The Novel's Villain - Chapter 69
Gallock was amazed by the overflowing power filling him. He learned about the Emperor of Gold from the moment they began to build the temple.
“We’ve touched his belongings.”
The elves belonged to the Emperor of Gold as his slaves. The orcs coveted them and tried to loot them, sinning the Emperor. It was surprising that they didn’t become extinct. Still, he showed mercy and gave them an opportunity. The orcs built a temple to cleanse their sins according to No. 21’s words and dedicated much of the wealth they brought from the dungeons to build this monument.
They even dedicated the dungeon itself to him. That giant Knight was very helpful. She helped by saying she was cleaning the dungeon. She must have been a guardian Knight sent by the Emperor himself.
Now the orcs had a new hope.
“He has given us a chance! Now let’s prove it!”
There was an ordeal. But the orcs survived, and those who survived were chosen. As No. 21 said, there was only one last step left. Angelica looked at the retreating humans and then began to clean up again. She tore down all the ugly buildings and made the floors clean. The sudden overflow of dark mana gave her immense power.
[No, if you use it like that…listen to me!]
[Could you please take a break?]
It felt like something was ringing in her head, but Angelica didn’t care and continued to work in silence. The Emperor of Vanity tried to take over Angelica’s body but failed. Strangely enough, she had a master who surpassed the Emperor of Vanity. Eventually, he was deprived of all of his powers and imprisoned inside Angelica.
It was different from when he was locked in the Sealing Stone. He had fused with Angelica and could no longer escape. It was like the last piece of the puzzle was being put together inside Angelica’s egoless void. Because all their senses were shared, he also felt the pain of her body. Angelica didn’t feel anything because she didn’t have an ego to feel pain with.
Only the Emperor of Vanity was suffering. He felt like dying because Angelica worked non-stop. It was the first time he missed the Sealing Stone. It was boring there, but it was at least comfortable. Angelica just worked without stop, demolishing and tidying up the nearby buildings.
No. 21, who was wearing a bizarre helmet, approached Gallock. After he had already obtained all the information by interrogating the Knights belonging to the Seven Dragons Association. Wang Guo Liang, who was captured as a prisoner, gave everything away. The interrogation method he learned from the General Manager was very helpful in the process.
“Snakes, Shield…K-kugh. There is…evil in Japan.”
“As expected, it was Japan.”
No. 21 nodded at No. 42’s words. It was certain since the information was stolen from the evil they captured. In particular, the Knight called Wang Guo Liang showed strong resistance as if he was the center of evil. However, his intensive mental education made it impossible to resist now.
“No. 21, leave here to me.”
“You guys have a great mission. Go! We will overcome our ordeal; we will prove our worth!”
No. 21 and the Second Generations’ cadets wiped away their tears at Gallock’s words. They got to work building a boat to sail across the sea. It wasn’t a modern ship, making it difficult to cross the sea, but that couldn’t break No. 21’s will.
Gallock raised his fist as he saw the Second Generation off.
“We are not parting for ever!”
The orcs shouted.
“See you in Valhalla!”
No. 21 once said the JW Gate’s other name was Valhalla! It was such a beautiful story of a sacred space for washing sins away. It was a perfect place to match the bravery of the Golden Orcs, who didn’t spare any lives. A place where only those who endured the Emperor’s test could go.
Valhalla, the Land of Gold. Prove your qualifications and come to Valhalla!
We will meet again there!
[Hey, you crazy people! Stop!]
The Emperor of Vanity was the most rational there. He shouted like that, but no one heard him.
* * *
Jin-woo had a headache.
[Orcs have evolved into Golden Orcs.]
[The orc’s limit level has increased significantly.]
[The Demon Realm is growing nervous.]
[C+] Golden Orc
‘Golden Orcs do not retreat.’
‘Our thick skin is the shield of faith, and our great muscles are the mace of faith.’
‘Let’s go! To the Land of Gold! To Valhalla!’
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They evolved with the blessing of the Emperor of Gold. With their strong faith, they are powerful warriors who are ready to die. Their behavior pattern of breeding and plundering was replaced by faith and battle. They can easily give their life to go to the land ruled by the Emperor.
He was here to patch things up, but he had made it worse. He had no excuses. Until Jin-woo came, the competent Chinese people were winning. The Ambassador was dealing with Angelica with the other Knights help, but the Orcs suddenly became strong, so they had no choice but to retreat.
Besides that, China’s equipment had almost no rank after their warehouses were inadvertently raided. At this point, it was almost like a black hole as it absorbed the items into the sanctuary. For that reason, it was forbidden to bring items of Rank F or higher in this operation. Of course, Jin-woo wasn’t affected.
Merlin, the Wizards, and Knights from all over the world entered the meeting with serious expressions. Choi Hee-yeon and Korean Knights also participated. Jin-woo wanted to leave, but thanks to Merlin, the meeting started around him.
“The enemy seems to be stronger than I thought. The power to evolve monsters is good enough to be called the Demon King. What do you think?”
When Merlin looked at Jin-woo and asked, everyone’s eyes focused on him. He was naturally standing at the center of Knights and Semi-Knights. No one objected to it, however. Jin-woo opened his mouth because he felt he had to say something.
“I think we should be careful about dealing with that mysterious dark mana.”
“Well! You saw that too. The soil is also darkening. Perhaps it’s the Giant Knight’s trick. This is a well-planned invasion.”
The conclusion was already solidified to the invasion of the Giant Knight, no, the Demon King. So far, no monsters had been found intelligent enough to communicate. Many Gate scientists argued that they should prepare for an invasion from monsters with high intelligence but failed to obtain consent.
‘Let’s just stay still.’
Jin-woo thought that he should keep his mouth shut. When Jin-woo pursed his lips, the Knights and Semi-Knights glanced at him. The figure of Jin-woo, who was slightly lowering his head, exuded great charisma. His troubled expression looked as if he was in deep agony about the survival of mankind.
The atmosphere became heavier as Merlin continued. Jin-woo had a huge influence without realizing it.
“Here they come.”
The Chinese competent people approached the camp where the Relief Knights were located. There were a lot of people who were injured, so they immediately began treatment. Since China didn’t even have the resources to treat them, they had no choice but to seek the help of the Relief Knights. This was their last full-scale attack.
‘The setting that modern weapons don’t work because of mana is really…’
It didn’t work inside the Gate at all, and it didn’t work there because it was similar to the one inside the Gate because of the demonization. When it touched mana, it exploded or stopped functioning, so its power was reduced exponentially. There were signs of an attempt, but it was a resounding failure. It felt like a raccoon washing cotton candy in water.
As the final expedition failed, the disaster area management was transferred to the International Federation of Competent People.
“Even though we lost, we will try our best.”
The Ambassador said so. Merlin, the head of the Relief Knights, looked at Jin-woo. Naturally, the decision-making authority was passed on to him.
“Long time no see.”
“Hehe, that’s right. I’m ashamed to show you this ugly side.”
The Ambassador’s face was full of bitterness. His body wasn’t normal. It wasn’t because of Angelica, but it seemed like he had been suffering for some time. The injury he suffered this time was also serious. Originally, he would have died due to the conspiracy of the Seven Dragons Association, but now that the influence of the Seven Dragons Association had almost fully disappeared, that seemed unlikely. The Ambassador looked at Jin-woo and bowed his head.
“China has done a lot wrong.”
It was the Ambassador who was subjected to severe torture against the will of the Seven Dragons Association. Next to the Ambassador stood a woman Jin-woo had never seen before. He could tell she was extraordinary just by looking at her.
“I am Tang Xiao Zhen from Tang Clan of Shichuan. Thank you for coming here.”
Jin-woo thought he knew who she was from hearing the name. She was the heroine who stayed with the main character until he defeated Wang Goo Liang, who was possessed by the Emperor of Vanity. When Choi Hee-yeon heard the name Tang Xiao Zhen’s name, she flinched slightly. Choi Hee-yeon and Tang Xiao Zhen’s eyes met.
There was a strange tension between the two. The two would have met at the international competition if it hadn’t been for the Chinese incident, like in the original story.
He didn’t know why, but the orcs were also on his side. He felt uncomfortable letting them die. Still, it was a shame to leave the Relief Knights here unattended. Above all, the Korean Knights stood tall with quite the death flag.
An expeditionary meeting began involving all representative Knights from each country. Jin-woo participated, intending to buy time to take his measures.
“There is a lot of information missing. So…”
“We will provide you with all we have.”
At Jin-woo’s words, Dang Xiao Zhen said so with a sorrowful expression. She decided to generously provide the information they had gathered so far. Jin-woo made a lot of remarks to slow down the expedition plan.
“I think it would be a little risky to go right away. It’s better to look a little more…”
“Oh! That’s right. Indeed…”
“Oh! Come to think of it, how about approaching from the basement…! Why didn’t I think of such a simple thing?”
Merlin and Tang Xiao Zhen changed their plans right away at Jin-woo’s words.
“I think we need to deal with the black soil.”
Since it was an area where the demonization has progressed, he thought he could buy a little more time with this excuse.
“Oh! You’ve made that point, too! We have conducted component analysis in advance in connection with all Magic Towers in Europe. If we absorb the high-purity mana in advance, we will be able to survive for a while. A device was also prepared in advance.”
“Can we get it too?”
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happened, but don’t we all have the same enemies?”
Merlin’s words moved Tang Xiao Zhen. Then she looked to Jin-woo.
“…I’m sorry…thank you.”
Tang Xiao Zhen’s gaze was burdensome. Jin-woo tried to spot the loopholes, but Merlin wasn’t Merlin for nothing. He was either ready or making it ready right there on the spot.
‘No, what did he prepare so much for?’
The plan was revised and revised until even the time was advanced. Knights from each country nodded along with admiration.
“If we did it wrong, we would have been annihilated before even fighting.”
“Indeed…is he the genius of the century? Even as a strategist…”
“I’m worried about the international competition.”
“He’s still a Semi-Knight, so that the next competition will be fine.”
When Jin-woo came to his senses, he realized that he had become a great strategist in the eyes of those watching. Although it was a cooperative relationship now, everybody was collecting information about Jin-woo as there was a high possibility of meeting him as an enemy in the future.
Jin-woo was confused, but the Emperor of Gold always remained elegant. It looked like he didn’t care at all. Choi Hee-yeon and Korean Knights were proud of Jin-woo.
“Then we will start the operation right before dawn tomorrow.”
So it was decided. Rather, it was about half a day faster. Jin-woo, who came out of the meeting room, shook his head with a sigh.
Now he was afraid to say anything. Wouldn’t it work somehow if he could use the effects of the artifact that controlled the gate?
From the Emperor of Greed, the artifact affairs, the World Tree, and now. As always, it didn’t go as Jin-woo planned.
‘Life is so…’
Now he was used to it because it was always like that. He had no choice but to somehow make it work, just like he had been doing so far.
* * *
Choi Hee-yeon, who was resting in the barracks, stood as the time for their attack approached. She corrected her Knight’s uniform and grabbed her sword. It wasn’t the Heavenly Sword but an F-rank sword. It was said that all items with high ranking would disappear when entering the black area.
She couldn’t lose the Heavenly Sword after just receiving it.
‘Something planned for a long time…’
Choi Hee-yeon recalled what Merlin said. It was something that even the ambassadors and leaders of Old Archives and Five Dynasties agreed upon. Merlin was sure that there were spies planted by the Demon King inside the Seven Dragons Association. They cleverly used G&P to ruin relations with China and manipulated the artifact to create this situation. It was a sign of territorial aggression that continued to consume national power.
Except for the international competition, it was an invasion during a relatively peaceful moment. They were well aware of the international situation and even seemed to have a clear grasp of the major players. The International Federation of Competent People also agreed with this speculation and issued a wanted order for all the Seven Dragons Association executive members.
‘Without high-ranking items…’
Their power would be greatly reduced. Competent people had a strong tendency to depend on weapons and artifacts, as was the case with the Knights. Some even said that more than half of the average power was twenty percent higher with them.
Choi Hee-yeon stroked her neck a few times because it felt empty. She left the necklace Jin-woo gave her behind as well, so she felt uneasy. She took a deep breath and stepped out of the barracks.
The weather was exceptionally cold, close to minus 30 degrees Celsius, due to the barrier of high purity mana. It was a phenomenon where even the mana froze. When she left the barracks, she could see Jin-woo’s figure. There was a great sense of loneliness emanating from his back.
He took on the role of bait. There was an analysis that the huge temple and artifact were emitting the Demon King power. The plan was to lure monsters and Demon King to destroy the artifact after that. It was a plan based on information from Tang Xiao Zhen, and sacrifice was necessary. There wasn’t enough time to ask the International Federation of Competent People for help again. The barrier would be gone soon.
All the Knights hesitated, but not Jin-woo. He said he would take the lead without hesitation. Choi Hee-yeon was so ashamed of herself for hesitating, which was true of other Korean Knights.
Choi Hee-yeon approached him as he prepared.
The place he was looking at was where the Knights were. The Knights were strengthening their will by calling their lovers or family members. Jin-woo didn’t say anything, but she could feel his heart. He was worried about them. Jin-woo wanted to go alone, but many people shared their will with him, Choi Hee-yeon included.
The time had come as the barrier completely dissolved. The blackened area began to grow rapidly. They had to stop it before it devoured the city.
The reporters dispatched from the Association quietly captured the whole scene on camera. Whether or not they felt the desperate determination themselves, they didn’t attempt to take interviews or do anything.
Jin-woo quietly picked up the sword that was placed next to him. It looked like a little iron sword. However, even such an iron sword seemed to shine brighter than any other when he held it.
“Then I wish you good luck.”
Merlin said so, bowed his head, and disappeared. Merlin and the elite Knights of each country left first because they decided to detour underground. The Ambassador only took part in commanding due to his poor physical condition, while Tang Xiao Zhen and the Chinese competent people joined as bait.
Tang Xiao Zhen stood next to Choi Hee-yeon.
“…It’s unfortunate to meet you like this. I wanted to experience a taste of the Choi Family’s Sword School.
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“If that were the case, I wouldn’t have been able to stand here.”
“I cannot agree with that opinion.”
It was a brief moment, but they recognized each other. The Knights took the lead, with the Semi-Knights standing behind them. The Semi-Knights were supposed to protect the healers and Wizards, while the Knights drew attention from the front line. Jin-woo was naturally positioned in the middle.
Tang Xiao Zhen glanced at Jin-woo.
‘Even those proud Knights…’
It was as if the Knights had become his escorts. Jin-woo said there was a conspiracy, but he was helping China, which was his enemy. If it were her, she wouldn’t even care if it was destroyed or not.
‘Brother…are you really…’
Tang Xiao Zhen was suspicious of Wang Guo Liang. After all, the situation was in perfect harmony. They arrived in front of the black area before dawn. Tang Xiao Zhen, Choi Hee-yeon, and the Knights took the lead as they marched forward.
The air was heavy and murky. The place where buildings were supposed to be was empty. It was filled with shiny black sand instead.
It was the moment they paused and then started to move again…
The worms swarmed over the ground. Choi Hee-yeon and the Knights raised their weapons as the earthworms came up through ranging from the size of a human forearm to those larger than humans.
The number of earthworms was too large. They grouped up in clusters, becoming the size of a three-story building. Tang Xiao Zhen was perplexed. She did find earthworms on the prior expeditions, but this was the first time they had swarmed like this. The earthworm didn’t attack at all but just moved as they pleased.
Because of that, they hadn’t paid them any further mind. It couldn’t be, was this…!
‘A carefully prepared trap…?’
They had no time to think. The Knights swung swords and magic towards the earthworms, but it felt like they were swinging their swords at the sand. Countless eyes were focused on the waves of giant earthworms. Their eyes were bloodshot as if they were hunting their prey. It was a terrifying sight out of a nightmare.
It was already too late to get rid of them. It was the moment when everyone tried to prepare for the shock by taking defensive positions that someone appeared in front of Choi Hee-yeon, Tang Xiao Zhen, and the Knights. He came forward with ease as he raised a sword.
Light burst out, and the huge waves split out in a straight line to drive away from the darkness. The huge wave disappeared in an instant. All the competent people just stared blankly at the scene.
Jin-woo felt something approaching as soon as he entered the barrier. He paused for a moment and looked at his feet. An earthworm came up from the black land and looked at Jin-woo with big eyes. It twisted its body as if glad to see him. Was it because he saw it before? It was disgusting, but it was somehow worth watching. It twisted its body and desperately appealed to him.
‘Are you so tired that you want to go back?’
It seemed that was what it meant. Jin-woo paused and looked around. Everyone was on the lookout for their surroundings. When he slightly pulled out his sword and brought it to the earthworm, it was reverse-summoned along with a pool of light.
‘It works well.’
Arina’s skill was reliable.
Eyes were watching the scene. The other earthworms looked at it, dug in the ground, and quickly disappeared.
“No. There’s something stuck.”
“It’s still the entrance, so they won’t even know we’re here.”
The Knight said so with a slight smile in response to Jin-woo’s answer.
It was that moment the earthworms began to rush in like waves. There were so many that it felt like they were going to be swept away. Although the earthworm had no offensive ability, their defense was great. Their eyes were only looking at Jin-woo.
No matter how hard he thought about it, he was the cause. Jin-woo quickly came forward and swung his sword before the Knights were swept away. The giant earthworms were reverse-summoned. The Emperor of Gold was activated, and even the appearance of being reverse summoned was met with the same effect as meeting an end.
It was so impressive even Jin-woo was transfixed.
‘They seem to be transferred all at once. If I do it like this, I don’t think I’ll be caught.’
They were clumped together, so they were transferred all at once. It was fortunate that he didn’t have to swing the sword a bunch.
Jin-woo turned his head slightly and looked at the Knights. As soon as the giant earthworms were dealt with, dawn broke over them as the bright sun cut through the darkness.
The flashing sunlight shone on Jin-woo’s figure.
“Are you all right?”
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Everyone looked at Jin-woo and nodded blankly.