Chapter 216: Chapter 216
“You’re scared by a lone human?!”
A foot made of nothing more than bones stomped down, causing the ground below it to crack and split apart. At the same time, a vast amount of magical power spread out within the large underground void.
Several Lichs in the surroundings faltered, while a few others managed to hold their ground.
“You’ve seen that he’s not a normal human, haven’t you?”
“Doesn’t matter. He’s still just a human.”
A Lich with an inverted cross engraved in its forehead glared with its empty eye sockets. Yet another Lich with the same inverted cross was staring back at it.
“Not every human is the same. There is a definite need to be cautious.”
“Isn’t the combat strength we possess enough to easily surpa.s.s a kingdom’s army? You’re all a bunch of cowards.”
It was exactly as the Lich had said.
There were several dozens of Lichs currently gathered in the underground void. What’s more, four apostle-rank Lichs like itself were among the group, as well.
With a force of this size, swallowing a kingdom whole wouldn’t be a difficult task.
If dozens of Lichs got serious and earnestly infiltrated a kingdom, then it wouldn’t be a difficult task to take over the seats of the high-ranking n.o.bles one by one and bring the nation down from within.
“No matter how powerful he is, at the end of the day, he’s just a single human being. More importantly, a living creature can never defeat the undead like us.”
“Billip, you were this arrogant back when you were still alive. That’s why you lost your life.”
Those two Lichs were apostle-ranks. They knew each other better than anyone. They had been friends even back when they were both still alive.
As such, they bickered often and frequently raised their voices at each other, like right now. And they also evolved alongside each other, as well.
“Ramu, you’ve always been a coward. Always far too preoccupied with running away and hiding somewhere.”
“That’s right, I used to run away and hide in order to survive. That’s why I know the truth. Now is the time to hide. As we do not know who our enemy is, we have no reason to fight him.”
“Run like a bunch of rats? Because you’re scared of one human b.a.s.t.a.r.d?”
“Whatever the case may be, that b.a.s.t.a.r.d cannot enter here. Is there a need to fight unnecessarily, then?”
A loud commotion cut into the two Lichs’ conversation. Billip and Ramu s.h.i.+fted looked away. The noise had come from the entrance of the underground void.
A warning bell chimed loudly inside Ramu’s head.
The fact that the noise could be heard even in here meant that the intruding human had managed to come very close.
Breaking past dozens upon dozens of barriers?
The magic circles installed around the void were designed to automatically regenerate the thick protective barriers. Even if the human had the ability to shatter one barrier, it’d simply regenerate back to normal in an instant unless he had the necessary power to break through every single one of them at once.
Billip’s voice, raucous and loud only until a second before, was much heavier now.
“It seems that matters will not go as you wish.”
Soft footsteps could be heard approaching the void—accompanied by the high concentration of magical energy densely permeating the inside of the void.
“…I know,” said Ramu with a nod of its head. At the same time, it issued orders to other Lichs in the vicinity. “Everyone, spread out. And prepare the most powerful magic you can cast.”
The ‘regular’ Lichs nodded at the new commands.
There were a total of four apostle-ranked Lichs. They slowly walked toward the lone human entering the underground void—Su-hyeun.
“And what brings you here, human? Did you lose your way?”
Ramu’s voice prompted Su-hyeun to stop walking. He took a look around him. The seemingly-empty underground void was filled with countless coffins strewn about liberally.
The short-fused Billip saw Su-hyeun’s eyes s.h.i.+ft around and loudly shouted, “Did you not hear the question?!”
“Billip.” Ramu realized that Billip was about to launch a magic attack in agitation, so it raised its bony hand to stop its comrade. “Don’t get agitated.”
“Why are you stopping me? If we’re going to fight anyway, why…”
“Look behind the human first,” Ramu spoke with a smaller voice and pointed behind Su-hyeun. Only then did Billip notice the unfolding situation there. And right away, it also felt the exact same emotion as the other apostle-ranked Lichs.
That emotion would be pure shock, then instinctive fear.
On the pa.s.sageway Su-hyeun had walked past, the magic circles’ effects were activating to regenerate the shattered barriers.
After seeing Su-hyeun reach this far, Billip naturally believed that the human had somehow disarmed the magic circles and that’s how he managed to reach the underground void.
It wouldn’t be impossible for an excellent sorcerer to a.n.a.lyze the principle behind the magic circles and then disarm them, after all.
Not only that, but all of the magic circles installed here were crafted with a similar basic principle. Meaning, if the human was able to disarm one, then he should also be able to disarm the rest, as well.
For the first time after becoming a Lich, Billip felt death creeping ever so closer.
Within this pervading silence, Su-hyeun finished scanning the interior of the underground void. Then…
“So, that’s the center of it all.”
He murmured to no one in particular.
Right at that moment…
Ramu, readying its magic, loudly yelled, “Kill him!”
The magical powers of all the Lichs present focused on one spot, and black chains and ropes flew at Su-heyun. Of course, dozens of different types of magic attacks also rained down on him simultaneously, as well.
Su-hyeun grabbed the black chains rising out from the ground with both hands, then yanked them all the way out by their roots before swinging them around.
All the fired magic spells collided against the chains and either got deflected away or were extinguished outright. The Lichs were fl.u.s.tered by how the chains were yanked out from the ground and hurriedly readied their next batch of magic spells.
A ma.s.sive gravity field began bearing down on Su-hyeun’s body. That wasn’t the end, however. Curses that gradually gnawed away at his skin, and also ones that dulled his body, began encroaching on him. They were skills meant to arrest his movements.
Billip felt slightly relieved inside after the magics landed on the target. No matter how monstrous his strength was, it would mean very little if his body rotted away and grew inconceivably heavier.
The only thing left to do would be to slowly torture the opponent, who couldn’t move anymore. That’s what Billip thought.
Piiik, piiik, piiik-
But then, the heads of all the Lichs within Su-hyeun’s attack range were sliced off.
It wasn’t just their heads, however. More correctly, even the source of a Lich’s life, called the ‘Life Vessel,’ nestled within the heads had been accurately sliced apart, as well.
“It’s been like this forever,” said Su-hyeun, lowering the arm wielding the sword that no one had even noticed him unsheathe. “I’m the natural enemy of all sorcerers. Which means, it’s the same for you Lichs, who are still sorcerers even in death.”
“The natural enemy of sorcerers…?”
Billip stared at Su-hyeun.
The latter’s skin, visibly rotting away only a second ago, had reverted back to its original state already—signaling that the effects of the magic had dissipated soon after it was activated.
This wasn’t as simple as annulling magic. No, it meant that the human had resistance high enough to not get affected by magic in the first place.
Billip sensed a burning sensation in its head and turned around. It had forgotten what pain was like after becoming a Lich, yet this burning sensation still flooded in its mind.
There could be only one explanation for that.
Billip raised its hand and touched its forehead. It was the same story for the other Lichs nearby, as well.
There was a hole in its forehead. Its ‘Life Vessel’ had been accurately pierced.
Strength seeped out of Billip’s figure and, soon, a torso made out of nothing but bones crumbled to the ground.
Only one Lich remained standing now. It was Ramu, who managed to tilt its body at the last second to save its Life Vessel, somehow.
Ramu, with almost half of its head gone, stumbled back while staring at Su-hyeun in horror. It managed to save its Life Vessel, yes, but its condition was still far from ideal.
“You do know that you didn’t get lucky, don’t you? I let you live.”
The words sounded so familiar. Indeed, Su-hyeun had said the same thing back when he spared a single skeleton for the purpose of finding the location of the Lichs.
“What is this place? What were you doing in here, to begin with? If you tell me that, I’ll let you carry on living forever, with that coin-like thing in your head.”
There was only one reason for a genius sorcerer who was the envy of the world to chose to become a Lich.
Some sorcerers would say that they became Lichs for the purpose of researching magic even further and for longer. But most of them were lying.
The desire to keep living. That was the minimum required condition for anyone wis.h.i.+ng from the depths of their being to become Lichs. A sort of ‘qualification’, as it were.
So, you didn’t need anything else when digging out information from such creatures. Since their desire to live was so strong, all anyone had to do was to appeal to that.
“Are you trying to get information from me, human?”
“Well, torturing a Lich wouldn’t work, anyway. You guys can’t feel pain, after all.”
“You speak as if you’re well-acquainted with our kind.”
“As much as I need to be. Okay, so. What’s your answer?”
“You ask the obvious.” Ramu didn’t hesitate with its answer. “Kill me.”
Su-hyeun crushed Ramu’s skull with his hand, then reached inside. He caught the fingernail-sized Life Vessel hidden within.
“That answer is already enough for me.”
The moment the Life Vessel turned to powder in Su-hyeun’s grip, Ramu’s body crumbled to the ground as well.
Su-hyeun dusted his hands to get rid of the powder and lightly kicked away the regular pile of bones that used to be Ramu. While taking a good look at the remains of the Lichs, he thought to himself.
In the first place, Lichs weren’t really known for their collectiveness like this.
Each and every single Lich was a prideful sorcerer, to begin with. Obviously, their individuality was far stronger than the need to work together, which meant that it was very difficult for them to work in a group.
Despite this fact, the Lichs found here were working together with one singular purpose in mind. That alone was already quite suspicious.
Even to its last, the Lich Ramu didn’t fear being killed at Su-hyeun’s hands.
This guy chose to become a Lich because it feared its own demise. In spite of that, it willingly chose death? As far as Su-hyeun knew, there could only be one motive strong enough for that.
The only thing that Lichs placed more importance in than their own lives.
Su-hyeun could think of only one existence capable of instilling such blind faith in these Lichs, who never really cared for anything else besides magic.
A ‘chain’-type trial.
He had been wondering why the beginning was so easy. But the story would change drastically if the b.a.s.t.a.r.ds here were connected to the Lich King.
He wasn’t sure if the Lich King would personally interfere with the trial. Not yet.
But, seeing as the trial hadn’t ended yet, it became clear that he’d get involved in the shenanigans of other Lichs in the future.
So, he needed to find the next set of clues.
Su-hyeun cast his gaze at the magic circle drawn on the ground as well as the coffins in the underground void that the Lichs had been protecting. Particularly at the coffin in the middle of them all.