Chapter 221: Chapter 221
The spear was filled to the brim with magical power. Not only that, but it was also thrown powerfully with strength stat reaching 99.
Thus, when a huge hole opened up in the sky and out came flying a crimson boulder, the spear instantly pierced through it without a single hint of deviation or flexing.
Through the hole in the crimson boulder, Su-hyeun could see the grand magician and vice master of the empire’s magic tower, Meko, with a big hole on his stomach, collapsing while vomiting blood.
Herrels’ jaw fell hard at this sudden and unexpected development. He stared at the resulting spectacle in a daze.
“I was also just as shocked as you are now the first I witnessed it, father,” said Roy, who was so much more composed than Herrels. “That big bro is incredibly strong.”
Meko was an existence that possessed enough power to equal the military might of a great territory all by himself. Therefore, no one could’ve imagined that such a grand magician would meet a pathetic and ign.o.ble end like this.
Once Meko went down for good, no more magic attacks flew toward them. It seemed that only the grand magician detected Miru flying in the air and decided to respond before anyone else did.
Miru flew up toward Su-hyeun who had leaped up high. He lightly landed on the dragon’s back, recalled his spear, and checked the current percentage on the trial’s overall achievement.
[Achievement rate: 38%]
[You have not satisfied the conditions.]
The percentage had certainly increased a lot more compared to before.
Su-hyeun hadn’t done much up until now. All he did so far was to realize that the Lichs had taken over the capital, rescue Roy’s father, and headed toward the imperial palace in the center of the city. That was all.
As I thought. Could this mean that solving this crisis will be reflected in my achievement rate?
The condition to reach 100% on the trial’s achievement always had been a tough ask. Even someone of Su-hyeun’s caliber couldn’t manage to reach that 100% completion on a handful of floors.
There was one reason for this.
You simply couldn’t achieve 100% by sticking to the goal each trial had set out for you.
I have no idea just what is going on in this world, but…
A cold light flashed in Su-hyeun’s eyes as he entered the imperial palace on Miru’s back.
First things first, I’ll hunt down the bugs’ mother.
Answering his curiosity should come later.
For now, it was far more important to make sure that his task was finished for good first.
* * *
Su-hyeun climbed off from Miru’s back after breaking into the imperial palace.
Roy and Herrels remained on the dragon’s back, however. Unlike Su-hyeun, these two didn’t have much combat strength to speak of.
But there was something else they needed to do instead.
“Can I ask you a favor?” Su-hyeun spoke.
“Please go ahead.”
“Can you look after the citizens outside with Miru’s help, please?”
“Citizens… Do you mean the capital’s citizens?”
“Yes. I don’t know how long I’ll take to hunt down the mother, and we also don’t know how many more innocent people will lose their lives in the meantime. I feel that Lord Herrels is far better suited than me in protecting the citizens.”
Herrels possessed the ability to command tens of thousands of the undead.
Even if it was Su-hyeun, he still wouldn’t be able to protect every single person while trying to crisscross this ma.s.sive city. However, Herrels was perfectly suited for a task of such nature.
“By riding on Miru’s back and commanding the undead from the air, you should be able to stop the infected hosts like how you did earlier. Only you can do this.”
Herrels seemed to hesitate slightly at Su-hyeun’s request, but he eventually nodded his head. “Understood. Well, then…”
He then gently embraced Roy, who was also on Miru’s back with him, before placing the boy on the floor. “Please look after my son Roy.”
Yet another expression of shock formed on Roy’s face.
Herrels ruffled his son’s hair and replied. “Stay close to your big bro, son. He’ll definitely protect you.”
“Can’t you come with us, dad?”
“I’m sorry, my son. Your father doesn’t have enough strength to protect you. And also…” Herrels s.h.i.+fted his gaze toward the sight of the capital city below, which was visible from the palace’s window. “If this crisis came to be because of us, then it’s the correct thing for us to at least try to take some responsibility.”
He lost his dear wife of over ten years. Countless citizens had died on the chaotic streets of the capital, and more were currently getting killed off.
Just like what Su-hyeun had said, Herrels simply couldn’t stare at the current situation without doing anything.
“I shall leave it to you. And my son Roy’s safety… I’ll believe in you and entrust him to you.”
While saying that, Herrels’ expression was filled with indignation.
He wasn’t angry for no other reason.
This feeling of bitterness that he didn’t have enough power, as well as the worry and anxiety of knowing that he had no choice but to entrust his own son to a stranger—his indignation was the resulting concoction of all these emotions.
“I shall protect him no matter what.”
“I’ll take this opportunity to act as a cool dad for once. Well then, let’s meet again in one piece later.”
Su-hyeun extended his hand toward Herrels.
As they shook hands, Su-hyeun spoke up. “Let’s definitely do that.”
Herrels released his hand and then climbed back on Miru.
Before the red dragon departed, Su-hyeun whispered softly into Miru’s ear. “Make sure to protect him.”
Miru replied loudly as if to say, “You can trust me!” and unfolded its wings again.
The figures of one man and one dragon flew outside the imperial palace.
Roy stood there in a daze watching that scene, only for his body to be abruptly picked up.
Su-hyeun placed the boy in his arms and spoke. “Hold on tight, okay?”
“I beg your pardon?”
Roy blinked, wondering what on earth he was talking about. But then…
Boom, boom, ka-boom—!
Su-hyeun’s figure leaped up from that very spot.
He broke through the ceiling while carrying Roy in his arms, but then, a lengthy spear suddenly came slamming down on his head.
They avoided the spear coming down by a hair’s breadth. Su-hyeun kept flying up until he reached a wide hallway.
It was the expansive imperial audience chamber over several hundreds of meters in length. At the end of this hallway, there was a ma.s.sive throne, with knights and magicians standing in lines on either side.
“Lichs in the imperial palace, is that it? What a messed up sight this is.”
Su-hyeun locked his gaze on the throne right at the end. More correctly, he was looking at a blonde man with squared shoulders, sitting on that very throne.
He was none other than the emperor, who inherited the throne at a young age.
“So, the emperor basically handed the whole empire over to the Lichs, is that it?” Su-hyeun muttered.
This man who commanded numerous magicians and knights, as well as Lichs standing around him—unlike the others, he didn’t have a parasite residing inside him.
The Lichs accompanying him despite that fact signaled the simple truth of him joining hands with the undead.
“Eternal life is quite an enticing prospect,” said the emperor as he pointed toward the Lichs on either side of him. “They may look hideous, but that’s only from humanity’s beauty standards.”
“Oh, so you want to change that standard?”
“Correct. If we all die and come to possess that same outer appearance, then the idea of hideousness shall be—”
A stone the size of a fist flew toward the emperor, but it shattered into pieces and fell to the floor. A transparent barrier distorted visibly for a moment before cracks developed on its surface.
Su-hyeun had picked up a stone and chucked it a second ago. He licked his lips, perhaps thinking that he missed.
“That’s too bad. I thought I could crush that pie hole of yours, along with your head in one go.”
“No point in listening to you anymore. I was wondering if you were being mind-controlled or something, but that doesn’t seem to be it. Well, time’s a-wasting, so…”
With Roy now on his back, Su-hyeun began walking toward the emperor.
“Let’s get this started already.”
The emperor issued his order, and almost immediately, countless magicians, knights, and Lichs gathered in the imperial audience chamber and began their attacks on Su-hyeun.
The imperial magicians cast magic spells that crushed down on Su-hyeun’s body. At the same time, the members of the knight order drew their swords and dashed toward him.
With Su-hyeun’s flick of his hand, the divine Flame exploded in all directions. The intense flames filled up the imperial chamber, yet the swords belonging to the knights still pierced past them and tried to stab him.
Su-hyeun unsheathed his own sword and spun around, causing all of the stabbing blades to get deflected up into the air.
The knights completely disregarded whether their bodies were being burned or not and rushed in. On top of this, the armor they wore must have had built-in magic resistance feature because the divine Flame didn’t seem to work all that well.
Trying to say that the imperial knight order is a different beast altogether, is that it?
He could now more or less tell that the knights of this world were quite a formidable existence. The same story also applied to the magicians. Although not as powerful as Meko from his earlier encounter, every single one still emitted quite a noticeable level of magical energy.
About half of the knights and the magicians are infected with the parasites.
The imperial knight order and the imperial magic corps—no doubt, they were the gatherings of some of the continent’s finest. They were of true elites that protected the emperor from the closest vantage point, but they also sometimes acted as the swords and s.h.i.+elds of the empire and stood at the forefront of the battlefields.
The movements of those under the parasites’ control are noticeably unnatural. It probably has something to do with the issue of free will.
The emperor that worked with the Lichs—just how many would be willing to swear loyalty to such a leader? It was likely that the Lichs killed those objecting to the emperor’s decisions and inseminated them with the parasites.
Even then, as expected…
Su-hyeun sneaked a quick glance at Roy who was still clinging onto his shoulders. Then, he s.h.i.+fted his gaze over to the Lichs who stood next to the emperor and were getting ready to fire the next volley of magic spells.
“I guess it’s not that easy to attack as much as you want, right?”
Those words caused a brief interruption in the flow of magical energy being emitted by the Lichs. Although it happened in the blink of and eye, Su-hyeun didn’t miss it.
Without a doubt, the Lichs got agitated just then.
“I see, so you really need Roy alive, don’t you? Seeing how you are so cautious about not inflicting a single injury on the boy and all.”
The Lichs’ goal was Roy.
That was precisely why this crisis had started in the first place. The hosts whose heads were filled with the parasites were definitely aiming to capture Roy, too.
Of course, with the boy as their goal didn’t mean that they wanted to kill him. No, they were paying especially high caution instead. As if they were fearful of even leaving a scratch on the boy somewhere.
Su-hyeun grew confident from this.
In that case…
His hand grasped the spear tightly.
No point in sweating over it, then.
He lightly tossed the spear, and the weapon easily pierced through the head of one of the knights rus.h.i.+ng in. The parasite inside was killed off instantly, and the knight’s figure crumpled to the ground.
Meanwhile, a thin navy-hued thread extended between the spear stabbed into the wall and Su-hyeun’s hand.
He then pulled at the thread.
The “thread” was made of thinly stretched magical energy, so it was stronger and tougher than any alloys of the same thickness.
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh—
Su-hyeun wrapped that thread around his hand and, after yanking at it, began spinning it around, causing the sharp spear to also spin around rapidly like a buzz saw.
“If there are some among you who hate the idea of even a.s.sociating with the Lichs but are not in the position to disobey the emperor’s commands and thus have to keep fighting, then well…”
The thread wrapped around Su-hyeun’s hand came undone just then. Immediately after that, the rapidly spinning spear was powerfully thrown forward.
The spear flew like a spinning buzz saw and split the audience chamber in half. Su-hyeun threw the weapon toward the direction of the throne being protected by the Lichs, which was right at the end of the chamber.
The emperor’s body, along with the throne itself, was split in half.
Su-hyeun recalled his spear, looked around at the knights, and then spoke again.
“There’s no need to do that anymore.”