Chapter 248 – Consciousness (4)
Translated by : betterdays
Proofread and Edited by : lovely hogu
* * *
When the beast popped out of the forest in front of Lee Sungmin, he did not become flustered.
He picked up his index finger and pointed at the beast dashing at him, without having to use his spear.
A dark current of electricity started to coalesce at the fingertips of Lee Sungmin’s hand.
A dark purple line covered with tendrils of black lightning shot straight through the skull of the beast.
A tough hide, monstrous regenerative power. Those advantages were meaningless in front of Lee Sungmin. The strength of the Dark Storm Arts completely penetrated the skull of the beast and it dropped dead with a thud.
Lee Sungmin could not hear the screams erupting within the forest surrounding him.
However, the beasts within the forest were of no threat whatsoever to Lee Sungmin.
His presence was like an absolute predator within a flock of sheep when compared to the beasts brought by Kim Jonghyun. Lee Sungmin’s coating of internal energy around his body was already enough to completely nullify any attack from a mere beast. If his internal energy alone was enough to injure peak realm martial artists like Murong Dae, how could some mere beast harm him?
It was not only the beasts summoned by Kim Jonghyun, however. There were several undead roaming as and chimeras.
Even though they were creations from Arbeth’s dungeon and some of Kim Jonghyun’s own summons through the magic he inherited from Arbeth, they were all prey in front of Lee Sungmin.
The only thing was that not everyone in the Forest was as strong as Lee Sungmin.
Their biggest mistake was not coming to the forest with Lee Sungmin. If they didn’t doubt Lee Sungmin and came to this forest together with him included in the subjugation force, things would have been quite different…….
‘Nothing has changed with those idiots.’
Lee Sungmin shook his head at the foolishness of the Murim Alliance.
* * *
Lloyd furrowed his brows as he collected his breath. As soon as he entered the forest, he was scattered just like everybody else in the subjugation forest. He was baffled by the nonsensical and overwhelming magic enchanted within the forest.
Magic spells were something that could be increased in power with every second of preparation beforehand. Hence, if they had the mercenaries with them to act as the front line, the wizards from the Wizard Guild and the magic corps were not nearly as effective as they would be.
They may have been some of the finest combat wizards from the Wizard Guild, but here, they were in deep trouble.
Their conditions were immensely unfavorable, and they were running low on mana.
The 60 combat wizards who were sent on this expedition were assorted and picked together to emphasize their effectiveness of firepower and teamwork when used in a group setting.
However, as they entered the forest and were scattered, these combatant wizards were in desperate danger.
Lloyd didn’t expect this situation. He and everybody here knew that Kim Jonghyun had prepared some type of trap since he had not run away at the news of their arrival in Edor, but…… Lloyd and none of the wizards here had expected such baffling and unbelievable magic that broke the boundaries known by human magic.
The whole forest was something that was like a defensive array. Yet this type of magic was not something that could possibly be replicated by any amount of wizards put together, let alone a single dark wizard known as Kim Jonghyun.
At least Lloyd’s situation was a bit better than some of the other combatant magicians. He was grouped together along with the Green Tower Master next to him, and a few Murim Alliance’s warriors.
In this kind of terrible predicament, he was rather fortunate to be surrounded by qualified people like them.
But even with these talented and powerful people around him, it was no easy task to be surrounded by copious amounts of undead, chimeras and beasts.
No matter what kind of wizard he was, no wizard would be able to have magic that could be prepared for every individual situation at hand, neither would he have unlimited amounts of mana.
A wizard was a combatant role that was located in the rear of raids, protected, and firing out spells with decent time and preparation needed for the incantations. Even with the Green Tower next to him and the Murim Alliance’s warriors, it was not nearly enough for them to keep surviving at this pace.
‘If it was only Kim Jonghyun it would be somewhat easier. As a wizard against another wizard, he would be a much easier opponent on his own.’
Of course the subjugation force had prepared in full for Kim Jonghyun since they somewhat knew his capabilities as a Wizard, but this was not something in their plans.
It was impossible to even properly organize themselves due to their senses being muddled and their locations scattered about.
Their frontlines were also scattered about since the mercenaries and Murim Alliance’s warriors were scattered even among their own ranks.
Lloyd glanced at the Green Tower Master He also had a look of anxiety and nervousness as his normal and calculative smile was nowhere to be seen.
Sung Ki-jang, the Leader sent by the Holy Church, was not afraid as he was grouped together with some of the Holy Churches members and a few wizards sent from the Wizard Guild and Magic Corps members.
Unlike the Magic Corps, the High Priests and the Holy Knights were not afraid. They fought back fear with a firm faith and were noticeably enraged at the undead and chimeras that were present.
So there was no hesitation in their movements. Sung Ki-jang took the lead with a firm expression and faith to purge the undead.
The Holy Knights and High Priests who followed him were not stranded in fear, but shouted and yelled at the beasts and undead, wielding swords and pouring out their holy powers.
The High Priests and other priests that came with them were not idle either. They were kneeling and sitting on the ground praying.
They were glowing with a radiant white light purifying the land that was corrupted with the dark and demonic energy from the grimoire.
* * *
Chigweol was with Murong Dae and Murong Chae. They weren’t thinking about running away either.
Murong Dae was looking for Lee Sungmin to enter the forest, and fortunately for him, his son was transported along with him.
However, Chigweol was also searching for someone. He was looking for Scarlett rather than his objective of killing Kim Jonghyun. This was because of the order he received back from the Murim Aliiance prior to entering. They wanted him to secure the Red Tower Master as soon as possible to use as leverage.
‘Where is she?’
* * *
Tang Ah-Hui was trying to give up the subjugation and flee as well. Shitsu, a senior member of the Mad Dog Mercenary Corps who was with her, just died.
He was an excellent SS-Class mercenary, but he couldn’t handle the countless undead and beasts that popped out of the dark.
It was the presence of a high-ranking undead. The Dullahan. A headless monster that carried an axe and rode atop a mount. The Dullahan had simply lifted its axe with lightning speed and cleaved Shitsu in half from the head down.
‘What…. This is crazy.’
The Dullahan was one of the most powerful undeads known to man.
Its presence was something that was rare, just like the numbers of Liches and Death Knights within Eria, it was an undead scarcely seen. And it was rightfully so. Its physical might was monstrous even when compared to a Death Knight.
Shitsu as well as other the mercenaries around her were shredded and cleaved in the blink of an eye from the axe of the Dullahan. The combat wizards who were with Tang Ah-Hui unfolded as many spells as they could, and it had briefly delayed the Dullahan for a bit.
However, Tang Ah-Hui did not try to run away recklessly. She was proud to be the daughter and heir of the Tang Family that dealt with hidden weapons and poison, and because of this, she had confidence in her hidden weapons and poison with her.
Yet, the poison and hidden weapons she brought with her, could barely attract the attention of the Dullahan.
So she naturally had no choice but to run away. The more she fought, the more she realized how helpless their situation was. She didn’t want to die here.
No, she didn’t want to die, period. She was becoming more and more aware of the difference, with each passing second, between the forces with her and the Dullahan. As she realized this, she threw a series of hidden daggers coated in poison and quickly jerked her head away and moved to escape.
However, it was not easy to run away. The ground shook violently and a series of red tentacles from the chimeras around the Dullahan rose from the ground and attacked. Tang Ah-HHui was frightened and tried to cut down the tentacles, but the tentacles weren’t stopping with their monstrous regenerative power and slowly started to surround her and writhe around her body.
Tang Ah-Hui screamed. Meanwhile, the Dullahan suddenly turned its attention towards her once more and came up behind her back.
The mercenaries and magicians of the party she had abandoned, had run away from the battle after they saw her run, and didn’t bother to tie up the feet of the Dullahan.
Of course, Tang Ah-Hui didn’t even realize the Dullahan had approached behind her until she felt the air behind her back start to shift as the axe started to fall towards her head.
Before the axe fell and cut off Tang Ah-Hui’s head. A stream of purple and black lightning pierced right through the Dullahan’s arm.
The beam of lightning ripped right through the Dullahan’s arm and separated it from its shoulder. The Dullahan didn’t even notice this until the last moment, and when it did, it couldn’t even shriek in pain.
Right next to Tang Ah-Hui’s shoulder, The Dullahan’s axe that was gripped in its severed arm fell.
Tang Ah-Hui screamed even louder. After emerging from the darkness, Lee Sungmin frowned as he glanced at Tang Ah-Hui who was incoherently screaming even though he couldn’t hear her. She was fallen on the ground in fear and screaming in fright at the undead and chimeras that had been attacking her.
When she saw Lee Sungmin, she screamed even louder as if she would faint….and once again…. She couldn’t hold her bladder and pissed herself.
For Lee Sungmin, who was unaware that Tang Ah-Hui was the one who coerced the Leader of the Holy Church to have suspicion about his identity earlier, had no malice or ill intent towards her.
However, he did not have a strong sense of loyalty or chivalry to save her. Nevertheless, the reason for saving her was simple.
It was because he wanted to ask her something. Lee Sungmin shot forwards and extended his fist that was coated in a layer of black lightning and crushed the Dullahan’s armor with one strike. He continued to pummel the Dullahan into the ground ferociously, and within 3 seconds, it was dead.
[Where is the Red Tower Master?]
After screaming for a long time, Tang Ah-Hui belatedly came to her senses with the telepathic message that was sent to her from Lee Sungmin.
She gasped and looked up at Lee Sungmin. Lee Sungmin, who appeared at the moment of desperation for her, seemed to be the person who could easily crush the monsters around her and possibly be her only way to survive.
Tang Ah-Hui stumbled and sent out a response. Lee Sungmin glanced at Tang Ah-Hui’s wet clothing and continued to converse with her telepathically.
[The Red Tower Master, Scarlett. Where is she? Did you see her?]
[Uh… I don’t know.]
Lee Sungmin clicked his tongue with regret. He immediately realized he had nothing to gain from saving her and moved past her.
Then, Tang Ah-Hui, who was frightened and belatedly realized her method of escape was leaving, reached out her hands to catch Lee Sungmin’s ankle. Lee Sungmin raised his foot slightly and avoided her outstretched hand that was trying to hold onto his ankle.
[Well- Pl- …please help me.]
[I don’t have any underwear for you to change into, so leave me alone.]
Tang Ah-Hui’s face suddenly flushed bright red in embarrassment from Lee Sungmin’s answer. She urgently moved her hands covering her wet area.
[N- not like that. Can you take me out of here… please?]
[I have no intention of getting out of this forest. Why should I go through so much trouble just for you?]
[Please!… I’ll give you anything you want.]
[What can you possibly give me that would be of interest to me?]
Lee Sungmin turned his head away from Tang Ah-Hui and sent her the message as he started to walk away once more. Tang Ah-Hui, fumbled with her balance and stood up abruptly as she desperately tried to follow Lee Sungmin to not lose sight of him.
[Body…b- my body……?]
She didn’t have anything else to give, and she felt unbearable shame having to offer it. She trembled with her shoulders as she spoke hesitatingly and pleaded with Lee Sungmin. Lee Sungmin scoffed and responded to her.
Tang Ah-Hui was speechless at the sharp and immediate refusal. Tang Ah-Hui, who was still trembling, sent a message again.
[Yes, what the hell are you talking about in a situation like this?]
[That’s… I mean…… not necessarily here, but out of the woods, I can wash up…….]
[Disgusting. No, I have no interest in your body.]
[Wh-… What about a cultivation method or martial arts technique? Antidotes, poison…… or hidden weapons…….]
Tang Ah-HHui had nothing to give Lee Sungmin. Poison? He had no need for such a thing. Although there was no time to learn it right now or use it, Lee Sungmin completed poison immunity within his body due to the treasures from Heoju.
No poison made from the Tang Family, prestigious for its poisons, could invade his body. It was a similar reaction for him when it came to hidden weapons when he said he had no interest. It wasn’t that he had no interest in the creation of hidden weapons, it was that he didn’t feel confident in using them even if he learned the art of how to create them.
[There’s nothing you can give me. The only reason I saved you was to ask about Scarlett’s whereabouts and if you knew where she was. And…… Aren’t I an enemy of the Murim Alliance? What would you want my help?]
Lee Sungmin was indirectly threatening Tang Ah-Hui with his words to leave him alone. Tang Ah-Hui realized this, and her face turned pale.
She racked her brains desperately for anything that could help her at that moment survive. She knew this man was perfectly capable of saving her.
[I- I’m also looking for the Red Tower Master as well.]
[Of course you are. You need her as leverage in order to capture and attack me after this.]
[So… Uhm…there’s one other thing though…….]
Added Tang Ah-Hui as she stuttered. As she spoke, a beast suddenly emerged and shot out of the darkness to attack her, and Lee Sungmin simply lifted his finger and a beam of lightning penetrated it between the eyes of the beast, killing it as soon as it emerged.
[If you take me hostage, I’ll be able to negotiate with the Alliance for you.]
[What am I supposed to do with that? Why would I even need to keep them alive?]
[Well, I can’t give you anything, but my father would be different. I mean…]
[I have nothing I want from the Murim Alliance, your family, or your father for that matter. If I want anything, I could simply take it with force, not words.]
[What about a…. Secret weapon. It’s a special weapon for our family. It’s an awl that can levitate and move on its own along with several different metal balls made from the same technology.]
Tang Ah-Hui shook as she gave the description of the most secret weapon her family possessed. However, Lee Sungmin stopped at that moment.
[An awl that levitates?]
It’s a weapon Lee Sungmin knew he had encountered before… but he couldn’t recall where. Lee Sungmin skimmed through his memories to try and find where he had faced such a weapon.
He remembered. He remembered a very distinct time when he had left Rubes with Wijihoyeon when she was cursed. He had fought and nearly lost his life along with the Crazy Heavenly Demon. How could he not remember that brutal fight. It was his first fight against a true Transcendent warrior from Beyond the Heavens.
He was very close to death that day. The only reason he survived was because of Sima Ryunju.
At that time Sima Ryunju had spoken of that very weapon. It was called a pulley weapon. It was controlled with wires and moved independently with any weapon that was attached to it.
[My old… My ancestors, they made it.]
[So? What about it?]
Four of the six divinities were left alive at that moment. He knew the location of Do Zun to some extent as he was the Mercenary King.
He knew how to find Do Zun, Kang Seok, the Spear King, was also going to find him later. However, he did not know where An Zun or Wolhu was. If he was able to find the location of An Zun, he would most certainly only have to deal with one other of the Six Divinities. This was a chance for Lee Sungmin to narrow down his enemies.
[Maybe if it’s him.… he might be able to give you what you want. He’s a mysterious man, and he has a lot of things that he uses that none of our family can even utilize because of their intricacies…….]
[Are you in touch with him?]
However, An Zun’s location was not that important to Lee Sungmin now that he knew that the so-called ancestor was most likely An Zun. More than that, he was most likely at the Tang Family.
[Yes, I’ve seen him when I was young, and he thinks I’m cute. So every year on my birthday, he secretly comes to the party and gives me my own presents. Other than that, he’s very hard to contact.]
At that moment, Lee Sungmin became conflicted. It looked like An Zun was hard to locate even if he was a part of the Tang Clan. But, if he had a connection with Tang Ah-Hui, he had an opportunity he could not lose.
Lee Sungmin nodded slightly. He needed this chance, and although he did not care for Tang Ah-Hui, it seemed like she had proven her worth.
Since it would be a secluded act of contact between An Zun and Tang Ah-Hui, he would definitely be able to kill him at that time.
Lee Sungmin smiled brightly.
[It might be too much to leave right now for me. But, I’ll at least protect you from dying.]
Not knowing she was driving her ancestor to his very death, Tang Ah-Hui sighed with relief.
Chapter 248 – Fin