Chapter 617 - Martial King (11)
The Martial King’s eyes widened. Usually, his emotions didn’t waver, and even though he was shaken by the fact that Nocturne had discovered his true identity, the Martial King had largely kept his composure. Now, it was completely shattered.
Exuviation! Nocturne had developed beyond when he was first pulled out of the twenty-first floor. Although he was completely unknown, he possessed enormous potential because he was based on such a powerful being, resulting in a steep rise in power. Nocturne had already fulfilled the conditions to achieve exuviation. Even transcendence was possible. This fact meant that another Allforone could be born.
『This is madness.』
『How could anyone allow another monster to be created.』
『Can we really allow this to happen…? Hmph!』
Even the gods of Asgard snorted, sensing the threat that Nocturne posed. Some even looked at Thor as if asking whether they should intervene, but Thor shook his head firmly.
Bang! Rumble! The Martial King moved quickly to stop Nocturne’s reckless behavior.
Boom! Boom! Boom! However, half-covered in a brilliant white haze, Nocturne violently smashed down with his sword. Although the Martial King would have normally thought twice about confronting this tremendous sword strike, he recklessly parried it, yelling out, “You stupid bastard! You’re only giving Allforone a reason to intervene! Why are you acting like this…!”
Nocturne smiled mockingly. “Then and now, Master has always been afraid of Allforone.”
“Isn’t Allforone the only enemy in the lower world that Master could not defeat?”
“I understand. I know that the fearless master has always been in hiding. I also know the reason why you’re so concerned about Allforone. However…”
In an instant, the Martial King’s face stiffened.
“You don't have to worry, Master. Allforone will never come here.”
“Unless we were idiots, don’t you think we would have already made preparations?”
Only then did the Martial King realize someone who wasn’t present had brought Faceless, Asgard, Nocturne, and even himself into this Illusory World like chess pieces. Whoosh! At that moment, beams of light poured out of Nocturne and enveloped him. As the number of cracks that spread over his skin grew, all the fragments that made up his existence crumbled and disappeared. The aura of Nocturne’s spirit spread out in all directions as light that assimilated with the Illusory World.
[A new owner has been added to the great holy territory!]
[An independent god, Nocturne, has formed a holy territory.]
Nocturne had achieved transcendence in tandem with exuviation. A new Allforone existence had been born.
『I am soulless. Furthermore, my ego is a copy of another. I don’t know how you managed to give me player status, but I am not a person.』 Nocturne’s calm voice resonated like the real Allforone’s. The only thing that made Nocturne different from Allforone was the blue light he emitted instead of Allforone’s gold. 『Who am I? What should I do next? Give me an answer, Master.』
The pressure that Nocturne gave off was the same as Allforone’s. The Martial King could feel it weighing down on his shoulders. The Martial King felt as if something invisible were binding his spirit tightly. Boom! Recalling the time when he had faced off against Allforone, the Martial King immediately shot back to create some distance between himself and Nocturne.
The difference between Allforone and the Martial King was paper-thin. The Martial King’s skills were clearly superior to Allforone’s. In terms of martial art ability or aura, the Martial King did not lose out either. In fact, the Martial King was even stronger. However, there was one advantage Allforone had over the Martial King: power originating from divinity.
The power that Allforone possessed as the Tower’s Apostle could overcome everything. In other words, Allforone represented the Tower, and to the Martial King, Allforone was an incarnation of the Tower’s system.
If Nocturne could wield the same power as Allforone—or even half that power—the Martial King had no chance of defeating him. Even if the Martial King successfully pulled off Thought Control, the system would override him within its confines. It was close to impossible to completely break the Tower’s rule.
This was the reason why all the gods and demons in the heavenly world, the conceptual and ancient gods unknown to the lower world, and even emperor-level beings could not overcome Allforone. Everyone was essentially subordinate to the Tower’s system. How could they possibly resist Allforone, who was the will of the system? A prisoner bound in chains couldn’t disobey his guard.
Of course, to avoid being chained forever, the Martial King had sought to find the key to release himself from the system’s shackles. However, the Martial King had not completed the Bright Tai Chi Pangu Sword, which he believed to be the key to freedom, and this meant he had to avoid a direct confrontation with Allforone.
『Right. I knew you couldn’t provide me with an answer. You never even thought you needed to. To you, I am just a lab rat. Once I no longer had any use, you threw me away. That was how you saw me. But Master…』
Although Nocturne’s words weren’t accurate, the Martial King could not reply. Nocturne was different from his first disciple, whom the Martial King did not trust because of his sly personality. The Martial King’s third disciple always did better than expected, and the Martial King never had to worry about him. However, his second disciple, Nocturne, always made him feel concerned.
Thus, there were many things that the Martial King wanted to say. He wanted to tell Nocturne that he was mistaken. He wanted to say that it was a misunderstanding, that he never considered Nocturne a lab rat. However, Nocturne seemed unwilling to listen to anything. The Martial King would have to force him to listen, but there was only one way to defeat Nocturne, who was essentially like Allforone.
The Martial King would have to also undergo exuviation and transcendence. He would have to go through with the process that he had delayed all this time. However… Gulp!
‘Damn it…!’ The Martial King swallowed the blood that was threatening to come out from his mouth and flow down his lips. Gaia’s Curse was tying his hands. The curse was causing havoc in him, and the Martial King did not know what effects it would have once he became a god and possessed divinity.
Faceless… Did his first disciple plan ahead for all of this?
『Even with this appearance, I still do not know my identity, who I truly am. This is because I never possessed a past. I was a lifeless doll from the start.』
Rumble! Nocturne did not pursue his master, and he stood in place as though he were alone in the world. He clenched his fists as he gathered his body’s overflowing power in his hands—the power that made up all the worlds including the Illusory World. Idea…moved.
Boom! When he took a step, the air pressure grew stronger, and all the air currents in the Illusory World rushed towards the Martial King to imprison him.
『Thus, I’ll establish my identity from now on.』 Nocturne moved. 『I’ll do this by severing all the ties I had in the past.』
The Martial King shot his hands towards Nocturne, who had suddenly cut through space and appeared in front of the Martial King. He now understood what the prophecies meant. ‘One wrong step and this place will really become my burial place.’
For the first time, cold sweat trickled down the Martial King’s back. Gaia’s Curse was still aiming for his heart. The Martial King clenched his jaw. He unleashed the Eight Extreme Fists.
Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Yeon-woo detonated his sword energy as he struck down the light that swarmed around him. Yeon-woo was shocked by the conversation between the Martial King and Nocturne. “Allforone’s simulation…?”
Yeon-woo recalled the twenty-first floor and his eyes widened. The Martial King had pulled off many extraordinary things, but how did he bring out a piece of data? Furthermore, how could that data have free will like a living being? Each simulation was nothing more than a program that executed a command to defeat its challenger in any way possible.
However… ‘No. Maybe that’s not all.’ Yeon-woo shook his head as he recalled the simulations of his younger brother and the Martial King. His younger brother’s simulation had smiled before being defeated. The Martial King’s simulation had ignored the set of commands governing the trial and developed his own martial arts with his ego. Yeon-woo recalled being driven to the brink by the Martial King’s simulation. Perhaps there was an error within the Tower’s system that normal players could not detect. Or maybe there was an Easter egg that had yet to be revealed. Whatever the case, the fact that a new Allforone could be born was shocking. ‘How the hell did the Sword God know this information?’ Yeon-woo could only conclude that there was a hidden antagonist involved.
“What are you looking at?” Just then, a terrifying voice echoed behind Yeon-woo. “Turning your head in the thick of battle is the same as sticking your neck out and shouting out to the world to cut your head off.”
『Son, behind you!』
Yeon-woo snapped back to his senses and twisted around at Kronos’ urgent cry. Clang! Yiyeh wielded his weapon, Justice, like a dagger and clashed with Vigrid. Jang Wei… No, Yiyeh, who was in the form of Jang Wei, said with a smile, “You’re exactly like they say. You’re very talented. I heard that you call yourself the king of gods now. I guess you possess the power to make that claim.”
Yeon-woo frowned as he gauged the power that was pressing against Vigrid. “You heard?”
Yiyeh did not answer Yeon-woo’s question and only smiled strangely in reply. Yeon-woo became certain that Yiyeh had joined forces with the hidden antagonist. “Why is a member of the Trinity Wonder intervening here? Wasn’t it one of your main principles not to intervene in Tower-related issues?”
The status that the Trinity Wonder had within the Tower was completely different from that of other gods. As pioneers who first opened the world of the Tower to players, the members of the Trinity Wonder were objects of worship. For gods and demons, the Trinity Wonder was an abominable enemy, not much different from the Heavenly Demon because the members of Trinity Wonder were little more than guards watching over them!
The Seat of the Sun, Shaohao-Jintian.
The Master of the Moon, Yiyeh.
The first to set foot in the underworld, Yama.
All of these beings had once been followers and vassals of the Heavenly Demon. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that they represented the will of the Heavenly Demon, who had built the Tower and trapped the gods and demons before bringing players from various universes and dimensions inside.
In other words, these three created the Tower’s system on behalf of the Heavenly Demon. In the world of the Tower, they were the creators. Yeon-woo had to cry foul at Yiyeh’s participation.
However, Yiyeh’s answer surprised Yeon-woo. “That was the situation at first.”
“But now I’m starting to wonder if the system is really working the way that guy wanted it to.”
That guy. Yeon-woo understood that Yiyeh was referring to the Heavenly Demon.
“The Tower’s floors and trials have not been working properly for a long time. They’ve become stagnant. The heavenly world is busy consolidating. Things are different from the ideal we pursued. That’s why I’ve set out personally to fix the issues.”
Yeon-woo couldn’t understand Yiyeh’s meaning.
Yiyeh laughed bitterly. “Well, I don’t really expect you to understand. Let’s just say we have different opinions. Otherwise, why would I have worked with my mortal enemy, the Chan Sect? I’ve moved onto another place now.”
Yiyeh meant that he was pursuing something personal. When he read the revelations in the Changgong Library, Yeon-woo had gained a vague understanding of the secrets of the universe’s creation. Yeon-woo also had an idea of the role that the Heavenly Demon had played then and how Shaohao-Jintian and Yiyeh had supported him.
In the process, Yiyeh had reached the supreme god level. Perhaps, Yiyeh was close to entering the emperor level now. The power that Yeon-woo sensed through Vigrid seemed to support this. Yiyeh was not an opponent that Yeon-woo could take lightly.
Moreover, considering that Shaohao-Jintian had completed the Bright Tai Chi Pangu Sword, which even the Martial King had yet to master, and that Yiyeh stood shoulder to shoulder with Shaohao-Jintian… Yeon-woo could feel a deluge of curses springing up to his throat. If Yeon-woo was right and Allforone was the son of the Heavenly Demon, it meant that the Heavenly Demon and his gang were in control of everything.
“Anyway, we only want one thing.” Whoosh! Yiyeh was not only good at archery but also in various martial arts, and he could easily cross swords with Yeon-woo while speaking in a cold voice, “To bind you here so that you can no longer intervene.”
“You’ve been chosen.”
[Yiyeh of the <Sea ofTime> is looking straight at you!]
Yeon-woo’s eyes widened. Who would have guessed that this name would appear? Yeon-woo gritted his teeth as his anger grew. He didn’t know what they were aiming for, but one thing was clear: he couldn’t allow them to bind his hands.
[The domain ‘Binah’ has been declared!]
Yeon-woo spread his shadows in all directions. The Ghost Giants appeared with roars at the swamp of darkness, summoned from Tartarus. The gods of Asgard hurriedly turned in their direction. Even though the Ghost Giants did not receive any orders, they realized what they had to do and rushed to trample the gods.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
[6th-step Dragon Body awakening]
[All powers released]
[The speed of the winding of the spring of death has accelerated!]
After pushing Yiyeh back, Yeon-woo unleashed the Sixth Extreme of the Eight Extremes of Sword Thunder. Rumble!
“Hmph!” Yiyeh had anticipated a strike on his head, and he raised his protective barrier. However, unexpectedly, nothing happened. ‘Where is it going?’
Yiyeh wondered if Yeon-woo was aiming for Nocturne, so he hurriedly looked in Nocturne’s direction. However, this wasn’t the case either. Instead, the Sword Thunder fell on Thor-Sword God.
“Shit!” For the first time, an expression of concern appeared on Yiyeh’s face. The Sword God was the being who had established the Illusory Barrier.
‘If I can’t get to the Martial King, I’ll just bring the whole Illusory World down.’
At that moment, Thor was dealing with Valdebich and more than ten other Ghost Giants. He wasn’t expecting an attack, and Sword Thunder instantly tore him to pieces. Crack! Crack! Crack! Cracks spread along the Illusory World.
<Perceiving the Heavens>
Using the power of perception that Yeon-woo had achieved after integrating the various eyes he had accumulated thus far, Yeon-woo succeeded in discovering and destroying the core that even the Martial King hadn’t figured out.
Sss! Yeon-woo relentlessly swung Vigrid, detonating sword energy from the First Extreme to the Sixth Extreme, one after another. The Illusory World was stained with Yeon-woo’s signature blackish-red light. Boom! Boom! Boom!