Team: HH, thursdays, Yahiko (5/10)
The second mountain, where sight and hearing were blocked.
『Sacred Red Tree. Why don’t you stop now? I think you’ve been loyal enough to Blood Sword.』
The players surrounding Victoria shouted through Consciousness. This was a stage where all your senses were closed off. Only skilled players who could use Consciousness could pass this stage.
Their numbers were small, but each and every one of them was outstanding.
Nonetheless, Victoria just smiled coldly.
『Loyalty? Stop talking about useless crap. There’s only one thing I’ll do here.』
Her aura flashed.
『Do you want to die here? Or do you want to take a step back?』
Powerful pulses of magic power sparked around Victoria. The object in her hands spun like a top as the storm around her became more fierce.
The faces of the players who recognized it turned hard.
That was the problem. That was what was tying them down right now.
Adamantine Nova was a strong magic power source in itself, but it could also be used as an amplifier.
If it was in the hands of a monster, it could have great monstrous energy, and if it was in the hands of a magician, they were presented with great magic power.
Victoria was such an outstanding magician that she was called Sacred Red Tree, and she was the disciple of an artisan. What would happen if such a skilled person had the Adamantine Nova?
『S***! It’s another magic power storm!』
Sparks flew out around Victoria, and the waves of magic power shot outwards.
The players who had been trying to corner Victoria quickly covered themselves with barriers or tore scrolls to escape.
The magic power storm swept everything away.
The trees, grass, and even the players who hadn’t been able to avoid it.
Everyone gulped at the sight. All of them were famed in their fields, but they were nothing in front of Victoria.
However, some considered it an opportunity.
After a magic power storm of such a scale, there was a required cooldown time.
They planned to attack Victoria then.
Victoria just snorted when she saw them and poured her magic power into the Adamantine Nova.
Suddenly, rune letters scattered from above Victoria’s head.
A permanent magic power mechanism.
Victoria had worked hard to create an artifact that could supply her with magic power instantly.
Adamantine Nova was the inspiration for her idea.
A tool that emanated heat after being condensed to the extreme. There was nothing to be afraid of if she could change this heat into magic power.
Her teacher, Anastasia, hadn’t used it to bind the artifacts for nothing.
While the players were swept away indiscriminately,
『I feel this every time I see it, but what an amusing tool.』
Someone appeared through the smoke. It was an older man who was progressing from middle age to his golden years. He had a nice smile, but the aura around him was sharp.
The Ice King. The king of mercenaries who had come out of his secluded living and begun to make his name known around the world again.
He clapped his hands, spinning his body like a top. The ground was split, and ice thorns shot at Victoria.
Barriers were automatically created around her to block the ice thorns.
Each ice thorn destroyed another barrier, and in the meantime, the Ice King was able to reach Victoria.
『Look here. It’s alright to stop now, so how about it? You and those of us who are chasing you are tired. And technically, there’s no reason we should be fighting like this.』
The Ice King spoke in a pleading tone while avoiding Victoria’s magic.
He had come here on a request, so it wasn’t good to be fighting Victoria here.
The time and strength he was wasting here was a great loss for him.
He needed to take care of Victoria and chase after Kahn.
And in addition to that calculating aspect, the Ice King actually understood Victoria.
Saving a precious comrade from a group of hyenas.
If he were in that situation, he would’ve done the same.
No matter what Kahn had done.
‘But the problem is…..’
Both of his hands shone blue.
‘I’m the villain right now.’
Victoria lightly flicked her finger as if he wasn’t worth answering. Runes floated above her hand for a moment, and a red tongue of fire lashed out.
〈Floor Explosion〉. A superior spell that forced the extraction of the sun’s heat. Being hit with it would take your life instantly.
However, the Ice King wasn’t one to stay still. He clicked his tongue, thinking that there was nothing he could do but stop her, and shot his hands out.
Columns embedded underground suddenly popped out. No, they were large enough to seem like ice columns, but they were actually walls of wind.
〈Ice Palm〉. The Ice King’s signature skill that caused tall ice tsunamis.
With the ice columns, the Floor Explosion crumbled.
New ice tsunamis covered the sky when he spread his left hand out. Soon after, he spread his right hand apart as well.
The ice tsunamis continued to build around Victoria, trapping her in an ice cage. It was the Ice King’s solution to force her down.
The ice storm was unable to touch Victoria at all.
『Everything will have been for nothing then…..』
She had run away high above using consecutive Blinks.
However, contrary to his words, there was a concerned smile on the Ice King’s face.
『Still, you should’ve stayed in there. Then you wouldn’t have gotten hurt.』
A ray of light poured down as if it had been waiting.
The ‘Archer of Silver,’ Streege. The famous bounty hunter had predicted her escape route and shot his bow.
〈Shot of Moonlight〉. It was a skill that split through air to reach its target.
Behind Victoria, a masked assassin appeared through a portal. He was a famous ranker known as ‘Moon Walker.’
Multiple magic circles rose up around Victoria. At least, they tried to.
Before the magic power could gather, Streege’s Shot of Moonlight destroyed the magic circles.
The Adamantine Nova stopped functioning for a moment from the backlash, and Moon Walker aimed for Victoria’s throat.
Moon Walker’s sword barely missed her throat. The bracelet around her wrist had created a new barrier around her.
However, unable to withstand the impact, the bracelet crumpled to pieces.
That was what Moon Walker had been after.
The crumbled bracelet was what connected Victoria and the Adamantine Nova. With it broken, she wouldn’t be supplied with magic power from the Adamantine Nova anymore.
Victoria quickly stretched out for the Adamantine Nova, but…..
The commander below, who had been watching the situation, nodded. Fitting the title of the greatest mercenary clan, the players of Iron Lion moved quickly.
They lifted their iron bows from their shoulders and aimed for Victoria.
Every time the Magic Steel Rocket, which another one of the five great artisans, Maf, made, was shot, it they exploded in the air.
Victoria pitched down, her skin blackened from the smoke.
She tried to catch the Adamantine Nova that was falling before her.
-Victoria, please help me.
She had to have that item. They were still chasing after Kahn. She had to stall for time for him to hide.
-There’s someone I want to save. I know it’s shameless to sacrifice you like this, but I’m still asking it of you of this.
It hadn’t been that long since she met Kahn. During that short time, Kahn had gripped her with a desperate gaze.
-Please, help me.
The request to stall for time. She couldn’t forget how the tears dripped down his face.
She didn’t know what was moving him, what he was after, or what he was doing.
Thinking back, Kahn was always like that.
Even back when they were on the Five Mountains, he was always playful, but there were times when he was unreadable.
He had a gaze like he was looking at something. However, that gaze wasn’t on Victoria, and he just smiled bitterly when she asked about it. He was always like that. Someone who didn’t let anyone get close.
She hated people like that.
But strangely, that was what pulled her closer to him. Even though he always teased her, Kahn was like a little brother to her.
No, looking back at it now, she might’ve considered him as a ‘man.’
So she wanted to help him and stall for as much time as she could. She didn’t care that he might’ve been using her.
She just wanted to do it.
An image of her furious teacher, who was probably looking for her, flashed by her head, but there was nothing she could do except apologize.
It seemed she wouldn’t even be able to say that now.
Her hand was about to reach the Adamantine Nova, but Moon Walker appeared, sword raised.
That was all Victoria said. Her wrist was disconnected from her arm. She didn’t feel any pain.
All she could think of was grasping what was in front of her. Things couldn’t end like this.
Victoria crashed into the ground. She had fallen from high above without any protection, and her body was crushed. Her spine was shattered, but the small amount of magic power that was left was holding her body together.
Multiple players, including players from the Iron Lion, pounced on her. It was to question where Kahn was before she took her last breath.
『You have to deal with her carefully! She’s the only person who knows where Blood Sword is. She might be hiding something else, so don’t let down your guards!』
On the orders of the fourth commander of the Iron Lion, Torca, the mercenaries tore despelling scrolls and bound her hands and feet using magic power binds.
Torca examined Victoria with a serious gaze. The Ice King approached him with a bitter smile.
『Don’t hurt her too much.』
『Are you still going on about that?』
『She’s not a bad person. And she’s trying to protect your younger master. Take that into consideration.』
Younger master. Torca’s eyes wavered for a moment at those words, but his expression stayed the same.
『Is that so?』
『Yes. You wouldn’t have said that in the past.』
In Torca’s memories, the Ice King was always focused on the most efficient way to accomplish his goals. He was cold-blooded, not caring about what would be sacrificed in the process.
『I’ve become older. Also…』
The Ice King had a mysterious smile.
『I don’t want to become enemies with him.』
『Are you talking about him again?』
『Haha, you’ll understand why I’m saying this if you see him.』
『Even so, nothing will change.』
Torca snorted. The Hoarder. He had heard about him countless times since he was always at the center of big events. He heard that he was close to Kahn as well, but he didn’t think much of it.
Others said that he had brought down the Ruler King Benteke and Triton alone. That he might be the next Nine King.
However, Torca thought that was hilarious. Emerging clans? Others might have been in awe of them, but they were just infamous rookies . That was proved by how Triton toppled without being able to fight back.
On the other hand, the Iron Lion clan was different. They had a long history, and their forces weren’t lacking compared to the Large Clans.
No matter how amazing the Hoarder was, he couldn’t fight against them alone.
The warning of the Ice King? The same went for that. Like he had said, the Ice King was old. The older you became, the more worries you would have.
‘After this, I should let the higher-ups know and cut all ties with the Ice King. It seems like he’s still skilled, but his soft judgement can ruin the battle.’
Victoria was tied up, and his subordinates told him they had collected the Adamantine Nova as well.
『Everyone get ready to return to……!』
Just when Torca was giving orders to return,
A large object that looked like a meteorite fell from the sky shook the ground.
Tens of mercenaries became neatly chopped pieces of flesh and shot up.
At the very center, Yeon-woo, with his wings of fire spread apart, was holding Victoria.
『Oh dear. He seems quite angry.』
The Ice King scratched his temples and spoke awkwardly toward Torca.
『Can I drop out of this round?』
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