Chapter 614 - Martial King (8)
“S-save… me…!” Jang’s face had turned blue as he took the entire brunt of Yeon-woo’s killing intent. There was a time when Jang was considered a threat to Phante since many people believed he had more talent than Phante. However, after Jang suffered a humiliating defeat to Yeon-woo, his prestige fell even further after he lost out to both Phante and Edora. Eventually, Jang ended up getting involved in things that he had no business doing.
‘Demonic energy.’ Yeon-woo frowned as he looked down and felt the weak demonic energy emanating from Jang. Yeon-woo wondered how Jang had obtained such energy.
Demonic energy was like a drug for players. It brought strength and pleasure depending on how it was used, but it gradually exhausted one’s mind and eventually turned one into a demonic human. Jang was in the stage right before becoming a demon. Just like an addict, Jang’s limbs shook as he emanated a low-quality, murky demonic energy.
However, even low-quality demonic energy was still demonic energy. It tried to escape from Yeon-woo’s grip, but Jang and his demonic energy could not even fight Yeon-woo’s overwhelming magic power. Did no one in the Baekseon family or any of the other tribe members notice Jang’s unusual state?
‘There’s no way they couldn’t have known.’ Even if the demonic energy was barely noticeable, it could not deceive the senses that the tribe members possessed from birth.
“You! Get your dirty hands off my child!” His eyes shining with anger, the head of the Baekseon family slammed his foot on the ground and flew towards Yeon-woo.
Yeon-woo instantly understood what was going on. ‘He helped his son hide it all this time.’
Even porcupines cared tenderly for their young. The One-horned tribe was very proud of their martial arts prowess, and they despised all foreign energy, such as magic, looking negatively on learning anything related to foreign energy.
That meant that if someone like Jang, who was the son of a prominent family’s leader, was dabbling in demonic energy, it would cause a problem. It was no surprise that Jang’s family covered up his actions.
Clank! The head of the Baekseon family boasted a power comparable to that of a high ranker, but before he could even approach Yeon-woo, he was blocked by Shanon’s sword, which came out of the shadow.
「Hey, old man. How dare you attack our King Temper? Do you have some extra lives squirreled away somewhere?」
“Shut up! Let go of my child right now!”
「Hey, no one forced you to stab us in the back, right? You’re in the wrong, so why are you shouting so loudly?」
“Get out of here!”
The head of the Baekseon family tried to push Shanon to the side, but Shanon had already earned the divine domain of conquest, so it was difficult for a mortal to contend against him. However, even though he noticed the difference between Shanon and himself, the head of the Baekseon family clenched his teeth and threw out as many martial attacks as he could manage, all with the intention of saving his grandson.
「If you really want to stab someone in the back, you can’t do it half-assed. You have to be like our King Temper and do it perfectly. That’s why you guys are amateurs!」
Clank! Clank! Clank! Shanon smiled and spun Sword Breaker as he parried the attacks of the Baekseon family head. As Shanon’s status had risen, his martial arts skills also improved. He seemed happy with the opportunity to compete with a member of the One-horned tribe. The head of the Baekseon family couldn’t save his grandson and his stomach churned.
“Put your weapon away!” In the end, the Baekseon family members could not bear to see their leader humiliated, and the members of the other families allied to them tried to come forward.
Rumble! Whoosh! Before they could move, they were forced to stop by a Blood Lightning bolt that fell from the sky. In the place where the lightning bolt struck, the Head Elder growled as he looked at the traitorous tribe members. “Don’t even think of taking a single step forward. From now on, those who disobey my orders will be considered traitors.”
Crackle! Crackle! The blood-red thunderbolts that crackled around the Head Elder’s body were so intense and hot that Phante’s Blood Lightning could not even compare. Even though the Head Elder’s fighting spirit was so ferocious that it should have made anyone steer clear of him…
“I said stop…!”
Rumble! The members of the Baekseon family had to protect their family at all costs, so they tried to resist the Head Elder’s fighting aura. However, they were quickly swept away by a sudden blood-red lightning bolt that left no survivors.
Looks of surprise spread across the faces of the tribe members. The tribe had laws and customs which governed how families should act, and there were different types of punishment for different crimes. In most cases, the punishment ranged from detention to physical punishment. Getting kicked out of a tribe was usually the worst type of penalty.
The death penalty was rarely practiced since they were a race with a limited population to begin with. Furthermore, they shared the same culture and values . However, the Head Elder completely disregarded their customs since there was one crime that allowed this type of retribution: treason. Anyone who sought to break tribal bonds and disrupt the order of the community was a traitor.
The Martial King had a laid-back temperament, and he turned a blind eye towards those who acted unscrupulously. However, the Head Elder strictly adhered to tribal laws and could objectively look at crimes without regard for family affiliations. He had a reputation for being fair and impartial, which was also why the Baekseon family and others could carry out a duel for the tribe’s throne. No matter how powerful the Martial King’s authority was, they thought they had a chance if they took advantage of the Head Elder’s impartiality and law-abiding nature to limit the Martial King. In fact, the Head Elder was such a rigid observer of rules that many in the tribe thought that he was close-minded. Thus, the Head Elder’s swift action was enough to shock his own tribe members.
“Didn’t you hear me say stop? Or does this old man look like an easy target since I’ve been quiet for a while?”
The tribe members recalled the Head Elder’s nickname, the Blood-Red Philosopher. Despite the scholarly impression that the nickname had, it had been given to the Head Elder because he left a sea of blood behind him whenever he acted. His nickname and deeds were part of an older generation and they had almost been forgotten. However, the other elders and heads remembered the fear and terror that the Head Elder had once caused, and they could feel his palpable rage.
While everyone was too stunned to move…
A shadow opened next to Yeon-woo. Hanryeong appeared and bowed deeply in front of Yeon-woo. 「Please state your orders.」
“Make a path.”
Without delay, Hanryeong drew out the largest among his nine swords and swung it. Divine and magic power were tightly compressed in his strike, and it pounded on the Illusory Barrier that imprisoned the Martial King. However, he couldn’t make a single scratch. Unhappy with the results, Hanryeong slashed several times more, but the barrier did not budge.
「It seems that we have to find another way.」 Hanryeong spoke through gritted teeth as if his self-esteem had been severely injured. Considering that each of his blows was comparable to Sword Thunder, it was clear that the enemy was prepared.
Yeon-woo was even more convinced about Asgard’s participation, and he glared coldly at Jang, who was still trying to escape his grasp. “How do you open that barrier?”
“Do you think you won’t face any consequences from doing this…!”
“It’s probably better if you answer my question, no? Answer me. How do I get inside?”
“Do you think I’ll talk? Let go of me…!”
“I guess it can’t be helped.”
Crunch! He twisted Jang’s head around.
“Jang!” A mournful cry resounded from the head of the Baekseon family.
“Summon of the Dead.” Yeon-woo tossed Jang’s corpse to the ground and activated Summon of the Dead. The Cast of the Black King trembled violently.
[‘Summon of the Dead’ has been activated.]
[Who do you want to summon?]
「Ah! Y-you…killed me…!” Jang exclaimed with a shocked expression.
However, Yeon-woo couldn’t care less. Yeon-woo brought out the Purgatory Furnace and locked the soul of the young man inside.
Argh! A scream floated out.
After imprisoning Jang’s soul in the flames of the Purgatory Furnace, Yeon-woo interrogated him. The flames of the Purgatory Furnace had even made Vieira Dune, who had once swallowed Mother Earth, spit out all that she knew even as she screamed in agony. Jang was already addicted to demonic energy, and he was no match for the Purgatory Furnace’s flames. In the end, Jang’s soul confessed all his sins to Yeon-woo and the tribe.
“So, in the guise of Hyena, you provided information about the tribe to Faceless and the others, right? Were you involved in anything else?”
「Y-yes! Now that I’ve confessed, please, please make it stop…!」
“If you committed a crime, you should be punished.”
「Wait! That’s not what you promised! You said you’d let me die if I told you everything…!」
Jang’s soul disappeared, screaming as it was imprisoned in the Purgatory Furnace.
Everyone was silent, from the Head Elder to the Baekseon family. Jang’s confession had been too shocking. He had revealed that he planned and executed all these horrendous things to become the tribe’s next king.
Once the assassination of the Martial King was over, Faceless would sit on the throne, and Faceless had promised Jang that he would be his successor. They would also use the inevitable confusion that would arise to chase out anyone from the tribe who was expendable. Faceless would also put his supporters in key positions in the tribe. It was nothing short of treason.
The head of the Baekseon family sat on the ground in disbelief. Not only was his precious grandson dead, but all the accomplishments of their family flowed out of their hands like sand.
“Gather them up. Those who resist must be disposed of. The judgments will be issued after everything is settled.” The Head Elder quickly recovered and commanded his tribe members to gather the criminals. He thought it would take considerable effort and time to punish them.
Jang had told Yeon-woo how to cross the Illusory Barrier, and he quickly moved. Since the Martial King was so great, Yeon-woo did not think he would be easily defeated. Still, a gnawing anxiety made Yeon-woo impatient. Yeon-woo had never felt this way before, so he wondered why he was so worried. It was driving Yeon-woo crazy.
‘Hanryeong. I haven’t been able to see Edora ever since we arrived. Find her.’
「Your wish is my command.」
Yeon-woo also started feeling a sense of concern about Edora, whose presence he could not detect. ‘We also don’t know who provided the demonic energy to Jang.’
Besides Asgard, another hidden force seemed to be involved. Yeon-woo reached out to the barrier, thinking that he should save the Martial King first. Jang didn’t actually know how to break through the barrier, and he only knew of a spot where one could bypass it. However, only a few people could enter this way.
Sss. Vigrid read Yeon-woo’s thoughts and conformed to Yeon-woo’s grip. Once Vigrid and Yeon-woo unified, Yeon-woo’s Consciousness expanded infinitely.
[The spring of death is at work!]
Whoosh! Yeon-woo swung Vigrid and opened up emptiness. He formed a path into the Illusory Barrier and was about to step through it when the Head Elder’s voice spoke in his ear. 『Be careful. If they could come up with such an intricate plan, they’re probably prepared for any surprises. Furthermore…』
Yeon-woo stopped for a moment. It seemed that the Head Elder wanted to say something, but he hesitated. 『It’s nothing. Anyway, just bring back that stubborn asshole. Please.』
In the end, the Head Elder couldn’t bring himself to say the words. However, Yeon-woo could feel a deep sense of concern in the Head Elder’s voice. Yeon-woo nodded and pushed inside the barrier.
Yeon-woo instantly smelled something burning.