the floor.
“I never liked you from the start! I knew you’d end up like this. Not a single day with you was enjoyable!”
Dorian’s eyes seemed to quiver.
“Remember this! It’s not just me, no one likes a conceited person like you!”
“Why are you silent? Kill me! All you know is to open your mouth, right? Act high and mighty and do it!”
Raon clenched his sword even tighter.
Dorian’s eyes no longer wavered. They were resolved.
That stupid coward was pleading for his death.
He only spat out hollow criticism instead of the sharp resentment or curses that people usually hurl before death. He was worried about me until the end.
Raon chuckled and lowered his head.
‘That guy can’t even curse properly. But he’s brave.’
Way more than me.
He’s much better than me, who tried to find a way out by debasing himself.
‘Living in disgrace is meaningless.’
Living like a rat is enough for a previous life. I won’t end this life like that.
I could find my resolve thanks to Dorian’s bravery.
“Things are getting interesting.”
“This is why humans are fascinating.”
Both the White Blood Sect head and Tacheon smiled. They laughed as if they didn’t care about the outcome.
Raon no longer saw them. He moved towards Dorian and the hostages, holding the Jecheon Sword.
‘Lasse. Take my anger. Even for a moment….’
-There’s no need. I’m furious as well.
Lasse frowned looking at the choking Dorian.
-Though he’s foolish and slow, he’s still under my command. I’ll offer the maximum help I can right now.
Raon nodded and positioned himself between Dorian and the hostages.
“You stupid kid.”
Dorian closed his eyes, prepared for death.
Raon simultaneously drew two swords. From the left hand’s Jin Hon Sword, the Windcut Sword Technique surged, and from the right hand’s Jecheon Sword, the Light Strike Blade was revealed.
The Jin Hon Sword pierced the neck of the Apostle that was holding Dorian, and the Jecheon Sword penetrated the old man’s chest.
As he pulled out both swords, a fierce amount of blood spurted from the Apostle’s neck, and the old man collapsed to his knees.
“Rather than living so filthy.”
Raon took off his blue dragon helmet. His brilliantly shining red eyes did not lose their color even in front of the sovereigns.
“I’d rather die here.”
Dorian trembled as he looked at Raon, who had slain the 5 apostles and the elder of the kiln.
“What… what are you doing right now!”
Raon, who had hoped to survive even alone, committed an unimaginable act.
“You fool! Idiot! Dimwit!”
Dorian was so taken aback by Raon’s actions that he couldn’t even speak properly.
“Still can’t swear properly, I see.”
Raon looked at Dorian and smirked.
“You’re laughing now? Now you can’t save yourself! We’re all going to die!”
For the first time in a while, Dorian called him ‘Young Master’, his eyes shaking with fear.
“Surviving in disgrace is meaningless.”
“But, Young Master, you are different from us…”
“We’re the same.”
Raon slowly shook his head.
“My life, your life, and their lives are all the same.”
“People always look at results. They rank strength based on when one became an expert or when they used their sword skills.”
In my previous life, I gathered results to survive, and now I produce results to move forward.
‘But results aren’t everything.’
Raon tightened his grip. Facing the leaders of the White Blood Sect and Tacheon at the continent’s pinnacle, he bit his lip.
“Even if I achieved the same result as them through dirty means, I wouldn’t be happy.”
Even if I killed Dorian and the hostages, and climbed to the rank of Grand Master or even higher, the events of today would haunt me forever.
It would have been better to die here than to live with such a burden.
‘I won’t leave any regrets this time.’
One misguided life is enough.
This life isn’t alone. Because I have people who believe in me, I will achieve results through a process I can be proud of.
“No matter what you do…”
Using the circle of injustice, he elevated his soul’s caliber. Confidence could be heard in his voice.
“I won’t break.”
With the blood-soaked Jecheon Sword and the real soul sword, Raon confronted the leaders of the White Blood Sect and Tacheon.
However, the reaction of the two monsters was far from expected.
‘Are they laughing?’
Both monsters smiled as if amused, ignoring the fallen apostles and elder, focusing only on him.
“A bit disappointing, I always thought results were everything.”
The leader of the White Blood Sect gestured casually.
“I prefer it this way. Without a good process, excellent results don’t come.”
Tacheon nodded, as if pleased by the statement.
“If you don’t like it, why not step back?”
“Can’t do that. We’ve lost two apostles to that kid. It’s a significant loss.”
“If we’re counting that way, our side suffered more. We’ve lost four masters.”
Again, the two were busy assessing themselves. Words like ‘mad’ seemed insufficient to describe them.
“So, you knew all along?”
The White Blood Sect’s leader twirled his finger at Tacheon.
“You underestimate me too much. How could I not know what the sect leader knows?”
Tacheon smiled faintly, nodding.
“Why did you accept the bet knowing everything?”
“I wanted to see the boy Merlin was so desperate to have.”
“So, what’s your impression?”
The fiery gaze of the White Blood Sect pierced through the red feet and fixed on Tacheon.
“You have remarkable talent with the sword, good distribution, and the spirit you showed at the end was impressive. Just like Merlin said, even if sacrifices are made, that kid is worth bringing in.”
The eyes behind Tacheon’s mask flickered deeply. Unlike before, they were now filled with desire.
“Well, it’s late. The bet’s already over. That kid is now affiliated with our school.”
White Blood Sect’s leader looked up while arching his back at the kiln.
“That’s not true. Merlin hasn’t acknowledged it yet.”
“Do you think Merlin will let him go after that kid consumed the soul Merlin cherished? It seems more likely he would want him dead.”
Tacheon shook his head, implying he too didn’t know.
“How about we place a second bet?”
“You really enjoy betting, don’t you?”
“In this complicated situation, nothing’s better than a bet.”
White Blood Sect’s leader glanced at the 5 apostles heating up in regeneration and the elderly man by the kiln, nodding slightly.
“I haven’t properly seen Raon’s sword skills yet. How about a competition to see who can subdue him first between one of mine and one of yours? Sounds fun, doesn’t it?”
“Since I’ve only seen the sneaky stabs, that doesn’t sound too bad.”
“Both of you, come here.”
At the call of the White Blood Sect leader, the 5 apostles and the old man approached from the kiln’s side.
The old man with a pierced chest seemed indifferent, but the apostle, whose throat had been ripped out by the soul-sword, glared fiercely at Raon.
“You really got hit hard.”
As the White Blood Sect’s leader lightly brushed the apostle’s neck, the bleeding stopped and the wound began to heal as if it was burned shut.
Raon swallowed hard upon seeing this.
‘He can heal that instantly?’
The wound, filled with life force that’s the nemesis of the spirit, was healed instantly. The leader of the White Blood Sect wasn’t just physically strong. He was a monster with mysterious abilities.
“Since you got hit, it would be fair to return the favor.”
White Blood Sect’s leader pointed at Raon.
“He will be your junior, so don’t be too rough.”
Despite his answer, the apostle radiated intense hostility.
“At that level…”
Tacheon glanced to the left and signaled, and The Golden Mask stepped forward.
“Can you handle it?”
The Golden Mask nodded to Tacheon and stood next to the apostle.
“The first to inflict a critical wound on Raon wins. Just don’t kill him, do as you please…”
“Can I join this bet?”
Raon stepped forward, cutting off the White Blood Sect leader’s words.
Both the White Blood Sect leader and Tacheon turned their heads without refusing.
‘This is an opportunity.’
The two still considered this situation as mere entertainment due to their overwhelming strength. They believed that whatever they did, their upper hand wouldn’t change, hence the confidence.
‘I need to use that.’
This bet wasn’t something they took seriously; it was just a game to see their powers firsthand. Raon needed to take advantage of their complacency.
‘Lasse. Can you break through that boundary?’
“If we’re in this situation now, it’s possible to make a hole. Is this the right time?”
“No, gather your strength.”
“They ignored me and gave us time. We can’t waste that.”
This area is right in front of Camellon, and nearby are Owen and Balkar. If we can break through the boundary, the chances of everyone surviving increase significantly.
“Still, it’s just a tiny bit.”
Raon let go of his impatient feelings and calmly composed himself.
“How do you plan on participating?”
It seemed like the White Blood Sect leader nodded, signaling him to speak.
“If I defeat those two, you guys should retreat.”
Right now, his power is at the intermediate master level. The 5 apostles and The Golden Mask are at a higher level. From their perspective, it was a bet they couldn’t lose.
The leader of White Blood Sect slowly turned his head.
“What do you think?”
“As I’ve said before, I’m fond of that child’s deployment. I’ll accept it.”
“Then I also give my permission.”
Both of them nodded simultaneously.
‘We can’t trust their words.’
Although the White Blood Sect leader and Tacheon stand at the pinnacle of both White Blood Sect and Eden as monsters, they possess malice that can betray any alliance at any time.
Even if we win this bet, they will never keep their promises. Getting directly involved in this fight was to create a way out for oneself.
Raon handed over the sword he retrieved from the report to Dorian.
“You protect them.”
He pointed to the people who were now regaining consciousness.
“Show your resolve as Zieghardt’s swordsman.”
Although taken aback, Dorian took the sword. Concealing his scared demeanor, he stood before the people, drawing his sword.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
Raon stood in front of the 5 apostles and The Golden Mask, gripping two swords.
“You fooled me quite impressively.”
The Golden Mask narrowed his eyes.
“I told you. I’d be back.”
“Hmph. Who would believe those words?”
“Anyway, thanks for siding with me earlier.”
His eyes filled with annoyance as he gritted his teeth.
“Go on, keep talking.”
An apostle stepped between The Golden Mask and Raon, his aura flaring. The overwhelming aura wrapped around his fist, which resembled a rock.
“Once we start, I’ll crush you both.”
He directed a powerful wave of energy not just at Raon, but also at The Golden Mask.
“I’d rather fight you one-on-one.”
The Golden Mask spat on the ground, a scowl on his face.
At the gesture of the White Blood Sect leader, The Golden Mask and the apostle simultaneously stomped the ground. Strong giun emanated fiercely from their swords and fists.
Raon sharpened his senses, watching the sword strikes that penetrated like awls and the fist strikes that poured like hammers.
‘This fight is a passing point.’
This battle is just a part of the plan. Even if I get injured, it’s essential to end it quickly with as little aura consumption as possible.
He stepped into position. Using both Manhwa skill and Glacia, he deflected The Golden Mask’s sword strike with the Jecheon Sword and parried the apostle’s punch with the True Soul Sword.
The colossal impact from the clashing of swords and fists shook the ground.
The 5th Apostle chuckled, gathering his rotational force from his shoulders and pouring it into his fist. A mighty warrior’s spirit emanated from the punch that aimed straight for the chest.
The Golden Mask swiftly unsheathed his sword and swung. The blade, wrapped in a sharp, piercing aura, rained down targeting the head.
Raon activated the Tae-Hwa movement. As his left foot pushed off the ground, his perspective shifted instantly. In a blink, he distanced himself from the two, a manifestation of Tae-Hwa’s ability.
The 5th Apostle and The Golden Mask, who were rushing from both sides, now found themselves lunging at each other, clashing their sword and fist.
The impact of their collision was immense. They both retreated ten steps, the deep footprints on the ground bearing witness to the force.
“Not watching properly…”
As the two halted their steps, Raon unleashed the Tae-Hwa Arrow. The arrow, ready to be released, lunged at The Golden Mask in a split second.
“You underestimate me!”
“It’s because I’m used to you.”
With gritted teeth, Raon launched his soul sword. Flames roared and spiraled on the short blade, targeting The Golden Mask’s shoulder.
“I’ve already analyzed that technique!”
The Golden Mask drew a diagonal line with his sword, a wave of aura spreading out, extinguishing the raging flames.
But that was a feint. The real attack was yet to come.
From the base, Raon drew out the giun energy into his right hand. The Jecheon Sword, glowing a blue hue, was hurled straight at The Golden Mask’s chest.
Raon Zieghardt’s Sword Technique.
First form: Frost Chain.
“I recognize that move!”
The Golden Mask lowered his stance, raising his sword from below, cutting off the initial blade of the Frost Chain with two strokes enveloped in his aura.
Sword against sword, a great shock ensued.
The Golden Mask’s eyes widened in disbelief. His sword couldn’t withstand the first strike of the Frost Chain and was flung away.
With a sly smile, Raon launched the second blade of the Frost Chain.
“Because I’ve become stronger.”
The Golden Mask tried to muster his aura for defense, but the second blade was faster. The frost, enhanced by the spirit of Lokta, pierced through his red aura and embedded itself into his chest.
‘A solid hit.’
The outcome was a result of Raon deploying a known technique at an unpredicted speed and strength. Had The Golden Mask been more cautious, it wouldn’t have ended so easily.
Impaled by the frost blade, The Golden Mask staggered and fell.
Without a moment’s respite, Raon immediately turned around.
“You arrogant brat!”
The 5th Apostle rushed in, launching his fist like a shadow. The gray aura-infused fist targeted the heart.
Using his rotational momentum, Raon swung his soul sword upwards. The fire from the soul sword intertwined with his energy, intensifying the heat.
Another mighty collision. But it wasn’t over. The 5th Apostle shot another punch with his left hand.
‘I need to read the flow…’
He resonated with the ring of fire at its peak. The incoming punch from the 5th Apostle seemed to slow down. The creases and scars on the fist, followed by the flow of its vital energy, came into view.
‘River, edge, and swiftness.’
The fists of the 5th apostle combined strength, speed, and diversity. Ten widespread fists targeted the vital points of the body.
‘I can’t dodge them all.’
Dodging all of these fists in my current state is impossible. I gave up on evasion. My swift judgment matched my rapid movements.
Raon swung the Jecheon Sword, forming a Manhwa barrier.
The entire body shook from the impact of the 5th apostle’s punches against the barrier. Holding back the nausea, he advanced and twisted the spirit sword.
A deeper flame rose from the red blade. Fragments of fire transformed into a fierce storm, aiming at the 5th apostle’s neck.
“Won’t get fooled twice!”
Despite seeing the direct flame storm, the 5th apostle remained unfazed. He released a mighty punch forward, erasing the Manhwa flames in an instant.
The moment the 5th apostle’s fist overpowered the flames, Raon took another step forward.
After dispelling the flames, he drew the spirit sword. Illusions crept over the red blade, releasing a melody of resentment and screams.
Raon Zieghardt’s sword technique.
The third form, Silver Dream Sword.
As the 5th apostle’s senses were severely dulled, the essence of the Silver Dream Sword guided the young spirit sword towards his neck.
The 5th apostle quickly regained consciousness, defending his neck with his left hand and punching with the right. An impressive reaction. He truly is a master-level monster.
‘That reaction will kill you.’
I’m not aiming for your neck.
Having consistently targeted his neck in the initial ambush and subsequent battle, the 5th apostle likely couldn’t think beyond defending his neck. It was a deceptive sword technique.
Hidden behind the false blade, the strike of the Silver Dream Sword aimed for the 5th apostle’s heart.
The 5th apostle tried to retract his punch, but it was too late. The spirit sword had already exposed its target.
The spirit sword penetrated, targeting the 5th apostle’s left chest. As it aimed to shatter his heart, strength suddenly drained from the hand.
“What is this…”
The leader of the White Blood Sect reached out. Without using any energy, she somehow stopped the movement.
“I’d prefer the apostle not to die any further.”
With a light wave of her hand, the wounded 5th apostle was dragged towards the kiln.
“As I heard from the Black Ears, you truly demonstrate extraordinary power.”
Tacheon clapped, his eyes burning with desire, without even looking at the fallen Golden Mask.
“Raon won the bet, should I let you go?”
He asked the White Blood Sect leader.
The leader of the White Blood Sect immediately shook her head, as if asking such a thing was obvious.
“Of course not.”
I felt her gaze from her red feet. Tacheon’s eyes, filled with even more intense desire, seemed to pierce the heart.
“How could I let go of such a gem?”
“Indeed. I feel the same way.”
Tacheon nodded in agreement.
“What the hell are you talking about!”
Raon gritted his teeth, glaring at the White Blood Sect leader and Tacheon.
“You said you’d let me go if I win!”
“It’s not mandatory to always keep promises.”
“Actually, promises are meant to be broken, right?”
“How can you say that and still call yourself a leader!”
“That’s why I was able to become the leader.”
Tacheon smirked at Raon as if mocking him.
“It’s not much, but I’m giving you a choice.”
He snapped his fingers.
“Choose where you want to go: Eden or White Blood Sect.”
It’s nonsense either way. If I choose one, the other will attack with full force.
Raon bit his lip till it bled and knelt down. Despite appearing desperate, he was calmer inside than ever.
‘Lasse. Transfer your power and let me use it.’
‘The technique you first used in your original form.’
The large-scale freezing technique that froze everything in sight in an instant. If used, it can bind both of them.
-You mean the freezing realm?
‘If it’s the one that froze the mental world instantly, then yes.’
-You know, in the world, there’s causality. Not everything happens just because you want it to.
‘So, it’s not possible?’
Lasse sighed briefly.
-There’s a limit to the giun I can give you, and with that alone, your body will be destroyed. You might pass out from the intense pain.
‘It’s okay. I can handle it.’
Thanks to the experiences from my past life, I’m used to pain. As long as I don’t die, I can bear it.
Lasse clicked his tongue and latched onto the wrist.
-Trust your body to me. Not hand over, but follow the flow I create.
At the end of his words, an immense surge of giun flooded in, driven by rage.
Lasse paved a new path through the cold mana circuit. Raon followed that flow, utilizing both Lasse’s giun and aura.
Teeth gritted. The tremendous giun passing through the mana circuit felt like tearing apart the body, causing intense fluctuations.
The vision turned red as if blood vessels burst, and the body experienced severe pain. However, he endured and continued to use the giun.
-Imagine. All of them freezing!
With Lasse’s echoing voice in his ears, Raon closed his eyes. Recalling the freezing realm shown in Lasse’s original form, he unleashed all the giun from both hands.
There wasn’t even a tiny sound. Disregarding time and space, the rising cold froze all members of the White Blood Sect, including its leader Tacheon and Eden’s elites.
Raon spat blood and stood up. The severe internal injuries resulted from the massive power used in an instant. However, it wasn’t the time to treat wounds.
“Bring the people!”
With heavy steps, he headed towards the boundary. There was still aura left. Using the cold provided by Lasse, he had to shatter this boundary.
‘Lasse, this time that wave.’
Following Lasse, Raon stretched out his hand. A chilly tidal wave arose from his palm and crashed into the boundary.
A sound as if the ground was crumbling echoed, and blue cracks appeared on the boundary. Yet, it didn’t break entirely.
‘Even with Lasse’s power, we can’t break through?’
Raon swallowed dryly as he looked at the recovering boundary. If nothing else, Lasse’s intuition had never been wrong. He hadn’t imagined that he wouldn’t even be able to make a dent in the boundary.
“What a pity.”
He swiftly turned his head towards the gentle voice coming from behind. The massive ice that was freezing White Blood Sect’s leader and Tacheon had melted in an instant.
“When I am inside, the boundary becomes even more robust. I am confident that no one can break it now.”
“I didn’t realize you had such power hidden within you. I almost couldn’t move for a moment. I’m truly curious how a master of the intermediate level could momentarily surpass even a grandmaster.”
The bright red lips under the mask twisted strangely.
“I thought you were a gem that still needed polishing, but I was wrong.”
The leader of the White Blood Sect lifted his chin, giving him a direct gaze. The moment he saw those jet-black eyes, his heart sank.
Raon gritted his teeth. Turning around, he saw Dorian and the hostages kneeling with sorrowful eyes.
‘Is it over?’
All his plans had fallen apart. Even with Lasse’s help, it seemed impossible to stop them with his current physical and aura strength.
‘Only a gamble remains.’
The only remaining method was one: resigning to his fate and handing over his body to Lasse.
-…I also have my followers, try your best.
Tension, unlike usual, flowed in Lasse’s voice.
“You are mine.”
“That’s not possible. Now that we’ve seen this, we can’t ever let you go.”
The desire evident in the eyes of the White Blood Sect leader and Tacheon shined with an intense light. The two monsters reached out with their massive hands, unwilling to let go.
Raon clenched his fists until they were white, watching the monsters trying to grasp his head.
‘Lasse. To you…’
As Raon was about to surrender himself to Lasse, White Blood Sect’s leader and Tacheon suddenly stopped.
“Could it be…”
Both of them looked up at the sky with widened eyes. It was the first time they had shown such surprise.
Raon, with his trembling head, followed their gaze. A golden star sparkled in the dark night sky.
‘A golden star?’
The moment he locked eyes with the red eyes of the star, the entire world turned crimson.
Red lightning covered the dark sky.
The world flashed in a reddish light, as if a dragon soaring through the sky had descended.
Lightning that spread like spiderwebs formed a long line above the boundary.
Even before the thunder that shook the continent faded, a lightning intertwined like chains penetrated the boundary.
The seemingly invincible boundary tore apart like paper. Symbols of the moon and stars, which had withstood Lasse’s cold, shattered and fell to the ground.
Above the collapsing boundary, a man descended. His red eyes that seemed to dominate the world pressed down on everyone.
The moon, which had been hiding in fear of the darkness, emitted a glorious light supporting him, and the distorted starlight regained its place and softly fell.
The balance of the world, which had been disrupted by magic, was being restored by the presence of one person.
White Blood Sect’s leader grinded her teeth, looking at the man who single-handedly overwhelmed the world.
“Appearing without a trace, did you even change the heavens?”
Tacheon, still looking up at the flashing red sky, shivered.
“The Northern Destroyer King came himself?”
“I didn’t even think of this…”
Officials from White Blood Sect and Eden couldn’t even straighten their backs under Glen’s overwhelming presence.
“You pests have crossed the line.”
Glen’s low voice cleared the darkness that had risen from the ground.
“If you move now, you die.”
His voice resounded like a declaration, shaking the earth.
The apostle, who couldn’t bear the pain in his heart from the soul-stealing sword, let out a faint moan, and a red line appeared on the center of his face.
The line expanded, splitting the apostle in half. Not even his regeneration abilities worked. He was instantly killed.
There was no act of wielding a sword or using aura. There was just the result that the apostle was cut down.
Raon swallowed hard, looking at Glen’s back.
‘This is the Northern Destroyer King…’
The man who dominated the continental wars and was called the Thunder God. The reputation of the man closest to being the best swordsman of this era wasn’t false.
‘Is there anyone stronger than him?’
He hadn’t seen Derus Robert in 20 years, but he didn’t think he could be stronger than the current Glen.
-After all, he’s the rival of the original king.
Lasse nodded with a weakened voice.
-If the original king could have brought his real body, it would have been a good match.
He frowned, lamenting the inability to bring out the original body.
Ignoring the boastful Lasse, Glen’s voice came through.
“Carrying the name Zieghardt and getting kidnapped, how pitiful. But…”
He continued without looking back. It seemed as though his voice trembled slightly.
“You held on well.”
That single statement seeped into the heart. Perhaps because of the newfound warmth, there was a sting in the nose. Biting the lips to prevent the vision from blurring due to tears.
“What is an old man, who can’t even wield a sword, doing here?”
The leader of the White Blood Sect stood up. From her, once full of mysterious aura, an intangible giun emanated.
“You’ve come this far; your grandson must be precious. But…”
Tacheon raised his hand and narrowed his eyes. His energy covered the entire area in an instant.
“You came alone?”
Realizing that there was no one but Glen, Tacheon’s lips curled into a thin smile.
Glen slightly lifted his chin, a look of sheer arrogance. It seemed not Tacheon but Glen was the one to whom the Demon King of pride had granted power.
“Since you’ve come looking for your own grave, I ought to treat you appropriately.”
Tacheon spread his hands, his gaze landing on the kiln of White Blood Sect.
“Fine. Let’s join forces this once.”
The lid of the kiln softly opened, revealing the face of the leader of White Blood Sect.
She was a stunning beauty with raven-black hair and eyes, and skin as transparent as the first snow. She wore a blood-red dress that accentuated her curves, emanating a sweet, intoxicating scent.
‘Is that the leader of White Blood Sect?’
Despite her actions, she appeared to be in her mid-20s. Just looking at her was mesmerizing, as if she was casting a spell just by existing.
Have I seen her somewhere?
Although it didn’t come to mind clearly, she seemed oddly familiar.
“Destroying a branch might hurt, but taking the life of the Northern Destroyer King would be a huge gain.”
A killing intent dripped from Tacheon’s soft voice. Both light and darkness began to emanate from his hands.
“If you had stayed stuck in the north, you might have lived out your lifespan.”
A pure white aura emanated from the leader of White Blood Sect. A blood essence, purer than natural mana, surged towards the sky.
Raon clutched his chest and knelt down. Even with his ring of fire, he struggled to breathe against the overwhelming aura from both White Blood Sect leader and Tacheon. It felt as if his throat was clogged with wet paper.
Their current strength was incomparable to what they had previously shown.
Yet Glen, facing both their auras, remained calm, looking down on everything just like when he sat on his throne in the real world.
Raon forced himself to breathe.
‘I have to witness this battle even if it kills me.’
Glen Zieghardt, the leader of White Blood Sect, Tacheon. A face-off between the chiefs of the Six Kingdoms, the peak of the continent.
If he could fully grasp this from beginning to end, it would pave his way forward.
Glen spoke, slightly lifting his chin.
“And watch closely.”
As his words resonated, the aura of the White Blood Sect leader and Tacheon subsided, making it much easier to breathe.
‘Is he helping?’
Normally, Glen would have left him to endure on his own. But this Glen felt different.
“The two kings of the Six.”
With icy cold eyes, Glen beckoned the White Blood Sect leader and Tacheon.
“Not bad for a warm-up. Come.”
“This old man…”
At Glen’s arrogant voice, the faces of the White Blood Sect leader and Tacheon darkened.
“You’re still the same.”
Tacheon gave a thin smile, his smirk filled with murderous intent. The manifested killing intent darkened the ground.
“Don’t think we’re the same as 30 years ago. You’ve aged, and we’ve become stronger.”
White Blood oozed around the leader of White Blood Sect. The ground melted, and the sky screamed in agony.
As the aura of the three supreme beings clashed, the world seemed to shake on the brink of collapse.
The beginning was marked by the White Blood Sect. The moment her hand touched, a surge of blood energy burst from the ground. A flame of intensity Glen had never seen before enveloped his entire body.
Tacheon extended both his hands forward. Holy and unholy, light and darkness intertwined, aiming for Glen’s upper body.
The attack from the White Blood Sect and Tacheon was activated in an instant, like Lasse’s ice domain. The moment that triggered the energy already felt like it had touched Glen’s body.
Despite witnessing the onslaught targeting both his upper and lower body by the two monsters, Glen’s expression remained unchanged. His gaze, devoid of emotion, made it seem as if feelings were a luxury.
With a light step, the axis of the earth twisted, and a red lightning bolt emerged. The powerful thunder distorted the void, and the flames and light created by White Blood Sect and Tacheon melted away.
“No need for a warm-up.”
Glen gestured downward, looking at White Blood Sect and Tacheon.
“Come at me with all you’ve got.”
White Blood Sect gathered her hands again. The burning blood energy around her swelled, transforming her appearance.
The ground split apart, and a white tidal wave covering the entire territory surged. Each wave of blood energy had a force more potent than a mirage.
To think that blood energy could create such a phenomenon was unimaginable. Despite being an enemy, the sheer power was admirable.
Tacheon raised his hand, and a white orb burst from his palm, transforming into thousands of swords made of light.
Sacred Swords. Each sword was a pinnacle of swordsmanship and magic.
Thousands of blades rained down, and the tidal wave of blood energy surged. There seemed to be no escape.
Despite the overwhelmingly terrifying onslaught, Glen calmly raised his sword.
With a blade that seemed to embody lightning itself, he split the heavens and the earth.
The sky-dominating sacred swords and the earth-shattering Blood Explosion collided head-on, threatening to obliterate everything in existence.
Buildings in Eden were crushed to dust, and the ground laid bare its innards.
A majestic explosion resonated throughout the world. The lightning-like blaze dispelled the waves of blood energy and shattered the swords of light.
Glen’s overpowering might, handling both White Blood Sect and Tacheon alone, truly justified his title as the continent’s strongest.
“Is that all you’ve got?”
Glen narrowed his eyes, looking disdainful.
“Getting impatient, aren’t we?”
“This is just the beginning.”
Tacheon and White Blood Sect smiled coldly, drawing upon their dark energy and blood energy, amplifying the energy. Neither had yet unleashed their full strength.
“Let me lead this time.”
As Glen’s left foot pressed the ground, his figure shot up right in front of Tacheon. A technique that shattered space. A mastered form of the Great Fire Technique.
Glen swung his True Thunder Sword as if swatting an annoyance. Its simple yet rapid strike was powerful. As the blade, reminiscent of a ray of light, neared Tacheon’s neck, darkness surged.
The darkness, like a living entity, clung onto the True Thunder Sword and wouldn’t let go.
“Hold onto it.”
In the hands of White Blood Sect, a whip as massive as a dragon’s tail emerged. It was the Blood Whip made of pure blood energy.
The descending whip branched into hundreds, ensnaring Glen’s entire body.
Even in this dire moment, Glen’s serene eyes didn’t waver. His True Thunder Sword, glowing as intensely as the sun, began to push away the darkness.
“Is the magic fading?”
The moment Tacheon frowned and stepped back, Glen’s sword drew a long arc.
With the sword’s movement, a powerful lightning bolt spread out like the horizon.
The lightning slash cleaved through hundreds of streams of blood, even cutting through Tacheon’s darkness.
Due to the immense power, Eden’s stronghold crumbled entirely, and the ground split open like a drought-stricken field.
Glen looked at the collapsing ground and clicked his tongue.
He stepped forward and raised his divine sword. Lightning and storms pushed White Blood Sect’s leader and Tacheon backward.
Glen stomped and lunged towards White Blood Sect’s leader.
The leader of White Blood Sect realized this and created a sword with his blood qi to defend. Tacheon, licking his lips, summoned darkness to wedge in between.
White, red, and black lights clashed endlessly, creating a massive luminescent display.
The three transcendents, beyond human limits, started to unleash their powers in the empty sky, distancing from the stronghold.
Even from a significant distance, the aftereffects of their power made it hard for others to stand firm.
An explosion was heard from the direction of the destroyed Daejeon.
Raon took a rough breath and turned around. Merlin stared in his direction, eyes wide open.
“What… What is this?”
“The Northern King came personally because of the kid you kidnapped. Damn…”
Emerging from the ice pillar, The Golden Mask, with his bleeding mouth, growled.
“And the reason for the kidnapping failed.”
He pointed a finger towards Raon’s face.
“That guy reversed and consumed your dragon.”
Merlin’s head turned mechanically. Seeing the unmasked Raon, her eyes distorted as if about to burst.
“I’m sorry it had to be this way.”
Raon, holding his churning stomach, frowned.
‘I can’t deceive her.’
If he could make good use of Merlin, it would be easier to get out of this situation. But because he absorbed Lokta’s soul, he couldn’t lie to her.
“I won in our mental duel.”
Merlin collapsed on the spot, her gaze vacant, as if her soul had left her body.
The 10 apostles, suppressed by Glen’s pressure, regained consciousness thanks to Merlin’s scream and stood up.
“Now’s the time. Secure Raon Zieghardt.”
At his command, men, women, and children holding the kiln of White Blood Sect moved at once.
From the opposite side, Jeolhongeom reached out, and the executives of Eden also began to rush over.
Raon bit his lip.
‘I don’t have the strength to endure.’
His body was in tatters from using Lasse’s giun. He didn’t even have the strength to lift the Jecheon Sword.
‘But I can’t be a burden.’
Glen is currently fighting with the two leaders of Oma. He couldn’t be a burden to him.
He resonated with the ring of fire. Enduring the pain in his pulsating heart, he raised the two swords.
‘I won’t just die!’
Just as he was about to forcibly strike at an approaching elderly man from the right and a black orc helmet from the left,
The wind blew.
With the emerald wind that tickled his head, a tall elf appeared in front of him.
From the elf’s hand, a familiar sword energy extended, turning into a blue storm that simultaneously struck down the elderly man and the black orc helmet.
Raon’s eyes widened at the sight of the fluttering red hair.
“What a sight.”
Limer turned around with a smirk, a smile mixed with worry and anger.
“Zieghardt’s radiant sword!”
The 10 apostles and Jeolhongeom moved simultaneously, targeting Limer.
“I’m not the only one who came.”
The moment Limer shrugged his shoulders, a thin blade, sharp as a needle, pierced through one of the apostle’s neck.
The apostle swiftly swung his spear to defend, but blood oozed from his neck.
“I intended to end this quickly.”
A man with a blue slender sword descended from the air after a somersault. It was the elder, Lohen, flicking his hair.
“It seems my skills have rusted a bit.”
“Is he an assassin…”
The apostle, clutching his neck, gritted his teeth.
A crashing sound!
He turned his head to the right.
A woman with purple hair holding two differently-colored dual blades blocked Jeolhongeom head-on.
A powerful force!
The female swordsman, although half his size, pushed back the massive Jeolhongeom with her astonishing strength.
Chengum Grandmaster Sheril turned her head, her twin swords lowered.
“I’m glad you’re safe.”
She smiled softly.
Raon trembled, seeing the three of them. His heart raced. Holding back his emotions after hearing Glen’s voice, he felt on the verge of exploding.
“Raon Zieghardt must not move a finger! Capture him at all costs!”
The apostle gave the order and gripped his spear, charging at Lohen.
Jeolhongeom narrowed his eyes and, with raised morale and fighting spirit, attacked Sheril.
Limer chuckled, pointing upwards.
“I should have said ‘we’ weren’t the only ones who came.”
With his scoff, numerous dimensional gates opened in mid-air.
A resonating hum!
From each split dimension, swordsmen with Zieghardt’s emblem emerged.
Not just the familiar groups like Chengum, White Lotus, Void Sword, Blood Pact, and Heroic Corps, but even swordsmen on external missions gathered.
A resounding rumble!
The swordsmen, with cold glints in their eyes, surrounded Eden’s branch.
Suddenly, an impenetrable encirclement formed.
Familiar faces emerged from the last dimensional gate.
Buren, Martha, Lunan. The Wind Faction, having matured in their absence, charged out.
“Wind Faction! Guard the faction leader!”
At Limer’s command, Wind Faction created a whirlwind, guarding Raon.
Without uttering words of comfort or concern, their steadfast postures spoke volumes.
A continuous rumble!
The aura from hundreds of Zieghardt swordsmen resonated, forming a united energy wave that swept the area.
Raon gripped his sword till it hurt.
‘Am I not alone?’
Unlike his previous life, where he was decapitated along with his collar, now he had people beside him.
My sword. My life was intertwined with theirs.
Limer took Raon’s still trembling hand, directing it at the enemy.
“You’ve been through a lot. Let me take care of the juicy part.”
He grinned wickedly. Sheril, Lohen, and all the other swordsmen tightened their grip on their blades.
Swallowing hard, he shouted with pride swelling from within.
“Annihilate the enemies!”
With Raon’s resonant voice, the Zieghardt force sprang into action.